12-30-08 (15:35)
  • big news of the day isn't that the house is officially ours, rather it's that mike shanahan was fired as coach of the broncos. jeesh. also heard that martz was fired today. i'm tired of the niners firing their offensive coordinators; it's getting silly.
  • going to go pick up the keys at 4pm.

  • 12-28-08 (21:55)

  • bowl season has been decent so far. pac-10 is 2-0 which is good. oregon state will have a tough time without jaquizz rodgers in the game. big ten hasn't done so well the last couple years. as much as the pac-10 was trash this year, i think we ended up with 4 good teams: usc, cal, oregon, oregon state. arizona is a step below them, but also beat a ranked byu team in their bowl game. so, actually,  half the conference has a claim for being ranked.
  • visit to la was pretty good. didn't get to see james which is unfortunate.
  • got a flat tire last night. before we (my grandma hitched a ride up with me) left la i had to swap it out for the spare. having a full size spare is nice. there's a screw in the other tire so a patch should be sufficient.
  • niners won the last game of the season to end with a fairly respectable 7-9 record. with a couple more wins next year they could make it into the playoffs since they're in a weak division.
  • tough year for detroit.
  • favorite receivers in the draft: crabtree (ttu), jones (oklahoma), hicks (unc). would like to see the niners get alterraun verner (ucla) in the 2nd round (or later). he's the best cornerback i've seen in college, but i guess that's not really saying that much since i watch a lot of pac-10 games and not much other than that.

  • 12-23-08 (21:45)

  • finished the academy awards page the other day. have a little write up with some notes as well as a link to the complete list which includes the films i would have selected as the best of the year alongside the academy's picks.
  • i'm liking the truck, it's just a nice useful vehicle to have. i enjoyed the unwavering reliability and smooth ride of the camry, but i think that a truck suits me better because of the utility of it. if i were rich i'd get a little yaris hatchback as well for driving around town or longer road trips.
  • meryl's sick now. this cold definitely seems to be going around town.

  • 12-22-08 (17:28)

  • i think i have restless leg syndrome. it seems like one of those new diseases that isn't really a disease, but my leg has this vibrating feeling and i find myself moving my legs a lot. going to increase my iron intake and see what effect that has. also trying to stress out less, but life is hectic. think i'll drop one of my classes now that the house is looking like a done deal. so i'll have 4 classes instead of 5 on top of work and a house. i figure that life will be pretty lame for a year or so until the major work is done.
  • 2008 has been a year of toys and change. stopped working one job, started going to school. bush is out, obama is in. got a new: truck, cell phone, ipod, house, ps3, and lots of tools. my hope is that things will get less complicated with time, that'll be a goal for 2009. simplify.
  • asbestos abatement began on alumni house hallway today. got to work at 5am to begin disconnecting the range (it's 220v hardwired into the wall), the dishwasher, and the ice maker. moved all those out of the kitchen along with the freezer, the refrigerator, the long stainless steel prep table and everything else that was on the ground. went smoothly and everything was out on time (even though they showed up 45 minutes early). you can usually count on contractors to be late or arrive on the outside edge of the arrival window that they give you.
  • got a new serpentine belt for the truck. it'll also need new front brakes (and probably rotors) in the future. the oil pressure sensor is faulty or the sending unit isn't working properly as well. both those things can wait a bit. still a good deal so long as that's all that needs to be done. i think i learned from the corrado debacle (i took this one to two mechanics), but there's no such thing as a sure thing. my dad bought a new nissan versa and it needed a new transmission before the odometer hit 1,000 miles. true story. nissan was my third choice for him behind toyota and honda. now it would be nearly my last. i'm trying to take a zen approach to this car, we'll see how it goes.
  • thought about selling my shit on ebay to see if it would get me popular. i'd be willing to be that, given the proper presentation, someone would bid on a pile of shit.
  • still feeling sick, but i'm functional now.

  • 12-20-08 (17:33)

  • bought a truck today. when i first went looking for trucks i considered buying a new one because i figured there would be good end of year deals along with incentives to reduce inventory on bigger, less fuel efficient vehicles. quickly found out that the prices were still too high for my budget. so i started looking for low mileage used trucks, but those were all around 10k which is about 5-7k less than a new truck and "low mileage" generally meant over 50k miles. eventually i found that the higher mileage trucks seemed to have the best value. you could spend half as much and get a truck with 100k miles. since the primary goal of this truck is to last a few years until i can save up for a new truck, that seemed like the price range that made the most sense. ended up buying a truck that had almost everything i wanted at a price below blue book. it will need new brakes in the future, but i don't feel it's a huge concern right now. the one sacrifice i made with this truck is that it's a v6 which means it doesn't get the same fuel economy as a 4 cylinder and v6s also tend to be less reliable overall. hopefully it lasts me a few years. the other issue, but this is true with all trucks, is that it's a longer vehicle than the camry so parking in berkeley is going to be tougher (although it's about 7" shorter than comparable tacoma). it's a ford ranger and i would have preferred a tacoma, but those are expensive so...
  • still sick. yesterday was worse. we had planned on going on a road trip this weekend, but my cold stopped that.

  • 12-18-08 (21:16)

  • feeling very sick; this sucks.
  • truck prospects aren't great. could miss my trip to la if i don't find one soon.

  • 12-17-08 (20:37)

  • just sold the camry. feel more sad about it than the corrado, which was a lemon from day one. would have loved to keep the camry if i could justify having three cars. i need a truck and i'm not rich enough keep the money tied up in the camry i.e., i needed the money for the down payment. looking for used tacomas and rangers at this point. we'll see.

  • 12-15-08 (19:11)

  • move went better than expected, that's always nice.
  • structural engineer looked at the house and thought the foundation was in very good condition. that is very pleasant news. hopefully the next stage goes well. if it does, we could have it in a week or so.

  • 12-15-08 (10:23)

  • just got back from my first final. this week is going to be busy. today i have to clear out the biggest room in the alumni house so that the carpet installers can do their job. some big pieces of furniture that are going to need moving. tried to secure the use of a pallet jack, but that has proven an illusive goal. plenty of buildings on campus have one, but finding one nearby that i can definitely use today is the rub. today's level of fun rides almost entirely on getting one. if i can't find one then it's going to be a day of heavy lifting.
  • tomorrow i have to move some of the furniture back into the main entryway so that the receptionist has her desk area back.
  • my second final is on wednesday, but i already took it, so really i'm just turning it in and we have a little end of year party.
  • thursday is the company holiday party. i'm in the process of burning 100 cds so that everyone has a copy of the holiday cds that i put together. everyone got a chance to pick their favorite song from 2008 and those picks make up the majority of the two cd set.
  • today there are two inspections on the house - chimney and foundation. chimney inspection went fairly well. one chimney needs some bracing and the other needs a partial rebuild. i was assuming the worst (both total teardowns) which would have seriously made me question getting the house since i'm not at all a chimney expert. the other inspection from the engineer takes place about the time i hope i'm finishing up with the move at work. if that inspection goes relatively well then we'll very likely get the house and have to start the moving process soon. there are some things that will need to be done before we fully move in - primarly securing the front and side doors properly. also concerned about the electrical capacity as the service is older than moses. would like to avoid rewiring the entire house.
  • more furniture moving at work takes place next week for installation of flooring in hallway and kitchen. busy month all around.

  • 12-13-08 (22:51)

  • going through some music of 2008 to pick out my top ten. i don't listen to nearly enough music these days. it's quite a tragedy. one of the things i love most about road trips is being able to listen to my music. i want to go on a road trip long enough to listen to all my music. right now i have about 104 days of music, so i'd have to be in the car driving for about 2500 hours to listen to it all. sounds fun.
  • watched four movies today. also went to a play version of willy wonka and the chocolate factory. my cousin, emily, was in it. it was funny because kids at that age (7-9 y.o.) aren't always quite on top of things like getting on stage on time or remembering lines. best play i've ever been to for the simple fact that it wasn't put on by a bunch of idiots who took themselves too seriously.
  • should be able to reach the 300 movie goal this year. even though i didn't watch a shitload of movies this year, i feel i did a good job with what i did watch. lots of best picture winners, lots of movies from my must see list, lots of movies in the theater, lots of noir.
  • made a donation to wikipedia the other day, you should do the same. one of the best resources there is. i buy an almanac every year and consult wikipedia daily.
  • leg is twitching more today. it sorta comes and goes.
  • heisman went to bradford. that's who i would have voted for if i had a vote. tebow is good, but doesn't have numbers in the same league as mccoy or bradford. bradford led possibly the best offense in moden college football history (partly because they have a coach who doesn't let off the gas, for better or worse). mccoy is solid and a close second if you ask me. michael crabtree will likely be a better nfl player than any of the three.

  • 12-12-08 (18:18)

  • the offer on the house was just officially accepted. next step is getting inspections and then escrow. could be ours by the end of the month.

  • 12-10-08 (18:51)

  • december is shaping up to be busy as ever.
  • next semester i'm signed up for five classes. won't be curtailing my hours at the alumni house because i can't afford to. it'll be interesting to see how annoyed by the whole thing i get by the end of the semester.
  • bank is getting the house appraised. there's another offer on the table, but we don't know anything about it. maybe we'll have an answer by year's end.

  • 12-8-08 (22:32)

  • pretty good game for the niners yesterday. the future looks good again, just like it has for the last three years. qb position is still a question mark as far as i'm concerned so that's a big problem.
  • i think texas does have a legitimate gripe, but i'm not shedding any tears for them. i think a plus one format might be a good idea. let's say usc kills penn state and alabama beats texas. i would like to see usc play florida/oklahoma for the national championship. of course there were need to be another vote and there would be more potential controversy, but i think it might appease some and would be more definitive than the current system.
  • leg still has some vibration in it from time to time.

  • 12-7-08 (15:04)

  • went to the flea market today. a few good deals, only bought $9 worth of stuff.
  • the house we made an offer on is getting closer to getting an answer. it's been a month or two by now. got word today, though, that the copper plumbing was stolen recently. that's beautiful. if the bank hadn't been so slow in responding we would have moved stuff there by now and established a presence which would have scared away thieves. just gives us more reason to knock down the price if you ask me.
  • went out looking at trucks yesterday. even with all the incentives they're more expensive than i could afford at this point so if i end up getting one it'll have to be a used one. i can't say i've had good luck with used cars in the past. they've all cost me $500+ in the first six months. new clutch on the escort, engine rebuild on the bug, shocks on the camry, new everything on the corrado. it's not a thrilling prospect, but i need some vehicle that can carry sheets of plywood and drywall. thought briefly about buying a trailer for the camry, but that's a big pain.
  • i think i forgot to mention that i went to an immortal technique concert a couple weeks ago. it was a good one. seems like the real deal.

  • 12-6-08 (17:04)

  • relatively unimpressive victory by usc today. they allowed a touchdown (after a turnover, one of two during the game) and didn't score a lot of points. they missed three field goals, which is pathetic. ucla's defense is very good, so that's part of it, but usc offense just isn't what it was a few years ago. sanchez is capable, but not great. penn state has a great defense so it'll be interesting to see what usc is able to do. that said, usc generally steps up pretty well in bowl games so i look to see their offense play better than they did today. ucla was a 33 point underdog which seems like a fool's bet to me. usc isn't a huge scoring team these days and ucla has a better defense than people think. they lost to asu 34-9 and asu isn't that good so people look at the score and figure that usc should be able to hang at least 40 points on the same ucla team. trouble is that 28 of those 34 points were scored by asu's defense on turnovers. ucla's defense only allowed 6 points in that game. they also allowed 34 points to oregon state, but i think that osu is a tough matchup for bigger teams since he's so small and crafty. ucla allowed 41 to cal, but cal has a better offense than usc and it was at cal (though the margin of victory was the same). ucla did have one awful defensive game against byu where they allowed 59 points which is just unexplainable other than it was the 2nd game of the season.
  • usc is going to lose their third offensive coordinator in the last 5 years. it's frankly stunning how well they've done when losing so many key guys on and off the field. next year they could very conceivably be out of the top 10. they're losing something like 7 great seniors off the defense and their offensive coordinator. it's going to be a tough year. i think they'll probably lose early to ohio state (at ohio state). osu won't be losing as many seniors, will be at home, and pryor will be even better next year. usc's chance at a rose bowl next year is frankly slim. cal will be better without the distraction of longshore and the tree sitters. oregon will be better without qb injuries. oregon state will be more experienced. arizona might be good for an upset here or there. it's been a good ride so far so i have to enjoy it while we're on top because it's bound to come to an end and next year is looking like a good candidate.
  • "if you beat #1, you are #1." that's what craig james said today about florida's chances to be in the national championship game. it's a stupid argument. guess who would be the #1 team in the nation today if we followed that philosophy from day one...utah. usc was #1, oregon state beat them, utah beat them in the next game and then went on to win the rest of their games. so, craig james, is utah the #1 team in the country? they beat the team that beat the #1 team, and they're undefeated so why not?

  • 12-5-08 (09:58)

  • alabama is a 9.5 point underdog to florida. i'd definitely take them with the points. i don't necessarily think they'll win, but they're a good bet with that many points. i think the top four teams are all pretty equal and they could all beat the raiders. should be a good game either way.
  • hopefully oklahoma loses, i'm not a big fan of them.
  • if oklahoma does lose the question becomes: who plays alabama/florida in the national championship game. traditional thinking would say texas since they're ranked #4 and usc is ranked #5. assuming usc beats ucla today i would make the argument for usc on the following grounds: 1) they won their conference. 2) the pac-10/west coast teams do get a raw deal because many of the writers/coaches in the east don't bother staying up to watch the late night west coast games. 3) i think that most people are less likely to jump on the pac-10 bandwagon when they're good. traditionalists tend to pump the big 10, sec, and big 12 before favoring the pac-10. it's too bad, but i think that's the way it is. realistically, though, i think it's only possible if: oklahoma is defeated by 10+ points and usc destroys ucla (42-0), proving again that their defense is the best in the country.

  • 12-2-08 (16:01)

  • apple doesn't make the 160gb ipod anymore. losers. good thing i got it while i could.

  • there's a little vibrating or buzzing sensation in my right leg from time to time. just started a couple days ago. this follows a mysterious itch that i had on that leg. hopefully it's not lyme disease. hopefully it goes away on its own. would be nice to have some health insurance.

    11-30-08 (13:12)

  • went solo for thanksgiving. chinese food and a milkshake. yum.
  • went down to la for the notre dame/usc game. usc looked amazing on defense as usual - didn't allow a first down until the last play of the third quarter. the problem is the offense which works only in spurts. need to work on that for sure. also had the usual problems with penalties. against cal the penalties cost us 2 interceptions. in this game the penalities cost us 2 touchdowns. one on a touchdown on a punt return that was called back because of a block in the back. the other was on a holding penalty i think which was called back and then notre dame came up with an interception.
  • oregon state lost yesterday in a shootout which means that usc will go to the rose bowl and win the pac-10 if they beat ucla next week. oregon state was without quiz rodgers and that could have been the difference, but i never thought that osu would have allowed 60+ points to any team. tough loss for them. the rose bowl is getting to be old hat at this point. it would actually be nice to be in a different bowl so we could face an sec team or something. i would love to see usc stack up against the offense of florida or alabama or oklahoma. essentially, it would be nice to be in a game where a win really meant something. if they win in the rose bowl against penn state then people will just say that it's not a big deal - usc is ranked higher and they're playing in la. usc would be expected to win that game and winning those games earns you no respect; unless of course you destroy the opponent, but then it's not an interesting game to watch.
  • so, it's nice to have the opportunity to be in the rose bowl and be #1 in the pac-10 again, but i wish that the rose bowl were a little more flexible about it's pac-10/big 10 matchup. i think the usc has a great chance to beat anyone they play and i wouldn't necessarily say that about all the teams in the top 5. i don't think that the sec or the big 12 are as good as people are making out. my top 5 are: florida, oklahoma, usc, alabama, texas.
  • usc has allowed 10 touchdowns in 11 games so far. they've allowed a total of 19 points in the second half in the 11 games combined. this defense is the best i can remember in college football. they had one bad half against oregon state (3 tds in the first half) have been absolutely dominate otherwise.
  • went shopping early on black friday for the first time in my life. kind of interesting. went to a bunch of different places: target, office depot, best buy, michael's, home depot, lowe's, and wal-mart (out of curiosity). wal-mart was the busiest followed by best buy. bought a sliding compound miter saw at home depot because the discount was just too good to pass up.
  • left at 7am today to miss the traffic. ran into some traffic, but that was as much because of the heavy fog as the number of cars on the road. still made the trip in about 5hrs 15min. when i drive by myself i generally don't stop for gas or food and can make it in about 5 hrs. listened to a few episodes of car talk, animal collective, and some standup comedy.
  • just watched the last bit of the niners game. they won!

  • 11-25-08 (19:09)

  • finished the deck on sunday. took longer than expected, but it looks pretty good overall. the last deck board was bit obnoxious and they opted to have a sort of ledge built so that took longer. would have rather just put the last board in and been done with it. learned a lot and got paid pretty well.
  • thinking about buying a truck because i'll need it if i get a house or work for myself more often. the camry is a workhorse, but i just wonder how many miles it has left at this point.
  • james bond list with the ones i've seen is below. pretty sure i've seen at least two of the three question mark movies, but i saw them before i kept track so i can't be 100% certain. will watch the rest within 12 months.

  • yes 1 Dr. No 1962 Sean Connery Terence Young
    yes 2 From Russia with Love 1963
    yes 3 Goldfinger 1964 Guy Hamilton
    yes 4 Thunderball 1965 Terence Young
    no  5 You Only Live Twice 1967 Lewis Gilbert
    yes 6 On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969 George Lazenby Peter R. Hunt
    no  7 Diamonds Are Forever 1971 Sean Connery Guy Hamilton
    yes 8 Live and Let Die 1973 Roger Moore
    yes 9 The Man with the Golden Gun 1974
    yes 10 The Spy Who Loved Me 1977 Lewis Gilbert
    yes 11 Moonraker 1979
    no  12 For Your Eyes Only 1981 John Glen
    yes 13 Octopussy 1983
    yes 14 A View to a Kill 1985
    ?   15 The Living Daylights 1987 Timothy Dalton
    yes 16 Licence to Kill 1989
    ?   17 GoldenEye 1995 Pierce Brosnan Martin Campbell
    yes 18 Tomorrow Never Dies 1997 Roger Spottiswoode
    ?   19 The World Is Not Enough 1999 Michael Apted
    yes 20 Die Another Day 2002 Lee Tamahori
    yes 21 Casino Royale 2006 Daniel Craig Martin Campbell
    yes 22 Quantum of Solace 2008 Marc Forster

    11-22-08 (22:57)

  • most of the reporting about the downfall of the big three has centered around their reluctance/inability to foresee the importance of fuel efficiency in cars. part and parcel of this argument is their reliance on suv sales to drive their profits. two things: the american people love(d) suvs and bought them in droves, the big three responded by producing more of them. it was a high profit margin product and was seen as a savior by some. had bush not been president and the price of oil stayed relatively low (like where it is now) the big three wouldn't be quite where they are now. the other thing is that the big three have made fuel efficient and eco-friendly cars that haven't been nearly as successful as the prius, which is what most people have pointed towards as the model of success. chevy has the cobalt and the aveo which are both cheap and eco-friendly/fuel efficient cars. ford had the escort and now the focus. chrysler sucks, though their sebring is about as fuel efficient as the camry.
  • another issue with regard to fuel efficiency is the miscalculation (esp. on the part of gm) of the influence of ethanol. they produced a lot of e85/flex fuel cars and the whole ethanol thing never really worked out. had there been a greater emphasis on developing sugarcane based ethanol then i think it would have been a better idea, but corn-based ethanol had a lot of problems from the get go - decreased energy return and the need for corn in other industries: feed for animals, corn for corn syrup which is seemingly used in everything, corn used to manufacture biodegradable silverware, corn for humans, etc. corn for fuel was just never a very good idea. you can blame that one on the primary system and iowa being first in line. american car companies also spent too much time, effort and money on hydrogen fuel cell technology. that may yet pay off (in 20 years), but has been a waste in the short-term. you can blame bush for a big part of that.
  • also, all the car makers are hurting now. toyota least of all, from what i hear, and they're down about 25% from this time last year. toyota, a company i like quite a bit, wasn't immune from catering to the "bigger is better" crowd. they upsized their toyota tacoma (a truck i liked before) and the highlander. the tundra was marketed as a brute and the 4runner has been a part of their line for a long time. the problem with the big three is only partially that they didn't have a more balanced line of vehicles. their problems are deeper than something as simple as not having a few more small cars to offer. they have been seen as inferior quality-wise for some time now and that reputation has been difficult to shake, whether it is true or not. i don't think that most ford vehicles are as bad as vw, but vw is doing fine because they're a bit like apple in that they have a successful cult brand associated with their products. i also think that the unions are strangling the big three to a certain extent, though they shouldn't be the scapegoats.
  • if i were the gov't i'd offer not $25 billion in aid, but $50 billion. $30 billion of that would be a loan (at 10% interest) and the other $20 billion would be essentially free, but would come with many strings. american production has to be at least 80% within 10 years, paycuts for executives of at least 10% across the board, no outlandish bonuses and a freeze on all bonuses/crazy stock options for three years, increased emphasis on developing battery technology as well a mandated 25% of vehicles in their line with a hybrid option by 2015, and chrysler would have to be absorbed by gm or ford (preferably ford because i think they're a better company).

  • 11-19-08 (22:33)

  • finally sold one of our alphabet abacus kids' play toys. can't say that it is worth the time and effort, though.
  • looks like i'll be going to fresno for thanksgiving. that'll be interesting. haven't seen that side of the family in about 7 years.
  • looks like prop. 8 is going to the ca supreme court now. no big surprise there. just knock it down so we can move on towards banning republican marriage and allowing polygamist marriage. sounds good to me.
  • getting close to the end on the deck project. learned a lot in the process. if i'm going to be at all successful in the long term i'll need a good partner who i get along with. bid work is difficult so i'll stay on a t&m basis for as long as possible.
  • big game this weekend is oklahoma v. texas tech. oklahoma is great at home so i'm guessing they'll pull out the victory. their offense puts up bigger numbers, but texas tech's defense was better than expected against texas. i'm hoping for a big oklahoma win to throw things into chaos at the top. usc doesn't have much of a chance to sneak in no matter what, but there are a couple long shot scenarios that could mean a national championship berth for usc. what could be insane is if four of those top 5 teams fall apart and oregon state holds on to win the next two games. you could have a situation where usc would be tied for first in the pac-10 and technically not allowed a rose bowl berth, but could be in the national championship instead. wacky, but really unlikely.
  • mike mussina is retiring. great, solid pitcher. solid guy too. good to see him go out on a high note. he's one of two 20 win pitchers i picked up on the waiver wire in fantasy baseball. great pickups i must say.

  • 11-18-08 (19:36)

  • haven't been doing a good job of watching movies lately.

  • 11-18-08 (11:52)

  • skipped class today. hooky is good once in a while. didn't get much sleep last night.
  • the deck projects is nearing completion. putting the decking down, but these damn hidden fasteners take forever. if i build a deck for myself i think i'll skip the hidden fasteners, too expensive and too much trouble. it'll be nice to have free time again.
  • i lived in sylmar for 9 years and don't remember fire ever getting close to us, but it's been near my mom's home twice this year. within a half mile both times. embers were flying close to the house this last time. jeez.
  • blu-ray players have dropped under the $200 barrier now. i see that as the line where they become more attractive to the average consumer.

  • 11-9-08 (20:49)

  • usc game was a close one. too many penalties. overall our offense was poor, but our defense showed why it's the best in the nation. they've only had one bad half this season which led to 3 tds and one loss. them's the breaks. taylor mays is a beast and put two pretty big hits on a couple cal receivers. this year's defense with the offense from 2004 or 2005 and you have the best team in college football history, no doubt. oh well.

  • 11-6-08 (08:30)

  • i owe america a bit of an apology for underestimating its ability to recognize the obvious (that the republicans have done an awful job and there needs to be a change in government). i thought they were going to elect mccain because i didn't think people were bright enough and evolved enough to vote against the republicans and for a biracial candidate. i was wrong; thankfully. it wasn't an overwhelming victory like reagan in 1980, for example, but it was a nice spread. as jon stewart pointed out on yesterday's awful daily show, a 52/46 spread in the popular vote led to a 2:1 spread in the electoral college showing, once again, that the electoral college is worthless. it was a lay up for the dems and they made the shot. the american people got over some things that a lot of people didn't think we'd get over for many years, if ever. an historic night not only because of obama's race, but also because of the fact that he won states like virginia and indiana which i really didn't think could happen. it's good to see.
  • i also see obama as sort of the leftist version of reagan. the victory margin wasn't nearly as great, but obama does have a sort of teflon exterior. they tried pinning various things on him and nothing stuck: acorn, william ayers, reverend wright, he's muslim, his middle name is hussein, he's inexperienced, the terrorist fist bump, he's a socialist, he wants to spread the wealth, etc. nothing ever stuck, nothing really stayed a story for very long.
  • hopefully the left keeps the fire to his feet and doesn't go into hibernation like it did with clinton. the resurgence of the left was the best thing about the bush presidency (next to the extended daylight savings time) and it would be a shame to see it disappear just because we got someone with whom we are more comfortable.

  • 11-5-08 (08:22)

  • there was some celebrating last night. people honking horns and whatnot. still don't know the outcome of some of the propositions. apparently we're not completely united yet because someone stole our copy of the paper. that's unfortunate.

  • 11-4-08 (16:18)

  • watching the coverage. so far nothing too big. mccain gets kentucky, obama gets vermont. cnn is shamelessly promoting their coverage - pointing out that crowds in time square are watching cnn, showing off their hologram technology (pretty cheesy), etc. msnbc is putting the nail in the coffin of the republicans already. a bit premature if you ask me. fox is playing it pretty straight so far, though they have a new toy they're showing off as well. what a bunch of losers.
  • so far cnn coverage is best of the three. fox has the race as tighter than the others. cnn and msnbc seem to be jumping the gun a bit in my opinion.
  • looks like tn and ky have gone to mccain. oh to obama. that means that this is going to be the first time in at least the last 10 elections that the winner hasn't won the following states: ky, tn, mo, oh.
  • also, if obama wins that means that the redskins game streak is still alive. 17 out of 17 times when the redskins have lost their last home game before an election the party that lost the popular vote in the last election wins. last night they lost. last election the dems lost the popular vote. strange but true.
  • a republican has never lost ohio and won the election, looks like that one is still alive as well.
  • looks like obama is going to win. historic night and a good one for america. now the work begins. get shit done you assholes.
  • mccain just gave a great concession speech.
  • chris matthews gave a great little speech about what obama's victory means for the country, about how we've led the world once again and how much this means to african-americans. good stuff.
  • on the one hand i feel really good about tonight. on the other hand it looks like obama is going to win with about a 52/48 margin and that's a bit pathetic. if we were truly progressive and intelligent and fed up with the status quo and rational and informed, obama would have gotten about 70% of the vote. a 52/48 majority is somehow considered a revolution. what does that say about the political climate?
  • at any rate, i'm happy with the outcome given the realistic choices. there are plenty of things i disagree with democrats and obama about, but they're better than the alternative. i give this inept and pathetic party four years to win my vote for next time. they have no excuses now.

  • 11-4-08 (07:38)

  • will probably know by the end of the day who the next president is going to be. if it's obama i wonder how bad bush's outgoing acts will be. if it's mccain i think he'll tone it down a bit.
  • hopefully they wait a little while before they start campaigning for the next one.

  • 11-3-08 (19:13)

  • obama was just giving a speech about his grandma and said that "she was born in kansas in a small town in 1922 which means she lived through the great depression, she lived through two world wars...." i wonder if the media is going to pick up on the fact that he doesn't know when the first world war ended the way they picked up on quayle not knowing how to spell potato. not likely.
  • to my knowledge there hasn't been a black president in a european nation. can anyone confirm/deny this? does that mean we'll be more progressive than europe if obama wins?
  • i have a dream of a day when obama will be seen as the centrist that he really is. when we have a viable liberal alternative - someone who supports gay/polygamist marriage, is against capital punishment, and war, and is for single payer healthcare for all. that'll be the day. i'd like to say that tomorrow, if obama wins, is a stepping stone, but i don't really know that things move linearly. that which is gained today can be lost tomorrow. we made some small progress after reagan/bush with clinton, but then went backwards with bush 2. it's not like 8 years of obama means 8 years of a true liberal after that. i sorta feel like you have to take what you can when you get in power because you never know when some "contract with america" bullshit is going to derail your agenda like it has in the past.

  • 11-3-08 (15:51)

  • big day tomorrow. obama continues to gain momentum and it looks like he'll have a pretty easy win. i still don't know how much i trust the poll numbers. i just don't think that the electorate has changed so drastically in four years. i hope it has, but i sort of doubt it; maybe that's just because i'm pessimistic when it comes to human nature. we'll see. this is the world's most expensive horse race so we may as well enjoy it.
  • raining.
  • i could totally be a fox "news" pundit. what a sweet gig that would be. "tax cuts are dangerous, 9/11 changed everything, socialist policies restrict freedom, socialized healthcare would lead to long lines, blah, blah blah." i've got the talking points down and i'm ready to get paid.

  • 11-3-08 (08:25)

  • not going to class today.
  • worked on the deck in the mud yesterday; that was slow and dirty. took a chunk of skin out of my left thumb in the process. my left thumb gets a lot of abuse.

  • 11-2-08 (22:28)

  • yma sumac died yesterday. she had a five octave vocal range and was a rare talent, look her up.

  • 11-1-08 (15:23)
    watching cal/oregon game live right now. rare lately as i've had work on the weekends. it's been raining most of the day which means i didn't have to do any work on the deck project. i did wake up early and go to the site to receive the trex delivery and unload 44 16 foot pieces of cayenne trex. nice looking stuff, but it's kinda heavy and it was raining so i got a little muddy.

    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.

    9-28-08 (21:40)

  • did some work for tom's family today. will be rebuilding their deck in the coming weeks.
  • looks like i got third in my fantasy baseball league. not bad. best thing is that i whooped the guy who has won like 4 or 5 of the championships in the last several years that we've been doing this.
  • saw a bit of the postgame interview with favre and it seemed like he lost the game because he was so low key. turned out that he threw 6td passes and they absolutely killed the cardinals.
  • was watching the fresno state/ucla game yesterday and one of the announcers started talking about fresno state not being used to the smog in la and how that would be a factor in the fourth quarter. it's a good thing i don't get my smog information from sports announcers. according to my alamanac fresno has worse air quality than la. they had about 50% more days that didn't meet acceptable air-quality standards (set by the epa, office of air quality planning and standards). incidentally, bakersfield is about 33% worse than fresno and sacramento is about 10% better than la. all this data is from 2005 which is the last available year in my 2008 almanac.
  • dale sveum, manager of the milwaukee brewers, said about c.c. sabathia's shutout performance today: "probably saw, you know, one of the greatest performances that's ever come around. on three days rest, in our era, nobody's ever done that before." impressive performance? yes. complete game shutout (gave up one run, but it wasn't earned) on three days rest is impressive. however, "nobody's ever done that before" is not only incorrect, it's a fact that you don't need a long memory to be aware of. just yesterday johan santana kept the mets in the playoff hunt by pitching a complete game 3 hit shutout on three days rest with 9 strikeouts. sabathia had 7 strikeouts and gave up 4 hits. very comparable games, santana probably had a slightly better game with at least as much on the line.

  • 9-27-08 (15:23)

  • everything's more complicated than it should be. this damn tv fix has taken about 4 hours of my time so far and they haven't fixed it.
  • put the camry up on craigslist to see if i can get some cash for it. also hoping someone will want to do a swap for a truck. figure that i don't need the car that much anyway other than going to la, and i can just fly there if need be. also figuring that this is as good a time as any to shop for a truck, which i'll need eventually and could use already.
  • i think that florida losing today is a bigger upset than usc losing on thursday. florida lost at home and lost to a worse team (in my estimation). then again i've had respect for oregon state for a few years because i've seen what they've done to usc (twice) and cal and other good teams. definitely hoping for meltdowns from all the top 10 or 15 teams. wisconsin and florida losing today helps. not too worried about the big 12 teams. certain that one of the sec teams will make it to the championship. i think usc gets overrated because of their dominance and prestige, but i think that the sec is way overrated. pundits constantly talk about how tough the conference is and how it hurts those teams because they have to play a conference championship game. the only thing that it does is virtually guarantee that one of those sec teams is going to be in the championship game. that is, unless some bizarre, crappy team (tennessee) comes in and wins the championship. in all likelihood, though, it will be a matchup between two of the following: auburn, lsu, florida, alabama, or georgia. and whoever wins that game will have probably one loss (unless they have a great/lucky season), but will have such a good strength of schedule that they'll be first in line of the one-loss teams. this is what makes it so tough for usc to make it. the sec, because everyone thinks they're the best conference, is virtually guaranteed one team. then you have a few other teams like penn state or oklahoma or texas or even byu that have a good chance of being undefeated. at that point you have to justify picking a one loss team from the shitty pac-10 for the championship game. as it looks right now, usc will play only one ranked team this year. notre dame might be ranked by the time they meet. cal, oregon and asu have the potential to be ranked, but they have to pull their shit together. ucla started well, but probably won't be ranked again this year. so, the conference's weakness is bad news for usc.

  • 9-27-08 (09:15)

  • paul newman died yesterday. he was one of the best and one of my favorites. cool hand luke is a top five or top ten film (depending upon my mood) and his performance in it was his best. my dad would say that his performance in hustler was even better, but my dad's often wrong about such things. newman was a great man and a great actor.

  • this has been my desktop background at work and home for the past several months:

    9-25-08 (22:36)
  • bad day. usc lost so now their best hope is for complete chaos and to run the table from here on out. realistically, though, we're looking at a rose bowl berth and a matchup against wisconsin or penn state (more likely) as a best case scenario. would much rather see them play an sec team for the championship. fuck the sec. of course they could lose a couple more times and get stuck in the armed forces bowl.
  • lending situation with the house is back to square one. things are tighter than a snare drum these days and we have little income and are looking only at fixers. apparently no one wants to lend you money for a house that has mold or lack appliances or rickety stairs or the like. all the things that we have no problem with. a few hundred bucks solves most of those kinds of problems yet they consider them deal breakers. looks like the pendulum has swung in the other direction. here's to reactionary bullshit.
  • speaking of which, here's to spending $700 billion after planning for less than a week and passing legislation patriot act style. worked out fine the last time so lets go ahead and do it again. this country is in the dumps.
  • heard that that bald mad money guy (jim cramer) was telling people to sell 20% of their stocks and money market accounts. beautiful. i need to work on lowering my expectations of humanity.

  • 9-24-08 (17:50)

  • haven't seen a lot of movies this year, but i think i've done a good job with the movies i have seen - lots of academy award winning best pictures (only four that i haven't seen now), lots of older films (mainly noir), lots of movies in the theater.
  • tv situation will hopefully be straightened out this weekend.
  • house situation got more complicated the other day when our lame ass lender jumped ship because we were looking at a major fixer. duh, that's what i told you on day one, you dolt.
  • figured out that the bug not starting was an ignition switch issue. battery was low so i did a quick charge which brought it to about 13.4 volts. tried cranking and nothing happened. checked kill switch and circumvented it just in case the switch was bad, though i was pretty certain that wasn't the case. checked engine compartment and all looked fine. checked ignition switch and looked okay until i started wiggling the wires a bit. one came off. put key in hole, held wire to other wire and it started cranking and started up fine. so, in the end, i had to hotwire it to get it running, but it works fine. now i just need to replace the switch or solder the connector back in place.

  • 9-22-08 (17:11)

  • all the financial problems are pretty obnoxious because much of them can be solved fairly simply. two things: transparency and regulation. right now there is neither when it comes to the securitization of mortgages and the selling of insurance (though they don't call it insurance) for those securities. of course the media has made things worse by pumping up the sensational nature of the problem so now you have people (and corporations, like gm, for example) cashing out their money market accounts and stocks and everything else. that's basically the same as a bank run which is what happened in the 30s (and also in "it's a wonderful life" and we all know how bad that almost turned out).
  • for a long time i've felt that the over-analyzing of this crap is another key component to the up and down nature of the stock market. the same thing happened with oil when everyone was reporting on the price of oil several times a day - more people got into trading oil and the price went up. all these financial assholes in new york who microanalyze the price of stocks minute by minute are part of the problem. there should be a cooling off period right now since things are so uncertain. they did a bit of that by banning short selling on financial stocks, but that's not enough. short-term trading needs to be reigned in as well. why should you be able to buy a stock on day one and sell it on day four? what's the purpose of the stock market? it shouldn't be to get rich through buying and selling stock within a week. you should be stuck with your stock a little longer than that.
  • one dead pixel on my monitor. not thrilled by samsung products as i've had screens by them in the past (one was a tv) and both of them showed problems earlier than i felt was warranted.
  • raiders are good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. lost yesterday when they were up most of the game. they suck. when al davis dies raiders fans should breathe a sigh of relief.
  • average year of release for films i've seen this year: 1979.93. first time it's been under 1980 this late in the calendar year since 2000. for reference, last year the average was 1985.9 and 1993.13 in 2006.

  • 9-21-08 (18:41)

  • bug won't start. not a battery issue, looking into it.
  • niners looked pretty good today. knew that the defense was solid, but, now that martz is in charge, the offense looks good as well.
  • house we're looking at has a few more problems than originally thought. i think it comes down to two things with these fixers: getting it at the right price and being willing to live in a construction zone for a while.
  • the new honda pilot has a v6 engine that can run on 3 or 4 cylinders to save fuel. i've wanted a car like that for a while, but i could never figure out how feasible such a plan was. does it have two crankshafts or does it simply inject air/fuel into only 3 cylinders? engineering has come so far in the last 75 years.

  • 9-16-08 (21:05)

  • on september 19th the webpage will turn 10 years old. had planned on looking over updates and compiling a greatest hits, but i don't have anywhere near the time to read through hundreds of pages of updates to do that so that's not going to happen.
  • busy.
  • found a good house yesterday, thinking about making an offer. stocks took a dive yesterday which means that my down payment also took a dive.

  • 9-14-08 (17:41)

  • just got back from a whirlwind trip to la to see usc vs. osu. wasn't a very good game unless you're a usc fan. osu was in it for the first quarter and should have capitalized on some opportunities, but they had some problems with execution and usc's defense stepped up so the final was 35-3. can't remember seeing a 1 vs. 5 that was so lopsided. i'm sure it's happened, i just didn't see it/can't remember it.
  • got 31mpg during the trip and drove less than 800 miles; both are pretty good.
  • if i were to get a bumper sticker these would be two possibilities: "my personal philosophy is summarized on this bumper sticker" and "i disagree with the policies of the bush administration"

  • 9-10-08 (18:28)

  • looks like the display issue with the ps3 is a problem with the hdmi port on the tv. the repair will be free, though, because i bought the extended warranty. not sure how much the repair would have cost, so i can't say whether the warranty will have been worth it; we'll see. it would actually be sorta nice if they couldn't fix it and just gave me a credit towards a new, better tv.
  • condiments are good. everyone has their favorite and every condiment has something it's best at. a1 for steak, ketchup for fries, mayo and mustard for tuna and sandwiches respectively. i think mayo can be added to just about anything to make the dish taste better - sandwiches (including burgers), tuna, steak, even fries (pulp fiction points this out). ketchup is also versatile and definitely my most used condiment (this probably holds true for the country as well). i use mustard selectively, though i appreciate the different flavors of mustard that are available - strong mustards, regular mustard, dijon, brown, etc. sometimes i'll mix it with ketchup for my fries, sometimes i just use it on sandwiches and burgers. i don't find it to be very good on a lot of different things, but it definitely has its uses. bbq sauce is good on sandwiches, steak, chicken, fries and more, but i don't use it very often. it's like ketchup's lesser cousin to me. i like them both, but i wouldn't use both, so i usually favor ketchup over bbq sauce; sorry bbq sauce, i still love you. mayo is the worst of the condiments i tend to use from a health perspective. i like that it goes with so many things, but i've shied away from it in recent years because i try to watch what i eat. i'll still use it on artichoke and tuna and the occasional sandwich that i eat. i'd probably be about 10-15 pounds lighter if i never used a condiment in my life.
  • gave bone marrow today.
  • the bug's battery is dead. it was street cleaning day which meant we had to push the bug into a neighbor's driveway and then i pushed it back onto the street after noon. for some reason it's not jumping so i'll have to figure that out. there's always something going wrong and that's both fortunate and unfortunate. fortunate because my job is fixing things, but unfortunate because it feels like you're never done fixing things. with the bug i felt like the only thing that really needed work was the brakes (and the exterior, but that's aesthetic) and now this comes up. setbacks are unfortunate.

  • 9-6-08 (21:19)

  • wrist has been hurting lately, been trying to stay away from the computer as much as possible. also been busy lately.
  • looked at a deck rebuild project today, pretty straightforward and i've worked for the guy before, so it seems like a good project. he also has a bunch of little handyman things for me so that's good.
  • the house search could really pick up in the next week or two.
  • got a ps3 the other day. set it up and it's beautiful. had some issues with the hdmi cable so i bought a different one. seems to be working now. hopefully it holds and i won't have the video issues any more.
  • college football today was somewhat tame. next week is usc vs. osu. been looking forward to that one for almost a year.
  • cal killed wsu. cal could very well be better this year than last (not that that is too hard). pac-10 is weaker and cal's non-conference schedule is easier (no tennessee). sure they lost hawkins, jackson, and forsett, but their qb position is solidified, the tree-sitters are gone, and best will fill in well for forsett.

  • 9-1-08 (23:13)

  • usc game was good, looked better than i expected.
  • ucla game today was great. first half was pathetic - 4 ints, down by 7 to the #18 team in the country. came back later and then gave up a tying field goal with 5 seconds left. wasn't really happy with the decision to squib kick it with 37 seconds left in the game. never liked the choice to give the team the ball at the 40 yard line when all they need is a field goal. i was right on that one since tennessee ended up tying it, but it ended up not mattering because of the missed field goal in OT.
  • good enough first week of college football overall. looking forward to osu/usc game on 9/13.
  • wrist hurting lately, should stay away from computer for a while.

  • today was the first time that i can remember that i got paid to do nothing. to my recollection i've never had a paid holiday until this labor day. thanks to a new policy of the alumni association part time employees are now eligible for paid holidays. when working at tower we would get paid extra for working on holidays, but we wouldn't get paid for not working. strange concept, but i'm happy with it.

    8-30-08 (20:32)

  • luke couldn't go to the cal game so ryan called me with an extra ticket. went over to his place and we left to see the game, but i soon realized that i had the wrong ticket - turns out that luke sent the wrong ticket to ryan. apparently you can't print out a ticket within 4 hours of the game so we went to the game in the hopes that we could get them to print it out at will call. that turned out to be a dead end so we went to the ticket counter. cheapest tickets were $51 so that was a no go. went to the scalpers which turned out to be the most interesting part of the adventure. the scalping world is a strange one. the scalping market changes very quickly. before the game the tickets were being scalped for $40-45. as soon as the game started they were asking closer to $30. one of the guys who i had talked with earlier came back to me and said he could do $30 and i said i still wanted one for $20. he said $25 and i said $20. he started walking away and i said that he'd come back in 15 minutes and sell it to me for $15. he didn't cotton to this and said that the price for me was $40 now. oh well. talked with a couple other guys, but couldn't get them below $30. one guy asked what i wanted to pay and i said $20, he gave me a look like i called his mom a slut and then he walked away. about 10-15 minutes after the game started we realized we weren't going to get our price so we decided to try to sell ryan's ticket and head back home. we asked the guy who was consistently asking the highest prices what he wanted to buy a single ticket for and he asked what we wanted for it. ryan said $25 and the guy walked away to check his pockets. after a second he gave a real slight move with this finger to signal that the deal was on. he gave me the money and ryan gave him the ticket and the deal was done. ryan was $5 richer (ticket face value was $20) and we were on our way back home.

  • 8-29-08 (21:48)

  • 4 1/2" grinder is a great tool and fun to use. ground down some screws and got a thrill watching all the sparks fly.
  • i've now seen all but seven academy award winning best pictures.

  • 8-29-08 (18:01)

  • busy as always.
  • mccain's timing of the vp announcement was wise because it took obama off the front page, so to speak. he was still on the front page, but everyone is talking about alaska's hot governor instead of obama. she's a wise choice because she's new, has some executive experience, a woman, and good looking. still don't think he has a chance, and it would have been nice if she were from florida instead of alaska, but i guess it makes things a little more interesting. if i were even considering mccain i think this choice would be intriguing, especially if i were the kind of woman who felt it important to get another woman in the white house. what i wouldn't like about this selection is the fact that mccain is an old guy and this woman who was a mayor just a couple years ago could be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

  • 8-24-08 (09:27)

  • googled "i hate" and the following, and this is the number of results for each query:
  • Ipods – 7,050

  • Apple – 33,700
    Windows – 74,700
    Microsoft – 50,300
    Peets – 8
    Mcdonalds – 10,800
    Chipotle - 343
    Pizza – 5,790
    Kfc – 2,510
    Starbucks – 13,300
  • 4x400m relays were a small measure of redemption for the u.s. track community. expected, as the u.s. is dominate in those races, but even expected wins are fulfilling.

  • 8-22-08 (13:52)

  • changed the oil on the camry and then barely passed the smog test. all the categories were good except for "hc" (hydrocarbons?) where the max is 55 and the camry measured a 53.
  • no work today, but got a call from the alumni house that there's some plumbing disaster and now our secondary sink is out of comission. the other sink was in trouble earlier in the week and we haven't picked out a replacement faucet yet; this is lame.

  • 8-22-08 (09:22)

  • the men and women's 4x100m sprint relays were embarrassing. they both failed to get the baton around the track so they were disqualified in the opening heat. this is a recurring problem for the u.s. teams (it happened to the women in sydney, also when passing to lauryn williams) and it's happened to the men a couple times in the last several olympics too. this is the equivalent of what happened to the men's basketball team: we have so much talent that we just slap together a team and assume we'll win on speed alone. i mentioned this in my 8-11 post and that turned out to be prophetic. the basketball people responded by hiring jerry coangelo and coach k who then picked the right people for a solid team. they also demanded a certain level of commitment (3 years on the team) from the stars who wanted to be on the team. they also had more practices and international games than former dreams teams had. any team game demands a certain level of teamwork and chemistry, as soon as u.s.a. track and field recognizes this they will make the necessary adjustments. they'll put together teams earlier and quit swapping sprinters in and out of the team. they'll also realize that lauryn williams is worthless in the anchor leg and put her in the starting leg or kick her off the team altogether.
  • the men's 4x100m was the fault of darvis patton who broke rule #1 of the relay by letting go of the baton before tyson gay had it in his hand. the rule is that you make the other guy take it from you, rather than just assuming he has it because he hand is on it. it was pathetic. i hate these kinds of breakdowns of fundamentals. what makes it worse is that the first two passes were pretty smooth. i really felt bad for tyson gay, he seemed to take things fairly well in spite of his very disappointing olympics.
  • in the women's 4x100m the fault was more on the lauryn williams who was accepting the baton. she didn't keep her hand still and seemed to knock the baton out of tori edwards' hand. after the baton was dropped lauryn williams went back, picked up the baton and finished the race. it was a sad moment. i don't know how many times we need to make the same mistake. all this said, i don't think that either team would have won the gold, that's likely to go to the jamaican teams.
  • the 400m race was a decent one. wariner disappointed, you gotta wonder about his changing coaches. not sure why he did that. he just didn't have any finish left in him. needs to run more 600m repeats in training. he ran .6 slower in the final than in the qualifying round before. merritt ran a solid race. david neville literally dove for the finish line in order to complete the u.s. sweep, a repeat of 2004. we also swept the 400m hurdles, so that was a good showing for us. would like to see a return to greatness at the 100/200m distances. would also love to see just one guy who could really compete at the 800/1500m distances. symmonds ran a couple good races, but didn't qualify for the final. he's a fairly smart runner, but doesn't have the strength of the world class guys.
  • sebastian coe is an underrated mid-distance runner. he won back to back golds at the 1500m distance and silvers at the 800m for great britain. to my knowledge only one person has run a faster 800m time than his best.

  • 8-20-08 (22:29)

  • well, 12 years ago michael johnson broke the 200m record and i thought that would last 20-30 years. ato boldon thought it would last until he died. we were both wrong. usain bolt bested it today by 2 hundredths of a second. frankly i'm a bit saddened by it because i feel like johnson is the best ever in the 200/400m, but it's also great to see someone doing something great. two things: hopefully usain bolt is clean and 2) he can run even faster. he ran as hard as he could, that wasn't the issue this time, but his run through the turn could use some work and could shave 5 hundredths more off his time.
  • i like ato boldon as a commentator. he has the third most sub-10 second 100m races in history and knows the technical aspects of sprinting as well as any commentator i've heard. he also went to ucla which is a plus and says a lot of the same things (like believing that johnson's 200m record was nearly unbreakable) that i say.

  • 8-19-08 (11:02)

  • dad visited this weekend. went to the a's game on sunday with him and his (my?) cousin luke. the a's lost 13-1. ouch.
  • was going to give bone marrow today, but my white cell count was low. hmph.
  • olympics are dominating my life lately. no movies or much of anything else. watching everything from table tennis and equestrian events to swimming, track, and basketball. the triathlon is on right now. these days i'm more of a try-athelete than a triathlete.
  • i really think that the best legacy that bush will leave behind is his extension of daylight savings time. good job george - it was a brilliant use of your power, i will truly thank and remember you for the rest of my life.

  • 8-18-08 (21:36)

  • synchronized swimming is crazy. seems like there isn't as much of a difference between the top and middling teams. the women wear too much makeup in this competition.
  • the california, er, u.s. men's water polo team has been impressive. a win over croatia and germany in the last couple days. moses is having a great week in the net.
  • that usain bolt run still stands out in my mind. when he flipped that switch it showed a gear that sprinters and football players truly envy. the funny thing is that he's not amazingly quick. i wouldn't doubt it if reggie bush or steve smith, who both run about 4.3 in the 40 yard dash, could keep up with him for the first third of the 100m race. his speed is the kind that shows up at about the 50-60m mark. this fact is why i think the best may be yet to come. think about his potential if he works on his reaction time and his start out of the blocks. he could also work on his technique in running the turn for the 200m race. i could see him running a 19.4 at that distance.
  • phelps' 8 golds and 7 world records is pretty amazing.
  • the canadian synchronized swimming team is using a philip glass piece from koyaanisqatsi. very cool.

  • 8-18-08 (08:29)

  • usain bolt's 100m race was insane. he took a quantum leap above everyone else who has ever run the race, i've never seen anything like that. he's in another class at this point. it's the most dominating sprint performance since michael johnson crushed the world record in the 200m in 1996.

  • 8-15-08 (20:05)

  • brandy chastain is doing a good job as a color commentator on the us vs. canada women's soccer match. she does a pretty good job of giving the game a narrative and story arc. she also has good inside information since she was on the u.s. soccer team for so long. she's definitely a homer, but i think that color commentators are often better when they're emotionally involved. would joe starkey's call of "the play" be as fun if he was impartial? i actually kinda like it when a color commentator is a homer, they get down when their team is sucking, they get excited when their team is doing well and those emotions translate to your viewing experience. now, the rules change when it's a nationally televised game because the audience is different, but if it's a regional telecast then i think it's fine to let  the viewers know where you stand.

  • 8-14-08 (19:02)

  • there were 3-4 possessions in the us vs. greece basketball game where wade just killed the opposition. the first was a great steal where his momentum carried him out of bounds, but he threw the ball up towards the basket before he went out and kobe completed the alley oop. the next possession was a nice assist from wade to howard. and the next one was a steal by wade that led to a big lebron dunk. wade is back.
  • a college coach makes sense for the olympics basketball team because the college game is more like the international game because of scouting and preparing for new teams. in the nba every team knows what the other team brings so there aren't any real surprises. in college you're forced to play teams you've never seen before.
  • the james blake/roger federer tennis match was nice enough. blake won, but federer didn't play a good game - 56 unforced errors - so he's not in medal contention anymore. bill gates was on hand to see it.

  • 8-14-08 (12:22)

  • the u.s. basketball team has been pretty good so far against the lesser talents. lebron is a man amongst boys, kobe has been a zero, wade has been solid, kidd needs to come off the bench and take more shots.
  • missed the women's gymnastics final which was unfortunate.
  • the women's cuba/china volleyball match was a good one. china went up 2-0 and cuba came back to win 3-2. it included 7 matchpoints for china in the 4th set, but they couldn't close the door on cuba. the commies (china, russia, cuba) have dominated volleyball since the 80s.

  • 8-11-08 (20:56)

  • pretty damn exciting to see the men's 4x100m freestyle relay. the u.s. men barely edged out france after the french were favored and talking all sorts of smack about smashing the u.s.
  • it occurs to me that when it comes to men's track relays the u.s. is dominate in the 4x400m (won the last six gold medals), but not quite as much in the 4x100m (won three of the last six). one could say that that embodies some of the u.s. approach to athletics - the best athletes, but less emphasis on the teamwork (think of the later dream team attempts - compilations of great players, but not a cohesive team). the 4x400m doesn't require a skilled handoff like the 4x100m does. the u.s. probably had the talent to win the three that they didn't get first place in since 1984, but it's about more than just talent - you really need to work together on your transitions, and that's tougher than you might think.

  • 8-8-08 (22:10)

  • not really thrilled about the olympics this year. i'll watch them and will probably get drawn in, but i've officially conceded the likely fact that the majority of them are dopers or slaves to their country (in this way the chinese athletes resemble the ussr athletes of the 60s).
  • our house is in the process of being purchased by someone else. you snooze you lose i guess. it was basically perfect and under-priced. those are the ups and downs of the process i suppose.
  • just saw john david booty's first nfl snap and it was a hand-off that ended up in a fumble (not booty's fault as it was a clean hand-off). still not a good omen if you ask me. i'm split on the whole idea that a college producing good nfl players means success for the college. some fans will brag that a particular player is from their college and some fans will claim a college isn't that good because the players it produces don't go on to be as big of stars in the nfl as they were in college. if leinert and bush end up being nfl busts i think that actually elevates the usc teams that they were on because it means that carroll got more out of less. conversely, i can also understand why some would brag about the success of the players who went to the college they root for. but if you have a few players who go on to be great successes in the nfl, yet your college team wasn't that good then it shows a lack of performance from the college coaching staff. so, in a way, i give extra consideration to teams like texas tech and hawaii that developed solid programs that perform well, but don't produce much nfl talent.

  • 8-5-08 (21:12)

  • meeting with a lender on thursday to see what we can afford house-wise. i'm fairly confident that the news will be mostly bad, but we'll see. found a house that's as close as we're likely to get to a dream house at an affordable cost. 225k victorian. 3/2 in a decent neighborhood. needs plenty of work, but i think i can do almost all of it.
  • movie watching has suffered lately. that said, there are only 11 academy award winning best pictures that i haven't seen.

  • 8-3-08 (19:17)

  • started seriously looking at houses this week. spoke with a broker today and should speak with some lenders this week to see what they think i can afford i.e., what they're willing to loan me. i can live on less than the average person so more of my monthly earnings can go to rent, but i don't think that in this market anyone's going to take my word for it. looking into the possibility of getting someone to co-sign, but that may be tough. 10% down is about all i can hope to give. found a bunch of places in bad areas and about 5 in decent areas. one has foundation problems and that's just about the only area of home repair that i don't feel confident enough to undertake on my own. everything else i'm confident that i can figure out. our best option right now is a place with a great view, but it needs quite a bit of work (basically a whole kitchen, a back door, and a couple other things) just to get it livable. haven't even had the opportunity to look inside that one yet as it was all boarded up.

  • 7-31-08 (22:04)

  • got back on track in terms of watching movies this month. 39 for july, a respectable number.

  • 7-29-08 (23:18)

  • my watch is falling apart. can't seem to find a tough watch these days. everything that's made is made for wimps who don't work for a living. dammit.

  • 7-27-08 (23:04)

  • luke's having a bad month. today his car was stolen and it had copies of critical paperwork and his dewalt drill in it. oakland seems to be getting worse lately. more shootings and meryl and i have both noticed more crime in our neighborhood.
  • so here's a good one, noticed this recently since i've seen so many films that this guy has worked on...who was involved in over 300 films including such greats as: hombre, sand pebbles, sound of music, diary of anne frank, fly (1958), king and i, 14 hours, all about eve, 12 o'clock high, unfaithfully yours, call northside 777, gentlemen's agreement, kiss of death, my darling clementine, fallen angel, gone with the wind, and more? ben nye, the makeup artist. you'll notice that most of those pictures were fox productions, by the way. remarkable list of movies that he was involved in. kept noticing his name coming up in the credits since i've been watching a lot of fox noir lately.

  • 7-26-08 (18:50)

  • worked on the never-ending slate project at the alumni house today. finally found a good supplier of large slate of the right color and texture. the large size helps reduce the number of cuts and makes the final look a lot better.
  • made a little rolling platform out of scrap material for my air compressor yesterday. having spare wood and nuts and bolts and wheels is such a nice luxury.

  • 7-25-08 (19:39)

  • listened to a bit of david edelstein's review of man on a wire on npr today. it's about the french guy who walked across a wire between the twin towers in 1974. when he was asked why he said something like "i did something very marvelous and mysterious and americans ask the practical question of why." it came off as a very pretentious thing to say and i thought about the stereotypes of europe (pretentious) vs. america (arrogant). i think as an individual i'd rather be called pretentious because it's easy to write it off as something a person says when they don't understand your intellect. but as a nation i think i would rather be arrogant than pretentious because i think that arrogance gets you to the moon as often as it gets you into iraq. of course i'd rather not be either, but if i had to choose...
  • just watched a south park episode about smug hybrid owners. good episode, but i actually think that biodiesel owners are more smug. diesels also pollute quite a bit more, especially when you're talking about converting an old mercedez or something. they're also loud and smelly, yet people still advertise the fact that they're biodiesel cars with bumper stickers. i like the diy aspect of it, but i'm not a fan otherwise.
  • saw the 1968 olympic men's 200m race the other day. this is the infamous race because smith and carols gave the black power salute afterwards, but two things i noticed were: tommie smith has as good a second half as any 200m sprinter i've ever seen, even as better than michael johnson who was more of a 400m runner anyway. that said, johnson has the world record and was a better overall runner than smith. the other thing i noticed is that carlos lost the 2nd place position by looking over at smith and then over at norman who ended up getting second place. so, smith and norman ran near perfect races and carlos basically blew it because he only ran 190m and forgot about the last 10m. i've also noted before that smith's time would have been good enough to win in the 2000 olympics, when a greek guy won because johnson elected to  run only the 400m.

  • 7-25-08 (13:09)

  • bought an hvlp spray gun the other day and put it to good use today. re-painted a piano bench from the alumni house. stripped all the paint, sanded, sprayed primer and sprayed paint. looks pretty good overall, not amazing. for it to be amazing i would have liked to do two things: 1) apply wood putty to the divots in the bench legs and sand them down smooth. this is tough to do on a rounded surface and i don't know that the boss wants me to spend too much time on this project. 2) sand with 220 grit paper after the first topcoat and applied another coat. didn't do that in large part thanks to my compressor. hvlp spray guns take almost as much compressed air to run as any other pneumatic tool you'll find and my compressor, though very good, isn't a garage sized machine. it was definitely working overtime and the bench is good so i stopped. generally you're supposed to give the compressor a break at least 50% of the time, and i think i exceeded that. it'll be fine. when i change the oil on the car i'll do the same for the compressor and all will be good. this piano bench project has been a fun one. the hvlp gun is good, maybe not great for latex paint (should have thinned it even more), but it did the job.

  • 7-24-08 (17:11)

  • volunteered for habitat for humanity today. you work a 8:30a-4p shift and do a variety of different things. i worked with another guy who hadn't done it before and had no construction experience. working in twos is ideal for this sort of setup because i think you make fewer rookie mistakes that way. it also passes the time better in general and you can bounce ideas off each other. it's an interesting setup in that you have basically a bunch of amateur volunteers building a series of houses. they do a fairly good job of instructing you as much as you need to be instructed and keeping the tasks small and simple. so, rather than saying "flash that window," they'll tell you to take a piece of metal flashing, cut it, nail it up and then talk to me. then they'll tell you the next step. it's probably a wise way of getting this kind of stuff done with the kind of people you're going to have. it's basically controlled chaos.
  • they have a shitload of tools and supplies in about six train size trailers. there were only 8 volunteers there today, but i assume the weekend gets more busy. there were three staffers - one full-time guy who gets paid by hfh and two americorps student-types. they're basically in the same boat i was when i was doing the sca gig in ohio. overall a good experience and i'd do it again. some of the people in the finished homes seemed (based mostly upon their vehicles) to be more well off than me, so that was a bit disconcerting. part of the criteria for getting a house is that you live in a shitty neighborhood, but still have the ability to make payments on the house that you're going to get built for you. not sure what the net cost is to someone in the program. other criteria are: putting in 500 sweat equity hours and having a family (no single people need apply). not sure how they get the land, but i did see some corporate sponsors for some of the houses (presumably the cost of materials is provided by the sponsor in those cases).
  • read a story in the wall street journal today that was quite intriguing. it was about those plastic bags that are filled with air that companies use when packing different things for shipping. apparently about 85% of these bags are manufactured in china where air pollution is at an all-time high. what they're doing is concentrating the air pollution and then using this polluted air to fill the bags that are then shipped throughout the world when you buy books on amazon.com or electronics on buy.com or whatever. this effectively ships their concentrated polluted air to other countries. what a devious trick.
  • actually, i just made that one up.

  • 7-23-08 (20:32)

  • good piece on npr today about the cover child from nirvana's nevermind album. he's 17 now and thinks growing up in the 90s was better than growing up now. he railed against his generation that plays rock band and guitar hero instead of going out an starting a band. pretty good stuff.

  • 7-23-08 (00:42)

  • working on stripping the paint off a black piano bench from the alumni house. finally got it done, but made an absolute mess out of the bathtub. holy christ. good thing meryl is housesitting for her mom because she'd probably have a heart attack.

  • 7-21-08 (23:39)

  • watched dark knight over the weekend. if i were rich i'd drive to la to watch it at the village or mann's chinese theater - two theaters that have digital projectors and the best sound systems i've ever witnessed. i'm not rich.
  • have thought recently about working for the oakland police department. they're desperate for cops and they pay $70k a year plus benefits. that's more than three times my current salary, plus i'd have benefits and only have to work 4 days a week (10 hour shifts). two detractors are the constant battle with crazy criminals and the potential for frat boy bullshit amongst fellow cops. the pros are the salary + benefits (i'd be able to afford a house within a year, guaranteed - nice steady income, i think there are home buyer programs for civil servants as well), i'd be making a difference in this shitty city, i'd still have 3 days a week off. it's a compelling opportunity that i may pursue. the biggest stumbling block will probably be the written test which i won't be very interested in studying for.
  • doing what i'm currently doing means i probably won't ever be able to buy a house and that's getting increasingly sad to me. still looking into a general contractor's license. a fairly involved process with a lot of requirements in terms of experience. still trying to lock down what they're looking for. they ask for 4 years of unsupervised experience, but they don't give an explicit breakdown of what fields that experience must be in. for example, i know i need some experience in rough carpentry, but how much experience as a plumber, electrician, painter, tile-setter, etc. do i need to get the class b license? need to call them back about that one.
  • definitely starting to feel like my life hasn't led to much thus far. done a lot of travelling and held some fun jobs like the ranger intern. travelled to and lived in more places than most people i know, but have a lot less money than anyone else. haven't cared about that very much most of my life, but i finally realized that you can't be truly free unless you have a shitload of money or none. i guess i can only hope to strive for something in the middle. i'd like a house, though, while i can still take care of it. i think i'd be a good homeowner.

  • 7-16-08 (21:54)

  • first found this site in 1998, about a year after it first came up. she stopped posting about a year ago which is too bad because she was hilarious. probably shaped my misanthropic view of the world more than i would like to admit. strangely i've never heard anyone talk about this early blog before, it seems like the kind of site that was a little too ahead of its time.
  • wonder what the longest running blog on the net is.
  • trying to think of other ways of making money. doing work independently for people has yielded exactly zero bucks so far even though everyone i know seems to support the idea and thinks i'd be good at it.

  • 7-15-08 (15:57)

  • susan's (johnny/luke's mom) service was a good one. a nice mix of feel good stories and laughter and cheesy poetry. i found it to be a good time for reflection on my own life and friends. it makes you wonder what people say when you're gone and who will be there. also made me reflect upon the way we celebrate a person's life, and how we generally do it only when they're gone.
  • gave some bone marrow about a week ago. got $200 for 50cc of marrow. it was an interesting experience. they give you two shots to numb the area and that's what actually hurts the most because you feel it burn as it goes into your flesh. after a 5 minute wait they put a needle into your pelvis and you hear the crunch as it goes through the bone. then you feel a sucking pressure as the marrow gets squeezed out. the next day or two the area feels a little bruised, but it's life as usual. the worst thing was the mental part because i kept thinking about the crunching sound of my bone giving way to the needle, but that went away by the next day. not a bad experience overall.
  • put up a couple shelves in the apartment for displaying the used soda bottles. so far we've sampled two of the sodas. meryl has liked both, i've liked one. not sure if i should post pictures and reviews as i drink them or all at once. probably will do it all on one feature page so you'll have to wait for all the details.
  • watched a few frontline episodes today. great investigative journalism. there are some great shows on television, it's just too bad that the majority is crap. that goes for people as well.
  • signed up for two more classes at laney. will start that in a month. don't have a second job anymore, at least that's how i think of it. don is having trouble in this economy finding work for himself, much less me or the other worker he had. this economy sucks, but the part time job i have now should keep me afloat for the time being.

  • 7-9-08 (21:14)

  • was informed yesterday that johnny and luke's mom passed away on the 3rd due to an infection after her second round of chemo. she had leukemia so i suppose everyone was aware of the possibility that this could happen, but it still came as a total shock to me. i guess we take life, even in the face of death, for granted. i just figured there would be more notice, but i guess that's the nature of death, even these days. as far as family goes, johnny and luke only have each other now, so far as i know. hopefully they'll grow closer as a result.

  • 7-6-08 (20:39)
    back home after going to la for my birthday weekend. was busy, didn't get everything done that i wanted to get done. possible highlight was going to galco's soda pop store and buying $60 worth of soda. will take pictures and write reviews in the coming weeks.

    6-28-08 (21:40)

  • i used to be impressed when someone i knew was on tv or in a magazine or something; not so much anymore. idiots who cry about britney spears or make fools of themselves by singing ricky martin songs on american idol are on tv now. there's nothing impressive or exclusive about it anymore. plus, we have the internet - anyone can become a celebrity overnight on youtube, etc. no longer impressed.

  • 6-27-08 (20:18)

  • the college world series was pretty exciting. not great baseball - 6 errors in the final game - but fun nonetheless.
  • nba draft was filled with trades. kevin love will be a two time all-star. hope that westbrook pans out. the kings make their own draft board and that's incouraging. they picked a scrawny division II scorer a couple years back and it surprised everyone. that turned out to be the sixth best scorer in the league and the most efficient guard who gets more than 20 points a game. kevin martin is underrated. the kings also were on the eastern european/foreign-born bandwagon before everyone else. they got peja and hedo before it became the trend that it currently is. in other words, even though i hadn't heard of their number one pick, i'm sure he'll turn out just fine. the guy on sportingnews.com gave them a D for their draft. whatever.
  • work tomorrow. working on the weekend keeps you busy, but i do enjoy my time off. one day i'll be independently wealthy and won't have to work for money.

  • 6-26-08 (17:58)

  • the #1 or #2 comment about derick rose and why he should go #1 in the draft over michael beasley: "look at the great point guards chris paul and deron williams. or look at the drafting of glenn robinson over jason kidd years ago. great point guards make a team great." these are true statements, but not the reason to draft derick rose. yeah he's a great point guard in college, but that doesn't mean he should be compared to other successful guards. by that rationale i could look at michael beasley and bring up names like scottie pippen/lebron james or chris webber/kevin garnett (depending upon what position he ends up playing) or o.j. mayo could be the next jordan/kobe.... it makes no sense to say that the #1 draft pick should be chosen based upon the position he plays, rather than the person's skill level and the needs of the team that has the #1 pick. ridiculous logic at best. all this isn't to say that rose won't turn out to be the best pick in the draft or that beasley won't be better or anything like that, this is more of an attack on the logic that the sports commentators use.

  • 6-25-08 (19:07)

  • meryl and i worked on building more of our baby block toys. we've built two so far, one for money. cut the wood for four more.
  • installed the new car radio i got which has a usb port for the ipod. took about an hour, went pretty well overall.

  • 6-25-08 (13:14)

  • just back from giving my white blood cells up. they pumped the blood out of my body three times over and, using a centrifuge, extracted the white blood cells as well as some plasma. pretty interesting setup. paid pretty well and i have the rest of the day off. watched a marx brothers movie and listened to the ipod while it was happening - the whole thing takes four hours. they give you fluids as you're going along so i had to piss in a jug twice during the procedure. at first i thought i had to hold it for the entire four hours, but that quickly became a non-option so i talked to the nurse who said she should have mentioned that part and then screened the area off for me. pissing in a plastic jug reminded me of the westwashmawapta glacier.
  • have a lot i'd like to do, but i should take it somewhat easy.

  • 6-23-08 (18:20)

  • olympic basketball team announced today. here's the team: kobe, lebron, wade, deron williams, chris paul, kidd, bosh, d. howard, carmelo, prince, michael redd, and boozer. blue indicates the players i would drop.
  • my team (red indicates the players i would add): kobe, lebron, pierce, artest, bowen, deron williams, paul, d. howard, battier, garnett, love, camby. no need for wade and kidd, they're just overlap for williams, paul, kobe and lebron. all those guys are passers/scorers who can get into the lane, we don't need 10 of those guys. redd is a nice player and could replace battier, who is on the bubble for me. also thought about ray allen because we do need guys who can hit the outside shots.
  • wanted defense and spot up shooting as well as passion and balanced attackers. bowen is an obvious choice for spot up shooting and shut down defending. good guy in the locker room, a winner and team player. artest might be a distraction, but i think he'd keep it under wraps. great defender, can be a streaky scorer and will get some rebounds. battier is one of the top defenders in the league, great team player, and has worked with coach k in the past (at duke). garnett is a great all around player, good presence in the locker room, passionate about the game and won't let anyone slack off. love is all about the future, along with paul, williams, and lebron. need to groom someone in the middle who can do a lot of different things and will be around for the next couple olympics. he'll bring solid play, outside shot (to stretch the floor for guys like kobe), passion, rebounding and that dangerous outlet pass for easy buckets for guys like paul. bench player at first, but maybe not in the next olympics. camby makes the interior defense better. he's probably the best help defending big man in the league. it'll allow guys like kobe and paul to tighten up their on the ball defense knowing that he's got their back. great rebounder as well. pierce does it all. scorer to complement kobe and lebron. defense is something he's added lately. can make the 3 pointer and can drive to the bucket at will. this team would go undefeated and get the gold if they had some time to play together first. after this olympics they should implement my changes and start gearing up for the world championships and the next olympics.
  • the current team by position: pg (3), sg (3), sf (3), pf (2), c (1). as you can see the current team is guard-heavy and has 9 guys who can take the ball up the court; that's about 4 too many. my team by position: pg (2), sg (1), sf (5), pf (2), c (2). my team is more balanced, though the untrained eye may be attracted by the lone shooting guard (kobe) on my team. the fact is that i have a lot of combo guys. garnett could play the center, power forward and small forward position. pierce can play the shooting guard or small forward. shane battier is a small forward, but played power forward in college and is 6'9" so he could certainly matchup against some of the weaker international big forwards. love could play the center position as it's his natural position. artest, bowen, and lebron are small forwards who can guard anyone under 6'9" and can bring the ball up the court and knock down jumpers. in other words, they can play either the shooting guard or small forward position offensively and the 1-3 position defensively. my team is more dynamic, wouldn't ever be outrebounded, brings a more balanced attack, brings much better defense, has a greater level of passion, spreads the floor, and can score almost as well as the olympic team that was announced today.
  • i also think that my team brings a good balance of youth for the future and veterans. my team has the players to beat man to man defense (kobe, lebron, pierce, williams, and paul can all break down defenders at will). but also has zone beaters like bowen, love, pierce, and battier. again, i'd also be willing to trade battier for ray allen or michael redd. allen brings the best shot in the game (except for maybe peja) so he's the ultimate zone buster and he is a good team player. that said, i picked battier because he's one of the top five defenders in the league, has played for coach k, and is a stat filler (does all the little things to help his team). battier also brings international experience which is something my team has a little less of than the official team.
  • they listened to me before by assigning krzyzewski as the coach, so maybe they'll listen to me again.
  • angelina jolie (a mighty heart and the good shepherd) has teamed up with morgan freeman (shawshank redemption and driving miss daisy) and james mcavoy (last king of scotland and atonement) in...not some epic drama about death and love, but some action flick about a team of assassins. huh?
  • blind analysis of three nfl quarterbacks playing in roughly the same era. i'll call this one "pick the hall of famer"
  • qb 1 has a better yards per game/attempt average and held onto the football better. also has the lone super bowl win and one more pro bowl appearance than the other two. 46th all-time for passing tds, 43rd all-time for passing yards. worst interception % of the three. one season over 4,000 yards and another season over 3,000 yards. tied 163rd all-time passer rating.
  • qb 2 has longevity on his side - most tds (23rd all-time) and yards (17th all-time) of the three, threw for more touchdowns than interceptions in 4 years, as opposed to only 2 from qb 1. two seasons over 3,000 yards. tied 157th all-time passer rating.
  • qb 3 is right in the middle of the two in terms of games played. best completion percentage of the three, much more potent runner (though gave up the ball more frequently by fumbling). best qb rating of the bunch and lowest number of interceptions despite having only 8 fewer tds than qb 2. 10 years with more tds than interceptions is a sign of consistency and reliability. 32nd all-time on yards passing and 26th all-time on passing tds. two seasons over 3,000 yards. best interception % of the three. tied 93rd all-time passer rating.

    g pass att td int yards comp. % y/a y/g qb rating rush yds rush td fumbles pro bowls notes
    qb1 140 3,762 173 220 27,663 50.1 8.2 286.2 65.5 140 7 33 5 2 yrs w/ more td than int, 1sb win
    qb1 best year, 1967 14 491 26 28 4,007 52.5 7.4 197.6 73.8 14 0 2
    qb2 201 5,076 209 247 34,665 51.1 6.8 172.5 66.6 207 16 65 4 4 yrs w/ more td than int
    qb2 best year, 1976 14 388 18 13 2,946 56.2 7.6 210.4 82.0 7 0 4
    qb3 183 4,498 201 149 29,444 52.6 6.5 160.9 74.3 1304 30 105 4 10 yrs w/ more td than int, 2nd pick in 1962 draft
    qb3 best year, 1969 14 460 24 7 2,549 54.4 6.4 182.1 86.8 156 5 7
  • after perusing these numbers for a while the obvious choice for hall of fame consideration is qb#3. after that it's a little tougher. one has longevity and the career numbers that go with that. the other has better yards per game numbers, one more pro bowl and the most valuable prize of all - the super bowl ring. frankly i don't think that qb 1, 2, or 3 are amazing hall of fame material, but i could see qb #3 being in the HOF. the answer, though, is that qb 1 is possibly the most overrated athlete in pro-american sports: joe namath. only two years with more tds than interceptions, barely completed 50% of his passes, a low qb rating, not a running threat at all, and only one impressive number: his 4,000 passing yards in 1967.
  • for the record: qb 2 is jim hart and qb 3 is roman gabriel, who i now consider under-rated. gabriel actually had a better year in 1969 (the year he won the super bowl) than namath. gabriel was first team all-pro and namath wasn't. gabriel had a passer rating of 86.8 with 24 tds and 7 ints. namath had a passer rating of 74.3, 19 tds, and 17 ints; not remarkable. so, fuck you joe namath you over-rated hack. and, fuck you sports writers who continue to inflate this utterly mediocre player who won one game that just happened to give the afl legitmacy. oh, wait, he didn't win it - he just didn't lose it. his stat line in the one game that got him into the HOF? 17/28, 206 yds, 83.3 rating, 0td/0int. hardly overwhelming. he guaranteed the victory, yes, but he wasn't the reason they won. his playoff record: 2-1, 3tds/4ints, qb rating 54.6, comp.% 42.7. i consider that a bad playoff stat sheet other than the fact that he was on one good team.

  • 6-21-08 (19:03)

  • i've had work or the threat of work almost every day for the last few weeks. last weekend i worked on putting in an epoxy garage floor with one guy, finished it off today. yesterday i worked on texturing some walls for don, will do the same tomorrow. need to paint two offices at the alumni house, and will probably have to do more painting next weekend for don. the bad thing is that i can't make much in the way of weekend plans and free time feels scant. the good thing is that i have as much money saved now as any time since i took the last big trip. been either saving it or spending it on tools, for the most part. trying to have a decent collection of tools so that i can do most small projects on my own. trying to scare up little jobs here and there, but mostly unsuccessful in becoming my own boss so far.
  • next week should be cooler than the last few days. my tolerance of heat has weakened over the last few years. my tolerance of the cold was greatly increased after going to ohio and then the glacier. that lasted about a year and has dissipated by now.
  • netflix is great, but the site is slow, probably a function of my computer, my connection, and my huge queue (which hasn't been under 450 since about 2002).
  • faust is a good movie. f.w. murnau was great.
  • watched some looney tunes shorts last night. those are so timeless and great. great artwork, use of music, voice talent from mel blanc, characters, and comedy.
  • typical conversation with "dave" (the owner isn't actually named dave, but i still haven't gotten his name) at hamburger dave's: "i'd like a #2 with no cheese and substitute onion rings for fries." "okay (slowly, as if he's writing it down) number two...onion rings. do you want cheese with that?" he tends to forget things quickly and, even when things are written down, he has difficulty getting the order right. but all this is part of the charm that keeps me coming back. you never know what you're going to get at this place. went there once with sarah and they put mayo and all sorts of stuff on there when she had requested cheese only. gotta roll with the punches. i don't even bother mentioning that i don't want pickles, i figure it'll just be too much for him to handle, so i try to keep it simple.
  • was driving behind a woman in berkeley the other day when a skateboarder skated out into the middle of the street in front of the woman, causing her (and me) to come to a stop to let him pass. no crosswalk or right of way of any kind, just some asshole who felt he was more important than anything else going on. can't remember if the woman honked or not, but as she passed him he turned his head and spat on her car. my first reaction was to honk at him and give him a dirty look, but i didn't do that. ended up not doing anything. that kind of action deserves some sort of revenge, penalty, consequence, punishment, whatever. a honk and dirty look wouldn't have done anything other than embolden him and perhaps gotten me the same treatment as the lady in front of me. ignoring it would be the city way, but i think that's part of the reason why cities are the way they are: apathy from good people.

  • 6-20-08 (19:55)

  • meryl's sick.
  • wish i had a garage so i could work on the bug whenever i wanted. would like to overhaul the brakes and that really requires space and the ability to leave the car on jack stands for a while (unless you're experienced enough to have all the tools/materials on hand and can make it a one day job). besides that, it would be nice to have a garage so i could finally get a table saw and expand the number of woodworking projects i could do.

  • 6-18-08 (17:50)

  • so afi made another set of lists, this time it's the top 100 genre films. they had ten genres and a top ten within each genre. they had a genre for epics and courtroom drama and animation, but not for war or noir or documentary...wtf? they put noir under mystery and excluded documentaries. war was put under epic in the case of saving private ryan, but paths of glory was off the list because it didn't really fit into any of the genres. a flawed list of genres, but it's fun nonetheless. third man is more a british film than an american film, too. afi.
  • replaced my bike the other day with one that meryl's dad wasn't using. that was nice of him. it's now hanging from the ceiling in the apartment which should be slightly more secure.
  • speaking of my bike. went to the bent spoke on telegraph and said that my little brother was in the market for a bike (because my bike was actually undersized for me) and that he had come into the store and saw a blue nishiki road bike that he liked. they showed me one, but it wasn't mine so i said "hmmm, no, the one he described had down shifters and white handlebar wrap." the salesmen replied "when did he see it?" ..."well, i don't know when he came in, but he told me about it within the last couple weeks." ..."oh, that may have been the one we sold last week then." so i'm thinking that i missed my bike by a week. i wanted to goto that shop earlier, but it was either closed or i was on my way to work. should have made the effort, though. asked the guy when they get more used stuff in and he said every weekend. so i'm thinking about calling to get a smaller window than "every weekend" and if i can narrow it down to "before noon on saturday," for example, then i might stake the place out and see if a recognize the guys/truck that come in with new product.

  • 6-16-08 (19:56)

  • so it took 19 holes for the number 1 player in the world to beat the 158th ranked player in the world. tiger's good, just a bit better than everyone else, but i don't know that he's as amazing as most people say. the story today is how he was able to persevere through the pain of knee surgery to win his 14th major. sports writers just want to build the great ones up and then they act human (federer on a losing streak, for example) and they don't know what to do. another thing: why doesn't tiger get any shit for having surgery to improve his eyesight? it's the same as steroids, but legal. andro was legal when mcgwire hit 70 hr. there was a slate article about this a while back and it included this: "Woods, who had lost 16 straight tournaments before his surgery, ended up with 20/15 vision and won seven of his next 10 events."

  • 6-15-08 (18:29)

  • watched tiger choke a bit at the us open. had some rough spots and was up by a stroke, but ended up pulling it together after hitting it in the bunker to make birdie and force a playoff tomorrow. golf is incredibly difficult and nerve-racking, but the athletes are pretty pampered. if the crowd makes noise of any kind then the golfers get all upset. it's a stark contrast to other athletes who shoot free throws while people wave thunder sticks in the background or try to hit a 90mph fast ball while people are yelling at them.

  • 6-14-08 (10:18)

  • saw this bumper sticker a while back: "we have enough youth, how about a fountain of smart?"
  • johnny once asked if i got any benefit from saving the alumni house all that money by doing the electrical work myself and taking on all the painting, etc. for the downstairs renovation. i said no at the time, with the caveat that it made me more valuable so i was less likely to be fired. well, on the last paycheck i got a bonus "for all the hard work i did downstairs." that was very nice of them. got a $500 bonus which is easily the largest i've ever gotten for anything. unfortunately uncle sam took almost half of it. seeing that first number go from a 5 to a 2 brought me closer to becoming a republican than anything else in my life. apparently there's a different tax scale for bonuses. what would have been cool is if they gave me a $400 gift card to home depot instead. they'd pay less, i'd get more and uncle sam wouldn't be able to afford a couple screws on a F-16. tough luck for boeing.
  • speaking of uncle sam, got my $300 stimulus check the other day. put half of it in the savings.

  • 6-13-08 (16:03)

  • Mundus vult decipi et decipiatur: "The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived." i've heard that was hitler's favorite latin proverb.

  • 6-13-08 (08:41)

  • had the option of doing some painting today and declined. woke up with a headache for some reason, no fun. felt like i was getting sick last night. other than the headache i feel about average this morning. we'll see.
  • got the bug fixed. finally just took it to the shop. they bored out the accelerator jet and all was good. i would have tried cleaning it, but wouldn't have had the confidence to bore it out. don't have a vise, don't know what size it should be, wouldn't have thought to do it. overall i think it was good to just take it in and have them deal with it. if there aren't a lot of problems then i can tackle the project, otherwise i'm not so keen on doing it; at least so far as cars are concerned.
  • religion: just idol speculation
  • missed last night's basketball game because i had to see the yankees beat the a's. i haven't been to a regular season home a's game where they have won. bad luck. tivoed the replay, though, so i'll watch it now.
  • best player of the last 15 years: shaq. best player right now: kobe. 2nd best player on the lakers: derek fisher.
  • ...21-3 run in the 3rd quarter, punctuated by a p.j. brown (what is he, 74 years old?) dunk over the mvp kobe bryant. wonderful.
  • with doug christie and chris webber out of the nba i dont' have a favorite player. perhaps it's paul pierce. fun player to watch and a good guy.
  • i'm not going to say doc rivers is a better coach than phil jackson, but he coached a much better game last night than jackson. jackson did nothing to stop the bleeding. he didn't tell his star to be more aggressive. he didn't slow down or speed up the game. he didn't use his timeouts well. he didn't bring in new blood off the bench. idiot.
  • the lakers vs. spurs comeback when they were down by 20 may have been better than this celtics vs. lakers comeback because it was against the defending champs and the spurs are so good defensively. that said, the spurs don't have much of an offense so maybe this one was better. either way, two great comebacks in the playoffs this year.
  • when asked how you bounce back from a loss like this kobe responded: "whine about it tonight. a lot of wine, a lot of beer, couple shots; maybe like 20 of them. digest it, get back to work tomorrow. nothing you can do." great guy.
  • wilbon pointed out that jackson didn't play fisher very much. didn't notice it while i was watching, but i think he's right. fisher has the 3rd best fg% in finals history, he's the second best player on your team (as i mentioned above. though most people would say it's odom or gasol), he has as much playoffs experience as anyone else on the team, he was having a good game (4/5 from the field), he had the best +/- on the team (+7), and you don't play the guy? idiot.
  • this game knocked the nba ref scandal off the front page so i'm sure asshole david stern is happy about that. i haven't forgotten, though. damn nba.

  • 6-11-08 (19:52)

  • very disillusioned by the kings/lakers 2002 playoff series conspiracy. a couple things: some have said that donaghy has no credibility and picked the worst officiated game he could think of as an example of the refs cheating for the benefit of the league. this is a possibility, but one thing i've learned over the years is that insiders who blow the whistle are much more often believable than those with something to lose (i.e., the nba, david stern, etc.). in other words, i believe donaghy and i believed there was a conspiracy after watching that game. 27 free throws (even worse than i remembered) in the 4th quarter for the lakers is crazy. today i saw about 10 different instances of blown calls against the kings in that game six alone. what's more is that ralph nader has joined the fight, which only increases my feelings that the nba has failed miserably on this issue. best case scenario for the nba: donaghy is a proven liar and the game was merely the worst officiated game i (and others, including sports writers mike wilbon and bill plasche) have ever seen. worst case scenario: donaghy is telling the truth and others corroborate his story. either way this has just opened the wound of that series. at the end of game five i believe that the stat was that the kings had led in all but 30 of the last 7200 seconds against the lakers. meryl is probably tired of hearing about this series as i talk about it all the time, but i truly believe that that 2001-2 kings team was as good an nba team as i've seen since the jordan era ended. they owned that series in every way except the most important one: the wins/losses tally. truly pissed and seriously considering becoming a non-nba guy from now on. season's too long, they don't play defense, they have the worst commish in sports (including bud selig), and they rig the playoffs (which are also far too long). fuck fuck fuck.
  • the celtics lost last night, but only by six, not 10 as predicted. that after paul pierce had his second worst scoring game in the last three seasons. only one time in the last three seasons has he had fewer than six points; i'm thinking it won't happen again. so, i think the celtics are in a good position to win the series, which is more than i thought at the beginning of the series.

  • 6-10-08 (20:17)

  • something for the young kids: there was an interesting exchange in the 2nd quarter of the lakers/celtics game just now. jordan farmar came down with a rebound and p.j. brown tried to take the ball from his hands, but had his arms crossed up with farmar's at the same time. brown tried to force the issue to get the ball or intimidate farmar. instead of giving into the saavy vetern goading of brown, farmar walked away from the situation and avoided hurting his team by hitting brown or getting kicked out of the game. both players were given technical fouls on the play (a bit much if you ask me) and nothing materialized from the incident. another young player might have been over-eager to establish himself as tough and would have fallen for brown's manuever, but not the heady farmar.
  • the ref who admitted to betting on games said that unspecified 2002 playoff series was extended to a seventh game by the actions of two officials who ignored fouls and made up fouls against the team the nba wanted to lose. the only series that year that went seven games? kings/lakers. fucking amazing. i've felt the entire time that the kings were the better team in that series. they were the best team that year. frankly it was luck that got the lakers onto the finals, and apparently some cheating as well. and as much as i hate the lakers i don't blame them for it, it was probably part of a conspiracy that starts and stops at david stern's desk. asshole. so pissed. that and the usc/texas rose bowl are the two most devastating losses in my sports viewing life. and, come to think of it, there were some gaping replay errors in the rose bowl as well, but that game was more about vince young and the best game of his career and linebacker/fullback injuries to key trojans than it was about the bad officiating.
  • everyone's been talking about the kobe bryant resurgency this year. he's mvp and trusting his teammates, etc. whatever. the guy is still a punk. the test of character is when you're down, not when things are going well. when he's losing he's as much of a punk as the next guy.

  • 6-10-08 (17:55)

  • monty poole (who is usually an adequate sports writer for the oakland tribune) wrote an article for the mercury news about leon powe. it takes the stance that doc rivers kept powe under wraps all season and finally figured out, in the last game, that powe is a good player. balogna. rivers knew about powe all season and gave him minutes. in fact he averaged about 14.5 minutes over the course of the season and had 15 minutes in the last game, not exactly a huge jump. what did jump, though, is powe's production. powe had a few other games with 20+ points during the season, but those games came when he played significantly more minutes. powe's time was reduced lately, yes, but that's a natural result of the playoffs where rotations are generally reduced to 7 or 8 players. there's also matchup issues to consider - when playing against a team with an athletic power forward like lamar odom, leon powe makes a lot more sense than a slower power forward like glen "baby" davis. each series presents its own matchup dis/advantages. poole was showing his "homer" status by lifting powe and chastising rivers. in looking at the game log for powe and considering who he's playing behind (garnett) and with (davis), i think that rivers played powe just the right amount. powe's a good player and may even be great in the future when he is a starter, but he's not great now so lay off doc rivers, monty poole.
  • would love to see the lakers go down 0-3 tonight. think there's a chance, but don't think it's likely. smart money is on the lakers to win by 10.
  • scrubbed the slate patio at the alumni house today. cleaning that thing is going to take three days. it's amazinly dirty and i don't think anyone has really cleaned it in years.

  • 6-9-08 (19:07)

  • watched the belmont stakes the other day and thought it was awesome. for some reason i love it when the "experts" are proven wrong with the whole triple crown quest. it seems like there's another triple crown contender every other year and another disappointment. you could bet against the experts and make a shit load of money. they always have some reason to say that "this is the horse." losers.

  • 6-8-08 (20:13)

  • went to a couple flea markets yesterday. looking for deals is always fun. saw more stolen goods in a few hours than i care to remember. didn't see my bike though.
  • using media monkey to attach album artwork to the mp3s going on my ipod. iartwork doesn't work because my library is too large. itunes' built-in script for downloading album covers is limited to the stuff they sell so that only covers about half my stuff. the other half needs to be done manually with a feature on media monkey that looks up artwork from amazon one album at a time. got about a third of the way through the alphabet today.
  • a neighbor saw a suspicious looking guy knocking on all the doors in our apartment complex while taking notes. potentially a thief casing the place. wonderful. fairly surprised our cars haven't been broken into yet. have seen reports of stolen cars and purses being stolen, plus there's my bike that was stolen and my registration tags that were scratched off. i just want to catch one of these assholes and set them straight.
  • lakers made it interesting tonight, but fell short. actually a good thing for the celtics because it woke them up a bit.

  • 6-5-08 (21:08)

  • my earliest memories of watching basketball were of the lakers/celtics series in the mid-80s at my dad's place. good to see the rivalry revived.
  • when magic johnson dies it would be a nice gesture to give his ncaa title ring to larry bird. bird has made it very clear over the years how much not winning that title has meant to him and i think that the two have formed a respect over the years; it would be a great story anyway.

  • 6-5-08 (09:39)

  • looks like no work today.
  • three best values i can think of off the top of my head: national parks pass ($80 [used to be $55] and it'll get you into every national park in the country). aaa membership (price varies, but you get free roadside assistance, discounts, free maps, etc...downside is that they do some environmentally unfriendly lobbying). forever stamp (41 cents and you can send a letter anywhere in the u.s., despite the constantly rising prices and e-mail/faxes/etc., i still consider this a great deal and it employs an amazing number of people at a working wage; no complaints here).
  • there isn't a stop button on itunes. wtf?
  • still working on slimming down the collection - getting rid of duplicates, etc. and making all the genres and artist/album info nice and tidy. took the ipod out on a little drive with meryl yesterday. must say it's nice to have all your music in one place. it's actually not ALL my music, but the vast majority and all the good stuff. as time goes on, i'll weed out some of the lesser stuff to make room for the new good stuff. ideally i'd have about 200gb of space, but it'll probably be a couple years before that happens.
  • watching the mlb draft, not as good as the nfl draft, but still informative.
  • had some breakfast burritos today. first time in a long time. why did i stop making these? they're great.
  • on the front page of the chronicle there's a story about sf mayor gavin newsom wanting to start gay marriage a day earlier than the court had previously indicated. there seems to be a lot wrong wit this. 1) why do you need to start a day early? 2) you didn't bother paying attention to the law before, why ask for permission all of a sudden? 3) newsom knows this is the issue that he does best on so he's injecting himself in the media again to gain more mileage out of it. from what i can tell, he's been blasted lately for some personal transgressions and problems with his staff so this is a good way of getting back in the news in a positive way. 4) why is marriage allowed at all? i've asked this of many people and no one has given an adequate answer. if you insist on marriage then why not be truly progressive and extend it to polygamists? they're people too. makes sense to me and i'd vote for it.

  • 6-4-08 (21:40)

  • so everyone knows that computers have gone down in price a lot over the years, but i thought about it in these terms the other day when i saw a 500 gb (1,000 mb) for $100. what is $100 today would have cost $500k about 15 years ago. i remember when a 1 gb hard drive was $1,000 and that was the average rate. so if you needed that much space back then you'd have to drop half a million bucks for it. today it's $100. of course, programs and media weren't as large back then so no regular person needed that much space, but i can't think of another major sector where 15 years is the difference between what is possible for someone average and someone extremely rich. of course that 500 gb now is not only cheaper, but is smaller, faster, more reliable, and quieter too.
  • watching the stanley cup finals now. that game the other day was amazing. tied the game up with 34.5 seconds left in the game. if they didn't make the goal then the season would have been over. in the second OT sykora told the on-ice reporter that he was going to get the goal and he delivered in the third OT. amazing. i think that the most fun stretch of time in sports may be the last 60 seconds or so when a team is down by one goal and they pull the goalie for an extra attacker. no timeouts, no bs, just a full on assault to try to force overtime.
  • gave blood today. 120cc for $80. it took 30 minutes which means i earned $160/hour which is more than i've ever made in my life for performing any service. kinda pathetic that the thing that pays me the most after 28 years of learning and refining various skills/talents is my blood. guess not having hepatitis b/c or hiv and having good veins is worth something in this world. actually, besides those things, the place is very strict about showing up on time, so you could make the argument that being responsible enough to show up early is part of the reason the pay is so good. will go back in a few weeks to give white blood cells. that's a longer process.
  • didn't have work today. not sure about tomorrow.
  • i prefer toggle bolts to molly bolts. i consider them easier to take out, as easy to install, and stronger. cost is negligible.
  • i also think that hockey play-by-play guys are the best in the business. they do a great job keeping up with the fastest sport i've seen on tv and they find time to work in good descriptions of the crowd, players, the game, etc. the penguins were going through a rough spot, for example, and the play by play guy talked about the "meaningful silence" of the crowd. he wove together an artful description of tone/mood of the crowd that was seeing their team go down 0-2 in an elimination game. in baseball, the good play-by-play guys emphasize good story-telling and a sense of history, but i don't think they need the quick mind/tongue of the hockey announcers. basketball and football announcers are mostly worthless which is why they get guys who have good chemistry with the color analysts or good voices.
  • my analysis of the major hardware stores in the area: osh has craftsman tools which is a big plus and they have plenty of selection on most items you'll need for most projects. they're the best for finding hand tools and the service people are helpful. lowe's is out of the way so i hardly ever visit, but they're well laid out and have everything you need. great power tool selection. no experience with their line of kobalt tools, but i assume they're about equal with husky which is a big step below craftsman when it comes to hand tools, but still good enough. ace hand tools are the worst of the bunch, but the staff are very friendly and reasonably knowledgeable. the one on university is fun because it's so packed and has a train that runs throughout the store. also has a great hobbyist section downstairs. this is the place i'd go if i were a homeowner with a problem that i didn't know how to tackle. home depot has the worst customer service, but if you take the point of view that they're only there to make sure you don't steal and to put away product, then you'll have a better experience. it's essentially self-serve so hopefully you know where everything is, what you need, and how to check yourself through the line. they have the best prices overall and the best selection overall. their power tool selection is better than ace and osh. they carry rigid tools which is nice because they offer the lifetime guarantee and their hand tools (like their pipe wrenches) are high quality. i go to hd the most because they're the closest and they have everything for cheap, but i hate going there if i have any questions or if i'm looking for something i can't find (which is rare because i know the place pretty well by now). if i had money burning a hole in my pocket and wanted to buy some power tools i'd go to lowe's, but it's far. i've yet to find a great local hardware store. been to ashby lumber, piedmont lumber, truitt and white, and economy lumber but haven't found any of them to be stellar yet. sears is always good for browsing the craftsman stuff. i probably wouldn't buy their power tools, but the hand tools are great and you're always going to find more at sears than at osh.
  • fleury just fell on the puck and sent into his own goal. fuck. he's losing this game for them - two critical errors that have led to goals. bad news.
  • holy crap, what an ending. down by two and pittsburgh gets a power play, they pull the goalie for a two man advantage and score to pull within one with about 90 seconds left. they leave the goalie out and have a one man advantage. the last rush was crazy as usual. detroit tried clearing it a couple times and with about six seconds left pittsburgh brings the puck back into detroit's zone and crosby got a backhand shot with about 1.5 seconds left, osgood blocked it, but the rebound was open for hossa and just as the clock turned zero he got his stick on it and it went behind osgood, but missed the net. reminded me of that rams/titans superbowl where the receiver was about two feet shy of the end zone on the final play of the game. crazy. what a game. hockey's back!

  • 6-3-08 (21:41)

  • going to give blood tomorrow. not sure about work
  • working on perfecting my mp3 collection. time consuming.
  • built a bunch of shelves at work today. it's a rewarding project because it clears clutter and gets more out of the available space which is always nice.
  • updated my movie recommendations finally.
  • ingrown toenail seems fine thanks to the treat meryl prescribed. thumb is taking a while to heal, but could be worse.

  • 6-2-08 (18:57)

  • got a jury summons today. slated for july 2nd. i've heard that they give you some money for the work that you miss, but i'm not sure if that's true or how much it is. it'll be a good experience so i'm actually happy about it other than the fact that i'll be losing $100 in pay.
  • berkeley and the ucb campus are the most shit-filled places i've seen outside of the bathroom, and maybe even including there because the shit is usually flushed down the toilet before i get a chance to see it. weekly i see some person's or dog's shit on the ground on the campus or on the street. today i saw some asshole on a cell phone walking his dog down telegraph. he waited at a crosswalk while talking on the phone. meanwhile his dog pinched a loaf on the handicapped ramp. the light changed and they both went on their merry way. if i were a better, stronger person i would have pointed this out to the fellow, but i generally avoid confrontation, so i didn't. around the alumni house there is often shit by the recycling bins or on the handicapped ramp. on a couple occasions i've been sure that it was human. this may be attributed to the fact that we now lock up the recycling. perhaps it was retaliation for cutting of the revenue stream of some poor fellow who collects bottles and cans for cash. part of me is sorry for this, but it was necessary as those bottles and cans were often left strewn about the ground because someone wasn't satisfied with the selection. if they picked what they wanted and didn't leave a mess then all would be harmonious.
  • speaking of cell phones. on friday i saw an oblivious girl run a red light near campus while happily speaking on her cell phone. luckily the intersecting car missed her by about 50 feet. it was in an area where there are stop signs/lights at every block so i'm not sure how she missed the rhythm. yesterday i saw an oblivious guy, not on a cell phone, run a red light near our house. i'm generally opposed to restrictions on freedom, but in the case of the upcoming no-cell-phone-holding-while-driving law, i'm all for it. it's going to be a great day. of course, people will still be distracted by cell phone discussions, eating, putting on makeup, changing music, etc., but it's still a start. saw a bus driver the other day who was texting while driving the bus. that seems especially dangerous. the whole texting while working thing has gotten out of control. i think you should get paid more if you don't have a cell phone, or at least if you don't have a cell phone at work. it invariably makes you more productive because you don't have that distraction.

  • got my ipod last week and have been working on getting everything to fit. also working on getting it organized. i've discovered that itunes is one of the worst programs a major company has ever put out. winamp's media library is a lot more powerful. meryl's creative mp3 player also is easier to add songs to because you can treat it like another drive, rather than having to use proprietary software to load music onto the player. the ipod had a lot of nice features and a clean look, but i frankly can't understand how apple has turned out a product like itunes without major complaints from people. i guess the whole product (hardware and software) is better by enough than the other things out there. not great, but better than the rest and backed by an impressive marketing campaign and social cache. i honestly think that one apple programmer could make itunes a great program in a couple weeks. i guess the will just isn't there. suggested fixes: make deleting non-existent songs easier (there isn't an option for updating the library based upon what is actually on your drive, the probably do this because they assume you are going to manage your entire library solely through their crappy program). make sorting nonexistent songs possible. make adding cover art simpler. improve the cover art downloader drastically. example: the cover art downloader automatically downloaded art for about 20% of my albums. albums they missed? not rare autechre eps or strange promo-only albums (though they missed those too), how about the beatles abbey road or jay-z's soundtrack to american gangster...it's gotta be a formatting, data, or rights issue, but i don't know. all my albums have properly filled out id3v1 and id3v2 tags and were ripped using the same program (not itunes). how itunes can figure out some albums and not others is beyond me. the upside? the ipod is the most popular player out there so support (from apple and other users) should be abundant, cracks, patches and fixes should be available, it's just about taking the time to find them. my answer? make itunes open source and it'll be an amazing program within a couple months. in the meantime i'll spend time working on some fixes for these things myself. it's also possible that some of the solutions to my many problems with this program are available within the program, i'm just not seeing them yet.


  • got a ticket in september that i disputed with the city of oakland. they got back to me this week and said that my appeal was denied. nothing quite like the wheels of justice.
  • working on the slate patio at the alumni house tomorrow. not a huge fan of working on the weekends.
  • david marks vs. norm abram: david marks is on the west coast, norm on the east. norm is and old school yankee woodworker, david is a new school wood worker. david is a big fan of veneers and exotic woods. norm prefers classical wood choices like cedar, teak, reclaimed pine, etc. david makes original works and has an artistic eye. norm prefers antique recreations. david likes tung oil while norm prefers wipe on poly, but uses many different finishes. overall i'd say i prefer norm's yankee sensibility and his projects have a utility that david's sometimes lack. they both have unique approaches to woodworking and are at the top of the heap as far as i'm concerned, but i give norm the edge because he's also a field carpenter who can do framing and siding and door/window installation in addition to his considerable talent as a fine woodworker.
  • regarding paint brushes there simply isn't anything other than purdy. i work primarily with latex so i avoid oil-only brushes. the newish pro-extra series is a nice stiff brush which can be good in certain applications, especially outside. the cub series is nice enough, but i prefer the long-handled brushes. my favorite brush is the xl dale with a rattail handle and square edge ferrule. i use it for about 90% of my brush work. what a brush.

  • 5-27-08 (20:34)

  • so someone was shot in berkeley at the top dog in broad daylight and on friday, also in broad daylight, my bike was stolen. it made it 8+ years in davis and i had it for about 18 years and now it's gone. what makes it worse is that i saw the assholes who did it. i was coming back from hamburger dave's with lunch in hand when i saw a truck parked on the side of the road in front of where i lock up my bike. they were fidgeting in the back of the truck with a dewalt cordless trim saw so i figured they were handymen called out to do some work on one of the apartments. i was eager to start eating and it was the middle of the day so i really didn't pay any attention. later that day i went out and my bike was gone. i've looked at one of the local used bike shops to see if they've had any new arrivals, but it's probably a lost cause. if i do find it then i'm going to steal it back. called the cops to file a report and they're sending me some damn form. useless. not feeling the city life lately.
  • got my ipod today.
  • nba playoffs continue to be humdrum and i continue to watch.
  • got an ingrown toenails, that's a first. hopefully it fixes itself because i don't have any insurance. wonder how much a doctor would charge to take care of such a thing. might be a diy project. we'll see.
  • was cutting some tomato today and cut the shit out of my thumb. that sucked. bled a lot, but i don't think it needs stitches. not a good couple days health-wise.
  • painted at the alumni house on sat., sun., and mon. not a huge fan of painting, but there is a zen element to it that isn't so bad. it's also nice because the results are generally fairly drastic and immediate. that last bit of painting means that i've now painted about 75% of the downstairs area at the alumni house thus officially concluding the downstairs renovation. this last part had to be put off until after graduation. now that the kids are gone for summer things should be more mellow on campus.
  • songs in commercials are getting better the last couple years. i think vw started that trend, but it's really picked up lately with the decrease in records sales. i think record companies are trying to find different ways to expose people to new music and commercials is becoming one of those ways.

  • 5-23-08 (14:02)

  • last day of school was yesterday. going to miss the laney experience. hopefully i'll take more classes in the future. community colleges definitely have a different feel than any university i've ever been to. the construction classes, in particular, are much more rooted in a working class reality that makes a lot more sense to me than academia. the pursuit of a liberal arts knowledge is nice and so is the relatively sheltered existence of campus life, but it isn't as appealing as the practical skills and interaction with people who have to work for a living. while going to college i didn't have to work more than 20 hours a week and pretty much everyone around me was in the same boat: we all had some form of allowance from our parents or trust fund, etc. that we drew from. when going to laney, though, i was learning alongside people who had 9-5 jobs, kids, family members who had been shot and killed, people who had been in gangs or jail, but were still going to school in order to better themselves. a lot of them were less than brilliant, but many were a lot more interesting than the people i've encountered at ucb, ucd, ucla, usc, and other college campuses that i've spent significant time on. i think a lot of it comes down to life experience.
  • no work again today. guess it comes with the territory, but it would be nice to know in advance so i could plan the day a bit more.
  • working on preparing my music collection for the arrival of an ipod. finally decided to go for it. wanted to see if there was a bigger version on the horizon, but never got any word back on that one. i'm guessing there isn't since apple seems to have the only 160gb player on the market. i'll have to shave my collection by a big and re-encode some stuff, but it should be fine. i've got enough beastie boys mp3s to fill up a ipod nano.
  • meryl's getting a new car today.
  • what's the motivation behind the conspiracy to convince the public that we've been to the moon? conspiracy nuts say that we haven't actually been there, but i'm not sure why the government would have faked that one.
  • one flew over the cuckoo's nest and cool hand luke are getting new treatments on blu-ray. a ps3 will be my next big purchase.

  • 5-22-08 (10:15)

  • no work today.
  • the lakers/spurs game yesterday was exciting. lakers came back from 20 down to win the game. kobe is still the best player in the league, despite what some have said about lebron. that said, shaq is the best player of the last 15 years. this is the only year i can remember rooting for both the lakers and a shaq team. i wanted phoenix to beat the spurs and shaq plays for phoenix now. and in this series i'd rather see the lakers win than the spurs. it's more a testament to my hatred of the spurs than it is an indicator of my feelings for the lakers or shaq. plus, at least the lakers have jordan farmar.
  • the drywall job is done, primed and painted. turned out better than one would have thought by looking at it without any joint compound. without any joint compound there were 1/4" gaps and steps that screamed amateur job, but all is solved with the delicate touch of the hawk and trowel. it's not what i'd call a good job, but it's adequate and that's all it needed to be since it's in a utility area. one guy who works for campus maintenance said it was better than what their drywallers would do and another guy who works in the membership department at the alumni house said that everything i do is "top notch" work. those were nice things to hear, but there's lots of room for improvement. i think that the untrained eye just doesn't see all the defects that i see. it's like me trying to critique barry zito's form. it looks fine to me, but there's obviously something he's not doing right since he's 0-8.
  • not really sure what to do with my free time today.

  • 5-20-08 (20:35)

  • got a new hard drive today and cloned the one that came with my computer 7 years ago. figured i was running on borrowed time with that one. the new one has picked up where the old one left off. seagate drive clone worked perfectly. back in business.
  • today i went to a local company that acquires blood, white blood cells, and bone marrow for researchers. they're looking to fill the void left by outgoing students on summer break. in my initial examination they said i was eligible to give all of the above (pending an hiv test) and that i have good veins. who knew? at any rate, it's another revenue stream which is always nice. bone marrow donations can garner up to $700 if done over a two day period.
  • had the plumbing final today. 70+ questions, 15 minutes. one last class on thursday. not sure when i'm going to take another class at laney because most of the other classes are during the day when i'm working.
  • did some drywalling at work the other day. definitely not the most pretty job of all-time, but it's in a utility area and my finishing helped make up for it so i think it'll do. drywalling is a valuable skill, wish i had it.

  • 5-14-08 (09:18)

  • yesterday was a fucked up day.
  • here's a good bit from thedigitalbits.com:
  • "Finally today... while we're talking about the possibility of older classic films coming to Blu-ray Disc... there's a very important and related issue I wanted to address today. We've been getting a few e-mails a week (over the last month or so) from readers who are new to Blu-ray, who say they're disappointed in the quality of older catalog titles on the format. They disappointed not so much the selection, but the actual video quality. One person said the colors weren't as vibrant as they were expecting. Another thought the image looked too soft. Several have complained of "noise" on their TV screens when they watched certain older films. It actually took me a while at first to understand what they meant, but now I've figured it out... and as a serious film enthusiast, it's troubling to say the least. That noise some are complaining about? It's film grain! It seems that many people who came to home theater more recently via DVD, and so who may never have seen older films in an actual movie theater before, simply don't understand what film grain is. They don't realize that it's SUPPOSED to be there.
  • "Now, if you're one of those people... look, don't feel bad. It's okay that you didn't know what that so-called 'noise' was, because having grown up seeing older films only on DVD or cable TV, how could you know otherwise? That's why The Bits is here - to fill you in on such things. Here's what you need to understand: Film grain is an inherent part of the texture and character of older movies, which of course were shot on photochemical film stock (see Wikipedia's entry on the subject). The grains are tiny bits of metallic silver that are part of the actual physical structure of a piece of film. The amount of grain you see in the image may be the result of a stylistic choice by the director and cinematographer, as determined by their selection of film stock used during the production, or it's the product of the aging process of the film itself, the chemical composition of which changes over time. Often, it's a little of both. DVD didn't always have enough resolution to render grain properly, but Blu-ray does. So now many people are seeing it for the first time, and those who don't understand the nature of film think it's a defect in the disc! It's not, folks. Just like those black bars are supposed to be there on 2.35 (Scope) films - yes, even on your new widescreen HDTV sets - that grain is part of the film medium itself. Unfortunately, it seems that all too many people are expecting older films on Blu-ray to look like Ratatouille or Star Wars: Episode III. In other words, perfect - super-clean, super-clear, super-vibrant. No 'noise.'
  • "To quote Han Solo, "I've got a BAD feeling about this." I suspect THIS issue is going to be the new anamorphic widescreen, the new black bars. This is the issue that enthusiasts and the studios are going to have to make an effort to explain to consumers who are new to Blu-ray and high-definition in general. Unfortunately, what seems to happening right now is that the studio marketing folks are conducting focus groups with new Blu-ray consumers, who are saying they want perfect pictures every time. As a result, a few of the Hollywood studios are currently A) using excessive Digital Noise Reduction to completely scrub film grain from their Blu-ray releases, or B) not releasing as many older catalog titles as they might otherwise for fear that people will complain about grain. Some studios are even going so far as to scrub the grain out of NEW releases that have been shot on film. Case in point: New Line's Pan's Labyrinth Blu-ray Disc. When I saw this film in the theaters, it was dark and gritty. The grain was a deliberate stylistic choice - part of the artistic character of the film. New Line's Blu-ray, on the other hand, is sparkly and glossy - almost entirely grain-free. So much fine detail has been removed that the faces of characters actually look waxy. Everyone looks like a plastic doll. It's worth noting that the European release doesn't suffer the same fate. One can only assume that there are fewer marketing fingers in the pie over there?
  • "This isn't just a Blu-ray issue, it's going to affect ALL high-definition presentations of older films, if we allow it to. Film enthusiasts (and those at the studios who actually CARE about and respect the integrity of older films) need to really start educating people on this subject - new Blu-ray consumers, friends and family, fellow studio employees. FILM IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE FILM. Older titles on Blu-ray are NOT supposed to look perfect, as if they were shot today on video! The Blu-ray presentation should replicate, as closely as possible, the best original theatrical experience of the film. THAT'S the goal. I'll tell you right now, this is an important issue, just as anamorphic enhancement and presenting films in their original aspect ratios on DVD were before it. As we did with those issues, you better believe it's something the staff here at The Digital Bits will take up as a crusade with the Hollywood studios if it becomes necessary. So you studio folks... let's just say that you'd better get this one right, or you'll definitely be hearing about it from us in the months ahead (and, we suspect, from many others as well)."
  • someone was shot at top dog in berkeley yesterday. i arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after it happened. some lady (presumably the mother) was there crying, and the cops and ambulance had the area cordoned off. there seems to be a lot of daylight crime in the berkeley area.

  • 5-10-08 (19:14)

  • watched a bit of the philly/pittsburg game today, but missed all the scoring.
  • nba playoffs haven't been very good this year.
  • went to meryl's video screening the other day. she had the best video of the bunch. video students can be incredibly pretentious.
  • spent most of the day off watching movies/sports and organizing my tools, including building a little drawer unit (entirely out of scrap wood). it was nice to have a full day off to do my own stuff. had some fun with my new pin nailer which makes life a lot easier when building just about anything. i've wanted a brad or pin nailer for a long time; they're so useful.
  • first place in my fantasy baseball league. had a good draft and picked up cliff lee early. other than that it's all luck.
  • i find stuart scott to be truly insufferable at this point. in his early days with sportscenter i thought he had a good style and was hip, but i've grown tired of him.
  • there aren't a whole lot of color commentators in sports whose commentary i find consistently insightful. joe morgan is near/at the top of the list. len elmore in college basketball is good. lately i've been liking doris burke in pro basketball. i used to like doug collins, but he recycles a lot of his material. this is actually the downfall of many commentators: if you follow them long enough then you've heard everything they have to say. there are a lot of them out there who are good enough, but very few who actually enrich the experience of watching the game.

  • 5-6-08 (21:44)

  • don't like much about city life. there are too many inputs and not enough time to relax. things are too damn hectic and full of annoyance. someone scratched off my registration tag on the camry a while back and today i got two tickets as a result. what a pain in the ass all because some idiot had nothing better to do. city life is full of this kind of crap along with red tape and other daily annoyances that make you wonder why we bother.
  • i think there are two ways to be free: have no money or have a shit load of money. everything in between and you're just a poorly paid slave to the grindstone.

  • 5-5-08 (20:59)

  • the sharks game last night was insane. 4ot and they ended up losing. great goalie play and a long, tough game. oh well.

  • 5-2-08 (21:38)

  • looks like i'll be doing some painting tomorrow. not thrilled about working weekends lately, but i'm trying to save money and buy tools for the future. also trying to keep all my employers as happy as possible.
  • had planned on going to la this weekend, but that fell through. want to go with sarah to save on some of the fuel costs, but i'm not sure when she's going to be free.
  • back is hurting a bit.
  • watching the rockets/jazz game now. the rockets were down by 19 at one point and came back to within 1. bobby jackson had an opportunity to tie it up at the free throw line, but didn't make it. on the next play williams made a 3 to end the half with a 4 point lead. these kinds of moments within a game are extremely telling to me. 19 points is a huge hump to overcome and they had the opportunity to pull even, but didn't do it. in the next play they went down by two posessions. it's an amazingly deflating sequence in spite of the fact that they cut the lead by 15 points. this kind of thing happens all the time in basketball. unc did it against kansas: after being down by 26 points or so they pulled to within 4, but weren't able to even the score and ended up losing the game by double digits. in this game, the jazz are now up by 12 in the 3rd quarter and will probably win the game. now the lead is 15 because of another williams 3 pointer. he's good and this game/series is over. 18 point lead now, another 3 by williams. told you so.
  • i know i called the jazz early in the year, but if alston didn't miss the first two games and yao was healthy, then the rockets very well could have won this series. right now the big difference between the two teams is the rebounding and you have to think that the tallest player in the league would have some effect on that.

  • been bad about watching movies lately. i knew that march madness, the nba/nhl playoffs, and the olympics would knock me off rhythm. i'll try to get back on track this month.

    4-30-08 (19:16)

  • tracy mcgrady is a headcase. when i watched game three of the jazz/rockets series there was a stretch of about two minutes in the final three minutes where a switch visibly flipped in his head and he was the best player on the court. he made a block, got a couple rebounds, moved well without the ball and made his shots. with him it's all about effort. i think the guy needs a shrink because (until this season's injury to yao) there's no reason his teams should be 0-6 in the first round of the playoffs.
  • the fed (aka one trick pony) lowered interest rates again. what a joke.

  • 4-30-08 (08:03)

  • went to the webb ranch sunday and worked a few days there. it was a good time. orion, pam, and gabe came over and luke cooked us all some tri tip. got lots of done, but didn't fully finish any of the projects. built a firewood holder which should hold up for many years. also finished cutting down a chinese elm which had partially collapsed. chopped it up with luke's stihl chainsaw and dragged the pieces away; that one took a while.
  • allergies are deadly here in oakland. not sure what's doing it, but i don't sleep well and i wake up with crusty eyes and a congested nose. none of the usual (zyrtec, claritin, benadryl) drugs help. i'm thinking it's a weed pollen allergy. would like to go to a doctor to test this theory and find a cure, but that's not going to happen.

  • 4-25-08 (19:11)

  • busy times again. been doing a lot of painting for don lately. not a huge fan of painting, but it pays the bills because it seems like people always need something painted.
  • several projects on the horizon at the alumni house.
  • luke has a some stuff to do at the ranch, plus a potential deck rehab for a lady he knows.
  • it's good having lots of work because it means a lot of experience and money. on the other hand sometimes it feels like i don't have time for myself.
  • nba playoffs have been a mixed bag so far. spurs/suns game one was great, not so much with game two. cavs/wizards series should be closer than it currently is. of course, if the wizards win the next one at home then it'll be all square.
  • lots of films lately about the end of the world/mass death. invasion, i am legend, the happening, doomsday, etc. definitely a filmic theme these days. i like movies about the end of the world. in general i like films about an absense of law - prison films, war films, apocalyptic films, and westerns are all about humans coping with varying degrees of lawlessness.
  • may have gotten a little burned today.

  • 4-20-08 (12:27)

  • they keep talking about mcgrady's increased point production in the playoffs (he scores 6+ points a game more in his playoff career vs. the regular season), but this comes at a cost to his teammates and his fg and 3pt% are both down (very slightly). personally, i'd rather have my star player be more efficient in the playoffs than less so, but with more point production. i think the playoffs are even more about getting the role players and supporting players involved. occasionally you need the superstar to really take over a game and shoot a lot of shots, but i think that's the exception rather than the rule. his increased production is a manifestation of his feeling the pressure to perform (since he's never won a playoff series in six appearances) - he takes more shots and scores more, but his teammates are less involved and his team ends up losing.
  • the suns/spurs game was exciting. ginobili's game winning layup was pretty amazing - at one point he was flying through the air and his body was at a 45 degree angle, yet he landed on his feet without a problem. check it out on youtube or something in slow motion. these are the kinds of things that these guys make look easy, but are truly difficult for anyone who isn't a great athlete.

  • 4-18-08 (19:32)

  • luc richard mbah a moute decided to declare for the draft along with westbrook and love. collison is likely to join them as well. so, it looks like shipp will be back next year, but other than that the ucla men's basketball team will be filled with new guys. should be interesting to see how they do. it's been a good ride and we have a couple good guys on the bench so i'm sure they'll be competitive, but they have to be underdogs at this point for another final four appearance.
  • it's no surprise to me, but some in the media may be surprised to see that mark sanchez is #1 on the depth chart for trojans qb next season.
  • looking forward to the nba playoffs, but i wish they were shorter. 3 games in the first round, 5 in the next, 7 from there on.
  • yay for weekends. probably will go into the alumni house, but just for a short time.
  • finally tracked down that publisher and got my travel book replaced.
  • an observation: 2 (graduate, die hard) of my top 3 films begin with a plane landing in los angeles. and the third (planes, trains, and automobiles) has "planes" as the first word in the title and has a sound of a plane landing when the title scrolls across the screen.

  • 4-16-08 (21:53)

  • jules dassin died a couple weeks ago. not sure why i didn't hear about that one earlier. he was one of the greats. a poster of night and the city hangs above my computer; that's probably my favorite of his films.
  • missed the debate tonight.

  • 4-14-08 (22:09)

  • busy lately.
  • worked on a carpentry project with meryl for her ceramics class. changed the oil on her car. flushed the coolant system on mine. still haven't had time to look at the sunroof issue.
  • allergies are killing me.
  • finally got a skil saw. one of these days i'll get a table saw, a compound miter saw, and a compressor and i'll be a real carpenter. biggest problem with getting those three tools, though, isn't the money, it's the space.

  • 4-9-08 (18:03)

  • saw a good one at the key shack today: "hire a teenager while they still know it all."

  • 4-6-08 (09:28)

  • pretty depressed about the ucla game. they always have tough times against big, athletic teams. it's not that they're not athletic, but they're not very big and that poses problems for them. the two teams i feared them playing the most in that regard were kansas and memphis. north carolina i feared for other reasons, but i felt they were most vulnerable to memphis and kansas.
  • friday i worked on getting about 100 cases of wine to ucb's charter gala. it's a big (over 1,000 people) dinner event they have once a year. i think they reveal the alumni of the year and they generally talk about how great the university is while getting totally sloshed. today i have to go back out to san francisco and bring back all the leftover wine. i've gotten used to working on the weekends lately and that's lame. work on the basement renovation still isn't done. everything takes so long and there are other things i have to work on at the same time so that slows me down as well. blah.

  • 4-2-08 (13:20)

  • digging the new autechre album.
  • the final four is boring in that it's only #1 seeds, but it's exciting in that i expect both matchups to hard fought.
  • had the last two days off, been trying to catch up on errands and whatnot. had planned on flushing the coolant on the camry, but i don't have any containers for the leftovers so that'll have to wait. sunroof stopped working the other day, not sure why. had to replace the fuse for the cigarette lighter/clock because we were running the computer off it through an inverter for too long. i'm sure the sunroof has something to do with that, but i haven't found the culprit yet.
  • took the bug out for a spin yesterday. it's sluggish in first and second gear. something must be wrong with the carb, though i'm pretty sure i got it tuned correctly. hooked up my tach/dwell meter and it's running at about 850-900 rpm and i think the mixture is at least close to where it needs to be. can't say that i'm a fan of carburetors.
  • on our central california trip we bought a moon brand guide to northern california. we subsequently discovered that 50 pages were missing, but we don't have the receipt for the book anymore and other stores we've been to don't seem to have the same book in stock so we can't do a buy and return. moon is located in emeryville so i went there today, but they moved. called 411 (waste of 50 cents) and they didn't have a listing. google shows them as a subsidiary of some other company now and located in berkeley. called and no answer. will stop by next time i have weekday off, maybe even later today depending upon how lazy i am. sons of bitches.
  • had my first plumbing class yesterday. teacher isn't as cool, but he'll do.
  • had planned on contesting a parking citation with the city of berkeley, but it looks like i'm out of luck. the code reads: "When authorized signs, parking meters, pay-and-display stations or curb markings are in place giving notice of parking time limits of two hours, it is unlawful for the operator of any vehicle to stop, stand or park said vehicle within the City between the hours of nine a.m. and six p.m. of any day except Sundays for a period of time longer than two hours adjacent to any such legible curb markings, sign, parking meter or pay-and-display station in violation thereof. Such parking time limit shall be applicable for the total time period parked within one or more designated parking spaces of street frontage between intersecting streets." so far as i can decipher that means that you can't park on the block for more than two hours, period. it doesn't matter if you move the car and find another spot on the same block. you're allowed 2 hours per day per block. pretty fucked.

  • did write the city of oakland a letter about the shitty traffic and pothole situation in our area. we'll see how that goes.

    3-30-08 (19:46)

  • the second half of the ucla game was the first time in the tourney that ucla played really well. i feel sorry for any team that has to face them if all their players are playing well at the same time. unfortunately for ucla, that hardly ever happens. shipp is still in his slump, mbah a moute finally had a good game yesterday and westbrook has been mostly average. the bench didn't play all that well yesterday either, but i guess they didn't have to. i think memphis might be too big and athletic for ucla, but ucla definitely has a chance and they're one of the toughest sports teams i've ever seen.
  • pickles a scam. how many people actually enjoy the pickle on the side of their turkey sandwich or the sliced pickles on a hamburger? what a waste.
  • went to (new) idria [also visit here] this weekend. left saturday after meryl got off of work (it was her first day working for the a's as an intern). got to idria late and didn't end up at the blm site that we had intended because of a wrong turn. ended up sleeping on the side of the road at a turn out several miles away from idria. went back there in the morning (today) and got to see the town in the light of day. definitely a ghost town, though not as eerie during the day as it was when we first saw it at night. there are "keep out" signs all over the place, but that didn't stop us from exploring. i think the pictures will tell a better story than i could, they're below. we tried to make it on a 13 mile road that connect idria to coalinga rd. which runs into the blm site that we had planned on camping at, but this was impassable to cars (though that didn't stop us from trying). later we talked with a couple of locals on motorbikes and they said that even jeeps couldn't make it through that road sometimes.
  • overall it was a great little trip and an interesting town to visit. hopefully it'll be a historic site at some point.

  • the town was abandoned in 1972

    this is the rotary furnace building

    this appeared to be a general store. the crap splattered on the walls was probably ketchup or salad dressing which filled the shelves to the left and right of this picture

    this is part of the rotary furnace building

    a treacherous stairway adjacent to the rotary furnace building

    taken above the rotary furnace building where employees likely lived/ate. most of the earth here was an orange-ish color.

    3-24-08 (23:05)

  • i've become an ikea expert over the course of the last week. spent over $5k there last week, assembled furniture for about 5 hours on saturday and another 4 hours or so today. went there another two times today; even had lunch there. hopefully i'll be done with the ikea furniture assembling project by this time next week.
  • josh shipp needs to break out of his slump, it's killing ucla. his shot block at the end of the last game was redemption for that game, but the competition gets tougher every game so he needs to snap out of it.
  • latest proposed waste of money at the alumni house is the transome window project. we had one carpenter come in and bid the project and he said that transome windows would be difficult to impossible in the space we wanted so he suggested a metal mesh or lexan window alternative. the metal mesh bid came in at over $3k. we got another quote last week because the suits at the alumni office don't want to spend that much money. the only thing the new guy could do for anywhere near $2k would be simply nailing up a couple sheets of plywood for about 80% of the 40 foot stretch with the remaining 20% to be covered by a metal mesh to allow for some airflow. in looking at the bid sheet i found some laughable elements: $300 to paint the plywood (we're talking three 4x8 sheets at the most, we have the paint so they wouldn't have to buy that, and it wouldn't take much more than 3 hours to paint for anyone who knows what they hell they're doing. last time i checked painters don't make anywhere near $100/hour), $1400 for the carpentry (it's a one day job for two guys, easy), $400 for materials (admittedly i don't know how much the metal mesh is, but you're talking less than a 2x6 foot piece so it can't be that much. a sheet of ac plywood costs $31 [i double checked today] and they wouldn't need more than 2 or 3 sheets), $50 for "equipment" (not sure what the hell that is, but it's probably bullshit), $30 for removal of debris (this one is actually the most reasonable, the dump will probably charge about half that, but you have to figure the labor/gas to haul it there), and the final line was the "overhead/profit" listed at a paltry $300 (yeah right). i guess we all have to make a living.

  • 3-23-08 (17:18)

  • i check out the home repair newsgroups from time to time and found this one. the subject heading was "small hole in my roof"
  • "I have a small hole in my roof.  My father said it was probably caused by a small piece of a falling meteor or a piece of that destroyed satalite tv the government blew up in space a couple weeks ago.  I guess the cause of the hole dont really matter.  The thing is the hole is about the size of a penny and water drips in the kitchen sealing when it rains and sometimes when its not raining.  I called True Value Hardware and did not get any help because the guy was some kind of pervert.  He told me to buy a cocking gun and put a little cock in it. I'm not sure what a cocking gun is, but it sounds dangerous and I dont allow guns in my house.  And I dont have a "little" cock, I have a big one and it's too big to fit in the hole.  What can I use to fix this hole? - The Family Guy 1944"
  • davidson is looking good. that curry kid is something else. pure shooter and has some good moves. needs to bulk up, but could be a kevin martin type player in the nba.

  • 3-22-08 (22:53)

  • stanford barely escaped thanks to brook lopez's great shot. ucla also escaped a close one. shipp had zero points, but the game winning block so all is well in bruin country. great couple games. duke fell which is also nice, but hurts my bracket a bit. doesn't get much better than march madness. cal is up against ohio state on monday in the n.i.t. arizona state plays the evil empire (florida) on tuesday or wednesday, also in the n.i.t.

  • 3-21-08 (09:50)

  • confirmed that mississippi valley state had the fewest points in ncaa history (during the shot clock era). they said that "mississippi state setting a record for fewest point in a game..." i think they should have said "ucla set a record for allowing the fewest points in a game..." not only is it a nod to the excellent defense, it's also a more positive way of looking at it (great defense, as opposed to awful offense). gotta stay positive.
  • i don't think there has been any point in the last year that i haven't had a scab, scar, or burn on my arms or legs. construction is a bloody field.

  • 3-20-08 (22:56)

  • decent first day of march madness. usc was disappointing, didn't know that they had such a tough time rebounding. that was the entire difference of the game. if they had gotten half as many offensive rebounds vs. ksu then they would have won the game. ksu had something like a 20-5 offensive rebound advantage; that's just silly.
  • ucla looked impressive during the parts of that game that i saw. unfortunately it was such a blowout that they didn't show much of the game. my dad was there, though, so i'll get the full report from him later i'm sure. they allowed just 29 points, i think that's the lowest since the advent of the shot clock.
  • arizona lost, that was predictable. pac-10 looked either really great or bad today. stanford, ucla, and wash state all had big wins and arizona and usc lost.
  • duke looked like crap. they're overrated, but i think they have a somewhat easy road to the sweet 16/elite 8 so i think picked them to get to the final 8 and then lose to ucla.
  • my electrical class is done. will hopefully add the plumbing class next week when that one starts.

  • 3-18-08 (22:04)

  • been real busy lately with work and whatnot. worked until 1:30am on sunday and 9:30pm on saturday; about 20 hours in total. good news is that i got all three rooms painted (meryl helped for about 2 hours on saturday which was nice) and prepped for the carpet. that went in yesterday and the transformation is rewarding. had to trim a couple doors because the padding/carpet made them drag, installed some door stops, etc. going to ikea tomorrow to buy about $6500 worth of furniture which i will assemble and put in place over the course of the next week. the best part of the renovation so far was the installation of some conduit which added a receptacle to a wall which previously had none. this was bid at $1200 by a contractor. including a conduit bender, all the materials, and my labor it cost less than $200 to do it myself. did it to the same specs (3/4" emt, compression fittings, #12 awg thhn) for more than $1000 less. pretty sweet.
  • also did a minor electrical repair for jon and monique. electrical work is pretty fun, but i think i still prefer carpentry.
  • haven't seen any movies lately, hope to remedy that tonight with a late screening of dirty mary, crazy larry. 70s car chase movie (ala two lane blacktop and vanishing point). yay.

  • 3-12-08 (23:01)

  • pretty lame day overall.
  • next couple weeks will be more busy than usual. might end up working every from now to the end of the month. just depends upon how things go with the carpet installation, painting, conduit running, workstation building, and phone line installation at the alumni house. i'm saving them about $1000 by doing the electrical myself, probably more by doing the painting. it's funny, though, because the alumni association has so much money they probably don't even give a shit. the executive director constantly claims that they're a "world class" business, but i don't see it.
  • as of today these are the best picture winners i've yet to see. most are available on dvd and i can always goto reel on shattuck for the ones that aren't. i plan on watching them all by the end of the year. i may have seen the olivier version of hamlet, but i'm not certain (i know i own it though). i saw chariots of fire once, but was nodding off while watching it so i figured i should watch it again. saw the first part of last emperor when it came out. haven't seen the others. also own "you can't take it with you" but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  • wings
    broadway melody
    great ziegfeld
    you can’t take it with you
    mrs. miniver
    going my way
    greatest show on earth
    around the world in 80 days
    tom jones
    a man for all seasons
    chariots of fire
    terms of endearment
    out of africa
    last emperor
    driving miss daisy
    english patient
    a beautiful mind

    3-11-08 (13:09)

  • couldn't sleep last night because i kept thinking about bending conduit for an electrical project i'm going to do as part of the basement renovation at the alumni house. something about electrical work that sticks in my brain more than other work. it's very strange.

  • 3-9-08 (22:38)

  • my future retirement home.
  • top 9 tv programs off the top of my head:
  • seinfeld, this old house, simpsons, twilight zone (original), south park, west wing, sopranos, family guy, star trek (original).

  • 3-8-08 (17:36)

  • ho hum, another day, another great ucla game. this time they played the other northern california basketball team in the cal bears. the bears lead about 39 minutes and 40 seconds of the game, unfortunately for them, only the final score matters. josh shipp's circus shot behind the backboard was amazingly lucky. the last two games could be seen as a good sign (they're able to win in spite of playing subpar games and they can come from behind, which shows a lot of mental/physical toughness) or a bad sign (they tend to fall behind big and that'll catch up with them in the tourney when they play better teams). at any rate, the game was another ucla classic. hopefully they learn from the mistakes they made rather than assuming all is well because of the outcome.
  • tuned up the bug a little today and it seems to run pretty well. will probably do some oil changes for our cars tomorrow. went to don's house today because he and a friend were pulling a camry engine. never been around when that was happening so it was cool to see how everything goes together and relates to the other parts of the car.

  • 3-6-08 (23:24)

  • great ucla/stanford game tonight. ucla just hung around all game after trailing from 4-2 onwards. tied it up at the end and went to ot. ended up winning by 10. vintage ucla basketball under ben howland - trail most of the game, come back and make it interesting. they did it against gonzaga, mich state, texas (lost by 1), stanford, etc. i love this team.
  • alumni house work is going to get crazy in a couple weeks. carpet goes in on the 17th and i have to clear the room out, paint it, remove a temporary wall, run some electrical conduit for a new outlet, etc. definitely going to be busy this month.

  • 3-3-08 (22:58)

  • installed the new carb on the bug. need to tune it, but that'll have to wait until next weekend when i have for myself again. though i'll probably work on saturday, so maybe it'll happen sunday. can't wait till the leap forward with the daylight savings time change. extending the time that we have more daylight is literally the best thing that bush has done while in office.
  • won the academy awards prediction contest i entered. i didn't honestly think that 17/24 was good enough to win, but apparently it was. i won a $200 membership to a marin-based film institute. it's rare that i win anything as a result of luck and/or skill.
  • work at the alumni house should be ramping up in a week or so. we've finally got a plan and the go ahead so the moving of offices and installation of carpet, new phone lines, transom windows, new furniture (which i still need to order) and painting of basement will take place within the month. means i'll be busy this month. plus there's march madness and a new class at laney starts on april 2nd. it's full right now, but i'm going to see if i can add it anyway.

  • 3-2-08 (10:58)

  • i think it's funny how people of different beliefs always use the same fear tactic of the world ending to make others believe whatever it is they're selling. whether it's crazy fundamentalists who claim that jesus is coming or environmentalists who say the world is going to be under water if we don't stop driving cars...they all have grand visions of the end of the world and they all think it's our fault. wonder what joseph campbell would say about it. it seems as ubiquitous as the martyr hero.

  • 3-1-08 (21:40)

  • article below is interesting. it's about a film critic who watches a few classics that, for one bogus reason or another, he hasn't gotten around to seeing before. in the end i was left with the feeling that lasalle essentially didn't learn anything from watching the films. he basically just took the attitude that he's a big shot reviewer and that all the classics he watched weren't worthy of watching for one reason or another anyway. either he had seen all the good parts or he was too busy to watch them or they're overrated or they're good technically, but not really worthy of liking, etc. whatever. it's your job to have seen these films and you didn't do your job. you're a 48 year old film critic/film teacher and you've never seen blade runner, 2001, and to kill a mockingbird? pathetic. to make it worse he once taught at uc berkeley only to become a teacher at stanfurd. what a douche. i'm not a film teacher or film critic yet i've made it a point to seek out films like cabaret because i want to see all the classics and supposed greats. i'd like to think that if it were my job i'd make an even greater effort than i currently do.
  • Sunday, February 24, 2008 (SF Chronicle)

  • Film critic sees classics for the first time
    Mick LaSalle
       No film critic has seen everything, and all film critics have famous
    classic movies that they have yet to see. I know one major film critic,
    for example, who has never seen "Citizen Kane." But this one critic (who
    shall also remain both nameless and genderless) would never say this
    publicly or admit this, except to close friends. You can imagine that when
    "Citizen Kane" comes up this critic just smiles and nods and waits for a
    chance to change the subject.
       There's good reason to change the subject: Even though people know
    intellectually that it's impossible for any critic to have seen
    everything, they do expect critics to have seen everything they've seen,
    and they tend to get annoyed when they find out otherwise. Recently, I got
    a bucket of mail when I mentioned never having seen "An Affair to
    Remember." Some people were actually angry about it.
       That's what prompted the concept for this article. I figured I'd pick five
    famous classics that I haven't seen (or have seen only in small parts) and
    watch them, and then write about the experience. In the process, I'd have
    an excuse to see "Blade Runner," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Young
    Frankenstein," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and, of course, "An Affair to
       Before talking about these individual movies, I should answer an obvious
    question: How is it possible for a film critic not see "Citizen Kane" or,
    for that matter, "To Kill a Mockingbird"? From an outsider's perspective,
    it just doesn't make sense. So let me explain.
       Film critics see a lot of movies. But most film critics actually like
    movies, so that's not so bad. In my leisure hours, I often watch movies,
    but those leisure hours are precious, so when I do watch a movie, it has
    to be something I really want to see. There are plenty of classics that I
    want to see, plenty that I'm excited to see, but then there are titles
    that seem merely obligatory - and it's very easy to postpone seeing the
    obligatory ones, and to keep postponing them indefinitely.
       Also, especially if you're a critic, there are some titles that you will
    have heard so much about that you feel as if you've seen them already.
    Some have been anthologized in documentaries, so that you've seen the key
    scenes. To sit through them feels like going through the motions.
       There's another thing. Everyone who watches movies prefers one genre or
    actor over another. Critics are no different, but just in the course of
    doing our work, we end up seeing movies in all genres. I'm not
    particularly fond of action movies, but I've given lots of good reviews to
    action movies, simply because I can tell a good one from a bad one. But
    that doesn't mean that, in my leisure time, I'd put on a "Stone Cold"
    Steve Austin picture. Likewise, if science fiction isn't a favorite, you
    could easily end up going years before strapping yourself into a seat to
    sit through "2001: A Space Odyssey" - especially if you've been warned by
    just about everyone (including people who like it) that it's the most
    boring movie on earth.
       What follows are impressions of five classics I watched as part of my
    self-imposed film festival:
       "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962): This one surprised me. Over the years,
    I've become familiar with many of the good moments contained in this film,
    and I thought I knew what to expect. I didn't. First, I didn't realize
    that the movie is entirely seen through the eyes of the three children,
    particularly Scout (Mary Badham), which presents a problem. Much of the
    first hour is taken up with the kids' fascination and fear of their
    mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, in his first film role).
    Maybe this played as exciting in 1962, but today that whole section drags
    and drags.
       The movie's real interest surrounds the trial in which Scout's father,
    Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), defends a black man (Brock Peters) on a
    bogus rape charge. That begins a full 67 minutes into the film. It's where
    one might expect the movie to turn into a searing courtroom drama, but the
    energy remains low-key. Most surprisingly, Finch's summation to the jury
    is fairly limp. Considering that he is addressing 12 Southern racists in
    1932, you'd think he might pull out the stops and try to shame them into
    doing the right thing, through every possible rhetorical means. Instead,
    he just stands there and more or less invites these dirt-poor knuckleheads
    to join him on his lofty moral plane. I knew that wouldn't work before the
    jury came in. Throughout, Peck is just great at projecting moral decency,
    but in the emotional moments his acting is less convincing.
       Finally, the reversal at the end, involving Boo Radley, is too pat, and
    the atmosphere of emotional uplift feels misplaced. Sure, it's nice that
    Boo is in some way redeemed, but by the end everyone seems to have
    forgotten that an innocent man is dead because of some evil woman's
    accusation and the racist complicity of the community. Certainly, the
    death of this black man doesn't seem to have had a long-term affect on any
    white person's mood.
       The redemption of Boo Radley is meant to imply that there may be some hope
    for the community, but in a movie that turns on racism, the redemption of
    a white man hardly feels like a fitting climax. If you really look at it,
    "To Kill a Mockingbird" is saying that in this community the biggest
    weirdo can find peace, even if he's guilty of manslaughter, as long as
    he's white. But a hardworking, decent, law-abiding, intelligent black man
    stands a good chance of ending up dead ... but that's OK, because Boo
    Radley has made friends with Scout. Huh?
       "To Kill a Mockingbird" strikes me as a movie classic that has outlived
    its shelf life and is maintaining its classic status based on false memory
    and reputation.
       "Young Frankenstein" (1974): As is typical of Mel Brooks, this movie is a
    mix of dumb jokes that aren't funny, dumb jokes that are funny and
    brilliant, inspired bits that are classic and nothing can diminish them.
    The "Puttin' on the Ritz" number, the scene between the Monster (Peter
    Boyle) and the blind man (Gene Hackman) and just about any scene featuring
    Madeline Kahn are all hysterical - and, of course, I'd seen all of them
    before, in documentaries, on YouTube, everywhere. Watching the actual
    movie straight through was amusing, though hardly necessary. Somehow
    everything good about the movie has entered the culture, including the
    horses squealing at the name "Frau Blucher."
       "An Affair to Remember" (1957): I liked this a lot more than I thought I
    would, and it was not quite the sappy indulgence that I expected. I
    thoroughly enjoyed the first hour, in which Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
    meet on a ship, and I thought the scenes with the grandmother, played by
    Cathleen Nesbitt were genuinely touching - and I could see how that visit
    could become the catalyst for a romance. Unfortunately, the movie struck
    me as an 85-minute feature that insisted on being 114 minutes long, and so
    roughly the last half has a stretched-out feeling, and some of the ways in
    which it's stretched are ridiculous (unnecessary musical interludes, for
    example). And yet, despite these flaws, the desire to see the two
    protagonists get together, as well as our belief in them and their needs
    as people, remains undiminished. All in all, it's a good movie, and I'm
    glad I saw it.
       "Blade Runner" (1982): I never saw "Blade Runner" when it was in theaters
    because I wasn't much of a sci-fi fan, and I didn't see it later because I
    didn't know what version to see. Having consulted aficionados, I decided
    to watch the latest version, which people tell me is the best. It's an
    excellent movie, and if I were reviewing it I'd have to give it the
    highest rating. At the same time, it's not what I look for in
    entertainment, and I didn't particularly enjoy it so much as
    intellectually appreciate its virtues. It's eerie, beautiful to behold and
    an impressively realized imaginative universe.
       "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968): Stanley Kubrick's compositions have a
    fascination in themselves, and there's something to be said for the
    movie's adventurous subject matter and its vision of the future. It's
    worth remembering that the film was made a year before the first moon
    landing. But having said all that, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is virtually
    unwatchable, a boring, impenetrable experience that I'm glad to finally
    have behind me.

    2-29-08 (22:48)

  • asked my dad for a list of films everyone should see before they die. he asked me for the same and here's what i came up with. tried to do it off the top of my head.
  • here's the 100 films every american film lover should see before they die:

  • die hard
    citizen kane
    hoop dreams
    paths of glory
    wild bunch
    godfather I and II
    10. man with a movie camera
    seven samurai
    taxi driver
    wizard of oz
    i am a fugitive from a chain gang
    grapes of wrath
    man who shot liberty valance
    far country
    20. shane
    night of the living dead
    evil dead
    princess bride
    north by northwest
    it's a wonderful life
    good, bad, ugly
    it happened one night
    one flew over the cuckoo's nest
    30. duck soup
    modern times
    in the heat of the night
    cool hand luke
    sunset blvd.
    uncle buck
    battleship potemkin
    40. rio bravo
    dr. strangelove
    star wars
    texas chainsaw massacre
    annie hall
    nanook of the north
    taste of cherry
    road warrior
    50. double indemnity
    to have and have not
    big sleep
    planes, trains, automobiles
    la strada
    fog of war
    60. master of the flying guillotine
    battle of algiers
    band of outsiders
    bonnie and clyde
    white heat
    great escape
    day the earth stood still
    70. night of the hunter
    hunchback of notre dame
    on the waterfront
    crimes and misdemeanors
    mr. deeds goes to town
    grave of the fireflies
    pulp fiction
    easy rider
    blair witch project
    80. saving private ryan
    los olvidados
    bloodsucking freaks
    do the right thing
    music man
    schindler's list
    apu trilogy
    das boot
    90. best years of our lives
    willy wonka and the chocolate factory
    a christmas story
    wild strawberries
    dark days
    menace II society
    malcolm x
    imitation of life
    boogie nights
    100. killing
    101. kanto wanderer!

    2-29-08 (15:52)

  • love the picture and the list. haven't seen three of them, they will enter my netlfix queue shortly.

  • Adam Yauch is a founding member of the Beastie Boys. Recently he created a new division of his company Oscilloscope Laboratories called Oscilloscope Pictures (oscilloscopepictures.com) for the sole purpose of distributing films. He even hired two guys from ThinkFilm to come over to his new company. At first we were a little concerned that Adam intended to compete with Criterion, but then we thought it over and, honestly, we have been doing this for a long time and are not threatened by Adam’s new company. The groundbreaking DVD The Beastie Boys Video Anthology is currently available from the Criterion Collection. So right there that proves we have the upper hand.

    1. Seven Samurai
    C’mon, I gotta tell why this movie is good? You tell me!
    2. Walkabout
    Saw this one when I was in junior high school and it stayed with me. Glad to see it in the collection.
    3. Nights of Cabiria
    I don’t know what to write. I just love this movie.
    4. Yojimbo
    I guess you have figured out by now that I am really not going to review any of the films that I picked.
    5. Sanjuro
    But I do like the folks up at the Criterion Collection. Those are my people up in there.
    6. Rushmore
    They are a really great team that’s into some bugged-out, esoteric shit.
    7. And God Created Woman
    Peter is like the bigwig. He’s the head honcho.
    8. The Harder They Come
    Susan has her ear to the street. She always looks for some interesting stuff to put out.
    9. Rashomon
    When I was hanging out up there Heather was working on the audio. But now she switched over to some other department.
    10. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    Sometimes I get free DVDs from Criterion, but not always. I wanted to get one of each, you know, like the whole collection, but they said, “No, Adam, we don’t do that.”

    2-26-08 (00:33)

  • one of my favorite pastimes is watching crappy infomercials. they're hilarious. they always have the same formula: the woman, who is usually the skeptic, and the high energy man, who is usually the salesman. of course their sales techniques are all the same as well. the infamous "but wait, there's more" line is a classic, but there are the old standbys like "order now and you'll get a flimsy chinese multitool for free (you just pay shipping and handling)" and "you would expect to pay $500 for this wonderful item that, incidentally, will make your life easier while making you look sexy, thin, young, and virile, but with this special tv offer you won't pay $500 or even $400 or even $369, you'll pay just 9 easy payments of $39.95!"
  • of the 80 best picture winners in the history of the academy awards i haven't seen 23, though i've seen at least parts of 3 of those. that'll be this year's goal. shouldn't be that tough.

  • 2-25-08 (19:09)
    i didn't take this one. it's called the shoe tree and it's in san diego.

    2-24-08 (21:35)

  • updated my academy awards page again, this time with a recap. i went 17/24 which was better than last year. i'm sure someone could come up with a computer program that compiled the prognostication of the nation's critics and figure out which nominees were most likely to win. you could probably get it good enough to guess all but one or two correctly.
  • found a shitty house (probably in a shitty neighborhood) which has 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and 2,400 sq. feet for under $200k.
  • they should have a version of habitat for humanity that, rather than building new homes for new homeowners, works on refurbishing rundown homes in poor neighborhoods. it would work with community members to refurbish homes with the help of the homeowners in an effort to bring the land values of an entire neighborhood upward. when you drive through bad neighborhoods it's sad that they don't even care enough to take care of their homes. cheap, easy fixes like painting, landscaping, and cleaning go undone because homeowners don't see the point or don't have pride or don't have the expertise. i refuse to believe that easy fixes like these are an issue of money. it's easy enough to split costs with a neighbor on painting supplies, a shovel, a pruner, and a garden hose. a program that goes into the streets to bring tools and expertise to people might be enough to give them the initiative to care more about their community.
  • "some democrats call him the spoiler. will ralph nader's latest run at the white house disrupt this year's presidential campaign?" that was the lead in to the local news tonight at 10. if i taught a poli sci class i'd play that clip and ask the class what was wrong with that question.

  • 2-24-08 (17:52)

  • "paul pierce, 30 points. pierce worked (the) portland (trailblazers) like a part-time job. that jumper - wet." that quote was from some guy doing an update on espn about the celtics/blazers game. what the hell was he saying? "working portland like a part-time job," huh? "that jumper - wet," huh? what do those things mean? espn tries so hard to be hip trendsetters. whatever.
  • updated my academy awards page. saw atonement this afternoon.
  • started looking into buying a house today. not really sure how much money you need, and i probably don't have it anyway, but i figured it wouldn't hurt. even if i had to go into debt a lot i think it would be worth it because of the back end money i'd likely get and the experience it would bring as a contractor. i've come to think that the best way to learn the trade is on your own house where you can do whatever you want without having to have a license to work on the place. you can work on it on your own schedule and any improvements benefit you and no one else.

  • 2-24-08 (10:51)

  • good draft year for running backs. mendenhall, hart, stewart, forsett, rice, etc. could all be good. i don't think much of the overhyped mcfadden, but there are a lot of good, prototypical running backs who should have some good years in the nfl. desean jackson is ranked highly amongst wide receivers. i think he's a good athlete, but when i saw cal play i thought that hawkins was more consistent and had a more nfl-ready body. the combine is fun because everyone gets to be a talent scout.
  • got a new milwaukee hammer drill and impact driver yesterday. pretty happy with the purchase. my other drill had a bad battery and didn't have much power in general. this one also comes with the hammer feature which will come in handy when drilling into masonry.
  • people have said that the presidential race right now is one of the most exciting in years. it really isn't for me because i already know who i'm voting for and none of the horse-race politics appeals to me. nader is running. it's pretty exciting to be able to say that i respect and agree with the person i'm planning on voting for. i have no qualms about his record, on the decisions he's made and the stances he's taken. the whole idea behind democracy is that people get to hold their representatives accountable when they don't reflect their morals, values, etc. unfortunately, people would rather sacrifice their values and vote for a compromise - "the lesser of two evils" or (if you ask me) "the evil of two lessers." nader's right: america voted for the dems to turn the country around after 6 years of bush and they failed us. congress holds the purse strings yet they continued to fund iraq and refused to balance the budget. immunity to corporations that aided gov't wiretapping, tax cuts for the rich, prescription drug programs that don't make sense, a lack of a reasonable energy and environmental policy....the green party is the party of the left, but leftists are afraid to recognize this fact; it's actually rather depressing.

  • 2-22-08 (18:33)

  • people don't fix things anymore, they just replace them. a generalization, of course, but i think it's accurate of our society. if something doesn't work properly or doesn't have a desired feature we throw it away and buy one that does work or does have what we want. barring that, we just deal with it the way it is. usually, though, a little intelligence and effort can solve the problem and you'll feel better about yourself in the process. i'm all about fixing things and manipulating things to fit my needs/wants. from bigger projects like replacing a radiator or building custom furniture to smaller projects like shortening the length of the cord on my hooded sweatshirt (those long strings are always in the way when i'm working). this is one of the great things that separate humans from the rest of the animals - the ability to manipulate our environment. of course, we've taken it too far in many ways, but i think that the core principle is a good one.

  • 2-20-08 (09:21)

  • no work until noon today. good opportunity to catch up on chores.

  • 2-19-08 (21:12)

  • eneloop rechargeable batteries are pretty sweet.
  • wish i was wealthy so i could just work on my house and travel all the time.

  • 2-18-08 (16:44)

  • went on a road trip with meryl this weekend. we visited a bunch of central california towns/cities as well as kings canyon/sequoia national parks. it was a mixed bag overall, but it was a good time.
  • started the trip on saturday morning and drove to stockton. we both thought that the downtown had potential (including some nice, old [mid-1800s] brick buildings), it just needs more development. the university of pacific campus is very nice, but small. much of the rest of the city is on the run down side. at one point we were on the north end of town and we saw two prostitutes on the street corner in front of a motel. it was 11 am.
  • after stockton we went to modesto and merced. modesto is a fine enough city to visit. we went to the mchenry museum which features an array of state and local history exhibits. it was a surprisingly interesting and well-managed place. down the block is the mchenry mansion which was closed at the time, but looking at the exterior was good enough. it's an ornately decorated building which makes you wonder what happened to craftsmanship.
  • merced wasn't much of a stop. the primary reason for visiting the town was to see the newest addition to the UC family. it was underwhelming because of its surprising remoteness and small size. there are currently only 1,871 students and it's evident when you drive up to the campus. it made us wonder about the campus experience because it's such a small school in the middle of nowhere. with time i'm sure that businesses will get closer to the university, but as it stands now, there are only homes and a park nearby. the closest business that we could locate was a 15 minute drive away on backcountry roads.
  • after merced we drove into fresno. we had hoped to visit the underground gardens (it's been a long time since i've gone, and meryl's never been...), but discovered that they were closed until easter. we drove around fresno quite a bit, visiting my grandmother's old home, my dad's high school, and just cruising the town in general. fresno is like a lot of other central california towns: sprawling. all these have potential on some level or another, but it seems that they haven't planned growth very well and they all have poverty probably associated with the labor force that inhabits them: largely immigrant farmers. these towns get derided quite a bit by other californians, and there is certainly fodder for mockery, but i don't think any of them are all that bad.
  • we slept in fresno after watching a couple movies. we slept in the car and were awoken by some asshole kid and his friends who decided to kick the driver's side door, presumably to wake us up. sleeping in the car is never fulfilling, but it was even less so when i had to think about the possibility of drunks coming back to harass us in the middle of the night. we hadn't even found a spot to sleep until 2am (because our campsite fell through and motels were either booked up or too expensive), so any further sleeping problems were even less welcome than usual.
  • after leaving fresno we made our way to sequoia and kings canyon national park. we bought our annual national parks pass and visited the grove of giant sequoias which houses general sherman - the giant sequoia which i've heard is the largest living thing on earth, possibly ever. they say that blue whales are the largest living animals ever, but i don't know if they have any definitive knowledge of ancient trees and their size. at any rate, it's a big tree. in 2006 the tree's largest branch fell, which means that somewhere i have a picture of the tree with the branch and now i have one without it.
  • we visited a couple other small towns along the way back home, including hanford which is home of superior dairy products. it's a 50s style business that specializes in ice cream. their ice cream is good, but not amazing. their menu only has ice cream related dishes and a few sandwiches. if i owned the place i'd install a grill and deep fryer so burgers and fries would be an option.
  • on our way back home we found an interesting spot on the map between coalinga and idria. there's an asbestos hazard area which only has one road that goes near it. looking at another map we noticed that idria was called new idria and the asbestos hazard area wasn't marked. what had happened between the publishing of the two maps? on a whim, we decided to visit it. we set out for idria as best as we could tell from the maps we had. it was dark and it started to get scary because of the mysterious differences in the map and lack of markings on the road. it didn't help, either, that i chose to talk to meryl about texas chainsaw massacre, blair witch project, deliverance, wrong turn, and other applicable horror films. we found a BLM site along the way that referenced the existence of asbestos, but we never found idria, or new idria. it wasn't until today, when we checked it out online, that we got the story. we plan on returning because i liked the BLM site and meryl wants to do her video project on the history of the town.
  • it's interesting to note the senate vote on immunity for corporations who assisted the government in wiretap surveillance. obama didn't want the companies to be immune and clinton didn't want to address the issue - she didn't vote. dodd, kerry, and biden also voted against immunity.

  • mchenry mansion

    UC merced

    sequoia national park

    2-10-08 (13:10)
  • busy as usual.
  • the bug isn't idling all that well. it wants to die if i don't give it gas. probably a tuning or carb issue. it does need a new carb so i'll probably just deal with it until that purchase is made. there's always something with that car.
  • went to the kings/warriors basketball game yesterday. good game overall, but didn't like the outcome. kings lost by 3. artest had a chance to tie it with a last second 3-pointer that clanked off the rim. john salmons looked real good. brad miller looked slow and inept. they should trade him and bibby. bibby's good and tough to replace, but he has good trade value. could get a first round pick and a solid bench player for him for the upcoming rebuilding.
  • there should be a forced turnovers stat in basketball. i'm sure that some stat group keeps track of this in some way, but it's not one of the established stats and it should be. a combination of steals, blocks, and tip aways that lead to turnovers would be a better indication of defensive ability than any of those individual stats taken separately.

  • 2-8-08 (21:42)

  • there's an eastern european adage that explains the difference between being rich and being poor: the rich man earns $1 and spends $.99. the poor man earns $1 and spends $1.01.

  • 2-6-08 (19:42)

  • something is wrong with the sports media when they have television coverage of high school sports and extensive coverage of high school recruiting. today a bunch of high schoolers signed their letter of intent for college football and that was televised as well. the whole thing is ridiculous. give them space and don't start the widespread hype until college. guys are always going to have hype at a young age on the neighborhood level, but making it national, systemic, and profitable crosses the line in my opinion. i also have to wonder about schools like alabama and florida state that get all these top recruits despite not being all that great. it's usually attributed to the coach and that's who should get the credit, but not in a positive way. guys like saban and bowden stink of corruption if you ask me. they're the kind of guys who probably arrange blowjobs for recruits and let their top players drive their hummer.
  • working early early tomorrow. blah.
  • cough still lingers. going to the doctor would set me back at least a week's salary so i won't go down that road unless this thing sticks around for more than a couple weeks.
  • will work on my academy award predictions this weekend.
  • next weekend we have a trip planned.

  • 2-4-08 (18:15)

  • there's not much in the world as good as a great, well-built tool. a pair of solid channellocks, for example, is positively inspiring. in a world full of cheap shit made in china, it's nice to have a good pair of craftsman linesman pliers or a purdy paint brush or a milwaukee sawzall.
  • the cold is still sticking around, pretty lame. i'm functional, but the cough lingers.

  • the super bowl was a classic. it just proves that nothing is ever as good or as bad as people think. i still think that offense was one of the best ever, but they got away from the run and they met a defense that learned from playing them before. a defense that attacked and had probably the best front four in the league. winning the battle up front gives you a lot of options and leverage. i wanted to see the perfect season for a few reasons, but i'm not too broken up about the outcome. seeing another manning with another super bowl was kind of like seeing another clinton win the presidency. blah.

    1-31-08 (22:22)

  • cal upset washington state today, big win for them and upsets the balance of the pac-10 a bit. ucla is still on top, but it gets a little less certain after that. kevin love is so good, but not nba ready. he needs more muscle and quickness. hopefully he sticks around another year.
  • looking forward to the super bowl.
  • it seems like i spend more time in life dealing with everyday minutae than i used to. took almost half an hour to mail three packages at the post office today. only one person working and the line was a dozen people long. and unlike conservatives, i don't think things would necessarily be better if the postal service was run for profit by some corporation. the fact is they have a monopoly and there are plenty of for-profit companies that are poorly run with awful customer service. what it comes down to is employing intelligent people who care about doing a good job and are held accountable, for better or worse.

  • 1-31-08 (14:22)

  • "busy, busy, busy." cat's cradle is one of my favorite books ever.
  • last weekend we drove to la to surprise my mom for her 50th birthday. it was a success. everyone was there and she was definitely surprised.
  • also visited john and the new baby. meryl and i made an alphabet block toy for her (pictured below). i've already come up with a few fixes for the next time we make one.
  • this cold has been as bad as any i've had in recent years. lame. worked two days this week. not sure about tomorrow.

  • 1-28-08 (13:00)
  • skipped work today because i'm sick. i hate being sick.

  • 1-24-08 (23:47)

  • lots to do these days, busy as usual.
  • haven't seen many movies lately, should get back on track soon though.

  • 1-20-08 (22:05)

  • the patriots have the best offense i've ever seen. not necessarily the best team, but the best offense. i think the 95 niners were as good a team as i remember.
  • too bad about the packers today; pretty disappointing outcome. i'll be rooting for the patriots since i want to see history and i also bet my dad $10 (in week 15) that the patriots would win the superbowl.
  • worked on the bug a bit today. got the radio hooked up somewhat properly for the first time in at least 7 years. as long as i can remember it was either hooked up directly to the battery or to the ignition switch. i hooked it up the kill switch so that it'll only go on when the ignition is turned on. next project is getting an antenna and glove compartment (the original lasted 40 years, despite being made of cardboard, but needs to be replaced). also want to get new seat belts since one doesn't work and the driver's belt isn't the retractable type. that last one will have to wait, though, because new belts are expensive and i'm broke.
  • did get paid recently from both my jobs so i'm actually not too bad off right now.

  • 1-19-08 (11:31)

  • yesterday i crossed the quarter million mile mark on the camry.
  • rewatching this year's rose bowl. it confirmed to me that illinois didn't take advantage of their opportunities or, conversely, usc did a good job of stepping up when they needed to. for example, the interception that illinois had in the first quarter led to great field position. usc stopped them from getting into the endzone and then illinois missed the field goal attempt. later, usc bumbled a punt attempt. illinois didn't recover the ball (which would have had them deep in usc territory), instead usc's punter (woidneck) was able to recover the ball and get a good punt out of it.

  • 1-18-08 (22:00)
  • got some scrilla (scratch, dough, moola [the other john muir always calls it dough, but anyway...]) today, so that's good.

  • 1-18-08 (20:11)

  • listening to the new justice album. the track "phantom" rips off a goblin song from argento's film "tenebre" aka "unsane." the original is better. the goblins were awesome.

  • 1-17-08 (20:42)

  • had my first class today. the teacher was very cool and down to earth; salt of the earth kind of guy. the class was diverse and fun. it seems like it'll be a good learning environment, nice and laid back, free-wheeling, but still productive. very much a community college experience, and that's a good thing.

  • 1-17-08 (14:06)

  • diy network opened a new season of this old house to syndication. never seen the east boston project so that's good news for me. unfortunately, i think diy edits aobut four minutes of the show and they put little plugs for their website over the guys' informal banter at the very end of the episode. bad taste on their part. i'd say that 50% of everything i know about construction has come from this old house. everything else has come from trial and error, reading, other diy-type shows, and people i've worked with/for.

  • 1-16-08 (23:06)

  • added meryl's picks to the top ten movies of the year.
  • long day at work. 246 boxes, each weighing 40 pounds were delivered to our offsite storage facility. i got a couple students and we loaded them off the truck and into the storage unit. that took a few hours and now the unit is completely full and most of the stuff is fairly inaccessible. not wise to order 8,000+ books if you ask me, especially considering how slowly they anticipate them selling, but no one asked me.
  • back hurts.
  • alumni house work has been decent lately. been busy and it's nice to set my own schedule. the tile work has been sporadic and starts at different times so there's no regularity whatsoever. definitely learn more in that job though.
  • starting class at laney college tomorrow. will learn about residential electrical. i'm weakest in electrical and the class should fix that for the low low cost of $2 in campus fees. being poor can sometimes get you great deals (like not having to pay the $30 class fee for this class). then again, i'd rather have to pay the $30 and have a house than vice versa.
  • i'm pretty settled on leaving california at some point. this state is great in a lot of ways, but is strictly for rich people and i'll never be one of those so i have to find a reasonable place outside of the state where i can settle down. i don't see friends or family much more than 10-12 times a year anyway so the drop off wouldn't actually be that severe if i flew out from kentucky or something once a year.

  • 1-15-08 (00:14)

  • joe ferrante died not too long ago. pretty sad. he was my kind of guy. the good news is that his brother and son will be carrying on the family business and will continue to work with tom silva and this old house.

  • 1-14-08 (17:55)

  • busy day at work, made the day go quickly.
  • i've got about 5 columbia house memberships going right now. if you play the system correctly and find the right online referral codes, then you can average $6 per dvd. first shipment brings 7 dvds for under $13, with 2 to buy at full price. fulfill your obligation with the cheapest possible dvds, cancel membership, repeat. i've done this about 30 times over the course of the last 12 years.

  • 1-12-08 (16:57)

  • packers game was fun to watch. if the patriots went 15-1, instead of 16-0 then i would have voted for mike mccarthy (packers coach) as the coach of the year; but belichick deserves it for the perfect season. green bay looks really solid right now; i'm rooting for them to go all the way.
  • the ucla/wsu game was good. #4 vs. #5 and ucla won. the final score (ucla winning by 7) is a bit deceiving because ucla led by 10-18 for most of the game. wsu made seven 3 pointers in the last 3-4 minutes to make it kinda close. kevin love had his best game of the year. westbrook continues to look very good coming off the bench. they have a legitimate chance this year.
  • went to work today for a couple hours. probably going to have work on saturday for the next few weeks because of various projects.

  • 1-12-08 (13:37)

  • russell westbrook's dunk vs. cal.

  • 1-11-08 (11:38)

  • now lou dobbs and others are saying sorry for getting the whole "obama's going to win, hillary doesn't have a chance" conclusion. duh. are there any smart people in the mainstream media keeping these assholes in check? i expected charlie rose to be more skeptical when his guest was giving obama the victory after iowa, but he failed.
  • thinking about a trip to alaska in 2009.

  • 1-8-08 (17:56)

  • can't wait to get paid. all the hours i put in at the alumni house over xmas break will be paid out on the 21st and i should be back on solid ground by that time.
  • too much to do, not enough time or money.

  • 1-7-08 (23:25)

  • pretty pathetic that everyone, from a guest on charlie rose (from newsweek) as well as guests on npr and even more widely seen pundits, are counting out clinton and edwards at this point. i like obama as much as any of the other democrats, but i think it's fucked up that the media is completely sold on two counter-productive ideas: 1) horse-race politics are the only thing worth reporting on, 2) after obama's surprise victory in the only state that has held any sort of election thus far, he is the shoo-in; no one else has a chance. what the fuck? one state, 200k+ democrats have voted and some polls in new hampshire have been taken and everyone is serious when they say that anyone not named obama is in serious trouble. in the next sentence the guy from newsweek who was on charlie rose's show said that it is encouraging to see that every vote counts in this election. huh? not even two states have cast their ballots and they're not all that indicative of the rest of the nation and he's already anointed obama the victor. so much for voting. so much for every vote counting. the pundits (and truth) show that the victor will be decided on or before "super tuesday" on feb. 5th, despite the fact that plenty of states vote after feb. 5th.

  • 1-6-8 (17:13)

  • had an eventful day today. saw the tail end of a car chase that ended in a shopping center across from a bart station in el cerrito. there was a chp helicopter, chp cars, and bart police cars as well. it was quite a production. didn't see anything too exciting, but we did see the cops scrambling around, presumably to seal off escape routes, and the suspect being walked to the back of a police car. later on we saw the car, which was up on the curb and had run into a sign in the bart parking lot.
  • later, we were in downtown oakland to get some stuff from the library when we saw a toyota hit a lexus after the driver of the lexus decided that the red light didn't apply to her. the toyota driver t-boned her, but wasn't going too fast at the time as he had come to a screeching stop before the impact. both cars were pretty messed up, but no one appeared hurt and the air bags didn't deploy. gave the guy our phone number as witnesses and then left.
  • went to the ucla/cal basketball game yesterday. about an hour before the game it looked like i was only going to have one ticket and then the phone rang. before i picked it up i said "hopefully this is another ticket for the game, if so do you want to go?" meryl said yes and my powers of prognostication were affirmed shortly thereafter. we went to the game and had a good time. ucla played well. they had their typical offensive lull and let cal get back to within 2, after leading by 11 at the half, but pulled away again later and ended up winning by 12. the highlight of the game was russell westbrook's huge slam in the middle of the lane (which went on to win sportscenter's top play of the day). the people around us (we were in the ucla section, fittingly enough) roared and i think it was one of the best dunks i've seen live; and they're always better live.

  • 1-3-8 (22:12)

  • got the day off tomorrow. yay, but bad for money.
  • it rained most of the day and is supposed to rain for a week. boooo.
  • va tech lost which is too bad because i was rooting against kansas and the big 12. it was close, but give credit to kansas for keeping it together.
  • great pete carroll profile.
  • should be getting at least one free ticket to the cal/ucla game on saturday. that's great news. going to see if i can find a cameroon flag to hold up every time aboya or mbah a moute do well. i'm a "cameroon crazy." moute kicks boute, as they say.

  • 1-2-8 (19:31)

  • some good bowl games this season. the michigan/florida game was great. i was surprised by michigan's timely defense and ability to recover from so many mistakes (4 turnovers). i also liked the wisconsin game, though i didn't like the outcome. i hate the sec.
  • the usc game was a bit of a surprise for me. i figured they'd win by about 10-14, but i'm also a pessimist when it comes to the teams i like. some have made the argument that usc could win the ap title, but i don't think it will or should happen. georgia, who i think usc would beat, has a better claim to it because they were ranked higher going into the bowl game and beat a higher ranked team by the same margin as usc's victory over illinois. on the other hand you could say that georgia beat an overrated hawaii team coming out of a weaker conference (wac) than illinois (big ten). you could also point out that georgia didn't even win their conference, whereas usc did in spite of extreme injury problems. i think usc will be about as good next year, though they'll lose several key players, especially on defense. that said, the injuries from this year will pay dividends next year when you have guys who will be quicker to step into the starting positions vacated by exiting seniors and juniors.
  • watching the wvu/ok game right now. i hate the big 12 and oklahoma so i'm happy with the score thus far. it's half time, though, so i can't get too happy yet.
  • ucla basketball lose michael roll for probably a couple months from what i hear. it's too bad because he's good with the ball and shoots the long ball well. that said, ucla is a cinch for the tourney and should have a good shot at the pac-10 title. their weakness so far as i can tell is their offense, same as always. i actually enjoy watching them as much as i enjoy watching any basketball team since the divac/webber kings.
  • going to see "there will be blood" on friday. fuck yeah.
  • luke, ryan, and claire came over last night to see the last half of the usc game and some of the hawaii/geogia game. fun was had by all.
  • oklahoma sucks in bowl games lately. they've had one win with 2002 i think. they've been overrated all year for some reason. they lost to colorado and texas tech without dropping much in the polls and without legitmate reason (as opposed to usc which lost because of severe injury problems to the most important elements of a team: offensive line, qb, rb, as well as db). i'm not really sure why oklahoma was given the benefit of the doubt throughout the year, but they were. i wrote about oklahoma being overrated on 11/22 and stated then that i didn't think they deserved to be ranked above usc despite having the same record. i mean is oklahoma really the third best team in the nation? even after their victory over missouri for the big 12 i wouldn't have ranked them that high. i think that the big 12 was the most overrated conference this year. the big 10 was weak as well, but everyone knew they were suspect because of their weak overall non-conference schedule.
  • looking forward to the osu/usc game in week 2 next year. usc taking on big schools out of conference is nothing new, but it's nice to see osu going back to a tough schedule after taking this year off. a couple years ago they played texas, so it's not as if osu is afraid of playing a tough schedule, it just worked out that this year's schedule was particularly easy.
  • updated the movies list, incorporated all the movies from 2007 into the chronological/alphabetical listings. also inserted the geeky charts for year and gpa trends. working on the film stats next.

  • watched over 300 movies for the fifth year in a row. film stats are now updated.