Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy birthday, Tad

Today marks the birthday of a great friend.  This blog knows him as Chet, Tad, or Barton Keyes.  As usual, he has decided to celebrate in seclusion, but at least this year he gave me fair warning that he was going into hiding.  I kind of wonder what he's afraid would happen if we were to actually celebrate his birth in person.  Perhaps he turns into some sort of werewolf of golem once a year and goes into his secret lair to protect his friends.  Or maybe it's just a massive coke bender.  Who knows?  Only the mysterious cadre he's going out of town with.
I kid, I kid!  Happy birthday, man.  Where would Baby and I be without you?  Stuck with nobody to help us move, is where.  Also, my addiction to trucker speed would have surely spiraled out of control by now, and there would be no fine whiskey in my liquor cabinet.  

Don't break anything on the slopes.  

UPDATE: Apparently Tad killed the bottle of Dickel's last time he was at my house.  Damn!  At least some people are easy to shop for.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Potpourri for $500

1. Doppelgänger.

I've found my evil twin. His name is BJ Warshaw and apparently he is some kind of musician or something.  It's kind of weird.  My apologies to people who don't know what I look like, but I'm more or less like a fatter version of him.  Also, I'd never grow my beard quite that long.

Photo credit: Some guy

2. White Winter Hymnal cover.

Check out this amusing Fleet Foxes cover.  I found it on this promising-looking blog I stumbled upon this evening.

3. Nanerpus.

You can call me Nanerpus.  This is another "song" I get stuck in my head on a near-daily basis now, owing largely to Alia's heroic intake of bananas.  She only weighs 28 lbs. but eats two bananas for breakfast and a couple more throughout the day usually.  That's the equivalent of me eating over 250 bananas.  I mean, because I'm allergic to bananas.  That's what makes the math come out so weird.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Three more songs I get stuck in my head

Ash Wednesday edition.

These songs are all "situational" in the way they come into my head. A phrase or familiar pattern will make me think of them.

1. Girlfriend in a Coma. I get this one stuck in my head whenever anyone utters a phrase following the pattern "(two syllable word) in a (two syllable word)," at which point I immediately think "I know, I know, it's serious." (E.g.: "salsa on a taco, I know, I know, it's serious.") Also, anytime I see a Toyota Tacoma I think "girlfriend in Tacoma" and the song is in my head again. These days, the Smiths' song is also accompanied with Animal Collective's Lion in a Coma. Fortunately "Lion" isn't very catchy, so it doesn't persist. Is the intro to "Lion" a bit reminiscent of "Girlfriend?" I wonder if it's an homage or a coincidence. Or my overactive imagination.

2. As Tears Go By. Anytime it is the evening of the day and I'm sitting and watching my children play, this song is likely to get stuck in my head, for reasons that should be plain. Let me be straight: the song is mawkish shit, but I can't say it doesn't get stuck in my head. Linked here is the superior Marianne Faithfull Merseybeat version, instead of the Rolling Stones' original, with the nauseating strings and the guitar that sounds like it's being played with a dentist's tooth scraper.

3. Uncle Albert Admiral Halsey. This one gets in my head whenever I apologize for anything, which is pretty frequent. It's a good song, though, so I'm cool with that. Another song from this album -- Dear Boy -- was just covered by my friends Bodies of Water, and I think it's great. I tend to associate Band on the Run and other Wings songs with the dentist's office for some reason. Not in an unpleasant way, but more in a stoned-off-my-gourd-on-nitrous-as-a-six-year-old way. Listen to the guitar part (under the vocals) on "Band" at 1:53-2:05. That is seriously my favorite sound ever right there. If a certain Kabulo (soon to be Kabube or Kalobe?) still reads this blog, she'll know the other Wings song I think about most, particularly when I hear the word "sufragette."

There, now have a somber and safe Lent.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Skipping work Monday

This weekend I performed a wedding for a very good friend of mine. It was small and elegant, and the groom said "I love you" to me during the vows.  It was that kind of shindig.

Today Baby was studying all day, so I skipped work and went on a bike ride, pulling the kids in our bike trailer.  It was good times.  It was also the first time I've successfully (a) patched a bike tire and (b) used a tire spoon without pinching the tube.  Baby refused to believe that "pinching a tube" wasn't a scatological reference, even when I explained that it's what happens when a "tube" gets stuck on the "rim."  If I go any further with this, I could really up my Google keyword hits, but I don't want to take the easy way out.  


Despite the imminent project deadline, Baby and I decided to make it a date night and called Baby's generous aunt Pam for some babysitting.  We walked to Korea House for pork bulgogi, bibimbap, and "Sexy Girl" sushi rolls.  The waiter thought less of me for ordering the "Sexy Girl" rolls -- for a second it seemed like he was going to tell me I wasn't allowed to order that or something -- but they were very good, once the trachea-swelling avocado was removed.

Overall, it was an A- day -- not too bad for a Monday -- and my older daughter asked me if "God has a wand."  This is not the first theological question she's asked me, but it's definitely the first I feel my MA hadn't prepared me to answer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A letter to my wife

From the Time Travel Bureau:

Who knew she had such antipathy towards Percy Shelley?  Although her hatred has been seething for quite some time, this comic seems to have acted as a lightning bolt to animate the monster of her rage, sewn together from various elements including the reading of Shelley's terrible poetry, Baby's belief in the superiority of Mary Shelley's writing, and P.B.'s misogyny.  

What a nerd!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mysteries of my crotch: coffee edition

So I slept through my bus ride home today.  This is not an unusual occurrence.  What was unusual, however, was the fact that when I woke up my crotch and the lower part of my shirt were covered in coffee.  I had a quarter-full travel coffee cup in my bag, but it showed no signs of leakage whatsoever.  The bag was dry, the cup was dry, nothing in the bag even has coffee stains on it.

I have to imagine I would notice if my seatmate or another bus rider spilled coffee on me.  I am forced to conclude it was either a case of spontaneous generation or some new kind of stigmata.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday, February 12, 2009

Mark that date on your calendars.  That's the day Mustafa said "Ohhhh, you put the slashes AFTER the H-T-T-P!" after trying to start web address "\\http:".  This man's title is "Microcomputer Applications Specialist, Ph.D."

Also, it's the day I discovered that the most common Google searches leading to this blog are: 
Dave says I need to write for my base, which is apparently line-dancing German Bon Jovi-fan hipsters who speak Klingon.  I'll get back with you as soon as I figure out what I might say to that theoretical person.

UPDATE: I am stupid.  The title of this post is supposed to be the current date.  Whatever.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On the pulling of one's card

Recently I was in a local sandwich shop inquiring about off-menu items* when the conversation turned to card catalogs.  The sandwich shop employee pointed out that with the extinction of card catalogs, kids will have no idea what Eazy E means when he threatens to "pull ya card" in Boyz N Tha Hood** (do I really need to say NSFW?).  That statement surprised me, because it never even occurred to me that Eazy could be making a reference to circulation management.  

 Eazy E asks a librarian for help locating the reference card for a certain trash talking motherfucker.

I thought it referred to something like drawing playing cards to determine who was going to die, or even to the death card of the Vietnam war, but I have to conclude that the sandwich-making man was right.  Eazy is threatening to take trash-talkers out of circulation like a library book.  It kind of makes the whole thing rather quaint, as if he had said he was going to degauss your VHS collection or scrape your palimpsest.

Tomorrow -- the eternal hardness of boys in the hood: macho swagger or priapistic disfunction?

* I was asking about a mythical sandwich with two veggie burger patties and salsa, which the employee had never heard of.  He did inform me that "back in the day" at "certain locations" one could order the Veggie Delite with meat and recieve a side of marijuana.  There was no report on what happened if you ordered "extra anchovies."

** Funny story: I actually saw Dynamite Hack (most famous for their singer-songwriter style cover of "Boyz N Tha Hood") open for the Polyphonic Spree.  Weirdest double bill ever?  They apparently have the same producer.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My week, feat. venison and beer

I won't mention again how absurdly busy I am with work, because that's getting really old. But let's just say my job has been cutting way into my blogging and gym time. Stupid job. On top of that, my employer has announced a salary increase freeze. It's really supposed to be for upper-level folks -- presidents, vice presidents, deans, etc. -- but apparently when the president announces he's freezing his own salary, that means everybody else is supposed to follow his lead. This sucks somewhat because I was hired on with the expectation that my salary would be increased at the beginning of the next budget year (March). Oh well, we're not starving now, and as long as my children don't increase in size, caloric needs, or number within the next year or so, we should be okay.

Friday I went to the aforementioned surplus property Shangri-La. This picture sums up the experience well:
Pictured: server rack, bumper, boat anchor, four-wheeler (with SEATURTLE PATROL sign!), jumbotron, giant piece of a/c equipment. Also available but not pictured: EZ-Bake oven, pallets of shrinkwrapped CRT monitors, piles of oscilloscopes, card catalogs, film developing machines, innumerable chairs, bookshelves, and desks. Not available: anything I actually need. No venison or beer either.

Saturday I went to a great low-key bachelor party at a pseudo-private campsite near Wimberly. Some of the key features included a trunk full of beer, lots of whiskey, a partial drum kit, guitars, a mandolin, a banjo, a stand-up bass, and a bunch of people who know how to play old-timey music. Pretty great, really. Also, excellent venison burgers.

Ahhh, cheap beer. How do I love thee. It turns out Chet (not previously mentioned in this incarnation of my blog) really can hold his liquor pretty well. He did much better than the guy who showed up drunk, drank more, took off all his clothes, requested the Kinks and 2000 Man about 50 times, danced around, put his clothes back on, threatened the campsite administrator, then wandered into the woods and passed out on the ground. Good times.

Tuesday had me at Thunderbird drinking yet more Lone Star outside during an intense but brief thunderstorm. No venison.

Thursday (last night) was also great. Baby and the girls and I had dinner with friends. Venison was served, as well as some excellent homemade wine (not an oxymoron, it turns out) and some kind of Belgian ale. Let me tell you about this venison: it was awesome. Wrapped in bacon, injected with more bacon grease, unbelievable reduction sauce. Our friend Brad cooked it, and he is a true gourmet. We were actually not at Brad's house, so he was cooking with unfamiliar implements, and at one point I saw our host offer him a variety of gourmet salts to use. Brad proceeded to basically snort each salt to determine which ones he was using. It was intense, but whatever weird-ass rituals he chooses to use are fine by me if the results are always as good as last night's. Good times!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 things about LAZLO HOLLYFELD

Following the lead of numerous blogging friends (including noted campfire singalong lover Craigers and potential lurker Mosesface), here are 25 things about me, more or less.

(1) I very seriously wanted my younger daughter's middle name to be Comanche.  

(2) If I have a son someday, Baby will have to fight me to keep his middle name from being Texas.

(3) I am jealous of ethnic and religious groups that get to wear distinctive outfits. Occupations, too.

(4) I would wear the same clothes every day if I thought nobody would notice.

(5) I look forward to thinking about things (aka daydreaming), and plan particular times and places to do so.

(6) I am very good at putting babies to bed.

(7) I have no piercings or tattoos.

(8) However, I did get my left nipple pierced when I was 18.

(9) It was mostly because I wanted to see people's reactions.

(10) I'm not the kind of person who does things just for reactions.

(11) The piercing emigrated.

(12) I have decided I might get a tattoo if I like the same idea for a year.

(13) I got an idea a couple weeks ago.

(13b) Have you seen kids these days with their tattoos?

(13c) It's like they show up to college as 18-year-olds with all kinds of shit already inked on their bodies.

(13d) Grow up a little before you start committing to that kind of thing!

(14) I enjoy flying in planes, and I love turbulence.

(15) I get all my nutrients and water from eucalyptus leaves.

(16) I have recurring daydreams about mass transit coordination and stoplight sequencing.

(17) I am allergic to many uncooked fruits: apples, bananas, peaches, pears, oranges, and avocados, as well as some nuts. I have also developed an allergy to uncooked soy -- tofu is okay, but soy milk makes my throat swell up, even in coffee.

(18) My blog pseudonym is a reference to the movie "Real Genius," and it is not misspelled.

(19) I have been to the steam tunnels under Caltech.  The significance of this will be evident if you have seen Real Genius.

(20) I have a photo credit for an album cover.

(21) I work with somebody named Jay Kay and another named Kay Jay. They have never met.

(22) I met Baby during my senior year of high school. In our first conversation, she told me I looked like Bob Dylan; I asked a friend what Dylan looked like and he told me he was an old Jewish guy. A few months later, we ran into one another again, and she told me she was moving to Austin. She gave me her mom's phone number, but I didn't call her because I am generally afraid of other people's parents.

(23) When I was thinner and before I realized that washing my hair every day makes it highly voluminous, I looked vaguely like Bob Dylan from the cover of Nashville Skyline.

(24) I often imagine that it would be wonderful to shave my head.

(25) Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Today is a good day to rob

I just read this news story about a guy who robbed two 7-Elevens (or would that be 7's-Eleven?) with a miniature Klingon Bat'leth.*   There are a number of wonderful facets to this gem of a story, but probably the best one is the fact that both clerks indepently identified the weapon as a Bat'leth.  God bless trekkies, especially those working at convenience stores.  

The second best thing about this story is the comments section underneath, containing prizes such as "This man shows no honor, and brings disgrace upon his family" and the comment I took this post's title from, as well as more esoteric ones like "Dochvammey loDpu' 'oH lI'be'" and "What would Data do?"  But seriously, we already know what Data would do.  He would jump the counter and break the thief's wrist before anybody knew what was happening, like in the episode Clues.**

* The bat'leth is "widely considered the most popular weapon among Klingon warriors," according to Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.  I would really like to hear the minority opinion on this issue.  What evidence could one corral to argue the case that the d'k tahg is more popular?  Or perhaps the kar'takin -- despite being a Jem'Hadar weapon -- has overtaken the traditional Klingon blade in popularity among Klingon warriors, but how might one determine that?

** UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that it was actually Deanna Troi that broke Worf's wrist in "Clues," while posessed by some alien being.  This blogger regrets the error and will work harder to fact-check his ST:TNG references in the future.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Things to remember when riding a bike

The most important thing to remember when riding a bike is that you are not in a car.  This applies not only to the obvious things like avoiding risky behavior, but it is also to remember that, unlike in a car, people can hear you talking or singing to yourself.  If you, for instance, decide that you're going to use your commute home to mentally compose a rock opera based on the pro-pitbull bumper sticker slogans, please remember to do it quietly and not to wail out loud like a member of The Darkness, otherwise pedestrians and cyclists may cross the street to avoid you and drivers will laugh at you.  Not that that's happened to me as recently as yesterday.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My new office

I'm not in it quite yet -- the network and phone drops have to be done -- but I am really looking forward to it.  No more undergrads asking about the stapler, printer paper, or the dreaded holepunch.  No more listening to Mustafa chew!  Today I found this awesome desk:
And now I'm prowling the building for unused chairs.  That's the office up there, weird half-stained concrete floors and all.  There's a place for my bike and not much else at the moment.  Tomorrow, Baby and I are going to the university's near-mystical surplus warehouse -- the home of innumerable free items of furniture.  (My boss has offered to buy furniture, but I'll take any excuse I can get to go to surplus.)

Today when I was moving that desk into the office, Mustafa said, "oh, are you moving your office?"  This after two months of preparation for the move, including at least three discussions with Mustafa about what I was going to be doing with my space in our shared office after I moved out.  Mustafa's desk faces the door to my new office, where contractors have been demolishing the shelving that used to be in the office, patching the walls, refinishing the floor, retiling the ceiling, etc. etc. etc.  He helped me move all the old equipment out of the office, and apparently had no idea that I was moving?

What the fuck, dude.  That's all I can say.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The most beautiful sight

I just glanced over Mustafa's shoulder and saw him reading an article titled Soon-to-Be Retirees: 5 Things You Should Do.

Oh PLEASE LET IT BE SO!  The long-awaited day!  Could it be arriving?  Just like that?

In the future, nothing will work

When I was a kid and I wanted to know the temperature outside, I called a phone number.  My brother and I still have that number memorized (973-3555).  Unfortunately, Time and Temperature went dead around 2003, after probably close to a decade without an advertisement on their recording.  Here's what I liked about that service: the temperature was always correct.  Now, when I want to know the temperature, I use the internet.*  The problem that I've discovered with this approach is that it's almost always wrong, and often ridiculously so.  The other day said it was 28 degrees fahrenheit in my zip code.  It was at least 70 degrees out.  This morning it was "33 degrees" according to my OS X dashboard widget, which is apparently computer for "about 55."  My point: everything is getting worse.

The other day, I bought a pizza to pick up from Domino's.  The pizza was ready when I arrived at the shop.  I walked in and gave them my debit card.  TWENTY MINUTES LATER they had figured out how to exchange my money for their product.  I don't blame the employees in the shop; I'm sure the register system is a nightmare, no doubt thrust upon them by the shop's owner, who bought it from the franchise, who uses it to track sales to make sure they're getting their cut.  The software developer who designed it did so to the specs handed to him/her by the franchise, which probably didn't include a proviso that it should be impossible to add breadsticks to a customer's order when his kids are screeching for dinner in the car outside,** but that feature crept in there somewhere and it didn't get worked out because nobody at any stage of the development of the Domino's POS system either noticed or cared enough to fix it.

I guess what I'm getting at is this: when the robotic uprising happens, it's not going to be anybody in particular's fault, but we're going to have to serve our robotic overlords nonetheless.

* I'm not going to buy a thermometer, so don't even suggest it.

** I give my children pizza every once in a while to keep them from becoming stronger than me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Last-name-only band names

I have, since 1996 or so, collected last-name-only band names.  Until now, the list has been in my head, but now I invite you, the internet, to add to the electronic version my list if you can.  I don't expect a deluge of comments right away, but I am putting my faith in the long tail that we will have a definitive list here by sometime in the year 2112.  Clarification: the name of the band has to be the last name of one (or more) of the members of the band.

Here is the list so far:

Man, this list is a real sausage fest.  I don't think there's a lady in any of these bands,* although there are a lot of falsetto abusers.  I would like to count Feist, but according to her Wikipedia page, "Feist" just refers to the singer herself, and not any backing band.  

Bands that don't count, but almost do:
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • The Ramones, The Smiths, etc.
If you suggest one of these bands, you don't get it:
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Dave Matthews Band
On a related note, thanks again to my colleague Nick J., for his substantive critique of my JBJ post.  The phrase "valiant teller of rock-and-roll truths" has now been committed to the internet, and nothing can prevent it from being archived into infinitude.  For that, I salute you.  Thanks as well for the contributions to my ongoing list.  I had no idea that Winger was (a) that dude's last name and (b) still playing.

* 2/20/09 Update: New commenter and venison acquirer McGillicuddy/Swamp (which could be a band name on this list if he found somebody named Swamp) has added the first legitimate two-name last-name-only band name, with his suggestion of Wilson Phillips!  This is a triumphant find.  He would also have added the first band with female members if Will hadn't already suggested Labelle last week.

Mention the hole punch again

If another undergraduate or Mustafa asks me another question about the fucking three hole punch in the computer lab, I swear I'm going to lose it.  I'm buying a new one today.  I would consider this bad boy -- it looks heavy enough to beat an undergrad to death -- but I'm afraid it's "impractical" and perhaps "dangerous."

But seriously, what year is it?  1957?  Who uses a hole punch?  What is this, the battlestar Galactica?  Are people in my lab printing out stat charts for their little league teams?  I'm going to make this proclamation: if you are a college student in 2009 and you're still using three ring binders, you suck.*  If you need to keep papers, use a folder.  If you need more papers than that -- well, you just don't.  Use a computer.  Unless you get a job in the merchant marine or something, you will probably not use a three-ring binder once you've graduated.

In other news, work is still ridiculously busy and I haven't been to the gym in like a week.  I will not be a "January person" though, as I paid in advance for my gym membership through May.  That money will be avenged.  I will become a Greek god of a man.

Also, I'm working on a unified theory of UGGs.  Have you noticed that they come in many different heights?  I believe there is a social heirarchy in effect among the undergrads, and one can determine their relative status by the height and woolyness of their UGGs.  I hypothesize that Mukluks-wearers belong to a different tribe altogether, and that their status is primarily indicated by the presence and furriness of their Eskimo-style coats.**

* Having said that, I'm going to find out that somebody I know uses three-ring binders and has very good reasons, blah blah blah.  Sorry in advance.

** Don't worry, I'm not really going to write on this.

UPDATE: Since posting this, a student has actually left an Eskimo-style coat in the lab!  I may be able to infiltrate their group yet!  Also, Nick J. speculates in the comments about which Greek god I might be referring to.  Ideally, I would retain the gastronomic habits of Bacchus, but would somehow develop the body of, say, Poseidon.