Monday, December 29, 2003

Vacation speed bump

I've been off for six days, so one would think that I'd have returned to the office today refreshed and ready to work. Instead, I'm lethargic. I'm only here for a single day before disappearing for another four or five days. I feel like I should have just called in sick.

It doesn't help any that I feel like I've been poked in the eye. What the hell kind of ailment is that?

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The Friday Sunday Five

I've been meaning to jump on the Friday Five bandwagon for a while now. A few weeks ago, I even typed up my answers to the series, but when I tried to post the text was lost, so I gave up, exasperated. For the next couple weeks, the questions were things I wasn't interested in writing about.

This week, though, questions are easy, so I'll try again. Of course, it's Sunday now, but (as with most things) I procrastinated.

1. List your five favorite beverages.
orange juice
white cranberry juice

2. List your five favorite websites. (I'm no fool — they pay the bills)
Amazon (for shopping and as a resource)
Quicktime Movie Trailers (far better quality than RealPlayer)
The Onion

3. List your five favorite snack foods.
(Note that this is favorite snack foods, not favorite junk foods — otherwise it would pretty much be all chocolate.)
pastry (numerous varieties)
granola bars dipped in peanut butter
canned fruit with cottage cheese
animal crackers

4. List your five favorite board and/or card games.
Scrabble (though I always lose)
Hi-Q (a jumping pegs game)

5. List your five favorite computer and/or game system games.
Super Mario 64 (N64)
Final Fantasy VII (PS1)
The Secret of Monkey Island (PC)
Wipeout (PS1)
Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GC) (my current addiction)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Frodo hates me

I had the day off, and yet I didn't see Return of the King yesterday. Instead, I sat on the couch and played Zelda from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (when Misty came home and made me turn it off).

I know, I know... I should be ashamed of myself.

Monday, December 15, 2003


Fellow comic geeks, put some newspaper down underneath where you're sitting, and click here.


Blog hazards

Earlier this month, Cap'n Ken's blog was discovered by his employer (who the Cap'n refers to in his blog as WMBIC — World's Most Boring Internet Company). Luckily, he didn't get reprimanded too harshly.

Other's aren't always so lucky...

Last year the author of Dooce was fired for content in her personal blog.

The same thing happened to the author of Geekly.

And, of course, there was that high-profile story a couple months ago about Michael Hanscom getting fired by Microsoft over a post in his blog, eclecticism.

Just do a Google search for "fired for blog," and you'll find plenty more, too.

It's risky, yet we keep on doing what we're doing. Some people try to avoid mention of names and specifics, but doing so doesn't always help.

I've always been open about who I am and who I work for. It's too difficult for me to write otherwise. I remember in high school when my senior English teacher was trying to break us of the notion that you shouldn't use the word "I" in your writing. She said, "All you know is what you know. Of course you should use the word 'I'." I think the same applies here. If I used code names for the people I write about, I fear reading would become cumbersome. Nevertheless, some bloggers manage to pull it off. The author of Screaming Bean does such a good job with ambiguity that I don't even know if Beanie is a man or woman.

I certainly understand others who want to maintain annonymity. I have a hard time doing it though, so I just don't bother. If people find me they find me. I'm listed in the phone book, and I walk around in broad daylight, too. I'm not hiding anything.

Early on I shared my blog with my family, my friends, my co-workers, and my boss so I'd have no worries about them stumbling upon it later. With my co-workers, especially, it's likely someone would have found my blog on their own. The folks at are, after all, a pretty web-savvy bunch. This way though, I know they know about my blog, and if I say anything about them, I know they might read it. As such, my writing is, of course, effected. I censor myself to some degree.

Is self-censorship a bad thing? That depends on who I'm writing this for. If I'm writing it just for me, it's bad. But then, why am I publishing my words on the Internet? If I'm writing it for the unknown masses, sensorship could be a negative element. But would I really want to pour my heart out to strangers? If I'm writing it for my friends and family, however, the smart thing to do is to curb certain words and topics.

What it boils down to is that I don't write anything here about someone that I wouldn't say to them personally. For the most part, I'm straightforward (blunt) with people anyway, so I don't feel like I have to hold back too much. Of course my company does things that piss me off. The same goes for my family. But I like them both a lot more often than I dislike them. I also know the difference between things that are appropriate for public discussion and things that are not. Or at least, I think I do. People get fired for some funny things.

(Ken, Cindy... Please disregard the time stamp on this post. I might mention occasionally, but I'd never blog on company time.)

The joys of pet ownership

Today didn't start well. I woke to the sound of one of the dogs vomiting — on the bed. From the stench, I guessed she'd been eating her own poop again. As I got up to clean the mess, I stepped in a wet spot. Another of the dogs had peed on the floor next to the bed.

On the bright side, I'm getting good practice for when our baby arrives.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Labeling music

Over at This Guy Falls Down, Marc (of the band Third Day) was talking about the definitions of Christian and secular music this week. He raises an intersting question: What makes something "Christian" music vs. "secular" music?

Is it the artist identifying himself as a Christian? If that's the case, the Christian music section at the CD store needs to be a lot bigger.

Is it the artist making frequent references to God in his lyrics? If so, U2 is the world's most popular Christian band.

The usual assumption seems to be that signing to a Christian label defines an artist as "Christian." But what about when that artist signs to another label? Does that undo their "Christian band" status?

The same sort of problems creep up when you try to ask "What makes an artist 'alternative'?" or "What makes a song a 'pop' song?" The answers tend to contradict one another.

We work so hard to categorize everything for fear that we might otherwise accidentally listen to the wrong sort of music. Because God forbid a self-proclaimed rock fan accidentially listen to a fast-paced Dixie Chicks song without realizing it was actually country music.

Maybe Nick Hornby is right, and it's all just pop music.

Instead of worrying about the categories, though, try this: Listen to a band or album or song because you like its music — not because you like its supposed type of music. By dropping our musical biggotry we might find a lot more out there that we enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Can't... move... belly... too... full...

Having just returned from Bombay Café for our company's annual holiday lunch, I am too stuffed to do any real work. I ate baked stuffed artichoke bottoms with lump crab meat; pumpernickel bread; a house salad with sliced driscoll strawberries, mandarin oranges, and honey roasted almonds topped with raspberry vinaigrette; grilled yellow fin grouper with butter pecan sauce; and peanut butter pie with chocolate grenache.

I figured that I'd better eat as much as I could, because I probably won't be eating dinner tonight. Bombay Café is Misty's favorite restaurant, and she was none too happy that I'd be dining there this afternoon without her. My guess is she'll exact her revenge tonight by not cooking dinner or cooking something I hate.

(and no comments about how I "expect" Misty to cook dinner — she cooks and I do a lot of the other household chores — we like it that way)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Checking it twice

I am a chronic procrastinator. One of my advisors in college used to claim that she deserved tenure for getting me to turn in my thesis on time. When it comes to buying Christmas gifts, I'm almost always lagging behind. I used to go shopping on December 23 each year. The malls were certainly less crowded by then, at least. Last year, I was even later than usual. I think I sent Christmas gifts out some time after New Year's.

This year, though, I've somehow managed to keep on top of things. I have almost finished with my Christmas shopping. I've never been this far ahead of the deadline. Aside from the stress this route is saving me, I'm also enojying watching Misty scramble as she is just beginning her quest.

My only roadblock this year has been my brother. He's the only person on my list that I've yet to finish with. Usually he's the easiest one for me to buy for, but this year I haven't a clue what to get for him. He's getting married soon, so I'd like to give him something practical that he can use in that regard — something more along the lines of linens rather than a video game — but that's not quite my area of expertise, nor, I imagine, is it his. Such decisions are likely to be deferred to his fiancée. To complicate things further, he'll be moving to a new city soon too (when and where also depend on his fiancée — she's the doctor), so I don't want to give him yet another thing he'll have to pack up and move. Are you reading this, Dork Boy? What do you want for Christmas?

Trapped in a Dr. Pepper bottle

If you pay attention to the "upcoming distractions" list in the sidebar, you may have noticed that "Martin Biscuit Day" has changed several times. It just changed again, in fact.

Martin Biscuit Day is what I'm calling the day when my company finally moves into its new office in the Martin Biscuit Co. building. Nearly every day for the past couple weeks we've been told that we're moving tomorrow. Yet every day, tomorrow has remained one step ahead of us.

Our original move date was September 1. Apparently, that date referred to 2004.

We had a company meeting this morning where our CEO explained reasons for the various delays and thanked us for our patience. Guess when she anticipates we'll move. Did anyone guess "tomorrow?" Needless to say, I'm dubious.

Not to give the wrong impression — the constant delays aren't really a problem. It's just amusing how often our move has been put on hold. It would be nice to finally get this project completed and be able to work with the whole staff again. In the meantime though, I'm fine in my little temp office.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Dear Santa, please bring me a dictionary.

This month, as with every Christmas season, we've been posting letters to Santa on It's intended for kids, but inevitably, we get even more submissions from adults. I always get a kick out of the adults who write in — usually asking for a new football coach for Alabama or Auburn.

Today we received this letter:
dear santa,
for christmas this year i would like to get accepted to college. i have applied to NYU and i am waiting for their responce. if you can find it, in your overwieght heart to let me be excepted i would appreciate it. o yeah! this year im guna leave just carrot sticks, bc santa face it, your fat and im sure your chlosteral is way too high and your guna become sick or even have a stroke. if you need help with your physical theropy to lose weight and keep your arteries clean come to RPM! we will be happy to help you with your physical theropy needs

Age: 17

I'm sorry to tell you, buddy, but not only is Santa going to leave you coal with that kind of attitude, but if this letter is indicative of your usual writing style, you ain't gettin' into NYU, neither.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Better than a full-sized spare

Does your car offer this option?

(link via Cap'n Ken's Homespun Wisdom)

Patriot Day

Misty and I were talking last night about how we both hate the term "9-11." I don't like referring to that particular day as "September 11th," either. My reason is that it's not specific enough. The terrorist attacks took place on September 11, 2001 — not every September 11.

Nevertheless, nearly everyone uses such terminoligy when referring to the incidents of that day. How else are we going to say it? We can't very well call it "the day of the terrorist attacks." That doesn't quite pinpoint what we're talking about. Some people refer to it as the day of the World Trade Center attacks, but that's irresponsible, I think. Unlike Pearl Harbor day, there wasn't just one location that was attacked. There were two other hijacked planes that day, remember?

For some reason, referring to Independence Day as July 4th doesn't trouble me. That's probably because I grew up hearing it labeled that way. But I don't want my children to grow up being able to recite some empty date that has no connection in their minds to an event. I'm not saying that I want them to "remember the heroes" or whatever. That's not my point. I just think continuing to label the events of September 11, 2001 as "September 11th" is lazy and will eventually (and I'm talking about a generation or two from now) lead to a dulling of our country's remembrance of it.

Last year President Bush declared September 11 to be "Patriot Day." Let's start using that name and remember the event instead of the date.

Visits from Morpheus

(You comic geeks will get the reference.)

I've been having some weird dreams this week.

In one, I was looking down at my wedding ring and noticed that it had a sizeable chip out of it. Underneath the gold was what looked like rusty wire. I was very upset that not only had my ring been damaged somehow, but it was now revealed to be fake! I showed the ring to Misty who regarded it with bewilderment. She proceeded to peel away much of the remaining gold as if it were aluminum foil. Indeed, underneath was a coil of rusty wire running in three loops. Around it, a thinner coil of the same wire bound the larger three coils together. After a brief inspection, Misty crumpled up the gold/foil and tossed it aside. "Don't do that!," I said frantically. "How am I supposed to get it fixed?"

In another dream, I was back at my college dorm. It was move-in day of my second year and I had the same roommates as the first. Some sort of fight broke out in the common room, so I broke it up and ushered one of the guys out into the hallway.

Seconds later, back inside the dorm, I was grabbed by the back of the neck and shoved against a wall. A guy who I didn't know was trying to break up the fight that I had just stopped, thinking I was among of the pair who had been fighting. I swirled around and my roommate Stephen and I started screaming at him.

"Who are you?! What the hell are you doing in here?!," we demanded. He gave an elusive poltician-like answer that conveyed that he couldn't answer that now, but it would be revealed soon enough.

Determined to get something out of him, I asked, "Do you live in this room?"

"No," he said.

"Are you a friend of anyone who lives here?"


"Are you dating any of the women who live here?" (No women lived in our room, of course, but the question made sense at the time.)

Again, "no."

"This is like 20 Questions!," I yelled, getting exasperated. "Are you a resident advisor?"


"Are you a member of the RSA?"

And finally, "yes."

Wanting to get him out of our room and show him that I wasn't going to bear a grudge, I shook his hand. When he left, I told Stephen that I accepted his answer because it meant that either he was an active member of the Resident Student Association and he probably really was just trying to be helpful (how those things corelate, I have no idea) or he was at least informed enough to have read his residents' handbook which states that all campus residents are members of RSA.

I then noticed my wedding ring and thought I should mention to Stephen that I was married now. I held back, though, because I remembered that he had gotten divorced within the past year or so, and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I also wondered if he would even realize that I had been divorced too and that I had just gotten married, or would he think that I had been married to Misty for the past few years? I wanted to ask him what happened to lead to his divorce, but I decided the subject was best left alone.

The phone rang, distracting me anyway. The call was from the grandmother of one of our other roommates. She was so loud that we could hear the whole conversation as if she were on speakerphone.

That's all I can remember before waking up.

I'm not seeking "answers" for these dreams, and I'm not interested in speculating whether they "mean anything." I just thought I'd write them down and share them.