Monday, October 29, 2007

Weakerthans, Dual Monitors, and Apple Fritters

Saw the Weakerthans yesterday. It was a really early show, and its kinda soft music. Plus I couldn't drink too much because I had to get into work early today. But I was still decent. The drinking with Dave and Eric beforehand was probably a little more fun.

Today I disabled my dual monitors at work. 2 monitors isn't really conducive to productivity with this job. I remember when I was programming at home, you can look at the source code and the program results and do a cross-analysis to debug your program code. But here I end up using one monitor for work and the other monitor to read the news or videogame reviews and the two monitors together tire my eyes out 5 times as quickly. This will be better. Maybe I'll read fewer useless reviews.

Why do Apple Fritters have to be so big? The tastiest part is the edges, where it's not so apple-tasting. The middle tastes moderately disgusting, they should just make them normal sized. I don't need a 5 pound donut in the morning. My supervisor saw it sitting on my desk and told me "Stay healthy, Joe."

(from a Eragon movie review)
"Unfortunately, the dragon suddenly hits puberty and becomes a woman in about three seconds, and returns fully grown and able to talk psychically to Eragon in perfect English. So perfect, it has an English accent and sounds a lot like Rachel Weisz. She tells Eragon her name is Saphira, and that he is her rider. I guess he will be made a man, if beastiality counts! "

Friday, October 26, 2007

flu shots, etc.

Got a flu shot today from the hottest doctor-lady I've ever seen. (I managed to refrain from sexually harassing her.) Last year I got the flu despite getting the flu shot, which Whitney predicted because they were giving out shots for the wrong strain of flu. But Whitney tells me the shot's good against 3 of the 4 possible strains of flu and "pray to ur lucky stars u foot catch the fourth!" (Whitney gets lazy with her phone-texting sometimes.)

I'm wrapping up an entire week of waking up before or at 7 to get into work early for a class. It has been exhausting.

The kid who sits infront of me in the class is separating from his wife. We've been in class almost 2 weeks, and it started about a week ago. The kid is probably a year or two younger than me, and he doesn't get upset or anything when he talks about it, but I have noticed that he's developed a stutter. He and his buddies are completely convinced that the problems are all 100% the wife's fault. It's kinda interesting to see. "She used to make me coffee in the morning and fix my lunch. She can be very nice when she chooses to be, for some reason she's decided to be a bitch lately!" Well, who knows. Probably a better approach would be to admit that you're confused by the situation, and maybe talk to your soon-to-be-ex-wife, instead of clinging so firmly to "why's she being such a bitch?" But I don't really know the kid so I won't butt in. He's a mechanical engineer (working in foot pedals), so you know he's a little unbalanced from the start.

(from the "1,000,000 Strong for Stephen Colbert" facebook group's message board)

Kyle Hamilton (CSCC) wrote at 2:21pm
ah, pop culture fags... comedy central = creditable news??? just a bunch of mindless fodders being lead to slaughter...

Zachary Foster (UF) wrote at 2:21pm
Kyle you go to community college

Friday, October 19, 2007

Michael Clayton

Went to see Michael Clayton with Dave yesterday. Dave picked me up from work at about 1:30, and we drove over to the AMC theater in Alexandria, only to discover that all the parking in the parking lot we went into were marked "reserved". I guess there's some business in that same stripmall that reserves the spaces during work hours. So we tried to get over to the next parking lot and were forced by the street to get onto a highway going north over the railroad tracks. We quickly got back off that, did a U-turn, and crossed back over the railroad tracks, only to find that there was no exit to get back to the theater! We went down, did another U-turn, and came back up to discover that there was no exit from north-bound either. So we went further south, took the exit immediately before the theater, and ended up going to down other street with no way to get across the little stream back to the theater. It was frustrating, apparently the theater has railroad tracks on the north side and a stream on the south side, and the only way to get there from our highway (as I discovered on a map later) is to be on 495-E a few miles West of us, or 495-W a few miles east of us. So we should have gotten on the highway, gone down 2 exits and gotten off and re-entered the highway coming back. But instead we went to the theater out by Target near crystal city.

Michael Clayton sucked. All the critics on rottentomatoes are raving about it, but it's basically a stupid knockoff of that old John Travolta movie called A Civil Action. It's hard to go into the reasons it sucked without giving the whole thing away, but it did suck. The critics are saying that the storyline is subtle, but it's not really. Unless you really read (a lot) more into the dialogue than is implied by the characters or the story (ie, you stretch). And they're saying the characters are realistic, and I guess they are. The antagonist heistates and maybe tears up a little when she orders someone murdered, and the main character realizes he's a clog in the unethical industry of the practice of law, and it disillusions him. None of it makes the story AT ALL unpredictable. There were no twists, no surprises, and no character development (besides one guy going crazy, which in a way was a development). I give the movie both thumbs down.

Btw, exciting photos from the rafting trip can be found on my facebook profile, if you know where that is.

(I overhear one of my coworkers describing his job)
Guy: First, I find a reference. Second, I read the reference. Third, I make something up that the reference doesn't say and I send out a rejection.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rafting the Devil's Soda: She don't come in Diet

Went whitewater rafting with Tom and Dave (and two of Tom's friends) this weekend. I had heard about the trip a few months ago, but Eric was psyched about it much more than myself and there were limited openings so I wasn't going to go. Then (long after I had forgotten about the whole thing) last thursday Dave asked if I wanted to go because Eric and John Sawyko had bailed at the last minute. I am a true merchant, I haggled Dave down to $100 from like $150.

I had never really thought about rafting before. Apparently there are different levels of whitewater rafting, and some of it can be dangerous. Dave gave me no warning (he forwarded me an email from Tom about the trip, but had "accidentally" removed all the html tags), so I showed up thinking it was going to be whitewater rafting like the rafting rides they have at amusement parks (which were fun because I don't like heights but I don't mind getting thrown around or getting wet). Instead, we went down one of the top 10 most violent commercially rafted rapids in the world (number 7 to be precise).

Tom and Cameron showed up and joked all night about how this river is going to chew you up and spit you out. They spent all night doing impressions of the old shark hunter guy from Jaws, where he's lecturing the cops on how dangerous sharks are. Except they were talking about how dangerous this river is. "You ain't getting nothing out of the Gauley! At the end of the day it's just a matter of how much she takes from ya!" "This white water is the Devil's soda! (then after the guide sees the girl in our group) What are you here for, girly? The Devil's Soda don't come in diet!" I guess drinking diet soda is feminine. Also, our guide was going to take one look at us and say "You boys on the upper Gauley? Is this a joke? 'Cause I ain't laughing!" That'd be right before one of us would try to introduce ourselves to the guide and he'd interrupt with "I don't want to know no names!" As he had lost so many foolish amateurs already and didn't want to get attached. The guys had watched youtube videos of this river (and people crashing badly) and had psyched themselves up to the point where Cameron had nightmares the night that night about the river. I wasn't scared by it, just a little concerned. The only comment our guide actually made was "Oh this is your first time? And you decided to start with the Upper Gauley..." Our dead-weight (see below) was also all first-time rafters, so I didn't think he was talking to me specifically and I didn't respond.

The morning of rafting we got up at 5:30. We were planning on renting wetsuits but we didn't make it to the meeting in time for that. I went out on the river with a t-shirt and shorts, and froze pretty much the whole day. Had I not worn the shirt I probably would only have been cold half that time because the weather was pretty warm out once the sun was up. There were 5 of us, and because it's an 8 person raft we picked up 3 more people. I was hoping for hot chicks, Tom was hoping for experienced rafters, and I think Cameron was hoping it'd just be the five of us. Well we ended up getting 3 older guys added to our raft, all of whom were useless and one of whom was fairly over-weight. Basically we picked up about 650 pounds of dead-weight. Our guide was pretty talented though, and seemed to anticipate that whenever he yelled "forward!" the left side would go forward a little faster than the right.

We only had one disasterous wreck. On the rapid called "Pillow rock" or something like that, we were going down full-tilt and hit a rock (actually i think it might have been the pillow rock). We hit it sideways after spinning. It was my side that hit, so one second we're flying down the rapids and the next second I'm tipping over backwards out of the raft and I looked up and the raft was almost vertical in the air above me and still rising and people are scrambling to hold on. Tom and I fell out first (tom was sitting behind me in the raft). I was sure the raft was going to flip (after seeing the otherside practically over my head) so I wanted to get out of the way before people started falling on top of me. But it turns out that the raft didn't flip. The tour guide (who had managed to duck flat very shortly before the rock hit) and dave (who we all thought was just very lucky but it turns out he might have been desperately clutching to the chicken rope when the raft went vertical, something you're not supposed to do because you might flip the boat) managed to stay in the raft. Everyone else got dumped.

I hit my foot on a rock, got dunked a bunch of times and resurfaced to find myself about 5 feet from Tom, both of us right behind a rock that had water flowing over the top. Not a good place to be because there were rafts behind ours coming down the rapids. We see the almost-empty raft downstream (where dave and the guide were standing up yelling but I wasn't sure what was being said) and start swimming towards it. After a good 30 seconds of very hard swimming we had somehow made no progress. Absolutely none and I was dead tired. I remember thinking "It's a good thing i've got this life jacket on!" as I dropped my exhausted arms and promptly sank in the water. I was surprised and kicked to the surface, immediately sank again, and then resurfaced again and had time to look around to see the boat about 15 feet away. I also spotted Tom way off to the side clinging to a rock while people were telling him to swim toward a nearby boat. I swam to our boat, and managed to grab Dave's hand just before the current could drag me past (aparently a bunch of people were narrowly missed by Dave because the current was pulling them by too quickly). I got my arms pulled into the boat and grabbed on but was too tired to make any progress on my own, and then Dave and another guy pulled me the rest of the way in.

There are some pretty exciting photos of the whole boat going up in the air and me and Tom in the act of falling backwards. I'll post them when I get them. Nobody was seriously injured. It's a good thing we fell at that spot also, because there were other rapids where if you fall you're supposed to swim away from a particular side because the water runs under a lot of the rocks and if you get swept down with the water you'll drown. And after falling in the river I had no idea what the guide had said about where to swim, had any rocks been nearby I probably would have instincually swam toward them.

This isn't our raft, but we did go down that same rapid.

Today my arms are a little sore, one of my legs is super sore, and my butt is really, really sore. I have a little trouble sitting even now (36 hours after the rafting). It's worse than after your first day snowboarding.

We stopped by and saw the New River Gorge Bridge. It's pretty awesome, it's the highest bridge in the nation. But I think I was the only person who thought it was very cool. Now I'm back in dc, and have to work 12 hour days this week. I wasn't planning on it, but now I have less time to make up for last week's slacking. The surprise rafting trip was 3 days I was planning on working and a my sister's almost-surprise weekend trip to NYC is one more (she's presenting a documentary she made).

Kate: I hope the rafting trip was fun, I bet you're closer to being a real woman now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

a new low of laziness

Today I bought a new pack of socks just to put off doing laundry. Yes, a new low of laziness has been reached.

Actually it's not as bad as it sounds. I had to stop by the post office this morning to pick up a package (Rome season 2) and as I was leaving I was upset that I was going to have to leave work early to do laundry tonight. "I just did laundry less-than a week ago too, how can I only have one pair of clean socks left!!!" At that very moment I noticed that the discount-store I was walking past had socks in its display. 6 pairs for $5 because they're "slightly imperfect". So I went in and bought a package. I don't care about them being slightly imperfect. Hopefully they're wearable, but I don't really care, so long as they're clean. Hardly anyone ever sees my socks anyway.

(a bunch of people are crowded around a computer)
me: What's going on in here? Looking at porn?
Gabe: Noooo. We're thinking of getting a gift for New-Guy Joe.
(they call the other Joe "new-guy joe" because he's been in office for a fairly long time)
me: Is it his birthday?
Gabe: In December.
me: What are you thinking of getting him?
(long pause)
Gabe: ...A mail-order bride.
Mike: It's the gift that keeps on giving!