Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I watched Due Date. The movie went from bad, to very bad, to almost turn-this-off bad, and then back to just bad. There weren't a lot of funny parts and the beginning was just a series of authority figures physically attacking Robert Downy Jr for no reason, something I tend to not find very funny. Getting shot with rubber bullets by an air marshal: not funny. Getting assaulted by a crazy handicapped war veteran: also not funny. And Zach Galifianakis playing his usual weirdo, digusting character has gotten old.

But I did enjoy Zach Galifianakis doing an impression of the Godfather, and there were a few times that Robert Downy Jr was making fun of Zach Galifianakis that were kinda funny. There was also an interesting scene where Robert Downy Jr is trying to prove that Zach Galifianakis is a bad actor, and tells him to pretend that Zach is a football coach whose wife is divorcing him. Zach does such a good job it's almost like it was bringing up issues from Zach's character's past. But they never touched on it again.

I guess it's just the physical humor in the beginning that was lost on me. I wasn't raised on the three stooges.

(from a guide about building your own computer)
Watch out for money-saving opportunities. For instance, many items come with a rebate offer attached. A rebate works like this: the manufacturer promises to give you money if you buy a product, and then once you buy the product, they do not actually give you money.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I had two nightmares last night. Right in a row! I haven't had a nightmare in like a decade. I think it was because I bought a Chop't sandwich/salad, ate it too fast, fell into a food coma while watching tv, and then went from sleeping on my couch straight to sleeping in bed. Usually I'm alright with the food coma sleep, but I've heard it can be unsettling sleeping while digesting... or something. Dang, Chop't! Let's get it together. Expensive and subconsciously disturbing.

(from xkcdsucks)
There's really nothing to be said for this one, except that some people are praising it for some reason--I think people are so used to Randy's godawful walls of text that when he produces a comic without words they feel such a wave of relief they mistake that for a well-made comic

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I've been experimenting with blending some fresh spinach into my smoothie. Sarah suggested it a while ago. Yesterday I did a strawberry smoothie with a small handful of spinach and today I made a banana smoothie with a medium sized handful of spinach. In neither smoothie can you taste the spinach, but both smoothies had little bits of spinach that you can kinda feel on your teeth. There's a small chance you can taste a tint of greenery flavor. I'd need to do some direct taste tests to be sure.

(forum about a mythbusters error)
EJanitor: Anyone who watches Mythbusters for scientific reasons should maybe start watching Star trek instead. This is all entertainment, it has nothing to do with scientific accuracy.
Overly Critical: Hey, they're teaching kids to go out and prove things for themselves rather than believe them off the bat, and that's never a bad thing.
syousef: The Mythbusters basically piss on the scientific method in every show, drawing wild conclusions from a single ill thought out experiment, often with no controls (or weak ones), and often testing a single instance or brand and then generalising for all of that type of product.
evwah: not to mention that they always try to prove stupid crap like "a rolling stone gathers no moss". I'm waiting for them to try "the grass is always greener on the other side", or "it takes one to know one".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I watched The Prestige yesterday, and I figured out everything about half way through. Usually I'm like the last person to figure out a mystery, probably because I tend to read while watching tv, so it makes me think that the Prestige was more predictable than the director thought it was. It was entertaining though.

(about Apple suing a guy over selling "White iPhone" kits)
PlushLish: So wait...He sold a kit which made the phone look white. Not changed the software, not sold knock-offs from his trunk, not sold real iPhones at recess...what's the problem? I can put a bedazzled cover on my phone but Swarovski can't sue me.
Dude: Anyone can sue anyone. Winning is something different. Apparently Apple's case is so bad that this teen doesn't even need a lawyer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I got this ASUS EEE PC just before Christmas and I hate it. Its keyboard is too small for my fingers to type on and it has some kind of problem that will slowly corrupt whatever operating system you install. I've installed Windows twice and linux once, and each time the OS works for a week or two and then slowly ruptures, eventually falling apart like a very old car driving down the highway. I'm pretty sure that the problem is either corrupted BIOS or faulty RAM, but I'm not motivated enough to actually fix the problem, because the keyboard is such a pain even when it does work!

So today I went to BestBuy and type-tested a bunch of laptops and netbooks. There are some uncomfortable ones, but by far the worst is that 10 inch ASUS I bought. I don't know how I got so unlucky. I'm leaning toward buying a ThinkPad X120e. Cheap, capable, and with a promising keyboard.

If you want a netbook, and we're on good terms, you can have this almost-working ASUS. I can even tell you how to reflash the BIOS and replace the RAM. Kate Reid has a similar netbook and really likes hers. You'll just need fingers or hands that are smaller than average.

In other news I spotted Kate W's sister and mom on the metro and resisted going over and saying hello. I just blended in with the crowd, which is something I'm pretty good at doing. If it was just Amber (the sister) I'd buddy up and say hello without a thought, and I have in the past when I've run into her. But Kate's mom was always so welcoming and friendly, it'd be weird if she gave me a welcoming hug now, and it'd also be weird if she was suddenly more distant. Plus Kate has probably told them some bad breakup stories about me, just like I'm telling everyone about her. Such is life. Puja once called me Mr. Awkward and liked to say that I'm insensitive to awkwardness, but evidently she's totally wrong. (I was congratulating myself about that as I lurked on the other side of the metro car from Amber and her mother.) I should rename this blog Mr. Sensitivity.

(Mr Garrison teaches algebra on South Park)
x = salagadoola mechicka boola
y = bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
x + y = y
x = 0
Mr Garrison: X equals zero. The song is badly written.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rachel and Peter recommended A Game of Thrones, so I've been watching it recently. I think I've seen 5 episodes now.

I think there should be a limit about the number of characters you can introduce in an hour, because the first episode goes way overboard. Like 20 characters are introduced and I can't remember any of their names.

There's a whole lot of talking and very little action. So far like 6 people have died, so we're averaging a little over one per episode. Despite its medieval setting, it's not an action show.

I feel like they go out of their way to make it an "adult" show. I appreciate the more brutal combat scenes, but then there's a lot of the show that's just weird. Every episode has scenes that take place in a whorehouse with random naked girls. Fine, whatever. Then the most recent episode had a scene of dialogue during which a lady breastfeeds her adolescent child, and another scene of dialogue while a guy has his chest and armpits shaved. With a random closeup on his nipples. I wonder if the Game of Thrones book is like this. I realize that a lot of people don't have the patience for a whole lot of dialogue, but putting the dialogue during a chest-shaving episode is not a solution.

I always thought the books were about Machiavellian scheming, but there's surprisingly little of that. I enjoy the scenes with the dwarf. He's the most witty and insightful of the characters. I don't like the blond prince and princess because they're just way too blond. The prince is the unlikely combination of cruel, unintelligent, and basically living on the lam, and the princess is the same except less cruel (or at least we don't see it). They're so blond, they remind me of the Girls Next Door, or the elves in Lord of the Rings. Speaking of Lord of the Rings, somehow those movies managed to imply that a character was crazy, without submitting the audience to scenes of a grown child breastfeeding. Ugh.

Note to self: never order kung pao chicken. Pictures on the internet make it look tasty, but it's 90% inedible squash and peppers. I feel like I've fallen for this trick before. These chinese food dishes need more descriptive names. Kung Pao = peanuts, peppers and squash. Doesn't sound as good now, does it? Stick with what you know, Joseph.

(from facebook. Sarah is a girl from my jr high. She's married now with a son and daughter)
Sarah: Well Zane finally pulled the Christmas tree over on top of himself last night. Thank god it's just a small fake one, and the ornaments are not glass. Can't wait for a real tree to topple over in my living room.
Ian: Such a lil' monster!!!
Sarah: You know it. I think he gets it form his dad. Too much muscle packed into such a little man.
Sarah: I mean Zaks not little, I was talking about Zane there.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Irene's visit was a success. We did a lot of things I wouldn't normally do and it was kinda exhausting. We went to an artist open house, toured the National Cathedral, and I saw Eastern Market for the first time. Kate R has made fun of me for years for having lived in DC without seeing Eastern Market, but I gotta say, it's not very spectacular. It's just a large market of homemade whatnots. Maybe Kate sees a different side of it.

I ran into Lindsey at Safeway. She's moving out of DC in a couple weeks, headed for Indiana. Bummer. We never really hung out, but I'd run into her occasionally at Courthouse or around Adams Morgan and would always be happy to stop and chat with her. But everybody leaves DC eventually. From facebook I gather that Kate W is moving to New Orleans this summer for school. I wonder if it's possible to reach a point where you don't actually know anybody in a city.

(The rest of this entry is about St Elmo's Fire, you can skip it if you want.)

I watched St Elmo's Fire today. Mehrnaz is a big fan and once tried to get me to watch the movie, but I only caught a tiny bit of it with her and was never interested enough to go out and see the rest of it. I spotted it on the cable schedule and on a whim I recorded it on my dvr. Verdit: it is better than I thought.

I don't remember any of the characters' names, but I really enjoyed Emilio Estavez's character who finds a woman he likes and proceeds to stalk her with the single-minded fury of a middle schooler. He was a high point of the movie. Judd Nelson plays a hill worker who bullies his friends and cheats on his fiance. (I'm not sure I believe that a lingerie saleswoman would ever offer to model something for a customer, but I've never been lingerie shopping so I guess it's possible.) Rob Lowe was a very unconvincing sax player, but sorta convincing as a fratboy loser who hits on every woman he sees and is incapable of holding a job. That seems like how Rob Lowe would be if he wasn't an actor. Demi Moore sorta played the same character, but the female version, and with a little more subtlety. Their stories were not as interesting.

Andrew McCarthy plays an annoying passive listless writer who is so casual with the local prostitute that he lets her flirtatiously stick her fingers into his mouth. Gross! I guess nobody worried about anything in the 80s. That's another one of the movie's themes. Nobody worries about anything, be it jobs or relationships or their friends. A lot of the movie is pretty predictable because we've all seen how these things end. Various bad moves include: stalking a girl through the rain on your bicycle, being secretly in love with your best friend's girlfriend and then confessing it all the night they've broken up, cheating on your fiance until she accepts your proposal... it's a long list.

Anyway it was an interesting movie. Not my favorite, but better than the 47% rotten tomatoes has given it. And I enjoyed some of the shots of DC. The Tombs looks similar in some scenes, though it's totally different from the outside. And the Georgetown shots look pretty accurate. The only weird sets are the various apartments. Two of the characters live in some kind of expansive loft. Something you might find in NYC but not in DC. Though DC was definitely different in the 80s. So maybe if you went to a sketchy neighborhood you could get a gigantic loft back then.

Just reading a rotten tomatoes review. Apparently there's a Demi Moore sex scene that my cable tv version didn't have! Screwed by basic cable!

Sheldon: I've written a new and improved roommate agreement that benefits me greatly. I'd like you to sign it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tonight I read through some xkcd. The xkcd hatred will never die.

895 isn't funny, but it is interesting because I've often heard space-time described as being like a sheet being distorted by the gravity of massive objects. But this wouldn't be part of an "understanding gravity" lecture because it has little to do with explaining gravity. Instead it explains space-time. I'm glad I'm not a teacher because I would have little tolerance for smart-mouth students who raise non-issues just to be disruptive or show off. And if any kid announced "boooooring" during my lecture I'd give him detention in an instant. Damn kids. Randall sometimes likes to draw comics where one snarky kid derails a lecture with his pointed questions. It's the student he wishes he could have been: too cool for school, and everyone would have known he's super smart without thinking he's a kiss up who participates constructively.

894 is not funny. It's just.. puzzling. Guy thinks we need to feel some collective sense of pride as a species for being good at things. He asks a stupid rhetorical question that implies that he thinks computers are a competing species. And the girl says we're good at teaching, which I guess means programming, which technically computers are significantly better at anyway. (That's why programming has gotten more and more abstracted.) Obviously there are no other species that are capable of programming computers. And then the guy says something stupid. Anti-education, anti-understanding that she's using "teaching" to mean "programming"? I dunno. Put two dumb people in a room, feed them the tech news, and record resulting dialogue as they struggle to understand humanity's relationship with computers and to communicate with each other.

893. This was the real reason I started typing about xkcd tonight. At first I read this and thought, are we really sending that many people to the moon? It seems to imply that we've been sending 10 people a year for the past 40 years. Or is it a cumulative count, but then shouldn't it just keep going up? The number of people who have walked on the moon can't decrease. I ignored the caption's use of the phrase "living humans" because obvious dead humans don't walk. That was before I knew that "actuarial tables" meant "lifespan statistics". Okay, so it's a misleading graph. We sent 12 people through the 60s-70s and haven't gone back since. That's what I'd expect. (No real reason to go back, I mean there's nothing there..) And Randall has predicted and graphed the astronauts' lifespans. Not a very polite thing to do. And where's the joke? Maybe the alt tag qualifies as an "interesting point" but it's an old point, and still not funny, and has nothing to do with the graph of moon-walker lifespans.

I should do a detailed graph of xkcd comics' quality over time. Then you could actually see the decline.

(comments from a youtube video of a guy's enormous full-scale model of the Starship Enterprise built in minecraft)
F0ll3nHero: Ok usualy I would troll hardcore on someone for doing something involving the starship enterprise, but this is simply to damn amazing,I can barely make a damn smiley face and you made a 1:1 scale of this megacreation..
demen6159: ill help u if u still need help
Funazzachick: That is absolutely incredible, I'm not sure where you got all of the squares for that but it must have taken AGES. Ingenius really, I couldn't have done it. Time well wasted :)
ih8makinusernames: I hope you feel accomplished. Normally I'd call you a no lifer but I just got done watching a video about a guy who spent 4 years building the "perfect" city in Sim City 3000 so nothing will ever really constitute a No Lifer comment compared to that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's been the most stressful week of my life since college. Yesterday I got a notice that tomorrow I have a mini-hearing/interrogation where the office HR department is going to grill me about my work habits. Then the HR rep is going to try to argue that I'm defrauding the government by claiming to have worked hours that I didn't really work.

First, to be clear, I am an honest person. I do not skimp on my taxes, I do not twist the truth. If a cop ever asked me how fast I was driving I would tell him if I knew. I'm pretty sure that I have never defrauded anyone and it seems like I should know. They haven't told me exactly what data they have that makes them think so, but I have a few guesses and I'm trying to prepare a non-hostile counter-argument based on them.

The bigger concern is that I talked to a union representative (just because my notification email said I had the right to do so), and he was concerned that maybe management is out to get me and is just looking for an excuse. I guess they do that for marginal employees. I'll have to talk to my supervisor a bit, but I don't think that's the case. At least I'm really hoping not.

I had a stomachache all day yesterday and it's been coming and going today. It's quite stressful knowing that someone is out to get you. And then not knowing what she's dug up to base her accusations on. I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

I'm picturing something like Bill Gates' deposition in 1998, except my interrogator will also be the one writing up the penalty recommendation so you don't want to upset her. And I don't really have anything to hide (unlike Microsoft's financial assault of Netscape).

The union guy said if they decide that I've been falsifying my timesheets it would result in a suspension. I suspect I can convince them that I haven't done that, but I will have to admit that I'm not always logged into my phone service when I work (which apparently is a serious work-at-home rule that I've always ignored because I get like 1 phone call a month, you get a little email-like notification in outlook when someone leaves a voicemail, the VPN is already slow without needing my telephone software making it worse, and nobody has ever complained that I'm unreachable). I've also broken a rule about requesting vacation time 3+ days in advance, and it's possible that I've been subconsciously counting hours worked between 10pm and midnight, which you're not supposed to do. They seem like small things but rules are rules. I might still get suspended. Honestly, I have no idea what's going on, and my supervisor says he doesn't know either. I guess I could get fired. Yikes.

They could make this process much less stressful with very little work if they wanted. It's been really tough getting work done this week and I have lots of work due before my sister shows up on Friday. And I still have to clean some. Oh, Irene is visiting me this weekend! The first family visit since 2005. I see family in CA, they just don't often come this way. I'm not sure what we'll do here.

(this exchange occurred over a series of emails)
me: Hey what's your cell number? I lost my phone two weeks ago and all my numbers with it.
Spittle: [sends his number]
Spittle: gotta love that. reply within 1 minute.
me: you're quick with that number. if you were a girl i'd call you a phone slut. or a tease if you're one of those girls who gives out the number with no intention of responding to a voicemail. slut.
Spittle: I'd be the girl that says "okay ready? 2-0-2 - 2-2-2 - 2 GOOD FOR YOU! AHAHAHAHAHA"