Friday, April 29, 2005

Inventory time...

Forget the crap in the side-bar!



Just saw: Sin City - This one's going to take a while to digest. I liked it, but it was really long and just damned odd.
Next up: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - I'm so excited about this one that I'm reading the book for the 3rd time.


Just saw: Spanglish - I really connected with this movie, and was super impressed with Adam Sandler. Good to see that he could settle down long enough to make this kind of film
Next up: I honestly can't remember what we have, but "Dawn of the Dead" is coming today. Woohoo!


Lots of good stuff has come out recently, and I've been digging the following:

Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Franz Ferdinand (hey, it's new to me)
Beck - Guero
Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze

Amanda bought the Scissor Sisters album, but I haven't heard much of it.


Rereading Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (3rd read, but I know: it's redundant...)


Praising God that rerun season starts in just a few weeks! In the meantime:

Desperate Housewives


Dilbert - and various other linked comics
Slashdot - News for Nerds, Stuff that matters. IT's best compendium of news.
Fark - News for freaks, stuff that doesn't matter. Great compendium of "news of the strange".
Richmond Times Dispatch - Local news
The greatest blog ever - Darth Vader finally decided to document his thoughts.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I've spent the past two days in a novel endeavor: detailing my car. I've never done this before, and have been a little nervous through the whole process. There's a lot that can go wrong, and the paint can be permanently damaged. But I've tackled it, and it's taken a total of about 6 or 7 hours so far.

I started by washing the car with Dawn dishwashing liquid. Twice. This supposedly removes any paint protectants and previous sealants and other nasty stuff that needs to be removed. Then I clay-barred the car, which involves rubbing very expensive bits of clay across soapy paint, and constantly kneading the clay to keep the dirt from scratching back into the paint. Of course, I did this process in waning sunlight, so I managed to get some fine scratches all over the side of the car.

That was day #1, and all told involved 3 washes and two large chunks of clay.

Day #2 began with another quick wash, this time with show car wash, just to get the previous day's pollen and dirt off the car. Then, on to the first coat of polish, which promises to hide swirl-marks and fine scratches. I got all of the material applied and moved on to washing Amanda's car while it dried.

It rained. So, crazy man that I am, I ran inside, grabbed a towel, and began wiping off the polish while also drying the car from the rain. For the next 20 minutes, every drop of water was dried as it hit the car. I didn't want to lose all of my work.

The car was absolutely gorgeous last night, and had not one drop of dew on it this morning. I was elated, and drove to work very cautiously, so as to avoid any un-necessary dirt.

So I got to work and parked, just in time to notice the man with the weed-eater coming straight toward me. I backed out of the space and drove around for a minute, so that he could mow that area without mucking up my car. Satisfied that he was finished, I drove back, parked, and left the car. Moments later I heard the leaf-blower start, and I looked back to see some ass-clown BLOWING GRASS CLIPPINGS STRAIGHT AT MY CAR. WTF? The grass clippings weren't going anywhere on their own! Why did they feel the compulsion to blow them around? Then, after he was done blowing shit at my car, he aimed the leaf-blower at my hood. For about 20 seconds he blew 200+mph wind at my car. Motherf***er! I've never wanted to choke someone so bad in my whole life.

The whole incident has pissed me off so royally that I can't enjoy anything about my morning.

I can't even focus on what a good time I had last night. !#$!@%$@#$RFRVG$!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Henry Rollins once described a song as "like getting hit in the chest with a Buick"

The whole blogging thing isn't really gelling for me. I find that I tend to create multiple incarnations of myself that I use when talking to different people. Some folks know about one aspect of my life while others know nothing of it. Am I protecting myself or my friends or just trying to appease everyone? It gets so damned tangled that eventually I have nothing to write about in my posts, lest someone stumble into something they shouldn't know.

So here it is, everything you probably didn't want to know:

I'm a staunch conservative. None of this compassionate conservatism crap, just plain conservatism. If the Constitution party would abandon its religious overtones, I'd sign up in a second.

I own a gun. Actually, I own several, but I only know of one that fires well, and it's a monstrous hand-gun. I believe very strongly in our second amendment rights, as I believe we'd still be saluting the English flag without them. I also believe that my house is my kingdom, and that I have an inherent right to defend it against marauders.

I don't believe in a minimum wage (c.f. above: "conservatism"). People drive wages. If you don't get paid enough, find something else to do. If you think there's nothing else to do, you clearly haven't been paying attention to the industrial revolution, which is still going strong. Invent something. Convince someone that you've invented something -- that worked well for the whole "dot-com" economy, and many of those people will never have to work again.

Here's a minimum wage math test: A company ships widgets. They do a steady business, and have allocated $100K for warehouse wages. For that money (assuming no other costs), they can hire 8(.36) minimum wage employees. That's 8 jobs that don't exist without this company. Now, let's assume that the "living wage" argument wins through Congress, and minimum wage rises from $5.75 to $8.00. Now, widget shipments have not risen, and the company still only has $100K to put toward warehouse wages. How many employees will lose their jobs? 2. The company can only employ 6(.01) employees at the new rate. That, in turn, hurts the shipping department's ability to meet demand, resulting in longer waits for shipments, dissatisfied customers, and eventually lost sales. When sales slide, so do profits, which means even more employees will lose their jobs.

So which is better? 8 people who make very little, or 6 people who make a little more? And whence comes the expectation that people *live* on minimum wage? I'm sure that some people do, but I would assume that most folks making minimum wage are entry-level workers (i.e., high-school students, first-jobbers, part-time positions, etc.), and that they aren't looking to stay in those positions throughout their careers. Furthermore, how many people fail to get raises over the years? Isn't minimum wage supposed to be a starting point? What does a high-school sophomore need with $16640 / year (that's the $8 "living wage")?

Back on track...

My mother is slightly insane. She's probably smoked her weight in pot, and I used to go on purchasing runs with her as a very young child. One of my earliest memories of my mother involved going to some dude's house where she bought drugs and there was a very large pistol on the table.

I don't trust anyone.

I am extremely selfish and jealous.

I am ridiculously lazy. I'll spend weeks working on a script to save myself 5 minutes of work per day. I will always put things off in the hopes that the business needs will change or that someone else will do the work.

My wife corrects all of my major flaws. When I'm around her, I become a giving and forgiving person. I want to work, work out, and be physically active with her. My love for Amanda is the most complete and satisfying experience of my whole life.

I detest those who cheat on their loved ones. If I find out someone I know is a cheater, I cannot respect any aspect of his / her life. Ever.

I abhor braggarts, although I have to work hard to keep from boasting. Maybe that's why I hate it.

I'm not a very positive person. I used to live by the simple philosophy that if you expect the worst, you'll never be disappointed. It's morose, but it works.

I'm a grammarian and a pedant.

I feel that I've wasted every educational opportunity that's ever been placed before me.

I fear life, but I have a great time living it.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

I have now competed in two road rallies, and I'm very proud to say that I've won my class both times. Props to Chris Stanley for the stellar navigation, and for crisis management! Props to Chris Kimmelshue for his super diligent work helping me prep the car.

This road-rally stuff is fun. Man, o man, is it fun. 3+ hours of technical driving, 64 individual instructions, and brakes that never failed. Sweet. And we captured about an hour of the rally on video.

Now I can't wait for the June night-time rally, although the schedule for that one is from 6pm til midnight. Yikes!


Friday is Amanda's birthday! Eeek! Man, these things just sneak right up on you. You're going along just fine, with a birthday some nebulous number of months away, and then BAM! it's in 4 days. How the hell does that work?

Speaking of birthdays, today is my dad's 60th! Happy birthday, dad!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

No more panic

The brakes came Monday and were installed Tuesday, along with new springs. It was an absolute debacle, resulting in 1 broken part, several hours of lost time due to rain and missing parts, and two very very exhausted MINI tuners. But it's all on there, now, and going through the bed-in process, which consists of making several back-to-back hard stops from 60 - 0.

Hopefully, everything will be ready in time for the rally on Sunday.

What's more, I'm done for a while. Until we get back from our anniversary trip, the car is done. I'll probably take it to live at the dealership during our trip, so that they can work on the transmission and some ancillary issues, but there will be no more mods until June. Finito.

To date, almost the entire suspension has been replaced: lower control arms, front and rear sway bars, and springs. The only items left that I even could replace would be end-links, upper control arms, and bushings, but I don't want to do any of that (except the end-links). No, this car is set up to handle, now.

And that brings me to a great point in my life: I can spend more time with the woman who means everything to me. Last night, we enjoyed our first evening together in almost a week. It was fabulous. All we did was run, eat dinner, and watch movies, but it was the best time I've had in weeks. I never want to take my wife for granted.

Next Friday is her 30th birthday! The Woman's getting old. ;) We're gonna party for days (at least, the way 30-year-olds party: by going to tourist places and being generally low-key). We're hitting Monticello next Thursday, and doing a picnic on the lawn. Friday is completely up-in-the-air, but I imagine a wonderful meal is in order. Saturday will be Amanda's Mad Tea Party, and I'm excited about that. Lots of pots of tea, friends, and a compulsory game of musical chairs. Probably with champagne and hard liquor. All right!

Thursday, April 07, 2005


My freakin' brakes haven't arrived yet. AAARRGGGHH!!!

OK, I feel better now.

Monday, April 04, 2005

So I'm sitting at home today, waiting for a dryer that isn't coming. I've already planned to do the exact same thing tomorrow. Godot would be so proud. Maybe I should hang myself...

We bought this kick-ass dryer at the Sears Appliance Outlet (read: scratch 'n dent center) on Thursday. It was next to impossible to get someone to help us, and when someone finally did, he promised a Monday delivery. Fortunately, he gave me the phone # of the delivery guy. When I called the delivery man this morning, he said he'd never heard of me, and that I wasn't on his list for today (or any day, for that matter), but that he could fit me in tomorrow. Great. I've already got today off for this, and now I have to go and suck down another vacation / personal day.

This, in turn, leads to its own quandary: if I take today and tomorrow as vacation days, I will get to keep whatever overtime I accrue throughout the month. As it is the beginning of the month, however, I don't know if I will accrue any at all. There is also the matter of Amanda's birthday (the big 30): she's taking off 2 days around her birthday. If I take today and tomorrow as personal days, then why not take the 2 days around her birthday as personal days? But that leaves me with 2 personal days until October 1.

Vacation days seem the better option, but I've already used 7.5 of 20, so with April's outages (currently estimated at 4 days), May's outages (1 week for an anniversary trip), and the potential for a week at camp during the summer, that would be a total of 21 vacation days taken for the year. Obviously, that's one-and-a-half too many.

Our company's policy makes it absurd to take vacation days and personal days in the same month, since one counts against you and the other counts toward you (in terms of accrued overtime). So I really have no idea what to do.