Audibly out of touch

I tried. I really tried to watch the MTV music video awards. I tried to find something redeemable about pop music in 2004. What I saw and heard did nothing to rekindle my interest. In fact, it annoyed me so much I’ve compiled a small list of complaints.

  • mainstream hip-hop sucks so much that rock is making a comeback
  • Rock hasn’t changed, and seems to only be going backwards, sound and style wise. Mind you, that’s not necessarily bad.
  • Music and the corresponding videos are as commercially bent-over as movies. Pretty soon, albums are going to include “the twenty.”
  • You don’t have to bob your head when something sucks.
  • Wu-Tang is for the children, but where are they now?
  • People’s fascination with the newlyweds seems to affect their taste in music.
  • When do people actually see these videos? I’ve not seen them before.
  • Why isn’t anything else on at this hour?

Gmail Squatter

I’ve passed up several opportunities to get a gmail account because I already have a web-based e-mail account that I like that also allows IMAP access to it. But then I thought about it. What if someone else was to get my name as their e-mail address? That just can’t happen!

So I now have a gmail account, but don’t send stuff to it. I need to decide how I’m going to use it.

Big Screen Debut

Here’s a lesson I’ve learned for you. Don’t hang a sheet against your front window when you’re watching a movie on a projector. More specifically, don’t watch the unrated version of an already suspect film on the screen. But if you do, check to see what it looks like from outside before it gets to the raunchier parts. You might regret it when, after the movie, you check the view from outside and discover that its an even better view than from the inside, and you’ve been showing it to the entire neighborhood. Its even worse than when we left the outdoor speakers on for Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle. This always happens on the worst movies.

I’d have taken a picture, but I was so mortified that I busied myself with dish washing, and Michelle promptly took down the screen absconded to the back room. I hope the neighbors have a sense of humor. And I hope they aren’t offended by boobies.

RIP: 19″ CRT monitor

The summer I was working in a plastic extrusion plant (1999), I often mentally built the computer I wanted as a distraction from how hot the building was, or how monotonous putting freshly made bags in to boxes gets. Near the end of the job, I finally ordered my nearly new G3 and purchased a Sylvania F91 CRT monitor at Costco for the amazing price of $349. I chose it because it had a 3 year warranty. I chose it despite the fact that it was boring, beige cube that weighed 50 lbs.

This morning while checking e-mail, the sound of water on a hot skillet filled the room and the picture started dancing around, shrinking and expanding, until the classic poof of the screen failing to black left me with the smell of a recently fired cap gun. That’s probably not good. The warranty is nearly 2 years out. Anyone looking for birthday ideas?


I’ve been putting of getting my hair cut for some time now. I have a hard time justifying paying for a haircut because my mom cut my hair growing up. In the early days, she used scissors. Then, with the perfect mating of vacuum suction, electric razors, and plastic height limiters, we entered the Flowbee Era.

Despite the Suck-Cut parody on Wayne’s World, the device was a great thing to have around. It was great fun for family, and was always a source of laughter. Just imagine seeing your aunt vacuum up your uncle’s comb over. Comic gold.

Anyway, after getting married, I started going to the cheapest haircut places I could. The cuts were lame, and weren’t worth the $12 I usually spent. I even let friends cut my hair at times. But this summer they didn’t come through. No one would bring down clippers when here for the Oregon Brewers Festival. So when in Yakima again for a friend’s wedding, I cut my own hair with the Flowbee. And it was good. Except the neck fuzz, but Michelle fixed that for me.

I’m so pleased with the cut that I decided to return the love. Thank you Flowbee!

Clem & Erin’s Wedding

This weekend we headed back to Yakima for Clem and Erin’s wedding. Clem has been a friend since middle school, and Erin is a wonderful woman who seems unfazed by his shenanigans.

The night before the wedding, we went out in search of karaoke (I’m not sure why…), but didn’t find it at our first stop: the flight deck. I was unaware that airport bars still existed (especially at non-airports like Yakima’s), but it seems to be one of the places to be in Yakima.

There was no singing, so we headed across town to Las Margaritas. Our entry in to the Cantina lowered the average age to 45. And there were 12 of us, all under 25. Despite a few, um, missed notes, it was a lot of fun, and the rather large group all seemed enjoy most of the same music. Clem got a call around midnight letting him know that the person doing the music for his wedding the next day was backing out. Luckily, replacements were found.

The wedding was a lot of fun, and even the late afternoon rain didn’t spoil the mood. It was surprising to see a number of people for the first time since high school. A friend of the wedding party commented to me that the people there from our high school seemed to be generally more relaxed, genuine, and cooler. I think he was probably right, but he also saw us at karaoke.

Clem and Erin are now enjoying themselves (I hope) in Maui. Congrats, and best wishes.

Bad at Geography? It may cost you

The Guardian estimates that Microsoft has lost hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business because of lacking in geographical knowledge among its developers. To address the problem, the company is going to start having geography classes to avoid future “bloopers.” (The Guardian misspelled the word. Ironic)

Just so I wasn’t a superior feeling jerk, I took the survey myself. I scored a perfect 20. The survey is quite simple, and I’m still a superior feeling jerk.

I don’t think Microsoft is any more to blame than any other corporation. Hell, they provide some great tools, like MapPoint and Terraserver. But I do agree that we as a nation really need to improve our geographic understanding. The survey’s highlights show American’s to be especially lacking. I guess I’ll just have to become a geography teacher someday.

1421 – China discovers America?

My third entry on this site was about Gavin Menzies presenting his case to the Royal Geographical Society for China discovering the Americas before Columbus or other Europeans.

Last night I checked out a DVD from our library that chronicles Menzies’ theory. The documentary, 1421 – the year China discovered America? is split into two hours. The first develops Gavin’s version of the voyages of Zheng He, a eunuch admiral from the Ming Dynasty. Oddly enough – many of the emperor’s officials were eunuchs, and we had to look the word up because, you know – we thought it meant castrated bed chamber attendant. Well, it does in Greece. In China however, eunuchs were pretty much bureaucracy, but castrated.
Chinses Junks

Anyway, Zheng He sailed around most of the Indian Ocean with the massive Ming fleet. These voyages have been confirmed by stone carvings around the various location. Menzies argues that Zheng He, or one of his admirals, or even one of his deputies sailed past the Cape of Good Hope, up the western coast of Africa, and ultimately across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and on to Florida and maybe even as far as Rhode Island. It was all very interesting and exciting.

The second hour of the documentary was directed by some one else, and pretty much spends its time deconstructing all of Menzies’ arguments, asking experts in their respective fields about the evidence that Menzies has offered. It was somewhat disappointing because it really takes a lot of the wind out of theory. But it also points out the lack of concrete evidence for the theory.

All in all, Menzies has a great theory with some rather large holes. Its certainly a charming one, and the documentary is quite entertaining and informative. The thrust of his argument is that the great explorers that are credited with the discovery of the Americas already had maps of the new world and someone had to already have been there for these maps to exist. Menzies thinks it was the Chinese.