Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nine weddings

As I mentioned in a previous post, this has been a busy summer (and fall). So far this year, I have attended seven weddings (with another one in a week and another three days before the end of the year); I've been in two of them; I was the co-best-man in one of them; six of the couples are still together; one was a Hindu wedding, two were Catholic, one was Jewish/Middle eastern, complete with vocalizations; one was in a barn; one had a ten piece band that sang in Farsi and Spanish; one will be a second high school reunion, which is good because I missed the first one; and because of the weddings I've traveled to Los Angeles (thrice), Napa, Chicago, and Philadelphia (yes, that is six, one was actually right here near home in San Jose).

Among the happy couples, not including intermediary degrees, are six bachelor's degrees, three teaching credentials, seven master's degrees, two JD's, and four PhD's (soon to be five). So I guess I tend to hang out with overeducated folk.

Another fun fact is that even with nine weddings, there will have been only one person to attend more than one with me. I guess this means that I have at least nine separate groups of friends.

Also of note were the two famous people that were in attendance at two of the weddings. The first one was attended by Bill Nye (the science guy). I've actually hung out with Bill before. I went with him, his family and my family to Ghirardelli Square for ice cream once. After we got our food, we were siting at a table next to the windows that face the street. A couple of young teenagers walked by, and after they passed us, they backed up and started staring and pointing. Bill was gracious enough to call them over, and asked if they would like to take a picture. He then signed some autographs and talked to them for a moment.

At the wedding I was at, he was related to the groom. As the day progressed, you could see the kids from the Bride's side pointing and whispering to themselves. Finally, they couldn't take it anymore, and one of them went up and asked for an autograph. He agreed to sign it, and that opened the floodgates. All of a sudden, he had a line 10 kids deep asking for autographs. Once again, he was quite gracious, and signed for them all and took pictures with all of them. He then rewarded himself by dancing with all of the single ladies from the Bride's side.

The other famous person was Danielle Fishel. You may remember her from such roles as Topanga from Boy Meets World and as the host of "The Dish". She is by far one of the nicest people I've ever met. She was gracious, humble, interesting, and quite pretty too. I can't say enough nice things about her. Not at all what I was expecting from the co-star of a top rated TV show.

All in all, it's been a fun year. I'm looking forward to next year, when there will almost certainly be fewer weddings, although I already know of at least three.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Southwest still has a sense of humor

Last Saturday as I my flight was taking off, I heard this: "For those of you who just pushed the button with the flight attendant on it instead of the light bulb, please push the button again. The flight attendant featured on that button is not working tonight."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jeremy's California Voter Guide

Every election cycle, I spend the time reading the full text of the propositions, and then spouting my feelings to everyone who asks. To make this more efficient, I present my bi-annual voter's guide.

Quick Guide (details follow):

President: You should already know who you want.

House of Reps: I'm basing it on whether I agree with their vote on the $700 Billion bailout.

Local stuff: Sorry, can't really help you there.

Prop 1: No
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 3: No
Prop 4: No
Prop 5: No
Prop 6: No
Prop 7: No
Prop 8: No
Prop 9: No
Prop 10: No
Prop 11: No
Prop 12: No


President: You know who you are voting for. If you are still "undecided", that means that you either want attention, or are waiting for someone to tell you. If you were an informed voter, you would have already made up your mind, and had enough faith in yourself to know that you are capable of chaging your mind, should some compelling new evidence come about.

House of Reps:
A few weeks ago the House and Senate passed a bill that gave a bunch of money with no strings attached to a few select banks, who are mostly using it for giving bonuses and such things. Here is how all the state reps voted on the bailout bill. I suggest you find your incumbent, and if they didn't vote the way you would have, then vote for the other guy.

A note on bond measures: I always* vote no on bond measures. They cripple our state economy, because no matter what anyone says, there are only two ways to pay off the interest of a bond -- higher taxes or service cuts. Neither of these things is good. My feeling is that if the project is such a good idea, then it would be worth cutting services or raising taxes beforehand to save enough money to pay for it.

* The one bond I supported was for stem cell research, and that was because I felt the federal government was being so stupid on the issue that something drastic had to be done.

Prop 1: No. This is a bond measure. It's not even a good bond measure. It's a huge boondoggle that creates a huge bureaucracy and doesn't even guarantee that we'll get anything from it. The main argument for this proposition is that labor is cheap now. However, if you actually read the text of the bill, you'll see that no labor based jobs are created. The only jobs this creates are for highly trained surveyors and scientists. The results of their work could lead to the creation of construction jobs, but only if additional funding is made.

Prop 2: Yes. I read the whole text. It doesn't do anything funny, just simply states that animals have to be in bigger enclosures. The one main downside is that there will probably be some collateral damage where farmers will move out of the state to other states that allow crueler, and therefore more profitable, conditions.

Prop 3: No. Bond act. If it was such a good idea, they would have already found the money.

Prop 4: No. Forcing a girl to talk to her family will not solve anything. If she felt comfortable talking to her family, she would do it, law or no. All this does it put already vulnerable teenage girls into an even more difficult situation. I would like to hope that any teenage girl I may have in the future would feel comfortable talking to me if she were pregnant.

Prop 5: No. Besides the budget impact, this law is a sneaky way of creating some cushy new government jobs. Hidden in the many pages of text of this law is the creation of a new position, which would be a second secretary of the Department of Corrections (they already have one). The way that their undersecretaries are currently selected is by governor appointment and state senate approval, but this law would make it so that they can't be dismissed for five years. There are a lot of other sneaky changes in this law, along with a bunch of money. It seems like this law started out as a way to get non-violent drug offenders out of prison, but turned into a huge pork program for a small group of people. Again, if this were such a good idea, they could find the money in other ways.

Prop 6: No. This is a huge infusion of cash to law enforcement, which would strap our state budget and not gain us a lot for the money. Once again, this falls under, "If it was a good idea, they would already be funding it."

Prop 7: No. I'm not a lawyer, but when I read through the text of this law, I could not make much sense of it. Usually I can at least get the gist of it. I think this law has good intentions, but is so poorly written, and has such huge sweeping changes, that I don't think it is a good idea. All of the major power companies in California have poured tons of money into defeating this bill. Normally I would not support the same position as all of the biggest power companies in the state, but in this case I can't help but agree with them. I suspect they are mostly defending themselves from the onerous regulations this bill unreasonably puts upon them.

Prop 8: No. Why would you vote to remove people's rights? Regardless of how you feel about marriage, this removes existing rights. It singles out one group of people to have different treatment under the law. Did we not learn our lessons from the 60's?

Prop 9: No. Mostly for the same reasons as prop 6. This is a boondoggle that creates new bureaucracy that we don't need under the guise of protecting victims.

Prop 10: No. Bond measure. Find the money already. Etc.

Prop 11: No. This is a measure mostly supported by Republicans to change the way we draw districts to help them get more seats. Admittedly, none of the state seats have changed parties in the last two elections, so clearly the system is broken. However, this isn't the solution.

Prop 12: No. Bond. As much as I think our Veterans should get government help as a thank you for their service, it's still a bond.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A long overdue update.

Yesterday, a beautiful girl told me I have to update my blog. How could I say no to that?

Back in April, I vowed to make at least five posts a week. Clearly I have failed. Partly because I didn't have anything to write about, and partly because I have been so busy with things to write about that I haven't had time to actually do the writing. I probably set that bar too high.

Since I last wrote, I've attended multiple weddings (two of which I was in); gone to Chicago, Vegas, and Pennsylvania; watched two friends get their phd's; launched an open source project; and bought a house, renovated the house and moved into it.

We'll just say it's been a busy summer. Hopefully I'll have some time to write about it -- next week.

Man, I'm such a tease.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Virgin America rocks

Last week I got to fly on Virgin America for the first time. I'd just like to take a moment to thank them for the excellent travel experience.

Since we were traveling on Earth Day, they invited those of wearing green to board the plane early. However, since their boarding is so efficient, it didn't actually save me any time -- my travel partner, who was not wearing green, sat down about a minute after I did.

Once on the plane, I was treated to the oft written about purple lighting and trance music. I think some of that lighting is UV, which is supposed to help you adjust time zones or something when traveling on a plane. They also have the trance music in the bathroom throughout the flight, so you can feel relaxed while you urinate at 30,000 feet.

For me, the most important part of any airplane is the seat. If I were the pilot, I would worry about stuff like the wings and landing gear, but since I'm not, it's the seat. I have to sit in that thing for 5 or 6 hours going cross-country, so it had damn well better be comfortable. This was the first airplane seat I've sat in and had sufficient lumbar support. It was actually a comfortable seat! I was able to sit through the whole flight and not be cramped when I arrived. I hope the seats stay this good, and aren't just this way because they are new.

Also important is the entertainment system. Jetblue has a pretty good one, with the DirectTV, but Virgin has definitely one-upped them. Not only do they have the DirectTV, but they also have this way cool entertainment system with movies and games and chat. The chat idea is cool, but sadly, I was the only one logged in the entire flight. I got to watch a bunch of TED talks through the video function, and then I played with the music part, which lets you make playlists and then listen to them. I even played a little Doom. Oh yeah, did I mention the whole thing runs on Linux:

If you look closely, you can see Tux in the upper left of the screen, and the purple lights above.

ps. I'll admit, this entire post was a setup for the picture, but I really did enjoy my flight on Virgin, and would fly them again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I ALMOST feel bad for telemarketers

The other day I came home to my apartment, and there was a message on the machine. Since no one ever uses that phone except tele-marketers and bill collectors, I knew I wasn’t interested in what the message said, but I decided to listen, just for shits and giggles. Here is a transcript:

“Hello, is this Mr. Jeremy Edberg?”
“Great, how are you today?”
“My name is Jim, and I’m calling on behalf of the San Francisco 49’s, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
“Great! Are you a sports fan?”
“Excellent! How do you feel about the 49’s this year?”

This went on for about 10 minutes. It got worse and worse. Clearly the niners are desperate for fans, based on the questions, and clearly this guy knew that he was not being monitored. He was probably being paid by the hour, and not the call. I just wonder what answers he was writing down for me…

Monday, April 28, 2008

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

Well, I never actually sniffed glue -- I just stole that line from one of my favorite movies. However, I did pick the wrong week to vow to make at least five posts a week. Right after I made that vow, I went on a week long vacation, and then took a business trip to New York. I had considered writing a bunch of posts and then backdating them, but one of my vigilant readers pointed out that I would be cheating, and she was keep track.

So much for that idea.

Instead, I will renew my vow now, and hope that I can better stick to it. Although I have two weddings in the next two weekends (one of which I am in, on the bride's side), I will do my best.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Free Tibet, or something.

I'm sitting here on my usually empty and quiet train, thinking to myself, "It's awfully loud and crowded today." For those that don't know, the Olympic torch makes its one and only appearance today in the United States, in San Francisco. The Olympic committee probably chose SF because of the large asian population. I'm currently surrounded by the mixed chattering of Mandarin and Cantonese, and all the people are wearing "Beijing 2008" shirts. Many have their small children with them, taking them to see this once (or maybe twice) in a lifetime experience.

However, what the Olympic committee seems to have forgotten is that San Francisco not only has the largest asian population in the country, but it also has the largest protester population in the country. Sitting right across from the "Beijing 2008" t-shirt wearers are the "Free Tibet" t-shirt wearers. As they got on, they were saying things like, "I can't believe these people support the Olympics. Don't they realize all of those American tourist dollars are going to go straight to Sudan and Darfur!" Yeah, because those tourist dollars are going to be the tipping point that gives China the freedom to fund that sort of stuff. The billions of dollars we already give them though Wal-Mart are only used for good wholesome things, like sending us Chow Yun Fat and Yao Ming, and paying for that super China firewall. The protesters are mostly naive Stanford students, but I really wish they would at least do some research first.

Seeing all the excited kids reminds me of when I saw the Olympic torch. It was 1984, and I had just turned 7. We lived in Los Angeles, so it was quite easy for us to head down and see the relay on its final leg. I still remeber all the cheering crowds, and definietely do not remember any protesters. There was a distinct feeling of happiness, especially since America had boycotted the previous Olymics in Russia (the the USSR). Everyone was just happy that we were competing again.

I also remember being able to get right up to the front, almost able to touch the torch runner. I feel sorry for these kids. Their once in a lifetime experience is going to be watching a torch runner surrounded by three layers of police and the FBI, with protestors shouting "Free Tibet" behind them.

ps. The train conductor just had to get on the PA and remind everyone that there is only one bathroom on the train for 660 people, and everyone needs to move quicker. It's going to be a hell of a train ride...

I'm back!

It has been more than a year since I last posted on this blog. Not coincidentally, it has been about a year since I started working for reddit. However, I have decided it is time for me to pick up my writing again. When I took my writing class at Cal, the professor said that the best way to improve one's writing was to do it every day -- the topic was not important.

My goal is to do about 5 posts a week -- we'll see how long it lasts.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

A gambling story

I’m spending this weekend in Lake Tahoe, NV. Since I don’t ski, the only thing I have to do here is gamble. This evening I had such an awesome story that I just had to share.

I cashed in with $500, and I was playing $25 a hand. I was pretty close to even the whole time, until a new dealer came in and took me all the way down to $50 in chips. Then the old dealer came back in and I was slowly getting back up to even.

Everyone had left the table, and I was still down $125. Then I got the best blackjack hand in my life. I was dealt two 7’s against the dealer’s 6. I split, and got another 7. I split again and got another 7. Then I got a 2, which is a double down hand, so I doubled. I don’t remember what came next, but then I got an A on the next 7, which is also a doubling hand. Again I doubled. Then I got a 6 to go with the next 7, and on the last 7, I got another 2, and doubled again.

So at this point, I had $175 on the table against the 6. The dealer turned over his 6, and he had a 5 underneath. My heart sank. Then he pulled out a 2. An 8 or less and I was screwed. The dealer pulls a 9. He has 22, and I just won $175, putting me up $50.

I gave the dealer a big tip, and then got up and left, quite happy with my huge win, and then went across the street for a lobster dinner.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm a train commuter now.

Yesterday was my first day on the new job as an Information Cowboy for

Since I live in San Jose and the job is in San Francisco, I’ve decided to take the train to work. This gives me two hours each day to do whatever I want without distraction and without interruption, which hopefully will be spent, at least in part, blogging. I’m writing this on the train as a matter of fact.

My first day as a train commuter went something like this: I arrived at the station about 20 minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive, and it’s a good thing I did, because the stupid parking pass machine wouldn’t take my dollar bills. I spent 15 minutes frantically running up and down the stairs, trying to hit up the other passengers for their dollar bills in exchange for mine (they probably thought I was trying to scam them). Finally I gave up, and put my receipt for the train ticket on the dash, in the hopes of fooling the parking enforcement into thinking I’m just too stupid to turn it the right way (it worked).

At the particular station I was at, it was pretty much just two slabs of concrete next to the track. To get to the Northbound side, you have to walk across the track. They have these little bars that come down to warn you when the train is coming, but that is about all that stops you from walking on the tracks. It’s no wonder there are so many suicides on CalTrain — it’s just so damn easy!

As I walked down the stairs, the little bars were coming down, and I saw everyone running to get to the Northbound side before the bars came all the way down. I assumed this was because the train was coming, so I joined them. It turns out that a Southbound train was coming very quickly, with no intention of stopping. I was so close to the track that I could feel the the pressure of the train pushing me away (see Mythbusters).

About a minute later, a train arrived on the Northbound tracks. I was told that the train number would be printed on the front. I had been lied to. There was a number on the front, but it didn’t match any train number in the schedule. So I turned a guy on the platform, and said, “Is this the 319”. He said yes, and I thanked him and started walking away. Then I turned around and walked back up to him, clearly frightening him, and, being the ever curious person I am, said, “How did you know that?”. I was hoping the answer would be “divine intervention”, but instead it was “the shape of the train”, which frankly isn’t much better!

After boarding the train, I sat down next to a very nice girl, who was in absolutely no mood to exchange pleasantries. As I sat down, I smiled at her and said, “Good morning.” She smiled back at me and said nothing. As I observed others boarding the train, I noticed that this seems to be customary — ignoring the others on the train. From now on I will make no attempts at acknowledging the existence of others on the train, unless they do so first.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. One thing that I saw on the way back however was a guy with a beer in one hand and a trashy romance novel in the other. I guess that is his way of winding down after a long work day!

For the ride both down and up, I spent about half the time staring out the window, and the other half writing this entry. It always depresses me a little when I ride the train, to see the condition of the houses and businesses near the tracks. I suppose as I become a daily rider, I will become more accustomed to the general lack of upkeep of the buildings and the people walking by, dragging their feet, as though they are ashamed to live so close to the tracks.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Do you remember that time...

I was reading this pair of articles about a woman who can remember her entire life in explicit detail, as if the events happened that same day, regardless of how long ago it really was. I would imagine she has something wrong with her ability to prune memories. She doesn't have a perfect memory though -- she has trouble with rote memorization.

This got me thinking -- would I want this ability? I mean, we could be arguing about something that happened a year ago, and I could tell you in explicit detail everything about that day, and you couldn't argue back, because you would know I am right. And I would totally kick butt in the History questions in Trivial Pursuit, as long as they were about stuff that happened during my lifetime.

The question is, would anyone want to hang around me? Would you want to be with someone who remembers every detail of their life and their interaction with you, including all the times you were mean to them. Would you want to be around someone who could always bring up things in the past, things you would rather everyone forgot? Would you want to be around someone who was always beating you at Trivial Pursuit?

And would I want to remember everything, including all of those things that depress me?

Friday, January 5, 2007

I don't have many mortal fears...

But one of them is injury from a garbage disposal. I've never seen anyone get injured by one, nor do I know anyone who has, but the damn thing frightens me. Perhaps it is the fact that it is a deadly spinning blade in a small black hole that I can't see into.

Normally, if I am doing the dishes or something, I usually finish by running the disposal and cleaning the sink. I make sure that no one is within 10 feet of the sink before flipping the switch. When something gets stuck in there, I usually wait until the house is empty to work on it, so that there will be no one flipping the switch by accident, and I try very hard to not put my hands in there.

Well, today at work, I was washing some dishes in the sink, when one of the other folks who works in the building walked by and flipped the switch for the disposal. I probably jumped back about 10 feet, and my heart was racing. She said she was trying to find the light switch. I'm not sure why she thought it would be in the middle of the room next to the sink, 20 feet from the lights she was trying to turn on, but that's just me I guess.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Mexican Lawlessness

Edit: After looking at it again, this post seemed kind of long, so here are the Cliff's Notes:

1. Mexico is lawless.
2. There are no crosswalks -- only jaywalkers.
3. They have no vehicle code.
4. No need to sign a waiver when doing a dangerous activity like horseback riding
5. You only have to be able to walk to get alcohol.
6. The cops can be easily bribed for what in America would be an arrestable offense.

Original post:
As I mentioned before, I spent some of my vacation stowed away on a cruise ship. One of the stops the boat made was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I took the opportunity to get out of the cargo hold and stretch my legs a little, and entered a foreign country for the first time in my life. It was probably a good place to start, since I came into a tourist town where most everyone speaks English, and the cash registers have a handy button to convert from Pesos to dollars.

What I did notice however was the absolute lawlessness. Our first stop was "Siempre WalMart", where we had to pick up some bottled water, because as they say, if you drink the water in Mexico, you'll be making a run for the border. The WalMart was across the street from the docks, but at first I was confused on how to get there. There was a road, but no signals and no crosswalks. I then observed for a few minutes and realized why these things were unnecessary -– people just walk across the street wherever and whenever they want. It doesn't matter if cars are coming, if there is a cop, or anything else.

After getting our water, we boarded the tourbus that took us to the horseback riding ranch. There were no windows on the bus, but that didn't matter, because there are no vehicle safety regulations either. Once at the ranch, we saddled up for our ride. The nice thing about having no laws is that there was no pesky paperwork to sign, either. We just showed up and hopped on. There was one small sign warning us that, "You might be injured riding a horse." That was pretty much it.

After a fun but uneventful ride through Mexico, we returned to the ranch for a tequila tasting. It was there that they purveyors handed out cups to everyone there (including the twelve year old boy) and starting pouring shot after shot of tequila. I think I had about six. I think the twelve year old had more.

On our ride back on the bus, we did almost have an experience with the law. The bus driver decided to completely ignore a red light, blowing through a solid red at full speed. All of us on the bus saw it, but didn't think much of it. However, it seems the cops (yes, they actually have cops) did seem to mind, and pulled us over. However, it was a rouse. The driver jumped out of the bus - a move that would have gotten him shot in America - and ran up to the cop with his license and a few bucks. Here is a picture of the cops. It is hard to make out the bribe, because we didn't want to use a flash.

The Federales

After seven minutes, we were back on the road. I must say, the system works much better when you don't have to deal with things like rules and lawyers and such.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Abandon ship!

As some of you may know, in my absence I spent a week stowed away aboard a cruise ship. I won't talk much about my shipboard experience, except to say that it is a great way to take a vacation if you're a paying customer, even if you have kids, because they have this place where you can drop the kids off in the morning and not have to retrieve them until the evening. They also have a lot of food, all the time.

However, what I would like to talk about is the lifeboat drill. Every cruise starts with one. They begin by making a hideous sound on the PA system, signaling the start of the drill. If this were a real emergency, this would be a few minutes after hitting the iceberg. You then proceed to your cabin, where you put on a life vest that looks like a really puffy orange toilet seat cover. It has a blinking light and a little plastic whistle, in case you feel like belting out show-tunes while waiting for your rescue craft. After that, you go to your "muster station", which is the boat word for "meeting place".

Once there, they line you up like cattle, make you sit around for a while, and then inform you of what would happen in a real emergency. Had the boat actually been sinking, they tell you, we would, "load the life boats, giving priority to women and children." Are you serious? To this day, they still maintain the women and children first policy? I can understand letting the children get on first with both their parents, but where did the feminist movement go? Why are they not demanding equal rights in this area? Do they realize that this policy was created at a time when the prevalent feeling was, "we had better let the women go first, because they are too weak to fend for themselves"!? I don't know about you, but I was quite offended at the insinuation. Although for some reason, my girlfriend didn't seem to have a problem with being given lifeboat priority. Sometimes I just can't understand women.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gas station rating system

The other day I was driving my friend around, and I mentioned to him that I had just filled up at a four point gas station (petrol station for our European readers). He looked at me as though I was crazy, at which point I realized he didn't know the gas station rating system I was using, because I made it up. So now I share with you my system, so you can adopt it to.

I do two things every time I go to the gas station: fill up with gas and wash the windows. I am pretty anal about washing the windows, so the system is heavily weighted towards that. To score a gas station, award one point for each of the following:

- Good squeegees available
- Soapy water for said squeegee
- Good paper towels
- Cheap gas

(I give minus four points for not taking my credit card at the pump).

So there you have it. Now you can start rating all the stations you go to.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The modern dance club

I haven't been clubbing in about six years, but due to a friend's birthday and being on the VIP list, I figured, "What the hell" and entered a dance club in San Francisco for the first time in years. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

First off, the music in the club hasn't changed in six years. They were still playing the same stuff we had at my 8th grade dance, only with a strong techno/house beat mixed in. Perhaps it was retro night. Or perhaps it is because no good dance music has been produced in 15 years. Who knows?

The other thing I saw was only what could be described as a strange sexual act. There was this girl there wearing a fairly short skirt. She would randomly walk up to guys, bend over at the waist and put her hand on the floor, and then rub her backside in their crotch. I believe this was her way of saying hello.

One of the guys was particularly receptive, so they started dancing. And by dancing I mean they started acting out other sexual positions. First, she put her leg up on his shoulder and started gyrating, and then she actually pulled her skirt up and basically started "being intimate" with the guy right in the middle of the dance floor.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I don't like to talk to people in the bathroom

Have you ever been in one of those bathrooms that has an attendant? I think this happens a lot more in men's rooms for some reason, but it annoys the crap out of me. I was in a bathroom with an attendant the other day, and he was creeping me out. First, he watched me pee. Then as I walked up to the sink, he refused to let me touch the sink. He turned the water on and then squirted soap in my hands.

Let me go over that one in more detail. Using a water squirt bottle, he squeezed the trigger, which ejected a warm, thick, white liquid onto my hands. I don't know why it was warm. After I was done, he got a towel and started wiping my hands. Then I had a problem. See, he has this little bowl there with dollar bills in it, presumably his tips. I don't like being forced to tip, nor do appreciate the service he offers. So what was I to do? If I didn't leave a tip, he might prevent me from using the bathroom again, because I would piss off the bathroom troll (pun intended). However, I took the chance, and walked out, no tip. What would you have done?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Overuse of the word "martini"

What is with the overuse of the word "martini" to describe an alcoholic drink? A martini had three ingredients: gin, vermouth and an olive. How is it that a drink with apple liqueur, cranberry juice and vodka is a martini? It has none of the three necessary ingredients. Yet it is called an apple martini. What gives?

Friday, September 22, 2006

What I did today

I had the day off work Thursday. I chose to take yesterday off because I had reached the limit of how much vacation I could accrue at work and had to take a day off by Sunday. Why not Friday, you ask? I'll get to that in a moment, I promise. So here is what I did:

-- Woke up and played on the Nintendo DS. My girlfriend bought a DS on
Sunday and I play this brain training game every morning since she got it.

-- Went to the market, where I got oranges and carrots. Oranges are really expensive right now because they have to be imported from Australia.

-- Did the dishes, made breakfast, and then ate breakfast.

-- Went out to lunch. My girlfriend wanted me to join her since I was free. Problem is, I had just finished breakfast about 20 minutes before.

-- Got a haircut.

-- Tried to buy used games for the DS, failed, bought some DVD's instead.

-- Went to T-Mobile, bitched about my shitty service, got some hacks from the clerk to help me out.

-- Bought six 6-packs of beer. This is where the no Fridays off thing comes in. Every Friday, my day is basically come to work late, read email, take a two hour lunch, have a meeting, work for an hour, and then drink beer with my coworkers who are nationally recognized beer brewers. This week is my week to bring the beer, and each week we do a tasting of multiple beers, so I needed six different kinds.

-- Went home and cleaned up for dinner.

-- Went to dinner.

-- Wrote this.

As you can see, I spent a lot of today eating, and the rest of the day doing errands. I gained five pounds today. I hope I crap some of that back out tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm the victim of racisim

My girlfriend was out of town for a week, so I was own my own for dinner. I decided I was going to cook a different meal each night of the week. On Monday, Indian food was the entre de jour. I had to get some pretty specific stuff for the meal I was making, so I went to the nearby Indian supermarket (yes, I live in a very diverse area with Indian and Korean supermarkets). I like shopping at the Indian market because it is closer to my house, has better prices, and is the only place to buy a package of naan. It was late at night and the market was crowded. But I noticed something odd - I was the only white person in the store. As a matter of fact, I was the only non-Indian person.

People were giving me funny looks. I could tell they wanted to ask me, "What are you doing in here?" How could I tell you ask? Because one of the people asked me, "What are you doing in here?" It was this really creepy guy, who started asking me where I live, what I do, etc. He even went so far as to wait for me to come out of the store so he could as me more questions. The best question he asked me was, "Did you learn about Indian food working in Bangalore?" I suppose this is only fair: we accuse them of stealing our jobs, they accuse us of going to India to recruit them to steal our jobs.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Funny things I saw today

I've been cruising around town doing some errands today, and I wanted to share some of the more amusing things I've seen today:

1. I saw an old lady, who was a minimum of 75 years old driving around with those white "proper lady" gloves on. It was extra funny because she was driving a totally decked out Mustang.

2. I also saw a female mannequin wearing shorts and shirt that was unbuttoned to the belly-button. The mannequin had a severe
case of fripple. This was probably due to her naked, uncovered breasts.

3. And lastly, I saw these two kids driving around in a Mercedes. The guy in the passenger seat was covered in tattoos -- on his arms, his neck, even his elbow (damn that must have hurt). I though he was pretty badass until his 10 pound dog jumped up and started licking his face, and then he took a sip from his juice box.

Monday, August 7, 2006

I played Dungeons and Dragons this weekend

Yes, the nerdiest of all nerd games. It all started when we went out with my girlfriend's brother, who wanted to tell the family about his engagement. Afterwards, he mentioned that they were going to a friend's house to play DnD. I mentioned that I hadn't played in about 15 years, so he told me to come over.

It turns out my girlfriend had never played the game, nor seen it played. She asked how it worked. This was our conversation:

Me: "There is one guy in charge, called the Dungeon Master. He runs the game, plays all the other characters, and plays all the bad guys."

Her: "So what do you guys do?"

"We tell him what our characters are going to do. It works like this. I say 'I want to enter the room'. He says 'Ok, roll the dice to see if you can find the lightswitch'. Then I roll a 12 and he says 'OK, you found the lightswtich, but it was trapped, so now you are poisoned.'"

"I'm sorry, that sounds REALLLLLY boring".

She then came and watched us play, and laughed as the game progressed pretty much as I described.

Friday, July 21, 2006

I took a bath today

"So what," you might say. "I hope you clean yourself EVERY day," you might say. Well, I do clean myself every day, but that is not why I was taking a bath. I was also not taking a bath to relax. I'll give you a clue why I was taking a bath. Here is a picture of the thermostat in my apartment:

As you can see, it pegs out at about 93 degrees. Luckily, I'm a temperature/time geek, so I have 3 other thermometers around the house. They confirmed that the temperature in my apartment was in fact 95 degrees.

It's god-damn hot in here, and I don't have air conditioning or insulation in my walls, so the only way to survive was to submerge myself in a pool of cold water with a fan blowing on me. That is why I took a bath.

And people still deny global warming.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I think I saw Al Gore and the Naked Indian crying

I just got a advertisement in the mail. It seems that Hummer (the company that makes the least fuel efficient vehicle in America) has fallen on hard times. In an attempt to boost sales, they are offing a new incentive -- if you buy a new Hummer this year (estimated fuel consumption 14 MPG city, premium gas only) they will reimburse you for anything you pay above $2 a gallon.

So now not only are you driving the car with the worst milage possible, but you have absolutely no incentive to conserve, no matter how expensive gas gets!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I shot a gun today

It was my first time. Let me just say, it gives me a new respect for police officers.

I should probably start by saying that I did this in a shooting range under very controlled, safe conditions. I don't really like the idea of guns outside of such conditions, such as in homes or criminals' hands, but for some reason I didn't really mind being around them at the shooting range.

I was nervous the first time I shot the thing. I didn't really know what to expect. I've never even been near a gun that was being shot before today. I also learned that it is way harder to aim a real gun vs. a toy, because it has some real kickback -- although I got pretty good by the end of the hour. Movies do not do gunfire justice.

Overall I'd say I had a really good time, and I definitely have a lot more respect for the killing power of a gun.

And if you've read this far, here is the humor part: While we were checking out, there was a family at the counter next to us. It was a (large) dad, a mom, and a really pretty (probably 17 or 18 year old) girl. The mom was checking out "lady guns". After picking one up she liked, she handed it to her daughter who remarked that it was "cute". Then the daughter handed it to her dad, who promptly put it down and said, "Great, I've touched a girly gun. Now I have to go home and drink beer and watch porn so I can be a man again." Needless to say, his daughter was embarrassed by this remark.

Friday, March 3, 2006

The France

I just had the following conversation, and I thought it was funny:

her: should i accept "The Vatican City" as a correct answer?
me: i would accept "the vatican city". for the same reason i would accept "the united states". i mean, you can't say "the france", but it seems like any country with more than one word (like "the soviet union") is ok

I just like the idea of "The France". and "The Spain" and "The Germany".

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Schoolbuses look like little yellow logs

Last week I flew to Chicago to visit my brother for a few days. As we were nearing the greater Chicago area, I started staring out the window as I often do on airplanes, and I noticed a little yellow log moving along the highway (yeah, I have a thing about roads). I realized that this little log was a schoolbus, and I thought that was kinda cool, because they look so different from every other vehicle.

Then I noticed another one. And another. Then I looked at a clock and realized that it was just about 3pm, and all of the schools were getting out, so I started playing a game: Find the school. The way you play is you look at where all the schoolbuses are going, and then try to extrapolate the location of the school based on their trajectories and the density of schoolbuses. Yes, it's a nerdy game, but since I was flying on Southwest, there was no movie, so I had to entertain myself somehow.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm cursed

A while back, I regaled you all with the story of how I witnessed an SUV do cartwheels. Well, this past week I was on vacation and I was driving down that same stretch of highway when I witnessed yet another idiot driver. It was not quite as spectacular as the SUV, but had special meaning for me, as it was almost exactly the same spot on the highway.

This time I watched a guy try to change lanes and squeeze in between an 18 wheeler and a minivan. Well, he didn't quite make it, so he had to slam on his brakes, causing his backend to start fishtailing. He ultimately ended up spinning around a few times and then stopping in the emergency lane, perpendicular to the freeway. By some miracle, he managed not to hit anyone, nor flip his car. So, not as entertaining as the last time, but still exciting.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Picture day

I bought my girlfriend a digital SLR camera for Xmas, and then promptly stole it to take these pictures. These are all from December (which will be quite obvious once we start the tour).

This is my hexacle:

It's not really a cubicle, because it isn't in the shape of a cube -- it's half of a hexagon. If you look at the cube plans from above, it looks like a bunch of honeycombs, which we assume is to make us think with a hive mentality. A quick tour of the hex. On the left is the holiday bush (I'm a Jew, remember?). Next are my Bose Noise canceling headphones (essential for the modern hex dweller). Then you have my dual screens, which have the following underneath from left to right: My iPod (which has since been replaced by a new video iPod), my hula girl, stuffed beaver and a Linux penguin wizard from a company that went out of business in 2000, my Fiji pen holder with favorite red pen, my Y2K bug (he makes a "breaking" noise when you drop him), my clock/book light from IBM and lastly my blue and gold Cal bears. Above is the periodic table of money, a poster about Identity Theft from the Postal Inspectors and on the right are some hand drawn Nemo sketches my girlfriend made. On the far right, "The Guide to Beer", which was my holiday gift from my boss my first year, because he said I did not appreciate beer properly.

Here is another view of my hexacle from the outside:

From this view you can see the advantage of having been around awhile. Since I sit on the end of the row next to the windows, I get to take advantage of the window ledge on the other side of the aisle. That is where I choose to put the only signs of life near me -- my plant and fish tank. Ironically, the fish died two years ago. You can also see the origami hanging above my hex, again a
n art project by my girlfriend (the advantage of her being a 4th grade teacher is that she gets to do art with the kids).

Because I have a window cube, I get to look outside. When I look outside, this is what I see:


As you can see, I've got a pretty nice view. Remember, those pics were taken in December. Sunny, warm, California December...

So there you go, enjoy the pictures!

Monday, January 2, 2006

Ikea is taking over the Universe

I just read an article claiming that 10% of all Europeans were conceived on IKEA furniture.

As a quick aside for those that don't know, IKEA sells what could be best described as disposable furniture. You buy it in a box, you put it together yourself with the tools they provide, and when you move, you throw it away, because it won't be in one piece when you get it your new place. It's all the rage among college students, but I guess Europeans love it too, perhaps because the company is in Sweden.

Anyway, for those of you in Europe who have children they know about, and know where they were conceived, or if you know where you yourself were conceived, please tell me, was it on/in/near IKEA furniture?

The Americans can chime in here too if they want.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Nanny 911

Have any of you ever seen this? I was watching Arrested Development (with club sauce) while I was working and not really paying attention to what came on next. After 30 minutes of Kitchen Confidential, this show came on that I have never seen before -- Nanny 911. For those that don't know, they profile a family that is having problems with their kids, and then call in a professional British nanny to observe the family and make suggestions.

If there is any argument for neutering unfit parents, this show is it. These parents are the worst examples of parenting I've ever seen. Choice quote, from the Dad: "I never thought parenting was going to be this hard. I don't get to do anything I want to do anymore, like ride motorcycles, play pool and go to bars."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Have you ever seen an SUV do cartwheels?

I have. It happened last Thursday night. Due to the 3 day holiday coinciding with my girlfriend's father's and aunt's birthdays (I'll give you a second to parse that), we decided to take a trip to Las Vegas. Since it would cost about $1500 for the six of us to fly, we decided to drive. We live in the Bay Area. Las Vegas is about 530 miles from where I live, so it is an 8 to 9 hour drive. In our brilliant attempt to maximize our vacation, we opted to rent the van and then leave at about 9pm Thursday night, so we would arrive in Vegas early Friday morning. That is how this adventure started.

We ended up leaving at 11pm, so traffic was very light. About 20 minutes into the drive, just south of San Jose, it happened. I was in the left lane (out of 4) driving about 10mph over the speed limit. I looked in my rear view mirror as I often do, and noticed 2 pairs of headlights approaching very quickly; one in my lane, one in the #2 lane. Normally when this happens, it means two idiots are racing. Typically I veer left part way into the emergency lane, to give the guy coming up on me a little extra room when his friend finally lets him in. So, I started moving left. But the guy's 'friend' did not move. And the guy came up on me very quickly. I noticed he even started going left to try to pass me in the emergency lane. Well, since I was in a minivan that had the handling of a sofa, and was already going left, I had no choice but to go further left, in the hopes that he could straighten himself out. So here I am driving fully in the emergency lane, with an SUV now passing me on the right at over 100mph, and his idiot buddy in the lane next to him. On my left is the dirt median strip, and then one of those concrete walls, and then the carpool lane of the opposite side of the freeway.

I guess the SUV could not straighten out correctly, because what happened next I will never forget. The truck passed me on the right, and then immediately cut in front of me. His wheels tried to turn into the skid, but his truck was going to have no such part in it. It just kept going to the left past me and into the median strip. His car kicked up a huge cloud of dust and debris when he hit the dirt, and I had to drive right thought it (my other option was to panic and slam on the brakes, but then I would have gone through it anyway). When I emerged from the dust cloud, the truck was scraping along the concrete divider, sparks flying everywhere. It was very action-movie-esque. His truck then drove up the wall and flipped over, causing the front end of the car to hit the ground, and sent his car many, many feet into the air, hood facing towards the ground, back end facing the sky. When it landed, it then did about five flips before coming to rest on its wheels again in the carpool lane on the opposite side of the road, where it skidded to a stop. Of course, since my car was still moving, this all happened about 10 feet to my left as his car cartwheeled next to mine at about 50mph (I'd started breaking my then).

After I came to a stop, we called 911, and the police and fire trucks showed up about 2 minutes later. I tried getting out of my car to go check on the driver of the truck, but by that point I was about 100 yards past where he had stopped. My passengers convinced me that it was too dangerous to get out, and the other people that had stopped closer could help him anyway.

After a while the police came up to my car and asked if I was okay, and then took my statement. I asked the cop what the fate of the driver of the SUV was. His response: "He's a little shook up, but only had a few minor injuries." I asked what kind of car that was, because I wanted to know what kind of truck can do five cartwheels and protect the driver that well. He didn't know.

Suffice it to say, I'm glad everyone (including the idiot who wrecked his car from racing it) made it out okay. Because of the light traffic, he managed not to hit anyone else.

Oh, and the guy he was racing: he took off before anyone could catch his license plate. What a dick.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

I am quite pleased today

It all started yesterday, when I went to vote. There was a girl working as a poll volunteer who was probably just 16 years old. I was excited to see such a young person taking part in the democratic process. However, that is not what makes me happy.

Governor Schwarzenegger failed miserably. When he failed to convince the state legislature to do anything he wanted, he threatened to end-around them by having a special election. It was a special election no one in the state wanted because of the cost, and it turns out they were right. This was the costliest state election ever. But that is not what makes me happy either.

What makes me happy is the fact that the state gave a big "Screw You" to the Governator, and every single one of his proposed propositions failed. As a matter of fact, every single measure on the ballot failed. This was the first time every measure turned out the way I had voted. :)

That makes me happy.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Dart Championships?

Was anyone else aware of this competitive sport? I mean, I've played darts before, but I didn't realize they had National Championships on TV until yesterday. I was watching a DVD, and when the movie ended, we flipped back to the TV at about 1am. The last person had left the TV on what I think was ESPN 8 (The Ocho). And on the TV was the National Championship in darts. My girlfriend quickly tired of it and went to sleep, but I was mezmorized. These guys were amazing. They could hit the triple twenty like 8 times out of 10. They were machines. One guy's arm looked like it was fastened to his body with just a single hinge it moved with such precision. And the wierdest part was there was an audience. So picture this: A room the size of a warehouse, with a single dart board in the middle of one wall. If front of it, hundreds of those little tables you see in bars. And all around, large white women as far as the eye can see. Apparently the only people that play this sport (professionally) are large white men who look like ex-cons, and the only people that watch are their large white women groupies.

I hit up Google for some more info, but it returned 598,000 results, so I have some reading to do.