Retirement in Reverse

>> 25 May 2009

The past two and a half weeks have been a little sample of what I imagine retirement is like. I have been able to spend the vast majority of my time doing the following things:

  • Reading
  • Watching Movies/TV
  • Writing
  • Musicking
There were a few things lacking from my list of daily activities that make my two and a half weeks slightly different from retirement, though:
  • Golf
  • Waking up before 5:00
  • Driving recklessly
  • Shuffleboard
  • Arthritis
In short, it has been a good retirement. But tomorrow, I have to go to work. It's been retirement in reverse!


This Guy Makes Decisions For Us

>> 22 May 2009

Have you ever heard the saying that there are no stupid questions? Well, here is the counter argument.

A few weeks ago, Representative Joe Barton of Texas, posted the following message on his twitter account:

I seemed to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question - Where does oil come from? Check out the video.

Now, let's take a look at the accomplishments of the Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, who was unable to answer this "basic question." Actually, let's not look at all of his accomplishements, since one ought to suffice: WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS in 1997.

In a head to head debate about scientific principles, I'm going to put my money on the guy who is a world-class scientist.

Here's a sad thought: have you ever known a person who was too -- let's be diplomatic -- "slow" to know that he or she was "slow?" You know what I'm talking about, right? The people whose capacity to think is just low enough that it precludes them from being able to entertain the idea that they might be wrong about something. These were the guys in school who were like, "I don't need to study; this stuff is easy. I can get B's without studying." And then they get F's. That kind of guy?

Well, Joe Barton is that kind of guy.

I guess, in a way, he did "stump" Dr. Chu. How do you answer that question?

The disappointing thing is Representative Barton makes decisions for our country. In fact, he is the ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. That means that Joe Barton has actual power over the way our country is governed. Sigh.


Pepsi Throwback

>> 21 May 2009

It has sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. This is good for two reasons: (1) sugar tastes better than high fructose corn syrup, and (2) sugar does not give you cavities or make you gain weight the way that high fructose corn syrup does.

The bad news: it's not Crystal Pepsi. Now, that would be a throwback!


Let's Talk About TV pt. 1

>> 20 May 2009

A recession is causing widespread unemployment, home foreclosures, and a proliferation of dreaded "golden parachutes" (an odd image if you think about it -- wouldn't a parachute made out of precious metal make you fall faster?); air pollution has gotten so bad that breathing literally makes us sick; the ice caps are melting (which is actually good news for people who live inland -- think how much your vacation home will appreciate in value when Tahoe becomes both a skiing and a beach destination!); and violence from the Mexican Drug War is spilling over into US cities. But, at least we still have TV!

Here are my thoughts about some of the TV programs that I watched this past year:

THE OFFICE: After a pretty dismal fourth season, season five was considerably better. In my mind, the second season of The Office stands out as some of the most hilarious television I have ever watched. Since then, each season has ended with a problem which is gradually solved in the following season. For example:
Season Two Ending: Jim confesses his love for Pam and then transfers to a different branch.
Problems To Solve in Season Three: Jim must get back to Scranton. Jim and Pam must both be single and available to date each other.
What happens in Season Three:Jim gets back to Scranton. Jim breaks up with Karen, Pam breaks up with Roy. They are single and available to date each other.
Season Three Ending: Jan gets fired and starts to dominate Michael, Jim and Pam start dating.
Problems To Solve in Season Four: Jim and Pam need to stay together. Michael needs to end his bad relationship with Jan and find true love.
What Happens in Season Four: Jim and Pam stay together. Michael ends his bad relationship with Jan and finds true love with Holly.

Do you see how this is working? Anyway, this season's finale ended [SPOILER ALERT...although if you've already read to here, you will probably accidentally see the spoiler anyway] with Michael pining for Holly who is dating someone else and with Pam pregnant. So, anyone want to guess what happens in the next season? Hmm...I wonder.

CHUCK: I guess this show didn't do extremely well in terms of ratings (there were a lot of internet rumblings about it being cancelled), but it was one I enjoyed watching for its good blend of humor, action, suspense, mystery, romance, etc. Basically, the show is about this hapless (or maybe, I'm going to stick with hapless) computer technician who accidentally downloads a CIA database into his brain. When the original database is destroyed by counter agents, then the CIA must recruit Chuck to be their walking talking database. Chuck helps them out, falls in love with one of the agents assigned to protect him, and hilarity ensues. But in the season finale, Chuck ends up with an updated database downloaded into his brain, and this one gives him extreme fighting powers in addition to the catalogues of top secret documents that were already filed away in his brain.

I'm not sure if I like that.

Part of the reason the show was funny was because Chuck, although a clever guy and pretty quick on his feet, was not a trained spy. He had to rely on good luck, bizarre accidents, and his deep knowledge of video games and science-fiction movies to escape from harm. Now, he can destroy anyone. I'm not sure how interesting that will be. I will give it a go next season to see if it's good, but I am not above pulling the plug on a show that goes downhill (except for LOST which I will watch no matter how inane it gets).

30 ROCK: I would probably have to say that 30 Rock was the funniest show I watched this last year (yes, funnier than The Office). There were some dud episodes but there were also some really really hilarious moments: Kenneth seeing the world as muppets, Jack and the "Sixth Sense" waiter on Valentine's Day, Liz singing "Working on the Night Cheese," etc.

Next time, I'm going to talk about LOST and Fringe, which I think both deserve more space than I want to give them in this post. Thank you, and don't worry about social, economicl, or ecological problems; we have TV!


Please Welcome to the Internet...

>> 19 May 2009

Charter Jock Jams Soccer Team member, chess nemesis and friend to whom I owe one billion dollars, the man, the myth, the legend, that's right folks, I am talking about...

John Younce!

He's back and he's got a blog!

The blog is called "into the john" and you can read about it here:

[disclosure] John, I took this picture from your facebook page. I thought that the nerf gun and accompanying look of satisfaction was too good to pass up. Sorry. [/disclosure]


YouTube pt.2

>> 18 May 2009

Here are some more of the greatest YouTube videos of all time.

Five seconds of sheer terror!

Not only is the video cool, it is a sad reminder to me of my inability to run on treadmills. I guess I don't run at a constant speed, but I cannot lose focus for a moment on a treadmill or I will go sliding off the back. The good news is that I hate running so I don't have to use a treadmill very often. The bad news is that these guys can dance on treadmills...I can't even run on one.

This one is a little painful to watch, but the truly amazing part is where he gets up and continues to swing the Nunchucks. "Come on coach, don't take me out. I'm okay; I can still play!" This guy was not content to save it for the next take. A true ninja.

Some favorite moments:

  • The look of shock on his face at 0:40 when his dad says, "don't touch it."
  • The scream (of course)
  • "Why is this happening to me?"
Enjoy. Leave you thoughts below!


Greatest You-Tube Videos of All Time! pt. 1

>> 16 May 2009

The other day I had a conversation about the greatest YouTube videos of all time. In general, I think it is safe to describe YouTube as the "South Carolina of the Internet": for every Charleston or Kiawah, you have to endure miles and miles of South of the Border, scrubby palmetto trees, and truck stops with scary bathrooms. Buried among the videos of guys playing Jack Johnson songs on their out-of-tune guitars, angry semi-political diatribes from kids who are at least five years shy of voting age, and the ubiquitous skateboard videos, you can occassionally find some gems. Here are some of the greatest YouTube videos that I have ever seen.

Here is how I imagine this happening. A guy has a mentos (or is it a mento in the singular?) in his mouth and takes a drink of Diet Coke. He says, "Wow, this is fizzy." So, he and his friend decide to put a Mento(s) in a bottle. It sprays everywhere. They say, "we should make a fountain out of these."
At this point, most of us would have said, "yes, it would be cool to make a fountain out of these," and then abandoned the project. Not the guys who made this video. They bought tons of Diet Coke and Mentos (plural this time) and choreographed and rehearsed and made this video. This is a testament to following through on those "wouldn't it be cool if we..." moments.

I have no idea how this video came to be made. I just know that I wouldn't want to be the guy who went around the prison saying, "Hey guys, I'm putting together a little dance troupe that is going to recreate Michael Jackson music videos. You interested?" I think that would seriously undermine your tough-guy prison cred.

If you haven't seen this video you have. Classic.

Nice moves.

Well, there are a few of the great YouTube videos of all time. I will have a few more to share in the next few days. If you have a favorite, leave the link in the comments section for everyone else to check out.



>> 13 May 2009

Last weekend, I graduated from college. I was pretty proud of myself until the internet brought me down with this illuminating information:

A Few People Who Did Not Graduate From College:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Bill Gates
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Socrates
  • Truman Capote
  • Jesus
  • Mark Twain
  • Steve Jobs
And A Few People Who Did:
  • Kenneth Lay
  • Fidel Castro
  • Osama Bin Laden
  • Me
Just something to think about.


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