Monthly Archives: May 2007

News Headline: Bird Poops On President Bush
Clipping: “President George W. Bush was busy praising embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at a press conference Thursday when a bold sparrow swooped overhead and deposited a present on the commander in chief’s left sleeve. A sign of good luck?”
My Reaction: This isn’t exactly newsworthy, but it’s just one of those interesting things. We had a couple students that got birdbombed back in high school and junior high PE. The bizarre thing is that it never happened to the popular kids. It was already someone that was already an outcast. It was like the birds knew.

News Headline: Second impostor found at Stanford
Clipping: “Stanford University officials, for the second time this week, found themselves Friday dealing with an interloper who has managed to pass herself off as a member of the university community for months.”
My Reaction: Some people are wondering how this could happen, but that’s a pretty silly question. Universities are little towns where people are constantly coming in and out. Someone could have pulled this at Southern Tech for years before anyone found out, though their access to the facilities would have been limited. Seriously, their car (if they had one) would get figured out well before they would. A former bandmate of a friend of mine lived in the equipment room on the Southern Cross University campus for about six months after he graduated.

News Headline: Second impostor found at Stanford
Clipping: “The parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast food chains sued rival Jack In The Box Inc. on Friday to stop TV ads that it says suggest Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s use cow anus to make Angus beef hamburgers.”
My Reaction: It’s a silly ad and a silly lawsuit. The only thing that I find most notable is that when I was growing up Jack-in-the-Box’s nickname specifically involved the anus. I was going to say something about glass houses, but JitB burgers have improved immensely since then. Maybe it’s more like the reformed outcast being particularly ugly and mean to his former compatriots.

News Headline: Cornishman sleeps after 11 days (but he’s in for a rude awakening)
Clipping: “Mr Wright believed he was battling to beat a record of 264 hours set by American Randy Gardner in 1964, as part of a high school science project into sleep patterns. {…} But before the ban was enforced, there was time for Toimi Soini, of Hamina, Finland, to set a new best of 276 hours recorded in the Guinness Book of Records from 1965 until 1990. ”
My Reaction: This guy is a reckless idiot… but it’s hard not to feel at least a little bit sorry for him.

News Headline: Top medical journal blasts “designer vagina” craze
Clipping: “”Our patients sometimes cited restrictions on lifestyle as reasons for their decision,” they say. “These restrictions included inability to wear tight clothing, go to the beach, take communal showers or ride a bicycle comfortably, or avoidance of some sexual practices.” ”
My Reaction: There are unseemly billboards and radio ads all over Austin on these things. They tend to emphasize the “damage” done down there by childbirth and a plethora of self-esteem issues. They mention almost nothing about actual physical discomfort, so I’m skeptical of that being a central purpose of the procedure.

Category: Newsroom

A conversation at Half Sigma about whether men should tuck or untuck their shirts reminds me of a recent discovery.

I’ve almost always worn my shirts tucked in, whether dress shirts or golf shirts or T-shirts. Part of it is aesthetic. I believe that shirts are intrinsically meant to be tucked in just like I believe belt loops need belts. Otherwise it just looks wrong to me. My wife disagrees about both beltloops and tucked in shirts — she thinks I look better with my shirt untucked. Part of it is comfort. Because I always wear and I am not flat-stomached, I can sometimes feel the belt buckle on my tummy, particularly when I’m leaning forward.

Because I have a long torso, this is rather inconvenient. What happens is that unless a shirt I have is too big, whenever I lean over, sit down, get in my car, or do anything that requires my bending over or something rubbing along by back, the backside becomes untucked. That looks worse than a shirt that is tucked in or untucked. So I have to resort to buying shirts that are too big.

Recently, I’ve decided to start wearing undershirts under my golf shirts. So I went out and bought a bunch of V-neck undershirts. With an undershirt tucked in, I don’t have to worry about the belt-buckle on my tummy. And if Clancy thinks that I look better untucked, I figure that there may be something to it appearance-wise.

As many of you know, Mormons have a special undergarment that they wear. It’s not a V-neck, exactly, but it is low in front so it doesn’t appear in front when someone is wearing a button shirt. It does, however, appear along the side of one’s collar and you can sometimes see it through someone’s shirt, depending on what they’re wearing. So it’s not invisible. As best as I can tell, if a young man has the undergarments it means that he either went on a mission or is married (I can think of no one I knew out there that wore them that wasn’t one or the other). So I could tell by the undershirt line I could see by the collar whether or not a guy was a Mormon in good standing. I’m told that some guys at The Big Mormon University sometimes cut a regular undershirt to look like the undergarments so that it’ll look to nice young Mormon ladies like they went on their mission.

Besides the shirt’s failure to tuck in, there is an aesthetic difference that is strange. Along my collar is the white undershirt, and I swear when I see myself in the mirror one of the thoughts that flashes through my mind is that I am looking at a good Mormon soldier… until I realize within a second or so that I am looking at myself.

If I’d worn this in Deseret (particularly while my wedding ring was lost) I might have given some young Mormon lady the wrong idea. Luckily, the cigarette that was usually in my hand would have given me away.

Category: Church

Just about every show I’ve been following has concluded it’s season. Here are some thoughts on each one as well as some thoughts on another I have yet to see a single episode of. Shows are in order of their conclusion.

How I Met Your Mother
The Office

How I Met Your Mother

The breakup of Ted and Robin was rather anti-climatic, which is probably a good thing. They were two people headed in very different directions in life and there’s only so much compensating that you can do for that. It was the responsible breaking up of two generally responsible people. A refreshing change, actually, compared to the overblown misunderstanding that I thought would do them in.

The Office

I was actually caught off-guard by both of the late developments. I thought that they were going to fiddle with the Jim and Pam thing for a couple more seasons. They still might, but the conclusion of Season Three at least demonstrates that the relationship is fluid instead of a five season Will-They-Won’t-They. The mechanism that appears to have made it happen is not quite as good as what got their British counterparts together, but it’s close to it.

The other thing is Ryan getting Jan’s job. That is probably the best season closer that I have seen in a while. “You and I are done.”… priceless. MBA aside, it’s a bit of a stretch that Ryan would get the nod, but then again I can imagine him putting together an awesome presentation or something. He’s definitely someone bound for management. What’s interesting about Ryan is that he has no loyalties to anyone. He doesn’t particularly like even the likable Jim. Not sure where they’re going to go with this, but Ryan could make a very good foil or villain with Michael or the whole Scranton branch in his cross-hairs.


There is a movie theater in Santomas that shows live TV for both 24 and Lost. I decided to skip the former but catch the latter, but after watching the conclusion I wish I had watched both in the theater. The special effects for the episodes may be the best I have ever seen on a television show and would have looked great in a theater. That alone would have been enough to get my butt over the the theater.

I thought the confrontation between Jack and Heller was really solid. I was scared to death they were going to pull something where Heller was the mastermind behind it all. The only complaint I have about that is Jack somewhat abdicated his responsibility: he has consistently done a whole lot more than what people like Heller have told him to. Jack’s goodbye to Audrey was a little bit corny, but there ya go. I hope for a lot less romance next season. I wonder if they intended to have Josh be Jack’s son and backed away because so many people figured it out so quickly. I’ve heard rumors that they only brought Audrey back due to fan protest, but after viewing the season I don’t think that’s true.

And so concludes the worst season to date. And the conclusion was… surprisingly strong. Strong enough to have me at least keep an eye on next season (particularly if they can solve the Wayne Palmer problem). I’m actually curious where Jack goes from here. Since the writers of 24 seem to acknowledge that the season was weak, it gives me hope that they might fix what went wrong. In any case, I’ll probably take a wait-and-see attitude.


Turns out that I didn’t get to see this one in the theater, either, because I couldn’t get back to the city in time. Like 24, I really wish I had been able to make it simply because the episode was so spectacular.

I was not among those to realize that the “flashbacks” were from the future. About halfway through, though, I did start to get the feeling that something wasn’t right about them. I was wondering if maybe it was a dream. I honestly wasn’t sure that it was Kate at the end until it was explicitly said. I noticed what I thought was an uncanny resemblence. I’m remarkably dense sometimes.

For the first time since the show began, I really wonder what’s going to happen next. I’ve always been more interested in explanations than story trajectory, so I’ve been less interested in what’s going to happen next and more interested in what has happened before (and what is happening elsewhere). But now I’m really curious what’s going on.

Barry thinks that there may be time travel involved. I didn’t see any indication of that but I am a little dense sometimes, so he may be right. I hope not as time-travel is a can of worms that could wreck everything the plotters have so meticulously built.

Abel thinks that they may replace the flashbacks with flash forwards. Question: Are there any how-Locke-became-paralyzed types of questions out there or have they satisfied the fundamentals? Are they maybe finished with flashbacks completely or maybe they’ll just go back to normal and it’ll just be a blip?

The most obvious answer for the people on the boat is the Dharma Intiative coming back to claim what’s theirs. If that’s true, though, then there’s absolutely no reason for Ben and Locke not to identify them. There are already indications that the DI is not a completely benign organization.

The thing I’m most curious about is what Penelope was doing on the other end of that transmission.

And in the vein of Lost, CBS has apparently pulled the plug on Jericho – which I have not seen – with the cliffhanger. I don’t know how to break it to them, but simply telling the fans how it all turns out is not going to cut it. The networks are going to have a hard time getting people to invest in these kinds of programs if they’re more willing to leave viewers deeply unsatisfied rather than shooting a few extra episodes to help it reach some sort of conclusion.

Category: Theater

I learned something new from Wikipedia today.

I was doing some looking into Law & Order and discovered that Hudson University, often mentioned on the show, doesn’t really exist. I suspected that was true of Stuyvesant College, another oft-used college on the shows, but HU fooled me. Why? Because in the Batman comics, Batman’s former sidekick Dick Grayson leaves Gotham City for New York to go to a college named Hudson University.

Category: Theater

Recent conversations over at Bobvis and here reminded me of something that isn’t entirely on-topic for either conversation and deserves its own post.

When I was young, I did “put myself out there” insofar as I asked girls out. I didn’t do a very good job of it, but I did it. I think that it’s really bad advice to simply tell someone, young or older, only that they need to ask more girls out. Most likely that will result in a disproportionate amount of rejections and lessons learned that are either false or counterproductive.

What I didn’t realize in my younger years but was helpful as I got older is that you have to “put yourself out there” by making friends, particularly (but not necessarily) of the female variety. For someone introverted like me, that’s hard to do. It means going out in groups when you’re rather be alone. It means introducing yourself to people just for the sake of their getting to know you. Hard, painful stuff, but helpful in every walk of life. Most of the guys I know that have a lot of trouble with women either have relatively few platonic friends or they are in an insular group based around activities where males significantly outnumber females.

Costa Tsiokos posted a while back about an encounter he had with a woman where he stepped back immediately after seeing that she was married. Frankly I’ve done that myself more than once. Why waste the time and energy (which, if you’re introverted, is limited). As a commenter points out, meeting people like that is how you meet new people, some of whom are going to be single. Chances are that’s not going to happen on an isolated incident on the subway, but it is nonetheless important to try to extend your network. The easiest way to make new friends is through old friends, and one of the easiest ways to get a girlfriend or boyfriend is through a mutual acquaintance.

This sort of thing is really difficult to do while in K-8 (particularly because there is comparatively so little interaction between boys and girls), though gets a little bit less difficult in high school and even less so beyond. But for people like me it never gets easy. Thankfully, several years ago I went to a party that I did not want to go to and struck up a conversation with a brunette medical school student.

Category: Coffeehouse

I’ve heard it before somewhere, but an interesting idea nonetheless:

The Santa Fe Police Department is considering the possibility of recruiting Mexican nationals to fill vacant police jobs. {…}

But Police Chief Eric Johnson said New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy regulations prohibit non-citizens from serving as police officers.

Alessio said the Santa Fe police force, like others around the country, is vying to recruit the same 21- to 30-year-olds as the U.S. military, whose need for recruits is taking a toll on the police department.

“Every day, we get approached by young men and women from Mexico who are in the country legally but are not naturalized,” Alessio said.

I have only one concern about the program: It’s easier to do background checks on Americans than it is someone that was raised outside the US. It seems like it might be easier for someone to slip through the cracks. Then again, the same could be said of American citizens born and raised abroad and Americans that have spent a significant amount of time overseas.

I also speak from a position of ignorance for what kind of background checks we do before we let people in the US legally. If they look as closely at people immigrating as they do at police officers, then the point may be moot. Maybe Logtar can provide some insights?

Category: Statehouse

Throughout high school I kept hearing of this rumor of a short blond-headed girl that had a crush on me. At first I dismissed it, but enough unconnected people mentioned that this girl mentioned me that I figured there had to be some truth to it. The problem was that I didn’t know who it was.

My primary fear was that it was a girl named Andrea Carmine. She was a friend of mine that was short, blond, and strikingly unattractive. I met her while pursuing her friend, but when things didn’t work out with her friend I became friends with Andrew instead. It was a good experience as she was the first female friend I’d ever really had. I wanted to want more, but there was just something spectacularly unattractive about her face that made the thought of kissing her entirely unappealing even though I liked her a great deal otherwise (a lot more than I liked the friend I initially befriended her in pursuit of, actually).

Andrea may or may not have felt that way about me, but I discovered somewhere along the way that even if that was the case she was not the only short blond-headed girl whose attention I captured because Mystery Girl was still riding the bus. Andrea rarely rode the bus at that point and there was no way she rode the bus in particular that my informant rode. I went through the yearbook looking for someone fitting Mystery Girl’s description that I might know and had no luck.

Then one day my senior year my best friend Clint pulled me aside. “I found out who your admirer is. Get this, it’s Jessical Lambrey.”

I’d never had a class with Jessica Lambrey in high school and I hadn’t spoken to her in years. When I looked through the yearbook I must have just glided over her name because of what she said to me the last time we spoke. “I’m sorry, Will, I can’t go with you. My parents won’t let me see boys.”

Jessica Lambrey was the third girl I ever asked out. She said no, giving the exact same excuse that Number Two gave. Number Two, it turned out, was a liar (she was “going with” another boy less than a couple weeks later). I don’t remember what I said when Jessica gave me her excuse. I was probably polite enough to her (I was too scared of girls to be mean to them), though I had some choice words about that liar afterwards.

Though she dropped from my consciousness almost immediately after I asked her out, I didn’t drop from hers. As I would find out years later, I would be the only boy to ever ask her out (at least up till her run-in with Clint). Her father really did forbid her from becoming too close to boys and she hated having to say no. And being sheltered and dateless, she harbored feelings for me for years afterwards. Never enough to approach me or say a single word to me, however. Of course, by the time I found out about it I was spoken for.

There’s a conversation over at Bobvis that’s detoured briefly onto the subject of what exactly happened to some guys to make them feel unworthy of approaching a young woman and asking them out. I commented that the fact that the first seven (or nine, if I could just remember the other two names) rejected me. It reminded me of this little story.

The Nine Strikes when I asked out the first nine girls had a profoundly negative effect on my self-esteem, as one might imagine. Looking back I can see all sorts of things that I missed at the time. I was asking out the wrong girls in the wrong manner. I didn’t realize what exactly was required to get from Point A to Point B. Number One was out of my league by any measure. Number Five was too popular, even if she was fat. Numbers Four and Six were just weird. Number Seven thought I was playing a cruel prank on her by asking her out. And, of course, I was even more clueless than most kids are at that age.

If I had only believed Jessica when she told me why she couldn’t be my girlfriend, I would have been mad about it (“Stupid parents!”) but that alone would have put a serious dent in the hopelessness I felt for the longest time was me. And if nothing else I could have made my first female friend years before I did, learned about girls, and maybe have actually gone out with her whenever the time might have been better.

If only I’d believed what she told me and understood what she never found the guts to later tell me.

Category: Ghostland, School

A few weeks back Spungen complained about pop culture’s tendency to give a free pass to nerds:

Books, movies and TV shows told me nerds were red-hot lovers once you got those glasses and Dockers off. When you’re 12, these things have a big effect. They can hardwire your brain to desire the unlikely, even the ridiculous. You behave consistent with the belief even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary.

Something tells me that a new CBS sitcom will not alleviate her outrage:

The Big Bang Theory: A sitcom in which two mega-nerd super-geniuses share an apartment. “They can solve any problem except one—the hot new girl across the hall.” A) Nerds are in this year, so I’d like to inform the Nabokov scholars in the audience that, in the pilot episode, VN’s name appears as an answer in a crossword puzzle. Eight down, I think. B) If these guys are so smart and horny, why don’t they just invent Kelly LeBrock?

Category: Theater

As is not infrequently the case, a discussion broke over at Bobvis about relationship theories and their validity. It reminded me of the great Onion article from a few years back:

Conspiracy Theorist Has Elaborate Explanation For Why He’s Single

The focus of Ericsson’s current research is the six-day period preceding his breakup with Osborne back in March 2004.

“According to phone-company records, I called Sara at exactly 7:34 p.m. on March 8, 2004, and asked her to have dinner with me—which she agreed to do after a quick shower,” Ericsson said. “Twelve minutes later, at 7:46 p.m., Sara called to say she had ‘changed her mind’ about dinner, but wanted to come to my apartment to ‘deliver some news.'”

It was there that Osborne announced that she no longer wished to marry Ericsson.

Ericsson continued: “What happened in that 12-minute gap? What—or who—got to her? And why won’t she release her phone records to me?” {…}

Recently, Ericsson examined a newly unearthed 1997 video of him and then-girlfriend Donna Soderblum at his sister’s wedding. According to Ericsson, repeated slow-motion viewings revealed a telling detail.

“See that sneer and eye-roll on Donna’s face, after she turns away from me and goes back to talking to my sister?” Ericsson said. “It’s all there in frames 336 through 408.”

Longtime friend Keith Warren agrees that Ericsson’s single status is not a fluke, but he rejects Ericsson’s analysis.

Said Warren: “I explain all of Bob’s difficulties in my meticulously researched and voluminously footnoted ‘Lone Wardrobe Theory.'”

Ericsson dismissed Warren’s analysis. “Warren’s theory is interesting, but it has a long way to go in explaining why I’ve remained single for more than two years. There is no explanation why, for example, I am rejected by women even when I go out to bars,” he said.

A related, also significant Onion article from a few years back:

Unattractive Man Just Like A Brother To Area Woman

The two spend a great deal of time together, talking on the phone for hours when Leland has had a bad day, shopping at women’s shoe stores and attending Drama Queens shows, at which Pelton generally carries all the equipment to the van while Leland lets men from the club buy her drinks after her set.

While Leland’s friends have never questioned the platonic nature of the relationship, Pelton’s co-workers have encouraged him to “take it to the next level.”

“I always tell them it’s not like that between Tara and me,” Pelton said. “And, besides, she’s seeing Derek right now. I think we’re too much alike for something like that to work, anyway.”

“Perhaps, though, if it were the right time, I’d be open to seeing her romantically, I guess,” said Pelton, whose skin still shows the slight scarring effects of heavy teen acne. “Because we really care about each other a lot.”

Category: Coffeehouse

I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately. Feeling an overwhelming desire to be alone for a bit, I decided to take a trip to a coffeehouse. In between cups of coffee I went out and smoked. While out there, I was approached by a heavy-set Hispanic woman. I could see by the look on her face what I was in for. Sure enough, she started giving a sob story about being homeless and needed to raise just $15 to be able to get a place to sleep for the night. Wanting to be left alone, I stopped her and just gave her a couple of bucks.

She asked me if I’d just started my shift. I gave her a confused look. Turns out that she thought I was an employee. I hadn’t thought about it, but I was wearing a golf shirt the same color as the coffeehouse chain’s logo. Further, mistakingly believing that a bigwig from Osaka was stopping by work today I wore black slacks. Looking at myself I realized that I was one logo on my shirt and an apron short of wearing employee clothes. It was kind of weird.

Having gotten her couple of bucks, the woman promptly walked into the coffeehouse and ordered a mocha. I was too ambivalent to sarcastically be so proud that my money was going to a good cause. I was nonetheless surprised at the gumption she had to do it right in front of me, though.

Category: Downtown