Saturday, July 31, 2010

Just Discovered the "Fountain of Age"

Today, we celebrated my friend Matt's coming shackling to the institution of marriage. We started the day by having a nice, private-party, paintball outing. Just Matt and nine other friends (myself included in that nine). We wen't to Pev's Paintball in Aldie, VA.

For late July (does it get any later than July 31st) in northern VA, it wasn't too bad. It was sunny, but not (overly) punishingly so. It was only in the low 90s and the humidity likely was only in the 80s. There was just enough of a breath of a breeze to let you know what relief might feel like, without providing any actual relief. Still. It could have been last weekend with its +113° heat index.

Unfortunately, I don't really do heat. I never have. I've always been much more comfortable dealing with cold (hell, I wore shorts to class in January when I was going to PSU!). My professional life has been almost exclusively indoors and air-conditioned.

We played against each other for a couple hours. They were a couple hours, after which, made me feel every single one of my forty years. Mostly, it was the heat. The activity really wasn't that grueling - other than trying to breath the summer Virginia air through the protective mask. It made me long for the days before they worried about making paintball safe - when all they really demanded was a semi-functional gun (with no metering of the velocities) and ski goggles. At least with just goggles, I could breath.

Why I Don't Like My Wife Using My Shower

When my wife and I chose this house, it was, in part, because both of the upstairs bedrooms were equipped with their own, individual, full bathrooms (well, after the lust-inducing size of its kitchen, that is). At the time, we were looking for a home suitable for raising 1.3 children.

Alas, children were not in the cards for us. So, the front bedroom became Donna's clothing and costuming closet ...with it's own attached bathroom.

I am fairly spartan about how I keep my quarters. Pretty much, if I don't have a regular use for it, I don't want it sitting around within eyesight. It's not exactly an area of compatibility when you live with a pack-rat who feels compelled to occupy every last available square inch of vaguely horizontal surface area. So, it was almost inevitable that the bathroom would become a point of contention.

Fortunately, absent the 1.3 children, there was another bathroom relatively convenient to our bedroom. All she had to do was cross the hall to use it. Thankfully, that's what she's done, or I don't think I'd still be referring to her as "my wife". Most likely, I'd be referring to her as "my ex-wife" or "my dearly-departed wife".

So, she has her own bathroom in which she can take hours' long, relaxing baths. She has her own bathroom that she can clutter to her heart's content. She has her own bathroom that she can turn into a haven of dust and soot (candle-lit baths tend to cause the white walls to darken over time). She has her own bathroom that she can populate with every cream, gel, perfume and shampoo known to man.

Unfortunately, what she can't seem to do is have a shower in there. For whatever reason, traction-based shower-rods will not stay in place. Between the forces of gravity - which I'm sure I've mentioned, in other posts, exists in overabundance in her presence - the slightly soapy sootiness of the candle residue on every surface of her bathroom, her klutziness and the weight of a shower curtain, her tub/shower unit does not retain a configuration suitable for showering in. After about the 100th time of having to try to re-place her fallen/knocked-down shower curtain, I just gave up.

The side effect of this is that she has to use my bathroom when she wants to take a shower. So now, theres a colony of her gels, powders, creams and tools in my bathroom. Now there's the soot. Now there's the articles of clothing. Now there's mildew on the shower curtain which she only occasionally remembers to draw taught after showering. I get the extra delight of finding clots of orange hair on my shower stall's wall. I get to watch as the sheetrock next to my tub dissolves, over time, because she either can't close the shower curtain enough or not splash the walls enough to keep water from trickling out and down the shower's exterior wall.

And, best of all, I still have to occasionally replace my shower curtain because, now that she's using my bathroom to shower in, it has the same mysterious problem with staying mounted. Unfortunately, because it's the shower I use, I can't simply ignore it. I have to put it back up if I want to take a shower.

Thanks, Donna.

Why I don't like you using my shower: it's bad enough you yanked the shower curtain down in your bathroom, but now mine?? Argh.

The Pummeling to Come

In a few hours, I'm going to be getting hit with .50cal slugs of paint for a few hours. Oh well: steaks and strippers after that!

Friday, July 30, 2010


I can't be the only one who thinks "Gevalia" looks like someone was typing "Genetalia" in too much of a hurry.

Call me "Mr. Sensitivity"

"You HAD to remind me of that" is not the way to answer back when your wife wistfully recalls the day, 8yrs prior, you proposed to her...

And, yes, I did actually say that, not just think it. I am a bit of a bastard that way. But, still... The look on Donna's face was priceless! Even had I the opportunity to not say it (i.e. proactive hindsight), I'd have to say it just so I could see that look again. I mean, she's gotten to the point where she knows that  most of the horrible things I say are for laughs and shock value, but she still has to fight it, some times. And, it's the look she gets when trying to fight/ignore it that's just so darned cute.

Get Me To Buy

Since the RIAA started their scorched-earth campaign in the Napster era, I've made it a personal policy to avoid doing things that will put any more money in their pockets. Sadly, this means that I very rarely buy music any more. It disturbs me, greatly, to think that spending money on music I like and on a band I want to support will result in money going to the RIAA. Worse, in most cases, if I buy music through legit channels, more of that money will go to the RIAA than to the artists I actually want it to go to.

I think that, if bands would start putting on their pages "not studio-affiliated: no proceeds go to RIAA", I'd purchase more music online. Of course, that assumes that such statements are true and not just a ploy to get me to buy.

Stupid Fun

The Jones household: not a good place for verbal ambiguity (especially where exploitation of same might be maliciously fun):

There Are Certain Rooms of the House Men Are Just Not Meant to Go Into...

I am married to a clothing geek. She's in to costuming. She's into making clothes - both for everyday and occasional use. She's also a packrat. So, all of that clothing - all the attendant purses, shoes, and other mix-n-match "accessories" - builds up over time. It all has to go somewhere.

In our house, that "somewhere" is the front bedroom on the top floor of our house. Technically, we live in a two-bedroom townhouse. In reality, we live in a one-bedroom townhouse that has a giant, walk-in closet with an attached full bathroom.

Now, this use of bedroom as walk-in closet isn't why men aren't meant to go in there. No, it's the manner in which that closet is (*ahem*) "organized". To best describe it would be to imagine what an entire mall subjected to an 9.4 earthquake and then blown-up would look like. THAT is the assault that awaits the eyes of anyone that opens the door to that room.

Given my austere/spartan sensibilities, stumbling upon the door to that room when it's in an open state is ...Jarring. It's like looking into the mouth of hell or madness (not sure there's an actual difference between the two ...or that room).

I tend to try to treat that room in much the way that Slartibartfast used the SEP field to hide his craft in one of the later books of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. I try to just not look at it and I try to not even see it out of the corner of my eye.

Phishing, Methinks

Somehow, I haz doubts that the two "FaceBook Survey Invite" emails I've received, today, are legit: neither comes from FB or the same sender

Scripter's Hell

I really hate white-spaces within file or directory names. It always makes file manipulation just that much more of a chore. It also makes programming the manipulation of such files that much more bothersome. I know people love them, but can't they love naming things "ThisIsMyFile.doc" just as much as naming them as they apparently love naming them "This Is My File.doc"?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don't Talk to Me About Fair

If, as a minor, I am charged as an adult, would I then be permitted to have alcohol?

Leveraging Memes

Calling someone a "cake-maker" is so much more fun than calling them a "liar".

Encrypted SD Cards and Android?

Android's related to the Linux codebase (Google's supposedly even trying to merge the code back into the general Linux tree). Linux has some support for encrypted filesystems. I wonder if we can ever expect an Android app that would allow plugged-in SD cards to be written to using a Linux-compatible encrypted FS? I mean, it's great that my BB lets me password protect my phone. However, if someone kites my phone, they can still read anything stored on that 8GB micro SD card in it. If I could find a highly-securable phone (down to removable storage), I think that would be the phone I'd choose to buy.

Pointless Wondering

Among many of the things that (seemingly randomly) occur to me, I sometimes wonder, "how many people are friends with each other because no one else can stand either one?" Basically, are there friendships based simply on the fact that the people in the pairing are have become "friends" with each other simply because no one else would have them?

Wookin Pa Nub

it's kind of amusing that there's even a page's worth of "wookin pa nub" tweets let alone more than a page...

Never Read the Comments

Why do I keep forgetting to "never read the comment sections on tech blogs or general news sites"?? Damn: people are FUCKtarded. I swear, every time I foray into the comments sections, I lose just a tiny bit more of what already miniscule faith I have in humanity. I really get the feeling that if I were to, somehow, lose access to 90% of my intelligence, I'd still be 10x more coherent and factually accurate with my comments/responses than the average commenter.

A Crime Against the Workers!

The vending machine shouldn't be allowed to be out of Mtn Dew. Particularly, not the vending machine at the office. Don't they get that it's the caffeine in these beverages that allow the average person to get through a meeting with something resembling alertness (and hold back the urge to murder someone)?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Awesome Quote

"Watching most other gratuitously violent and gory movies feels like going to a theater where everyone laughs at the camp. Watching Hostel always felt like walking into a hushed theater and discovering halfway through that everyone was secretly masturbating."

That's about right.


I'm gonna start calling Donna, "Ed," because she's just so darn special, some times.

Teh Intarwebz Never Fail to Deliver

Seriously: vegan condoms???

I gotta think that this is one of those "betcha we can make money off these stupid fuckers by saying that our condoms are 'vegan-friendly'".

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recipe for Unconsciousness?

  • One third of a liter of 151
  • One third of a liter of Blue Curacao
  • One third of a liter of Everclear

What's That on the Imaging Scanners?

The question is, will Al-Qaeda members be easier to find due to "sparkling"

Enough with the Name Changes

So, today, the FUC WAC became the WFC. Really, I wish they'd just change it to the "WTF" and be done with it. What was wrong with giving stadiums names instead of renting out naming rights. The Vet was a great place, in spite of being a shithole, in part because of its name.

As a fan, I shouldn't have to change how I tell people where I'm seeing a game based on the goddamnd name du jour. I miss the Spectrum.

I think legislation should be passed preventing corporate naming of public spaces. This changing stadium/arena/etc. names every time a company gets bought, "re-brands" themselves or changes their advertising budgets really fucking blows.

Wither Android?

So... If Apple and VZ actually do business next year, will the growth of Android be halted?

What's That at My Window?

There is an evil death-orb poking its way through my room's window. Does not seem to respond to the "go away" bird, either.

A Mistake in the "Prepared Foods" Section

I knew it was a mistake before I did it, but, for whatever reason, I picked up sushi from the Safeway next to my hotel.

"Mmmm" may be too strong of a term to apply to Safeway sushi. :p

Timing's Everything

I really should only be seeing the sunrise BEFORE going to bed for the night - not waking up from the night's sleep.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How Does eHarmony Have a Freaking Sale?

Might have to jump right the hell on eHarmony's biggest sale ever. I mean, I'm just the kind of customer they're after, right?

Smells Like Pig Spirit

The smell of bacon-draped meatloaf is suffusing the house. Dinner soon, methinks.

Where The Fun Is

It greatly pleases me to *not* be the pinnacle of enlightenment. Life's much more fun in the gutters.

Money Weirdo

Ok. I think I've gotten kinda weird about money - at least, weird for being a member of a consumption-oriented culture like the one I live in.

When I first got out of college, I was accustomed to carrying credit card debt, month to month. However, about ten years ago, I started to look at what I was doing and paying attention to just how much money I was pissing away on debt service. So, over the course of a couple years, I very systematically worked to wipe out all of my unsecured debt. By about my second or third year of marriage, I was carrying no revolving or unsecured debt (not much I can do about mortgage).

As part of that process, each time I cleared debt, the money I had been spending on credit card interest, I redirected towards savings. I put away as much as I can in my 401(k), I put about $300 (or so) per paycheck into my "rainy day" accounts and another couple hundred dollars per month into a brokerage account. Any money I put into my "liquid" account that I don't spend in a given month, I toss into my "rainy day" account.

I've structured most of my bills into predictable chunks. I've got my utilities, my comms (TV/Internet/cellular), insurance and such on "auto-pay" arrangements. I've set up budget billing for things like my utilities. I funnel as many of these things through "rewards" credit cards so that I can  make one, single payment per month and earn points on as many dollars spent as possible. I also try my damnedest to be able to not carry any revolving debt.

Net result: in any given year, instead of paying hundreds in dollars in debt-service or overdraft or late fees, I make nearly $500-$1000/year in rewards.

I've also redone my mortgage a couple times. The first was in an effort to take equity out so I could do some much-needed improvements (and, happened to be able to drop my interest rate by over one percentage point in the bargain). The second was so I could drop my interest rate another one-and-a-half percentage points. So, I'm doing decent there, as well, as far as freeing up funds go.

I even periodically review my expenses and see where I can make the system work for me to reduce outlays or otherwise just increase the value of every dollar I spend.

Basically, even though I make a respectable salary, I act like I don't. Much of my activities, essentially, are hiding money from myself. It's allowed me to have savings, but I've done so in a way that makes it feel like I'm still living paycheck to paycheck. So, when expenses do come up and I do dip into savings, I get the same kind of angst I'd have were I going into debt to others rather than debt to myself. The only way to overcome the angst (and not very well, I might add) is to remind myself that I'm only "in debt" to me. Still: eating into that "rainy day" fund triggers fears about "what if that rainy day comes before you can put yourself back in shape"?

I honestly don't get how people are able to get into big, optional debt piles, given how just reducing my savings makes me feel. Ugh.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where's Buffy When You Need Her?

Twilight would never have happened had Buffy still been on the job.

I Understand Now...

Since it came on the air, I'd wondered, "why the fuck is the Cleveland Show on" and, then, "why the fuck was the Cleveland Show renewed?" Tonight, for the first time in at least a year, I saw an episode of The Simpsons. Well, to be accurate, I failed to turn it off when helping Donna finish readying dinner for the table - so, I only heard tonight's episode. So, given the state of the Simpsons and what's become of Family Guy since the Cleveland Show came on, I now understand how it continues to be on the air. It's not so much that they're supporting a weak show by sandwiching it between two strong shows, it's that all the shows are now sucktabulous.

Cage-match Fail

I'll never forgive my parents for not giving me a sibling: you can't have a cage-match with an only child.

Cole Slaw

Does anyone, out there, actually like coleslaw. I don't mean in the way of being willing to eat it simply because it's on their plate. I mean, is it something they'd list on their "top five favorite foods" list? Or, in one of those "stranded on an island" or "forced to eat it every day" questions, would it be one of their choices?

Me? I fucking hate coleslaw. Got absolutely no use for it. I won't even eat it "just because it's on the plate." It always horrifies me when I go to some barbecue place and they've sullied the sandwich by piling it on. Keep that shit on the side so I can just ignore it, please.

Stumbling Gems

StumbleUpon always finds the gems. But, at this point, I gotta ask, "Is Pravda the new 'Weekly World News'?"

I Don't Get Zombie Contagion

In every zombie movie, ever, zombies seem to proliferate in a geometric progression. In pretty much every zombie story, zombies hunger for human flesh - particularly brains. In pretty much every zombie story, the way you kill a zombie is to destroy their brains.

Given their prototypical hunger for brains and that destruction of the brain is what fully kills a zombie, one has to wonder, "how do zombies multiply" (especially, "how do they multiply geometrically"). I mean, if their innate hunger causes them to destroy their victims's brains and brain-destruction is what fully kills a zombie, shouldn't a zombie plague be fairly self-limiting?

Going to "the Movies"

Ok, first, I'm a cheap bastard. So, if I'm going to plunk down my money for something, I gotta find value in it. When I saw Avatar, I didn't feel like I was getting ripped off. Hell, I don't think I even really recalled paying extra to see it in the full 3D "experience". I know that I probably did, but, it "delivered" so I didn't really notice the ticket price differential.

That said, as more movies have come out in 3D - and the 3D failed to add much, of note, to the experience - I've become acutely aware of how much they've been gouging me to see something in 3D.

My local theatres are expensive. It used to be, you could at least mitigate some of that expense by going to see a matinee. It used to be, you could get a discount with a start time as late as 18:00. Then, they dialed it back to 17:30, then 17:00. The last time I remember getting a discount, the cutoff was either 16:00 or 16:30. I haven't noticed any discounts, lately. So, even if I go see an afternoon movie, all I'm doing is avoiding crowds (but, even then, only during the school year on weekdays). I'm still paying $10 (or more) per seat, just to see something. Then, the local theatres want to tack on an additional fee for films presented in digital format. If I want to see something in IMAX, there's a different fee. If I want to see something in 3D, there's yet another fee.

Now, the IMAX that's available in Northern VA is not the kind of IMAX you used to get at the Smithsonian or other museums. It's just a digital presentation technology made by the IMAX company. So, even though it says "IMAX" on the theatre, it's not what I expect from an IMAX movie. So, in general, I skip that add-on.

When Avatar came out, I was rather pleased with the 3D effect. When I saw UP, I was decently pleased (though, it wasn't a critical component of the presentation). When I saw the new Alice, I saw it twice in 3D: once in theatre where the screening was VERY dark and muddy; once in a theatre where it was bright and crisp. I'd seen a few other 3D presentations, as well, but was becoming progressively less enthralled by the effect. Between the lines and the fees - and the realization that taking my wife to see a movie was costing nearly $30 without snacks or drinks - I've stopped seeing movies in 3D. At this point, unless I'm convinced, before hand, that a movie really must be seen in 3D, I won't pay the extra $3/seat to do so. Typically, I wait to hear what others have said on the value of a movie's 3D before seeing it. Apparently, I'm not the only one doing so.

Worse, because of the add-on, I've been made acutely aware of the prices of tickets. I mean, I always knew they were expensive. What I hadn't realized was the previously-noted evaporation of matinee-pricing. Snacks were always ridiculously expensive, but, I just sucked it up. Any more, though, I just can't. It's not that I don't have the money - I just am not seeing the value. I mean, it's gotten to the point with movie pricing that I'm spending as much to go see a movie as I might for a decent meal at a restaurant. At least with the restaurant, I'm fairly certain about how I'm going to feel about my meal. With the movies, it's always a gamble. I'm not inclined to just piss money away. So, unless I'm fairly certain a movie is going to be worth it, I wait for it to hit video.

I mean, yeah, I don't get the ginormo screen, but, with the multiplexes, unless I'm paying to see it opening week, I'm frequently not getting a ginormo screen experience. Worse, if I go during that opening week or two, I'm packed into the theatre with a bunch of noisey, ill-mannered people. If I have patience, I can watch in the comfort of my own home with good snacks (that are worth their price) and not have to worry about phone interruptions, squalling babies, someone kicking my seat, etc. And, given the price of an Amazon, Zune or even NetFlix presentation, I just have a hard time justifying going down to the local googolplex.

Hose Stank

Why does the water from a garden hose always have that nasty, stagnant water, "hose stink". And, why is it that it never seems to quite comes off once it's gotten onto you. And what is that stink, any way? Is it just the smell of the rubber in the hose or is it something more basic. Either way:  "yech."

Strange Things Seen While Walking About

Yesterday, after getting back from the farmers' market, Donna still needed a few things from the store for the next few nights' dinners. Chief among these was oil for deep-frying the okra. So, off we went into the 100+ degrees of actual heat (heat index in the 110s). We walked over to Shopper's Food Warehouse. It's a little more than 1mi. walk, round-trip.

The walk was uneventful. Hot as balls, but uneventful. Took a brisk pace to Shopper's, got our stuff and made for home. On the way home, though, I saw what would be the epitome of confusion. Well, I'm sure it would have been the epitome of confusion, but it's equally as likely that what I saw simply wasn't aware of the inherent confusion. At any rate, what I saw was a latino, waiting for a bus, dressed in a Redskins jersey and a Cowboys baseball cap. I'm assuming that he has no real knowlege of either team or their relationships to each other, thus, my assertion that he likely wasn't aware of the inherent confusion presented by his mode of dress.

Who knows, maybe I'm underestimating and the guy was trying to make a statement of irony and lighten the wiltingly-hot day of everyone he ran into. I mean, it is kind of hard to think that anyone living in the DC area wouldn't know the Cowboys/Redskins thing.

/me shrugs