Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Work Is For Morons

This post probably won't end up being about work, but I'll leave the title alone because that's how I feel.

Today is Halloween. I'm dressed up as nothing, because I am an adult. My children are a giant Candy Corn and a UPS man. Last year they were a bumblebee (I think) and a Red Sox player. The year before they were a ladybug and a dinosaur. Before that they were a princess and a fish. Before that we only had one kid and she was a peacock. And before that she was a sweat pea.

Halloween is the stupidest event of the year. I immediately lose all respect for anyone who says Halloween is her (it's only women, for some reason) favorite "holiday." Calling Halloween a holiday probably makes Jesus spin in His grave.

Other things that make me discount people as morons: smoking, swearing, having visible tattoos, placing sports bets, taking pride in an "I was so drunk" story, or talking loudly about how expensive something was (as opposed to how cheap something was, which is acceptable.)

True story about a drunk girl: I went to class last year and the girl in front of me smelled (I thought) like beer, but I wasn't sure because I don't spend a whole lot of time around the stuff. Another girl came in and sat next to the first one and the first one started up her, "OMG, I was out so late last night and got so wasted!" story. The second one asked, "Have you showered?" The first said, "No, why?" And the second said, "Because you smell like alcohol." Ha ha! A joke at a the alcoholic's expense! However, the alcoholic is a really nice girl and every time I see her around campus and talk to her, I feel bad that I think this story is funny. Which is why it's a good thing she's spending this semester in Europe, so I won't have to see her and I can just enjoy the story without any shame.

Well, I'm just about out of stuff to say, so let me just end with a list of movies that I thought were cool when I was a kid because I didn't understand them but I was certain they were cool, but now that I'm older and understand them, I now see them as the stupid movies they always were:

5. Tron

4. Reservoir Dogs

3. Cocoon

2. Pulp Fiction

1. E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial

Peace out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Social Websites and Anti-Social Me

I have a blog because I was suckered into it by my wife, who was suckered into it by her friend Angela. Persephone tried to register to comment on Angela's blog and, viola!, she had her own blog. Same thing happened to me.

I have a MySpace page because I wanted to send an e-mail to a friend of mine who had a MySpace page. The thing is, he never even responded. I think I am probably the world's oldest man on MySpace.

Now I might end up having to get a Facebook page. Here's why: there's a cartoon in the Daily Kansan called "Jimmy Bates and Triangle," which is hilarious. I e-mailed the guy who draws it to tell him so. He responded and thanked me, but sent me a link to a group of people who hate the comic. When I clicked on the link, it's a Facebook group and I have to log in to see it.

My social website presences are sad because they point out the obvious: I have no friends. I have probably two regular blog readers, and I have a group of about five people who've been shamed into visiting my blog haphazardly. My MySpace page has only something like 10 friends, and two of those friends never respond when I write to them. Now I'll have a Facebook account and no "friends" or whatever they call it on their site.

To show just how few friends I have, my children freaked out last night because I had a friend over for dinner. He's a guy who used to work in my office, but now he's moved to New Mexico and works for us down there. He was back in town this weekend for meetings, so I invited him over if he wanted to eat with us. Persephone said the kids were bouncing all over the place because "Daddy's friend was coming!" They probably had no idea I even had friends until they saw this guy walk through our door last night.

At least my kids are my friends, but I know that won't last forever. When we listen to the Cheap Trick song "Surrender," Crazy Jane always asks, "Why are his mommy and daddy a little weird?" I say, "That's what happens when you get older; you think your parents are weird." She says, "I won't think you're weird when I grow up." But what she doesn't know is that she definitely will.

She's five now, which means we've only got half-a-dozen years, at most. I read an article today in the Washington Post about 11 year-olds wearing whore Halloween costumes and their parents trying to stop them. Within five years Crazy Jane will say, "Why can't I wear this Harem Girl costume?! At least I'm going to wear a costume; Ashleigheeeyeiegh is going to the Halloween party naked and telling everyone she's dressed as a baby!"

Monday, October 29, 2007

Baseball Is Over

So I said to my wife last night, "Congratulations on your team winning. I hope you don't win again for 86 years, sucker."

She said, "Well, it's not like I'm a bandwagon fan."

I said, "My poor team. Nineteen-seventy-nine was so long ago. I can't believe we're going to tie the Philadelphia Phillies for most consecutive losing seasons."

Also, I realized last night that they've never had a World Series that didn't have at least one of the "classic" sixteen franchises in it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shocking!

So here are some photos that will shock you. Maybe not as much as Articulate Joe here, but some. Although this free-range Utard cow doesn't look too shocked, so who knows what your response will be.

We were driving along a state highway and saw a sign telling us to watch out for cows standing in the road. Not too much longer along we came across this cow standing in the median, waiting for a really nice car to step in front of so he can collect a lot of insurance money. What you can't see is the neck brace he had stashed behind a bush. When we crossed into Nevada, the warning signs replaced the placid cow outline with a charging bull outline, but everything's a little edgier in Nevada.

Have you ever driven through a small town and asked yourself, "I wonder how many gays they've got here?" Well, this town in Illinois we drove through lets you know right up front that they've got 300 of them.

Or maybe you've said, "What this parking lot needs is about eight more stop signs." Look no further. Or farther. Or BOTH!

Because here they are, in another part of the same parking lot.

Another rural Illinois town might not quite understand the rules of apostrophe usage (who does these days, with honest-to-goodness high school text books telling students you can write things like Rodriguez'), but they understand how they feel about the most wonderful woman in the history of the world (according to the hired goons she sent to my house when she learned I was mentioning her in a blog post).

Perhaps you've thought, "What are the chances that my non-profit organization will be allowed to make its own license plates?" If you live in Missouri, your chances are pretty high. Or, if you want, you can get two states in on the game, like this bus agency did:

Of course, don't forget Shakespeare's comments on beards: "He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."

This guy has both a beard and a Hummer; he must be way more than a man (or mayhaps he be much less than a boy?)

When I worked at Triple-A and things would get slow, I'd read some of the guide books we handed out to customers. That was where I read this about my sister-in-law's hometown, Kirksville, MO:

Kirksville was named for Jesse Kirk, who exchanged a turkey dinner for the right to name the town after himself.
You can't make that crap up. Later I read this about Marysville, KS, and I knew we had to go there:
Marysville, known as the "Black Squirrel City," is one of few known spots in the country in which the black squirrel lives in the wild. The squirrels first came to the city in 1912 as part of a carnival's sideshow to entertain a group of Civil War veterans. Some local youngsters released the squirrels, which scampered from their cages to freedom in the city park, where their descendants still frolic.
I don't know about "frolic," but here's one sitting still.

Persephone had to work with the squirrel a lot to get him to pose for us so well. He was waiting to hear about a part he'd gotten a call-back for, so he kept taking calls from his agent.

And now for a fat guy pretending to lick a sign:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Super Dell Quote of the Century

Deseret News comes through with this beauty of a quotation:

"It's too bad that all of the media in Utah are liars and murderers," he said. "You just destroyed the greatest computer company of all time. We were the best in the world, the world champion. All this hatred was created by you. You're basically angels of Satan. All I can say to the people in Utah is, please pray for all the news people."

That's Me! No, Wait, It's Not

So because I am at work right now I’m passing the time reading this guy’s blog posting about Super Dell and Totally Awesome Computers. Besides the weird rantings of Super Dell in the comments section, the strangest part of it was when I would get to a comment posted by a guy named “Brandon Mansfield” and I thought, “That’s my name!” Then I realized it wasn’t, and I kept reading until the next Brandon Mansfield comment when I would again think, “That’s my name!”

And yes, by virtue of the fact that I intentionally opened Google to search for “Totally Awesome Computers,” I have established myself as the most bored man on earth.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"White People Like Wayne Brady Because He Makes Willard Scott Look Like Malcolm-X"

This post has nothing to do with Wayne Brady, Willard Scott, or Malcolm-X, but I love that quote from "Chappelle's Show." It makes me laugh every time I think of it. Like a guy I work with who laughs anytime someone says, "A bag of walnuts."

Really, I have nothing to say right now, but work is so boring that I can't bring myself to end this. So here's some useless information.

STADIA WHERE I'VE SEEN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYED

Dodger Stadium

Three Rivers Stadium

Anaheim Stadium

Milwaukee County Stadium

Jack Murphy Stadium

Kaufman Stadium

Busch Stadium (the new one)

STADIA I'VE SEEN FROM THE OUTSIDE

Oakland Coliseum

Coors Field

Bank One Ballpark

Comiskey Park (the new one)

Wrigley Field

Jacobs Field

Riverfront Stadium

Robert F. Kennedy Stadium

Busch Stadium (the old one)

PNC Park

Astrodome

Tiger Stadium

Skydome (I went inside it, but not during a baseball game)

Here's my problem with current baseball stadia naming convention. It doesn't matter what fly-by-night company currently owns the naming rights to Jack Murphy Stadium; I can always call it by its original name. But what am I supposed to call Bank One Ballpark now that it's called something else? It never had a regular name.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World's Stinkiest Fart

I just ripped it.

I Feel Like a Hobo

I slept in my clothes last night. For about two hours.

I was at the library until four when I decided that what I needed was to go to Burger King and get some food, and then keep studying at home. When I got to Burger King they told me they were closed for the next ten minutes (evidently "Open 24 Hours" really means "Open from 4:05 AM to 3:55 AM") and when they reopened they would be in breakfast mode. So I went next door to McDonald's, where they were open but only taking cash and only serving breakfast. So I went to Hy-Vee and bought some microwave burritos. I came home and ate them and studied, then went to bed to take a break. Persephone woke me up at seven and I talked her into letting me sleep until seven-thirty and then driving me to school, which she did, because she knows what side her bread's buttered on. So she and the kids drove me to school. Luckily, I showered and changed clothes last night before I went to the library, so I wasn't too stinky. But let me tell you about the burps those burritos caused! Boy howdy! They were massive!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New County, But Not How You Think

Well, my percentage just went down.

It turns out that on June 20, 2007, City of Skagway, Alaska, was dissolved and replaced by Municipality of Skagway, a first-class borough. This means Alaska now has 18 boroughs and the nation as a whole now has 3,132 counties or county equivalents. My percentage went from 29.3197% (918 / 3,131) to 29.3103% (918 / 3,132).

Seriously, people, you're not helping! Skagway wasn't even a model borough; the Alaskan Local Boundary Formation Commission had planned for it to become part of Haines Borough, which means I had planned for that, too. Now all my maps and lists are off. Unorganized Borough still comprises 18 model boroughs. In my little system I will not count Unorganized Borough as completely visited until I visit every model borough in it. This will keep me from having to make repeated trips back to Alaska every time another borough incorporates. But if the Local Boundary Formation Commission is just going to start pulling boroughs out of their collective rear, I don't know what I'm going to do.

Animals I've Captured

Last Saturday morning I had to take my bike down to the bike store, so I loaded it on the back of the car and drove downtown. After it was fixed, I put it back on the back of the car and started to leave the parking lot, when I saw a woman come chasing a dog up the alley. She would walk towards it slowly and when it was nearly in arm's reach she would rush towards it and it would run away another twenty feet. I parked the car (and turned off the radio before opening the car door because in my search of radio stations I had inadvertently stopped on The Eurhythmics' "Here Comes the Rain Again," and I didn't want anyone outside the car to think I had been actually listening to it), and got out to help. It only took a minute or two until I had the lady's dog and handed it over to her.

This reminded me of other animals I've had to capture since we moved to Kansas. One Saturday morning (always on the weekend, for some reason) I was driving up the street and I saw a woman with her car stopped in the middle of the road. Traffic was going around her, and as I passed her I saw that she was stopped because she was trying to be a crossing guard for a turtle that was in front of her car but about to cross into oncoming traffic. So I parked on a side street and came back to help her catch the turtle and move it, since her plan seemed to be causing an accident while she watched it get run over. I grabbed for the turtle's ass and it tried to bite me (which is my usual experience with ass-grabbing). So instead I pushed it down onto the street so I could get a good grip on it and then I moved it off the road to the creek.

About a month later, Persephone and our kids were out on a Saturday and I was supposed to be doing homework. They called me from the car to tell me there was a turtle in their lane of traffic up the street from our house, so I ran up the street and captured that turtle and moved him to some tall grass next to the creek.

All of this reminds me of: "On 'Pet Rescue' today the cleaver stoat keeps everyone on their toes in Somerset.'

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our Baby Is A...

We don't know yet. And we'll never find out. (Well, we'd find out eventually, I guess.)

There were legitimate reasons so find out with Crazy Jane and Articulate Joe. We needed to know whether to buy girl things or boy things. Now that we have the complete set, the only real reason to find out is to satisfy our curiosity.

Normally I'd be all about satisfying our curiosity, but not when it's on my dime. So unless we can finagle the State of Kansas into footing the bill, we might just wait until the nurse says, "Here's your new baby [boy or girl]!"

Here are the things our baby shouldn't be:

  1. a dog
  2. thirty-eight inches long
  3. a hermaphrodite
  4. two-headed
  5. drunk
  6. wanted for questioning
  7. ugly
  8. tasty (Get in my belly!)
  9. half-alien
  10. Methodist

That's about it. As long as it meets these ten criteria, it doesn't really matter if it's a girl or a boy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Greatest Blog Posting Ever, Charlie Brown

This isn't actually the greatest blog posting ever, it's a blog posting to tell you that I'm preparing the greatest blog posting ever. That's right; it's going to be so kick-ass that it requires preparation (as opposed to my usual posts, which I just crap out in five minutes).

Actually, what will probably happen is I will never work on the preparation again. I mean, I'm just keeping it real here. Don't get your hopes up. I'm just saying.

Side-Note: this is my 233rd blog posting. When I posted my 100th I thought, "Wow, that's sort of impressive, in a sad sort of way." When I posted my 200th I thought, "Already? That went fast." Now I'm going to reach 300, which is a whole new level of worthlessness.

I'm watching Spike Feresten right now, who is my new favorite TV personality. I like to think that he's small-time enough that we could somehow meet and become friends. Then I'd have a celebrity friend. I worked with a guy who was friends with the guy on "Early Edition." That could be me, only with Spike Feresten. So come on, Spike. Come hang out with me in Kansas.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Genius Has Limits

Okay, I realized today that I screwed up the Kansas City Royals (1985, not 1984), and the Chicago Cubs (1954, I think; 1908 was their last World Series victory).

And I just screwed that up, because the real answer for the Cubs is 1945. Sorry.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just Think of Baseball - UPDATED!!!!11!!eleventy!!!

I’m glad the Colorado Rockies won the National League last night because, if the Pirates can’t win every pennant, I like to see different teams do well and Colorado was one of very few teams to never win a pennant. “Which teams?” you ask? Well...

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Arizona2001
Atlanta1999
Chicago1908
Cincinnati1990
Colorado2007
Florida2003
Houston2005
Los Angeles1988
Milwaukee1982 (sort of)
New York2000
Philadelphia1993
Pittsburgh1979
Saint Louis2006
San Diego1998
San Francisco2002
Washingtonnever
AMERICAN LEAGUE
Baltimore1983
Boston2004
Chicago2005
Cleveland1997
Detroit2006
Kansas City1984
Los Angeles2002
Minnesota1991
New York2003
Oakland1990
Seattlenever
Tampa Baynever
Texasquestionable
Toronto1993

Milwaukee is a “sort of” because when they won the pennant, they were in the other league. And Texas is “questionable” because it’s my understanding that the first time the Washington Senators left Washington, they left behind the name and record of the team and began playing in Minnesota as an expansion franchise, sort of, but the second time they left town, they took that with them to Texas, so the franchise has credit for winning the pennant whenever the last time the Senators won, which I don’t remember off the top of my head (1933?) the way I have remembered the rest.

But I’m not glad to see the Rockies win because I hate the wild card, but that’s a subject for a different post.

UPDATE: I was right about the last time the Senators won the pennant (because I'm a freaking genius), but I was wrong about Texas getting the credit for it. The Twins left the name, but took the records, so Texas has never won a pennant, joining Washington/Montreal, Seattle, and Tampa Bay in the realm of suckitude (1979 is seeming pretty recent compared to never!).

Monday, October 15, 2007

The "Walker, Texas Ranger" of "CSI"s

That's right, I'm talking about "CSI: Beautiful People," also known as "CSI: Miami." This show has everything a show shouldn't have. My wife is watching an episode right now and I'm blogging about how horrible it is. And all this is from the perspective of a twice-a-season viewer.

First of all, I wish someone would shoot Callie Duquesne when no one is expecting it. Maybe twelve minutes into the episode, when she's doing the scene walk-through after they've taken the body away, and then all of a sudden someone jumps out of a closet and shoots her in the face. And she dies. She doesn't linger for three weeks on a respirator; she just dies and they've hired her replacement before the end of the first half-hour. That would be great.

Secondly, Horatio needs to learn that you can't expect everything you say to scare people so much they piss themselves. He needs to say some things normal so that it's more meaningful when he says something like, "You're looking at grand theft auto, and now you're looking at murder."

Thirdly, I hate when they do the whole "three cameras in three different corners, moving around in relation to each other" thing.

Right now they're blaming a murder on a credit card company.

Fourthly, they just had a guy get shot in the middle of the forehead and die flat on his back with no blood or brain anywhere in the shot. I said to Persephone, "They're not even trying anymore."

Fifthly, since this season has begun Horatio has found his long-lost son and now some guy named Speedle isn't really dead. Seriously, is this a drama or a soap opera?

So now I'm one of those people who care so much about television that I blog about it. Because my real life just isn't doing it for me anymore.


UPDATE: My wife informed me that my last posting will make people think I hate my kids. I don't. I love my kids. And my wife. And I hate everything else.

I work with a guy who is way into football. I told him a couple weeks ago that I was a bit of a UCLA fan, so last Monday he said, "Tough loss," and I said, "What?" He said, "UCLA lost to Notre Dame." I said, "Oh. Huh." He said, "I figured that was why you were so down." I said, "No, I'm down because I hate my life." That got a big laugh. That wasn't what I was going for.

Ah Hell, I'm Already 30

This is for my wife, who keeps getting angry when I tell her I'm 30 and a big fat, retarded failure (because being a fat, retarded, 29-year-old failure is nothing to be ashamed about): according to www.realage.com, I'm 30.1 years old. So bring on the 30s: baldness and impotence. Although impotence isn't going to be so bad, seeing as my penis has caused most of my problems in life.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"On the Road Again"

I'm posting from Saint Louis this weekend. On our way here we detoured through southern Missouri, where I got sixteen new counties. They were: Cherokee KS, Jasper MO, Ottawa OK, Newton MO, McDonald MO, Barry MO, Lawrence MO, Stone MO, Christian MO, Dade MO, Greene MO, Webster MO, Wright MO, Douglas MO, Texas MO, and Dent MO. This brings my yearly total to 182, and my overall total to 918. Also, I have 110 out of the 115 counties in Missouri.

While we were driving we stopped at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, MO, because Crazy Jane and I have been reading the "Little House" books.


Title from the Willy Nelson song of the same name.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Greatest Films I've Never Seen

According to AMC, these are the greatest films I've never seen:

1The Godfathernever seen
2Citizen Kaneseen and liked
3Casablancaseen and own
4Gone With the Windseen and own
5Seven Samurainever heard of
6The Wizard of Ozseen and meh
7On the Waterfronttried to watch twice, but meh
8The Bridge on the River Kwaiseen once when a kid
9Rules of the Gamenever heard of
10The Godfather, Part IInever seen
11Lawrence of Arabiaseen and own
12It's a Wonderful Lifenever seen
13Schindler's Listseen part of
14To Kill a Mockingbirdseen and meh
15Raging Bullnever seen
16Star Warsseen and liked
17La Stradanever heard of
18Psychonever seen
19Sunset Boulevardnever seen
20La Dolce Vitanever seen
21Wild Strawberriesnever heard of
22Singin' in the Rainnever seen
23Diaboliquenever heard of
24Dr. Strangeloveseen and liked
25Mr. Smith Goes to Washingtonseen and meh
26Apocalypse Nowseen part of
27Once Upon a Time in the Westnever heard of
28The Leopardnever heard of
29Ikirunever heard of
30The Good, the Bad and the Uglyseen once when a kid
31Vertigoseen and sort of liked
32Fantasianever seen
33One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nestnever seen
34Some Like it Hottried to watch twice, but meh
35Peeping Tomnever heard of
362001: A Space Odysseyseen once when a kid
37Empire Strikes Backseen and liked
38The Graduatenever seen
39Andrei Rublevnever heard of
40The African Queennever seen
41Chinatownnever seen
42All About Evenever seen
43The Grapes of Wrathseen and meh
448 ½never seen
45North by Northwestseen and liked
46Jawsseen once when a kid
47The Maltese Falconnever seen
48A Clockwork Orangenever seen
49E.T. the Extra-Terrestrialseen once when a kid
50Taxi Drivernever seen

So there you have it. In my defense, while I have never seen "Chinatown," I have seen "Big Trouble in Little China," which is sort of the same thing, right?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Pirate Nicknames

An anonymous stranger commented on my blog under the pseudonym of "justin_tucker," demanding the Pittsburgh Pirates develop pirate nicknames for each player. Since the Pirates are too busy getting drunk right now (as I surmise from the article on their website entitled "Bay looks ahead after long season," like no other team in baseball played all 162 games this year), I'll come up with the nicknames myself.

Freddy "Your Obligatory All-Star" Sanchez: I think Sanchez had a great year this year, but that whole "every team gets an All-Star" crap is like the affirmative action of baseball: you never really know if you earned it or if you play on a team full of morons.

Adam "Thar Be a Double" LaRouche: This guy can't hit anything but doubles. He's the new Jack Wilson.

Jason "The Great White Hope, Version 15" Bay: There's one guy on the team every year who, if he had anyone else hitting around him, would be a great player. We usually trade that guy on July 31st because the other team presidents have convinced ours that you have to trade your good players and they are laughing too hard to tell him they were just kidding.

Jose "Ground Ball Fielder" Bautista: the Pirates have a long history of great fielding middle infielders who are just marginal hitters. Actually, they have a long history of all their players being just marginal hitters.

Jack "Don't Trade Me" Wilson: Jack had a bad year until July, and then he was playing like it was 2006. But he picked a bad year to have a bad year, since the Pirates are carrying, like, a billion middle infielders right now.

Ronny "Scouts Say I Can Hit, So I Don't Have to Actually Do It" Paulino: He's no Jason Kendall (who, incidentally, the Pirates paid to play ball for other teams this year).

Xavier "A Nickname That Doesn't Involved the Letter X" Nady: I once wanted to date a girl named Neidy. She was pretty.

Nate "RBI" McLouth: Because he hits a lot of RBIs. Like most baseball nicknames, these aren't requiring that much thought.

Cesar "I'm Like a Tanner Jack Wilson" Izturis: I like Cesar from when he was with the Dodgers and I lived in Los Angeles, but I don't want to see him displace Jack.

Ryan "I'm Great in the Minors" Doumit: Every time they bring this guy up, he doesn't do as well as they say he will. He needs a new PR guy who puts out press releases predicting he'll stay alive for nine innings.

Well, that's all I feel like doing right now. As you can see, I suck at this. But hey, I suck at a lot of things.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pirates House Cleaning

I've got nothing against Jim Tracy, but after 15 seasons, I'm grasping at straws here. So when the Pirates announced today that Tracy and his coaching staff will not be back next year, I saw that as a step in the right direction. Earlier this season the Pirates got rid of their team president and their general manager. Also gone today are the senior director of player development, senior director of scouting, and director of baseball operations. Now if they can just not make the Pirates signature off-season move, signing a reanimated corpse to a 30-year contract, they might have a shot next season.

The annoying thing is, they have a shot every season. Last year they were best team in the Central after the All-Star break. Trouble was, they went into the break by losing ten in a row. This year they were the best National League team in August, and managed to sandwich that distinction between an eight-game slide in July and a nine-game slide in September. In mid-August the Pirates played a four-game series with Colorado. The teams had nearly identical records at the time, and Pittsburgh won three of four. However the Pirates finished as the worst team in the Senior Circuit, while the Rockies are about to win their divisional series.

I used to work with a guy who would leave the office every morning to do field work, and while he was gone he would listen to sports talk radio. When he came back at lunch he would always tell me, "Did you hear the news today? The Pirates traded Giles for a handful of magic beans." Then the Pirates did trade Giles, and Kendall, and Aramis Ramirez.

Here's why Aramis Ramirez sucks: I went with my wife and mother to watch the Pirates play the Anaheim Angels (that was their name way back then). Ramirez hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield and came out of the box like a frozen turd. Then he saw the infielder bobble the ball and he started running, only to be barely thrown out. Had he been a baseball player and run when he made contact (hell, David Eckstein runs when he doesn't make contact; it's called a "walk" for a reason, Dave), he would have been safe. Then he got traded to the Cubs and had a "break-out" year. Yeah, it's amazing how easy it is to break-out when you're actually trying.

So, in conclusion: the Pirates will have a losing record next season.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

An Understated Counties Post

I don't want to get anyone's hopes up, but I think next weekend I will finish Missouri. That's right, baby! It would be my third completed state (Utah in 1999 and Arizona in 2005). But it's all still very preliminary, so I'll have to wait to see how it really turns out.

So far this year I've been to 166 new counties, raising my total to 902, or 28.8% of all counties and county equivalents in America. Next year's tentative schedule involves trips to Richmond and back, Chicago and back, Sioux City and back, and possibly Cedar City and back.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Looking Busy

So I'm kind of done for the day, but I'm not yet done for the day, you know what I mean? But a nice e-mail like this will keep me looking busy for the next while.

I tried to get my wife to bet with me about who the new General Authority will be this weekend, but she said that wasn't proper. So here's my pick: Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr. will be moved up the ranks. (After telling me she couldn't pick, my wife then casually mentioned H. David Burton, so I'm counting that as her pick.)

While I'm prognosticating, here're the baseball winners, too: Philadelphia will defeat Colorado in five, Arizona will defeat Chicago in four, Cleveland will defeat New York in four, and Los Angeles will defeat Boston in five. Then Philadelphia will defeat Arizona in six and Los Angeles will defeat Cleveland in four. Finally, Los Angeles will defeat Philadelphia in five.

Best pie:

  1. pecan
  2. banana cream
  3. blueberry sour cream
  4. raspberry
  5. fresh strawberry

Best animal companion:

  1. dog
  2. pig
  3. horse
  4. cat
  5. cow

Best type of tooth:

  1. incisor
  2. molar
  3. canine
  4. baby
  5. wisdom

Best place to own an island:

  1. Caribbean
  2. South Pacific
  3. Mediterranean
  4. Coastal Africa
  5. South Atlantic

Nicest state capitol (I've seen):

  1. Iowa
  2. Nebraska
  3. Illinois
  4. Kansas
  5. West Virginia

Worst "CSI" franchise:

  1. Miami (if Horatio's sunglasses could somehow kill Callie Duquesne, this show would be the greatest ever)
  2. Original Recipe (jumps the shark anew every week)
  3. NCIS (annoying characters that can't even get their own city)
  4. That show set in Philadelphia that tied in to CSI:NY by having Stella be a suspect in a murder (disclaimer: I've never actually seen this show)
  5. NY (in the Mac/Horatio/Grissom comparison, Mac is the only one I don't want to strangle when I catch five minutes of the episode)

I don't really know what else I have to say. I'll make a map of my bike route home. That should take some time.

Making Enemies

Here's something I do well: make people hate me.

There's a new(ish) guy at work who hates me for not being as big of a KU fan as he thinks I should be. I used to support the Jayhawks, before I moved to Kansas and experienced the way the university continually favors athletics over academics.

Yesterday he asked me, "Who's going to win this weekend: KU or K-State."

I said, "I don't know." Then I said, "And by 'I don't know,' I mean, 'K-State.'" He tensed up, thinking of all the things he wanted to say that he didn't think he could in an office environment. (What he doesn't know yet is that there is no professionalism in this place. You want to tell someone he's fat? Go right ahead. Or, better yet, tell all your other coworkers that that person is fat. Also, feel free to disparage coworkers' religions, politics, or education.)

I explained that Kansas has the weakest FBS strength-of-schedule while K-State just beat the #7 team in the country. He blurted out, "But they lost to Auburn, who lost to South Carolina." Meh. What do I care? I'm just saying K-State has shown they can win big games, while KU has shown they avoid big games like the Plague. All I care about is that this weekend's game is in Manhattan, so I won't be inconvenienced by traffic and decapitations. (Yes, last year's "pre-game" involved someone losing his head on Iowa Street. Because nothing says, "Go team!" like standing atop a bus as you approach an overpass.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Things Poor People Do Because They Are Poor

So here's my day so far:

Yesterday morning I took our car in to get its oil changed and have someone look at the exhaust system, since a warning light came on in the dash and the owner's manual said it could mean my car had developed a killer exhaust leak (which the Kansas City television station that does "New in the first five minutes" on the ten-o'clock news would call "The Invisible Killing Cloud!"). So I loaded my bike on the back of the car and drove to the garage, then rode my bike to school and then work. The garage said they needed a part that wouldn't show up until Wednesday morning. Persephone wanted me to ride my bike to the garage and get the car, then take it back Wednesday morning. I said, "Why don't we just let them keep our car until then? It will be easier." So I rode my bike home and for Family Night we walked to Pizza Street and the grocery store.

This morning I rode my bike to school. Right about when I had to go to work the forecasted "scattered thunderstorms" became an actual "steady downpour." But I had to go to work because we're poor. So I started off trying to ride my bike with an umbrella, like a picture I'd seen on the Internet of people doing it in Denmark, but this rainstorm was too heavy. I dismounted and walked my bike to work, "feeling," as the Thomas the Tank Engine books say, "my position deeply."

I parked my bike and went to the bathroom, where I took off all my clothes and wrung them out in the sink, then put them back on, and sat at my desk. So my homework is soaked, my textbooks all got wet, my clothes are freezing, and I'm barefoot. I might get to stay at work until nine tonight, when the rain is supposed to stop.

How would A Random Stranger of three years ago handle this? Well, first of all, I wouldn't be commuting by bike. I had a car, and I would drive it. But let's say I didn't have the car and it was raining this much on a work day. I'd call in sick. Yes, there was a time when I could stay home from work and make twice as much as I make now working all day. Ten holidays, ten sick days, ten days of vacation, and three floating holidays every year. Now I get to basically pay work for the privilege of being locked out on Labor Day.

Why? Why did I do this? Because a dog bit me. Over the course of a year I decided I should quit my job and go to school full time. I told my boss and he told me to think about it for two weeks. During that time I didn't know what I should do. And as I walked through the park that day on my lunch break a dog bit me and the rest was history. Now we make little money, have crap insurance we pay for ourselves, and get to pay thousands of dollars to have a baby, even though the first two babies were free. Man, what I wouldn't give for a free baby these days.

Adamantium Glasses

I got these glasses two weeks ago. I got two pairs of glasses at the same time because they were cheap, the other ones are more fragile that these industrial-grade plastic ones, and I wanted to stock up on glasses while I had a valid prescription because I don't plan to go back to an eye doctor for years.

When I ride my bike, I take my glasses off and keep them in a glasses case in one of my panniers. My old glasses got gross slime inside the nose support pads from sweating on them. So I was riding to work the other day and when I stopped at a stop light a guy in the car next to me said, "Hey, your saddle bag fell off back there." I thanked him and went back to get it. Two blocks back it had been run over in the middle of the road. I got to work and got out my glasses case. It had been horribly smashed, and inside were my mangled glasses frame and detached lenses. I snapped the lenses back in and bent the left arm back down a little bit.

So first the good news: my glasses were run over by a car and they still work.

Now the bad news: the left lens has stress ripples in it from being run over by a car. The frame is pretty badly crooked. I had just spent $29 plus tax and shipping on these glasses. My new overpriced Trek panniers, it turns out, fall off faster than Vanessa Hudgens's clothes.

Back to the good news: it was my sturdy new pair, not my fragile new pair.

(The frogurt is also cursed.)

So part of me is kind of proud of my glasses, and part of me is seriously pissed off. I think the French have a term for this. They call it "ambivalence."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Seriously, People: Get On Your Bikes and Ride

So this is my bike, the KHS Urban-X. I read a bunch of reviews online and narrowed my choices down to one bike that didn't fit me, one bike that was over-priced and not available for three months, and this bike. So I bought this bike.

Here's my bike parked on our hearth, where we keep it. It came with the fenders and the rear rack; I added the front and rear lights, the bike computer, and the panniers.

Here's me on the actual bike, looking like a freak. Remember in junior high when you made decisions based on looking cool? Now I do things and I think, "This sure doesn't look cool, but oh well."

Problems: within twenty miles, it started having horrible slipping problems when on the fifth and sixth sprockets. I've had bikes do that to me before after a long time using the smallest sprocket, but not this much and not this quickly.

I work with a guy who is way into bikes, and he's one of those guys who quietly lets it be known that he would have made a different, better decision than every decision you make. And he works part-time at the bike store across the street from work, so I test rode some of his bikes and didn't buy them. So now I don't want to talk to him about my sprocket problem.

Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet, and Watch (But Without the Testicles, Wallet, and Watch)

Erik wanted photos. Photos he gets. The specs above are from www.selectspecs.com, which is just a website presence for an optometrist in Kent, England. The ones on bottom are from www.39dollarglasses.com, and as the name would lead you to believe, they cost me twenty-nine dollars. They are indestructible, as witnessed by the fact that they've been run over by a car and still allow me to watch "The Simpsons."

Near Heart Attack

I just looked at the clock and I thought it said "12:50." But it really said "2:50." So there's nothing to worry about; I've successfully wasted two hours of my life I will never get back, even though I have about eighty other things I need to do that are more important than sitting here being bored.

I Forgot to Give This a Title

So Persephone is knocked up, and we’re looking into baby names. This should be totally unnecessary, since we already agreed on something like ten names when she was prego with our first kid. We ranked them and then started drawing from the top of the list. But now she’s backing out of agreeing on all the boy names, so if Baby X turns out to have a wang, at least right now he’s nameless.

Compounding this problem is the fact that our two out-of-the-womb kids are old enough to understand and have opinions. So now we’re getting all kinds of interference.

We each have our own most important name-picking rule: for Persephone, the name has to “fit” with our older kids’ names. We know someone to whom I can only allude because they could potentially end up hearing about this, whose kids’ names all go together except for the last one, which is totally wacky. My rule has two parts: the kid’s name can’t be a verb (i.e.: Chase, which is something you do to a dog that gets out of the yard), and a name ending in “-son,” which means “son of a person with the name preceding the dash,” can’t be given to a girl, because she’s nobody’s son, and shouldn’t even be given to a boy unless the father’s name precedes the dash. So we will not be having a Jackson, or a Carlson, or an Emerson (because my name is not Jack, or Carl, or Emer).

So I was watching part of Saturday Night Live this week and I said to Persephone, “What about Kanye?” Of course I was joking, but it’s nearly gotten to that point.

I told Persephone last night, “It’s okay that he won’t have a name because we can’t afford him anyway, so when the repo man comes to take him away, we won’t be too attached to him.” That was Mr. Arable’s problem: he let Fern name the pig he planned to eat.