Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End Goals Review

It's the end of the year, so it's time to see how I did on my goals.  This determines my worth as a human being.  Can you feel the tension?

1) Write every day

Technically, I failed at this one on January 19th when I didn't write anything.  I didn't completely give up after January 19th.  I fought on and ended up writing on 323 of 366 days in 2008.  Thats 88.3%.  I was only able to write every single day of two months: August and December.  That strong finish was part of a 55 day streak where I made a lot of progress on a number of projects.

This was a challenging goal, but I feel like I did pretty well.  I learned a lot about writing and how frustrating it can be when you've got a block.  I also learned that trying to force yourself to write every day often winds up with you writing a bunch of crap or struggling to get something down just because you're trying to reach a goal.  That's why I won't have this goal for myself next year.  I'll have more specific goals for my writing projects.

2) Organize my iTunes
At my last check in on August 6th, I had 31 playlists in iTunes and had begun rating all of the songs in my library.  Now, I've finished rating my songs and I've created 44 more playlists, bringing me to 75.  I'd call this one complete.  I've got my iTunes set up so that I can quickly create new playlists and constantly keep fresh music rotating through my iPhone.  I've actually become a bit of an iTunes ninja in the process.

I won't need to continue this goal in 2009 as I've already got everything organized and it will just be a matter of maintaining everything as I add new music.  Good job, me.

3) Re-do second bedroom

As I mentioned before, DONE!

No need to keep this on for 2009, either.  Sweet.

4) Write and direct a sketch show

Well, shit.  My streak of goal completion comes to an end at two.  I've written quite a few sketches, but not enough to make into a full show.  Not to mention that they don't really have a theme.  I lost my way on this one.  I'm going to refocus on other writing projects in 2009.

5) Take a writing class
No excuse here.  I just didn't sign up.  Failure.

6) Paint the condo
Not done.  I suck.

7) Organize my hard drive
Since the last update I've been continuing to keep my files in order and Evernote and Scrivener have been a major part of keeping my various notes and drafts organized.  I would definitely call this one a success.

8) Continue to get my finances in order
Dee and I have done a very good job of finding ways to manage and track our spending.  Since I last wrote, we've also been doing a better job of saving money where we can.  We can always do better, but we're better than we were.

Take a deep breath, everyone.  My human worth is about 62.5%.  That would earn me millions of dollars as an NFL quarterback but I'm merely a project manager.  Fortunately, the three goals I didn't accomplish in 2008 are still relevant for 2009 and I plan to keep them on and complete them.

I hope your year was at least 62.5% successful.

Monday, December 29, 2008

On Getting a Dog

Sometimes your life spins completely out of control and there is nothing you can do to stop it.  You just have to go along for the ride.

On a particularly busy Thursday - December 11th to be exact - I returned to my desk from a series of meetings to find that I had two voice mails.  One on my cell phone and one on my work phone.  They were both from my wife.  I could only assume that there was some kind of major emergency.  I decided to listen to both of the voice mail messages before calling her back.  The first was brief: "Give me a call when you get this."  The second was a bit longer and described her situation.  She was currently at a dog shelter near her office and she was walking an "adorable" wiener dog that she was sure would be adopted soon.  She had fallen in love and didn't want to lose her.  What should she do?

I took a deep breath and dialed the phone.

"Hi, Dee."
"Don't worry, I don't have a dog with me."
"Oh thank God."
"I did adopt it, though."
"What?"
"I adopted it.  It was only $60."
"But you don't have the dog with you?"
"No, they said I could leave it there until Saturday so you can meet it."
"Oh."
"Then we can take it home."
"Is that so?"
"I mean, if you like her.  I think you'll like her."
"I don't really like dogs."
"I know, but you'll like this one."
"Yeah, I'm sure."
"If you don't like her, we can leave her there and get our money back."
"You mean, 'If you don't like her you can break my heart and start our marriage on a downward spiral from which it will probably never recover."
"No.  Well, yes."

On Saturday we went to the shelter so that I could meet the dog.  I mean, we went to the shelter so that we could bring the dog home.  I knew that the only way we were leaving that shelter without a dog was if it tried to attack me.  Unfortunately, my bacon suit was at the cleaners.

As I drove home Dee held Ruthie (yes, that's her name) on her lap in the passenger seat.  We made a stop at Petsmart to pick up the essential dog items and everyone laughed and cooed over Ruthie.  It helped that she was wearing a little coat that made her look like a ladybug.  It also helped that she's pretty cute.  See?



Eventually, we got her home.  We gave her a tour of the place and introduced her to all of her new toys.  She wasn't really interested.  All she wanted was to curl up in our laps.  Dee happily obliged.  I was less willing but eventually came around.

Thankfully, Ruthie - who is about four years old - was already trained so the accidents have been kept to a minimum.  Unfortunately, she has severe separation anxiety and is constantly looking for attention.  Plus, she completely freaks out when we leave.

I have a dog now.  I used to be able to sleep through an entire night.  I used to be able to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted.  I never had to take a random trip to the vet because the dog freaked out and drew blood by banging on the door to its crate.  In short, I was happy and free.  Now I'm miserable and tied down.

That's the ride I'm on now.  At least I still have my marriage.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random Things

Have you been digging the shit out of Hamster on a Piano? You don't have to answer. I know you have been. That's one badass hamster with his very own theme song.

You want to see another video that's pretty cool, but not cool in the same way? You don't have to answer. I know you do.



Pretty cool, huh? I guess Philly fans aren't that bad after all. They didn't throw a single battery at that kid.

Doods, I finally signed up for Facebook! Awesome! I've already super-poked your mom.

If you get sick and tired of these long-winded blog posts, you can catch the abbreviated version of me on Twitter. That's right. I've signed up for Twitter. All the kids are calling it "micro-blogging." I call it "stalking Jon Hodgman." Find me at twitter.com/jdford. Sign up and we can follow each other. It's more fun with friends.

Have you heard that song "Paper Planes" by M.I.A.? It's fucking terrible. I'm pretty sure it's the worst song ever written. Sweet Christ, it's bad.

I'm a paranoid dude. For example, I received a large, white envelope in the mail on Friday. The only marking on the envelope was my address and a return address without a name. I immediately assumed that it was some sort of bomb or other harmful device so I took it outside and found a place where the least amount of harm would be done. Turns out it was just my quarterly McSweeney's delivery.


Who's that adorable little girl?

That's Courtney. She's my new bestest buddy - especially after I helped her at the dessert table on Thanksgiving.

I went Christmas shopping with my wife on Sunday. There were some seriously big sales happening. Thanks, recession.

The Irish are going to the Hawaii Bowl. They will be playing, wait for it... Hawaii. I'm not sure they can win.

Ray Lewis is one badass mofo.

It's hard NOT to get excited about the 7-13 Indiana Pacers right now. I mean, they've got dynamic players like Jeff Foster. Wow. Just, wow.

Why are parents so lazy? Seriously. They need to grow the fuck up. I was reading this article and was incensed by this paragraph:

"Now the app has been pulled from the App Store by Majewski after a new fiasco -- last Friday's episode of Santa Live 2008 featured the ever-popular holiday song "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" (click opens iTunes). Apparently some parents became irate, concerned that they were going to have to explain (emphasis added) to their little ones why grandma was killed by renegade horned ungulants."

God forbid that parents have to explain things to their child. You know, it would suck if they actually had to DO THEIR JOB and education their children about the realities of the world. This is a ridiculous example, of course, but the logic carries for things like video games, TV and movies.

Prop 8 - The Musical - definitely worth a watch.

I'm a paranoid dude, part II. When I fill out forms to be submitted to the government or other such organization, I fill out the entire document EXCEPT for the signature line so that when I make a copy of the document my signature isn't stored in the memory of the copy machine.

My office holiday party is tonight. Free drinks, free food, loud music = coworkers doing things they'll regret (and I'll laugh at) later.

Have a good weekend. The next time you read this I may have a dog.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hamster on a Piano

Because my readers deserve something this fucking awesome:

So You Want to Work Out?

Recently, I've had a couple different people ask for my advice on working out.  I think they were probably looking for specifics on the type of exercise I do, but I gave them something completely different.  Because that's what I do.  I drive people crazy.

Keep in mind that most of the advice below is targeted at people who are just starting to work out...

Schedule it.
  Make it a part of your routine.  Find free time every single day and put it on your calendar.  Don't let anything interrupt it (within reason) and stick to it.  After a few weeks, it won't even occur to you to skip the gym, it will be a part of your routine.

Keep pushing yourself.  If you haven't worked out for a long time (or ever) you'll get tired pretty quickly, but once you get into the routine things will start getting easier.  If you want to keep making progress, keep cranking up the intensity.  If you're lifting weights, do more reps or add more weight.  If you're doing cardio, crank up the speed, resistance or time you're on the machine.  If you wear yourself out too quickly you can always ease off, but if you don't go hard enough you'll plateau.

Change it up.  This is related to keep pushing yourself.  If you don't change things up, you'll get into a rut and plateau.  Your body will adjust to the activity levels and you won't make any progress.  There are plenty of sites on the Internet that provide all kinds of different exercises and training tips - I'll let you go find those.  Use them.  Try something different and new.

Do it right.  If you're lifting weights, learn and then use the correct form.  This will prevent injuries and therefore keep you on track and in your routine.  If you have to lift less weight to do it right, lift less weight.  If you have to hold on to the treadmill to stay on, slow down or decrease the incline.  If you're holding on, you're cheating yourself.

Don't let other people intimidate you.  Everyone has different goals and different fitness levels.  What's right for you is not right for someone else.  Don't let the overpumped dudes who are lifting a ton of weight make you feel weak.  Everyone has to start somewhere and you have to start at the place that is best for you.  Don't be ashamed.  Eventually, you'll get to a point where you're lifting heavier weight or running at a faster pace, but it won't happen overnight.  Don't let that get you down.

Be respectful.  I've already ranted a number of times about this.  Wipe off your machines after you use them.  Wear shoes and socks.  Wash your gym clothes after each workout.  Don't hog the machines.  The list goes on and on.  In general, just be considerate of the other people there that are trying to get a workout and you'll be fine.

Be patient.  Seeing results takes time.  Your weight loss and muscle gain won't be like the folks on The Biggest Loser who get to focus completely on working out.  Your body will change more gradually, but it will change.  Over time you'll see the bulges moving from the wrong places to the right places but that only comes from consistent hard work.

Of course, there are a thousand other things that I could mention like changing your eating habits, but that's a completely different topic.  However, I have a feeling that once you start working out, you'll want to change your eating habits.  I wanted to, and I did.

Hopefully, some of you find this helpful.  Though I've probably driven most of you crazy.  That's what I do, remember?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why It All Went Wrong

In December of 2004 we listened to new Notre Dame football coach (and '78 ND grad) Charlie Weis tell us about the "decided schematic advantage" and the "nastiness" that Notre Dame would have under his watch.  The Notre Dame faithful ate it up.  He was one of us.  He understood the history and tradition at Notre Dame and he had a great big shiny Super Bowl ring.  We knew that he "got it."  He would be the first coach since Lou Holtz who "got it."

Except, he doesn't get it.

He learned from Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick who both took a very business-like approach to the game.  Obviously, this worked very well.  These guys won a ton of games and a handful of Super Bowls.  In the NFL.  Unfortunately, the college game is much different.  You're dealing with young kids who rely a lot more on emotion to play the game.  Aside from knowing our X's and O's, you have to know how to get the kids fired up for the game.  Charlie thinks that this is the NFL, where the players get plenty motivated by their large salaries and their fear of losing their jobs to the next guy in line.  He doesn't understand the importance emotion plays in the college game.  He's said as much in his press conferences.  I believe that's a major reason why this team has yet to play a complete game.  He doesn't get them fired up before or during the game so they never get the benefit of an emotional burst and don't know how to reach down deep for that little extra when they need it.  Unfortunately, they needed it about six different times this season and only came up with it once - during the first game of the season.

Because Charlie doesn't get it, his team doesn't get it.  Until they do, they'll never play to the level of their talent.  Thanks for giving your best effort, Charlie, but it's time to move on.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Snow!

 
See that stuff in my hair?  No, not the gray.  The other stuff.  It's snow!  It started snowing heavily on my walk home from the train today.  Near blizzard conditions.  I loved it.  I always love the first snow of the season.  I'm sure I'll be sick of it by mid-winter but for now I love the snow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Election

Note: I realize I'm a little late to the party, but I'll give you my thoughts on the election anyway.

Where was I when it was announced that Barack Obama would be our next President?  In the shower.  In a hotel room.  In Mexico.  They say that everyone will remember where they were when America's first black President was announced.  Well, I hope it doesn't become something that people ask me when I'm older.  Had I been at home in Chicago, I most likely would have been in Grant Park celebrating with the rest of the city. 

It was very strange to see people celebrating just blocks from my office while I was lounging in the warmth of Mexico.  What was even more strange was the feeling of witnessing history from outside my own country.  This election was one of my lifetime's biggest moments and I felt very disconnected from the whole event.  It was Dee and I alone in our room.  We couldn't really celebrate with Drew and his fiancée because they were supporters of the losing side.  No one at the resort was talking about it and it was almost as if it hadn't happened.  Dee and I were excited, but we didn't feel the excitement that all my friends at home talked about.

For Dee and I, the initial excitement of the election didn't take long to wear off and I began thinking about the monumental task that Obama has in front of him.  However, I had hope.  I watched John McCain's concession speech and was impressed with his graciousness.  I wondered where this John McCain had been the whole campaign.  I firmly believe that had we seen more of that McCain, the race would have been much closer.  I watched Obama's victory speech and felt like he struck the right tone of tempered excitement.  Everyone seemed genuinely ready to get to the work of fixing our nation's problems.  I just hope they can hang on to that spirit throughout the next four years. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Blue-Gray Sky is Falling

I wore my ND sweatshirt home from Mexico on Saturday. A guy stopped me and said, "You still wear that out?"  I responded by saying that I was still proud of my school even if I wasn't particularly proud of the football team.

The fact is, I have no idea what's going on.  Due to my trip to Mexico, I had been traveling for the past two Saturdays and was unable to watch a single play of either game.  When I got home, I logged on to NDnation.com to get a feel for what the fans were thinking after two tough losses.  I quickly realized that I needed to head to my underground bomb shelter because the sky was falling.  People were calling for Charlie Weis's job.  It wasn't just a few people calling for Charlie's job; nearly everyone was calling for Charlie's job.  If they weren't saying that Charlie should be fired now or at the end of this season, they were admitting that we'd have a new coach by 2010.  I was shocked.  Yes, we had just lost two games but I didn't think that it necessarily meant that the world was over.  Going into the season, I knew that losses to Pitt and BC were very possible.  In fact, I predicted five losses for the Irish so I wasn't surprised to be 5-4 at this point.  Unfortunately, it seems that the losses to Pitt and BC were especially bad losses.

Fortunately, one ND blogger posted the following quote:
"You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose."
-Lou Holtz
I haven't seen the past two games, but that pretty much sums up how I feel.  I don't think the sky is falling and I don't think we have any kind of chance of upsetting USC.  I'm almost positive Charlie will be back next year and the ND Administration will decide what to do with him after that.

In the meantime, I'll be rooting my ass off for the next three weeks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Vacation

A few months ago my brother called me and asked if Dee and I wanted to stay at a sweet new resort with him and his fiancée.  At half price.  We couldn't turn down an offer like that.

Last week we boarded our flights to Mexico, excited about the fantastic new resort where we were about to be pampered for a week.  As we were being driven to the resort, Drew asked the driver about the resort.  Due to the language barrier, he didn't really understand the question and we didn't really understand his answer but we got the impression that he was very impressed by where we were headed.  We knew it must be special.

We arrived at the resort and they greeted us with drinks and smiles and sat us down in the spacious lobby and a nice woman named Lili told us all about the features of the resort.  Then Lili took us to our rooms.  When we walked outside we were bombarded by sunshine, warm air and the sweet, sweet sounds of construction.

Yes, construction.  See?
 
Those orange-vested fellows were everywhere, dotting the landscape like Christmas lights while the excavation equipment's reverse alarms were playing joyous carols in the background.  It was magical.
The rooms were very nice, if unfinished.  We decided to go somewhere else.  Drew went down to talk to the hotel manager and he offered to set us up at one of the parent company's other resorts in the area.  We agreed and dragged our bags back to the lobby.
As soon as we entered our rooms at the new resort, we realized we weren't going to be pampered in the same way we originally thought.  In fact, we might have stumbled into a murder scene.  Judge for yourself:
 
A torn (possibly sliced?) comforter and a blood-stained door.  Yes, luxury.  Despite the poor conditions, we were so tired from the trip that we laid down atop the comforters and napped.  That nap turned into an all night sleep-fest.
The next morning we got up and went down to the beach to get some sun, but mostly to get out of the room.  I settled in with a book, Dee perused one of her celebrity magazines, Alyssa napped and read her book and Drew disappeared for a while.  When he came back, he announced that he got us moved to newer, better rooms.  Even so, Drew and I gave the water a good hard look to make sure no more catastrophes lurked within.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

My Vacation in Sketches

I'll post more about my vacation later but for now I'll post a sketch I did for each day and let them tell the story.

Day 1:
 
Day 2:
 
Day 3:
 
 
Day 4:
 
Day 5:
 
 
Day 6:
 
Day 7:
 
 
Day 8:



Friday, October 31, 2008

Random Things

I thought I'd bombard you all with a Random Things post the day before I head off to sunny Mexico for a few days of relaxation.

-Tomorrow officially begins NaNoWriMo.  NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and it is a challenge for writers to create a 50,000 word "novel" in 30 days.  The rules don't stipulate that it has to be especially good - just 50,000 semi-coherent words in the month of November.  I wanted to partake in this event this year, but it looks like I won't be able to.

In order to complete the challenge you need to write 1,667 words per day.  Due to various trips I will be taking in the month of November, I would guess that I would only have about 20 days throughout the month where I could sit and focus on writing for any length of time.  That means I would have to write 2,500 words per day.  That's a pretty tall order.

I haven't completely ruled it out, but it's not looking good.

-More Halloween tidbits I forgot to mention in my last post:
If you're a white dude, don't dress up as Barack Obama
Do you think that John McCain will finally take off his John McCain mask to reveal the real John McCain?

-There are people that like me and consider me a good friend, but I totally understand why some people think I'm an asshole.

-On Monday I received a call from the Obama campaign asking me to volunteer in Indianapolis between November 1st and November 4th because the race is a tie in Indiana.  I won't be volunteering, but I find it interesting that I landed on Obama's call list and McCain's mailing list.  I'm not sure what I did, but both candidates seem to think that I'm on their side.

-My wife just bought Crest Pro-Health toothpaste.  Do they mean to imply that Colgate is Anti-Health?

-When Dee heard that Chicago was named America's Most Stressful City by Forbes magazine she said, "Oh no.  I'm stressed about that."

-I don't know exactly when it happened but at some point in my life I became a messy eater.

-I had a friend remind me that, "when something you love doing stops being fun, it's time to stop doing it."  I've heard this before but sometimes it takes someone outside the situation to remind you of those things you already know.

I believe it's my duty to try to make it fun again before I take any drastic measures.

-I watched Obama's 30 minute spot and cried when he mentioned that his mother never got to see her grandchildren.  It reminded me that my dad will never get to see my kids.  I wish my kids could know him.

-Based on my informal poll of friends and family, I can be certain that Obama will receive at least 9 votes (including Barack and Michelle Obama).  I know for a fact that two of those votes have already been cast.  We'll have to wait until election day to see if he breaks double digits.

-Based on my informal poll of friends and family, I can be certain that McCain will receive at least 3 votes (including John and Cindy McCain).  According to my poll results, Obama has a 50 point lead.

-Office vending machine owners must hate this time of year because everyone puts out bowls of free candy on their desk.

-This commercial pretty much says it all about the Notre Dame die-hards.  Sadly, the priest in that commercial (the former chaplain to the ND athletic teams) died last night. 

-They pulled a nifty little switcheroo in last night's episode of The Office.  Dwight became Jim for an episode while he tormented Andy and Jim became Dwight while his brothers tormented him.  Clever "character costumes" for the show.

Try not to miss me too much when I'm gone.  Don't worry, I'll be back soon.  Maybe I'll even send out a quick post while on vacation, but don't hold your breath.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a big fan of Halloween.  I never have liked Halloween much.  When I was a kid I liked the candy aspect, but I hated being forced to come up with a costume and dress up in said costume.  It also seemed strange to me that people would give you candy if you put on a silly outfit.  By the time I was twelve, I had quit doing the trick-or-treat thing completely.  Since that time I've dressed up for Halloween exactly one time and I pretty much hated it.  Why did I dress up?  It was a requirement for the party I was going to and there was a lady there I wanted to see.  Even I am not immune to the powers of the ladies.

Anyway, most of you douchebags love Halloween and shockingly claim it as your favorite holiday so I'll attempt to get into the Halloween spirit by offering you this:

 
Image by Stefan G. Bucher from his Daily Monster post for today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Football

If all you read was this blog, you would barely know that it's football season and that football is my favorite sport.  You might think that I've not been watching the Colts and Irish as closely as in past seasons.  If you do think that, you're wrong.  I've been watching very closely.  I've just decided not to bore you with game recaps (unless I was at the game) that you can read on any sports site.  However, I can't resist writing about football every now and then.

The Irish
Unranked.  5-2.  They should finish 9-3 if they play to their ability.  If not, they could easily finish 7-5.  Either way, I'm probably more excited about what's going to happen the next two years.  This team should be set to make a run at a BCS Bowl next year and will be in the National Championship discussion the following year.  They are loaded with young talent and this talent is already playing at a high level.  Jimmy Clausen will find himself at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York at least once before he graduates.  Freshman wide receiver Michael Floyd might even join him at some point.  Golden Tate (fantastic name for an ND player) will remind everyone of Rocket Ismail and the group of Armando Allen, Robert Hughes, James Aldridge, Jonas Gray and Cierre Woods will invite comparisons to the offensive backfields of the Lou Holtz days when we had at least two studs ready to play at any moment.

And the defense.  Oh, the defense.  We've got freshmen cornerbacks like Robert Blanton who are already contributing and athletic linebackers like Brian Smith and Darius Fleming.  All young guys who can make plays and will be able to execute John Tenuta's crazy blitz schemes to perfection.

I can't get too far ahead of myself.  They're still a young team and make the kind of mistakes a young team makes.  The end of this season will be interesting.  They need step up and win big games against Pitt and BC, but the real test will be how they play against USC.  Will they get blown out or will they play well enough to have a chance to pull it out at the end?  That game will tell us how ready this team is to contend on the national stage.

The Colts
Injuries.  I could probably just stop there.  Just about every single key player on this team has been injured or is recovering from an injury.  The offensive line has been affected this most by this.  The Colts have been trying to patch together a line all year and they haven't been able to open up holes for the running backs or keep the pressure off Peyton Manning - who hasn't exactly been sharp.  Plus, Marvin Harrison can't get open.

On the defensive side, Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders has been hurt for all but two games and they've had linebackers dropping like flies.  Am I making excuses?  No, I'm stating facts.  The real problem has been that the guys on the field haven't been able get pressure on the quarterback or stop the run.  It's hasn't helped that they've been consistently been committing stupid penalties to keep drives alive.

The announcers for Monday Night Football kept talking about how Monday's game was a "changing of the guard" in the AFC South.  It may not quite be that, but that game was definitely a sign that the Colts are coming back down to Earth.  They may still have a couple of decent seasons left in them if they can keep people healthy, but don't expect the Colts you've known for the past eight or nine years.  Don't count on this team making the playoffs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Conference Calls

Listen, assholes.  Stop having side conversations when you're on a conference call with a speakerphone.  It fucks everything up.  The mic on the phone picks up your little side convo and all the other end hears is silence while someone actually participating in the meeting is trying to say something that people need to hear.  Don't you nod your head like you know what I'm talking about guy-who-loudly-shuffles-his-papers.  You're just as guilty.  You're inability to sit still causes the same problems.  And you, guy-who-calls-in-from-his-desk-even-though-the-conference-room-is-twenty-feet-down-the-hall-because-you're-too-busy, put your goddamn phone on mute.  We can hear you hammering away at your ergonomic keyboard.  It's annoying.  Plus, we now know you're not paying a damn bit of attention.  Thanks for showing up, dickbag.  And fuck you, guy-who-dials-in-late-and-wants-to-be-caught-up-on-everything.  You already suck for being late, don't make us waste any more time by bringing you up to speed.  But mostly, I'd like to send out a super-triple dose of go fuck yourself to the mute button guy.  Yeah, you know who you are.  You put us all on mute while you make some snarky comment about us.  You know what?  We can tell you just put us on mute.  And we know you're saying something shitty about us.  We're not idiots.  Life is filled with background noise and when the phone goes completely silent we know something is up.  Go choke on a crusty scrotum, assholes.  We're sick of you fucking up our conference calls.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's the Problem?

Undoubtedly you have seen the clip of the lady at the McCain rally who called Obama "an Arab" and John McCain's reaction.  If not, you can see it below.



My first reaction to this was, "Wow."  My next reaction was, "McCain handled that well."  Then I watched the video again.  I listened to John McCain's response one more time.  In response to her saying, "He's an Arab," McCain says, "No, ma'am.  No, ma'am.  He's a decent, family man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."  That's true.  That is exactly true.  However, that response implies that being an Arab is none of those things.

Sure, McCain was reacting on the spot to a tough situation but he's a politician - he's used to that.  He also knows that even seemingly harmless comments can offend and cause outrage.  He's smart enough to know not to imply that being Arab means that you can't be a good person, too.  I don't entirely blame John McCain for this.  Since 9/11 our society has tolerated the demonization of Arabs and Muslims (terms that I believe most Americans think are interchangeable).  Calling someone Arab or Muslim implies that they are anti-American at best and a terrorist at worst.

I had another exchange with a family friend in Indianapolis while discussing Barack Obama.  The woman I was talking to was a McCain supporter and asked me, "Aren't you worried about him being a Muslim?"  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I responded, "First of all, he's not Muslim.  He's a Christian.  Second, why exactly should that be such a big problem?"  She backpedaled a bit and never really answered my second question and I didn't push any further since we were at a birthday party and I didn't feel like killing everyone's mood.  However, this has become accepted bigotry in our society.  Everyone tends to lump Muslims and terrorists into the same category and everyone feels the need to defend themselves when called "Muslim" or "Arab." 

The "Muslims" and "Arabs" have become the new "Russians" and "Commies" and are now the focus of our ire and hatred.  The problem is that there is a major difference between the USSR and the Muslim community.  The USSR was a nation with a government that opposed and was openly hostile to the U.S.  Muslims are people who practice the religion of Islam.  They do not all believe that America should be destroyed.  In fact, there are many Muslims who live in and love America.

We should be focusing our hatred on terrorists who want to destroy America - regardless of their religion or race or country of origin.  This may seem obvious to you, but it is not obvious to everyone.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Molly

On September 24th, the run of the sketch show I was in - 100 Years of Losing - ended.  It was a well-attended affair and the show was probably the strongest of the entire run.  It was a great way to wrap things up.  It was also the final pH show for Molly Hall.

Molly has been with pH from nearly the beginning.  She was part of one of the first audition groups that we hired.  I remember seeing them all perform in rehearsal for the first time and my first thought was, "Wow.  These people are waaaay better than me."  Molly was especially impressive because she was unfazed by anything that happened on stage and had a knack for making notoriously terrible improv situations into gold.  She still does.

Over the years (five, I think) Molly and I became good friends.  I would always smile when she greeted me with, "Ford."  No one said it quite like her and it made my extremely boring name sound interesting and funny.  I'll miss hearing that on a regular basis.  I'll miss seeing her make everyone look good in pHrenzy and I'll miss goofing around with her in rehearsals for Marty's sketch shows.

I'm making it sound like I'll never see Molly again and that's not true.  Molly is still good friends with all of us in pH and she'll be around - just not as often.  I'll still get to enjoy the benefits of being friends with Molly Hall, I just won't get to enjoy the thrill of performing with her.  That is something I already miss and I will continue to miss for as long as I'm still performing.  Molly is one of the best there is and I'm lucky to have shared the stage with her.

Thank you, Molly Hall.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Questions and Answers

What the fuck?
That's what I said.  It's ridiculous, but we have to deal with it if we want to get that license.  That's the way things work in Chicago.

Who do you think you are?
I'm Jeff and I'm sick of you questioning me.  In fact I have half a mind to toss you the hell out of here.  And when I throw someone out they stay out.  They don't come back.  So either you leave on your own or I throw you out. 

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Where do you think you're going?
Over here.  I thought I'd fill up my water bottle.  You know, because I'm thirsty.  So, I'll be over here...  Filling up my water bottle...  So, yeah.  Right here.

How many times do I have to tell you?
Obviously more than twice - otherwise you wouldn't be so pissed.  I'll write it down.  There.  Happy now?

If everyone else does it, will you?
No.  In fact, I'll probably do the opposite.  Unless the opposite of what everyone is doing is really dangerous, then I'll do something different than what everyone else is doing that isn't quite as dangerous.

Is that what you're going to wear?
Well, it's what I am wearing.  I had planned to continue to wear it, but now I'm having second thoughts.  Maybe I'll change my shirt, but I like the pants.  I'm keeping the pants.  Well, maybe the pants, too.  But the shoes are good.  Yes, I like the shoes.  I think.

What are you doing?
I was taking a nap.  I thought that was pretty obvious.  Thanks for waking me up.  Asshole.

What was that?
Probably just the wind.

Did you hear that?
You mean the obnoxiously loud tornado siren?  Yeah, I heard it.  Why do you think I'm going to the basement?

Who farted?
Not me.

Why did you think that would work?
Frankly, I didn't.  I just wanted to give it a try.  It seemed somewhat possible, but I wasn't holding my breath.  I'll just have to try something else.

How are you going to pay for this?
Don't you worry about that.  I've got it covered.  Just take whatever you need and get to work.

Who's your daddy?
Why do you care?  What does that have to do with anything?  Do you mean to imply that YOU are my daddy?  You, sir, are not my daddy.  My daddy was a much better man than you.  To wit, he would never ask silly, taunting questions to his opponents after besting them at sport.  By the way, well played.  I'll see you at the other end of the court.

What's the safe word?
Porcupine

How did you think this was going to play out?
Well, I thought you'd be charmed by my wit and realize that your husband is bland and boring and that you might as well take a shot with me.  Or at least I thought you'd be slightly enamored with me and frustrated enough with your husband that you'd be willing to say "screw it" and have a one night stand.  I guess I overestimated how lame your husband is.

Seriously?
Yeah.  Sorry man.  Nothing I can do about it.

Can I have a second of your time?
Not if you're going to try to sell me something.

Are you a cop?
No.

How much can I put you down for?
$200

Would you like to talk about changing your phone service?
*Click*

Was that rude?
If you're asking, you already know the answer.  Do you think she would have stormed out of the room if it wasn't?  She's pissed and you need to apologize.

Am I wrong?
Of course you are.  That is completely racist.  It's not even debatable.  You are 100% in the wrong.  In fact, you need to leave.  Get out.

Are those real?
Nope.  They're replicas.  I keep the real ones in a safe deposit box.  These are just for show.

Are these fresh?
I'm not really sure.  They seem that way, but I'm not an expert.  I just try to find some that aren't bruised and hope for the best.

How in the hell am I supposed to come up with that kind of money?
Well, there are all kinds of options.  You just need to find one.  If you don't take care of this, there's going to be trouble.  And I don't mean it's-going-to-be-hard-to-get-a-loan trouble.  I mean sleep-with-the-lights-on trouble.  So figure something out.  I'll be back in a week, you better have a plan.

Do you like that?
Oh yeah.  Just like that.

Will you answer that?

No, I won't.  It's just going to be a telemarketer and I'll have to hang up.  I don't like hanging up on people.

How do you want it?
A ten, five, four ones and four quarters.

What is this worth?
Depends upon what you're willing to pay.  To a collector it's worth about $2,000 but to a guy who's freezing it's worth as much as a week-old newspaper - great kindling.

What are you laughing at?
Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Just thinking to myself.  I swear.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Questions

And now the questions to the answers posted below.

What the fuck?

Who do you think you are?

Where do you think you're going?

How many times do I have to tell you?

If everyone else does it, will you?

Is that what you're going to wear?

What are you doing?

What was that?

Did you hear that?

Who farted?

Why did you think that would work?

How are you going to pay for this?

Who's your daddy?

What's the safe word?

How did you think this was going to play out?

Seriously?

Can I have a second of your time?

Are you a cop?

How much can I put you down for?

Would you like to talk about changing your phone service?

Was that rude?

Am I wrong?

What?

Are those real?

Are these fresh?

How in the hell am I supposed to come up with that kind of money?

Do you like that?

Will you answer that?

How do you want it?

What is this worth?

What are you laughing at?

The Answers

I'm feeling a little Jeopardy-ish today, so I thought I'd try an experiment.  I came up with a series of questions and answered them.  I'm posting the answers here and I'll post the questions later, then I'll post the questions and the answers together in a few hours.  The questions have been replaced by dashes.  Here we go:

---
That's what I said.  It's ridiculous, but we have to deal with it if we want to get that license.  That's the way things work in Chicago.

---
I'm Jeff and I'm sick of you questioning me.  In fact I have half a mind to toss you the hell out of here.  And when I throw someone out they stay out.  They don't come back.  So either you leave on your own or I throw you out. 

Yeah, that's what I thought.

---
Over here.  I thought I'd fill up my water bottle.  You know, because I'm thirsty.  So, I'll be over here...  Filling up my water bottle...  So, yeah.  Right here.

---
Obviously more than twice - otherwise you wouldn't be so pissed.  I'll write it down.  There.  Happy now?

---
No.  In fact, I'll probably do the opposite.  Unless the opposite of what everyone is doing is really dangerous, then I'll do something different than what everyone else is doing that isn't quite as dangerous.

---
Well, it's what I am wearing.  I had planned to continue to wear it, but now I'm having second thoughts.  Maybe I'll change my shirt, but I like the pants.  I'm keeping the pants.  Well, maybe the pants, too.  But the shoes are good.  Yes, I like the shoes.  I think.

---
I was taking a nap.  I thought that was pretty obvious.  Thanks for waking me up.

---
Probably just the wind.

---
You mean the obnoxiously loud tornado siren?  Yeah, I heard it.  Why do you think I'm going to the basement?

---
Not me.

---
Frankly, I didn't.  I just wanted to give it a try.  It seemed somewhat possible, but I wasn't holding my breath.  I'll just have to try something else.

---
Don't you worry about that.  I've got it covered.  Just take whatever you need and get to work.

---
Why do you care?  What does that have to do with anything?  Do you mean to imply that you are my daddy?  You, sir, are not my daddy.  My daddy was a much better man than you.  To wit, he would never ask silly, taunting questions to his opponents after besting them at sport.  By the way, well played.  I'll see you at the other end of the court.

---
Porcupine

---
Well, I thought you'd be charmed by my wit and realize that your husband is bland and boring and that you might as well take a shot with me.  Or at least I thought you'd be slightly enamored with me and frustrated enough with your husband that you'd be willing to say "screw it" and have a one night stand.  I guess I overestimated how lame your husband is.

---
Yeah.  Sorry man.  Nothing I can do about it.

---
Not if you're going to try to sell me something.

---
No.

---
$200

---
*Click*

---
If you're asking, you already know the answer.  Do you think she would have stormed out of the room if it wasn't?  She's pissed and you need to apologize.

---
Of course you are.  That is completely racist.  It's not even debatable.  You are 100% in the wrong.  In fact, you need to leave.  Get out.

---
Nope.  They're replicas.  I keep the real ones in a safe deposit box.  These are just for show.

---
I'm not really sure.  They seem that way, but I'm not an expert.  I just try to find some that aren't bruised and hope for the best.

---
Well, there are all kinds of options.  You just need to find one.  If you don't take care of this, there's going to be trouble.  And I don't mean it's-going-to-be-hard-to-get-a-loan trouble.  I mean sleep-with-the-lights-on trouble.  So figure something out.  I'll be back in a week, you better have a plan.

---
Oh yeah.  Just like that.

---
No, I won't.  It's just going to be a telemarketer and I'll have to hang up.  I don't like hanging up on people.

---
A ten, five, four ones and four quarters.

---
Depends upon what you're willing to pay.  To a collector it's worth about $2,000 but to a guy who's freezing it's worth as much as a week-old newspaper - great kindling.

---
Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Just thinking to myself.  I swear.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

An Open Letter

Dear Senator John McCain,
This starting to get a little awkward.  You seem to have the wrong impression of me.  Specifically, you seem to think that I am a card-carrying Republican.  I've received several letters from you asking for money for your campaign that include phrases like "our Party" and the improperly punctuated "Obama Democrats empty rhetoric."  I appreciate the fact that this kind of - yeah, I'm going to say it - rhetoric works on Party die-hards.  Unfortunately for you, I am not a Party die-hard which means that I lose whatever respect I had left for you when I read these words: "Americans don't want to hand a victory to al Qaeda -- the Obama Democrats do."  I find the tone of the letter most insulting.  Suddenly, you feel the need to closely identify with the Republican Party when you've spent the entire campaign painting yourself as a "maverick."  Aside from thinking I'm a Republican, do you also think I'm stupid?  Or just that I haven't been paying attention?

You may have already guessed, but I will not be sending you any money in the FedEx envelope you so desperately enclosed with your letter.  Not $5,000, $1,000, $500, $250 nor $100.  The only thing you will receive in that envelope is a copy of this letter with the tenses in this paragraph changed to reflect the fact that you have received the letter in the envelope.

By the way, I've already filled out my ballot and you did not receive my vote.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Politics in America

I subscribe to CNN.com's general news feed and they always include Glenn Beck's nutty ramblings.  Most of the time I skip it, but every now and then there is a headline so outlandish that it piques my curiosity and I head on over to hear him rant about keeping out the Mexicans.

Today I decided to click over.

I was surprised by what I found.  Aside from the ridiculous device of him writing this message from the future where America is a socalist state, he makes two good - and very important - points.  The first:
"Stop worrying so much about who runs the country and start worrying about who runs your towns, your states, and your Congress."
"Presidents are like captains of a large ship: They can map out a course and shout out orders, but without the trust and hard work of the people who actually move the rudders, their commands mean nothing."
YES!  Yes, yes, yes!  He's not saying that the President isn't important, but he's saying that the President can't change things all by himself.  He can come up with all sorts of great policies and programs but if Congress doesn't pass them into law, those policies and programs are worthless.  Beck also acknowledging that your local leaders have a much greater effect on your personal situation than our national leaders.  They can also affect direct change much more quickly.

So please stop ignoring your local elections and go out and cast your votes.

The second point he makes is something I often bring up when talking politics with friends.  I'm glad to see it getting some play in the media (even if it is this nut). 
"Looking back now, it's pretty obvious that our trust in government declined at about the same rate as our partisanship increased. People became so concerned about getting their party into power at any cost that the truth didn't even seem to matter anymore.
 That's probably one of the reasons why George Washington hated the idea of political parties so much. Here's what he said about them in his 1796 farewell speech:

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty."
I know that George had a habit for using big words, so allow me to translate into 2008 English: Political parties that put their own success over that of the country's will be the death of America."
Again, I agree.  I've had this discussion with my Dad (a State Senator) and his friend Jeff (a State Representative).  I cited George Washington as well and they both looked at me thoughtfully for a second and replied with, "But how would we (meaning legislators) get anything done?"  I told them that it would probably slow things down at first while people figure out who stands for what, but eventually things would work even better because the party titles would be gone.

My argument has been that the political parties provide too many easy shortcuts for both voters and legislators.  Voters can quickly make a decision on a candidate based on the animal next to the person's name.  They don't actually have to learn about what the candidate actually believes in or figure out if he or she is a good leader or not.  It allows too many people to participate in the political process without much thought.  Legislators can use the party as a cop-out as well.  A controversial bill is up for a vote?  What do I do?  Should I read the fine print and forumlate an opinion?  Nah, it's much easier to vote with the party.

Eventually, I would get around to the point that Beck makes about the idea that people become so concerned with getting their party into power that the truth gets lost.  After making this point, my Dad and Jeff would nod in agreement but assure me that the two party system still has its positives and that their experience in the Indiana Congress was that people were willing to cross the aisle for the right issues.  I felt better but told them that I didn't have the same confidence in our U.S. Congress.  They admitted the same - and then mentioned that it was the Democrats' fault (they are Republicans).

I don't know what to do about changing the two party system.  The only thing I can think of is to tell you to vote.  I've made this point a thousand times, but your vote makes a difference.  If you vote early (in the primaries - the local ones) you'll be able to find candidates that you feel you can trust to work to represent you and do what's best for your area.  You can vote for candidates who will realize that the party title is just that - a title - and maybe we could start to see some real change.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sketches

Sometimes I write sketches, sometimes I draw sketches.  I recently downloaded an application called Sketches onto my iPhone.  It allows me to draw little pictures on my phone.  It's pretty cool.

Here's the first sketch I drew with this application:
 
And this is a sketch I drew on Monday night while out for pizza with my friends:
 
 
I also like that "sketches" is three different things.  Writings, drawings and an application.

I Do Have a Heart

There has been a running joke between me and my friend Jason that I'm not really human.  He's seen me interact with many folks and there are times when I can be quite an asshole.  I tend to be especially heartless with improvisers who pull the whole "everything is beautiful, everyone is right, hugs save the world, criticism is evil" act.  There have been many times when I've called out these people and tried to hold them responsible for their actions.  I never sugar coat it, and I don't usually realize that it comes off as very harsh in the moment.  Because Jason is a good and kind person, he does realize this.  Because Jason also has a delightfully twisted sense of humor, he also enjoys it.

One day as we were reveling one of my asshole moments Jason said something like, "I love when you try to help the humans."  Since that time I often refer to others as "the humans."  However, for all my assbaggery, I do still have a heart and there are some things that can tug at my emotions.  In fact, there are quite a few rather embarrassing things that make me cry or bring me to the brink of tears.  Below you will find a list of those items.  Proof that I am human - or at least that I've learned to mimic human behavior.
  • Those "We are the Fighting Irish" commercials they play during the ND games that feature a ND student, grad or faculty member that is doing something good for people.
  • Whistling the ND fight song after they score a touchdown.  I discovered this on Saturday during the ND-Purdue game.  My dad used to whistle the fight song after ND scored and it always reminds me of him.
  • This.
  • Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World"
  • Those wonderful little children at Birch Camp.
  • Extreme Home Makeover
I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of at the moment.  I'm going to to hug someone.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Identity Theft Meme?

My friend Chris recently posted one of those email surveys on his blog.  As I was reading through it something struck me.  Maybe it's my hightened sense of paranoia but it seemed to me that this little quiz is a data mining technique for identity thieves.  You know all of those little security questions that you have to answer on your bank's website?  How many of those can you find on the quiz below?  A lot.  Then this thing gets fired off to a ton of people.  Some you probably you don't know, some that are probably even untrustworthy.  With a little extra digging someone could take the info from the quiz below and have a pretty damn good chance of hacking your bank account.  Go ahead, read through it:

1. What time did you get up this morning?
2. Diamonds or pearls? Can't I have both?
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
4. What is your favorite TV show?
5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
6. What is your middle name?
7. What food do you dislike?
8. What is your favorite CD at moment?
9. What kind of car do you drive?
10. Favorite sandwich?
11. What characteristic do you despise?
12. Favorite item of clothing?
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
14. Favorite brand of clothing?
15. Where would you retire to?
16.What was your most recent memorable birthday?
17. Favorite sport to watch?
18. Farthermost place you are sending this?
19. Person you expect to send it back first?
20. When is your birthday?
21. Are you a morning person or a night person?
22. What is your shoe size?
23. Pets?
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?
25. What did you want to be when you were little?
26. How are you today?
27. What is your favorite candy?
28. What is your favorite flower?
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?
30. What is your full name?
31. What are you listening to right now?
32. What was the last thing you ate?
33. Do you wish on stars?
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
35. How is the weather right now?
36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today?
37. Favorite soft drink?
38. Favorite restaurant?
39. Real hair color?
40. What was your favorite toy as a child?
41. Summer or winter?
42. Hugs or kisses?
43. Chocolate or Vanilla?
44. Coffee or tea?
45. Do you want your friends to email you back?
46. When was the last time you cried?
47. What is under your bed?
48. What did you do last night?
49. What are you afraid of ?
50. Salty or sweet?
51. How many keys on your key ring?
52. How many years at your current job?
53. Favorite day of the week?
54. How many towns have you lived in?
55. Do you make friends easily?
56. How many people will you send this to?
57. How many will respond?

See what I mean?  I'm never going to fill out one of those things again.  I bet you'll think twice before you do.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Morning Education



"We as a nation have to ask ourselves what is going on?"
Our education system is failing, that's what's going on.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Random Things

Grossman's New Condo
Rex Grossman recently bought a condo in the new Trump Tower here in Chicago.  The unit cost him $2.68 million - he's making $3 million this year.  Grossman has a one year contract and just lost his starting job.  What could his realtor have told him that would have convinced him that buying a condo in Chicago is a good idea?  Let me take a stab at it:
  • You'll finally know what it feels like to be taller than someone else.
  • You'll be right by the river - the only thing in Chicago that stinks worse than you.
  • This is a great place to retire.
  • The windows don't open, so if you fumble it won't hurt anyone but yourself.

Red Eye "Journalism"
Yesterday, I noticed an article on the back page of the Red Eye in the "Red Hot" section - the celebrity gossip portion of the paper.  It was about Lindsay Lohan confirming on a radio show that she has been dating a woman.  The last paragraph of the article appears below:
At press time, no further comment about the interview was published on either woman's MySpace page or on people.com or usmagazine.com.
Good work, Team Red Eye.  Way to cover your bases.  If you're an aspiring journalist, make sure you at those items to your checklist.  Check MySpace?  Done.  Check People?  Done.  Check US Magazine?  Done.  This story is a GO!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Weekend

We had record rains here in Chicago over the weekend, but I wasn't in the city to enjoy it.  Instead, I was in South Bend for the Notre Dame-Michigan football game.  Guess what?  It was rainy there, too.

Every year, a group of my Notre Dame friends get together on a football weekend in South Bend.  We tailgate, share stories and some of us even go to the game.  This year we managed a decent sized crew and even though there were a few new additions (two newborns) we didn't have the full complement of people that we would have liked.  Regardless, we managed to have plenty of good times.

Because the weather wasn't very cooperative and Dee was on crutches, she decided not to go into the game with me.  I offered Dee's ticket to my friend Michael and he joined me in the north end zone to watch the game.  We were in the right spot for this game as six of the seven touchdowns (if I remember correctly) were scored on our end of the field.
 
That's kickoff.  Unfortunately there aren't many more pictures after that because it started raining very, very hard and electronic devices were not safe.
The game was a lot of fun to watch.  Michigan turned the ball over six times and the Irish took advantage.  It was the most fun I'd had in the stadium in a long time and it was the loudest I'd heard the stadium since I was in school.  It's still hard to tell if the Irish are a good football team, but they show signs of a good team of which there were none last year.  For now, I'm just going to enjoy the victories as they come because trying to break down this team after every single game is pointless.  They're still young and they'll be inconsistent which means that they could beat anyone or lose to anyone on any given day.  I'm just going to try to enjoy the ride.
In case you haven't heard yet, here's the final score:
 
And here's me after the game - smiley and soaked:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poor Baby

After Vince Young "disappeared" for four hours on Monday and police and Tennessee Titans officials were sent to track him down due to concern over his mental state, his mom said the following yesterday:
"What would you think if you were tired of being ridiculed and persecuted and talked about and not being treated very well, what would you do?  What kind of decision would you make?  He may not want to deal with it, but you have to get to that point before you make that decision first."
"It is hard, all he is going through right now.  He's hurting inside and out, but he will be fine if people are prayerful and help my baby boy out.  He is a young man.  He just needs a lot of love and support."
What would I do if I was tired of being ridiculed and persecuted?  I'd step the fuck up.  I'd do everything I could to improve and prove everyone wrong.  That's the decision I would make.  I certainly wouldn't disappear for a day.  I wouldn't pout on the sidelines and refuse to go back in because I got booed after my second interception.  Do you know how many interceptions Brett Favre has thrown?  288.  Even the best throw interceptions.  Hell, Tom Brady has thrown 86.  Peyton Manning threw six in one game last year.  Six!  How did he react?  He came back to lead the team to six straight victories.  Did you hear Archie Manning and his wife asking people to be kind to their "baby boy"?  No.  He went back out there and earned his huge contract.

Vince Young has a five-year contract that guarantees him $25.7 million and could possibly reach up to $58 million with incentives.  Earn it, buddy.  At least try to earn it.


Remember when Vince Young scored a six out of 50 on the Wonderlic test?  I think he may have scored his mental age.  (By the way, Wonderlic, Inc. considers people who score a 10 to be literate.)  The kid needs to grow up fast because quitting football - the thing that he is best at - is not going to make his life any easier.  Criticism doesn't stop just because you leave the NFL.  We all deal with it every day.  You're going to get criticized at any job.

Suck it up, Vince.  Get your knee healthy, get your head straight and play some damn football.  Just don't play so well that you beat the Colts.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Enough!

For all that is good and decent, please stop showing the replay of Tom Brady's knee injury.  Not only is it disturbing to see, but why do we want to see one of the best players in the league suffering a major injury over and over again?  Obviously, I'm not a big Tom Brady fan but I still don't like to see anyone get hurt - especially not a thousand times.  I realize that Brady is the NFL's golden boy and if he's lost for the season it is a major story, but just report the news.  Please don't keep showing it over and over.

The Irish

Notre Dame beat San Diego State 21-13 yesterday.  I should probably leave it at that.  They didn't deserve to win.

I spent the first three quarters on my couch and pacing around the living room watching a team stuck in the past.  Everything felt like last season all over again.  I was just waiting for the final nail in the coffin.  Thankfully it never came.

This is not going to be the season that everyone has been expecting.  Most of the "experts" have been predicting seven to eight wins for the Irish.  Even with our soft schedule, that looks like it may be in jeopardy.  This is still a young team and while it may have grown up in that fourth quarter, it's going to be inconsistent.  I have a feeling that they're going to play to the level of their opponents (with the exception of USC - they'll get whipped).  They'll make just enough mistakes to keep the other team in the game and the fourth quarter will always be exciting.  Unfortunately, that could add up to more losses than wins.

However, there is still hope.  Jimmy Clausen looks like he will be a star.  Armando Allen showed flashes of brilliance and the defense played well when they weren't tired from being on the field for too long.  On Saturday, they didn't manage put all of that together until the fourth quarter.  Let's hope they can put four quarters together next Saturday when Michigan comes to town.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sickness

Listen, assholes.  If you are sick, don't come to work!  Stay home.  I know you're really important and you have lots of things to do but: 1) You're making everyone else sick so nobody gets anything done anyway.  2) The shit you need to do isn't life or death. 3) We have the technology for you to work from home - use it!

Are you wondering if you're sick enough that you need to stay home?  Here are some guidlines/questions to ask yourself:

1) If you're wondering if you're too sick to go to work, you're too sick to go to work.
2) If people don't recognize your voice over the phone, you're too sick to go to work.
3) If you can't stop coughing, you're too sick to go to work.
4) If you get so lightheaded that you fall down in the elevator lobby (this actually happened), you're too sick to go to work.
5) If you feel the heat radiating from your eyeballs, you're too sick to go to work.
6) If work is the most important thing in your life and you look down on people who take days off but you're sick anyway and your sneezes shake the entire floor, you first need to stop dressing like it's the 80s, then you need to get a freaking hobby, then you need to stay the fuck home and stop making us all sick.

Got it, assholes?  You better because if you don't stop coming to work and spreading your falling down disease, your sickness is going to be the least of your worries because I will make you dead.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Random Things

Some random things from my life and brain:

Crazy Day at the Gym
A few weeks ago I walked into the gym to the familiar stench of Icy Hot.  I knew immediately that Twinkletoes was working out.  Twinkletoes is a pornfully mustachioed fellow who runs on the treadmill on this tiptoes and tries to mask his horrible BO stench (he doesn't wash his clothes) by wearing Icy Hot.  Lots of it.  Enough that it makes the whole gym smell like Icy Hot.  Delightful.

I made my way into the locker room to change into my gear.  As I'm changing, I notice that the Indian fellow who runs the convenience store in our building comes in.  I continue to change and head over to the bathroom area of the locker room.  I notice that there are a pair of shoes sitting outside one of the bathroom stalls.  Then I hear a cellphone ring from inside the stall.  Suddenly, Mr. Convenience Store is yammering away on his cellphone while sitting in the stall.  Wait a second.  He's not sitting in the stall.  I can see no feet below the stall door.  He's squatting on the toilet.  Splash.  Splash.  Splash-splash.  He's got to be getting wet.  Time for me to go.

I plugged in my headphones and began my workout.  Everything was going well until I stepped off of the treadmill and headed over to the weight area.  It was then that I noticed a dude wearing khaki pants and dress shoes doing free weight shoulder presses.  Did I mention that he wasn't wearing a shirt?  No?  Well, he wasn't wearing a shirt.  What the fuck is going on?  Why is everyone in my gym crazy?

Since that day, things have been more normal, but not by much.


The Artist Formerly Known as Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson, the star wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, has changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco.  If you are not aware, Johnson wears number 85 for the Bengals and last season he came out with "Ocho Cinco" on his jersey.  You can see this in the photo below.


It turned out that it was simply a velcro strip that was placed over his actual nameplate.  However, now that he has changed his name to Ocho Cinco (which isn't even the correct Spanish for 85) he will be able to wear "Ocho Cinco" on his jersey.  I'm sure he thinks he's being original, but there are other, more famous athletes who have changed their names.  Remember how Muhammad Ali used to be Cassius Clay?  And remember how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar used to be Lew Alcindor?  Yeah, not original, Chad.  If that is your real name.

I think the Bengals should change his number just to mess with him.

Usher
I read that Usher is planning a new tour where he will play smaller "more intimate" venues for ladies only.  I can only assume that this will be to promote STDs - or rather his new album "Poon Hound."  By the time that tour is over you will be no more than six sexual degrees from sleeping with Usher.  I guarantee you that the rest of the Hip-Hop world is kicking themselves for not thinking of this first.

U.S. Open
Dee and I have been watching the U.S. Open nearly every night since it started.  We love us some tennis.  A few observations:
  • John McEnroe is great in the booth.  He's one of the few athletes that uses his playing knowledge to inform you about the match.  Plus, he's a great personality.
  • There's always been something about Serena Williams that has made me want to root against her.  There's always been something about Venus Williams that has made me want to root for her.  Last night's match changed that.  I still want to root for Venus, but now I also want to root for Serena.  She played her ass off in that incredible match and deserved to win and her interview afterwards was sweet and charming.  She earned another fan last night.
  • Mardy Fish looks like a guy who just came in off the street.  He wears the same shorts and shirt every match and they look like regular guy playing tennis.  However, he's played some bad ass tennis.  He took the first set from Rafael Nadal in impressive fashion.  Unfortunately, Nadal hammered him in the next three sets to move on.  Mardy still wins the hot wife competition, though.
  • Federer looks mortal and beatable, but keeps pulling out the wins.
  • Roddick will not win this tournament.  He does get to marry a supermodel, though.
  • Tennis players have hot girlfriends/wives.
My Wife
I have a hot wife.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Evolution of Mindsilt

While reading this blog, you may have wondered, "Where did the name 'Mindsilt' come from?"  Maybe.  Most likely you've never wondered at all because of the explanation under the title.  That little explanation is pretty much it, but you may not know that Mindsilt used to belong to another site.  Technically it still does.  It's my own site: www.mindsilt.com.  As you can see, it still exists and you can read a bunch of really old stuff that I used to post there before I started this blog.  I'm working on getting everything moved over and redirecting this blog to that URL.  However, I have to port some code from that site to the pH site before I can do that.  Not a real high priority.

Anyway, I decided to use the Wayback Machine to grab screen shots of the old Mindsilt sites so that I could walk you through the evolution of Mindsilt.  Fire up the flux capacitor - here we go.

Original Mindsilt - 8/2001-9/2001
Breathtaking, no?  Looks like a rookie's attempt at creating a web page.  That's because that's exactly what it was.  I was going for the Commodore 64 look.  Good thing it was only a placeholder for a month.

Mindsilt - 9/2001-3/2002
This was my "Hexagon Period."  I was quite obsessed with creating a design with hexagons for some reason.  I guess I thought it looked cool.  Or maybe I was just jonesing for some Honeycombs cereal.  Each one of those hexagons with the words inside would light up with a different color when you moused over them.  The associated page then used that color as an accent.  Of course, those broken images weren't there on the site or this wouldn't have lasted long, either.  Unfortunately, this was a pain in the ass to maintain because everything was its own static page, but it was a definite step up from the original design.

Mindsilt - 3/2002-1/2005
 
Looky there.  I've got my own logo.  I drew the logo myself, but didn't have the skills or software at the time to create it in digital form so I asked my friend Jason to make it for me.  He did.  Free of charge.  I still didn't manage to create a database to house the data for the site, but I cleaned up the design and made it a little more readable.  This one may be my favorite of all the designs and I'm still not sure why I didn't just convert it once I finally added the database backend, but I didn't.  I guess I thought it was time for a change. 
Mindsilt - 1/2005-Now
 
Guess what?  I like gray.  I've used gray in every single one of my designs that I spent any time on at all.  Not sure why I settled on yellow as the secondary color, but I know that I immediately ruled out red because I didn't want to be mistaken for an Ohio St. fan.  Not that you care.  If you clicked on the link above, you know that this is the current design of mindsilt.com.  It's the first - and only - iteration of the site with a backend data source so that the pages are created dynamically.  Of course, the site is basically defunct now because of this blog.  This blog will eventually be moved to mindsilt.com and the design above will go away.  That's probably for the best since it's pretty generic and boring.  In fact, the more that I look at it, the more I want to take it down.
That's it.  That's my little trip down Mindsilt Lane.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Movies

Dee and I haven't made seeing movies a priority recently.  Mostly because there hasn't been much out there that we've wanted to see and partly because we've been so damn busy this summer.  So far, the only summer movies we've been to see are "Ironman" and "The Dark Knight."  I guess we like superheroes.  Dee has seen "Pineapple Express" but I wasn't invited (work outing for her team - isn't she a good manager?).  Regardless, that's a pretty poor summer movie showing.  I hope to rectify that for the fall.

There are a number of movies coming out this fall that look interesting to me.  Here's a list of some of them along with my thoughts.  In no particular order:

Burn After Reading
I will see this.  I've enjoyed all of the other Coen brothers' movies, so why not this one?  However, I'm getting a little annoyed by the whole Clooney-Pitt thing.  Are they required to do movies together now?  At least Malkovic gets to punch Pitt in the face.

Blindness
I read this book and loved it.  José Saramago is one of my favorite authors and this is the book that got me hooked on him.  Since reading this I've read The Cave, The Double and Seeing and enjoyed them all immensely.  I have more ideas for my own writing when reading him than I do with any other author.  I think "thought provoking" is the phrase I'm searching for.  ANYWAY, I'm looking forward to this movie even it probably won't be as good as the book - the movies never are.

The Road
Another book that I enjoyed. I'll be interested to see how this is received by the public because it's pretty dark (so is "Blindness") but I have high hopes because the same people that did "No Country for Old Men" (another Cormac McCarthy book) are doing this one.  I loved "No Country for Old Men" and hope they do as well with this.

Righteous Kill
I want this movie to be good.  I'm not sure that it will be.  The plot is basically Batman from the cops' point of view.  There's a vigilante killing bad guys and De Niro and Pacino are trying to track him down and the vigilante seems to be framing them.  Seems interesting enough and the trailer made it look good (but what trailer doesn't make a movie look good) but I'll probably wait a few weeks before seeing it.

Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist
This will be Michael Cera doing his awkward Michael Cera thing.  If you don't like that, you'll probably hate this movie.  It hasn't gotten old for me yet so I'll probably go see this, but not on the first weekend.

Zack & Miri Make a Porno
A Kevin Smith joint.  Hopefully he rounds back into "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy" form and turns out something good.  Depending upon the reviews I could let this one slip to DVD before I see it but I'm hoping it's good.  He's teamed up with the hot comedy stars of the moment so maybe that will help.


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button - a dude who is getting younger instead of older.  Could be very interesting if you're not completely distracted by the makeup the entire time.  Or it could be "Meet Joe Black" all over again.  This won't be at the top of my list of must see movies, so it could easily be in my Netflix queue at some point in the future.

RocknRolla
Another Guy Ritche film.  I enjoyed "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch" which means I like his style.  I'm able to follow along with the accents - not everyone can - and it will probably be a fun little action movie.  Plus, there will be good music.

Those are the upcoming movies that have piqued my interest so far.  If you know of any others that you think will be good or movies that you have seen recently that are good, let me know in the comments.