After several weeks of dancing around the issue, I broke down and ordered a laptop with Vista tonight. Let the endless parade of service packs begin! I should note that I give myself two months before I leave it in the bathroom of McDonalds or drop a pudding cup onto the keyboard. (Michael Dell: do you have a warranty that covers just these two events?)
One thing I always like about getting a new machine, aside from seeing how quickly it can render the cards in Solitaire, is installing all of my apps. I know that's strange. I guess it's because, while I'm installing, I'm thinking of all of the fun stuff I can do with my applications. Then, when everything is installed, I spend most of my time starting at the 3d pipes screensaver and then saying, "Wellll, let's see what's on Deadspin."
I was really tempted to go with a Mac. Those are just pretty machines, with regards to both software and hardware. Two things stopped me. First, I write software for the .NET platform, which isn't available on Macs (don't give me any Mono hooey). Second, I don't have a beret.
It's a little-known fact that Mac users greet each other through an elaborate doffing of berets. If you come across a fellow Mac dude without your beret, by the word of Jobs, he is obligated to throw cous cous at your computer and then blog something snooty about your podcast subscriptions. I should note that I really want to do participate in all of this, but I'd need a second job to really embrace the Mac thing and that ain't happening for this lazy man.
Anyway, I'm excited about the new machine and perhaps a little excited about the new OS. If Bill and Co removed the 3d pipes screensaver, expect a scathing rebuke here in one week's time.
Stock market commentary: yowch. Luckily for me, I was planning on eating cat food in retirement anyway. Unluckily for me, I had my heart set on the namebrand stuff. (I don't think it's that big of a deal; if I had any money, I'd be buying. That's a one-way ticket back to Iams territory!)
I've got my fantasy baseball draft tonight. Here's my draft order:
1. Albert Pujols - this is a no-brainer.
2. Johan Santana - top starter in mlb.
3. Ty Cobb - overdue for a comeback.
4. Buddha - crushes an inside fastball.
5. Dick Cheney - I see an early March impeachment, followed by his conversion to a knuckle ball reliever.
6. Hank Blalock.
(Any Texas Ranger fan could tell you that the real joke in that list is number 6.)
I'll end this on a TV note. If any of you get the InHD channel, you need to watch for a show of theirs called Three Sheets. A new season starts up here in a couple of weeks. It's basically this travel show where this guy goes to a foreign country, drinks with the locals, and then investigates local hangover cures. If you're looking to see some French alcoholics in high-definition, that's your show. It's also pretty amusing, although one should note that comes from the man who enthusiastically endorsed Barbership, the series.
Something very exciting happened to a longtime Goulash reader over the weekend, and I'd be a complete ass if I didn't mention it. So, congratulations on your Oscar, Martin Scorsese; I promise not to tell anyone you're xyz from the comments.
If you're anything like me, you're an idiot who'll do anything you read on the Internet. The latest insane fad that the i-people have talked me into is the Getting Things Done system. In case you're unfamiliar, GTD is a system for overloading your life with lists, file folders, and label makers. Somewhere in the middle of all of that stuff, you get really productive, at least until you run out of labels.
The reason I started is because I have so, so many projects that never go anywhere. This is because I am a lazy crackpot, and also because I receive simply too many interesting business opportunities about generic cialis via email. In the month I've been using GTD, I've actually accomplished quite a bit. I don't know if it's the system, or if it's a fluke productivity spike that perhaps accompanies a brain tumor or the final stages of the mumps. Whatever it is, I dig it.
Caveat: the more I talk to other people about it (especially hardcore GTD-ers) though, the more certain I become that I'm doing this incorrectly. Comparing my system to GTD is probably like comparing balls of wadded-up toilet paper with award-winning origami (do they give out origami awards?). Regardless, I started with the book and ended up with something that works, a route which may work for some of you.
I have a lot of old crap sitting around the house, so I decided to try unloading some of it on craigslist. It's been a few days now and... the response has been interesting. Based upon the emails I've received so far in response, I could've just saved everybody some time by emailing every Nigerian scam artist directly and saying, "Do you have any interesting business propositions I could listen to?" These guys are on my ad like a Tasmanian devil on a Whatchamacallit bar.
For reasons I don't really understand, I'm part of the local Trinity Alumni Association. (Clarification: I understand why I'm allowed to be a part of it as I passed all of my classes and didn't wet my pants onstage at graduation, but I don't always understand why I participate.) Anyway, part of my job for this year is to organize an outing to the Zilker Park Kite Festival. For the non-Austinites, Zilker Park is a big park here in Austin where the Austin City Limits festival is held. For non-kite people, a kite is two sticks covered by plastic, with a string attached to one end.
I'm a little anxious about all of this. Not because it requires organization or because it's a family event, but because I am completely inept with a kite. I was as a kid and then, last Easter, I tried again and failed. I understand the concepts, and I have an outstanding mental model for the whole kite thing; I just can't seem to implement these ideas with an actual kite + wind scenario.
I fear I'll have absolutely no credibility at this event whatsoever. The first time I break out my Garfield kite, I'll take off across the field with the kite held high over my shoulder, only to stumble, fall down, and inadvertently allow my kite to careen into the groin of an elderly person or perhaps a set of Siamese Twins, who happen to be joined at the groin.
Maybe what I'll do is show up without a kite. Whenever anyone asks, I'll tell them I have a fancy one, the Rolls Royce of kites, but it's in the shop, getting souped up. It was already pretty bad-ass, but I needed soupier. And since I'm so spoiled by my Rolls, I'll be abstaining from all kite-flying and perhaps hiding under the snow cone machine.
I had the day off of work today, and it was excellent. Common holidays are pretty good; usually lots of people have the day off with you, so you can plan big events and whatnot. However, today was one of those special days where almost everyone worked but me, and I think that made it that much better. While most people I know were screwing around in Excel and wearing a tie, I was screwing around in Excel in my underwear.
In case you're wondering about the Excel thing, I was doing my taxes today. Ultimately, not only did I get a paid day off of work, but I actually made $133, courtesy of the US Government. Sometimes, democracy pays; take that, North Korea!
(Okay, it's not actually a refund of $133; I'm ignoring the $15 for Turbotax. And the only reason I get a refund is because I'm an incompetent investor, who foolishly funnels his retirement money into shady video game companies. I'll amend my previous statement to say that democracy doesn't pay well, and to even get that, you have to lose a few hundred dollars in advance. Still, it beats North Korea.)
More tomorrow, when I rejoin you suckers in the workforce.
Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. It's also very close to the birthday of Paul and Boj's dad. So, if you see a middle-aged white guy with a mustache tomorrow, don't be shy about spanking him. Don't introduce yourself or inform him he's about to be spanked; just grab him, hold him down, and spank him ferociously about 50 times. He'll get the idea around swat #10. And I wouldn't worry about any counterstrikes either; his behind will probably be way too sore for him to chase you.
(I can now cross "Incite buttock assaults on countless strangers" off of my To-do list.)
It is been absurdly cold this winter, a trend which continues to this very night. It's supposed to get down to 24 degrees fahrenheit here in Austin, and I have a softball game scheduled for 9:15 PM. In case the opposition is reading this, please don't hit the ball directly at me. If I get hit, I'll probably shatter like Robert Patrick in Terminator 2. Also, do not scream insults at me; my ear wax will be frozen and I'll be temporarily deaf. All other shenanigans are fair game, unless I get eaten by polar bears on the way out to the field.
Okay, let's talk about night terrors.
Monday night, I had this awful dream where I was being chased by an invisible man who kept lighting matches and throwing them at me. In my dream mind, I decided that the way to scare away the match-thrower would be to start screaming at him; clearly I am as good at conflict in my dreams as I am at real life.
I tried to start screaming at the invisible guy, but nothing came out out. I kept trying and eventually, I began to make a very faint, wavering "Wooooo" noise. I continued to make it, and I got louder and louder. Soon, I was no longer whispering my wavering "Wooooo" noise, but I was in a fully-fledged crazy scream. And at this point, I woke up to discover that I was making this bizarre noise very, very loudly, in real life, thus waking up the whole house in the process.
The best part of this whole thing is the identity of the invisible guy throwing matches at me: Tim Robbins. I guess the lesson here is that if Tim Robbins ever goes invisible on you and chases you around with a book of matches and you decide to scream him away, come up with something good to tell everybody you wake up, because the story itself sounds ridiculous.
Now, what about the Who's the Farthest contest? Well, we technically had two winners: Dave from Spain and Jess from Scotland. Google Maps told me that Madrid was farther from Austin than Aberdeen, but Jess made the astute point that, if I tried to travel to either one of those, Aberdeen would take longer due to the hub system or some such crap. Anyone who tries to weasel into one of my contests deserves to share first on a technicality, so congrats to them both. What do they get? I don't know yet, but I'm going to think it up over the next few days.
In closing, allow me to state my desire that none of the players on my fantasy basketball team participate in the All-Star game. You guys don't need to be doing 360 dunks in some exhibition, then chasing show girls around Big Elvis's house; you should be at home, taking vitamins, swaddling yourself in linement, and figuring out ways to beat the league steroid test. All of you will thank me later, when we take first place in our free league.
Okay, I get it; you want to see the Haimburglar threads. Feast your eyes:
Of course, if you actually want to be on the show, you'd wear something completely different.
(Doing Valentine's stuff tonight, so this is all you get.)
Damn you, VH1!
As recounted previously, I was part of a team that tried out for VH1's World Series of Pop Culture. Our team name was the Haimburglars, we knew our stuff, and in case you can't intuit whether or not we'll be on the show, I invite you to read the first sentence of this entry again.
The tryout was Friday in downtown Austin. We assembled in the hotel that hosted the event, and I changed into my most excellent team uniform: a baby blue t shirt with a picture of Corey Haim and gothic text reading "Lost Boy". (Yes, we had those custom made, and yes, I will post a picture in the very near future.) Solely based on our shirts, I thought we were a lock. They were the kind of shirts that, after you gave them one look, you fell in love with the wearer and tried to give him $20. Many of the other teams didn't even have shirts and the ones that did were usually knock-off bowling shirts. Our shirts said, "We're going to beat you at trivia, and we're going to do it while wearing pastels." That's some chutzpah.
The tryout was a short-answer test, and there were maybe 100 people in our group; there were multiple tryouts over the weekend. I can speak for the entire team when I said we did well; we estimated that each of us got between 60% and 80% correct. Couple that with the shirts and the fact that most would-be game show contestants aren't exactly prime era Tom Selleck, I thought we were in. I was ready to call up Expedia on my cell phone and book the closest hotel room to Flava Flav. Then, they came back into the room and informed us that only one team made it, out of the perhaps 50 in our heat.
Our victory is delayed, but not denied, VH1. The Haimburglars are a fact of life, like puberty and property taxes, and your whole organization needs to deal with it. Next year, we're in.
No entry tonight, and that's because the World Series of Pop Culture isn't going to rock itself. A few interesting facts we uncovered in our studying last night:
I'd share more, but I don't want to give the enemy ammunition. To victory!
I think I mentioned before that I'm part of a team that's entering the World Series of Pop Culture. Why am I doing this? Well, the whole thing is groupie-driven, I'd say. I had a short-lived campus tv show in college and I got absolutely no groupies. It was not due to a lack of effort, either; I was putting out the vibe pretty good, let me tell you. I just don't think the show reached enough people. Vh1 reaches at least 3 times as many people as Trinity's campus channel so I should get three times as many groupies. And as we all know, three times zero is... damn it.
Our audition is this Friday. We have a great team name; we have a killer team shirt; we have fighting spirit; we have, most importantly, burlap sacks heavily laden with dubloons for the judges. The only thing that we may not be totally set on is the actual pop culture knowledge. We will fix that the only way I know how: through shoddy, last minute preparation.
Tonight, teammate Dean Zyvarb and I are getting together, and we're going to whip each other into shape. I don't know how that works. I suspect that we'll mine Wikipedia, quiz each other, and then try out our Tom Selleck impersonations. Optimistically, the end result will be a second-to-last finish instead of a last place finish. And yes, groupies out the wazoo.
Woooohoooo, thanks to something that Mike from Lafayette said, I've been able to connect my old collegiate laptop's hard drive to computers that actually function! There's lots of good stuff on there. A sample:
When I was a sophomore, I ran for student government senate. My slogans were fearful:
And then this excellent image, created right after Colin Powell took office:
Ahhh, good times.
Odd technical question that I'll pose here, on the slight chance that anyone knows what the hell I'm talking about. I have this 2.5" USB drive enclosure and I'm trying to connect an old laptop hard drive to it. When I connect the old drive to the enclosure, then connect the enclosure to a new machine, the enclosure powers up, but Windows doesn't recognize it. Not only does Windows not recognize it, but nothing's even showing up in the Device Manager. I've reproduced this on multiple machines. Anybody have any ideas what's happening here?
Okay, due to frustration from the first paragraph, you guys aren't getting anything good today. Here's a list of thoughts.
1. We went to a fancy fondue place this weekend, and yes, you may say that I was very fondue of it. I'm not sure what exactly I associated fondue with, but it always sounded a little weird and so I was reluctant to try. Now that I've tried, I feel like my life was a little less interested without the fondue. (This is not to say that I should be inundated with fondue crock pots for my birthday; please don't get me any of that crap.)
2. The best part of the Super Bowl was Prince's halftime show. Those words are a little strange to type. If I had a time machine, printed that sentence out, then gone back 2 or 3 weeks and showed the print-out to myself, past me would force future me into proving I'm not a cyborg sent to destroy me. There are two flaws to this plan, though. First, I don't have a time machine and second, I don't have a printer. Prince was really entertaining, however.
3. We're still accepting entries in the Who's the Farthest? contest. By we, I mean me. And by me, I mean current me, not future or past me.
Multiple choice entry today.
This post is disappointing because:
A) I'm mourning the death of Barbaro
B) I'm digging up Barbaro's grave in a misguided attempt to reanimate him
C) Barbaro isn't dead; he's actually in my living room, demanding that he and I hit 6th Street and find some fillies
D) I'm drinking a beer and watching the Office
(If you're reading this and you're farther away from Austin, TX than that dude/dudette in Montreal, leave your location here and win a glorious prize.)