Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christms, Xmas, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, & other Holiday Issues...

First off, I want to say that I don't want to make it a habit of mine to post political or religious material on a regular basis. I want those posting to only be a rare occurrence. This is because there are so many other blogs dealing with those issues, and I doubt that I have any more insight than others out there. That being said, here is my take on this holiday season & the controversies that seem to come up more frequently each year.

I totally enjoy Christmas. That may surprise many who know that I'm very agnostic in my religious views. In many ways, I'm probably an atheist; however, considering that I don't know everything, I think it's safer (and more accurate) to say that I don't think there is a God (or higher power) rather than say, "There is no God."

I enjoy the Holiday or Christmas season because it's meant to be an inclusive time for everyone. Even from it's pagan beginnings in the Scandinavian/German areas, it was meant to be a time to gather with friend & family. A time to look forward to better, warmer times that were on the horizon. In the Norse traditions, strangers would be given refuge from the bitter cold at this time. This kind of tradition was eventually adopted by Christians when they came later.

However, there is one part of the Holidays that I've come to loathe within the last 15 years or so. That is all the harping, groaning, & bitching about "The salesclerk said, 'Happy Holidays' to me instead of 'Merry Christmas.'; 'The liberals are waging war on Christmas!'; 'Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.'" I just don't get why this is suddenly an issue as of 1990 when I didn't remember it being a big deal in the years before that.

Back when I lived in Alabama, I could always count on several Letters to the Editor of newspapers, from people who are 'insulted' that someone dared say, "Happy Holidays" to them instead of "Merry Christmas." They act like this is a new thing. They act like this is some liberal atheistic plot to diminish or banish Christmas. It's none of that. Just watch the old Warner Bros. cartoons from the '40s. Happy Holidays, Xmas, & Merry Christmas are used fairly equally throughout them. It's been that way since before I was born.

As to sales clerks using Happy Holidays, I'm all for that. I was a sales clerk at one time. I also remember that I started using Happy Holidays exclusively after wishing a customer Merry Christmas. The customer was a bit put-off, and she informed me that she was, "Jehovah's Witness and [did] not celebrate or believe in Christmas" (her words to me). I then realized that this time was also Hanukkah, so Happy Holidays would be more appropriate & more inclusive of everyone.

When it comes to "Jesus is the reason for the season," nothing can be further from the truth. The time of year was used, as I mentioned before, by the Scandinavians for their Winter Solstice celebrations. This was done thousands of years before Jesus was born. Also, the Romans celebrated a festival around the same time called Saturnalia to celebrate the Roman god Saturn. Again, the Roman festival was a regular event long before Jesus was born. However, there's another reason why that adage isn't correct. That's because, if you go by the Biblical account, Jesus was born in a time of warmer temperatures. This is born out by passage stating shepherds were with their flocks at night, outside. This is a practice done during the 'lambing' season in which lambs are born. The shepherds used to (and still do in some cases today) to protect the new lambs from predators at night. Lambs are normally born in the spring, which is a much better climate to sleep outside at night than in December.

The December 25th celebration date for Jesus' birth was taken by early Christians from these pagan holidays. That's because the pagans were not about to give up their celebrations that had been going on for centuries. The Christians wanted their holiday celebrated too, so a white lie was done in order to put the birthday celebration in the forefront to those they wanted to convert.

Okay, now that I've raked the Christians over the coals, it's time for equal treatment. Another thing I dislike seeing at this time of year is the humbugging of the holiday by non-Christians. I'm a non-Christian myself, and I think this is a time of year to come together, not tear apart.

Here in Washington, a group of atheists posted a placard in the statehouse next to the state Christmas tree, Menorah, and other symbols of the season. I don't have a problem with this. I think everyone should be represented at this time as I've already stated. What I didn't agree with was the language that was used on the atheist plaque. It brutally said something like, "There is no God, angels, Jesus, or such. Religion is a myth. Celebrate the holiday with reason." I can get behind the last part; it's always best, in my opinion, to use reason in all things. I do take exception to how they worded the rest of their plaque. I think they could've stated their beliefs without ripping apart or insulting the beliefs of others. If nothing else, it's just not polite, and it's certainly not a reasoned approach. Had they used more reason, maybe they would've gotten the message across without so much acrimony.

By the way, Xmas is not an atheistic attempt to get Christ out of Christmas. It's a legitimate short-hand for Christmas. The early Christians were Jewish & Greeks. In the Greek alphabet the C equivalent is X, and the Greek Christians used X as a short-hand for themselves. So they would refer to themselves as Xians. It's not a giant leap to then get Xmas using this rational.

The bottom line is that this time of year is one of forgiveness & inclusion. We shouldn't worry about what others are doing, and just try to make the world a better place.

I hope you all have a Great Holiday or Non-Holiday whichever you prefer. :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Auto Bail-out...

Though I do have strong political beliefs, I want to keep my political posts to a very minimum. This is because 1) there are already TONS of political blogs everywhere, 2) I'm not really out to influence anyone else. However, there may be things happening that I think I have a decent idea/solution for. This is one of those cases.

We all know that here in the USA, the big three auto makers (GM, Ford, Chrysler) are petitioning our government for a bail-out. They say if they don't receive one, they'll go out of business. It's probably true.

Another thing that is true is this. If one, two, or all of the "big three" go under, potentially millions will lose their jobs. It's also true that having no job means, in the short term, that those folks will be on unemployment. And that may/will put another strain on our already faltering economy.

I say, the big three got themselves into this mess, let them dig their own way out. I also feel that way about the bail-out of the banking/lending/mortgage industry. They caused their own failure. It was due to simple greed, and I think it should be allowed to rectify itself.

Now you might be asking, "but what about those folks who'll lose their jobs? Why should they suffer for someone else's mistake?" The thing is, they already are/will suffering for someone else's mistake. We all are. If the government bails-out the big three, the banks/investors, & whoever else, where exactly do you think that money comes from? Taxes that we all pay. By that, I mean those of us who make less than $250,000/year. We are the ones who actually pay taxes. Most people & business making more than that figure always weasel out of paying the bulk of their fair share. Even when their taxes are raised, they find loopholes that let them pay less than most of us.

So let the auto makers fail. Let the investors fail. Let the capitalistic "free market" system sort itself out. It will, and only the businesses that have a sound business plan & foresight will prevail. Maybe it will impart a lesson to those who's greed distracted them from making sound business choices.

As to those folks who would be laid-off, I have a solution for that too. Like I said before, those folks will be getting unemployment, so they'll effectively be paid by the government for not working anyway. The financial strain would already be there if there's a bail-out, or if there's no bail-out. The solution to those unemployed can be found in the past. They can be put to work for the government. There are plenty of infrastructure projects that need the manpower to be completed. There have also been plenty of cut-backs in government offices, so there are positions there too. Simply put those folks to work.

It may not be as simple as it sounds, but I think it can work. It did before, back in the '30s. I think that would go further in making people feel better if they had something to do.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Today was just a day spent inside. Just a lazy Sunday of watching the Seahawks lose (sucks) & doin' laundry. I wasn't blue or bored or staying out of the rain; I just think it's important to have some good time with yourself... and I had a ton of laundry to do. :)

In truth I had ALL the laundry to do. I've collected enough clothes over the years that I can actually go 2 weeks without doing laundry, though I don't normally do that. I usually do the wash on Sundays or Saturdays.

That's a habit that's so ingrained that I've not had much success breaking it. You see, for a long time I didn't have a washer/dryer in the house. So it was wait the entire week & take the clothes, (usually) Sunday morning, to the laundry-mat and do laundry. I did this so long that even when I actually owned a washer/dryer (as now) I still wait until the weekend to do laundry. If I ever get in the habit, I could knock out a load or two during the week & have the whole weekend free for once. Maybe some day. :)

One aspect of the laundry that I do most times is ironing; in the south it's pronounced "arnin'." Most folks are surprised when I tell them I iron my clothes; actually I really only iron my button-down shirts (no need to iron my jeans or dockers). I was taught to iron by my Mom, but I really learned ironing while in the military.

It is kind of a chore, but to me there's a zen-like quality do it. You can do it with little or no thought, and it has a repetitive motion that kind of eases tension. I also find vacuuming to have the same quality, back & forth, no real effort or thought needed. These two activities are so zen-like for me that I can actually sort out a lot of things that tend to be jumbled. Matter-of-fact, I've gotten some of my best ideas for the programs I write while vacuuming (none while ironing... yet).

The nicest two things I get out of ironing is a) the satisfaction when it's over. It always feels like I've done something. & b) the nice creases on the sleeves of my shirts. I don't like them starched or anything like that, but I do like to have creases. It must come from the military days.

Well, time to put the board away. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Star Trek's World Is Not So Cool...

I'll start by saying I'm a big Star Trek fan. With the exception of the Deep Space 9 series & the Enterprise series, I've watched them all & enjoyed them all. I also like the films that have come out so far. However, there's one aspect of the society depicted in Star Trek that bugs me to no end. The snobbery of music genres.

If you've watched any of the Star Trek fair, and paid attention, you might have noticed something missing in their version of the future. Rock/Pop music. With the exception of the First Contact film, the only music that anyone seems to listen for pleasure is either classical or jazz. Now I'm not knocking either. I really enjoy a lot of classical music, and I've found some jazz I like as well (who can't like Miles Davis), but what about other forms? I know I'm focusing on Rock & Pop, but there also isn't any Country/Bluegrass (which doesn't bother me so much) and no folk music (not that I've heard anyway).

Considering that as of now, Rock music's been around for 50+ years, it just makes sense that it would still be around in some form in the future, especially amoung young people. I also can't beleive that Klingons would not be listening to some Thrash Metal & Punk (Metallica, Slayer, Sex Pistols, Clash, The Stooges, etc.). Those guys would go nuts over it, & the mosh pit would become the new social center of the Klingon Empire. I see the Romulans as more fans of Industrial/Techno (Nine Inch Nails, Venus Hum, Kraftwerk); and I think the Vulcans would be prone to Progressive Rock (Pink Floyd, ELP, Genesis (with Peter Gabriel), Yes).

As I mentioned before, Rock was heard in the "First Contact" film. So you might say, "See, it's still around." But that's not correct; if you remember in that film, none of the Enterprise's crew acted like they'd ever heard it before. Also, Deanna Troi kept calling it "RockaRoll." So that proves that rock music is not around at all in the world of Star Fleet.

I also have earlier proof. Go back to the original series (with Kirk & Spock et al). There was an episode in which the Enterprise encountered a group of space-age "hippies" who were trying to get to a planet they called Eden. They said it was a paradise. Even those young counter-culturists played music that was more on a line with jazz or standards that any real pop music. It was nothing close to the Grateful Dead.

So in conclusion, the future represented in Star Trek seems great (no pollution, no poverty), but if they aren't going to have good music, then I'd just as soon continue with the chaos we enjoy today. I'll still watch the shows & films though. :) Live long & prosper! \\//

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ear Infections Suck....

In the last post I explained about how I have an ear infection. I have to say that of all these I've had previously, this is the worst one ever!

With previous infections, I've been able to carry on and work. I've had some pain, but not too much; at least not to the point where I felt incapacitated by it. That is not true this time.

Sunday, when it was first manifested, there was the "normal" pain I expect from an ear infection. Monday turned into a pain I've never remembered experiencing before. I've had fingers mashed, my right thumb broken, various scrapes from bicycle accidents, and wisdom teeth surgically removed. None of them compare with the pain I've endured with this.

Thankfully, the doctor prescribed Vicodin for the pain. However, at times even that didn't have much affect. I've had to double the dosage a couple times in order to sleep. It's been hell. I've not been able to work since Monday. This really bothers me since we have a ton of stuff going on & I know I'm really needed.

Another thing that I've had with this ear infection that I've not had with the others is nausea. I've been on the verge of throwing up (and beyond a couple of times) since the Ear, Nose, & Throat (ENT) appointment. The thing is, I can't tell if it's from the infection or the stronger antibiotics he gave me. Initially, I was thinking the antibiotics, but I'm now leaning toward the infection itself. This is because I've noticed being pretty wobbly just when walking around the apartment.

Well, I went to the ENT appointment, and he confirmed that it's probably the infection itself that's causing the nausea. He said that even though he felt that the infection was exterior, that he strongly doubted that any of the meds I've be taking would cause the nausea. He also said that though the swelling has gone down quite a bit, he still can't be sure what's up since he still can't see very far into the ear itself. So, he gave me more meds (antibiotics, ear drops) & another appointment for the 12th of next month.

He's also scheduled me for a hearing test on the day after that. I'm glad about that because I've not been able to hear out of that ear since Monday. I'm a bit worried about how this will effect my hearing. Luckily, I have two ears; so if I have a loss in the left, I'll still have the right ear. :)

I've gotta go lie down now before I hurl. :oP

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pain, suffering, and a new friend....

It all started Sunday morning. I woke up, and my jaw was sore on the left side at the hinge point. I just assumed I slept with my mouth in some strange position, and that caused it. However, there was more.

I took a shower, and as I was washing my face I noticed a tenderness just in front of my left ear. It was fairly painful when touched. That's when I knew what I was in for; and ear infection.

For a little back history, I've been pretty susceptible to ear infections since I had a really bad one when I was 18. Since then I try to be diligent about keeping my ear free of moisture. I swab with Q-tips after every shower and whenever I feel a tickle in my ear. I always have Q-tips close by, both at home & at the office.

Normally, I get a bit of a precursor in the form of slight pain when swabbing my ear (it's always the left one by the way). When that happens, I take a cold/sinus pill & try to lay on my left side as much as possible the rest of the day. That will avert a full-blown infection about 90% of the time. However, there was none of that this time. Friday & Saturday I felt fine. Sunday I woke up in pain. Of course I had to wait until Monday to make a doctor's appointment since the offices aren't open on Sunday. Well, by Monday things got much worse.

When I looked in the mirror Monday morning I could see the entire side of my face in front of my left ear was swollen. There was pain even when not being touched, and pain when chewing or yawning. I went on into work, took Alleve for pain (which had no affect), made the appointment as soon as the office opened, and tried to work the rest of the day. That didn't go so well. By the time I left for my appointment at 3pm, the pain was constant & throbbing. I also could no longer hear out of the ear at all.

I saw the doctor, and he was worried. He said it was so swollen inside that he couldn't see into the ear canal. He consulted with a Ear, Nose, & Throat guy (ENT) who told him to give me antibiotics, & drops. He also wanted to see me the next day (today). Luckily, the doctor introduced me to my newest & bestest friend, Vicodin.

Though there's still some pain after taking the Vicodin, it's not nearly like without it. I was able to sleep pretty well... until it wore off about 2am. I woke up in a whole new level of pain. Of course it took about 30 minutes for the Vicodin to kick in, but at least I was able to get back to sleep.

I went to ENT, and he also said there was too much swelling to see anything. He also didn't think the drops I had were making it inside the ear. So he put a wick in my ear and gave me stronger drops & stronger antibiotics. He also made a follow-up for Friday. He said the swelling should be down enough by then to allow him to make a diagnosis.

Now I think it's time to converse with my new friend again. ;}

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Little Sump'n Missin'....

I want to start off by saying that I am truly head-over-heels in love with Seattle. I so wish that I'd moved here long ago. That being said, there are still some things that my love can't seem to supply to me.
Today I had lunch at a place called Bayou on First. It's billed as Cajun/Creole food, and the food is good, but it's lacking a major ingredient.... Okra. Any true recipe for either gumbo or jambalaya is supposed to have okra. At least they always do in the south. This lack of okra is not just a phenomenon at this eatery, I've had either gumbo or jambalaya at 3 other restaurants in town, and they all have this same omission.
I also noticed that Bayou on First didn't offer Fried Okra as a side dish. However, in one of their veggie dishes, I did see okra as an ingredient. So this confuses me. Why omit a key ingredient in one dish, then offer it as a meat substitute in another? I don't know. I do have to admit that their corn muffins were passable. They didn't taste like Momma's, but they didn't taste like the "cake" flavored corn muffins I got at Ivar's. :)
I've also noticed that I haven't seen okra available in Safeway or QFC either. I need to do some checking at the vegetable stands at Pike Place Market. I think I might be able to find some there. At least I hope that I can. If not, I might be forced to bootleg okra up from Alabama. I might have to get Mom to Next-Day some to me. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

F1 Sundays are Great...

After feeling sick all day Saturday, and pretty much just laying on the couch watching television, I was hoping to feel alot better on Sunday. I did. :)

Of course it helped by starting Sunday off with viewing the TiVo'd F1 race from Singapore. This was F1's first night race, and it was a great success all around. But I'll speak more on that aspect in a bit. The race was fun to watch even though my favorite driver, Kimi Raikkonen, crashed out within the last 10 laps. Kimi is the current world champ, and I hoped he would repeat this year. However, it seems that fate & other things are conspiring against him. Well, he's signed with Ferrari for the next 3 years I think, so there's always next year.

The success of Singapore will probably start a trend for all of the far-east races on the calendar (Japan, China, Australia, India?) in future seasons. From what I understand, F1 chief, Bernie Ecclestone, is pushing for turning the races in these locations to night races. He wants it in order to put the races on at a better viewing time in Europe where viewership is high. I can't say I blame him for that line of thinking overall. Europe's where the bulk of the money is for the sport, so he's going after it.

However, it does bug me that one man, Ecclestone, pretty much has say over what happens in F1. Oh, there is the FIA, the governing body of F1, but they pretty much do whatever Bernie says, and everyone knows it. I'm never a fan of one person dictatorally holding sway over anything. I think all sports commissions should be governed by a body of people who are not owners or sponsors, and they should have finite periods of service. Five years at most. Those five year terms should also be staggered, so that only one or two people are changed at a time. From that commissioning body a president or chairperson would be elected by the body. Also, that chairing election would be each year as well, and the current chair could not serve successive terms. They could serve multiple terms, but only every-other year.

I don't see that happening in F1, the NFL, Baseball, or any other organized sport. However, I think it would be the most fair way to run a sports organization. That way no one person could play favorites for years on end as has happened in other sports before.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

TGIF and I'm glad it's over....

In a normal world, under normal circumstances, I enjoy my job & I love to see Friday come. However, yesterday was not a normal day (for some reason).

It started with me waking up at 6am instead my normal (hey, normal for me) 4am. I'm normally in the office by 6am, so my just-roused-from-sleep mind said, "Too late to get ready for work, just work from home." So I started doing that. Then I started having connectivity problems, four disconnects within an hour. After the 4th one, I got an e-mail from my boss. He shook me back to sanity by informing me that it was still early, and I could make it into the office. He was right, of course.

So then, I quickly showered & caught the 8am bus, making it into work by 8:30am. After that, the day seemed to be pretty normal. I figured I'd just work until about 5pm to make nine hours (counting the time I'd already worked at home). No big deal. (karma's voice) "That's what you think, bitch." (end karma's voice)

4:00pm started out okay, but I knew that my co-worker, Glenn, who is on-call this week, was having a bit of trouble with some folks who were setting up for an inventory count. I didn't know it was about to spill over on me. I'd work with these people before, the last time as recently as two weeks ago. It's always a pain working with them, because they can't seem to manually run a process that has no problems when it's running automatically. Whenever, they have to add an update file, it never seems to run successfully. This was the case yesterday. Add to that the fact that Glenn needed to leave no later than 4:30 to go to his daughter's school function.

So I was asked to take over the final tasks for the inventory (due to my previous experience). It's really no problem to me, I'm happy to help out when I can. However, this, as before, turned into a nightmare. That's because those folks, once again, sent up too many adjustments in the data file, and I had to find & correct them. Once I'd corrected that part, there were still 25 records that needed to be reconciled. I continually tried to tell them that they sent up the wrong transfer numbers, but they insisted that the system incorrectly generated those numbers. They were wrong; I was right. And I finally proved it by reminding them that we had this same problem the last time, when I was also working on it. I reminded them that it was there fault then too, and that we can only process the data that we are sent. Such a nightmare!

Anyway, by the time I got them set up to go, I left the office at 8:30pm! I had a nice 12 hour day on Friday. It was kind of a bummer to be on the bus going home after work with folks who were going out for the evening. Now, I'm not the party animal I once was, but I still like to go out when I can on the weekends. So there I was on the bus at 8:30 to 9:00, with my laptop, just getting off work. Such a geek I am. :)

Needless to say, I was so glad to get home. I had a beer to unwind, watched some TiVo, and called it an evening around 11. Not exciting, but it all ended well. I'm glad I don't have many days like that. I'm normally lucky that way. But like the old saying goes, "What doesn't kill me, scars me emotionally forever." :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Ripped-Off Post Idea...

Technically this is not ripped-off since I'm not crediting Miss Zoot with the idea. She had her comments turned off, so this is my way to comment (somewhat).

  • Like Zoot, I also don't like the AMC original series "Mad Men." Mainly, I don't find the "world of advertising in the early '60s" interesting. So they wrote "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz." Big deal. To me it just shows that Hollywood is fast running out of GOOD ideas for shows & movies. Next will be a series about the guys that paint the lines down the middle of the street. For Christ sakes, NBC is re-hashing old TV series. Last season is was "Bionic Woman." This season it's "Knight Rider," which was even worse that "Bionic Woman" during its' initial run.
  • I do like the Avett Brothers. I was turned on to them by a mutual friend of Zoot's & mine, Junkie. However, I'm not insane over them as Junkie is, but I do think they are really good. I've seen them twice now, and I love their shows. Very entertaining. Great song lyrics too.
  • I've not seen "House Bunny" & probably never will. It's just not a movie I care to see.
  • I agree with Zoot about Perez Hilton. I don't find him funny at all. I've seen him in interviews on talk shows, and he's just a pompous, self-important, jack-ass. To me, he's on a line with Rush Limbaugh & that ilk. They only exist to tear people down; they do nothing constructive at all. No benefit to anyone (imho).
  • No experience with diaper genies myself. The last time I changed a diaper was back in '71/'72 for my youngest brother. No kids of my own; no step-kids.

So here are a couple items of my own, in which I'm out of step with others.

  • I think Julia Roberts is one of the WORST actresses around. To me, she just poses her way through movies with no discernible talent. Yes, she's beautiful, but the only film in which I could tolerate her was "Erin Brokovich." "Pretty Woman," "Steel Magnolias," "Ocean's 11" (the remake), "Michael Colins," and "The Mexican" are just a few of the films I think would've been so much better if someone else had been cast in her place.
  • I think "Survivor" is a very over-rated TV show. I've only watched a few episodes of the first season; never got the fascination.
  • In the same vein, I rarely watch so-called "reality" shows. It's because I think they are there just to reward the most loutish & boorish of bad behaviors. The only exceptions I've found are "The Amazing Race" & "Top Chef." These at least seem to reward based on merit rather than scheming & back-stabbing.
  • This one may get me lynched, but it needs to be said. John Wayne made (with few variations) the same western film over & over throughout the '60s & early '70s, and they all sucked. Two exceptions of his work that I enjoy watching are "The Shootist" from 1976 & "McQ" (I don't remember when it was released). I also don't think he was a great American hero. In interviews I've read of him, he comes off as pretty racist on many things.

If you feel the need to comment, please be kind. I'm not out to offend. These are just opinions. :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Coming Soon, to a Stadium Near Me...

Of course at this time of year in the US, it's football time. And I don't mean football the way the rest of the world does (what our people call Soccer). This is that off-shoot of British Rugby that's played at the high-school, collegiate, & professional level in this country. That bone-crunching, pain-inducing, blood-spurting, gladiatorial, quest for territory acquisition sport that truly defines what America is all about. Well, that's not totally true; we aren't that blood-thirsty & imperialistic (most of the time, anyway). :)

In the south, football seems to have an almost religious following. I remember playing outside on a Sunday afternoon when I was a kid, and there being very little traffic. I also remember seeing very few (if any) men outside at all. Both of my parents would watch college games all-day Saturday and pro games all-day Sunday. Some Sundays my Uncles (Dad's brothers) would come over to watch too.

Personally, I never cared much for the game overall. I tried to get into it, but it never got under my skin the way the auto-racing later would (and did then to some extent). I even tried playing football twice as a kid. The first time was when we lived in Huntsville; the 2nd time was after we moved to Vina, AL. However, I was a very small kid, and not the fastest of runners, so I never found a place. Also, none of the coaches I had ever taught the fundamentals, so I was totally at sea the entire time I participated.

As I grew older, I also grew to understand the game better. But I could still take it or leave it. I'm the same way today. However, there is one difference; I now live in a city that has its' own NFL franchise (Seattle Seahawks). I now watch all Seahawks games that are televised. I've also attended at least one game each season I've been here ('06, & '07), and I'll keep that going this Sunday. I've got tickets to the game, and I'm taking my old friend Reality Catcher (RC).

Hopefully, the team can get their first win of the season against the evil, satanic St. Louis Rams (didn't they used to be LA Rams?). :) The 'Hawks haven't had a great start this year. They've been plagued with injuries, and they just can't seem to pull everything together. It's very frustrating to watch at times. After falling to the Bills (Buffalo, NY) & the 49er's (San Francisco, CA), it's their worst start since 2002. Not a good way to start the coach's last season with the team.

However, even if we l-... er, uh, don't win; I'll still have fun. I'll get out of the house for the day, hang with my best friend, consume highly overpriced food & beverages, & scream myself hoarse (more than likely). Of course there's also the possibility of being on TV. Our seats are in the end zone, near the tunnel where the Seahawks enter the field, so there's a good chance of being able to wave, "Hi Mom." :) But I have a feeling that we'll win. We have each time I've attended a game, so we have that going for us. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I ♥ Teriyaki Day...

At work we have a Wednesday ritual that was started long before I was hired. Wednesday is teriyaki day. For lunch on Wednesdays, a group of us walks about 3 blocks from the office to eat at a local teriyaki place.

The meal is very simple, just a bowl of rice with teriyaki chicken on top (or spicy chicken, my fave). It's surprising to me just how much I look forward to this. Even when I forget it's Wednesday, someone will stop by my desk & ask, "Teriyaki?" It's always a moral boost, and I've not gone only when a meeting or task has prevented it. Even then I usually ask for someone to bring one back for me, and hand over the money.

Now you also should know that I'd never heard of a "Teriyaki" place until I moved to Seattle. Apparently they haven't caught on in the south. When I moved here, I was amazed at how many places I'd pass with the name "Teriyaki" on them. I'd venture to say that there are more teriyaki places here than Starbucks, and that's a pretty bold statement. However, I'd never say that there are more teriyaki places than coffee places; that's just a lie. :)

Even if you arent' a fan of asian (read, chinese, japanese, thai, or vietnamese) food, I think you'd enjoy this. The chicken is grilled and marinated with teriyaki sauce (not soy sauce, there is a difference), sliced into strips (about 1/4" wide), and place on top of the rice. For the spicy chicken, a spicy sauce is used instead of teriyaki. And believe me, this is NOT restaurant spicy. I like spicy food & this is just about at my threshold. But it is good. It's spicy enough that my nose runs for about 10 minutes after I've finished.

So now I'm filled with rice & spicy chicken. Now I just have to find a place to take a nap. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Freedom From the Ball & Chain...

Today is a good day. Yes, I know it's just Tuesday and the weekend is far away. No, it's not my birthday, or anniversery, or anything like that. Today is the day I hand the pager from work off to someone else. The light of freedom will then shine on me. Okay, that's way too overdramatic, but I am happy to be giving up this small device that sometimes turns into an anchor.

For those of you who may not understand, I'll give a few more details. I'm a computer programmer; and one of the duties of my job is to be "on-call" or as it's called here "on-pager." That means for one week (9am Tue to 9am Tue) I'm the person who answers all extraneous requests for fixing things that have gone wrong. Things like program crashes, people need data for reporting purposes, data being incorrect, orders not filled (on the system) properly, etc.

During the day it's not a big deal; it's just work as normal. However, after work is when that little grenade can go off & totally trash your evening, or worse, your sleep. The worst sound, after a baby crying a 2am, is a pager going off at 2am, and knowing it means that you now have to go to work. Luckily, I can work from home, so it means I only have to stumble, half-asleep, to my desk and log on. But I still have to correct a problem & not make it worse.

Since I've been here, we've been working very proactively on issues the come around a lot & cause "wake-ups" as we call them. Therefore, now we don't get many. When I first started here in March of 06, you could count on at least one wake-up during the week & one on the weekend (at the very least). This time, I had one at 4:30am on Saturday. The good part is that it turned out to be a non-issue. Of course the bad part it that I got woken up at 4:30am on a Saturday, but I'll survive.

Now after 9am, I'll be free of this little device. I won't have to deal with it again until for a couple weeks. Yay!! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cleanin' House...

Well, I spent the bulk of today cleaning house. By that I mean, I pushed & actually put away about 90% of all the stuff that's been in boxes since I moved here two weeks ago.

The reason for this is that I'll be having a house-guest for a week starting on Monday. He's the ex-husband of my friend Junkie. Scavenger has been working for a mining company in Alaska since April. He works for about 3 weeks straight and gets about a week for a break; he stays at my place when he's in town so he can see his daughter Ariel.

So with that pending, I was motivated to actually straighten up the extra room in order to make it habitable. I think he'll survive his stay now.

It's been a while since Scavenger stopped by. In July I was taking vacation, so he spend his break in Alaska. Then in August, I was moving, so this will be his first look at the new place. Of course, I've explained to him that the building is undergoing a renovation, so there will be workmen and noise all during the day.

I think I'll work from home on Monday afternoon in order to inform the sight-boss that someone will be in the apartment during the day all next week. I don't want workmen to just be barging in on him. I may also put a sign of some sort on the door to make sure they knock instead of just coming in.

Now that the place is cleaned up, I have a ton of garbage to take out... it's always something. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm SumDumGuy, and I'm a burger-holic......

Food has never been an enemy of mine. In fact, I'd have to say food is way too good of a friend; food could back off a bit.... off my waistline mainly. :)

One of my all time favorite foods are hamburgers. Of course I've had all of the major chains (Micky D's, BK, Wendy's, Hardee's, Sonic, White Castle, Krystal, et al). However, I've found that the best burgers are made in local chain places, and stand-alone places that appear somewhat dumpy/greasy-spoonish. By local chains, I mean chains that only exist in a metro-area or a small part of a state. Usually they have less than 20 locations.

To that end, comes another of the things about Seattle that I truly love; Kidd Valley, Dick's, & Red Mill burgers. Those of you who live here probably already know about all or most of them.

My move to the Queen Anne/Interbay/Magnolia area has put me less than 2 blocks from one of two Red Mills in the entire Seattle area. I've been here only two weeks and I've already had 4 different sandwiches from Red Mill. All have been great too. I actually have to stop myself from eating there every evening when I get off the bus from work. Some days, it's about all I can do to make myself turn right & walk up the hill to have a bowl of soup instead of first turning left & going to the Mill. My hope is that I can keep it to a minimum & work off more of this gut. :)

I can't describe why I think each place is so good; it's just something you have to experience, I think.

It used to really bug my Dad that I'd eat a hamburger for every meal with no problem. The day I got a part-time job at Sonic Drive-In while in high school, he was sure that I'd soon be sick of 'burgers. How wrong he was. It was actually like letting a junkie loose in a field of poppies; I loved it, and I fed my crave every day I was at work.

I think if I had to pick my all-time Top 5 burger places/burgers they would be (in no order)....
  • Sonic
  • Krystal/White Castle (both the same style of burgers, Krystal is in the south, White Castle in the north)
  • Big Springs Cafe (used to be on Govenor's Drive in Huntsville, AL, but I don't think it's there anymore)
  • Red Mill (Seattle chain)
  • Jack's (a north Alabama chain)
My family can back up the fact that one of the things I make sure to do when I visit my Mom is eat at Krystal, Jack's, & Sonic since none of them exist here in Seattle. Hey, I have my priorities. :)

So what about you folks out there? What are your favorites? Holla back! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9-11 +7...

Of course you know, as does everyone else on the planet (in the US anyway), that today is the 7th anniversery of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Seven years, it's gone by really fast to me.

  • Seven years & the mastermind, Osama Bin Ladin, has still not been captured.
  • Seven years & we still have troops battling on the ground in Afghanistan because the Taliban was never properly taken down.
  • Seven years & we are more than 5 years into a war (actually invasion) with Iraq that our president claimed was in league with the 9-11 at the time, but was found later to be totally untrue.
  • Seven years & thousands of brave military people dead, wounded, maimed for life with no end in sight.
  • Seven years & even more thousands of innocent (read, civilian, non-combatants, women, children, elderly adults) Iraqis & Afghanis dead, wounded, maimed for life with no end in sight.
  • Seven years & our country's credibility on the world stage at the lowest in more than a century.
  • Seven years & our civil liberties still haven't recovered fully. We still can't peacefully march in protest of the president within his presence. They cart us off to "Free Speech Zones."
  • Seven years & the 3,000+ innocents in the US who were killed during that attack are still as dead no matter how many "baddies" will kill.
  • Seven years & we probably will be just as surprised when the next terror attack happens here, or in England, or Germany, or France, or Japan, etc.
  • Seven years & there is still no way to block all potiential attacks, because there never has been & never will be.

My grand parents had FDR's death and Pearl Harbor as events, which they would preface with, "I remember exactly where I was when I first hear of....". For my parents it was Kennedy's assasination & Neil Armstrong's walk on the Moon. For me it's now the Challenger explosion in '86, AND 9-11. I wonder what the similar event will be for the next generation? Time will only tell, but there will be one. There always is.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It Just Keeps on Gettin' Better...

Well, the cable guy came today. He was supposed to be here between 10am & Noon, but he showed up about 10:30. So now I've got TV once again, and since I'm a total addict to TV, it's all good. The days without cable were filled with extra internet time, but it only goes so far. :)

Now I'm jonesin' for the F1 race tomorrow from Belgium (vroom, vroom).

After spending half of this beautiful day inside setting up my cable & TiVo, I think I'll go downtown & do some shopping. I think I might go by the Bose store & pick up a center speaker for the home entertainment center (if it's not too much).

I've also got to get in touch with my old landlord to see how he wants me to get my set of keys to him. He did text me yesterday to ask if I still had them, I replied that I did and asked how he wanted me to get them to him. However, he didn't respond to my reply. That's actually par for the course with him, but that's a long story for another time.

Now, where are my shoes???? :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back to Work.....

Well, since it is the day after Labor Day (or is it Labour Day?), I, like many others, am back at work.

I spent the majority of Saturday, Sunday, & Monday unpacking, washing clothes, & setting up the new apartment. Am I a party animal, or what? :) I actually got a number of things accomplished. The kitchen is completely set up. Of course it is the smallest room in the place, but that's beside the point. I also got the dining nook set up, so I guess I can call that complete too.

My bedroom is about 90% complete. I still have clothes to put away, which I may do after work this evening to have it done. While everything is set up in the living room/office area, it's still cluttered to the max. This is especially true of the section immediately adjacent to the dining nook. It's piled with boxes (some empty, some not so empty). The living room itself has the floor covered with all sorts of cables (audio, video, ethernet, usb, etc). I think I can get those squared away too this evening.

The bathroom is about 80% done. I just need to put all the towels/washclothes in the cabinet, and put the medicine cabinet stuff in the medicine cabinet proper. However, I'm thinking about putting the towels in either the 2nd bedroom closet, or the living room coat closet. I think the 2nd bedroom closet will be the best place; it has these box-like shelves in it that would be perfect for the towels & such. I'll leave the coat closet for the coats, ironing board, broom, and swiffer (yes, I still have both).

For a while, the 2nd bedroom will also be the junk room. But eventually, it will be habitable as well. :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day One.... SORE!!!!!!! (ouch)

Just as I thought, I woke up this morning sore all over. Surprisingly though, my hands are the most sore this morning. The ol' back & knees aren't that bad overall. That might have something to do with the fact that I took two Alleve & a Goody's "Back & Body Pain" powder before sleeping last night.

To those of you who've never been to the South & don't know what I'm talking about with the "Goody's" comment. Goody's (and BC, and Standback) are simply aspirin that are sold in powder form instead of tablet form. In the two years I've been here in Seattle I've not seen them in either Walgreen's or Bartell's, so I'm thinking they aren't sold here. If that's the case, I'll probably have to get my Mom to send me more as I run out.

I still like the apartment (though it's only the first full day). I'll have to get used to sleeping in more than my underwear though. My sliding door gives me a great view of the Magnolia area of Seattle; however, it also gives folks at the bus stop across the street a good view into my living room. I definitely don't want to give the good people of Seattle the trauma of having to view me in my underwear only. That thrill is saved for special people. :)

So, today I'm working from home (in my sweats) while the construction workers go about their business around the building like worker bees in a hive. It's a little noisy, but I can make it fairly tolerable with some loud & abusive tunes from my iTunes.

I'm also doing some unpacking here & there. About every hour or two I get up & unpack one box and place the stuff where is should be. It only takes about ten minutes, so it's a nice break and I'm getting some stuff done on the home front. So far, I've emptied four & a half boxes.

Tomorrow Bumbershoot starts here in Seattle. I'm probably going to miss it this year. I want to get this place in some sort of order before I go back to work. Plus, I haven't got a ticket yet. I'll miss Beck & Neko Case, but maybe next time. I've already found a number of items I need for this place, so I need to run some errands tomorrow. I have to do those tomorrow since the stores I want to visit are closed on Sundays & Monday is a holiday. With any luck, I'll get most of the stuff done tomorrow & Sunday; that will give me Monday to take a good long walk around the neighborhood to check it out thoroughly.

Well, I'd better get back to work now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A New Life in Queen Anne/Magnolia....

Well, today I moved from my place on Beacon Hill to a new place in Queen Anne. Actually, it's right on the border of Queen Anne & Magnolia (and also next to the Inter-Bay area). It's nice so far, but then again I've only been to this place three previous times (to look at the place, to sign the lease, to bring some things over last Saturday), and I've only been here for about 5 hours now.

Overall, I think the apartment (it's actually a condo that I'm leasing), and neighborhood in general are nice. I shouldn't be using my car nearly as much. I have a bus stop half a block away that goes directly to my office & back; there's a grocery store, Starbucks, pizza place, convenience store/gas station all within two blocks. Matter of fact, I can see them all from my sliding doors. Hopefully, I'll start getting some exercise as a result of things being so close.

The down side is that the building is undergoing a renovation. Several things are being done, and I don't remember them all. However, the building is encased in scaffolding & some type of mesh. And when the workmen are here, it's pretty loud. But there is an upside to this; while the construction is going on, I'm getting $250 knocked off my rent (the construction should be done by December). Also the rent here is about $5oo less than the Beacon Hill place. (cha-ching!)

Right now though, I feel like shit. I'm totally exhausted. I'm sore all over, and I know that I'll be even more sore in the morning. I don't relish that a bit.

However, I'll surely survive this move as I have the countless others in my life. It's just that as I get older, it takes longer to recover. :)

Well, I have to go now & get some grub. I haven't eaten since lunch & I'm starving.

Monday, June 16, 2008



I'm SumDumGuy, and this is my introductory post.

I've thought about blogging for quite a while, but never followed up on it. Well, now I'm going to give it a whirl & see if 1) I can do it worth anything, & b) Post on a regular basis (meaning at least once a week if not once a day).

This will just be a forum for me to talk about myself, my life, my family & friends, & rant about topics in general. I'll try to have a reasoned & honest opinion, and I'm not out to offend or attack anyone (unless they deserve it).

As for me, I'm just an average Joe. I live in Seattle, WA, but was born & raised in the deep south (Alabama). In spite of that upbringing, I have a very liberal view on all topics. By that, I mean that I try to see the reason & value of all sides of an arguement/situation because I think they all can have merit.

I work as a computer programmer, I like to play & listen to rock music (I actually a wide variety of music, but rock is my favorite), I enjoy watching Formula One, NHRA Drag, & some Indy Car racing. I don't have much use for NASCAR (except when they race on a road circuit).

I'm single, but looking for the right woman (one that can put up with me).

Other notes about me will come out in other posts, as I think of them.

If you enjoy the blog, keep reading & tell others. If you don't like it or my opinions, please go away. I get enough negative criticism each day at work; I won't tolerate any here.

Thanks for dropping by.... :)