february 2005

Sick again today. This all started last Friday, and I thought by Sunday I would be fine for work on Monday, but either a second wave or a second illness hit Sunday night, and I've been out of commission ever since. And since I don't really feel like writing anything, instead I'm going to cheat and post this thing that my mom sent me in an email (along with about 18 other tromp l'oeil images—my mom's a big fan of forwarding emails).

You're supposed to count the black dots, but of course you can't, because you only see the black dots with your peripheral vision, and as soon as you look at them directly, they disappear. Enjoy.

Feeling a bit better, good enough to go into work and find out what crises have developed over the past few days. I don't know which is worse when coming back to the office after missing several days: finding lots of things piled up on your desk that only you can handle (which means that the people you work with are incompetent), or finding nothing at all (which means they may not need you as much as you think they do). For the record, I don't think my coworkers are incompetent (most of them, anyway), but I hardly ever return without finding a lengthy to-do list.

Everyone who's listened to me rant about the first meeting of my sci fi film class last week thinks I should drop it post haste. I'm going to at least go tonight (I've already done the readings) and see what a normal class is like, but man, just thinking about not having to show up there ever week for the next three months improves my mood dramatically, my $150 drop fee be damned. There is going to have to be a dramatic turnaround from last week, or I don't know how I'm going to talk myself into continuing to show up and deal with those idiots for a whole semester.

That's it. I'm out. I have to find a tactful way to tell the professor by early next week (she's also the program chair, so I don't feel comfortable just turning in my drop form and not showing up next week), but there's no way I can take 12 more weeks of this. She's not a bad teacher (she knows the material well, and her lectures have been decent, although she is easily sidetracked by comments from the peanut gallery), but I just don't think I'm going to get much out of the material—I'm just not feeling it. Plus (and this is the main problem) my classmates are idiots, and I know for sure that if I don't take this class, I will have zero chance of having to endure two of the three worst ones ever again, since this is their last semester in the program.

I hate the Patriots. Doesn't everyone hate them at this point?

Some other random thoughts from an evening of watching football on Fox:
  • The strange trend of the game being more interesting than the commercials continued this year. The ads were just trying to hard to be hip, and they were repeated way too many times (Pepsi, I'm looking pointedly in your direction).

  • I'm sick of the zealously pro-Bush Fox network having all the characters on its shows pronounce "nuclear" as "nukular" in order to legitimize our dumbfuck president's pronunciation.

  • American Dad doesn't look too bad.

Sick again. Getting a little tired of this.

Scott thinks my negative comments about the Patriots a couple of days ago and about the Red Sox a few months ago indicate that I hate New England in general and simply choose to express that dislike through ire directed at their championship teams. Well, it's true, I do kinda hate New England, but rest assured Scott, I would hate the Patriots and Red Sox no matter where they came from. It's just a nice coincidence that they come from a part of the country I don't care for all that much.

Happy birthday, Julie.

We're leaving this weekend for a few days of skiing, so I won't be posting anything until Thursday or Friday of next week. Things that I meant to tell you about before I left but which I almost certainly never will now:
  • Our trip to Annapolis with Alisa last Saturday when the weather was so beautiful. Great day, just not a lot interesting to tell.

  • Getting new cells phones with cameras, video, email, internet, etc., when we renewed our cell phone contract. Really cool.

  • The details of Julie's birthday celebration. Basically, it was thai food for dinner, brownies and ice cream for dessert, and two Decemberists songs off of iTunes for her gift. Not a big gift, I know, but we're going to combine my birthday gift with hers and try to get her a new Mac mini sometime in the next few months so she can play World of Warcraft with me.

So that's it. See you when I get back.

Back now. We took an extra day, which I didn't mind at all. I'll get things updated and organized here over the weekend.

Hunter S. Thompson is dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. I am in complete shock; I always expected that Hunter would die a violent, messy death, but I never expected it to be by his own hand. It's hard for me to explain exactly how I felt about him, but...well, he meant a lot to me. His "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is one of the best things ever written about America, and it resonates with our culture even 30 years after it was written. Thompson will be sorely missed; his books won't have quite as much life without the threat of him still wandering our world. Goodbye, Hunter—I hope you find in the next life whatever it was you never found in this one.

I forgot to post the pictures for last week before I left, and although they're available in the archives, I figured I'd showcase them in an entry since they never got their day on the front page like they should have:

If I'm remembering correctly, last September is going to be the only month in the twelve month cycle from last May until this May when Julie and I didn't have to travel, attend a wedding, or have people staying at our house for a few days. To some people, this much activity might sound like heaven, but for an introvert like me, the bedrock of whose existence is his daily routine, it's a lot closer to hell. I need a sabbatical—from school, from work, from travel. But school's the only one I can control, and despite the financial cost, I couldn't be happier that I dropped my class this semester before I got too deep in to quit.

I don't like Dubya. Anyone who has been reading this site for a while knows this. But this recent business with the secret tapes is a travesty. Sure, the so-called friend who secretly taped him is a jackass (and a moron, to boot—you, sir, can expect to end up dead or locked up for the rest of your life within five milliseconds of Bush leaving the public eye, despite your recent admission that this was a very bad idea), but what's really disgusting is the willingness of the media to air/publish portions of these tapes. If there were any ethics left in what has essentially become a propaganda system for corporations and the politicians in their pockets, nothing from these tapes would have ever made it to the public; there's nothing in them that has any bearing on the job Bush has done as president. He snorted cocaine in his youth? Knew that already, don't care. He smoked marijuana? Doesn't surprise me, don't care.

I don't care what kinds of drugs he took, how much he drank, who he slept with, or, really, whether he used his connections to avoid military service. (It bothers me, of course, but this is what rich people do—they use their connections and their power to get different treatment than the rest of us. the only reason this even became an issue in the first place is because the neocon slime machine decided to attack John Kerry's activities from the same time period. I also feel compelled to note that many of the most outraged about these tapes were the same ones who gleefully trotted out the Tripp-Lewinsky tapes in an effort to smear Clinton's personal life while he was in office.) All I care about is what Bush has done and will do during his tenure as our president; his private life is his own, especially his private life from 30 years ago. If the media wants to earn the respect of the American people again and take its intended place as the objective, questioning voice of our culture, they need to stop giving in to sensationalist bullshit like this and focus on the facts and the issues. Instead they've created another sideshow that will actually make most people feel sympathy for Bush while he's busy dismantling our social structures and waging war for his corporate masters.

Since I came perilously close to writing something that could be construed as almost defending Bush, I feel compelled to also post something to remind you just how awful his administration is. Lashing out at a European press conference where he was accused of preparing to attack Iran, Bush had this to say:

This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.

Oh really? I wouldn't call it ridiculous at all, considering that the rhetoric he and his administration have been using recently is eerily similar to the language they used in the buildup to the Iraq war (which they had decided to wage months before the supposed deadline they gave the UN). Plus, this is the sentence that came out of Bush's mouth immediately after the quote above:

Having said that, all options are on the table.

Well of course they are. It would be funny if it wasn't so scary. Get ready for the draft, kiddies.

Why must you taunt us, weather gods?

There was an interview with one of the state highway people last night where they were talking about how much salt they've used this year, and he said that they were over their budget for the year already. What? If I remember right, they predicted that this was going to be a really bad winter, and yet so far we've only had three relatively minor events, none of which has resulted in a real shutdown of the roads and none of which has required round-the-clock application of salt to the roadways (not that they haven't done this, it just hasn't been necessary). How could they be over budget? I haven't even gotten my freaking snow day yet. They better hope the snow lords are going to continue to ignore my pleas for a day off; I hate to imagine how far over budget they're going to have to go if they have an actual snow emergency to respond to.

I am seriously tired of being messed with by the snow monkeys. We better get at least a half-day off out of this.
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