Friday, April 29, 2005

Fascinating, and pathetic

This article is so silly. I mean, I know Tom Delay is under major fire right now, so anything he does even slightly hypocritical is going to be magnified, but please. This is ridiculous.

However, interesting tidbits in the article that I did not know...

Last September, the Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control
tightened its prohibitions against U.S. citizens importing or consuming Cuban
cigars. Even Americans licensed to bring back up to $100 worth of Cuban goods
are no longer allowed to include tobacco products in what they carry. The
regulation also noted that Americans are barred not only from purchasing Cuban
goods in foreign countries, but also from consuming them in those countries.
The unmitigated stupidity of our government just blows me away. Let's see...
1 - How in the world are they going to enforce this?
2 - Exactly how do they think this will affect Castro in any way, shape, or form. I mean, the embargo hasn't worked for the last 50 years, so what makes them think it will start working now if they only change the rules for a teeny tiny minute percentage of the American population that smokes Cuban cigars and chooses to smoke them overseas when they have the opportunity?

Insanity - Doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.


So, it’s the end of April. Seriously, the end. The first quarter is long past, and we’re headlong into the second. Damn. Just damn. What happens?

Sorry that I’ve been missing for a while. This has just been a couple of those weeks. I thought I’d be able to use this week to catch up from the trip, but I was so so wrong. Wednesday and Thursday were training days here. I wasn’t only on the trainee side, but also the trainer side. I had the joy of three presentations. Two, really, just one of them presented twice.

Got to present the state of my territory (the WORLDbwahahaha), which was nice, since I finished out January through April at 104% of my quota. And I fully intend to finish the year over quota, as well. It feels good to be able to say that. Finishing that way also feels good because Dave and I got to attend a company-paid evening out with 18 other company folks at Killer Creek. Yum.

On the other hand, being both trainee and trainer this week entailed a lot of long days. Tuesday was 12+ hours, capped off with Dave calling me and telling me that I really must come home - 8pm is no time to be at work. (I don't know how the other Dave does it) I’ve been good in the past at being efficient enough to complete my job without working extra. The last couple weeks have been exceptions. So, you see why no posts lately.

The other problem with that is I haven’t had time to even look up and see what’s going on around us, and bring up any interesting conversation for the blog. I apologize.

This weekend should be fantastic, though. Twilight Criterium in Athens. Funkle Ester Friday, Modern Skirts Saturday. Lots of merriment during and in between. Awesome. I haven’t seen a full Skirts show in ages. This will be a great time.

Friday, April 22, 2005

So, what to write about?

This seems to be an eternal blog issue for a few of us. Well, at least we’re not alone.

OK, so the trip to London was fantastic. The itinerary was:
Leave Sunday night at 6:15, arrive in London 7:20am their time
Go through customs, get baggage.
Ride 9:23am train to Harrow.
Arrive at hotel, put on suit.
Walk to office, 11:45am arrival.
Lunch (pizza) with Manager of Telesales group
After lunch, sit with Support team and Telesales folks individually to get an idea of their daily tasks.
Leave office around 5:30pm.
Go to dinner (Noodle Bar) and then to Irish pub named The Shawl for Guinness and entertainment.
The band consisted of drums, accordian, flute, two guitars and vocal (Elvis Costello’s half brother). True Irish music, no question about it.

Interesting tidbit that between sets, the bar was filled with the lovely music of…

Garth Brooks. Yes, indeed, ladies and gentlemen, I’m not kidding. Quite an experience.

When they kicked us out of the bar at around 11pm (it was Monday, after all), I went back to my hotel to unpack and get some sleep.

Tuesday was my only full day in England:
Had meetings all day with the CEO, CFO, Commercial Director, and a salesperson. Also sat in on a client training session. Went to lunch at a Portugese rotisserie chicken place. Delicious. ¼ chicken, corn on the cob, and cole slaw.

After work, my very lovely host asked her husband to drive us into London for shopping. He was gracious enough to do this at the height of rush hour. He’s also quite the history buff and had information for every corner. It was great.

We went to Harrod’s. That place is incredible. I always thought of it as just a department store, but I was so very wrong. It’s about 6 floors across two city blocks, sitting on a corner (according to the website, there are 330 departments!). The part that amazed me the most was the food section. Almost an entire floor by itself there was just tons of incredible expensive gourmet foods of all kinds – cheeses (the counter was about 50 feet long), olives (no less than 10 varieties), chocolates, candies, seafood, produce. It was just amazing. I bought some cigars, and we were on our way. Then we went to a more department store like place called Selfridges. I bought a few items here, but the best was the Moet bar on the mezzanine overlooking the whole store.

I didn’t buy much because the exchange rate doesn’t help us out one bit right now.

We then ate dinner at a tapas restaurant and headed home via the Tube.

In bed by 12:30am after packing, checked out at 7am Wednesday, hopped on a train at 8:15, and on the flight home at 12pm. Watched three movies (Blade Trinity, Lemony Snickett, and Meet the Fockers) on the flight and was home before I knew it.

All in all, a great three days.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Boy, I am in one really shitty mood tonight. Don't really know why. Guess it's just jet lag. I should be over it tomorrow.

Stacy turns 30 tomorrow. It will be a good day.

I'm so over people who are bitter. Seriously. But then again, I'm really bitter right now. So, here my own bitterness of this evening ends.

Tomorrow will be a good day. I'll make it a good day, one way or another.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Downer, but so good

Why is it that depressing songs are so wonderful to listen to?

"Train Wreck"
Glen Phillips

Every stupid kid thinks that they’re the first in pain
The first to rip themselves apart
The first to try
To live without a heart

I miss you girl
I hope you’re fine
Good luck love
Or good bye

Thursday, April 14, 2005

So much to say ...

OK, in the last week there has been so much that I’ve wanted to blog about, but I just
a) haven’t had time, and
b) haven’t felt up to it

Damned 3000+ pollen count!

And work has been extremely busy. I’m trying to work through my entire to-do list by the end of this week. Certainly this is no easy task, but as I’ll be in London Monday and Tuesday of next week, and in the air on Wednesday, I really need to make sure my desk is cleared. So, thus explains the lack of posts recently.

There really is a lot going on, though. I promise. There will just have to be a summary for now:
Party planning
Kayak shopping and investigating opportunities for lessons
Fantastic catfish dinner last Saturday night
Amazing walk through abandoned textile mill
Trip to London coming up
Great entertainment

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wanna get pissed?

OK, I don't really mean let's go get drunk, but doing that would probably make me feel better after reading this about government waste in fiscal 2005.

My favorites:
$1.7 million for the International Fertilizer Development Center;
$70,000 for the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wis. ($1,430,000 for various Halls of Fame, actually)·
$350,000 for the Inner Harmony Foundation and Wellness Center in Scranton, Penn.;

So, wanna get pissed?

Government “Services” vs. Private Business

If you can't provide a better service, at a cheaper rate because of your own shortcomings as a "company" then by all means, use your standing as a government entity to declare the other guy's actions illegal. Certainly, that's doing what's best for all of us that the government "works" for. Bastards.

This story frustrates me to no end. (Registration is now required to read stories on the AJC). It seems that a private company is providing bus service along Buford Highway, and their drivers are clashing with MARTA drivers.

This week, things got seriously out of hand, with competing bus drivers
shouting back and forth on the street, curses and coins flying and passengers
calling the police...

MARTA officials are also concerned. On Monday, the MARTA board and staff
discussed potential legal remedies, including asking state officials, who
regulate privately owned transportation companies, to step in.

Excuse me! I understand that the issue of violence between drivers is a problem, and both drivers should be reprimanded for their actions. However, the fact that MARTA is now investigating whether it's illegal for a private company to pick up passengers along MARTA routes demonstrates the arrogance and cluelessness of this government authority. I'm sure they're also frustrated by the revenue they're clearly missing out on.

Ochoa believes Royal succeeds because it is more flexible than MARTA."We
are a little more rapid. We take fewer passengers. We don't have to stop as
much, and we give change," unlike MARTA, he said.Last year Royal transported
60,000 passengers a month on 16 minibuses, Ochoa said.

In spite of subsidies from Georgia taxpayers that MARTA gets and Royal Bus Lines does not, owner Carlos Ochoa is able to provide transportation services cheaper and with higher quality service. He's also making money, and MARTA is losing it - hemoraghing it, actually.

The gray minibus that customers have nicknamed "el ratoncito," or "the little mouse," stops near his apartment complex across from the Lindbergh Plaza MARTA station."If I take MARTA, I won't make it in time," Moral said. He leaves every morning at 5:20 a.m. and arrives at work at 6. The MARTA bus doesn't leave until 5:40 a.m., he said.

Aided Gonzalez, 28, boarded a Royal bus Tuesday to take her daughters to
the dentist. She likes the service because the $1.50 fare is 25 cents cheaper
than MARTA and the bus is smaller. Another big plus is that the bus driver
speaks Spanish and can help her with directions.MARTA officials contend some of
Royal's practices are unfair, if not illegal.

Royal will also make change for their fares; something MARTA doesn't do.

MARTA has made accusations that Royal accepts MARTA tokens. That is the only practice they mention as illegal. Royal denies the claim, and no one has shown proof of the transactions.

Ochoa says he wants to "work with MARTA to provide the best service" to
everybody.He's not scared of competition, he added."Everyone knows us as the
little gray mouse," he said. "Now we're painting the buses yellow and we're
going to be the lions of Buford Highway."

Sounds great! But I don't think he needs to work with MARTA.

Shut down MARTA busses, and let private enterprise take over.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Pope

As usual, Lileks has the perfect thing to say.

Two images stick in my mind from the weekend:

The vast crowd at St. Peter’s, absolutely silent as the bells toll.

The body of the Pope on the bier, with his shoes sticking out the end of his robe. It’s a very humble and human image. We always saw him wrapped in the costume of the office, a garment that transformed him – otherwise his was a face you would expect to have seen down at the Polish Community Hall, sitting at a table, having coffee with friends, talking. He was still that man when he put on the robe, but he was that man + Pope, that man plus two millennia of history and tradition. The shoes, however, you didn’t expect. The Pope has shoes? Of course; shoes of the fisherman, metaphorical shoes. But real ones? You never think of the Pope putting on his shoes, tying the laces, buffing out a blemish. You never think of the Pope having a favorite pair. Or kicking them off and sighing with relief: the shoe-part of the day is done; now it's the fire and an ottoman and a good book. Just looking at those shoes makes him seem humble and mortal – which he always was, of course. We lose sight of that quite easily; it’s just human nature to look at the crown, and not at the feet.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Best of TV w/o Pity

For last week's 24.

Bitchelle looks at him speculatively, then renews the conversation: "I heard Kiefer called you today," she says. Soul Patch admits it. "And that you saved his life," Bitchelle presses. "Well, we both know I owed him one, right?" Bitchelle gives him a tight smile. They do not have sex. Yet.

"Who was in charge of this operation?" DoDder demands, so she can know off of whom she needs to go rip a strip. "I was," Bitchelle says levelly. DoDder looks at her like, "Oooooh, maybe not." She just says, "Get him back, Bitchelle," and walks away rather than throwing down. Sure, she's pissed and freaked out and terrified, but she's not suicidal.

Potato Face is having trouble doing something on her computer, so she calls Lispy Skip to ask for the password to the central server. He offers to sign her on. She declines, insisting on the password. He refuses. It quickly devolves into an argument over who outranks whom. We all have so much time for this shit right now. Girls, girls, please. You're both pretty. Well, except for both of you.

The two men leave the room together at 9:19:20 as Potato Face confirms to Bitchelle that ImhoTerror's voice print confirmed his identity. Which she learned by comparing a "voice memo" from MacGuffin Factories. Too bad the EMP wiped out everything at MF HQ, huh?

Do you suppose people ever complain about the danger that 24 will inspire copycat crimes? I think this is one scheme they'd like more actual terrorists to try, because I think in real life a lot more of them would get caught.

"I'm really sorry about your husband," Potato Face says. Now stop talking. DoDder thanks her, but we all know Potato Face isn't done: "I can't imagine how I'd be feeling right now if I were you…you and your husband are separated, you've fallen in love with Kiefer, I guess. Then they end up together and your husband ends up taking a bullet that saves Kiefer's life? What do you do with that?" I think a more relevant question is, how does Potato Face know all this? Has she been watching the previouslies? Does she know they LIE? ["And do a lot of people start watching shows halfway through the fifteenth episode of the season? I understand that making Chloe socially awkward gives them some latitude with exposition, but that was absurd even for this show." -- Sars] DoDder tries to close the discussion down, but Potato Face plows onward: "What about Kiefer? You just assume the terrorists aren't going to kill him?" DoDder snaps again that she doesn't want to talk about it, and stomps over to the OR window to watch the operation, because looking at her husband's innards is better than sparing another moment for Potato Face. Who's saying, "I was inappropriately blunt, wasn't I? I do that a lot." Yeah, but you don't normally feel bad about it and it's kind of freaking me out.

I'm not there to point out that if your chess opponent is prepared to sacrifice a knight for a pawn -- particularly a whiny, clueless pawn -- he's got something else going on.

Kiefer and TerrorTeen walk slowly towards each other, Kiefer with a distinct limp which I'm sure will be gone by next week.

The sniper aims. When Kiefer is yards from Curtis at the open gate, a shot rings out. Guess who goes down? Keep in mind everything you know about this show before you say anything. I'll give you a second. Are you ready? Here's who dies: the sniper. Can you even believe it?

A stealth fighter taxis out of a hangar. Which is weird, because Poor Man's Eric Stoltz spent the whole episode walking around in front of a conventional fighter plane. It's not like I know the difference between an F-14 and an F-16, but I'm not going to mistake either one of those for a stealth fighter, and this is most certainly the first time we've seen this particular aircraft. But it's too late to bitch about it now, because it's 10:00:00. Don't worry; we have all of next week.

Friday, April 01, 2005


This guy sums it up better than I ever could.

But, for the short version:
Utterly fascinating and fun to watch

Full of one-liners, that you don't even realize are one-liners until later because they are actually said in some context. Which is surprising, and perfect.

Three parallel stories that all touch, but never intersect.

The Sin City Top 5:
1 - innocent person in the whole movie
2 - more times that I'll see this in the theater (at least)
3 - castrations
4 - references to the evil that men and women do, in spite of God's presence
5 - minutes it takes for at least that many people to be killed at the beginning of the movie

Also, plenty of boobs, and women in lingerie firing very large guns.

I can't even count the number of bodies. It's classic even-the-good-guys-are-bad-guys stuff. But, oh boy are the good guys wonderful! You can't help but root for all three of them - Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and Clive Owen - as they torture and murder their way through Sin City.


Nope, this isn’t a post about the Pope.

Going to see Sin City tonight. Can’t wait! Will review as soon as I can.