Monday, September 29, 2008

Strolling in the Gloaming

We've been having hurricane affect weather in the District this weekend. This put a bit of a crimp in my plans to help my church's annual yard sale, but we forged ahead and did well enough in spite of some deity's decision to drench us in a downpour.

After spending both Saturday and Sunday in various stages of damp exhaustion, I finally made it home around 6 pm on Sunday. The sun was poking out between some rather impressively threatening clouds which were stalled in the precipitation negotiations, and I could see mist rising out of the trees near the river. I decided to take a brief jog to a favorite vista that is hidden by the crowding foliage along the bluffs above the Potomac River. I didn't mind the drops, the burrs, or the mud. As I reached the gap in the trees, I saw a lovely cascade of pastel colors, most of which I remain unable to identify. The clouds were a mix of dark grey and pink, the sky faded from blue to afternoon yellow. The tops of the clouds shined bright gold, and the mist oozed up from the river gorge enviously.

Tonight, I took a walk to clear my head and curl my hair in another foggy evening. I walked down to Canal Road, and the world might as well have ended at the river bank. Walking back up the bluff, the mist over the reservoir was banded. A dark lower layer brooded over the floating mats of gooseshit, and flocks of gooseshitting geese. There was an oddly light swath of fog above the dark that caught my interest. Perhaps it was an artifact of the streetlights and stoplights behind me but the fog seemed to have a dim inner glow from about twenty feet to thirty feet in the air. Alien exhaust fumes, or just some pedestrian reflection of the white-green glow of the streetlights. Above this, a few stars glinted through the thin clouds expressing absolute apathy to me, my job search, my love search, or John McCain's plans to ruin America.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Candidates Debate...Something

I surprised myself by watching about 95% of the debate last night.* I was a little disappointed by the whole spectacle. I thought that it felt more like two people actually getting into it, unlike previous debates, but there really was no clear winner. Depending on your favoured candidate, I think either party could really call this a win and I am sure I am not alone in hoping that it had been a more deliberate thrashing.

I have become rather intolerant of McCain's voice, however, so that is one unexpected outcome of the debate. Most of his speech's have been rather dull or stumbling, and he has spoken in an even tone, despite tripping over his words at a biker rally or sounding bored while attempting to describe the common person's woes.** When McCain was speaking last night, he sounded whiny, but that may just be my bias against people that want to screw me over and continue the failed policies of our current Moron-in-Chief.

I was starting to get really frustrated with Obama until he began hammering back at McCain, somewhere around twenty minutes or so into the debate. I was hoping he would pound McCain's "experience" in foreign policy a little more, and was very pleased when Obama flat out said that McCain had been wrong about Iraq,*** in every way possible. I hoped that Obama would fight back against this bullshit claim that we are "winning" in Iraq, when we have heard no definition of what "winning" means or when we hope to achieve that, much less how we hope to reach that.

On a separate note, I was also disappointed to hear that the Vice Presidential Candidates would only be having one debate. I would like to give Biden a chance to prove that he isn't as much of a chundernozzle as I think he is so far. I would also love to watch Palin lose.****

*About the same percentage that McCain has voted with George W. Bush. That's some maverick.

**Where's my heiress? If only I could follow the McCain Economic Recovery Plan.

***Uh...remember these? Google was probably the most effective way to search for them.

****How do you not know what the Bush Doctrine is? What the hell have you been doing for the last eight years? Watching the news with the sound off, too?

Friday, September 26, 2008

From the People That Brought You Indy 4

A prequel to I Am Legend? Why the hell would you...for a bunch of people that so completely missed the point of that story, I...lord help me, I give up. I just give up.


I have been busy as hell all week. I am helping to get my church's yard sale ready for this Saturday. It might rain, but it might not. We're going ahead with it no matter the rain or lack of it.

I also went out to see an Air Guitar competition on Tuesday night after class, more on that later tonight with pictures. And met some friends on Wednesday night to listen to a DJ do a funky set at Saint Ex. I have been networking my ass off everywhere I go.

My father sent me a link to a video of Richard Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, giving a speech about racism and the election from July. I like it, so I hope you will, too:

Incidentally, this is also the weekend for Baltimore Comic Con, and for the fifth year in a row, I have given my time to my family's church instead of going to meet some of my favorite web cartoonists. I'm broke anyway.

Monday, September 22, 2008

About as Good an Explanation as We are Likely to Get

The recent economic troubles/disaster/shitstorm/totalfuckingidioticlunacy in song. And in color.

And WTF? Is Yahoo running a nostalgia special on the news from 1950 through 1989? That quote from Putin that keeps showing up in Call of Duty 4 about "...those who fear the Soviet Union are right, and those who miss it are insane..." (paraphrased) apparently was an admission of insanity on his part. If this keeps up, I expect to be informed that I have to go back to grade school in Romania and have my Tiger electronic game stolen by the Secret Police again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Much of a List Fan

You know how some people do those lists of shit? Like top five desert island albums, or top five desert island books, or top five desert island hot babes? I am not usually one to make a list but 13 tops them all.

I knew a bad thing would happen if I let myself watch House.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not The Peeps You Were Looking For

Apparently, this video cruised the tubes a while back but I missed it. The destruction is rather sublime. The expressions on the bunnies rather quickly turns from happiness to abject horror and the experience can tingle the creepy parts of your mind.

I found this on Aurgasm.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Battle is Enjoined!

The Corn Refiner's Association has struck back against those fighting the forces of over-sweetening and accidental obesity. They have commissioned at least one commercial and an informational website. According to the commercials, high fructose corn syrup comes from corn, is all natural, and is just as bad/good as sugar and honey. Let's break these claims down individually.

"High Fructose Corn Syrup Comes From Corn"

Yes, indeed corn syrup does come from corn. However, this is almost like saying that meth is clean because it is made with bleach. While I don't put either meth or high fructose corn syrup in my body, if I had to choose I would choose the corn syrup over meth any day. Parents of small children may disagree with any distinction between the two.

"All Natural"

According to the website, HFCS is...
considered a natural food ingredient under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's definition of the term “natural.” Under FDA rules, “natural” means that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”

By this definition, gasoline is natural, too. That must be why we don't need factories to make the stuff, or to make HFCS. I wonder if you can get organic HFCS.

"Nutritionally the Same as Sugar or Honey"

The chart on each page reinforces this claim. The ads claim that as long as HFCS is used "in moderation" HFCS is just as healthy as any other sugar. This may actually be true, I am willing to concede this point. Let me be clear: I admit that HFCS is just as good or bad for you as any other refined sugar and honey. Except for the teeny, tiny problem of actually trying to use this stuff in moderation. HFCS is in freaking everything: like apple sauces, almost all non-diet soda and fruit drinks, coffee flavor syrups, beef, yo momma, etc.
According to the USDA, high fructose corn syrup accounts for roughly 41% of all caloric (nutritive) sweeteners consumed in the U.S.
True, but corn sweeteners--including HFCS, glucose, and dextrose--account for over 50% of all sweeteners shipped in the US, according to that table the website mentioned. (You have to open a spreadsheet from the USDA to find Table 49.) The funny thing about the honey claim is that we aren't consuming nearly as much honey as we do HFCS. Only 148,000 tons of honey was shipped in 2007. Almost 11,000,000 tons of corn syrup was shipped in 2007. I guess this must be what the Corn Refiner's Association calls moderation.

I was suspicious of the claim that only 40.1 pounds of HFCS were consumed per year, per capita. The chart is clear about this, despite my completely anecdotal suspicion. We purchase about 50 pounds of the stuff per year per capita, but let an estimated 20% go to waste (uneaten or spoiled or etc), according to Table 52. This means that we are wasting 20% of our soda purchases every year. I have a friend whose mother will open a soda and drink a few swallows and then put it back in the fridge and twenty minutes later, she will open a new one and repeat the process because "she just wants a little drink, not a whole one." This boggles my mind and fills her fridge with 30 or 40 half empty sodas a week, which all go stale before anyone else gets thirsty. These are also diet so they don't count, therefore everyone everywhere drinks every drop of soda and eats every pound of HFCS they purchase. 20% seems kinda high to me, but I am not an expert working for the USDA. I have wasted corn starch plenty of times making some non-Newtonian fluids and those are always cool, so maybe 20% isn't so high...except corn starch isn't corn syrup.

One regular soda a day is horrifically bad for you. Diet sodas aren't so great, either, with all that salt.

Despite all this blathering on about HFCS, I have only one reason for disliking HFCS beyond the health reason: it tastes terrible. Sodas and fruit drinks with made with cane sugar taste more refreshing to me. Cane sugar straight off the cane is soooo much better than corn syrup straight from the jar, especially when you go to the Latino grocery store and buy it in a bunch and then chew it like tabacco and sit around the pool. If you can get past the woody texture to the sheer buzz and flavor of the sap, cane sugar is brilliant.

Next week in wild, quasi-scientific rambling: if men are often red/green colorblind, are rare women blue/yellow colorblind? I once convinced an ex-girlfriend's father that this was the case, despite having never heard of it and having done no research whatsoever. I just wanted to convince a well-respected lawyer that a total fabrication was the truth.

Blog Delays

I am having trouble typing because I keep hurting myself while playing Guitar Hero. Fuck you, it's fun. Except for the pain.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do Not Blog About It

This is me not blogging about something about which I don't know anything: Raven is wearing a funny t-shirt that probably doesn't refer to something about which I know nothing at all.

I Got a Job Offer!

In addition to numerous job offers to SELL INSURANCE FROM YOUR HOME AND EARN THOUSANDS EACH WEEK!!!, I received this job offer that sure looks like a nice opportunity to become a Nigerian scam spammer:

Greetings! Our company is registred in the Careerbuilder company. We have reviewed your resume and are eager to inform you that we are ready to offer you a vacant position

If you are intrested in getting the job in our company please reply this email.

We looked through your skills and became sure that you correspond to our requirements.

Job scheme will comprise the following:
1. You receive payments from our customers (By checks, Money orders e.t.c)
2. Than you fill forms with details of received payments in your Internet Office
3. Transfer money to our main office by requested methods.

Your earning will be 8 % of the amount of each completed payment please answer this message with your –°ontact Infomation and Attach your Resume to e-mail.

Additionally we are going to effect you $1500 as your salary at the end of each month.

This job will allow you to:
- Get financial independence working only 3-5 hours per day;
- Get additional free time;
- Efficiently work at home;

General requirements:
- Willingness to take the responsibility to set up and achieve goals;
- Ability to create good administrative reporting;
- Prior customer service experience is a good benefit;
- Internet and e-mail skills; Experience in online work;

In addition we will be able to offer you $ 2500 as a monthly payment after completion of the trial period.

In case you are interested in the position, please register at our web site and get there futher instructions.


There are a few red flags in this message, let's see if I spot them all. First, numerous misspellings. Second, ALL I WOULD HAVE TO DO IS SIT AROUND COLLECTING MONEY AND SENDING IT ON FOR A CUT!? SWEET! Schyeah, right. Third, the company name is not listed at all. Fourth, it came from a gmail account.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Synergy in Mind and Webcomics

In college, I was a...scattered individual. Since becoming a more focused, or perhaps coherent is the proper word,* I have either lost the desire or need to attend late night visitations to the wildebeest carcass, or gained the ability to find dead wildebeest wherever I roam and regardless of the hour. Since I am on my second pot of coffee, I doubt that even regular "readers" understand what I mean when I talk about wildebeest, but any regular "viewer" of Animal Planet will understand. Clearly, I am talking about eating pancakes at four in the morning simply because you want some maple syrup, or you have perhaps more sinister motives.

In the days shortly after leaving the hallowed halls of learning, I longed for a return to the clarity of pancakes consumed in the hours between dusk and dawn. I sought out fey circles and other shrines to the gods, followed other strung-out seekers in a communal quest for late-night, grease-induced visions. Despite all attempts to reach that odd plane of mental and physical union of process that was once achieved with ease, I remained lost and listless. I could not regain my impetus for inquiry. I drifted thus, hungry and syrup-deprived. I wandered the country. Penniless and desperate, I eventually made my way back to the Manor and suffered the tender ministrations of my parents until I could stand and walk once more.

I was grateful for their help but anxious to be moving again. A lifetime of travel has left me unfit for settlement for periods longer than one or two seasonal cycles of our lonely planet. I moved on, and took residence in an underground hovel. It was there that I began to suffer the full withdrawal from my former habits. During the agonizing hours of the night, the cravings for sweet syrup and fluffy griddle cakes pounded through my being and shook me to the core. I lay awash in pain. As the months ground slowly on, I found that I could sense that missing clarity floating just out of reach, just behind the next door, on the edge of memory. In a still, cool, fall night, I finally grasped that strange and wonderful process of mind while strolling the empty sidewalks. There was no hunger within, no maple syrup on my chin to guide my vision. There was only the solitude of a city sleeping while I and perhaps others walked the barren alleys and avenues. Since then, I have been able to summon this inspiration when desired, and I am better for it, though I doubt the world would agree.

There are many other reasons for visiting the IHOP or profane IHOP-equivalent at such an early, or late, hour. Perhaps you have an allergy to the food offered by your institution. Perhaps you are an insomniac. Perhaps you have a term paper due and need some coffee and carbs. Perhaps you really appreciate Mrs. Butterworth in a way your friends would never understand, should they find out. Perhaps you have a wager about the number of teeth the waitress has. Perhaps you feel a need to have every menu item once in a semester, due to some bizarre form of gastric OCD. Perhaps you have even stranger, eldritch reasons for visiting an Interdimensional House of Pancakes.

I might have said too much. I can feel the influence of weird energies on my mind, and I think I may have given the beast too much food yesterday evening. The crickets do not sing, for the hungry, hairy beast hunts in the dark. Be wary.

* Condensed? Concentrated? Distilled? Aliquoted?**
** Now that there is a truly old inside joke.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Move Over Pam Atlas, Sarah Palin VLogs the Campaign


I am not really one of those seriouspants bloggers, nor am I really funny, but I know what I like and I like these videos. Sarah Palin also has her own website here.

Another Day, Another Pile of Shit Falls on a Republican't Somewhere

I have been fired for far less than the shit that has been falling squarely on the shoulders of my ideological opponents. You can read more about these incidents, uh, pretty much anywhere. I'll be busy looking for a new job.

In the meantime, what the fuck was Lindsey Graham doing advertising on FDL? I wish had been able to grab a screen cap of that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Genius Versus The Atlantic Ocean: 0-1

In a press release dated September 1, The Genius alleges that the Atlantic Ocean did knowingly, and with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault The Genius over the course of two days. Suffering from blunt force trauma to the skull, a hyperextended knee joint, and a twisted foot, The Genius claimed, "Those fucking waves are being way too fucking rough. I'm gonna go sit in the sun and ache."

The Genius is alleging that on two occasions within ten minutes, the Atlantic Ocean and its partner, The Wind, created surf conditions that initially appeared to be fun and not at all dangerous but caused inflicted serious pain and injury to the person of The Genius. Furthermore, The Genius alleges that the harm was deliberate due to the apparent lack of injuries sustained by "all the other fucking people and all the damn kids" on the beach in the general vicinity of The Genius during these heinous attacks on his person.

In an interview on the morning of September 2, The Genius stated, "I'm fucking sore and this is really gonna screw up my basketball and bicycling schedule. Fuck that whole ocean with a rusty pinecone."

The Genius is seeking compensation for pain and suffering in the amount of 1,000,000,000 dollars, plus medical expenses and legal fees, or 100 years of unclaimed sunken pirate treasure, aka booty, from the Atlantic Ocean.