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Sporadic

Follow up

September 29th, 2011 by dac

Just a quick follow up to my last post. I got this in my email today and it pretty much sums up Tea Bagger Beliefs:

2012 IS COMING 
A Nation of Sheep Breeds a Government of Wolves!
I’M 100% for PASSING THIS ON!!!
Let?s Take a stand!!!
BordersClosed…
Language: English only...
Religion: Christian
CultureConstitution and the Bill of Rights!!!
Drug Free: Make a drug screen mandatory for anyone on welfare and/or food stamps!
NO freebies to Non-Citizens!
We the People are coming

Here’s my favorite part… Culture: Constitution and Bill of Rights follows the Religion: Christian. Maybe they ought to check out the third thing on the Bill of rights?

http://www.constitution.org/billofr_.htm

Bizarre! It’s like they’re trying to prove me right.

BTW if you’re like me, any chance to use the tags “tea bag” and “nut job” on the same post makes you giggle

 

Nuanced Hate and friendly Muslims

September 26th, 2011 by dac

I was running yesterday and I was also thinking about the Tea Party.

I am trying to understand why they exist. It makes no sense to me that people from lower middle and middle class would support politics that actually affects them in a negative way. The great majority of people that self identify Tea Bagger, are folks that are not of a wealth class that benefits from any of the tax cuts that are being put forth by the party they identify with. I think we have an issue of nuanced hate and fear of change. To understand this I think we have to compare historically to modern times.

So let’s start by painting the whole room “President Obama is bad and isn’t doing the right stuff” colored. That way all the conversation we have going forward can be in the President Obama’s bad room. I imagine that the room is sort of Robin’s egg blue but maybe the tea baggers would say the room has been painted black.* It’s important to recognize that for what I consider largely irrational reasons the entire right side of the political spectrum has decided that President Obama is to be handled by digging in their heels and refusing even the most basic of compromise. If the President declared that he was for kittens the Right might very well put out a bill to have all kittens catapulted** into the sun.

Now into this freshly painted room let’s put three tables. A table of the past, a table of the present and a table of the future. Let’s start by sitting down at the table of the past.

The folks in the Tea Party leadership space are all in the late 40’s and early 50’s, which means they all grew up in the era of the cold war. The cold war was easy to understand: All of our enemies were communists and all Russians were communists. All you had to do was be afraid of foreigners who weren’t either British or Canadian and you were good to go.

It's easy!

The cold war, graphed

The thing about the world today is that we now have the relationships switched. All the people who used to hate the larger group and know that they had everything covered now have to understand more complex interactions.Let’s more over to the table of the present.

All terrorists are Muslim but not all Muslims are terrorists. In fact it’s a tiny, tiny sliver of the larger group. Now instead of hating an entire people, the Tea Party has to hate just  .0001% of a group.  That’s hard to understand, and frankly the folks in the tea party aren’t really used to working with nuance. These are more broad stroke brains**.

Oh crap! That dot is looking at me funny!

The Dangerous dot

So the problem is there. People who are used to hating others because of the language, religion, the color of skin or what-have-you, now have to understand that here’s a huge population of people who are smart, decent, friendly, hard working and generally pleasant have a tiny subset of lunatics. Those lunatics who are out to get us who are a very small number (globally) are the people to be hated and not “all brown people”.

To get an understanding of how this might work in another subset, what about we show the group that say Timothy McVeigh came from. Who were they? Oh right Americans. Oh and subset of that: right wing jingoistic Americans… the self same place that the Tea Baggers live in. Now come over here and take a seat at the table of the future.

Let’s also take a look at the room we’re in. Whoa that’s a funny paint job. Let’s also look at the state that the government wants us to live in. Why do republicans insist that President Obama is wrong? What’s he done that is wrong? Why was the thing that people said about him during the campaign “He’s a Muslim” viewed as a bad thing (just to be clear he’s not)? Well because we need a big room to hate. We can’t just hate the people who are out to get us, we also have to hate anyone who looks like them. So if you aren’t white, christian and male… you’re up to no good. President Obama was missing one of those.***

Here’s what I really don’t get: How come President Bush, who really did lie and cheat and screw stuff up, gets a free pass and President Obama, who has tried to save the economy the Bush screwed up, get us out of the war Bush lied to get us into and give the poorest people a chance to have health care, doesn’t.

I was about to say something about how why do people support politicians who vote differently than their economic bracket (i.e. vote for republicans who are shopping for tax cuts for people who make 90% more than you do) but then I realized: I want programs for the poor and I do well for myself. I don’t believe in cutting social services. But really, I should be a supporter of screwing the poor and letting them figure out what to do on their own.

Damn you compassion!

Anyway. So that’s what I came up with. I think the Tea Baggers just don’t understand nuanced hate.  It’s why they are so excited about the Sept 11 anniversary. It brings them back to a happy time when they could hate people because of the color of their skin or where they came from. Sorry to tell you, Baggers: This century we have to hate people for the stuff they say or do!****

Stupid Russians! Stupid Arms Race for destroying a perfectly good villain!

* Hello Irony

** See what I did there? Kitten? Cat-apult? Cat?

***And maybe not the smartest bulbs either- looking at you Mrs Palin.

****Guess which!

***** I always said that I didn’t understand racism because there were so many really good reasons to hate people on an individual level that it seems pointless to group them.

***** Thank you to This is Indexed for the stolen Venn diagram idea*

Do not ask for whom the kettle bell tolls, it tolls for thee

September 23rd, 2011 by dac

So I’ve been going to the new Boot Camp over in Oakland* and it’s good. I like/ hate it. I mean it wouldn’t be good if I didn’t hate it and have to motivate myself to go… so it’s good to hate it.

There’s plenty to miss about SF Basic Training (my old boot camp in the city). I liked the outdoors. I liked the small class sizes. Melissa was Awesome. Unfortunately, the timing just didn’t work out. It was too hard to get across the bridge in time.

At the new Boot Camp I am doing two days of Boot Camp and then one day of personal training. Frank is the PT guy and he’s a killer. Nice guy. Killer.

However, the big sell up comes in that I’m actually starting to see actual results. It’s been a month and I have some definition. I don’t have wash board abs, but I have abs. I don’t have guns, but I don’t have jiggling tubbo arms. It’s good.

I think during the past year I kinda let myself go a little. I was starting to get a little fat Elvis. Sedentary. Slightly too drinky. Bad food as a “reward” i.e. like you get this quesadilla suiza because the rest of the day sucked.

So my ass is being kicked, which is good. I think I feel more likely to want to do right by my body in other areas when I’m working out. Less likely to eat as much crap, or drink as much or (gasp) smoke.

So the thing I wanted to discuss, was part of the whole work out thing which is : The Kettle Bell**

When I was doing Basic Training they had them around but it wasn’t used as much and it definitely wasn’t part of the main work out. However we knew to hate them. We called them the “not it” because no one wanted to end up carrying it.

At the new place they’re in every work out. The Kettle Swing, the snatch, the press up… I could go on but it would only make me wince uncontrollably. I think they’re probably the reason I’m seeing results, but they’re also a regular visitor in my nightmares.

I asked Nicole the other day when I would stop being sore and she said “It’ll get better all the time.” I’m pretty sure she’s a *&%ing liar, since it’s been a month and I hurt as bad today as I did day one, but let’s hope.

*Which as it turns out is in Laine and Ted’s apt building

** Watch it suck on Youtube!

Oh Facebook, those 428 people don’t really know me.

September 14th, 2011 by dac

Many of you know that I don’t really “do” the Facebook. I don’t see the point. No one is that interested in what I have to say or do or eat or whatever the kids are posting these days.

However, I noticed today that Facebook will probably become slightly less annoying to me and therefore slightly more useful.  They have a “friend sorting” feature that allows me to cut back the amount of stuff I have to read from people I haven’t spoken to in decades. I can cull facebook down to the people who I actually speak with and suddenly…I’m interested again.

So I can use Facebook for now both it’s useful features: 1.) keeping up with people I like and 2. ) maintaining vague distant connections with folks I might want to look up sometime.

I started the list of the “inner circle” and don’t worry, if you’re reading this I’m sure you made the cut… hmmm, maybe. I once dated a girl for three years who said during year three “you have a blog!!??” and then proceeded not to read it. So maybe not.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this delightful little nugget with you for your own usage. This does not however, mean that I will ever post to Faceboo more than twice a month, but no one was clamoring for that anyway.

I do plan, on the other hand, to try and get more stuff up here more often and maybe now that I have to spend less of my time hating facebook I can spend more of my time thinking of funny stuff to type.

Stop time! In your dreams!

August 26th, 2011 by dac

This morning I woke up at 5 am. Not about anything…I was just up. I read for a little bit and then decided to try to go back to sleep for a little while. I remember looking at the clock and thinking “Okay, 5:30…sleep til 7:30….that’s two hours, I should be fine”

I fall asleep and have this really intricate detailed dream.

I’m trying to get through security at the airport and I’m having issues with my ticketing and then my flight is delayed. I end up getting through security but it takes me like 45 mins. I get to the gate and my flight is two hours delayed so I head over to a bar.

The bar as it turns out is the one from the Pittsburgh International Airport that I end up sitting in everytime I go back to PA. I think it’s like a Sam Adams Ale House or something. I order a beer and the game is on so I’m watching the Steelers. I think they were playing the Houston Oilers, so clearly the dream is lying to me. I end up talking to the guy next to me who explains that the “Texans” finally decided to go back to the powder blue Uniforms and scrap the whole Texans thing.

We watch about half the game and the Steelers are up by 6 points at the half. I walk over to the gate and find out that the flight has switched gates so I have to walk over to another terminal. I get there right before the 4th quarter. Steelers are still up but only by three.

I check my boarding time- which is still out about 30 mins, so I order a beer and watch the last quarter. The steelers win and I go over to the gate, my flight is boarding. I find my seat, I stow my luggage, I send a quick text to Nicole, who is apparently picking me up, I turn off my cell and wake up.

It’s 5:45.

Here’s what I’ve learned: If you want to stop time, think about the airport.

The Warren Commision

August 17th, 2011 by dac

I can’t say I’m a big Primus fan, but everytime I have to spend time in the Dept. of Motor Vehicles I remember a lyric from Pork Soda. I can’t remember which song. It says:

“I’ve been to hell:  I spent it.

Spent it at the DMV

And anyone who’s been there knows precisely what I mean”

And Mr. Claypool is correct. I stood in line for 45 minutes so I could get a number to let me wait in line again. The numbers are designed to confuse you so you don’t know exactly how long you’ll wait- it’s like G 018 or F 046 and they might come back to back. Very confusing, but confusing by design.

So I get my number and take a seat in one of the many highly uncomfortable plastic chairs and embark on an adventure!

I sat down with my number towards the edge of the room, right next to window #12. At window # 12 was a guy named Frank Wolenski. How do I know this? Well Frank said his name about 46 times and the woman behind the counter repeated it 46 more. Frank’s name was actually Warren. Frank explained this to the dutiful state employee at length. However, Frank lacked anything but his good word that this was true. The employee required more than his word.

It went like this:

“I’m Warren Wolenski”

“I’m sorry sir but your documents say that you name is Frank”

“But my name is Warren.”

“Do you have any documentation to show that Mr. Wolenski?”

“No. I have my driver’s license.”

“Which says your name is Frank.”

“But my name is Warren”

“But your license says Frank”

“But it should say Warren.”

“But it doesn’t”

“How do I change that?”

“I’ll need documentation”

“I have my license”

“Third Base”

This went on for almost the whole hour I sat waiting for my number to be called. Here’s the worst part:

He gives up 2 mins before I get called to my window. They start processing his new license. I get to my window. They process my renewal. We finish within seconds of each other and then he walks around to the Photo window and gets in line right in front of me.  I get to hear the previous conversation repeated every time he speaks to a new person. It easily adds 30 minutes to everything I do from that point forward.

If it wasn’t so funny it would be sad and if it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

Oakie but not too oakie

August 10th, 2011 by dac

The other night, new friend Nicole and I are out to dinner at The Front Porch. We have ordered the fried chicken, which is what you get at the front porch. They have other stuff, and it’s good, but the fried chicken is the thing that they excel at. We’ve also ordered a few of the new appetizers specifically the corn dog & deep fried pickle chips. So we’ve got a corn dog, deep fried pickles and fried chicken on the way and I start looking for the next thing we’re going to drink. I’m thinking about this chalky white wine that I had the last time I was there. We’re sitting at the bar, so I ask the bartender about chalky whites. He tells me that the wine list is changing and they don’t have all the stuff they normally do, but let’s try to figure this out.

10 minutes later, I have had a taste of 4 separate wines. The bartender is in on the act. He’s tasting with me. We’re chitter chatting the whole time.  I have said the words “fruity finish”, “lacks brightness” and “Deeper tannin flavor” more times than I feel comfortable letting you know. Yes, I’m probably trying to be a little smarter than I am to impress the lady, but most of it I really meant. Finally we settle on an unobtrusive pinot gris that does almost everything I want.

I say to Nicole “I think this should be a good pairing”

she says “You do realize that you just spent ten minutes working on a wine pairing with a corn dog and deep fried pickle chips right?”

Then we’re both in hysterics.

Oh San Francisco. I’m a snob and a man of the people at the exact same moment.

Earful of an earphone

June 21st, 2011 by dac

I’m in New York this week to help with some training at work. I’ve been staying out in Brooklyn with Betsy, so each morning I take the F line up to 34th street where our offices are. I’ve been taking the subway in New York for years and years and I feel like I understand the ins and outs. I feel like I know the rhythm and get the fact that it’s always going to be packed.

This morning was no different. Train’s packed. 34th street arrives. Start scooting over to the doors as we come into the station. I’m stuffed behind some folks so I wait for my turn to exit and then all of a sudden there’s a rush to come in. I’m trying to get out and no one’s moving. Then the doors start to close, so I grab the door and push to get out. there’s a little friction but I emerge on the other side and the doors slam shut behind me.  Then I se something white clatter to the floor next to me. It’s an earphone. One of those white Iphone kindas. Just one. I realize in getting off the train I ripped someone’s earphones in half.

I feel guilty and annoyed all at once. We never would have been in this spot if they’d just let me out, but I could have just sucked it up and gone on to the next stop. I guess the thing I feel bad about is that now they have o get new earphones. I didn’t want anyone’s stuff to get hurt. I just wanted to get off the train. I’m sure somewhere further up the island, whomever it is that I denuded of music is telling their co-workers about some ass4073 who pushed past them off the train.

I feel bad, but at the same time – couldn’t they just back up for a sec so I could get off?

Oh well. New York is the summer. Land of hot and tempers.

If you happen across this blog headphone person- sorry- I just wanted to get to work on time.

Road Report: The Windy Apple

May 2nd, 2011 by dac

So I’m in Chicago for the first time in my life. It’s odd. The city feels familiar even though I’ve never been here. I chalk that up to the fact that there’s been a ton of TV and movies that I’ve seen that are based here, but it’s more than that.

As I’ve always said, Pittsburgh is the gateway to the midwest and I’ve always used city comparisons to prove that. Pittsburgh is less like Philly and more like Indy.

That comparison stands up here. Admittedly, Chicago is a much bigger city than all the other midwestern mid-markets I’ve been to, but it feels …well… familiar. I keep thinking that Chicago looks like what would happen if New York and Cleveland had a baby.  It’s big and there’s a Irish bar on every other corner, but it’s also friendly and a little self deprecating.  The streets are wide like they are everywhere that never thought that it would ever be any bigger than it was at any given moment. New York is a city built to be a city. It’s got a grid and it’s laid out perfectly. It’s perfectly measured and no space is left un used. Chicago has that classic midwestern oops about it.

I’m not saying Chicago is a bad town because of that, in fact it makes me like it more. One of the things I like about San Francisco, or Pittsburgh is it feels like a city that kind of constantly outgrew itself. You can see where old parts ended and new parts were added. I know city planners would have a cow if they heard me say that but it’s got a kind of charm about it.

I hear that London and Paris are the ultimate of this – probably to the detriment of traffic, but it adds ultimately to the “homey” feel.

I’ll see if I continue to feel that way when I’ve been here slightly longer than 10 hours.

It's a taxi! But It's on the water? It's a water taxi!

The Houston Project

March 24th, 2011 by dac

From: Whitney Houston
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 1:31 AM
To: Project management team
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: Dancing *please read*

Oh I wanna dance with somebody
I wanna feel the heat with somebody
Yeah I wanna dance with somebody

From: Project management team
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2011 9:15 AM
To: Whitney Houston
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: RE: Dancing *please read*

Dear Ms. Houston,

I’ve talked to the team and we have scheduled a kick off call to outline the project for Monday at 10 AM. You’ll get an invite in the next few minutes. Please let us know if there’s any issues.

Thanks,

Phil Taggart
Phil Taggart
Project Management team lead

From: Whitney Houston
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2011 6:45 PM
To: Project management team
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: Re: Dancing *please read*

Oh I wanna dance with somebody
I wanna feel the heat with somebody
Yeah I wanna dance with somebody
With somebody who loves me
From: Project management team
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 9:15 AM
To: Whitney Houston
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: RE: Dancing *please read*

Dear Ms. Houston,

Thank you for the further details on you project. We can discuss this on the kick off call tomorrow morning.

Thanks,

Phil Taggart
Phil Taggart
Project Management team lead

From: Project management team
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 10:15 AM
To: Whitney Houston
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: RE: Dancing *please read*

Dear Ms. Houston,

Were you joining the call?

Thanks,

Phil Taggart
Phil Taggart
Project Management team lead

From: Project management team
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2011 11 AM
To: Whitney Houston
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: RE: Dancing *please read*

Dear Ms. Houston,

We have rescheduled the kick off call for tomorrow morning at 11 AM.

Thanks,

Phil Taggart
Phil Taggart
Project Management team lead

From: Whitney Houston
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2011 9:45 PM
To: Project management team
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: Re: Dancing *please read*

Ohhhh,ohhhh
Come on baby, haha
Yea
Now get with this

Don’t you wanna dance
with me baby?
Don’t you wanna dance
with me boy?
Don’t you wanna dance
with me baby?

With somebody who loves me.

From: Project management team
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 8:15 AM
To: Whitney Houston
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: RE: Dancing *please read*

Dear Ms. Houston,

We received your latest communication regarding the project. While we feel confident that we can deliver on your original ask, the new elements of your project are out of scope. I don’t want to bother you with the possibilities of scope creep, but adding elements to your original ask will probably extend delivery date beyond the original planned delivery date.

Thanks,

Phil Taggart
Phil Taggart
Project Management team lead

From: Whitney Houston
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 2:38 AM
To: Project management team
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: Re: Dancing *please read*
Don’t you wanna dance say you wanna dance
Don’t you wanna dance?
Don’t you wanna dance say you wanna dance
Don’t you wanna dance?
Don’t you wanna dance say you wanna dance?
Uh huh. With somebody who loves me.

From: Project management team
Sent: Wednesday, March 230 2011 8:15 AM
To: Whitney Houston
Cc: Bobby Brown; Operations
Subject: RE: Dancing *please read*

Dear Ms. Houston,

Your business is important to us, however, we feel that this project is probably out of the abilities to the team. I see that the Ops department is on the CC line, could someone from Ops chime in and let me know if they feel that this project could be possible from your standpoint? Maybe we could touchbase later in the week?

Thanks,

Phil Taggart
Phil Taggart
Project Management team lead