Archive for November, 2006

Pleasure and pain

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

I went to see the new Bond movie, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good action, and I liked the characters. One of the things I really liked was that the humorous remarks weren’t played up, and the rampant silliness of the Roger Moore years was noticeably absent. I also was quite taken with the opening credits – it’s nice that they got away from the “floating silhouettes of scantily-clad women” look. Not that I mind looking at scantily-clad women, you understand, it’s just that the look of the opening credit sequence was a well-done and welcome change.

This morning, though, I was flipping through the DirecTV channel guide, and noticed a special “Christmas music” channel. Since it’s after Thanksgiving, I’m willing to listen to Christmas music now. However, the song playing when I selected the channel was Macarena Christmas by Los Del Rio, and it was followed by some rap thing.


Well, that was fun

Saturday, November 25th, 2006


I couldn’t stay asleep yesterday morning – I woke up at 2:45am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Around 4am, I decided to get dressed and see if I could pick up one of the Black Friday deals at Circuit City, which would be opening at 5am.

When I got there at 4:40, I had to park well away from Circuit City – it’s next to CompUSA, and that entire section of the parking lot was full. The line for Circuit City started in front of the store, went past the music store next door, past the bridal store next to the music store, continued all the way down the side of the building and into the back. When I joined the line, it had just started looping back toward the front of the building. By the time the doors opened, the line went all the way back to the front and there was a small crowd directly in front of the doors waiting for the line to disappear.

I went in and headed directly to the section I wanted, then waited for an employee so I could ask for the item I wanted. A few minutes later, a young woman showed up and asked, “Who’s next?” I indicated the lady next to me, and when she opened the display case to get her item, I said, “As long as you’re in there, could I get one of (the item I wanted)?” She replied that I needed instead to get into a particular line for checkout, because they were handing them out at that register. So, I did. A few minutes later, another young woman came by asking which of us in line wanted that item, so I got one.

I was about 5th in line at the time. By the time I was 4th in line, they were down to three remaining. By the time I got to the register, they were out.

After I was done, it took me several minutes to thread my way back to the front of the store so I could exit. By the time I got back to my car (about 5:35am), the section of the parking lot I was in (which had no stores that opened early) was also full, and people were driving around waiting for an open space.

I’m glad I got the item I was looking for, but I don’t think I’ll do that again.

I hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

I certainly did. I was invited to dinner with friends (it’s pretty much a standing invitation). Marion couldn’t come (she’s visiting a friend in Florida), so the invitation was passed on to my daughter, who decided to come with me.

I was responsible for bringing a vegetable dish, so I decided to bring a sweet-and-sour broccoli dish I ran across at a holiday party last Christmas season. It’s pretty simple, and turned out well.

I didn’t participate in the conversation much – almost all of the other guests were all neighbors of my friends, and most of the discussion topics involved local zoning issues. Many of the rest were political jabs and one-liners, and I didn’t want to ruin the mood by trying to talk with people who use the phrase “the Bush regime” unselfconsciously.

It was a good meal, though. I like these people, and I don’t see them nearly often enough.

Win a PS3

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Wizbang Tech is giving away a PS3 for Christmas, and the first task in the contest is to make Wizbang one of your Technorati favorites.

This post, besides letting everyone else (as if anyone else reads my blog) know about the contest, is to “claim” my blog by setting up my Technorati Profile.

Just stop it

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

I used to smoke when I was younger (cigars and pipes, mostly). I started so I could hang out with those of my classmates who’d get together for a cigar after dinner. I shouldn’t have; I remember being trapped as a child on long drives while my father smoked cigars and my mother smoked cigarettes, and it made me ill, sometimes.

I continued during my time on a submarine, which was really stupid, considering it was an enclosed and recycled atmosphere. As electrical division officer, I got to see the grease and ash on the electrostatic precipitators when we tore them apart once for maintenance. It was a stressful environment, though, and having a pipe to manipulate allowed me to avoid picking at my fingernails until they bled.

I gave up smoking after I got off submarines, because I got to where I hated how my mouth felt and tasted in the mornings. My parents never gave it up, although they did slow down. My father gave up pipes, but still smoked an occasional cigar up to his death. My mother – I can remember her, a few days before I got married, asking my prospective father-in-law not to offer her any cigarettes at the reception, because her mother would be there, and Mom had never let her know that she smoked.

A few years later, I smoked a cigar that I was given when a co-worker and his wife had a child, and I couldn’t come close to finishing it. The only time I hang out with smokers now is at a Blogger Bash.

All that said, I’m opposed to legislated smoking bans and other government measures (such as the taxes that are so high it becomes attractive to smuggle cigarettes into New York City). Individual entities that want to ban it on their premises have my blessing. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prefer that people quit smoking due to peer pressure, though.

I mention all this because it’s the Great American Smoke-Out today, and I’d appreciate it if you’d quit. It’s healthier for you. I’m all done nagging, now.

A few art links

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Lessons in how to draw.

Lessons in how to draw manga.

A lot of Japanese woodblock prints. I happen to like this kind of art a lot … two of my coffee-table books are Art of the Japanese Masters and Hiroshige – Birds and Flowers.

I am reminded of a T-shirt slogan

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

“I don’t have a drinking problem – I drink, I get drunk, I fall down. No problem.”

Cassandra writes on the subjects of problem (re)definition and the limits of patriotic dissent. The whole article is good, but I must admit that I was impressed by the metaphorical “frilly panties of fascism.”

I could have lived without hearing this

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

Then again, perhaps I couldn’t. According to a Swedish study, having two soft drinks a day doubles your risk of pancreatic cancer.

When I read that, I tossed the remaining half of the Coke I had been drinking – my mother and one of her sisters died of pancreatic cancer, and I’d prefer not to. It’s a good thing I’ve grown to like iced tea without sugar, because I drink that year-round.

A star (?) is born

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

If you have a Mac with iSight, you may find this movie trailer interesting.

Via Make blog.

Witty and poignant

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

Kiwi is a student animation project that’s been done quite well.