Thursday, June 28, 2007

A "Well then," and then a saga

It's times like these when I feel my salary is actually justified. I've probably done more work in the past 2 weeks than I've done in the entire first 6 months of 2007. I finally hit a lull, though, so now it's back to blog action.

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Last Friday, the battery in my piece of ass phone died. This is the phone that I bought in January, after I drop kicked my old one in Maine in a drunken rage (I think two months later Frankie called me and told me he found half of it behind the couch).

So anyway, my battery's dead, but I've only had this thing for five months. I go to the Verizon store, tell them my story, and inform them that the battery needs to be replaced. The kind woman in turn informs me that she can sell me a new battery at a 50% discount. I tell her to shove it up her ass, and we reach stalemate.

Eventually, I get around to letting her know that I was planning on upgrading next month, when I will be eligible, so spending any more money on this piece of shit phone would be essentially flushing it down the toilet. She conveniently remembers now that it's now 20 months instead of 22 before you're eligible for an upgrade - "Mr. Blackwood, you've actually been eligible since last month!" (suuuuuuuure).

So it all worked out, because I really was going to upgrade next month, but instead of having to wait until then, I have a new phone now. I'd been doing some minor research and I knew I either wanted a Treo 700p or a Blackberry 8800 (Verizon doesn't offer the Curve). After checking both of them out in the store, I was leaning toward the 8800 (Treo looked and felt too clunky), when out of nowhere the 8830 caught my eye. Why hello, there... Your silver.. it's soooo much sleeker than the black... plus you come with a SIM card... Hmmm...

I sped home, and immediately checked Cnet's editorial and user reviews for the 8830. I was sold. While I raced back to the store, I tried to do some math. The advertised price was $299 with contract extension, but then you got a $100 mail-in rebate with that. Feasible. When I got back to the store and started through the checkout process, I made sure to tell the guy who I worked for, because I know that we get a corporate discount.

When it was all said and done, I had charged $219 to my credit card, and still ended up with a $100 mail-in rebate form. Huh? Confused, but obviously not upset, I grabbed my shit and hauled ass. I'm pretty sure I somehow ripped off Verizon. Those bastards deserve it.

Anyway, how's the device, you ask? I'm loving it. This is my first taste of Crackberry, and I'm just about an addict already - the OS is as slick as a 12 year old's taint. Obviously, the first thing I did was sync my email addresses, which worked like a charm. The beauty of having my work email synced is that I also get my Outlook calendar constantly synced on my device. Possible upgrade in overall self-organization? Check.

The device has decent enough multimedia playback capabilities, but in all honesty, whether or not I can watch a movie or view photo albums on anything portable is never a factor in my decision to purchase. [Aside: I'm just not a big fan of the portable, all in one device, in general. Maybe it's because I'm already a Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none myself, and so I demand that any technology I implement be an actual upgrade to my way of life, i.e. be highly specialized. Even the Iphone, with all its aesthetic appeal, looks uber-gimmicky to me.]

What I was really looking for was a device with superior email functionality, and there's just no arguing that RIM has that corner of the market absolutely owned. The push connectivity is really. freaking. awesome. Also, I'm sorry, but QWERTY keyboard is the way to go. Sure, like any unfamiliar terrain, the keyboard on the 8830 takes some getting used to (there's no space at all between keys), but after minimal practice, I'm probably typing somewhere around 300 words per minutes now - maybe even 400. And lest we forget, as in the 8800, the 8830 has a freaking clickwheel for menu nevigation.

Holler back at ya fuckin' boi.

Third party software I've downloaded so far includes the Opera Minibrowser (internet), Google Maps Mobile, and Beyond411 (an amazingly versatile 411-ish search tool). I've also installed PocketMac on the Powerbook, which is sync software that came bundled with the device. It's two way, and fairly straightforward and obvious. I'm thinking about trying out Missing Sync, though.

I only have a couple gripes so far, but they're both faults of Verizon. First is the company's decision to DISABLE THE FUCKING GPS. Yes, there is a GPS receiver built into the device, yet I can't use it. At all. I've read things about it being enabled in the future (for use with Verizon's own navigation software, of course), but I'm not holding my breath until then. How the hell do you disable a killer feature like this???

The other thing that is pretty lame is that Verizon won't let me send or receice MMS texts. I bought the phone knowing that it didn't have a camera (again, I could really care less about having a camera phone), but fully aware that it could still at least send/receive picture and other multimedia texts. Apparently I was mistaken - Verizon has also disabled the 8830's MMS capability. Assholes. The workaround is to have people text pictures to my email, but that's an inconvenience. Sigh...

Like I said, two gripes, but against the carrier, not the hardware itself. The device is freaking awesome. I will most definitely NOT be dropkicking this one in drunken stupors, or throwing it against the wall after the Longhorns lose.

Long story short, the moral is this: if you are going to text me porn, text it to my email, so I can actually receive it: punkrockervince at gmail dot com.

Kthxbye.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

The relentless human spirit

A man continued to unsheath the meatsaber after being stabbed. Twice. You can't write this stuff.

Thanks to Cole for sending us the story.

In case you haven't been able tell, work has been keeping me ridonkulously busy this week. Next week will be more of the same. Hooray.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Legion of Rock Stars

You like music, huh? You like bombastic, guitar-driven music from the 70's, 80's and 90's, right? Due to your love of music, you would immensely enjoy the experience of being in a band, but don't quite have the chops for it? Well, allow yourself the experience in four easy steps (note: this is a slight plagiarism of a Stereogum post I can't believe I missed.)

1. Gather a group of friends who think they can play the requisite instruments for a standard 4-piece rock group.
2. Buy 30 db noise-cancelling headphones for all involved.
3. Have everyone listen simultaneously to one of your favorite songs through their headphones and have everyone play along on their respective instruments.
4. Record the results and set to the original videos for massive YouTube consumption.

Legion of Rock Stars kindly have examples of the ensuing wonder:

Billy Idol!


Pearl Jam!


And the stadium classic, Journey!



Disclaimer: You might want to listen with headphones.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day old reflections

To me, one of the biggest challenges in raising a son is raising him to be manly. Not stupidly manly, but virtuously manly - just, courageous, excellent. The English word "virtue" is derived from the latin virtus, from the latin vir, the word for man. Virtus, then, signifies courage and manliness in general. So virtuosity is manly by definition.

Something I've always recognized as glaringly obvious is that I'm not as manly as my father. Then again, his father - my grandfather - is Teddy Roosevelt reincarnate, so I imagine that my father must've felt the same way I do at some point in his life.

Regardless of how I think I turned out, I am forever appreciative of my dad for the manly instinct he was able to ingrain in me; though my shortcomings as both a man and a father be many, it is only thanks to him that I am even able to recognize them as such, and thanks to him that I have an ideal to strive for.

Marching through fatherhood, I continue to grow and mature, literally, every day, and every day, concurrently, I feel myself becoming more and more like my dad. I believe it was Kirk who articulated that the conservative impulse is a man's desire to walk in the paths that his father followed. I am conservative to the very core of my being.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Healthcare Crisis! Your Children Will Die!



I'm supremely embarassed that the source of the most blatant, arm-crossed entitlement-complex idiocy is Asian. At least it's a girl. And, yeah, I giggled a little bit when the film maker faced the camera, shoulders slightly askance in portrait position, and gave the political punchline, but it's succinct and cleanly produced if not edited like a Daily Show interview. There's some great nuggets during the credits. Don't miss 'em!

"And honestly, I feel it's ridiculous that we live in a first-world country where I have to pay for basic healthcare." Shit on me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thank Christ I don't live in Katy

Seriously. Every morning while I'm driving and I hear the traffic report, that's pretty much exactly what I say. Same thing for the afternoon drive home.

This week, Forbes named the Katy Freeway/West Loop interchange as the second worst traffic spots in the nation (...and this picture was taken when Mrs. Reagan was first lady of the NATION; not of California...). The mag cites the spot as being responsible for 25+ million hours of delay each year. I'm really not surprised; the entire freeway is always a damn clusterfuck. With multiple pending lane and ramp closures due to construction, it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

Let's go to the map.

Nine times out of ten, if I'm on the Katy Freeway (I-10 west out of downtown), I'm on my way to Austin. Four out of those ten, I have Elliot with me. The good thing about small children and babies is that they count as people, meaning that his being in the car entitles me to hop on and ride in the HOV lane. Money, baby. I love zooming past those suckers crawling at 1.5 mph in 103 degree heat on a Friday afternoon. Fuck you, clowns!

I still don't understand why more people, especially those in the suburbs, don't utilize mass transit, or at least carpooling. Just thinking about how much gas money I would burn through in a month if I drove all the way downtown every day makes me want to puke. Hell, you can get a (literally) free ride every day if you just go wait at any Park and Ride long enough. People who are running late for work or who just want to avoid traffic are always looking for sluggers so that they themselves can ride in the HOV lane. Slugging is fucking AWESOME.

In short, traffic sucks and Metro rocks.

At all costs, avoid "The Top 10 Least Satisfying Driving Experiences in Houston."

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Monday, June 11, 2007

With Leather wins...

...for providing us with linkage to Amanda Beard!

Go now!



Now, everyone say a prayer that it won't be long until Stokke takes her turn...

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lazy Youtube blogging, I know, but this is worth it

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"It's all come full circle!" Return of the Prog Rock!

Dear Sir or Madam,

I formally request that the following be the Video of the Week for the remainder of the week.

Sincerely,

Toonie


Battles - Atlas



Battles is rock and fucking cyborg roll.

Now watch this shit live.



Yes. Fucking yes.

Allmusic
Pitchfork
Metacritic

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cathedrals of the Game

Every now and then, INHD runs a series called "Cathedrals of the Game." It's a good watch, but the title is more than a little ironic (if not outright preposterous), as more than half of the 15 or so parks they tour are named for a corporate sponsor (Minute Miad, Safeco, PNC, etc.) I can't imagine ever going to mass at Ignatius Press Parish or St. Domino's Basilica.

In that vein, read this from the Lion and the Cardinal:

I mentally compiled a short list of immediate changes in policy that I would make were I the owner of a baseball team, to dramatically improve the experience of watching the game. Bear in mind, of course, that doomed contrarian anachronism accounts for a healthy nine-tenths of my opinions on all subjects.

1) Tear out all the JumboTrons and electronic scoreboards. These more than anything poison the experience of watching live sports. If a man wants to watch TV, he can stay home.

2) Forbid all canned rock music. The ballpark organ exists for a reason. Make the organist earn his living.

3) Impose a dress code. Sport jackets and straw hats for men, ankle length sun dresses for women. Just like it was back in the good old days when the world was sane.

4) Accept as much advertising as necessary, but mandate that it all be designed in an old-timey graphic style, reminiscent of the late 19th or early 20th century.

5) Sing all the verses to Take Me out to the Ball Game, not just the chorus. And by the way: the word is never: nnnnnnnever. There is a consonant at the beginning of that word. Nobody is allowed to act smart and claim that there is a double negative in the song. The words are being sung in the voice of Katie Casey, who is pleading her gentleman-caller to take her to the ball game. She is not currently at the ball game. When she says that she does not care if she nnnnnnnever gets back, she means that she would be perfectly content to remain at the ball game forever. This may be hyperbolic, but it is clearly what the songwriter intended.

After that I would begin gathering funds for the Gothic Revival ballpark. It would include a copper roof with numerous turrets (sort of a cross between the old South End Grounds and Craigievar Castle); tympana over the entrances surrounded by niches for statues of fondly remembered players; functional gargoyles caricaturing famous opponents; a tower hung with change-ringing bells to be pealed upon victory; a manual scoreboard vaguely resembling a winged altarpiece; and an astronomical clock with automata that re├źnact great plays from team history on the hour. And possibly a bear pit out among the center field foliage, like they have in Old Bern.
Now, what is the obvious analog to a traditionalist revival of ball parks? A traditional revival of church buildings, of course. Fr. Z connects all the dots. Great stuff.

I would choose to worship at the Polo grounds, with Vin Scully presiding and doing play-by-play of The Catch. Afterwards, The Babe would perform an exorcism on Ty Cobb while Harry Caray chants "Holy Cow, Holy Cow, Holy Cow..."

Also, "doomed contrarian anachronism accounts for a healthy nine-tenths of [his] opinions on all subjects?" By all means, ditto.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

I'm going to Catholic heaven



"Well then I'd like to speak with Jesus."
"I'm afraid he's gone native..."

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Friday, June 01, 2007

I get wet

Frankie is a D.A. Supreme irony.

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I almost pissed myself last night on the bus home. Seriously.

After a certain time of night, the commuter buses combine three routes into one, and so makes three times as many stops as normal. Of course, my stop is at the end of the fucking line when this is the case. Here's a map for reference:

The distance from dowtown to my stop, the Fuqua Park and Ride (Point 3), is approximately 17 miles. Points 1 and 2 are other park and rides that normally have their own line of service, but get lumped into the late night, super-route. During peak morning and evening hours, however, it's just a straight shot for me down to Fuqua, no other stops in between.

Anyway, by the time I caught the bus downtown last night to head home, it was after seven, so that meant I was going to be stopping at Points 1 and 2. Strike 1. Additionaly, the logistics of reaching Point 1 are such that the bus has to forego the HOV lane, translating to a slower overall average rate of transit. Strike 2. Finally, from the moment I walked out of my office, my bladder let me know that it was preparing for evacuation. Strike 3.

By the time we reached Point 1, I knew that I was in trouble. Like an idiot, I was sitting at the back of the bus, and the steady rumble and vibration of the engine directly below me was working wonders in exacerbating the situation. I quickly tuned the Ipod to the Blue Album, something I knew I could sing along every word, to try and take my mind off the pain and the pressure. It didn't work a lick.

When we crossed 610, which is a couple miles before Point 2, I knew I wasn't going to make it. The guys next to me and in front of me were asleep, so I figured they would never know if I whipped it out and pissed in the back corner; however, the elderly woman up and over a row probably would know, and probably would mind.

I decided that I would have to make an exit at Point 2. It is several miles away from the Fuqua Park and Ride, so I would basically be stranded there, but I couldn't physically hold it anymore by that point. I was literally bouncing and rocking in my seat, tugging at my dick that had now shrunken so far in it was practically inverted. I bounced so hard that I woke up the brother in front of me.

As soon as the bus stopped, I ran the fuck out. I was already unzipping my pants before I made it off. The second I made it to solid ground, I took three strides to make it 10 yards to a bench, and released the fucking pressure. The bus hadn't left yet. I didn't turn around to see if anyone was watching me, but one can only imagine.

Uncle Tito came and picked me up. He is my knight in shining armor.

The end.

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