[Musings] Perfection Deception

I spy with my little eye an epidemic.

There it is! Right in front of you! Buy this magazine, buy this book! You too can have perfect abs, perfect hair, perfect SATs, perfect sex. We're obsessed, enamored, entrenched. We have a love affair with the impossible - perfection.

When did we ever start believing this was possible? And how did our thinking become so warped that now we expect NASA and the space program to be perfect?

Thinking back to the coverage of the Discovery mission, I am still puzzled over the talking heads in the media. Their infotainment spin on the mission was if the shuttle explodes again, that will be the end of all space travel for the US. Ever. (Of course with some meaningless polls to back them up.) Now I can see how another tragic loss may prompt tax payers to take a harder look at the massive amount of fundage NASA receives, but I suspect the real reason for a NASA shut down would be that the public would consider another accident as evidence this whole space exploration thing is a total failure. We demand perfection from the most dangerous of our peaceful (as far as we know) pursuits.

I guess that's what baffles me - we do not recognize the cost of growth. Somehow we've been deluded into thinking progress and discovery come in neat, clean, and expected intervals.

[Tech] 24x7 Digital Age? My ass.

Nerdwife and I have been lusting over the Motorola Razr V3 phones. We currently have Sprint PCS, which means we cannot use those phones as they are GSM (lame, lame, lame). Since we get crappy PCS reception at our new home, I figured switching carriers would not be a bad thing. You have a choice of a few carriers, T-Mobile, Midwest Wireless, and Cingular. I ruled out Midwest Wireless as I want a national carrier that can give me the best deal and the largest coverage with all the bells and whistles of data access (internet) and other such goodness. Some of my co-workers have Cingular and they like it, and most importantly, they get decent reception within the data centers (which Sprint does not). So I did some research and found a place online that had a great (seemingly) deal on Motorola Razrs and Cingular family plan, so I signed up. It was a web form and I put in my existing cell phone numbers and they said they could port them to my new plan, so I thought 'ROCK!'. I signed up, the phones were $180/phone but they had a special offer of $180/phone mail in rebate, so sweeet. I ordered them.

The phones arrived, and flags went off. The rebates where wishy-washy and while giving the $180/phone rebate, they had wierd clauses that were not apparent on the website. Things like we can't submit the rebates less than 180 days but no more than 210 days after activation. There is a $250 equipment fee, plus the $240, plus extra monthly charges to cancel service pending on a variety of situations that were not listed.

So I thought, this all seemed like usual cell phone contract BS, I remember seeing similar in my Verizon and Sprint contracts. So I thought little of it.

The phones had to charge 24 hours before you activate them, so I plugged them in. This was Saturday. Today (Sunday) I called the Cingular number and they are not open on Sundays (which sucks), but they said we could activate phones via their website. So I surfed on over to Cingular's website. More crock-of-shitage. Since our numbers are portable numbers, they do not have them in their system, or perhaps they do not have them in their system yet, so the website wouldn't work. I went to the portability website on Cingular and entered my phone number and zip code. More failure. Now, my cell number has a prefix for the Twin Cities, but my zip code is Rochester, which I know could be an issue, BUT, they are all within Cingular's network, and Sprint gave me no problems when I changed my address to Rochester, since I was in the PCS area.

The local Cingular store is open today so I went to visit them. They told me since I went through the internet, and not them, they could not activate my phone from their store, we could use the phone to call Cingular, but Cingular does not have customer service on Sundays.



[SPAM] BlogSpam WTF??!?!!?

My SFMOMA posting had a comment that was spam. Won't those spamming motherfuckers leave us alone?


Or at least make it humorous so I can post it here and make fun of it.



Originally uploaded by Geist.X.
The SF vac series continues. This one was taken standing in the Yerba Buena Gardens looking at SF MOMA.

[Photo] Artistic Creek shot?

Artistic Creek shot?
Originally uploaded by Geist.X.
Another picture from SF. We took a trip up Hwy 1 to see the ocean, the big trees, and the beautiful country. We stopped at Stinson Beach, and waded in the Pacific (it was VERY cold, eventhough it was July). We then wandered up the coast more, eventually taking a side road that wound through deep forests and valleys. We stopped at a small spot and about 20 yards off the road was a small grove with a creek running through it. I took a picture of a place on the creek. It turned out well I feel.


[Photo] Decay at Alcatraz

Decay at Alcatraz
Originally uploaded by Geist.X.
Another picture I like from our digital album of the trip to SF.

Nerdwife asked me to take this shot as it is beautiful in its decay.

[Photo] Golden Gate Bridge in the Mist

Golden Gate Bridge in the Mist
Originally uploaded by Geist.X.
In July we took a trip to San Francisco. I will post a few pictures as I find ones I like from our digital album.

This is a superb picture I took of the Golden Gate bridge from a tour we took.

[Beware] Cleavage and FunYuns

I'm checking in with a blog as PSA here. I was recently dragooned into attending a concert by my erstwhile pal and workout partner. I'd never heard of said artiste, but he was at an allegedly fun bar and my weight-lifting friend raved about him...why not? Take note. I ignored several warning signs in the build-up to this evening:

  • I never really liked O'Gara's; they made too much of a little connection to Schultz
  • my Catholic gym buddy has on several previous occasions exhibited a propensity to be (enjoyably) shocked and embarrassed by apparently innocuous stimuli
  • aforementioned buddy cannot talk about previous concerts without giggling and blushing
  • the bad Charlie Daniels covers of the opener really should have sent me running

Nonetheless, there I was in a joint which has somehow evaded the St Paul smoking ban, paying my eight dollars (Eight! I pay only a little more than that to see real music!) and congratulating myself on being a good friend. I was surprised by the audience at first. We were (naturally) early, and surrounded by skanks in tanks (tops) and their leeringly insecure boyfriends. There was an equal number of pleathery-skinned couples in their 40's, or maybe 70's, it was hard to tell. Two voluminous hawaiian-shirted gentlemen I immediately pegged as D&Ders (cf. company I keep) seemed to be in charge. I was later informed they were roadies. And gamers. There were also two honest-to-god goth chicks, one of whom was picked up by the roadies after the third song.

Had this been the audience, I would have been happier about our crowd placement in the "dance area." Unfortunately, we were soon rushed by single, drunken 30-something men. My hopes this was a gay crowd were soon quashed.

At last, the main event. Pat McCurdy took the stage and immediately began singing..."Mama needs Funyuns" and calling for women to come up front. We were informed his favorite things were cleavage and funyuns, and things went downhill from there. As he proceeded with silly/obscence limerick-like songs, I struggled to keep from gaping in horror at the realization that I had paid this jackass eight bucks for being a dirty old man. The skanks were actually removing their clothing for him in exchange for free t-shirts or the opportunity to dance onstage. That's another thing: the dancing. I am a poor but enthusiastic dancer-yet I had to close my eyes to escape the dance carnage around me. Half the songs have actual motions (think macarena) and the other half evidently require some flailing. Two bright spots of the evening: first, the song dedicated to pissing off republicans had a lovely satirical ending lost on most of crowd; second, Pat blissfully stopped singing frequently to play clips of popular music. Although the music of the eighties promoted altogether too much excitement in the dance area for my taste, the sing-alongs to Abba were fun.

My ass sore from being grabbed, choking on cigarette smoke and squinting to see through the crowd, I happily escaped at half-time. Apparently the really funny songs were in the second half; I'll take my friend's word for it.


[Politics] Um, Mr. President...

It's NUCLEAR, not NUCULEAR. Serious, you sound like an uneducat...ah fuck it, nevermind. No one is listening anyways.


[Musings] The concept of nothing

Nothing is something:


The fact that we have realized the need for a concept the complete lack of anything says a lot.


[Musings] Nother day...more paint

The last few days have been beautiful here. Not too hot, not humid, just wonderful.

We've been working on our 2nd house in the Cities getting it ready to be sold. We are almost done. We have spent at least 1 day per week and 1 day per weekend for the last 4 months getting the house ready. It has mainly been finishing up some projects that we never had time for when we lived in the house. Things like painting the upstairs, fixing the cracks in the spackle, re-tiling the linoleum floors, etc. Its been hard, time consuming work. But I hope it will be worth it. It's not liked we slacked, we've spent at least 20 hours/week working on this, which considering we now live 80 miles away and have to drive 1.5 hours one-way to work on the house, is a lot.

We never really seriously thought about just leaving the house as-is and trying to sell it. It looks so much better with a fresh coat of paint, new tile and a scrub-down. I hope someone will like it.


[Musings] Coffee, the beloved nectar of the gods

I have been reading Coffee:_A_Dark_History by Anthony Wild and it has confirmed what I have suspected for a few years now, that the largest roasters (those that control brands like Folgers, Maxwell House, vending machine coffee, etc.) have been using inferior beans for roast, simply for the sake of profit.

Roasters to reduce cost and improve profitablility have moved from usings Coffea arabica, a superior tasting bean, yet more expensive to buy and grow bean, with Coffea canephora (robusta), a bitter, but cheap bean. Until recently it was viewed as worthless to the coffee business due to its inferior qualities. When all the major roasters started being merged/bought out, this changed and now bottom-line trumps taste. Its not like these companies, who have devastated coffee producing nations with their undercutting the price per pound so that producers produce at a loss, pay a lot for coffee as it is, instead, much like textile companies, they make money on the backs of severely underpaid workers and farmers of developing nations.

Further more, the old blends using arabica are still there, but now they are the 'premium blends'. So you get to pay more for 'premium' coffee, that until a few years ago, was the regular stuff. The great thing is that these companies told no one when they switched. But I noticed. My family were Folgers drinkers for all of my life and I remember you could get a decent cup from the regular stuff. Now the regular stuff is bitter, gives a slap-in-the-face jolt of caffine and tastes like dirt was used to cut it.

Don't believe the marketing, robusta beans can never match the quality of arabica, unless the arabica is of the poorest quality and the robusta of the highest.

I WANT MY COFFEE BACK YOU BASTARDS! Or at least start labelling what type of beans are in the blend and to what percentage. Until this happens I will no longer buy your coffee. Thankfully, all is not lost. Illy, the world famous Italian coffeemaker has released its coffee for general public consumption and can be found in bean or ground form at many coffeehouses and specialty stores. It costs, around $10+/pound, but it makes a superior cup of coffee in a automatic drip coffeemaker (and the espresso is simply amazing), and as of this writing, Illy only uses arabica beans.

[Musings] Checklist of To-Dos before age 30

1. Carousel - check

2. Faced biggest fear - check (cancer)

3. Survived biggest fear - check (cancer)
3a. Proving the axiom 'that which does not kill makes you stranger' - check

4. Married and happy - check

5. Career satisfaction - 1/2 check, for the most part

6. Lose some weight (so I can be dead SEXY!) - check, 8 pounds and counting down, been able to keep it off, which is more important than the small loss

7. Get Bush out of the White House - F-, failed miserably

8. World Peace or Whirlled Peas - check on the Whirlled Peas, World Peace progressing slower than expected, see #7.

9. Get Ph.D - F-

10. Pickup groceries - check