Friday, February 29, 2008

Making Marriage Work

Making Marriage Work
Originally uploaded by Jake T.

I realize the camera on my phone quite possibly takes the world's worst pictures, but hopefully you can see enough here to see that a "Lunch & Learn" class is being taught at my work, entitled "Making Marriage Work" and its taught by one Mr. Curtis HOOKER. I wonder what he recommends?

Update: I keep chuckling at the thought of the guy who comes home from work and tells his wife, "Hey honey, today at work I learned how to improve our marriage from a Hooker.", or maybe "Hey honey, today while I was at work, a Hooker taught me some things that might improve our marriage."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Big Digital Gets an...Eyebrow Trim??

Yesterday I went to my local GreatClips to get a haircut, as is my custom. Of course, its always a crap shoot in terms of quality. But its close, and I don't feel as creeped out as I sometimes do at the $4 place by the University. Anyway, this time I was less than thrilled with the skill of my barber (stylist?). I always get nervous when they're using the clippers on the sides and back and can't seem to do a very smooth job of it, when the clippers feel like they're bouncing off my head as they get rammed against it.

But, beyond the apparent incompetence of the lady cutting my hair, as she was wrapping things up, she did something that in all my nearly 30 years of haircuts I've never seen done before. She put a comb over my eyebrow and ran the shaver she was using to even up my sideburns over the top of the comb, trimming off any eyebrow hair that was poking out. I wasn't sure that that was what she'd actually done until she did it again on the other eyebrow. Now, I'm not sure that my eyebrows didn't need a trim. I mean, they've never been trimmed before, so if its something that should be done, they were probably due. But its not something I asked for, and they've been feeling a little weird ever since. In the future I'll know to inform them that I'm fine with the length of my eyebrow hair.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #22: Tom Hanks, Vintage 1986

I know I'm later than usual getting this out, but I've had a pretty full day. Anyway, here's a clip from "The Money Pit", starring Tom Hanks in which he does all but get killed while traversing some scaffolding on his sinkhole of a house.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Old Book, New Book #4: GEB


So while I was waiting for Gödel, Escher, Bach to show up at the library (can I just say that I love using the online Hold Request system like a free literary Netflix account? Now if only they would send the books to my mailbox.), I picked up another Nick Hornby book, "About a Boy", in part inspired by enjoying the film, but also it was the only one on the shelf at the library I was at.

It ended up being a pretty quick read and different enough from the movie to keep me from knowing how everything was going to play out. I mean the plot was basically the same, but the years that it took place and some of the minor details were different.

Then I got a notice that my holds had arrived at the local library (I also requested Fodor's NYC 2008 to help plan my upcoming trip). I swung by to pick them up and only then did I come to realize what I was in for. This Gödel, Escher, Bach book was hefty. Like a paperback textbook. It clocks in at around 670 pages, and thats not counting the 20 page preface whether the author tries to explain what the book is about, because over the last 20 years he's heard too many people get it wrong.

So, I'm not saying I'm not going to read it, or even that I'm not excited to dig in (I'm currently about midway through the preface). Just that this book exudes the feeling that its not an ordinary book and that reading it is going to be an undertaking, not just a lark. But I kind of like that challenge. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #21: The Art of War (NBA-Style)

Given that the NBA All-Star game was this last weekend and things are heating up for the last months of the regular season, I thought I'd share this NBA highlight video entitled "The Art of War" that has some great dunks and blocks in traffic. Go Jazz!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A plea on behalf of singles everywhere

Two good friends of mine married each other on Friday, and I had the opportunity to go to their reception that night. As the evening was nearing its end, it came time for the part of the reception that pretty much all single people over the age of 21 detest. Thats right, the bouquet/garter toss. I don't know if this comes as a surprise to you, dear reader, or not. But I can't recall having been at a reception where this was anything but awkward and uncomfortable.

Why is that you say? For starters, it feels like us single folks are being paraded out for everyone to look at. "Everyone who isn't married yet, come stand over here. We want to see who is the most desperate to grab something we're going to throw that, as legend has it, will indicate who is the next person who will get married." So it always takes like 5 minutes to drag all, or most, of the single people out to the designated spot. Then there's the moment when everyone tries not to be in the front of the group, which means that the group slowly moves backward away from the person doing the throwing. Now, bouquets seem to fly pretty well through the air, but garters are pretty much not going more than 10 feet tops. Which means that generally the garter is going to land on the ground even if the person in front actually wants to catch it, and generally they don't. And what a person does with one of those if they do catch it is beyond me. Am I going to hang it on the wall or something? Thankfully, I've been able to avoid grabbing one so far.

Anyway, as you can tell, this whole scene is pretty awkward and embarrassing for everyone involved. I'm not going to come out and say that it has to be stopped, although that would be nice. No one really believes that catching the item will actually increase their chances of getting married, or whatever its supposed to mean, so you're going to be hard pressed to find a group of singles who are excited about participating in this tradition.

But if it can't be stopped, I suggest at least making a little change. I've suggested before that people getting married ought to give gifts to their single friends. Well here is an excellent way to go about it. When you drag them out to humiliate them, by expecting them to jump like trained dolphins for the stuff you are going to throw, at least compensate them a bit. How? By taping some cold, hard cash to the the bouquet and garter. The reception is already costing you an arm and a leg. Why not take $100 and split it up between the bouquet and the garter? If I know single people, and I think I do, you're going to get a lot better response if there's a fisky coming to the person who catches it. The amount probably needs some experimenting. You don't want to incite a riot, but you do want people to be excited about it. Either way, your single friends will appreciate the thought.

Anyway, thats my rant for today.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Old Book, New Book? #3

Just finished Elves of the Cintra, and yes, it didn't take too long to power through it. Once I got up to speed with the first book in the trilogy, it was easy to just cruise through this second book, because it was basically just more chapters of the same story, as I mentioned.

The sad part, of course, is that the final book in the trilogy won't be out until this fall, so I didn't wait quite long enough to start reading these books. So I guess I'm going to have to find a new book to read. I'm leaning toward Godel, Escher, Bach, because its a book I've heard mentioned by some programmers and professors that I've admired and I've meant to check it out for a while. I don't know if the library is open today with it being a holiday and all, so maybe I'll have to find something else to do with the rest of my President's day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"The Big Digital to the Rescue" and "The Big Digital takes a Drug Test"

I've been thinking I ought to share more of whats going on in my life here on the blog, instead of only sharing whats going on in my head, so here goes.

This morning I woke up slightly earlier than normal, due to having gone to bed earlier last night because I've got a bit of a head cold. I got in the shower and when I got out I noticed that my phone had 1 missed call, from my roommate who is a pilot for SkyWest. Anyway, I called him back and he said he had a huge favor to ask me. He was supposed to be leaving on a flight in 15 minutes or so, but had forgotten his ID badge at home. Given that my work is pretty close to the airport, I said what the heck, hurriedly got dressed and did my best to get out there ASAP. You have to realize that ASAP included me needing to scrape the ice off the windows of my car, and also that it was fairly busy traffic. Maybe not the peak of morning rush, but still, busy. Anyway, I'm on the freeway when he calls to ask where I'm at. I tell him I'm about 10 minutes from the airport and he says, "my flight leaves in 10 minutes, so if there's anything you can do to drive faster that would be great". At that point I briefly considered taking an unauthorized high-speed jaunt in the HOV lane, but decided that if he missed his flight, he missed his flight, and that I wasn't risking some huge ticket because he forgot his ID. Anyway, I did my best to go fast and he ran out to the curb when I pulled up. He called a few hours later to thank me and say that his flight was only delayed a few minutes. I guess all those passengers owe me thanks as well, right?

Anyway, in addition to my rush job to the airport, I also needed to get to a drug testing center for a little side project I'm going to be doing at the U Hospital this spring. All their employees have to be drug tested, so it wasn't like I was being singled out. Anyway, this is the first time I've ever taken a drug test to my knowledge, and the whole thing made me feel kind of like a profession athlete. I was a little nervous, because a) producing a urine sample on demand isn't always the easiest trick to pull off, and b) I took two Tylenol Cold NightTime pills the night before. I hope that doesn't disqualify me. It also bears mentioning that the form I was given yesterday, when my drug test was scheduled for today, said that if I failed to show for this test on the day it was scheduled, that would basically disqualify me from being hired. What happens if unforeseen circumstances prevent someone from making their appointment? How dumb would I have to be to schedule my own appointment, and then get high the day of my test? (Not that I have ever gotten high)

Anyway, as I was collecting said sample, I thought, isn't there a better way than having to hold a plastic cup to catch my own urine? Can't there be some kind of device that could be mounted in the toilet or something? Something that doesn't involve my having to hold the cup and urinate on target at close range? Also, I was informed not to flush the toilet and I guess I have been well trained, because I had to fight against instinct to not flush after I took care of my business. I guess the no flush policy is to stop me from flushing down the empty bag that used to hold the clean urine that I bought on the black market. Speaking of which, whoever runs a black market on drug-free urine has a pretty crappy job. I hope it pays well.

Back to me, though. After successfully filling the cup beyond the "black" line marked with blue ink, I came back out of the bathroom with my prized sample for the lucky lady whose job is to deal with people's urine all day. I was pleased to see her fill two bottles, an A and B sample (I can thank Floyd Landis for my awareness of the existence of a B sample), and then seal them with tamper-resistant tape. I had to sign that I had seen them sealed and that the serial numbers on both samples matched the paper form I had filled out. With the holiday weekend coming up, I might not find out my results until Wednesday next week, but no matter what happens, I'm prepared to stonewall like all my favorite sports heroes. Speaking of which, I think its time for my B-12 shot.

Aren't you glad I started sharing?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #20: Confidence is very sexy...Don't you think?

Given the upcoming holiday tomorrow, I tried to find a clip of Lisa Simpson's "I Choo-Choo-Choose You" Valentine card, but as Fox is notorious vicious about Simpsons stuff being posted online, I was unable to round up any such clip. Instead you get this Skin Bracer aftershave commercial starring Jack Palance that my old roommate would always re-enact:

Also, seriously have I been cranking out these web videos for 20 weeks now? Thats an awful long time. Should I keep them up? Does anyone out there even care?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Old Book, New Book #2

Just finished up "Armageddon's Children" and started right into the next book in the trilogy, "Elves of Cintra". I have to say that I enjoyed the first book, and suspect I will enjoy the next one.

Here's my beef with Terry Brooks though. There was a time when his books were fully contained stories and came in around 500 pages or so. Then at some point, maybe starting with the Knight of the Word trilogy or maybe a little bit after that, he started writing "trilogies" that felt more like single books broken up into three parts, and started putting out one book of the series every year and ending them with cliffhanger endings. Its so much this way, that once the entire "trilogy" is finished they the put out an edition with all three in one book. Is that really a "trilogy"? I submit that it is not. Which just feels a little bit lazy for some reason. I don't know if he's trying to milk each book for three rounds of paychecks or what, but it also means that if you like a story, you have to wait until the next book comes out to find out how it ends. What is this, Lost?

Anyway, I feel glad that I didn't start reading this current "Trilogy" until now, because at least the first two books are out and the third one comes out this fall. Honestly, though, am I supposed to care enough about these characters to remember exactly what was going on in the last book a year ago, to pick up the next book and jump right in?

Anyway, I'm just griping and I do still like the stories. I just wouldn't rank them up there with the original Shanarra series or even the Heritage of Shannara series.

Monday, February 11, 2008

My Musical Recap of 2007, Pt. 4: Leftovers

As I draw this personal music recap of the year 2007 (Part 1: Best Albums, Part 2: Best Hip-Hop, Part 3: Best Rock), now more than a month gone, to a close, I bring you some music that didn't really fit in the other two categories of songs that I posted previously. A few left overs that couldn't be left out.


Pop! Goes My Heart - Pop
The best part of the movie "Music and Lyrics" staring Hugh Grant (yay) and Drew Barrymore (boo) was this song/video that is new but feel like its straight out of 1984 (the year, not the book).

D.A.N.C.E. - Justice
This was a song I found through other people's end of the year lists and Justice seems to be cut from the same cloth as Daft Punk, although definitely has their own sound. If you haven't heard of them check out this song and then maybe some of their other stuff. To be honest, so far this is the only song of theirs that I really am familiar with. Anyway, the official video is pretty cool, but I couldn't pass up this live version from Jimmy Kimmel featuring lip-synching by some of pop music's finests.

Finally, no recap of the music of 2007 can be complete for me without mention of my discovery, thanks to Randall, of Flight of the Conchords, New Zealand's 4th most popular folk parody duo. Here are some of my favorite FoTC songs:

Jenny - Flight of the Conchords
I featured this song on the blog, so long time readers might remember it.

The Hiphopopotamus vs. The Rhymnocerous - Flight of the Conchords
Bret and Jemaine show off their rhyming skills in this "folk gangster rap battle".

The Humans are Dead - Flight of the Conchords
More wit from the kiwis, including Jemaine singing in Stephen Hawking-esque Robot Voice. Warning: One F-word toward the end.

Issues (Think About It) - Flight of the Conchords
As a band, FoTC wants to be about "the issues". In fact that's just one of the things they're concerned about.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Watch This Wednesday #19: Daft Hands

This week's clip is a super creative music video someone made by writing the words of a Daft Punk song on different parts of their hands. The song is "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger", which you may recognize as having been sampled in the recent Kanye West hit, "Stronger". You have to wait about 50 seconds until the words of the song come in to realize what this is all about, but its definitely worth the wait. Definitely very cool.

Monday, February 04, 2008

My Musical Recap of 2007, Pt. 3: Rock

The 3rd part in an ongoing look at music from the year 2007.
Part 1: Favorite Albums
Part 2: Favorite Hip-Hop Songs

How Far We've Come - Matchbox Twenty
I Believe. The World. Is Burning to the Ground.

Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
Maroon 5 released their highly anticipated follow-up to Songs About Jane and for the most part I was underwhelmed. Maybe it will grow on me. Hasn't yet. Also the fact that my favorite song features a prominent F-word in the chorus, that I was unaware of until I downloaded it, wasn't so much fun. Don't worry, the embedded video features the clean version.

Speaking of Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5) if you haven't seen the song he did with Andy Sambergy on SNL, you need to check it out. Its a love song to Mahmoud Ahmadenijad (sp?), president of Iran.

When the Sun Goes Down - Arctic Monkeys
I found this song on a best of 2006 list and checked it out and fell in love with it. Especially the chunky guitar riffs that come in after the intro ends. Its a song about prostitutes and their clients. Caution: there's an F-word towards the end.

Welcome to the Black Parade - My Chemical Romance
I probably started listening to this song toward the end of last year, but since it didn't make last year's list I feel alright about including it here. Its a nice emo-rock epic full of angstyness.

Hey There Delilah - Plain White T's
I'm guessing you've all probably heard this song and gotten tired of hearing it, but maybe you're ready to give it another shot. Proof that you don't need a lot to make a great song.

Here are some of my favorite songs from the Linkin Park album I mentioned in the Top Albums section.

Bleed it Out - Linkin Park
One of the aforementioned Fort Minor-y tracks on the LP album. A strange mix of tambourines, hand claps, and mosh pit music.

Shadow of the Day - Linkin Park
One of the more adult contemporary sounding songs on the LP album. You've probably heard it by now, but I loved it before it was a single. ;)

In Between - Linkin Park
I don't think this has been released as a single yet -- couldn't find a music video - - but I really like this song. Again a bit lighter than what you might expect from LP.

No More Sorrow - Linkin Park
Strange to think that this song is on the same album as the last two, but here's a return to some screamy Linkin Park that maybe even goes further than where they've gone in the past in that regard. For me, I like the variety on the album.

The Great Escape - Boys Like Girls
There are so many of these emo bands out there now, thats its hard for me to keep them straight or care enough to check out their music, since they all kind of combine together in my mind. But most of them make some decent songs and eventually I hear one or two. I liked this one.

Fighting - Yellowcard
Definitely a classic Yellowcard song. Reminds me a lot of the songs on "Ocean Avenue."

Light Up the Sky - Yellowcard
This was the first single off Yellowcard's new album, "Paper Walls" and was one of the two new songs they played at Warped Tour this summer. It was one of my favorite albums in 2007 and definitely this is one of my favorite songs on it.

Thnks Fr Th Mmrs - Fall Out Boy
I think in part because their song titles don't clearly associate with their songs I had a hard time figuring out which songs on the Fall Out Boy album I liked best, but this is definitely one of them, and as I said earlier, I really like the album as a whole.

Closer to Our Graves - Lucky Boys Confusion
This is my favorite song on the "Commitment" album that I discovered this year. I like the changes from fast to slow, loud to quiet in this song and can't quite put a finger on what else I like about it, but its good. The only YouTube version I could find was this version set to images from some Japanese samurai-looking anime cartoon. But its a great copy of the song, so I guess you take what you can find.

Sunday Afternoon - Lucky Boys Confusion
Something about this song feels kind of reggae-y, definitely a cool song. Sadly I couldn't find anything but this live version to include here, and its not quite as great as the album version, but listen to it and you'll get an idea of how cool it is.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I thought we lived in a desert

I'm sitting at home right now and its snowing pretty hard outside. Looking for some comfort I went to check the forecast to see when we might have a nice day coming up. Here's what I found:

5 day forecast

Thats right, every day in the 5 day forecast has snow. And you know what? Here's the extended forecast:

6 to 10 day forecast

Yes, that's correct. is telling me that it will snow every day for the new 10 days. I guess I can take solace in the fact that next week we might hit a balmy 37 degrees.