Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bigger & Better Things


I've actually got up and running! OMG! I know!

So yeah, go there, and check out the content as it develops. As it fills out, this site will be dwindling.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Speaking of Grandparents

Since I posted about my grandmother, I thought I'd go ahead and post a video I made of her ex-husband, my grandfather, Courtney Saum. The below video was shot while I was visiting him last week in Silver City, NM. In this clip he gives some advice on life, and what's important in it. Seeing as I never really had a father figure growing up, he was a substitute in many ways. The guy's got some pretty good views, I think. Enjoy.

The Ongoing Saga of My Ailing Grandmother

So now it turns out I need to return to Roswell, NM to attend to my grandmother and put her into a home. Needless to say, this is not something I relish doing. It shouldn't technically be my job, considering that my mother is still around, but so it goes. You can't pick your family.

To that end, I wish I had a more responsible mother, or for that matter, a more responsible grandmother. The former so that I could respect her for actually doing something to take care of her own family (we'll overlook her irresponsible actions considering my own birth and raising and just focus on the immediate circumstances) and the latter for recognizing that she was aging and that someone ultimately would have to make arrangements regarding her care.

I know that this is something callous to say, but I'm just being honest. I know I can be a jerk and a little cold at times.

So On Tuesday I'll be back in New Mexico, getting picked up by Gabe in ABQ and then going to Rui. From there it's off with me to Roswell. I have to see my grandmother into the hospital, and then out again (she broke her arm, putting in motion all these events) and assume Power of Attorney to get an accurate picture of her finances (nursing homes aint cheap). I also have to take stock of what's in her house to figure out what she needs and what hits the dumpster, cuz we'll likely have to put that house on the market so that she can afford to have someone take care of her 24/7.


Well, on the bright side it's good experience because I'll likely have to do it for my mother again sometime down the road.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Roy Pearson Is A Tool

I posted a while back about a judge in D.C. who was suing his local cleaners for upwards of $50 Million because they lost his pants. That douche bag is on trial now, getting his day in court. Marc Fisher of the Washington Post has written an article about it here.

This stupid jerk Pearson should be be disbarred and laughed out of town. What the hell are you thinking, man? Answer: you're not. You need to get a life, get a real job, and try to salvage what's left of your reputation (if you ever had a decent one to begin with).

The article mentions Mr. Pearson's son, who I pray for. Even though he's 30 this has to be terribly embarrassing for him. Sorry your dad's a douche, kid.

Funny Thing About Me ...

I hate talking on the phone. Even though I am like most Americans with the ubiquitous cell phone near me at all times, mine is mainly for text communication rather than phone to phone vocal calls.

Recently my grandmother has become a little ill, which has promoted my grandfather to be on the horn trying to reach me what seems like every five minutes (more like every half hour, in reality). I hate to say this, but sometimes I just don't pick up. There's no point, often, as he just wishes to revisit something we've already discussed. I've learned, however, that this is not a good strategy.

You see, Pops doesn't realize that every time he calls my phone makes a note of it, telling me that I've missed a call. So what happens is that I get a message that says I've missed 7 calls in the last hour and when I finally get back to him it's for something like "Hey Wes, I just wanted to see if you'd had lunch yet. You like to eat." God bless his soul, but that's not something I need to be called over. I hate talking on the phone.

I mentioned to him that I use text messaging (I described it as "little letters") and this tickled him pink. He was quite the corresponder in the past, though he does not write at all any more due to age. I doubt thaty he'll send me a text any time soon, but wouldn't that be neat?

Monday, June 11, 2007

A New Mexico Good Time

Ruidoso was a fun place to grow up. We had trees, we had water, we had mountains. That's a lot more than can be said for much of the state, really. In that way we were lucky. So, one day during of our visit to Ruidoso Gabe, Logan and I decided to show Eva some very small town New Mexico fun times.

We began by off roading up to a water tower. Now, I don't know if anyone out there reading this knows what off roading is. In Ruidoso it's a lot more than just getting off the pavement. It involved 4 wheel drive, seat belts and gritting of teeth. Not for the faint of heart. At one point we climbed up what must have been a 3 foot rock wall, only to get the 3 wheel motion going a little bit further down the trail, and then we ended up having to blaze a semi-new path through some underbrush. The reward, however, was magnificent. We were greeted with a pair of water towers, which just begged to be climbed.

Now here's where I give Eva credit. She was totally down to climb said towers after the initial adventure to arrive at them. That might not sound extraordinary in and of itself, but considering the ladders (yes, ladders, not steps) to the tops of the towers were closed off by some medieval torture device looking cage one had to squeeze through she didn't complain and just went right on through it like the rest of us. Go you, Magyar! Oh, and did I mention she was in wedges at the time? You rock!

The view from the tops of the towers was awesome, and unfortunately I didn't have my camera to snap any pics. I'll try to round some up from Gabe, Eva or Logan and post them, though. What was really neat was while we were up there on this little platform I noticed something familiar: My initials (WDT) and the date of 12/07 carved on a little bar that surrounded the platform at the top of the ladder. Neat! I had been in that exact same spot some 7 years prior! It was during a winter break home from New York City! Of course, I had to make another entry into this railing cum make-shift guest book.

After we climbed down and traversed the road back through the woods (this time needing Logan to push us for traction at the tricky 3 wheel motion part) we participated in an old American favorite: BOWLING! We had to wait a little while because it was league night, so Eva and I turned to some air hockey. Of course, her superior Hungarian skills beat out my sloppy American ways and she was triumphant. I gave her a little bit of a rally, but life under Communism taught the little red head a thing or two about winning with plastic pucks.

When it came time for bowling we selected names (Ciscokid here), got shoes and took a lane. I am not the best bowler, but I came in 2d amongst the 4 of us, beat out by Logan who is apparently getting ready for his spot on the PBA. To his credit, the boy's got that whole hook thing down pat. Me, I just throw it hard down the center, more or less. Unfortunately, my approach is not even as effective as the below vid clip of Eva getting a strike. I had a few spares, but not one of those damned Xs.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Malaguena, A Good Dog

Mallie died today. She was a good dog. It may sound morbid but I'm really glad I was here to witness this and be there. She died in the house, on the living room floor, surrounded by family and members of her pack. Not a bad way to go, really.

I remember when Gabe and I brought her home from Las Cruces in the back of his VW Van. She was such a cute little thing; she had been left for dead by a ditch on a farm road. She was always a very alert guard dog (part Chow) but she was plagued with health problems the last couple of years. Now she's no longer in pain.

Daddy, Gabe and I dug a grave for her out in the woods behind the house; near a trail she had run along countless times in better years. It was weird to bury her. I don't think I've ever actually dug a grave and put something in it and then filled it up again. I kept thinking of the line from Hamlet: "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio." It really does drive home the fragility of life to dig a grave and bury something. These feelings were further amplified by the other dogs running around in the woods seemingly oblivious to what was taking place. I thought to myself how they could not know it, but we would someday dig their graves, and bury them here, too.

RIP Malaguena, 1996 - 2007

We Made It to Rui!

So we've made it to Ruidoso. I feel like a tourist in my hometown. This place is growing and developing so much, there are familiar sights and new ones. Some things I remember from growing up here are still around and others are gone. It's the inevitable march of progress and growth, I suppose.

We went to White Sands the first night, that was a lot of fun. There was a full moon illuminating all the dunes; I'm going to have to wait until I get back to Palo Alto before I can post pics, so I apologize.

Yesterday we went to Lincoln, Billy The Kid country. We ate at a little saloon/deli and wandered around for awhile in the afternoon sun. It was fun to see everything, and just to drive, really. I don't have a car in California, so cruising these little roads is a fun treat. It has also been a little rainy as of late, making everything exceptionally green. Great for pics!

We went out to dinner at Casa Blanca after our afternoon trip, and had some great food. They even offered a Habanero chicken dish that Eva sampled, but it didn't phase her. I think she's ready for the Burger in San Mateo ... I kept it simple and very New Mexico by having a green chile chicken enchilada. From Casa Blanca it was off to Farley's, which is a little pub/restaurant. We had a few pitchers there with friends and then it was downtown (Midtown, actually) to Quarters for more festivities. The Blues festival was wrapping up, so there was an interesting and eclectic mix of folks in town.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 1 of Adventure to Ruidoso

We departed this morning from lovely PA about 10:50, which was 50 minutes later than we had originally planned, but so it goes. Tires aired up, windows clean, gas in tank we were on the road and away we went. I really like the area around Gilroy, where we passed through Pacheco Pass, and this is always a little treat for me. The girl has not been through said Pass, and was enjoying its scenic qualities as best she could while deftly maneuvering us between large semis.

From Gilroy we dropped into Los Banos, and then down the 5 to Bakersfield, then to Tehachapi past the plane graveyard (very neat) and into all new territory for the Magyar. She couldn't get over how 'desolate' (her words) it was. I told her there was more to come, believe me.

So through the Mojave we went, through Barstow and onto the I-40 where we putted along, made a driver shift, and drove into the night until we came to this lovely mountain oasis in the desert; no, not Ruidoso, but it's ugly Arizona cousin: Flagstaff.

Flagstaff has always reminded me of Rui. It's that whole city in the mountains surrounded by desert thing. The weather here is nice this evening, and the whole trip it has been warm, but not too bad. Eva and I have dropped the windows and are just cruising with them cracked and stereo cranked up. That's the way to travel. Who needs A/C?

We are looking forward to waking up early tomorrow and taking advantage of the free breakfast. Well, I am looking forward to totally stealing, er, taking, some of this fine deliciousness for the trip onward into NM.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Google Shows You Something New ... AGAIN!

Google has released a new feature that is bundled into, a *new* "street view" button that, well, allows you to see the street view of wherever on the map you're pinpointed. AMAZING!

I took it for a ride to some locations I know pretty well (my address, for example) and was really astonished at this feature. I can't believe the coverage they've amassed.

Check it out

Friday, May 25, 2007

Death Row killer's last words: 'Go Raiders!'

Eric & Thor's Visit

Last week Thor and his brother Eric came a-visiting. It was Thor's birthday when they touched down, that was a week ago. My apologies for taking so long to post anything regarding their time here, but it was coming directly on the heels of my job being axed (see below) and the events kind of pulled a one-two punch on me.

So anyway, Thor and Eric touched down on Friday, and we proceeded to get some dinner at a great little place, Ming's Seafood Garden, after we picked up the ladies from Eva's.

After some good ol' fashioned Chinese food we cabbed it to Bacchus Kirk, where drinks were ordered and we secured a little corner booth for everyone to lounge around. Bacchus
is a great little shack of a place on Nob Hill, and everyone was having a great time. My moustache ensured that I was safely looking like a child molester all evening given my companion's youthful countenance.

Thorin loves the Mission, so after awhile he was demanding we depart for said quarter of the city. Two separate cab rides later we arrive at Doc's Clock for drinks, reveling in $2 Olympia. However, Doc's was only a brief respite for our thirst so we pushed onto The Mission Bar, where we downed some Pabst, and I think Thor did some shot of something or other.

We were pressing onto another bar, the Napper, when I ran into, of all people, a guy named Francis whom I used to work with. He accompanied us down the street to 24th and Van Ness where we did another round before hunger and last calls set upon us. We left The Napper in two groups, and apparently narrowly missed danger in one instance and confronted it in the other.

While at the Napper a gentleman had been accosting us to purchase dime bags of ganja from him, and smoke it. None of us were really open to this idea, and one in our party was especially vocal in his protests. The first three of us left and proceeded up the street where they encountered said dealer and his crew on the corner, but my friends just crossed the street and kept their path to avoid him. The others of us, though, were not so lucky. As we reached the corner of 24th and Capp we espied a big FAX/Copy machine (typical of every office since 1995) and, of course, had to make light of it. This attracted the attention of Senor ganja dealer and his crew who were in the adjacent parking lot. When they confronted us I turned and walked away, not wanting to get jacked in the Mission.

Some of my companions did not have the same instincts and while I merely walked away, intent on burritos and a bed, they turned to begin a conversation on French politics or to debate the existence of free will in an epistemological framework, something to that affect. Well, turned out the vatos weren't so keen on conversation and instead shook the dudes down. Luckily no one had any money to cough up and they went away empty handed, but it was still not cool.

The next day we grabbed some brekkies at the Olympia cafe instead of Dottie's cuz the damn line was just too long. Their food's good, but that 45 minutes waiting for duck fennel sausage can easily be translated into mojitos and omelettes down the street, and after enough champagne you don't really care if it's greasy, in fact you enjoy the food more. After Olympia we went to Red's and the weather was fantastic for some brews, some finger food and the bay right at our feet.

From Red's we ventured back down the peninsula to San Mateo for some infamous Habanero Hamburgers. They used to be served at what was then the Prince of Wales Pub. Now it's the same place but it's got some other name and they remodeled the interior. I think the remodeling was OK, thye put down new floors, but the place lost a lot of character that went into it being so unique. There was formerly a lot of sports junk all over, a real Giants strong hold, now it was kind of sanitary. That, and the service sucked donkey. I ordered fish and chips, with some nachos to appetize me. Well, the fish came out without chips (WTF?!) and the guy didn't even bother to tell me that they were out. Just served me some fish. And the nachos? Tortilla chips with cheeze whip dumpe don them. Worthless.

That didn't sour the day, though. We returned to Palo Alto, hit up the Old Pro where there was a girl who just couldn't get enoug of the bull and rode the damn thing like 8 times with all her friends. After that it was Rudy's and then a walk home. We put Thor and his bro on the plane the next day not much worse for wear and belly full of breakfast Palo Alto style, to boot.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Day The Music Died

Some of you may have noticed a few days have passed since my last post, so I'll go ahead and give you the low down as to what has happened with me to cause the brief hiatus.

I moved back to the Bay Area last year, in October. I found this great job at a cool little tech firm, eMochila. I was in Sales there (if you couldn't tell from the previous posts), and we made great websites for accountants and lawyers. When I went to the interview for this job one thing stuck out in my mind: the Sales floor had music playing, and anyone could go up and change out their iPod. Coming from a very corporate job in Las Vegas it was a totally different vibe. It was just cool.

So during the last six months or so that I've worked there this job was really fun. We had two teams of folks between 3 managers and it was like a little family. We had a company kick ball team, we all went out for drinks after work, we were a pretty tight crew. There were probably about 34 of us in the company, total. I say 'were' because as of Thursday afternoon the company laid off everyone in Sales (9 people total) and some of the tech team, as well.

I won't go into the details of what happened, or what is currently ongoing with the firm, but suffice to say that the managers/owners were forced to make a decision that none of them were happy with. They were nice enough to us that they made a decision that allowed those of us let go to have a little parachute to rely on rather than just bring thrown out on the street. They were genuinely concerned about their employees, and it hurt them to have to make the decision in the first place.

So how do I feel about all this? Needless to say my termination was abrupt and it all came so quickly that it has taken me a few days to digest it all. That, and the fact that this weekend Thor came through with Eric and I had to entertain (more on that in a later post).

I like the fact that we got a severance, I'll start there. The owners could have dragged us out for as long as time allowed and then did what they did (let us go) without having the capital to drop us lightly. That was nice of them, and I respect them all the more for it. It really speaks to the unique culture we had, and the great guys that they are. Much respect to you, gentlemen.

The fact that I am here today in this position is interesting to me in and of itself just because I feel like I'm living a movie or news story. I mean, how many times in America have we heard about the tech company that's flying high one day, then something happens, and the next day it basically folds? To that end I'm not happy it occurred (because many peoples' livelihoods were destroyed) but the writer in my likes being in the midst of an interesting story.

In that same vein, the job was always teaching me something new. It was a new field for me, a new position for me, and I was always presented with something that was a challenge. I have been through a very interesting and also educational experience. I've learned a lot about business, about people and about myself. Hard times make a mind pliable, I suppose.

So what's in store for Wes now? Well, I'm unemployed and looking. If you know someone who needs a job done, get in touch and let's talk. In the mean time, I'll probably watch the final episodes of Rome that I downloaded, and maybe a few films as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Resonating Post

Saw this article on Psychology Today, a link from Reddit. I am in many ways a loner. I keep to myself, but I have a small group of close friends that I feel very close to. I like to think that I can mix well in any social situation, I just eschew them most of the time and opt to chill out alone. I've had this baffle many people close to me, while others seem to "get it" very easily.

Some clips below:

In our society, where extroverts make up three-quarters of the population, loners (except Henry David Thoreau) are pegged as creepy or pathetic. But soloists ... can function just fine in the world—they simply prefer traveling through their own interior universe.

Introverts aren't just less sociable than extroverts; they also engage with the world in fundamentally different ways. While outgoing people savor the nuances of social interaction, loners tend to focus more on their own ideas—and on stimuli that don't register in the minds of others.

Pwnage of the Day

Me: "Hi, this is Wes Temby from the XXXX Corporation, how are you today?"

Her: "I'm sorry, I don't really have time to talk right now."

I know this is a put on, because otherwise, if she was really busy, why would she have answered the phone? Not to mention I could sense in her tone that she knew I was a salesperson and she was giving me the brush off.

Me: "Oh, I'm sorry, is this not a CPA firm?"

Her: "Well, I'm not a CPA, but I do book keeping for businesses and tax preparation."

Me: "Gotcha! You had time to talk!" I hang up.

Quotes Of The Day

George Bernard Shaw

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."


"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Code Monkey

I stumbled across this video from a website that had a funny pic someone linked to on Reddit. (Wow that was a neat little train, eh?) I really liked the video, probably because they mention Login Pages specifically, but also because it was pretty humorous overall. I could certainly relate to the song's content, for sure.

From The 'Current Events' File

So if you've been anywhere near major media these days you know now that Jerry Falwell is dead. Slate Magazine did a neat little write up about him, a 'Greatest Hits' of sorts, outlining the fact that this guy was not some respectable political symbol but more appropriately a total tool.

Some of my favorite clips from the article below:

On AIDS: "AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals."
This one is especially interesting to me personally since my father, a straight man, died from the disease.

On the separation of church and state: "There is no separation of church and state."
Interesting since some of the regimes we are currently at war with in the grandiose War on Terror are in essence Theocracies; not to mention the statement is completely at odds with our own Constitution.

On Jews: "In my opinion, the Antichrist will be a counterfeit of the true Christ, which means that he will be male and Jewish, since Jesus was male and Jewish."

Monday, May 14, 2007

A View FromThe Sushi Boat

I love sushi. I've had good sushi (recently) and bad sushi (not so long ago ...). Here's a clip I found on the net that gives you a view of what the sushi boat sees as it makes it's rounds.

Waiting ...

What's the worst part of establishing a website? Waiting for the domain to clear ...

This weekend in addition to birthday revelries I purchased the domain (pretty original, eh?) and have been checking my Gmail ever since then for the domain to come live. It's terribly frustrating, I must tell you.

So anyway, check in the coming weeks, as it will be my domain of choice (for what I hope are obvious reasons).

Birthday Weekend

What a birthday weekend I had! Friday, the actual day, I was taken to dinner by my family out here to DiMaggio's on Washington Square. This was a fun restaurant, and we've been there before. I like the place, the decor is nice with dark wood everywhere. It offers your standard Italian fare, but they do a good job with food that you've seen in different forms more or less across America, and that counts for something.

Saturday the girl and I went down to lovely ol' Palo Alto and sauntered over to the Stanford campus for a pow wow they were having there in the Eucalyptus grove. Literally. A Pow Wow. It was a good time, there were a lot of Natives from all over the country. I couldn't begin to tell you all the tribes, but I saw Cree and Hopi for sure, and a few Apaches as well. People were doing the hoop and gourd dances right as we showed up, and that was a real treat.

I've not been to a pow wow in ages, so this was like revisiting my childhood in a way. I made sure to wear my Sacramento Hot Shots shirt with the Zia emblazoned on the chest and back to show off my New Mexico (read: Native America) roots. In fact, I met some Natives that commented on it and we struck up little conversations about New Mexico. Mission accomplished!

Part of the fun of the pow wow was being out in the warm weather. It's getting really nice on the peninsula now, much better weather than San Francisco experiences. Palo Alto is just far enough south to avoid the fog that rolls in, and we still get a nice cool bay breeze, so we don't bake like they do inland or in the South Bay. Because of this I was wearing only a T-shirt (see supra) and flip flops. Funny thign about the sun: as warm as it is it can also burn you. Who knew? I didn't feel it at the time in between munching on fry bread and corn, but my neck developed a nice red hue to it at the end of the day. {Racial pun} I was a red skin, indeed! {/Racial pun} It wasn't too bad, I don't think I'm gonna peel, and I played it off to Eva that I was just "getting some color."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Looking for a Job?

Wow. I saw the below posted on and was a little amazed. I have Google'd myself before, and was kind of amused at the results. I can't imagine what a potential employer would make of the results.

Judges Say Google Background Checks Are Okay

The idea of a Google search as a person's permanent record continues to gather a lot of interest -- whether it's people fretting that they can't be found or government agents using it as a tool. A consistently reoccurring theme is how employers use Google as a de facto reference or background check on potential employees, though many of these worries seem a bit overblown. However, one federal employee who got fired for misusing government property alleged that a Google search by an official as part of the investigation into his thefts violated his "right to fundamental fairness". A three-judge panel disagreed, rejecting the claim that the search, which turned up information about two previous times the guy had been removed from a job, affected the decision to fire him. The case seems to hinge on the use of the search, and whether it undermines due process in determining whether or not to fire the guy. The judges said that the official's Google search didn't constitute ex-parte communication, since it wasn't a communication between parties. That seems to be the crucial part of the ruling here, because it essentially means it's acceptable for employers (or at least the federal government, as an employer) to check out workers' backgrounds online. The judges seem to be saying (quite reasonably) that the internet shouldn't get singled out for special treatment, and that it should be considered as any other research source. Should any communication on the internet constitute prejudicial ex-parte communication, then it should be dealt with as such. The bottom line: just because your boss found out about your past online, it certainly doesn't mean they can't fire you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bill Richardson Ads

So a coworker and semi-regular reader (I suppose) of this blog commented that the blog is not 'personal' in the sense that it does not get to "what Wes is." A fair criticism, I'll admit, but then again, as another reader noted, that's not really my style anywho.

However, in light of the fact that this blog is not personal, I am posting below a video from Bill Richardson's campaign. Bill is the governor of New Mexico, my more-or-less home state (all but 2 of my formative years spent in the little village of Ruidoso), so this is ad is coming from a guy who represents something very close to me -- New Mexico!

OK, I know this isn't personal at all, but the ads themselves are kind of funny, so enjoy.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Maricopa County, Arizona Hates George Washington

Did you hear about the professor who is being fired for sending out a copy of George Washington's Thanksgiving Address via email? Yeah, totally ridiculous, right?

Apparently he got it off the Pat Buchanan website (not a guy I support, personally) and merely emailed it to people on a listserv. Some people took it as 'harassment' and filed suit against him. The man is a professor, the email contains nothing more than the address our 1st President offered on what is now a national holiday.

Where has common sense gone in this country? You can read more about the incident here.

Money From Tragedy: It's The American Way!

Please direct your browser to this article highlighting a man who immediately went out and bought up domains related to the Virgina Tech murders.

Quite capitalistic, opportunistic and crass. Way to exploit!

The Realignment of America

I saw this post on and found it pretty interesting. So much so, I thought I'd post a link to it here.

The article discusses the way that the internet has essentially decentralized labor, allowing people to work from places that are more to their tastes, rather than being bound to their company's office location. I hope the article bears truth, because that would mean I could actually *afford* to live in Palo Alto! LOL!

Subway Systems Of The World

The above is a map of the San Francisco BART system. Since I am a user of the Bay Area's public transit systems daily (specifically BART and CalTrain) when I saw this page (recommended to me from Reddit) displaying the subway systems of the world in scale I was very intrigued.

Improve Your English

A funny commercial, and it speaks to the linguist in me.

Paris Hilton Jail Update

I posted earlier about Paris Hilton going to jail and my thoughts on the matter; saw this article today about the petitions being floated both for & against it, and thought that I'd post here about those, too. Funny because last night when I heard on the news the talk of the petition to keep Paris out of jail it actually occurred to me to begin the Send Paris to Jail petition. Great minds think alike, I suppose. Then again, fools seldom differ ...

Highlights follow:

Four days after a Los Angeles judge sentenced Hilton to 45 days in jail for violating her probation by driving on a suspended license, the competing petitions provided a rallying point for a lively debate over whether the celebrity socialite and reality TV star deserves her punishment.

"We think 45 days in jail is a cruel punishment for the caliber of what she did," said Kyle Vincent, an artist who launched the Web site and is trying to collect one million signatures on a petition seeking clemency by June 5, the date the hotel heiress was ordered to report to jail.


Vincent was also using his site to hawk "Free Paris" T-shirts for $18.99 a piece, along with similarly themed buttons, bumper stickers and coffee mugs.

A no-pardon petition urges Schwarzenegger to "ignore other petitions asking for clemency and show the people of California that no one is above the law."


From the Daily Telegraph: Paris Hilton must serve her time

A Different Approach

In Sales it is important to be on top of your game and to know where you are going. When you have a prospective client you need a game plan of what you're going to be doing with them. Your pitch needs to be orderly and you need to know your product inside and out so that you can answer any questions that may arise.

Yesterday I got a guy on the line who last year was a "not interested." I called him up again this year and reintroduced what we do, sent him another email. Got him back on the line and he once again told me that this was not what he needed. So rather than following my manager's directive and just abandoning the guy as a lost cause I stopped and asked him flat out "Well, what do you want?"

Like a skilled martial artist I had pulled him off his balance. Suddenly I was not attacking him with sales, but opening up and letting him come to me. He took a moment, and then told me exactly what he wanted. He set his own trap, because a that point I told him I could provide him that, at X price.

Fast forward 30 minutes and I've pulled out from him details about everything he wants and exactly how he wants it; I've answered all his technical questions and addressed his concerns. At this point my manager is looking at me and telling me to get off the phone with the guy because "he's just milking {me} for information," Instead of heeding this advice I lay it out for the client: Look, Jim (not his real name), I've listened to everythign you've said, and I've identified what it is you're looking for. I've told you that I can do it for this price, which you've told me is a good deal to you. What's stopping us from going forward?"

His answer: "Nothing, let's do this."

What A Difference A Season Makes

So my office is in full swing now, on what is our company's bread and butter market. We were doing our thing with this other demographic, and it went OK, but certainly not the numbers we're used to seeing around here. Now things are kind of looking like normal.

Observing the board this morning I noticed that the new kid, last month's golden boy, is nowhere to be seen in terms of productivity. This is Sales, and I know that happens, believe me. I'm not knocking the guy. The reason this is in any way interesting to me is not so much this individual's performance, but rather those numbers in contrast to my manager's accolades the month prior.

You see, all last month this guy was held up as THE model that we should all be striving to emulate. The kid had passion, our boss would tell us, that's why he was doing so well. To be fair, he did post good numbers that month (and to be doubly fair, it's only the 8th, he's got more than enough time to eclipse all of us yet again), but what irked most of us was his lack of modesty in that accomplishment not to mention just some other douche-baggy aspects of his personality. I don't want readers to think my office or I was pulling punches here, either; when it became obvious that some of us disdained him we were honest with him when he asked about it. Fair is fair, I suppose.

In addition to the lack of sales this month, it has also come to light that the retention rate for his clients has dropped to the lowest in the office. That's never a good thing. Again, I'm not harping on this individual's performance, but rather my manager's enthusiastic endorsement of him last month compared with his production this month. It almost seems that my manager has a propensity for betting on the wrong pony. I guess I like the ironic contrast between loving the kid and shouting at all of us to be more like him one month and then more or less acting like it never happened the next.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Summer In San Francisco & The Boiler Room

Warm weather has finally descended upon my lovely little burg of San Francisco. I work in The Mission, which happens to be one of the sunniest and warmest areas of the city. This is great during the winter when we are spared the fog that the rest of the city is flooded by, but it is a two edged sword when we're talking about summers.

You see, since San Francisco is notoriously cool there is a little impetus on the part of construction firms, landlords, etc. to install A/C units here. Honestly, most of the year (like, 93% of the time, really) this is perfectly understandable. However, there are those days, like we are having now, when the breeze is off-shore and the heat really gets going. It's not Vegas hot or anything like that, but it's a little warm, nonetheless; and of course, my building is one of the great ones without any functional A/C (nor heat, for that matter, see previous posts about that ...) so we are left to dial in the sweltering San Francisco summer sun, (those floor to ceiling windows that provide such great downtown vistas have a drawback, I suppose) making our office a more or less literal Boiler Room.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"I don't deserve this!"

So Paris Hilton is going to jail. Not some ritzy pay-by-nite outift, either. The real thing.

Upon reading the article two sentences stood out to me, uttered by Ms. Hilton herself:

"I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted. I don't deserve this."

I was struck by her plea. Moved, even. You don't deserve this, Paris? Note to you: people with much less money, power, influence, connection, etc. than you go to jail for things like this all the time. It's the system at work. Does it suck? Yes. Does it suck to be you? Right now, for certain it does.

I guess I just took those comments she made as so class laden. Are the laws too strict? Perhaps, but Paris Hilton has carried herself as super aloof for quite some time now. Nothing like a month and a half in county lockup to bring you back to your senses.

On that note, there's a portion of the article which describes what a young man, Joshua Capone, did to defend his favorite Hilton. He wrote a letter to the governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, asking him to intervene on Paris' behalf. Mr. Capone, have you lost your mind? Wait, I need read no further than what you penned to the Governator to get the answer:

"She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives,"

"Our otherwise mundane lives," that's a quote right there. My bet is that Mr. Capone is a devotee of the E! channel, and watches the likes of Access Hollywood religiously. Check the subscriber rolls of Us and I'm sure you'll find him.

Who wants to make a bet Paris a) writes a book about her experiences, b) has a made-for-TV movie about her jail time c) has some sort of celebrity fund raiser thing about it d) all of the above?

This Is What A Tornado Struck Town Looks Like

I heard about this town, Greensburg, that had been struck by a tornado recently. It was in all the papers, even all the way out here in good ol' California. I've never lived in a tornado zone, so I don't really have any idea of what these things are like. However, I did see the film Twister and at the time I had quite the little crush on Helen Hunt (what the hell was I thinking? She looks like The Beast from the television version of Beauty and The Beast) so I saw that film a few times.

Anyway, I saw the above photo and a few others posted here and thought they were post worthy just to highlight the destruction that took place on the plains. Crazy. Nature just really lets us know from time to time how small we are. Bodhi was right!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Disbar Judge Roy L. Pearson Jr.

I read about this judge in Washington who is suing his dry cleaners for $65 Million dollars because they lost his pants and just couldn't believe it. How on earth does this man, a judge, no less, live with himself over this absurd claim? You have to read the story in it's entirety (posted below) to really understand how ridiculous this man's behavior is. He needs to be disbarred and reprimanded for his stupid, ignorant and hurtful actions. This is an instance of frivolous tort if ever there was one.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A missing pair of pants has led to one big suit.

A customer got so steamed when a dry cleaner lost his trousers that he sued for $65 million. Two years later, he is still pressing his suit.

The case has demoralized the South Korean immigrant owners of the mom-and-pop business and brought demands that the customer -- an administrative law judge in Washington -- be disbarred and removed from office for pursuing a frivolous and abusive claim. (Watch people shake their heads over the case of the missing pants Video)

Jin Nam Chung, Ki Chung and their son, Soo Chung, are considering moving back to Seoul, seven years after they opened their dry-cleaning business in the nation's capital, said their lawyer, Chris Manning.

"They're out a lot of money, but more importantly, incredibly disenchanted with the system," Manning said. "This has destroyed their lives."

The customer, Roy L. Pearson Jr., who has been representing himself, declined to comment.

According to court documents, the problem began in May 2005 when Pearson became a judge and brought several suits for alterations to Custom Cleaners in Washington. A pair of pants from one suit was missing when he requested it two days later.

Pearson asked the cleaners for the full price of the suit: more than $1,000.

But a week later, the Chungs said the pants had been found and refused to pay. Pearson said those were not his pants, and decided to take the Chungs to the cleaners and sue.

Manning said the cleaners have made three settlement offers to Pearson: $3,000, then $4,600, then $12,000.

But Pearson was not satisfied and expanded his calculations beyond one pair of pants. Because Pearson no longer wanted to use his neighborhood dry cleaner, he asked in his lawsuit for $15,000 -- the cost of renting a car every weekend for 10 years to go to another business.

Manning said Pearson somehow thinks he has the right to a dry cleaner within four blocks of his apartment.

The bulk of the $65 million demand comes from Pearson's strict interpretation of Washington consumer protection law, which imposes fines of $1,500 per violation, per day. Pearson counted 12 violations over 1,200 days, then multiplied that by three defendants.

Much of Pearson's case rests on two signs Custom Cleaners once had on its walls: "Satisfaction Guaranteed" and "Same Day Service." He claims the signs amount to fraud.

The case is set for trial June 11.

Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association, has asked that Pearson be denied a renewal this week of his 10-year appointment.

The association, which fights what it considers abusive lawsuits against small businesses, has also offered to buy Pearson the suit of his choice.

Chief Administrative Judge Tyrone Butler had no comment on Pearson's reappointment prospects.

Melvin Welles, former chief administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board, wrote to The Washington Post to say that if he were the judge in the case, he would throw out the lawsuit and order Pearson to pay the Chungs for their legal expenses and their mental suffering. He also called for Pearson's ouster and disbarment.

"The manifest absurdity of it is too obvious to require explanation," Welles wrote.

To the Chungs and their attorney, one of the most frustrating aspects of the case is their claim that Pearson's gray pants were found almost right away, and have been hanging in Manning's office for more than a year. Pearson claims in court documents that his pants had blue and red pinstripes.

But Manning said: "They match his inseam measurements. The ticket on the pants matches his receipt."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Map Of The Internet

Sometimes I'll be surfing the net and I wonder to myself, "where am I?" Have you ever felt this way?

If so, not to worry! We're saved! The new map to the internet is here. Note the Google island volcano fortress.

And I Thought MY Job Was Bad

Saw this little story collected on my Google Reader, and thought I'd share it with you here. Crazy stuff. Thank you, American labor laws!

Cashiers claim desperate measures

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Cashiers at Chile's Santa Isabel supermarket chain say their employer is so stingy with their work breaks that they have had to resort to wearing diapers to make it through shifts without getting fired.

The union at Santa Isabel, owned by Cencosud, one of Chile's largest chain retailers, said cashiers are not allowed to leave their work stations during their shifts, which last eight hours or longer.

"They are not given permission to go to the bathroom and they can't last for so many hours; that's why some have started using diapers or sanitary pads," Marianela Fernandez, president of the Santa Isabel Supermarket workers union, told Reuters.

Cencosud said any such incidents would have been isolated.

"It is possible that there may have been isolated cases that were not in compliance with the norms and procedures of Santa Isabel," Cencosud said in a statement. "In these instances company policy has been to immediately adopt the appropriate corrective measures."

The complaint has been taken up by Chile's largest labor organization, the Central Workers Union, or CUT, which has requested government action in the case.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Santa Cruz

As a nice outing from "The City" the girl and I decided to take a trip to somewhere I have not been in a very long time: Santa Cruz. The name itself conjures up images of skateboarding to me, most likely due to the skateboard company of the same name. I think the last time I was in Santa Cruz was during summer camp, and we spent the majority of our time at the Boardwalk (of course).

To be sure, Santa Cruz has a lot of skateboarders, but we weren't there for them. I haven't touched a skateboard in seriousness since I broke my ankle on one back in college, and I wasn't about to relive that experience on a day trip vacation, thank you. Instead we focused our energy to making the use of what Santa Cruz had an abundance of that day: sunshine, nice weather and beaches.

First things first we had to get some grub on, so we went to the Walnut Ave. Cafe. This place was decent, and I Yelped it. Wes loves his Yelping. After Breakfast we strolled through the downtown area, stopping at the post office to pick up some stamps, because if there's something Wes likes almost as much as Yelping it's sending post cards to people. Who doesn't like to get a post card form such exotic locales as Santa Cruz?

Then it was on to the *real* fun stuff, the beaches and Boardwalk. For those of you not aware, the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz was featured prominently in the 1987 teen vampire flick The Lost Boys. I used to love this movie, not because it's a double Corey film, but because it represented all the cool things a six year old thought California was full of: Skateboarding teenage vampires who rode dirt bikes and lived in abandoned old collapsed hotels. Yeah! Pure awesomeness.

Thankfully there were no real vampires out that day (sun would have gotten them anyway, I suppose) so we were allowed to wander this place unmolested save the throngs of small children and their attendant parents. The Boardwalk has all the stuff you would expect a Boardwalk to have, like cotton candy and peanuts and video game arcades. I, for one, just wanted to wander about and see the sights. I was not into riding the rides (though they did look interesting), and my companion does not have the stomach for such thrills, so we remained terrestrial.

After the Boardwalk we walked to the end of the wharf, along the length of which we spied many a barking sea lion. Their presence is not as severe as Pier 39, but they're there, no doubt. You're able to get closer to them here, due to the public landings on the wharf. I guess they climb up at high tide, and then when the waters recede they just lounge in the shade and sleep. It was nice to get out over the water, if for no other reason than the presence of a cooling breeze.

After the wharf we rambled back downtown to a nice little spot that was recommended to me, The Red Room. This place was initially a little cool towards us, but they warmed up after a few. I really liked the decor, and for a hot afternoon it was the perfect place to grab a cool drink and watch the world go by outside.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Geek Humour

I found this pic here on John Battelle's Searchblog and had to repost it. I work in the tech sector so when something like this comes along I am almost obliged to make note of it. Not to mention I am a huge Giants fan, so this is like a double whammy, or just a double, if you will.

UPDATE:: If you don't get it, please go here.

Not Interested, Part 2

I hear the phrase "Not Interested" many times every day. More often than not it's before I even get into what we do here and how it's going to benefit their business. I think people believe that by telling me this that I will stop calling them.

Wanna know a secret? I don't. The only way I'll know you are truly not interested is if you give me a logical reason that you are not interested (after I've talked to you about our product), and/or you explain to me why. Otherwise I know you just don't wanna talk ... for now. Thus, you'll keep getting called. Same thing goes for folks that just slam the phone down on me before I get into my schpiel.

On a philosophical note, this job has taught me something: Be Nice. If you're not nice then bad things will keep happening to you. You wouldn't believe the data trafficking that goes on in the world today. People can know a lot about you very easily. Thus, be nice and you'll likely be treated the way you would want to be treated.

I've Already Got One, Part 2

Today I had the pleasure of calling up a CPA firm to offer our services to them. The secretary was doing her job and sniffed me out before letting me get to her bosses. But, being the professional that I am, I went ahead and spoke to her in a courteous fashion, detailing what we do over here. She used the old "We're set, we've already got one," defense against me, which prompted my reply of "Great! I like to know what my competition does, what's the address?"

Almost on cue she backed up and began fumbling over her words, first telling me she didn't know the address and then reversing course to tell me that she knew but was going to tell it to me. At this point I decided ot have some fun with her and I told her straight tout that I suspected she didn't have a website. She responded that in fact they did, and before she could go on I asked her a simple question: "Then why won't you tell me the address?" Simple question, should merit a simple answer, you would think. You would think wrong.

Lori (her name) goes on to tell me that "I don't have to answer any of your questions," which is true, but Jeezus, why are you getting so confrontational? I told her that's true, but I'm just gonna Google you anyway, so why not just tell me? She hangs up.

So then I do, in fact, Google her firm name. What comes up? A few local chamber of commerce type listings but no firm website. I scroll down the page and what do I see? Someone has the firm name listed as one of their companies on MySpace, and what's that person's name? Lori! Ha ha ha! I clicked on it and saw the woman, saw her page.

She seemed nice enough. She likes hockey and the Mets. It was kind of funny to see the face of this woman who had just shut me down (and probably lied to me about the firm having a site) on the phone. I was suddenly peering into her life via MySpace. Kind of weird.

Those Wacky Japanese

I saw this story from, and it made me chuckle. Firstly, I don't know how someone would mistake a sheep for a dog. I mean, when you went to pick it up you should have seen the thing was very much not a dog. Not even close. But then again, urban dwellers in Japan may not have much contact with sheep, so it's plausible that they would make this mistake.

A tip of my hat to the scam artists that pulled this off, though. It's a ballsy move to scam people in such a brazen manner. The jig is now up, and these guys are likely long gone, but it was a good graft. With poodles going for so much in that country this was both enterprising and very cunning (if not a great deal dishonest).

Japanese fooled in poodle scam

Friday April 27, 2007
Japanese poodle (AAP)

Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles.

Flocks of sheep were imported to Japan and then sold by a company called Poodles as Pets, marketed as fashionable accessories, available at $1,600 each.

That is a snip compared to a real poodle which retails for twice that much in Japan.

The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.

She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.

Then hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new "poodle" was also a sheep.

One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves.

Japanese police believe there could be 2,000 people affected by the scam, which operated in Sapporo and capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like.

"We launched an investigation after we were made aware that a company were selling sheep as poodles," Japanese police said, the The Sun reported.

"Sadly we think there is more than one company operating in this way.

"The sheep are believed to have been imported from overseas - Britain, Australia."

Many of the sheep have now been donated to zoos and farms.

Virginia Tech and The Blame Game

Saw this clip on the Daily Show, and thought it was funny. But everyone knows that the Daily Show is funny, so that comes as no surprise.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I <3 KOL

If you don't know what KOL is, then go here.

Sales Motivation

When numbers are down, Sales Managers get angry. That's Sales, and that's working in a Sales position. I understand this.

From time to time we'll get little 'motivational' talks from our manager when the numbers dip below expectations. These typically consist of criticisms of our efforts and/or enthusiasm at the job.

The first one is valid from time to time, and it can easily be charted by comparing the number of dials we've made, the number of leads we've generated, the close ratio et alia. and then you work to rectify the situation by dialing more, working on your pitch and what not.

The second one is more subjective and thus more difficult to pin down. I don't know how to show more enthusiasm at work; would he like me to walk into work with an erection? That's hyperbole, but I think the point is valid. I don't sleep on the job, I get my dialing numbers where they need to be (quantifiable effort indicator), and I do the best I can. I'm typically here before anyone else, and I'm the last one out the door most days.

I guess what it comes down to is that I don't like these little speeches so much. If nothing else they are far from motivational. I understand their purpose, I understand the message and the intended result, but there's only so much we can do. Sometimes people are not willing to talk to you. Sometimes people don't have the money to afford your product. Sometimes your product is not suitable to their needs. You can try to screen these non-buyers out as best you can (and we've been trained to do that), but at some point there's just an economic/market "X factor" that you can't combat.

Often times we'll have this year's performance compared to last year's. I understand the quantitative value of this act, and it makes sense on some level. However, this year is not last year on so many levels (in terms of staff, product, etc.) and thus the comparison is not entirely apt. Beyond that, when you see glaring holes in the logic it makes you take less seriously the message delivered.

Of course, I could be just bitching (check) and finding rationalizations for why my performance is not on par with neither the company's nor my personal expectations (double check).

The Cartographer & The Tourist

I just discovered Google Sightseeing, and it is AWESOME. I love maps, and I like to find little anomalous things in Google Earth whenever I can. This site speaks to me on that level since it is a community of people devoted to mapping and sharing interesting things they find around the globe via satellite imagery. Love it.

No Doggystyle in Oz

Did you hear about this? Snoop Dogg has not been allowed into Australia on the grounds that he is not "the sort of bloke we want in this country", the immigration minister said Thursday. I found the story on RawStory, and have posted it in it's entirety below. There was a similar row with Sylvester Stallone involving his detention at the airport for some sort of drug (presumably legal here, but not so there) he had in his baggage. Apparently Oz is tired of people getting over on it. Oi!

Snoop Dogg has been barred from Australia because he is not "the sort of bloke we want in this country", the immigration minister said Thursday.

The 35-year-old rapper and hip-hop icon -- real name Calvin Broadus -- had been due to attend the MTV Australian Video Music Awards this weekend.

But Snoop failed the character test required to enter Australia and his visa was cancelled, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said.

"He has a whole string of convictions and just two weeks ago he was convicted of a number of charges again, sentenced to three years jail, two on another, with five years probation and a suspended sentence," Andrews said.

"He has been denied entry into the United Kingdom because he was caught with others causing affray at Heathrow Airport," the minister told Australian radio.

"He doesn't seem the sort of bloke we want in this country."

Andrews said Snoop's reputed gang ties were also taken into consideration.

"This man has been a member of a Los Angeles gang -- and is still associated with it apparently -- that's been involved in murder, robberies and drug dealing in the LA area," he said.

Australia, a former penal colony which was largely populated by criminals in the early days of European settlement, has adopted tough immigration controls under conservative Prime Minister John Howard.

Not My Office

This clip below isn't my office, but I can relate. However, I still think this video is a fake.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Google Yourself

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rush Limbaugh is a douche bag

I know that this point has been commented on elsewhere, and much more eloquently, but I have to put my 2 cents in here.

I read from Raw Story that Rush said Cho (of VT killing-fields infamy) was a liberal and that this had caused him to commit the acts he is now infamous for (namely, killing innocent students).

Reading that I nearly gagged. I'm not into the whole Liberal/Conservative debate, as I feel it's much too simplistic, and frankly, a little cheap. But for Rush Limbaugh to come on the air and say that liberal politics are what inspired a clearly insane man to go on a shooting spree is just stupid. Any sane person should hear that statement or read it (like I did) and presumably balk. Rush, the Oxycontin has rotted your brain, my fat friend.

The rush quote is below, and the link to a full screen cap from his page is here.

"If this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? " Limbaugh queried. "This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich and all this other -- this guy's a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act."

Monday, April 23, 2007

300 Fun

Saw this pic on this website, had to steal and repost it here. He he ...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bush Doesn't Use Email

This fact doesn't really surprise me, but it scares the bejesus out of me at the same time. How, in this day and age, can the leader of the free world, the head of the most powerful country on the face of the earth, not use a common communication system?

I understand his reasoning for not wanting to use email. It makes sense, to a degree. However, wanting to cover your own back side rather than run the country in an efficient manner (i.e., communicate quickly -- wonder when that might have come in handy?) seems like something of a dereliction of duty. your job is to serve the people, not protect yourself from people subpoenaing records of your potentially criminal acts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cybersquatter Humor

Please direct your browser to this link:

For those not familiar with why this is in any way humorous please go here.

Scared Yet?

A coworker sent me this, a more or less real time map of Global Incidents taking place. Scary news, as it happens across the globe! Yay!

Eva & Wes Go To White Castle

Another part of my trip to New York was an adventure to White Castle. For those of you not familiar with this particular burger chain, their claim to fame is .59 cent steamed hamburgers which are about an inch all around. Said little burgers are delicious.

Originally I had not really planned on going to the WC, as it is good, but nothing I really crave (fast food is not really my schtick). Turns out though, that my description of White Castle on the way into Manhattan piqued the girl's interest and she set upon me to take her there one night to sample some of their fine fare.

My first order was to find a White Castle, which I did through Google's SMS service on my cell. After that had been accomplished we ventured forth on a rainy Monday night and picked up a bag of 18 along with a sixer of Bud.

As you might imagine, the rest of the night was bloated pickle and onion breath fest. But, all in all, a very good time. The girl did her best to keep pace with me, but I bested her easily (my stomach reign supreme!) with a grand total of 4 beers and 7 burgers to my credit. Next time, dragam.

Not Ready For Broadway

This past Friday I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to fly out to New York City for a little weekend with The Magyar. She knew that I wanted to see Point Break Live!, and that this week was purportedly the final week of it playing. That information, and being long over due for some time away from San Francisco was all we needed to get out and play in New York for awhile.

Of course, the best laid plans of men are nothing for the ever revolving machinations of the heavens.

Saturday we woke up in New York to nice weather and went to a lunch with the girl's friend. Very nice. We ate a lovely vegetarian meal at Zen Palate on Union Square. This place was a fave of mine when I lived in New York, and I was glad to see that it is still alive and well in that location.

That night we made our way to the L.E.S. for the actual show. It was at some crazy little art space cum theatre on Suffolk St. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say that we had a blast there. Point Break Live! is a live action rendition of the film Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze (it also has Gary Busey in a fine role as an older, drunken cop).

The real fun thing about the show is that they choose a random Keanu from the crowd each performance. I didn't travel all the way from San Francisco to not at least get on stage and try to be Johnny Utah, so of course I hauled myself down to the stage to be subject to the cruel appraisal of a drunken hipster crowd.

Turns out that for me standing in front of 75 (or so) of these folks was a little intimidating. I don't really have any theatre experience, but I gave it my best (which is to say, not much!). I guess I was hoping that my vague resemblance to Keanu might swing the crowd somewhat in my favor (since the Keanu is chosen by audience applause). Alas, I was wrong. There were 4 of us up on stage, and the guy to the far left of me won out, although I think that this was partially attributable to the fact that he had a posse in the house (hence, more applause for him) and I think he knew some, if not all, of the cast. Damn you, Indian Johnny Utah.

However, this experience worked out in two ways: for starters, by not being selected I was able to sit back, drink Pabst and watch this hilarious show unwind before me. Truly entertaining stuff. Secondly, I now know exactly how to play this Johnny Utah thing if/when Point Break Live! comes to a San Francisco theatre. I'll know to bring a group of friends and to totally play up the character (as in, use the surfer dude accent).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello is one of the most awesome bands I've heard in a long time. I initially discovered them from the film Everything Is Illuminated. The film has the band front man, Eugene Hutz, in it as a Ukrainian hip hop aficionado. I advise you to see the film and check out the band, as they are both premium.

Video for the band's single "Start Wearing Purple" is posted below for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Nancy Grace Is a Hack

I've always held that Nancy Grace was a hack and shameless self promoter. There has been a lot of attention to the way she handles her stories, not to mention her account of own personal history. Simple mistakes are not reasons to discredit a person's logical argument in and of themselves, but her arguments are not logical and in fact quite contrary to established legal protocol. She's a talking head, plain and simple.

The way the Duke case was handled by Nancy and other media figures has been particularly atrocious. I'm glad that these guys have finally been cleared, but if I were them I'd be looking to get some settlement money from somebody for all the hell I'd been put through. Poor schmucks were railroaded out of town for something they didn't do. However, we should note that the fact that these guys are NOT in jail and have been exculpated (albeit after a year of heavy presumption of guilt) is something of an accomplishment for the American judicial system.

Found the below clip on Comedy Central, from The Daily Show. John Stuart is great.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a god. I have to post this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Google Earth & Darfur

Google Earth, already a great application, has now added a new feature to it that allows you to show the atrocities that are taking place in Darfur. I checked this out last night and was mightily impressed. The interactive content is pretty amazing.

Article from Reuter's here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Annoying Things

What's worse than having your VoIP lines go cattywhompus throughout the day? When they test the damn fire alarms in the building for 2 hours straight during work hours on a Tuesday.

The A's Game

Went to the season home opener of the A's last night against the White Sox. We lost. :( It happens. The game was good, though, and I had some excellent company at the ballpark. Koszonet, dragam.

Sobering Reality

Yesterday an ex-employee of the firm came in to retrieve some tax forms he needed. This guy was working here when I started, and had been there for about 3 months or so prior to my arrival. Shortly after I showed up he was shown the door, not due in any part to my performance, but rather the lack of performance on his side.

Anyway, he comes in to get these forms and says hello to those of us he knows, including my manager. It should be noted that this guy didn't make the best impression on people as he was a little crass and rough around the edges, but he was a decent enough fellow. Anyway, he gets the forms he needs and before he's even out the door of our office my manager looks over at another coworker and mimes "What was his name again?"

Granted, it was kind of funny given the character of both my manager and the individual getting the forms, but it also revealed something about the perspective of our manager in relation to his employees. Here's a guy who trained someone, worked with them for at least 4 months in a small office (10 people or so), and now 4 months later has completely forgotten their name.

OK maybe the guy has a bad memory (which I wouldn't doubt) and we DO work in sales, so there's a ton of names flying around at any given moment, but it was a little disheartening to hear him say this in such a jokey manner. It made me feel really unimportant to this firm, aside from the numbers I put up on the board.

I've never worked in a pure sales environment like this before, so this is kind of a new gig for me. To be nothing more to a firm than what you give them (basically you are not human capital at all) is kind of cold and brutal. I suppose on the one hand that's capitalism, but it's a little jarring. I've always been sort of brainy, which firms utilize to their advantage in various ways, and thus keep me around. Here, if I don't get the #s on the up and up I'm out the door and no one will give a g*ddamn, so it seems. Am I in the wrong place? Maybe, but I DO enjoy the work, and the firm overall.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Art Is Dead

Can Joshua Bell, a concert violinist of international renown stop crowds at a DC Metro station? The results are a little sad.

To Hell In A Handbasket

I feel like an old man for posting things like this, and although people have told me I was "old man-ish" many times over the course of my 25 years on this planet, previously they were for things like going to bed at 8:30 PM, and not necessarily decrying the state of affairs in this fair land.

If the last post about 6 year olds being treated like felons in Florida wasn't enough, take a look at what is posted below. I'll give you gist here: Mr. Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, at Princeton University,was added to the Terrorist Watch list presumably after he "in September, 2006, [gave] a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution."

The entirety of his post on the matter can be found below. I have also linked it here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Another Enemy of the People?

Mark Graber

I am posting the below with the permission of Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University. For those who do not know, Professor Murphy is easily the most distinguished scholar of public law in political science. His works on both constitutional theory and judicial behavior are classics in the field. Bluntly, legal scholarship that does not engage many themes in his book, briefly noted below, Constitutional Democracy, may be legal, but cannot be said to be scholarship. As interesting, for present purposes, readers of the book will discover that Murphy is hardly a conventional political or legal liberal. While he holds some opinions, most notably on welfare, similar to opinions held on the political left, he is a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination. Apparently these credentials and others noted below are no longer sufficient to prevent one from becoming an enemy of the people.

"On 1 March 07, I was scheduled to fly on American Airlines to Newark, NJ, to attend an academic conference at Princeton University, designed to focus on my latest scholarly book, Constitutional Democracy, published by Johns Hopkins University Press this past Thanksgiving."

"When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk. At this point, I should note that I am not only the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (emeritus) but also a retired Marine colonel. I fought in the Korean War as a young lieutenant, was wounded, and decorated for heroism. I remained a professional soldier for more than five years and then accepted a commission as a reserve office, serving for an additional 19 years."

"I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said. "

"After carefully examining my credentials, the clerk asked if he could take them to TSA officials. I agreed. He returned about ten minutes later and said I could have a boarding pass, but added: "I must warn you, they=re going to ransack your luggage." On my return flight, I had no problem with obtaining a boarding pass, but my luggage was "lost." Airlines do lose a lot of luggage and this "loss" could have been a mere coincidence. In light of previous events, however, I'm a tad skeptical."

"I confess to having been furious that any American citizen would be singled out for governmental harassment because he or she criticized any elected official, Democrat or Republican. That harassment is, in and of itself, a flagrant violation not only of the First Amendment but also of our entire scheme of constitutional government. This effort to punish a critic states my lecture's argument far more eloquently and forcefully than I ever could. Further, that an administration headed by two men who had "had other priorities" than to risk their own lives when their turn to fight for their country came up, should brand as a threat to the United States a person who did not run away but stood up and fought for his country and was wounded in battle, goes beyond the outrageous. Although less lethal, it is of the same evil ilk as punishing Ambassador Joseph Wilson for criticizing Bush's false claims by "outing" his wife, Valerie Plaime, thereby putting at risk her life as well as the lives of many people with whom she had had contact as an agent of the CIA. ..."

"I have a personal stake here, but so do all Americans who take their political system seriously. Thus I hope you and your colleagues will take some positive action to bring the Administration's conduct to the attention of a far larger, and more influential, audience than I could hope to reach. "