Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Universal Law -- Can't get What you Don't Have.

Over on another web site some folks are discussing job hunting and of course the first law of job hunting pops up: The best job hunting tip is to look while you already have a job.

Which I start thinking about. During this cogitation it becomes clear to me that this is part of a greater and more universal law.. "It Is Easier To Get Another One Of What You Already Have." Which is also part of a greater and more universal law - "The Universe Doesn't Like You Very Much."

The universe exists to make your life difficult for you, in the end making it so difficult that you no longer have your life. That's a rigged game even by Vegas' standards. Following the principle that the universe is out to get you it makes sense that if you already have something you need, it will be abundant. Conversely if you desperately need something, it will be difficult to obtain. This is why you can easily find a Twinkie in Houston Texas (the fattest city in the fattest nation in the world) but can't find a Twinkie crumb in Ethiopia.

This applies all over the place. Consider that classic bit of folk wisdom that "it takes money to make money." So if you are broke you can't possibly make money.

Think about how much easier it is to buy a car from a car-dealer when he thinks you might just walk off the lot. Once any part, even a part as venal and insignificant as a car salesman, of the universe knows you need something it immediately becomes more difficult to get. You won't be getting the cashback bonus, you won't get the good APR, you won't get free extras. Because you need the car and the salesman knows it, that's why.

It works from other angles as well. Ever notice that being in a relationship makes you twice as attractive to others? Guess why? When you have one partner, you can get another. Try that when you're single. Welcome to late-night cable and lubricant.

The question of real need is one thing. But these rules also apply in situations where you merely want something. If you don't have something other people do have, you want it. We may call this the "Iron Law of Consumer Capitalism" and it is a subsidiary to the laws we have already discussed.

This law has the same implications as the others. We can tell it is a law because it applies even in previously non-existent circumstances. I never wanted an Ipod - I barely even used my Walkman and I steadfastly believed that you should only listen to radio in a car or else your musical taste will necessarily ossify into what you already have ("Step away from the Jackson Browne albums!").

Yet, as soon as someone I knew actually had an Ipod? It became first on my lists of wants. Because it wasn't an actual need, I was able to achieve it (while the universe will toy with your wants, it is much better on taking away what you need -- this gets back to its basic structure as a mass-murderer). My point isn't that I snuck one by the universe (you never really do) it's the reverse - that the "Iron Law of Consumer Capitalism" was waiting there to get me.

For now?

I'm off to browse the Sharper Image Catalog and relax.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sick, but fun

Insane Central Arcade

Click once to get the penguin to drop, click again to get the Yeti to swing.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Best 24 Years of My Undergrad Degree

were spent at the University of California at Berkeley. And if it weren't for the Bear's Lair I might well have graduated from Cal. As it turned out the Bear's Lair and a bit of a lie from the director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program (or misunderstanding between that critter and the Lord of Letters and Sciences) meant that I, alas, could not cap my undergrad academic career with a Cal degree. NYIT is good, but not the same.

OTOH only a real asshole would take 24 years to get their undergrad degree.

With all that noted...

Da Bears Rule!

45-10 over the Texas Aggies ("no students killed in silly bonfire accidents since 1999!") who played pretty well. Both coaches emptied their benches at the end of the game and that was also nice to see...

But... to be totally honest?

We effed em up!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ooooh.... I'll Buy a Piece of That!

Just clicking from here to there on the mighty intarwebs and I click on a link that promises to take me to some embarrassing pictures of a superstar (and I love me some my scahedenfreude) and what should pop up but the 'interesting' advertisement to the right.

I am, of course, intrigued by the thing since I think we all want to know what anal aint (and is that "T" supposed to make me think of the 'taint'? Or is that "OO" supposed to make me think of anal ecstasy?). And I want to know what cutting edge product, by Pontiac at that, is represented by a shot of the back end of a red car with the message "ANAL AIN'T"

It would give a whole new meaning to four on the floor. Unfortunately, as the animation works itself out the rather pedestrian (can you say 'pedestrian' about an advert for a car?) pitch is for some Detroit piece of garbage, as you can see on the left.

The arrow moves away to reveal a message that I will never remember, because "ANAL AIN'T" has temporarily taken over my frontal lobes and a bit of my lower body.

I wonder how long this advertisement has been on the web and if Pontiac has any idea what it looks like?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Xmas time again by golly..

drinking eggnogg, snorting Holly...

and this is our xmas shrub!

Surrounded by gifts for the BAG (but not her lovely xmas stocking) and awaiting her arrival.

Maybe I'll have a piece of xmas chicken and some xmas water (It being "xmas" everything must have the "xmas" modifier).

And to all a good night..

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Pic of Ox's smashed Truck

For those of you who know the Ox, you probably don't know that last Tuesday he finished the job that he had begun weeks before in Portland. He got his car rear-ended into oblivion. Once again, it was not his fault. As Ox returned from a teleconference north of his house (hmmm.. if it was a teleconference why did he have to leave home) he was rear-ended by a man in an SUV. Ox was slowing down for traffic in front of him and the guy behind him missed the sea of brake-lights in front of him and slammed into OX and actually pushed him off the highway. If you look closely you will notice that there is no glass in the rear window of the truck - this is because Ox's head slammed all of that out.

I received a message from Ox about 9:15 that night and when I called back he said "I've been in a crash and will call you back in 5 minutes." So I waited around for him to call and since this crash occurred in Hometown USA, I headed a couple of miles away to pick him up. He was a bit concussed so instead of bringing him to my house for a drink (BTW - we were supposed to have had a drink that night, but Ox canceled due to the teleconference. If he had that drink, none of this would have happened. You know what moral I draw from this!) I drove him down to his house in Coastal USA. He talked semi-distractedly all the way down and when I got him home his lovely wife fixed me a cup of coffee and I raced back home. One thing about freeways after 11 pm, there really isn't much traffic, so that trip only took about 75 minutes.

The kicker of the whole thing is the idiot who hit him may be an uninsured driver. This would truly suck. The BAG and I may head down to Coastal USA on Xmas day and I'm sure we'll hear more about this. Ox was, fortunately, relatively unscathed other than the bump on his head and that, I suppose, is the good news.

Those of you who have his contact info can feel free to send him letters of consolation for his mighty truck. ;-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rats... fire down the slag-melter...

It is now illegal to melt pennies and nickels.


Soaring metals prices mean that the value of the metal in pennies and nickels exceeds the face value of the coins. Based on current metals prices, the value of the metal in a nickel is now 6.99 cents, while the penny's metal is worth 1.12 cents, according to the U.S. Mint.

One good thing about dollars... until they become completely worthless we won't be doing anything but spending them...


I'm buying nickels with them.

/My limited math skills suggest that not only do nickels provide a better return - a whopping 39% - than pennies - a paltry 12% - but that there are fewer of the buggers needed to get this whole scheme going).

I wonder how many nickels you'd actually have to melt to overcome the startup costs of the blast furnace and power?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Almost Over

I just sent my last classroom assignment to my "Just Barely Accredited Master's Program." It was on Melville's "Bartleby The Scrivener" which is a story I love and have loved since I first read it a few years ago. The crazy artisto-deluxe at Swamp Valley College recommended it to me back then and I really liked it.

I liked it even more within the context of "American" (meaning "US") Romanticism, but when it came to writing the paper I was completely flat. It's done and will be an A (I think) but I don't want to have to write anything academic anything again until I do my thesis.

If I do?

It will be deconstructionist slogans.

Written with a machine gun.

On the chest of innocent passers by.

From a fucking tower.

I'd ask what kind of moron gets an MA in English.. but I have a mirror.

Paper due at midnight... yet I am so lame..

and so uninterested in writing the thing (and only a 2500 word paper) that I am actually watching a Matlock movie.

A Matlock movie

In my defense it is set in London.

Oh, there is no defense.

I'm watching Matlock...

I'm lame.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Dolls

Aaah.. sweet, sweet confirmation as the new Dolls album hits #12 on the Rolling Stone best of the year list. This is slightly tarnished by the fact that the number one album is by Bob Dylan ("Rwellor to Enterprise, Rwellor to Enteprise. He's DEAD Jim!) and the number two album is by The Red Hot Chili Peppers (who aren't red, hot, or peppery any longer). Still...

All you Jackson Browne, Steely Dan, Eagles listening prematurely geezed-out oldsters need to return to the roots.

You younger folks?

Get off my lawn!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Korea Calls - but I'm in the shower

The first call came from Korea.. a job teaching conversational english to Christian Women in a tourism program at Kyungin Women's College. I turned it down, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost was that when I called my friend OX (the excellent Korean) he immediately launched into a list of reasons I should finish my MA, bring enrollment success to Swamp Valley College, and wait for a better offer from Korea.

This is, of course, the Korean way of saying "I know something about this job and I'm not going to share it with you, but for God's freaking sake DO NOT take the job!" Later, when I put the thumbscrews on, he told me that the guy helping me get the job would also be working there and I would be quite obligated to him in that institutional situation. This does not sound like much to Western ears, but in Korea it means the world.

Anyway, staying here will allow me to get the victory I need at work to have a good chance at marketing employment when I return to the states. I can also pile up my full 240 hours of vacation (paid out at separation) and finish my MA without hassle. Still, it was hard to give up the opportunity to trade grades for sex with Catholic girls. ;-)

I checked the advertisement out and it is classically Korean. If you look a the screenshot below, the advertisement for the English Instructor is in that orangey pop-up window. It is 100% in Korean, meaning very difficult for most English speakers to read -- something like completely impossible. This, of course, means that no English speaker who doesn't

a) Know Korean fluently or,
b) is recommended by a Korean

will possibly even hear of the job. Very Korean, that. It ensures that job applicants will come with a social context already in place and that, although they might not be the most qualified applicants, they will "fit" into the Korean context.

you've gotta love that approach!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ghost Basketball..

Taking some shots of a coach for a newspaper article.. as I shot this kid bounced across in front of me and it reminded me of the ghost fashion shots...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The distant echo - of faraway voices boarding faraway trains...

I suppose it is wrong to drink beer before noon.

Which is why I went for schnapps laced coffee, laudanum and whisky.

Aaaah... a day working at home from the phone. Many lies over that evil device and more coverage of Swamp Valley College's coach of some importance. It's amazing to me how, when you don't care about your job, you can identify some little things to do that will make your work seem important. And the peoples will believe you are doing something.


Getting close to writing my thesis and all the books I have ordered from various backlot bookstores are coming in. I seem to have an author that no one ever noticed and if North Korea would be accommodating enough to nuke Japan (well, in about 3 months) I'd have a book proposal.

Sadly, I have never been lucky enough to pick who should be militarily obliterated (the only part of being a Republican that I think I might miss) and so I will struggle on at work.

Alas, I shall never have groupies. ;-(