Gray Flannel Dwarf



cswiii @ 12:39 am


Definition of dichotomy: Purchasing an

Definition of dichotomy:
Purchasing an issue of GQ featuring a nearly-topless Heidi Klum on the cover, in addition to a copy of J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories.

Tonight’s reading was the first eighty pages of a book lent to me by M, Twelve Stories of Russia: A Novel, I Guess. It’s about an American who lives in Russia… and then back in America, and then back in Russia once again — I think. It’s really pretty interesting, albeit somewhat bizarre, until you get used to the writing style. M says it’s a good portrayal of Russian culture, that some of the humour most Americans might not even get, w/o being familar with the idiosyncracies. In any case, it’s been thus far enjoyable.

It’s kinda making me want to type out my China scribbles. It’ll happen, sometime soon, I think.

Oh yeah. The woman who rang up my purchases was a bit taken aback by the magazine. Not offended, just surprised, I guess. She kept glancing at it, and remarked that she hadn’t “ever seen this magazine before”. It was then, after looking a little more closely, that she realised it was GQ.

cswiii @ 9:54 pm

The costs of homeownership

[Not to be confused with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship]

Sweaty, smelly, and covered in grime, I have now completed my first quasi-major home repair. The disposal under my kitchen sink had been making a rattling sound recently, but I didn’t expect it to die so soon, as it managed to do, Monday night. After talking with a co-worker who’s given me a lot of other advice as of late, and who has done such a repair himself, I decided to give it a shot.

It’s really not all that hard. Well, okay… two parts were extremely tough, simply due to the nature of the beast, fighting gravity to get the bracket secured to the sink and the disposal secured to the bracket. But in basic, stripped down physics terms, it was easy, with about six to eight bolts, two tubes, and two wires to (dis)connect,

It took me bits and pieces of nearly 2 1/2 hours to replace it. Again, most of that time was trying to get those two aforementioned key parts in place. Now, a plumber probably could have done it in half that time, but this also means I probably saved myself near $100+ in doing it myself.

I had a minor drippy thing going on before, but I think I had a plastic washer in there that wasn’t necessary. After removing it, I don’t seem to be having any more problems. My last test should be next time I run the dishwasher, making sure the water makes its way into the disposal, and not the bucket below. Also, I am hoping my efforts with the plumbing putty turn out to be at least marginal.

All of this was done after lifting weights today for only the second time in recent weeks. My arms are gonna hate me tomorrow… but all in all, it was well worth the effort.

cswiii @ 12:37 am


dyed-purple video cards

From an article on CNN:

Aesthetically, tricked-out neon lights and windows that let you see the computer’s innards are another source for bragging rights, and the demand for beauty as well as brawn is growing, Reeves said.

That’s especially true for affluent gamers who prefer exotic computers costing between $2,500 and $10,000, he said. Each Falcon aluminum case is unique, featuring custom graphics and 15 coats of baked-on automotive grade paint.

Now, read my column from six years ago (“side 2″) and tell me it’s not eerily prophetic, albeit somewhat immature, as well.

cswiii @ 4:18 pm


At the pizza buffet today,

At the pizza buffet today, there was a guy, wearing all black, Docker pants, Tom Cruise Top Gun-esque style haircut, gold chain around his neck. Woman with him, whose hair, while not crazy in terms of acreage, was still sporting that frosted blonde look.

Piped in over the airwaves, was a fine selection of music, featuring Kenny Loggins, Don Henley, Mike and the Mechanics, and Rod Stewart.

I was half-expecting to see the Breakfast Club bunch saunter in, by the time I left.

In other observations, I had what might well be my first sighting of someone in public with very obvious symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I’m no shrink, so I can’t make a qualitative analysis of that, but the guy came in, made four trips to the buffet before even eating anything, including what must have been a five minute trip to the salad bar. It was probably at least 10 minutes before he started eating. Every time he came back to the table, minor, deliberate arrangements and changes were made to his place settings; Since I was in a booth, I couldn’t see what they were, however. It was kinda fascinating, although I didn’t dwell on it.

cswiii @ 5:24 pm


I should really be asleep

I should really be asleep right now.

Tomorrow — well, in several hours, to be exact — I will be having brunch, followed by a five to six-hour road rally event filled with mind games and puzzles, followed by an evening on the town with moy lushi drook M. Tonight we watched parts of Desparado on the TV, amidst chatter about money issues, John Lennon, and J.D. Salinger.

I really need to get back to my literary self.

I went so far tonight, as to tell M that he needs to come over sometime, whereupon I’ll have him change the passwords on my system, so I am not online.

It’s not that I have a distaste for anyone or anything that I know online. Far be it from that, I still find LJ an extremely comforting outlet. It’s a great place to jot some thoughts, and I don’t know really have plans to leave it or anything.

However, what I do know is that I need to find my true literary self again. This became especially obvious to me, after tonight’s discussions. I need to write again. Now, while LJ is a good place to do so, I find myself writing less and less about things that truly are important to me. Yes, every once in a while, I’ll have a write-up that spouts philosophical – and have no doubt, I find that useful.

I need to get back to my roots. My literary ones, not these logic-weeds that have sprouted and scattered their seeds amongst the parched-earth landscape of my worldview. I need to explore my creative side again, lest it disappear.

This is not a goodbye, by any means. It is an indication, however, that the content of my journal may change. I don’t know whether this will be drastic or gradual, or if it will even happen at all. If it does change, I have no doubt that it will contain a fair bit of awkward, cliched literary quips and tired solipsisms.

But I think I will be better for it, in the long run.

cswiii @ 1:52 am


rrrobin: i know i’ve shown

rrrobin: i know i’ve shown this to you before. i am putting it up on my office wall now:

teedz: hahaah
teedz: You know, “Quake” sounds like a good name for a team at first, but when you realize it comes from the “Quakers”, and then you realize why the Quakers got their name, it makes the Quake sound like a bunch of pansies
rrrobin: yeah. but which reliogious name could I use to sound tough?

rrrobin: religious
teedz: point taken
teedz: Anyway, Quake is probably better than other natural disasters used in the singular. Like “Tornado“, for instance.

rrrobin: King has no identity
rrrobin: tornado is good for us, cause as soon as we are established, we fade out

cswiii @ 9:45 am

I want to go prepare

I want to go prepare my grits, but they are taking up all the room in the kitchen to fix the ice machine.

Somewhere therein exists a lesson, but I’m not sure I know what it is

cswiii @ 9:26 am


The Ashanti Argument

Soul Train officials posted an unsigned reaction on the show’s Web site that expressed outrage “over the fact that a people, whose ancestry suffered 400 years of slavery, can be herded so easily into a virtually bottomless mud hole and be taught to sling such mud therein.”

God forbid you tell Hollywood that their musical flavour-of-the-month is a load of bull. We always knew they never liked that. This, however, adds a new twist. Now we know that if they can’t call you a racist, they’ll call you an Uncle Tom. Why produce quality music that can weather criticisms, when you can just play the race card? The fact that they are resorting to doing such just amplifies the notion that her music can’t stand on its own.

If this isn’t evidence of Hollywood’s bias against real talent, I don’t know what is. Yet, what’s sadder is the fact that this will fail to alienate the masses, who will just keep on listening to the same canned crap.

cswiii @ 2:14 pm


I am in the process

I am in the process of preparing to refinance my mortgage. Doing some of the dirty work myself, so that I can convince my existing lendor to refinance at a nice rate w/o charging me $300 for some useless appraisal, I have found myself swimming through the Loudoun County public property records database. This is done to find a property value assessment.

The units were built in 1995
In Jul 1995, the unit diagonally across from me sold for around $108,000
In Jun 2000, I bought my unit for around $110,000
In Jan 2002, the unit next to me sold for around $152,000
In Jun 2002, the unit directly across from me (mirror image) sold for around $162,000

Screw the stock market. I’m investing in property from now on.

cswiii @ 11:51 am


George painted his masterpiece at

George painted his masterpiece at a time when both he and his audience still believed music could change the world. If Lennon’s studio was his soap-box, then Harrison’s was his pulpit. Though increasingly jaded rock critics sometimes found tart words for his sermons, George’s music, at least, seemed to indicate that his mystical explorations had unlocked creative resources that only three years earlier few of his fans could have imagined existed.

– Nicholas Schaffner, on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass

What an album that is. I’ll say it again and again and again and…

cswiii @ 5:37 pm

Not a day goes by

Not a day goes by anymore without me hearing
A) people complain about their cramped lifestyle, living hand-to-mouth because they don’t know how to handle their own finances,
B) these same people who decide to buy another luxury item, when their situation has seemingly “improved” in the short term.

It completely baffles me. Seriously… ending up “in the black” for one week, or one month — or even a year in some cases — does not a good fiscal situation make! Paying off one’s credit card isn’t reason to go blow one’s wad on another liability! It’s no wonder we receive credit card applications in the mail ad nauseum… it’s cheap money for the creditors! I simply can’t believe the debt load that people carry. I get fed up when my VISA has more than $300 on it.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a little debt. It helps the economy — if you’re willing to take on some debt load, be it an auto, home, or business loan, etc. It shows that you’ve got faith that things will work in the long run. This is managed debt. However, there’s really no reason for most people to be living paycheck-to-paycheck the way they do… except for the fact that they are trying to live beyond their means. In this case, they’ve not got a valid excuse in the least.

Is it really worth having foo right now, simply to pay value(foo) + 21%, in the long run? Put another way — is it worth paying a (usually compounded) 21% premium on something simply to have it immediately? Such a mindset stymies me. Most things depreciate in value within those thirty days, if not sooner. Even fewer will actually give you a 21% “ROI“, in that amount of time. In fact, I can’t even think of one. Insider information generally won’t even do that for you.

Why people spend their hard-earned dollar on trinkets, baubles and glitter I’ll never know. There’s nothing wrong with buying the occasional reward or gift to one’s self, but what we’ve got today is ridiculous. I wonder if the UN calculates “personal debt load” into the “quality of living” formula. If not, they probably should. At very least, a variable taking in to account “short-term debt versus net worth” would be plenty sobering to many.

I’m not a financial analyst, nor a monetary wizard, but I know what positive cash flow is, and I understand at least a little bit about basic fiscal management. I didn’t take a class on this stuff, it seems pretty black-and-white to me.

Times like this make me wish I had the intestinal fortitude to vote Republican.

cswiii @ 1:23 pm


Riddle me this, riddle me that….

Can someone explain to me what the point is, of those soccer ball decals I see on the back of numerous SUVs and/or vans these days? Based on their placement, I can only guess that it’s the equivalent of the “gay pride” or “unity” logos, but for soccer moms, as opposed to some cultural, political, or sexual affiliation.

Anyone with any ideas, please let me know. I think it’s just silly.

cswiii @ 3:52 pm


Oh goodie-goodie!

Back when I was in college, I used to go catch a regional band with some regularity. The band was called The Goodies, and they were, hands down, one of the most enjoyable act to go see, if not the foremost enjoyable. Take four parts rock, one part theatre and a healthy spoonful of satire, and you might come close to replicating The Goodies, but you’d still fall short.

They broke up a while back — I went to what was supposed to have been their last show, although I can’t be sure of that. Thus, I was amazed to find out that they are once again back together, and prowling the south. What’s more, they now have a website. Way back when I was putting together the music list on my webpage, I scoured the net for them, and couldn’t find anything. The Goodies also, apparently, seem to have a livejournal.

You can download some of their music as well, but simply listening to MP3s doesn’t do them justice — you really need to see them in show to appreciate the full effect.

They mention maybe making their way to DC this winter, so all you locals better get prepared, I will drag you to the show. Especially those of you who liked Hot Buttered Elvis.

cswiii @ 8:53 am


I can’t believe I have

I can’t believe I have been reduced to searching ebay for ISDN modems.

cswiii @ 12:50 am


Jason Priestley seriously injured in

Jason Priestley seriously injured in racing crash

Man, I hope he doesn’t die from this. I mean, can you imagine the months and months of James Dean-Jason Priestley comparisons charts, to which we’ll be subjected, via media and throughout blog-land?

cswiii @ 2:20 pm


“We have to get the

“We have to get the digital television transition back on track. This order we adopt today is a step in the right direction,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said ahead of the 3-1 vote at the agency’s monthly open meeting.

I dunno. My conscience tells me that the quality of our television signals is somewhere near the least of our worries right now. I can think of several things more bothersome about the US’s communication transmissions than the quality of my television signal.

Like the arbitrary “decency standards”, for example.

cswiii @ 11:46 am


Looking up into the sapphire tinted skies…

It’s been an exquisite past two days, at least in a meteorological sense. Took a few simple photos to help pacify my mind.

Eat your heart out, Windows.

cswiii @ 7:00 pm



chinchin came into town for the weekend, so that was, of course, a wonderful time. Spent the weekend doing various things. The diet took a short break this weekend, as well. Friday night, we rented The Royal Tenenbaums, so I finally got to see that. It was entertaining, a star-studded cast. The family is how I picture that of Franny and Zooey to be, only more dysfunctional.

Saturday was a family BBQ at my aunt’s place that had some absolutely delicious food, including the habanero-and-basil (?) grilled sausages. Much beer and/or blender drinkage was consumed by all.

Sunday included a trip to Leesburg, on a whim. We decided to try and find museums and/or historical sites, and settled on Morven Park, former home of Va. Governor Westmoreland Davis. Strangely, we were the only ones on the park ground. Kinda eerie… but the mansion tour was fairly interesting. A mishmash of styles and design, to be sure, though. On the way back, we tried stopping at some little diner along the road, in hopes we might find a treasure of some sort. The one we found, wasn’t, although anything along route 7 probably has too much traffic to be considered such. The food was typical diner fare — but the service folk were very nice, it was like we were plopped straight down in the 1960s.

In the evening, we went to Bethesda w/ some friends, and had dinner at Raku. Just this once, I was that loser guy who orders steak at an asian place. It was pretty tasty, though. NY strip in a soy sauce base, cooked with shallots and chile, and they served it thinly sliced, meaning it was easily chopstick-accessible. Of the sushi we had at the table, I only ate the eel, but what I had was pretty good.
The iced tea was… fragrant, I guess? Tasted basically like plain ole iced tea, but had a peach sorta essence to it.

…and now we’re back to the daily grind.

cswiii @ 9:01 am


My cashier was hispanic.

My cashier was hispanic.

cswiii @ 3:18 pm
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