Gray Flannel Dwarf


A little bit of vindication

People are starting to get it. I hope. I thought the following from an ongoing conversation was a pretty damning indictment, all things considered.

[...]I voted for him, I was with him on the 9/11 thing, I thought he handled it masterfully, but since then he’s totally blown it: Iraq, the environment, the Patriot Act, which I just skimmed — thanks Corey — try calling yourself a libertarian and voting for the administration that passed that — the drug benefit, the shoddy budget work. All disasters. And he’s smug about every one of those things. He thinks they are great ideas.

I’m finding it hard to think about voting for Kerry. But I have to be honest and say that my voting for Bush is a vote for a fantasy Republican Candidate and not for the reality. If this guy had the exact record and policies that he has now but the label “Independent” instead of “Republican,” we’d all be against him. He’s terrible and we all know it.

If he were a prof at one of our colleges, we’d think he was a joke. Because he is a joke. Reagan had pieces of guys like Bush in his stool.

cswiii @ 9:47 am

dirty mouse balls

On my desk here at work, I have a mousepad from E*Trade… more accurately, it’s my “The E*MOBILE by E*TRADE” mousepad, and indeed, it is from when the dot-com bubble was just simmering, and the E*Trade E*Mobile came by the corporate campus, and we all had the opportunity to sign up for E*Trade accounts.

That was probably about early 1999. I still have this mousepad sitting here on my desk, in use.

Admittedly, the thing is pretty gross looking now, but I keep using it; not sure why, except that maybe I like the precise amount of friction/resistance that the cloth-topped mousepad offers, as opposed to the thin, plastic corporate one below it that reminds me to run anti-virus software.

In any case… I will probably have to get rid of it, soon. As much as I guess I subconciously seem to like it, I really don’t have the time to, every day, open up the mouse and scrape off the cruft that tends to accumulate on the horizontal mouse wheel.

“Everyday” is not an exaggeration here, either.

cswiii @ 9:30 am


Imperfect Elections.

Heard the choice quote referenced in the article below, on the radio this morning.

Rumsfeld said Iraqi elections would take place, but indicated that the process may well be imperfect. “Nothing is perfect in life, so you have an election that’s not quite perfect,” he said. “Is it better than not having an election?” the secretary asked. “You bet.”

Some might look back to 2000 and ask that very same question, Donnie… but they might well come to different conclusions, too.

cswiii @ 9:23 am



Posted yesterday, elsewhere.

While I realize the Bush Administration is far from perfect, I’ve become convinced that a Kerry administration would be a DISASTER. For this country. For the world. I mean, does anyone know a Kerry supporter who knows what Kerry plans to do in Iraq if elected?

I don’t know what Kerry’s plans are, and I would honestly like to hear what his would be — although apparently he did talk briefly yesterday about more international forces and better training of Iraqis or something.

Meanwhile, according to Novak, looks like whoever ends up in the WH is ready to duck and run:

And no, I’m not voting for Bush. Like you, Massy, I am a fan of neither, but I’d rather see a sharp turn to the left — which I don’t think would happen anyway — that would at least drift us back towards centre, as opposed to a continuation of this dangerous neocon right turn we’ve been in for the past four years.

Bush isn’t even a Republican. Large government, big spending, cancerous foreign policy? Those aren’t GOP values. If the GOP put a real candidate in office (McCain would’ve been nice, but Karl Rove’s “illegitimate black baby” poll killed that campaign) I would vote Republican with not a concern in the world.

As it stands, though, Bush has pushed through a lot of policy that has done a great deal of damage, in my opinion, to our freedoms. The argument often made about the Patriot Act is, “it only affects terrorists”. Not true at all, as I saw minor effects of it, after selling my condo. Meanwhile, this policy of unilateral preemption is just downright foolish and stupid — and it will bite back at us hard, in the end.

Historically, upon getting a second mandate from the people, a President takes much of his second term to work on his “Legacy”, which usually encompasses much of his core values. We have already seen what Bush’s core values are. Somehow, if Bush is re-elected, I don’t forsee a lot of “puppy dog and apple pie” evocations when he speaks. Rather, I fear an even more hard line.

cswiii @ 9:59 am


Do what you love….?

So last weekend, my roommate and I drove out to Purcelville to visit the Chile Man, Robert Farr, who was having something of a harvest festival, with a wine tasting booth, and someone selling organic beef, etc…. a small gathering but fun nonetheless. He gave a tour of his gardens, and showed us his bottling facility…. altogether, it was a good time.

Now, if you read his website, Farr mentions Marsha Sinetar’s Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow as that which gave him the inspiration to move out of the white-collar world and into his own small business, doing what he enjoyed the most — taming the fields. He also mentioned this book during the tour, which really kind of indicates he got a lot out of it.

I’ve heard others talk of this book as well, and without having read it, I sort of mentally classify it somewhere in legitimacy between Steven Covey’s Seven Habits and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Now, I guess I’ll have to actually read it to get a more accurate assessment, but even the title has me thinking.

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow

What do I “love to do”? I really don’t know. I’ve always had a natural penchant for computers, but is it really what I “love to do”? I certainly used to, and it’s still a hobby — a perhaps all-too consuming one sometimes — but to suggest that I get enthralled at the thought of mucking around in a computer’s guts would be a bit of an overstatement.

What do I really love to do? I guess that is the issue. I enjoy camping, I really like to cook, although someone — I think it was JoeLogon — had read that if one likes to cook, that they should cook for friends and family as opposed to opening a restaurant, because they are two totally different worlds.

I like to play a little guitar, but I’m not good enough w/ that to make any sort of money. Actually, I really do like music a lot, but how does one compete with the RIAA, ClearChannel and their ilk?

Maybe I’m being too negative already, making excuses for things, and I am guessing both of those angles are covered in the book referenced above. However, it boils down to a couple of key points.

* I don’t know what I really like to do, and somehow I have a feeling this is a leading factor in why I can never set goals for myself, be them personal or work-related. I can get a job done, but I don’t ever have any scope towards the future.

* I can’t imagine any sort of “niche” field for any interests of mine, where I might be able to make decent coin, that hasn’t been exploited by other intrepid explorers before me. This, in turn, I think is partially because I feel like I’ve lost all my creative flair, ever since going into computers. I used to have creativity, but ever since I began working full-on in computers, I’ve drifted more to the logical.

* Similarly, a lot of these things I tend to “like”, even if I know them fairly well, have a lot more depth of knowledge required if one is going to make a business out of it, and none of these are things that I really want to “study” more about. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to revel in ignorance, but sometimes when you study things too much, to such detail, you lose the fun in it. I used to read science and non-fiction books as a kid all the time. I have always enjoyed science, and that is indeed my best category in Trival Pursuit. I could tell you fact upon fact about insects and arachnids. However, once I got to HS, and had to take Biology, I got tired of learning about mitochondria. When it came to Chemistry, I hated learning about how many moles of a given chemical compound it took to effect change in another.

Farr told us that a lot of his inspiration for recipes, and a lot about what he learned with regards to gardening came from reading lots of books and magazines, and that’s all good. I’m not saying my interests are any more important, but I do think that they would involve and require a much deeper understanding of the subjects, simply due to the technology and/or precision involved in all of them, and I am just not so sure that it would remain enjoyable if I got that deep into it.

Just not sure. I mean, I am mostly content doing what I am doing right now, but something is missing, not just in my work, but in everything, and I can’t put my finger on it. I just feel kind of adrift with regards to interests and activities. Even if I ever decide(d) to go out and chart my own path, get out of the rat race… what would I do? I have no point from which I feel I can start.

cswiii @ 9:42 am


Ivan-a good forecast

Did someone let their five-year old scribble all over the screen over at the hurricane projection centres? I mean, I know the thing says, “Do not use for planning purposes, but this is ridiculous!

cswiii @ 10:40 pm


PNG me and I’ll PNG you back

Nothing brings on the hounds faster than a Microsoft Developer admitting that IE’s PNG rendering sucks.

I wonder if the comments were closed after a specified amount of time, or whether it got too hot in the kitchen.

It goes w/o saying that this website employs a lot of PNGs. If you’re not using something like Firefox, you’re missing out, not just on my weblog, but a lot of other sites.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 12:44 pm


Instant Replay

Got to talking with a friend of mine regarding the ups and downs that “instant replay” has seen in the NFL over the years. This year is the most confusing yet, with something like a team getting a third challenge for free, if they get the first two overturned, and Saturn is on the cusp of Leo, etc., etc… it’s all just way too confusing… so I came up with some alternates.

1. When a play is challenged, the TV puts up a 1-900 number on the screen, where fans call in and vote. Of course, they will be charged $2.99/minute for this.

2. Alternately, maybe they could tie the replay to a skill question, like in a Canadian sweepstakes. Perhaps it would add a bit of a cerebral aura to the game. I can see it now…

“Well, we made our decision, and yes, we will overrule the call on the field, but in order to get the ruling, you will be required to answer this arithmetic problem…”

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 2:17 am


Gal, you’re on my mind

For their current DVD promotionals, two of the movies Papa John’s is giving away are Durango Kids and Corinna, Corinna.

Someone over at PJ’s is a Dylan fan, I’d guess….

Tags: — cswiii @ 5:19 pm


Spin Control, Spin Cycle.

The amusement I am getting out of this gasbag of a post is tremendous. The neocons are putting out enough spin to power a small island. Their “evidence” mounts… but really, you can see it’s more desparation than evidence, especially as you approach updates 7 and 8.

Personally, I think people are chasing a false lead — I’m guessing the documents were retyped in Word by someone at CBS, for whatever reason, perhaps clarity for TV? Dunno, and that doesn’t explain why, post-broadcast, CBS would release any such “redone” reports rather than the originals. Anyway, I could care less about the Vietnam cards played by either side, really… but to watch these dumbasses shit themselves trying to find a way out of this one is fun. Karma’s a bitch.

More fun, however, will be watching the NFL season open tonight.

cswiii @ 5:37 pm

Traffic light flirting

CNN: “Hey baby, wanna see my stick shift?”

cswiii @ 1:27 pm


Easy Quesadillas

For all y’all bachelors out there — or people just too lazy to cook, here is an easy and tasty way to make some quick grub. Not fancy by any means, but yum.

You need:
Two tortillas
* Cheddar (or your cheese of choice)
* A tomato, small
* 1-2 Cheese steak strips
* A bunch of different seasonings.
* Corn (I used frozen corn but I imagine drained canned corn will do)

* Break the cheese steak into 16ths — break into four pieces and then break those up. Stick them on a plate, microwave them for about 1-1 1/2 minutes.
* dice up about 1/2 to all of the small tomato,
* put a tortilla on another plate. spread some cheese over it, and add the diced tomato.
* Add seasonings of your choice. This time around I just put dried onion flakes, garlic powder, cumin, and hot pepper flakes.
* Throw on just a small handful of corn — three pinches ought to suffice.
* Place the cooked cheese steak strips on top of all this, and sprinkle just a bit more cheese on top.
* Drop the second tortilla on top. Microwave for about 2 minutes. You might put a paper towel over top to absorb some of the steam.

…and that’s it. You’re done. Let it cool for a bit, and dig in. You also might try adding chile peppers and/or green onions to this… I’m sure you could use any meat you wanted too, but it will take longer to cook.

cswiii @ 7:59 pm

Over 1000 gone in Iraq.

Peace be unto their families.

But we’re making progress, right?

Returned from Toronto

Had a good ole time up in Toronto over the holiday weekend… as if I ever have a bad time up there.
Arrived in Toronto. Didn’t do much that night, except relax.

Went to the CNE roaming up, down and around the venue.
Apparently we went one day before all the excitement, however — although I do remember standing right next to that ride. It wasn’t bad, but it seemed pricy, considering we had to pay $10 CDN to get in, and then were nickeled and dimed everywhere we went. Did get to introduce her parents to the wonders of international foods — Indian, Greek, Jamaican amongst them — albeit they were your typical, dubious fairground versions.

From a distance away, we could see the more interesting bits of the air show, and I saw the various fighter jet units all over the sky during the entire weekend, regardless of where I stayed.

I tried my hand at a few of the skill games, most notably of which was the one where you try to throw a baseball and bust a plate. Two throws for five bucks; two shattered plates equalled a big prize. My first pitch was a dead ringer, shattered the plate fantastically. My second pitch — well, I can’t believe it. I have little accuracy when it comes to throwing, but unbelieveably, I hit the exact same spot where the previously shattered plate was — so no prize for me.

Finally, we went to one of the few free events, to see the RCMP Musical Ride. It was fairly interesting, although it seemed a bit hokey — but I can’t be so culturally ignorant as to bust on it. The RCMP are an indispensable bit of Canadian culture. I guess it was just the music that bugged me. Other than that, the precision involved w/ the horse processions reminded me at least somewhat of the US Army Drill Team.

I got to grill for about 20 or so family members, which was, to date, my most intense venture yet at grilling. Grilled three pork loins in a BBQ sauce; it was mostly the same sauce I used in the past, but wasn’t quite as good this time around. I also grilled six chicken breasts in a simple marinade that was mostly cheap red wine and soy sauce. On top of that, I grilled three top roasts and attempted to do them in something of a Jamaican style, but they turned out a bit bland… mostly though, in my mind anyway, because one of the younger faces in the crowd would’ve refused to eat anything w/ the slightest bit of heat to it.

Finally, I grilled some stuffed tomatoes (put the guts in a bowl; add various italian seasonings, breadcrumbs, and parmesean or asiago or romano; drop a chunk of mozarella in to the tomato and re-fill them; sprinkle the top w/ more asiago) and some garlic (chop off the top; drizzle with olive oil and add basil, oregano and a bit of salt). In all, the meal was pretty good, along with what everyone else brought… although I am still disappointed in the beef.

Monday was a bit of downtime. We went to go see Vanity Fair which I really can’t say impressed me too much, although to be… uh, fair, I was kind of drowsy about 1/3 of the way through it (probably due to the several glasses of caribou — no, not the meat, but rather some strong, Quebecois port wine and alcohol concoction — that I had w/ her dad at lunch). A lot of the guys looked a lot alike, and I just generally had a hard time following it, although the story, in my mind, wasn’t too interesting… it just wasn’t my cuppa.

Afterwards, we went to the always tasty Margarita’s for dinner to introduce her parents to yet more foods — this time it was chorizo chimichanga, steak tacos and chicken fajitas. The fried ice cream left something to be desired, however — it seemed a bit… stale? Dunno, but the outside was kinda chewy, not even reasonably crispy as I’d expected.

Departed Toronto. Taxi was running late to the airport, the line at the United desk was unbearable, and the US Customs and Immigration lines were terrible, although they let me cut ahead since I had a 10:20 AM flight.

That is, my flight was supposed to be at 10:20.

I huff it and puff it down to the gate w/ about thirty minutes to spare, knowing that they normally start to board flights 20-30 minutes beforehand. I get down there to Gate T, however.. and there is no status on the screen and no one at the desk. 10:00 rolls around, 10:10… no one. Finally, I query someone doing security and they told me they just found out that the flight was delayed. Mechanical problems in the flight departing from Dulles or something.

As it turned out — or what they told us — someone had mistakenly turned on the heat, rather than the AC in the cabin, and they had to de-board and let the cabin cool on its own accord. However, that may or may not explain what they told us, upon boarding, that the auxiliary engine was not working, and therefore we would not have AC before takeoff or after landing.

In any case, our flight was supposed to depart at around 12:45, and I guess we boarded around that point, but I dozed off shortly thereafter, but I’m guessing — and United’s website seemed to confirm this — that we didn’t leave until after 1:30, because I didn’t arrive at IAD until nearly 3:00.

Interesting observations on my way back.
* Guy sitting in the lobby whose otherwise short hair had a long strand a la one of Lucas’ jedi knights. My first judgement was to assume he was some sort of sci-fi geek, but I decided I’d better not be so rash as to assume this; perhaps there was some actual religious or cultural meaning to it, and that it just resembled the jedi hairpiece…. and then I saw his book. He was reading Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon.

Yep, sci-fi geek.

* As we approached landing, I was looking down at the busy suburban streets. As we passed over an intersection, I noticed that there were about four or five vehicles all lining up at a light — and all the cars were red.

* On the shuttle back to the main terminal, I saw some sort of letter callsign/identification/something on the side of a larger jet… I think it was Air Lingus. Anyway, the callsign was almost very close to dubious: “I-DEID”

In any event, it was a busy day… but a shutout in kickball was a good capstone, busted-up legs notwithstanding.

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:16 am



James Jackson wants out of the Cleveland Browns organisation. The third-string RB, drafted in 2001, feels he’s never been given a fair shake in Cleveland, and has even threatened to “go to the CFL”.

Somehow, I don’t think that scares the Browns too much.

Fact is, they already have William Green, and Lee Suggs, the latter of which may well become their starting RB this year. While neither is a proven superstar, the Browns nonetheless don’t need another player who feels he deserves starting time. Regardless, what has this guy done to deserve more time, anyway? In his rookie year (2001), he rushed for a measly 2.8 yards per carry, and though he did better in diminished roles, the fact is, he’s never shone, and the old adage always holds true about first impressions.

The Browns, on their part, have been shopping him around, but want a third round draft pick, which I think is a bit high, as he, himself, was drafted 3 years ago in the same round.

Regardless of all this, I’d have to think that his threat to go to the CFL is all talk… and if it’s not, he’s a moron. I am not sure what his salary is here, in the NFL right now, but the average NFL salary has recently topped $1 million, whereas the average CFL player makes about $55,000 — in Canadian dollars. If Jackson is starting to think the CFL is his only way out, then he’s got much, much larger concerning any NFL career.

I don’t know if this guy is just a lot of talk, or completely out of touch with reality, but either way, he doesn’t seem like someone I’d want on my team either if I was Butch Davis — or any other NFL coach, for that matter. Attacks on management and coaching are poison to a team in the first place — to tolerate them from someone who’s never shown to be much of a star might well be lethal.

cswiii @ 12:39 pm