Thursday, March 31, 2005

The education of Mr. Gomez

My big boy dog had an evaluation for beginner agility class last night. He passed with flying colors (the requirements were a sit, a down, a down with 15-second stay, a restrained recall--i.e. coming when called--and a trick or two), so at age 6 he's going to start agility classes. At one time we had taken him to flyball classes and he did fairly well, but his owner, Mr. Pants, didn't care for flyball and didn't want me taking his dog away from him all the time for practice and competition. So the girls--Lucy and I--go to flyball and agility while the boys stay home or go sailing. I'm still forbidden from taking Gomey away for a weekend, but Mr. Pants has agreed that getting out and taking classes will be good for the boy. I imagine that Mr. Pants may agree to letting Gomey attend an occasional local "Show & Go" since it would only take up an afternoon (and I want to be able to show off to Mr. Pants how good Gomey is ... once he gets good, that is!) I'm really excited about this, not just because I love training dogs, but because I think it will be fun for Mr. G as well. It's actually not that hard to teach old dogs new tricks, and it's very good for them.

But the first step is Beginner 1 agility, which will be Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30. This will represent a bit of a scheduling issue for 3 of the class's 6 weeks, because I have a radio show from 8-10 pm, and I don't believe I can make it from the training facility to the radio station (with a dog-dropping stop at home first) in half an hour. The beginner 1 class is only on Wednesdays, but since it's only 6 weeks, I think I can manage. Ideally I'd love to find someone willing to do just half an hour of my show, but it's not likely because a half hour of DJing goes by really quickly, and no one will want to trek up to the station just for that. I could leave class early on the 3 days it intersects with radio, but I'd hate to miss anything. So I may have to get subs and miss a little radio. I don't like that idea because I have a lot of fun doing my show, but it may be the best fix for this temporary situation. Any WXDU-type readers who have a good idea should feel free to shout it out ...

In other news, I have a crummy headache. I guess that's a oxymoron, because I can't a imagine a headache that's not crummy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Borborygmus, for lack of a better title ...

Hi-diddley-ay, neighbors.

I'm in my second day of the 7:30-4:00 schedule, and based on my experiences yesterday it is totally worth riding with the enemy. I would feel better about it if I could drive a Sparrow like Earthworm does, but my commute is 26 miles, and the Sparrow needs a charge after 25. Plus I don't think there are electrical outlets in my parking deck (although I've never actually checked.) Anyway, leaving work at 4 pm on a sunny and warm day is heavenly.

I'm still in camera-obsession mode, and I keep doing want/need analyses to justify my choice of camera before I actually buy it. There are cheaper models that would suffice while the slightly more expensive model would rock. The problem with want/need analyses is the basic fact that I don't technically NEED a new digital camera in the first place. The old one still takes pictures in its crippled LCD-less state. They are not as good as they might be if I had the use of the LCD screen because I can't change the white balance or exposure compensation, but using Photoshop I can make them decent. So every time I think "Well I don't need 7.2 megapixels, so I should just get the DSC-P100 or the DSC-W5," I then immediately think "Well I don't actually need a new camera so why not just get the stupid DSC-P200 that I want and stop obsessing over this stupid decision." (And I'm sort of glossing right over the fact that a digital camera itself is not a necessity because honestly, I'd just DIE if I didn't have one!)

Complicating my obsessive hyperanalytic state is that while I was away playing flyball over the weekend, Mr. Financial Responsibility himself (aka Mr. Pants or "Mark") went out and bought himself a brand-new camera. He really didn't need one because his Olympus works just fine. But he blamed it on me, saying that my mention of the Fuji Finepix E510 in a previous blog entry prompted him to do some research on it, which in turn brought the Fuji Finepix E-550 to his attention, causing him to learn that it had all of the features he wanted that his Olympus didn't have. So he went out and bought it. I must note that he duly expressed chagrin at his irresponsible consumer behavior, but he's quite happy with his new camera. I must admit, the E-550 has almost everything I want in a camera as well, except that I'd have to buy all new memory as it doesn't take Memory Sticks.

Having again bored you silly with all of this camera talk, I will close by mentioning that I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copy of Super Nova Scotian's book The Papyrus Voice, which may be purchased by one and all from Lulu.com. It's technically a "young adult" book but then I never really bothered to grow up so I think it will suit me just fine.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I'm part of the problem ...

I've been riding a Triangle Transit Authority vanpool to work for more than three years now, but lately I've been thinking of quitting so I can take advantage of our "flex-time." I feel like crap about it though, because van membership has dropped recently, which pushes up the cost for the remaining members. So if I quit everyone else will have to pay still more. But If I stay, I will continue to be miserable about not getting home until almost 6 pm every day, wasting away valuable daylight hours for this underpaying, stupid, gut-wrenchingly boring and too-far-from-my-house job. If I don't ride the van, I can get to work at 7:30, take a half-hour lunch, and leave at 4:00, which would get me home at about 4:45 (assuming there are no wrecks or other traffic problems). Am I a horrible person for quitting the van--a small collective attempt at reducing traffic, emissions and reliance on petroleum--just because I would like to enjoy an extra hour or so of each day? It adds up to about 11 days of each year that I would wrench free from the gaping, time-eating maw of work/commute.

I wish they would hurry up and build the damn train system here. The thing I miss most about living in Chicago is being able to take the el, or a bus, or an el/bus combination, pretty much anywhere I needed to go. Of course, the train system they build here will be nowhere near as good as the el because they will inevitably fuck it up from the get-go by short-changing it because it's not popular among the fatass blowhards around here who insist it's their gawd-given right to drive a huge SUV.

Anyway, if they ever do build the train, I'll be able to to be to ditch the car AND work my desired schedule. But maybe by then I will have found a job in Durham--surely there is an underpaying, stupid and gut-wrenchingly boring job that I don't have to drive 35 minutes to get to.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Rakka is so cool ...


kiss easter eggs
Originally uploaded by Rakka.

She's a Flicker pal. She made Kiss easter eggs. She rocks.

Oh great, it's Monday ...

First: Eww! I used to shop at this Whole Foods!

I'm back from my flyball weekend. The good news is that it only rained a little so it wasn't a miserable muddy mess. And there's really no bad news, except maybe that on the highway we passed a pickup truck that had a plastic scrotum dangling from its trailer hitch. Surely that's not supposed to be a scrotum, my traveling companion and I remarked ... but sure enough, it appeared to be an item specifically manufactured to represent a sac full o' testicles, which freely flapped back and forth with the movement of the truck. Could it be, I wondered, that someone actually makes and sells plastic scrotums (scroti?) for pickup truck trailer hitches? Let's ask Google: Yes indeed! Hey good 'ol boy, insecure about your manhood? Mudflap girl not driving the women wild the way you had hoped? We'll you'll be king of the trailer park with your very own set of "TruckNutz!" And if your other car is a Hog, try out a set of Biker Ballz! (Here's another astute blogger who's spotted some truck nuts of his own.) I only hope that they are at least made of recycled PET plastic or something ...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good Friday?

I say Great Friday because I get the day off of work! I feel like engaging in a pagan ritual in honor of it! (I use the same joke year after year since I started this job.)

But what ticks me off is that yesterday was a very pretty day, with blue skies and happy little clouds, and of course I had to work. Today is grey and misty/rainy, so the yard work I was planning is not looking so fun. I am going to got get some grass seed and splash it about the back yard, though. It's supposed to be a rainy weekend and it will get the little seedies nice and soaked.

Then I'm off to Charlotte for a flyball tournament. It seems to rain on the weekend of this particular tournament every year. We play indoors, but the problem is that you have to take the dogs outside a lot because they have important doggie business to do there. So it all becomes a muddy, miserable mess after a while. At least it's not an agility trial in which we'd be out running around with our dogs in the mess.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

No red eye for $60?

Sorry to bore you, but I'm still fixating on the digicam situation (hey, by the time I've made up my mind the prices will fall!) I've been comparing the Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 to the front-runner P200 because it's about $60 cheaper and has the advantage of using AA batteries instead of the proprietary "Infolithium battery" that the P200 uses. Granted, it's oonly 5 megapixels while the P200 is 7, but I don't need all that megapixelage--I never do prints and if I were to print I know 5 megapixels would more than suffice.

But the issue I'm hanging up on is that the P200, amazingly for a sub-compact camera, gets far less red-eye in flash shots. The W1 has terrible red-eye problems because the flash is much closer to the lens. I avoid using flash whenever possible, mostly because I don't like the shadows and hot spots it throws, but wouldn't it be lovely to use flash when you need to and not turn people into demons? Is losing the red-eye worth $60 to me?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Peace dude ...

I went to Peace Camera (formerly Southeastern in Raleigh) today during lunch. I just figured maybe I should consider buying from my locally owned camera store instead of online even if the price would be a little bit higher, so I went to see what they had. When I said I was interested in another Sony, Camera Dude said they didn't sell them. Actually he said they "refused" to sell Sonys, because Sony gave bad service. Well then, I said, supposing I were to switch brands? He aske how much I was interested in paying. I hate that question, because of course the answer is "as little as possible," But I said $300 even though I could have gone higher. His sugestion was the Fuji Finepix E510, which was conveniently priced at $299. (Their prices are about $50 higher than online. $50 could get me a new memory card ...)

One advantage of the Fuji if I were to switch brands (and it also applies to Olympus), is that I could borrow Mr. Pants' XD RAM cards, seeing as how my memory sticks would this be useless. The Fuji also takes AA rechargeable batteries, as does my current Sony (but not the DSC-P200, which seems to be my front-runner in the replacent race). But one of the things I love about my Sony is that I can take movies with sound that are only limited in length by my available storage space (same deal on the P200). The Fuji, however, is limited to one or three-minute movie clips (three minutes on the lower resolution setting). When I mentioned this to Camera Dude, he said (rather condescendingly) "Oh most of them don't offer unlimited movie length because it's such a drain on the battery." Well if I was interested in saving battery life I guess I would just leave the fucking camera turned off all the time, now wouldn't I? Or not even bother to buy one in the first place. But I really want to be able to shoot movies. (I have a couple of funny clips I should post on my web space one of these days, but I should probably bust 'em down a bit so they're not so huge).

So I'm still leaning toward the Sony.

In other news, Blogger has been positively crackling fast today. maybe I don't need to switch after all ...

And even though I was on last week, I'll be on the radio again tonight. Jason and I arranged a skip/switch thingie to accomodate his schedule. So don't tune in to 88.7 FM (local) or wxdu.org from 8-10 pm. I'm hoping this week's show will be better than last week's--I was tired and uninspired.

Monday, March 21, 2005

For the record ...

If I ever get like Terri Schiavo, somebody yank the tube, please. (Mr. Pants knows this, but I'm just makin' sure).

It's Pain In The Ass Day here at CBOP ...

I'm busy. Too busy to find a better blog-maker than Blogger (i.e. Bogger). But I can't stand the thought of trying to use Blogger because it's been such a gawdawful excruciatingly slow and unreliable pain-in-the ass lately (although it seems fine today). Over the weekend I wanted to write an entry but I just didn't feel like waiting for an hour to get to my "dashboard." So maybe I'll be boring and not blog much because it's gone from being a fun activity to being a source of stress after Blogger started sucking so horribly.

On a related note, Yahoo bought Flickr, which means that another of my favorite things just might become a big pain in the ass, too. (They swear it won't because Yahoo is committed to the same values as Flickr blah blah blah blah. Gosh, I've never heard that before ... )

Also, today is Day In the Life Of day on Flickr, which means that a bunch of folks are going to document their lives in photographs. I did it back in December and I had planned to do it today, but that was back before I broke the lcd screen on my camera. Now it's a raggedy-ass piece of shit and I can't change any settings or see my battery staus or review photos or even keep track of how many photos I've taken ... so taking pictures is just not as much fun as it was with a non-raggedy-ass-piece-of-shit camera. I know, I should just buy a new camera but I'm hemming and hawing over how much of an upgrade I really need and whatnot. On the one hand, taking pictures gives me such joy that I should feel justified in spending whatever I need to get the camera I want. And since what I really want is just another point-and-shoot, I'm not even talking about top-of-the line prices. But on the other hand I feel I should be thrifty in everything I do and I know for a fact that the photographer is much more important than the camera (I've seen plenty of gawdawful boring shit pseudo art crap photos taken with top-of-the-line cameras.) So I'm poring over prices and specs and whatnot. The only thing I've really decided for sure is that I'm getting another Sony Cybershot because I really liked my previous one and I've already got an investment in Memory Sticks. But anyway, I think the point I may have been trying to make is that the "Day In the Life Of" thing may not be that much fun to do today, and in fact it may be a bit of a pain in the ass, just like everything else. Plus I haven't even finished posting my Ecuador pix yet ..

Anyway, it doesn't matter so much because I've got lots of stupid work to do, which is also a pain in the ass. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Goddamn Blogger ....

It's been more like "Bogger" lately, being slow and dodgy. Just now I wrote a rather long posts, with lots of links and whatnot, hit "publish," and after a lengthy delay I received an "Internal Server Error" message for my troubles. I've liked Blogger so far, but lately it's been asswich. I'm too lazy to shop around for another service right now, so lets hope Blogger gets well quick.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

peep peep

I have been teetering on the verge of vegetarianism for the past few months. Way back when I lived in Wisconsin I refrained from meat for four years, but it was easy there. Madison was full of other vegetarians. My reasoning was never really from the "It's wrong to kill and eat animals" point of view, but more from the idea that it's generally healthier and not as bad on the environment if we don't eat so much meat. Killing fewer animals is just a side bonus. So when I moved to Chicago and led a busier life in which being a vegetarian wasn't as easy, the vegetarian diet dedication waned, and soon I was eating whatever, whenever. (I gained weight, too). In the past few months I've been rethinking my meat-eating (goaded on by a post or two from frograbbitmonkey, who was musing about going back to vegetarianism herself).

Anyway, while in Ecuador we visited an open-air livestock market (not really on purpose) in a town called Saquisili. It made me certain that at the very least I wasn't going to eat any more meat in Ecuador. But I've kinda decided that maybe I'll extend that and stop eating meat altogether. I wasn't really eating a lot of it to begin with, so it won't require a total revamping of my diet. I'm not very good at being dietarily dogmatic, though, and I'm sure I'll let a few things with ingredients like gelatin and rennet in them slip through the cracks.

For example, tomorrow is the inauguration of a tradition wherein once a month we will bring foodlike items to the office to celebrate all the month's birthdays in our division. I'm ambivalent about participating, but then I had the idea to bring in Marshmallow Peeps as my contribution. After that idea, I was really into the whole thing and looking forward to it. But, as Rakka points out, Peeps are not vegetarian becauase they contain gelatin, which is made from bones, of course. But I kinda don't give a crap ... I probably won't eat any of them anyway as I'm not that wild about them (I can stand a bite or two, but then they just get too overpowering in their marshmallowness. I just want to see what people at work do when confronted with a plateful of Peeps. It's scientific research. Maybe I'll get a few photos with my raggedy-ass busted camera.

Oh yeah, and I'll be on the radio tonight, 8-10. 88.7 FM if you're local, wxdu.org if you're not.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Stupid computers

Warning: In this post I cuss a lot.

I got a stupid brand-new computer at work, so I've had the pleasure of reinstalling everything I reinstalled a month ago.

Now I'm trying to use one of my little USB flash drives, and it won't work. Neither one will work. I get a message saying that my computer senses a removable USB storage device, and I get the little icon that I'm supposed to click to "safely" remove the device, but the drive doesn't show up when I go to "My Computer" so I can't actually USE the drive. I fucking hate Windows. Stupid raggedy-ass piece of shit brand-new machine. I don't care if you do have a gig of RAM and a 3.2 gigahertz Pentium 4, you're a goddamn annoyance. Fuck.

UPDATE
: I needed to cuss like a sailor on principle, and then I called our fine tech support folks. Seems that my computer automatically wants to assign a flash drive the drive letter "F," which is already taken by our network. So the dumbass computer doesn't bother to tell me that there's a problem, it just sits there picking its nose because it likes to be cussed at. Fortunately, our tech support people are nice and helpful, and they told me how to kick the fucking computers ass and force it to assign a new drive letter to the flash drive. My Macintosh doesn't have stupid problems like that.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Maya hee, maya hoo ...

Arrgh. This place sucks compared to Ecuador. My job is even more boring and tedious than before I left.

I also have that "Numa Numa" song stick in my head. I had seen that video the week before I went to Ecuador and got a big kick out of it. (I identify with the guy in the video--I occasionally feel like doing chair dances here at work but the environment inhibits me). So then in Quito we were on a crowded, hot local bus heading up to Mitad Del Mundo when the song came on the radio, which was playing very loudly on the bus. I entertained myself with a vision of everyone on the bus breaking into the Numa Numa dance as if we were all in a musical ... but I guess it's a good thing we didn't because it was so crowded we could've put somebody's eye out.

Sigh ... now I'm here in this dreary stupid office just counting the minutes until lunch time. I made tamales yesterday, and then I forgot to bring any this morning, so I've got to go find some lunch.

Most of my lunch time will be spent posting some of my Ecuador photos to Flickr. There are hundreds. Too many, really. Maybe looking at them will cheer me up. Maybe I should watch the Numa Numa video again ...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I'm back!

My massage is over. It was lovely. Drop what you are doing and go to Ecuador right now.

The bad news is that I broke the LCD screen on my camera.

I actually kept a journal of the trip and I plan to go into detail about it later.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I'll be back ...


massage
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

Friends 4ever!

Ever since Martha Stewart got sent to the pokey in Alderson, WV, I've been making jokes around here about how she and my former boss, Meg Scott Phipps, are buddies now. Turns out they are. And that's a good thing.

On a related note, I thought this "InMates.com" site was amusing.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Oh, by the way, Asswich!

Daaaay-um! I don't think Sarah was even trying, but now even she has pulled ahead of me in the google hits for asswich department. I only know this because Matt Ryan just came in and told me he was the author of an anonymous asswich comment posted here previously. So I went ahead and googled asswich just for the hell of it.

Speaking of Matt Ryan, he finally started his own blog. Tune in later for his adventures with the noisy Pentacostals across the street.

Me, me again!!

OK, I'm going to do this book meme because I want to be like the cool kids:

1. Total number of books in your house?

I have no freakin' idea except that there's never space for them all and there seem to be more and more all the time. I'm always getting rid of books--either via Bookcrossing or just by donating them, but still they're everywhere.

2. The last book you bought was?


The Outlaw Sea by William Langewiesche. I haven't read it yet--I'm taking it on vacation with me.

3. What was the last book you read before reading this message?


Read as in finished or read as in I was just reading it last night before I went to bed but I'm not done with it yet? If it's the former, the book is The Panama Hat Trail by Tom Miller (which I mentioned yesterday). If it's the latter, then the book is Valverde's Gold: In Search of the Last Great Inca Treasure by Mark Honigsbaum. Both books are about Ecuador.

4. Write down five books you often read or that mean a lot to you.
The Red Orchestra by Gilles Perrault. The story of Leopold Trepper, the leader of an anti-Nazi radio espionage ring that the Nazis called "The Red Orchestra." This is the most awesome true spy story ever. Trepper is an incredible hero, but you've probably never heard of him because he was a communist.

Travels With Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets
by Lars Eighner. After quitting his job and then being evicted, Eighner became homeless but wouldn't think of being parted from his dog. This is the tale of their travels and what he put up with to keep his dog. I completely identify with Eighner--I'd never give up my dog either--and this was one of the most moving memoirs I've ever read.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Do I have to explain this one? Is there anyone who doesn't already know this is possibly the funniest book ever written?

I'm going top have to say "a book by Michael Pollan" because I can't decide between: The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, A Place of My Own: The Education of an Amateur Builder and Second Nature. He's a fantastic writer and he seems to pick things to write about that are exactly what I want to read. Here's a recent interview with him. More articles by Pollan: This Steer's Life, The Futures of Food, An Animal's Place.

The whole Harry Potter thing.

5. Who are you going to pass the stick to and why?
As they say around here: Like your undies, it's up to ya. (To say it correctly you have to stress the "to" in the last part.)

Mr. Pants took this picture ...


030105_03
Originally uploaded by Mr. Gomez.

... and I think it's freakin' awesome.

That's all.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

One more reason ...

I think I mentioned before that I'm going to avoid the guinea pig menu item when I go to Ecuador. Well I stumbled across another reason to avoid it that gets around the whole issue of where I draw the lines between animals that are OK to eat and those that are not (a discussion that makes me want to tell people to fuck off): It's just not very good. In fact, it sounds bloody awful, based on a passage I read in The Panama hat Trail by Tom Miller:
Finally, Sr. Toral brought out our roasted guinea pig and set it on the table. As large as a rat, it's cousin, our cuy looked liked the victim of a forest fire. It had been sliced across the stomach so that each of us could get half. Short, stubby hairs stuck out through its cooked skin. Tiny pointed teeth gave the dead guinea pig's face a sly grin. I took the rear half.

The skin had ducklike crispness, crunchy but tasteless. Inside, there were so many small bones and so much fat and gristle that finding meat to chew on proved difficult. Despite its size, cuy is definitely a finger food; forks and knives proved irrelevant. The meat, once I found some, tasted spongy, like overcooked rabbit. Juice oozed from all over; guinea pig is a five-napkin food.

So that pretty much settles it. I mean, just reading that passage made me a little queasy.

Oh, and here's your advance warning: I'll be on the radio tomorrow evening, 8-10. So stay away from 88.7 FM if you're local or wxdu.org or you might accidentally hear me.