The United States of Wal-Mart

I had the misfortune of stopping out to Wal-Mart? this evening. I noticed that there is now a play @ home version of the (mysteriously) popular primetime gameshow, Deal or No Deal.

So I was wondering: no actual money, no magic phone, no big board… why not just play Joey Tribiani’s “how many fingers behind my back?” game? Cheaper. Just as entertaining.

I'll Tell You What It's Like

I read this story today, and the whole war situation continues to vex the holy living shit out of me.

I don’t claim to have as enlightened and well thought-out a view of things as some people, but here’s a simplified interpretation, as I see it.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you really boil it down, the only reason the American gov’t gives a shit about Iraq is because of the oil. An unstable Iraq = American energy crisis which we are in no way, shape, or form equipped to deal with. So the soldiers keep patrolling, the cars keep exploding, and everybody (military, civilian or otherwise) keeps dying.

Let’s pretend, for a second, that storming into another country based on the justification of a long series of lies can be wiped away with a “whoops.”

Forceably removing Saddam from power might be OK if the people you were going to leave in his wake gave you the least bit of confidence that they could actually
A) get along with each other, or
B) behave like adults
Did you catch this line: The 30 lawmakers and five Cabinet ministers loyal to al-Sadr had threatened to quit the government and parliament if al-Maliki went ahead with the summit, which aimed at halting Iraq’s escalating sectarian violence and paving the way for a reduction of U.S. troops.

This is the equivalent of your 4-year-old friend getting pissed at the way your 4-year-old self is playing the game and just taking his ball back home.

How are you supposed to reason with people like this? You can’t ask me to believe for a second that if this country was, say, shit—I dunno—Poland, for example (Poland doesn’t have any rare natural resource that drives our economy, do they?), that we wouldn’t have said, quite a long time ago, “Y’know what, fuck you guys. We are sooo outta here. Tell your mom to call us when you grow up.”

But instead, we sit across the table from a toddler who’s pointing a .45 in our collective face, all the while we’re handing them bullets and saying, “OK, don’t shoot it, though. No—no..! Don’t shoot it! Here, here’s another one…”

I really hate this stupid war, but I hate the circumstances and the people that dragged us into it so much more…

On My Morning Commute

I crossed Jackson Street and there was a young woman walking in front of me. She was walking kind of slow, but it was like she was also swaying back and forth like a drunk—she’s taking her half of the walk out of the middle, and flailing her arms to make sure none can pass. I had to knock her over (almost).

Around Reeve, I caught up with the Pajama Twins. Often, on Mondays and Wednesdays, I pass these two girls that ALWAYS wear their jammies to class at 8. I can’t fricking stand that shit. I have always said, and will continue to say: if you’re too tired put on some jeans and a sweatshirt, then just go back to bed, because you’re going to be completely useless in class anyway.

Finally, as I passed the back door of Albee, a couple young women were talking about their holiday plans. One of them mentioned she would be in MKE for the New Year, because a couple people that they know “are gonna be up from the Army.” I chuckled to myself at the notion of being “up from” the Army—as if ‘Army’ is a city just south of Chicago.

“These are my medals from ARMY, Mother.”

Oh, and if you’re looking for Lorch’s gross finger, please check the public gallery.

My Apologies for the Squishy Brains

I noticed this morning, as I continued my quest to do virtually nothing each day, that such an endeavor is, in a way, its own worst enemy. The justification for this is twofold.
Fold 1:
You get so lazy that you let stuff that would really only take a minute or two of your time to fester and rot much longer than necessary. Rather than appearing that you’re still working on stuff and getting everything done, you end up looking like a lazy sack.

Fold 2:
Eventually, since so much of your “non-day” is actually spent trying to look as if you’re not having a “non-day”, that nothing—not even thinking about stuff—is accomplished, and you more or less stare at a computer monitor for 40 hours a week. This will ABSOLUTELY turn your brains into puréed bananas, and when the time comes that you have to start doing stuff again, you’re pretty much screwed.

An uninteresting example of this from my morning is when I spent no fewer than 6 minutes beating my head against the wall saying, “dammit—this process always works! Why is this breaking now!?!?” before I came to the realization, “oh wait, it won’t let me FTP an empty file, nm.”

Gives self a ‘duh’ look

I wonder if the best solution to this would be more work, more interesting work, a more consistent workflow, or an employer that lets you freely bring and do your own stuff at your desk. I have a stack of mail from home that I brought in I could go through. I also have a LOT of books that I want to read on my shelves (and I think when you work at a university, that’s the thing they’d have the hardest time arguing against).

Meanwhile, I had to reschedule my blood work for today, because I forgot about the “12 hours of fasting”* that needed to precede the blood draw. So, I have to go back tomorrow. I guess this will still work out OK with my scheduled visit back to the doc on Friday.

That reminds me that I should go to the dentist, too. I still have next week to beat Michelle there. Otherwise, she’s gonna kill me (please email her to find out why).

Speaking of doctors, though, Lorch has to go for surgery on Thursday to fix his finger. Ray, if you could please comment the story into this post or something, that would be awesome. The short version is, he almost lost a finger. The gross version is available in pictures on this site.

Finally, as I get myself pumped up for the holiday shopping season, I thought I would put my list out there for the interested parties. It is adequate but not exhaustive. I don’t really want anything for my birthday, so if you’re in the market for that, either consult this list or don’t worry about it.**

*Here’s a little side comment on that—I wanted to set myself a reminder so I wouldn’t forget again, and I thought “on my phone” would be the best place. My calendar thinger has the T9Word? dictionary for quick inputs, but it has no profanity in it. Which sucks. I wanted to type, “stop eating fatass,” but when I got to “fatass,” the T9-erator said “datasp”. What the shit is that?

**For whatever reason, I have tried on occasion in the last couple years to get upset that there’s not a greater distinction between Christmas and my birthday, to no avail. No matter what I do, I can’t get it to upset me. It’s the only way I’ve ever had it, so… What I *have* been able to do, though, is find some pity for you chumps whose birthday isn’t on a more notable holiday. Your birthday is some random Tuesday in July? Who gives a crap? Mine is New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year, EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Suck it.

Monday #2: Production Delays


I didn’t have enough time this afternoon to encode the video of me putting up the tree before I left. I wanted to come down to MKE to see Michelle, since I was up north for the weekend. I also needed to bring her phone charger back (which was left at my house on Friday), because odds were she wouldn’t make it to the end of the week without it.

So watch for that video tomorrow, but in the meantime, I could get back to you about the hunt, the Thanksgiving, and whatnot.

We had a nice Turkey Day, visiting Michelle’s Grandma early in the day, and then heading over to Grandma Markowski’s for dinner. Grandma had a full house, and Michelle’s mom came over with us, too. When we see you over the holiday, you may feel free to ask me and/or Michelle about all of the near-or-actual-burning incidents that we’ve been involved in (this holiday included). It seems that we will either have a really good chance of dying together in a fire, or the universe is trying to mess with us and there’s no way it’ll go down that way.

Sorry, that’s a little morbid.

Sandwiched around the Thanksgiving was the deer hunt. We had a successful hunt insofar as everyone that we went into the woods with came back out. But that was the end of the success. I really think that the global warming is beginning to noticeably affect the seasons. This, in turn, is affecting the way to go about deer hunting in mid-November.

I think if, at this point, you think global warming/climate change is bullshit, you really need to get your head out of your ass. And that’s as nice as I’ll be about that comment.

Coming up this week, I have to make it through another uneventful work week before Michelle comes up to Oshkosh for the holiday decorating. I have come to make it a personal “tradition” to get done with all of that on the first weekend of December. Michelle is anxious to watch White Christmas, so that’s coming up, too.

I’ve started to get a number of RSVPs for the New Year party– thanks for those. I’m really looking forward to it once again… Have a good start to your season, and try not to go too nuts at the mall.

Why, Yes– That IS a Baby

I forgot, until talking to Jim Droste yesterday afternoon, that the kids would be gone from campus today. Totally forgot what the holiday schedule is like, even though I was here last year, etc.

So whatever, right?

But yeah, there are precious few things happening around here, and the hot topic of convo in the office is What People Are Doing to Gear Up for the Holiday Season. I honestly don’t care that much.

Right now our assoc director is showing photos of his new granddaughter. I noticed that he did skip my cube on his tour, but that doesn’t bother me too much. Maybe he’ll be back.*

I’m not very good at the office-social interactions, unless they center around sports or weather. Those are topics that I have no problem talking about. I can recite some of the things I read in the paper this morning about how Marquette upset Duke, and I can successfully comment on how the atmosphere is unseasonably warm.

If you want a comment on a baby, though, it will probably be something like, “Yes, that is a baby. Small. Cute. Baby-like.”

It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I don’t know what else you want me to say. It’s not my baby, so, I dunno, shit—it’s like any other baby to me. Kind of the same as like when the women in the office ask how things are going with Michelle, or something similar. My response is, “They’re great. I’m happy. I think she is too. No, we’re not getting married yet.”

Again, not a case where things aren’t fantastic, but why the hell should I talk to you about this when I’m at work. And it’s not like we’re best buds or whatever, so what reason is there for me to share anything (relatively) intimate about my personal life? The way I think of it, I don’t particularly care (beyond a natural humanitarian way) about your personal life, so why the hell should you care about mine?

The births and the deaths affecting co-workers are the toughest times for this attitude. Because, I mean, you have to say *something* at those times. But if I we don’t know each other that well, what else can I say except, “Yes– baby,” and “Sorry– death.”

Odds are probably good that I’ll be back tomorrow, at least briefly, but if not, have a nice Thanksgiving…

*As I was writing this, he stopped in with the photos and a very similar comment: “Here are the photos, I don’t expect you to be that excited.”

Feldman Factor

I was walking to campus today and passed longtime English lit prof Robert Feldman on Elmwood Ave. Dr. Feldman is a good professor, and a unique guy. People who I’ve met that know him can tell at least one “Dr. Feldman story.”

Anyway, I got to thinking that Robert Feldman looks a little like comedian Marty Feldman. I’m not sure about the former’s ethnic heritage, but… Well, you be the judge.



A Full Day In Just About Four Hours

I was in Waukesha today for some work-related “training,” and the session that was purported to go from 9am until at least 4pm got out around 2. That gave me ample time to mosey to the Verizon store to try to look at the new phone that I think I want, (which they didn’t have), head to Farm & Fleet to buy bullets (which I probably paid too much for), and then finally here to Nice Ash (where the Internet is free).

I wish I could have 9-2 days with an hour lunch every day…

Let me share a couple observations that I made during the day, though, which I think the world at large would benefit from.

The Christmas Season
I absolutely, positively refuse to give in “beginning the X-Mas? season” any farking earlier. It starts early enough as it is. It is “Christmastime” beginning the day after Thanksgiving, no matter what your local mall would try to have you believe. Michelle’s alarm went off this morning, and the goddamn “Mix” here in MKE is already on their “all-Christmas, all-the-time” program. But me, I will not willingly put up a tree, string a light, or listen to a carol before the day after Thanksgiving. Then we can talk.

Top Five Things To Never Do (as motivated by an encounter on the campus of WCTC today)
5. Answer your cell phone from the toilet
4. Talk on your cell phone in a public restroom
3. Return a voicemail from the toilet
2. Pick up the goddamn phone FROM THE TOILET
1. Make an outgoing call FROM THE TOILET

Finally, as I finished my lunch today and made my list of things to do after the training dismissed, “look at the Internet less” was on it. Then later Clark Howard was talking about the signs of Internet addiction on the radio, and I took that as a sign from God. Hence, I will catch you later on…

Good luck if you’ll be out there this weekend, otherwise I probably won’t be back until Tuesday (but Schneider probably will with his football predicitions).