on...topic: thoughts - incensed

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

she couldn't have named it anything else? anything?

So I read somewhere that a certain tabloid superstar (I won't type the name, but it rhymes with "Whitney Fears") has a dog named London. Great. I could have gone my whole life without knowing that.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

dear HGTV...

I normally love your channel. I like seeing all of the ideas that I could do in the house and yard for fairly little money. I like seeing the really awesome designs that some people can come up with. For the most part, you and I are tight.

However, your commercial for your new show "Sleep on It" makes me gag. The faux-musical number just leaves me diving for the remote whenever I see it. The show looks like an interesting idea - prospective buyers stay a night in the house to see if they really like it - but I'll never watch it because of the horrible commercial.

I hope that you can find it within you to realize that this was not a wise choice, and come up with something that doesn't make me scream inside whenever I see it.

Love, Brandon

Monday, November 8, 2004

the one time you'll ever see political commentary here

I feel reasonably certain that I've never made political commentary on this site before. There are several reasons for this. One is that I don't tend to follow politics all that much. This stems from many things, not the least of which is my complete and utter disdain for the whole process. It seems like it's almost better if you don't win, because then you get to complain about the person/party that's currently in office, and tell all of the city/state/country that if only you had been elected, things would be so much different.

I know better than to say that my life goes by unimpeded by the political process. Without it, I don't have the roads to drive on to go to work, or quite possibly a job to go to without initiative for small business owners. And so on. But I'll come right out and say it...I really don't see that much first-hand contact with the government and politics in general in my day-to-day life. And that's exactly how I like it.

The above statement probably gave you a pretty good insight into what I believe politically, but if you require me to say red or blue, I'll tell you I'm a Republican. This is not to say that I'd always vote a straight ticket, or for that matter, that I restrict my beliefs into one of the two parties. For example, I like some of what the Libertarian Party thinks. But there's also some of it that I very strongly disagree with.

Anyway, I realize that the "laissez-faire" style I like is not the case for many people around the country. Whether you're trying to convince someone that another tax cut is just what the economy needs to continue moving forward, or that the social topic du jour (I won't say it here, but it rhymes with "day carriage") applies to you in a specific way and you feel shorted by the system, there are plenty of people out there who are trying to get ahead via the political process.

The problem is that they think by advocating one of two sides or candidates, that this will be the case.

Cynical? Probably. Realize, however, that I'm not blind; I know that there have been incredible economic and social strides made due to the hard work of a system in place. And I know there's a lot that the government does that I can't as an individual. And for that, I'm grateful. But the problem that I have is that most everyone believes that if only their candidate gets in, will anything reasonably useful get done, and fail to realize that in a lot of circumstances, they could get what they need done, done.

A prime example? How about national healthcare? Now, I come from the perspective of a person who has health insurance, via his job. I realize that not everyone is like this. I know this because until I had my job, I was one of those people. What did I do? I bought health insurance.

But why can't we just regulate it and let everyone have the same thing? Because I don't want or need the same thing as everyone else, and I certainly don't see the need to be part of subsidizing millions of people who couldn't see worth it to pay for on their own insurance. The policies are out there.

But that's unfair...not everyone can afford it. So get a job that pays for it, or at least pays you enough so you can. And don't tell me that jobs like that are not available. One trip to Monster.com tells me that there are plenty of jobs that are available for anyone who's qualified. Not all of them require Master's degrees. In other words, if you want health insurance, it should be like anything else...you work for it. If you want to take your chances, that's fine, but don't expect me to foot your bill.

That's cruel. No, that's life. I know that only too well; trust me on this one. I've learned quite a bit about the insurance business very quickly in the past few months. And it hasn't changed my opinion. To say nothing of the drawbacks and the restrictions placed on each of us as a result of running such a system. Canada has a population less than the state of California, and their system is notorious for its ineffeciency. What happens when you increase the number of patients tenfold?

But this isn't a diatribe on healthcare specifically. I personally get angry when all the papers and anyone who has a weblog in Europe say that they were surprised, shocked, and saddened that "almost 60 million people could be so stupid." I've heard that my vote went to an idiot warmonger who only cares about oil. I've heard that my vote is 1/60,000,000 of the problem with today's USA, and that anyone who's smart is considering a move to Toronto right about now.

This isn't to harp on Democrats. In fact, I can't even listen to the majority of Republican talk radio hosts because they're windbags who refuse to even acknowledge that there's another opinion, and if someone tries to engage them in conversation, they interrupt and interject, and finally cut off the caller and tell their side again before going to commercial break for another product that they happen to endorse. Instead of putting forth issues, half of the time they just make fun of whoever is "featured" on a radio clip.

You want another reason I dislike the process so much?

Rhetoric, rhetoric, everywhere...

Once again, call me a cynic, but a lot of the time, when it all comes down to brass tacks, politics is not about doing what's right for America. Politics is about power, pure and simple. And that doesn't change whether you're red or blue. It's about power, and the things you're willing to say or do in order to get it. And that, above most everything else, is why I don't like it.

Okay. Rant over. Now back to the normal silliness you're used to seeing here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

the sixth ring

The University of Florida has the worst football ticket ordering system in the country.

Here's the deal. Starting Friday, at specified times, students can call in to the ticket office and request tickets. There is no other way to get tickets. In effect, this reduces the entire campus to a large mass of speed-dialers and redialers, trying to be one of the 20 or so who can get in and get a ticket at any one time. This is rather difficult when you've got about 40,000 people vying for one of those lines.

I have tickets now, thankfully, but it wasn't without a lot of busy signals and "This line is busy...we will continue to try the number for 30 minutes for 90 cents" messages and a couple of cramped fingers at the end.

And by the way, the title of this entry has nothing to do with the phone system. It's the particular area in Dante's Inferno that I'd liken this situation to, if repeated ad infinitum.

Monday, January 21, 2002

A humble request to graduate schools

A good score on the GMAT should be a reasonable equivalent to a good score on the GRE. Having to spend more money on another graduate entrance exam is tough on the ol' wallet.

Saturday, December 8, 2001

just wondering

How come you never see a banner ad like this?

You...lose?

Monday, September 3, 2001

I've made a decision

My least favorite car company is now Toyota. Why? Because of that blasted use of that one radio commercial...over and over again. No, Toyota, that is not the way I like it.

Sunday, August 5, 2001

a few lessons ALDOT should learn

Driving to my hometown this past Friday, I decided that I would try something different and take the Alabama River Parkway. This proved to be a terrible mistake.

A little background might be necessary, so here goes. Montgomery, Alabama is a nice enough town. However, it has had road construction around the I-65/I-85 junction area for the last seven years. The construction is slated to end in approximately spring, 2017. Well, it seems that way, anyway.

At any rate, making it through Montgomery to Highway 231 and the homestretch of my journey takes roughly 30 minutes. Which isn't horrible, but it could probably be better.

Enter the Alabama River Parkway. This toll road, off of the same exit 179 of "Interstate or 82" fame, claims to allow its travellers to bypass all that nasty construction and reach the desired goal of Highway 231 more quickly.

Coming toward Montgomery from Birmingham, a few miles before the exit, is a billboard proclaiming the joy that is this turnpike. On the billboard is a lady waving a construction flag, beckoning you to turn off of the interstate and head toward the parkway instead.

Oh, sure, she looks friendly, smiling at you and all. But she knows that it's all a Siren song designed to trap unsuspecting drivers. I haven't driven by that sign at night, so I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure that her eyes start glowing red when no one's looking.

Anyway, back to the idea that I had to take the parkway. I turned off of the exit and proceeded toward the parkway. I get to the toll booth and pay my 75 cents, and begin my journey on the Little Parkway of Horrors.

Now, let's decide on what makes a good toll road. Surely we could discuss this topic for days on end, but to be succinct, let's restrict our line of thinking to this cardinal rule of a good parkway that I'm sure can be universally agreed upon: it should be designed to let us go at least as fast as the interstate would let us.

Given that one rule:

Is this too much to ask? I don't really think so, but ALDOT thinks differently. And as a result, my normal 30 minute trip through Montgomery was extended to 50 minutes. I bet that flag-waving girl on the billboard had a good chuckle at my expense.

So I may soon be mailing the good folks at ALDOT a self-addressed, stamped envelope with a handwritten note asking for an apology in triplicate and my 75 cents back.

Sunday, June 17, 2001

The folly of censoring C.S. Lewis

The folly of censoring C.S. Lewis

I don't know about you, but the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite stories growing up. I've read each of the books at least four times, and the stories are wonderful in that they are great adventures.

However, now it appears that Harper Collins publishers want to remove the Christianity from these books and republish them. I don't understand this. The author makes some good points in the article...allow me to make a couple of connections.

He mentions that they would like to remove the fundamental Christian subtexts from these works. This is wrong for many reasons. First, any revised version is not the way Lewis intended the works to be read. He obviously wrote them that way for a reason. Secondly, the writer of the article is right...removing these subtexts reduces the books to really nothing more than comics. They become commonplace. One of the best things about these works is the very fact that they can be read on different levels!

But the point of this is to capitalize on the revival of kids reading books, the way led by the Harry Potter series. Hm, I wonder...would J. K. Rowling object to the removal of all things witch in these books? After all, there are people who are offended by such things, and who would not read or buy the books as a result. But that's the whole point of the books, you protest. What's the big deal about Harry and his friends if that part of the story's not there?

My point exactly.

There are so many grounds that I'm opposed to this on that it would really be long-winded of me to write them all down. But one of the most glaring is that if Harper Collins publishes these books under the pretense of not offending anyone, they will have effectively stripped away the essence of the books, leaving only an empty hull of an adventure tale.

Monday, April 2, 2001

annoying driver profile #1

I don't have these written down or anything, but I'm pretty sure that there are multiple habits that other drivers on the road have that I can't stand. (In other words, this could develop into a recurring theme.) Here is the first installment.

Have you ever seen a State Trooper or some other cop on the road and slowed down? I don't; I'm driving the speed limit. Now, this is not intended to put down those who speed. I've accepted this as a fact of life, even if I don't do it myself. No, my ire here is reserved for a special brand of speeder.

I, of course, am referring to the speeder who, when he/she sees the aforementioned cop car, slows down to 10 miles an hour below the limit.

Have you ever been stuck behind one of these people? Do they not realize that they are perfectly within their right to drive the speed limit, even if it means passing the cop?

I wonder what's going through the mind of someone who does this. "Hey! If I drive really slowly by the cop, maybe he'll think I'm a really safe driver! Maybe he's giving out rewards to anyone who goes under the speed limit! Maybe he'll even pull me over and take away that ticket that I got in '92, cause this evens it out!"

Actually, this would be an interesting scene to me:

Driver: Is there a problem, officer?
Officer: (No-nonsense voice) License and registration, please.
Driver: Sure.
(Officer takes both and walks back to his car.)
Driver (pleading to himself) C'mon, please, please...
(Officer walks back to driver's car.)
Officer: Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?
Driver: Because...I was driving under the speed limit?
Officer: That's correct. Do you know how slow you were going?
Driver: Maybe... (grimaces) 65?
Officer: Try 60 in a 70.
Driver: (Elated) Really?
Officer: (Now smiling) Yessir...you know what this means, don't you?
Driver: I sure do!
Officer: You had 4 previous speeding tickets at $75 a piece. Here's a check from the government for $324.
Driver: (In awe) Interest too?
Officer: That's right. (Tips hat) Now you have a good day.
Driver: Thanks, officer! I will!

No...this scene will never happen. Instead, whoever this person is will mosey by the cop, forcing me to slow down too. They'll wait till the cop is out of view, and then speed back up to whatever they were doing before.

And I'll inwardly caterwaul.

Sunday, February 18, 2001

Yossarian should have it so good

I have one of the best coaster makers in the world. And it only cost me a couple hundred bucks.

Today's adventure begins, amazingly enough, today. I have been realizing that my CD burner wasn't getting much use lately. To justify its initial purchase by reducing its variable cost per CD burned (man, that MBA education's getting good use), I decided to make a "compilation compilation" CD. This term refers to my favorite songs off of what are known as "compilation" CDs, all put onto one CD all their own.

Now, recently, I had been getting irritated at RealJukebox. It's free and all that, but there's a lot of problems that I just can't overlook:

Sigh. So I deleted it.

Anyway, I picked out the songs that I wanted, and recorded them as WAV sound files using the "Easy CD Creator" software that came with the CD burner. What the "Easy CD Creator" people don't want you to know is that "Easy CD Creator" doesn't seem to think that if skips happen during the recording process to a WAV, the user might like to know about this and recopy the song. Oh, no...the program just happily copies the files to the hard drive.

So I get all of the files copied to the hard drive, and start recording the CD. I even put it through "testing" phase (read: wasting another 10 minutes in the name of ensuring the success of the copying process). 20 minutes later, my CD is ready.

I note that in my haste, I misspelled compilation in the title. Twice. My CD is now known as "The Compliation Complilation" to Windows CD Player. No biggie, I say to myself...I'll be the only one to see that. So I make the jewel case covers and everything (changing the title there), and I pop the CD in the drive.

Two minutes, 32 seconds into the first song, the CD skips.

Now I'm somewhat irritated. So I go and listen to the original WAV file that I copied earlier, and I find out what I told you earlier...those two WAV files were copied badly, but "Easy CD Creator" didn't think that was important. I guess it would have been too difficult to prompt the user to copy the song over. And "Hard CD Creator" just isn't as catchy a title.

This is when I remember our friend RealJukebox. For all its flaws, I remember that it does a great job of recording WAV files. I jump online and grab a copy of RealJukebox, all the while listening to my now destined-to-be-under-a-glass CD for problems with other songs. Good thing too...song seven is also messed up.

Eventually the RealJukebox installer is downloaded. I go through the install process, unchecking all of the boxes, telling it I do not want it to be my default CD player, etc. Finally, that whole process is complete. Time to try again.

I get the two CDs that I need to get the songs off of, and copy them using RealJukebox. I listen to them this time, just to make sure. Everything's perfect. I close out RealJukebox.

I now go back to "Easy CD Creator" and set it up to use the two new WAV files when burning this copy. I don't bother to test this time, and everything turns out fine again. I get the CD out and label it.

Ready to hear my now perfect CD, I close all programs and put the CD back in the player. And what pops open as my default CD player?

That's right, friends...RealJukebox.

This turn of events elicits a caterwaul from yours truly.

So now, of course, I'm stuck with a piece of software that doesn't do one thing that I need it to do, but is great otherwise, and a piece of software that I hate, but have to use to accomplish that one thing.

And one new coaster.

Friday, January 5, 2001

lose-lose situation

I got a new jacket for Christmas. This does not incense me...I actually asked for one, so I was pretty pleased. What kills me is the way that the people or machines that attach those tags to jackets with some propaganda or something attached to it. When I cut that little plastic tag holder, one of two things must happen. Either:

  1. The piece that was in the jacket's lining will now be there for all eternity, sometimes irritating my arm by poking my wrist, and especially robbing me of the closure (that I so desperately need) of getting the entire tag holder off. Or:
  2. Desiring the aforementioned closure, I'll tear a small hole in the seam of the jacket in forcing the piece out that was cut off into the lining. This won't be noticeable to anyone ever, but I'll know it's there. It'll eat away at the back of my mind.

In other words, it took an evil genius to come up with the original idea to attach tags like that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

behind the music

Music CDs that have promotional stuff or special multimedia that come up automatically when you put the CD in annoy me. I wish that there was some sort of way to stop whatever it is to come up when all I want to do is listen to the music when I'm working on something on my computer.

Oh, wait. There is. It's called listening to it when I'm working on something in Linux.

But that's overkill. I'd rather do my website building in HomeSite than xemacs. So I think I'll just gripe about it instead.

Thursday, October 5, 2000

640K is all it takes...

I was reliving my carefree youth playing old Atari 2600 games on my computer the other night (it's not as good as having the old system with its one-button joysticks, but it's not bad) and the game decided to freeze up. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but in this case it ground my whole system to a halt. A Pentium II with 160MB of RAM ghosted because my DOS-based Atari emulator froze up. A quick reboot solved this, but still. Wouldn't you think a system like that should be able to recover from such a small program's demise?

Whatever...

Saturday, July 22, 2000

bad commercial, okay pizza

On that "Bad Andy" Domino's Pizza commercial where Andy sneaks up on that delivery guy in the shower, two things come to mind. First, why is he wearing his Domino's cap in the shower? Second, why in the world is he showering at a Domino's at all?

Am I the only one who finds this stupid?

Saturday, June 10, 2000

apparent top-secret info

Why in the world is it so tough for Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to slay vampires? I don't watch the show very often, but Ricky tells me enough about it to where I get the premise, and that she's faced tough vampires before. I've watched The X-Files where they face vampires, and Mulder knows that if you spill items (I think that Mulder used sunflower seeds in the show) on the ground, vampires are compelled to pick all of them up. Wouldn't you think that Buffy and her friends would be privy to this information? Wouldn't it be a lot easier to slay vampires if they knew this? Just carry a bag of seeds, and whenever you come up against one, just spill 'em on the ground, and stake the guy while he's picking them up! Seems easy to me...

ironic money-waster

Who exactly buys coin tubes from Wal-Mart or some such store? Don't they realize that most any bank will give you those for free? Why does Wal-Mart stock them anyway?