31 December 2008

Magic Mushrooms

I had a rather pleasant lunch today with Sarah of Sarah, etc. fame. I'm always glad to meet new people. Admittedly it's hard to say I 'met a new person' when I've been reading her blog for the better part of a year now. It's nice to meet someone for the first time and not have to wonder whether they're half a butt-puppet, though. I was really just wondering if she had a bitchin' mohawk or some intimidating face tats.

Now back to playing Super Metroid. I hope you all have a pleasant New Years Eve. See you next year.

29 December 2008

It's in a book

Well it's been pretty nice being back in Birmingham for the last week or so. I hope everyone had a good holiday. Sorry my last post was so, well, pissy. I managed to hold on to that cold for a few days longer and then I came to discover that somehow I'd pinched a nerve in my neck which left me with a rather nasty headache that lasted nigh on a week. That'll make anyone a little testy, methinks. That's all taken care of now, though.

I brought my laptop back to Birmingham with me but it's been giving me fits due to some power issues that it's having so I've not even plugged the damn thing in once since I came back. I'm currently on my father's laptop. He's pacing around the kitchen no doubt wondering when I'll be off his portal-to-the-world. Perhaps I should hurry, eh?

I have had the opportunity to read a lot since I've been here which is extraordinarily nice. It's been so long since I've been able to spend days reading. I was able to finish the second Dark Tower book by Stephen King. It was really beginning to irk me how long it was taking to finish. Mostly from lack of interest, I think. I'll likely continue reading the series but it won't be before I finish a few books that've been on my list now for a while. Since I finished that book I've started reading Matter by Iaian M. Banks. It's a science fiction novel that is relentlessley broad in it's scope. I don't honestly recall what made me want to read it. I added it to my Amazon wish list some months ago. It's good, though. Worth a read, for sure. It definitely follows this model:

Not to say that the book isn't good, but it seriously could do with some major appendices. Apparently Banks has written many books about this universe and I think that someday I'd like to read more of them. First to finish this one, though. Back to reading... Yay!

23 December 2008

Give me something to break

Yes, I just referenced a Limp Bizkit song. Eat me. I'm in an incredibly foul mood today. Why the hell did I have to go and get sick right before Christmas? That really pisses me off. Now I'm all tired and pissy at work. I'm only going to be here for another 30 minutes or so but then I have to go do some Christmas shopping which will undoubtedly make me want to strangle people even more than I currently do. Seriously, every little thing is putting me on edge today. I realize it's absurd and even that is pissing me off. I'm like a vicious cycle of anger right now. And since I'm driving back to Birmingham today for the holiday I get to deal with traffic on I-65... fuck. We'll all be lucky if I get through the day without killing someone or intentionally driving my car into a tree. To make things worse I've been bugging my mother for weeks now to send me a Christmas list and she never did and now she's not answering her phone so maybe she'll just be getting a giant bag of rage for Christmas. God damnit. Someone shoot me now.

22 December 2008

Cat Scratch Fever

Or, more appropriately, completely random ill-timed fever/sickness. Ugh. On Friday night I went out in downtown Huntsville to see some friends' band play. Debauchery ensued. Cut to me crawling into bed at ~5:30 in the morning (I think). Before you get all curious I can tell you I was not doing cocaine off of a Playmate's ass. Promise. Sorry. Anyway so I woke up about 6 hours later, kicked my friends out of the apartment, and proceeded to lounge around the apartment playing video games and generally being a couch potato for the rest of the day. Strangely enough I felt fine. I decided I would go to some friends' house and keep it pretty low key that evening. Low and behold about the time I got over there I started feeling a little feverish. Not stopped up, not groggy, just feverish. So I went home pretty early, watched some episodes of 30 Rock and slept. For 11 hours. I can't remember the last time I slept that long. Not only that but I was having fever dreams, too.

Now I honestly have mixed feelings about fever dreams. Yes, it is possible to have mixed feelings about something like fever dreams. I do it all the time. Watch me. I don't like fever dreams because they typically require, uh, fevers. Fevers is no good. I do like fever dreams because they are always hella realistic and incredibly fucked up. And, for the most part, I always remember them for a long time. For instance I still remember a fever dream I had in, like, January of this year where I was being chased through the workings of a giant clock a la The Great Mouse Detective. Except with fire and brimstone for some reason. I don't remember who was chasing me but I do remember on several occasions realizing that it was just a dream. Not quite like lucid dreaming, mind you, but somehow different. Well I had some fever dreams Sunday morning that literally defied memory, no matter how hard I tried. That's my schpeel about fever dreams.

So all of this to say that I am sick, I don't know what I have, and I hate the idea of being sick around Christmas. I am at work right now and I honestly just want to go home and curl up on my incredibly comfortable sofa and watch my incredibly comfortable television. I have to get Christmas shopping done though because that's what I was planning on doing yesterday. That obviously went right down the crapper what with my fever-induced laziness which is a much more potent form of my regular laziness.

19 December 2008

School's out forever

This is going to be a long post so I’ll apologize in advance but this has been a long time coming. I initially started writing it two days ago when I put up my last entry. I started but I had to stop. You will understand why shortly. First, the big news: I GOT MY MASTER’S DEGREE. I repeat: I GOT MY MASTER’S DEGREE. Once more, for effect: I. GOT. MY. MASTER’S. DEGREE. Let’s pause until that sinks in.

… … …

Finished. Done. Three years in the making. Three. Years. It shouldn’t have taken that long. In the process of getting my masters degree I unearthed some character flaws that I still have not been able to fully sort out. There were times during this whole ordeal when I questioned whether or not I had the ability to see it through. That is honestly something I never in my wildest dreams would have considered before I started it. I simply knew that I had what it took to do it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand why this was so difficult to me. Not just difficult, embarrassing. Really! When I first started this blog it was in large part because I wanted a place to vent my frustrations (mostly at myself) about my inability to complete my master’s degree. Then it honestly became something that I was too self-conscious about. I felt that it reflected very poorly upon me and exposed flaws that I didn’t want people to know about. I felt like part of me regressed to the way I was when I started college and I wouldn’t let anyone within arm’s length (emotionally) because I didn’t want people to see any of my vulnerabilities. I was just a typical snarling punk kid wearing a leather jacket and t-shirts with expletives. I really didn’t like that person and I made a conscious decision to change who I was. This was, to me at least, a partial regression to Apollo v 0.9- a rawer, less amicable version of the current user-friendly* you see before you. I’m still working on the EULA. No GUI puns, please.

Most of my friends probably didn’t know I was still working on it unless they explicitly asked about it even though it was constantly on my mind. My Dad took to asking me about it a lot which meant I took to snapping at my Dad a lot because it was a sensitive subject and it was NONE OF HIS GOD DAMNED BUSINE- sorry, sorry, still haven’t flushed it all out yet I guess.

Truthfully I don’t think it has completely sunk in yet. The reason that I stopped writing this post the other day was because although all of the work had been turned in and it was completely out of my hands and almost entirely assured, I didn’t want to jinx it by jumping the gun. The graduation ceremony was earlier today down in Auburn and I wasn’t there to walk across the stage and receive my diploma. When I first started graduate school I told myself that I’d walk across that stage every damn time I got a degree because I had earned it. I think that part of the reason I wasn’t there today is because I’m still not sure I actually earned the degree. Don’t get me wrong I did a lot of work and definitely put in my time but part of me feels like I cut some corners in places, whether it’s true or not, and I don’t like that feeling one bit. Hopefully it will fade with time. I’ve gotten really good at telling the story in a way that takes the majority of the blame for the amount of time it took off of my shoulders. It might even be true. I just don’t know if I believe it. I do believe that the things I’ve been through the last three years have completely changed my life plans. I never planned on 1- Living in Huntsville 2- Being done with school at 25 or 3- Driving fancy cars to all the bars and hanging out with the biggest stars. Okay that last one still might not be true. What is true is that I started college with the intention of going straight through until I finished my doctorate and that obviously is not how things worked out.

There is a lot more that I could say about this but I think I’ll stop there. I feel like all of this crap is taking away from what should be a rather auspicious occasion and I don’t want it to. Since I found out that it was official I’ve been having alternating fits of joy and crippling self-doubt. It’s like I just lost my virginity all over again.

Anyway, this is probably what you've been waiting for. Who am I not to deliver the goods?

* Some of you may be laughing at this. I will smite you.

17 December 2008

Comic hilarity

I posit that Questionable Content is the best web comic. Ever. Exhibit A:

It's like it was written for me. Life updates coming soon. Hopefully tomorrow. Maybe later today.

Quick addendum for Shuttle porn. I never knew the Space Shuttle was a top.

12 December 2008

Skyrockets in flight

As much as I am happy that Barack Obama was elected, I am completely unsure of what impact it could have on my job. I'm not really worried, but I'm pretty sure that some overarching changes are going to be made to the space program. I'm really not worried that my current defense job will lose funding. I've heard that Obama intends to cut the defense budget but I'm totally behind that. Besides I don't think it'll happen anytime soon and it won't affect the project that I'm working on. Actually, I may not be working on this project for much longer anyway. I may end up getting the job that I was actually hired for believe it or not. This is what makes me worry a little because that job is working on the Constellation program. I'm not really sure how I feel about the Constellation program, honestly. Let me rephrase that. I can't help but think that the current direction of the space program is not the best option. That being said I hate to think of the alternative because, well, the alternative is nonexistant. So I would much rather the space program have a direction than no direction. For obvious reasons. Here's an article from the Orlando Sentinel that highlights the current conflict surrounding the Obama transition. The first lines:

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is not cooperating with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, is obstructing its efforts to get information and has told its leader that she is "not qualified" to judge his rocket program, the Orlando Sentinel has learned.
I don't know what to think. Really. What do you think?

09 December 2008

XXXmas? Man that's cliche.

This is definitely going on my Xmas mix. Definitely.

John Legend is growing on me slowly. Stuff like this helps because I love toilet humor. A lot. I think what really put me over on him recently was his duo with Al Green, "Stay With Me", off of Al Green's most recent album Lay It Down. For the record that album is awesome and you should absolutely buy it right now.

I recently mentioned that I started a Mixtape Club when I was living in Birmingham. It was really awesome. What's even awesomer is that I've found a bunch of people here in Huntsville that want to start a Mixtape Club. It really is a lot of fun. I think that I'm equally excited about getting a group of people together once a month or so for the listening party. Admittedly though the task of actually getting this group together, ever, seems daunting. I think I'll be really happy if I can manage to get this going.

04 December 2008

As if musicals weren't gay enough

Prop 8: The Musical from the fine minds at Funny or Die starring John C. Reilly, Jack Black, Sarah Chalke, Neil Patrick Harris and some others whose names escape me right now.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

My input here may be coming late to the very well dressed party; however, the idea that two people who love each other can't get married is fucking ludicrous. End of story. And the Mormon Church can, as Louis C.K. might say, suck a bag of dicks.

03 December 2008

Comfort Eagle

This has got to be one of the coolest cakes ever made for a little girl's birthday.

In other news I've been trying to come up with the perfect Christmas mix CD for a week or so now and I think I'm getting pretty close. I'm one of those schmucks that actually enjoys Christmas music and starting the day after Thanksgiving it's pretty much all I listen to for a month. Much like my previous mixes I've set a few ground rules so as to ensure an awesome mix. The first is that I can't use any artist more than twice. The second is that I can't have any repeated songs. That makes it really difficult because I can only choose one version of a bunch of Christmas classics. I've got a [i]shitload[/i] of Christmas music at my disposal and I'm always acquiring more so I've got a lot to choose from. Anyone have any suggestions? Suggest songs, albums, or artists that are Christmas-tastic (Christmastic?). I'm also thinking that I may send a copy of this mix to a few people so if you're nice I'll be glad to ship you one.

I just realized that I've never mentioned my mix CDs on my blog before! How crazy. I love mix CDs. I think of them as an art and I really enjoy making them for people. For a while a group of my friends all got together once a month for Mix Tape Club which was pretty damn terrific. The concept is simple: you all decide on a theme for the mix and then everyone swaps. For example our first theme was Space and Rockets (my suggestion obvs). If I remember to later on I'll post the tracklist. I loved it. The only rules for each mix were that you could use no artist more than twice and that each mix had to be at least 45 minutes long. You also had to include a tracklist and decorate the CD (which was equally as fun sometimes). It can get pretty difficult to put together but if you've got the savvy and the friends it's an awesome excuse to get together and share music. I want to get another one started up here in Rocket City USA sometime soon.

And I'm totally serious about sending Christmas mixes to people, btw. Just email me an address to send it to and I'll try to get one to you!

25 November 2008

Take my love, take my land

NASA proposes Firefly mission

If that statement didn't make your pants a little tight I understand. If it did make your pants a little tight I'll forewarn you that the link will be a letdown. It's a cool mission idea and everything but it doesn't involve nearly enough space cowboys.

21 November 2008

Gotta keep 'em decorated Part II

A while back I wrote about my misadventures in interior design. It's hard for me to decide on anything because I'm really just not confident in my style choices. For instance, yesterday I went to Target to buy some new linens. I probably walked up and down the same three aisles 20 times trying to decide on a damn bedding set. It's hard stuff! This is what I came up with after feeling awkward staring for about 20 minutes.

In the past I've typically avoided patterns and tended towards simpler designs but I've made a big step forward in my home decorating journey recently and I thought it deserved some celebratory patterns. I am referring to the fact that a couple of weeks ago I went out and bought myself a new entertainment center (!), a new bed (!!), and a whole new bedroom suite (!!!). I went and picked up the entertainment center last night and after 6 hours of construction and rewiring my whole living room I can say that I'm really happy with my purchase. The bedroom suite is being delivered to the store today and I'm hoping I get to pick it up tomorrow and then my transformation will be complete. I'll be so grown up I'll have a guest bedroom! How weird is that?! Here is the entertainment center in a demo living room that is much cleaner than mine.

And here's the bedroom suite. I didn't get the chest of drawers because, really, who needs that much damn drawer space?

So that's that, I suppose. It cost me a good amount of money but I think I'll be happy once it's all in. I'm really excited about the fact that I'm getting a super-comfortable queen-sized bed. Sleeping by myself every night in that full bed wasn't quite depressing me enough. Now with all that extra space I won't be able to ignore the fact that I'm dreadfully alone!

Now you have a detailed history of my home decoration purchases. Tell me what you think. Give me advice on what I should purchase next. Am I going to hate that quilt set in a month? Should I start investing in house plants and sconces to complete my soul's gentrification?

20 November 2008

Do you want to take my picture?

I got a new phone last week and I've got to say it's pretty fucking awesome. It's a Motorola Motozine and it's got a 5 megapixel digital camera made by Kodak built in. That's super cool. Now I've never been the type to go around taking pictures of abandoned buildings or anything like that but I do enjoy having a camera on me at all times in case I feel inspired to take some photos. So rest assured I'll be posting pictures on here more often. This won't turn into a photo-blog or photog or picto-blog or whatever you kids are calling it. But who doesn't want to see pictures of my dogs? They're so cute!

This is Opus. He's really old.

This is Baxter. He's my little gentleman.

He also has an adorable "I want attention" face.

And this is Toffee. She enjoys sitting in my lap even though she weighs 60 pounds.

Last but certainly not least, this is my friend Tina playing a rousing game of grab-ass with our friend Brittany. Not dog related per se but certainly noteworthy. Brittany has cute dogs, too. Neither one of them ever update their damn blogs, though. Also, Brittany has no ass.

19 November 2008

Acting like life is a big commercial

I spend most of my day at work listening to Air America Radio. I'm listening to it now, even. I know it's liberal tripe radio but it's easy for me to listen while simultaneously working (or not working, as the case may be). I tend to go on talk radio kicks about once or twice a year where it's pretty much all I listen to. I listen to NPR on the way to work and Air America when I'm at work. It's obvious that I want my talk radio to be neither fair nor balanced. A friend of mine listens to right wing radio on his way to work because he enjoys being angry. How weird is that?

Anyway, as much as I enjoy some of Air America's programming (particularly Ron Kuby) I really wish their commercials weren't produced by drunk 12 year olds. I guess most of them aren't that bad but a lot of them are SO. DAMN. ANNOYING.

Seriously I think that guy up there ^ produced some of the commercials. I realize that I probably get too worked up over these commercials but JESUS. If I thought I could find the audio of some of them I would post it and ensure that no one ever read this blog again ever. A few descriptive examples:

The one where the guy says "We need more space and we need it NOW" in a whiny 3 year old pitching a fit kind of way. You can almost hear the guy lying on the ground and holding his breath while his says it. I've probably heard the commercial infinity times by now and I've literally blocked out the name of the company so as I will never ever ever bring them any business. Who the hell came up with this advertising campaign? Who the hell thinks that 'whiny' is a good descriptor for their company's advert? Obnoxious does not (I hope) deliver business.

The one for a weight loss product that was designed by "a woman medical doctor." I don't know why that descriptor bothers me so much but it gets my eye all twitchy when I hear it. If one of these women is responsible for whatever the hell product that is someone should tell her that she's a bad person.

The one where Thom Hartmann whores himself for some gold company. I already don't like Thom Hartmann because he's kind of a preachy asshole but when I hear him verbally fellating one of his advertisers every 20 minutes I lose respect for him.

One that really chaps my ass starts with some woman saying, "You want to know the difference between all the millionaire in this country and you? Well, they decided they wanted to be millionaires."...
Seriously? That's the fucking difference? WELL SHIT IF I HAD KNOWN THAT I WOULDN'T HAVE DECIDED I DIDN'T WANT TO BE A MILLIONAIRE ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. WHY DIDN'T MY GUIDANCE COUNSELOR TELL ME ABOUT THIS? THAT'S ALL IT TAKES, HUH? I swear some of these people should be held criminally liable for the shit they put on the radio.

18 November 2008

That's just, like, your opinion, man

I am an admitted music snob. All of the music I listen to is totally better than your favorite band. Getting into an argument with me about music is, in many instances, a fool's errand. Not necessarily because I'm right but because I can't be wrong. That's just how it is. This annoys the hell out of my friends just like it annoys the hell out of me when I come across someone like me. I'm a lot better now than I used to be, though. Back when all I really listened to was punk I imagine I was insufferable. This whole thing probably stems from the fact that I used to listen solely to punk, by the way. It's a musical genre that basically requires you to be an elitist prick. Damn good music, though.

Of course I realize that in truth I'm not always right about music. Seeing as how tastes are entirely subjective it could be said that I'm never right. Contrary to popular opinion I'm okay with this fact. I'm not just some schmuck who likes an argument. I like discussing music with people because I love introducing people to new bands or genres and things like that. I would love to get a chance to talk to you about the music you listen to. If I could help you discover your New Favorite Band then I feel like I've done some good.

All that being said over the years I've noticed some specific trends in musical opinion. Four specific trends, to be exact. In my many nights spent talking about bands I've discovered that there are four musical arguments that are pervasive and divisive. They are as follows, in order of severity:

#4- Neil Young vs. Bob Dylan

#3- Aerosmith vs. Guns N' Roses

#2- Nirvana vs. Pearl Jam

#1- The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones

Admittedly numbers two and one are more divisive than four and three but they all seem to create lines in the sand to some degree. Now while 90% of the time this simply comes down to preference* the arguments (and these are arguments, not discussions) always seem to revolve around things like influence or artistic credibility. It's ridiculous, really. For the record I enjoy the music of all of the bands and so do most of the people that I've talked to about them but everyone seems to enjoy the music of one a lot more than the other. If I were to count the number of hours I've spent arguing why The Rolling Stones are better than The Shitty Beatles I'd surely find that it rivals the number of hours I've spent shirking responsibility at work.

*I prefer the latter in every instance because they are soooooooo much better than the former and if you disagree you're an idiot and probably a bad person, to boot

11 November 2008

Songs that get stuck in your head

So I pretty much have a jukebox in my head that plays all damn day. I started writing this post because there is a particular song that, despite the fact that I'm not a fan of the artist and I haven't heard the song in months, is on rotation in my mind at least 5 times a day. That song is Jack Johnson's cover of "Mama You've Been on My Mind" by Bob Dylan off of the I'm Not There soundtrack.

Like I said, I'm not a fan of Jack Johnson. The I'm Not There soundtrack is damned amazing though and that track is one that I just can't get out of my head. I guess that's why he's so popular. The section at the end where he gets all Jack Johnson is his interpretation of part of an absolutely amazing poem that Bob Dylan wrote when asked to sum up his feelings on Woody Guthrie. The video below is just a bunch of random images laid over the audio of Bob Dylan's reading of the poem. The full text can be found all over the place and is most certainly worth a read (or a listen).

As an example of how many fucking songs pass through the subway station that is my brain I can tell you that since I started writing this post I've gotten two more songs that I have to post. The first of the new additions is (appropriately enough) "Jukebox in My Mind" by Alabama.

The second is Glen Campbell's version of "Gentle on My Mind".

07 November 2008

I took a ride on a Gemini spacecraft

I just found an article that got me thinking so I figured I would share it. Apparently the UN has decided to send the full text of the Universal Human Rights Declaration into space. They will be storing it, I suppose just for the purpose of symbolism, in the Columbus space lab on the ISS. When I first read the article I assumed they were broadcasting a reading of it into the deepest recesses of our galaxy and it was that premise that got my proverbial cogs turning.

I've linked to the full text of the UHRD because it's really worth a read. It isn't long at all. After reading it I asked myself the same thing I'm about to ask you. If you were an outside observer of this planet (a la Kang and Kodos) and you heard a broadcast of the UHRD do you think you'd come up with an accurate vision of this planet?

Here are a few interesting snippets from the UHRD that I think could be seen as less than accurate*.

Article 4.

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 9.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10.

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 16.

    (1)Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

I'm sure there are more, too. It's odd that in going through the Universal Human Rights Declaration looking for statements which obviously aren't true throughout the world (or even throughout the industrialized world in many cases) I managed to pull out well over half of the damn thing. Do you think that if an alien race were to hear the UHDR they would be getting a truthful representation of the state of our planet? It almost makes me feel like we're lying to the whole damn universe about who we are. I realize that there may not ever be a day when the whole text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be said to be true for every person on this planet. I realize that this document wasn't meant more as a beacon in the dark than a mirror on the wall. I just wish that it wasn't so easy to shred it by reading a newspaper. What do you think? Are we there yet? Are we at least closer than we were 60 years ago when this was written? Is it even something that we should be aiming for or is it just some damn liberal tripe that we're better off leaving in the past? You've probably figured out my opinion, now I'd like to know yours.

*The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Kang and Kodos.

05 November 2008

A change is gonna come

Seriously how cool is that?

For a fun drinking game my friends and I took a swig every time Barack said "America/American" during his completely awesome acceptance speech. Totally worth it. We were going to drink every time he took a state but then we wouldn't have woken up Wednesday.

John McCain's concession speech was pretty damned good, too. I seriously thought his relief was palpable towards the end of the speech.

The slideshows that I have seen showing pictures of people celebrating all over the world make me feel really great.

I drove an hour and a half to Birmingham then waited an hour and a half in line to vote for the first time (not counting the primary). I was eligible to vote before but until now I never felt compelled to. Hell I even stood in line next to my Dad who more than likely canceled out every vote that I made but I knew that going in and it was still worth it.

Alabama politics was pretty much business as usual other than Bobby Bright winning and Ballot Initiative No. 1 passing. I really wanted Vivian Figures to win but I knew it was a long shot.

[I honestly wanted to make a less-cheesy blog title but I've literally had that song stuck in my head ALL DAMN DAY. Damn you Sam Cooke and your silky croon!]

31 October 2008


How uncharacteristic of me to post twice in the same day! Just thought I'd share some of the art that I've recently bought to spruce up my apartment and office. Given my recent struggle with decorating I'd say I'm doing pretty well to come up with anything. First, here's a piece that I purchased for my apartment:

I wish I could post a larger image but it's a piece from Morgaine von Slatt, who has some other really cool stuff. I'll probably be buying more of her work in the future.

I also bought three posters for my office from an artist named Steve Thomas. This is one of them (I hate it when people put watermarks on web images):

I'm pretty sure that I'll be buying a new entertainment center soon so I'll have stuff to decorate besides my walls.

I remember Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Here's hoping your costume kills. Now for a video that used to Officially Freak Me Out when I was a kid. It's the first thing I think of every Halloween and I'll probably watch it 20 more times before lunch.

30 October 2008

Together forever

It seems like home entertainment is taking one more step towards awesome. For those too lazy to click the link it's an article discussing how Netflix and Tivo are teaming up to offer streaming movies to Tivo's set-top boxes. Much like the author of the article I too thought to myself a few years ago that this would be an amazing idea. I used to have Tivo but have since switched to the cable company's version (only because my Tivo box was on the verge of giving up the ghost). This is making me consider going back to my beloved Tivo.

[For those with sensitively cool eyes I'll warn you that things are about to get nerdy]

Streaming movies is a pretty cool idea but if you're really stuck on high quality it might not suit your fancy. In order to make a movie small enough to fit into the tubes that bring the internets to your house it is necessary to use a lot of video compression. For some reason the US seems to have much smaller tubes than a lot of other countries, meaning more compression. If the US were ever able to match the broadband speeds of other countries that kind of compression would be all but obsolete. Think about how cool it would be to stream high-definition video straight to your TV? Last I heard the Netflix streaming video service had about 12,000 movies available (or at least that's the case for the Xbox 360 tie-in). That number is increasing every month. It is not beyond reason to assume that Netflix will one day have almost every movie ever available for you to stream to your home. That. Is. So. COOL.

24 October 2008


I haven’t talked a whole lot about work recently, mostly because it’s been pretty quiet (read: boring) around here. The project that I was working on when I started has wrapped up and in the process netted me my first publication*, so that’s pretty cool. Aside from that nothing much has happened. That project was all but through about 2 weeks ago and since then I’ve been struggling to find ways to fill my time at the office (read: a lot of fucking around on the internet). It has recently come to my attention that one of the reasons for my perpetual boredom is that there has been some issue with funding. Apparently the economy isn’t doing so hot right now. Who knew? According to the chief engineer at my company I’m not at risk to lose my job (whew!) but he thinks that there will be some restructuring in my future. It’s like I just got my palm read by the world’s most boring gypsy. What it means is that before too long I’ll probably be reporting to a new boss and I’ll be working in an entirely different area of my field.

It’s that new ‘area’ that is giving me cause to blog, you see. And not necessarily in a good way. One of the troubles that come with working in aerospace engineering is that without some careful canoodling and kissing of keister** you likely won’t have much control over what kind of projects you end up working on. Another of the problems is that the ever-increasing military/defense budget and a waning public interest in space exploration has caused the aerospace industry in recent years to move even more towards total domination by the dreaded Military Industrial Complex. That means that most of the work that’s being done in Huntsville these days is military work. Without going too deep into detail I’ll say that I’m not a fan of military work because of moral objections that I have with what I feel is the misplaced emphasis on the role of the military in the modern world. Since I don’t want this post to be about my sociopolitical leanings I’ll just leave that there for now.

By now I’m sure you’ve figured out what’s been asked of me because you’re all so damned clever. My company does a lot of military technology development and they want me to help with some of it. Up to this point in my short career I’ve been able to avoid it and I was hoping beyond hope that I could continue to avoid it ad infinitum. I even had delusions that should the option come before me I would refuse it outright. I guess the problem occurs when it isn’t really an option. Sure, they may have asked me if I would like to work on these projects but I got the impression that it would not behoove my career should I object. That’s not to say that I felt intimidated in any way but rather that with the work that is presently available to me if I’m not willing to bite the bullet (so to speak) I might find that their willingness to pay me for time spent updating my blog is diminished. So that’s where I stand right now. The question now is whether I should voice my objection before I take the work on the off chance that they can find some work that’s not so morally taxing for me? Let me make it clear that I fully intend to take the work despite my moral objections to the nature of the task. I’m not happy with it but I need to have a job and with any luck it won’t last for too long. [It took me a really long time to come up with a way to justify that decision and that makes me feel even more like shit.]

*It hasn’t been published yet so there’s still time for something to go wrong but I’m holding on to hope

** Kalliteration! [Skirting decency for the sake of wordplay? Count me in!]

21 October 2008

Runnin' with the devil

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve been terrible about exercising and watching what I eat. It’s an odd thing for me, too, because just a year ago I was fresh off of a healthy-living kick that lost me 40 lbs. While I haven’t gained all of that weight back I have managed to find a lot of that weight that I lost. Apparently it was hiding in the lethargy-closet with the red meat and ice cream. Obviously I’m not happy about the fact that I’ve gained weight and I’ve been telling myself now for several months that I need to get off my ever-expanding ass and do something about it. When I was still in Auburn the healthy living thing honestly wasn’t that hard. It was really easy to walk to work every day because it was only a mile or two away. I took it as a point of pride that I never drove my car. Of course now that I’m in Huntsville things are different because work is about 6 miles from home and I’m just not going to make that trek every day. It’s no longer practical to walk to work or anywhere for that matter. Just like I’m not a fan of decorating for the sake of decorating (see: my distaste for non-functional items) it’s hard for me to justify walking for the sake of walking. It was a completely different story when I had a destination, but now I don’t.

So I’ve had to look for motivation elsewhere and up until recently I just couldn’t find enough of it to actually exercise. It wasn’t quite enough motivation that my clothes weren’t fitting me well anymore. It wasn’t quite enough motivation that my self-esteem was taking a hit. It wasn’t even enough motivation knowing that my apartment complex has a goddamn gym not 500 yards from my front door. HOWEVER, I have now found enough motivation to start running! There were a few things that finally pushed me over the edge so to speak. Three things to be exact: one was a friend, one was a doctor, and the final straw was (I’m not sure what this says about me) boredom. I get off work every day and go home and do nothing. NOTHING, PEOPLE. There isn’t even anything good on TV until at least 6 PM and I’m normally home before 5. So I get home and literally struggle to find something to do for an hour before the quality programming comes on the telly… AND I HAVE TIVO. So the burden of knowing that I was such a ridiculous person for not exercising finally broke me and I went running last night.

Now that I’ve said all that I feel kind of like I’m putting the cart before the horse. One night of running does not a runner make, as they say. Especially when what I call running I’m sure most seasoned runners would point to as a perfect example of What’s Wrong with Today’s Society (WELL GUESS WHAT YOU THIN BASTARDS NO ONE IS EVER IN THAT GYM TO PASS JUDGEMENT ANYWAY BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY OF LAZY FAT FUCKS LIKE ME HAHAHAHHAHA) But that’s not the point. I plan to stick to my guns here and go running at least 4 times a week when I get off work and hopefully before too long I’ll be dropping pounds and feeling better about myself. I also plan on eating healthier by sticking mostly to salads and rice for dinner for a while. Now if I could just find something to do with all that delicious cookie dough I bought.

14 October 2008

Gotta keep 'em decorated

I moved to Huntsville at the beginning of August. Against all logic I ended up renting a 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment even though I live by myself (short notice, only place available). The last place I lived (aside from my 6 month stint in Birmingham with my Dad) was a 1 bedroom 1 bath apartment in Auburn. So, for those of you keeping track that’s 2 extra bedrooms, 1 extra bathroom, and enough money to afford to replace my shitty college furniture. Now that we’re all on the same boat everyone grab a paddle cause it’s about to get choppy. I haven’t purchased one piece of furniture since I moved to Huntsville. What’s more than that I haven’t even unpacked my Swanky DVD Collection or my Extensive Library of Intelligent Books because I told myself that as soon as I got here I was going to replace my shitty college DVD rack and my shitty college bookshelves with nicer ones because I could finally afford to. [and what’s the point of having an Extensive Library of Intelligent Books if they’re being stored in a glorified kindergarten cubby?]

Now we get to my current dilemma. For the first time ever I have the means to decorate my apartment as I wish. The problem is that I have NO IDEA what to do. I’ve been pontificating over this pretty much ever since I moved and haven’t come up with much. I did purchase some art from a local artist and hang it, so at least that’s a start. I’ve looked through decorating books, browsed websites, asked friends, asked family, asked hobos, and think I’ve finally figured out why I’m so hesitant to decorate…

I have a natural aversion to purchasing items that don’t serve some purpose! While that doesn’t necessarily apply to furniture (I haven’t purchased furniture because I’m lazy, honestly), it does apply to everything from sconces to vases to decorative plates. Apparently that’s what people decorate their house/apartments with. Who knew? I think it’s absurd. Now like I said I’ve got some art. Decorating with art doesn’t bother me and I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s an ego thing? I really don’t know. I just can’t bring myself to hang a candle holder on my damn wall because I know good and damn well I won’t ever light the damn candle. Damnit! Who cares if it ‘looks nice’- it’s superfluous. So sorry, Mom, I don't want that nice candelabra that you got from some lady at work that matches my coffee table and brings a pleasant focal point into the room. I just can't.

I guess the bottom line is that I can’t bring myself to decorate even though I want to. What’s a boy to do? Should I just bite the bullet and start besconcing my apartment? I guess for now I’ll just start with buying some furniture and maybe move on from there. Gotta crawl before you can walk, right?

11 October 2008

In vino veritas

How cliche is that title? Really? I can do better than that. Well, not right now I can't (probably because of the 'vino' or in this case 'cervisia'). So despite the fact that I haven't been writing much recently I feel like I have a lot of things that I want to write. Not a day goes by that I don't think about writing something on this blog, but most of the time I don't (obviously) because I don't know why. Maybe I don't think it's actually worth writing about? But what the hell is that? This is my blog, right? Not yours, mine! So if I feel like penciling up a rant about the minutia that I experience why the hell shouldn't I? To be completely and totally (REDUNDANT PHRASING HOW LAME IS THAT?) honest I only write to satisfy my ego. I honestly believe that I have a certain pinache for writing and that maybe if I write in some sort of public forum I might receive validation. There, I said it. How does that make you feel, huh? Kind of makes me feel dirty, to be truthful. This is awkard... let's move on to something else!

I decided to stay in Huntsville this weekend. So I'm here... ... ... honestly trying to figure out what this city has to offer. This is maybe the third or fourth weekend that I've stayed in town since I moved here in August. It's not that I am trying to avoid spending weekends here- quite the contrary- it's just that it's really easy for me to find reasons to escape back to my comfort zones (Bham and Auburn). It seriously feels like ages since I was in Hville on a Friday night. I really had no idea what to expect. Would this be a crazy stay-out-til-5-in-the-morning-waffle house kind of evening or not? Well it's now about 2:30 and I'm home writing in my blog. That's not to say that I didn't have some fun tonight. I did. It's just that I'm not used to having to try so fucking hard to have some fun. I certainly didn't have a lot of fun. It was ok. I guess. Even then though I didn't leave my apartment until just about midnight. If I had been in Bham I would've been at the bar by 8 and drunk by 12. Not here.

I really want to like this city because (this is honestly just now sinking in I think) it looks like I'll be here a while. I need a place that I can go to and feel comfortable. Okay I'm going to bed now kind of in the middle of a tirade because I'm falling alseep at my laptop. TO BE CONTINUED dot dot dot

08 October 2008

It's been a while

Yeah. I've been busy with work lately, baby. I know you miss me and I miss you, too. I wish I got to see you more often but that's just not how things have been working and I apologize for that. I hope that things can change for the better here. I think we have a great thing going between us and I'd hate to see it get thrown away. What was it we used to love talking about so much? Oh yeah that's right- music. Remember how we used to go on and on about music? You'd just sit there and listen to me ramble and that's why I love you. Well I've been listening to a lot of new music recently, hon, and let me tell you I could go on for days about it. Days and days. Hopefully I can make some time to spend with you so you don't forget why you loved me to begin with. For now though I'll leave you with a little bit of a rock-teasing and tell you to check out DeVotchka. That dude that sings for them sounds a lot like The Big O and there ain't nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all.

24 September 2008

The Waiting

I swear if this whole work thing keeps interfering with my blogging then I might just have to quit. A man's gotta have his priorities straight in this life or the world will just turn him inside out. It's like my Grandpa always used to say, "Son if you don't get out of that bathroom soon I'm gonna flood it with the garden hose." Okay that might not apply directly to this conversation but boy was he a hoot!

18 September 2008

We can make this work

Ok, so no one suggested an album to review last week. I expected that would happen sooner rather than later and had decided that I would just review an album of my choice instead. Yeah, that's right, I get a say around here on occasion. So hopefully I'll still get a review done before the weekend.

In other news I tried a new recipe last night that worked out pretty darn well, if I do say so myself. It's a recipe I got from the New York Times for Black Bean Soft Tacos. It's really easy and damn good for you. If anyone wants the recipe (it's also vegetarian, Tina) let me know and I'll send it to you. I'm trying to build a repertoire of dishes that utilize black beans. They are low fat and full of lots of good-for-yous.

On a more current-events note: I've been thinking a lot this week about the financial crisis that's going on right now (something tells me I'm not alone). I have a little bit of money in the stock market by way of a mutual fund I bought into about 10 years ago. I don't really keep track of the damn thing- I couldn't even tell you how much it's worth right now- so I'm obviously not too concerned about my personal finances but according to some experts a lot of people could stand to lose a lot of money before all is said and done. It's times like these that make me wish I understood the economy much better than I do but also simultaneously kind of make me glad I don't. I'm sure if I actually fully comprehended what was happening I would probably be freaking out right now.

It's also made me wonder about the concept of a government bailout. The U.S. gov't just invested $85B taxpayer dollars in AIG to keep it afloat. The idea is that if AIG had crashed suddenly then the implications would have been serious and far reaching. Of course I never heard anyone say or even hint at what those consequences might be, just that they would be bad. It's not that I don't believe what these folks are saying, it's just that I'd like to know exactly what might happen that deserves risking $85B public. This isn't the first time (nor will it be the last) that the government has bailed out a company because the company was "too big to fail." I'm sorry but I just think that's a load of crap. Isn't this just capitalism taking it's course? Like I said, I'm sure that there are some good reasons for this course of action, I just haven't heard any. Anyone care to explain?

I don't pretend to understand economics, people. It's just that stuff like this has never sat right with me. Huge companies collapsing as a result of investor uncertainty/fear is part of the system, right? Isn't that just one of the risks inherent in a free market economy? I might understand this bailout a little more if it could be shown that the trouble was not in any way the fault of the AIG business plan, but I refuse to accept the fact that a corporation can simply be "too big" to fail. That's likely a slippery slope.

11 September 2008

Come Monday

Ok so since the last installment of Apollo's Awesome Album Areview took me a little longer than expected I'll change my schedule just a little bit in an attempt to make this an achievable weekly endeavor. It isn't a big change and I'm not sure if it'll work or not but we'll see.

I'll be reviewing another album next week and YOU get to pick what album. REALLY! CRAZY, RIGHT? So comment on this post by noon Monday with your suggestion for Awesome Album of the Aweek and I'll review it! Simple as that. Whatever album you want. If more than one person suggests an album I'll just pick my favorite from the suggestions. With any luck I'll have the review done by the end of next week and we'll start the whole crazy process over again. IT'S LIKE A VICIOUS CYCLE OF KICK-ASSERY.

The end of the world as we know it

Well, not literally the end of the world, you see, just the end of the world as we know it. I've been thinking about how the earth wasn't destroyed last night and I am (understandably I think) quite excited about it. The experiments that are going to be happening at the LHC in the next decade could easily change the world. If nothing else they will better our understanding of how the universe works. To that end I started wondering if some of the overblown media scare wasn't driven by an overwhelming fear/mistrust of science that seems to be perpetuated by some religious nutjobs. I know, I know, this may sounds like some stupid conspiracy-theory shit and it's likely not true. By that I mean that there probably isn't a room full of Falwells instructing the media to tell the general populace that those damn particle physicists are trying to kill us all because we all know that SCIENTISTS HATE GOD. But there certainly is some anti-scientific sentiment running through a lot of religious institutions and that distrust is unfounded and detrimental to progress.

The bottom line is that some of the experiments being done at the LHC could further solidify the Big Bang Theory as scientific truth and thereby push the Alpha and the Omega to the proverbial (PUN!) back of the bus. I'll be open here and say that I have a general dislike and distrust of most religion but it's because of things like this anti-scientific mumbo jumbo. If a better understanding of the scientific workings of the universe is going to jeopardize the sanctity of your flock then they are grazing on the wrong field.

09 September 2008

Apollo's Awesome Album Areview

Ok sorry for the wait here folks. I've been pretty busy at work this past week and just got the chance to turn my notes into a full-fledged album areview. I also, as you may have noticed, didn't get around to detailing my trip to Louisville. I'll kill two birds with one stone and give you the Cliffs Notes® version of the Louisville trip: bourbon and bad jokes. Ok so that about sums that up now onto the review.

This is my review of Beck's Modern Guilt that I meant to have done last Friday. Oh well shit happens enjoy:

Beck’s latest album, Modern Guilt, is not really what I expected after his previous two albums but then again maybe that’s my mistake. It’s a good album to be certain but it isn’t exactly in the same vein as his recent releases. His two efforts prior to Modern Guilt, 2006’s The Information and 2005’s Guerro, were both classic, happy, dance-y, goofy Beck. Modern Guilt is not happy, only occasionally dance-y, and hardly goofy. Of course this isn’t entirely unlike Beck - give a listen to 2002’s Sea Change and you’ll realize that Mr. Hansen isn’t always the cheeriest chap in Chestershire. That’s not to say that Modern Guilt is just Sea Change Round 2. The two albums don’t share that much in common other than that they aren’t what people were expecting from the guy who gave us Odelay.

Sea Change was an album inspired by a rather harsh break up. Modern Guilt seems to be more inspired by a world breaking up rather harshly. There are images of buildings falling, fighter jets, warheads, and isolation. Even the fun, dance-y-ish (let’s see how far I can take that word) tracks don’t sound as big or fun as most of his work. They sound really good, they just don’t sound like most of his other work and I think that’s great. If I told you that Beck was coming out with an album produced by Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley fame) this probably isn’t the first thing you’d imagine (of course, if you took a long look at some of Danger Mouse’s other work it might not surprise you that much – the guy’s got a dark streak a mile long). There are a couple of tracks where Danger’s influence is obvious, for instance on “Gamma Ray” which sounds kind of like a Gnarls Barkley song featuring Beck (which is really good, by the way). Speaking of the production, I really enjoy how this album isn’t too loud or overproduced. It’s a welcome change from most of the crap on the radio where every instrument or vocal track seems to have been recorded with the boards cranked up to eleven.

A lot of the computerized backing beats on this album remind me of The Postal Service (band, not governmental mail carrier). I’ve been noticing that a lot recently, not just here. Whatever program they are using to create the computer backing tracks (or the whole song in the case of The Postal Service) seems to have become an industry standard and makes a lot of stuff sound the same. I could probably rant for a long while about the problems in the music production industry right now, but we’ll stop that train here before I punch the face of my nice new work laptop.

The first two tracks (“Orphans” and the aforementioned “Gamma Ray”) have awesome bass lines. As a matter of fact this album is full of really good bass lines. That is something that I’ve come to expect from Beck and he has yet to let me down. “Orphans”, aside from having a kick ass bass line, also has Cat Power. She sings back up on the track “Walls” as well. I kind of wish they had given her more prominent parts in the songs, honestly. I didn’t even realize it was her at first until I looked on the track list.

There are some upbeat songs on this album (the titular track, “Soul of Man”, and “Profanity Prayers”, for example). Even those songs, though, sound kind of like Beck on opiates. That’s not a bad thing, people. The only upsetting thing to me is that Beck has an ultra-emo moment in the closing song, “Volcano”; one line goes [I’ve been drinking all these tears so long/All I've got left is the taste of salt in my mouth]. C’mon, Beck.

All in all Modern Guilt is a good album. Whether or not you’re a fan of Beck you’ll want to check this one out. It’s a good sleepy-time album and it’s fairly short (just over 30 minutes) so put it in one afternoon when you’re getting ready to nap and see how groovy Beck is even when he doesn't appear to be trying.

02 September 2008

Hit me baby one more time

Okay, so I really enjoyed reviewing "Challengers" last week and have decided that, much like I had intended, I will review another album this week. Of course I will be reviewing whatever album you want me to review, so get your thinking caps on and come up with another! Don't worry yourself trying to pick something I might like or anything like that, just pick something you'd like to hear my honest opinion of. Like last week I'll pick an album to review on Thursday at noon so comment on this post with your ideas and I'll pick from those. Also, let me know if you like the review I did for the "Challengers" album! I've long been considering reviewing music as a hobby and need constructive criticism if I'm going to get any good at it.

P.S. I went to Louisville this past weekend and all you got was a lousy post telling you all about it coming sometime soon.

29 August 2008

Apollo's Awesome Album Areview

Here it is, folks- the first installment in something that I'm hoping will become a regular occurrence on my blog. Let me know what you think.

The New Pornographers are a band that I’ve never fully immersed myself in and whenever I do stumble across one of their albums in my musical journey I always think, “I’ve got to start listening to more of these folks.” I got their most recent album, Challengers, as soon as it came out and had only listened to it a few times until the other day. Luckily, I was spurred into giving it another round on the proverbial turntable. I’m not typically a fan of ‘pop’ music. I’m even less of a fan of the term ‘pop music’, but in this case I think it lends itself well to the description. It’s easy to get lost in the plethora of pop bands that want to be as good as The New Pornographers. There are two very important things missing from most of those groups: A.C. Newman and Neko Case. A.C. Newman is the mastermind behind the band; the genius that arranges the majority of their poppy, dance-y, harmony –fueled fun times. Neko Case is Neko Case. If you don’t know who she is then stop reading now and go listen to her music. Then you can return to my blog knowing full-well that I’ve totally got dibs if you find her.

Challengers is a great record. Overall it is pop rock at its finest; a quirky, fun, and at times challenging testament to the power of strong composition. It’s all there- awesome harmonics, Neko Case, guitar riffs so hooky and elegant that they’d make Rivers Cuomo jealous, orchestral backing, poetic and challenging lyrics, Neko Case, piano rockers (“All the Things that Go to Make Heaven and Earth”), flutes, and even a few songs that make you remember what makes you love music as much as you do. If you can listen to the titular song (the third track) and not fall head over then you’re not on the right ship, kid. Even the weaker tracks (Entering White Cecilia, Adventures in Solitude) on the album could probably stand up as a great single. There are toe-tappers (“All the Old Showstoppers”, which sounds like it’d be amazing live) and hip-swingers (“Myriad Harbour”, which also a killer talky song), too.

One of my major modes when I listen to any song is the ‘what does this remind me of?’ mode. Well, this is what all I’ve got scribbled down on my notepad here: The Shins, Phil Collins, Eisley, Polyphonic Spree, The Decemberists, and Radiohead. Those are just the ones I could actually place, too. What does that tell you? The last song (“The Spirit of Giving”) even recalls Bob Dylan in a strange way that I just picked up on. Speaking of which, the last song is incredible as well- it’s bitter, depressing, beautiful, and probably my second favorite track on the whole album (the first being the titular track and the third being “Go Places” because she uses the phrase ‘deus ex machina’ in the song).

If I had to say one negative thing about the album it’s this: I don’t think that Newman’s lyrical complexity is well-matched by the music. Sonically, this is the sort of stuff you’d want to play at a party, which isn’t typically the best venue for songs about poverty and loneliness. You can listen to this whole album 30 times and not ever really gleam much meaning from a lot of the songs, but that’s because the music is good enough that you don’t find yourself asking much of the lyrics. Some of Newman’s writing would probably be better served in arrangements that made you want to sit and think, not jump and dance. All in all, though, this is an album that you should definitely own.

28 August 2008

Brain Candy

This is a link to an article that I think is worth a read. It's about the new trend of buying one song off of a music service as opposed to purchasing the full album. I guess the trend isn't really new per se, but it's resurgent in an industry-changing way. I think it's bad news, and apparently some folks tend to agree with me. Here's a quick snippet:

Online music sales continue to skyrocket at the expense of CDs. iTunes continues to be the leader of the pack, too, not only in online sales, but music sales overall. But a small rebellion is brewing against iTunes as artists become disgruntled with the hit they're taking on overall album sales thanks to the now-wildly-popular method of cherry-picking favorite tracks for download.

I've been wanting some other opinions on this phenomenon.

P.S. Apollo's Awesome Album Areview coming soon

26 August 2008

I want a new drug

So I’m sitting here at work again and I thought to myself, “Hey, Apollo, it seems like it’s been forever since you updated your blog. I bet people are starting to worry!” Ok not really but I do want to start updating this thing more. I know I’ve said that before but it’s different this time baby, I swear. What I need is a neat-o recurring thing. Hmm… what should it be? I know! I’ll start reviewing albums! But I can’t just be like every other wannabe Fricke on the internet, can I? So instead what I’ll do is I’ll let whoever happens to read this tell me what CD to review. If there is more than one suggestion then I’ll pick whichever I prefer (this ain’t no democracy). If there are no suggestions by noon Thursday then I’ll review whatever I damn well please thank you very much.

In other news I’m going to Louisville this weekend to celebrate Long Weekend Day. It’ll be good times.

Also, I got my first paycheck last week! So Daddy’s got some butter to spread, folks. The bread line starts at the door.

21 August 2008

Further down the spiral

Now I've bought cookies from one of the kids of a lady that works with me. He's selling them for his 3rd grade class. It seems like only yesterday my Mom was selling cookies for my 3rd grade class.

Well not literally but you get what I'm saying.

18 August 2008

One more against the wall

I use Pandora radio service. It's a really awesome way of discovering new music. I put in an artist that I like, Pandora plays me that artist's music along with similar artists that I may not have heard of. It's simple, effective, and efficient. In the two weeks since I started working I've discovered no fewer than 5 new musicians that I enjoy. 5! I intend to buy their music and I intend to see some of their concerts (some of them are dead). This article from the Washington Post pretty well sums up SoundExchange's destruction of an effective radio format for the sake of a failed business model:


An excerpt:

"As I wrote a year ago, when the CRB reaffirmed this foolish idea, choking off Web radio by imposing discriminatory and disproportionate fees is just about the last thing the music industry needs. Webcasters like Pandora are far more effective at exposing listeners to new music than the playlist-choked wasteland of commercial FM and AM -- so of course we should tax them to extinction, ensuring record labels and musicians a one-time profit, followed by years of much poorer exposure for new musicians."

Hazy days of summer

This weekend I went out both nights, spent too much money, met new people, drank way too much, did things I shouldn't have, saw the sun come up, spent an entire day with a hangover, heard some good music, and developed a crush on a total stranger. I'm back, baby.

13 August 2008

Cog against the machine

So I’m sitting at work on what was up until a little while ago a busy day. Now I’m waiting for my project manager to get back from a conference so we can discuss whatever I should be doing right now instead of blogging. I was going to use the term ‘boss’ instead of project manager, but I don’t know if it would be accurate. How does one define boss? Since I have two managers (one project manager and one functional manager) who are both equally in charge of my fate in this company, is it fair to say that only one of them is my boss? I know that in reality I just have two bosses but that hardly seems like an appropriate rendering of the situation; and I mean that in the best way. I guess you could say that I’m all settled in at the office now. I’ve got pictures of the family, sports memorabilia, and creepy gargoyles placed sporadically in my office. Hard to say that it feels like home, though. Speaking of home I’m enjoying my new apartment a lot. I’ve probably said that before so I may sounds like a broken record but, hey, I’M REALLY ENJOYING MY NEW APARTMENT. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I just prefer living by myself.

I don’t see nearly as much of my friends as I thought I would when I moved here. I’m used to living in B’ham where I’d go out every night. I think a lot of that was my desire just to get out of the confines of my Dad’s house, though. Here I don’t feel nearly as much of a desire to leave my apartment once I get home from work. Hell I’ve only been to the bar (in Huntsville) once since I moved here. That’s ridiculous. I have yet to determine whether or not I’m ok with this phenomenon. I don’t think I am. I’m not saying that I want to spend every night going out to the bars and getting drunk. What I’m saying is that I’m a very social person and I like that about myself. If I sit at home for two nights without seeing any of my friends I feel like I’ve done something wrong. I guess what I’m really getting at is that I don’t ever want to be boring. I think it’s weird that none of the people I work with seem to hang out with each other outside of the office. That’s really weird to me. What the hell do these people do? What the hell am I going to be doing in a year? Whatever it is, I hope to hell it’s not boring.

08 August 2008

Countdown to retirement

One week of work down, countless to go. My first week of work went really well. Here is a random group of thoughts concerning this new beginning.

I met a lot of people who I'll likely never have to deal with again and even if I do I won't remember their names. I decided that I hate laptops because every one has the delete key in a different fucking spot. I’ve got two managers at work and they are both really nice and helpful. I wish I didn’t have to sit in front of a computer all day, but hopefully that won’t always be the case. I’ll likely be bringing my lunch to work a lot because eating out is expensive; it’ll also let me leave early if I work through lunch. I’m actually a little surprised at my level of productivity (he says as he blogs while on the clock). I like the work that they’ve got me doing here - it may not be the ideal but at least it’s not aerodynamics crap. I get the impression that my project manager really likes me and is impressed; that may not actually be the case but it’s the impression that I get. I’ve got the Mighty Might Bosstones stuck in my head now. I am falling in love for the first time all over again with Pandora Radio. One of the higher-ups in the company decided that if people were going to have things hung on the walls in their office that it had to be done right so if I want to hang up my MST3K poster I have to email the wife of the president of the company and get her to send someone to do it. I excel at writing long sentences. I’m trying to figure out how best to flirt with some of the cute girls that work here - it’s tough! I (surprisingly) feel bad when I’m sitting here not working (like now) but I honestly don’t know of anything else I should be doing right now. It seems like there are a lot of things around here that I’ll end up working on in some capacity. I may hate laptops now but I still can’t wait to get the laptop that they ordered for me. It seems like this company has lots of get-togethers, which I intend to use to showcase new recipes and flirt with coworkers. I drink way too much coffee when I’m here.

Okay I could probably keep going but I think that the longer that shit gets the harder it’ll be to read. I would’ve tried to make that flow better but then it probably would’ve been 15 pages long.

06 August 2008

Feeling secure

SO... about Huntsville. I've been living here now for 4 or 5 days and I like it so far. Given, I haven't gone out to the bars yet or ventured that far beyond the walls of my apartment, honestly, but it's been a refreshing change of pace. That's not to say it's been boring. Quite the contrary, my dears. I've loved, I've laughed, I've drank, I've swam, I've walked around lakes and through fields, I've watched movies, I've played video games, I've tried new foods and met new people, and... I've even fought crime.

That's right, folks - I fought crime. Well, I suppose that I can't accurately say that I fought crime so much as my friends and I being at the pool Saturday night drinking deterred crime. That's the same thing, right? I'll try to make the story short, which should be easy considering the whole ordeal lasted all of two minutes. My friends Matt and Patricia came over Friday and Saturday night to keep a lonely boy company and go swimming. It was a blast. Saturday night after Matt helped me arrange the furniture in my living room we ventured down to the pool for an evening dip & drink. At one point (around 11) Matt and I went inside to check out the sauna as heterosexually as possible. Patricia didn't go in because she wasn't feeling that well. Well as Matt and I are in the sauna (which is to the side of the fitness center) I see two guys walk through. They're both bigger meathead looking white guys and I don't think much of it because I never think much of meathead looking white guys (or black guys, for that matter). The guys don't notice Matt and I because they didn't bother looking for people in the sauna at damn near midnight. Apparently they were carrying around flashlights and checking out the exercise equipment. When they walked out onto the pool deck, though, they saw Patricia and froze in their tracks. They then proceeded to try and play it off at which point Patricia made sure to point out that she had two friends with her in the sauna of all places. At that point the guys left and I heard them mention something about Patricia so Matt and I ended our totally heterosexual sauna trip and went and checked on Patty, who was obviously fine though a little confused by the whole ordeal. So I call the apartment complex on Monday or Tuesday and tell them about the goings-on and they tell me they'll keep an eye out.

This is the email I got earlier today:

I wanted to let you know about the two guys that you told me about
yesterday. Apparently they were arrested last night and featured on WAAY
31 news as being responsible for numerous thefts of apartment communities’
fitness centers! I had described them to --- off of your description and
she said they fit it to a T when she saw their mug shots!

Thanks again for letting me know as our property attendant is
going to be watching the area closely!

Hope you are enjoying your apartment.

So lo and behold those guys are criminals (well no shit). More importantly though they were at my apartment complex that night to steal some equipment and if it hadn't been for our need to drink around bodies of water they would've gotten away with it.

Wow I really suck at making stories short. Of course if you've read this blog before or actually know me you're probably fully aware of that. If I can find the link to the news story I'll post it here.

05 August 2008

A quick thought...

People always introduce me to people they say are like me and I'm all 'Man that dude is a dick, but god he's attractive'.

03 August 2008

Stereotypical Rewrite

I just saw a commercial for the US Army that kind of bugged me. To say that it implied a target audience (an odd pun) is an understatement. Army recruitment has been down a lot over the last few years, so they are pulling all of their dirty little tricks out to get more people to sign up. The first thing you would notice about this commercial is that it features only black people. That's it. No whiteys in this commercial! Just blacks. It's a little more forward than I would have thought necessary. Anyway there is hardly any dialogue in the advert except for the last scene. So it struck me that I could rewrite the last scene's dialogue:

[cut to family: mother, father, and son sitting around a table]
Son: I've done all my research and I can get money for college!
Father: Son, that's great! But what makes you think that you need that money for college? We have plenty of money to send you to school. Yes, we're black but despite what society would lead you to believe not all black families live in poverty. Isn't that crazy? A black family that has money? You never see that on TV, do ya? I am completely behind you wanting to join the army but the fact that you think you have to join up just to pay for a college education leads me to believe that somewhere you got the impression that black people can't afford college educations. I wonder why someone would think that. It's like there's a nationwide ad campaign paid for by the government that perpetuates that diluted, antiquated, bigoted idea. No. Never! Not in this day and age!

[fade to black]
Chorus: Join the Army, Nigger!