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!]