27 February 2009

With Leonard Nimoy kickin' out the jams

I've got my tickets. It's official. I'm going to the Sasquatch! Music Festival!!! Here is a list of bands I'm stoked about seeing, in no particular order:

The Decemberists
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Bon Iver
M. Ward
Sun Kil Moon
Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
Jane's Addiction (original lineup!)
Nine Inch Nails
The Murder City Devils
The Avett Brothers
The Walkmen
St. Vincent
AA Bondy
Ben Harper and Relentless7
Fleet Foxes
Gogol Bordello
Grizzly Bear
Blitzen Trapper
Beach House

That's not even all the bands that are playing! Best. Memorial Day. Ever.

Oh, and there'll be a comedy tent there, too. Tim and Eric! Zack Galifianakis! Demetri Martin!

And there is some band called Natalie Portman's Shaved Head. What is that about?

It's okay. You can be jealous.

26 February 2009

Going nowhere fast

I've been pretty busy with work lately so I haven't been able to update as much as I'd like. I'm trying, though! Speaking of keeping busy has anyone been paying attention to the Alabama State Legislature this year? (WARNING: IMPENDING RANT) I'll go ahead and tell you now that I try to pay a lot of attention to Alabama politics, especially when the legislature is in session. There are two primary reasons for this. The first and foremost is that I think it's important for people to be aware of the politics in their area so, if nothing else, they can be part of the discussion. The second is that Alabama politics is hilarious. Watching the Senate do its 'thing' is like watching the Keystone Cops. As soon as they're in session people start wondering, "Gee, I wonder what those wacky overpaid assholes are going to get into this year? Is there going to be another fistfight on the Senate floor? Are they going to fail to pass an education budget again? What could they possibly do this year to top themselves?" If any of you pay any attention to Alabama politics you'll know what I'm talking about.

For those of you that are unaware of the nature of the beast I'll give you a quick fill-in. The Alabama State Constitution is the active longest constitution in the world. It has 798 amendments. 798! It was written in 1901 and meant to centralize all of the power in the state to the capital, Montgomery. Almost no authority was given to local government. So anytime, say, Limestone county (most recently) wants to make bingo legal they have to amend the constitution of the state, meaning it has to go through the state legislature. So in any given legislative session in the state of Alabama you'll see an untold number of bills dealing with small municipal affairs. As you may imagine this slows things down a bit. Adding to that hurdle is the fact that personal vendettas in the Senate lead to a whole lot of useless filibustering and backstabbery. Seriously. PERSONAL VENDETTAS. These are the type of people that'll punch you in the face, after all. And in the Alabama Senate if you mean to filibuster apparently all you have to do is tell the legislative body that you mean to filibuster and they just leave for the day. Ever seen Mr. Smith goes to Washington? The final scene where Jimmy Stewart is giving his hours-long, impassioned speech in defense of his position to prevent a bill from going before the House? NOT IN ALABAMA. No sir. All you have to do is imply that you'd be willing to do that and they just give right the fuck up.

Currently, the Senate is being held up by Sen. Poole (D) from Tuscaloosa county. He is filibustering his own bill. HIS. OWN. BILL. Why? Because he knows it'll get shot down and he doesn't want that to happen. It has to do with sewage piping in his county. I don't know why it'd be shot down but I bet it's because this guy is a dick. He has said before that he will not quit. They are in session for 28 weeks and he full well intends to filibuster 'em all until he gets his way. To pass a sewage reallocation bill for Tuscaloosa county... Stops the entire Senate legislative process in its tracks... NOW YOU SEE WHY THIS IS SO FUN?

Oh, and one of the other main reasons I pay attention to this is the Gourmet Beers bill. It always helps to have a horse in the race, so to speak.

23 February 2009

Nights like these

Well the last few days have been fun. I went and got more German food last Thursday for dinner (yes, more schnitzel). I've taken to walking around the lake at my apartment complex every day when I get home from work so I'm attempting to eat a little healthier and drop some of the weight I've put on. Obviously eating schnitzel doesn't fall into this scheme but it's effin' tasty and I allow myself a few transgressions. I shouldn't let myself do that, though. Especially not before I go to Birmingham like I did this past weekend. When I'm in Birmingham I pretty much eat whatever my dad has around the house and it ain't what you'd normally call healthy. I try, though. I try. Then I get drunk and go to Waffle House. Two nights in a row. Fuck.

The Lucero show was awesome. I got to hang out with some friends of mine that I don't see too often AND I saw a kick ass rock show. AND I got blitzed drunk. On Irish whiskey and Pabst, no less. Momma sure woulda been proud. Then I went to Waffle House with my equally drunk friend and struggled to finish my All Star Breakfast while the serving staff unburdened their souls on us. That seems to happen to me a lot when I go there.

More Lucero music:

On Saturday I got to hang out with my family and celebrate my mom's birthday. Since all of the ideas she gave me for gifts were hella lame I decided I'd blow her damn mind with my awesome gifting prowess and bought her 3 tickets to a Cirque de Soleil performance here in Huntsville in April. Yeah, that means I have to go, too. YOU SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE? After dinner with the fam I went down to Speakeasy and started knocking back Guinness like it was the antidote. My ex was there and lately she's been acting like she either wants to get back together or do the no-pants dance again. Ugh. Date Girl and her friend came and met me out there, too. The last time my ex was around and I payed attention to another girl she started acting a little like a needy harlot so I was expecting the worst. I was able to keep that from happening this time without too much effort, though. It was a fun time. We shot pool and I totally beat the crap out of 'em all manly and efficient-like. I've never been a student of the 'let the girl win' school. At least not in pool, anyway. I decided to hold off on calling her and talking about 'us' last week even though I said I would. It was too early. It still may be a little early but I think I will do it sometime this week. If I can adequately express to her that I want more than friendship without sounding like I'm pressuring her then I think it'll go well. Of course I don't know how she'll react, but we'll see.

Oh, I got a speeding ticket yesterday. I hate that shit. I felt like explaining to the officer that the reason I drive fast is to get away from the other idiots on the road and to get off the road as quickly as possible but I don't think I could've properly made my point without screaming, cursing profusely, and smoke coming out of my ears.

18 February 2009


I've been thinking a lot recently about Date Girl and my vacillation about a relationship. First, let me say that I'm certainly putting the cart before the horse here because I don't even know if she's interested. I didn't get any strong signals from her when we were together and to be honest it's just convenient for me to blame that on something like the 'fog of medication'. I was wrong to do that and I've realized it (thanks, Sarah). That may well be the case but it could just as easily be - and in fact, more than likely is - my inability to read women in general. This would be a great Cyrano case. It's frustrating, that's for sure. I think I'll call her tonight and try to talk to her about things. I think I can do that without coming off as too forward and pushy, right? The more I think about it I really would like to see her again. Really.


I totally ate schnitzel for lunch today. Jealous?


I'll be in Birmingham (again!) this weekend. I'm going to see Lucero with a bunch of friends at Bottletree on Friday night. It looks like it may be an epic evening. Saturday I will probably get together with my family to celebrate my mother's birthday, which was Monday. I still need to buy her something. My whole family just plain sucks at birthdays. Gift cards? Really? That's all you effin' want? LAME. Anyhow I'm planning on seeing Date Girl sometime this weekend and I think I'll just have to cowboy up and see how she feels about me.

Lucero's song "My Best Girl" off the album Tennessee.


Any snazzy web designers out there want to give me some cheap/free advice on how to change my blog layout? By that I mean suggestions both stylistic and code-tastic. I'm getting tired of this design. I'm also considering moving this to my own url and off of blogspot. Not that I'm having any problems with blogspot but urls are cheap and it would give me more control of the format.


I'm driving to Tennessee after work to stock up on quality beer. Free the Hops, Alabama!

16 February 2009

Bad medicine

The date went well. I went and picked her up and we went to get sushi. Nothing says first date like raw fish and sake! She told me all about her career and we laughed a lot and seemed to get on pretty well. Afterward we went to this bar in Birmingham that I'd been wanting to check out called Black Market Bar. It's owned by a guy that used to run a punk venue I went to a lot when I was a teenager. He also owns another bar in Birmingham called Speakeasy. Both are quality places. While we were at the bar she showed me pictures of her artwork. She spent a year in school to learn metal-working so she does a lot of cool sculpture work. We stayed at the bar drinking Guinness for a few hours and talked about all sorts of stuff. I took her home and we hung out at her place for a bit. It was kind of awkward there because I wasn't sure if she wanted me to make a move or not and I'm certainly not one to risk it. Especially when sober, which despite my best efforts I was. She's a pretty reserved and shy girl so that made reading her pretty difficult.

Before I left I told her I'd see her this coming weekend. I mean to, too. Here's the killer, though. I don't know that there's anything between us. Here's how I figure it: She's sweet, smart, sexy, likes Guinness, and knows how to weld. Those are all in my plus column for sure. There is one big thing in the minus column, though - she takes meds for some psychological issues. Not like Prozac for occasional bouts of depression, either. I don't think she's crazy but apparently she does and her doctors agree. I have a general distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and I think that this country as a whole is incredibly over-medicated, especially when it comes to psychological issues. The way I see it is that if you're going to take meds for something it'd better be a cure because otherwise you wind up with dependency issues. She feels like she can't live a normal life without her medications. When she told me that I couldn't help but wonder what type of person she was without the fog of medication, you know? I really want to like this girl for a whole bevvy of reasons, not the least of which I've already listed. So I intend to see her again this weekend and see if I can't gleam some sort of response from her that changes my mind.

Y'all I've seriously been beating myself up over this since I left her apartment that night. I feel like I'm being a judgemental dick. I don't honestly know what to think here. She's a great girl and I don't think I should let something like this dull my opinion of her so I'm not calling it in just yet.

In other news I think I'm getting a damn cold. Also, having to work on President's Day while everyone else in my office is on holiday leads to a wholy unproductive day.

12 February 2009

I am a robot

On Monday of this week I ordered myself on of them there newfangled Amazon Kindle 2s. I was feeling particularly upset about my dog and figured a little bit of retail therapy might help some. If nothing else it distracted me momentarily with its promises of instant book delivery and constant access to Wikipedia, God of Information. It's pretty sleek looking, too. It won't ship until the official release on the 24th of this month so I've got to somehow survive reading like a normal person until then. How will I survive? It'll be okay though because that should give me enough time to finish reading the book I'm on right now, Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Downfall of the Record Industry in the Digital Age. I'd say that it'll be the last dead-tree book I'll ever read but I've still got a Joe Strummer bio sitting on my coffee table. Anyway I think the first book(s) I'll buy on it are the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Speaking of sci-fi, how about some new music? Have you heard of The Phenomenauts? They're pretty awesome. They're kind of a rockabilly band that does music only about Buck Rogers-esque space life. Pretty good, too. Here's the video for the first track off of their second record.

Watching their music videos gives me many tattoo ideas. I think it may be about time.

11 February 2009

Tall green grass

Okay, so I did actually call Date Girl. I know, I'm shocked, too! Of course I went to the bar first and had a few drinks. You know, to take the edge off. Honestly I didn't expect her to answer her phone so I had a whole voicemail message scripted in my head. She did answer the phone, though. I think the alcohol helped my improvisational skills. I'm going to Birmingham on Friday to take her to dinner. Normally I'd hate to drive to Birmingham two weekends in a row but this could totally be worth it. I'm still not entirely convinced that she and I are on the same page. See how weird I am? I mean anyone else would probably take this as a sure sign that there is mutual interest here but I'm sitting here pontificating about her verbage and vocal inflections because I'm so damn crazy (and mildly intoxicated). That doesn't matter though because we're having dinner Friday night and things are looking good!

10 February 2009

It's a date?

This past weekend was a pretty good one. Friday night I stayed in Huntsville to hang out with some friends of mine and see my buddies' band play. I'd tell you what they're called but since they're in the midst of changing their name it wouldn't do you much good. Anyhow I went to this place called Philby's with some folks and had a pretty good time. Saturday I woke up and drove back to Birmingham to celebrate my older brother's birthday. Good times. I went out and had a decent night in Birmingham but nothing really happened that was noteworthy. Sunday was an eventful day. New paragraph eventful!

I woke up early and went to have breakfast with my mother and her husband. I cooked a coffee cake Friday night and took what was left of it to Birmingham with me to test it on my family. They all seemed to like it so I will probably end up using that recipe for the potluck next week. Anyhow after breakfast I had a coffee date* with the girl that I mentioned from New Years. This was actually the first time I've seen her since that night, actually. I'm going to try not to get over-analytical here, though. So I met her for coffee and we ended up hanging out for the rest of the afternoon. Good sign, right? She had her dog with her (he's a cutie) and the weather was fucking fantastic so we went to the dog park next to the coffee shop and let him play. After a few hours she invited her friend come meet us at the park. Keep in mind I went to school with this girl (and her friend, actually) so we go back a ways. I don't necessarily know why you need to keep that in mind but I am so you have to, too. I didn't try to kiss her when we said goodbye because I'm absolutely petrified in that type of situation, honestly. I also didn't make any specific plans to see her again but that's because I live in Huntsville and I'm never positive when I'll be in town again. Immediately upon parting ways I regretted both of those decisions and considered calling her to make plans for this coming weekend. I'm still considering it, actually. I wasn't planning on going back to Birmingham this weekend but, hey, if it's a date I most certainly should. That's not too strong a gesture, right?

I ended up staying in Birmingham Sunday night although it was never my intention. My friends were having a house warming party and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hang out with the group. It's not too often we can all get together because some members of this group work nights and it makes it difficult. Once I decided I was staying in town I called Date Girl and asked her if she wanted to come hang out. She sounded interested and told me she would call me back after she ate but I never heard from her. For the sake of my ego I'll just say she forgot and it wasn't that she didn't want to talk to me. Not that her forgetting to call me is very good for my ego, either. I've only in the past year or two come to terms with the fact that some people just suck at calling back and it isn't a reflection on me but I still hate it and chew over it in my head, especially in a situation like this. I'm not sure exactly what that says about me. I guess I'm still a little insecure and maybe slightly off-balance. Hey, aren't we all?

So here's the part when I ask other people to tell me what to think of my date because I am completely incapable of making a rational judgement in these situations. Does she just want to be friends like my worrying head keeps telling me or is she interested like I thought she was on New Years? If you want more details just ask.

*The sole reason I think this a date is because when she gave me her number on New Years it certainly seemed to be a gesture of romantic interest. I also wanted it to be a date.

09 February 2009

What I mean to say

I was eleven years old when we got you. I kind of thought of you as a rebound dog at first. Samson, our first boxer, had died of heart worms not too long before we got you. He was eight at the time. This will sound terrible but at first I didn't really like you all that much. A lot of that probably had to do with the fact that you weren't Samson, the dog that I had grown up with. You also threw up in my lap on the way home from the house we bought you from; that didn't help your cause. But before too long I came around. You were, after all, one of the cutest puppies I have ever seen. How long was my hardened little eleven year old heart supposed to hold out against forces that adorable? Jeremy, my older brother, was really into the Bloom County comics at the time so he thought that Opus would be a good name for you. I didn't object because I idolized him. My parents didn't object because they had two children to contend with on the matter. Most people thought it was a goofy name for a dog but then again you were kind of a goofy-looking dog (no offense) so it fit pretty well. We had papers saying you were a full-blooded boxer. I don't think any of us ever actually believed that was true. We didn't care. You were awesome.

You used to be really damn good at getting out of the backyard and terrorizing the neighborhood. By "terrorizing" I really mean "slobbering on". You were a big, intimidating looking animal and most people were scared shitless of you but in truth you wouldn't have hurt a fly. You were scared of most any loud noises: thunder, vacuum cleaners, the trash compactor, garbage disposals, etc. I chased you around the neighborhood more times than I care to remember. When you got out you never jumped the fence but rather when you were smaller you dug under it and once you got big enough you just ran through the damn thing. It's a sight to behold watching a 100 lb boxer ram a wooden fence until it splinters just so he can piss on the neighborhood mailboxes.

Mom always had allergies so you weren't allowed in the house all that often before she moved out. When it was cold or raining she would let you sleep next to the backdoor but not venture any further. I remember laying with you down there a lot of times when you were scared of the thunder and shaking. I had allergies, too, but I didn't care. You were awesome.

I moved off to college and about three months later Mom moved out and after that it was just you and Dad for a long time. I wish I could have spent more time with you during these last seven and a half years. Dad ended up getting another dog about 4 or 5 years ago. You had started acting pretty depressed and Dad and I agreed that it would be good to get you someone to play with. It worked out pretty well and Baxter has become part of the family now. Of course after a few years of that you started showing your age and you didn't have the energy or patience to keep Baxter entertained anymore so Dad got another rescue dog to keep Baxter happy. Lucky for us all of the dogs seemed to get along well enough and now Baxter and Toffee are keeping guard over your old spot in the kitchen.

Even towards the end when it got to be so hard for you to get up and move around I could still see so much life in the expressions on your face. And although I know that this was the right thing to do the look in your eyes the last time I saw you makes it a lot harder to deal with.

You should have heard Dad when he called earlier today to tell me. He was really upset. It was all that I could do not to start crying right there in the cafeteria. It was really hard to finish out the day at work. I haven't cried about anything at all since Pawpaw died twelve plus years ago and now I'm sitting here at my laptop bawling like a toddler with a skinned knee. I'm really angry at myself right now, too, because I don't have many pictures of you to show everyone just how pretty you were. I loved you a lot, Opus. I still do. I don't even want to imagine what the house in Irondale is like without you there. I know it's going to seem empty. You've been there loving us for the last 14 years and I can tell you now that you'll be with me forever, loved. Thank you so much for always being such a great dog and wonderful friend.

Goodbye friend

Opus 1994-2009

I really loved that dog.

05 February 2009

Meeting of the bored

I seem to be using a lot of 'bored' puns for titles recently. Fancy that. Anyhow I just got out of a meeting and I thought it might be interesting to transcribe here the notes I took during that meeting. In all their glory:

I wish I wasn't falling asleep in this meeting. I don't really know why I'm in here. I'm not going to contribute. I guess I'm here to learn something. There only seems to be about half a dozen people in here that are contributing. Maybe ten. There are forty people here. I seriously would love to see a running tally of the money being spent on engineers in attendance. I am sure that would streamline things. I can't even begin to imagine. Well, yes I can. Here's some math for you. Let's say the average hourly pay of each engineer in this room is $20. That's probably actually really low. [ed: somewhere my 6th grade English teacher cried when I wrote that sentence] Even then that's $800 for one hour. This meeting was scheduled for four hours. That would mean $2400 wasted.
Rocket science, y'all. After giving it some thought I believe that $30 an hour would have been a much more reasonable wage for that calculation. Also, I forgot about the engineers that had called into the meeting, of which there were at least 5. The Wage Tally Calculator is an idea I had after I went to a meeting of about 200 engineers where about 20 were actually involved. A meeting of 200 engineers where about 20 were actually involved that lasted eight hours. Seriously. That was a month or two ago when I was still working with the Department of Defense, though. That's tax money, baby. If there was just a little application that could run with the Powerpoint slides that showed that tally in the bottom corner of the screen I bet the higher-ups in attendance would shit. I shouldn't complain, though. After all, one of the wages in that tally is mine.

04 February 2009

What you got cookin'?

The Mediterranean potluck was last night. It was a really good time. The food as always was fantastic. I made the spanakopita and it was a success. Everyone loved it. There was also falafel, hummus, tzatziki sauce, potatoes, and salad. Tasty tasty tasty. After we all ate until we were stuffed to the rafters we drank, joked, and played team Scrabble. My team kicked all the ass because the the other guy on my team, much like myself, has spent a considerable amount of time playing Scrabble online. That means we know all the cheap two letter words (qi, anyone?) and how to effectively use all of the bonus squares. I'm glad this potluck thing is working out because it's a good excuse for me to try new recipes on unsuspecting victims chance to hang out with friends during the week. The next theme is totally awesome: breakfast! I need some good recipe ideas. Right now I'm leaning towards coffee cake because it's effing delicious. Just look at it!

Speaking of cooking I've found a couple of cool recipe sites recently. Omnomicon is an awesome read. She takes pretty pictures, makes tasty-looking food, and is a good writer. Can you ask for much more? Cooking for Engineers is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It gives step by step instructions with photos for a variety of recipes making even some complex dishes look easy. I've found some recipes through these two sites that I'm going to be trying this week. I'm attempting to eat better and lose some of the weight I've put on since I left Auburn. Since I live in an apartment with a small kitchen and I don't have the tools or the skills to cook elaborate meals I spend a lot of time trying to find simple, healthy recipes. Between these two sites I've already found a few that I'm going to be trying sometime soon. Soups, pastas, and rice dishes galore! Here's hoping they're all scrumdiddlyumptious.