personal, tv comments edit

I saw a little guy in an orange robe just burst into flame. It’s that hot!

Yesterday it was record heat in Portland. I guess it’s the first time in years it got over 100°F. It was also a record energy usage day. All I know is it was hot, and it’s gonna be hot today, too.

I went in this morning to get allergy tested so I can start up on the shots. As well as the medications work, I don’t want to be reliant on them. Jenn scared me by saying they were going to prick my back a bazillion times and it’d itch so bad I couldn’t stand it. That’s not actually what happened. What they did was they pricked my right arm a few times with the major stuff - dust, grass, various pollens - and left that for 15 minutes. Then they looked at the results for those and put a more specific set of allergens on my left arm based on the results from the right arm.

Turns out I’m allergic to dust and most pollens. Big surprise there.

It wasn’t so bad, though. I can ignore my arm itching; my back would have been a problem. Plus, the ones that reacted really quickly, before the 15 minutes were up, got treated with some anti-itch lotion immediately. No problem.

Now I go in again next week to get tested one last time. They’re going to mix up a couple of possible shot treatments and I’ll get tested to see if I react badly to them. If not, I’m good to go and I can start taking the shots weekly at a clinic much closer to my work. Excellent.

ClarksonI watched American Idol last night and I must admit my opinion has changed as to who my favorite is. Up until fairly recently, I was a huge Nikki McKibbin fan. As time has gone by, though, and I’ve seen more of what the various contestants can do, I have to say that, while Nikki is fun and has a great attitude and is original, she just doesn’t meet the talent shown by some of the other contestants. She’s good, but not that good. (I’m sorry Nikki, but it’s true.)

My new favorite is Kelly Clarkson. She seems sort of next-door-girl-ish and is really, really good. After her performance during the “Big Band” show, singing “Stuff Like That There,” I was converted. That girl can sing.

I’ve also changed my opinion of the stupid hosts on the show. Not only do I really hate them, I hate them so much that I am starting to hate myself for putting up with them. I can’t imagine, right now, anyone I really hate more than them. Maybe Bin Laden. Maybe.

personal comments edit

My sister Tai got married this weekend. Friday the 9th, actually. The ceremony was in the Portland Mormon temple. I, being the inactive churchgoer I am, was not allowed to actually witness the ceremony proper. I did, however, get the distinct pleasure of wandering about the grounds in my suit in the 90 degree heat and having my picture taken.

That night was the reception. Maybe 1500 square feet of space and like 200 people. You do the math. It was crowded, hot, and vastly disorganized. We had cheesecake, veggie trays, and lemon-flavored water. For being on such a budget, I have to congratulate Mom for pulling it off; it could have been way worse.

I was the Designated Cinematographer. That is, I got to film the process of getting the pictures taken as well as the reception afterwards. So I kept busy, but it was also sort of a pain. I didn’t really get to see anything because I was always behind the camera.

I guess several people showed up the next night to the house we held the reception at. I don’t remember seeing it, but from what I hear, the invitations read something like “Reception the evening following the ceremony.” So people read that as “the following evening” and showed up a day late. That sucks, ‘cause the house the reception was at is way out in Gresham and is actually pretty hard to find. It took Jenn and I almost an hour to get there.

So now Tai’s married. Good for her. Do I like the groom (Dan)? Honestly, I don’t know him. I never really hung out with them, and only really saw him in passing most of the time. I can’t say I dislike him; he seems nice enough. I just don’t know him. I look forward to getting to know him, though. I think it’ll be good.

Going through this whole ordeal gave me sort of an epiphany, though: My sister has a whole life, a whole separate side of her, that I know absolutely nothing about. I guess I used to feel in tune with what she was up to and where she was in life… but I realize now that I haven’t a clue. She’s got her own thing she’s doing, and while I think that’s great, I can’t help but think we either used to be much closer or maybe neither of us had much going on before. Maybe it’s my inherent need to control my surroundings and now she’s not within “my control.” Whatever. Life moves on.

Walking through Target the other day, Jenn and I saw they have these new “snack bars” out: “Cookies & <insert name of candy here>”. They had all different types… “Cookies & Milky Way”… “Cookies & M&Ms”… Basically, a cookie bar on the bottom with a topping made out of whatever candy. So I say, “Hey, Jenn, check this out - it’s like Twix, but with other candies.” Then Jenn promptly points at the box of “Cookies & Twix.” What? Cookies & Twix? Isn’t that what Twix is?

The logic befuddles me.

Saw this Jet Li movie, Contract Killer, the other day. It was pretty good. It was a tiny bit disappointing after seeing something as big as xXx, but it was still a lot of fun.

movies comments edit

If James Bond is the epitome of British intelligence, then Xander Cage is the US reply.

xXx is cool. That’s all there is to it.

Vin Diesel plays Xander Cage, an extreme sports star / adrenaline junkie who likes to go just a little too far with his political statements. Samuel L. Jackson plays NSA Agent Gibbons, a man trying to stop a rebel group in Prague that wants to unleash biological weapons on the world.

The problem is, standard NSA field agents can’t seem to penetrate this “underground culture” that the anarchists seem to be a part of. They stick out like sore thumbs and get killed. So what’s the obvious answer? That’s right, fight fire with fire. Recruit someone already on the inside of this underground culture.

But how? Easy - kidnap a bunch of known criminals and other miscreants, throw them unwillingly into a bunch of scenarios, and the last man standing will get sent on the mission.

Okay, so the recruitment part of things leaves a few plot holes. So does the rest. That’s not the point here - it’s an action movie.

The point is, everything they do in this movie is cool. Stunts are done bigger, better, faster. There are avalanches, car chases, skydivers… everything you hoped for is here.

Plus, Vin Diesel was made to be an action star. This guy rocks. He’s just got a certain badass presence, sort of like The Rock, Bruce Willis, and Clint Eastwood. There’s something about the guy that screams “Don’t fuck with me.” He was great in this movie, and I honestly can’t wait to see the next movie he’s in. (Note: I was not a big fan ofThe Fast and the Furiousbut admit that there was a certain amount of entertainment value there.)

Asia Argento played Yelena, a sort of love interest for Vin Diesel, but aside from looking really good, I don’t know what to say about her. She was the equivalent of a Bond girl - there, but not terribly prominent.

Anyway, I highly recommend this one. I’ll definitely get it when it comes out on DVD. I did buy the soundtrack this weekend - a two-disc set - and it’s cool, too.

I am a huge James Bond fan. I love all of those movies (except the ones with Timothy Dalton). I can only hope that they go where I think they’re going with this movie and make it into an ongoing spy-action series. Not just lame sequels, but decent, entertaining, standalone films. If they do it right, it’ll rock.

activities comments edit

After watching the Fox show 30 Seconds to Fame last night, my interest was rekindled in an art called “Contact Juggling.”

What is it? Well, unless you’ve seen it, it’s hard to describe. Better to explain why I’m interested and let you figure it out for yourself.

I first got sucked in by it while watching Labyrinth, one of my favorite movies (with an awesome soundtrack, too). You know the part where David Bowie’s character has the crystal ball and is rolling it around on his arms in one fluid motion? That’s contact juggling.

And, just for the record, that wasn’t David Bowie doing it. It was actually a guy named Michael Moschen, who seems to be the foremost authority on it.

Anyway, I am just thoroughly impressed every time I see it done, and I’ve admittedly screwed around trying to imitate it, but not having much luck and usually hurting myself in the process.

Well, last night’s 30 Seconds to Fame (which has to be one of the dumber shows out there overall) had a guy named Owen doing this contact juggling thing, so I once again got the bug up my ass and decided I needed to see if the art was a little more accessible than it was before.

Lucky for me, it is.

Now there are web sites on the thing. and are the two I’ve found to be most helpful. They’ve got resources and step by step guides

  • even videos - that show you the beginning steps. It looks to me like the best place to start is with a lacrosse ball. Guess I’m going to the sporting goods store sometime soon.

There’s a book out, too, but it looks like it’s sort of hard to get ahold of. I can’t recommend it one way or the other ‘cause I’ve never seen it. I’ll probably end up getting it, though.

In other news…

My Winter Hawks jersey came back, professionally lettered and looking crisp. Love it. Can’t wait for an occasion to wear it.

My Ottawa Senators jersey is also at my house, waiting to be unleashed from the box it was shipped in. I’d wear it tomorrow to my sister’s wedding, but I think she’d be pissed.

Oh, and I added a link to buy Mucha art from In the event you’re looking for some cool stuff to hang up (or stuff to buy me), there you go.

Finally, I took out the “Karma voting” feature of the blog because, frankly, no one was using it and it just cluttered stuff up. If it sounds like it’ll be a good idea at a later time, I can always re-enable it. Comments will still be allowed (and encouraged), so no change there.

personal comments edit

Or not, as I’m finding out. A little background…

Every Tuesday, my department of seven people gets together for a staff meeting. About half of the meeting is comprised of eating donuts, while the other half is an attempt to explain to the group what you’ve been doing.

(I don’t do too well with the explaining portion of things because nobody really understands what I do anyway.)

When we first started these meetings, they were scheduled for 8:00a. I thought that was pretty good, since you get in and go right to the donuts. Besides which, that forces the people who saunter in at 9:00a or later to be here early for once.

People didn’t like that. The meeting moved to 9:00a because the latecomers insisted on their rights to show up late. Fine.

Then a round of layoffs happened and my boss, previously only a web-related guy, became the CIT manager. With the vastly reduced staff, he also got to take up a bunch of other staff meetings and sit in on things that only peripherally relate to CIT. Due to those exciting and oh-so-necessary meetings, our meeting moved to 10:00a. Not as good, but acceptable.

Just yesterday he emailed us that, “due to schedule conflicts,” the meeting has to be rescheduled for today… to 11:00a.

What the fuck is all that about? 11:00? Why don’t we make it a frickin’ lunch meeting if it’s going to be that late? I’m gonna eat a donut at 11, not be hungry for lunch, then have a sugar crash around 2:00p and be sick for the rest of the day. What sort of a lame idea is that?

Irritating. We might have to have a pre-meeting meeting just to eat the donuts, then get back together for an abbreviated discussion where everyone gives me blank looks as I try to explain the memory leak issues I’m working on with the Microsoft developer support team.