food, music, toys comments edit

Ah, the beauty and inherent magic of the Ventitm Mocha Frappuccino®. So tasty. In fact, I don’t think I even know how to order anything else at Starbucks. I went in today and thought I might try something new, maybe one of those fruity tea-based things, but the only words I could speak when I reached the register were, “Venti Mocha Frappuccino.”

And then, before I could think twice about it, there it was, in all its splendor. Mmmm.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic today, streaming my mix of 80’s MP3s on my ShoutCast server at work. (No, it’s not available outside our firewall. Sorry.) The Poison song Talk Dirty To Me just came on. Bad hair band? Of course. Remind me of a pleasant time gone by? Hell, yeah. Sometimes you just need a little hair band music to put things right.

I took a test on today that supposedly was going to tell me what my ultimate career would be. It told me my ideal job would allow me to be “Analytical and Creative.” No shit. But to tell me actual careers that fit the profile, they wanted $15. I think not. Besides, my current job lets me be analytical and creative aplenty, even if it is programming. I think I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

I set up my Tron light cycles today in a cool action-oriented way on my desk. A pack-and-a-half of the small Post-It® notes works great to prop them up so they don’t fall over. Now as long as the cleaning lady doesn’t mess it up, it’ll stay cool.

The Winter Hawks lost last night to stupid Seattle. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, but I sort of did. Our guys are good, and they did get some crappy circumstances thrown at them that probably put them out of whack, but I think if they had really gone for it (and if Lanny hadn’t let the stupid puck get in the net), they could have beaten those Seattle bastards.

In the end, it’s all going to be okay, though, since Seattle’s going to get their asses wasted by Kootenay (just like the Hawks were going to) anyway. This just means I have a bigger deposit on my season tickets for next year.

To Jerry, Deona, Suze, Tim, Barb, Keith, Greg (hope you’re not on swing shift), and Brandon (aka Miss Cleo), Jenn and I will see you all in September. I hope you have the same seats, ‘cuz we will.

A couple of follow-ups to yesterday’s Public Safety Announcement on how to merge:

First, from the comments, it looks like the damn Californians are coming out to defend themselves. I have mixed feelings on that. On one hand, I’m stoked that I’ve got comments because it means more than just Jenn reads this thing. On the other hand, I think the Californians had better think things through before attempting to defend themselves. The quote from the comments I’m talking about says, “Until the Californians showed up no one in Oregon drived like that.” No shit, man. Things were great until the Californians invaded. Of course, I’m sure things would have eventually degraded to what they are today, but we’ve all got to admit - the rapid advance of the Californian Driver had sped up the process.

Second, a bit of an addition to the Public Safety Announcement: If you don’t have a STOP sign (or other traffic signal indicating you need to stop) and the people waiting to turn onto the street you’re on do have a STOP sign, that means that they have to stop for you, not the other way around. What this implies is that rush hour is not the time to decide that you need to “take turns” letting folks at the STOP sign into the road. All this does is fuck things up. The traffic signals were designed the way they are for a reason - let them do their job, and get about doing yours: driving.

Before y’all get on me: I’m not defending the city planners. Whoever took on the job of designing Hillsboro obviously needs to be unemployed right now - making every light function via sensors and not timing creates more traffic issues over there than I can comprehend… and the intersection at 185th and Evergreen Parkway is the worst ever.

I’m just saying that folks need to drive, in a decent defensive manner, and be a lot less concerned with being “nice.” You worry about you and your immediate surroundings. Let the guy in the car at the stop sign deal with getting on the road.

On an entirely different note… I haven’t played GTA3 for a couple of days now and I miss it terribly. I may have to dedicate a little time to it tonight. Sorry, Jenn.

traffic comments edit

For a while I thought this could be filed in the “unwritten rules that should be written somewhere” category, but then I realized they are written somewhere and people just choose to blatantly disregard them.

What the hell am I talking about?

People don’t know how to merge onto the freeway.

No, no they don’t. This probably includes you. I tell people I’m riding with about these rules and they don’t believe me, but they’re there. I think the rules are pretty clear, so I’ll let them speak for themselves. I’ve pulled the appropriate text from the Oregon Driver Manual, published by the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. They even have a Spanish version there, if you don’t understand what is written there in English.

What rules? Well, let’s see. How about this one:

If you use an acceleration or merging lane to enter a freeway or other highway, you must give the right of way to vehicles already on the freeway or road. (p. 36)

Or, under the section marked Entering a Freeway (I’ll highlight the good parts, just for you)…

In most driving situations, you slow down or stop before you enter a busy road, but when entering a freeway you do the opposite. Use the merging or acceleration lane to speed up and merge with fast-moving traffic already on the road. Try to reach freeway speed by the time you start merging. Keep moving if at all possible. A stop might mean a slow and dangerous start into fast traffic. Even slowing down as you approach an entrance can result in a rear end collision with a driver behind who expected you to pick up speed, not slow down.

If a freeway has an entry ramp with a red-and-green signal to regulate traffic entering the freeway, obey the signal. Stop and go with the light. Then speed up in the acceleration lane to merge with traffic on the freeway.

If you are entering a freeway from a merging lane, you must yield to traffic already on the freeway. If you already are on the freeway, you are obligated to help merging traffic. Adjust your speed to permit a safe, smooth merge. (p. 57-58)

Now, it does say there that you are obligated to help merging traffic. That part is true. But what it implies is that if you see someone coming onto the freeway, not only do you (as the traffic already on the freeway) have the right of way, but you shouldn’t change speeds erratically and confuse the person merging. Which boils down to this: Just because someone is merging into your lane does not mean you have to fucking stop.

That is directed at all the idiots who migrate up here from California or come down from Washington and decide that traffic here needs to be as bad as it is in LA or Seattle. Learn to merge. It’s in the driver’s manual.

To drive home that point:

A slowpoke on a freeway can be as dangerous as a speeder. Remember, if you drive at a speed below the flow of traffic, you must use the right lane.

Freeways often have several lanes in each direction. On these roads, you should leave the extreme left lane for faster traffic. If you drive at an even speed, you will have less need to change lanes. Remember, lane-hopping any time is dangerous, annoys other drivers, increases the risk of collision and seldom saves time. Sudden bursts of speed also waste gasoline. If you are traveling in the left lane and someone comes up behind you at a faster speed, move one lane to your right. Do not tie up traffic in the left lane. (p. 58)

Slow people - get the hell out of the damn fast lane. If you’re not going to drive the speed limit, get over.

I think Paul Reiser said it best in one of his stand-up routines: “The only reason we have traffic is your failure to go.”

While we’re on the subject, here’s a little anecdote from yesterday:

I’m driving down the street near my house on the way home and make a right turn behind this Ford Taurus. Whatever, right? Well, the speed limit on this street is 25 miles per hour. It’s fairly light out, there are no other cars on the street, and there are no people walking around. And yet the chick driving the Taurus decides to go 15 mph the whole way. Of course, it’s a no-passing zone, so I’m screwed.

Folks, if the speed limit’s 25 and there’s not even another car on the road, go the whole damn 25 miles per hour. If you want to know why road rage exists, it’s because fucking idiots like that drive around among the rest of us.

I hope everyone has learned something valuable today. That is, how to merge onto the freeway correctly. Maybe at some point in the future I’ll put forth another public safety announcement on how to properly use the left-hand-turn lanes that run down the center of some streets.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

media, movies, hockey, family comments edit

I saw the movie Panic Room this weekend. For those interested, it was actually well worth checking out. It wasn’t scary at all, but there was some good suspense going. Forest Whitaker (who is very cool) was good in it, but let me tell you now, and have no illusions about it:

It was all about the Jodie Foster cleave shots.

There was some pretty damn good JF cleavage going on in this one. As far as I’m concerned, worth the price of admission. Gay, straight, bi, whatever. She’s hot. That’s all there is to it.

Oh, and her daughter (in the movie) was annoying as hell. If my kids ever act like that, I’ll beat the crap out of them. I mean, come on - you don’t ride your stupid scooter through a house you’re walking through to buy. Seriously.

The Winter Hawks won game six of the seven game series with Seattle, so I guess I’ll be at game seven tomorrow. Admittedly, I sort of hoped they’d lose because I’d like a little more time to not have to run around all the time, but since they won, I hope they make it all the way.

Of course, if we have to play Spokane, it’s all over.

Had a good Easter dinner at Mom and Dad’s place. Afterwards, Jenn and I got tormented with home movies that my parents had filmed but never watched. Actually, it wasn’t that bad - we have my cousin dancing at Christmas from a couple of years ago, drunk and doing his best attempt at breakdancing. I really should digitize that and put it up here. It’s just way too funny.

On a whole other topic…

We have air pots full of coffee here at work. There are three pots, all of which should have some level of coffee in them at all times. There are three huge signs around the pots, all of which say (in some form or another), “If you take the last cup, make a new pot.” It takes, seriously, about two minutes to grind the beans and start a new pot of coffee.

I went to get a cup a little bit ago and there wasn’t a drop of coffee in any of the pots. Not one. I don’t think I could have combined the dregs from the pots to make half a cup. I thought about starting a new pot, but then decided that if I didn’t get any, I wasn’t gonna make any. Fair’s fair.

I think I need to start a CoffeeCam. Stick a motion-sensitive camera out there, aimed at the pots (and, more importantly, the people getting coffee). Let’s see who the last person was so we can stick it to them. Or, even better, rig the stand the pots sit on with scales so you only take pictures of the people who leave the pots with less than a cup of coffee in them. I don’t think that’d be too difficult. Maybe I should start that as a side project.

media, movies, toys, activities comments edit

Or, more precisely, “Oscar Contest Winner.”

That’s me.

My friend Liz has a contest she runs every year where she sends out ballots to a group of folks and we get to vote on who we think is gonna win the Oscars. I must be freaking psychic because I got the most right. Which means I won a gift card to Hollywood Video.

In case you were wondering, yes, I am the man.

Yesterday I downloaded some software called MixMeister that allows you to take music in just about any format (MP3, WAV, etc.) and mix it like a DJ - either just fade one song into the other or actually do beat mixing where you change the tempo at the end of one song and at the beginning of the next and mix them together in a continuous track. It also allows you to do overlay tracks (like little sounds or whatever that you want to mix into a song). Once you’ve got your mix, you can burn it to a CD or even webcast it. It’s pretty cool. Give it a look.

My Tron action figures have shipped from so I’m hoping they’ll be home when I get there. I think I’m going to set up a Tron display at work on my desk. That’d rock. One thing about the eMerchandise site, though - when I went back just now to check on what Tron stuff they had, I noticed they had doubled their prices on the Tron stuff across the board. I bought the figures for $4.45 each; now they’re $8.45. The light cycles were $8.45, now they’re $16.95. For the figures, that’s a bit of a rip-off; you can get those at SunCoast for like $6. But the light cycles are still $8 cheaper at eMerchandise than they are at SunCoast.

I got forwarded an email today from my friend Mike. The subject line was “Travis is a dad!” His comment at the top of the message was, “Dude! I saw the subject of this email, before I saw the sender, and it scared me!” Me, too, man, since it would have to be, like, the Immaculate Conception or something. According to the email, the “baby’s got Travis’s head.” Scary. I don’t think I wanna see a baby with my head on it.

Jenn’s parents come back from Disneyland today. They asked me what I wanted, and I said I wanted a big Cheshire Cat, like the gigantic animals you see in the Disney Store. I thought that’d be awesome, the Cat being my favorite character. Well, apparently they don’t make big Cheshire Cats (figures), so I’m SOL. Which probably also means that they didn’t bring me anything else back, either. I guess we’ll see, eh? If not, I sure hope they don’t think I’m bringing them anything from my vacations, either. Turnabout’s fair play, and all that.

Oh, and for the record, Alice is a total hottie. I’d take her any day of the week over any of the so-called “Disney Princesses.” Snow White? Bah. Cinderella? I think not. It’s all about Alice.