Saturday, October 13, 2007

Catching Up

Hey Leaguers,

The past few days have been kind of busy.

Wednesday my company (well, the company I work for) had an Oktoberfest. Yes, I too think it odd to schedule Oktoberfest on a Wednesday if you want functional employees on a Thursday. Jamie, Jason and Matt joined me at the Zilker Clubhouse and met several of my co-workers.

On Thursday I met up with my former employee/ co-worker, T-Tine. T-Tine is doing very well and is close to getting his PhD in human/ computer interaction. It's amazing to see this skinny kid who wandered into my office years ago about to become a serious researcher. Well, he's a serious researcher now, but he's not got the PhD behind his name quite yet.

Friday after work I grabbed a beer with Julia from my office, then met up with David, CB, Hilary and Stuart at CB's house. It was no holds-barred Uno (plus wine). CB will soon be launching a web project I, personally, think sounds like its going to be really fun. I don't think I should unveil the name here, as it will reveal quite a bit, but when she launches it, I'll be sure to make a big deal of it.

And, lest I forget, CB and David made some killer pot-stickers and Pad Thai. There are benefits to having friends who are excellent cooks.

Hilary and Stuart are talking about a website re-design for their band. They're very talented musicians, and on a good trajectory with the number of shows they're playing and the kind of shows. You can check out their site prior to the site redesign here.

CB, David and I also gave them the hard sell on an PowerMac, so we'll see what decision they make as they upgrade (get the PowerMac, Hil).

By the way, they're playing between 12 and 3 on Sunday at the Salt Lick if anyone feels like going. And, next Friday evening if you can't make that.

Today I signed up to get a security system. I, too, find the idea that someone might break in and find nothing but comics to steal totally awesome. But...

As much as I would like to have faith in other people not to rob us, I'm enough of a skeptic that I'd just as soon give a burglar reason to move on to another house.

Unless Texas goes Mad Max post-Apocalyptic, it's unlikely I will ever own a gun. I do not trust myself to properly maintain a gun or to use it wisely. And, hell, if it came to that, they could just have the damn comics, anyway. I'm not shooting anybody. So I go with deterrents.

Anyone whose been here knows the dogs are no help once people are actually in the house (I assume they'd just hide in the tub if frightened), and while I think Jeff the Cat could take on two or three burglars (no, really), four or more would have him outnumbered.

So, we will soon have a security system.

The code is: 1-2-3-4-5

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Steans Nation and Dallas Cowboys

Unlike MySpace, Facebook seems fairly flexible and offers a lot of opportunity to use the various third party features authorized by Facebook. In addition, the "Groups" feature is fairly easy to manage.

In a fit of "Well, let's see what happens", I searched Facebook for my surname, Steans. It came up with 80 or so responses, some of which were variations on Steans, but many of which were, like myself, named Steans, with little in the way of a flourish.

Growing up, we knew virtually nothing of the Steans name. Pre-Internet, there was an assumption that Steans was an Ellis Island butchering of some German name, and we were somewhat certain we had a name which was mostly unreplicable because it was a nonsense word. We pretty much resigned ourselves to being misidentified as "Stearns", until the end of days.

Then, when I was in high school, The Admiral got a phone call from a woman in New Zealand who was doing some genealogical (sp?) work. It turns out the name is from England, and as near as I can tell, it means "Stone" or "stone wall" or something. or Stone Jug. Really, no idea. More perplexing was that we were unaware any of the family hailed from England.

In college, a fellow student shared my name, looked me up in the Ut directory and called. Her name was Shoni, and we've chatted via e-mail once in a blue moon. She's married now, but she kept the name going by hyphenating. Had I not already thrown in with Jamie at that point, I would have endlessly pursued Shoni so when we eventually did get married, she'd have no paperwork to fill out.

So, anyway, I'm now trying to include all folks with the surname Steans in my Facebook as friends, as well as building a Group called "My Surname is Steans".

There are lots and lots of people from the UK with the last name Steans. Also, for reasons I am unclear on, everyone in the US with the last name Steans seems to be African American. Go figure. There could be some ugly historical context there as per what sort of jerks my forebears could have been, but the Steans family seems to have been mostly East Coast, and arrived in the latter portion of the 19th Century from Europe, so... I dunno. Either that, or I'm black and have no idea.

Anyhow, I'm trying to collect Steanses. Soon our numbers will be legion.

Also, I totally missed the last half of the Cowboys game the other night after giving up on them in the second half. Had I watched the second half, I would have seen one of the craziest Monday Night finales in recent memory. But, no... I was watching DVR'd episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia".

Part of why I watch sports is the freak nature of the thing. Sometimes a team is down by more than a touch down, has thrown four interceptions in the first half, and can come back and win it in under a minute.

And here's the good, the bad and the ugly.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monkey's Inhumanity to Monkey

Every once in a while, you come across a bit of media that so accurately reflects your view of the world, it's a bit startling. The media resonates so much that it seems as if you, yourself, were responsible for the media, were you more energized to write lengthy blog posts NOT praising Superman.

Thanks to Randy, I've come across just that sort of thing. And, of course, the media I refer to is an article in the online version of the semi-defunct humor magazine, "Cracked". Such is my fate.

The article is based upon research published in the 90's surrounding "Dunbar's Number", and, I guess, the research is pretty well assimilated into primate anthropology (which means that research into good 'ol human anthropology is applied).

The story in "Cracked" describes how our brains are really only capable of caring about 150 people or so at any given time. Through some evolutionary survival instinct, or perhaps because of the limited capacity of our noodle, we seem to be hard wired to find emotional connection to only a limited number of people. This wiring, coupled with how homo sapien has set up societies across the globe is probably responsible for many of our ills as a species.

Fairly serious stuff for Cracked, I'd say, but, of course, its written in the current, abso-ludicrous Cracked fashion, and so it's a highly digestible read.

Anyway, check out the article. It's worth a read.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fall is here in spirit, if not in weather

Hey, Leaguers!

The mighty Texas Longhorns fell at the hands of the loathsome OU Sooners. It was a somewhat sorry showing. Sorry, JimD, if I didn't text you back. I was too busy mourning.

We'd headed over to CBG's place and watched the game with CBG, David, Xander and CBG's mom, Bettye. I hadn't seen Bettye in what seems to be years, so it was great to catch up a bit. Also Max was in attendance, Bettye's corgi. He was super friendly, as long as I didn't stand up. Which I can appreciate. I like me sitting, too.

Poor Xander was alarmed by what little cheering we mustered during the game. Fortunately for Xander, we will have very little to cheer about for the remainder of the '07 season.

Xander is almost in motion. He's working on walking, and he's figured out how to say "good", mostly in relation to cheddar crackers.

I'm not sure what happened with the game itself. UT seemed to get outplayed from the first quarter. The secondary appeared baffled by the OU pass offense, and the offensive line didn't seem able to contain the OU blitz. Add in Colt's inability to keep his head on a swivel and/ or run away when the line is breached, and it was a formula for a long drive home from Dallas for the UT fans.

At half-time we watched a DVR'd episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", a show I once gave an opportunity of about five minutes, and then wandered off. CBG had suggested I give it a shot, so I watched some new episodes this week, and it's ending up in the DVR rotation. To try to explain the show is not to do it justice, so I shall not bother.

After the game, Jason popped over and we wound up watching the new version of "Dawn of the Dead" as we got into the Halloween spirit. I think I like zombie movies more now than I used to, and this one was okay. I did feel the ending was a bit lame, but there you have it. I am coming to terms with the super-bleak ending to zombie movies as part and parcel of the formula, but I've never gotten over bits of the walking-dead formula as the laws of thermo dynamics are thrown out the window. For example, somehow in Dawn of the Dead, the zombies are still wandering around without any food after what seems to be more than a week. Still fairly peppy, too. I understand they're dead, but if they're driven by an insatiable hunger... Anyway, I still think 28 Days Later handled this the best of any zombie movie I've seen.

I also watched "Rocky Horror Picture Show" for the annual October viewing. Perhaps I shall do a Halloween DITMTLOD in appreciation of Columbia.

Today Jamie and I got the spider web up, plus our ghost, Jim Dead-Man. I also planted a spooooooky light post I picked up at Target, and added some spider lights to the giant spider web. All in all, very festive, but our house is TERRIFYING (We really need to vacuum). ***Update: You can see a pic of the house here. Thanks, Jason.***

I have reason to believe one of our neighbors is going to way out-Halloween us. He's been working on a whole cemetery worth of stuff that I think is intended for his house, but I'm crossing my fingers that he intends it for a haunted house elsewhere and our house will remain the rulingist Halloween house on in the block. Because, honestly, his stuff looked really cool, which means our stuff will look quite lame in comparison.

I guess I'll enjoy it while I can.

Oh, "Friday Night Lights" is back on NBC. Get your DVR's set.