Friday, September 19, 2008

Things That Bug Me

-Yahoo, etc... knowing I am a male, and so my computer seems half-filled with ads for off-brand dating sites with video loops of 19 year old girls "flirting" with the camera. I'm good, thanks.

-Seeing 17 year old kids walking down the street, heading away from the high school at 9:45 in the morning, who obviously just ducked out of going to school.

-When the cat pees on me when I take him to the vet

-When the government has to bail out financial institutions who behaved obviously recklessly for years to even a nimrod like myself, putting us even further into crippling debt, in order to keep us from having some sort of 1929-style financial collapse.

-The lack of a proper Hawkman title from DC

-Dolls that can swim. And the inferred message to impressionable kids that maybe babies can swim.

-When your trusted robot goes crazy and tries to kill you.

-Daytime TV ads reminding me I'd probably have a full-time job if I DID just sign up for a trade and technical school...

(edit) - I am also deeply irritated that whenever I turn on my cable TV, it tunes to channel 1, which runs nothing but an ad for the three services (cable, internet, phone) provided by Time Warner Cable. Which I already have. Time Warner, please quit selling me (badly and constantly) that which I already have.

Of course, the only way you can actually see the ad is if you already have digital cable, thus eliminating at least one of the three items they're hard selling.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nothing Tonight

My thoughts are with the folks in Houston and the Gulf Coast.

Kid Invents New Solar Cell

This kid William Yuan, has invented an all-new solar cell. Something PhD's and eggheads are no doubt working on.

Read the article here.

What I was doing at 12:

-raiding Peabo's Mom's cabinet for Dr. Pepper and Teddy Grahams
-Reading Batman and X-Men
-Sitting second chair tuba (in a section of 2)
-worrying about if Sophia Chiang "liked" me
-Growing twice as fast as the other kids (6'3" by 8th grade, suckahs!)
-Working on my free throws
-watching "Aliens" for, literally, the 23rd time
-getting lectured by The Admiral about my most recent infraction
-getting a black eye at the bus stop from Steanso laying me out with a single punch
-Social Studies homework
-Getting a "C" in Talented and Gifted math and getting booted down to plain 'ol "honors" math because of a ScanTron mishap

I was not:
-revolutionizing energy collection

UT Tickets up for Grabs for September 27th

Hi everybuddy.

Both my folks and myself won't be available for use of the tickets for the Arkansas/ UT game on September 27th. There are 4 tickets available.

If anyone is interested in obtaining the tickets, please let me know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Sunny" returns tomorrow

Hey, just a heads-up that League-favorite program "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" returns tomorrow on the FX network.

Official Link
, which, I believe, shoots loud, loud music at you. So be careful.

"Sunny" is definitely not to everyone's taste, but, by gosh, it is to mine. Just, uh... clear the kids out of the room before watching.

I confess to a special fondness for Kaitlin Olson's character, "Sweet Dee". The character seems to channel Jamie at times, particularly when exasperated or trying to prove the rest of the cast wrong, which occurs just about every episode, just as it occurs just about every day at League HQ.

Leaguers will be shocked to learn I like scrappy blondes

Due to the nature of many of Sweet Dee's better moments (the welfare episode is still a gem), Jamie will, no doubt, be horrified that I've made the comparison. But there you have it.

Superman Auctions Raise Goal (the rest is gravy)

Look, it's been a lousy week, news-wise. I don't even feel like talking about it. But here's a ray of hope:

The Siegel house exterior renovations can begin. Already.

There are still several huge auctions left, and they've already raised the $50,000 wanted to fix the exterior of the house. The balance will go toward re-doing the inside. Read the article here.

If you're filthy rich and want to bid on stuff, go here.

If that's a little rich for your blood, you can still donate a sack of money here.

I want to remind readers that Meltzer's new charity isn't just for the Siegel and Shuster Society. It's to remind people that Ordinary People Change the World.

Texas will be digging itself out from under the destruction of Hurricane Ike for a long, long time.

If you can, please think about giving to:

The Red Cross

The Austin Capital Area Food Bank

or other charitable organizations helping out evacuees

Comic Fodder Post

New post:

Superheroes should have super friends wherein I make an argument for a strong supporting cast and maybe a little less action.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obama y Unicorn

Shoemaker mentioned the first picture to me, so I looked it up using search words "Obama Unicorn". This is what I found.

If you don't click on this for the full size, you are missing out

From the JibJab website.

I have no idea.

I like that I know who the "we" is now.

And this one is... interesting, but the "adult" end of the spectrum (sensitive eyes should not click).

Make of all of this what you will. I will find it awesome.

I told you this was going to get dumber before it got better.

Ike (and: I am right. Occasionally. About the weather)

Ike in my High School Hood

Some of you (Meredith) have been to my folks' neighborhood. Here's some Admiral-approved photos of damage in Cypresswood.

No idea how your old house held up, Mere. The Admiral mostly stuck to that end of the neighborhood where he lives, back by Mirror Lake.

This is actually a somewhat familiar site from my childhood. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. It's bizarre anyone lives in Houston, let alone its now the 4th largest city in the US.

September weather change

I always say "we get our first break in the heat around September 15th". And, sure enough, Austinites... when did we first see a dip in the warm air that had hung over Austin since July?

September 15th.

This week is in the 80's. Fall has begun to fall. Yes, as everyone tries to tell me, it will probably heat up again for a while in October. And, yeah, sometimes the cool front comes earlier. Sometimes later. But, as a rule of thumb, we get the first days when you can comfortably wear jeans outside and the air is in the 60's at night around September 15th.

yes, sometimes its hot as hell on Halloween. And sometimes it has literally hit freezing on Halloween (1993), but in general...

I'm just saying. September 15th.

Last night I got Jason to put out his Halloween jack-o-lanterns. And that is just awesome.

West St. Paul

This has been stuck in my head for two or three days. Now it can stuck in your head, too.

A musical tribute to West St. Paul, Minnesota.

no thanks to Steven and Lauren for bringing this into my life and creating the endless loop in my head.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Me v. Twitter

I've been discussing (via e-mail) with Lauren the merits of internet social tool Twitter. I don't intend to bag on Twitter, but it IS an odd social phenomena. Just as blogging is an absurdly ego-driven push of one's opinions out to the world (as I am doing here), Twitter takes the possibilities of public navel gazing to a whole new level.

By it's 140 character format, clearly no thought can be articulated beyond a spartan, simple expression. We have not yet begun to see the trickle-down effect of the phenomena, but as sure as 14 year olds believe text-speak is okay for other forms of communication, it won't be too long before we're being told that we aren't hip (and are, in fact, dinosaurs) if we can't think and communicate in micro-bursts that somehow encapsulate entire arguments in 140 characters or less. It will be something out of a Stephenson novel.

I suspect that Twittering is in its early stages now. Just as the first years of blogging tools were a mess of yokels like myself with no real direction, but how in a few short years blogs have found that structure equals readership and blogs have been turned into a business/ marketing tool... so, too, I guess, Twitter shall develop. Or must develop.

It's already started, but its a blunt instrument at the moment (which reminds me of Blogger in clunkier, more adorable days).

But until it is refined, it's still a lot of people sort of blogging in microbursts. And, as I said about maintaining a blog such as this... it takes a certain amount of ego. What's tough about Twitter is that there's a tendency to do it often by some, less by others. And at that 140 character limit, and with such a friendly user interface, Twitter becomes a magnet not for observation, but for reporting of minutia.

Which leaves me in the awkward position, that I've been discussing with Lauren, that I feel somewhat obligated to be on Twitter, but I am failing to see the value. And I feel like I'm missing something others find obvious. And I strongly suspect my disinterest in the goings-on of others says nothing good about myself.

But I also suspect that this isn't the last stop for how Twitter is used. And, Lauren had suggestions. Use it to keep up with news, etc... use it for the messaging. Use it to learn new things about people you're following, or to keep up how you feel is appropriate.

My nightmare, as I shared, is that anyone is ASSUMING I am keeping up with them in Twitter. I am sorry to say, if you think I am keeping up with you on Twitter, my readership is pretty spotty. But that's the ego thing, too. I learned long ago not to expect anyone I know is actually reading LoM. And for the ease of Twitter, I suspect many aren't aware of the indifference toward their efforts by friends and loved ones. So... yeah. There it is.

But I am also someone who doesn't relish the idea of iPhone because I don't treasure the idea of everyone I know being able to find me any time via phone, e-mail, IM, etc... all in one box. While I appreciate the technology and business application in particular, I consider myself separate from the technology that I use. It is a tool, it is not a necessity.

Some folks feel the necessity not just to own the iPhone, but to play on it constantly. I sometimes go for days without realizing my phone has been off. The idea of picking up a Blackberry or some other device when my contract is renewed in December runs cold fear down my spine. I have flashbacks to doing work at a Diamondbacks game in Phoenix when they saddled me with a device.

I'm still a control freak. I'm just a control freak about whether my life belongs to me, or to a piece of silicon and plastic in my pocket. And I don't know if that same constant need for communication isn't part of the difference between myself and folks who are jumping headfirst into Twitter.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Follow The Leaguer

If you look over on the left hand menu bar, there's a new feature where you can list yourself as a Leaguer. I think you have to have a Google account to make it work, but it's easy to do otherwise. Listing youself wil put your icon in the box, and then.... SHAZAM!

Not only will you be publicly listed as a Leaguer, but you'll be on several NSA watch lists.

A Dry, Clear Sunday

Today I woke up late after condemning Jamie to wake up and feed the dogs.

We cleaned up the house a bit more to accommodate my dad, who was driving in from Ike-damaged Spring, TX to take part in our electricity and air conditioning. His office in Houston apparently has power, but water is still iffy. The house I lived in back in high school has water, but no power. And no power for the foreseeable future. So I'm discouraging him from going home, but The Admiral is not one who believes in the creature comforts. He's been using a kerosene lamp for his light.

We met up off 2222 and headed out to Steiner Ranch to go see the progress on Rancho Relaxo, my folks' soon-to-be house. I have to say, if you're going to build a house for my folks, Rancho Relaxo really fits the bill. Lot of space for them to spread out, big windows, a lovely (unobstructed) view of a preserve. And The Admiral has included a workshop area, which he has, unfortunately, dubbed "Daddy's Playhouse", which was deemed creepy by all.

I am a bit at a loss as to what I should be doing, as per helping out in the wake of Ike. With Katrina, I was pretty far away, and so I sent money. Well, with my recent employment status, I am not exactly Rich Uncle Pennybags, and I'm pretty close to Houston... so after The Admiral leaves and I'm done putting my my token evacuee... I need to figure out some way in which I can help.

I've been pondering Austin's identity as the go-to destination for evacuees.

Austin is 1/5th the size of Houston. It raises a lot of questions about the assumed ability of the city to absorb and support over a sustained period (Houston could be without power for up to two weeks, provided it DOESN'T get hit with any more hurricanes). Hospitals, etc... get stretched to their limit during these emergencies... and one wonders what can be done to make these resources more expandable. (I heard a story of someone being turned away from receiving medical help at the ER because Ike evacuees meant that the ER was beyond capacity. Understandable, but... where do you go when the ER is full and you need help?)

All of that said, I hope we Austinites CAN be the sort of people we hope we are, and that we can continue to be the default place for evacuations in years to come.

We might need to rethink some our practices to make it work. We're using schools as shelters can't mean disruption of school... looks like we got that one figured out by Monday this time. Other resources, like the Austin Food pantry, are being quickly drained to serve the evacuees, rather than serving its normal purpose. Which is a great resource, but what happens when the evacuees go home and the pantry is bare?

There are a million little things that will, no doubt, be brought up in the wake of Ike. But I give credit to the Red Cross for their response, Austin, San Antonio, etc... for opening their doors. FEMA has responded much, much better than during Katrina and Rita. And it seems whatever plans were put into place since Katrina are working to the extent that people will follow instructions and leave when told "you will otherwise die".

Do evacuees have anywhere to return to? What will happen in the weeks and months ahead? Can the evacuation destination cities sustain themselves as evacuation destinations?

I do not envy Chertoff or whomever replaced Brownie as head of FEMA. Because I have no idea how to answer these questions without coming to some uncomfortable conclusions.