Just Another Blog
Sunday, October 31, 2004
 
Laibach

I'm looking for a date to go with me to see Laibach on Tuesday the 16th at the Gothic Theatre. I expect the show will be intense and loud. You won't have to talk to me much. I have an extra ticket that I really don't want to go to waste. It will be a cool show.


 
Donkeys

A week ago today, the Broncos were 5 and 1 and feeling good. Today they are 5-3. When they were humiliated last week, I said, "That's it. They're done. They're gonna finish 8-8 or 9-7." The others thought I was crazy. They thought it was just a bump in the road. I don't care if Plummer passed for 499 yards today. The Broncos looked weak. They looked weak last Monday. They look like they can't figure out how to beat their opponents. KC and San Diego are picking up momentum, and the Broncos are floundering and looking worse. Houston will be tough next week. Games in San Diego, KC, and Tennessee as well as the final home game against Indy all look doubtful. Maybe I was too generous at 8-8; it could end up 7-9 if the Saints, Raiders, or Dolphins show up to play. I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling that this may be a year with no post-season games.


 
Sharing Music

Some friends and I have come up with a nice, simple way to dramatically boost our mp3 collections by systematically sharing our entire collections with each other in a secure, non peer-to-peer environment. Three of us each have nearly 15 gigs of music that we are going to put up. That is somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000 songs per person. Sure there's probably a good amount of music that is duplicated among our collections, but I think we will probably find less overlap than you might initially imagine for three friends with fairly similar interests in music.

We would very much like to share our collections with some of you if you would be willing to reciprocate. In order to join in the sharing, I would ask that you have at least (or about) 1,000 mp3's to share with us. I think that arbitrary number will help make it worth everyone's time and effort. The actual sharing will probably not take place until mid-December or perhaps even after the new year, so there is plenty of time for you to organize your collection and join us.

I have been using MP3nity to update the ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags as well as the file names of my music collection. Since I just found out that it rips music from CD's while automatically naming the files and filling in the tags, I have been using it to make digital back-ups of my actual CD's. This is allowing me to quickly boost my digital music collection, and I am certain that my friends will appreciate my efforts. MP3nity is available for download at CNET's download.com. It's free to try for 10 days, and then it costs $15. It's worth it. It's a good program that works very well and uses the cddb database to make auto-tagging your files and systematically renaming them quick and easy. (I name everything as <artist> - <album> - <track> - <title>. I hope that you'll use the same method, but if you don't, then I still be able to anally update my collection using MP3nity.) My only complaints are that the Help Documentation that you use to learn how to use the program is not written particularly well. The program also runs a little slowly at times although I am almost certain that that is because I am sometimes asking it to look at folders that have 1,500 files in them. Overall, I like it and recommend it if you consider yourself generally computer competent.

If you don't want to pay the fifteen bucks, I also like the Quintessential Media Player. Quintessential is free, it plays all media files, and it rips CD's at any bit rate you desire. This is good because most free players like Real Player, Winamp, and Windows Media Player will either not allow you to rip files or will only allow ripping at 96 kb without paying for the upgrade. Quintessential lets you rip at 128, 160, 192, or 256 kb. 128 is the minimum you should consider. 256 probably produces file sizes that are too big compared to the additional quality gains. I've been using 160 because it seems like an ideal compromise between file size and quality.

Right now we're looking at only the three of us participating in this little experiment, but there's no reason we couldn't do it with thrity people. If you are interested or have further questions, please shoot me an email and I'll get you into the loop. The more who play, the more songs we'll all have to play. It doesn't matter where you live or what type of music is predominant in your collection. You'll find plenty of punk rock from us, but there will be plenty of other genres including good representations of surf, rap, electronic, 60's, metal, hard rock, comedy, girl bands, and more.


 
Abstinence is Dangerous

This story on unsafe sex practices lumps people who don't have any sex into the same category as people who do not use prophylactics. That's lunacy. Abstinence is certainly crushing to the self-esteem, and I am almost certain that it is dangerous to mental health, but it hardly increases the risk or prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases.

The article also reveals that roughly twice as many women as men don't have any sex at all. I'm not sure what my point is here other than I feel like I should try harder and maybe improve both of those percentages.


 
New Job

I start my new job tomorrow. Just in time to deal with the first snow-induced rush hour of the season. Yeah, it's snowing here right now.

After I was offered this job, I interviewed for another job that would have been downtown, higher paying, and more in line with my long-term interests. I did not get that job. I am extremely disappointed, and it has definitely colored my feelings for the actual job. Who knows... Maybe I'll end up liking it.

I will be working as a financial data researcher for one of the largest independent providers of debt and equity analysis. Eventually, I will be spending my days reading annual reports and standardizing the information contained therein. I won't have to deal with external clients, I won't be on the phones, I'll eventually be able to work from home, and I will hone my knowledge of finance and probably accounting too. The pay is too little, the commute is too long, and I've essentially been told that there is little chance of promotion inside of three years. But it is a job, and I haven't had one of those in seven months. (And the last job was horrible.)

There are lots of folks who have been with the company for a very long time. They have survived the bursting of the brokerage industry / internet / gogo 90's without having to resort to layoffs. A former employee of mine has a wife who works there. I recall him saying that she had nothing but good things to say about working there. There is a very small gym on site.

I am very disappointed that the other job didn't work out. They said I didn't have enough experience. They are wrong. I really would have been awesome for the other position. Still, I'm trying to keep an open mind and positive attitude about the new job. We'll see how it goes.

At any rate, I go into work tomorrow and then head to Florida on Tuesday morning until Sunday night. I have no idea why they didn't just start me the following week, but that's not my call. One day of work followed by six days of vacation: too bad I can't maintain that schedule.


 
Lasagna

I cooked my semi-famous lasagna tonight. Sonny and Don got to try it for the first time.

And so the legend grows...

We drank an 1985 Barolo that was OK but a bit past its prime. We also had a 1990 Barolo that was better, but certainly not fabulous. I have a lot of wine in the cellar that I am beginning to worry that I have saved for too long. I think I need to start planning some meals around some of those bottles. I suspect that my brother and sister will be the other beneficiaries of these feasts. I guess that's ok.


Thursday, October 28, 2004
 
The Choice

Go watch The Choice, now. It's a quick little video to the tune of Rawhide that will help clear up any questions you might have about voting. Brilliant in its simplicity.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004
 
Handbook for Civilians

"We do not expect Denver to be bombed. But no one can assure us that war will not occur, or that in war, Denver will not be bombed." - Denver's Mayor.

Read the whole thing starting here. (Again, the hat tip goes to Davezilla.)


 
Chuggernaut!

In college, I would have worn this shirt every day.



Via Davezilla.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004
 
Preparing for Florida

I talked to my buddy Geoff briefly last night. I'll spend a couple of days as his guest in West Palm before going to Miami for the wedding. I had just come in from skiing, and he was poolside drinking a margarita overlooking the traffic on the intercoastal waterway. Guess I'll need to be packing shorts. I'm not much of a beach fanatic, but lounging in the sun should provide me with the recharging that I need to be ready to start a job when I return.

I spoke briefly with the groom as well. He had to go check on a 911 hang-up call before we could fully discuss the seating arrangements for the wedding. It ought to be interesting. I believe that there will be at least a couple of guests at the wedding with sworn vendettas against me. It's all old bullshit from college when I may or may not have acted inappropriately toward one or more girlfriends (umm, their girlfriends, not mine...). Another couple that will be there is a former roommate of mine married to a former girlfriend of mine with whom I last spoke under poor circumstances that were ultimately solved via miscarriage.

Anyhow, I'm not really sure what to expect from these folks. I don't see or think about these people any more, and I could care less if they hate me, love me, or have forgotten my name. I just don't want to cause any sort of scene although I think that is terribly unlikely. I toyed with the idea of wearing this shirt in Florida, but ultimately decided that I didn't want to make things even more awkward than they may already be.

I told Stu I wanted to sit with the bride's family (few of whom speak much English as I understand it). Really that would be cool with me. I hate socializing. I hate people. The more I can just sit in the corner and watch what's going on around me, the happier I'll be. Someday I'm going to more fully discuss my phobias and disorders. For now, read Flagrant Disregard for a great insight into a mind on the brink.

Mind on the brink. I like that. I do hereby reserve the right to change the name of this blog to such. It fits well with a lyric I wrote once too. Actually, as I try to recall the lyrics, I think it fits in very well. [Stu, do you still have that "song"? Can you get it to me in mp3?]


 
Skiing

I went up for A-Basin's opening day on Friday and then again yesterday. It's one lift and one run, but High Noon is a great one run to have to ski over and over. The snow is in fine condition for the little that there is.

The little bit of exercise I've done over the past couple of months seems to have helped. My knee felt fine, and boredom with a single run sidelined me before fatigue. I think the thing that I noticed the most was the extra control I seemed to have gained from strengthening my abdominal muscles. I feel very strong upright and have lots of control and power through my turns. Since I am still a little nervous about my ultimate knee strength, the added control from my core is reassuring.

Perhaps ironically, this added control from conditioning exacerbates my need for new skis. When I switched from straight skis to shaped ones three years ago, I decided to stick with the same length, 195 cm. Normally, people ski a shorter shaped ski, but I stayed with the length since I had put on some weight and was looking for a pair of skis that I could use in pretty much all conditions. Now that I have had a couple of winters where I got in a good number of days thus improving my overall ability and have also lost a little bit of that weight, I find myself riding skis that are probably too big for me. I think that if I went a little shorter, I'd probably gain some additional control in the bumps where my current length makes rapid, sharp turns awkward and in the back bowls and trees where too much length is similarly inhibitive.

On the mountain, the skies always seem a little more blue and the air a little more crisp and clean. I hope to get up one more day this week before heading south for the wedding.


Thursday, October 21, 2004
 
Voting

I voted this evening. Here's how it went:

President: Bush. I wanted to go Badnarik, but the libertarian party needs to put up a real candidate and not some the-IRS-doesn't-exist-/-taxes-are-a-crime wacko.

Senate: Richard Randall, the libertarian guy. Coors is a lying dick. You can see it in his commercials. He's trying to smear the hell out of Salazar when every semi- objective source seems to support Salazar's record in the past. That's not to say that I necessarily trust Salazar in the future, but Coors is being a dick. Sometimes I feel like I'm not being a good Colordoan. I want to like the guy. I want to like the beer. He's a pro-business republican. It's a locally made beer in the style that I drink a lot of. But he can't see that what's good for his company is good for the country (gay rights). And nobody beats the King of Beers.

Congress: Roland Chicas, the Republican. There was no libertarian. I had never seen or heard Mr. Chicas' name before I entered the booth. Diana DeGette is a terrible person. I wish I was represented by Tancredo. She'll win, but I'll still hate her. She's dumber than Barbara Boxer and very much in that same vein.

The Judges: I voted to retain all of the judges. I just figure that it's cheaper to keep 'em than to train new ones.

FastTracks: I voted to increase my taxes. Denver needs to keep expanding our public transit system. It would continue to expand without this referendum but not nearly as quickly. I don't buy the argument that, since, in aggregate, only 2% of people currently use public transit, that expanding the system is a cost borne unfairly by the other 98%. I can tell from the drastic numbers that they are using bullshit definition for uses, pays the tax, and benefits from. You either win because the system is better and more expansive and you can travel to more places more efficiently, or you benefit because there is an expansive public transportation system that keeps the poor people who can't afford SUV's off the front range freeways.

Cigarette Tax: Voted for it. I'm sort of against this from a free market standpoint, but I'm sort of for it from a disgusting-filthy-habit standpoint. I smoked for a lot of years, and when bars started charging three bucks for a pack, I knew that I was in trouble. There's no benefit to it. Sure there are other legal and perhaps even illegal vices that I can support, but all of those at least offer a relaxation benefit. The only way you get any benefit from ciggys is when you're trying to kill a craving that only comes from smoking ciggys. Fuck the smokers. Sorry.

Museum and Culture Tax: Voted to cancel it. This thing is going to pass with my sole dissenting vote. If it were close, I would have had to have thought about the issue a lot more thoroughly. What is the community's responsibility to support the cultural vendors in the city? Interesting.

At Large Regent for the University of Colorado: Daniel Ong, some libertarian. Whatever. Why am I voting for a school position? What is a regent? Don't answer. I don't actually care.

Renewable Energy Mandate: I voted against this one. I'm all for renewable energy, but the technology and market share will grow most rapidly in a freemarket environment - not when government mandated. I think that this one could only cost the end user (i.e., the voter) more money. I read both sides on this one, and frankly, big business sounds a whole lot more credible (and green) than the Greens.

Construction Liability: Everyone is voting against this. The smear campaign against the vile lawyer pig who put this on the ballot has been very effective. It convinced me.

Splitting the Electoral Vote: I voted against this one. I think there's a very strong argument that it is unconstitutional anyway (as a voter initiative). It's a bad idea. No one would ever get more than a one vote advantage out of Colorado. It will not somehow get enough electoral votes to a third party candidate such that the winner of the election will be forced to include a third party candidate in his administration and then the Green party will finally get dominion over the trees or whatever. The pros on this one have just started running ads on this issue. The ads are very good. The people they are targeting are folks who are uneducated about the political process. The ads way over-simplify everything and make it look like a dandy idea. It is not.

Obsolete provisions: I always vote against removing these. I like obsolete provisions. I have no problem if somewhere in the Colorado constitution it tells me I can't race my horse and buggy except between 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset between August 28 and March 31st. Whatever. That's cool. I won't.

State Personnel System: I didn't understand or hear anything about this one. It seemed to have something to do with when city cops could be forced to testify. I should have talked to Brian. He would have set me straight. Since I didn't understand it, I voted to keep things as they are.

State Representative: Rick Nevin, the Republican. The current guy, Jerry Frangas, is a friend of the homeowner's association, and I hear he's a nice guy. This barrio I live in is plenty democratic anyway. I just wanted to try to show that this neighborhood is not hopelessly democratic. Heck, I may want to run here in district 4 at some point in the future if it ever looks like there's enough of a anything-but-democrat base. Leave a comment if you live in District 4 and would consider voting for me at some point in the future. Thank you. I am humbled by your consideration.


 
Flu Shots

What is the big deal about flu shots? Doesn't anyone remember way back - like five years ago - when nobody got flu shots? Give me a fucking break! The flu is our friend. It makes the healthy stronger and kills only the weakest of the species.

Koppel is on tv comparing the flu to a terrorist and suggesting we need a law to make sure the eldery get the available flu shots first. Great. I'll go to law school and sue the fuck out of the pharmaceutical companies, the government, and Ted Koppel when the very first one of those old folks contracts the flu after getting that government mandated flu shot.

Give me a break. We've got enough laws, don't we?


 
Skiing

I've never skiied an opening or a closing day before. I just might check out A-Basin tomorrow.


 
Baseball

I think that, in general, it is safe to say that most of Denver will be cheering for the Cardinals in the World Series. Larry Walker was a very popular player here. The recent sentiment seemed to be that it was terrible that he had to go but good that he was going to a team where he would have a chance. Here's hoping that he makes the most of that chance.


 
Basketball

It's nice to see that Carmelo is settling into the Colorado way of life. It's also nice to see them publicize the fact that possession of under an ounce has essentially been decriminalized in Colorado: no chance of jail time and a maximum fine of $100.


 
Wondering...

Am I a spineless pussy because I am filled with self-loathing or am I filled with self-loathing because I am a spineless pussy?


Wednesday, October 20, 2004
 
Music Piracy

An interesting article here on the state of album sales in Russia. I think they dance around the point a bit. The point being that if piracy was wiped out it's not like people would suddenly start paying full price to RIAA for music; no, people would not spend the money at all. $15 is too much for an album. 99 is too much to pay for a song.
"The prices are ridiculously high, says Tanya, 21. I only buy pirate CDs, and so does everyone else. If you buy a licensed copy, you are either an idiot, or a snob. Or you are getting it as a gift for a very important person, since it has more attractive packaging."
Same over here. In Russia, they buy the bootleg albums because internet access is too expensive to make downloading practical. Here, the internet is cheap and getting cheaper. There's no reason to spend twenty bucks on a CD that can get scratched and stolen. I had my car broken into two weeks ago. The bastard stole about 40 CDs contained in two leather cases. I only miss the cases: everything else was music that I had burned myself. Sure, it's a pain to have to reburn new driving mixes, but I was getting pretty tired of my collection anyway. Now I have an excuse to burn a bunch of new stuff. And the blank CDs only cost about 2 if you get them onsale or with a rebate.


Thursday, October 14, 2004
 
Winter Ups and Downs

The down is that hockey should have started Wednesday night.

The up is that ski season officially begins tomorrow with the opening of Loveland.


 
Omni Financial: The Website

Alright. My last post on Omni Financial has generated a ton of recent interest from all sorts of people. I've gotten email from employees in Florida, from employees in Colorado, from a new hire, from someone who has received a job offer, from the boyfriend of someone who has received a job offer, from former employees I know, and from former employees that I have never met or known.

I also discovered the MSN Group Page for the anti-Omni Financial group. It seems that they have a lot of recent activity over there as well. In all it seems that on many different levels there is a growing consensus that Omni Financial sucks.

However, I don't think that just saying, "Omni Financial sucks," is enough. I think that the best way to discourage people from working for or working with Omni is to tell them the truth. Let people know what the culture is like. Let people know the sorts of sketchy business practices employed. Let people know about the kinds of things you were forced to do in order to keep your job.

To that end, I've decided to create and host a new About Omni Financial website. Right now, there's nothing there and the template looks remarkably similar to this site's. What I want to post there is letters from former and current employees as well as former or current clients.

The rules are that I want you to write clear and professional opinions of your experiences. The anti-Omni Financial site is fun, but I think that it may be less than effective in some ways because there is lots of name-calling and inside jokes in the postings. This is perfect for ex-employees, but we need something more considered to sway a public searching for information about Omni Financial. Please email me your stories - funny or horrible, long or short - about your experiences with Omni. I will post the stories to the about Omni site. Before I post, I reserve the right to edit the post for clarity and grammar. I will approve any more substantial edits with the author before the post is made. Please let me know whether you wish to remain anonymous. If you wish to remain anonymous, please just let me know your relationship to Omni (current/former employee/client) and how long you were a client or employee. I will publish those details instead of a name or email address.

Feel free to also tell about or include the good or fun or funny things that you experienced with Omni. When I was there, many employees expressed enjoyment at working there because of the people (excluding management)we worked with. I think most of us are happier to see each other outside of the halls of Omni, but we must admit it wasn't always 100% awful.

Please help me get the word out about this site. The more letters and stories that we can get up there, the more convincing it is. Also, I am looking for ideas for the layout of the site. Should I change the colors? change the column layouts? add a banner? add a stats page? add comments? change the name? change the description? host a Christmas party (anybody have any good Omni Financial Christmas party stories?)? Let me know, and I'll try to figure out how to change the site.

The email address to use is aboutOmniFinancial@hotmail.com.


 
Who's Reading

I am fairly obsessive about checking the stats for this blog. Most days, I'll look three or four times a day to see how many people have stopped by and where they have come from. Site Meter stats show me the referring URL (including search terms for most search engines), the operating system of the visitor, the time zone of the visitor, the time and length of the visit, as well as the domain and IP address.

I don't get many referrals from other websites other than my good friends Vince and the Hyena along with some occasional link love from Tony Pierce. That's fine by me. Obviously, this isn't a news blog, and I don't offer much in the way of interesting political or social commentary. This is mainly about me playing around with the internet and sharing some occasionally humorous or insightful thoughts with you. It's my chance to try to convey complex ideas in clearly written and properly punctuated sentences.

Any way... Until recently, I thought I had a pretty good idea of who my core set of readers are. I would see pretty much the same IP addresses and referrals in my stats and think I knew who was reading and when. Some IP addresses let me narrow it down to at least a handful of people who might be reading. If the hit comes from Merrill Lynch or Quantum, well, I know that there are a few folks at each firm who know me and any one of them could be the reader. After getting a phone call from someone at Quantum regarding this site, I realized that perhaps even more people than I realized could be reading.

Then last week I got a call from my friend Darcia, a former co-worker from Merrill. When I realized that she occasionally read the site, it made me realize that I didn't really have a very good handle on who most of my readers are. As I tried to figure it all out, I only became more confused. I think that it is pretty easy for browsers to report incorrect information in terms of the visitor's time zone. I had a bunch of hits a couple of weeks ago from the Atlantic Standard Zone (or something like that - it's the one to the east of Eastern). That didn't make any sense. I also get more hits than I would expect from the Pacific time zone. I think I only even know one person who lives out that way, and it's not someone who I would expect to read this very often.

Basically, I've given up the hope of being able to have a very good idea of who you all are. Instead, I've developed an irrational fantasy that I have a hoard handful of loyal readers whom I have never met yet who come back day after day or week after week just to read my dull musings. Some day there will be enough of you that you will buy me an iPod or you'll buy my book when I write it. But that's Tony's life, not mine. For now, I am content that readership is increasing without an explanation that I can quite figure out. (There are now 10-15 of you reading on an average day compared to the old 3-6.)

The one thing I still can't figure out is whether or not my parents read this. I know they used to read it before I changed my URL. This blog is how my parents learned that my brother had purchased a motorcycle. I've posted some things in the past that I hoped would dissuade my parents from reading if they in fact were, but the point of this post is clearly that I just don't know any more.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004
 
Big Monkeys

I hope that when we learn more about this possible new primate we find out it can talk. Maybe they even have whole cities in the trees with populations the size of Los Angeles. Perhaps they have myths about hairless apes that taste like chicken. I hope so.


Monday, October 11, 2004
 
Three Girl Rumba

My blog seems to alternately get all of the links that I post from either Fark or Drudge. That's all changed now. Thanks to Screenhead, there are now three places from which I may source my links. This one's from Screenhead. If you thought you were tired of the internet, if you thought you had seen it all, if you're a dull news junkie and need a shot of something cool, then Screenhead is the place to hang out. Cool video to Three Girl Rumba.


Sunday, October 10, 2004
 
Blog Changes

I changed the layout a little bit to a three column design from the old two column. I am proud to say that I figured out how to do it myself by just playing around with the HTML until I understood how all the table tags worked. I don't really know anything about coding be it HTML or otherwise, but I like to pretend that I do, and the puzzle of it all is fun to try to put together. Of course if I'd take a course, I could have probably done the changes in fifteen minutes instead of two hours.

I changed the permalinks too so that each post has its own page. Someone wrote that those sorts of links show up better in Google. It takes up a lot more space on my server, so I went in and deleted the old songs I had posted in the past and took down the link to the Special J movie. Should there be anything missing that you want to see or hear, just let me know.

I went through all of my archives last night looking for a few good posts from the past to add to the new list on the left. Man! What a bunch of crap I have written over the past few years. I'm surprised anyone reads. But I guess this exercise is as much about me writing as it is about anyone reading.

I'm probably going to add some sort of random quote and change the picture too. Does anyone have any other ideas on changes that might be good for the blog?


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
 
Good Things to Say about an Old Job

There's a story in the Washington Post today about the guy/group that I used to work for. Chuck McLean and his team have developed a method of monitoring current news source in order to predict future key stories and the direction and trends in the news. This all takes place on a much higher level than what I did for the company. The part that I worked on, The Fairness Project, now seems to be referred to in the article as Access/Middle East. My understanding is that the guy is already filthy rich. If this algorithm really works, he'll be filthier richer.

I thought the most interesting part of the article was the bit where the genesis of the idea is discussed:
McLean says he's applying to politics something he learned doing commercial research: By the time a new product shows up in sales data, it's too late for another company to compete effectively. An aggressive competitor must analyze the technical and market environment and then develop products for that space. It's the same in politics, McLean says: By the time you see a candidate's weakness in poll numbers, it may be too late to fix it.
Everyone and their brother, including me and my brother, are always coming up with good ideas for new gimmicks or new clever products to sell. The trick though is figuring out the new product early enough that you are not already behind by the time your product reaches the marketplace. If you can do that, you can make it big.

Hey, wouldn't it be great to make a beer with caffiene in it? DOH!
Hey, wouldn't it be great to open a neighborhood bar on Tennyson between 38th and 44th? DOH!


 
Second Round

I just got the call that I have a second interview tomorrow for a job as a financial data researcher for a major credit and equity rating house. The location's too far, the pay's too low, and the opportunities for advancement may be too limited. But I really hope I get the offer. I'm ready to get back to work and am excited at the possibility of learning a new set of skills. Oh, and I'm broke too, so the money would be better than nothing.

Wish me luck.


 
Wacko

Hmm. I am disappointed to learn that Michael Badnarik, Libertarian candidate for President, is a bit of a wacko when it comes down to it (and much more in depth here). This along with my complete lack of respect for and trust in John Kerry has me leaning back towards voting for Bush.

I'll be traveling on the day of the election to Florida where I vow to do my best to avoid any coverage of local voting issues. Hopefully, Colorado will have early voting again so that I can vote before I leave.


 
Impress Your Girlfriend

Five penis tricks. Uh, that's five different tricks, not tricks you perform with four friends. I shouldn't have to mention that this is not work safe.

Found the link via the newest of the Gawker Media sites: Screenhead. There's lots of good random internet stuff here.


 
Presidential Popularity

Tony Pierce thinks the President is a retard. He doesn't have anything good to say about the President, but he does present a picture that makes it clear why George W. Bush is so popular with the soccer moms.


 
More Beer

B to the E "with caffeine, guarana and ginseng, along with berry aromas" is Anheuser Busch's way of competing with the Bacardi Silvers and other distilled spirit offerings that are so popular lately. This sounds alright to me. Certainly the Jager-Red Bull craze shows that everyone likes the caffiene-alcohol combo buzz. I tasted a beer at the GABF that was flavored with fresh ginger. It was very good. I referred to it as sushi beer. I only mention it here because I keep reading "ginseng" as "ginger".


 
Not on My Life

This story is a good example of why I am not an organ donor. Actually, if I ever decide to shoot myself in the head, I may go ahead and decide that donating my organs would be ok. Until then, I'm more concerned about getting in a car crash on the same day that some cop gets shot or some news story comes out about some cute high school kid deperately in need of a new kidney or heart or eyes or whatever. I'd much rather they try to save me than evaluate me based on whether my organs are a suitable match for the story of the day.


 
Re: Kids

Congratulations to my buddy Troy who just became a daddy for the first time.

I had a three year-old and her folks living with me for two weeks. They moved out on Saturday. I know that it must be especially tough for a little girl to move from Japan to Colorado by way of Washington and to not really have any sort of home for a month. But what the experience taught me is that I really don't want kids. They are way too time consuming, and they refuse to listen to logic. My parents assure me that it's different when they're your own kids, but I can only see it being different in a worse way. You've got no where to run and all of the monetary and time expenses. Besides, I won't need kids to take care of me in my old age -- I'll have the government.


 
GABF - Great American Beer Fest

I went to the GABF on Friday evening. It was the first time I had been in the new convention center downtown. The space for the tasting is now quite a bit larger than the old space that some of you may have been to. The tasting was inside on the second floor which meant that smokers had a much further hike to leave the room, go downstairs, and out the building in order to take a smoke. The huge space had actual restrooms for folks to use instead of the old port-a-potty city like the old set up. The lack of port-a-pottys probably significantly reduced the use of marijuana at the event - something I definitely remember smelling in that vicinity at the last one I attended two years ago.

I am unsure how many beers I tasted, but I have been estimating around 70 or so. The list of winners is posted online. Quickly adding it up, I count that there were 2016 beers entered in 67 unique beer categories. That means I tasted fewer than 4% of the offerings. Plus, I suspect that there were many beers that were being offered for tasting that were not necessarily submitted for judging. If you've never been to the GABF, well, you're a fool.

Did I mention that the place was swarming with hot women too? I'll have you know that that was an observation I made early in the evening before the beers began to catch up with me. There seemed to be a disproportionate number of tall girls there too. I kept bumping into girls that were my height. I've never dated a tall girl, but I think I might like to.

Pete's was rolling out their new Wanderlust Cream Ale. It was good: very smooth and creamy. I drank their Strawberry Blonde as well which I noted is always a refreshing beer even after having drunk two dozen beers ahead of it.

Pumphouse Brewing from Longmont, Colorado served their Firestone Double White with a rocking 7.25% alcohol. I like white beers, and this was a very good example if perhaps a tad heavy on the cardamom.

The Rockbottom Restaurants from all around the country were very well represented at the fest with each different restaurant having their own booth and displaying their own crafted beers. The Denver branch was serving their Milk Stout. It is a nearly perfect stout and was probably the second best beer that I tasted during the evening. The Des Moines Rockbottom offered a Roggenbier that I thought was particularly good. My notes said that I liked it as a good Belgian style (ala Chimay), but I see in the winner's list that it took Silver for Rye Beers (Category 9). In any case, it was a good beer packed with flavor.

Coors was there too offering a number of their beers. I decided to try their low carb offering, Aspen. It's piss but without all of the flavor.

There was a bar from California called the 21st Amendment that served up another good Belgian White. They were apparently not related to the bar of the same name that was in Washington DC. The 21st Amendment in DC was a place of drinking legends. Everyone had good things to say about that place. It was torn down just a few months before I moved into the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, so I never got a chance to try it. I believe however that Stu had the chance to get liquored up there once in the summer before school started. The old barhounds that I knew in DC - Geoffrey G. Kendall, Kevin P. Delaney, John Mayer, and Big Rodney - all had fond stories of the 21st Amendment.

New Belgium from Fort Collins, Colorado was pouring their fairly new Transatlantique Kreik beer. I thought this tasted like what a cherry Altoid would taste like. By the way, I've been waiting so very patiently for Altoids to come out with a cherry flavor. The tangerine are great, but boy could I go for some cherry. I'm going to be looking for this around town. It was my third favorite beer of the evening. (Follow the New Belgium link, choose beers, and click on the label to learn all about this dual-continent, joint venture beer.)

I spent the night searching for a good Pale Ale. I never did find one that knocked my socks off or even that I one that I would buy in the store. But like I mentioned, I only tasted a very small percentage of the beers there.

The Boston Beer Company poured my favorite beer of the evening: their Chocolate Bock. I think the beer was labeled as Boston Beer Company instead of as a Samuel Adams product, but I can't find a reference to it on their website. It was like eating a piece of dark chocolate candy. I was very impressed. Another websearch makes it look like they perhaps brew this beer for Valentine's Day. I highly recommend this if you can find it at any time of the year.

After last pour, we made our way over to the Wynkoop for some nachos and more beer. The place was frickin' packed. Mick was behind the bar, but we didn't have a chance to talk for more than about two minutes. He has lost over 60 pounds and looks skinnier than I've ever seen him. I need to catch up with him to find out how he did it. We made sure we both still had each other's phone numbers and said we'd hang out sometime. Just like we always do and then never do. Perhaps now that he's so svelte he'll be willing to go snowboarding again this winter. We'll see.


 
Leeches

Why does it not surprise me that it is New Jersey that has given us a new species of super-leech?


 
Putting the F back in Freedom

Here's the first review of Team America. It sounds as outstanding as the previews have looked. Although it sounds too like there's a lot of last minute cutting and editting going on to prepare the film for Friday's release. Hopefully, the guys will get it finished up the way they want. Song lyrics like, "Everyone has AIDS, white folks and also spades," are sure to earn these guys another Oscar nomination. I'm betting though that I won't be offended, only highly amused.

The official site is here: Team America: World Police. There is a longer, more detailed trailer there along with interviews with Trey and Matt on what it's like working with puppets instead of actors.