Just Another Blog
Thursday, May 31, 2007

I know a good spot in the Red Feather Lakes area a bit more than an hour northwest of Fort Collins. I spent two nights there with my sister and her fiancé, Richard, this past weekend. The first night was probably the coldest I've ever experienced camping. I was eaten alive by mosquitoes the following day. Still, sleeping outside in the cold, crisp mountain air (well, 8,000 feet at least) is powerfully good for the soul self. We missed a near-perfect weekend in Denver, but the relative solitude was rejuvenating. It was nice to get away. It would have been even nicer completely alone, but I always say that and never run off solo. I guess I'm a little afraid I might not come back.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Random Jottings

Is it possible that I enjoy bourbon a little bit more every time I drink it?

The internal monologue of an interesting character is interesting.

When it comes to choosing your church, remember, now more than ever, you have a choice in picking a god who will love and forgive you for a very reasonable price.

My approval ratings can't afford to sink any lower.

She told me, "It's not about the intimacy; it's about the orgasms," and I had to agree.

"I'm not as smart as Dostoevsky; I'm not as clever as Mark Twain," and it kills me sometimes.

With increasing regularity I long for love.

Latest Craze

There seems to be a MySpace car meme that dictates that all pages will display a picture of the 'Spacer driving in their cars. Here's my contribution:


Yeah, more music too. I'm particular to everything and nothing lately, so I think I'm just going to post up the next tune that comes up at random on my 'pod: ugghhh, too mellow; try the next song instead (much hipper).

Yep, those are really the two songs that just came up; you missed the New York Dolls for dessert. For the most part, my ipod and I have been pretty in-sync lately.

Update: Ok, I fixed that second link. It should work now.

More Pics

I realize that pretty much everybody but me and New Yorker subscribers (though I suspect you are well represented in my regular readership) find web pages devoid of pictures, images, graphs, and click-throughs to be exceedingly dull. To that end, I'm going to try to use Photoshop more often.

When Supermodels Attack!

Went out to the federal prairie lands this weekend. Fun times.

List: Jobs for Jonathans

Consumer Psychologist
Corporate Communication Specialist
Marine Biologist / Conservationist
Bon Vivant
Bar Manager
Restaurant Manager


I've been keeping a little notebook with me to jot down ideas, to-do lists, clever turns of phrase, band names, scenes for SNL (or a movie), girls I want to sleep with, important formulas, reader stats, theories on effective communication, galaxies I'd like to teleport to, soliloquies, and the like. It's not quite the same as blogging but it provides a similar release, and I find myself less inclined to type stuff here.

I was reading, or trying to interpret the scratchings within, the notebook on the bus on the way home today being careful not to let any of the other kids see what I was looking at. It's funny what you sometimes don't remember writing. Actually, the last post on this blog was put up in a drunken haze; I was surprised to find the entry the next morning, but the words and voice sounded somehow familiar. Especially strange considering I had to deal with the photo; I was pretty plowed, I guess.

Anyway, the notebook had lots of randomness, but it reminded me I'd be better off writing longer sentences on a typewriter than in long hand.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
In Case You Missed It

Apparently, the following photo appeared in the Louisville papers on or about the weekend of the Derby. I can personally attest to the fact that both parties are more attractive than they appear in the chosen photo.


We're all tickled!

F is for F! Falwell

You don't get to experience that first moment of nothingness. You go from alive to dead. The lights and any sense of recognition could have faded before, but once you're dead there's certainly no further anything at all. I almost think it's too bad that when the crusaders die they don't have a moment to realize that they had it all wrong all along. Oh well, at least he's dead. Invigorating a certain populace to help bring Reagan to power could be argued to be a positive part of his legacy. But the overall rise of Christian power and Christian politics has not been good for the country. The bumper stickers used to properly proclaim, "The moral majority is neither." Good riddance.

Work Thoughts

I read this article on Google's 10 commandments and thought about how much I would like to work for a leader. Google clearly knows what they want to accomplish and the boundaries inside of which they are committed to working toward those ends. They sound like a place where only the very best is ultimately accepted but where it's ok to fail if you aim high enough.

It's good to work for a leader. At Merrill, there was an emphasis on providing the best customer service of any financial services company. Sure, it was really not much more than a job answering phones, but there was a real and committed stance toward being the best.

At Enoteca, we really thought we were the best place for wine in the city. We thought we were one of the hippest bars in town. A lot of that kind of feeling comes from the whims of the marketplace, but we tried hard to be a really cool place for aficionados.

At Ruth's Chris, there was a real belief that we were serving the best steaks in town. If the steaks could ever be challenged, the belief was we were serving the best steaks in town at that price point. There was a further challenge to try to be the best of the other Ruth's Chris houses in the region.

In my brief time at S&P, they made it clear that they believed they were providing the best information in the most relevant format for their users and subscribers. Their processes for entering and reviewing data were suggestive of the level of excellence they supported.

Even at Omni Financial, the company truly thought that they were the very best at what they did. And they may have been. The problem there was that what they were the best at was stringing people along and ripping them off.

At my current job, we talk about not being able to compete with the Schwabs and Fidelitys of the world. We talk about high-touch service, but don't actually prioritize it. The first question in any situation is, "How do they handle this sort of thing at Merrill/TiaaCref/Schwab/Invesco/Janus?" When I give feedback on marketing materials that highlights incorrect grammar or punctuation, I am told that it is not my place to worry about how these things appear to the outside world. We have terrible websites that are always changing but rarely improving. We borrow materials and manners of phrasing from other sources without checking, without attribution, and without taking the time to make the language our own.

I think a company can strive to be the best at what it does without being a market behemoth ala Google or Merrill. The company from the top down needs to preach what they're going to be the very best at or how they're going to lead in their niche. Then every successively lower rung on the ladder needs to hear and believe the same message. I think that it's a lot more rewarding for employees when they feel like they are part of a company that is the best at what they do even if their leadership is in a very narrowly defined niche.

I sure hope my next job holds greater promise in this regard than my current one. I recognize that there are still opportunities to display personal excellence with any employer, but when the corporate example is third fiddle, when no one seems to be striving for excellence, and when perfection is neither encouraged nor rewarded, it makes it hard to care.

Monday, May 14, 2007

From here:
To him [Hitchens], it’s blindingly obvious: the great religions all began at a time when we knew a tiny fraction of what we know today about the origins of Earth and human life. It’s understandable that early humans would develop stories about gods or God to salve their ignorance. But people today have no such excuse. If they continue to believe in the unbelievable, or say they do, they are morons or lunatics or liars.
I haven't been on the same kind of history of religion / inanity of religion kick that Graeme has, but that's not too say that I don't appreciate the atheistic revivalism that seems to be rolling. Part of it no doubt is that I went to 12 years of Catholic schooling with a few college humanities courses heaped on for good measure, so I've had a lot of the religious history classes and am familiar with many of the more obvious flaws at least in Western religions. I worry that reading Hitchens will be like watching Dennis Miller do stand-up in that I fear there will be countless references that just fly above my head due to my being not well read enough. I may give it a try, but I feel like I probably already have enough material queued up to get me to July 21 when I get something light and fun to read.

Saturday, May 12, 2007
Maps and Treasures

This health and beauty article cleverly references the map of Tasmania.

It's all well and good, but how do you tug on the rug when the floors are bare?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A trip to the Fillmore after work last night to pickup a ticket to see Morrissey this evening turned into a four hour long session on the bar stool at City Grille. Today I am feeling rather sluggish. I grabbed some chocolate milk and a pair of donuts when I got in this morning and washed them down with a couple of ibuprofen. So far, all I want to do is go back to bed. I don't feel terrible, just wrung out and tired. I'll definitely need to take a nap tonight before I head out for the show. I met a fellow at my sister's fiancee's Derby party on Saturday who had seen him play a couple of years back down in the Springs. He said it was a really great show and that the room was filled with good looking gay guys and Mexicans. I decided then that if I could get a ticket without paying the Ticketmaster fee that I would go. Against Me was playing last night, so the box office was open and I was able to save the ten extra bucks it would have cost to pay online. I don't think I've heard any of his solo stuff since the days of Viva Hate, so I'm not expecting to recognize many of the tunes. Still, The Smiths have been a huge part of my life's soundtrack, and I am optimistic that it will be worthwhile to get the chance to see him.

Saturday, May 05, 2007
Bad Advice

I'm always reading pick-up tips, dating tips, sex tips, stuff like that. Now I don't seem to have many opportunities to actually practice any of these things, but I find it interesting to read about how other people interact with one another. So, that's how I got to reading this MSN article with tips for guys on how to "make your move."
In terms of mouth-to-mouth affection, your first couple of dates should be relatively chaste: A peck on the cheek; a lingering smooch on the corner of the lip, a gentle close-lipped kiss on the mouth. If she’s still with you after, say, three dates, it’s safe to assume she appreciates your touch—but that doesn’t mean you should go changing your name to Feelie McGropington.
Who dates like this? I'd expect to be making out at the end of date one, and, if there's a second date, well, from that point on, anything might happen. If a girl wouldn't make out with me after a second date, I would figure that she just wasn't interested in making out with me at all. While past performance is not indicative of my future success, I have found that, generally, by the second outing my dates have been drunk enough to want to get me into bed. But I now need to get me a first date first.

Thursday, May 03, 2007
There's Still Time to Buy!

A prognosticator says every asset class in every country is swelling in a giant bubble. Everything is going to pop everywhere. But don't worry, there's still time for us all to get rich before it happens.
But here's the kicker: Even Grantham thinks you probably need to be bullish right now. The reason? Most bubbles, he notes, go through a short but dramatic "exponential phase" just before they burst. Like Japan in 1989 or the Internet in early 2000.

"My colleagues," wrote Grantham, "suggest that this global bubble has not yet had this phase and perhaps they are right. ... In which case, pessimists or conservatives will take considerably more pain."
Well, this pessimist has had enough pain. I'm all in!

News You Can Use

A wine lovers' forum has tips for passing field sobriety tests. I'll be keeping an empty can of Red Bull in my front seat from now on. The best way to be prepared for these tests is to practice them. Develope the muscle memory well enough that the heel-to-toe walking and the touching of your nose can be done at any time in any situation. You have to be ready. The legal thresholds for impaired driving are artificially and ridiculously low. MADD pays politicians to legislate their prohibitionist agenda. Then MADD pays police departments to go out and enforce the bad laws. Then MADD works with the courts to require that anyone caught up in the prosecution of the bad laws be required to pay to attend MADD seminars. They make their money off the bad laws they push. It's propaganda and racketeering.

Perky and Dumb

Katie Couric describes being the only woman in the room in a big pow-wow of her peers who are powerful and important like she is but all have penises.
As I was looking at my colleagues around the room—Charlie Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Wolf Blitzer, and Brit Hume—I couldn’t help but notice, despite how far we’ve come, that I was still the only woman there. Well, there was some female support staff near the door. But of the people at the table, the “principals” in the meeting, I was the only one wearing a skirt. Everyone was gracious, though the jocular atmosphere was palpable.
Does she mean to say that it was jock-tastic? That there were embarrassing, visible jockstrap lines?

There is no suggestion of masculinity, sports, testosterone, or anything similar implied by the word jocular. Jocular is from the Latin joculus diminutive of jocus, joke. A little joke, indeed, that the spokeswoman doesn't speak so well.

And she's head of their night news division where the choice or words is (or should be) as important as their delivery?


I am so ready to be over this snotty cold. Tomorrow just might be the day I'm all well.

I walked two miles without stopping tonight. I haven't done that since August. I was in a bunch on pain at about the half-way point, and I felt an odd, new sensation in my knee on the downhill part just beyond that half-way point, but all in all it went well. I'm pretty sore and shaky right now, but there's not too much residual pain.

The big steps haven't been nearly the cure all I hoped, but they are making a difference. I'm still making progress but needing to really concentrate to maintain my gait, posture, stride, etc. Having spent the past week sick I haven't been doing any walking outside of work, so there's still some muscle memory training to accomplish. Jib and Kepper, the husky and the black dog, stand to benefit from my need to walk while I dogsit for my brother this weekend.

I'm trying to make sure I get enough sun. "Anyone practising sun avoidance has traded the benefit of a reduced risk of skin cancer — which is easy to detect and treat and seldom fatal — for an increased risk of the scary, high-body-count cancers, such as breast, prostate and colon, that appear linked to vitamin D shortages."