Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Synchronisity on 3rd Shift
I had a rare synchronicity moment this evening as I was walking into work.
I was listening to "Drive Slow" (Late Registration album, Kanye West featuring Paul Wall) on the headphones when I walked through the doorway onto the production floor. Just as I noticed that the production workers all seemed a bit down, the song suddenly slowed to a depressing crawl.
I can't show you a photograph of the sad workers I saw, but here is how the song sounded right at that moment.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Book of Daniel Cancelled by NBC
I just found out that NBC cancelled my new favorite TV show, "The Book of Daniel" after only four episodes.
Perhaps it's just the caffeine talking, but I am seriously PISSED OFF. Once again the american taliban (who claim to be Christians) have decided for themselves what I can't be allowed to watch from my own living room. When it comes to a few thousand nut jobs versus 5.8 million TV viewers, might makes right I guess. A few phone calls from the right people were enough to make NBC show themselves to be the little scared pussycats they are.
For those of you who didn't have the chance to tune in, let me tell you a little bit about a show you'll never get to see. The Book of Daniel was a comedy-drama about an Episcopal minister (played by Aidan Quinn), his family, and the goings on of a church set in upstate New York. So-called Christian conservatives found the show offensive because it depicted a priest, his family, and parishioners struggling with real-world problems that some might consider sinful. Oh, that and the lead character is able to see and talk to Jesus (who is portrayed as a nice guy who wants to help).
More thoughtful viewers recognized the show's value because of the approachable, human side of the church it showed. A church after all isn't just an institution: it's real people with real lives. Some Episcopal leaders have gone so far as to applaud the Book of Daniel for this very reason. As quoted on the Blog of Daniel:
“How cool is it that a progressive Episcopal priest has a shot at being a prime-time drama protagonist,” says the Rev. Susan Russell, senior associate. “How surprising might it be to many who tune in to find out there actually is a church where women can be bishops – clergy can be human – and there’s enough good news around to extend to everybody?”
Though only airing four episodes, the Book of Daniel managed to give even cynical me a greater appreciation for Christian values, such as "turn the other cheek."
But, so help me God, if I ever bump into one of those letter-writing, bible-thumping, network-boycotting, artistic-censoring, troublemaking rightwing conservative bastards I'm going to KICK THEM IN THE NUTS.
Thank you for listening.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Josh's Movie Reviews
Well it's Sunday night again, my least favorite night of the week. I'm cranky, and if you had my job you would be, too. I normally don't mind working nights, but the first night of the week is always tough because I have to re-adjust to my work schedule while coming off of the weekend.
Tonight to cheer myself up I decided to go online and write some bitchy Netflix reviews.
Here are some one-liners I'm particularly proud of:
"If only Ben Affleck had gone down with the ship."
"Most overrated movie of my generation!"
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
"Obviously someone's bad art school project."
"*sigh* Yet another movie where a dozen guys pull off the caper of the century. How original. *yawn* "
"Mel Brooks begins his long decline from high orbit. The 80's are truly over."
"Nicolas Cage? John Cusack? Bring in the real actors, please."
Sleepless in Seattle
"Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan: America's most unbelievable screen couple are at it again. Commence barfing. "
I know, I know, real mature, Josh.
But taking the time to tear down these crappy movies sure did make me feel better.
And isn't that what the movies are all about?
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Alone in the Dark
Saturday morning and I'm at work by myself. Waiting for a couple of co-workers who are snow delayed.
Power in the building keeps cutting out, though somehow my computer is unaffected.
listening to: Babyshambles "Down in Albion"
Friday, January 20, 2006
Wine flight, Bin36
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Jim's 32nd Birthday
I finaly got around to posting pictures from Jim's birthday party in my photo gallery.
Sorry for the delay. I've been busy.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Josh's New Mobile Blog
I am pleased to announce the launch of Josh's Portable Lunchbox, my new mobile blog.
Unlike my old mobile website, this page is scalable to make the most of the features on either your web-enabled cellphone or fancy wireless PDA.
Here's the link: http://winksite.com/iroiro/lunchbox.
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Run a 5K with me?
Today was a personal milestone for me. I comfortably ran 3 miles without stopping or feeling out of breath. I maintained a pace range of 4-6mph and a treadmill incline of 3%.
I am now ready to enter my first 5K as soon as this spring's running season.
Today's Lazy Sunday: Survivor Season 1
Today Justyna and I and our dogs are enjoying a lazy Sunday watching Survivor on DVD.
The first season of this reality show is a lot of fun. As I type this I'm watching one of the teams eat beatle larvae.
Survivor fans consider the first season to be the best. Arguably the star of the show is Richard Hatch, who early on showed good strategy through the use of alliances with other contestants. Richard was also notorious for intimidating his teammates by walking around the campsite naked.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Friday the 13th: CIS Project IT Out On the Town
Jay Lin enjoys a cigar during our department's second trip to McGee's for free beer night. Also with us were Manh Le, Mark Combs, and Matt Fox.
Justyna joined us just as the Jaeger shooters were kicking in. Me, her, and Jay went out to a couple other bars for Red Bull, whiskey, and beer. Away from the larger group, Jay really opened up to Justyna and I, admitting how much he loves all people and appreciates the culinary culture of northern China.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Tribute to Three Strangers
Today I would like to pay tribute to three individuals, all strangers, who have made a positive impression on my life.
The cashier at the Jewell at Roosevelt and Wabash
Some cashiers take a very long time to ring up your groceries, and then hand over your items packed into so many unnecessary bags that you are faced with both a cumbersome carry and woes of choking the planet in plastic.
The cashier I had around midnight last night was different, something special. With a smile on her face she deftly rang up my order with one hand and bagged my purchases with the other--fitting everything nicely into one bag!
Security Guard, Roosevelt Road CTA Station
Intent to not be too late to work, I strolled briskly into the station to catch the last scheduled Orange Line into the Loop.  With my headphones on I didn't hear the train approach overhead as I navigated the turnstyles. But my hero, the security guard, did hear it, and sensing my intent he yelled out, "run for it!" I did run, and managed to leap through the train doors as they were closing. I would have been at least an extra twenty minuts late to work if it weren't for this helpful person.
This pharmaceutical company lab researcher discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat.
I have never met this Swiss chemist in person, but the influence he had on me in my college days has continued to affect me every day of my life.
Dr. Hoffman turned 100 years old yesterday.
Friday, January 06, 2006
How the Other Half Lives
Well, it's January, and if you are like me and most other people you are probably dead broke from the holidays. OK, maybe you're not ready to file for bankruptcy just yet, but admit it: you are just a little nervous about the unopened credit card bills on your desk you've been ignoring.
I myself plan on winning the lottery soon -- just as soon as I get the nerve up to play.
But since the odds of any of you winning the jackpot are pretty low, I thought this might be a nice opportunity to lead you all in a bit of fantasy.
Those of you older than your mid-30's might remember the television show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," starring Robin Leach, the racist dickhead who spent the 1980's taking us on televised visits to the idle rich while Ronald Reagan made sure they didn't have to pay any taxes.
For today's blog entry, I've decided to share some snippets on how the other half lives.
House in a Hill
Let's begin at home. Specifically, the home of the world's richest couple, Bill and Melinda Gates.
The estate, one of the largest and most expensive in the world, does not appear to be very large at first glance. That's because much of the 66,000 sq. ft. collection of structures are built into a hillside.
Acquisition of the land and construction of the buildings took seven years and cost $113 million. More than 300 workers, including 104 electricians, were involved in construction.
Visitors to the estate are issued RFID chips that track their movements throughout the estate. Depending on visitor preferences, the thermostat and ambient music selections vary as the visitor moves from room to room.
This estate has far too many features (some cool, some ridiculous) to write about. My favorite: the master bathtub can be filled to the right temperature and depth by Gates as he drives home from work.
Click here for a live aerial view of the estate.
Click here for a room by room illustration and description of features.
Rich vs. Republican
Interestingly, William Gates, Sr. (father of Bill Gates) is against the repeal of the federal estate tax. In an article in USA Today, Gates says,
The wealthy should pay the tax because they owe a special debt. Their riches would not be possible without a strong society supporting capitalism.Apparently Bill Sr. isn't the only rich guy who feels this way. Warren Buffet and many others have been fighting Republican efforts to have the estate tax repealed.
Only about 2% of estates qualify for the tax each year, which raises $30 billion in federal revenue. Thanks to the richguy wanna-be's in congress, this tax is being reduced year-by-year until 2010, when it will actually be temporarily repealed before reverting to the rate charged in 2001. (To my wealthier readers: try to die in 2010!) So far, no law has passed permanently repealing this special tax for the rich and fabulous... thanks in part to the efforts of a bunch of rich guys.
Don't you have anything better to do with your money?
One of my favorite money-wasting rich guys is Paul Allen.
Paul Allen is well-known as a co-founder of Microsoft, owner of the Seattle Seahawks, and a majority shareholder of Dreamworks Studios. In his spare time recently he sponsored a spaceship and bulldozed a kid's summer camp. All of these things set Paul Allen apart from other rich guys.
But what really fascinates me about this guy is his yacht, the Octopus.
This $200 million mega
Amazingly, Paul Allen owns at least two other of the ten largest yachts in the world.
What if you are not as rich as Paul Allen but have more style?
I know what you are probably thinking, dear reader. You suspect that I mock Paul Allen and his ilk because I am jealous and actually want to own a yacht of my own.
Well, suppose that might be true. I would enjoy a luxury motor vessel of my own with which to cruise up and down the Riviera and show up at Cannes for the best cocktail parties. Wouldn't you?
But I don't think I would require one (or three!) of the world's largest yachts. In fact, I would be perfectly happy with this one. While procrastinating at work tonight I spent a lot of time looking at yachts, and this was the only one I could find designed with any taste whatsoever. The furniture and interior features were inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, rather than the tasteless Trump-esque garishness one finds on most luxury boats. And best of all: the deck layout was engineered with dogs in mind--perfect for taking a cruise with the pugs!
OK, daydreaming time is over. Back to work now!
I may not be rich, but at least I have the weekend coming up. Plenty of time for daydreaming.
Note: I had intended to cite the numerous sources I used for this blog post but forgot because I was too tired. I work at night, you know. This footnote serves as a general disclaimer of accuracy. Readers are encouraged to double-check my facts. Especially concerning Paul Allen, who is in fact a terrific human being and whom I would nominate as the first cvilian to be permanently sent into space. When the time comes perhaps he will turn one of his yachts into a summer camp.