Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I went to the gym last night for the first time in a long time, and I noticed something I thought was interesting. The place was almost deserted (which isn't all that interesting seeing as how i got there at 10:00pm), but every single person working out was wearing earphones except me and the one guy who worked there.

Did I miss the memo? Is this the new thing, exercise in isolation? Any time I wanted to ask a question, I had to ask at least twice, the first to get their attention, wait for them to take out one of their ear buds (never both), and then I could ask my question.

A few years ago I remember laughing at That Guy, wondering what was so special about HIS music that he couldn't bear to be without it, but now I'm the odd man out with my non-headphoned exercising.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't guess at that ever, ever, ever, ever...

There is a story in the news today about a South African... athlete... that broke the world record in the women's 800 meter run. Problem is, they're not sure she's a woman. They're doing gender testing to determine if her muscular build and deep voice are womanly characteristics.


Mostly, I just want to know one thing: who was the schmuck who had to break that news to her?

I'm sorry ma'am... sir... individual... We're not sure if you're a chick or not, so we're going to hang on to this world record for you, until we can be sure you're not actually a guy.

I thought the rule was "don't guess at that ever, ever, ever, ever, ever..."

Monday, July 20, 2009

ASU, ASU, how do I despise thee, let me count the ways

It's funny how three little letters (well, technically they're capitalized) can symbolize so much frustration and debt and angst and general malice toward an institution of higher education.

So here's the story: I got accepted to the Master's program at Arizona State in April after almost failing a portion of the GRE (seriously scored in the 5th percentile in the writing). Happy day, all is well. Then comes the juggernaut of bureaucracy that is our lovely maroon and gold hometown hero. Since receiving my acceptance letter the second week of April, I have been trying to find out which classes I need to take in order to graduate. Seems a simple enough request, right?


The graduate advisor told me to contact a list of my undergraduate professors, who should be able to help me find a suitable course of study. Great, except for the one tiny little insignificant problem that 1: they are on vacation 2: the ones that aren't on vacation are working to meet deadlines and have no time to meet with new students 3: the ones that aren't on vacation or working to meet deadlines have no money or lab space and 4: the graduate advisor either quit or got fired by the time I found out that problems 1 through 3 pretty much excluded every undergraduate professor I liked (and some I didn't).

Great. So where does that leave me? Up a creek as it were...

They finally hired a new advisor (and by "hired," I of course mean "stole from a different department") who was very helpful and gave me a piece of paper with everything I needed to know in order to find the classes I needed.

"This was just sitting on her desk, I'm not sure what it is, but it looks helpful."

My brother in law is finally graduating after almost a year and a half of needing 1 class about which ASU was being patently ridiculous. He started the "I Hate ASU" club, and as the president and founder, has granted me full card-carrying membership.

Here's to 2(+) years of ASU drudgery!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Table for One Please...

I get to travel a lot because of my job. It is almost always a lot of fun (except for the working part), and I have absolutely fallen in love with Baltimore. I am almost always by myself on these trips; even when they send someone to work with me, I always eat alone. It used to bother me to walk into a restaurant and watch the hostess crane her neck to see if there is someone else behind me or if I seriously just walked into her restaurant alone. To eat by myself. Alone. Now I just shrug and say, "it's just me..." or "Table for one please..."

I actually like eating alone now; I get a big kick out of watching other people in the restaurant. The big groups are my favorite. The conversation is usually driven by one or two Me-Monsters, with the people on the ends of the table are almost as alone as I am.

Since my wife started PA school, she's been staying with the in-laws while she works with a family practice doctor in her home town. She'll be gone all summer, meaning my solitary dining situation has followed me home. Eating by yourself at home is not nearly as interesting, because watching the entertaining family includes commercials and a laugh track.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Recipe for Family Fun

I love my in-laws, but sometimes I can't help but laugh at the things they do. All families have their quirks, mine is certainly no exception, and my in-laws are country folk and all that that implies. Last year for Christmas my new grandma gave my wife and I a cookbook with all the family recipes. Most of the recipes in the cookbook had someone's name attached so if you liked Mom's potato salad better than Grandma's, you could have the option. We were flipping through it looking for dinner ideas (the hardest part of cooking without a doubt) and we came on this recipe: Chicken Cord On Blue. It doesn't sound nearly as funny to put it in print, but my wife and I thought it was histerical. Someone figured out how to make Chicken Cordon Blue (which in my mind is the hard part), but didn't know how to spell it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

First time for everything

Funny thing happened yesterday. For the first time in my life... I threw away an empty tube of chapstick!

Probably not what you were thinking, but it's still never happened to me before. I always manage to lose them within a week of buying a new one. So I started buying them in bulk, thinking if I can't keep track of one, at least I'll have a backup! ... which means I'd lose three tubes of chapstick instead of just one.

So I got smart, and got a special "chapstick only" place. I kept it there religiously, refusing to lend it out, not even to my wife. And it worked! ... except for when I needed chapstick at school, or at work, or in any other room of the house besides the bedroom... but it worked!

Now I just have to figure out how to have a "chapstick only" place AND manage to have it when I need it, but so far those are mutually exclusive situations.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Customers schmustomers

Customer Service amuses me. In no other situation is such rude and vehement complaining so richly rewarded. It seems to me that a better business model would be "here is our company's token of appreciation for not complaining..." CS is all about damage control: keep as many customers as happy as possible so they will keep giving our company money.

What I absolutely hate are companies that charge ridiculous fees and use nonsense to try and justify it, banking on the fact that most people either won't know or won't work up the ire to do anything about it. And I absolutely love it when those same companies are eating crow because their idiot customers aren't as idiotic as they thought. It absolutely makes no sense to me that in this economy, companies would do anything that would alienate potential customers.

Case in point: US Airways (or Err-ways as I like to call them) recently recanted its policy of charging for sodas and coffee on domestic flights. It seems enough people just wouldn't put up with being nickel-and-dimed when they already paid several hundred dollars for the airfare in the first place.

The source of today's diatribe: Verizon Wireless. The nation's self-proclaimed largest provider of wireless phone service has recently started charging an extra $30 a month for people to use a smart phone. Worse, they are using absolute mullarky to justify this charge. I wanted a smart phone, but I could never justify increasing my cell phone bill by almost 50% to buy a smart phone, so I've been asking questions. "Well it costs a lot for us to implement and maintain our 3G network, it's the largest in the country, you know" said one walking acne boil. That's fine, how about I just not use the dial-in network and use the Wi-Fi at my home and school, that way I don't have to use your super-expensive (although expansive) network. "Nope, doesn't work like that. If you want this phone, you have to have this data package. That's our policy."

That's your policy? A $30 a month charge for a phone that runs Windows Mobile? No matter how I try and reason with these people, nothing changes, no one listens. People are losing their jobs, losing their houses, cutting back in any way they can... I just hope they don't plan on selling a lot of these. Maybe then they might actually listen to their customers who present a valid argument and work something out.

Or they can wait a couple of months, realize that people are leaving in droves, and try and unring the bell.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Studying... and not

I decided (or had help deciding, I'm not sure which) to study to take the MCAT... partly for fun , and mostly to see what kind of score I can get. I realize how odd that sounds, rarely are the words "MCAT" and "fun" used in the same sentence.

So now that I've decided to start studying for the MCAT, I've come up with lots and lots of things to do instead of study! The kitchen needs cleaned! What about the bathroom?! There's lots to do on the internet! Hey look, something shiny!! It's not even a conscious decision where I say "I don't want to study, what else can I do instead?" ... it's more like I suddenly realize in the middle of the afternoon, hey, I had all this time I could have studied, and instead I looked at blogs all afternoon!

My latest diversion has been the Dune series by Frank Herbert. The first one was awesome, the second was a little weirder, and by the sixth book, they're just downright kooky. But since when has that been an excuse to stop reading, just because you have about a thousand other things you could be doing with your Saturday afternoon!?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Favorite Bad Habits

I think I must admit with more than a little chagrin that the hypocrite this time is me.

I hate New Year's resolutions. Every year I resolve, and by the second week of January, nothing has changed. The second week of June comes and goes with no effect. I'm still the same skinny/overweight, sloppy, non-Mother-calling bozo I was on December 31st.

So this year, I have made my resolutions just nebulous enough that I will have to try really hard not to meet my goals, because apparently that's the best I could come up with to participate with the mores and still feel good about myself.