Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blagojevich Announces Senate Replacement

According to the New York Times, (criminal) Illinois governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced at a 3pm (eastern time) press conference that former state attorney general Roland Burris will be filling the Senate seat vacated by president-elect Obama.

The article goes on to explain that:
Senate leaders had indicated they would not accept anyone whom the beleaguered Mr. Blagojevich had appointed.
So don't get too comfortable just yet Mr. Burris, because with the way things are now, it looks like you'll never see a day in the life of a U.S. Senator. The issues to be had are not directed towards Mr. Burris, but Governor Blagoevich. Any choice from a corrupt politician such as he is not something to hold in high regard.

Lt. Governor Pat Quinn will be holding a press conference regarding the appointment at 4pm (eastern).

Read the full NYT article here.

Monday, December 29, 2008

(Gay) False Advertising...Or Is It?

"Please do not climb on me. I am a big heavy bear, not a toy :)"

How Can I Help You If You Can't Even Help Yourself?

Anyone working in a retail environment is subjected to the behest of customers. They ask for assistance, we provide. They complain, we apologize. They offer thanks, we shit ourselves in delight. There are, however, circumstances where we can provide no more, because to do so would be utterly absurd. If you've read this far, you should be made fully aware that this post is only concerned with two specific incidences that occurred at [my] bookstore in the past few days.

Instance #1: A customer approaches. The mood is tense. The ambient sound of keys clicking stops. Time to work. "Can I help you?" "Hi...yeah...I'd like to order a book. I don't know who the author is, and I think the title is something like [insert a random assortment of words]." [Pause]. You can hear a pin drop somewhere in the carpeted store. Internal monologue: "Um...what? How am I suppose to order you a book when you don't even know who the author -or- what the title is? Insert a moment of hope that you might be able to connect with the person's mind via Shining and ascertain what it is that the customer is looking for. You do a search on the computer, something the customer should have done before leaving home. No results. What now? "I'm sorry, but I don't seem to be finding any books that might be what you're looking for." "Okay, well thanks for trying...I guess I'll have to go home and look on the piece of paper I wrote it on." Internal (shout) monologue: "What?!?! You had it written down, and you didn't think to bring it with you? That's absurd." [You die a little inside]. The end.

Instance #2: There is a need. Customers are calling (not literally). One must respond to these calls in times of need. Who is to do it? The idler. A customer is asking about books on rafting. Simple. It's five feet away. "We have a water sports section right over here..." "I'm looking for more of a fictional rafting book". Okay. New goal set. Must find a novel centered around 'rafting'. [Drawing blank]. "Um...let me check and see if anything might come up under that...(searching...first hit comes back)...you could read 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' ". You both engage in an easy-going laugh. You're beginning to think this search is hopeless. Too broad. The customer needs to do its own research on this matter. "Well, can you go to 'amazon' and search the criteria there?" "I suppose so..." [37 seconds pass] There are now 377 titles to search through. The customer seems intent on checking each and everyone one of these entries; this includes reading synopses, editorial reviews, and prices. (Note: just because Amazon lists it, does not mean, in any way, that [we] have it.) Lunchtime was six minutes ago. The customer insists on using your computer to find what it wants. Inner monologue: "Why did you not do this at home? Oh, you don't have Internet? Have you heard of the library? We have one downstairs, in fact. Why are you depriving other customers of service? Why did I have to be the one to help you? You know what I haven't had in a while? Big League Chew. [You die a little inside]. The end. (And for lunch you had a cheeseburger and fries that was not at all worth the $9.80 you paid for it; and it gave you gas the rest of the day).

Like I said: how can I help you if you can't even help yourself? Think about it, take two of these, and call me in the morning.

What Am I Reading?

I'm not sure why I always feel compelled to state what I am reading. If you look at the photo, it is quite obvious that I am reading "Shadow Country" by Peter Matthiessen. Okay, you may remember me attacking this book here, but I amended my previous statements regarding the validity of this novel winning the 2008 National Book Award for fiction. Let's not dwell in the past.

I have a tendency of finishing rather long books, only to be relieved for a day or two before I begin reading yet another long book. Shadow Country is 892 pages (by my count, but let's remember that I am terrible at math; however, I do know that 1/2 of 1/5 does not equal 1/4; esoteric) and is technically three separate, but connected, books. Being that I am only 75 pages or so into the book, I can't tell you much except that the story telling is amazing.

Matthiessen has a gift for giving [seemingly] accurate voices to his characters. In Book I, there are testimonials from several different characters, many of whom I am having difficulty keeping track of, about their lives in the Everglades and Mr. Watson (who is killed at the beginning of the actual story). If you think I just spoiled the plot for you, think again. When these books were originally published individually in the 1990s, the first book was titled, "Killing Mr. Watson". There are no spoilers here.

Anyone with a penchant for early 1900s southern story telling (written in the vernacular as well) will enjoy this book. And if it doesn't sound interesting to you, you should read it anyways.

Movie Review

Simply "wow". This movie was a complete and utter emotional roller coaster from start to finish. The story, adapted from the short story (of the same name) by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is that of a boy who is born as an old man (in baby form) that grows younger as others (naturally) grow older.

Benjamin's mother dies after giving birth to him, and his entrepreneur father thinks of him as hideous. This results in Benjamin being nearly thrown into a river, but after a being chased by a police officer, Mr. Button decides to just abandon his son on the steps of a stranger's home. From there, the story takes off in every possible direction that it can. Benjamin learns to walk, grows [white] hair, works on a boat, falls in love, and more, all while growing younger and younger.

TCCoBB reminds us all what it is to be human and how we grow as individuals through time. Love, forgiveness, apathy, heartbreak, anger, etc., are all explored in eloquent detail. Bring some tissue; it's a tear jerker.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Merits of Mark Twain

There's an excellent essay ["The Privilege of the Grave"] in the current issue of The New Yorker that was written by Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens; 1835 - 1910) in 1905. Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to read the full (2 page) essay online, but I would recommend that you go out and purchase the magazine anyways. It's the Winter Fiction issue, and it includes short fiction from Roberto Bolano, Colson Whitehead, Donald Antrim, and Alice Munro.

Aside from all that literary greatness, the most deserving of praise is Twain's essay. It's subject matter deals with the deprivation of actual free speech. His argument is that man never actually has a 'full' right to speech, given that there are external factors that weigh in on his choice of speaking an opinion or thought. Political parties, organizations, groups of friends and family, these are all (ostensible) judgment factors that we let prevent us from voicing a true opinion. It's a 'popular opinion' mentality.
"A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinion to our neighbor's pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound."
Just look at all the politics that played out the past two years in this country. Obama versus McCain. I'm almost positive that President-elect Obama truly believes that gay Americans should have the right to marry, and have equal rights as their hetero counterparts. However, it would be political suicide, out of step with "popular opinion", and an extreme break from democratic party lines, to say, "yes, I think gay marriage is right and lawful." This is exactly what Twain spoke about 103 years ago.

This post's title implies what I am trying to say here. "The Merits of..." Any written work that holds true through the tests of time and progress are deserving of literary merit. Twain wrote something 103 years ago that holds true to this day. Well done Mr. Twain...well done.

The Power of Human Kindness

I was at Vivace (Brix) last night, and the woman standing in front of me in line turned around and offered to purchase by coffee. It is so rare these days to hear about these random acts of kindness, let alone experience them first hand. I was overwhelmed with joy, and I even tried to have her let me tip, but she covered that as well. I think I said "thank you" nearly ten times before we parted ways, never to see each other ever again. Well, at least I will not know if I do.

I think it's time for me to offer the same kindness to the person standing behind me in line.

Also, to make the entire situation perfect, the barista made my cappuccino with the foam in the shape of a heart. Perfect.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mother Nature Prevails

I guess Hummers weren't so powerful afterall.
Check it out here.

Best Ringtone Overheard Today

"Peanut Butter Jelly Time...Peanut Butter Jelly Time...Peanut Butter Jelly Time..."

James Patterson Needs To Be Stopped

At work (and everywhere else, for that matter), I'm an outspoken critic of everything James Patterson does. If he were to cure cancer tomorrow, I would say, "okay, who really cured cancer -and- why is James Patterson's name all over it?" Not that I've ever read any of his books -- because I actually like to read things that stimulate my brain, not numb it -- but he writes pure crap. It's the same fucking story over and over again, with a new title and new character names and places. Why do people keep buying his books? Well, in my opinion, it has mass appeal, and the average consumer that falls into this "mass" group is an idiot with no regard for actual literary accomplishment.

The man publishes at least five books a year! How can there be any creativity whatsoever in those books, when he is spitting them out at such an obscene rate? [Rhetorical]. Well, there is an actual answer to that question: he gets his named printed in large print on the cover of the books, but he didn't actually write the whole thing, if at all. (To the best of my knowledge) he provides outlines for ghostwriters to produce more and more literary garbage. This year (2008) a book was released by Hachette, "Against Medical Advice" by (most noticeably) James Patterson and Hal Friedman. J.P. provided guidance for writing this biography, but his name is clearly marked on the book; in fact, it's the first name you see on the book when you look at it.

James Patterson...STOP!

And you know that he is in the book business for the sake of actually producing good books, and not just pieces of crap that will sell sell sell and provide him with a gargantuan paycheck. "You know I've always loved that word, gargantuan. I so hardly ever get a chance to use it in a sentence." I once saw a video interview with J.P. at his multi-million dollar home (in Palm Beach, Florida. I wanted to spit at the television, or whatever electronic device that was projecting the video. The interviewer showed the viewers his "office" where he had nearly 15-20 stacks of manuscripts that he was finishing up. There is no author in the world that can be simultaneously working on 15-20 manuscripts and NOT have them be pure crap.

James Patterson...STOP!

He has more books coming out in 2009 (release dates tentative):

"Run for Your Life" - February 2nd
"MAX" - March 16th
"8th Confession" - April 27th
"Watch the Skies" - August 10th
"The Murder of King Tut" - September 10th
"Cross Fire" - November 17th

James Patterson...STOP!

Every time James Patterson sells a book, a kitten dies. Think about that.

Hachette's New Logo

Hachette Book Group has a new logo. Breaking news, I know. This is what it looks like on the box:

Just for some quick knowledge, Hachette is the parent company (if I'm using the term correctly) for Little, Brown, and Company, and Chronicle Books. There are more imprints under Hachette, but those two are the ones I like the most. [However, Chronicle claims to be an independent publisher, so they may not be owned by Hachette afterall. All I know is that the Chronicle products come in the Hachette Book Group boxes]. Chronicle Books puts out all the quirky gift books that you find at Urban Outfitters, or on gift tables at other urban (book)/stores. My favorite Chronicle product: "Porn for Women Postcard Book". They're postcards of really attractive men doing amazing things like cooking, cleaning, and being romantic. I love it.

Paul Smith

My utterly fabulous sister, Erica, was in London for business back in October; she was kind enough to pick me out the perfect Christmas gift: a Paul Smith scarf from Harrods.

Somehow I was not able to find the exact scarf on the online store, but this is as close to what it looks like as I could find. I've received several compliments today, from coworkers and customers alike. Kudos to my sister, Erica.

Book Review

[Please note that whatever claims to fact I might make in this review, I am merely citing the book, which is fiction. So there is no need to correct any 'factual errors' I might produce, because this is all fiction with the occasional truth. Thank you for your understanding.]

Over the holiday weekend (that is, for me, Wednesday and Thursday), I finished the book I mentioned previously, "The World As I Found It", by Bruce Duffy. The book is a novelization of the lives of three great men that were the core members of the analytic philosophy movement: Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. I'm obsessed with the latter.

The story is broken into four books: The Foreworld, The World As I Found It, The World Revisited, and The World After.

In The Foreworld, the story begins with Wittgenstein as a young student at Cambridge University, where he gains the attention of the then famous mathematician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell. Through their personal and philosophical developments, the two geniuses change roles; Wittgenstein becomes the 'teacher' and Russell becomes the 'student'. Duffy is clear to note that this is purely a fictional account of their lives, but he used general information to lay its foundations. However, the characters drawn of these men are extremely sensational. Wittgenstein is depicted, (probably) very accurately so, as a madman, but a genius one at that. Russell would get 'calls' at 3 in the morning and let Wittgenstein come over to go on a philosophical purge of everything running through his insatiable mind. As Wittgenstein's ideas begin to triumph over Russell's, Russell engages in redacting or re-questioning his own philosophy. Much, if not all, of book I is devoted to the development of these complex relationships between men of dignity.

In The World As I Found it, the story shifts to how their lives (dramatically) change due to the onset of World War I. Relations between Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein had strained, and so they all went their separate ways. Moore remained in a professorship at Cambridge, Russell traveled to America to be a guest lecturer at Harvard, and Wittgenstein traveled to Norway to live a simple life. At the outbreak of the war, Wittgenstein felt it was his duty to enlist in the Austrian army to fight, and fight he did. He was a sergeant, and had a miserable life during that time. However, it was during the war that he wrote his famous treatise on logic and philosophy: the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The publication of which, after the war, led Wittgenstein to believe that he solved all the problems of philosophy, and he "retired" from university level academics, and went on to be a kindergarten teacher; he gained a reputation for disciplining his students by whacking them with a cane (or, outright hitting them in the face).
The way [he] figured he solved all the problems of philosophy were as such: There are no problems of philosophical importance. The only problem is that language is limited, and hence, "the limits of my language mean the limits of my world". And, "whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent". That is to say, the question of ethics and metaphysics is nonsense, because there is no possible way (logically speaking) to give an accurate (valid) account of those subjects. Of course, there is much more to it than that, but if you'd like to try and figure out his philosophy, I encourage you to do so. (Note: Wittgenstein told Russell and Moore that they would never understand his Tractatus).

In The World Revisited, Wittgenstein has returned from the war, and has published the Tractatus. Many years have passed since its publication, and he has drastically changed his former stance on philosophy. This is the period that most historians refer to as the "later Wittgenstein". He wants to return to university academics, but he does not have a doctorate, and cannot, therefore, teach. Russell and Moore implore him to submit the Tractatus as his thesis, and they both volunteer to administer the oral defense portion of his thesis. There is so much more happening in this section; Russell and his third wife are running a school off in rural Britain, and Russell has sexual needs that are quite insatiable. In his lifetime, Russell had several love affairs, and many wives. Moore is married and very old and dreary. That's about as simple as one can be when describing this part of the story. The climax comes during Wittgenstein's oral examination of his thesis. This leads into the fourth book.

In The World After, the story winds down rather quickly (since there are only about 50 pages left in the book at that point), and mere ties up some loose ends with regards to the end of Wittgenstein's life. His best friend (and perhaps lover) joined the Nazi army; his sisters were forced to flee Austria due to their Jewish lineage; and Wittgenstein gets prostate cancer that ultimately brings about his death, and the loss of a great philosopher of the twentieth century.

If you're lucky enough to find a copy of this book at a used bookstore, read it. It's a notable book of historical fiction about three of philosophy's greatest contributors. Well, G.E. Moore was not that great, but he did have significant influence in the history of philosophy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

DQ Tycoon (Really?)

I found this in the New York Times Business Section:

I couldn't believe this. Really? Do we need a video game that "is a time-management game, one of a genre of anxiety-inducing games requiring players to race against the clock to complete mundane tasks -- in this case , preparing Peanut-Buster Parfaits, taking orders, restocking the refrigerator, and dipping cones".

The game is marketed toward the stay-at-home moms who, after putting the kids to bed, can get a virtual experience of running a restaurant franchise. The article points out that "women, a little bit more than men, are cravers of treats..."

The game has already had some poor reviews from gamers who claim that their (virtual) employees are too slow and inefficient. "Some of the early players of DQ Tycoon say they have the kind of frustrations they imagine real Dairy Queen managers face: workers are not as speedy as managers would like."

This is clearly a game that tests your intellect, wits, and intuition. Sign me up! You can purchase it at BigFishGames.com for $19.99.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Capitol Hill is Terrible

The #14 nearly got stuck on Pine between Harvard and Boylston. (I think) the #10 was behind it, along with a shitload of cars.

Monday, December 22, 2008

ST 522 On A Snow (Mon)Day

I'm sitting on the Sound Transit 522 bus, and I feel like a sardine in a tin. After waiting about 45 minutes for the bus to show up, we ventured up Bothell Way only to begin cramming more and more people inside. At our last stop before downtown (Lake City Way and 125th), we had to turn away about 12-15 people because we simply could not fit anymore people inside this potential death trap.

Here's hoping we make it downtown safely. (fingers crossed).

Snow Favors Not the Retail Workers

There has to be at least 6-8 inches of snow on the ground at my work. People are getting stuck in snow all around western Washington. It's Monday, and many employers are staying closed for the day. Government agencies are, I'm quite sure, closed for the day. There is no reason for anyone to be out and about in this kind of extreme winter weather. But retail businesses are open, despite all of this. Those of us who work in retail are expected to tough it out and get to work so we can serve all of the people who had the benefit of being released from their obligation to come into work today. Bookstores, coffee shops, shopping centers, and the like are all open (with some extreme exceptions here and there, and I offer none for supporting my argument) so we can not only serve you lucky bastards, but also, because (in this economy) we can't afford to close. We close for the day, we lose all the money we could potentially earn. Government agencies can still pay their employees if they close for the day because they are not depending on bringing in money today. So, let it be known that I do understand the various reasons why we, as a retail store, are still open despite all the weather warnings and conditions.

Cooking 103

Well, to be fair, Eric and Kim did most of the labor. I tried to help where I could, when I could. I mixed the flour, sugar, and baking (powder). I put the dough in the refrigerator, while at the same time forgetting to wrap it in wax paper. Oops! I also rolled out the dough using a bottle of Bacardi, because we were without a rolling pin. Hey, you work with what you've got, right? And I was the designated 'photographer' (self-designated, of course).

The recipe for deliciousness.

I mixed all that together! Yep. I'm a big boy!

Eggs! Thank you Eric's hand.

Ahhh, milk.

Mix mix mix!

They are suppose to be Space Needle cookies. Some just turned out (wrong) though.

The leftover dough...they were "normal" cookies.

And the cookies are finished!!! Now where is the frosting? Oh...crap.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Kick Ass At Monopoly...And Then I Don't

What better way to spend a night during the aptly named "snow-pocalypse" than making sugar cookies and playing monopoly with friends.

Here is the new and flashy "Millennium Edition" Monopoly.

I ran out of money rather quickly this time. Fiscal responsibility, I lack.

My few properties just over half way through the game.

And with all of my cash, two houses, and 6 mortgaged properties gone, I retire from the game.

A Robot That Can Solve Rubik's Cube!

It's a robot that solves Rubik's cubes! Eric, my (best friend) Kim's boyfriend, made it. Well, he put it together following instructions and items from a kit, but still, it's a fucking robot that solves Rubik's cubes!
Here it is scanning all sides of the cube, determining the layout of the colored squares.

Here it is rotating it so it can scan the other sides.

Still scanning...

And now the power of math and technology come together to amaze the shit out of me.

"Game over"...or so it says when it's finished.

[Note: it's not perfect. Four of the six sides were solved (completely) 2 out of 2 times.

Of course, the robot absolutely fucked up on this one. So disappointing.

Book Review

My (now old) review is of Jeffrey Toobin's "The Nine : Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court". The paperback edition was released in September this year, and it has seen a significant rise in sales as of the past few weeks.

I've been shelving this title in the Law section for many months, and I finally found the fortitude to read it. Non-fiction books usually take me longer than fiction ones because of their depth and high levels of knowledge retention. However, Toobin's writing is very fluid and does not ramble on for several pages, as some (or many) books do.

Aside from all the minor details of my reading preferences, I enjoyed the book for the significant amount of information it laid upon me. I didn't know that the justices hardly ever spoke to each other; that 7 of the 9 justices have been appointed by Republican presidents; that Sandra Day O'Connor made her female law clerks do salsa dancing in the morning before work; that Justice David Souter nearly resigned over the Bush v. Gore debacle; that Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are hardcore "constitutional literalists" (meaning that they interpret every law with what the founding fathers intended at that time in history; for them, the law does not change with time). There are many other things I learned from it, but it would be unfair of me to mention them here. Also, as with all non-fiction/history books that I read, I tend to be overwhelmed with new knowledge, and therefore, I easily forget a good portion of what I read. It happens. Get over it.

On the (somewhat) plus side, there are now 3 justices that are likely to retire during the incoming administration's tenure (i.e., President-elect Obama would have the opportunity to appoint 3 new justices to the bench during a democrat controlled congressional period). The reason why I say it is "somewhat" on the plus side is because the presumed outgoing justices would be among the "liberal" group of U.S. supreme court justices. That is to say, it would not tip the court in a liberal favor (by much).

Winter Beard

Through a combination of apathy and wanting to keep my face warm, I've decided to keep my beard for the time being. Any thoughts?

[Note: I am fully aware that my bathroom mirror, as well as the rest of it, needs to be cleaned].

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pagliacci Exposed

No, I'm not exposing the clown (or the opera). In fact, I'm not really exposing much of anything, but merely remarking upon the absurd expectations that pizza customers expect from a local business.

If you don't already know, I worked for Pagliacci Pizza from August until late November of this year. I didn't work at the pizzerias or delivery kitchens (there are 3 pizzerias and 15 delivery kitchens), but rather, I worked at their centralized call center on Pike and Summit (on Capitol Hill). My job involved answering incoming phone calls to enter people's pizza orders.

"Thank you for calling Pagliacci. Can I start with your phone number?" I've said that so many times that I literally just self-induced a flash-headache. The job was mundane, uneventful, and not conducive to actually ever mingling with ones coworkers. I still don't fully understand how people were able to simultaneously converse with each other at the call center -and- take phone calls from customers. Unless, that is, they were not taking calls on a consistent basis, which I was doing.

Regardless of all that, what caused me the most distress was the kind of precedent "ass-kissing" that was (in essence) company policy. I can understand trying to garner repeat business, but some of the expectations these customers had were beyond ridiculous. Maybe I'm just jaded from the time I've spent in a customer service position, or maybe not. Either way, people demand way too much for something so simple. It's fucking pizza!

People wanted to be strictly referred to as "Mr. or Mrs. XXX". If you didn't address them as such, they would scoff at, or correct you.

People were noted as being perpetual "clock watchers". That means that if they order their food at 5:02, and you quote them a 35 minute delivery time, if their food wasn't there by 5:37, they would be on the phone to you to complain by 5:38.

A customer once took up nearly 10 minutes of my time (on a night where we had roughly 80+ people waiting on the phone to place orders) to inquire, complain, order, repeat. As we came to concluding part of the transaction, [payment], he threw up his hands (I'm sure of it) in a fit and exclaimed, "forget it, I'm goin' ta dominos" (click). Thank you for wasting my time and killing off even more of the soul I don't believe exists (on a universal, not individual, spectrum).

Maybe I should write a book about all these idiotic encounters...but why waste my time? [rhetorical].

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Onitsuka Tigers

I love this brand of shoes...and I want these.

Oh...Icelandic Boys

Talking about Sigur Ros has made me just "gush" with crazy fandom. That, and they are an extremely attractive group of guys. Don't believe me? You be the judge. Either way, I don't care, I'm going to keep on liking them.

New Bloc Party Album

Not having internet for, months now, has put me on a backtrack in terms of new things that come out. Books, CDs, Movies: they are all "new" to me when I hear about them. One of my more recent discoveries has been the release of Bloc Party's new album, Intimacy.

I rather enjoy the album cover. But that is neither here nor there.

I've since downloaded three songs from iTunes off the album: "Signs", "Biko", and "Flux". I haven't given the rest of the album much of a listen because I was too flustered with "Signs". If you like Sigur Ros, you will enjoy "Signs". The song carries with it, throughout, the melodic chiming that soothes (at least) my soul. It can drive me to tears of joy and despair. There are whole philosophies based around music, so I need not get too involved in explaining it here, but certain elements of music build upon preconditions. That is to say that this song can remind me of another song that may remind me of an event or a person. All music, for me, is tied to some foundational support. Whenever I hear "Flux" I am always reminded a particular individual. That is the case for many songs and bands that I listen to at any given time. Music is very much biographical, but its power can be transformed into many autobiographies. (What was for the artist(s) may or may not be what is for those of us who listen).

Most of what I have just said is me "shooting from the hip". Thoughts tend to flow when they are allowed to do so in a particular fashion.

Here is the (supposed) "official video" of their song, "Flux":

And because I love Sigur Ros, here is the video for their song, Glosoli:

J*** In My Pants

Not for the kiddies:

And just for good measure:

The Worst Movie Ever Made

That's right. I so went there. Put me on record for claiming that Leprechaun 4 : In Space is the worst movie ever made. Think about the money that went into making this utter piece of cinematic crap. Don't get me wrong, there are scenes in the movie that are so horrific (not in an actual "horror" sense) that one cannot help but reference them during the most mundane of times.

What's that you say? You haven't seen Leprechaun 4 : In Space? You didn't even know that they made four Leprechaun movies? Well, guess what...they did! Yep. Not only did they make this heap of garbage, but they made TWO MORE! Yes, you heard me correctly. This film franchise managed to earn enough revenue to have men (and/or women) sit down and say things like: "we can't let a good thing die!", "we're making cinematic history here, we can't stop with just four underrated films", etc.

Here is the list of Leprechaun movies:

1. Leprechaun
2. Leprechaun II
3. Leprechaun III
4. Leprechaun IV : In Space
5. Leprechaun in the Hood
6. Leprechaun : Back 2 tha Hood

Yes! They made six movies out of a fucking little leprechaun. He's not even scary! Besides, they revealed his weakness in the first film: he has to shine shoes when presented with the opportunity. He's a fucking shoe shiner!

No one should have to suffer through this terrible movie. In fact, I didn't even get through the whole thing myself. I had to fast forward through it until it got to the entertaining, albeit cheesy, moments. To give you some satisfaction of knowing what happens in the movie, whilst at the same time preventing you from having to actually watch it, here are some of the "classic" moments from Leprechaun 4 : In Space:

-A soldier pees on the ashes of the Leprechaun. The leprechaun "sneaks" into the soldier's body through his pee stream, and the leprechaun (essentially) emerges whole back out of the soldier's urethra. Gross.

-A doctor, turned maniacal, transforms himself from "Dr. Mittenhand" into "Dr. Mitten...SPIDER". It was a very intense moment. I think I teared up a bit. (Spoiler: he turns into a fucking spider!)

-The leprechaun (for some reason) expands and get bigger and bigger, and then he gets blown out of the airlock (remember, we're in space). He then explodes. As the [few] remaining survivors watch his remains float through space, we (the by-now-disappointed audience) get to see the leprechauns single hand float around as it lowers all its fingers but the middle one. Yes! The leprechaun gave us the fucking bird! I love it.

The plots only get more absurd. The leprechaun turns into a pothead in the last two movies. It was only a matter of time. He always had such bad influences. When will he ever learn? Furthermore, when will people ever learn to leave leprechaun's gold alone? You people are responsible for the making of these movies. Stop touching the goddamn gold!

And I leave you with the trailer to Leprechaun : Back 2 tha Hood. Enjoy!

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's A...Shoe?

Little Britain

Thanks for introducing me to this, El.

What Am I Reading?

I have been on somewhat of a non-fiction reading binge as of late, so the latest book in my reading queue is "American Lion" by Jon Meacham (Random House).

I'm nearly a quarter of the way through it, and it is very interesting thus far. Did you know that after his inauguration he traveled over to the White House where a "party" ensued. That is to say that the giant mob of people trashed the White House all while Jackson's staff created a barricade around him for his safety.

Duels, sexual scandals (Margaret Eaton was apparently a whore), Indian purging, nullification, Union (in)stability, and more await the reader of this already bestselling book.

You should buy it from your local independent bookstore and read it.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It snowed! In Seattle!

From my one and only apartment window.

From the same window...slightly to the right.

The morning after.

The park next to my apartment building.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cooking 102

Here is part 2 of the exciting new series "cooking with Jon". Okay, well, it's nothing too fancy. But here are pictures of me making a cake for some coworkers and myself. It's funfetti cake mix with cream cheese frosting. Mmm....mmm.

"Oh yeah, whip the shit out of that stuff Jon!"

"So far so good"


What will I cook or bake next? Even I don't know that! Stay tuned.

The Cutest and Most Time Appropriate Item of the Day

View more here.

Long Wednesday -And- Lazy Thursday

Well, Tuesday night ended on a rough note for me, but I was determined to fix that early on Wednesday morning. I got up at 7:30, after getting a mere 4-5 hours of sleep. Surprisingly, I was well rested and energetic throughout the rest of the day. I went out and got a New York Times, some facial cleanser (I've had none for quite some time now), and the "remedy". After I took care of my one and only determinate course of action for the day, I returned home to shower and get dressed.

I was in the mood for eggs benedict at Broadway Grill, so I decided that I would walk over there. I checked my phone for friends that might be able to share breakfast with me, but alas, they were all working or far from my location. I did call my friend Mike, being that he lives a few blocks from Broadway Grill, but he was en route to Burien to take his dad to the airport.

So I headed over to BG, but they were not yet open. It was 10:34am by my watch, and they, I had just come to find out, opened at 11am. So I decided to switch my plans around a bit. I walked over to the new Vivace location at the end of Broadway, get a coffee, and read my New York Times. I'm trying to be more proactive about keeping up with what's going on in the world, hence why I devoted much of my day to reading the paper. So, I got a 12oz nonfat cappuccino, sat and read for about 45 minutes, then went back to BG. It was just me and an elderly couple in the entire restaurant. I guess it was Wednesday morning afterall. I ordered my eggs benedict and a glass of orange juice. The meal was delicious, but I ended up paying $21.00 (including tip) at the end of it all. BG, your prices disappoint me.

Then I decided that I wanted to go visit a former colleague, Michael Coy, at the Ravenna Third Place Books location on 65th and 20th. I walked down to the bus tunnel off of Pine Street, all the while having a phone conversation with my sister, Kristin. I took the bus over to 65th and 15th, and walked the five blocks east to the bookstore. I caught Michael as he was walking out the door. We talked for a few moments; I told him I quit Pagliacci, and he (essentially) congratulated me for finally doing so. He went his way, and I decided to just hang out for a little bit longer. I finally decided to purchase "American Lion" by Jon Meacham. I've read about 50 pages or so thus far, and it is quite good.

Whence leaving the bookstore, I walked over to Greenlake, near my friend Jessica's apartment, and stopped in at Revolutions (Coffee). The cappuccino I ordered there was not great by most standards, but I wasn't in a caring mood at that point. It is a very relaxing and quiet place to just sit and read and get caffeinated. I enjoyed the artwork on the walls as well. Here is a piece that I really would like to have, but I don't have a spare $1,800.

Then my friend Mike, from earlier in the day, contacted me to see if I would like to get dinner (specifically a burrito and a beer) and then work on fixing my iBook. I went out and caught the next bus, but not before noticing the new parking meters at (or near) Greenlake, such as the one pictured below:

Kind of trendy, eh? Anyways, I got downtown soon enough, then walked home to use the bathroom (I had been holding it in for a while, and the cold weather was not helping). I met up with Mike at the Cha Cha lounge on Pike Street. We had a burrito and beer, as promised. (Although, he had a quesadilla, but...semantics). Then he unfortunately had something come up and had to take off after our meal. We parted ways for the evening, and I phoned a friend of mine, El, who then met up with me, and we hung out for a while, before I went home and fell fast asleep.

Thursday was uneventful. I slept in until around 2pm, and then read a little, and then slept some more. It was not a good use of my time (in the morning/afternoon).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

When You Cross Hamlet with Facebook

You get comic genius. Thank you McSweeney's!

Read it here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Daily Dose of Mind Fuck

From Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus":
4.002 Man possesses the ability to construct languages capable of expressing every sense, without having any idea how each word has meaning or what its meaning is—just as people speak without knowing how the individual sounds are produced. Everyday language is a part of the human organism and is no less complicated than it. It is not humanly possible to gather immediately from it what the logic of language is. Language disguises thought. So much so, that from the outward form of the clothing it is impossible to infer the form of the thought beneath it, because the outward form of the clothing is not designed to reveal the form of the body, but for entirely different purposes. The tacit conventions on which the understanding of everyday language depends are enormously complicated.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

McSweeney's Lists!

Enjoy them here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cooking 101

Let it be known that I don't know how to cook (much of anything, if at all). I'll give you a moment to come to grips with that irrefutable fact.

So, I thought I should start documenting my cooking endeavors. This is me boiling water. Impressive, eh?

Okay, so I can cook some things: eggs, bacon, macaroni and cheese, and anything you can put in a microwave, but it's time for me to become a "big boy" and learn to feed myself.

More to come, keep watching!

2008 National Book Award Fiction Winner [Amended]

This year's National Book Award (fiction) winner was Peter Matthiessen, with his collection titled "Shadow Country". I have not read his or any of the other finalists' work, but I feel that the other finalists were robbed of their chance at winning this highly prestigious literary award.

The National Book Award's web site indicates that in order to be eligible for the award, you must meet the following criterion:

Judges consider only books written by American citizens and published in the United States between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year.

However, "Shadow Country" was published prior to 2008, in a slightly altered form.

The novel is a compilation of a trilogy he wrote and published in the 1990s.

Killing Mr. Watson (1990)
Lost Man's River (1997)
Bone by Bone (1999)

Read more here.

Given that this work was published (originally) many years prior to 2008, I don't feel it justified for him to win this award.

Okay, so I had a conversation with my manager regarding my views posted above, and he shed some light on my ignorance. He informed me that Matthiessen originally submitted a roughly 1,500 page manuscript to his publishers, and they wanted him to heavily edit it. The (then) end result was three separate books (the trilogy), of which he was not at all pleased with the outcome thereof. He vowed to re-edit those into a singular volume, which he thought would only take him a year or so. However, it took nearly 10 years to complete. Henceforth, we were presented with his definitive edition in April of this year. Thank you Robert.