Friday, December 29, 2006

What is wrong with Crazy Karen Feld?

Part of me wishes that Wonkette hadn't shared this:


Christmas Cards From the Rich and Famous-For-DC

Beloved DC gossip and friend-of-Wonkette Karen Feld celebrates the holidays with a terrifying Hiƫronymus Bosch hellscape of sentient toy dogs building an idol of their dead companion for the purposes of some sort of pagan solstice ritual.

Feld might’ve sent Wonkette one, but when her assistant asked for our address we were concerned she was going to sue us or order a hit or something, so we’ll never know.


I'm telling you, bat-shit-crazy as a Vice President's wife this woman is.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Racing Fuel

100 Octane racing fuel in Weedsport, NY. My WRX would fucking love a glass of this.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Curly's: A Family Bar and Restaurant

A wake is really just an afternoon of shaking hands and making small talk. When all that was done, the cousins moved to Curly's for another evening of drinking.


Our tab was once again dubbed "An Auburn Christmas Miracle". For that, we can thank our bartender Jeff (pictured below with Joey):


Cousin Josh (with Joey):


Josh's girlfriend Gabby (with Joey):


And the big win of the evening was convincing my aunt and uncle to let my cousin Justin join us:


When Joey drinks, man does she take a lot of pictures.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Lesbian Super Collider

Joey, her brother Chris, and I were enjoying a quiet drink in Curly's bar the night before the wake. After about an hour, I witness this exchange between Joey and Chris:

Joey: Are you going to tell him about Debra?
Chris: [...] I hadn't decided yet.
Joey: [...]

Somewhere in the 2000-2002 timeframe, my cousin Chris was engaged to a lovely woman named Debra. For various reasons, Debra and Chris broke off their engagement and went their separate ways. One of those reasons was not, however, the fact that I made out with her in front of him six times on my 22nd birthday:



Well Chris has a best friend Aaron who just got divorced from his wife Debbie. Can you see where this is going...?

Debra and Debbie packed up their UHaul (on the first date) and moved to the island of Lesbos.

I am the lesbian super collider. I just am.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Travel Advice

Virginia wrote this article for Yahoo travel:
Travelers' rule book: Behavior 101
Mon Dec 11, 7:42 PM ET

There are no formal requirements to buying an airplane ticket and boarding a plane, other than coming up with some cash and passing security. But maybe flying should be more of a privilege, with its own rule book.

Virginia Flores, a human resources and technical consultant to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, among other clients, flies every week for business and has come up with a comprehensive set of basic do's and don'ts for air passengers that I think is worth sharing. Its section titles suggest the almost kindergarten-like inability of some travelers to play well with others.

Everyone knows air travel is a lot less comfortable than it once was. The trick is how to learn to live with it. Here are Flores' suggestions:


Her suggestions are worth the read, since 776 people felt the need to comment.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mom's Appendix

My father woke me up this morning to let me know that they were at the hospital. My mother has been in pain for a couple days and it turns out her appendix needed to come out. So they are.

In the mean time, I need to study for my last final, rearrange my schedule for the funeral next week, and make all their travel arrangements.

They say bad things happen in 3s. I can hardly wait...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Finals and Funerals

While studying for my first final of the semester, my parents called to tell me that my grandfather (father's father) died this evening.

Looks like a trip to NY is in my future (once he makes it up there from Florida).

Oh lawdy-lawd...change is a comin'!

Since moving to Blogger Beta, I've been meaning to take advantage of some new features. I found out from Susann about three months ago that my template was broken in Internet Explorer, so I took advantage of the new template designer in BB (hence the "Great Pumpkin" colors you're now seeing) and fixed it up.

Something new I've added (besides another Adsense block...not that anybody will click it) is "Great Moments in AlphaJohnness". This is a chance for me to roll around naked in the posts that you found most amusing. If you found anything memorable, please let me know in a comment to this post so I can add it.

If you need help finding something, start here.

Not that any of you fuckers remember how to comment...

Stoking the "War on Christmas" Fire

Lou Dobbs, CNN's 2nd favorite old crotch (after Jack Cafferty), decided to throw in his two cents about the War on Christmas incident at the Seattle airport:

Dobbs: A tree grows in Seattle
POSTED: 8:22 a.m. EST, December 13, 2006 By Lou Dobbs

Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Merry Christmas! That's right, Merry Christmas. Whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, pagan, barbarian or whatever, Merry Christmas!

It's what most of us say in this country come this time of year. It's about who we are, where we are and where we've been. And all the namby-pamby, little sensitive darlings among us who can't handle this verbal assault on their delicate senses should immediately begin seeking emergency psychiatric care.

This week we were treated to the spectacle of an easily offended and highly offensive rabbi who walked into an airport, gazed upon Christmas trees all around him and suddenly was overwhelmed with an immense, and apparently irresistible, urge to sue the management of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport because nowhere among all the Christmas trees was a single menorah. Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement of Seattle even delivered to the airport's management a draft of a lawsuit he would file if they didn't sprinkle menorahs around the Christmas trees.

Political correctness in this country reached an entirely new level of absurdity some years ago. But occasionally, and the situation at Sea-Tac is just such an occasion, we exceed ourselves. The militant fundamentalist rabbi so flummoxed Sea-Tac management with his threat and their perceived obligation to be "politically correct" that, rather than think rationally or simply tell him to stuff it, they started hacking away at all those artificial Christmas trees and quickly descended into a public relations nightmare in which they managed to offend reason, cultural values and the vast majority of Americans.


First of all, I doubt Lou Dobbs himself posted this piece of pandering prose. Neither his opinion, nor the way he delivered it, added any value to the human race.

Who are you trying to win over, Lou? You're responsible for that faggoty website space.com, but you're calling people namby-pamby because you're wrinkled ass should stop and ask yourself, "does my Indian coworker Habib celebrate Christmas? Should one be wishing him a Merry Christmas like the idiot WASP that they are?"

You're a dolt, you're wrong, and nobody cares what you think. Go back to Money Line and read the ticker off the teleprompter, you EZ-Bake oven for prostate cancer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Mystery of Socks

I have no problem wearing cotton socks.

Wool socks, though my feet usually sweat more than cotton, don't get nasty or stink.

Nylon socks make my feet sweat a little, but they smell like the monkey cage at the zoo.


Ponderous...

Robot fall down, go doom



From Autoblog:

As product demonstrations go, this is what you would call a worst case scenario. Right at the one minute mark, the Honda Asimo robot has an issue making it up the steps and takes a faceplant on the floor below, shattering his glass "face" and saying what sounds like "sleeping". We're not sure if it was nap time or too much saki, but the quick dimming of the lights and unfurling of the wheeled wall demonstrates some pretty quick thinking, and obvious preparation for such a mishap. We hope you get a laugh out of it as much as us and the folks in attendance.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another fine evening with Virginia

I've known Virginia since early 2000 when I worked for AAAS. She was a consultant that we used, and we've become good friends over the years. She lives in Florida, but we try to get together every 6-8 weeks since she's on a long-term contract here in Northern Virginia.

With finals and everything else going on, I put tonight on the calendar almost two weeks ago to be sure we had dinner and caught up before the Chrismahanukwanzakah break.

In addition to dinner, Spawny (her nickname from her incessant SPAWNing out to another process on VMS) (1) wanted to do a little shopping for her Salvation Army adopt-a-family, and (2) a client of hers that we're both acquainted with had their Alpha VMS system go down hard on Monday morning.

I picked her up around 7:00pm, and she was still on the phone about the sick Alpha. The syntax for the command to restore the tape wasn't working, so she called in someone else while we were in the car to see what we were missing:



Saved by a Sharpee and a fast food napkin.

While we were shopping, I pulled a "George are you near a computer? Google this for me..." phone-a-friend to figure out another problem. Finally their backup started restoring.

We went shopping in Pentagon City, and I pulled into the mall on the Costco side. Always a bad move, and as we were waiting for pedestrians I may have yelled, "Now we have to wait for the gaggle of Asians who bought their 7,000 pack of paper towels MOVE!". Apparently Virginia thought that was funny, just another day in the hood for me. We did pretty well shopping, though I inform her that the Baby Jesus is confused why she uses her "Sale-finding Spinning Menorah" to get deals on Christmas gifts. She's like, "ahh...it's just my Mitzvah". She's so sweet, I have no idea why she hangs out with me.

I took her to the hotel to check in, and we went to Rock Bottom in Ballston for football, beer, and the Appetizer Sampler of Mass Destruction (which gets four stars for tasty-while-drunk).

Always good times with Virginia. =)

"Momma SAG, I like Unicorns...





...and boys. HI BOY!"

What Stereotype?

This is the license plate I saw on the minivan of an Asian woman dropping her kids off at Tae Kwan Do:

I guess her first chose was already taken:


For the counterpoint on this issue, Rosie O'Donnell:

Good Morning, "War on Christmas"


And I was worried we might get through the whole Chrismahanukwanzakah season without the Internet(s) bringing us news from the front:

Airport's trees stoking "war on Christmas"
By Stuart Eskenazi
Seattle Times staff reporter

The departure of Christmas tree displays at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — the Port of Seattle's response to a local rabbi's insistence that an electric menorah also be put up — is accelerating into an international spectacle in the so-called "war on Christmas." [my emphasis]

And that is not what Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky wanted.

"I am devastated, shocked and appalled at the decision that the Port of Seattle came to," he said Sunday. As news coverage about the airport's trees spread from CNN to ABC to the Paris-based International Herald Tribune, Bogomilsky on Sunday began to receive hateful messages from people holding him responsible for the removal of the trees.

Harvey Grad, the rabbi's attorney, said the vitriol against Bogomilsky is misplaced, emphasizing that the rabbi neither objected to the trees nor said he found them offensive.

"The last thing we need is anyone thinking that Jews want to end the celebration of Christmas on public property," Grad said.


bwahahaha!

Step off, Jeezax, we done-gots us a Rabbi now!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm the Dr. Phil of my generation

I had lunch today with the FELD crew, and my...questionable...relationship advice was brought up. As always, Jason referred to the 2:15 Tony incident. I was discussing the whole thing with Sazara this afternoon:

theAlphaJohn: i went to lunch with old coworkers today, and they were making fun of all the (bad) relationship advice that i give
Sazara: LOL
Sazara: TECHIES SHOULD NEVER GIVE ADVICE
theAlphaJohn: one asked what other advice i could give, and i said "christine, you've know me how long? you know i think i know everything, so whatever you need advice on i've got it"
Sazara: so who's on your bad side now that you made them go back into some abusive relationship lol
theAlphaJohn: oh they're never abusive
Sazara: lol good!
theAlphaJohn: basically one of my friends does something wrong and gets in trouble (often because of me), so i advise them on how to fix their mistake
theAlphaJohn: which, if they followed my advice, would just make it worse
Sazara: what a humble man to admit his wrongs lol
theAlphaJohn: i am that guy that no woman wants her man to be friends with
Sazara: ROTFLMBO
Sazara: my poor cheeks are killing me lol
theAlphaJohn: we were remembering a time when a guy i worked with who was married lied to his wife. he said he had to work late so we could lock ourselves in a conference room with a 12 pack and play cards
theAlphaJohn: so he got caught and she was like "don't come home"
Sazara: LOL
theAlphaJohn: at that point i was like "you're already in trouble, let's go to a bar..."
Sazara: RRRRRROOOTTTTFFFLLLLMMMBBBBOOOOOOOOOOO
theAlphaJohn: so finally at 2:15 am on a wed night he goes home (hence his nickname, 2:15 tony"
Sazara: LOL
theAlphaJohn: and i had some...creative advice on how to fix the situation
Sazara: LOL
theAlphaJohn: he was smart enough to cut his losses and grovel
Sazara: what was it?
theAlphaJohn: well at lunch one of my co-conspitators was trying to get me to share the advice in mixed company. i refused
theAlphaJohn: if the FCC won't let me say it on tv or radio...
Sazara: lollllllllllllllllllll
Sazara: smart man!
theAlphaJohn: in reality, of all the things we could have been doing...playing cards in a conference room at the office is so innocent
theAlphaJohn: but he shouldn't have lied to his wife like that
theAlphaJohn: marriage is hard. my poor future ex-wife (whomever she may be)....


After lunch was over, Jason and I went to get coffee at Starbucks. I told him that I'm going to write a book on dating advice called "Buttfuck your way to a happy marriage". Fuck all you haters!

More iTunes University

I still don't think anybody is going to use this site, but how sexy is that design?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Traneez...the hottest gift this American History X-mas

I really don't like borrowing from other people's blogs, but this is so god damned funny I must share. From Princess Sparkle Pony:



This was PSP's response to The Right Reverend Rabbi Judah's idea for "American History X-mas":

Let it never be said that won't support a fabulous cause, even if it's associated with Christmas. Pony Pal™ The Rev has come up with an idea so touching, even the gloomiest heretics will heed Santa's insistent, nagging call. [...]


My all-powerfully tranny search engine can even find humor based on a misspelling of "trannies". In the information age, not even your love of chicks-with-dicks is safe from me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

iTunes University

LOL...I'm going to get fired:



theAlphaJohn: hey if you're wondering what to get me for my birthday
theAlphaJohn: gunston outtake pictures
Will: haha
theAlphaJohn: or even better: gunston jumping out of my cake in a thong
Will: now that is awesome
theAlphaJohn: even better is the likely hotness under the costume
Will: yeah
Will: i knew the gunston when i went here
Will: short blonde girl
Will: freaking ultra hot
theAlphaJohn: and the paradoxical possibility of thong on a muppet being worn by a human in a thong
Will: wow
theAlphaJohn: thong-on-thong paradoxes make my head hurt
theAlphaJohn: but good hurt, like icecream headache
Will: you should contact the center for quantum studies and tell them about it

Monday, December 04, 2006

Subaru's Added Bullshit Coverage


In April of 2005, I had a road hazard incident which necessitated that I replace two rims and four tires ($1200). The road hazard clause of my extended warranty covers the original four tires, so in May 2005 I submitted a claim to Subaru Added Security by mail.

I realized after several months had passed that I hadn't heard anything -- no check, no denial of my claim. Around the end of July I called Subaru Roadside (who handles their Added Security claims) and was told that they had no record of my claim. I re-submitted my paperwork.

As an aside, I bought my house March 31, 2005. Subaru Corporate and Chase were updated by the time my car payment for April was debited, and my address was updated with the dealership when I brought it in for the tire issue. When the claim was submitted, my addresses should have been updated everywhere with Subaru. Also, beyond this point I should mention that I'm a little vague on exact dates (but not on actual events). I kept records at certain points, and when I figured everything was handled I tossed the corresponding post-it note.

Again, several months passed and I heard nothing. Sometime in late spring of 2006 (probably May, around the one year anniversary) I called Roadside and was told the check has been issued and mailed to my old address in September of 2005. I informed them that I had moved before I filed this claim, that my addresses were updated everywhere including on the claim itself, and I had never received the check. The woman I spoke with had to do some research and would call me back in 24 hours. Two days passed and no call, so I called back. The woman I spoke with this time was very nice, she saw the research from the prior call and ordered the stop-payment on the check. They would need to wait "about a week" for that to go through, then they would reissue the check which took "about 4-6 weeks". This actually didn't seem all that unreasonable (I'd be surprised if they did more than one check run a month), so I thanked her and told her I'd check in next week to be sure that the stop-payment went through and the check was processed. A week or so later, I called back and the woman I spoke with told me that the stop-payment had gone through, the check was being reissued, and I should receive it "in about a month".

I checked back again in late-September 2006 and was told the check has been processed and should be issued "in the next check run". Several weeks passed and still nothing.

Having waited another 8 weeks, I just called Added Security again to check the status. The man I spoke with told me he saw no stop payment or re-issue had taken place, and the only thing that he could do was start the whole process over. He had no record of any of the calls I had made since September (though every call the rep had seen the prior call in their system).. The only thing he could do for me was another stop-payment and reissue. I asked for a reference number and he told me to reference my VIN# again, which clearly has worked all along since they lost a year of correspondence I had with them.

I did email Subaru's corporate headquarters to ask if this was typical, and I was given a person contact to call if I did not receive my check within two to three weeks:

Dear [Redacted]:

Thank you for visiting the Subaru Web site and for taking the time to e-mail us with your concerns. I have contacted Cross Country Motors on your behalf in regards to your refund. I spoke to the manager of the department. He has advised me that two checks for a $150.00 each were sent out on 09/15/06 to your old address. The manager has placed a stop payment on those checks and is going to have new checks issued and sent to your current address. You should see the checks within two to three weeks. If you do not receive them please call me immediately and I will follow up with the manager. I have every confidence that the matter is now straightened out and that you will be receiving the checks. I do apologize for the delay.

Please reply to this message with this information or call us at 1-800-SUBARU-3 (1-800-782-2783) and refer to the Case #[redacted]. Thank you and best wishes!

So they didn't lose the correspondence, they just sent the checks to the wrong address again.

I guess we'll just wait and see what happens. In other news, the balloon on the WRX is up on January 10th; my long, Fuji Heavy Industries nightmare will soon be over.

Opie and Anthony: Third Annual Egg Nog Drinking Competition / "The Baby Bird"



This morning was Opie and Anthony's third annual Egg Nog Drinking Competition. Contestants came from far and wide to drink one double-shot of egg nog every minute until they puked...then they were out. Some truly disgusting contestants this year, including future O&A intern Pat Duffy.

Pat from Moonachie, winner of ENDC#1 and the person who drank the most shots of nog in ENDC#2 (though he lost) was the clear winner this year. As he approached the record breaking 75th shot, guest judge and Fear Factor host Joe Rogan had an amazing idea: what if Pat from Moonachie were to unload his puke into the mouth of contest loser and future intern Pat Duffy? E-Rock quickly piped up and named it the baby bird!

And with that, watch the video of radio history being made!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hookers kidnap Marine / Intergalactic AIDS day / effortless blog post

I am in the middle of writing my research paper of mass destruction for English, but a quick break for a slow-pitch blog entry.

Earlier this week, I shared this blog entry with Andrew, George, and Joey about two DC women getting mugged by hookers in Vegas. So it's kind of been hooker week around here.

Today, we started with me sharing this story from Wonkette about a Marine being lost in Vietnam:
From: theAlphaJohn
To: Andrew, George, Joey
Subject: Hooker kidnaps Marine in Vietnam

Bush Loses Troops In Vietnam
We know Iraq is George W. Bush’s long-delayed personal Vietnam War, but this is getting ridiculous: America actually lost a Marine in Vietnam during Bush’s visit. MIAs in Vietnam again? Let’s rock it Apocalypse Now style!

The missing staff sergeant was a maintenance specialist assigned to the Marine One Presidential Helicopter detail. After a night out drinking with fellow Marines, the specialist “left his hotel on the back of a moped driven by a local national without telling anyone,” a Marine Corps spokeswoman confirmed to ABC News.

Despite his CO “suspecting foul play or terrorism” and shutting down various bars in Hanoi in the frantic search, the Marine was just out partying with a “local national” (hooker) and wasn’t even really AWOL as he was off duty for the night.

Joey replies:
From: Joey
To: theAlphaJohn, Andrew, George

LMAO

I mean seriously, whats up with world today if you can't even trust a hooker??

and naturally, I get fired up:
I know, the hookers need to step off and understand their role in our society:

-expose orafices
-get paid

Speaking of, did I miss a memo and today is intergalactic AIDS day? I walked across campus to get lunch and found (1) a rapid HIV testing van (all writing on it was in Spanish), (2) some kind of crazy AIDS/Orphans thing with little pictures of poor black AIDS babies on popsicle sticks lined along the ground, (3) some kind of AIDS charity drive in one of the buildings being run by Robert Reed hating students.

And some kind of giant, Berlin wall parody that is supposed to convince us to stop giving money to Israel. I wish I could revoke the F1 and J1 visas for the Palestinian students and send them home on their giant stryofoam wall. But not before I made them sleep with one of the students whose rapid HIV test result was "es verdad".

After which, Joey reminds me that tomorrow is World AIDS day.

Meh.

If I lived in Southpark...



This is what I'd look like. Courtesy of the the South Park Studio (Version 2).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My initiation for Masters Swimming is finally complete (I guess?)



I've been swimming with the Masters team since September, and while everyone is friendly enough I haven't really felt like one of the guys. It doesn't bother me because this was never meant to be a social activity. I joined Masters for extra cardio, and I'm happy with the slow lane clique. As long as I'm not in anyone else's way I'm content.

The last week of the month, practice is always packed with the usual crowd plus new people dropping in to try it out. The slow lane ended up with so many people that Cheryl had to move the newbies to other (faster) lanes. After about 300 yards of the warmup our entire lane just kind of fell into sync. Our workout was a little shorter than the rest of the team, but we cranked out our 3500 yards in 1hr 15min and finished right along with everybody else. Less than 1/6 of the team is competitive tri-athletes or recent former NCAA swimmers, everyone else is 10+ years off the swim team or just fitness swimmers. The middle of the workout was (15) x 50 yard sprints, and by the end people were really feeling it.

A bunch of us ended up in the hot tub afterwards, and it was much more social than it usually is. People usually talk in twos and threes for a couple minutes and move on; this is the first time in three months I've seen 10 or 15 people have the same conversation and carry it into the locker room.

I realized the velvet ropes were behind me when some of the old timers, who were discussing work (some kind of consulting practice, not the same one but similar industry I guess), were talking about wanting a secretary but not being a position to hire someone who's 100% overhead. They mentioned a shared acquaintance who occasionally does work for them on the side, which then degenerated into nasty blow job jokes. I was really just standing there getting dressed, but I guess creeps can smell each other, because all the sudden I was on the inside...

A perfect score on your PSATs and a National Merit Scholar, nobody knows your name. You fuck one goat...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Iota Kappa Awesome's Service Work

theAlphaJohn: a couple guys in my english class also want to start a frat
theAlphaJohn: did i tell you about this?
Will: no but it sounds awesome
Will: how many recruits do we have?
theAlphaJohn: two or three
theAlphaJohn: our "service" work won't be picking up trash or whatever, our members are going to try and "fix" all the obnoxious girls with low self esteem who don't date because they repel men
theAlphaJohn: I think I mentioned this girl in my english class, ShaRonda (Capital R) whose white and fat and thinks she's all that
Will: yeah
Will: she's not allowed in at all
theAlphaJohn: oh no
theAlphaJohn: but one of our members is going to date her long enough to fix her
Will: hahahaha
theAlphaJohn: it's a catch and release program to better society
theAlphaJohn: a pity throw and a few good date conversations
Will: you mean a pledge will
theAlphaJohn: well but somebody needs to show the pledges how it's done
theAlphaJohn: i'm certainly not, but someone will have to
Will: exactly
Will: not me either
theAlphaJohn: like "hey, mouthy, do you know how hot you look when you keep your opinion to yourself??"
theAlphaJohn: really she asks?
theAlphaJohn: then you give her the best 7 minutes of your life
Will: hahahaha
Will: as long as i don't have to do it
theAlphaJohn: in the end, the goal is to boost her self esteem but to kind of clean up their demeanor
Will: nice
theAlphaJohn: so it's not like pigging or meant to be degrading
Will: right
theAlphaJohn: but our service work is all psychological
Will: hahaha

Google Answers Redeux

I'm working on my final paper for English, and was thinking about using Google Answers to help me find a bit of research I need for this paper (I'd say to finish it, but at this point it's just an outline).

I'm already signed in to GMail, so it's no surprise that I don't have to login. What is surprising is that I already have my account setup there (billing information, etc). I had completely forgotten that I used GA before.

To jog my memory, I visit my past questions and find this (click on the picture to enlarge):


I really am a creep you know.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Craigslist locks George out of his car

George called me yesterday from an undisclosed location in Rockville to tell me he'd locked himself out of his car. We have a set of each other's keys for just such an event, so I ran home and got his. While I made my way up there, George forwarded the directions from his Blackberry to my phone.

When I got there, I found George and Timothy locked out of his car and standing next to a vacuum cleaner. The story goes that George bought a vacuum off some Craigslist sketchmo and through some series of actions locked his keys in the car. I let him in and he gave me back his keys.

I'm glad it was a vacuum, and not some kind of "casual encounter" gone wrong.

While we stood in the parking lot of some random Twinbrook apartment complex, I scraped some of the barcodes and other graffiti off his windshield while we talked. I explained to Timothy that the parking lot of an apartment complex that you'll never see again is synonymous with a dumpster. To prove it, I tossed an empty Starbucks cup out the window just before we both pulled out of there.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Concert :: DJ AtomX, live at Goodlove in Baltimore


George, Timothy, and I took a trip up to Goodlove in Baltimore to see DJ AtomX's return to the booth.

Tim was first to point out that the club was basically a three level townhouse, though that didn't stop 180+ people from coming through the doors Friday night. There was a shitty house DJ downstairs that spun even shitter amp'ed up house tracks for the Fubu thugs and gaggle of worn out house fraus away from their husbands and kids for the night. The upper two levels were musically served by a DJ booth on the third level that overlooked both sets of stairs. The top level was like a loft in a townhouse, only there weren't any windows behind the mini-blinds hanging on the walls.

At one point, I did turn to George and Tim to say, "When we leave, let's go on Baltimore's Craigslist and get a hooker for all of us to share. Now I know we'll need to compromise because Tim will want his to be a tranny, and George will want his to have a USB port. Maybe we can meet someone in the middle and get a regular girl?"

Much was drank, bar tabs were small, and AtomX blasted out a four hour set (and was surprised he got paid for it). Was good to finally meet him, but it was even better to pass out in the back seat before we got on 95 and wake up in front of my house. Thanks for driving, George.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

This Thanksgiving, what I'm thankful for is this speeding ticket


I left for my parent's house in Myrtle Beach right after work, and made it all the way to Souf Carolina before Johnny Law caught up with me.

Most of my trip through SC is spent on US-501, and speed limits vary from 45MPH to 60MPH. Anytime the speed limit drops, it will go from 60MPH to 55MPH before dropping to 45MPH. That's exactly what happens as you enter the town of Aynor, where Officer Peavy pulled me over and wrote me a ticket. He claims that he clocked me at 67 in a 45 which is impossible.

I always engine break in the WRX, especially when slowing down but still moving. If you haven't driven a WRX, it has a lot of horsepower (227HP@6000rpm) and a lot of torque (217 ft lbs@4000rpm). If you're in too high a gear, the car barely moves; in too low a gear the car will physically buck back and forth.

My WRX is a five speed. If I am at 60MPH or below, I have to be in 4th gear, if I'm between 35 and 50 I'm in 3rd gear. I was probably going 67MPH in that 60MPH zone, and as soon as I saw the sign for 55MPH I downshifted to 4th, and when I saw the sign for 45MPH I downshifted to 3rd.

Officer Peavy, of course, sees no break lights and pulls me over. He told me he clocked me at 67MPH but no mention of how fast he was pacing me. If I had been going 67MPH and I was in 3rd gear, he would have watched my car buck back and forth from all the excess torque (since I'd be around 5500rpms).

Office Peavy was kind enough to only write me for 55 in a 45, though he noted the "actual" speed next to it in case I decided to come from out of town to contest the ticket. I actually thought about going down there to fight the ticket, and then I found some interesting facts about Aynor on Wikipedia:

As of the census of 2000, there were 587 people, 228 households, and 158 families residing in the town.

Something tells me that if I go to court in a town with 587 people, I'm going to end up in jail instead of getting my ticket reduced to parking on the pavement.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Visit to the Nutritionist

I had an appointment with my nutritionist Rebecca today. You may recall that I started seeing her in last August on Meredith's recommendation. In the past three months, I've lost 27lbs and 4% bodyfat.

Not quite as good as the Robert Reed diet, but I'll take it.

I'm trying not to borrow from other blogs

In this case, however, I need to make an exception.

This post by Roosh (formerly DC Bachelor) is hysterical:



Make sure to read his commentary about the video also.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

DJ AtomX at Goodlove 11/24/2006



AtomX, my favorite local DJ, will be spinning the day after Thanksgiving at Goodlove in Baltimore. My turkey day travel plans have already been adjusted to accommodate an evening on ATOMX HOUSE remixes.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Welcome to the Future


I migrated my blogs over to the new Blogger Beta, which already seems faster and more stable than the rickety mess that Blogger Classic had become. It does have some new features, so we'll see how that all works out.

I do have to say, labels rock!

Monday, November 13, 2006

My "When I finally meet the Microsoft Word Development Team" to-do list

1.) Buy a 50 gallon drum full of Cancer on eBay
2.) Tell TSA when getting on the plane that it's really 50 gallons of personal lubricant (cause my gears squeak like a rusty hinge)
3.) Drench each and every motherfucker who every wrote or revised a single line of code for this useless application in delicious, thirst-quenching, butt-cancer.

I mean, have these fuckers ever tried to format a multi-level bulleted list in Word? Are you fucking kidding me? This isn't god-damned Office 95, you faggots have had 11 cunt-punching years to make this work.

Some serious bullshit right here. Ass cancer for each and every one of you, your children, and the Starbucks employee who makes your day a little brighter. There's nothing wrong with your Q/A skills that a scalding gallon of free cappuccino in your useless eyes couldn't fix.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Glow presents Bad Boy Bill at Club Fur



First, let me apologize for the ancient picture of Bad Boy Bill. I realized a long time ago that camera phones do not good pictures take in a club setting, and I won't be that douche bag who brings his camera with him. I'm there for the music, I'm there to dance, and I can almost always find shots a real photographer took during the show the next day. Not so much this time.

With that out of the way, Kristin asked if anything was going on this weekend since it was her birthday, and it just so happened that Bad Boy Bill was spinning at Glow to promote the release of his new DVD, Behind the Desks. We decided that tapas and sangria at Jaleo would be the perfect pre-game experience before a night of dancing to ear-bleeding bass.

With a nice buzz and our hunger abated, Kristin and I found parking and started walking towards Fur. The fun began immediately: a gaggle of drunk, college-aged girls had taken a limo from Martensburg and knocked a chain-link fence over at a construction site next door to Fur.


Quite a hike.

They were walking right behind us as we got into line...behind about 100 deaf kids from Gallaudet University. One of the drunk girls, when we explained they were four blocks from a deaf university, professed her love of sign language and decided to practice her ASL alphabet. While we made friends, her cohorts told us how their evening was ruined because "the guys" were having poker night but some other girl showed up there. About that time, a Fur employee came by and told we were in the "Deaf Party" line so we walked to the other side of the building.

We had a spot on the floor about 15 minutes before Bad Boy took to the decks. There was a traditional exchange between DJs about 1:00am. "You ready to go on?" "Nah, go ahead and spin another song." Though just before this, the sound engineer came out and adjusted the levels until everything was nice and thumpy. When it was time to switch out, they were still fucking with the video feed, but the show started anyway to a rousing cheer of "Bad Boy! Bad Boy!..." started by yours truly.

Bad Boy's style is Chicago House, but he backs everything with deep, dark euro-beats. A typical house DJ will just beat-match two records together and let them play. Bad Boy sets himself apart from normal house DJs by scratching (simply as an effect) and using incredibly tight breaks for faster builds. Here's a one minute sample that includes both:

this is an audio post - click to play

Just a phenomenal show all around. The place was packed but the crowd was great. Kristin and I danced with another couple, a black guy and his hot red-headed girlfriend in cammo pants and a wife beater. Totally worth the price of admission.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Powderwhore at Arlington Cinema Drafthouse



Friday night, I joined George and friends at Arlington Cinema Drafthouse to see Powderwhore.

From the website:
What started as a name yelled at a friend while face deep in the Wasatch white has evolved very little over the past 10 years. POWDERWHORE is just a term or symbol of ones commitment to the great white deep. In the past few years we have filmed our passion and it has been seen in TGP's productions "CORE" and "INCOGNITO". This year we felt it was time to branch off on our own.

POWDERWHORE is based out of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, with affiliates in Tahoe, Bozeman, and wherever snow falls.




This is the best way I can describe it. Imagine you have those crazy friends who ski all the time, so much so that they have their own their own Steadicam and film their antics at the mountain. At the end of the season, they use iMovie and make their own DVD and invite you over for beer and snacks to watch it in their living room.

It's like that, except they back country ski on terrain you or I would never even consider, and their living room seats over a hundred people.

Friday, November 10, 2006

ENGL302: Writing is like...

Ugh! How come every English class makes you do a writing exercise with similes and metaphores? I had these things down by the third grade. After reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard, we were given less than 10 minutes to write our own simile about writing:
Writing is an emotional roller coaster. Anger makes you write until the writing makes you angry. You pen a funny line that makes your friends scoul; you rewrite it until the frustration makes you wonder, what was so funny in the first place? Period pieces make us whistful, comparatives use dichotomy to push us over the line. The act takes us through the emotional gauntlet until the coaster pulls into the station and we realize that the writing itself was therapy.

I think I just threw up in my mouth.

ENGL302: Persuasive Memo

This paper was a group effort, and had to be a persuasive memo about an on-campus issue. Our group chose to write about fountain soda choices in the dining halls on campus:

TO: Hilary Rosen, Director of University Services
FROM: Mason Students for Healthful Beverage Choices
DATE: November 10, 2006
SUBJECT: Fountain Beverage Choices on Campus

Given the recent media attention about the lack of healthy eating choices in high schools and colleges, we appreciate the efforts of University Services and Sodexho to offer a variety of dining choices on campus. The area of healthy choices that we still fall short in, however, regards beverages. It is our understanding that George Mason is under contract with Coca-Cola to provide vending and fountain beverages across campus, but the choice of Coke products offered at each soda fountain is far from balanced.

RESEARCH

Right now in the United States, heart disease is the leading killer of adults and diabetes is the most common chronic disease among children. Physicians tell us the number of adolescents diagnosed with type-2 diabetes is increasing rapidly; until recently, this disease was unheard of among those under 40 years of age. This rise juvenile-onset diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a myriad of other health problems among Americans is related to obesity.

Obesity has become an epidemic in America over the past decade: six out of ten adults are overweight, and 17 percent of children are obese. Childhood obesity is caused by two main factors: lack of exercise and unhealthy diets, which include soft drinks. Parents, health advocacy groups, and local and state governments have recognized this link between weight gain and unhealthy diets, and have worked to change school menus in schools across the country by replacing fatty foods with healthier alternatives and instituting banning soft drinks. Through negotiation, compromise, and the threat of a class action lawsuit, soft drink corporations have willingly removed their products from schools. Many say this action is not enough, and want to hold the corporations liable for selling soft drinks with full knowledge of their negative health effects. This is likened to the way tobacco companies were successfully sued for selling a product they knew could lead to lung disease, various cancers, and other major health problems.

DINING HALLS AND OFFERINGS

According to Lori Leetz, the Resident District Manager from Sodexho Dining Services, each unit manager chooses which Coke products to feature in their dining establishment. We examined the soda fountains in each major dining area on campus and counted the number of sweetened and unsweetened beverages; we made the following observations:


• With the exception of a single Diet Sprite, Diet Coke was the Healthful Alternative at every soda fountain.
• Almost every fountain had two regular Coca-cola dispensers.

PROPOSED SOLUTION

We can all agree that Mason students are adults, but we contend that given the choices offered, students are rarely in a position to make a healthy choice. If one dislikes Diet Coke, she or he rarely has a low calorie choice at a soda fountain. We feel that rebalancing the options from Coke’s portfolio of beverages will offer people a greater likelihood of making a healthful choice.

We propose the following changes:
• Two or three slots of each soda fountain must offer one of the following healthful Coca-Cola products: Diet Barq's, Diet Cherry Coke, Diet Coke (also with Lemon or with Lime), Diet Fanta, Diet Mello Yellow, Diet Mr. Pibb, Diet Sprite Zero, Diet Nestea.
• Offer unsweetened tea in all areas. Unlike other beverages, people are used to having to sweeten tea on their own
• Ensure that water is available in every soda fountain
• Increase the variety of the choices in each area rather than a standard lineup of Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Barq's, and Cherry Coke.

While statistics of consumption choice on the Mason campus may disagree, we strongly feel this is due to the current offerings and lack of choice available today; Coke is the most popular fountain soda on campus because every fountain has two Coca-Cola dispensers. We urge you to consider our proposal, and possibly pilot these in changes in a single dining area to see how people react. Should University Services choose to pilot our plan, we are willing to offer our services to monitor and report the results to you.

We appreciate your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,
Mason Students for Healthful Beverage Choices

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wal-Mart: World's Largest Retailer, Ginormous Pussy

From CNN Money:
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Wal-Mart has told its employees that it's OK to once again greet shoppers by saying "Merry Christmas" this holiday season instead of the generic "Happy Holidays."

CNN confirmed that Wal-Mart will announce Thursday that it plans to use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in products and around its stores this holiday season.

The announcement comes a year after religious groups such as The American Family Association and The Catholic League boycotted retailers including Wal-Mart last holiday season for excluding the word "Christmas" from products sold in stores.

"We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley told USA Today in a separate report. "We're not afraid to use the term 'Merry Christmas.' We'll use it early, and we'll use it often."

In what alternate reality do a couple religious groups tell Wal-Mart how to run their business? These are the people who told their suppliers (little companies like Unilever) that they needed to use RFID tagging to conform to Wal-Mart's stringent supply-chain procedures.

Make no mistake, Wal-Mart does not do what people tell them, Wal-Mart does what it wants to. If they want to butt-fuck the baby Jesus all holiday season, then that's what they're going to do.

According to a Craigslist Rant & Rave I wrote read, Speaker Nancy Pelosi can fix this too:

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Down goes Rumsfeld

booyah!



And Tester has been declared the winner in Montana. A few weeks of arguments and recounts and Virginia is officially Webb's.

How could this day get better? Maybe if the sky opened up and it started raining ponies...

We Win !!! !!! !!!

First, the news from WaPo:
In the House, Democrats picked up at least 27 Republican-held seats without losing any of their own, putting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) into position to become the nation's first female speaker . Several other House races remained too close to call.

Democrats also scored heavily in gubernatorial races, picking up at least seven states to claim a majority nationally.

The upheaval in the House and the changing balance in the Senate signaled a dramatic power shift in Washington that will alter the final two years of Bush's presidency, with resurgent Democrats expected to challenge the administration on its domestic priorities and the Iraq war.

I heard from Susann also:
Susann: susann = happy
theAlphaJohn: thealphajohn = thrilled
Susann: what a fun two days!
theAlphaJohn: so are we getting the senate too?!?!
Susann: i think we will
theAlphaJohn: how fucking cool?
theAlphaJohn: interesting question on the radio this morning
theAlphaJohn: why wasnt howard dean partying with the dem leadership last night?
Susann: he was there
Susann: i saw him in the hotel
Susann: he was just doin media
theAlphaJohn: did you make out with him?
Susann: like five times

Election Night Emails

Photo compliments of Princess Sparkle Pony

An email exchange with George:
George: [Link to Samsung $200,000 Gun Sentry Robot]
theAlphaJohn: No joke, I just ordered one of these for... (wait for it)...
theAlphaJohn: HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D, CA)
theAlphaJohn: I figured she could use this to push legislation through the...
theAlphaJohn: DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
theAlphaJohn: and now we wait to take the Senate.
George: oh god here we go
George: i get my news from jon stewart. i don't kno what it means.
George: i do want some cake.
theAlphaJohn: OMG I'm going the political pee-pee dance for Virginia. 99% reporting, the remaining votes from Arl (D) and Rich City (D) and Webb is ahead by 2500 votes.
theAlphaJohn: This is going to take *days* to resolve.
theAlphaJohn: Nancy Pelosi and Robert Byrd are both getting robot gun thinggys if
the Dems take both houses.
theAlphaJohn: mmm...cake

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hooray! It's Election Day!!!

That's right kids: today we send racist Virginia Senator George Felix Macacawitz Allen to the unemployment line!

Susann was good enough to point me to the Election Protection Coalition website, with live maps showing voter intimidation and polling problems.






The good news for him is that on Friday, Allen will appear as the 51st more influential Jew in America (“an honor previously bestowed on Kabbalah-practicing Madonna”).

Edit, Tuesday Morning
Yeah, I hope Macaca's resume is up to date. The last time we had a recount in VA (last year as a matter of fact), the challenger picked up 27 votes.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Downfall of The O.C.


One could argue that The O.C. was never a good show. But as someone who came of age during the height of 90210's popularity, I think America's tastes are clear: life in New York City and Southern California is a dichotomy that appeals to everyone.

We watch Seinfeld. We shop at Hollister. Borat goes to Times Square. Paris Hilton gets a DUI in Los Angeles. There is no center to our cultural universe, but it definately has two poles.

It wasn't until the second season of The O.C. that I started watching, and only infrequently. I found the characters more likable than their 90210 counterparts, and eventually I Netflixed the first season. The writing was brilliant: tight, interesting, hilarious.

I continued to watch, but saw that the second and third seasons together made up the sophomore slump. The show was running out of steam.

My DVR was set to record the show, and I realized a few weeks ago that it hadn't shown up yet. I was so disgusted with the last season finale, I assumed that I just deleted it. Just a few days later, the fourth season premier shows up (in November?). I watched it a few nights later while I was eating dinner and realized that The O.C. has officially jumped the shark.

I don't want this to be an episode review, but a quick recap is in order. Marissa died in the last episode, and five months has passed since then. Julie (Marissa's mother) is doped out of her mind, and Ryan is living in the backroom of a bar and illegally ultimate fighting for free to get out his (anger|rage|aggression|stupidity). Basically, they wrapped an entire season of story and angst into a single episode where everything is resolved and Ryan moves home to the pool house.

DVR -> The O.C. -> Delete Scheduled Recording -> Enter

And with that, I get an extra hour of my life back every week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ENGL302: Critical Review of Freakonomics

Freakonomics, co-written by economist Steven D. Levitt and author Stephen J. Dubner, aims "to explore the hidden side of ... everything" (Levitt and Dubner, 14), without the need for a "unifying theme" (205). Each chapter starts with a quote from a 2003 New York Times article that Dubner wrote about Levitt, and proceeds to ask a question and employ statistics and economics to try and reach a conclusion. Economics is the social science that discusses how personal choices and market forces allocate our scarce resources; it can be discussed positively, meaning how things are, and normatively, meaning how things should be.

Each chapter is filled with memorable questions about everyday life that are wrapped up into allegories. A tale about the Ku Klux Klan shows us that knowledge is power. Statistics and regression prove that "perfect" parents come from who you are, not what you do. Chapter 3 begins with a very well stated anecdote about so-called experts and the manufacturing of statistics. Mitch Snyder, an advocate for the homeless during the 1980s, continually invented facts because he didn't want journalists to walk away empty handed. His numbers never added up: that there were 3 million homeless people in the United States (1 in 100 people), and 45 homeless people died every second (1.4 billion a year) (90). It continues that experts may be self-serving to the point of deceit, but journalists need experts just as badly. Together, journalists and experts become the architects of conventional wisdom (91). This segues nicely into an observation about advertising, where scholar James B. Twichell is quoted as saying, "Listerine did not make mouthwash as much as it made halitosis." Before Listerine's ad, which showed young men and women disgusted by their mate's bad breath, halitosis was not considered a big deal.

The most compelling chapter in the book poses the question, "Where have all the criminals gone?" which uses the rise and fall of Communism in Romania to make its point. Romania outlawed abortion in 1966 and even instituted a celibacy tax for woman who failed to get pregnant. The birth rate more than doubled in 1967, and compared to children born a year earlier these children would be worse off in every measurable way (118). Steven and Stephen take our hand and walk us to the conclusion that the drastic reduction in crime during the 1990s came not from better policing, an aging population, or capital punishment; it came from the legalization of abortion in 1973.

Though the reader is told throughout the book that Levitt's work has no unifying theme, nowhere is that better illustrated than the second chapter. The first part of the chapter emphasizes that knowledge is power, and uses the fall of the Ku Klux Klan, the insurance industry, casket and car sales, and the power of the Internet as examples. Hanging on to the idea of information awareness, the chapter diverges to online dating and discrimination on The Weakest Link. Where the first half of the chapter showed that those in the know had an advantage, the second half simply meandered through statistics as though the publisher had said, "No book deal until you have 242 pages!"

"Drug Dealers Living with Their Moms" is probably the best-written chapter in the book. Sudhir Venkatesh was a graduate student at the University of Chicago who, in the process of doing research for his graduate advisor, happened upon a drug gang and was taken in by their leader. He was allowed to observe their operations and eventually came upon their detailed financial records. Not knowing what to do with this information, Sudhir later shared these financial records with Levitt who helped analyze them. They found that this drug gang ran like most American corporations, and each gang operated like a franchise. While the wages of most dealers were comparable to a McDonald's employee, they had a 1 in 4 chance of being killed. The most dangerous job in the US, a timber cutter, had a 1 in 200 chance of accidental death on the job (104). The conclusion was that people don't take a job dealing drugs to make minimum wage and risk dying, they take a job dealing drugs with the hope that they'll work their way up the chain where the big money is.

What sets Levitt apart from most pundits is his distaste for politics and spin; he simply reaches a conclusion and tells it like it is. Not being a storyteller himself, Levitt leaves that task in Dubner's literary hands. I found Dubner's writing style distracting however; he tends uses parenthesis after making a point to editorialize or think aloud. On parenting: "The first is that neither of us professes to be a parenting expert (although between us we do have six children under the age of five)." (156). On regression analysis: "It should be said that regression analysis is more art than science (In this regard, it has a great deal in common with parenting itself)." (163) On baby names: "By 1980 she received a name that was twenty times more common among blacks. (Boys' names moved in the same direction but less aggressively -- probably because parents of all races are less adventurous with boys' names than girls').)" (183) I felt two-thirds of my time reading this book was spent inside Dubner's head. The editorial clarifications should have been weaved into the story, footnotes should have been used, and Dubner's opinions should have been left in his head.

Despite a handful of faults, this book is an interesting and quick read. These two facts make it easy to see why the book has been a best seller for so long, and why it graces the coffee tables of so many homes. Whether or not you agree with Levitt's conclusions, the impartiality of the data might just erode your convictions until only Freakeconomics remain.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'd kill for writers block right about now

I've been a naughty blogger since school started. I'm taking an English class this semester, and though the papers aren't terribly interesting I've been trying to blog them once they're done.

When I haven't been writing for class, I've been writing for work. I handed in a 17 page report on Content Management last Friday. Though it was based on some surveys, and several people had editorial input, the word-smithing fell on me.

I'm tired of writing; that's why you're getting bullshit videos from YouTube.

Suck it up.

The Many Names for October 30th

I'm getting old. Some days I feel like I'm 18, some days I feel like I'm going to die of old age.

I had forgotten that the night before Halloween is traditionally reserved for the mischief of children.

Growing up in NY, we (like the guilders from VT) used to call this Cabbage Night. Apparently the name for October 30th is not universal:

Mary: haha I always called Oct 30th Moving night
Mary: never knew it was a baltimore only thing
theAlphaJohn: moving night?
Mary: yeah in Baltimore we don't call it Devil's Night
Mary: its Moving night or mischief eve
theAlphaJohn: gotcha
theAlphaJohn: man i forgot about 10/30
theAlphaJohn: i'm old
Mary: hahaha
Mary: we use to stash eggs for months before
theAlphaJohn: so they'd be good and rotten?
Mary: because you can't buy eggs, shaving cream or toilet paper that night
Mary: and yeah nice and rotten
theAlphaJohn: totally
Mary: I mentioned moving night to Rob and he looked at me like I had four heads lol
Mary: "we're moving?"
theAlphaJohn: we used to call it cabbage night
Mary: cabbage night?
theAlphaJohn: yeah
theAlphaJohn: that's the new york word for it
theAlphaJohn: what did rob call it growing up?
Mary: devil's night
Mary: moving night isn't in urban dictionary
theAlphaJohn: but cabbage night is
theAlphaJohn: it says that's what it's called in VT
Mary: it says Devil's Night is detroit

Friday, October 27, 2006

Virginia Ballot Issue #1

An email sent by the Provost of George Mason to all faculty and staff:

On behalf of the faculty, staff and administration of George Mason University, we are writing to express our concerns about the potential impact of the proposed Amendment, “Ballot Issue #1.” It is unclear what the specific consequences of this amendment will be upon the operations of our own state institution. The amendment would prohibit the courts from “recognizing” or giving “legal effect” to arrangements that provide to unmarried people rights, obligations and protections similar to those that are available through marriage.

The economic wellbeing of Virginia and all of its public agencies and institutions depends upon attracting and retaining talented workers and dynamic new enterprises, and this proposed amendment could have the chilling effect of discouraging high-value workers and businesses from locating in our state or accepting employment at our university, thus putting us at a competitive disadvantage relative to neighboring states in the region where no such broadly proposed restrictions now exist.

If Mason is not allowed to offer competitive benefits for all employees, and if benefits for unmarried individuals are reduced, we will lose the competitive advantage of both our location and our status as a nationally recognized institution of excellence. Mason could lose its ability to recruit and retain top quality students, faculty, staff and researchers if the Commonwealth of Virginia is seen as a less tolerant state where discriminatory state law is allowed to persist. Over time, heterosexual, gay, lesbian and bisexual students, faculty and staff, could choose to go to states more tolerant and embracing of diversity.

The office of the Attorney General, Commonwealth of Virginia, has provided an advisory opinion which states that it is their position that the proposed amendment will not affect the current legal rights of unmarried persons involving contracts, wills, advance medical directives, shared equity agreements or group accident and sickness insurance policies, or alter any other rights that do not “approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage” or create “the rights, benefits, obligations, quality or effects of marriage.” Furthermore, the opinion states that passage of the marriage amendment will not modify the application and enforcement of Virginia’s domestic violence laws.

We encourage you to educate yourself on the language of this proposed amendment, and vote for what you believe is in the best interest of all citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. We promise you that irrespective of the outcome of the vote, we will do all that we legally can do to ensure that Mason continues its rich history of embracing diversity. To the extent possible under the law, we will ensure that equal benefits will be available to all students, faculty and staff.

But no matter how you feel about this important issue, we urge you to vote on Tuesday, November 7.

Morrie Scherrens, Senior Vice President
Peter Stearns, Provost
Sandy Hubler, Vice President University Life

Thursday, October 26, 2006

FBI: What's in a file anyway?

As I mentioned last week I finally received a copy of my 96 page FBI file through a FOIA/Privacy Act request.

I didn't make this request because I'm paranoid. Not everyone has an FBI file, and certainly not 96 pages worth. I knew I had a file because I had (or attempted to get) a security clearance when I contracted at EOP in 1999. I was not in the job long enough for them to complete my background investigation.

The process started with a security interview and filling out an SF86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions. This is the same form used for government and military positions, and the process is essentially the same. The form asks (for the past 7 years):
  • All the places you have lived
  • Where you went to school
  • Employment activities
  • People you know (or knew) well
  • Information about your spouse
  • Relatives and associates
  • Citizens of relatives and associates
  • Your military history
  • Your foreign activities
  • Countries you've lived
  • Police record
  • Alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Financial delinquencies
  • Civil court filings

The whole process only looks for a few traits: (1) can you keep a secret? (2) is there something in your background or character that makes you want to job for the wrong reason (leak/manipulate information, etc)? (3) is there anything in your past that someone could blackmail you with to then leak/manipulate information on their behalf?

The most fascinating part of reading my file is trying to follow the agent's through process of how you answer those questions. It starts with the information you provide in your SF86, but quickly deviates. After all, if there were unsavory people or activities in my past, I'd omit those from my SF86 so the agents didn't find them out, right?

Rest assured, they will find them. They questioned people I'd never met (half a dozen neighbors and classmates) to see what their impression of me was. They talked at length with my fifth grade English teacher. It felt to me like every stellar interview sent them in search of two other interviews. Specific quotes were included, but the contents were in summarized report format to answer the dozen or so questions each interviewee is asked.

While the insight itself was stale, that kind of honest perspective from so many different people is eye opening. There is little resemblance between 1999 me and 2006 me, but imagine what it must be like for your neighbors, coworkers, classmates, people at work and school you barely interact with to describe you unfiltered and in complete detail. These people are told that you won't find out what they say, and are asked detailed questions about your affiliations, character, and if they think you should be trusted with state secrets.

Some companies do 360 degree evaluations on their employees, but I think everybody should get one about their character.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Internet(s): What ever happened to...?

Just last week, Mary, Rob, and I were fondly remembering Kozmo. When I worked at AAAS, on more than one occasion we each ordered a pint of Ben & Jerry's at 3:00pm.

There is some chatter today on CNN Money about Napster's desire to get bought like a cheap whore. Which made me wonder, "what ever happened to that tool Shawn Fanning, who invented Napster instead of doing his homework and going to class?"

Turns out he started another company called SNOCAP that MySpace is planning to use for music delivery. His company bio, however, proves that he's still a tool:



Out of the frat, and into the bay...

Borat on Puppies

This apparently never aired:


Borat: Could I train her?
Woman: Uhh...probably not to sniff out a Jew.
Borat: Why not?
Woman: Because Jews are Jesus' children. She probably love Jews.

Sacha Baron Cohen is a fucking maniac.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Iota Kappa Awesome

Will likes to use the word awesome, and once told me he invented his own frat in college called "awesome". I decided that wasn't Greek enough and renamed it Iota Kappa Awesome.

Will IMed me to ask where Amy and Mary were:
Will: is amy and mary up at that convention this week?
theAlphaJohn: yeah
theAlphaJohn: back thursday i think
Will: nice
theAlphaJohn: lucky them
Will: yeah
Will: i was going to ask if i could go
Will: hahaha
theAlphaJohn: i'm hoping this report will be done by the time they get back
theAlphaJohn: we should go to another conference will
Will: the awesome conference ?
Will: because i am already signed up for that one
theAlphaJohn: i think Electronic Awesome(TM) is in Amsterdam next weekend
Will: yes!!!
theAlphaJohn: let's go
theAlphaJohn: bring a spare liver
Will: hahaha
theAlphaJohn: and the corporate card
Will: for real
theAlphaJohn: god i need a vacation from all this

Without giving too much away, we have a new hire in the food chain who (so far) has been very impressive:
theAlphaJohn: have you met [new hire]?
Will: i don't believe so
theAlphaJohn: i'm totally in love
Will: hottie?
theAlphaJohn: not because she's hot (she is attractive), but she's like the most professional person who works here
Will: oh nice
theAlphaJohn: the hottness is just a bonus
Will: that is unusual
theAlphaJohn: she was like "we need to tell each other when we're working on major projects so we don't duplicate effort"
theAlphaJohn: she used like 4 buzzwords in an hour, all correctly
theAlphaJohn: she's visionary and organized
Will: WOW
Will: i want to work for her
Will: duplicate effort
theAlphaJohn: and she looks good in a sleeveless tank
Will: and she was at that meeting?
theAlphaJohn: yes
Will: nice
theAlphaJohn: she's [redacted]'s peer
Will: k
theAlphaJohn: only she smells like peaches
Will: someone's got a crush ;)
theAlphaJohn: smart women get me every time dude
Will: yeah
theAlphaJohn: like not nerdy
theAlphaJohn: we had an oracle consultant who mentored me at Science when I was like 20
theAlphaJohn: she had her own business during the 90s and sold at the top of the dot.com lunacy and then just kept doing things on her own
theAlphaJohn: she was prob in her late 30s and just a knockout
Will: nice
theAlphaJohn: and she'd get rambling about transportable tablespaces and i just drifted off ... ...
Will: hahaha
theAlphaJohn: usually you expect "hot" to disguise "dumb"
theAlphaJohn: when hot disguises brilliant, that's when i lose my cool
Will: nah
Will: smart is hot
Will: when the physical hotness matches smart hotness
Will: it's like
Will: what up? you come here often?
theAlphaJohn: LOL
theAlphaJohn: umm....sup....you uh...need a drink?
theAlphaJohn: when Will gets out his Iota Kappa Awesome frat tee
Will: hahaha
Will: what lady does not dig the Iota Kappa Awesome ?
theAlphaJohn: lesbians
Will: hahaha
theAlphaJohn: they are threatened by the awesomeness of IKA
theAlphaJohn: no keg stands, no usuall frat homo-ness
theAlphaJohn: just like...hours of awesome
Will: true that
Will: but they aren't "ladies"
theAlphaJohn: they're more like young gym teachers
Will: just because you rock a vag, doesn't mean your are a lady
theAlphaJohn: LOL
theAlphaJohn: we should put up fliers for Iota Kappa Awesome and see if anybody wants to pledge it
Will: hahaha
Will: sweet
theAlphaJohn: we'll make a logo and be like "our frat takes men, girlie boys, and lesbians, but no emo dorks"
Will: i am down
Will: no emo kids
theAlphaJohn: then make it like a pyramid scheme
theAlphaJohn: and get rich $$$
Will: hahahahaha

Friday, October 20, 2006

How do I move to this alternate reality???


Washington Post writer Peter Baker speculated today about two scenarios: Bill Clinton as First Husband, and Bill Clinton as Vice President.

The prospective presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton has given rise to plenty of speculation about the notion of Bill Clinton as the nation's first gentleman. But what about another role? How about, say, vice president?

[...]

"In preventing individuals from being elected to the presidency more than twice, the amendment does not preclude a former president from again assuming the presidency by means other than election, including succession from the vice presidency," they wrote. "If this view is correct, then Clinton is not 'constitutionally ineligible to the office of president,' and is not barred by the 12th Amendment from being elected vice president."

Others share that opinion. Three former White House lawyers consulted by The Washington Post (two who served President Bush and one who served Clinton) agreed that the amendment would not bar Clinton from the vice presidency. A federal judge, who noted that he has "no views on the matter," said the plain language of the amendment would seem to allow Clinton to "become president through succession."


Even though it will never happen, I will probably skip for the entire rest of the day.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

18 years...in 96 pages


Back in March, I requested a copy of my FBI file. I called about two weeks ago to see what the status was, and got a voice mail last week that it had been sent for printing and should arrive this week.

When I got home today, all 96 pages were there in my mailbox. I read the entire thing tonight in two sittings, and now I'm digesting...

Robot Humps

Surprise, George sent this.

New Scientist: Imagine Earth without people

A fascinating article in New Scientist that talks about what would happen if people disappeared from Earth tomorrow:

All things considered, it will only take a few tens of thousands of years at most before almost every trace of our present dominance has vanished completely. Alien visitors coming to Earth 100,000 years hence will find no obvious signs that an advanced civilization ever lived here.

Yet if the aliens had good enough scientific tools they could still find a few hints of our presence. For a start, the fossil record would show a mass extinction centered on the present day, including the sudden disappearance of large mammals across North America at the end of the last ice age. A little digging might also turn up intriguing signs of a long-lost intelligent civilization, such as dense concentrations of skeletons of a large bipedal ape, clearly deliberately buried, some with gold teeth or grave goods such as jewelry.

[...]

But these will be flimsy souvenirs, almost pathetic reminders of a civilization that once thought itself the pinnacle of achievement. Within a few million years, erosion and possibly another ice age or two will have obliterated most of even these faint traces. If another intelligent species ever evolves on the Earth - and that is by no means certain, given how long life flourished before we came along - it may well have no inkling that we were ever here save for a few peculiar fossils and ossified relics. The humbling - and perversely comforting - reality is that the Earth will forget us remarkably quickly.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Opie & Anthony: Fatty Pig Fatty tee shirts



Apparently Brother Elmo made a tee shirt for the Fatty Pig Fatty contest (previously mentioned). Rumor has it that a new 530lbs ringer is coming in next week to break the scale.

::oink::