Thursday, August 28, 2008

Overcome With Emotion; Or, I Got Something in My Eye

It has been a while since I cried. In fact, I can't remember the last time... But yesterday something happened.

I came home from work and immediately took Leia outside for her afternoon/evening walk. Then we came back in. So far, it was a usual weekday.

Typically, we leave the TV audio on during the day for the dog. And Leia especially likes to listen to CNN.

As you know, the Democratic National Convention is going on this week. CNN is covering it. Last night, I sat down to watch the roll call of all states, districts, and territories. For a few seconds, each state gets to represent itself as it submits its delegate votes for presidential nominee.

The roll went on for about thirty minutes until it reached New Mexico. New Mexico yielded its vote to Illinois, who had passed on its vote earlier in the roll call (I have no idea what any of this means).

Illinois, represented by Chicago's Mayor Daley, after first proclaiming Illinois to be the home of the 2008 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, then yielded to the state of New York.

At this point, the hall was chaotic. There were people everywhere yelling and screaming and pushing and shoving. Then it became apparent that there was a small group of people trying to make their way from the back of the hall to the area where New York was positioned.

Eventually, Hillary Clinton appeared out of the mass of humanity and moved to suspend the rules of the convention and halt the roll call thereby nominating Obama by acclimation.

The hall went nuts.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, recognized the motion by Clinton and asked if anyone seconded the motion... and every hand went up with the sound of a thousand people yelling the same thing: "I second the motion!"

I hadn't realized what I was witnessing until I saw images of grown men standing in that hall with tears streaming down their faces. It was official. Our country, our Democrats, nominated an African-American man to run for president.

Regardless of what you think of his policies, it was difficult not to realize we had just been a witness to a truly historic event. I am more full of hope for our country now than I have ever been.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stories of P

There I was sitting in the bathroom stall eating my lunch (don't ask) when all of a sudden a man (hopefully) burst into the bathroom and not 1.5 seconds later let loose a pony keg of urine so forceful I thought I'd certainly feel some splash-back twenty feet away from behind the stall wall. I mean, this guy must've been unbuttoning his pants halfway down the hall as he was walking (running?) toward the bathroom. That, or he's wearing sweatpants today. Because, you know, with sweatpants you can just pull 'em down in front and access to the wang is less than 1.5 seconds away. We're probably talking about hundredths of a second between deciding to whip out the wang and the wang seeing light of day.

But I reckon this guy isn't wearing sweatpants. Which means A. His pants were unzipped and hanging off his hips before he walked in, and B. He really, really, really had to go. Hence the fire hose strength stream he unleashed.

On a side note, what's up with those power streams? Is there a pelvic muscle I'm not exercising? Am I less of a man if the strength of my stream rivals that of a little girl spitting milk out of a straw?

Oh, and the dude didn't wash his hands either. He didn't even fake it by turning on the water for a few seconds to give me, the guy in the stall, the illusion that fellow coworkers/toilet users aren't disgusting slobs. So as far as I'm concerned, there's pee all over the fax machine and conference table.

One more thing: I didn't eat lunch in the bathroom. I lied. Because lies make stories better. Face it, we'd all be much more entertained if we all lied to each other.

Christianity Explained... Finally

Monday, August 25, 2008


(Every Star Wars fan just chuckled.)

Monday Versus Terrible Malfunctioning Giant Robots

Things I did over the weekend:

1. Helped Lynette find a sewing machine.
2. Read comic books.
3. Took Leia to the park.
4. Made baked ziti.
5. Watched the Olympics.
6. Wore clothes.
7. Ate food.
8. Stood up and sat down several times.

We journeyed throughout northern Virginia this weekend to find the perfect sewing machine for Lynette. We found one. You can read about it on her blog (when she updates it). We also hit a couple fabric stores. She's got lots of projects in the works.

Also, I watched the Olympic closing ceremony last night and realized that I will truly miss it. I was enjoying the games. And Beijing did a wonderful job (regardless of what you think about their politics). I applaud China.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Edna St. Vincent Millay; Or, Cannonball!

This photo of Edna St. Vincent Millay was in the Post last week accompanying a great article about her estate. She prided herself on her garden which contained this swimming pool. The pool was hidden by various trees and overgrowth. Apparently, the poet and her liberal friends often frolicked naked here. I just can't get over the beauty of this photograph.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Things I Might Be Doing This Weekend

1. Reading comic books.
2. Walking Leia.
3. Eating and sleeping.

(In other words, nothing.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Friday, Everybody!

Gotta love the F days. Who doesn't love Fridays? If you don't love Fridays you can burn in Hell. Just kidding. Maybe you like Saturdays more. Whatever, Trevor.

Here's a list of neat things:

1. Comic books (Duh, haven't you been reading my blog?)
2. Girls competing for gold medals in bikinis.
3. Willie's Place on XM13
4. Yellow legal pads.
5. Vicky Christina Barcelona got great reviews. I might want to see it.
6. Taco kits (Just add meat!)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to Run a Business

Having no business education or experience of my own, I feel like I know a little something about running one. That's a joke, yes, but as a CONSUMER I know exactly what will get me to come back to a certain store.

(BTW, I kind of do know a little something about business - or rather keeping customers happy - because I was taught by the greatest businessman I have ever known: Steve Grechis, owner of The Huntley Dairy Mart, a small burger/ice cream joint I worked at when I was a teenager.)

Last night Lynette and I went to Nova Comics, our local comic book shop. (No, I didn't drag her there - she is showing an interest.) And the moment I walked in, Dave (shop worker and scarily knowledgeable comic book man) greeted me by name and handed me the comic books I had gone in there to get. The place was busy, too, because it was Wednesday, new comics day. And yet the guy still took the time to pull my name out of his head and retrieve the comic books I had ordered BEFORE I even reached the register.

THAT'S how you run a business. THAT'S how you get me to come back. Often. Treatment like that makes me want to go back for no reason. It makes me want to go there and buy something I don't want just to give the place more money. None of this closed on Sundays shit (RE: America Runs on Dunkin, July 21st post).

Another thing: customer service. Before I decided to jump back into the world of comics, I expected to deal with the elitist snobbery that one usually encounters at a comic book shop. But these guys at Nova Comics, they're friendly and helpful and generally enthusiastic about helping me spend my money at their establishment. I mean, duh, it's a no-brainer - it's about making money. Their goal is to make money.

And my money they shall have.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I recently made the decision to get back into comics. But this time I might not be alone.

Lynette has shown some interest in reading comic books. Especially, after picking up a new comic book titled Spiderman Loves Mary Jane, which is geared toward a young female reader. (For the record, it's a very good comic... men dig it, too.)

Yesterday, I was explaining to Lynette that I would need to make a trip to my local comic shop for new comics. Wednesday is the day new comics come out. And Lynette said she was excited to pick up the new Spiderman Loves Mary Jane. But I broke her heart a little when I explained that comics are only published monthly. Her new favorite comic just came out last week. She'll have to wait until the first week of September for issue #2.

Then she said something that made me realize that she might be hooked: "I'll have to get into a few more comics so that I have something to read while I wait."


And that's what reading/collecting comic books is all about. Filling up our time reading comics while we wait for more comics.

It's an addiction really. In the early 90s, I was heavily into comics. I couldn't stop. I needed more and more. But then I left home for Yellowstone National Park where there are no comic shops. I stopped cold turkey.

So today I'm going to a couple comic shops. I found one downtown where I work called Big Monkey Comics. It's a fifteen minute walk and it's a beautiful day. Then later tonight, Nova Comics, where I'll help Lynette get into a new title (or four). Maybe she'll enjoy X-men or Hellboy or even Superman.

Heck, it's no different than watching your favorite TV show. And Lynette loved Heroes on NBC.

Pretty soon we'll each have our own long box.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

I saw The Dark Knight over the weekend.

After mulling it over for a couple days, I'm ready to let you know what I think:

My opinion is quite simple... The Dark Knight is three movies...

1. As a regular, stand-alone type of movie, to be compared with all other movies, it's ok. Just ok. I mean it's an action movie and there's explosions and violence and good guys and bad guys chasing each other blah blah blah. But it's ok.

2. As a superhero/comic book movie, it's wonderful. Batman is finally portrayed in the dark light that it should've always been. This movie pleases us comic book nerds. It does the Batman brand name justice. And the direction is very stylish and cool.

3. As a Heath Ledger movie, it's phenomenal. If he hadn't of died, this role would have catapulted him into super-stardom. His portrayal of The Joker was nothing short of genius. As I was watching the movie, I found myself wanting more of him as The Joker. All the other stuff grew more and more annoying because it was keeping me from watching Ledger play The Joker.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Many Faces of JC

Today is my 35th birthday. I decided to compile a retrospective of my life via photographs. That way those of you who love me (openly or secretly) can reconsider your fantasies.

Anyway, I'd like to thank my mom, Karen, for getting pregnant. Sorry you had to deal with me in your body throughout the summer of '73. Tonight I raise my glass to you, ma.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cheese it! It's the Cops (Grammar Police, actually)

(from TechRepublic)

10 mispronunciations that make you sound stupid

  • Date: July 31st, 2008
  • Author: Toni Bowers

Right or wrong, people often judge you by the way you pronounce things. Say a word incorrectly and POW — they’ve pegged you as a provincial, poorly educated moron. Toni Bowers offers a list of commonly mangled words so you can double-check your own pronunciation.

Previously, TechRepublic ran an article about 10 grammar mistakes that make you look stupid. The examples cited involved the misuse of words in written and verbal communications. I’d like to go a step farther here and talk about words that may be used correctly but are pronounced wrong. They also may be much more flagrant examples of stupidity.

A caveat: My ear may be abnormally sensitive to mispronunciations since in college I developed an unnatural affinity for linguistics (can you say “Get a life?”). However, people often make snap decisions about character and intelligence based on their language biases, so it’s something you should be aware of. Here are some of my pet peeves, which you may or may not ever use in your life.

Note: This article originally appeared in our Career Management blog.

#1: Realtor

Many people — I’ve even heard it from people on national TV — pronounce this word REAL-uh-ter. Is this a case of wide-spread dyslexia, transposing the a and the l? It’s REAL-tor. That’s it. You’d think only two syllables would be easier to pronounce, but apparently not.

#2: Nuclear

Do you know how tough it is to be an advocate for the correct pronunciation of this word (NU-clee-er) when the president of the United States pronounces it NU-cu-lar? I don’t buy that it’s a regional thing. Ya’ll is a regional thing; nu-cu-lar is not.

#3: Jewelry

It’s not JOO-la-ree, it’s JOOL-ree. Again with the making things harder by turning a word into three syllables. What’s with that?

#4: Supposedly/supposably

The latter is a nonexistent word.

#5: Supposed to/suppose to

I think this one is more a matter of a lazy tongue than of ignorance. It takes an extra beat in there to emphasize the d at the end, but it’s worth it. And never omit the d if you’re using the term in a written communication or people will think you were raised in a hollowed-out tree trunk somewhere.

#6: Used to/use to

Same as above.

#7: Anyway/anyways

There’s no s at the end. I swear. Look it up.

#8: February/Febuary

As much as it galls me, there is an r between the b and the u. When you pronounce the word correctly it should sound like you’re trying to talk with a mouthful of marbles — FEB broo ary.

#9: Recur/reoccur

Though the latter is tempting, it’s not a word. And again, why add another syllable if you don’t need it?

#10: Mischievous/mischievious

I know, I know, it sounds so Basil Rathbone to say MIS cha vous, but that’s the right way. Mis CHEE vee us is more commonly used, but it’s wrong.

And last but not least, my personal all-time pet peeve — the word often. It should be pronounced OFF un, not OFF tun. The t is silent.

Facebook and Twitter and Monkeys Bathing

I'm on Facebook now.

Yes, just like everyone else. I had heard from more than one person within the last week that Facebook is where it's at. Initially, I excused it as another myspace-type website. I've been on myspace for years, but grew very tired of it and stopped visiting. Also, I'm not a twelve-year-old girl... so myspace sort lost its allure.

But after hearing testimonials from at least three different and unconnected people that Facebook was different, I decided to give it a whirl. I joined yesterday and within minutes (literally) I discovered a whole mess of my friends (current and old) on Facebook. I even connected with one of my favorite college professors who I haven't seen or spoken to in almost ten years.

Facebook is different. But very, very similar to myspace. The interface is cleaner and more straightforward. It feels like a myspace for adults. Or perhaps an evolved myspace. To me, it feels like Facebook is for people who grew out of sparkle fonts. (Don't tell anyone, but I predict we'll grow out of this one, too. Shh.) Regardless, it looks like people have made the shift over to Facebook. (On a deeper level, this is an exact product of the web's shift into Web 2.0.)

Bottom line: It's fun searching for friends and letting them all know what your favorite movies are.

I also began Twittering. On Twitter, of course. I joined Twitter over a year ago when it began. But never utilized it until this week. As I read more and more blogs, I kept spotting the Twitter badge on the sidebars. More and more people are twittering. So I figured I'd give that a whirl, too.

Twitter is hard to explain... Basically, you type in a sentence or two describing what you're doing at that moment. If I want to eat lunch, I can tell the world that I'm eating lunch. And I can even update my Twitter from my cell phone. "Jason is standing in line at the post office."

Riveting. I know. But this Twitter thing is huge right now. Yes, more Web 2.0 stuff, but it's important. This interactivity on the web is merely the beginning. Eventually, Twitter will die, or fade away. It'll be replaced by something bigger and even more interactive. (If I knew what that was I certainly wouldn't publish it here.)

So if you're 'puter savvy and want to jump into this new electronic movement, start a blog, join Facebook, and/or let me know when you're getting ready to take a dump via Twitter.

Or you can stick to the classics and watch this monkey take a bath:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Diversity Day

I just got out of diversity training.

Except, here we call it Cultural Competency Training. And as far as "competency" goes, we all fail.

I can't tell you how many times I wanted to get up and run out of the room screaming, fearing for the future of this country.

And I work in a major city! We're freakin' diverse! And yet... oh nevermind... why go on and on about idiocy?

Lesson learned from Cultural Competency Training: Keep your mouth shut and avoid saying something that makes you look like a complete moron.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chess King

Not really.

I played chess last night. My friend Max and I got together for a friendly session of chess in the courtyard. We decided to make the game a regular occurrence.

Yes, we're forming a chess club. Of course, the hardest part of forming a chess club is coming up with a snappy name. And with Autumn right around the corner, I need to order our satin jackets soon in which the club name shall be embroidered on the back.

Max suggested Pawn Pals. It might stick if no one can come up with something funnier.

Anyway, there we were, quietly playing chess. Slowly, more and more people began gravitating towards us. Max's wife, Chris, came out and read a book. Andrea came out and knitted. Sparky came out and studied for Acquisitions Law class. Martha and Eric came out to say hi. And Lynette finally arrived with a bag full of fancy food items purchased from Whole Foods.

It was a true feeling of community. The only thing we didn't have was a couple of guys playing with a Hacky Sack.

Wait a minute! We live in a dorm! Shit, we're back in college!

Good thing Max and I appear to be the cool ones.

BTW, Max kicked my ass and won all three games.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Anthropological Introduction to YouTube

This is a fascinating video. Let me first say that it is long. Nearly an hour. So make sure you set aside some time to view it. And view it you must. Especially, for the simple fact that you are reading my blog. You are a part of a larger community of what is now being coined as Wed 2.0. We are writing history. The global digital revolution is upon us and you are a part of it.

Watching this presentation makes me want to set up my web cam and say hello to you. And I think I just might...

(via Mental Floss)

Last Delivery

Jeff Hornagold of Crystal Lake, Illinois worked as a UPS driver for twenty years before he died last week. His best friend Micheal McGowan provided a fitting tribute for the funeral. McGowan, another UPS driver, delivered the casket containing Hornagold’s body from the funeral home to the church in a UPS truck. See a video report here

(via Mental Floss)

Pink Vader finds your lack of faith disturbing

The San Diego Comic Con is wrapping up this weekend. It's the largest comic book convention in the country and it draws many different types of people. Like any normal person would do, fans of various movies and TV shows usually show up wearing costumes. Here is a list of the best Star Wars costumes from Comic Con this year.