Friday, September 1, 2006

Biggun

Meh, well, I had to find it eventually.

Posted by mike at 02:08 PM | Internet , School | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Quotidian

One of my favorite movie quotes ever, from Syriana:

Bryan Woodman: But what do you need a financial advisor for? Twenty years ago you had the highest Gross National Product in the world, now you're tied with Albania. Your second largest export is secondhand goods, closely followed by dates which you're losing five cents a pound on...You know what the business community thinks of you? They think that a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's where you'll be in another hundred years, so on behalf of my firm I accept your offer.
Emphasis added for the bit I like best.. Of course, the movie is about a fictional country, but there are actual Mid-East countries where oil accounts for 90+% of exports. Hopefully they can see the end coming and will increase civil liberties and invest in education and other industries before the cash flow dies out. Actually, I think that was a point raised in the movie...

Which reminds me—I wonder what Alexander Siddig (formerly known as Siddig El Fadil) is up to these days. It doesn't seem like he's done much since Deep Space Nine, but then again, anybody would want to take some time off after being on a long-form dramatic series for seven years...

Posted by mike at 09:25 AM | Movies | Comments (0)

Lucky Number Thir13en

Apparently you can thank my crappy love life for the falling gas prices. Just kidding, but here is an interesting lesson about how the human mind works:

It's fun to watch gas prices go down for the last few weeks. I'd been visiting TwinCitiesGasPrices.com every few days at work this summer. Actually, I don't like the site layout much at all, and it's chock full of ads, but they do have a fairly nice graph of where gas prices are going. Anyway, I'd been checking regularly over the summer to see whether things were going up or down, and it's probably helped me save a little bit of cash, though not a whole lot.

Like lots of people, I figured that the big leak up in Prudhoe Bay and the ensuing reconstruction of crude oil pipelines would cause fuel prices to rise. However, exactly the opposite happened—gas is cheaper now than it's been for months. It was a fun game to pull up the page every few days note that "Gas is cheaper than it's been in a month." "Oooh, cheaper than it's been in two months." "...Three months." "...Since April!" Wait. April?

Well, a certain someone has been on my mind the last few days (since I found her MySpace account), so I couldn't help but notice a correlation. Just under five months ago was She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's birthday. Well, big woop. But wait, I sent her a note—an apology—at the beginning of September. (We had a brief e-mail interaction 18 months ago, which probably didn't go over well. She's written—literally—two words to me since then.) Numbers have been falling ever since the start of the month. That's kind of freaky:

But, honestly, I've seen things like this happen many, many times in the past. This one is unusual in that I can actually present evidence. Usually, I see or hear something that is a reminder, but which can't be quantified in any way. For instance, I heard a few songs on Saturday when I went out to lunch.

Arby's had the station tuned to KS95, and they had "The Freshmen" by The Verve Pipe playing as I sat down to eat—a song that was popular during my senior year of high school and which had significance to me because I first crossed paths with this girl in freshman year. Since I haven't listened to pop radio for many years now, I couldn't place the next song, but "high school" was mentioned repeatedly. The last song I heard as I headed out was "Lightning Crashes" by Live. I didn't think of the title until today (when a song has a line that goes, "Her placenta falls to the floor," you don't need song titles), but even that seemed appropriate for the weekend. I'd updated my MySpace profile to mention that "I've waited for lightning to strike a few times" in regard to my love life. Of course, I can't remember when I added that—I'm pretty sure it was late Friday, but I might have subconsciously thought of lightning after hearing the song.

Anyway, the album for that song came out in 1994, late in my freshman year. It was recorded at Pachyderm Studio near Cannon Falls, MN, which is another thing that freaks me out a bit. But heck, to try to put things into perspective, it was KS95, home of pop hits for "The '80s, '90s, and Today." Both "Lightning Crashes" and "The Freshmen" were chart-topping hits in the 1990s. It's just coincidence. Okay then, how about those other things that I saw this weekend involving one of my favorite TV shows, the Magic 8 Ball, and the 1972 version of Solaris (aka Solyaris)? Yeah, that's just random too.

So, my weekend was a little weird, but I'm pretty much accustomed to that sort of stuff happening to me. It'll soon fold into the white noise of weirdnesses I see with regularity. I'm sure I've grasped pretty hard at a few straws anyway. Still, I figured I should give a few examples because I'm not sure if my friends have known what I've gone through over the years.

Anyway, I'm also trying to show how this probably affects all of us in larger ways than we may realize. Since the centerpoint of this post is a big graph, I'll mention something that we see graphed all the time—stocks. At the end of the day, we always hear "stocks dipped lower today on news that company X lowered profit forecasts by 15%." As the Car Talk guys would say, I think that is booooo-gus! I just have big doubts that stock analysts can really figure this out most of the time. Data mining also bugs me for the same reason, but there are companies and governments who use that for making life-and-death decisions. Well, we all know the saying: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Of course, the analysts are right often enough to keep their jobs. As for the rest of us, miracles happen often enough to keep us guessing. I have a friend who found herself in the worst moment of her life one day, then three days later had an old door reopen. Well, the situation hits too close to home for me to go into more detail, but it's one instance where everything fell into place, almost like a movie. I'm glad for her, but I try not to think about it very often since it gives me a little too much hope for my own situation. Ah well, something will work out for me someday...

[Edit, moments later: Agh! And what is the highlighted article on Yahoo!'s most popular page just after I finish writing this? An article about "telephone telepathy."

Many people have experienced the phenomenon of receiving a telephone call from someone shortly after thinking about them -- now a scientist says he has proof of what he calls telephone telepathy.

[...]

"The hit rate was 45 percent, well above the 25 percent you would have expected," he told the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. "The odds against this being a chance effect are 1,000 billion to one."
Stop that, dammit! Grr.]

Posted by mike at 08:50 PM | School | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Bull

I saw a Lamborghini Espada today.

Posted by mike at 12:20 PM | Car | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Saskatchewan

The Guthrie added another showing, so I'm going to see The Great Gatsby on Sunday. I'll have to see how similar the stage is, since I saw Hamlet earlier in the year at the old theater. Yeah, this is mostly for bragging rights.

Posted by mike at 11:21 AM | News | Comments (0)

Edinburgh

I know I'm not the only person who dislikes the British use of "quit" as a synonym for "exit" (also four letters and only 50% different!) or "leave". Usually this shows up in headlines for articles from Reuters or the BBC. Here's one from The New York Times: Africa Monitors Threatening to Quit Sudan (here's BugMeNot if you need it).

Posted by mike at 03:54 PM | War | Comments (0)

Friday, September 8, 2006

Fingerling

We got gifts today at work. New pens to commemorate the completed merger of SCUR with CipherTrust. They've got USB drives in the top half, which is kind of neat. The main downside is that they're a bit dated—64 MB with only a USB 1.1 interface (12 Mbit/s). But hey, it's better than another clock with no numbers.

Posted by mike at 05:35 PM | Work | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Phthalates

Zuh? The Simpsons returns for the season on Sunday! Two months earlier than normal! Usually, new regular episodes don't air until November, after the Halloween special.

Posted by mike at 04:56 AM | TV | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Twin Town High

Ugh, my back decided to seize up this morning. Fortunately, I have some leftover meds—I usually don't have any since I usually don't need them. Unfortunately, I can't get to the Guthrie today.

Anyway, last night I went to see the Shoe Shiners at 7th Street Entry. One of the band members is a cousin through my grandma's marriage. They're definitely good, with most of the band members just 14 (the drummer is 12). Anyway, they were one of the opening acts for Melodious Owl, who I've heard on 89.3—but I had no idea that they were also high-schoolers (well, not anymore, they're off to start college this year).

Posted by mike at 12:27 PM | Music | Comments (0)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy Ending

Yeah, it's five years later. Our country could be in such a different place right now, but we are where we are. Well, I could go on a diatribe, but today is actually a good one.

I heard from Erik last night for the first time in a while. We'd met up in Fargo over Christmas since he was visiting his parents, but then his old e-mail address went the way of the dodo and I hadn't heard from him for a while. Anyway, now the ol' address book is getting updated.

Speaking of which, I heard from Dave for the first time in ages a few days ago. I sent him a note saying something like "Glad to see your mortal coil is still bouncing." Heh, I crack myself up. (Nah, it's not that funny—but a tad punny..)

So, today was Missy's birthday, and I sent her a quick message. Turns out she's engaged now (for a week), which is good to hear, and she got her ring today. Her new fiancÚ is actually an old beau—they both had previous marriages fall apart at the same time, and ended up getting back together. Well, considering how rotten her first husband turned out to be, I doubly hope that things will work out this time around.

Posted by mike at 09:35 PM | Erik , School , September 11th | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Number Five Is Alive!

I haven't seen video of it, but the transcript of Keith Olbermann's 9/11 rant is getting passed around by a lot of people.

Um. The weather was nice for a little while today. There were actual shadows while I was out to lunch. Too bad that the place I was walking to, Quizno's at University Village, has now closed. They always seemed busy enough to me, but I guess not. But then again, there's a new building going up across the street—maybe they got a better deal over there.

It was quite cool in the morning, though. I'm really glad that my car has an auxiliary heater—I can feel warm air within about 90 seconds, though my commute is still too short for the cabin to actually warm up. But hey, that's what the heated seats are for ;-)

Posted by mike at 04:05 PM | Car , Food , September 11th , TV , Weather | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Million Miles

Oo. Did I mention my car has heated rear-view mirrors (defoggers)? They work!

Posted by mike at 09:02 AM | Car | Comments (0)

Nostradamus

Hmm, the tip of my nose has been getting a little ticklish feeling for the last several days. A little odd.

The weather turned out nice today. I wasn't so sure where it'd end up since my car was completely covered in dew this morning (hence my previous comment about defoggers).

Posted by mike at 03:27 PM | Self , Weather | Comments (0)

Spooky Action at a Distance

It's kind of creepy that the CIA actually advertises. But, I suppose doing it during MythBusters makes sense.

Posted by mike at 10:01 PM | TV | Comments (0)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hammertime

Oo. Found my pants. That would have been kind of weird to lose two within about two weeks—it's not like I ever take them anywhere.

Posted by mike at 07:28 AM | Abode | Comments (0)

Not the Mama

Heh. Ever wonder what would happen if a Smart Car married a Unimog?

Smart ForFun2 monster car

That.

Posted by mike at 11:23 AM | Car | Comments (0)

Monday, September 18, 2006

As the Cheryl Crow Flies

I went to Fargo for the weekend to visit Grandma and show off my wheels. My car did well on the trip—it can get there with only half a tank. I filled up there, so and looks like I got a shade under 40 mpg for a combined cycle of about 40% city/60% highway for my trip up and the weeks preceding. The driving wasn't bad for the most part until I came back and had to wait in traffic while folks passed a road sign that was broken. Eh? That's nothing. Ah well, that spot is always bad anyway—just before I-94 gets three lanes in each direction.

Posted by mike at 02:26 PM | Car , Family , Weather | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bullocks

Oh good. My Internet gateway failed for the second time in about six months. I'm not sure what's wrong with it, since there aren't any obvious issues (no burning smell, no blown capacitors that I can see). It started making more noise yesterday, but the weather's been getting cold and computers often change their tune as the temperature and/or humidity drifts around... One of the two fans in the power supply has either failed, or doesn't turn on when the system is cold, but that doesn't appear to be the source of the noise.

Well, I guess it's time to research more a more solid-state design. Of course, I'd probably be willing to get a Netgear or somesuch—if they would let traceroutes go through! Hmm. I'll have to ask my cube neighbors about my company's low-end SnapGear boxes. I suppose I could get a discount, and that'd be cheaper than building a new system if something major has gone wrong.

Posted by mike at 07:42 AM | Abode , Hardware , Internet | Comments (0)

Honk

Oo. I was wrong about my mileage—I actually got just over 41 mpg on my last tank. I think I was remembering 12.556 gallons, while I actually put in 12.155. Lifetime average so far is 39.11 mpg and climbing. I'm surprised to see that this is my cheapest fillup so far, since I only paid $2.529 per gallon. It looks kind of high, but it works out to just over 6¢ per mile.

Posted by mike at 12:12 PM | Car | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Million Ways to be Cool

So, you need to have seen OK Go dancing in the backyard for "A Million Ways" to get this, but here it is: OK Go on ice. Well, actually that's Utako Wakamatsu and Jean-Sebastien Fecteau, but they pull it off very well.

Found via Best Week Ever

Posted by mike at 10:09 AM | Music | Comments (0)

Short Shrift

Hammond's in a pickle.

Posted by mike at 06:25 PM | Car , TV | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Peebles

Huh. Amanda Peet looks kinda different between Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and the last place I saw her: The Whole Nine Yards.

Oh, yeah, I didn't really get into the second episode of Studio 60 as much as the first one. "The very model of a modern network TV show" bit was kind of amusing, but that might have flown over the heads of lots of people. Everything I know about Gilbert and Sullivan I learned from The Simpsons... Ah, Sideshow Bob, where would we be without your love of the musical? Then again, I think most people like musicals more than I do—I tend to avoid them like the plague.

Posted by mike at 01:27 PM | Comedy , Movies , TV | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

SexyBack

Scarlett's popular on Yahoo...
Is Scarlett Johansson really the Sexiest Woman Alive? I guess the folks browsing Yahoo News must think so.

...not that I'm disagreeing with anyone...

Posted by mike at 05:22 PM | Internet | Comments (0)