Friday, September 08, 2006

Costa Rica

Ok, so I'm a bad blogger. It seems that I only write anything when I return from an exotic locale.

We just returned from Costa Rica. I was there 12 years ago, and I was amazed at how built up the tourist industry has become. It's not quite Hawaii yet, but it's headed that way. We stayed at some very nice hotels. Last time I was there hot an cold running water was a rare commodity, but this time, we had all air conditioned rooms, cable tv (with many channels in English), and even a mini-fridge. It's still quite a bit cheaper than Hawaii, but not the $20/day level that I experienced in 1994 (more like $150/day).

But I don't think that the allure of Costa Rica is really the cost savings. It's the things that you find there that you can't find in other countries. For instance, you can see a sloth in the wild from 5 feet away, like this cute, lazy gentleman. We also saw monkeys, Aracari (smaller members of the toucan family), Agoutis which are 3 ft long rodent thingys, poisonous snakes and spiders, and many iguanas and other lizards (including the "Jesus Christ Lizard" who can run across the water). We also went on a night hike and met many varieties of Costa Rica's super-cute tree frog population, toured a butterfly reserve, and saw cranky wild crocodiles in a river.

You can see all of these creatures even with all the development, thanks to the forward thinking decision of the Costa Rican govenment to set aside 1/4 of the land in their country for nature reserves and national parks. So going there now is kind of the best of both worlds--comfortable accomodations a short distance away from amazing natural sites.

Another advantage of these parks is that they have some outstanding beaches. The one we went to, Manuel Antonio, allows your to swim in warm water on a relatively deserted beach with jungles behind it, take a nature hike through the park, and leave and go to a resturaunt a short walk away.

The other major destination that we visited was Arenal. It's an active volcano that continuously belches lava and volcanic rock. At night, it puts on one hell of show. Unfortunately, the memory card in our camera went belly-up so our Arenal pictures went into the void, but the view from our hotel's back porch at night looked a lot like this image. It was pretty cool to sit outside, drink beer and watch the volcano. Plus, the hotel that we stayed in, the Volcano Lodge, was a great place--excellent landscaping, food, pool area, etc.

We definitely want to go back and explore more of the country. Maybe in a couple of years. Here's a complete set of our pictures for your amusement.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


I just got back from 3 days in Singapore (plus 2 days travel time), and despite nearly constant exhaustion, I can report that the trip was sucessful and even a little bit relaxing as well. We went there to hold a sales training for our employees from Japan, India, Korea, Malaysia, and China. The training went pretty flawlessly and this allowed me and my colleagues to see a little bit of Singapore in the process.

Some Highlights:

Chili Crabs--One of Singapore's contibutions to world cuisine. It's a large malyasian crab deep fried in oil and then boiled in a mixture of tomato sauce, water, ginger, onions, soy sauce, red chilis, vinegar, and sugar. "Yummy" is an understatement. Even better, were the Pepper Crabs, essentially the same recipe, but replace the tomato sauce with an absurd amount of black pepper.

The Singapore Night Safari--The Singapore Zoo runs a tram ride through their park after hours which allows you to get up close and personal with some Malaysian animals like the Tapir, and to see (at a short, protected distance) some semi-nocturnal jungle cats when they are most active. I saw lions, tigers, and leopards running around and had some close encounters with 3 ft tall (5 ft wing span) fruit bats.

Little India--My Singaporean friend described it as the dirtiest part of Singapore. Of course, that is sort of like saying that it is the dirtiest part of an Intel clean room. Singapore is an immaculate, crime-free city that maintains it's place as the world biggest gated community with draconian law enforcement and liberal use of the death penalty. Little India is slightly less orderly, and the most vibrant, non-anticeptic section of Singapore that I found. Most importantly, it houses the Sim Lim Market--a five story mall for everything electronic and gadgety. I didn't buy, but I was tempted. Apparently when new electronics reach the ripe old age of two weeks from release, they are sold at 1/2 price.

I promise a Singapore part two post soon, but I'm about to collapse from exhaustion. So, for tonight, I'll leave it at that.

For more pictures click here.

--TinFoil Out

Saturday, April 29, 2006

RCRG Bout 2 Preview

While I wait for my embroidered rollerderby jacket to come in the mail from Sublime Stitching (hat tip to joygantic), I've been pondering the possibilities for bout two of the RCRG season tonight. Here are some things that I'll be looking for:

DLF v Sockit Wenches: This is a pretty dangerous matchup for the DLF. The speed of Grave Danger gave them no trouble last week, as the lovely ladies of the Revolution are still the biggest, baddest, blockers in the land, but the Sockit Wenches are different. Pia Mess has steadily improved and is easily in the top 5 jammers in the league, along with teammate Miss Fortune. We didn't get to see Drew Blood's full potential last year, since she was sidelined with a knee injury just when everyone's defense was getting good. I predict a close one, with some late game heroics from Burnett Down helping the DLF eek out a win. Also, a lot will depend on the health of Diva State--she is one of the best at knocking down the Sockit Wenches scrappy jammers. Watch the rivarly that's developed between BD and Miss Fortune, a lot of it is campy fun, but the hits are real, and Miss Fortune still hasn't been able to come out on the winning side.

Throttle Rockets v. Grave Danger--I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if Darth Skater, Interplanet Janet, and Dirty Little Secret are in, the Throttle Rockets (who will be sporting their new uniforms tonight), will win by 10-15 points. If not, expect a close one. I still think that GD is the biggest wildcard this year since they've added big blockers Katrina Whip and Canuckle Sandwich to anchor the defense of Basket Casey, and a great new jammer in Rollin Bayou. I just don't think tonight's their night. Give them another couple of months to integrate the new pieces, and I wouldn't want to play them.

See ya tonight. If you couldn't get tickets this time, they're moving to the bigger hangar next bout, but still, buy early if you don't want to get shut out.

--TinFoil Out

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Fantasy Basketball

I won my Fantasy Basketball league last night, which is a good way to end months of choosing lineups, trading players, and pouring over stats. For those who aren't familiar with the process, you "draft" a team of 13 NBA players, and decide which ten you'll play each week. You match up with another team, and you win or lose is based on how your players perform in each of 9 statistical categories (points, rebounds, steals, etc.). There are also rotisserie leagues which determine a champion based on the cumulative stats for the year--I'm not a huge fan of these--if you fall behind or your best players get injured it's really hard to catch up.

Some leagues let you change your lineup every day, but I find setting a weekly lineup more challenging because:
  • You have to factor in how many games someone will play in a given week. If you have a player that gets 20 points a game, but is only playing 3 games, you might bench the better player in favor of one who averages 16 points a game and is playing 4.
  • You might have some players miss time for injuries or other reasons, and there's nothing you can do to replace them until the following week. This adds a heavy element of chance.

That said, it's sort of an empty victory to win the league. The main reason is that the Fantasy Basketball season ends on the last day of the NBA regular season, and many teams who are headed to the playoffs rest their best players, and teams who are not going to the playoffs rest their veterans in favor of rookies. This makes the "finals" of fantasy basketball come down to who has the most players actually playing. Still it was fun--I ended up winning by 1 point: 763-762. Winning is good.

If anyone is interested in joining a league next year, let me know. It's free.

--Tinfoil Out

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Back in Seattle again

I got back from the UK yesterday evening. The jetlag was pretty heinous the whole time I was there. My manager and I were both on the 10pm-2am sleep schedule the whole time. I slept the entire flight home (9 hours) and then managed another 7 last night. That's the most I've slept in a two day period, well, ever.

Not much time to see London--we were in meetings in Reading continuously--but we did manage to make a whirlwind tour of Harrod's, Marks and Spencer, and Harvey Nichols followed by an outstanding dinner at Chutney Mary.

The business part of the trip was outstanding. Our UK team members are great and we managed to come to agreement on a lot of issues and plan for some upcoming events. I was sitting in a meeting at one point, and I realized that I was working with people originally from: Japan, Egypt, New Zealand, Germany, and Palestine. Our program is like that. I routinely meet people from all over the world . . . It's great to see that level or frendliness and cooperation in our global company.

--TinFoil Out

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Blogging from 30,000 ft

So this is pretty cool . . . I'm on my way to London on SAS, and they have the Boeing Connexion wireless service, which is allowing me to post this from the air over Canada. The service is as fast as our home wireless network and it's going to make the flight much more interesting and allow me to *ahem* "work" on the way to London. :)

I'm also in business class for the second time in my life, and it is the only really civilized way to travel IMHO. Plenty of leg room--seats that lay flat--champagne on takeoff--sleepmasks, booties, and earplugs provided. I feel like Louis XIV or something . . . er, if he ever . . . you know, actually . . . flew anywhere. I heard that Condi Rice had to sleep on the floor of her plane the other day so I'm clearly getting a better deal that the Secretary of State. I'm trying not to get used to it--we have an eternal flight to Orlando coming up and that one will be coach all the way. Also, next year, we won't have the budget for this level of tomfoolery. In the meantime, hee hee :)

*Breaking news*--The scented hot towels aren't half bad either

In other (not so breaking) news, we saw Sia at the croc last night. She was outstanding! I also got to hang with my peeps, Sally, Mark, Phil, Gina, wifey, and (briefly) Dia. Check out some pics at joygantic.

--(Mile-high) Tinfoil Out

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bout 1 Follow-ups and Bout 2 preview

It always warms my heart when the girls of the RCRG read the blog and respond. For those who don't comb over the comments of previous posts . . . some highlights:

  • Pris Toff let me know that the Throttle Rockets' new uniforms will be debuting at the next bout. No more tank toppy Throttle Rockets!
  • Someone calling himself the "the Professor" wrote in. (Dare I dream that it's the venerable Prof. Jake Stratton? His dissertation on "The Effects of Powerful Women Colliding with Innocent Spectators in a Vacuum" was riveting.) In any event, he provides the following update about the hair pulling fight in the DLF-GD bout: "It was D-Bomb of DLF (pronounced Da Bomb) who was pulling Femme Fatale's hair, dragging her along the ground. D-Bomb and Femme Fatale are real-life sisters, so expect that rivalry to explode this season as well!" At least they're keeping it in the family.
  • A sad note in the comments. PamOpticon . . . who is a great blocker, and whose Foucault-inspired name always added a literary component to the Rollergirls . . . has retired due to injury. Pam, you will be missed. Luckily for us, her new job is to "Stand in the middle and yell." Nice work if you can get it :)
  • mommacherry . . . who heroically allowed me to see most of the first bout by asking event staff to sit down . . . wants everyone to know that it's spelled "mommacherry" all one word, no caps. Clearly I should have checked the press guide on that one :)
  • Last, but not least--I mentioned how hardcore Burnett Down was for getting a tattoo of a heart with a "Roller Derby" banner. It turns out that many rollergirls got the mark when they attended a derby convention in Vegas this past year. Cherry Jubilee points out: "Four of the DLF girls have Roller Derby tattoos. In fact, a lot of RCRG girls got them in Vegas last year at RollerCon. Mine has my name in a banner across the skate, because I'm narcisistic like that. "
  • It wasn't only the DLF who got RollerDerby tats, though. The lovely and talented Jo Jo Stiletto of the Sockit Wenches got herself a derby tattoo too, but she decided to show her colors across the back of her neck. Tattoos on bone--ouchy. Tattoos on your spinal column--super ouchy. Jo Jo wins my (soon to be monthy) award for "hardcore-rollergirl-of the-month." Way to go Ms. Stiletto!

I can't wait for the next bout. I think that the Throttle Rockets and Grave danger match up is a huge wild card. They both underpreformed in bout 1, but both have a huge upside. If Darth is back, along with Dirty Little Secret and Interplanet Janet, anything can happen. On the other hand, if the no-longer-undersized Grave Danger might just beat down the Throttle Rockets if they can get their speedy little jammers through the pack.

For the DLF-Sockit Wenches bout. The Socikt Wenches have always created matchup problems for the DLF. In a meeting last year, Burnett Down had to upend Miss Fortune as time expired for the DLF twice to pull out the win. In a regular season 1 point victory--Burnett actually was the only person that Miss Fortune had to pass to tie (with disasterous consequences for Miss Fortune), and in the Semi-finals , Burnett had to pull out a pre-jam smackdown that all but sealed it. I think that the DLF is more more equipped defensively to handle the smaller, speedy jammers of the Throttle Rockets, and Grave Danger. But the tall, tough, wirey Sockit Wenches jammers always give them trouble. We'll see. I'm expecting a nail-biter here. The re-surgent Sockit Wenches are the biggest threat to the Revolution this year.

As I mentioned--If you haven't bought tickets yet . . . You're in danger of missing out. What the hell are you waiting for?

--TinFoil Out

Monday, March 27, 2006

RCRG Bout 1 Recap

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for my recap of the Rat City Rollergirls bout #1. The recap will probably not be as detailed as usual, as I made the mistake of sitting near the locker-room, which is a great, unobstructed view of the action--apparently the event staff and the mascots thought this too, since they stood in front of us for half the bout (shout out to Momma Cherry for making them sit down for a bit--but there's a special place in hell for Spike the Devil Dog--Someone needs to teach him to "sit"). Anyway, I won't make that mistake next time.

All bitching aside, of course the rollergirls were outstanding as always. All I can say is that the girls look pretty sharp for this early in the season, and although the scores were pretty lopsided in both bouts, I see more parity in the league this year. Some observations:

Sockit Wenches: The biggest surprise of the night had to be the Sockit Wenches' spank-down of the Throttle Rockets. Pia Mess picked up right where she left off last year--whipping by by the Throttle Rockets like they weren't even there, and I LOVE the almost-running-not-skating frenetic style of Miss Fortune. I also found myself thinking several times throughout the evening how big a blow it was to the Sockit Wenches to lose Drew Blood for much of last season--she's GOOD. The Sockit Wenches are going to cause serious problems for anyone who doesn't bring it hard this year. It they can use Jackie Hammer, Clobberin' Mame, and Shovey Chase effectively at blocker--it's going to be tough to beat them. They also pulled out a bit of little-known-rule trickey, when they took advantage of the once a game opportunity to switch the pivot and the jammer in the middle of a jam. I bet we'll be seeing more of that.

Sockit Wenches Trivia: I saw on the news the other night that one of the SW's fresh meat candidates (Hot Flash--#40 Something) is actually Miss Fortune's MOTHER. How freakin cool is that?

Throttle Rockets: I'm not to worried about the Throttle Rocket's long term prospects, and I stand by my prediction that we'll see TR and DLF in the finals this year again. TR was without the lovely and powerful Darth Skater, but their usual power jammers: Valtron 3000, Hurricane Lily, Astroglide (the list goes on an on) mostly came up empty. At least the announcers finally figured out that there are lots of sexual innuendos around Astroglide's name, though, which was refreshing and kept the bout interesting. As I mentioned there were some serious obstructed view moments for me so I could have just missed them, but where were Interplanet Janet and Dirty Little Secret? Possible rookie of the year candidate: Pris Toff.

Throttle Rockets' fashion notes:
Wins: Betty Ford Galaxy's two pairs of ripped up stockings, and the team's new star spangled warm-ups.

Loses: What's with the tank-toppy throttle rockets? Not a Judy Jetson dress in sight -- *sigh*

Grave Danger: Ok, I've been on the angry end of a few GD rollergirls for my frank comments about their not-goodness last year. This year, even though they got blown out by the DLF, I'm wondering if they could be 1000% tougher to beat once they get a chance to practice. Their "fresh meat" looks like rookie of the year material, and they are big, powerful girls. in warm ups I noticed that newbies Katrina Whip and Canuckle Sandwich, along with veterans Pam Opticon and Basket Casey (who is one of the top 5 defenders in the league), could provide a lot of air cover for the small but plucky jammers of GD. When they find the right combination to block for Femme Fatale, Bruise Lee, Tash-ya Around, etc--They'll be dangerous. Plus, Rollin' Bayou is a force to be reckoned with at jammer--she's my early favorite for rookie of the year.

Grave Danger advice of the week: Braid your hair. Lots of GD jammers have beautiful long locks. I didn't see for sure, but when Femme Fatale and an unidentified DLF staker got into it in the first half, I thought I saw some hair pulling. Best to braid.

DLF: What can I say that would add to the perfection that is DLF? Seriously, they were without Diva State, and they still cruised against a team that is much improved from last year. Burnett Down continues to play like the league MVP, jamming, playing perfect pivot, picking fights (I think Burnett and Basket Casey will be an interesting rivalry all year--kind of a Dennis Rodman v. Karl Malone thing). Kim Reaper and Hideous Braxley jammed well, and Kitty Kamikase laid some solid blocks. My girls are champions until someone takes it away (don't bet on it). Rookie of the year candidate: Ann R. Kissed (nice uniform btw).

DLF Trivia: I got a good look at Burnett Down's tattoo on her arm. You guessed it--it's a tribute to Roller Derby. Body modification--now that's dedication.

That's all til next time kiddies. TICKETS ARE ALREADY ON SALE FOR BOUT 2. Buy now.

--TinFoil Out

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Ok . . . I'd like to start this post by saying that when I log on to blogger . . . I invariably type "blooger" which invariably makes me laugh. I just thought you'd like to know :)

Anyway, on a less bloogery note (I just laughed again--pathetic really) you may have noticed that I haven't been engaging in the noble struggle to oust president Bush lately. The reasons for this are:

  1. I think that everyone (ok most people) know he's full of shit now.
  2. Even Republicans are trying to distance themselves from him.
  3. It's not as much fun to point out the obvious
When he was up for re-election, and his approval numbers were above freezing, I thought that I needed to change some minds. Now, I'll leave it to the professionals here, here, here, here and here.

I reserve the right to resume the political stuff when the mid-term elections approach next year. For now, Mr. Bush, you're off the hook from me (although I will point out that these "straight talking" press conferences are a disaster--the man can't think on his feet people!)

--TinFoil Out

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Roller Derby first bout may be sold out--Extra Tickets?

The online tickets for Saturday's RCRG bout are sold out. Their website says that some tickets may still be available by calling Concrete City Skate for in-person ticket sales at 206.782.6081. In case they are actually sold out . . . let me know if anyone has any extra tickets. I have a few friends who haven't gotten them yet.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rat City Rollers . . .

I just got that . . .or did I? Are the Rat City Rollergirls making oblique references to the Bay City Rollers? Or is there just the odd coincidence of the string "--- CITY ROLLER" in their names? It pretty much doesn't matter because THEY'RE BACK! (No, not the Bay City Rollers), but next Saturday Night, The RCRG are back with a vengence. It's a new season, and everyone is 0-0. That is, of course, until the 2005 Champions DLF sends all the other teams to the gulag archipelago (but more on that when it actually happens. Obvious bias from sports writers is so unseemly).

Buy Tickets--March 25th--Magnuson Park Hangar 30.

I haven't seen how the lineups have changed for the coming year but look for some more balanced standings throughout the year. By the end of the year last year, everyone was playing at a pretty high level, and this year there's no learning curve. Hopefully, Grave Danger has drafted a few girls who are 6'9" 280lbs to make up for their smallishness, and similarly, I hope that the Sockit Wenches have found some consistent blocking to augment their inherent pluckiness. Still, DLF and the Throttle Rockets have to be the teams to beat. I'd love to see them repeat their epic battle in the finals last year. A lot of great personalities emerged last year, but Darth Skater v. Burnett Down has become a genuine rivalry.

Yay--Rollergirls are back!

--TinFoil Out

Friday, March 17, 2006

New Coffee Table

So, when my parents were in town we looked for some new furniture. We went to Macy's outlet and found a new coffee table on sale. We bought it, and this has (of course) caused a ripple effect that has made us re-evaluate the placement and effectiveness of our current furniture. Our first thought was "this is such a HUGE coffee table," but now we're warming up to it. Now we're headed down the end-table-new chair, etc. path.

Just thought you'd all like to know :)

--TinFoil Hat

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Call girl update

I previously wrote about a strange situation in our neighborhood. For the past few months our house and our neighbors' house have occasionally been visited by surprised looking call girls. Today, I was on my way out to the store when a tall woman in a really short skirt and really high heels, walked up our driveway and asked "Are you Kevin?" I said no, and she quickly walked back to the car and drove away.

I left to go to the store and the car passed me as it came back, so I circled around got the license plate #. I find this all patently ridiculous, but the Jim Rockford in me just came out. The car then stopped, presumably to check the address and look for "Kevin's" house. I saw my neighbor outside, and screamed "Call girl!" at him. He said "Tall girl?" I said "CALL GIRL!" The amusing part is I have probably said ten words to the guy in two years, and now four of them are "Call girl" (x2)?

He ran over to the car and talked to the startled professional woman. She apparently wanted nothing to do with this situation, and she gave him "Kevin's" phone number. This should be over soon. Unless it's a payphone, I think the silly little prankster has made his last call. Someone owns this phone, and that's a pretty concrete lead. We just saw the Sheriff over at their place, and I'm anxious to hear how it comes out. My money's on some dumb neighbor kids. Anyone else care to speculate?

--TinFoil Out

Lost in Translation

I love jokes that result from bad translations. I was reading this post (via Boing Boing) and I started laughing so hard that I thought I would wake up Mikelle. It's a menu for a Japanese resturaunt that offers such delicious dishes as: "Fragrant bone in garlic with strange flavor" and "Ginger bumping milk (hot)."

For some reason, I find "bad translation" jokes irresistible. Trevor pointed out some great ones here, here, and here.

My favorite of all time was on the TV show News Radio, when Jimmy James (if you haven't seen the show, think of a less evil, bumbling Rupert Murdoch) writes a book called: Jimmy James: Capitalist Lion Tamer which is a total flop in the US, but the Japanese translation sells like crazy, prompting the publisher to issue an English version--translated back from the Japanese--which is now called Jimmy James: Macho Donkey Wrestler. The transcript of his first book talk is here. It's funnier when you see it, though . . . I'll see if I can find the video.

--TinFoil Out

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blogging to stand still

Ok . . . that headline made no sense. But I do feel like I've been running around an awful lot lately.

I conducted my first international conference call this evening--my manager said, "you can handle this one, right? "

Um--sure . . .

I left work, with plenty of time to run the call from home, got stuck in traffic on 405 forever, and made it home with 2 minutes to spare. I shut myself up in my home office, grabbed our wireless speakerphone, and got online.

All was well . . . "Hello Singapore . . . Hello Tokyo . . . Hello Beijing."

Status updates--action items--outstanding.

Then, the power goes out in Renton. Really. What are the odds? Of course, every phone we own, including the wireless speakerphone is an electricity dependant model, so I'm off the call.

Thank goodness for cell phones and 1-800 call in numbers. I was back on the phone in 2 minutes, and finished up the call. In the two hour blackout that followed I had a wonderful candlelight meal with the wife. When the power came back, I was back in email land. Technology is a harsh mistress and sometimes it's OK if she gives you a 2 hour break.

Not bad for my first full day with the new job. Meep.

--TinFoil Out

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Second run with the Tablet PC

One of the advantages of working for a tech-savy university is that you generally get to try out cutting-edge technology. In 2002, I got one of the first-gen tablet PCs, and I put it through its paces. I noticed quickly that my handwriting was WAY TOO POOR to work with the tablet-pen thing, and I could find few opportunities to flip the LCD around and start working in tablet mode. Now, I'm faced with my second tablet (it doesn't seem that much has changed)--and I'm trying to see what works and what doesn't.

First, I will say that I like that it is super light (it has an external CD/DVD drive, so I guess that makes sense). But it seems like there really haven't been any innovations since 2002 (Although I will admit that they have hidden the stylus/pen so well that it took me a week to find it). The handwriting recognition is better, but still sucky. I have trouble believing that this tech wll lead to the next big thing but I guess you never know . . .

-TinFoil Out


The nice thing about Netflix is that you can rent some obscure videos that you'd never seek out in the video store. I especially like it for series television (We've seen all the HBO shows, Sopranos, Deadwood, Carnivale, Six Feet Under, etc. this way.) Mikelle found us a true jem the other day with Action. This hollywood-is-a-cesspit series follows Peter Dragon (Jay Mohr), a big-name producer as he makes a shitty movie called "Beverly Hills Gun Club" (the climax apparently involves slaughtering endangered animals) with the help of his hooker-turned-associate producer (Illeana Douglas). This is the most cynical and rauncy show I have ever seen--and apparently it ran on broadcast TV (Fox), and there are hilarious guest appearances by stars like Keanu Reeves and Selma Hyak.

I'll throw this on the pile of brilliant Fox shows that were cancelled (Firefly, Arrested Development, Family Guy). I wish it had run on HBO or Showtime--I think it would have fit better on a more "adult" network.

--TinFoil Out

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where do I want to go today?

So, it's FINALLY official. I start Monday in my new position at Microsoft. I've been a contractor there for the past year, and I was working for an onsite vendor for the eight months before that, but now, I'm proud to say, I actually work for Microsoft directly. The position is similar to my contract job (it's in the same department), but it will involve more responsiblilty, more autonomy, and more travel.

I'm really happy to have this opportunity. It seems like it's been ages since I had a job that wasn't in some way temporary (almost three years to be exact), and I'm looking forward to a little stability. Plus, I'm really excited about the possibilites. Our department develops college talent all around the world and I think there's plenty of room for interesting work in that area.

I'm off to celebrate with the dog, the cat, and the wife.

--Tinfoil Out

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ok, figure this one out . . .

There have been strange doings in our neighborhood. Some of you may recall that a couple of months ago Mikelle reported that a call girl mysteriously knocked on our door, took one look at us, and said she had the wrong house.

A silly case of a hastily written address? Honest mistake? That's what we thought, and we found it oh-so-amusing.

But wait, there's more . . .

Yesterday, our neighbors came over to explain their recent "security" issues (I wasn't here, but Mikelle met them). Apparently they've received four visits over the past few months from, you guessed it, call girls who have the wrong house. Apparently it's even different girls each time. They are totally freaked out, and have purchased an expensive new security system. They're convinced that someone is trying to "case" the neighborhood to see who's home at what time.

I am more baffled by the events. Consider:
  • Wouldn't it be easier to sit in a van and watch people coming and going? The "call girl method" can't be the most efficient.
  • If I were "casing" a neighborhood, I'd try not to attract attention to myself. Sending random call girls to knock on doors isn't exactly subtle.
  • Mikelle asked the girl if she wanted to come in and use the phone. She said "no" and walked away without so much as looking at the interior of our house. Again--when casing, it's probably a good idea to get inside the place and evaluate the loot.
  • If you were casing (I just like using that word), would you do it for almost two months? I mean, it's not exactly Ocean's Eleven here--we have a few crappy things, but no Hope Diamond or anything.
  • I tend to think that this is someone's idea of a joke. And while it's a little bit funny to send call girls to suburban homes (sort of an adult upgrade to sending 100 pizzas to a friend's house in high school), but I would think that you could do it exactly once before the call girl powers that be ignore it as a prank, or send someone to break-a-you-legs.

Does anyone have any insight into why this might be happening? If this were an episode of CSI, I'd turn it off as an implausible fiction. Why is our neighborhood so weird?

--TinFoil Out

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Red Eye

About to go to the airport for the dreaded red-eye flight. It was the only way to get to Dayton in time for the awards dinner without missing 2 days of work. I don't really sleep on planes, but I'll try my damndest to see what a bit of Scotch and Benadryl can do.

I've travelled a lot less in the last few years, and my flying muscles aren't what they used to be. Rumor has it that I'll be headed to Singapore in May, Orlando in July, and god knows where after that. Better start working on travel strategies.

Wish me luck. The blog will likely be quiet this weekend, but will return Monday at its regularly scheduled time (check local listings).

--TinFoil Out

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Late night sick blogging

No, not "sick" as all the young kids use it (i.e. cool x 10 but in an extreme way), actually sick. Hopefully, I'm on the downside of a flu that was most certainly brought on by excessive merry-making at the Girl Trouble Burlesque on Saturday. It was a GREAT show, and I had a hell of a time. The non-girl related highlight for me was a cameo (via video) by that famous blogger Mark , reprising his halloween persona as "Tinkerhell" in Cinderella-like tale of a floor scrubber turned spring factory worker turned burlesque performer.

You kinda had to be there.

Aclaimation of the Big Giant Cat continues. He has now been within a few feet of the pug for long periods of time, without openning any cans of whoop-ass. Of course, the pug has mostly been restrained on a harness, but we're seeing some progress here.

In other news, I'm flying to my native Dayton, OH this weekend to see my Dad get an Award for his more than 30 years of service to University of Dayton as a professor in the English Department. My parents are then flying up to Seattle for a few days the next week. I'm hoping that my work situation will be sufficently resolved by then (it should) so that I can take a day or two off to spend extra time with them.

That's all for now. Time to take NyQuil and try to drift off.

--TinFoil Out

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Didn't they have a bigger one . . .?

My intrepid wifey-pants made good on her drunken rant last night and got us an as yet unnamed cat from the shelter. He is the BIGGEST CAT I HAVE EVER SEEN, but he's really sweet and inquisitive. We've briefly introduced him to Fergus (under controlled conditions) and our new giant houseguest didn't turn our pug into swiss cheese--yet. If they don't get along, it's a deal breaker, so I hope they make nice. Otherwise, we have a two-week grace period to take him back. I hope we don't have to, because he's awfully cute.

Suggestions for names?
--Tinfoil Out

Friday, February 17, 2006

Battlestar Historica

Tonight's Battlestar Galactica was outstanding, and I think it was a milestone in TV Scifi. The reason is that Ron Moore, who cut his chops as a writer for Star Trek: The Next Generation, finally faced what is the toughest standard in SciFi . . . The Wrath of Khan plot. For the uninitiated, Ricardo Montalban is Khan, the super-human genius that Captian Kirk wronged in the orignial Star Trek series (actually, Kirk was quite reasonable given that Khan tried to take over his ship and he still left Khan on a paradise planet with the woman Khan loved . . ., but still, Khan felt ill-used). Anyway, Kirk makes some mistakes. Khan outsmarts him, and Kirk is left to salvage the situation. The bottom line is: he can't. He's defeated Khan, but Khan's last revenge is to take the life of Kirk and his crew (paralelling the Kobayashi Maru test). Kirk should be defeated, but heroically, the always logical Spock sacrifices himself for everyone, and they escape.

Not in the BSG version--A great script that places all of the fuck-ups on the commander of the Battlestar Pegasus, Col. Jack Fisk, who is not equipped to command, and who falls into a Cylon trap (a la Kirk), and in a very non-Kirkian manner, Moore has him abdicate his command responsibilities to Lee Adama (imagine if Kirk had left the bridge in a tense moment and said "Chekhov, you have the con."). Fisk unexpectedly proceeds to play the Spock role and fix the ship at the cost of his own life, just in the nick of time. Ron Moore managed to turn one of the greatest Sci-fi movie memes of all time on its head. "The needs of the many, do not . . . outweigh . . . the needs of the few (or the one)" until push comes to shove and imperfect people make heroic (imperfect) decisions. A hero is one man's idiot, but even if you made the mistake, you can still save the day.

It's one of the best things Ron Moore has ever produced (with the possible exception of Carnivale), complicating "heroes" in a time when we're forced to do that in America as well. In case he wasn't facing enough, Moore also had this episode deal frankly with the issue of abortion. See if you see that featured on American Idol or CSI or any of the "flavors of the week."

For those non-geeks who don't follow this thread--I pity you. Please watch good television and look up from the drool-inducing America's top-Idol-Model-Survivor-Idiot-Jackass brand of television.

And for all of those who would like to make comparisons to Commodore Decker in the ST:TOS episode "Doomsday Machine," don't even go there. Totally different.

--TinFoil Out

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Generation Y

I've had a project proposed to me at work that amounts to, "Do some research and figure out this generation Y thing" (born 1979-1994). The organization that I work for in interested in hiring employees straight from college, so it's a great question to ask. I think we have a lot of preconceived notions about them:
  • They're used to having coaches, counselors, and hovering parents.
  • They want immediate gratification and expect others to help them reach their goals.
  • They don't respond to restrictive rules and regulations (or dress codes)
  • They are facile with technology and rely heavily on blogs, MySpace, cellphones, etc.
Interesting challenge. Any thoughts?

--TinFoil Out

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I'm still afraid to jinx my potential job opportunity by blogging about it, but there was additional progress today, and I got a handshake and a "welcome aboard" from our general manager--Looks like it will take shape after all, but I'll provide some details when it's official.

It makes me think in a more general way about life's ups and downs. I've had a pretty good year this year--before that, I had an awful 1997-1998, a pretty good 1999-2002 followed by a hellish 2003 and 2004. I guess the lesson that I've taken from it is that so much can change. When you're struggling with personal demons, or living through a life change (like losing your job) it can seem like it will be bad forever, but the truth is, it won't be. You always have time to turn it around. Sometimes you need some lucky breaks and the support of a few key people, but it's always do-able. I also know that things will get bad again--life's like that--but when that happens, hopefully someone will remind me to read this post and remember that it will pass.

--TinFoil Out

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Watch Dermott Tonight

I have it on good authority that Dermott the pug will do very well tonight in the Westminster Dog Show . He is the #1 pug of all time with 66 best in show wins, and he's considering retirement at the ripe old age of 5 1/2. Winning Westminster would be a perfect end to a great career. Tune in an cheer on Dermott (8:00pm on USA Network).

In other news. I have a new co-worker and (temporary) office-mate. She's perfectly nice, and I'm happy to show her the ropes, but I must say I've forgotten how annoying it is to share an office. It's only for a few weeks, though.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Random thoughts

Here's my 10 minute post for the day . . .

  • I'm very amused and horrified by the Dick Cheney shooting-people-in-the-face thing. I can't wait to watch Jon Stewart tonight. It is, of course, a tragic accident, but gosh it's funny. Aaron Burr's got nothing on ol' Dick. If the victim had died, would Cheney be guilty of involuntary manslaughter? Is he guilty of obstruction of justice for refusing to inform the Sheriff as required by law?
  • If you haven't seen it yet, you should check out Mark's Macguyver-like ingenuity at joygantic. I've been giggling about it all afternoon.
  • Joss Whedon posted on Whedonesque on a variety of topics, including, I'm sad to say, the lack of enthusiasm for bringing back Firefly/Serenity. Still, he's one funny bastard.
  • Girl Trouble Burlesque is this weekend and should be a riotous good time. It's close enough to our home that we could cab it--anticipating the inevitable drunkeness.

That's it for now. More later.

--TinFoil Out

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Return of the Blog-i

I am a bad blogger . . . But I promise to be better. I've decided to adopt Wil Wheaton's strategy and devote at least 10 minutes a day to blogging, even if I have nothing in particular to say. So here goes . . .

  • First, the deficit. Since the State of the Union, Bush has been running around the country telling anyone who will listen that he intends to cut the deficit in half by 2009. This sounds great, but the key word here is "deficit." He's not talking about cutting the $8 Trillion national debt in half, in fact he's promising to increase it, but at half the rate that we did this year. The "deficit" is the amount of money that the government spends each year that exceeds what it brings in in taxes. What Bush is saying is, "In four more years, we'll only be half as irreponsible as we are today." This year, we spent $455 billion that we didn't have. If all goes "well" for Bush, he hopes that we only spend $225 billion that we don't have by 2009. Lovely. What a guy. I got into more detail about this in this post, but I'd like to re-iterate here, that there was NO DEFICIT when Bush took office. Bill Clinton left him with a $31 billion surplus.
  • Second, on a personal note, it looks like there will be some changes for me on the employment front. All good. I don't want to jinx it with a big announcement just yet, but I will just say that if things go well, your potential will soon be MY passion.
  • I'm also really glad that Trevor and Sara are back in the good ol' US of A. I hope they stick around permanently, but it's great to know that we have them for 5 months.
  • I saw the Pink Panther with Phil, and I'm happy to announce that it doesn't suck. Not nearly as funny/clever/witty as the Peter Sellars version, but not sucky.
  • We've seen some excellent documentaries lately via Netflix. Southern Comfort, which is about female to male transexuals in the deep South. The most fascinating part is I kept thinking, "Why don't they move?" But it occured to me that these people would feel out of place in New York or LA or Seattle--they love the South, they just wish that people wouldn't discriminate against them. The second one was Murderball, which is nominated for an Oscar, about wheelchiar rugby players. It was excellent, as both a human interest story, and a great sports epic. Both are highly recommended.
  • 10 Minutes is up . . .

--Tinfoil Out