Monday, December 05, 2005

My New Sunroof

Could also be known as REALLY Raising the Roof :) Ya know that new place I bought. Well, I've been travelling a lot so I haven't gotten a chance to spend a lot of time there. This weekend I flew home for 40 hours so that I could fix my place up and go to the zoo (that blog post will come soon, prepare for the Lorikeet Adventure). So, I spent a good part of the day on Saturday installing my sweet new 42" LCD TV. Oh yea! I even got to watch a movie on it! Then the roof fell onto it. Have I mentioned that I have a knack for timing things just right? I got into work this fine morning in NYC (yea, all you New Yorkers I haven't called yet will hear from me soon) and got a phone call from my neighbor. That's odd I thought, I don't remember giving him my number. Well, it turns out that I didn't. Ya see at about 5:30 AM this morning 60 MPH winds ripped the roof off of my cool new pad. That little bit of blue you see in the picture is the beautiful blue sky shining on down.

For those of you who haven't seen pictures of my new place yet, this is what it looks like furnished. Well, okay, try to imagine it without the ceiling pieces and all.

I think the really funny part is that my personal server is in my loft area. At times before I have thought when I checked my email "Well, I haven't seen my apartment in a while but it can't be too bad off because my server is still up". Apparently that is not always an appropriate assumption ;)

The moral of the story:
- Don't bother cleaning up the dust after installing a new TV because the ceiling might just fall in anyway.
- Amy, Josh, Mandy, and Mark are superstars for going over to provide the lovely pictures and let me know how the place looks!!!!!!!! You guys rule :)

Update: More picts can be found here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/markandmandy/sets/1518938/ and http://joshandamy.org/photos/thumbnails.php?album=10

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A brief rant

One of the things I truly love in life is seeing something done well. Unfortunately one of the things that causes me no end of frustration is seeing something done poorly.

Tonight, I checked into "The Grand", pretty snazzy hotel in Silicon Valley. I'd heard good things and thought I'd check it out for myself. All in all, I liked it, until I decided to get ready for tomorrow. I pulled out the ironing board and what did I see but one of the worst contraptions I've ever come across. Where do I begin. I can only imagine that this device was designed to keep people from stealing irons (something that I'm sure absolutely plagues "The Grand"). They thought, "I know what we can do!" Let's just attach the iron to the board. I suppose in theory it isn't complete jackassery. The problem was their next thought which was "Hmmm, it'll be pretty awkward to have them attached unless we have a holder for the iron, fine notion!" So, then they said, "Let's attach that iron holder to THE MOST USEFUL PART OF THE DAMN IRONING BOARD." Ya know, I never thought about stealing an iron but I might do it now just to bring it to a board that I can actually iron my shirts on. I think next time I stay here I will bring a set of allen wrenches and just dissassemble the stupid thing and leave it in pieces. Me? Spiteful? Never.

I can't wait till they decide to attach the bathrobes to the hangers to ensure people don't steal them...

Ug, now I'm gonna go to bed and try not to think about it. For the record, this is what you call a pet peeve ;)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Metaphorically Speaking

Okay, seriously, this is my last post of the day. What else am I gonna do until my stuff gets here? If you know me, you probably know that I sometimes read into things a little too much. I'm often a complete cheeseball. And I love a good metaphor for life. So, I got to Boulder 4 days ago. Slept in my new place for the first time 3 days ago. This is a completely new place so it doesn't have normal things, like, say, curtains (no this isn't going where you think it's going). I fall asleep on my comfy little air mattress. Sleep soundly through the night and wake up to find the sun trying it damnest to burn a hole through my retina. I was convinced I went blind (fyi, I didn't). Okay, I'm thinking, you need to do something about that because it just ain't a good way to wake up (yes, I could do it 20 times in a row and each time would be convinced I went blind, I'm dumb that way). I am something of a procrastinator though and so I go to sleep the next night without covering the window. Well, surprise, I'm once again convinced the next morning that our sun has gone supernova and I just haven't felt the burn yet (I also thought I went blind, told ya so). It sucked, I mean seriously, we're at altitude for god sakes, it is probably even BRIGHTER here. So, again, I think I gotta do those curtains. Well, another day goes by and when I go to sleep I think "Ha! I'm gonna outsmart that infernal, malicious, inanimate, fiery ball! I'll wake up early so it doesn't have a chance to do it's work" Well, I did, and I was greeted by a truly amazing sunrise (that didn't photograph well, although the attempt is below). It made me think about life. My reaction to unpleasant things is often to try to just block it out. Get rid of it. Ignore it. Every once in a while though, when you just try a different approach, look at it from a different point of view, that experience that was painful can turn into something really worthwhile. All, I know is that I'm waking up early again tomorrow and I still haven't put the curtains up.

Getting to Boulder Statistically


Okay, so Faktor and I wake up head up to Boulder. The plan was to have lunch together at Crossroads Junction (a place on the map where the road for Arches breaks off from 70). He was gonna head down to Arches and I was going to make it to Boulder by 5 PM, just in time for a party (yea, I know, choosing a party over the wonder of nature, go ahead, judge me ;) Anyway. We get to Crossroads Junction and, well, that's the picture on the right. They didn't serve food so I continued on and left Mark to find his way alone.

I made it to Boulder in time for the Party (and just in time for my tire to go flat, oh yea, I got a nail in it in SF, used fix a flat on it and then drove 1400 miles on it).

I thought the various stats of driving from San Francisco to Boulder would be interesting (okay, maybe just to me, but there you have it):

- Peak Elevation: 11,206 ft (at the entrance to the Eisenhower Tunnel)
- Total Mileage: 1402 miles
- Max Speed: 103 MPH (on I15 to Vegas, everyone was doing it)
- Moving Time: 20 Hours 10 minutes
- Moving Average: 69.5 MPH
- Total Gas Used: 58.985
- Total Gas Price: $181.61
- Number of times I stopped to pee: 9
- Best Town Name Passed: Boron, CA!!!!!
- Worst Town Name Passed: Sulphurdale, UT
- Best Food Eaten: Veggie Sandwich at a little cafe near Zion
- Worst Food Eaten: Piece of exceptionally good chocolate that was melted and chilled too many times
- Number of people called when bored: 17
- Number of people who answered: 6
- Number of bugs killed on my bumper and windshield: Priceless

Driving Miss Faktorovich

When last we left our intrepid hero (um, yea, that's me) he was leaving the filth, mayhem, and lovely ladies of Vegas behind for the greener pastures of the Utah Desert. Faktor was in Vegas and we decided to do a little caravanning. The drive from Vegas was especially tasty because neither Mark not I had gotten more than about 3 hours of sleep the night before. Yup kids, that's what you call responsible, say it with me: idiot. So, we of course had to try to keep each other awake by playing games such as seeing who could take a picture of the other one while driving 90 miles an hour (result is to the left).

Finally we got near Zion and after much reflection (I took a long pee) I decided to swing through the big ol' canyon and see what the hub-bub was about. Now, karma does have a lovely way of rearing it's all too familiar head. The only way to see the canyon's of Zion is on a shuttle bus (go Nat Parks!!!), and, well, what happens when you mix amazing scenery, a bus filled with middle aged tourists, and one very tired Greg? You get to miss most of the amazing scenery because you are having a very uncomfortable nap. Damn. I did get to see some of it, and it makes me feel like Yosemite should only allow shuttle buses in the valley because it wasn't a circus. In fact, it was very peaceful.

Anyway, we got back on the road at around 6:00 PM and wanted to drive to Arches. Ah, yes, very ambitious plans. Once we hit Utah, well, it was dark, there were no more "Services" (heh) for 120 miles and we decided, screw it, the Super 8 has free wireless access and HBO. We were sold. We watched "I, Robot". We then got a late start the next morning because "Alien vs. Predator" was on. Have I mentioned how distractable I can be?

On to the final day of the drive...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Merc World

I'm currently sitting in a hotel room in the middle of Utah with Faktor, but it will take me some time to get back to how I got here. It's been a while since I posted anything to this blog. Plenty to say just not a lot of time to say it in. So, I'm gonna go back and write my thoughts up in chronological order. I'm gonna start with Mercury World. I realized that I usually abbreviate Mercury as Merc and therefore I could be talking about Mercenary World. Although a tad more violent I'll bet there would've been better shwag. Anyway, Mercury World is Mercury's once a year conference where all of their customers pay a LOT of money to come and listen to us and other folks talk about Mercury Products. All the Mercury employees have to dress like stagehands (shown above) except the Execs who walk around like they own the place (alright, fine, technically they sort of do) and say things that need to be revoked in Press Releases the following day. Yup, they lectured us first in email and then in person for a LONG time about how we can't say anything to analysts that could be interpreted as inside information and if we did they would then need to put out a press release saying that isn't true and we will be fired and maybe spanked and definitely talked to sternly (again). Well, our CMO (the guy who lectured us) then proceeds to go onto the main stage at the conference and tell everyone how great Mercury is and how we will make around 900 Million in sales this year. And, um, well, that isn't official, and would DEFINITELY be considered inside info and we needed to put out a press release. Heh. This is classic Mercury. Alright, I need to hit the road and drive on to Boulder, more to come...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

LOL


My friend Shan just sent this to me, it was one of those rare times I literally laughed out loud, good thing I was working from home :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Songs that gave me pause

I was recently reading Nick Hornsby's Songbook (which is excellent, BTW) which is basically a list of songs that he finds notable and descriptions as to why. A little while ago I started collecting songs that were appropo for my life and keeping them in chronological order. Yea, I know, I have too much time on my hands sometimes. At any rate, those songs were ones that had something to do with my life at that point. I liked the concept that Hornsby talked about in terms of songs that immediately strike you, not ones that get into your skull eventually but rather the ones that you can remember hearing the very first time and thinking, god damn that is one talented S.O.B. So, I of course pulled my list together. Nicky is much wittier (and more verbose) but here they are:

- The Blower's Daughter (Damien Rice) - Heard in the movie "Closer", unthinkably I actually stopped noticing Natalie Portman and just started wondering what in the world that song was. There was something in his voice that made me feel like he really meant every word of the song. Wonderful song with and awful title.
- Look what the Cat Dragged In (Michael Penn) - My friend Dave and I heard this during College while driving down to Philly. We are both talkers. This song came on the radio and there was complete silence, neither of us had heard it before and neither of us knew what to say.
- Such great heights (Iron and Wine) - Heard in the movie "Garden State", ok, maybe it is just Natalie Portman but this was another song that was charming, warm, and utterly beautiful. I later found out it was a cover of the song written by The Postal Service (which is great in its own way) but the intepretation makes all the difference.
- One Week (Barenaked Ladies) - I was driving home from a wedding with Emily Duquette (and old friend of my sister's) when this came on the radio. I don't suspect the Barenaked Ladies get plopped into many people's list of amazing songs but you gotta give this one credit. The premise is one we are all familiar with and it is immediately likable. Upbeat, fun, and flippant. I think it reminds me of me.
- Most of the time (Bob Dylan) - I'll go out on a limb here and say that I don't really like Bob Dylan. I find his voice grating, yea, I know, it is supposed to be. Maybe that is why I was so struck with this song, not only did it not annoy me, but I really liked it.
- Because (Elliot Smith) - Have you noticed the trend of songs from movies? I first heard this at the end of "American Beauty" when watching it with Matt. Part of it is just that the movie was excellent and poignant, but this song topped it off well. The song also stands well on it's own, but it will always have the association for me, and it's a good one.
- Time to Say Goodbye (Andrea Bocelli) - Going in a totally different direction is this song. I first heard it in Vegas at the Bellagio Fountains during Steven Loewy's bachelor party. We spent a good portion of the night hanging by that fountain. Watching the crazy spectacle that is Vegas. These fountains though are really well done. Sure, they're a bit cheesy, but than ain't always bad. After the fountains we went out to a "club" and I met a fascinating young woman and chatted for hours. Good and memorable night.
- Overkill (Colin Hay) - Ah yes, Colin Hay. This song was in the final episode of the first season of "Scrubs". It was an old Men at Work song. Listen to it sometime, it is hard not to like.
- Closer (Nine Inch Nails) - You ever hear a song and immediately you know what they wanted to do when the wrote it? Closer isn't just about sex, it is sex. The music takes you from the beginning to the end of a sexual encounter. Unreal.
- Porcelain (Moby) - I was hypnotized the first time I ever heard it. Moby does magic with music. He's put out some crap but this wasn't it.
- Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley) - There are a million versions of this song and many people will tell me this isn't the best one. Well, guess what, it is my favorite. My friend John Clarke first introduced me to Jeff Buckley. John has interesting taste. Some of it is awful and some is great. I think he is a bit more adventurous than most. Well, this adventure paid off.

I'm sure I'll run into more in my life, well, I really hope I run into more, but this is a good start.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Toys

Alright, as long as I'm moving to a new place I need new gear right? So, in my own little anal way I've made my new spreadsheet. I figure, if you're gonna go, go big. Now, I gotta buy bedroom furniture, couches, dining room stuff, etc. and that is all well and good and even a little interesting but the good stuff is the gadgets. Here is what I would like to outfit the place with:
- Panasonic Plasma TV mounted over my fireplace: TH-42PX50U
- Yamaha SoundBar (pictured above) to give surround sound without the messy wires: YSP-1
- Yamaha Subwoofer, cause, ya know, BOOM: YST-SW215
- HD DirecTiVo which has come down in price now that they are dumping it: HD DVR
- A sweet remote reccomended by Josh to control the whole thing: Logitech Harmony 768
- Sonos to spread music throughout the house: Sonos.com

Now, of course the question is do I take the plunge all at once or space it out. I think we all know the answer to that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Hopeless

I was just getting my typical fill of irritating idiocy from misc news sources and came across this gem from Rush L:
From the August 11 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: We just had Stephen Breyer saying, oh, yeah, totally appropriate, we must import what they're doing around the world in other democracies, it will help buttress their attempt to establish the rule of law, and we might learn something, too. Well, here's something I'd like to import. I'd like to import the ability that the Brits are doing to export and deport a bunch of hate-rhetoric filled mullahs and imams that are stoking anti-American sentiment. Wouldn't it be great if anybody who speaks out against this country, to kick them out of the country? Anybody that threatens this country, kick 'em out. We'd get rid of Michael Moore, we'd get rid of half the Democratic Party if we would just import that law. That would be fabulous. The Supreme Court ought to look into this. Absolutely brilliant idea out there.

Yea, I know he says these things on purpose to get people riled up, that is his business. Even so, when did we all decide the US belongs to the Republicans? We'd get rid of half of the Democratic party because they disagree with the obviously correct Republicans??? Seriously, what the hell? I think sometimes that I just don't understand people. Who would want to get rid of everyone who disagrees? We aren't so far from this, there are times I even wonder if my contributions to moveon.org will ever make me a target as being anti-American because obviously any website that can motivate such a large group of people to fight for what they believe in is anti-American. I keep hearing MoveOn being described as far left. Really? I think of them as left mainstream, maybe that means that I am far left.

Do you know what I would really love? A dictionary. I mean spouting "anti-American sentiment". You hear people saying it all the time, what does that mean? What is anti-American? Disagreeing with a President who obviously doesn't take his job, our country, our beliefs, and our's or anyone else's lives very seriously? Trying to empathize and understand people who hate us for what we have done to the world (which is just about everybody at this point but a small group of nut-jobs affectionately known as "The Far Right")? Pushing to get a "free" and "democratic" government to release information that shouldn't be private anyway? Expecting answers to hard questions and not just get justifications "spin"? Not being homo-phobic?

During the last "presidential" election I heard the VeeP debate on the radio. Just caught the tail end of it. Cheney was doing his classic move, spread fear and hate. He spouted all sorts of unfounded statements about someone wanting to walk into the middle of New York and set off a bomb (in retro-spect I'll bet the number of people who want to do that has in fact grown drastically since the last election). Edwards on the other hand was talking about hope and growing a new and better America that we can be proud of. Cheney couldn't care less about being proud of America, all he cares about is America looking tough. Well guess what, we reap what we sow. Fear defeated hope and hope is now lost to us. I find the more people I talk to about politics the more I find that people have lost hope. People talk more about moving away then they doing about fixing this pile of crap that we have built. I'm still vaguely convinced that the presidential elections were rigged, I certainly wouldn't put it past these madmen. If that is case though, it means they won't lose power because they'll keep rigging elections. Where is the hope? What is there hope for? A better world? We are destroying the world, one country at a time. We are living in a country ruled by someone that most of the world equates to Hitler. I don't know if I agree with them but that is one strong statement. Where can we find hope? I used to believe so strongly that doing the right thing will always be the best course of action in the end. I'm also a strong believer in karma, things have a way of balancing out. Sometimes it just seems like this country has built up such a karmic debt that it can never be repaid. Ick.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Right

Just wanted to note that there was an excellent post about the whole Cindy Sheehan deal on a conservative blog. Basically, the Right is starting to go off on Cindy Sheehan as either a self-interested mom who is betraying the memory of her son by trying to get into the spotlight or a sucker who has been convinced by the Left fanatics to go after Bush for their cause (it is honestly hard to tell which point they are trying to argue). Currently, they are trying to say that she used to support Bush and now is speaking out against him, how dare she. The think I loved about this Blog is that it broke the issue down into "Um, are we really harshing on a grieving mother, c'mon, seriously?" Her son died in Iraq, she wants to talk to the President, she is upset about the whole war. Why does she need to be smeared by people who never met her and have no idea what is happening with her. Is there something wrong with what she is doing? Apparently there has to be or it would mean, I don't know, their whole world view is crushed. The other thing that I find more and more fascinating with the more Blogs that I read is that the Liberal ones tend to have lots of Liberals commenting with atta-boys where as the Conservative ones have a lot of heated arguments in the comments. I suspect the reason is that the Conservatives don't feel a need to read the Liberal Blogs, they have already won, why bother understanding the enemy, but maybe that is just my bias :)

The Moutains

Well, I got back from Peru last week and it was amazing!!! I'm not sure what I was expecting. I usually go into these things figuring, "we'll see what happens" and that usually works for me. Well, it did again. I was in Peru with Dave and Kristen (who will soon be moving to Boulder as well), Emily, Emily's friend Anne, and Anne's friend Mark. All in all I liked the group a lot. I spent most of my time with Dave and Kristen (I think because we had similar hiking styles, they tried to ditch me but couldn't, sucka!!!!). The trip did involve 1 trip to the hospital (Emily is allergic to peanuts and she almost died, but she didn't, it was the closest I'd ever seen anyone get though, people shouldn't be blue). There were a number of less life-threatening ailments (dehydration, altitude sickness, ankle spain, blisters) but we made it in the end. I didn't end up taking altitude medication even though we were going up to almost 15K feet. I'll admit it, I wanted to see if I could do it and I did. I think more mountains are in my future. Macchu Picchu was, well, what can you say about something like that, better than I could do?

Ok, let's get to the heart of the matter, what did I think about as I trekked through the Andes? First, I always find mountains humbling, they are gonna be there forever, I will not be. This being the case, what do I want to do with me time. I am currently treading water. I'm moving (still psyched) and have a job that I enjoy but doesn't take over my whole life. This is all good but is this the be all and end all? I was talking to my friend Ki-Wing last night and she seems to be in a similar place. We discussed that it might be our generation. We've gotten to a point where we have proven we can do anything, now the question is, what do we do? What is important? What matters? How do we want to spend the little time that we have? Um, sadly I don't have the answer. I think at this point I need to hunker down, move to Boulder, spend more time climbing and hiking, and see what tomorrow brings. I guess I just need some inspiration, once I get that and find a direction I'll feel a little better.

The Chasm

I've been reading more recently about Politics than I should. It mostly just upsets me. I think on of the things that really saddens me is that our 2 party system has become so polarized. I was reading DailyKos recently and they were talking about the dangers of voting on single issues. Fine, I know plenty of people (sigh!) who voted for Bush because they wanted lower taxes. I think they were crazy because they didn't look at the rest of what he stands for. In this article though they discussed that if you are voting for a Pro-Choice Republican, you might as well vote for a Pro-Life one (granted this is a paraphrase). In the end, if they are a Republican they are going to support others in their party based on a whole platform and not a single issue. So, although Chafee is Pro-Choice, he will support Frist, who is, um, not. The thing that makes me really sad about this is that it means we really can't just vote for people anymore. We have to vote for parties because the whole system is so partisan that even if I like a Republican (granted, this is a stretch), I can't vote for them because they would almost certainly vote with their party. What the hell do we do now then???

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Loft

So, here are some pictures of my new place in Boulder. I'm really psyched to get out there. I was just chatting with my friends Dave and Kristen tonight and they're moving out there as well. They are also joining me in Peru on Saturday. Heh, funny story, I apparently hadn't mentioned that one of the other people coming to Peru with us is my ex-girlfriend. I had fallen instantly in love with her when I met her and decided to move across the country after we spent 9 days together. I quit my job and was ready to go and, then, well, she dumped me. Although, to be fair we have spent a lot more time together after that and are now great friends. But, why would I tell them that, I want to get them a little nervous ;)

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Couch

As I was driving home today I was just thinking about the couch on the Daily Show (yea, I know it's cliche and the current "in" thing but I do love it. It make the current insanity in the US at least seem funny :) Stewart kept talking about how everyone would whine about the new set and I just laughed along until I realized, I was a little unhappy about the new set. I miss the couch. The couch really stood for everything noble and true in this world. Well, okay that ain't the case but I just finished reading Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and so I'm hyperbolizing everything. But seriously, the couch was a nice way to have a fake news show seem relaxed and like they are just folks chatting on your TiVo. The new set has them chatting at a desk. They somehow moved from being a late night talk show to being a news show just by removing a couch!!!! That is one powerful-ass couch. Anyway, so I'm thinking about this couch and BAM. I'm reading through the misc things I read through and someone has made a blog about it. It is nice to know that in the world of the web. EVERYTHING is out there if you can find it :)

The Beginning

You've gotta start somewhere and well, I'm starting here. I'm about to head off to Peru for a bit so I figured now was the time to start recording all of my thoughts (please refrain from any comments in terms of how much room that will take up).

The main reason I feel a need to do this is because I realize that there are too many good things that I forget. Every time someone says "Rememeber that time you dropped trou on stage to win a tattoo contest???" and I respond "no" I am reminded that the good stuff will get lost. Instead my head will continue to fill up with strange plot details from Smallville.

This weekend also marked the end of my innocence. Well, my financial innocence at least, I bought a house. A sweet loft in Boulder, CO. The whole time I was signing the paperwork I asked myself, why are you moving to Boulder again? The answer is really for no reason at all. I'm bored. It seems like a good way to shake things up a bit. The best decisions I've ever made were for no reason. I would say the worst were made while drunk, but hell those were fun too :) This house thing really drives home the point of how simple it is to drastically shift things if I'm willing to. I know, I'm in a position to do it and not everyone has that luxury. Very true, but I feel like I should at the very least take advantage of that luxury. I won't have it forever. So, consider the advantage taken. For now...