Comment Spam Haiku

Thank you, Auto Loan and Texas Hold ’em for your lovely comment spam poetry, which you bombard me with on a daily basis.

Thank you, Auto Loan and Texas Hold ’em for your lovely comment spam poetry, which you bombard me with on a daily basis. Example:

Name: auto loan | E-mail: main@texas-holdem.us | URI: http://college-loan-424.blogspot.com/ | IP: 139.130.62.132

justice, disdain of frail-fleshed
hill-constructions lasted house-passage on the marsh-plants and race-courses.
I oversea you fear for me, but may you not sui (sic) secreted the cause of alarm to yourself
auto loan

Fantastic stuff.

Here are some more, from some old spam messages:

poker games Know thyself.

Kind of a spam Greek philosopher, that poker.

There is always something wrong, if one is straining to make the commonplace incomprehensible.

Wasn’t that on deep thoughts with Jack Handy?

The blind willingness to sacrifice people to truth, however, has always been the danger of an ethics abstracted from life.

A quote on ethics, from a spammer hocking cheap phentermine. Oh the irony of the autonomous script quote-generator.

Here’s a great one that just came in Friday afternoon:

Among them was a half-starve nurse-maid moss-oak and his sun-glow, who had often scooped the abolitionists might as well tesselated to his persequar and stigmatize his horse or wheat as to keep slave-holders out of their semi-publicity property.

Isn’t that Harriet Tubman?

Lists Galore

Amazon has kindly added the ability to use multiple lists under you account.

I’ve made my love of Amazon’s wish lists no secret. Heck, I’d like it just because it’s a list and I’m all about making lists. However, this is a great lifehack (to use a buzzword), too: use a wish list not for netting gifts (although you can always buy me something if the mood strikes), but rather as a list of you back to-be-purchased catalog. This is hardly a concept I’m new to. I’ve had an Excel spreadsheet titled Items to Acquire for about seven years now which includes all sorts of different things that I’d like to spend my money on when some extra comes around. Movies, books, sporting equipment, gadgets, albums, etc. You see, sadly, I’m the kind of person who draws a mental blank when money is available for that sort of thing and ends up buying the bright-shiny’s inside the store I’m at. Hardly being a smart consumer.

Enter my list. Nothing’s more satisfying to us OCD-types than crossing an item off of our lists. We even do it with rulers on graph paper for added joy. Okay, I actually just use the strikethrough format in Excel, but whatever. It’s still satisfying. I’ve resisted putting all this into my Amazon wishlist since it’d just all get dumped into one big long, unwieldy list. I’d be just as overwhelmed with choices as is I was staring at rows of shelves and end up running; dropping my $20 on a shiny bauble on the way out the door, no doubt.

No, Amazon has kindly added the ability to use multiple lists under you account. (Okay, this may have been around since over the summer, but I’m just now figuring it out. That happens. A lot.) I can now have a wish list titled Bookshelf for all my movies, books, and albums (although music mostly comes from iTunes Music Store these days, due to the instant gratification factor). I can also separate out my technical books for work in a list titled Engineering. I can have one for Software and for even Gift Ideas. These lists can be annotated, ranked, and sorted to my liking. Sure, Amazon doesn’t carry everything that I might want to put on a list like this, but it goes a long way. It sure does help me from buying another lemon like The Best Of James. Now, the next step is to make sure that the list is with me when I’m out and about.

Just Twenty Miles

Yesterday morning, on a sunny and cool day, Angela and I ran together for 20 miles.

I’ve held off writing much about running the past few weeks. Okay, so I’ve held off writing about much of anything the past few weeks (up until this weekend anyway). Well, that was mainly because I wanted to wait until after this morning to write about what we have accomplished so far.

Yesterday morning, on a sunny and cool day, Angela and I ran together for 20 miles. We finished in 4 hours and 45 minutes, which won’t exactly break any records. However, the point is that we finished and we did it together. It is really hard to write just how proud of her I am. Just a few years ago, not being a runner as a kid or in college, she ran her first 5k. Just this past Spring, she ran her the Monument Avenue 10k, another personal record for distance. Now, she has reached what is considered by most to be the longest training used in distance running. That is no small feat and it requires real dedication to achieve. Further, while it may seem counter-intuitive, running slower on those long runs means being out there for just that much longer. Nearly five hours of strenuous physical activity is tough on anyone, and she finished with her usual big smile, as if we’d just been walking around the block.

Because of the way our training was set up, Angela was on the novice team which would have one 20 mile run. My team, which was for somewhat more advanced runners (which I do not claim to be; it was decided for me), ran three 20 mile days, the last coinciding with the novice group. I ran the first one at a relatively slow pace, as it was a first for me. The second, I really wanted to see what I was capable of doing, so I ran faster. I had thought all along that running this last one with Angela might be fun, especially to keep her company. One of the coaches agreed that using the middle 20-miler as the more strenuous test run would be a good idea, so I went with that plan. I have to say, that although the company I had on the first two was great, the one yesterday with Angela was so much fun.

Way to go, Angela. You proved to the running group and everyone we know that you can do it. What’s more, you finished with a smile and then took me to lunch. Who could ask for a better partner to run with and hang out with for the rest of our lives? You’re awesome.

Aaron & Mary’s Wedding Party




Wedding Party

Originally uploaded by synthrabbit.

So, imagine my surprise when I was looking through Trey’s photos of his brother’s wedding party and I come across this photo. Apparently I was there, enjoying Don & Dave’s company and completely forgot about it. But wait a second, I don’t own any gray pants…

Who is that guy, and how did he know that I would have one hand in my pocket and the other hand holding a beer cup while standing off in the corner at a party? Who knows my mannerisms that well and why are they messing with me like that?

Katrina’s Windfall

Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, ‘We’re going to move to Houston.’ What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.
And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them. – Barbara Bush, Larry King 2005

I’ve laid off commenting on Hurricane Katrina, or rather the human response to it, up until now. I suppose that I’ve just not really had anything to add to the subject that seemed worth typing. While I’ve had a couple of friends who have been affected (to say the least) by it, I can’t say that I know any more about the situation than anyone else who’s not directly involved. My friends have no weighed in with any sort of political comments, and I don’t really expect them to (when your lives undergo major changes, I think politics take a back seat). However, Angela and I had some discussion last week sometime and I’ve been thinking about the interaction between natural disasters and the federal government since; something that goes beyond Hurricane Katrina to the larger context of how America will be prepared to respond to natural disasters in the future.

Although the former First Lady was referring the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the quote above, I think that the Republican party might be in the same boat. While everyone is lamenting on how bad things look for them, perhaps theres a silver lining. The true Reagan Republicans are in the position to reap massive long-term benefits from this storm and the current administrations actions afterwards. They now have a perfect example of big governments failure to point to and quote Reagan:

The ten scariest words in the English language are ‘I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.’

Further, they have the added benefits of being able to all but completely terminate federal social programs. By spending federal moneys on hurricane repair (hardly anything I’m complaining about) without "raising taxes1", they can assure themselves that these programs will simply die of neglect. After sometime of the programs doing nothing from lack of funds, the Republicans can point and say that their mere existence is wasted federal money and kill them off completely. In our attention-deficit society, it will be long since forgotten if these programs ever did anything effective.

2005-10-20 Tony Auth, from WashingtonPost.com

Auth, by Tony Auth. Published on October 20th, 2005. WashingtonPost.com

I don’t really give anyone (from either party) the credit for planning this sort of thing. However, that’s the thing with a windfall. You don’t plan for it, you just make use of it when it happens. Sadly, the same impoverished Americans who are getting hit the hardest from the hurricane will also suffer in the long run. I feel strongly that the federal government has not the right, but rather the duty to help the people during times of disaster as well as in the daily lives of Americans. The government should not be a web woven into our lives, but it can and should be a net through which no American falls through. We need to keep a close watch to ensure that the social programs stay in tact, whether they are for responding to natural disasters, threats on public safety, or simply assisting the Americans who are unlucky enough to fall at the end of the curve.

10-21-2005 Update: And so it begins…

  1. Of course, no taxes would need to be raised at all. Simply doing away with the upcoming tax cuts set in place a couple of years ago will go an extremely long way in off-setting the cost of rebuilding in the aftermath of the storm. Sadly, doing away with any future tax cut is branded a tax increase. []

Make-up Post

This is the kind of blog post where-in I talk about why I haven’t posted anything for the past three weeks.

Well, it has been two weeks since Angela and I returned from vacation in Hawai’i with our friends Meg and Travis. That all feels like just yesterday, actually. Work has been sucking up so much of my time and energy since returning. I think there is a set amount of work that must be done, and it really does not care if you leave to go have fun in the Pacific or not. It patiently waits and gathers it strength until you return.

The very day we left, two rather large sets of shop drawings came in for my review. On top of that, a couple of projects came back into focus through some calls from clients. Further, some of the projects which I had hoped my boss and colleagues would find time for while I was absent went untouched, as they were even more swamped than I was. The one exception was attending an all day seminar on changes in the 2003 International Building Code last Friday, which seemed like a nice break, oddly. Anyway, this just meant some extra hours over the past couple of weekends as well as just trying to stay a little more focused while at the office. That of course takes its toll mentally, resulting in me doing a lot less sitting in front of the home PC typing blog posts.

Actually, it has resulted in Angela and I both doing almost nothing other than watching TiVo a couple of hours each night and then going to bed. We met at the local Barnes & Noble last night to buy a couple of books for a friend. Sitting down over a couple of cups of coffee was the most talking to one another we’ve really done in the last couple of weeks. I guess Angela’s schedule is even worse than mine, what with flu-shot season beginning. I really don’t work the long hours that I did occasionally at my old job, but she still works well over 40 hour weeks, every week. I’m down to around 45 hours per week, which includes some daily slacking, I suppose, so I think I have it quite nice.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I have a couple of posts in draft that I’ve been trying to find time to work on. This weekend looks rainy, and I don’t need to spend too much time in the office, so I plan to put them up soon. You won’t find your life completely different after reading them or anything, but at least you’ll have something to do while you’re downloading some television or uploading some photos.

Is It October Yet?

Perhaps you could look at my lack of posts as the inverse reflection of my life in the past week or two.

Perhaps you could look at my lack of posts as the inverse reflection of my life in the past week or two. That is to say, I haven’t been posting because so much has been going on in the analog world of my life.

Angela and I just got back from vacation, a week spent roaming two of the islands of Hawai’i. We were in some pretty rural country, where the internet hasn’t yet taken to the air. However, a break from work, house chores, and the online world has been entirely a good thing for the both of us. We traveled with some friends, which only made the trip that much more fun.

I also have a post or two waiting in the que, which I’ll get around to putting up. They may feel a little out-of-date, but what else is new around here. Lastly, we took some 1,570 photos while on vacation (not to mention Travis’ 35mm photos), of which maybe 50 or so are worth posting on Flickr, so look out for those if you’re interested in such things. The write-up on our trip will also be found here soon, as well.

Note: If you haven’t been reading their blog, friends Katie and Kevin are blogging daily their trip across the country from Cookeville, Tennessee to Portland, Oregon. Kevin’s posts are great reading and they have some terrific photos of their trip and various national parks along the way so far.