Saturday, April 23, 2005

Channeling Kreblog
I think it would be cool if my work had a "Work Shirt Friday" policy. Rather than casual dress, people would be encouraged to have on the attire they would wear if they were engaged in yardwork and/or gardening. Chamois shirt, flannel, Carhardt, whatever. Just come to work looking like you're ready to haul brush around.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Bloomin' Onion

Saturday, April 16, 2005

And at #1 on the Charts.....Kaiser Wilhelm II
Okay, am I missing something here? What's the deal with new bands being named after monarchs? Louis XIV and Franz Ferdinand - is a trend in the works? It's like all those bands in the late-70's, early-80's being named after continents and geographical locations: Asia, Europe, Chicago, Boston. What naming trend is next; the planets of the solar system?

Searching for the Ground with my Good Eye Closed
About 4 or 5 times a year, my vision goes totally haywire. These incidents last about 20 minutes, but within that time period I'm practically blind. Its not so much that I can't see anything, its just that what I see is extremely distorted. Its like looking through a kaleidoscope or at a Cubist painting - everything is cut up and rearranged out of place. I'll look at someone's face directly, but I can't see their whole face. I'll maybe see an eyeball, or a mouth, or a nose, but its not on the face where it should be - an eyeball might be next to a mouth, or a nose on a forehead, etc. It's really hard to do things or get things done when it happens. I just have to sit there and let the thing run its course.

One way I've described what happens is using an example from Photoshop. When you highlight something, say with the Magic Wand tool or Lasso or something, you get these moving, chasing black lines that indicate to you the selected area(s). The visual distortion I experience is something like that. I see this vibrating distortion within my field of vision. It starts out from a singular point (when I see this it is a warning to me of things to come), and then expands outwards - until it has enveloped everything. It happens in both eyes so its not like I can see out of one eye and let the other one get its act together. This has been happening to me every since about sixth grade or so (that's about as far back as I remember it happening). I didn't think much of it. Sure it was crazy, but it didn't cause me pain and didn't interrupt my life in any meaningful way. I just figured it was something to have to deal with.

Well, during a meeting with my doctor, I mentioned this thing to him. He referred me to get an eye exam and so I went. I sort of wanted to get an eye test anyways, just to see if years of working with computers had affected my eyes (surprisingly my vision remains at an awesome 20/15). I told them about the crazy eye thing and they knew immediately what it was: Ocular Migraine. Apparently, this condition is not uncommon. It is related to migraine headaches and is caused by a disruption of bloodflow to the eyes - this disruption causes the distorted vision. The interesting thing is that Ocular Migraines oftentimes do not come with headaches. (I remember having a headache only once after an incident). The condition is harmless and is triggered by stress, changes in light contrast (this is very much the case for me), and certain compounds in foods (MSG, salt, chocolate, red wine, nuts are some).

This website gives an explanation and an illustration of what I "see" when an Ocular Migraine incident occurs. Needless to say, I was glad to have someone put a name to the ailment and let me know that I had nothing to worry about (I started to believe that maybe the condition was a brain thing or a nerve thing, which started to concern me a little). All in all, it was a worthwhile visit to the doctor.

I never have understood the shocked reaction that some people have when they meet new people (either as acquaintances or as potential mates) and they find out that the other person is a Republican. They sort of gasp and step back like that person has herpes, or is glowing radioactive. You see it in popular shows and sitcoms too - the woman who stresses after finding out her new love interest is a Republican. Its odd, but the fear doesn't cut the other way - the Republican who freaks out after learning that the new person they met is a Democrat. I've never heard any Republican friends of mine worry about this or complain. Is this because they are more tolerant, open-minded? I have no idea.

One thing that may be surprising is that the political party with the long trunk *wink* may be better performing in the sack. ABC News conducted a sex survey and found that:

Of those involved in a committed relationship, who is very satisfied with their relationship?
Republicans ? 87 percent; Democrats ? 76 percent

Who is very satisfied with their sex life?
Republicans ? 56 percent; Democrats ? 47 percent

Who has worn something sexy to enhance their sex life:
Republicans ? 72 percent; Democrats ? 62 percent

Ever faked an orgasm?
Democrats - 33 percent; Republicans - 26 percent.

Interesting results indeed. What explains this? Is it like what they say about Catholic high school girls - all that repression and up-tightness explodes when given a chance? Is Neocon just another word for Tantra? An obsession with conquering Communism now channeled to Kama Sutra? Who knows, but the lesson may be that when meeting new people, (and to paraphrase a bad Blue Oyster Cult song) - Never Fear the Repub

Donut DeLite
Watch out Dover DeLite, there's a new game in town. My wife made homemade ice cream that has chunks of fresh donuts (honey dipped, chocolate, mocha cream) in it.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Napoleon Dynamite Marketplace
My wife and I shop at a vegetable and gourmet food marketplace. There's an interesting social dynamic taking place at checkout. The cashiers are all made up high school girls with an overabundance of attitude. The grocery baggers are all pimply faced dorks with uneven teeth. The girls barely acknowledge the existence of the baggers who are standing no more than 3 feet away. It is amusing to watch them whip the groceries past the scanner and towards the baggers as though this interaction with them, however minimal, was more than enough to make the girls nauseous.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Shrunken World of Sports

bobsalive over at the team blogged jackdied site provides an article detailing the latest dramatic turns in the life of legendary chess-great Bobby Fischer.

Thinking of Fischer, I've wondered if public interest in one-on-one sports matches has declined. Tennis doesn't seem to be as exciting now as it used to when stars like Billie Jean King, MacEnroe, Connors, Borg, Everett, etc seemed to be highly regarded in the public conscience. The arcane world of competitive chess gripped a fair amount of the public's imagination in the days when Fischer and Spassky squared off. Even more recent battles like Kasparov and Karpov enjoyed some public attention, but now it seems any inkling of the existence of competitive chess has evaporated in the attention of the general public. Perhaps Kasparov's defeat at the hands of the software program Deep Blue killed off any interest in watching two humans, who are obviously inferior thinking machines, go at it head-to-head.

Think of boxing, what was the last title fight that grabbed somewhat of a hold of the public's imagination? Is it because of the lack of star power and charisma in the current crop of heavyweight boxers? Has there been a recent fight to come close to the level of international attention that routinely characterized the fights involving Ali?

It seems to me that people are more interested in team played sports and are less interested in one on one battles between opponent's competing head to head. One could say that I am wrong here, that the popularity of made-for-TV contests like Iron Chef or American Idol erodes this argument. To that I respond that it does not, simply because the contestants of such battles, while they may be competing against one another are not competing head-to-head - that is the winner is decided not by defeating the other through interactive combat, but is instead decided on the appraisal of outside judges who award points or votes to decide the champion.

What ever happened to two people battling each other and one person directly succumbing to the other? Why is this no longer popular? Is it because of the whole societal obsession with preserving self-esteem? We just don't like to watch seeing one person get defeated at the hands of another? That we'd rather have contests be decided by judges so as to feel okay with the contest - that both opponents were great competitors and now is up for someone else to decide (arbitrarily and therefore subjectively)....?

I don't know. We like watching one-on-one clashes in the make believe realm of movies, but it seems to me that it is becoming harder to find out there in the flesh and blood real world.

Verse of the Day

Oh Lord above
Send down a dove
With beak as sharp as razors
To cut the throats
Of them there blokes
What sells bad beer to sailors

-- Sailor's Prayer
sea shanty.