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Icicles Wed, Feb 28, 2007
This is what happens when water gushes out of [that unidentifiable thing at Lake Hopatcong] when it's 30 degrees out.  Ice is cool, but I still don't like when it's cold cold. 


Snow Wed, Feb 28, 2007
Every time it snows, I feel like I'm 7 years old.  I look out the window and get excited.  Maybe school will be canceled (work has delayed openings sometimes).  Maybe I can play outside all day (snowboard).  Maybe I'll get to sleep in, sit around in a warm house, and drink hot chocolate. 

But when it rains, it's completely different.  Last week, we had both rain and snow on subsequent days.  On one day, it was in the mid-30s and rainy, so it was cold and depressing.  Nothing good can come from rain, unless it's summertime and you can run in the rain or splash in puddles.  The very next day, it was a few degrees colder, so the precipitation was snow, and life was good.  I walked out of work and didn't even think about how dangerous the roads would be or how much trouble the snow would cause.  All I could do was stick my tongue out and try to eat some snowflakes. #nature

Snowboarders Tue, Feb 27, 2007
The thing with people who snowboard is that they're all jerks.  [Note:  I snowboard.]  For whatever reason, snowboarding is still sort of a fringe sport, so it attracts all the cool kids and young smokers.  I'm reminded of this every time I go.  I'm surrounded by a bunch of disrespectful (using that word officially makes me old) 14-year-olds that'll eventually drop out of high school and move in with their pregnant girlfriends.  They throw things off the lifts.  They get in people's way.  They throw underwear in trees.  And the weirdest thing about it is that skiers are completely different.  Strap two pieces of plastic to your feet, and you're normal.  Strap one piece, and you're a freak. #psychology

Idiocracy (1) Tue, Feb 27, 2007
Idiocracy is a quietly-released movie from Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head, King of the Hill, and of course, Office Space.  Quite simply, it's not a very good movie, so I wouldn't recommend watching it.  It might be one of those that you need to see a few times to actually enjoy it.  If that's the case, oh well.  But it did make a couple interesting points: 

1.  Belief in advertising.  In the movie, Americans in the year 2505 have dumbed down quite a bit.  Brawndo, a company that makes electrolyte-infused beverages, has convinced consumers that electrolytes are the best thing for everybody and everything.  When a smart guy asks why the people are feeding their plants Brawndo, the people answer with marketing slogans like "Because Brawndo has electrolytes" and "Plants crave Brawndo".  Personally, I find myself believing things about specific products and services because their marketing slogans have been permanently branded on my brain.  A diamond is forever.  Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.  What happens in Vegas stay in Vegas.  These are all slogans, not facts.  It's dangerous when a company uses a perceived fact or a personal opinion as the statement that represents a product to millions of people.  Eventually, people start to believe it. 

2.  Quality of entertainment.  All entertainment in the year 2505 is centered around sex, violence, and stupidity.  TV shows include "Ow! My Balls!" and "Monday Night Rehabilitation".  Most restaurants and coffee shops are a mere front end for sexual favors.  And as disturbing and offensive as this all sounds, it's hardly a far cry from our current world.  Jackass the Movie.  Court TV.  Jackass Number 2.  Gentleman's clubs.  The Bachelor.  Take another step or two, and you're right there in the year 2505. #entertainment

Long-winded Fri, Feb 23, 2007
I normally don't have much to say, so I would estimate that I could tell my entire life story in 10 minutes.  Other people could spend a lifetime talking about the last 10 minutes. #psychology

Handshake Fri, Feb 23, 2007
The handshake is a peculiar institution.  Whether used as a first-time introduction or an every-time greeting, the handshake is essentially a quick hand-strength comparison disguised as a social formality.  When I was in 6th grade, all the students were rehearsing the graduation ceremony where we had to walk across the stage, receive a certificate, and shake some guy's hand.  After the rehearsal, the hand-shaking guy stood up and said to the entire class, "Where's [some kid; not me]?  Please stand up.  This kid was the only kid who gave me a firm handshake.  Let's all marvel at his greatness and bow down in the presence of his wonderment."  It might not have gone quite like that, but it served as my first lesson that the handshake is a serious matter of business. 

In the handshake process, a small mental battle ensues.  Each handshaker must squeeze with the proper amount of force, but not so much that it's obvious one person is trying to overpower the other.  Each person thinks, "I hope my hand isn't wet or slimy" (Or for me, "I hope my hand isn't dry and sandpapery").  The handshake must last no more than 5 seconds, after which point "things get weird".  When shaking the hand of a person of younger or weaker background, special care must be taken not to crush or maim.  When shaking the hand of a taller and/or stronger person, one must give a stronger, heartier handshake.  The biggest fear of any handshaker is to have one's hand grasped in an abnormal way, such that it would make one appear to have "tiny girl hands" and a weak grip.  Constant attention must be payed to the other person's hand motions in the event that the handshake turns into a Soul Brother Handshake (I'm not making this up). 

What's weird is that I think we (or maybe just me) tend to assess people based on their handshake.  A weak grip implies either weakness (obviously) or a foreign person (some foreign people tend to not understand the handshake custom; nothing wrong with that).  A small hand implies weakness and girl-like features.  An overly firm handshake implies compensation for shortcomings.  A wet hand implies nervousness and deceitfulness.  A bear paw handshake that comes close to breaking your bones implies impressive strength and power.  A dry, rough hand implies strength and ruggedness (I said implies). #psychology

Skilcraft (1) Fri, Feb 23, 2007
The best pen I've ever used, even better than a simple trusty Bic Clic Stic, is a Skilcraft medium black rubberized retractable ballpoint pen.  It's simple and cheap, but writes like a BMW drives (it took me a while to come up with a praise-filled statement for a pen).  Skilcraft makes all kinds of office products, from pens and paper to calendars and clocks.  The most interesting thing about the company is that their products are made by the National Industries for the Blind.  NIB is a non-profit organization that provides jobs for blind people.  These people produce products and offer services that are largely geared towards use by the federal government.  The Javits-Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Act of 1971 mandated that "all Federal agencies purchase specified supplies and services from nonprofit agencies employing blind persons or others with severe disabilities".  So Post Offices, the president, and military bases all use Skilcraft products.  Weird, huh? #products

Cats' sixth sense Fri, Feb 23, 2007
This is so incredibly true. 


Supercaliber Thu, Feb 22, 2007
Supercaliber is a fancy word that refers to a measurement that's greater than the caliber (or diameter) of a bullet or projectile.  If something is 0.50 caliber, something that's 0.75 is considered supercaliber. 

Whenever I hear the word, I can't help but think of the song from Mary Poppins. #language

Musical maturity Wed, Feb 21, 2007
I'm a fan of Phish and their frontman Trey, but I've noticed a significant change in their music over the years.  Earlier albums were exact, cohesive, energetic, and purposeful.  Later albums were recorded without practice or polish.  A friend said the reason for the change is that Trey's music has matured over the years.  He's less about energy and fun, and more about emotion and feeling.  To me, that's total BS.  When a singer doesn't hit the notes and his guitar isn't in tune, I don't consider that to be a sign of maturity.  When the harmonies don't match up and the songs sound like they were written in 5 minutes (and oftentimes they were), I don't call that progress. 

I'm also a fan of Audioslave.  I think they're a perfect combination of Rage Against the Machine's guitar riffs and Soundgarden's rock vocals.  And what's interesting is that I'm in a position to watch this band mature.  I originally hated them because of radio singles off their first album (honestly, who chooses what songs get played on the radio?).  But I bought the second album after I heard some great songs.  I bought the third album a while later, and I was only mildly impressed.  And then to even out the mix, I bought the first album, and I was totally floored.  You can really see how their music progresses and changes over time.  Their earlier stuff is more energetic and loud, while their later stuff is a bit more toned down and calm.  The quality is still all there, and if anything, it's gotten technically better.  But the style of music is changing as the musicians age and mature.  I'm personally not a fan of the newer stuff because I like my music loud, but I can at least recognize that musicianship can mature over time without degrading in quality. #entertainment

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