July 31, 2008

Happy Thursday... I'm So Sleepy!

Staying up past my bed time and pushing myself to continue waking up is catching up with me.  I need a new plan, I guess.

In the meantime, check out this other song:


Lykke Li
"Little Bit"

I'm a little bit in love with this song.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:27 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
Post contains 51 words, total size 1 kb.

Book Review: The Last Patriot

I finished reading The Last Patriot by Brad Thor on my train ride this evening.

The book is predictable, poorly written, and very exciting.  I don't really have anything more to say about it.  (But I'm gonna.)

It's the kind of book you buy in paperback at an airport on your way to the beach for a weekend that you intend to spend never without a mojito in your hand.

Actually, it's not that good. It's actually kind of embarrassing. 

The descriptions are terse and unimaginative.  You think of authors as being masters of language and real artists with just the application of an impressively broad lexicon.  Brad Thor fails to uphold this expectation.  His word choices are simplistic and even repetitive.

And yet he includes details that simply bewilder.  Like, why do we need to know that the assassin is walking around in naught but a towel?  Why do we need to know every single thing that an agent does when he enters the internet cafe?

There is an excess of effort put into presenting us with new, high-tech military gear, without actual descriptions of the gear.  "Integrated tourniquet pants?"  What do they feel like?  How do they sound?  You brought it up, tell me what it's like to wear them.  But we both know they aren't important, so I wonder why you brought it up at all.

And there are characters in this book that appear and disappear without any clear thematic purpose.  By my thinking, as a rule, novels should not have "extras."  But there was some dude who was in the book for only about 50 pages apparently just so he could get shot.

OH!  And maybe I've been reading too many old or academic books, but what is up with modern writers and the short chapters?  Chapters that last only one or two pages?

This book is also painfully, obviously a part of a series featuring the same main character, Scot Harvath.  Guess what Harvath's call sign is.  Thor.  As in Brad Thor.  Yeah.  I rolled my eyes, too.

As blogs are to articles in quarterly journals of actual intellectual interest this bundle of pages is to novels.  It makes me think that the people I least respect on the subway could write best-selling books.  It makes me wonder why I don't have more money from publishing royalties.

Oh.  And could it be more obvious that the author votes Republican?  Every page of the book reeks of straight, white, middle-class, protestant maleness.  And not in the good way.

*sigh*

I've already said too much about this book.  I've over-criticized it.  It is the definition of mediocrity and if there's anything worse than bad, it's gray.

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Category: State of the Arts
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July 30, 2008

50 Pushups

So, this evening I was a little tipsy from several glasses of a pleasant chardonnay and I got home from watching Project Runway and, of course, it's time to do my push ups.

Now, I know you shouldn't exercise before bed if you hope to sleep, but that's the time I have to do this sort of thing.

Well, I skipped to day 2 of the one hundred push ups program and I maxed out at 50 pushups.  That's just 10 less than my initial max.  I predict that by the end of this thing, I will be able to EASILY do 100 pushups.  I actually think I can do 100 pushups now if I were willing to push it a little.

I am doing this with a group of people (by way of internets) and some of them started very low.  I mean, I started at 60 as my alleged max, but one person is starting with less than 10 as their max.

I told my trainer about this and he believes that there is no way that these people will make it to 100 in six weeks.  I am inclined to agree, particularly because I am a week behind them and only two others have logged their day one or day two maxes.  This makes me think they aren't really working at this.

Also, tomorrow, one of my coworkers is bringing in this Nike thingie her boyfriend bought her.  It's a runner thing and it tracks how far and how fast she runs.

I have not endorsed this product because what I saw initially was that this thingie required Nike shoes.  I can't run in Nike shoes.  They're clunky, heavy, and they kill my feets.  I don't like them.  I wear New Balance or Ascics. (How do you spell that?)

Well, she says that her thing doesn't need the shoes, so I'm excited to see it.  I'm not keen on spending $60 on this, but I would spend that much on a watch and then forget to write my training down.  So, maybe it's worth it.

I'm excited to see it.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to see Lisa Loeb in concert.  Do you know about her?  I think she has one song.  Who knew she had concerts?  Still.  It should be fun.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 11:39 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Category: Fitness with Flibby
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I'm Not Naming Names

One of my client contacts just sent an email on which my team was copied asking one of her coworkers to encrypt the file attached to her email so that she could securely transmit the file to us by FTP.

...

Yeeeeeaaahhhh...

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 01:37 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: At My Work
Post contains 46 words, total size 1 kb.

Happy... What Day Is It? Video


Lykke Li
"I'm Good, I'm Gone"

Very weird video.

Here she is singing the same song in a bathroom or something:


Hat tip: JohnDavid

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 09:16 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
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July 29, 2008

What's Insomnia Like?

I think if I didn't have to sleep, I would get SO much more done.  But I am really, really good at sleeping, so I really don't know what that would be like.

In college, I had a slight bout of insomnia and it was really good.  I'd wake up early in the morning and I'd be up until the wee hours of the morning.  Sleep wasn't pleasant, but it was also short-lived, so it was fine.  I don't remember being otherwise physically uncomfortable.

I wonder what serious insomnia is like.

I worked with this guy at my last job that people said was an insomniac.  He was insanely productive.  He worked a zillion hours a week and got a lot of things done.  Yeah, now and then he'd be kind of spacey, but by and large he made up for any lapses in memory with a really astonishing level of production and creativity.

I like getting up OUT of bed at 5 or 5:30 and I've been staying up late recently, so I've not been really getting up until 6:30.  (Such are the perils of not using an alarm clock.)  This doesn't make a very big difference, but if I start running in the morning, an hour will make a huge difference.  It will mean that I can't get to work between 7 and 8 as I prefer.

I would just like to get more done in a day and all this sleeping looks really wasteful in my schedule.  Food better get a whole lot more enjoyable and quick otherwise I am going to start looking for ways to not do that any more.

And since we're already talking crazy, as I understand it, amphetamines could both help me sleep and eat less.  Who can score me some speed?

Yeah, I totally went off the deep end just now, but seriously.  Sleeping?  Total time sink.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 11:21 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
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Sad Productivity

You know what I noticed?  I am way, way, way more focused and productive when I am less generally happy.  When I'm very happy in general, I tend to be wasteful with my time, energy, money, and pretty much everything.

This is really a terrible thing on many levels because overall, I am a super happy person.

Unfortunately, I think I'm going to have to foster an antipathy here shortly and get some shizz done.  Ya heard?  Best stand back.

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Category: About Flibby
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Will I or Won't I?

I started this One Hundred Pushups program last night because a friend of mine is doing it and it's fun to do things with friends.  I did my initial test and did 60 pushups.  Not bad.  I think I can do more, though, because I was very tired and sore from my weekend of volleyball, swimming, and gardening.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, a friend of mine ran his first half marathon and he did very well.  I actually think his time was the same as my first half marathon time.  I am very happy for him, but this morning he said he didn't think he would ever run a marathon.

This is ridiculous to me.  If you can run a half marathon, I'm convinced you should just go ahead and run a marathon.  I know that after my last half marathon, I could have run a full.

So, I am giving a lot of thought to taking up running again.  The only problem is that I hate my current schedule.  I think I will have to shift everything around so that I work out with trainer in the morning instead of after work in the evening.  Then, I could run in the off-mornings.

On the bright side, I discovered this website Run Your City which has running maps and blogs for NYC.

I haven't made up my mind about it yet, though.  Running is a hard sport to break into and it's hot out.  I run better in the cold.  I'm just SO out of running shape right now.

The first thing I need to do is get a new watch for running.  Maybe I'll look around for one at lunch this afternoon...

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:56 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Fitness with Flibby
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Slave Driver

I don't think I'm a difficult person to work for, but I do have very little patience for certain kinds of lapses.

I can excuse "simple mistakes" and things that are plausibly errors of knowledge -- up to a point.  But I have next to no patience at all for a failure to meet commitments.

I realize that my work hours have exploded up to nearly 16 hours a day of late and that probably intimidates some people.  They probably think that I have some expectation that they will work until midnight and still show up for work at least an hour early the next day.  I don't.  I don't even really expect that of myself.  I just kind of do it.

How hard is it to look at what you have to get done, establish priorities, and project reasonable completion times?  And if you see yourself missing a deadline, how hard is it to raise your hand and let people know?

It seems very easy to some to simply fail because they don't have to explain it to a customer.  The problem is that I am their customer, but I'm a customer without the power to fire them.

Alas, there is little I can do about this.  I'm just as frustrated as I am perplexed by this behavior in certain people.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: At My Work
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July 28, 2008

Can't Talk! Bizzy Bee!

So, lately I've basically been possessed by the productivity demon with regard to my work.  I've been working crazy hours and loving it.

I get up in the morning, go to work, stay until my bed time, come home to sleep and then do it all again.

Twice a week, I leave to go to the gym and most of the time when I'm done at the gym, I just come back to the office and work for a few more hours.

I'm not complaining.  Work has been difficult lately, but I've really enjoyed it.  I think it's the fact that I've been struggling for the last few months to get a particularly ornery account under control and things have been going well.

So, anyway, that's where I've been all this time.

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Category: About Flibby
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How You Know China is Going to Hell

A piglet with a monkey face.

Nuff said.

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Category: In the News
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Zuul Mondays

cat
more cat pictures

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 03:36 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
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July 25, 2008

Carnivale!

Get your OBlogger's Carnival!  I'm late posting, so it's only semi-fresh at this point.

Even still, go get you some.  Good ideas don't go bad!

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Category: BLEEAAARRRG!
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July 24, 2008

Bless his Heart

My heart really goes out to Jorge.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 04:22 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
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July 23, 2008

It's Funny Because It's So True

Warning: Foul language is in this video... and also lots of appalling behavior.



But very funny... especially if you have to deal with IT or Sales very often.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:12 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
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July 22, 2008

$700 Billion

I don't know if you've seen it, but oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens has commercials on television right now talking about how America needs to find other sources of energy other than oil.  In case you haven't seen it, here it is:



I haven't paid close attention to what is said in the second half of the spot because I keep getting hung up on two items in the introduction:

  1. "Over 700 Billion dollars are leaving this country to foreign nations every year."
  2. And this represents "the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind."
These are foolish statements.

First of all, 700 Billion dollars may be leaving our country, but oil worth 700 Billion dollars is coming in.  People aren't just putting dollars into envelopes and mailing them to the Sultan of Brunei.  They're exchanging dollars for oil.  It's trade.

Which means this isn't a transfer of wealth, but an exchange of wealth.

That brings me to the second claim, actually.  The idea that oil trade represents the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of man is ridiculous for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it's not a transfer, it's an exchange.  The dollars go out, but the oil comes in.  Second, this implies that it is a single transaction between just two entities, when in fact the trade of oil represents a massive supply chain of exchanges between innumerable entities.

I know that things have to be simplified for commercials to get attention and move to the key message, which for T. Boone Pickens is about wind power, but this is so simplified as to be just false.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:56 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Money, Money, Money!
Post contains 273 words, total size 2 kb.

Marxists Among Us

I have this friend who occasionally invites me to hang out with him and his friends.  They're nice enough people, but I consciously keep my conversations with them away from the realm of politics.  You see, many of them are social workers, or employees at NGO's and the like.  Although I'd never talked to them about politics, I was sure such a discussion would not be pretty.

Well, Sunday was the last time I intend to hang out with them because the conversation turned to politics and could not be avoided.

One guy advocated seizing a person's property when they die on the basis of the idea that people have no rights when they die.  He said that my claim that "rights" was merely an abstraction that he doesn't recognize and that there is no obligation to honor anyone's wishes with regard to their property once they're dead and that no one has a right to property they didn't earn it themselves.  The idea behind this was to "level the playing field."

Another girl made the claim that Wal-Mart, specifically, destroys communities in spite of the fact that it does not and I offered to call my mother for her.  My mother had a business that was driven out of business when Wal-Mart came to their town.  Now, my mother is able to buy more for less and their community is wealthier overall with Wal-Mart representing a crucial part of the economic environment there.

It seems the ignoring basic moral concepts and proven economic principles are activities that come easily to these people.

I thwarted every hypothetical situation they put in front of me even though they were all absolutely ridiculous.  In one case, they asked me what a group of people is supposed to do if they live in the middle of some huge tract of non-arable land and Wal-Mart is the only business and they refuse to employ or serve this group.  Wal-Mart has never done this and no such place exists, but when I suggested that those people start their own businesses or start walking, they protested saying it costs money to start businesses and to walk.

Ridiculous.

At one point, they posited a future where houses, computers, food, and everything is produced automatically and perpetually by nanobots.  And even though the idea of any such thing happening within our lifetimes is preposterous (And is literally preposterous because it is based on a premise that natural resources are unlimited, which they are not.) they felt that this warrants re-examination of capitalism.

When I pointed out the obvious violation of property rights involved in all of their schemes and the blatant Marxism behind their justification by need, they asked things like "Who owns education?"  The idea of education being a service was beyond their comprehension.  The idea of it being their right to do or not do as they please with their person was abhorent.

I was actually shocked at how they rejected basic concepts.

Ultimately, I discovered that these people don't even believe that reality is objective.  They do not claim certainty about anything.  There is absolutely no activity imaginable -- slavery, pederasty, torture, murder -- about which they think their moral protests may be mistaken.  Morality is something determined by popular opinion.

I cut off the conversation after this.  These were not rational people. They were not interested in figuring out the truth.  Evasion and denial of reality is their bread and butter.

So, anyway, I won't spend time with them in the future.  They seemed to shrug off our disagreement as unimportant and even invited me to go with them to see movies in the park tomorrow.

It's really tragic that ideas aren't at all important to these people.  They will (and already seem to) suffer for it.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 06:33 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: Importance of Ideas
Post contains 636 words, total size 4 kb.

July 20, 2008

WALL-E: If Hippies Made a Cartoon

I got up this morning and went to the movies to watch WALL-E.  I was really surprised that I actually woke up in time because I didn't go to sleep last night until after 4am.  For some reason, when I got home last night, I felt like that was the time that I should catch up on my DVR.

Anywhoodles, WALL-E is a cute movie, but I don't recommend it.



The movie is cute.  WALL-E is cute.  EVE is cute.  It's cute.

But the not-subtle-at-all hippie themes are annoying to me.  It's just so obviously a movie by and for California, limousine liberals.  Hell, when WALL-E boots up, he makes the sound of a Mac.

The fat people can barely read, and yet this space ship stays in perfect order thanks to all the robots that take care of it.  It's a self-sustaining spaceship.  I don't know how that's possible since they launch TONS of garbage into space on a daily basis, but the notion is convenient since much of the movie is predicated on the notion that people are so disgusting that their sole motivation for inventing new technology is just so they can be lazy.

It's all very preposterous and annoying.  As cute as the movie is, I can't possibly recommend that you sit through it.  It's just that obnoxious.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 10:44 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
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July 19, 2008

Two Movies: Mamma Mia and The Dark Knight

Mamma Mia
Last night, I went out with Tiger Kitten to see Mamma Mia.  I had reservations about seeing it because I don't really care for musicals, but the music is ABBA.

ABBA!

So, I agreed to see it, but beforehand we went to this bar in Chelsea called Gym Bar.  It's a gay sports bar.  I know, right?  And for their happy hour, they do buy one drink get one free, so two rounds actually meant four rounds.  And the bartender winked at me, so he made my drinks kind of strong.

Why do bar tenders think that it's a favor to make drinks that are full of alcohol, rather than drinks that taste good?

Anyway, it was a good thing we were kind of tipsy going into that movie, because that movie was painful.  It was like they took the script from the stage and just put it on film.  Putting the ridiculous story about vapid people aside, many of the lines were delivered like... something... very not wanted.  Like 18 pounds of wet bread.

Oh.  And those people in the movie should be outlawed from singing ABBA songs.

Awful.  Just awful.

The Dark Knight
When I bought my ticket on Fandango, I thought I had purchased an IMAX ticket.  IMAX movies are cool because the screen is so big, but I have never once had a good seat in one of those theaters and there aren't enough of those theaters, so they're always crowded.  It's kind of annoying.  But it's Batman, so I thought it'd be worth it.

My showtime was at 9:30 this morning, but I knew there'd be a line, so I got there at about 8:30.  The line for the 10am movie was already down the street.

And then I learned that my movie wasn't sold out and that I did not have IMAX ticket afterall.  So, I got an awesome seat in the theater.

Well, it would have been awesome if these two great, big, fat guys who laughed very, VERY loudly through the whole movie hadn't sat down next to me and invaded my personal space.

Even so, I enjoyed the show a lot.

Heath Ledger's Joker is terrifying.  He's the embodiment of anarchy and amorality.  His entire motivation seems to be an intense hatred of what he calls "rules."  He values no one and nothing.  He is just malevolent.

Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent goes from inspiring to heart-breaking.  When he first showed up, I didn't really trust him, but time after time in the movie, he proved that he was actually dedicated to bringing the criminals of Gotham to justice.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is my biggest complaint in the casting of the movie.  She always looks frumpy to me.  I think the Rachel Dawes character needed to be someone prettier, more feminine, more glamorous.

And Christian Bale's Batman still rocks the socks.  I do appreciate how Bruce Wayne's personal conflicts don't dominate the movie or even his character.  My only complaint is the "scary" voice he uses at Batman.  I do wish they had explained the rationale behind his one rule -- not to kill the criminals he catches -- even though I agree with it assuming certain contextual caveats.

One of the major themes in the movie was about the losses the heroes suffer in fighting justice.



Innocent people suffer and die because of these criminals and the good guys fight and fight and fight and the criminals just keep getting worse and worse.  What's more, the criminals have no limits.  They aren't constrained by reason, law, or even loyalty.  The Joker doesn't even have any values he's concerned about.

There's more to it than that, but I don't want to spoil anything for you.  I'd really like to watch it again to look more at all the different facets of the movie, but overall I enjoyed what I saw of it in my first take.

You should definitely run out and see it right away.

Update: I haven't re-watched The Dark Knight, but friends and readers have all corrected me about the ending of the movie.  I clearly misunderstood what was going on with all the "noble" talk about "hope" and "heroes."

Batman in the end of this movie is not a hero, but a coward.  He also arrogantly insults the virtue of the people of Gotham who did show their mettle by not destroying one another.  In accepting the guilt for Harvey Dent's crimes, Batman is a liar and a coward and an enemy of justice.  His sacrifice is not heroic in the least and is designed to delude Gotham into holding onto a childish, fairy-tale vision of what it takes to have virtue and defend justice consistently night and day.

It's appalling really and I'm now peeved that the writers of the movie threw away an incredible opportunity to illustrate the requirements of a completely rational system of justice and how heroes operate within it.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:27 PM | Comments (23) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
Post contains 836 words, total size 5 kb.

Jaeger Bombs

Ok.  I saw this video a while back and I thought it was funny, but now that I see these people on the train every day, it means a lot more.



Warning: there's so bad language in it, so you might want to clear the children from the room.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:51 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Kicks & Giggles
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Video: Cat Race!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 01:47 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Category: Videos
Post contains 3 words, total size 1 kb.

July 17, 2008

Solo Travel?

I am a person who is perfectly willing to go to the movies and dinner by myself, but I've never traveled by myself for vacation.

I'm thinking about giving it a shot, you know maybe for like a long weekend or something.

People tell me that San Diego is nice.  Portland could be really cool.  I like the beach and hiking and museums and restaurants, so I'm pretty flexible.  London is relatively easy to get to from New York and I know a couple of people there.

Any suggested destinations?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:08 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
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Big Weekend Plans

I'm excited about this weekend.

Tomorrow, I'm going after work, I'm going with a friend of mine to see Mama Mia.  I'm scared because it's a musical, but at the same time it's ABBA, so hopefully it will be fun.

On Saturday, I'm going to get up early and go see The Dark Knight in the IMAX and then I am going to zoom to midtown and meet a friend of mine and we're going to go kayaking in the Hudson... for FREE!

THEN, I'm going back home to take a nap and then I will wake up and meet up with friends for a birthday party.

On Sunday, I will probably get up later in the morning and go see Wall-E and then come home and make some food and then go to a potluck BBQ at another friend's house.  Hopefully, that won't go on for too long because I will need to go home and have some me time before starting the week again.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:01 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
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July 16, 2008

TMI Alert

Drinking a half gallon of orange juice in a single sitting does terrible things. Digestively speaking.

Lesson learned.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 09:23 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
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Happy Wednesday!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:50 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Happy
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