Friday, November 17, 2006

You choose, you lose.

I am thinking if I have anything to say right now and nothing’s coming to mind. One thing: I notice that my desk is just ten or twelve feet away from the CEO’s. He has a cubicle, too. It will be HARD to convince management that I deserve an office.

Has everybody gotten over their election fever yet? Midterm cases are usually pretty mild. It is easy for the election to sneak up on Utah voters – hardly anyone advertises their candidacy on radio or TV. Contrast that to Arizona (where I spent part of last week) – yikes! A talk-radio listener gets warnings, sometimes stentorian and sometimes full of throaty passion, about all the horrible things that will happen to your beautiful state if so-and-so is elected to such-and-such. I wonder if Arizona voters’ minds are trained to take it all in – for me it all started running together in my head. Voting for whom will cause cancer? Which proposition will reverse the earth’s gravity? Which judge sets sex felons free and gives them your daughter’s cell number? These negative ads seem to cast an indiscriminate grey pall over the whole proceedings, and induce a voter to feel bad about everything.

Nothing like that in Utah! A benefit of one-party state politics is that you are never troubled to hear opposite views or dissenting opinions.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Working for a living

I am writing this at work, during my lunch break of my new job at a watch merchant's corporate headquarters.

So, if anyone ever wants an answer to the question, "What time is it?" they know who to ask.

This is a funny place, since there is an office, warehouse, and watch repair place all in the same building. It's like a big garage. Small companies are funny: the HR dept is 25 feet away from me, and marketing is about 10. I tread an imaginary border between operations and finance. I have a cubicle on a concrete floor in the middle of a big garage. Three feet away from me on the other side of my cubicle wall, craftsmen are tinkering with watches, fussing at gears and springs and hitting tiny things with tiny hammers. An aircraft-carrier-grade heater whirrs intermittently above. There are no windows on the walls. If I don't go outside and get some sun, I'm going to get all pale and wretched and start saying "Gollum" a lot.

Some folks are dressed like artists, some are dressed like businessmen, and some are wearing sweats and jeans as they lift and move things around.

It's funny how well the office people dress for their job in the garage. Dark socks, nice shirts, and so on. Almost as if to say, "I'm dressed too nice to move any boxes! Find someone else to do the physical labor!" At least, that's what I'm hoping my dress says about me.

People are pretty nice. I'm still trying to get to know them. A man just came by and said hi. He introduced himself to me and I asked what he does for the company. He answered, "I am the CEO."


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

World Cup

The final rounds of the World Cup of Soccer came and went last month. The football was entertaining enough, I suppose. The benefit of not having a job is being able to watch pretty much all 63 games, and after such an embarrassment of riches I became rather jaded. It was fun, however, to see how excited people got about the matches, and there is a particular thrill I get to hear a stadium full of fans scream when a goal is finally scored.

Speaking of fans and thrills, I noticed a peculiar tendency of the shot selection protocols practiced by the television cameramen that were recording the game to broadcast to us. Whenever the narrative of the game requires a crowd shot, the cameras tend to seek out the comeliest young ladies they can find for a close-up.

I’m not sure people realize it, but this phenomenon is rather commonplace at sporting events. Long have nubile coeds come early to college football games so they can stand in the front row and show off their goods to the video cameras and photographers. At the World Cup, young ladies seeking this sort of attention will hold their nation’s flag up behind them. This creates a makeshift backdrop that advertises their loyalties and indicates, perhaps, which team’s players they are most interested in fraternizing with after the game. I have posted an ensample; we can see the typical characteristics: front row, flag, half a shirt, and a surfeit of team spirit. We can also see that Argentinean ladies are more familiar with armpit hygiene than women of certain other nations.

(For some reason, three of the four gentlemen over her left shoulder are not watching the game. They seem to be distracted by something else.)

I suppose it understandable that cameramen would seek the most pleasing and positive images possible, according to their own aesthetic inclinations. And there is hopefully not too much moral danger in seeing one immodest Latina. But I find ill portentions in television viewers being fed a steady diet of beauty and only beauty.

These sporting events are a perfect example. Tens of thousands in attendance look just like regular people, but the cameras aren’t so interested in them. The young lady above doesn’t look like them. She doesn’t look like hardly anyone. She possesses a physique attainable only by a few, and even then only by dint of fanatical exercise and invasive surgery. But she is the one we see when we watch.

Television would have us believe that those bulbous bosoms, trim figures, and clear, sharp features are what people really look like. Or should, at least. The logical realization of the illusion is not enough of a defense, for as we surround ourselves with illusory beauty our attitudes and perceptions are still affected. Trips to Wal-Mart and the DMV are mildly shocking for some of us – seeing the denizens of such places is a forceful reminder of what human beings really look like: saggy, scorched, brittle, and squishy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Figure Skating

The reason for watching figure skating has always escaped me.

You might call it the gymnastics of the Winter Games: waifish girls contorting their underdeveloped, malnourished, twelve-year-old bodies into moves as athletic, graceful, and alluring as they are able.

Anyway, scads of you Americans do like it, and since American Idol wasn’t on tonight you saw some figure skating drama between West and East, the USA and Russia, Cohen and Slutskaya.

Surprise! This year both the domineering, fame-hungry parents of Western Celebrity Worship and the state-sponsored trainers of Totalitarian National Prestige Fabrication took a back seat to the nation of Japan, whose Shizuka Arakawa took top honors after lackluster performances by the Cold War powers’ leading lights.

I am not sure which motivational tools Japanese favor. Though, coming from a collectivist society, doubtless the young woman felt a great deal of pressure to not let everyone down, and was perhaps less concerned with individual fulfillment.

Unrelatedly, my right leg is twitching. It has been doing so all week. I do not understand.

I've been everywhere

I have been to:

create your own visited states map

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney's Got a Gun

What can be said about the Vice President of the United States shooting a guy? This is the first time the sitting Vice President has shot someone since Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton. In both cases, the man shot was an attorney. The attention of America’s mockerati has been focused on the story all week and I could not say anything funnier than what has already been said. Still, I AM glad to hear the Vice President is standing behind his decision to shoot his buddy; we don’t want any weak-kneed equivocating in our dangerous global climate.

And anyway, the guy he shot just had a heart attack as a result of the attack, so it’s not socially acceptable to make jokes until he’s recovered.

I have recently become aware of another un-mockable situation: The upcoming film “Date Movie”, not content with spoofing contemporary chick flicks, has decided to also spoof that recent BYU-influenced offering, Napoleon Dynamite.

This is utter foolishness, apart from the fact that Napoleon Dynamite is not much of a romantic comedy. As far as I’m concerned, ND is completely and utterly unspoofable. I mean, how can someone make fun of that film or its eponymous lead? I mean really, will you make the Napoleon imitator look like an uncultured, unpopular nerd? Will you assign all manner of human frailties and weaknesses to him? Will you make him prey to cruel pratfalls? People will simply think you are imitating him.

The greatest barbs of the satirist and parodist are always aimed at the self-important and self-serious, those with inflated egos and exaggerated gravity. Their main business is to make the serious unserious. There are few things less serious than Napoleon Dynamite, and he is thus immune to their ink-stained daggers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Everyone already knows about it. Mother Sheehan was arrested in the Capitol Building before the State of the Union Address for disruptive behavior.

Her words. (warning! the zealous community members of that website have filthy mouths! read the 'comments' section at your own peril)

No charges will be filed, and the US Capitol Police have apologized for arresting her.

The online Left is screaming. I am always mystified by the general outrage when someone gets hassled by the Man in a prominent way. She was in that audience for political purposes and those purposes were achieved, albeit indirectly. Rather than just being on camera a few times with her t-shirt, she gets her first amendment rights violated while the nation is watching. Things have turned out for her about as good as possible. She gets free publicity, enhances her martyr status, can engage in a very public and shameful flaunting of her victimhood, and further cement herself in the pantheon of Liberal-Left public figures.

That, and she didn’t have to sit through a scripted, ritualistic, made-for-TV snoozer.

You’d think everyone on dailykos would be cheering. This will energize the base, get out protestors, raise soft money, sell t-shirts, and generally inspire the sorts of things leftists do when they're angry.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Crazy delicious

It seems that the more technology gives us ability to write or film anything and show it to the world, the more nobody seems to have anything to say.

These guys have nothing to say, but they say it with a certain perverse style:

The Chronic - WHAT? - Cles of Narnia!

That video has been viewed 3.4 million times in the past month.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Say, can you see?

Technological development has improved telecommunications, travel, sanitation, computing, and most anything else you can think of. We can contemplate the atoms of the Big Bang, send complicated devices to other planets, and steal music on the internet. We can even kill lots of people much more elegantly and impressively than ever before.

But post-modern fireworks are stupid.

Has there been any change? Any innovation? Any genuinely new thing in the last thirty years of technological development? Fireworks nowadays seem shorter-lived and smaller than their grandparents were.

We set some off on December 31. Put them on the street and lit them, or flung them in the air in hopes they would ignite mid-air. The most memorable thing about the evening was finding that Sean throws – well, not like a girl, but definitely in a manner unbecoming a former marine.

We got our thrills, but purely from supercharged snark and irony. My favorite was the Twin Towers firework. No, we did not pick it up on the streets of Damascus – as well you should ask. The idea of setting fire to some representation of the World Trade Center strikes one as slightly anti-American. Not so! This is in fact a sober and wholesome commemoration of America’s darkest hour – a day stained in blood, ashes, dust, and the echoed threats of hostile zealots from halfway round the world. What better way to remember it all than with your own little conflagration, right out on your driveway?

At least, that’s what the sellers of this product are saying. Now, to me fireworks have never seemed to have much meaning. Light fuse. Watch lights. Repeat. If there is some sort of higher symbolism, it escapes me, and I will need enlightening. I think what gets me is the similarity of the firework product to the actual World Trade Center. You don’t set fire to things you love!

The makers of the Twin-Towers-in-a-box foresaw this uncomfortable interpretation to this questionable activity. Writing on the top of the box sets us straight. “When you light this firework, you are not reliving the tragedy, but remembering the sacrifice and spirit of our great nation on that terrible day.”

Just below that it solemnly intones, “Remove lid before lighting.”

So anyway, we lit the Twin Towers and saw them burn for a few seconds in an extremely modest haze of sparks. Nobody would have died in that fire. Think twin engine Cessna rather than super jumbo 747.

It lit up with red sparks, then white sparks, and then purple sparks.

It seemed fitting, somehow.