I knew today was going to be a long day with a 12-16 hour work day followed by a Scout function.  The evening meeting was a Council Meeting that was somehow changed to a Council Executive Board Meeting without anyone having been told and apparently the press was going to be there.  The reporter stuck out like a sore thumb as she was the only one to not know the Scout Oath or Law and about two hours in she left of boredom.  The reason we thought we were there wasn’t discussed and I felt like a lot of my time had been wasted.  I don’t get angry much, but this was one of those cases and while walking out I kicked the door open.  I’m pretty sure I had sent the impulse to my hand to open it, but that wasn’t fast enough so my foot entered service.

Within 24 hours, a good number of people called me to ask why I was mad and to explain what happened and why.  I’m glad I now know and am left with the lesson that I need to have temper tantrums more often.

Hag in Golf Cart: You need to pay for today.
Me Suddenly Awoken: I already paid for today.
Hag in Golf Cart: Nope, you paid for yesterday.
Me Suddenly Awoken: I got here at 6 AM.
Hag in Golf Cart: That was part of yesterday.  Today starts at 11 and you need to pay.
Me Suddenly Awoken: Ok.

These are the moments where I’m simultaneously happy and sad that I don’t have laser vision.  The shrew in a house dress may have inadvertently helped me as her call to reveille provided enough rage that I didn’t feel terribly tired during the next eight hours of driving when coupled with the focusing power of a Carl’s Jr. hamburger.

North Dakota and Minnesota were more of the same after driving through Canada except that the North Dakota license plate is just close enough to the PA one for it to trigger flashbacks when viewed in my peripheral vision.


to this.

Another difference is that as a side effect of the manifold legislation to jump start the American economy, most of the arterial roads in both states were under some sort of construction.  One of these construction areas was large enough that the best detour consisted of driving 20 miles on dirt roads next to exact rows of spring peas.  These roads had the curious distinction of having a speed limit of 65 but being speckled with stop signs.  Some drivers tackled this by blowing stop signs, others tackled it by humming along at 40 and slowly rolling to a stop.  I tackled it by driving the speed limit and then stopping at the stop sign while watching the former and passing the latter.  Driving is fun.  During the drive I think I crossed over the Mississippi four times each from what seemed like a different direction until I arrived in Minneapolis, made niceties and then rocked some sleep.

All in all I drove 1600 miles in the past 34 hours or about 12% of my entire trip.


DISCLAIMER: This is me yelling at a product.  It probably won’t be funny. Although the paragraph on Blu-Ray gets chuckles.

I cancelled my Netflix description today.   I loved Netflix, I really did.  I rewatched most of Star Trek: The Next Generation for about 1/3 the price of buying the DVDs, discovered a wonderful gift for my mother, and got to see some movies I couldn’t have imagined running into otherwise but the final straw was Blu-Ray.  I recognize the oddity that upgrading my service that could easily have been reversed but the trip was long.

I purchased a blu-ray drive many moons ago and had lost the CD that came with it containing the software.  I contacted the drive company for a replacement which I got a curt “check the software maker’s web page to see if they have it”.  They do, for a mere $79.99 plus a $4.99 digital download fee.  There are no free blu-ray decrypters in that the technologies involved make the NSA look quaint, but found three or four suites that’d let me try them for 30 days, when strung together I was hoping I have bought enough time to see a free option emerge.  I got everything set up and was immediately struck with how unimpressive the entire experience was.  1920 x 1200 is nice for TV but the primary things my 30″ monitor does is play display hi-res images or video games, both of which could gobble up resolutions up to WQUXGA without breaking a sweat and look gorgeous at 2560 x 1600.  1920 x 1080, really?  Two megapixels?  Despite the underwhelming appearance I watched a disc or two as it was still better than DVD, presentation-wise.

Then I migrated to Windows 7 and popped in Bender’s Game only to receive a HDCP violation notice after the copyright notice.

Aside: Sometimes things rub me the wrong way in a way that’s so profoundly disturbing just to me that the paroxysmal rages they induce have resulted in me breaking things with sufficient force that generations from now my Hulk-smashes will match the legends of the formation of the Giant’s Causeway or formation of Japan.  I don’t like when people violate my three rules of polite conversation nor when people tell me to change a time for something when they’re not my employer.

Great, you don’t like Windows 7, Paramount.  BUT AFTER THE F*#&ING LEGAL WARNING.  ARE YOU MOCKING ME!  “Hey, before we eff up your viewing experience we want to take a moment to remind you that there’s no possible way besides this bundle of proprietary cloak-and-dagger technologies to watch this content in higher-def.  Thanks for your money, sucker consideration, viewer.”  I had the disc between the thumb and pointer fingers of each of my hands and slowly allowed my arms to pronate when I remembered something: Netflix doesn’t have a “oops, I broke it clause” like Blockbuster does.  Maybe that’s why Blockbuster went under, not inferior choice, service and shipping, but people destroying blu-ray disc after disc in frustration.  I placed the disc in its Tyvek sleeping bag and slid that into the travel tent of the mailing sleeve.  I placed it in my mailbox this morning at about 1/4 after 4 AM and drove to work to cancel my Netflix account.  They were guilty by association.

You know what else pisses me off about blu-ray besides insulting the user at every turn with it’s technical ability to bar you from viewing your own content at almost any time?  IT’S NAME.  Blu-ray could fit easily into the set of ridiculous cinema technologies from the 50s like mega-vision, view-o-rama, or Glorious EXTRA color.  HD DVD made so much more sense not only technologically but had a superior non-descript moniker that perfectly described what it did.  It was a better DVD.  Blu-ray?  What the fuck does that mean? Yes, I know there’s a blue laser involved which is part of the reason that there’s an extra benjamin to the player’s purchasing cost but you couldn’t call it like XDVD, DVD2 or something that made sense?  This is why Sony’s technologies such, miniDisc, Betamax, and MemoriStik (I assume it had a non-standard spelling despite it probably just being Memory Stick) were beaten out by CD, VHS, and CF or SD respectively.  Standards by law should have dull names that involve no lacerations to the English language.  Die in a ditch, Blu-Ray.

Warning:  The two statements below were based on my immediate reactions to the crowds of cheering fans for various candidates in the 2008 elections.  By no means is this an indictment of the majority of my readership who spent the quality time to make a decision based on an understanding of pertinent issues and a proper gauging of character.  When next November comes, I hope to eat my words, but as I’ve said before, I enjoy being a pessimist.  I’m either right or pleasantly surprised.

Subtle Disdain or First-Time Voters:

Congratulations, you voted.   I’m fine that you that when you pulled that level you were expecting a cloud of flying kittens that pooped daisies to appear to reward you for having made a decision for the candidate able to make “tough choices”.  I’m fine that you’ve spent 20 minutes of time to make a poorly informed decision for candidates whose platforms you understand as well as the importance of gauge symmetry in particle physics.  Really, as someone who votes in primaries and sits on his township’s environmental board and whose endlessly debated the difference between Type II and Type IIA drainage plans I’m glad your eventual decision went down to who gave you “hope” or “seemed like a stronger leader”.

I’m fine that you voted for who supported policies that aren’t within the powers of their office. Your president still can’t ban gay marriage, control budgets, or sign treaties.  Your senator still can’t overthrow the FCC, change the National Park Service or change your state’s sales tax.  Your local representative still can’t institute national health care, or end the War in Iraq.  I’m fine that you didn’t know that.

I’m fine that you voted on the ballot initiative based entirely on what was written in the 2″x4″ box describing the measure or missed it entirely not realizing that there’s more than one avenue of legislative action.

I’m fine that after hitting the button for your preferred presidential candidate you froze in fear upon seeing the six other offices up for election and that you showed your true level of preparation by selecting people from your party or the person whose name you’d heard most.

Really, I’m fine with that.  Statistics informs be that your ignorance combined with poorly designed user interfaces on voting machines means that your vote was canceled out by other slack-jawed yokels thunderstruck by the difficulty of operating technology that’s fault-tested by toddlers.  The real winner in the 2008, as always, was the normal distribution.

Not Subtle Disdain For First-Timers:

It’s great that 138 million or so people voted, really I’m thrilled for them.  Never mind that the vast majority lived in states that were as political conservative as the arch-angel Gabriel or consider the sex-drive of Cirque De Soleil quaint and their vote’s importance bordered on neutrino-like importance, I’m glad these neophyte political quidam could think of themselves as useful.

My vengeance against these panglosian plebiscites will come next November, when the only thing to vote for will be freeholders, DA’s, auditor generals and if you live in Pennsylvania which elects everything, County Coroner.  The turnout will hit a stunning 12% and again my vote will wield disproportional influence over the unwashed masses ignorant of the true power held by a prothonotary over the District Justice and how County Commissioners sacrifice cats to summon Ialbadoth, Minion of the Lord of Greater Darkness.  When the ichor-stained swatch of ballots hewn from hellstone consume the upstart touchscreen voting booths, Americans will again known the despair of democracy and the dread and loathing induced by an election day on an odd-numbered year.  Feel my wrath.