Friday, May 25, 2007

For Tim:
*dusts off t-shirt*
*cues up Bad Brains vinyl to properly create sense of elitism*
*puts on reviewer hat - hey, wait, this says Carvin... nevermind*

Even though Avril Lavigne is hardly punk rock, we certainly reviewed our fair share of borderline music back in the day. Unfortunately, as I'm pressed for time right now, I'm afraid this review won't be that much better than a couple others featured spanning the entire range of musical quality from terrible to amazing. In any case, I'm going to pull out a couple age old adages on this one:
1) A picture is worth a thousand words
2) Someone else has already said it better
So, without further ado, here is Mr. Rob Dobi's opinion on the subject. I can't find this on his site anymore (I'm glad I downloaded it years ago). So, Rob, if you don't want this posted here either, just shoot me an email.

So, what do I think of Avril? I think she's cute. I think her music is catchy. I think the lyrics are devoid of any real meaning. Her look is just "bad girl" enough while still being non-threatening. In short, she's a poster child for over-produced watered-down pop music. I don't know her personally, but from brief snippets of interviews I've seen in magazines, she didn't know crap about punk or rock until her bandmates played songs for her on tour. I've read she wants to write more of her own music and have more creative control. Yeah, good luck with that. As for her current single, "Girlfriend," I can't possibly be the only one confused about the fact that she's still writing teeny-bop pop songs about getting the guy when she's already married. Oh wait, someone in a studio back room somewhere wearing a suit wrote that song. Nevermind. Still, it's damn infectious. And at least she plays both girls in her video. Although that brings to mind a few other questions - why is she excited about getting the guy into a bathroom stall? That's just gross. Why can't she ever hold onto a guitar for more than one shot? Does she even play a guitar or is it just another part of her image? Finally, what's with the weird tempo change and the happy-snappy-clappy n*sync style group dancing and the club-style grinding all occuring at once? It's just a very confused set of imagery. Okay, I lied, one more question: is she implying we should only date people who dress the same as ourselves? I mean, sure, I'm a musical elitist, but I'm going to throw you over to Rob again on this one. Emily and I would never be getting married if I had tried to make things work with Skye or that 4-foot tall girl at Furnace Fest in a Hatebreed jersey simply because we had all the same tastes in clothing. Maybe I'm just not shallow enough to appreciate these sorts of things? As for the song's lyrical content, there's the numerous thinly-veiled references to sex, implying that she'll put out if you date her instead of the other girl. Plus you have to love the overly calculated "and hell yeah I'm the mother fucking princess" line. I know, let's throw in a naughty word, but only the one instance, and we'll kinda stick it in the middle of the song where everyone will notice but not really make a big deal about it. Pure genius. I applaud you Mr. Ghostwriter! I think I've kind of lost any point I was trying to make here. Just like a real olde-tyme review! Verdict: Catchy music, cute girl (even if she's a traitorous Canadian), vapid lyrics. This is one of those songs I'll never admit to liking, but for some reason it'll be on my iPod (it's not, don't bother checking) and have as many plays as "Shark Ethic." I can't help it, okay? The damn thing gets stuck in your head and you've just got to listen to it again and again and again. Mission accomplised RCA (except not really since I have yet to give you cent one for this song/record)!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Also today in the stupid things that annoy me category: Airline ticket prices. How are they determined and why do they make no sense? Sure, I understand that in general a flight on a Tuesday is going to be cheaper than one on a Friday. It makes sense that you would charge more for people going on weekend trips by upping the cost to leave friday night and return sunday night. I totally get that. But the timetable by which rates change for the same flights are ludicrous. Here's my new favorite example: Since my parents aren't coming down to Savannah, and I see no reason to spend an extra couple days in Atlanta while Emily visits her friends, I need a flight back to the DC area. Airtran 187 from ATL to DCA costs $174 if you buy it on their website. If however I want to fly from Savannah to National instead of out of Atlanta (which of course means I have to transfer in Atlanta), you can book Airtran 661 from SAV to ATL and Airtran 187 from ATL to DCA together for the outrageous cost of $94. Um, wait, to take the same flight as before, plus an extra flight, costs about half as much? I don't even know where to begin with all the things that don't make sense about that. No wonder airlines are all bankrupt...

Oh. My. God. You know how most companies allow employees to schedule their own meetings and rooms using Outlook or Lotus Notes or what have you? When I first started here, we could do that. Then they took it away to "improve" the capabilities. Well, here it is two years later and they brought it back finally. No more having to coordinate with the receptionist (who is now a security guard)! So I go to schedule a meeting today in the conference room down the hall. Only I can't find room 5106 in Outlook's contact list. I thought maybe it was because my client hadn't synced with the Exchange server in a while, so I did that and still no luck. I reread the email telling us that we had this capability again. Oops, user error. It's not under "Conference Room 5106" like it used to be. It's now under prefix VAFF06 (our building code - since our global address book has all GD locations in it now). No problem. Oh wait, I still can't find it. Why? The room isn't called "Conference Room 5106" anymore. No no friends. It's called "VAFF06 Room USS Alabama (old 5-106)". What?? A further investigation revealed that all our conference rooms have been given Navy ship names. This helps no one! Everyone knows where room numbers are. When I get an invitation to a meeting in "USS Kitty Hawk" next week, I'm going to send security an email for a CV-63 visit request and book a plane ticket for her homeport in Japan, then see how long this new naming convention sticks around. Even if you put up big signs at the entrance to each conference room, you still have to wander all over the building to find the right boat, I mean room because it's not immediately obvious that USS Virginia is the 7th floor main conference room. I'd love to know which executive dreamed up this stellar plan...

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm getting ready to leave work now. This is awesome. Thanks to last week and flex time, I have only 20 hours left to work this week, and 4 days to do it. The real trick is going to be figuring out when to come in late or leave early to work around all the meetings I have to go to this week and still get everything done I need to get done before I leave for Savannah. I forsee a Friday off, probably coming in late Thursday, and hopefully going home early tomorrow. =)

I'm back from my trip to Norfolk. I think security people everywhere have to pass some sort of "I'm on a power trip" test as well as a maximum IQ of 80 test to get their positions. I arrived at 1 pm on Wednesday, got kicked out of the pass office at 4:30, went back at 5:30 am when they opened and was there until 11 when they finally realized they'd had my paper work all along, they were just loooking at the wrong thing. Grrr... So I missed the start of my 6 am training, but I slotted in at 1 pm instead. As much as I detest getting up at 4 am two days in a row, I feel even worse for the sailors who not only sat through two 12-hour days of training, but also had to stand their regular watch on top of it. I got home around 3:30 on Fridya and collapsed for 5 hours. I'm still not sure my sleep schedule is back to normal yet. Emily left for Santa Monica on Saturday morning, so I've got the place to myself (well, plus the animals) for a couple days. As long as it's not a disaster when she gets back, I'll consider it a success. Saturday I had lunch with my parents, who decided not to join us in Savannah this time around because my mom's still not feeling up to travelling after her surgery. I'm kinda bummed, but there will be other opportunities and I guess that means I get to be the sole representative of my side of the family in any decision making processes. Yay! Sunday I did nothing but watch movies and play video games all day. It was totally awesome. I started the new Zelda game, which, as expected, consumed 3.5 hours the first go round. Then I played a whole lot of Oblivion too. Gotta make up for lost time. Plus I'm going to be gone all next week, so I have to get my fix while I can. ;) Finally, Tim requested a review/analysis of Avril's latest single, so I'll try to get to that this week too.

Monday, May 14, 2007

In less irritating news, things are going pretty well. Dave's out of town all week on vacation, so I'm holding down the fort. So far nothing has gone seriously wrong (we did lose power today for about an hour, but that's really beyond my control anyway). I had a good weekend of doing very little at home. The secret is just to get started on something and it'll snowball. But the Wii is so tempting... Ben and I installed a new over-oven microwave for Mother's Day that wasn't really that difficult. It was just time consuming and somewhat annoying to do without the proper tools. But it looks good now that it's done at least. My mom is still recovering from surgery, but seems to be in pretty good spirits all around, and we're all hoping she rebounds in time for our trip to Savannah. Wedding planning is coming along, and I think we'll probably have a big flurry of activity once we get back from Savannah if not immediately before. Not too much else going on. Just business as usual I suppose.

Today we ask a hypothetical question: If your job description includes the word "support," making you, by definition, support staff, shouldn't you support the rest of the organization and assist them in their goals? Hypothetically, if I asked you to do something, and you told me you were too busy to get to it today, I would take your word for it. Until I hypothetically walked past your office 10 times during the last couple hours and saw you reading (hypothetically) ESPN, talking to your (hypothetical) wife, and talking (again, hypothetically) about baseball with a co-worker. Then I would hypothetically assume that you're a lazy jackass. I know why you don't want to help me with this; it helps a competitor and specifically someone you don't like at that company. Hey, guess what, you don't get to make that kind of decision. I do (actually, the Navy did, but that's besides the point here). I get to decide whether we help them or not, and you get to do what I tell you to do because I'm an engineer and you're here to support me. Hypothetically, I'd be very pissed off right now and would be bringing this up with your manager, or at least that's what I would do if this weren't entirely a fictional account of events that never actually transpired at any point in time (like today for example).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Apparenty, there's no simple way to get your Miis off a Wii. There's a hack available that requires a bluetooth PC adapter (I don't have one). Instead, there's a replica Mii creator online, but it's not quite as much fun. At any rate, here's roughly what I look like on my Wii. I think it's slightly different somehow than what I created, but it's close enough I think.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I was excited yesterday when I read about the brightest observed supernova on Ars Technica. Later when I read some more about it on CNN, I noticed they had talked to Mario Livio. That name rung a bell, and not just because I have a slightly more than casual interest in astrophyics, cosmology, and mathematics. He also wrote a book that I read recently about the number phi (1.6180339887...), better known as the Golden Ratio. Its appearance everywhere in nature and mathematics and the story of its discovery, use, and misuse is really quite amazing, especially considering the wide variety of places it pops up. Livio argues that's its more important than well-recognized numbers like e and pi. I suppose that depends on your field. As an EE, I have to say that e and pi have been a lot more useful to me (besides just on license plates) than phi, though certainly phi might be more interesting. In any case, I was excited by the fact that I read and understood a book by an astrophysicist (and one somewhat less well-known than Dr. Hawking) that was interviewed by CNN about something as amazing as the brightest supernova ever observed by us.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Yay for free pizza! I love the fact that our program will occasionally spend a couple hundred bucks on somethign that everyone can enjoy. It's not like having a pizza party a couple times a year is going to bankrupt us. Especially when I'm personally responsible for breaking a $10k piece of equipment with my bare hands, though I'm hardly the only one who has done so. Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but we have a Wii in the household and it has a tendency to eat up all my time. No controllers have gone through my TV yet, though there have been some close calls with the coffee table. And at the party at Dave's on Saturday, a couple people did get hit by stray fists of tennis fury (not mine). Turns out however that all this physical activity has left my right arm somewhat sore. *shrug* If I keep doing this, maybe I'll get ripped! In other Wii news, making Miis is too much fun. Emily and I both made avatars for our families (we're hoping that maybe they'll come play someday) that we think is a pretty good representation. It's amazing how much changing something like eyebrows can alter the perceived mood. Anyway, as soon as I figure out how to get them off my Wii and onto my computer, I'll happily post what we all look like in a digitized world. Daphne moved into the guest bedroom with Sonja and Zoey. I'm not really sure what they think of each other yet. They haven't had any playtime together yet, but that should be interesting. I'm really not at all sure what to expect. Our hope is that they will all eventually occupy a single cage peacefully. Daphne's still basically a baby, and the other two have mellowed a lot (most of the time), so it certainly seems feasible that they'd get along. We'll see I suppose.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I forgot to take my allergy medicine this morning... I realized it as I was sitting in my car at a stop light contemplating when to use my wipers to clear the yellow film from my field of vision. Most of the morning I was doing pretty good, but now I'm starting to get a headache even though I've been drinking water non-stop all day. *sigh* Must remember to take my drugs tomorrow. This is what happens when I decide to hit the snooze button one extra time.

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  • I'm Rev. Adam
  • From Oakton, Virginia, United States
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