Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oro the hamster passed away quietly yesterday while Emily was in Minneapolis on a business trip. He was getting to be a pretty old guy and in light of his traumatic childhood at the pet store, I think he lived a pretty good full life. He was really Emily's pet (she got him long before we moved in together), but I feel like we had a special bond as he was the only other male mammal in the house. Sometime yesterday while I was at work, he crawled out of his little nest, curled up next to his food dish, pulled a piece of bedding over his head and just went to sleep. Poor little guy. I'm really going to miss him. His cage sits in the middle of the apartment and so we walk by it all the time. It's sad enough to see it sitting there with no little fuzzball in it and the door open, but it'll be even sadder when it's not sitting there at all. Normally under those conditions I'd expect to see Mr. Oro running around in his ball making as much noise as possible, but his ball is just as empty as his cage. He used to love running around in there, and climbing all over his cage, and chewing on his doggie biscuits. When I'd put tmy hand in his cage to feed him or try to pet him, he'd always grab my finger and try to drag my entire hand off to his secret cache of stored goodies.
My favorite memory of him is from when Emily was home for Christmas and Oro was staying at my apartment: I let him out to play in his ball while the chinnies were out. I wasn't sure what they'd think of each other. Sonja was pretty indifferent, but Zoey was first curious, then cautious, then downright terrified of this giant yellow ball piloted by something 1/10th her size. It takes a lot to scare Zoey, but apparently a swiftly moving object slightly bigger than herself that glides instead of hops is enough to do it. Unfortunately, I think the pumice dust the girls bathe in irritated Oro's skin and he lost some fur, so they weren't allowed to play together anymore. But every once in a while, in our new place, he'd be running around and we'd lose track of him, then hear a racket coming from the chin room. Upon investigation, Mr. Oro had rolled in there just to say hello and was off in a corner minding his own business, and Zoey had started freaking out, chattering away like crazy, and bouncing all over the cage.
All pets have their own personalities, and while Oro wasn't the snuggliest or the the smartest, he made up for it with his antics. Sitting in his food dish when he was hungry, eventually learning how to climb back down his cage rather than just letting go and falling off, rolling around in his bedding to get it just right, moving his nest to a different corner every week, acting like his cage being cleaned was the greatest injustice in the universe, squeaking and beeping away just to say hello or whenever he was happy, and generally just being a clumsy little ball of fur you couldn't help but love.
Rest in peace buddy.

Monday, August 27, 2007

For those of you with any interest in NCAA football, you may want to head over to Chaos Rankings, since the preseason rankings are finally posted. Also, I'm trying to get an actual website set up in the near future that will host the blog, as well as all the past weeks of rankings in an easy to read/navigate format. More on that when/if it actually comes together.
In other sports news, we had our first flag football "practice" yesterday, consisting of a scrimmage against one of the better teams in our league. I think we won, but I'm not sure if that's a good indication of any sort of future success or not. I guess we'll see. I did get pretty winded towards the end of the game, but otherwise I felt pretty good. Today, of course, I'm pretty stiff, but nothing that some stretching later won't help out. At least I didn't mess up my ankle like one of the guys on our team did.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It is a sad commentary on the modern American sports world that the most uplifting sports story recently has been British soccer-prodigy David Beckham's long-delayed appearance in MLS. Baseball is coping with the fallout from Bonds breaking Aaron's HR record. Basketball is dealing with the whole crooked ref thing. Football is trying to figure out what to do with idiots like Pacman Jones. Cycling is mired in a doping scandal. I guess golf is pretty clean, but the sports current ambassador isn't having a season in his usual Woodsian form. But of course the latest debacle involves the Falcons undoubtedly-now-former quarterback, #7.
I read a few minutes ago that Vick has accepted a plea deal in the dogfighting case. I decided some time ago that he was clearly guilty, so I'm not surprised. But I am dissapointed that he plead not guilty in the first place. It really rubs people the wrong way when you claim to be not guilty, talk high and mighty about wanting to "clear your good name", then turn around and agree to a plea deal admitting your guilt. Cop to it up front and at least people will give you a little credit for honesty. But once his best friend from junior high accepted a plea deal and turned state's witness, it was obvious Mike was guilty as hell. Regardless of what he did or didn't actually do, he's guilty as hell. If he honestly didn't realize what was going on, he's guilty of being an idiot of what his money was being used for and guilty of surrounding himself with people who used him for his fame and fortune and guilty of repeatedly making extremely poor life choices. If he was more intimately involved, obviously, he's guilty of animal cruelty of an unspeakable degree and guilty of a flawed or nonexistant conscience. Frankly, I'm glad he's taking a deal, because it will undoubtedly involve jail time. The thing I was most concerned about was this case going to trial, and, despite his former co-defendants as witnesses for the prosecution, finding some stupid technicality that let him off the hook, in much the same way the badly-bungled OJ Simpson case went down.
I read a while back, I think on ESPN, that there were some rumblings among the black community about the whole thing being a conspiracy to bring down a high-profile black athlete. What? Okay, look, I totally understand the mistrust. I'm not naive enough to believe racism doesn't exist. However, you're bound to find it if that's what you want to see. There are plenty of other squeaky clean high-profile black athletes - Tiger Woods, the Williams sisters, Dwayne Wade, Michael Jordan (okay, he's more peripheral now, but at his peak, he was bigger than Vick could ever be), Kevin Garnett, Jerry Rice (grandfather clause). If you want to see a conspiracy, I'm sure all the facts line up to look like a conspiracy. For most people, all the facts line up to look like a coddled prima-donna who forgot the wrong parts of his past.
I remember when Michael was the good one and Marcus was the screw up. I remember reading an interview with Frank Beamer talking about how spoiled Marcus was when he went to recruit him. Michael was living in the projects when Beamer brought him to VT. A couple years later, Marcus was living in a mansion with his mother driving cars his millionaire brother bought him. It was easy to write off Marcus as being spoiled by his brother's success. But it always seemed like Michael had a good head on his shoulders and had used his talent to better his station in life and help those around him. It was starting to become clear after a couple years in the NFL that the strong work-ethic and humbleness that had gotten him where he was had fallen by the wayside and he was feeling the same sense of entitlement as his younger brother. It's too bad to see such talent go to waste, but don't get me wrong, I'm not sympathetic to people who have more money than they know what to do with and still find things to complain about and dumb things to do with their fortunes.
NFL commish Goodell has said that this incident won't overshadow the season. Yeah right. Even if a sentence is handed down and Vick is behind bars before the Falcons first regular-season game, the damage is done and I guarantee every commentator will be talking about it on air. And it's not just damaging to Atlanta, it's going to affect the entire league. Even my grandmother, the most diehard Redskins fan I know, has expressed her own waning interest in watching football this fall, and that makes me sadder than probably anything else.

Happy first day of college! Suckers. Says the man who just sent a fax to Auburn to enroll in a distance learning class... Whatever, it'll give me more job satisfaction and some bargaining leverage for my next performance review.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Holy crap. Weird Al live is so awesome. He's got some pretty sweet moves for a guy pushing 50. I was smiling and/or laughing pretty much the entire 2+ hour set. At one point he and the band switched songs after each verse about 10 times and he was up there dancing and singing for 30 minutes straight. They played a good mix of songs too from Fat and Eat It to Smells Like Nirvana to Yoda to Bob to White and Nerdy and Stuck in the Drive Thru before closing their encore with Albuquerque. I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. I definitely recommend checking it out if you get a chance.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Hard to believe I've updated Chaos Rankings more recently than I've updated my regular blog. Oh well. I've been slacking, sorry. It was a busy (and somewhat stressful) week last week, but a good recovery weekend.
Tuesday I found out that my program manager is leaving. I'm really bummed about it and it's one of the three things that I'd said would make me consider looking for another job. Fortunately, it looks like we're going to have plenty of work coming in for FY08, so I'll be very much needed here for a while. We'll see where this all leads to, but I don't anticipate working anywhere else anytime soon.
Also on Tuesday, I headed downtown to meet Emily for dinner at Butterfield 9. If I were single, I would hang out at this place every night. There was a constant stream of young women in and out of the restaurant all night. It's a pretty swanky upscale place with a pricetag to match, but we went during restaurant week and got a pretty good deal. It was a $30 fixed price menu with a three course (soup/salad, entree, dessert) dinner. Considering the average entree runs $30+ on the regular menu, it felt like quite a bargain. My soup was amazing. Probably the second best soup I've ever had (the first being the butternut squash soup we had at Verad Hagalil in Israel). My fish was pretty good too, but not great. What really made the dish was the roasted red peppers served alongside that gave a nice sweet flavor to the fish. Dessert was a rather unique, but somewhat small (no complaints from me), chocolate/toffee crustless cheesecake. I'd be annoyed if I paid $7 for such a little piece, but it had good subtle flavor and was amazingly light. I don't think I would ever go back for a full price dinner (it's just too damn expensive), but for our outing it wasn't bad at all.
Friday I washed and polished my car all afternoon. It looks so awesome again. All nice and shiny. You can really see the deep blue hues when the sun hits it. Plus its nice and glossy again. And the polish made it so smooth that it's almost like there's a thin film of water on it when I run my fingers over it. I'm very excited. It's almost as nice as the day I bought it (if you discount the 4300 miles on it at the moment). Yes I realized I missed posting when it rolled over 4K (4196) miles, but last week was hectic as previously mentioned.
Friday night we had a GT DC Alumni club sports banquet to honor all our coaches and the people who make all our sports possible and just hang out with our fellow wannabe-athletes. It took place at Chima, a Brazilian steakhouse, where our fearless leader had managed to wrangle us up an amazing deal. The normally $45 dinner (not including drinks, tax, and tip) came out to $20 a person, some of which was over the top of our bill and will go into the alumni club endowment which we use to generate scholarships at Tech for local students. Anyway, nothing like eating non-stop meat. You have to learn quick though which skewers are worth eating and which are just filler. Vegetarians - I'm sorry. I totally understand your myriad reasons for not eating meat (or for some of you, simply red meat). But when properly prepared, a dead animal is just the best damn tasting thing on earth.
Saturday I did a whole lot of nothing. I don't think I even left the apartment. I did sell my old record player though. Hooray, one less piece of clutter! Sunday Emily and I had dinner at Rio Grande with my dad and then went to the movies. Emily saw No Reservations and said it was cute. My dad and I saw the Bourne Ultimatum, which was awesome. I think it wrapped up well and didn't really leave any loose ends. I liken the Bourne movies to the early Brosnan James Bond movies which had a lot of action, but weren't "action" movies per se. They focused more on plot and intrigue. Anyway, I'm thinking about picking up the Bourne trilogy to read now, because I think there's probably a lot of interesting stuff that got left out in the conversion to film. I saw a whole lot of previews for movies that revolve around the war on terror. I'm not sure I need a movie version of something I see in the news on a daily basis, but there is an election coming up next year in which I'm sure the war on terror will play a pivotal role, so all these movies are meant to get people thinking or sway them a certain way I suppose. Not sure offhand when they all hit theaters, but I can't wait to see how blown out of proportion the 2008 election is going to get.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It must be getting close to back-to-school time. I was having a dream this morning about school and not being prepared for a couple major tests. It's funny that I've only ever had those dreams after graduating college. Certainly there were tests I was woefully unprepared for while still in school, but I never dreamed about them at the time. Anyway, I woke up this morning with a feeling of panic that I had forgotten to register for classes, but thinking that with school still a couple weeks away, it must be open enrollment, so I'd still have time to squeeze into a couple sections. Strange. Instead, I just got up and came into work.
In an unrelated story, on my way into work this morning, I saw a truck with Texas license plates and a big Pro-Life sticker on the bumper. Now, I have my own opinions on abortion, but since it's not likely to be a decision that I ever have to personally make (the chances of me getting pregnant are somewhat slim), my opinions are not really all that relevant. However, I was struck by the fact that this person had Texas plates and it got me thinking. In a state as historically pro-death-penalty as the Lone Star, are you an outcast for being pro-life? Furthermore, is there anyone who is pro-death-penalty for prisoners and pro-life for abortions? If so, I would love to talk to you because I'm extremely curious how you reconcile the two.

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