Sunday, June 27, 2010

Flower Pr0n

I'm generally not much for the whole gardening thing, but my hydrangeas are awfully pretty right now:

Lies, Damn Lies, and ... What Was That Third One Again?

I participate in Zogby online polls.  I enjoy this.  (Every once in a while, I complain because they've phrased a question wrong or something, but, generally, it's fun taking part in the whole venture.)

The other day, they sent us some results ... a little powerpoint presentation on "Who We Are," or, at least, who the eleven thousand people they surveyed are.

I treat the results with a certain degree of skepticism.  For example, the survey asked whether you agree with the statement, "I communicate every day with people I only know online."  Based on the results, and the political affiliations of those who responded "yes," Zogby concluded that "Liberals [are] most likely to say they communicate every day with people they only know online."

Really, Mr. Zogby?

Because I'd speculate that:
(1)  younger people are more likely to communicate every day with people they only know online.
(2)  younger people are more likely to skew liberal.

So, I mean, I don't think that your political affiliation has anything to do with your online communication -- I think your age has to do with both.  We've got two effects from the same cause here, not a cause and effect relationship.

A lot of the rest of the Zogby results I have no quarrel with -- largely because they are exactly what you'd expect.  ("Respondents without college degrees are more anxious about the future"; "Democrats, liberals most likely to believe environmental problems among greatest danger[s] facing world today"; and, the real shocker, "Republicans prefer to get their news from Fox channels while Democrats prefer NBC."  Really?  You needed to conduct a survey for that one?)  Then again, I have no explanation for "Conservatives prefer shopping at Wal-Mart, while liberals prefer Target."

But what really surprised me about the survey was its ultimate generational breakdown.  You've got your Privates (1926-1945), your Woodstockers (1946-1964), your Nikes (1965-1978) and your First Globals (1979-1990).  (It amuses me no end that the Zogby people put a little "TM" next to "First Globals," as though they want to claim credit for the term, but don't think that the Nike people might have a little trouble with the use of their corporate name.  But I digress)

OK then.  I fall into the "Nike" group.  According to this, the profile of the group is:
- No "Good Old Days"
- Loyalty Issues with Traditional Values, Government and Politics, and Church
- Detachment and Libertarian
- Starting Over.

Now, unless "Issues" is used in the negative sense (e.g., "I have serious issues with traditional values"), this does not describe me.  Like, at all.  (Even if it is Loyalty Issues in that sense, I'm not particularly libertarian.  Nor starting over.)

I'm kinda close in age to the Woodstockers, though.  Heck, my sister falls into that group, and we're the same generation, right?  So, let's see if I just affiliate with a slightly older demographic.  The Woodstocker profile is:
- Self-Indulgent
- Perpetual Youth
- Need for 2nd Act

I'm not quite sure what that last one means, but I don't think I need a second act.  I mean, I don't want the curtain to drop after the first act, but I'm not out there actively looking for a second.  (And I like to think I'm not all that self-indulgent.  I think.  Maybe?)

Which leads me to the First Globals.
- World Travelers
- Diverse and Multi-Cultural
- Citizens of Planet Earth
- Mobile.

Shit.  I think that's me.  It's a solid ten years younger than me, but it's closer to describing me than my own damn generation.

Well, at least I feel better about hanging out with that group of way younger friends.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thoughts on "The Karate Kid" remake

My folks visited for the weekend and we went to the movies.  Saw Karate Kid.  (Because my dad hasn't seen Toy Story 1 and 2 yet.)

And so: 

- We're calling it Karate Kid even though there is no actual karate in it?
(Actually, I just looked it up on imdb, and the international title is apparently the more accurate Kung Fu Kid, so it's only us Americans who have to deal with this nonsense.)

- And the 12-year-old kid has top billing over Jackie Chan.  (That's the 12-year-old kid who is the producers' son.  I mean, really.  I got a Bat Mitzvah when I turned 13; this kid gets a major motion picture.)

- And (spoiler?) why doesn't Jackie Chan get to beat the crap out of the evil Kung Fu teacher at the end?  Honestly, the only time we see Jackie Chan fighting in this thing is when he's fighting a bunch of kids.  And you can't have a perfectly good, elegantly choreographed, humorous-but-I-bet-it-still-hurts Jackie Chan beat-down of kids.  (Even if they are the students of the evil Kung Fu teacher.)

- No.  Instead they've got Jackie Chan doing the heavy lifting when it comes to acting.  I'll just let that sink in for a moment.  Jackie freakin' Chan has the big emotional break-down-in-tears scene.  I'm not saying he's a bad actor or anything, but this isn't what I'd call playing to his strengths.

In two weeks, this things has grossed over a hundred million dollars.  Respectable.

Why does this make me feel so very old?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Because she's a cat

Have you ever wondered how to make your cat of seven years sleep curled up on your bed?  Here's how:

Go online.  Order the prettiest most expensive wicker cat bed (with cushy pillow) you can find.  Use standard shipping.

By the time it arrives, ten days later, your little ball of feline contrariness will have finally taken up nightly residence on your bed.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Out of Sync

I've been out of sync with my own life lately, which has been really annoying.
When I'm at work, I think about the stuff I should be doing at home.

When I'm home, I'm fantasizing about some hot actor or another.

When I'm ready for bed and trying to go to sleep, I'm thinking about work.

Everything I need is there, it's just hitting at the wrong time.  It puts my productivity in the toilet (both at work and at home) and doesn't really help with sleep, either (which is yet another reason my productivity is in the toilet).  

I've been rather better this past week -- taking some time off has helped me reset, I think  -- but, I've definitely spent quite a bit of time this past month or so out of sync with my own life.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I voted.

And it wasn't all that easy, either.  As I previously mentioned, there were some issues with my registration.  I didn't appear in the online database for registered voters in my county, nor had I received voting materials.  When I rang up the registrar, the nice lady in the office had no trouble at all concluding that I was, in fact, registered.  That night, I magically appeared in the online database.  (Although it still took another phone call a week later to get a sample ballot.)

So, today, I go off in search of my polling place.  (The church on the corner at the nearest stoplight.  Which would have been a bit easier if there weren't, in fact, three churches on that corner.  None of which had a big ol' "Polling Place" sign out in front, or the (traditional) American flag.)  Finding the right house of worship, I then had to find the right table (the "orange" one), only to give the woman my name and find that it wasn't in the rolls.

Come again?

She flipped pages where my last name ought to be and it wasn't there.  (Good thing I had my sample ballot with me, as she was inches away from sending me to the green and yellow tables to bother them.)  She then looked at the very last page -- a blue page listing "Supplemental registrations."  There were all of two people on it.  I was one of them.

They still needed to call a supervisor over, because, although I was on the "supplemental" page in the "by name" list, I didn't appear at all in the "by address" list, and the woman in charge of handing out ballots wanted to pawn a provisional ballot off on me because of it.  The supervisor had more sense, and let me vote a real live ballot and stick it in the real live machine.  (I think they purposely use little-old-lady volunteers so you won't go all postal on them when they screw up.  I mean, who is going to yell at a little old lady?  In a church?)

So, the supervisor let me vote, and the ballot-hander-outer (with nodded permission from the supervisor) handed over my "I voted" sticker.  Which I wear proudly, not so much because I voted, but because I figure my tax dollars actually go to pay for the sticker, so I'm damn well gonna wear it.

(The funny thing is, I nearly completely forgot to vote this morning.  I was lying in bed, hitting the snooze alarm for my sixth "ten more minutes" when the radio said something about, "At least we won't have to suffer through any more of those damn political ads," and I bolted upright and said, "Oh shit!  Voting!")

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Well, Someone Isn't Getting His Bonus This Month

I may have mentioned buying a new wall unit.

Here's what you were supposed to get today:  A picture of the old wall unit; a picture of the empty space where the wall unit used to be; and a picture of the new wall unit.

Here's what you actually get:  Some bitching about the absence of the new wall unit.

The new wall unit was supposed to be installed yesterday.  Because of this, I hired someone (that's what the bids were for) to remove and haul away the old unit on Thursday.  The wall unit is home to, among other things, my desk.  So I didn't want to remove it until the last possible moment.  I moved my computer to the dining room table -- where it cannot possibly work as the outlets in there aren't grounded -- and am operating from the netbook on my coffee table.  I've got piles of bills, and my phone (which needs a computer, since I use magicjack) on a little folding table standing between my computer and the sofa -- and wires running all over to reach the powersquid I have behind the sofa.  What I'm saying here is that the situation isn't ideal, but could work for a couple days.

And the installers brought the wall unit yesterday.  And installed about a third of it when they realized it was too big.  Their salesguy had mis-measured a 17-foot space by an inch.  (Which does mean he's losing a bonus -- when he sold me the unit, we had a lovely conversation about how they've changed the pay structure and he gets bonuses based on accuracy.)  But it also means that they couldn't install the unit.  They could plane the pieces down if they had to get 1/2-inch out of it, but a whole inch was just out of the question.

So, they called the shop, figured which piece they would re-build to get the inch back, left a bunch of it here under cloths, and took the rest back.  So, I have a one-third built wall-unit in my living room, a random stack of pieces, wires for the new lighting taped to my wall, and a promise that they'd move the job to the front of the line and that rather than the usual six-to-eight weeks, I should get it in two.


I was very understanding with the installation guys.  I mean, they were very nice and doing their best -- and it sure wasn't their plan to work only an hour and a half and then load pieces back on the truck.

I am, however, a bit ticked at the inconvenience.  The no-desk thing is going to be pretty annoying for two weeks -- not to mention that I'd kept this weekend empty for installation and for putting all my stuff away in the new unit.  (And my parents are visiting two weekends from now -- and while I have been pondering the issue of what sort of fun things I can do with them for Father's Day, I'm pretty sure "sitting in my living room and watching guys install my wall unit" isn't high on anyone's list.)

Yeah.  Annoyed.  We'll see what happens when they call me on Monday to reschedule.  I'm sure not taking another day off work so they can install it mid-week.  Maybe I can make 'em pay overtime and do it some evening, because this is getting inconvenient.

I'm fast becoming Grumpy Customer.