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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Heathen Christmas.

Long time readers may remember that I typically spend Christmas looking for places that are not closed. Gentile readers: you have probably not noticed that everything is closed on Christmas. Many of you will probably tell me movie theaters are open on Christmas. Yes, I know movie theaters are open on Christmas. Movies on Christmas are for people who want to get away from their families after Uncle Lou has passed out on the couch. You cannot spend 16 hours in a movie theater.

So with all this in mind, Nico and I headed to Las Vegas for the weekend. Vegas is a great place to Christmas...if you are not looking very carefully, you will not even notice that it's a holiday.

Among my favorite things to do in Vegas: 1) Root beer floats at the World of Coke. 2) The 3-D movie at M&M's World. I don't even like M&M's...except for Green. I love Green.


I am so through with blackjack. I was a little late in coming to this realization, but things could always be worse. To get away from the evil blackjack tables, I played in a No Limit Texas Hold em' tournament at the Monte Carlo. I've been watching a lot of poker on TV, so I figured I'd be good at it. I lasted a little over an hour, busted one guy, and was the chip leader for a brief while. As the blinds got larger, I made the mistake of calling a $1500 all in bet with a pair of pocket nines. I am pretty sure I was at least slightly favored over my opponent's off suited ace/queen, but he picked up a set of queens on the flop, taking away most of my stack. Nico was afraid to come into the poker room, so I do not have a very good picture of me in my first ever tournament.


For you non-poker players, that last paragraph makes me look like a bit of a high roller. Please note: that was $1500 in tournament chips, not $1500 real dollars. Anyway, Nico and I learned to play craps, and I made back all my blackjack and poker losses. I suppose I should just write that I came out ahead on the weekend...because I did not run into any coworkers and/or friends in Vegas that were bad luck at the craps table, causing me to finish the trip a few dollars above even.

I seem to remember sleeping for a couple of hours in the Century Building of New York New York. East Coasters: Is that a real building? I can't seem to find it anywhere.


We had Christmas (Eve) Dinner at Red Square in Mandalay Bay. Even with our ample bar tab, Nicole's strange fondness for caviar, and the current strength of the ruble this was not the most expensive meal we had ever eaten...I tried to take a cool picture of Nico in front of the headless Lenin, but it did not come out well. (Tana you will have to trust me that she is still alive). Somewhere, Nicole has a photo of herself in front of a non-beheaded Lenin, but that picture predates digital photography, and I have no time to scan it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My counter has been down for about a week, and I finally got around to replacing it. Starting over at number 1 is quite a drag. Anywho, by popular request: another picture of drunken ICE. What is she doing there? Drinking? I don't believe it.
You know you are going to be served a good martini when your hostess has color coded lemon and lime juicers.


I was going to title this entry: "Trying to taste the difference between a lemon and a lime..." and follow with a picture of the lemon and lime reversed. The picture (not shown) was ICE's idea, but I decided it was more cute than funny. This blog will continue to be all about funny...and hard hitting social commentary. No Cute. Never any Cute.

Well how about some miscellaneous party pictures?

Whenever we have people over, everybody seems to congregate in the kitchen. I spilled so many martinis, that I really shouldn't complain. (Hey Thingnamer, 5 points if you can tell me what the two items in the lower right corner are.)


#1 question overheard during cocktail hour: "Why is Jessica eating bread?" The answer is something like: too many people enabling her drinking problem. That's half of Julie in the picture...she turned out to be a fantastic maker of cosmopolitans.


My pictures all seem a little foggy, I wonder if I shrunk them down too much. Let's finish off with Bill, Jane, and a menorah. Happy end of Hanukkah, everybody. Bill's lovely wife Karen was even better than Julie at avoiding my camera.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Currently playing in the car: Pixies B Sides.

I bought the CD because ever since I saw Eraserhead, "In Heaven" (AKA Lady in the Radiator Song) has been going through my head. I was pretty sure I had heard the song before...I guess it must have been at a Pixies concert.

New David Lynch movie: Inland Empire. Here's an article about it...I think.

But he also adds to his air of mystery by doing things like taking a cow for a walk on a busy Los Angeles intersection or deciding to become a coffee merchant so moviegoers can drink his coffee while watching his films.

Lynch says he walked the cow on a leash because everyone likes a cow. When a young woman the other day asked the cow's handler if she could pet it, he said, "No, the cow's working."
In honor of Cocktail Hour (tomorrow):

A fellow came into a bar and ordered a martini.
Before drinking it, he removed the olive and carefully put it into a glass jar.
Then he ordered another martini and did the same thing.
After an hour, when he was full of martinis and the jar was full of olives, he staggered out.
"Well," said a customer, "I never saw anything as peculiar as that!"
"What's so peculiar about it?" the bartender said. "His wife sent him out for a jar of olives."
The Verdict.

$136.90 + $80 (for court costs).

I am perplexed by the amount of money the judge awarded to me. I was overcharged $36.90 for parts (Damn, I just realized I forgot to ask for sales tax), but I am not sure where the $100 came from. Perhaps it is a $100 annoyance fee. Many people annoy me; I wonder if I have a case against any of them.

Also, my court costs were actually a whopping $110.

Does anybody have any suggestions on what I should buy with my $216.80?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gotta watch Wapner. Gotta watch Wapner

6 months ago, I was really ticked off at RackNRoad. They had installed this (permanent) roof rack atop my car, and the work was not exactly to my satisfaction. There were numerous problems, and I won't bore my faithful readers with all the details here.

The important stuff: 1)Those tracks are not parallel; 2) the crossbars interfere with the sunroof 3) anything mounted on the rack interferes with the trunk 4) my beautiful car is scratched; 4) I was charged for parts not provided.



Anyway, we ended up in Small Claims Court yesterday. My case looked strong, or so I thought. Unfortunately, I am not an expert in the installation of permanent roof racks. When the expert (the defendant) says: "Those tracks are not supposed to be parallel", I guess that is more believable than me (as a non-expert) saying: "Are you kidding? I have the only roof rack in the world with non-parallel tracks".

Contrary to what you see on television, small claims court judges typically mail their decisions to the involved parties; still, I am guessing from the judge's tone that I did not fare well. On the way out, I said to the defendant: "I think you won that one". He patted me on the shoulder and replied: "That's business for you. Anything else I can help you with?" I suddenly felt bad for causing all the trouble...6 months had gone by, and the fight was really no longer in me.

So I'm ending my boycott of RackNRoad. I suppose the moral of the story is: Don't ever let anybody drill holes in the roof of your car. They are not easy to patch.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I can recall no athletic activity since October's marathon...except for that mud run.

And Nico's blogging is more regular than her exercise routine.

Needless to say, it's been a while since we've been on the tandem. On Saturday, instead of our usual (I use that term loosely) ride with the Bicycle Club of Irvine, we went for a rolling 34 miles with Tandem Time.

The Bicycle Club of Irvine is filled with cyclists of all skill levels (including a tandem or two), and we can usually lead the pack without too much effort. On the Tandem Time ride, there were more than 20 tandems, and all of them were faster than us...even the couple wearing large, furry (and not so aerodynamic) antlers. We must get in shape if we do this again.

Interesting aside: Tandem Time used to be part of the Bicycle Club of Irvine, but there was some falling out between the two groups several years ago, and now Tandem Time is part of the OC Wheelmen. I believe the OC Wheelmen split off from the Bicycle Club of Irvine several years ago, also. I suppose there are politics in everything: government, work, aquariums...politics in bicycling should not surprise me.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Last week, my department moved downstairs. We were previously in an open area, designed to encourage the free-flowing exchange of ideas. Now we are in a maze of Dilbert-esque cubicles. You can read more about it over at ICE's blog.

Because I keep getting lost while trying to find my desk, I suggested to the big boss woman that we get a street sign. Someone suggested that we call our "street" Lasko Way...I found the name to be a little narcissistic; especially since I am not the only person sitting in the aisle.

While helping out in the upstairs training room, I was told that all of the aisles had already been named, and that I was sitting on Balsa Ave. That sounded like a decent name, so I made a couple of street signs. Unfortunately, I had misunderstood: the name was supposed to be Bolsa Ave (a street that runs through Little Saigon)...evidently because: "There are so many Asians sitting here." Surprisingly, the Asians did not seem offended by any of this.

Anyway, I decided to name the street myself: Rodeo Drive (in honor of Sharon, and her $2000 shoes). She has chosen to operate the Prada cubicle:


I gave Mahsa Tiffany's before realizing that there is a Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Clinic.


My neghbor Jade requested Hermes. I had never heard of the place, but found her this nice logo:


I am operating the Bang & Olufsen shop.



Also featured on the street are: Gucci, Chanel, Cartier, and for Tuquyen (who was not even a little interested in the whole set up): the Anderton Court Shops, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shout out to mi amigo over at sidearms.net for sending us our first Christmas card of the season. Actually it's more of a winter card rather than a Christmas card...which was likely the sender's intent. (He once managed to find a Hallmark card which read: "Roses are reddish, violets are bluish. If it weren't for Christmas, we'd all be Jewish." I see now that the quote is attributed to Benny Hill.) But I digress. I am feeling quite guilty now, as I cannot remember the last time I sent a card to anybody; and yet, one of America's finest had the time to send this one (via snail mail, of all things) to us while still having the time to serve our country overseas.



In other news: One more week of Spanish (actually, one week of Spanish exams), and then it is finally over. I guess I have not posted about Spanish at all. You can read over at snakewoman's blog for a little more info. I will not be attempting any additional personal/professional development in the near future. I suppose that is not entirely true: Next up is beginning guitar at Coastline College. I seem to remember taking a guitar class once before.

In still other news: Is anybody else watching Dead Like Me? Originally aired on Showtime a few years ago, HDNET has recently started rerunning the show. I can watch just about anything in HD, even penguin migrations...but Dead Like me is absolutely brilliant. If you don't have HD, I believe you can catch it on the SciFi channel.
Finally done with training!!! Back to blogging as usual...just as soon as something exciting happens.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sorry Prescription Solutions, this video will probably not run at work...

Monday, December 04, 2006

This blog will continue to be PG rated.

Please click here for an alternative title for this post.

Some months ago, I wrote about the closing of the Historic Balboa Funzone. The bumper cars are now gone, the scary dark ride is now gone, the spinning tops are now gone...the ferris wheel, merry-go-round, and arcades remain. Also still in existence is Harborside Restaurant (inside the Historic Balboa Pavilion). Last night, the waitress cut us off after 1 drink each. We are not obnoxious drunks (nor were we drunk)...very strange, indeed. Here's a picture of the restaurant from the Historic Balboa Island Ferry.


Here's Nico from the same ferry...the house behind her is supposed to be very, very bright.


I have not yet figured out how to display video with blogger, so please click the link for the first ever Takealotofdrugs Motion Picture, which I have titled: "People Have Way Too Much Time, Money, and Electricity on Their Hands". The reindeer atop the house were not yet revolving. (The background dialog is one of the many families walking around and looking at Christmas lights).

When you have this many lights, you probably need constant tech support.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Deep Thoughts by Michael Lasko

Yesterday, in a meeting of forty-something pharmacists (as in the number of pharmacists, not the age of the pharmacists), I was introduced (by my boss??) as the most sarcastic pharmacist. Was that the most sarcastic pharmacist in the room? In the building? In the world?

People call me sarcastic because: 1) they do not understand me and/or 2) they cannot believe anybody could be "that mean" (which is really the same thing as #1).

I have never thought of myself as a particularly sarcastic individual, though I occasionally describe myself as subtly sarcastic...so subtle that nobody notices...or is supposed to notice.

So anyway, last night there was nothing on television after la clase de Espanol, so I attempted to watch Becker. I have never seen an episode of Becker...probably because it makes me sad to see what happened to Ted Danson. The TBS tagline at the beginning was: "Becker, the world's most sarcastic doctor". I made it through about four minutes of this laugh track laden sitcom. I am funny and Becker is not. If Becker is sarcastic, clearly I am not.

From now on, I shall describe myself as ironic...or perhaps subtly ironic. Friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances, it is okay if you do not understand me. You probably do not understand most things ironic.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Is it unusual for somebody under the age of, say...70 to be offended by the radio show Loveline?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm not Black like Barry White, I'm white like Frank Black is.

Half a lifetime ago, I used to go to a lot of concerts. I was not particularly picky; concerts were my weekend event, and if the rock of the 80s was playing a band, I probably went to see them perform at least once. Certainly, the list of bands I have seen perform live would be more impressive were I 20 years older...perhaps I would have a cool story about watching as the Who destroyed their instruments for the first time...but alas, I was born too late. I did see quite a few big KROQ bands (like U2, the Cure, and REM) before they started sucking. I know what you're thinking: "New U2 is not that bad." Sure it's not that bad, but then you play some pre-Joshua Tree stuff, and you start thinking: "No, it's not bad, but it's not great either, is it? And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shite."

As part of my midlife crisis, I've been dragging Nico to a lot of concerts lately. We were off to the SD for the weekend to catch Frank Black (do not accidently type frankblack.com while searching for Frank Black's website) at the House of Blues. For those of you unfamiliar with Frank Black, he used to be Black Francis, lead singer of the Pixies. The Pixies were this extremely loud, mostly punk (only with more yelling) band that I loved in highschool. Solo, Frank Black has more of a bluesy mellow sound. On Saturday, he played alone with an acoustic guitar (belting out a couple of Pixies songs that were almost unrecognizable) for about a half hour, before being joined by his band. In my old age, I preferred the acoustic sound a little over all of them electric guitars.

Hit up some new restaurants while we were down south, including Cafe 222...owned by some celebrity chef who wears a waffle on her head. I had peanut butter and banana stuffed French toast (yes, we were there for breakfast).

Thingnamers: Did you know there are a bunch of clubs in San Diego with really hip names like JRDN, Jbar, and rox? These sound like the kinds of places that won't let me inside.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sorry for the long absence. I am in the midst of training a dozen pharmacists (minus 1 who is at home, about to deliver triplets). Unfortunately, I am left with little time for blogging at work...and blogging at home feels too much like work.

I should be back to the normal schedule at the end of the month, when the training is done. Until then, here is my Amazon wish list:

My Amazon.com Wish List

I would also like a large bottle of Chopin. Message to Amazon: You cannot call yourself a complete retailer if you don't sell vodka. All my favorite stores sell vodka. Does Beverages and More have wish lists?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Strange women in my house this evening. Are they Rainbow freaks? Is this some late night math study session? Do I dare go downstairs to find out?

Earlier this evening in la clase de EspaƱol.

Jessica (to the class): Yo soy mas simpatica que Michael.

Michael (to the class): Yo soy mas guapo que Jessica.

Girl from other side of the room (whose name we don't know) on the way to the parking lot: If you keep that up you're going to be sleeping on the couch.

Jessica: He has a wife.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Save the date.

Thursday, December 21th (marking the end of Spanish 180) sounds like a good night to start "cocktail hour". It's a Newport Beach tradition. We will be needing a martini flag. I will be taking suggestions for the drink of the hour until 12/15/06.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hey thingnamers, any of you up for another challenge?
I am allergic to mud.

No really, after that last mud pit, I came up sneezing, and did not stop for two days. Nicole was quite angry. "Quit sneezing at me", she might say. "I'm sneezing with you, not at you", I would reply. I suppose I could have taken any one of the numerous OTC pharmaceuticals out there that would probably be useful in the treatment of mud allergy...but I am really not a big supporter of recreational drug use.

No pictures as of now. The photographer was taking a math test, and did not come to spectate. Ed Feaver, who did not want to wait for 10 minutes at the finish line (for the rest of the team)like he did last year, ran the race alone. He did snap a couple of photos of my team at the finish line...I'll post them if I get them. In the meantime, please view last year's post for pictures of me with all the big boss men.

After last week's marathon, I thought a 10k would be no problem. I had forgotten, of course, that a 10k through boot camp is much more difficult than a regular 10k. I should not have volunteered to teach a sailing class immediately afterward.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The trouble Tate has gotten me into.

Today's post over at stokefire was rather topical. Does J-Sicky fit under "names that don't translate well", or should there be another category: "names that might possibly not transliterate well from another language"? Here's an interesting article from snopes about my former employer.

Tate, do I still owe you $8000? I thought up J-Sickle on my own.

Here is today's retraction:

My apologies to anybody who may have been offended by yesterday’s proposed nickname for our very own Jessica Kwon. As most of you are aware, I speak very little Korean, so hopefully everyone understood that my intent was not to offend anybody.

As an alternative, we were going to go with “J-Sickle” (still a derivation of Jes-sica), but I quickly realized this name may be offensive to residents of the former Soviet Union.



For now, I will be sticking with “ICE” (also a derivation of Jess-ica). The name is ironic, in that Jessica has such a warm personality…and as is not at all icy. Everybody: please try it out today.


A quick response from my new second favorite Korean Pharmacist:

OMG.

J-Sicky does not mean anything.
It’s not the proper pronunciation anyways.
My Korean’s so good I was going to major in it. Haha.
It wasn’t offensive to me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why not run a marathon (part II)?

1) Nobody will think it's funny when you ask for the absolute highest bib number...while trying to register two minutes after closing. (2382 was indeed the absolute highest bib number).

2) You could have made $36 teaching sailing.

3) Anybody who tells you that you will be well rested after a week of not running is either wrong or lying; you will be out of shape.

4) The course that is supposed to be on and/or within sight of the ocean 80% of the time will only be in sight of the ocean 20% of the time (unless you are 15 feet tall).

5) So much of the course will be highway on-ramps and overpasses that your knees and/or right calf will be opposed to running past mile 20.

6) You will not feel like accepting the Corona from the guys handing out beer (in front of their house) around mile 21.

7) You will not feel like accepting the Bloody Mary (w/ Grey Goose Vodka) from the Rotary Club around mile 22.

8) Even if your friends, and family, and family bicycle the course ahead of you, it will not feel like a show of support if they are not cheering you on at some point during the race...even when you run by said family and friend's house.

9) All the streets of Long Beach will be shut down, and it will take 2 hours to get home. The car will smell like a locker room; I'm pretty sure it will beNicole.

I guess that's enough complaining. Running 26.2 miles makes me cranky. When I started, I was shooting for 3:30. After 2 miles, I was shooting for 4 hours. After 20 miles, I was shooting for not dying.

Gun Time / Chip Time 4h:28m:55s / 4h:27m:42s

Good enough for 825th place...not bad for a guy with bib #2382.

I stole this picture of Tricia from Nico. Not to worry, she won't be blogging for at least a few months.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And here's me at mile 26.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Why not run a marathon?

The Long Beach Marathon is this weekend, and I was really planning on running it.

Unfortunately:

1) I am nowhere near my planned goal of 3:30...I would guess that I am just under 4 hours (again). That may sound impressive to some of you non-marathon runners, but it's kind of embarrassing when my friends' 60 year old parents are faster than me.

2) It might rain on Sunday; and even if it doesn't, the ground will be wet from Saturday.

3) Nobody is available to teach my sailing class, and unless I win the marathon, I will not be done in time.

4) I suffered a horrible head injury while following ICE (heretofore Snake Woman) out of our Spanish Class yesterday. Ice es antipatica y muy baja. I should have remembered how short she was, when she made it easily under the television that hangs near the door. Being of above average height, I was not so lucky. ICE found my misfortune to be very funny, and allowed me to drive home with a bleeding head wound. I shall never again complain when Nico hits me in the head.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Newport!

What could be cooler than a Dick Dale concert on the beach? Sadly, after looking at the flier, I see we were at the wrong pier. Maybe next time. How old will Dick Dale be in 2106?

So back at the Newport Pier, Nicole and I tried to take a self portrait in front of the main stage. After about 10 tries each, here is the best we have:

Perhaps it takes a certain level of narcissism, that Nico and I do not possess, to excel at taking self portraits.

Instead of Dick Dale, we stuck around for Sugar Ray.

A fun game I like to play while watching Sugar Ray perform: "Count how many times Mark McGrath says he grew up in Newport Beach". It is possible that this game only works in the OC. At any rate I lost count after eight mentions...the game only lasted about six minutes. Interesting note: at the beginning of the concert, he distictly yelled: "Let me hear you, Long Beach". So I'm wondering: was this a mistake, a joke, or was the stretch of beach we were standing on called "Long Beach"? (The surfers have names for every section of beach in Newport--the Schoolyards, Blackie's, etc. I think the menu at Charlie's Chili has a map with all that local color. Anybody want to go to Charlie's Chili?)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Where is the top of the hill?

(Alternative title was: "Your tax dollars at work")

Actually I thought I had turned 34 a year ago, so turning 34 today is really not that bad. A year ago, I was working in the clinical department of RxSolutions (man, our website is crappy), nobody knew it was my birthday, and my evil, evil boss made me work 12 hours. This year, the charming coworkers in my new department catered a vegetarian lunch...well, a fishatarian lunch...maybe not fishatarian, what's a lunch made up of fish and vegetarian items called? People seem quite troubled if they can't eat meet meat three times a day. Read more about that here.

Quick email excerpts of my own:

Me-The spread is most impressive. Special Kudos to our new Social Director!

Offended Pharmacist-That is not a spread. Its called kashke bademjoon.

Me-Please see definition #8. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spread
8. to set or prepare (a table), as for a meal.
Oh, and the kashke bademjoon was the best I’ve had.


In tax related news: The National Institute for Health is spending your money to post this song on their website. I cannot figure out why they are spending your money for this purpose. Snake Woman, who supports using your tax dollars in such a frivolous manner, says this sort of thing makes people happy. Did you know Michael Jackson owns the lyrics to this song? The Federal Government is paying a pedophile to make you happy.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I hate buying clothes.

The above sentence is unlikely to be a surprise to anybody who knows me. I tend to follow David Byrne's advice when it comes to picking a wardrobe: "If you wear the same thing everyday, people will remember you better". (David Byrne also said: "In the future, women will have breasts all over their bodies".) Apparently, I also continue to wear clothes long after they have gone out of style. I would not know anything about that, as my replacement timeline usually involves replacing clothes shortly before (and sometimes after) they begin to fall apart.

I hate Macy's. Sadly there are no midrange department stores left, and I cannot afford to shop at Nordstrom, even with my less than frequent clothes buying schedule.

Fortunately, I am better at saving money than anybody I know. Here's me holding $214 worth of savings.


I sent Nicole off to do a half hour of power shopping. She is not as good at saving money.

Spent Saturday afternoon pouring wine for the Boys and Girls Club. Maybe Tricia will be writing more about the event. Ms. Garden Grove made an appearance, but Nico would not take my picture with her. She said something about how people would think it was strange if I asked to have my picture taken with a 17 year old girl. Strange? Hey, I'm not the one walking around in public wearing a crown. Incidentally, Ms. Garden Grove is 21.


Sailing with my Darling Clementine (also known as my very favorite Korean Pharmacist) on Saturday evening. My Darling Clementine bought me dinner, securing her place as my favorite Korean Pharmacist for at least a couple of more years.


After my sailing class on Sunday. I decided to run to Bolsa Chica. I did so well on the way there (10 miles), that I was surprised when I could not make it all the way back. I had to make a collect call for the most grumpy SAG vehicle driver I have ever met. SAG vehicle driver: when you get a collect call from: "Michael at the HB Pier", you don't need to accept the charges. You just need to pick Michael** up at the HB Pier.

SAG driver said she was sick, and I was not feeling so great after a weekend of wine pouring...and running 15 miles...so we did not make it to Kol Nidre services. My mother was not very happy. There is a line in a movie (which might be "Keeping the Faith") about how every synagogue in the United States is built with removable walls, so that the synagogue can be expanded for the high holidays (and the 80% of Jews who go to services two times a year). I do not like being one of those Jews who goes to services twice a year, so my New Year's resolution will be: Attend more services. I will be needing Friday evenings off. Will the boss go for that?

**Tate: I hardly see how you can equate throwing lit cigarettes out of windows with referring to oneself in the third person.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I was planning on never writing about Rupert, the dead swan, ever again...but the local papers seem unable to stop...

Briefly, memorial service will be this Saturday. I'm guessing that if you don't own your own outrigger, you are out of luck. I want a canoe...or maybe a kayak. Really, I want some time to paddle a canoe or kayak around. I guess I do not really need a canoe or a kayak.

Here's a picture of Rupert's replacement; although he is much better looking than Rupert, he will not be making his debut in Newport Harbor any time soon.


In running news: I have 2 and a half weeks until marathon #1, and I am nowhere near my goal time of 210 minutes. Ran a little over 35 miles last week...only up to 7 miles so far this week. Good thing I haven't paid yet.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sorry for my recent lack of blogging. I have had no time for posting, because I am supposed to be training 10 new pharmacists next month. Prior to starting the training, I have been entrusted with updating a very poorly written training manual. My first task was to trim the 160+ pages down to a hundred or so...sadly, I have ended up back at 140 pages. Most of the new pages are screen shots that I have made with (the only photo editing program available to me at work), Microsoft Paint.



Paint is a rather lousy program, but I have become so adept at using it, that I was able to touch up this picture of Snake Woman and her new boyfriend.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Jewish, Whatever is a Jewish?"

My father always said this with a hint of a proper British accent, though it's probably funnier with a Southern drawl. Note to gentiles: You are most likely not allowed to say this sort of thing. Please consult woodyallen.com for more information.

So it seems that every Christian I know seems to know several (so called) Messianic Jews. I am perplexed, because this website tells me that there are only 20,000 or 30,000 Messianic Jews worldwide. I am also perplexed because Messianic Jews are supposed to be celebrating the Sabbath on the Sabbath, at least according to this site. So where are these Christians meeting all these Messianic Jews? In church? On Sunday? Wouldn't that just make them Christians? I have only met a few Messianic Jews (usually the crazy uncle at a Sukkot party, or something), and they have all insisted that they are indeed Jewish.

So what makes one Jewish? Are we both a race and a religion? Jewish law says that if your mother is Jewish, then so are you. But you can convert to Judaism...the Bible is full of Jewish converts, from Abraham on down. There are no races (of which I am aware) that you can convert into. Can you convert to Messianic Judaism? Evidently, not unless you are Jewish.

My test has always been: If you have a Christmas tree, you are not Jewish. I probably have some cousins who would disagree with me on this one.

Messianic Jews (or Jews for Jesus as you are more commonly known): I would hazard a guess that a lot of you probably do not have Christmas trees. You are still not Jewish...just as a Christian who follows the teachings of Mohammed is no longer a Christian.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

After my first year of college (the first time around), I decided to take a year of organic chemistry over the summer. I can no longer remember why...something to do with the apartment we had rented requiring us to pay rent for the summer. Anyway, there were four (three hour) lectures per week and three (three hour labs)...or was it four (four hour) lectures? Every Thursday was a midterm exam, and every third Thursday was a final; nine weeks of this horror. I remember thinking during these lectures that sitting at home and staring at a wall would be more interesting that watching the collection of PhDs they had rounded up to teach this course.

In retrospect, I had it all wrong. That much organic chemistry adds years to your life.

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Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.

'I think you're crazy,' was the way Clevinger had responded to Dunbar's discovery.

'Who wants to know?' Dunbar answered.

'I mean it,' Clevinger insisted.

'Who cares?' Dunbar answered.

'I really do. I'll even go so far as to concede that life seems longer I -'

'- is longer I -'

'- is longer - Is longer? All right, is longer if it's filled with periods of boredom and discomfort, b -'

'Guess how fast?' Dunbar said suddenly.

'Huh?'

'They go,' Dunbar explained.

'Years.'

'Years.'

'Years,' said Dunbar. 'Years, years, years.'

'Clevinger, why don't you let Dunbar alone?' Yossarian broke in. 'Don't you realize the toll this is taking?'

'It's all right,' said Dunbar magnanimously. 'I have some decades to spare. Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?'

'And you shut up also,' Yossarian told Orr, who had begun to snigger.

'I was just thinking about that girl,' Orr said. 'That girl in Sicily. That girl in Sicily with the bald head.'

'You'd better shut up also,' Yossarian warned him.

'It's your fault,' Dunbar said to Yossarian. 'Why don't you let him snigger if he wants to? It's better than having him talking.'

'All right. Go ahead and snigger if you want to.'

'Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?' Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. 'This long.' He snapped his fingers. 'A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man.'

'Old?' asked Clevinger with surprise. 'What are you talking about?'

'Old.'

'I'm not old.'

'You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow time down?' Dunbar was almost angry when he finished.

'Well, maybe it is true,' Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. 'Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?'

'I do,' Dunbar told him.

'Why?' Clevinger asked.

'What else is there?'
Marla, that sore on the back of your heel that would get better if you could just stop rubbing it with your shoe.

Almost completely healed after my purchase of $12 NewBalance socks. It looked much worse a few days ago, when it was still oozing. Who says I'm not giving the public what they want?

My first injury of the marathon training season (except for my chronically bad knees and my chronically deformed right pinky toe). My mileage has been greatly reduced (only 19 last week). Do I have enough time?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2 Days in the Valley....not that Valley, this Valley.

(There would probably be some cool pictures on this post, if someone had remembered the camera...I shall see what I can steal.)

400 miles isn't too far to drive for free wine tasting, is it? We also made a little visit to the oldest Japanese Gardens outside of Japan, or something. The zen garden was in a state of disrepair, and looks better in this photo:

These turtles look surprisingly like the turtles in the garden. I never seen a turtle.


There was tea at Santana Row. I think this was our waitress. She had a crush on me, probably because only old ladies and their granddaughters usually go in the place.

Dinner consisted of tequila and appetizers. I like tequila...not your cheap mass market tequila, but real tequila. I feel another expensive hobby coming along.

Bonny Doon on the way home. Ever have raisin wine? Really nothing to write home about, but come on, it's made from raisins. How's that even possible?
You hit like a girl.

So I'm finishing off an exquisite burrito (worth a diversion to the coast if you happen to be driving to/from NoCal), and Nico checks her voicemail, then starts repeating some numbers over and over again. So I start in with the Pinball Number Count...did anybody else know that was the Pointer Sisters? Does anybody else think the Pointer Sisters look pretty good for eighty?

Where was I? Wham!!! Nicole hit me on what must be a very soft spot of my head. Nicole is mean, and I still have a headache 20 hours later. For future interactions with Nicole, I will be wearing a helmet. I was thinking either a Jack Nicholson Football Helmet...
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...or a Natalie Portman Rugby helmet.
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Takealotofdrugs movie trivia...1/16th to the first person who can:
1) name the two movies the above pictures are from
2) tell me what 1/16th is
3) tell me what movie the 1/16th is from
(Kwon, you should know this but you won't...Nico, you should not know this, but you just might).

Back to my head injury, evidently a sister is in the hospital. I have no more details to share because, 1) I sort of blacked out after the blow to the head, and 2) Nicole was not sharing any details, as she was kind of mad over the whole Pinball Count thing. I see Tricia has survived bungee jumping; no word from Jenny in a month. Tricia, Jenny: If you are reading this, please let us know you are alive and well. Back to work.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Snakewoman: Everything you need to know is right here. You have plenty of time to study and practice before Tuesday. I guess I have to disagree with the author of the referenced page; I prefer wheat bread. I would also like the bread toasted, if it's not too much trouble.
"There's no downside to having a swan..."

I could not have made that quote up...actually I could have: I frequently tell Nico that there is no downside to getting a pelican.


So anyway, if you don't feel like reading that fascinating article about Rupert, there's going to be a memorial service...for a swan. Also, some guy wants to buy a new pair of swans for the harbor. In other news, no memorial service has been announced for the dead Huntington Beach woman. And there was this brilliant quote from City Councilman (and former Mayor) Tod Ridgeway: "I just don't understand what's the hurry to get to a dead body...One, what was the hurry, and two, why didn't they avoid the swan?" Uhhm...I don't know, maybe because you need a coroner to prounounce a body dead, and until that happens it's a person floating in the water???

Only in Newport. I could not make this stuff up.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't Kill the Goose...


Evidently, the dead body that Harbor Patrol was trying to rescue when they killed Rupert was a slightly more important story, capturing the front page of the Daily Pilot today.

About story #1. I'll miss Rupert and all, but that swan story is definitely sensationalized. Rupert was never particulary friendly. Sure, he'd swim up to our boat sometimes, but he would let out a very loud hiss if anybody tried to touch him. Also, I had not seen Rupert at Wassall's dock in well over a year...actually, I think he preferred to hang out by Harbor Patrol.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I was going to title this post: "Why stay in college, Why go to nightschool?" Because of the Google ad at the top of my page that currently reads: "Want to be a pharmacist? Earn your degree in your spare time 100% online. Free info available." But then I thought: "These ads are bringing in 60 or 70 cents a month, so I should not make fun of them. So I'll have to save my cool Talking Heads lyric for a future post.

Today's post will instead be called: "How to kill a Sunday."

A lot of people take their cars to the carwash. (Carwashes are great if you want all the grit from the cars in front of you to carve little scratches in your paint.) A lot of people put their kids in daycare. (Daycare is great if you want...I'll let you finish that yourself.) My car, however, has been 100% hand washed at home (with the possible exception of a couple of unrequested washes from the Chrysler dealer during routine maintenance). Washing is quite easy, but a couple of times a year, a car needs the 3 step waxing process (actually 4 steps if you count washing). Usually, it takes me around 3 hours to get through the 3 steps. Yesterday, I decided to make things easier on myself by buying an orbital buffer. Orbital buffers would be the greatest inventions ever if I had an old Volvo...I even bought the smallest diameter buffer I could find (6 inches), but my car proved to be too voluptuous. Also, to actually have a time savings benefit with an orbital buffer, you really need two of them (or else you're changing applicator/removal pads every 2 minutes)...an assistant would also help. Unfortunately, my assistant prefers to drive a dirty car, and certainly did not feel like assisting with the cleaning of mine. Total time spent washing, waxing, and buying an orbital buffer: 4 hours.



After the car care was done, I did an excruciating 10 mile run to the HB pier. Excruciating because:

1) I was tired/sunburnt/dehydrated from 4 hours of car care.
2) The much faster 50 year old man that passed me made me run faster than I can run.
3) I was still tired from Friday's 14 mile effort.

UCI night sailing at sunset. Our sidekick brought along the wind, but made no effort to mingle with the scores of eligible bachelors.

In non-Sunday related news, here is my long overdue mileage update:

Last week (9/3-9/9): 21 miles running (over 2 days)
Week before last (8/27-9-2): 22 miles running (over 2 days)
--Not great totals, but I did get in 180 miles of cross training.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Everywhere I looked there was something to remind me of her.


Any bike ride that starts and ends at sea level has to be flat, right? Actually, due to the curvature of the earth, maybe any ride that starts and ends at sea level has to be entirely downhill.

And with these two theories in mind, we rode the tandem down to San Diego for the weekend.

Being the social people that we are, we invited a couple of single bikes along for the trip. Here is Ben (on an early 1980s Schwinn) managing to stay ahead of Jessica, just before the hill at Torrey Pines.


What would a trip to San Diego be without a visit to the zoo? It was 100 degrees at the zoo. Most of the animals seemed to like the heat.

Here is a council of three wizened giraffes:


I usually tell Nico to look less goofy prior to having her picture taken. I must have forgotten this time.


Hanah (who drove with the SAG vehicle) and her sister.


And finally, Snake Woman was worried about the caption that would accompany this photo. Hey Snake Woman, if you don't want to be called Snake Woman, stop posing with snakes. I was going to go with "Don't do it Big, Giant, Albino Python...don't eat the apple"...but then I thought, let's open it up to the board. Click the "Comments" link and post your caption suggestions for this picture...prize for the winner to be determined.


Nico and I were all alone for the ride back, with Ben and Jessica choosing to return in the SAG vehicle. There was a good 10-12 MPH headwind for the final 70 miles, making the ride home considerably worse than the ride there...probably the most difficult bike ride I have ever undertaken. Maybe the ride up the Volcano was worse...but I was out of shape then. (The 4000 ft elevation sign did not come out very well.)

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For you out of towners, I guess I left off: Newport to San Diego is 90 miles give or take...we'll call it 180 miles for the weekend.