Sunday, December 20, 2009

Factory Restaurants

Ok, I'm annoyed shading to amused by the idea of restaurants with the word "factory" in the name.  Who would eat at a factory?  Even one where they make cheesecake?  And if I wouldn't eat at a dessert factory, I certainly wouldn't eat at one where they make spaghetti.

Friday night, I found myself talking Zenaida, who was feeling under the weather, into eating at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

I should mention that I have a terrible association with the place, having had a sports award banquet there as a kid, over twenty (!) years ago.  I seem to remember my choice being red or white sauce, and getting s terrible marinara place-holder of a sauce.  But my memory isn't reliable, and it's really just receded into negative association.  I actually flinched when Z told me about her work holiday party being held there.  But I'm a gamer.

Clearly my memory wasn't reliable, the banquet was cheap, or the restaurant has changed.  For the better.  The cheese bread was nice, the marinara dip was really nice.  Z ordered a combo platter with a clam sauce and a browned butter and cheese sauce.  I tasted a bit of the second which was really yummy.  I had the red, meat sauce with meatballs and sausage (the meat lover's trio, or something like that).  The meat sauce was terrific, as were the sausage and the meatballs.  The spumoni was ok, but was a nice, simple contrast to the heavy pasta.

For a chain pasta place, I'd say it's a good choice.

Z's boss seems like a charming rogue with really interesting ideas about filling the gaps created by schools cutting out the arts.

I chat with William who's a professional salsa and ballroom instructor.  We talk dance for hours.

Good food, good conversation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Technology Makes Life Weird

During family discussion in the aftermath of the Thanksgiving meal, my mother picked up her iPhone and tapped away at it for a while.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

SSC 27

Short Shameful Confession:

I thought everyone was mispronouncing "Tumoric."

I Forgot What Comes Next

One of my favorite Sesame Street clips from childhood.  And of course, my family called ME John John too.

John John and Herry Monster Count to 20

See him watching the puppeteer at first instead of the head?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Total Loss

On Monday, October 11th, I was involved in a front corner to front corner collision in my 1997 Honda Civic.  Everyone involved (me, the other driver, a passenger in the other car) was able to walk away with nothing but the shakes, but both cars had to be towed away.  The other driver turned left from the eastbound side of Imperial Hwy towards Poplar, across three lanes of westbound traffic.  I was in the right hand lane, traveling through the Poplar intersection and we struck, my front driver's quadrant on his front passenger's quadrant.   His airbags went off, but mine didn't (I must have braked and turned away from him to hit on the corner instead of head on.  The Brea Police officer who responded told me that a left turning car is almost always at fault in that situation as a vehicle traveling straight through an un-signaled intersection has right of way over a left-turning car from opposing traffic.  The one issue that might complicate this judgment is that the middle lane had stopped as traffic had backed up to the edge of the intersection in the middle lane (the right lane was still clear).  They might decide I had a responsibility to slow down in that case, and might be partially at fault.  If I were instructing a teenager to drive, I'd probably tell them the same thing.  Cars are stopped?  Slow down, even if you think you know why and think the reason doesn't apply to you.

Tuesday morning, I was sore as hell, with joint, back, and neck pain.  I got in to get a physical exam/manipulation, and to my relief was told that it appeared to be "just" soft tissue damage.  They didn't even take x-rays.  That was a relief.  My car got towed to a repair yard to get inspected for a repair estimate.

Wednesday I was told that the insurance company wasn't going to have the vehicle repaired as the cost estimate ($4,200) exceeded the wholesale value of the car (probably around $2K).  I'd known that was going to happen, so had begun to put myself in car-buying mode.  I cleared all my belongings out and released it to the insurance company for their inspection process.  At some point the claims adjuster for the accident will decided if I'm at fault at all and wave all, part, or none of my deductible.  At the same time, an inspector will decided how close to the bluebook value my car was and make me a cash settlement offer on the vehicle.

In the mean-time, I'm renting a car to get around (insurance benefit) and have begun the car shopping process.  I'm a green sucker, I guess, but I'm looking to purchase a hybrid.  My mother owns both the first and third generation Prius, so I'm biased towards that.  At the same time, the supply is horrifically constrained.  I went by Longo Toyota, the largest Toyota dealership in the world (sales volume), and almost every one of their Priuses were pre-sold.  They had the exact model/color I was looking for available, however (a pre-sold vehicle was pre-sold to someone who didn't qualify for financing).  We'll see whether that's a good thing for me.  The demand means they get the sticker price.  Perhaps I can go through a service (credit union's Autoland or Costco) and get something better.

The supply constraint has me re-thinking whether the Honda Civic Hybrid might be a better buy for me.  The comparable models (Prius III with Navigation vs. Civic Hybrid with Navigation) have about the same sticker price.  I'd almost certainly be able to get a better price on the Civic, and they have a 1.9-2.9% finance special on it.

I'm trying to focus on the positives of the experience.  I nursed my car along for 12 years and got great value from it.  I was in an accident which totaled two cars (probably), but hurt no one.  I've got a job and financial cushion which allows me to not panic at the thought of getting a new car.

I'm a pretty lucky guy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


S: I think it went bad.

Me: What?!  The freshness date is 20 days from now.  And I opened it like 2 days ago.

S: Well... is it supposed to be tangy?

Me: *sputter*  "It's YOGURT!!!"

S: Well... I didn't know!

Me: I'm so angry at you right now.

Friday, October 2, 2009


We naturally expand to fill the capacity that we're given in all kinds
of contexts. When I first got AT&T's Uverse television service, I
thought the concept of needing to record 4 channels at once was silly.
This Wednesday at 8pm, I'm recording 4 shows. I found this out when
I scheduled the system to record a 5th.

Friday, September 11, 2009


"Holy crap, you have a lot of soda!"

Yeah, I bought into the Labor Day sales of diet colas and Diet Dr. Pepper.  They happen during the July 4th holiday as well, by the way.

And my preliminary conclusions?  I like Coke Zero better than Pepsi Max.

Yeah, nothing profound to see here.  Move along.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Tried out Microsoft's Bing search tool today. My search was "how does
bing work".

Results? Nothing useful.

Bing fail.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bucket List

Ahh facebook...  a well for infinite time wasting! :-)

Place an "X" by all the things you've done and remove the X from the ones you have not, then send it to your friends (including me).

To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, do the list and tag people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish. If you don't see the Tag people in the upper right hand corner you are in the wrong place.

Things you have done during your lifetime:

(X) Gone on a blind date
(X) Skipped school
(X) Watched someone die
(X) Been to Canada
(X) Been to Mexico
(X) Been to Florida
(X) Been to Hawaii
(X) Been on a plane
(X) Been in a helicopter
(X) Been lost
(X) Gone to Washington, DC
(X) Swam in the ocean
(X) Cried yourself to sleep
(X) Played cops and robbers
( ) Recently colored with crayons
( ) Sang Karaoke
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only
( ) Been to the top of the St. Louis Arch
(X) Done something you told yourself you wouldn't.
(X) Made prank phone calls
( ) Been down Bourbon Street in New Orleans
(X) Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue
( ) Danced in the rain
(X) Written a letter to Santa Claus
(X) Been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) Watched the sunrise with someone
(X) Blown bubbles
(X) Gone ice-skating
(X) Gone to the movies
( ) Been deep sea fishing
( ) Driven across the United States
(X) Been in a hot air balloon
( ) Been sky diving
( ) Gone snowmobiling
( ) Lived in more than one country
(X) Lay down outside at night and admired the stars while listening to the crickets
(X) Seen a falling star and made a wish
( ) Enjoyed the beauty of Old Faithful Geyser
( ) Seen the Statue of Liberty
( ) Gone to the top of Seattle Space Needle
(X) Been on a cruise
( ) Cast a spell
(X) Traveled by train
( ) Traveled by motorcycle
( ) Been horse back riding
(X) Ridden on a San Francisco cable car
(X) Been to Disneyland
( ) Been to Disney World
( ) Been in a rain forest
( ) Seen whales in the ocean
(X) Been to Niagara Falls
( ) Ridden on an elephant
( ) Swam with dolphins
( ) Been to the Olympics
( ) Walked on the Great Wall of China
( ) Saw and heard a glacier calf
( ) Been para-sailing
(X) Been water-skiing
(X) Been snow-skiing
( ) Been to Westminster Abbey
( ) Been to Malaysia
( ) Swam in the Mediterranean
(x) Been to a Major League Baseball game
(X) Been to a National Football League game
( ) Been to a cricket test match

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blahs and Mehs With Assorted Assorted Awesome

Still been fighting through social dancing blahs, but this past week at Strutters was nice.  Lots of good dancers were still in town after Camp Hollywood, as well as some dancers from One2Swing.  I had good dances with good dancers all night.  Glad I went.

Oh, and Augie Freeman posted his set list, which was cool.

The Awful Truth: Mini-Review

Hilarious. I hated it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spin Macaroni Mountain

I really meant to go dancing last night, but I didn't. What happened? Work dragged, I dragged, my brief attempt at working out dragged, and I dragged my butt around the apartment instead. There was a clear point where I thought to myself, "I can still get there by 10:30. Or not." Not.

So instead I read a bit. Brainstormed a bit. And turned on the Tour de France. I was hoping to be inspired by the mountaintop finish at Mont Ventoux, but realized early in my watching of Stage 19, that it was Stage 20 which finishes at Mont Ventoux. Darn. But I played the flat stage in the background anyway as I puttered around.

Lance Armstrong made a comeback to professional cycling this year after a last competing in 2005, and is seriously kicking butt. Well, if you were rooting for him to win (as I've been doing), he's a bit of a disappointment, but if you're a realist, as I've become, you can find his claw back to 3rd place going into Stage 19 extremely inspiring (did he really decide to return last October?!). In first place is his Astana teammate, Alberto Contador, who won the Tour for Lance's Team Discovery in 2007. 4 minutes back is Team Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck, widely regarded as the best climber in the Tour before Contador proved otherwise in the Alps. Armstrong is just over a minute behind Schleck, but has Bradley Wiggins and Astana teammate Andreas Kloden within 20 seconds of his spot. And right behind them is Andy Schleck's older brother, Frank. With inspired performances during Stage 20, Astana could conceivably hold all the podium places. On the other hand, 2nd place and 6th place are separated by just 1:40. Contador has a huge lead in the General Classification, unless he has a terrible day, but Andy and Frank might be working to get Frank in front of Kloden, Wiggens, and Armstrong into third place and onto the podium.

Stage 20 of the Tour de France is a mountaintop finish at Mont Ventoux, a 20 km Hors Category (beyond category, the hardest category) climb which takes an hour to ride. Badass. It isn't crazy to see an inspired climber make up 20 seconds per kilometer on the mountain. Though maybe not on the General Classification contenders.

Then it struck me: I should go to spin class Saturday morning. Yeah! I've been wanting to ride again, but haven't because of the prep-time (and I need to get that bike tuned up again). So why not substitute in a spin class?

The plan that formed in my mind was to get to bed, take the 8:30 spin class, shop at Sprouts for the macaroni salad I planned to take to Saturday evening's BBQ (I still don't have details on that!), make the salad, then eat my post-spin meal while watching the extended coverage of Stage 20.

Thus inspired, I crashed out.

Woke at 7:30 and puttered a bit. At 8am, I called and asked if they had spots left for the 8:30 class. One left. I'd better hurry. Started my oatmeal in the microwave and pulled up my spin class checklist and my "go bag" for spin and hugged myself; I'd left everything I needed right in the bag. Transferred the oatmeal to a paper bowl and ran out the door.

2 minute drive to 24 Hour Fitness, and got to the front desk. "You'll be the first on the waiting list." D'oh. But one of the five paid reservations was bound to no-show right? Right. I haven't taken a class since ... November 25, 2008, eight months. Yikes. I'm feeling a little trepidation as I take my pass over to the spin room. The instructor hasn't arrived yet, so I take the time to switch to my SPDs (don't spin without them) and turn on my heart rate monitor (don't spin without it). Recognize a former neighbor from Placentia. I must have talked her into finally taking a spin class. She's always been in great shape, but she's seriously lean now.

Decided to sit in the back, as it's been too long since I dragged my fat ass here (that's some serious negative talk going on there). Then realized too late that the reason I sat in front wasn't because felt like a badass, but because staring at hot cycling butts is distracting. But soon enough the sweat starts to pour and my consciousness retreats to the tip of my nose and my reflected grimace in the mirror.

My body remembers. My mind remembers. I'm in rhythm, and suddenly remember that I used to evaluate music by whether it would be good to spin to instead of whether it would be good to swing dance to. Funny memory.

I have to check my HRM constantly as I'm out of shape and competitive at the same time. I spend too much time with my heart rate over 160 beats per minute, and way too much time at 170-172 (well, about sixty seconds, but that's way to long). I have to remember to ease back into this kind of work out.

That's right, ease back into it. As in do it regularly again.

Looking around, I realize that most people still equate low, straining cadence with good effort, not realizing that high cadence is it's own discipline. When the instructor throws a high cadence song at us, most of them just sit at a lower cadence looking blank probably not able to maintain the pace even in the saddle with low resistance. But I've still got it. Well, kind of. High cadence spinning out of the saddle is what has me my heart at 170+ bpm. Don't do that.

After class, as I gulp down more water, and make my way over to Sprouts (like Henry's but close!) to shop for my macaroni salad. Home to put the salad together, protein shake, and sit down to watch the Tour.

Go Lance!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Since I'm now hanging out with someone who's sensitive to swearing, I got to thinking about the role of swearing and humor or emphasis.  And I had an interesting conversation where I realized that I'm comfortable using "fuck" in almost any context (given the right audience) except when referring to the sex act.  I actually tried saying it out loud and had to sub-vocalize!

However, I was able to watch this Onion parody video of the moon landing and laugh out loud:

Or this written article.

Previous posts on swearing:

Look At Those Peppers!
Is There An Oscar For Best Swearing?

Monday, July 20, 2009


Jofflyn's been dragging us (ok, I go willingly) to Little Tokyo's Orochon for spicy miso ramen,  And I've yet to get this particular group to Santouka in the Mitsuwa market for shio (salt broth) ramen.

That's ok.  Shotgunned invites out for late Sunday afternoon, got a hit, and had the special #9 with an egg.  That's a large bowl of shio ramen with the black pork belly and vegetables served on the side (self-assembly).  Amaaaazing!  Props to John Remy for turning me on to the special.  The regular pork is delicious, but the black pork...  Game over.   Melt-in-your-mouth soft.  Indescribably complex flavor.  Wow.

And the broth...  The broth...  Oh god.  At Orochan, the broth is tasty but the noodles are featured.  At Santaouka, I make sure to finish the broth at the expense of the noodles, if necessary.

I kept texting Joff to make him feel bad for canceling out:
I want to bathe in the Santouka broth!

And later:
I want to sleep in a waterbed filled with the Santouka broth!

And later:
Instead of cleaning my apartment I'll pour broth on everything!

I want to wash my car with shio broth!
Computer acting up?  Have you tried pouring shio broth on it?
Achy shoulder?  Shio broth!
Household plants looking a little wilted?  Shio broth!

True statements.  True story.

Quote of the Night

Yeah, 'cause penguin milk is awesome! - Walter
Eating at The Hat after rehearsal with Walter, Samber, Bamber, Sarah, Garret, and Dana.  Topics ranged from how amazing the Nintendo Wii is to, SYTYCD, to the history of nicknames, to Michael Jackson, to injuries.

And pastrami.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Mentalist

Why didn't anyone tell me about The Mentalist? Seriously. Cool show.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Little More Knowledge

It's been a while, but I found a new example of the language mistake I
mentioned in A Little Bit Of Knowledge.

The recent trade has made this speculation a mute point...

I don't remember whether I've posted this before, but a lot of these things have to do with hearing something not-quite-correctly and incorporating that into written language. In this case, figuring that the speaker said the word "mute" instead of the non-word "moot" would seem to make sense on the surface.

Do you have examples of this you come across?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

White Corn Revelation

White corn is awesome raw. No reason to cook it at all. Why have I
been wasting my time cooking it?!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Memories Steam Bath

At Memories to meet up with SS (sorry for flaking last week).  Walked in the door at about 10:30 to find that there was no air conditioning, bringing on jungle conditions.  I don't know if I'm sweating this much or it's condensation.  Thought about changing my shirt but I sweated through the first one on the first song I danced.  No one will tell me if this is normal now or if its a one time thing.  Lots of shrugs.

RT says she's saving money by dancing here instead of @ Atomic Tuesdays.  I never thought I'd dream of Atomic air conditioning...  Worth $4 extra?  Hell yeah!

Friday, July 10, 2009


John Remy asks:
How did I get through the last decade and a half w/o listening to NIN (well, beyond Closer)? There are times when Hurt could be my anthem...

Good question. Nine Inch Nails's Pretty Hate Machine was one of my angst soundtracks in high school (girls) and some of college (general stress and hate).

Aforementioned Hurt (NIN Live performance):

There are some notable covers, namely Johnn's Cash's Hurt:

Oh, and Sad Kermit's cover of Johnny's Cash's cover of Hurt:

From the album Broken, which came out when I was in college, NIN Wish:

(by the way, a comment had this right, the dead silence at 0:42 is amaaaazing).

From Pretty Hate Machine, Head Like a Hole:

Down In It:

Something I Can Never Have:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Drinking on the Fourth

It's odd that some people think that holidays are reduced to themed
drinking days (My college friends are all scratching their heads right
now and thinking, "Dude, aren't you one of those people?").

"Hey it's Arbor Day! Let's get blasted at the Arboretum!"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What The?!

Sarah Palin resigned?  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  She was so good for my sense of outrage...

Just Let Me Go Home

On my way home from Atomic Ballroom.  As I get on the freeway, four Highway Patrol cruisers jump on ahead of me.  And they shut down the freeway ahead of me to arrest someone in a car.  Helicopter spotlight.  Hands up, backing away from the car.  The works.  Wow.

And now more cruisers pull up.  Cars edge up to block my view.  I'm happy to give way.

And now on my way.


Friday, July 3, 2009

On Bleu Cheese Dressing

Note to self: Bob's Lite Bleu Cheese Dip/Dressing tastes like ranch
dressing with a blue cheese afterthought. I'm not sure why I'm
surprised when they can't correctly spell "light" and "blue."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dancing Lows

I've been told today that my dancing is carefully devoid of styling to the point of being sterile, and I make people cry by correcting them on the social floor.

And I'm really tired.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Language Subtleties

I'm creeped out by the fact that we use "put down" to talk about
starting a baby's nap AND euthanizing our pets.

Interface Question

Under what circumstances would it make sense to create a control that
reads: "Off - High - Medium - Low" instead of "Off - Low - Medium -

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear Google

Please stop showing me ads for push-up bras. I was looking for pushup bars.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quote of the Day 20090628

"You're going to have a magical life.  Because no matter where you go, it'll be better than Tucson."  - Hamlet 2

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Line of the Night 20090626

"Check out the Rolls Royce."
"Oh wow.  It's like they put it in a wind-tunnel, stepped back, and said, 'Nah, fuck it.  Never mind.'"

Food Run

Quick trip to Little Tokyo for Orochon Ramen (I think we should try Daikokuya one of these days; It's open 'til 1am). Miso #4.  The bowl is giant.  Can't finish it.  After time I realize I'm not a fan of the green peppers or the mass of bean sprouts.  Remember to say that next time.  Adding the chasu gets a single giant slice of pork yumminess.

Naturally, the next step would be to find a place to go to dessert.  Naturally, Diddy Riese in Westwood.  Chocolate chip with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.  Wow.

Atomic Ballroom at 1am for swing dancing.  Dance 'til close.  But not with Trisha because she never comes out. :-P

Home.  Either sleep or work out?  Not sure yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dancing Highs

Had a fun dance with a follow I hadn't seen in a few months on Friday.  Later on, she told me it was the best dance she'd had in months.  "You've become an amazing dancer!"

Aw shucks!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Conversation

[Author's note:  I have numerous advisers, mentors, and even peers I bounce ideas off of.  I also have a dance mentor who lives inside my head.  The advice he gives is a synthesis of all the advice I've gotten from real conversations, arguments, and "ah ha!" moments.  This is one of those discussions.  If you recognize your words, that's because I probably absorbed your lesson.]

"So what is it that you want out of Lindy Hop," he asked me.

"I want to be an advanced dancer," I replied.

"Where are you now?"

"I think I'm solidly intermediate."

"And what does becoming an advanced dancer mean to you?"

"That's tough to say.  I'm not worried about flash. Or performing.  Or competing.  But I am worried about making a dance fun for my partner.  I'd like to be able to dance with a beginner or a visiting pro and have that person walk away thinking, 'Now that was a fun dance.'"

"That's a good goal.  What do you think you need to do to achieve it?"

"Well, I feel like I'm solid in what I can do now.  But that I need more moves, more vocabulary..."  I stopped as he shook his head.

"No.  What you need is basics."

"I'm ... not sure what you mean 'you need basics,'" I replied, trying not to be offended.  I mean, I knew my basics.

"Well, you said you needed more vocabulary, right?  You chose that metaphor, and one of the old tropes you hear instructors use feeds right into it: 'Dancing is a conversation.'"


"Well, have you ever read a technical journal outside of your field?  Or 'The Canterbury Tales' in their original Old English?  Have you ever thought to yourself, 'I need to learn some of this vocabulary so I can have better conversations with my friends!'  Of course not.  You have better conversations by mastering your basic vocabulary then using it to maximum effect.  Ever seen a poetry slam?  Or a 'spoken word' showcase?  Or an actor doing a one person show show with multiple characters, accents, and points of view?  Or a great stand-up comedian with the audience in the palm of his hand?  Or a an effective political orator swaying the feelings of an audience?  Those people don't use words you don't know.  They have mastery of basic vocabulary."

"That can't be all they have."

"Of course not.  They've also mastered the artistic use of their words, the effective timing, the ability to read a crowd.  The way they _use_ vocabulary might be different from yours."

"But I see advanced dancers doing moves I don't know all the time."

"You're forgetting that this is about having a conversation.  Can you conceive a thought, begin it, and complete it with clarity and directness?   Can you construct a thesis statement and supporting points?"

"The first step is working on your basics.  Variations and new moves come after that.  I'm sure you can probably think of local dancers who have tons of moves, but they don't seem ... quite right.  Or lots of people will complain after dancing with them.  About clarity.  Or harshness.  Or injuries."

"Yeah, I can, now that you mention it.  So you're saying I need to learn how to express my feelings..."

"Feelings?!  No, not your feelings.  I'm saying you should learn how to have the Lindy Hop equivalent of a polite, clear, superficial, conversation with no nuance.  Feelings?!  Feelings are a whole other conversation!!!"

Are there any conversations or observations that you can remember which changed your dancing?   What is the metaphor for dancing that you use most often to express basic concepts?  Has anyone ever told you that you needed more work on your basics when you felt they were already very good?  How did you take it?

Random Administrative Thoughts

I've liked Blogger since I started blogging.  Very easy to use. 

Some things I've changed over time:

In-line comment form.  After turning on Layouts, I was able to have commenting right in the post, not a special page.

star-ratings: possibly more useful if I had more readers

reactions: cool, meh, or lame.  again possibly more useful if I had more readers.

More readers: Possibly have more readers if I posted more. :-/

Embedding voicemail

The first voicemail I left myself at my new number.

Let's see if that works.

Oh, it doesn't embed the transcript.

this is a test this is a test the transcript i'm wondering how well the transcription services court work especially with mark background noise and especially and until call me 21 other or in other words or also to talk alright bye

Google Voice

Caltech buddy, DB asked if anyone was interested in a Google Voice invite.  I responded "hell yeah!"  A couple months later, the invite has been processed and they let me in.

Oh my god.  I got bogged down in choosing a phone number.  Pop-up asked me to search by area code or word or both.

Wait, word?

Yes, like, 1800-dentist or whatever thing companies use to help people remember their numbers.

is there a "john" in 714?  Yes!  714-xxx-JOHN!  And it's an orange-county originating exchange, so that's good.

Hmmm... how about ...
714-988-DICK (Brea!)

But in a moment of bad taste, I settled on 714-69-WHITE.

Sorry mom.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


My Persoal Credit Crisis - New York Times

This is the part of the mortgage crisis that pisses me off. There are people out there asking for loan modifications because they've found out they can't afford their house payments after the fact. Well I knew I wouldn't be able to afford payments on $600K -before- I signed a mortgage. Is someone going to give me $100K of debt forgiveness?

The author describes his inability to manage his finances on a $120K+ salary. The financial pressure brings husband and wife to the edge of marital disaster, but they recover. And talk about burying the lede... their solution: They haven't made a housing payment in 8 months, but their mortgage service company is so backed up with other people in similar situations that they haven't been contacted for a loan modification or been foreclosed on. That's right, they're living rent free in their house.

What. The. Fuck.

I find this a hilarious conclusion to an article in which the author pats himself on the back for finally coming to terms with his financial situation.

h/t Joe Chiu

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vindictive Bastard

While I'm thinking of it, I should give a direct answer to the question you asked me while we were dancing on Tuesday.  Yes, to be honest I was mad.

You hassle me fairly gently but fairly regularly about not asking you to dance.  And as I repeatedly explain, it makes me feel -really- uncomfortable to feel like I'm interrupting what looks like a private moment on the public dance floor.  You've repeatedly assured me that nothing of the sort is going on and strongly encouraged me to ask you to dance, even if you've been dancing with the same guy for several songs in a row.

Well, it took a lot for me to overcome my discomfort, but I did ask in exactly that situation.  And you turned me down, because it was a private moment on the public dance floor.

I never thought you owed me an explanation, a dance, or your attention at all, for that matter.

But I do think we all, as a community, owe each other courtesy.  And in this situation, I think the bare minimum of courtesy would have meant not hassling me for not asking you to dance.  If you don't want to be asked, it seems ... mind boggling that you'd go out of your way to encourage me to ask you.


And that doesn't even begin to take into account the fact that I'm a vindictive bastard.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tivo Time Machine Pt. 3

My 2006-2007 Season Passes, in order of priority:

How I Met Your Mother (NBC)
Scrubs (NBC) (changed networks, deleted)
House (Fox)
Criminal Minds (CBS)
Bones (Fox)
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)
60 Minutes (CBS)
Good Eats (Food)
Wishlist: Diamond Makers (There's a documentary out there somewhere, but I've never seen it)
Wishlist: Tenacious D (music/comedy duo)
Wishlist: Ozomatli (The music group)
Wishlist: Strange Luck (cancelled television show from the ... 80's?)
Wishlist: Pablo Francisco (comedian)
Wishlist: Navy Seals (deleted; too many copies of The Abyss and random Discovery Channel re-enactment shows)
Wishlist: Patton Oswalt (comedian;  except he's now doing a voiceover for a kids cartoon)
Wishlist: Tuva
Wishlist: Feynman
Wishlist: Bjork (sometimes picks up the 1954 movie Night People, starring Anita Bjork)
Wishlist: Lifestyles/Cooking "Test"
Wishlist: Themes/Music "Unplugged"
Dinner for Five (IFC) (cancelled show, should delete this)
Wishlist: Themes/Drama "The Wire" (Greatest televison show ever.  Ever)
Wishlist: Real Time Maher
Wishlist: Navy Seal (deleted; too many random movies have "former Navy SEAL" as a character)
Wishlist: Greg Geraldo (Comedian)
Wishlist: Real Sports Bryant
Wishlist: Sports/Hockey "IIHF" (Hockey world junior championships)
Wishlist: Sports Tour France (changed to Sports/Cycling Tour De France)
The Closer (TNT) (delte;  interesting, but I don't miss it)
Anthony Bourdain (Travel)
Wishlist: Kelly Clarkson (OK, that's embarrassing.  deleted)
Wishlist: Freakonomics
Wishlist: Linkin Park
Pride Fighting Championships
The Showbiz Show with David Spade (deleted; cancelled?)
Wishlist: Show Types/Series "Sleeper Cell" (cancelled.  got boring)
Wishlist: Hydroponic
Iconoclasts (Sundance)
Wishlist: "Ira Glass"
Wishlist: This American Life
Law & Order Criminal Intent (NBC)  (I think this is cable-only now)
Wishlist: Michael Pollan
Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (BBC)
Psych (USA)
Life on Mars (BBC)
30 Days (FX)
Wishlist: Gordon Ramsay (deleted; hate Hell's Kitchen and F Word)
Namaste Yoga (FIT) (Awesome workout.  Was really into it for about 2 months)
The Class (CBS) (No recollection of this show at all.  Oh wait, now I do.  deleted)
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC) (deleted; show is canceled)
Heroes (NBC)
Dirty Jobs (Discovery)
Wishlist: Show Types/Series Dexter
Gordon Ramsay's F Word (BBC) (deleted)
Wishlist: Show Types/Delayed Kings Los
Wishlist: Robson Green
Wishlist: Ramsays (deleted; redundant)
Wishlist: Sleeper Cell (deleted)
My Boys (TBS)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Eleventh Hour (BBC)
Hardware (BBC) (don't remember it, delete)
The Dresden Files (SciFi) (meh, keep it)
The Sarah Silverman Program (Comedy Central) (funny, but I don't miss it.  Delete)
Wishlist: Hajj (I saw a documentary once which had the most heartbreakingly beautiful "Call to Prayer" that I've ever heard)
The Riches (FX)
Painkiller Jane (SciFi) (Hey, whatever happened to this show?)
John Safran vs. God (Sundance)
Wishlist: Show Types/Series Burn Notice
Wishlist: John Cincinatti (delete)
Big Medicine (TLC) (delete)

Holy crap that's a lot of television.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tivo Time Machine Pt. 2

Strolling through the 8(!) years of television archives on my Tivo, I'd saved the following segments of The Daily Show, because they stood out.

What's the Matter With Denmark? Pt. 1

Poll Smoking - American Education:

Al Jazeera English

Tivo Time Machine Pt. 1

Soon after I started swing dancing, about two years ago, I started having some problems with my living room television set up. Because of the system I had set up, I was able to watch DVDs but not television through my Tivo. A fairly easy solution, get the malfunctioning piece of equipment (my switch/amp) repaired. Well, I didn't have as much time to watch television, so I kept putting it off. A month or so ago.

Today I picked up the repaired unit and brought it back home to test out. And came face to face with the fact that my expanded Tivo has been recording television for me to watch for two years. With all the preferences I set two years ago.

First pass, I went through and deleted the things I knew I didn't need any more. I've watched all of The Wire, so I trashed the two seasons I had recorded. I've watched all the BBC episodes of Kitchen Nightmares (and don't particularly like the F word).

What does that leave me? Well, I'd been building up a back-log of television long before two years ago. Long before. And many of the wish lists and season passes were set to record all new episodes without deleting. It's a miracle that there were actually new television shows still being recorded. Not everything was set to stay indefinitely. The oldest recorded show is from August 2002 (A Cook's Tour: Stuffed Like a Pig; Portugal to France). There are quite a few singleton episodes of television that wasn't out on DVD yet. Season 5, Episode 14 of Angel, "Smile Time," which is has a hilarious demon-possessed Sesame Street muppet plot.  Season 3, Episode 19 of Mad About You, "Two Tickets to Paradise".  Season 5, Episode 10 of Mad About You, "Chicken Man".  The show wasn't my favorite, but these episodes... these fucking episodes... they're flat out brilliant.  There are some episodes of The Daily Show I've saved because of specific segments.  Back in the day, they weren't available online.  Now they are, and I'll note them in a separate post.  Some canceled shows (Love Monkey, Line of Fire).  Some one-offs like a re-broadcast of the Pilot episode of "Cop Rock."  A Los Angeles Kings anniversary special.  UFC 44.  "The Human Behavior Experiments."  An episode of a Fine Living Network show called "Dinner Date."  Not sure what the heck that's about.  Oh, people take a cooking class and speed date at the same time.  Or something like that.  Erased.  An IFC Short Film Showcase featuring the Ocean's Eleven spoof, "Seven's Eleven."

But the bulk of the storage is season passes or wish lists to my favorite shows circa 2006-2007.  "A Cook's Tour" and "Good Eats" from The Food Network.  "Scrubs" from NBC.   Oh man, it moved and I doubt I have the current season.  Bummer.  "America's Test Kitchen" from PBS.  "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations," from The Travel Channel.  "How I Met Your Mother," on CBS.  "This American Life" on Showtime.

And that's it.  Those shows represent over 200 hours of programming on my Tivo.  I have to admit, it feels weird to watch television in my living room.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I'm participating in the 24 Hour Cancer Dance-A-Thon again this year.

The 2009 Dance-A-Thon is from 2 p.m. Saturday March 14th to 2 p.m. Sunday March 15th.

The goal is to raise money to donate to the City of Hope. If you have a few extra dollars rolling around that you'd like help out with it would be much appreciated:

Sponsor John-with-an-H!

The deal is, someone from the team will be dancing on the floor for every minute of the Dance-a-thon.

And as with last year, I'm not one to beg for money, but it's all going to an amazing cause (The City of Hope), so I'd certainly appreciate it if you could pitch in and sponsor me, even for $5 or $10. I believe $50 gets you a visitor's pass to the event to watch. Donate from my page, and I'll throw in 45 minutes of swing dance lessons from me for you and a partner for every $20.

Anyone have one of those vibrating foot massagers I could borrow?

SSC 26

Short Shameful Confession:

I am now facebook friends with every single girl I had a high school crush on, as well as my first kiss.

No Samantha, that's not ambitious, it's just happenstance.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

SSC 25

Short Shameful Confession:

Every time I find women's underwear in my laundry, I secretly hope someone was trying to sneak it into my pocket, not just absently forgetting it in the washing machine.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We're Going on a Cruise!

Don't quite remember how I got talked into going on this seven day swing dancing cruise, but here I am, and glad of it.

Friday night was a bit frantic, I staged some packing in the morning, worked during the day, then packed in earnest during the evening.  Dropped by my mother's place for lucky new year's noodles, then went to do some last minute shopping at Target (more cargo shorts) and Kohls (open 'til midnight tonight?!  Phew!  Sport coat for the formal dinner and some camp shirts).

Dropped by Atomic to dance for about 90 minutes (goodbye Atomic peeps, I'll miss you for a week!), then headed home for an all-nighter of list making and packing.  And still managed to forget to pack a swim suit.  Oh well.

Rode with Mareike and Nancy to LAX, checked in with the group, made security (easily and quickly), waited, boarded, and flew to Houston almost painlessly.  Well, I did pack everything into two bags which I carried on.  That's hurting a tiny bit.  Jean Veloz is really pretty, by the way.

We ended up being too hungry to wait for the 5pm dinner, we went to eat almost immediately.  My thing was to find a place which had good Gulf seafood (eat local!) and we ended up at Fish Tails.  I had a decent fried shrimp sandwich, but nothing spectacular.  The Blue Bell ice cream was nice, though.

We were originally booked in the Holiday Inn, but due to overbooking, were upgraded to the San Luis Resort and Spa next door.  Very nice.  Amber and Jofflyn were nice enough to let me crash in their room, which was on the penthouse level (hellooo instructor upgrade!).  There was a welcome dance at the B. Jigger bar at the Holiday Inn (which I told Amber smelled faintly of smoke and vaguely of failure).  Unfortunately the floor was tiny and sticky.  I did get in some good dances early on though.  First dance was with Rusty Frank, who I don't think I'd ever met before (Danceathon?  Seen briefly, but not met).  Also met a blizard of new faces and familiar ones.  The Swiss (?) instructors were very cool, as was Jerry Jordan's old business partner.  Figured out that the actually allow smoking right in the bar, which was making me feel ill.  Partially due to sleep deprivation?  Sure, I'll go along with that. Had to actually leave some clothes outside for a few hours to rid them of the smoke smell.

Quick grocery store trip for water, bug repellant, and sunscreen (don't forget the sunscreen).  Back to the hotel for snacking and sleeping. 

And now, up early for breakfast and blogging.  Embarkation in 4 hours!!!