Saturday, June 30, 2007

Room for Improvement

Online Dating
Obviously I need to start using more profanity when talking about my guns, knives, swords, and other implements of death dealing. Via Kim du Toit.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A First Time for Everything

Amy and I became homeowners today. Settlement was around noon. Stately Baptist Manor is a 1750 square foot townhouse with a Newark mailing address and easy access to major highways. I wish I could say it was on acres of land with clear lanes of fire in case of Zombie attack, but that will unfortunately have to wait until Baptist Manor versions 2 or 3. Baptist Manor's current form should handle our family well even if it grows by a few members in the coming years.

We'll take up full residence by the end of July. Amy and I are quite happy, but we'll be spending a lot of time cleaning the house up in the next few weeks. The previous owners were only required to leave it "broom clean" and evidently they don't really know what a broom looks like. The tub and shower are caked with some retched substance. It's far nastier than anything I've come across and that includes my time in college on all male floors with shared bathrooms. Some of the carpets are similarly vile. The original owner appears to have enjoyed eating his dinner in the basement in front of his big screen. How much he ate is debatable since he seems to have trampled most of it into the basement stair's carpet.

Oh and the previous owner didn't bother to actually fix any of the things he agreed to fix after the initial home inspection. Thankfully we received more money back at settlement after our walk through exposed this. But this means we have to get a bunch of work done ourselves instead of having him take care of it. Very annoying.

The good news is that our initial down payment and closing costs were less than we expected. Amy and I have been saving for this since we got married last year and we didn't have to touch Amy's portion of our savings. So we're in good financial shape should anything come up (like having to replace a vehicle).

We'd like to thank the major players; our mortgage broker Damian Wing of GMAC, our lawyer Brian Murray, and most of all our Realtor Megan Johnson from Remax Associates in Suburban Plaza. Our inspectors, Granite Inspection Services and Promise Pest, were also first rate. The seller's realtor, Remax Sunvest... hmmm... lets say that he's not so highly recommended although he did try to make things right by us out of his own pocket.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ding! Dong! Immigration Bills Dead!

The cloture vote failed 46 to 53. Of course Delaware's senators, Biden and Carper, both voted for cloture. Well it could be worse, they could have voted twice.

Air Travel Horror Stories

Hmm a US Air horror story, a United horror story... can I add my own to the mix even if it is past its expiration date?

Via QandO

Saved by Saran Wrap

In a bit of really useful information, Glad Press and Seal makes an excellent keyboard cover for your laptop if you're going to Iraq or just the beach. Or if you're like me an eat in close proximity to your computer a lot. From Kit Up:
My PSG got a box of GLAD Press and Seal and put it over the entire keyboard area of his laptop to include the power button, etc. It did the trick of keeping the sand out of the keyboard and thus out the computer components inside.

As an IT Manager, I was impressed. Buy a rubberized keyboard for your laptop and look at the price tag that comes along with it. The nice part is when the press and seal gets dirty to the point you can no longer see the letters, simply tear off a new section and you're back in business.
Other household products, like Ziploc bags can be really useful in many other scenarios like waterproofing things on camping and beach trips. They're very light, take up no room, but can keep your extra pair of socks dry or your sandwich edible even if the rest of you gets covered with water or sand.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Of Ethics and Ethicists

I once wrote this about bioethicists:
Bioethicists seem to be in the position of providing convenient justifications for the use of questionable technologies. They are not ethical auditors, my experience has been that they are professional rationalizers and enablers.
Douglas Kern expands this criticism in his rebuke of New York Times ethics columnist Randy Cohen. It includes great passages like this one:
Your job as a public ethicist is not to teach people how best to apply the rules and obligations of a transcendent authority, as the ethicists of old once did. That would be hard. And intrusive. And divisive. And let’s face it: “transcendent authority” carries the whiff of the red state, with all the unpleasantness (NASCAR, Wal-Mart, redundant children) there attached. Neither is your job to teach philosophy. That, too, would be hard, and unsatisfying as well; when do philosophers ever agree? No, your job is to provide just enough soothing advice to scratch that fleeting itch that your affluent readership feels when confronted with moral questions that vacuous self-serving upper class prejudices can’t immediately resolve.
It is a really good piece and Kern, as a lawyer who had to take classes in ethics, knows of what he writes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Politics in Short

The Meaning of Dictator

I said it over at QandO and I'll say it here, anyone who takes offense at calling Hugo Chavez a dictator doesn't know what the word means. Chavez has been given the power to rule Venezuela by decree. That is a textbook dictatorship.

Fairness Doctrine

This is all about the left trying to castrate right-wing talk radio. But that doesn't make it smart for the left. The success of right-wing talk is largely the result of the perceived (and now documented) left-wing slant from the mainstream media. It is the result of market forces in much the same way that the think tanks meet the academic needs that universities served on the left. Re-instituting the fairness doctrine they are handing the government not just the ability to crush talk radio, but also to do wholesale meddling with mainstream news reporting. Lefties, do you really want to give the Bush administration that sort of mandate?

Action in Iraq

The numbers being killed and captured in Baquba are only about 50% of the expected numbers of insurgents. The media says this is bad. Anyone in the know realizes that inflicting 50% attrition on your enemy is pretty damn good. Losing 10% of your force is bad and 30% is crippling. Only 50%?

Telling the Truth

Dilbert's current arc involves Nancy, the employee with personal problems. As usual Alice cuts to the heart of the issue:

I know several people like this and it just irritates the heck out of me, mostly because they're always passing the buck to someone else. They have personality clashes at every job they've ever worked. Or sometimes it is the opposite, they consistently become the office doormat. Or their boyfriends mistreat them. Sometimes I just want to grab them by the shoulders, look them in the eyes, and say "The reason you always have these problems is because of the choices you make. Make better decisions and stop blaming others."

This isn't always true of course. Sometimes you're a great person that happens to work for a jerk or with idiots. It happens. But when I see it happen over and over again to the same people, I can't help but wonder if it isn't a coincidence that the shit keeps hitting their particular fan. Maybe these folks are just standing in front of the shit fan instead. If so, then take a few steps to the left or right already.

But is confronting this sort of thing head-on the thing to do? Is it the proper Christian response? I don't know. I generally just try to help these kinds of folks out of whatever mess they've gotten themselves into. But I rarely confront them about why they keep getting into these messes in the first place.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I tried a bag of Doritos X-13D mystery flavor chips a while back. I thought they were more of an interesting marketing experiment than anything else (the package avoids telling you any flavor and implies some sort of flavor guessing contest). I thought it would be really cool if the food scientists at Doritos made up batches in different flavors and packaged them identically. Alas our two bags tasted the same. Tycho describes them thusly in today's Dorito related rant:
Somehow we ended up with a bag of X-13D superchips, some kind of mystery flavor, and if you want to know what the taste like imagine that a hamburger patty has fallen onto a cat, condiment side down. Believe me, it's worth buying a bag to verify this assertion.
Everyone in my regular lunch group took a taste. The consensus was that they tasted like McDonald's Cheeseburgers complete with processed cheese, onion, mustard, pickle, ketchup, and unidentifiable meat. Mmm... unidentifiable McDs meat... Whether felines are involved would probably depend on your opinion of McDonald's palatability.

El Cheapo Enduro

For a race where the cars can only cost $500, the 24 Hours of LeMons (that's "lemons" not some place in France) seems to have gotten a lot of press over the last year:
  • Autoweek ran an '83 Honda CRW that they tried to cheatimprove with racing parts. They couldn't figure out how to properly jet the new carbs and ironically had to race it stock.
  • The L.A. Times sent Preston Lerner who took turns driving an '89 Corolla owned by race creator and judge Jay Lamm.
  • Car and Driver had a '94 Olds in the race and won the People's Curse award. Their vehicle was beaten with hammers and rolled by the crowd after the first day of racing. Even with this, they were still able to finish the race.
  • The event was won by a team from Road and Track. They pulled out a victory, of more accurately pushed out on. Their '82 Corolla only crossed the line for the checkered flag because their Car and Driver competitors shoved it across with the front of their Aurora.
The 24 Hours of Lemons website has links to participants pictures and videos if you'd like to see more.

Oh Noes Jihadis!

I saw this at LawDog's place and I thought it was amusing:

Holy cow, you can break down a 16" AR-15 and fit it into a bag that small? With room for mags? I'll have to try that. I'm currently transporting my AR in a double rifle case and while case itself is large and cumbersome, the AR still doesn't fit very well inside it. I'll have look around for replacements and put some options on my tacticool gear list.

Working in Maryland means that transporting arms as shown in the clip is essentially verboten for me. Doubly verboten because I work on a military base. Fortunately running into armed jihadis behind the fence line is unlikely. Unfortunately the other end of my commute has no such assurance of security (other than any local neighborhood watch).

UPDATE: Said bag seems to be over a hundred dollars. Too rich for my blood.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Squirrel Catapult

I feel sorry for the bushy-tailed rat, but that doesn't make the video any less hilarious. The sound you hear in the background of the video is a million bird feeder owners crying out in triumph.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Driving Catholic

While Cardinal Martino's guidelines on the Christian way to drive aren't actually as stupid as they sound, the Curt Jester's are far more amusing.

An Old Man Moment

I ran across Paul Southren's Blog today. He is the editor of Sword Buyers Guide, which I mentioned earlier this week. Frankly I'm starting to realize why I like his site. It reminds me of the way Sword Forum used to be back when I started reading it in college. Examples of current behavior:
Due to my publishing of a 'controversial' article on Backyard Cutting - which is in the eyes of Sword Forum International is effectively taboo without first getting proper instruction...
And many people at SFI refuse to acknowledge or even look at swords priced under $500.
The sad thing is that it wasn't always this way. Frankly the site and people on it have changed a lot.

When it first got started, Sword Forum literally was a bunch of guys with little to no training doing cutting in their back yards with the best swords they could get their hands on. These were generally Deltin or Arms & Armor pieces that cost around $300-500. Maybe some Museum Replicas Limited swords snuck in, but back then they were just a Deltin distributor. A lot of the early days were spent explaining how to discern what was a quality sword, how to build a good pell, and how to do backyard cutting safely.

Now? Well to be honest the quality of affordable swords has improved and the quantity of instruction has increased in many areas. But most people still don't have qualified instructors close to them. Modern performance swords are also more fragile than the beaters of yore and much less forgiving.

Frankly, none of these things are a good reason to treat people like crap. SwordForumites have been known to do that. If someone comes in asking questions, the thing to do is give them answers, not tell them to use the search function and close their thread. Which is why this makes this statement from Paul Southern makes me feel good:
Since a lot of beginners tend to get shot down or mocked at SFI for posting or asking questions about entry level swords, I am planning to introduce my own forum for beginners and intermediate sword enthusiasts within the next couple of month - so watch this space!
Good for you Paul!

Cutting Vids

Cutting with a sword is trickier than you'd think. Just making a clean cut in the first place is hard. If you do it wrong, then typically your cut is messy or you just bang things around. Unfortunately I'm not very good at it and usually things go flying even with a "good" cut.

But this guy is amazing. Some of his cuts are so clean that the top and bottom of his targets stay together after he has cut them in half. Wow.

UPDATE: More Tameshigiri (mat cutting) from James Williams. His first and second vids imply he is using Bugei swords.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Diet Beverage of Choice

Sleeping in a bit too much this morning meant hitting Quizno's for lunch with coworkers instead of packing my own. I drank a diet Mountain Dew with my Turkey Bacon Club. I know what you're thinking, you'd rather have diet crab juice.

It occured to me that Diet Mountain Dew is a great concept. The soda has no calories to speak of and the shakes you get from all the caffeine are bound to burn some off. A negative calorie beverage! Brilliant!


In another example of life becoming Scrappleface, Episcopal Priest Ann Holmes Redding is also a practicing Muslim. Redding says she's fine with it because:
Redding doesn't feel she has to resolve all the contradictions. People within one religion can't even agree on all the details, she said. "So why would I spend time to try to reconcile all of Christian belief with all of Islam?
I find it sad that she considers theological points like the divinity of Christ, a key point of Christian doctrine absolutely denied by Islam, a minor point of contention and unimportant to her faith. I find it even sadder that her Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Vincent Warner, doesn't have a problem with this either.

Unfortunately this sort of syncretism seems to be growing more and more commonplace with Episcopalians. GetReligion has noticed these sorts of trends within the Episcopal Church USA before. The last major shake-up was with Bill Melnyk and his wife Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk, both of whom are Episcopal priests and practicing druids. Melnyk moonlighted as the druid priest Oakwyse and Ruppe-Melnyk moonlighted as Glispa. Ruppe-Melnyk also incorporated feminist perspectives in accepted Episcopalian liturgy that turned out to be thinly veiled pagan rites.

Via Mark Steyn through Instapundit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sword Reviews

Sword Buyers Guide is an interesting site I stumbled across looking for reviews of Cheness Katanas. SBG focuses on finding good quality swords for under $300. The site is divided into sections like European, Mid-eastern, Japanese, Chinese which provide sword reviews for competing weapons in a given style. The $300 limit is a nice touch since many of the other sword enthusiast sites (like MyArmoury and Swordforum) have migrated to higher priced blades.

I found the Japanese section to be really handy with all the new katana makers that are coming onto the market. Previously, your choice for inexpensive katanas was between Kris Cutlery and Hanwei Forge produced swords. In the last couple of years, several new competitors have come onto the market including Cheness, Last Legend, and Oni Forge.

I must say that after doing my research, those Cheness swords look like great buys. Maybe I'll pick one up once I have a backyard I could use for cutting practice.

Free RPG Day

Since there is a healthy bit of overlap between RPGers and comic book readers, I suppose the advent Free RPG Day is not exactly a surprise. Still, Days of Knights in Newark will be participating in the event this Saturday, June 23rd.

Michael Yon

He's been doing really good work lately. His series "Death or Glory" (Parts I, II, III, IV) with the Queen's Royal Lancers on the Iranian border is good to excellent. Now he says that a major battle is brewing. I'll keep my eyes and ears open.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Silver Surfer

Scott Kurtz loved it, but Hube's review is far more mixed. Hube also has spoilers so beware. I still want to see it, although at only 92 minutes of run time I might head for a matinee.

Star Travel

Science Fiction author Charlie Stross explains the difficulties of interstellar travel and the possibilities of interplanetary travel. The standard star-faring colonization tropes don't look good in the light of our current understanding of physics.

Interplanetary travel is possible, but likely to be quite expensive. However Stross speculates that the more important point behind planetary travel will not be the "how", but the "why" of it. Stross quotes Bruce Sterling:
I'll believe in people settling Mars at about the same time I see people settling the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes "Gobi Desert Opera" because, well, it's just kind of plonkingly obvious that there's no good reason to go there and live. It's ugly, it's inhospitable and there's no way to make it pay. Mars is just the same, really. We just romanticize it because it's so hard to reach.
He largely poo-poos arguments like manifest destiny and making man immortal among the stars. Honestly, I don't think these are concepts we can just hand-wave away. Stross dismisses them because he can't see people investing in endeavors they can never personally benefit from. I disagree. For centuries people have done things, like the global explorers of centuries past or the environmentalists of today, which benefit them little but benefit coming generations greatly. I've heard that the Japanese have 100 year mortgages in some areas. Mortgages that they take knowing they will never be able to repay. I don't think Stross understands human nature as well as he thinks he does.

I can foresee a future where the Earth may be vulnerable to a mass cataclysm. For the first time ever, we have cheap and easy global travel and communications. This means that diseases can spread incredibly fast, potentially faster than we can react. It also means that ideas can spread incredibly fast and, as the world grows smaller, ideological diversity may shrink as well. This means that the entire world may be open to a social cataclysm similar to the coming demographic collapse of Europe. Given that kind of situation, interplanetary colonization might be a good idea.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Perhaps I'll Rename This Blog Latveria

Your results:

You are Dr. Doom

Dr. Doom
Mr. Freeze
The Joker
Dark Phoenix
Lex Luthor
Green Goblin
Poison Ivy
Blessed with smarts and power but burdened by vanity.
Click here to take the "Which Super Villain am I?" quiz...

Via Jokers to the Right

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scoping Out Scopes

So yesterday I mentioned that I'd love to buy a bunch of swords. Well really that's just the tip of the wish iceberg for me. I want some new gun toys too, like a nice rifle scope. Or even a crappy rifle scope since nice rifle scopes cost thousands of dollars.

After a few trips to the range with my AR-15, I've realized that I really want scope that rifle. The iron sights on the rifle are good, but unfortunately my eyes aren't. I can't see the .223 caliber holes in my targets at 25 meters without resorting to binoculars. Not a problem because I have binoculars. But I also suck with irons because fundamentally I can't see exactly what I'm shooting at. I know, I know, I should learn to use them anyway.

So I'd like a good scope, something compact to put on my ARs flattop with magnification around 4x to 6x. The Trijicon ACOG is the traditional scope to throw on an AR-15 that fits this spec. Unfortunately they run about a thousand dollars. To put that into perspective, I built my entire AR-15 for less than that. Now true rifle aficionados consider a good scope to be something akin to the rifle's brother. Like proud papas they love both and proudly proclaim that you should spend equal amounts of money on both of your children. I'm not that guy. I think of a scope as an important rifle accessory. I mean I have iron sights already, even if I suck with them. So I want to go cheaper.

And there are cheaper options of course. I especially like the IOR Valdada M2. German glass put together by a company that used to make sniper scopes for the Russians. Range finding reticle. Rugged. Kind of compact. Cool. But I'm still looking at $400 of the money I should be using on the house Amy and I are buying. Well crap.

This has me looking at the lower tier again. My research indicates I have basically two options for generally good scopes in the ~100 range:
  1. The Leapers T168. This is a relatively compact scope, has lots of bells and whistles, is designed to mount on an AR-15 in various ways, is 6x power, and can be had for about $45. Not bad. People generally seem to like them even though Leapers has an awful reputation in scopes.
  2. The Hakko 4x21 carry handle scope. This is smaller, probably lighter, and has good features which include Bullet-Drop Compensator range adjustments. Hakko is a more reputable manufacturer, but unfortunately the scope costs more and I'd need to get an adapter to put it on my flat-top.
I'm currently in the mulling stage. I imagine I will continue to mull into one of these is no longer on sale and I buy the other one. Or maybe someone will get me either one as a housewarming gift. After all what could be more appropriate than equipment to protect said home from marauding Visigoth warriors or stray Jehovah's Witnesses?

Inside a CZ75

Dr. StrangeGun has a pictoral showing the various internals of his CZ75 compact. Interesting stuff. These are similar to most guns that use a Browning short-recoil action, like my own Hipower.

The Problem of Modernism

One of my former colleagues has an interesting definition for "tradition." He called them "solutions to problems we have forgotten." One of the great problems with Modernism is that it is a philosophical system which deliberately has no memory. Unfortunately, Liberalism in its current incarnation is a strong adherent to this particular philosophy.

Recently, this flaw has been trotted out for all to see in the legal debate over the 2nd Amendment. Many scholars for and against private gun ownership have realized that the collective rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is has no clothes. Firearms ownership ought to be an individual right under the 2nd. Which, as people like Benjamin Wittes point out, is why we need to get rid of the 2nd Amendment entirely.

Kim du Toit responds to Wittes with his usual vitriol. Along with his invective, Kim points out that the whole purpose of the 2nd was to defend citizens against the tyranny of their own government. Perhaps if Bush actually were the tyrant the left accuses him of being, they might remember the growing affection they were developing for the 2nd amendment in Bush's first term.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Sword Makes the Hero

A teenage karate student defended his Hialeah, Florida home with his samurai sword after two thugs broke into his home. Damian Fernandez stabbed one of them in the chest and both thieves fled. The injured robber was captured where he was hiding down the street.

I don't know what type of samurai sword he used. Gizmodo says a katana, but the teenager recants his story with a wakazashi in the video clip. The shorter sword is a better one for indoors work, although both would work well in a thrust.

It is kind of sobering to think that someone could be stabbed in the chest with a sword and still keep moving, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. The curvature of a samurai sword makes it a poor stabbing weapon and frankly lots of people take multiple bullets to the chest before they go down.

One of these days I'll pick up a katana and wakazashi to go with my european long sword. Kris Cutlery makes a good product that isn't so expensive I would feel bad using it on milk jugs and soda bottles. A gladius would be a nice addition to my collection as well. But as always, I need to pace myself. Perhaps it is time to make another wish list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Where in the World is Middle Earth?

Via Paul Smith, how the geography of Middle Earth relates to the geography of Europe. It's a neat idea, but after looking at Tolkien's map, it isn't quite right. The major cardinal directions don't line up and, more importantly, several mountain ranges don't intersect in the right places. So while you can get Conan the Barbarians Hyborea by sinking land and raising seas, I don't think you can do it as easily with Middle Earth.


Instapundit's Porkbusters Update put my dander up:
Rep. David Obey says that there's not time to look at the 36,000 earmark requests in the House.
Gah! If you don't have time to read them and give them some thought, then why are you moving forward with them at all? Why are you spending money if you don't know what you're spending it on? Sometimes the proper thing to do is nothing.

Not that I think Porkbusters is necessarily the answer. Hey, lets get a bunch of libertarians together to decide what the government really needs to spend money on. Department of Education? Pork. Department of Defense? Just bring back the militia system! Department of Justice? Non-governmental arbitration is much more efficient anyway... Federal Reserve? Laissez-Faire!

I remember looking at the list of "pork" they compiled from the 2005 Transportation Bill. The Delaware list included biking trails and some other projects of admittedly questionable worth. But most of the money was for major highway projects like reworking the I-95 & Rt. 1 interchange by the Christiana Mall. Ever tried going through that area on a Sunday afternoon during the summer? You could walk home faster. We're talking about an interchange on an interstate highway that sees huge amounts of interstate vehicle traffic from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. How was this pork?

Crash Test Videos

Consumer Reports is hosting a pretty comprehensive collection of crash test videos. These are mostly tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and include both the frontal offset and some side impact tests. They had my current car, a Mazda Protege, and noted that it didn't fare particularly well. Oh well.

HT: John Scalzi

Monday, June 11, 2007

Science and Religion

Ryan has a great take on the divide between science and religion. He includes good insights like this one:
Everyone interprets the Bible. Most of the fundamentalists, the ones that say the Earth is 6,000 years old or so, don’t think that Christ literally meant ‘this is my Body,’ and Catholics generally think the inverse.
I've always considered the Science vs. Religion dichotomy to be a false one. Science is natural philosophy. Religion is essentially supernatural philosophy. Trying to apply one to the other seems like a venture fraught with problems.

Jeep Go Boom

As Autoblog aptly notes, this is why Jeeps have rollbars.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Split Votes

Instapundit recently described police support for concealed carry reform as "split." That's very true, but unfortunately it is actually an improvement from the past.

Most official opinions on the subject that show up in papers are written by either high mugwumps in the Fraternal Order of Police or by grand poobahs of major metropolitan police departments. The first are Democrats because they are union leadership. The second are Democrats because they're involved with government in major metropolitan areas. Since they are Democrats, they almost always take the anti side of the debate. It is only after the law passes and the state doesn't turn into Dodge City that they sheepishly admit they were wrong.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mansion Arrest

Paris Hilton was released from prison after only 3 days in jail. She'll be put on house arrest for 40 days because unspecified medical issues. The LA Sheriff's Office really showed everyone that there is equal treatment under the law, didn't they?

UPDATE: Huh the system does work, who knew?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Have a Happy D-Day

Good men died so that you could. To quote Reagan:
Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
Dale Franks recounts what happened 53 years ago today.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Conversion Stories

Happy Catholic recounts the story of Sci-Fi writer John C. Wright's conversion originally published in a Sci-Fi Weekly interview. Wright seems to be a pretty wordy guy, which isn't a bad trait for a writer, so I'm not going to re-recount it. Wright also blogs on Live Journal.

Nostalgia for Nothing

A meme Tamara is planning to spread asks bloggers to look at the top songs from the year they turned 18 and then wax nostalgic about how great those songs were.

I turned 18 in 1995. All my songs suck. I checked. Boyz II Men, TLC, and Mariah Carey? Color me apathetic. It's the mid-nineties, shouldn't there be some grunge alterna-rock in there somewhere?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Priceless Clarkson

Britain's Top Gear is perhaps the best car show ever and Jeremy Clarkson is the reason why. The Times Online has a list of his top twelve car quips, complete with links to the reviews. They're calling it his "dirty dozen." Here is a bit of what he thinks of the Kia Rio:
You may have seen The Fly II, in which a scientist attempts to teleport a dog. In one of the most gruesome scenes I've seen in a film it arrives at its destination completely inside out. Well the Rio is uglier than that. Inside, things get worse.
Go read and enjoy.

Business Casual Kicks

For work wear, I normally rotate my shoes between a pair of black Red Wing oxfords and a pair of ankle-high Timberlands that are similarly styled. The Timberlands keep my feet dry stomping across the poorly-drained pock-marked parking lots at work. The Red Wings are just good solid shoes that I've worn for over five years. That's one pair for over five years. They're good and tough those Red Wings. Unfortunately they're also worn out. Neither pair of shoes has any tread left and the uppers on the oxfords, while still structurally sound, have definitely looked better.

Their replacement, a pair of black Timberland Stormbuck Oxfords came on Thursday. I hate ordering shoes without trying them on. Fortunately, even though the Christiana Macy's didn't have my size in stock, they did have enough shoes to tell what my size is. Doesn't fit, next, doesn't fit, next... After that it was back to the internet.

These shoes are practically perfect. They're black to match my normal belts, etc. They're suede so I don't ever need to polish them (unlike my Red Wings). They're waterproof for bad weather. They're fairly economical. They look pretty good and they're also very comfortable. The only bad thing is that the insoles aren't removeable. Frankly that's something I can live with since they'll probably be up for replacement before a worn-out insole really bugs me.