Archive: April, 2004

Holding citizens without trial

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 28, 2004, 4:28 PM | comments: 1
I'm troubled by this story regarding the detention of US citizens without trial:

I'm not saying these guys are innocent. I bet that they're guilty. Regardless, as US citizens, charge them with a crime and give them a trial. That's the way we do things in this country. Heck, if they're found guilty of treason, I think they can even impose the death penalty. So, what's the problem then? Go to trial.

We have this system in place so the bad guys can be judged in as fair a manner as possible by "the people," not Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Bush. That's the way it has to be. If it's any other way, we put our nation and liberties as Americans at risk, and not for any actual improvements in safety.

A month of soul searching in the sun

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 27, 2004, 3:13 PM | comments: 2
Stephanie and I are contemplating the idea of going off to Orlando for a month to change the scenery, as well as reach some personal goals.

How fucking crazy would it be if we did that?

Exhibit 13

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 26, 2004, 11:59 PM | comments: 1
The Blue Man Group live rock tour was on the "free view" channel on DirecTV. Pretty intense show. I picked up the CD, also good stuff.

They ended the show with "Exhibit 13." I think you'll figure out what it's about.

iTunes madness

posted by Jeff | Saturday, April 24, 2004, 12:00 PM | comments: 3
So I'm looking at my playlists by year on the iPod, and I see that I've only gone back to 1992. I could probably fill out a couple of years before that, but not many, so I hit the iTunes store and start going through all of the 80's charts.

Before I know it, I have about $90 worth of songs in my cart, going back to 1981 or so. That's a lot of freakin' music. I'd love to buy it all, but that's a lot of money. Of course, the flip side is that CD compilations rarely have any of the "right" songs, and buying CD's would be more expensive anyway, but still.

American Idol: watched by stupid Americans

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 23, 2004, 3:28 PM | comments: 3
I'll admit, I've been kind of sucked into the American Idol hype to some small degree, because it's kind of neat to watch these relative nobodies make a name for themselves.

This week's results were absolutely insulting. One of the most talented of the group was voted out, and worse, three of the better performers were all in the bottom three. This after the two guys showed the worst performances ever. They sucked, especially the carrot top teenager. He killed Manilow's "Mandy" in a way that I didn't think it could be killed. As Simon would say, "Absolutely dreadful."

Yet that hack survived, and wasn't even in the bottom three? Americans are really fucking stupid and have no taste. That's all it could be. What else do you expect from a country where half the people think Bush is doing an acceptable job?

One sidebar, Randy Jackson is annoying. His little "thing" he does at the start of the show is so forced and fake. It's like a caricature of a bad black stereotype. I don't think you have the street cred, "dog."

I use the Web too much

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 21, 2004, 3:10 PM | comments: 4
My boss reprimanded me today (not yelled exactly, she was friendly about it) because of my Net usage at work. She had like two reams of paper that listed the URL's I had been to in the last month. I replied that looked about right, given the amount of work I have (or don't have) to do.

So I ask myself why the hell I'm driving 1,600 miles a month to a job that I really don't like that much aside from the cash (lots of cash). I can't think of any good reasons really, the money aside. I've already decided I need to quit the job, but wanted to get at least into June before I did it. Now, I don't think I can.

I just wish I had the balls to do what I know I need to do.

End of the nationals pursuit

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 19, 2004, 11:25 AM | comments: 0
Well, my girls failed to secure a bid for nationals. I still think they were capable of doing it, but they just couldn't make it happen.

There were essentially two obstacles. The first is that we lost one of our swing hitters early on when she quit to work instead. That was seriously demoralizing and they never really got over that in terms of believing what they were capable of. It was compounded when we found a replacement only to find she was 28 days too old to play on our team.

The second problem is that they all come from a high school background where losing is just an accepted part of what they do. I'd stop short of saying that they expect it, but it doesn't matter if they do. They simply don't know how to win, so they give up when they lose a few points. They come from losing high school programs, and worse, some of them have taken a beating in the self-esteem department from their coaches. Most unfortunate.

So that's my challenge for the remainder of the year, trying to teach them to win. I saw a glimmer of hope in the last match we played. We were playing the sixth ranked team in the region, and they were pretty bad ass. You could see it in their eyes that they knew it was a team they might have beat if they would've kept their heads in the game. Both games were lost 18-25, and in both games the point difference came from a run of botched serve receives. Take those runs out and they knew they were actually competing.

Despite these challenges, they're a great bunch of girls. I've never had a group that, right to the end, all got along and enjoyed being together. I don't have any personal conflicts with any of them either. It's really how it should be. This year I've had the talent, the team dynamic, but not the expectation of success. I guess except for that last part, it's not what I'll remember years down the road anyway.

Signs of the times: Your tax dollars at work

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 15, 2004, 11:37 AM | comments: 2
Check this out:

This is clearly the most important work of the US Navy!

Bush scares me

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 14, 2004, 11:00 AM | comments: 1
I'm glad that Bush has some people around him that are fairly intelligent, because he strikes me as a complete moron when he gets up in front of people and has to wing it. I'm sure his intentions are pure, but he doesn't seem bright at all.

It's embarassing when the leader of the free world says "nukeular." It's a Simpsons joke for God's sake. He made up a word too... I wish I could remember what it was.

And when he's asked about Iraq, he talks about threats and shifts to 9/11. He talks about how the Iraqis are better off. That's no doubt true, but are we any better off? The longer we've been there the more we're finding out that Saddam was impotent to say the least, and not much of a threat to anyone anymore. Yeah, he killed some of his own people... more than a decade ago. This war keeps getting uglier.

I guess what bothers me is that while he sees this as spreading freedom and liberty, much of the arab world sees it as the US pushing people around. That's what got us into trouble in the first place.

Perhaps the thing that pissed me off the most is that he woldn't accept any responsibility for anything. I don't blame him for 9/11 because it would've happened no matter what or no matter who was in office. I do hold him responsible for not saying, "You know what, we were wrong about what Iraq had, and I'm sorry. We'll get the job done anyway."

I'm not convinced Kerry is much of a gem, but I don't know that I can accept Bush staying in the White House. I just don't think he looks at the big picture.

Baltimore, Volleyball, The Girl Next Door and Medieval Times

posted by Jeff | Monday, April 12, 2004, 2:44 PM | comments: 4
Wow... what a weekend. Now that I stop and think about it a bit, I sure did a lot.

Stephanie and I were in Baltimore for the Northeast Qualifier, a far-off shot at qualifying for nationals. 70 courts in two locations, thousands of square feet of volleyball. My hope was just to do "OK." I guess in the end, that's what we did, but it could've been better. We went 6-3 for the weekend, but lost two the first day which put us in the butt brackets. The continuing problem with these kids are that they can't believe what they're capable of, and curl up and die as soon as they get into a little bit of trouble.

We got the chance to check out the Baltimore area Medieval Times. We've been to the Orlando show the last two Novembers. I have to say that this one was better in some ways. It's a new facility, for one, and attached to the Arundel Hills mall. Can't market yourself any better than that! The show was a lot more clean, the sword fights a little more convincing, and overall it was just a blast. Yes, I had my share of beer, which of course makes it that much more fun!

We also went to see "The Girl Next Door" (at the same mall, in the fabulous Muvico Egyptian 24). I was expecting a stupid teen sex movie, and it kind of was. However, it was actually fairly clever for a story that you've seen in a hundred other movies. The show is really stolen by another actor who plays a porn producer. His dialogue is absolutely hilarious. Seeing Elisha Cuthbert in skimpy clothes the entire movie certainly doesn't hurt. Makes you realize there's a cutie under that awful haircut she has on Fox's 24.

It was a nice little escape for the weekend. Makes going back to work far worse.

Fuck you, Fox! I hate you!

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, April 7, 2004, 1:31 PM | comments: 2
I knew it was coming from the time I saw the first episode. Fox already cancelled Wonderfalls, the first new show I've seen in years that was actually worth watching. Fucking bastards.

They put the thing on at 9 on Friday night. What the hell kind of ratings did they expect? Follow ABC's lead and develop shows on Friday night instead of expecting the next American Idol.

Fucking Fox.

Book contract and quitting my day job

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, April 6, 2004, 11:28 AM | comments: 2
Well, the initial draft of the contract I got from the publisher doesn't have an advance in it, so hopefully I can negotiate that. Even a couple of grand would go a long way toward motivating me to crank out the book, not to mention quit my day job. The alternative is sticking with the job a month longer, and I really don't want that.

The wrong questions about 9/11

posted by Jeff | Friday, April 2, 2004, 9:22 AM | comments: 4
All of this 9/11 commission nonsense is pointless. They're asking the wrong questions. We know how it happened... intelligence failure and a lack of communication between different agencies.

The real question people should be asking is why it happened. Two and a half years of Bush's bullshit "they hate freedom" crap is getting old. Obviously people hate us, and there's a good chance it has to do with what we did or didn't do in terms of global affairs.

When will someone ask those questions?

Writing books, screenplays and other stuff

posted by Jeff | Thursday, April 1, 2004, 8:55 AM | comments: 0
The ASP.NET book I want to write is looking like a go after an e-mail from the publisher last weekend. No contract yet, but they seem to be pretty excited about it. They even think it could be a big seller, which would be extra nice.

The top 1,000 screenplays were named in Project Greenlight, and sadly, mine was not among them out of the 4,000+ submitted. The only one I really liked of the three I reviewed wasn't among them either, but the one that was kind of cheeseball action did make it. Go figure.

What was disappointing was that of the seven reviews I had, most were useless in terms of criticism I could use. Things like "characters aren't believable" (odd since the characters are all based on real people) and "it's boring" don't make for comments I can use. There were two fairly good comments though. One suggested contrasting more the development of "Jeff" against the relatively unchanging "Frank." Another suggested shortening the first act and getting more to the root of why "Jeff" struggles to make the girl connection. That's good feedback, and something I'll take into consideration if I go back to revise the script.

Meanwhile, I think that blogging regularly really helps you stay sharp in terms of writing. It's true that 90% is just stupid shit streaming from your head, but it does help.

I need to write some stuff for in a big way. I also would like to write some volleyball stuff, and maybe create a volleyball site. Perhaps things to consider during my "off time" I hope to take.