December 21, 2005

How did I miss this?

Did you know that Al Zarquawi was live-blogging the Iraqi elections?

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

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Can She Fit In My Coup?

I'm happy to announce that until further notice, Rocket Jones will now be a group blog.

I'm still the only writer, but I'm trying to shame myself into losing these extra pounds I'm carrying.

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December 20, 2005

Merry Christmas Officer

I got pulled over this morning on my way to work. I was on I-395, less than a mile from my exit, when the blues started flashing behind the grille of an unmarked trooper car.

I pulled out my wallet and license, opened my glove box and pulled out the envelope full o' stuff that came with the car (just bought it last week, remember?), turned off the radio and rolled down the window, and waited.

Me: Good morning.

Trooper: Good morning. Do you know why I pulled you over?

Now, seriously, is there any answer to this other than "no"? How many people actually admit that they were doing something wrong?

Trooper: You didn't realize that you were speeding and passing people?

Me: No sir.

Ok, now we've established that I'm a liar and we both know it. In this situation, it's expected. I've handed him my license and and going through all the paperwork that came with my car. I know that there has to be some sort of registration in there. I find *three* different ones for my old truck, but nothing for this car. The whole time, he's talking to me.

Trooper: You didn't see me? You passed me and I pulled in behind you and paced you for a while as you passed that whole string of cars.

Me (still riffling through papers): No sir.

Trooper: You were travelling at speeds up to 75 miles per hour.

Me (all surprised): Really?

Finally, I find something pink that looks official, and it's my temporary registration. I hand it over, he tells me to stay in the car, and goes back to his troopermobile. I do a little mental math (yeah, I can afford the ticket), and laugh at the situation. I'm pissed at myself for being stupid. Did I notice him back there? Of course I did. Did I know he was a cop? Nope. Now, I have a question for him as well. Did he realize that he was my wingman as we strafed that line of fighters parked on the enemy tarmac passed that line of cars? I think not. A wingman wouldn't treat his buddy this way.

The trooper came back and handed me my license and registration. He didn't write me a ticket, just told me to be more aware of what I was doing and what was going on around me. It probably helped that I've only had one ticket in the last fifteen years, and it wasn't for speeding (you don't have to go fast when chasing down feral grannies).

I hope that the kindness was because he was filled with holiday spirit, because it's a little frightening to think that being a clueless idiot excuses that kind of driving. I didn't ask, because sometimes I *do* know when to keep my mouth shut.

I wished him a Merry Christmas and was on my way.

Posted by: Ted at 05:35 AM | category: Square Pegs
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December 19, 2005

Ouch

Quote from an editorial by Mark Steyn:

Dean arguing that America can't win in Iraq, Barbara Boxer demanding the troops begin withdrawing on Dec. 15, John Kerry accusing American soldiers of terrorizing Iraqi women and children, Jack Murtha declaring that the U.S. Army is utterly broken. Pepper 'em with a handful of "Praise be to Allahs" and any one of those statements could have been uttered by Zarqawi.

Found at Transterrestrial Musings.

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A question for those smarter than I

I've seen a new headache remedy lately on commercials. It looks a little like a stick deoderant, and you rub it across your forehead to deliver whatever anti-headache medicine it contains.

A few questions arise:

1. Headaches occur within the brain, correct? How is rubbing medicine on your skin going to help, since even after being absorbed there's that little barrier called your skull between the medicine and your brain?

2. If it absorbs into your bloodstream, wouldn't it make more sense to rub it in under your arm or on the inside of your thigh, where major arteries lie? It seems that the medicine would be absorbed and distributed quicker. Even along your jugular makes more sense.

Ok, so "few" = two. Got any answers?

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Snippet redux

Yesterday:

Wife: They cleared another patch of woods on Minnievale.

Ted: What?!?!? Jeeezus, what are they building now?

Wife: Another church.

Ted: This area is going to hell.

We looked at each other and started giggling.

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December 18, 2005

It's the most surreal time of the year

Rachael had one of her college friends up for the weekend while Liz and I were out of town. When we got back this afternoon, Rachael matter-of-factly mentioned that they'd had a few more friends over yesterday and had wound up with a stripper's pole set up in the living room. I chuckled and the conversation moved on to other things.

Later, while putting away luggage, I found a large container leaning in the corner of the living room. It was a stripper pole set that was given to Rachael's friend as a belated birthday present!

So yeah, in Rocket Jones' living room were pretty teenage college girls doing some pole dancing. And I'm not posting pictures. Neener neener.

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'Tis the Season

Daughter Rachael (aka Mookie) is home for Christmas break, so my wife and I decided to take advantage and left her to take care of the remaining children dogs while we got the hell outta Dodge.

Liz had some free hotel nights saved up, so this morning I find myself blogging from Martinsburg, West Virginia courtesy of the free WiFi offered by the hotel.

"Almost Heaven" is a whole 'nother world compared to the DC metro area. We pretty much finished off Christmas shopping yesterday at a couple of malls in the area, and it was mostly pleasant and painless (aside from the constant bells - I'm beginning to really hate the Salvation Army). Even the lines were short.

Mental note: Never enter another Old Navy. They're assholes and ripoff artists playing the bait-and-switch game. We were polite and pleasant and got great satisfaction from leaving a heaping pile o' clothes at the register and walking out. We weren't going to let that spoil our good mood.

I did say "mostly pleasant" though, because as the day wore on, people were notably more aggresive and you could tell that nerves were frayed. After a late lunch/early dinner, we went to a super WalMart for stocking stuffers and such and I saw what happens when grannies go feral.

Two elderly ladies were racing (for elderly ladies, that is) for the short line from different directions. As the last second, one cuts off the other one with a bold move and drags her cart into line and snags the coveted spot. I watched, fascinated, as the loser of the race began repeatedly banging her cart into the other lady's cart. I was conflicted, because these two frail women could have really hurt each other, yet I was hoping they'd escallate and really get into it. I was tempted to run back into toys and grab a couple sets of clearance-priced talking Hulk Hands and letting them duke it out. But, alas, I lost my wife in the teeming throng again and had to begin the search pattern to find where she'd wandered off to.

At one point, some sales lady laughed at me as I waited in the cosmetics aisle and said I looked like I didn't want to be standing there. I told her she was crazy, that I *loved* that aisle, because it was occupied by me and my wife alone, we were out of the milling crowds and I wasn't dodging forty other shoppers just to get from one end to the other. One young lady did try to enter our refuge, but she left as I started fanning my ass and loudly appologized to my wife for having such horrible gas.

It's a jungle out there, and I'm not above a little chemical warfare. Truth be told though, it was psychological warfare. Purely a decoy move.

So yes, I loved my blessedly empty little cosmetics aisle, my oasis of calm. I was inspired enough to wonder why nobody had ever done a WalMart of the Living Dead movie (redundant?).

But we survived the day with our sanity and cheer, and I'm reminded once again why I've never shopped during the month of December for at least the last ten years.

I hope all my Secret Santa buds like their gifts. They're all getting makeup.

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December 17, 2005

Insight

I can see why people might confuse Aspercreme with Preperation H.

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December 16, 2005

Aiming is for wimps

Check out this pictorial showing the typical skill-level of the various militias fighting in Monrovia, Liberia. From the introduction:

...use of iron sights is known to be strictly prohibited. Also prohibited are aiming, assuming a supported firing stance, and any common practice of marksmanship whatsoever. Hip-Hop/Rapper/Gangsta shooting stances are mandatory, the "Glock Foh-Tay" hold being the most popular. lethality is acheived by subjecting the target to a wide swathe of area fire, simliar to unaimed indirect artillery, or scaring the enemy away with gesturing and aggressive hip-hop style dancing while firing. Points are awarded for artistic effort, style, fearsome facial expression/vocalizations and blue duct tape.

It would be hilarious if it wasn't so deadly serious.

Found at (Wizbang). Thanks for the reminder, Victor!

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December 15, 2005

Color me naughty

Over at Kimochi-ii!!!!, K is posting his usual assortments of asian cuties in various stages of dress and undress (not safe for work!), but he's taken to grouping them by the color of their... whatever... they're wearing.

White.
Black.
Red.
Blue.

So far.

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Tagged

I know I got this from at least two people, Cat being one of them. In one of those really odd happenings that make life so interesting and frustrating all at once, today Cat and I discovered that we work in adjacent buildings. The frustrating bit being that tomorrow is her last day there as her internship ends. We *will* be getting together for lunch, and possibly semi-regularly if I understand correctly that her friend "the blogless wonder" works there too (you'll remember him from the blogmeet we had in Old Town Alexandria).

Ah yes, Susie was the other. So be jealous guys, because I got double teamed by two lovely ladies! And don't believe Susie when she claims to be perfectly normal. *nudge nudge* *wink wink*

Ok, so onward to five weird things about me.

1. I am hopeless at math beyond the basics, unless I'm doing computer programming. Do a cruise missile flight simulation using three-dimensional vector geometry? No problem. Kids ask Dad for help with algebra homework? Brain lock, better ask Mom.

2. Lists. If I don't write it down, I'll forget it. Our desk is covered with post-it notes with lists of things I want to remember. I have to clean out my briefcase every once in a while to get rid of old lists and reminders.

3. My pockets. When I'm out, I'm almost OCD about patting my right back pocket to check that my wallet is still there. While I'm at it, the front pockets get a quick pat (keys in front left, pocket watch and change in front right), and my left back too (handkerchief and pocketknife). At work, I reach up and make sure my building badge is in my shirt pocket. I probably look like I'm feeling myself up sometimes.

4. I'm right handed, but when I practiced martial arts I always fought left handed. I'm a better shot left handed too.

5. I can sleep anywhere, anytime. Sitting up, laying down, in a car, on a plane, in the middle of an argument. Doesn't matter. Give me 30 seconds and I'll be snoring.

Bonus weirdness, because Susie brought it up. I must have ketchup on my french fries if they're crinkle cut, otherwise, no thanks. And the only other time I eat ketchup is with grilled cheese sandwiches. Unless I've got a bowl of tomato soup, then I'll dip the sandwich in there.

If you want to play, leave a link in the comments.

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December 14, 2005

What is a Billion?

This came from the December issue of our local Community Connection Magazine:

The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" casually, think about whether you want the politician spending your tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into perspective in one of its releases.

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

  • A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

  • A billion days ago our ancestors were living in the stone age.

  • A billion years ago no one walked on two feet on earth.

  • A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes at the rate the government spends it.

No, I haven't checked the figures. I can get the point without being anal about it.

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December 13, 2005

Pigskin Prestidigitation

Not really, but I like the way that title rolls off the tongue.

Playoffs begin this week in the Blogger fantasy football league. Mostly by managing to stay healthy, the Rockets finished the season in second place with an 11-3 record. One loss was to the first place finisher, and two were to the team that ended up in third.

I get a bye in the first round of playoffs (go me!) and then we'll see what happens. My biggest challenge all year has been deciding which pair of middling receivers to play each week, because on any given Sunday some random two of them will have a great game, and as often as not I've left them on the bench.

Celebrating and/or whining forthcoming.

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Fantasy Fulfilled

If your fantasy is sleeping with one of the Llamabutchers, that is. Who knew that oorgling could be considered pillow talk?

Heartfelt yips to Dawn for sending the link!

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December 12, 2005

We all know that I'm easily amused

I think it's funny that there's a baseball player named Merkin Valdez.

The "merkin" part, anyways.

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December 11, 2005

Three Rules for the DJ

I was asked to DJ for my wife's office Christmas party last night. Christmas music during cocktails and dinner and then dance music afterwards. Because it's a rather diverse group of people ranging from their 20's to 60's, putting together a playlist for dancing was a challenge, but one that I'd dealt with before when I used to DJ at the American Legion for "family night" dances. I assumed that the older people would leave earlier, so tried to front load the playlist towards them. Towards the end, I set up a bunch of commonly requested songs. Also, so that I could enjoy the party too, it was suggested that I just bring some CD's that I could put on and let play, rather than sit there and work. So with that in mind, I put together a few dance CD's containing everything from country to funk to rock. It went well enough, but I was reminded of the DJ rules:

1. Never leave your equipment alone, because people will play with it.

When the dance music started, a few folks decided that it was too loud and turned down the volume so that they could talk. In turn, the folks who wanted to dance would crank it back up. It got to be a silly little pissing contest.

Later, the people dancing wanted more volume, but since I'd brought a limited setup rather than the whole system, we had the volume maxed out. It wasn't bone thumping, but it was good enough. Well, except for the yahoos who managed to shut the whole thing down *three times* by fiddling with buttons at random.

2. In a mixed group like this, everyone is going to hate something you play.

The younger group wanted more fast rock, the older folks wanted more country and slow dance music. Of course, everyone tells the DJ how lousy his music choices are, at different times depending on what's currently playing.

3. The DJ is always the last to leave, and nobody helps haul the equipment back to your car.

Oh well, I had fun anyway, and there were several couples dancing. For all the griping, I did notice that most everyone knew the music too and there were plenty of people "dancing" in their seats.

The playlists are in the extended entry, for the bored and/or curious. more...

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December 10, 2005

Busted (my ass, that is)

Youngest daughter Mookie is home for Christmas break, and of course she brought back most everything she owns. I went out to help haul her crap from the car to the house and slipped on the ice. There are two knots on my right shin from where that leg slammed into the car tire, my leg is throbbing and I think it's going to turn a nice Christmassy blue and greenish as it bruises.

Ho.

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December 07, 2005

New Banner

Found this in an out of the way folder. I'd forgotten all about it.

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Chip, chip

There's plenty going on right now in life, and as Murphy surmised, fate is always happy to add a cherry on top of everything else to be dealt with. In my case, my pickup truck decided that it was the perfect time to develop problems. Yay!

I dropped the truck off for a quick checkup over the weekend, and they confirmed what I'd suspected, it was the transmission. The mechanic (who I trust) told me that a complete diagnosis would involve pulling the transmission from the vehicle and disassembling it to discover exactly what needed to be replaced.

In other words, $800 just to find out how many more thousands I'd be forking over.

I thanked him and let him know that I'd be picking up my truck that afternoon. When he asked why I wasn't going to get the work done, I told him that it made more sense to just trade it in.

This truck is in great shape (except for the transmission). I've never had a bit of trouble from it before, but it's a 1998 and getting close to the magic 100,000 mile mark, so it was time. In fact, the original plan was to trade it in come springtime.

So we advanced the timetable forward a few months. When I started working at my current jobsite, my commute doubled from what it was before, so I wanted a little economy car. Something basic that would get good gas milage back and forth to work. Since we'd be losing the hauling capacity of the truck, my wife would trade in her big car for a minivan, and in a perfect world, we'd do it all in one swell foop.

Last night we hopped into Liz's car and headed to our local car dealer. We have a particular favorite - we'd bought three cars from them - and they have always been fair and above board with us. Armed with a printout from their website, we went browsing for used cars. After a while, we let one of the sales guys know that I was ready to do more than wander the lot and freeze. I had one requirement, I had to be able to fit inside and drive the darn thing. I'm a little taller than average, and quite a bit rounder, so I pointed to a couple of models and asked to sit inside. The salesman started talking test drive and options, but at this point, I just needed to know if I'd be eliminating them from consideration.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only could I drive it, but it was comfortable and even roomy. They had plenty to choose from, so it was on to stage 2 - Liz's van.

We looked at several vans, and a few smaller SUV's, and after a little discussion we decided on a van that we both liked. That told me how much I could afford on my little pocket rocket.

While making my choice, I was flipping through the printouts and noticed something. I told the salesman that the price listed online was a grand cheaper than the sticker. Without hesitation, he said "ok". I tell you, these people are easy to deal with.

We went inside to warm up and work the numbers. They took Liz's car for an inspection and decided that they'd just work my truck trade sight unseen, based on my answers to a checklist they had. I didn't mention the transmission, because a seven year old truck was a throw-in for this deal as far as I was concerned. We soon realized that it just wasn't adding up for us. We switched focus to just getting me the little commuter, using my truck for trade, and I started feeling guilty about it.

The guy came back and gave me their best offer: $2500 bucks for the truck (that they'd never seen). That was quite a bit more than I expected, but I couldn't take it. I told the guy that the truck might have some transmission problems and that he was offering too much. He thanked me for being a sucker honest and offered $1800. I jumped at that.

This morning, I drove my new (to me) 2004 Hyundai Accent to work. This afternoon, I'll take my truck over to the dealer and drop it off, saying goodbye to a great vehicle. Yep, they still haven't seen the truck.

There's still a lot going on that I have to deal with, but this went better than I could have hoped. They'll get my business again for sure, and I feel good about not ripping them off after they trusted me. A little bit of that weight-of-the-world has been chipped away from my shoulders. Feels good.

Posted by: Ted at 12:07 PM | category: Boring Stories
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