Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where To Begin, or End

There's been a lot happening in BoogieLand, and while I'm a combination of physically and mentally exhausted, most of the happenings are of a good nature. Despite it only being a week since my last appearance herein, I've definitely had motivation to swing by, only to be denied by reality's harsh interference.

First, this past Tuesday, which was not only St. Patrick's Day but my birthday as well, I -- along with the rest of the world -- came to hear of the unfortunate news about Natasha Richardson's skiing accident in Montreal. We were slowly drawn to the conclusion that a "minor" fall on a beginner slope would soon result in Ms. Richardson's death, and the shock and disbelief we all presumably felt was exacerbated by the media's overwhelming urgency to be the first to publish the bad news, as per usual.

First and foremost, what I knew of Ms. Richardson -- between her movies, some personal appearances and her recent appearance on an episode of this season's Top Chef -- was thoroughly positive. I didn't know she'd been married to Liam Neeson, nor that they had two children, but I did know -- in hindsight -- it was and remains sad that someone so positive, talented and in the forefront of her life was taken from her family. As I've indicated in the past, I understand the media's need to expose every inch available vis-a-vis a celebrity's passing, I thought that the Post's headline -- "Brain Dead" -- was uniquely and markedly crass. However, the subsequent discussion of how Ms. Richardson died -- ie blunt trauma -- and her autopsy, and the subsequent details that trickled out at a steady stream over the days following her accident were even worse than crass. They ostensibly took a woman who was a beacon of happiness and light and, seemingly, reduced her death -- and, to a degree, her legacy -- to tabloid clippings.

Perhaps I'm being a bit overly sensitive, but to me, this whole feeding frenzy by the media really took an awful, terrible, tragic piece of news and made it that much worse. There has to -- or should -- be a line between going after a newsworthy story and shitting all over a story.

What also bothered me about this story was the virtual media blackout on the passing of another actor, Ron Silver. Ron Silver never played the "main" guy but, like J. T. Walsh and John Ritter's latter movie career, Ron Silver was always solid. He elevated a crappy movie like "Timecop" (yes, with Jean-Claude Van Damme) to quasi-legitimate status. He hit every role in which I'd seen him with the same tenacious genuineness, and beyond his abilities, he began -- later in his life -- to become more publicly involved with politics. I'm not sure if he had aspirations to become a politician or simply to affect the political process, but I was impressed by not only his beliefs but also the nearly anonymous way he went about what he was doing. The fact that he died after a bout with throat cancer -- and that he didn't publicize his story or whore the end of his life out to the highest bidder -- really impressed me and reminded me why I had so much respect for him in the first place. And I'm glad his passing was barely addressed in the media, although I am certainly sad that he is now relegated to a memory and to his roles. I did notice the difference between his and Ms. Richardson's passing and how the media handled each, and while again, I understand the need to get a story, I think there are certain things which should be off-limits, if not at least treated with a bare modicum of respect. It can't simply be an all-or-nothing dichotomy; however, seeing how the media handled these two incidents, I'm fairly certain that nothing will change, and if it does, it won't be for the better.

Beyond this, there were other events of equal significance that, thankfully, weren't as unfortunate as were Ms. Richardson's or Mr. Silver's deaths. First, as per usual, I was inundated with work and barely got a chance to spend any quality time with Kaia, friends and/or family. On the other hand, I was able to get a foothold on a lot of work that had been in the air for the past week or ten days, so that's a definite plus. I suppose, given that I have a deadline so close to my birthday each year, I'm slowly -- begrudgingly -- accepting that the world, seemingly, doesn't revolve around me and that the day before my birthday, the day after my birthday, and -- somehow -- the day of my actual birthday is irrelevant when I've got to deal with clients, deadlines, city personnel and ticking time bombs. I'll figure it out some day. In the meantime, I can be a bit -- mockingly -- irritated, or I can just get on with what I've got to do and lament the late hours of March 17th next year as I did last year as well as this year.


Score: PC Gremlins 1, Boogie 0.

Finally, this weekend I spent time with friends, one of whom swung by to do some PC work on the home rig. We swapped out the motherboard -- which is a huge undertaking, akin to removing the fuel injection on a modern sports car -- and did so with relatively few problems. The issues plaguing the first build were and are no longer applicable, as the "new" build sings. We did some post-fix testing and everything was and remains bulletproof. However, to be sure, we ran a few games to challenge all aspects of the system, as firing up a 25-page, multi-sheet Excel spreadsheet doesn't quite push modern, multi-core PC's to their limits. After that, I fired up a Blu-Ray disc to see how much it would tax the system; no problems. Thereafter, we popped in a "rip" of a Blu-Ray disc in sparkling, pristine 1080p and that too failed to pressure the system in any significant way.

Boogie 1, PC Gremlins 1.


Finally, waking up on the first day of spring to a wet, sideways snowfall was a reminder of one of Kaia and my first New Years' together. It was a nice flashback and inasmuch as I don't much care for snow on days when "commute" involves me and getting to and from my office, it was a nice memory and one I suspect will remain with me until our next snowy New Years' morning.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Workin' It

I've been meaning to stop by here and fill some space with my inept, meandering ramblings, but having been so inundated with work, deadlines, pressure and its ilk I haven't been of the mind -- timewise, anyway -- to get it done.

Since being completely preoccupied with work, it's far from exciting spending days and nights -- especially weekends -- working and focusing on the coming week, deadlines, etc. -- so I can't imagine reading about it is any more so. I must confess during some much-needed downtime I enjoyed "Hot Rod" starring Andy Samberg. It's yet another stupid, run-on-sentence film, pretty much typical for recent Saturday Night Live alums (at least from those since the early 90's). I'm not dismissing SNL alums or their films; for me, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places and Animal House remain among my favorites. However, since John Belushi died and Dan Akroyd decided to become a thespian, most of the post-SNL movies have been equally awful as the show itself (except, of course, for Baby Mama, which was really solid). So to make a long story short, Hot Rod (Kaia's suggestion, incidentally) was actually -- despite the extreme, thorough dumbness of the film -- pretty entertaining and worth a viewing.

More worthwhile is Eastbound and Down, a series on HBO starring Danny McBride. He's typically not so much of a leading guy as he is a solid supporting cast member, but having scored juicy roles in Tropic Thunder, the aforementioned Hot Rod and a variety of other films, he managed to get a series together about an aging, has-been, drugged-out white trash baseball player (one could argue those terms are redundant). This show has scored on a bunch of levels: it's rude, politically incorrect, off-color, hysterical, ridiculous, sad, and, most importantly, genuinely good stuff. With the end of The Sopranos and The L Word, Sunday nights are still somewhat relevant for those of us who don't watch Big Love and who dread falling asleep only to wake up to Monday mornings.

Speaking of which, I finished most of today without having eaten; getting through the work of the day without eating isn't unusual for me as of late. But deciding what I am going to do food-wise is. Since the Food Network has essentially become a joke, I watch it with less and less frequency. Aside from Ann Burrell, Ina Gartner and, of course, Alton Brown, I'm finding fewer and fewer reasons to actually watch it, and -- interestingly -- the less I watch, the less I eat. I'm not fading away into the ether, but it's definitely true that the more Food TV programming one watches, the more likely one is encouraged to eat.

Then again, I'm sure that if I stopped watching the Food Network altogether, I wouldn't wither away and be carried off on a windy day.

In either case, I'm going to go dig up something to eat and, if nothing appears or comes to me, I'm going to roast a chicken and prep some winter veggies. And maybe watch "Stir of Echoes" with the newly-minted, post-Madoff-cum-working-class version of Kevin Bacon.

Eventually I'll be back 'round here, probably sooner rather than later. But I'll apologize in advance in case it's more of the same boring, real-life details which would be better served by a visit to the bathroom than a visit here.


Monday, March 09, 2009

You Are What You Type

Invariably, cream rises to the top. However, if you've ever made homemade chicken soup -- or even roasted a chicken -- you know that the scum also reaches the top...eventually.

With respect to this particular story, I'm not sure which -- if just one -- of the aforementioned descriptions applies more appropriately.

Enter the tale of Dan Leone, a former west gate chief for the Philadelphia Eagles. Apparently, Mr. Leone was disappointed the Eagles didn't re-sign Brian Dawkins, one of their former players, and indicated such in his Facebook status thusly: "Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver ... Dam Eagles R Retarted!!"

A few days later, he got a call from the Philadelphia Eagles organization and was fired over the phone.

Had it been me who had to make a decision whether to retain Mr. Leone or to dismiss him, I think I probably would have done the same as the Eagles. It's simply not enough that he was -- and likely will remain -- a big Eagles fan. It's not enough that he was an Eagles employee for six years, nor was it enough that he didn't receive the news in person.

But gosh-darn it, if only he'd managed to spell "retarded" correctly, maybe he would have been allowed to keep his job.

What a lame organization.

However, on the other side of the coin, I don't blame the Eagles for firing this dude. Mr. Leone broke the cardinal sin of internet insults: if you can't spell it, don't attempt it, moron.

Here's a personal to whomever fired Mr. Leone: your effin' retarted.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Chicken Little and a Side o' Nuggets

"The world is changing and not for the better."

Each time I encounter some Chicken Little decrying the inevitability of the sky falling, I want to laugh but invariably shake my head in disgust and grab my iPod and my earphones and keep walking.

It's true the economy is in the shitter. Today's major news of the day: Citigroup's shares have dropped below a dollar (hint -- if you thought buying a Buick was a good idea, you should drop a Benjamin and get 100 CG shares and some worthless paper).

What's also true is that global warming is making the polar bear a soon-to-be exhibit among extinct animals in the Museum of Natural History (a good guess is that Ben Stiller will be chilling with them in the third installment of "Night At The Museum").

So where in our daily lives should we place our optimism and our willing suspension of disbelief?

Why not start with this ass-clown? If you're too damn lazy to click the link, the aforementioned derision is directed towards Latreasa Goodman of Fort Pierce, Florida.

You might have seen the story about how Ms. Goodman called 911 three times because McDonald's ran out of chicken McNuggets. Odds are good you saw it, because it was a pretty popular story out here on this InterWeb thing.

Problem is that a lot of these ridiculous, moronic news stories about America's stupidity manage to find themselves on front pages of "news" outlets like In fact, I'd be surprised if half of CNN's daily feed had any real significance to Americans with IQ's near, if not over, 100. Keep in mind that today, the day when Citigroup's shares dropped to below $1, the first item on the feed was the announcement by Michael Jackson that he was launching a ten-day goodbye tour.

What the hell?

The problem is far from solely with There are numerous news outlets that have dropped their standards for what -- in theory -- constitutes journalism. I'm not sure if this is a problem that we've created ourselves or if it's just a question of laziness and/or electronic advertising revenue being prioritized by entities feeling pressure along with everyone else.

Essentially, it's as if People Magazine has become the de facto standard by which we have agreed to pursue our news of the world.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not suggesting that the BBC and The New York Times have dropped their drawers and become another Perez Hilton. The problem is those "in-betweens" -- sites like,, -- have done the same thing that TV news programs -- both local and national -- opted to do thirty years ago. They have opted to provide fluff and filler to retain viewership. Put another way, they've given us the disposable crap to keep people clicking rather than watching them defect to places that serve up gossip and entertainment news.

That, by definition, is how a culture gets dumber and dumber. Rather than maintaining standards, we have accepted a drop in standards rather than attempt to raise and improve said standards. That is -- in a word -- fucked.

I've seen the movie Idiocracy -- twice (says a lot about my intelligence, or lack thereof) -- and I must admit, while some of it seems ridiculous, how far off are we from a world in which Pro Wrestling is more respected than the work done in the bicameral legislature (otherwise known as Congress)? More people watch American Idol than a presidential address (not just Bush but Obama as well) and it seems to me that we as a culture, as a society, have accepted a complete lack of focus in lieu of retention of our values.

In plain English, more people know whether Paula Abdul is heading to rehab than about the second phase of Obama's bailout plan.

To me, this illustrates a significant aspect of why this country has its collective head up its ass. How can we endlessly and hopelessly complain when we don't have the wherewithall to pay attention to how "it" is being fixed, addressed and/or resolved? We're a nation of back-seat drivers; a collection of blind art critics; naysayers without experience or foresight. What we do -- and do best -- is complain without thought to consequence or solution.


It could be I'm just aimlessly bitching and moaning, and it could further be that my overall frustration is that the news is either grim ie the economy or fluff ie the inception of Britney Spears' latest touring Shit-Fest. There's got to be some middle ground, and there -- hopefully -- is room for us to recover from this celebration of stupidity we've heretofore accepted both online and off.

Or perhaps I should just stick my head in the sand along with most everyone else and prepare to learn the Star-Spangled Banner in Spanish.

Hope for the best, expect the worst.

And carry a big stick.


Why is political correctness so dangerous? The answer is simple: our elected representatives are, for the most part, so extraordinarily stupid that they do things like this.

Since I have no plans on running for office, I am hopeful that the leadership engendered by future generations successfully navigates that fine line between anal retentiveness and good government. Meanwhile, Jeff Eldridge has reminded me why I'm so glad I live nowhere near West Virginia.

Or, "Schmuck!"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A Mensa Moment or Two

Wellums, yet another annual deadline has come and gone. Since this recently-expired deadline was one which didn't directly affect my specific focus, it's not something I have burned into my calendar and my subconscious as are my quarterly filing deadlines. However, since said deadline was and is of major significance, everything pretty much stopped and/or was pushed to the back burner to enable us to focus entirely on this (past) deadline.

Except now, because there are another half-dozen things which are not quite but soon approaching fire drill status, that moment of post-deadline exhale will, like each year prior, have to wait for awhile.

To that end, I could wax nostalgic as to how I managed to address everything properly, accurately, correctly and fully, but there were a couple of glitches. Essentially, because of time and behavior constraints, I wasn't able to review everything before it went out the door and, consequently, our output wasn't quite 100%. But since there was essentially no penalty and no real repercussions -- other than my pride and the fact that I strive to insure everything I complete is done perfectly -- there was no damage done.

Exhale? No.

Aside from the completed deadline, I came across some stories of stupidity which I feel belong in the collection I've amassed in these pages. The most recent of these, you may recall, was this story about a nitwit and his adulation of Adolph Hitler. I'm not sure who told me, but my recollection is the offspring of said sub-genius were taken by child services. Too late, in my estimation; as the saying goes: "Stupid people come from stupid parents." Too late.

In either case, not to worry: there's far more stupidity from whence that came. Most notably, there's the super-mom who was charged with simultaneously breast-feeding and talking on a cell phone -- while driving.

I'm not really sure what is the most egregious of these activities; should the long arm of Joey Bag O'Doughnuts penalize her infant's need for nutrition? Should Joey poo-poo Ms. Genine Compton, the charged, with her clearly highly-competent driving skills? Should we as a society be critical of her need for social interaction simply because she was using a cell-phone? Au contraire. I think Ms. Compton should be rewarded for her clearly above-average skill as not only a driver, a breast-feeder or a user of a cell-phone. She should be commended, not criticized, for the fact that she can perform all of these activities simultaneously.

And of course, we should televise the following: tie her up, place her in the middle lane of the Grand Central Parkway during rush hour, and then give 1,000 drivers hungry babies and fully-charged cell phones and front-grill cow-catchers.

And hope for the best.

I'd watch that over Wheel of Fortune. Hell, I'd even pay for that privilege.

That would surely have more educational impact on Ms. Compton than a mere $1,800 fine and/or 180 days in the Big House.

Thank you, Ms. Compton, for reminding us why prophylactics were invented.

The other equally-impressive news item that landed on my proverbial desk was the story of Acea Schomaker, a Lincoln, Nebraska man who combined his love for marijuana, his obvious sensitivity to his cat's needs and his MacGuyver-like creative ability to make cool stuff.

Apparently, Mr. Schomaker was kickin' it back and was concerned about his six-month-old kitten, Shadow. Apparently, Shadow was relatively hyper so Mr. Schomaker created a contraption. Said contraption was a plastic box with a garden hose sticking out of it that could be used to smoke marijuana -- said contraption, for simplicity's sake, will heretofore be known as a "bong."

Mr. Schomaker proceeded to put Shadow into the bong -- the six-by-twelve box, mind you -- and then proceeded to light up the mary jane. Apparently, somehow, local police were tipped -- apparently, a "domestic disturbance call" brought them to Mr. Schomaker's location -- and they charged him with endangering the welfare of an animal. They will likely also charge him with consumption and/or possession of illegal substance(s).

Unfortunately, no matter with what they charge him, there's not enough jail time nor fines to cure someone of extreme and utter stupidity.

These and more stories remind us why condom use is something for which we should strive, and, on a side note, demonstrate that China's law against having multiple children isn't as invasive or inappropriate as we might have once believed.

Thanks to Genine Compton and Acea Schomaker for being such special people.