Pop Quiz!

Question: The list below - is it the front of Tylenol Allergy-Sinus, or the list of sympoms I've had since Friday morning?

-Sneezing
-Sinus pain and pressure
-Itchy, watery eyes
-Sinus congestion
-Runny nose
-Sinus headache


Answer: You fool - it's both! There's nothing listed I don't have, and nothing I have isn't listed - it's the perfect drug. I don't know why anyone would waste it making meth.

I'm allowed to take one pill every six hours - I'm setting my watch. It'll be six glorious, mucus-free days!

'roids?

Look at the two guys that beat me yesterday.

Dan and Brent think they're on the juice.

Just a bad picture?


Nope! Tell me what it really is (hint in the comments) -

Alterra Coffee Bean Classic

Race report and photos of this morning's festivities are up on the other blog.

Here's what you're in for -

Memoirs of a Music Man

Here - Read this

Mine - Pearl Jam - Kansas City - Jeremy - tens of thousands of people singing together. We all knew the words to every song in the set list, but nothing was louder or more moving than "At home, drawing pictures of mountaintops..."

Vonnegut, but only kind of

According to OleNelson, the Kurt Vonnegut books I bought for the bus/plane ride - The Sirens of Titan and Deadeye Dick - are unacceptable choices. They sounded good from the back covers though. So ashamed.

An interesting defense

Responding to charges by L'Equipe magazine that tests of urine samples from the '99 Tour de France showed evidence of the banned substance EPO, Lance Armstrong had this to say (from VeloNews):
Armstrong said something is wrong with an anti-doping system that allowed his six-year-old urine samples to be retested after they were supposed to be stored anonymously.

"This thing stinks," he said. "It's not good for me. The unfortunate thing is that you're dealing with something you could be faced with the rest of your life. Protocol wasn't followed, and there was no back up sample to confirm what they said was a positive test."

So let me get this straight, Lance "Not Neil" Armstrong - you're upset that your positive samples (1) weren't kept anonymous and (2) can't be re-re-tested? As much as I want to believe that you're clean, Lance "All I wanna do is have some fun" Armstrong, that's not exactly a categorical denial. Let's look at a direct question from the transcript:
BOB COSTAS: What's your defense to the allegation itself?

ARMSTRONG: Our defense when we look at this thing and we say -- and I guess I try to ask people to sit in my seat and say, "OK, you know, a guy in a French -- in a Parisian laboratory opens up your sample, you know, Jean-Francis so and so, and he tests it. Nobody's there to observe. No protocol was followed. And then you get a phone call from a newspaper that says we found you to be positive six times for EPO."

Well, since when did newspapers start governing sports? I mean, Bob, you know baseball well. When an athlete's positive, Major League Baseball calls and they handle it in the correct way. When does a newspaper decide they're going to govern and sanction athletes? That's not the way it works.

Look, Lance "I'd give my left nut to sleep with Sheryl Crow" Armstrong, if this turns out to be true, I'm not going to say I wouldn't be disappointed, but I can't say I'd be surprised.

UTA: To be fair, maybe I should have read the entire transcript before posting -
Listen, I've said it for seven years. I've said it for longer than seven years. I have never doped. I can say it again. But I've said it for seven years. It doesn't help. But the fact of the matter is I haven't. And if you consider my situation: A guy who comes back from arguably, you know, a death sentence, why would I then enter into a sport and dope myself up and risk my life again? That's crazy. I would never do that. No. No way.

Just ribbons of concrete

I heart counterintuitive solutions - I think there's an easy fortune to be made in corporate counterintuitve consulting. "I guess this is a preeettty nice restaraunt - but what if the CUSTOMERS came in and made food for YOU?!"
In the US, traffic engineers are beginning to rethink the dictum that the car is king and pedestrians are well advised to get the hell off the road. In West Palm Beach, Florida, planners have redesigned several major streets, removing traffic signals and turn lanes, narrowing the roadbed, and bringing people and cars into much closer contact. The result: slower traffic, fewer accidents, shorter trip times. "I think the future of transportation in our cities is slowing down the roads," says Ian Lockwood, the transportation manager for West Palm Beach during the project and now a transportation and design consultant. "When you try to speed things up, the system tends to fail, and then you're stuck with a design that moves traffic inefficiently and is hostile to pedestrians and human exchange."

1. Remove signs: The architecture of the road - not signs and signals - dictates traffic flow.

2. Install art: The height of the fountain indicates how congested the intersection is.

3. Share the spotlight: Lights illuminate not only the roadbed, but also the pedestrian areas.

4. Do it in the road: Cafés extend to the edge of the street, further emphasizing the idea of shared space.

5. See eye to eye: Right-of-way is negotiated by human interaction, rather than commonly ignored signs.

6. Eliminate curbs: Instead of a raised curb, sidewalks are denoted by texture and color.

Twin Cinema


I haven't really listened to it while paying attention yet, but I picked up the new New Pornographer's album, Twin Cinema, on Tuesday. You should too. Pitchfork, ever the bastion of elitism, gave it a very respectable 9.0 and called it the best New Pornographers album to date. I put it on M.Bro's new ipod, which I'm taking to D.C. next week (along with two used Vonnegut books - thanks OleNelson) - I'll have an opinion of my own by then.

From Pitchfork:
Sure, at their core, the songs of Twin Cinema have that catchy, melodic something that forces me to reach repeatedly for the p-word, but for Newman & co., instant hummability isn't the endpoint but the foundation. Whether it's weaving in opaque, double-meaning lyrics or sneaking a horn part way deep in the mix, the compositions on Twin Cinema are immediate yet multi-layered. They'd be great in their own right, but by comparison to the plagiaristic, closed-minded, infinitely repeating world of power pop, it's all the more special an accomplishment.


GoogleTalk's review was less enthusiastic:
new pornographers... are on the same base of data. twin cinema... is not nearly as valuable to wildlife and humans are not the only fruit.

Another donation update

Yesterday was my big physical exam at the UW hospital - the last step before signing the official Intent to Donate form. I went in at 9:30 for almost seven hours of waiting, and poking, and waiting, and prodding, and waiting, and answer questions about my health history, and waiting, and being x-rayed, and waiting, and having an EKG done, and waiting, and answer the same health history questions for two more people, and peeing in a cup, and waiting, and having blood drawn, and answering more questions ("Yes, the mark is in my eye is from throwing up, not meth"). All the while being led around by Diane, the bossy lady from the Nat'l Marrow Donor Program, who herded me from receptionist to receptionist, answering questions on my behalf and being indignant about insurance.

I was a commodity - a gian muskmelon - to be smelled and thumped and judged. Apparently I'm good enough to eat, because I signed the Intent to Donate form and they scheduled my operation for 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20th. Once the ItD form is faxed to the patient's doctors in Italy, they'll start preparing him for the operation by giving him anti-rejection medicine and slowly killing off his marrow. The doctor at the hospital said I can still back out anytime between now and the surgery, but the medicine the patient is taking to get ready for the transplant will kill him pretty quickly. There was no chance I was going to back out anyway, but I wonder whether anyone does after learning that?

Unless my recovery time puts me in the top 5-10% of what they've seen, I'll be in the hospital overnight, which means I'll either have to cancel lecture or find something else to discuss the collective action problem and the tragedy of the commons.

GoogleTalk

Another supa-wacky Google application! Enter a short search string (the start of a sentence, for example) - GoogleTalk will search the top 10/20/30/specified-number-of results to find the most common next word, add it to the string, drop the first word, and re-start the process.

For example:
Jason is...an outstanding defensive planner and is incredibly passionate about what she had done.

Book recommendations wanted

A week from today I'll be spending three hours on a coach bus, three hours at O'Hare, and an hour and a half in an airplane - as much as I enjoy awkward conversations with strangers and staring out windows, I'd rather bury my head in a new book. So you can get a feel for the genre I'm looking for, the two at the top of my list right now are Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. Recommend away...

Your critters will have to stay dirty

One of my photos from last weekend's WORS race made the VeloNews photo contest. You can see all the pictures here, my picture here, and vote (for my picture, of course) by e-mailing Rosters@InsideInc.com with "Photo Contest" in the subject line. Do it right now - I want to taste that sweet, sweet victory.

I hope your house is sufficiently warm now

I'll spare you the details of a pretty embarrassing three hours after we left the OleNelson housewarming/disgusting-drink-a-thon. Instead, I'll let you paint your own picture from this single detail - sometime early this morning I threw up hard enough to burst a blood vessel in my right eye. It's not pretty, but it does make me appreciate one thing for which I may not have been sufficiently thankful in the past - I'm glad I'm not Tara Reid, because this is what she feels like every morning.

Photoshop Phun



Dude is buff

Carrot Top? Could rip off your arm and use your dismembered hand to call your wife collect and hit on her while you die slowly, all gurgly with blood.

I want to ride here. And there. And there too.

God, mountain bike vistas in Wisconsin are lame. Here's a little game - match the photos with the state or country.

Spain _____
Colorado _____
Switzerland _____
Montana _____
California _____
France _____

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6)

Are you ready to RAAAWWWWWWKK?!?

Is heavy metal cool again? Slate thinks so.

Donation update

I had a long phone conversation with the doctor in charge of the Harvest Team (their name for it, not mine) this afternoon. It was ostensibly to review the withdrawal procedure and the risks of the operation, but he dropped a number of not-so-subtle hints that this phone call was my chance to back out - that he was going to be on the phone to the Insertion Team (my name, not theirs) afterward unless I decided not to go through with it. He made a lot of statement qualified with, "that is, if you choose to go forward." Apparently, the patient needs a few weeks of prep medicine before the marrow donation, so while they can't stop me from bowing out five minutes before the surgery, they'd obviously rather have me turn tail now.

I learned some new things from the call -

-the patient is a 52 year-old Italian man with Myelodysplastic Disorder, which is an acute leukemia that doesn't respond to chemotherapy. 52 is very, very young for this disease - most patients are elderly and only receive blood donations to prolong their lives for a short time.

-they're going to use a new procedure called a Reduced Intensity Transplant - same process for me, but totally different for the patient. Rather than weeks of intense chemo to kill his white blood cells and empty his bones before my marrow is injected, he'll just take drugs to reduce his immune system. The new marrow is introduced over the course of a few weeks and plays a chimeric role - for most of the next few months, his immune system will be suppressed while the white blood cells made by my marrow take over. It reduces the patient's recovery time and probability of rejection.

-I'll get updates on his condition after a month, six months, and one year. I don't find out any more information about him until that third update, after which point, if we both want to, the doctors can share our contact information with one another. I haven't decided where I fall on that yet.

-my biggest risk seems not to be physical, but psychological, particularly if the donation isn't successful. With obviously very carefully chosen words, the doctor pointed out that I was donating a chance, not a cure. In theory, I understand that - we'll see whether I'm still as detached in a month.

-I can do the WORS race the Sunday after my Tuesday donation, but the doctor hopes I have a soft seat. Maybe I'll talk someone into loaning me a full-suspension bike.

PSA: What's hip, if you're hip.

I'll help you keep a leg up on the hottest trends, now making their way from Manhattan, soon to be in Philadelphia, hitting Madison in mid-September, and landing in Nebraska sometime in the Spring of '08.

Some examples -
Out: iPods
In: Humming
Footnote: iPods are dope, but so passé. The hippest cats have gone back to humming

Out: Internet Blogging
In: Internet Porn
Footnote: That’s right. Porn's back in. As such, Crisco and Kleenex have forecasted huge earnings growth on the news. Call your broker and buy now.

Out: Bashing Writers and Articles in the Comments
In: Adding Funny Comments
Footnote: Bring it.

Had enough? No?

You vultures just can't get enough, can you?

Death by Caffeine

Apparently it would take 223.36 cans of Mountain Dew to kill me, but only 153 cans of Red Bull to put me down.

A fun game

Here's a fun game: there are five pictures below - your job is to pick the one that represents the solution from the four that are the problem. Ready - set - GO!




WIth all the resources at my disposal, I choose yours

A guy from Amazon just called to find out what color a specific bike is available in - the color wasn't available in our internal spec, so I googled the bike. Guess what large online retailer showed up at the top of the list? No, I didn't tell him.

Putting YOU in the action! Sort of!

A guy named Rusty does all the WORS races with a small helmet-cam and posts short videos on his site - I thought it would be a nice way for you to get a little taste of the trails, although it looks like the camera is only steady enough to shoot good video on the relatively tame parts of the course. Here's a taste of the Calumet course (save Rusty some bandwidth by right-clicking and saving rather than streaming) -

Sport class leadout section (~30mb) (You can see the spot I crashed at 3:49 into the clip.)

Crash! This section of trail was a lot more technical than it looks in the video (~10mb)

Gravel descent to the finish line (~5mb)

Your mother doesn't work here!

Why do office kitchen notes have to be so rude? Where's the communal kitchenette civility? It's been all-caps, poorly-written missives in every office I've ever worked in - "DISHES GO IN TEH DISWASHER ITS NOT THAT HARD FOLKS JUST TOO FEET TO LEFT!" or "if it DOESNT have YOUR name on it then ITS NOT YOURS!" I understand the frustration - I really do - but would you yell at co-workers in person like that?

Calumet Sun Run RR

A race report from this morning festivities is up. Missy explained my crash thusly - "Maybe your big head changed your center of gravity." You'll see what she means.

Entertain yourselves while I'm gone

No blogging for two days while I race mountain bikes - entertain yourselves by completing the following sentence:

I like my coffee like I like my women...

To help you get started -

...pale and weak.

...from a truckstop off I-90/94 West.

...ground up and kept in the freezer.

Updated to add M.Bro's contribution: ...three times a day.

Calumet Sun Run

M.Bro's finishing some things up at work, and then we're off to lovely Hilbert for the Calumet Sun Run WORS race. M.Ply described the course as "flat, fast...you know, really kind of boring." Perfect.

In other news, RIP Otto the Car - those who knew you, miss you.

Stoked to race this weekend

I'm looking forward mightily to the wors race on Sunday - why? Let me tell you why. A bike is made up of three contact points - pedals, saddle, and grips - and one primary mechanism - the rear derailleur. Between yesterday and tomorrow, I will have changed one contact point completely, fixed a major annoyance in another, and improved the function of the rear derailleur tenfold. And that's not even all of it.

1) I swapped saddles from a hard SDG that BurritoEater (who has the same bike) called the worst he's ever ridden, to a much narrower, much comfier saddle. I got it for free last summer when one of the product development guys was cleaning out a closet, and it promptly went into my own closet, where it sat unused for twelve months. Stupid me, 'cuz it's excellent.

2) I've lived with an annoying creak in my right pedal for a month because I didn't want to pull everything apart to figure out the problem. It turns out that I just needed to pull it off the crank, re-grease the threads, and put it back in - 5 minutes of work, tops. Rides like a champ now - a creak-free champ.

3) After bending my derailleur cage with an unruly stick during my last race, I needed to replace it. I ordered a new unit a couple days ago, but not just any new unit - a standard one. "Damn, man - a standard derailleur?!? I have no idea what that means, or why you'd be excited about it." Let me spread it out for you in a nutshell (fifteen points and my eternal respect for id'ing the reference) - my bike came stock with something called a Low-Normal rear derailleur, which means that in the absence of cable tension, the cage springs back to the low position (on the largest, easiest-to-pedal cog). According to Shimano, the company that introduced Low-Normal last season, it's supposed to be more intuitive. It's not, especially when every bike I've ridden has been the reverse. In addition to being less intuitive, it's less functional - I've never, ever been in a situation in which I needed to speed up so fast that I had to drop the entire cassette (Low-Normal makes it easy to down-shift multiple gears with one push of the thumb lever, but you can only upshift one per click). I have, however, rounded lots of blind corners into sharp climbs and needed to dump a half-dozen gears with a quickness - a standard derailleur lets me do that.

3.5) Someone else is going to install it, so it'll work better than if I had done it myself.

4) It probably happened due to the same stick, but I found a broken spoke on Tuesday night. M.Ply not only put a new one in for me, but trued and re-tensioned the whole wheel. I don't know if it will make it ride better (the re-tensioning, that is - the new spoke certainly will), but it makes me more confident to have my wheels checked by a seasoned, salty mechanic.

5) As long as the cassette was off the hub so M.Ply could re-spoke it, I disassembled it and gave it a thorough degreasing and cleaning. It's shiny now.

6) I found the recommended air pressure settings for my fork and determined that it wasn't stiff enough for my weight. I haven't noticed a difference on my commute to work, but there aren't many log jumps or dropoffs on Mineral Point Rd.

7) M.Ply also told me that I was running about 30 psi too much in my tires. I thought it would reduce rolling resistance (which is true, but again, more apropros for Mineral Pt than singletrack) - he explained how higher pressure will actually slow me down on the trail. When a high-pressure tire hits a perpendicular-to-the-ground surface, the laws of physics try to stop it. When a lower-pressure tire hits the same surface, the tire can compress slightly to absorb the forward momentum and I roll over the rock more easily.

Who are you?

McSweeney's, in a break from their usual sense of humor, today printed, "Dispatches from Adjunct Faculty at a Large State University" - what kind of educator are you?
1) Pollyanna Pew's vision is not yellowed; it's rosy. She's honored that our very special young people permit her to spend a few hours each week in their presence; she just wishes it could be more, and it would be better all around if you said so too. Grades, she believes, are the psychologically harmful byproduct of an imperialist system (her partner is a Marxist) and should be replaced with hugs. (Everyone gets the same number of hugs.) Pollyanna's teaching philosophy stresses the "decentered classroom," where she believes in "divesting her authority" and "empowering students to find their own voices," all of which could mean "I won't be making a lesson plan for next week."

2) Big O pretended to have jaundiced eyes and told me as he headed for class, "God, I am not in the mood for this." But he wore out 20 pens making comments on student papers every semester, won a major teaching award two years ago, and always got great reviews and "hot pepper" designations on RateMyProfessors.com. He lived in his office and got so many student visitors from past semesters that I began calling them "the cult of O."

3) Gloria Bulgebottom has the jaundiced eye, real bad. When I knew her, she taught a short-story survey to lecture-hall sections, up to 160 students at a time, in a deal she made with administration to stay employed. Her dissertation 20 years earlier was on tropes in Restoration comedies, and she knew nothing about the short-story form. I once heard her say in lecture, and I quote, "Do you remember the fairy tale The Old Man and the Sea? The old man catches a magical fish and brings it home, and the wife keeps wanting more and more and more until she wants to be queen?" (Let's agree now that Hemingway was more likely to machine-gun a big fish than imagine it as magical.) Dr. Bulgebottom faked a sticky, simpering joy in teaching and told classes they should think of her as a mother figure. Later, in the adjunct ghetto, she complained of them bitterly, and if a student had questioned her coherence, she shouted, "There are people that you wish they'd fucking die in a fiery airplane crash!" Dr. Bulgebottom is now exhorting her lawyer to find new angles in her lawsuit against the university for wrongful dismissal.

Update: After reading Dispatch #1, posted earlier, I'm wondering whether the author works at my school - some clues (which, I admit, probably describe most of the Big 10 schools):
I teach in the English Department of what I'll be calling Hinterland University, Inner Station campus. It's a Big 10 school, with enough very polite (mostly white suburban) kids to form two or three infantry divisions in Iraq, which most will never have to consider.

Real-estate prices are still reasonable here, and my wife and I bought a beautiful old Italianate with 10-foot ceilings on the National Historic Register. There's a farmers' market and the state's most progressive midwifery program in town. If I wanted to play Frisbee on the quad in my bare feet, I could do it.

But the stocks in Hinterland's portfolio fell after 9/11, and a state budget crisis prompted the moneyman to whisper again in the provost's ear: "We must revert to an older model and get rid of all these scabs. Never mind if they're buying houses and raising children here; we warned them that it wasn't real work."

This is a 10-point joke, although points will also be awarded for other creative suggestions

What did the leper say to the prostitute as he ran out without paying?

(Put it in the comments, yo)

Ain't no boy a mine gonna be one 'dem homos

Thanks, Focus on the Family! (via Metafilter)

When someone writes something like, "If your child has already reached puberty, change is difficult, but it’s not too late," I think it's too laughable to even get angry about.

Here's a better list - including:
Starve a large wolf cub for two days and have it wrestle your son. If he loses to the wolf, he's gay - it was only a wolf cub! If he beats the wolf, he is a lesbian. If he is beaten mercilessly by the wolf while apologizing for its economic agenda, he is a Log Cabin Republican.

INTERNET PEOPLE did you miss the cartoons

Grouped by theme - higher education






You like numbers. I have numbers.

Some Skin metrics, as of 7/15 -
Number of participants: holding steady at approximately 1780 of 2095

Number of releases received from those participants: 1313

Words mailed out: 1310

Words released but not yet mailed: 3

Words spoken for but not released: 467

New participants needed: 315

Number of new applicants: over 5,000

Total number of emails I have received related to this project: 13,007.

Number of unanswered emails in my inbox to date: 6,788

The author, Shelley Jackson, has been posting monthly notes on her site -

3/8/05
Kind friends,
In five minutes I will go downstairs and mail 72 more words: 48 to the US, 12 to Canada, 7 to the UK, 2 to Belgium, 2 to the Netherlands, 1 to France, and 1 to New Zealand. Meanwhile, for those of you who have long since sent in your photographs, the certificate is designed and I have located a reasonable printer and a place that makes foil stamps. It will be expensive, my words, but you are worth it. As for the story, I am writing numbers over each word, so that you can find yourselves. If it is not too ambitious, I will stitch the pages together, like skin, and roll them up.

Some of you have asked whether I'm planning to bring all the words together some day. Someday I will, though I will have trouble finding a location close to everyone. I'll have to think how to include those of you who live in Argentina, Norway, Thailand. Not to mention California.

Other ideas for the future: 1. Exhibit a wall of words and portraits, framed back to back, so viewers can turn them to face either way. 2. Footnotes. (To be explained.) 3. A world map showing words' current locations.

If it's Tuesday night, it must be time for Boring News!

"What is that - Helvetica?"

"I think it's Arial, dude - look at the kerneling"

"You're right - definitely Arial"

"No worries, man - it's not like you used a font from 1978 in Chocolat!"

(my Skin tattoo is in Garamond - the best classic font. Garamond rulez - renaissance serif, yo yo, what up, what up!)

Donor after all

Looks like I'll be donating bone marrow after all. Diane from the Blood Center just called to say that they sent me the wrong letter last month - I was supposed to get one that said I was a good match but that the patient wasn't ready for the transplant yet instead of the one that said I wasn't a good match. A medical director is going to call me next week to do another long (45 minute) medical history interview, and they're looking at Wednesday, September 21st for the operation. It's normally done in Milwaukee, but they're trying to arrange somewhere in Madison for me - between Meriter and the UW hospital, I can't imagine they won't be able to.

I was disappointed when I got the letter, but now I'm kind of nervous - that doesn't make any sense, does it?

I'll ask the medical director to be sure, but I'm pretty sure an invasive medical procedure on Wednesday is going to put me out of commission for the WORS race in Kewsaksum on Sunday.

How history could have gone


I'm taking part of my lunch break to entertain you. You're welcome.

Discovery touched down safely this morning in California, but as Dan Savage wrote on Andrew Sullivan's blog, it could have easily come down in California - and Arizona, and New Mexico - and Texas. On July 18, 1969, William Safire wrote a speech for Richard Nixon to give in case Armstrong and Aldrin weren't able to get back to earth. I love reading stuff like this - if anyone has a link to more of it, please share.
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind's most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man's search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

More photos

Missy found a couple other Max-o-Mania photos in Brightroom's lost-and-found section -

Goose-stepping out of the lake

I was glad someone got a picture of this. Much to the crowd's amusement, I sat down on the beach after my swim and waited for Missy - this was taken right before we ran to transition.

Very noir - very Ilia-esque

I think the coolness of my dark gray pants/slightly lighter gray t-shirt combo is offset by wearing blue underwear.

Too early.

"But, J.Bro, isn't is too early in the morning for mango guacamole?" You're just jealous.
What's the deal with the recent rash of anonymous advertising comments?

Update: The bear's right - anonymous comments are off. Sorry non-spammer anonymous commenters.

Excuse me, ma'am - umm..nevermind

The woman ordering at Ground Zero right now has the most unfortunate shorts. Had I a camera phone, you'd agree.

Good christ


How did someone turn history's most mundane activity into an addictive flash game? You know what I'd like to play? A game where you press X to breathe in and M to breathe out - for hours on end. That would rock so hard.

Update: I can't beat 23%.

More Max-o-Mania photos

Hi Mom and Grandpa -
These aren't the free, high-quality digital photos from Max-o-Mania - they were taken by a for-profit website called Brightroom during the big Sunday race, which is why I can only post links to them. The other photos, which I should be able to post images of, should be on the M-o-M site soon.

Jason coming out of the water

Missy - three minutes later

Pushmepullu on the bike leg

More riding

From page 4 of the "Physican's Guide to Poor Running Form"

It was hot - the clothes came off

Before you click - guess who was the dork-thusiastic one with his hands in the air at the finish line, and who was less so?

the arcade, the arcade, the arcade is not on fire

Before Spice can shame me publicly on her blog, I'll bite the bullet and do it myself - I didn't take her excellent advice to buy Arcade Fire tickets at 10:00 Saturday morning and now the concert is sold out (as she predicted it would be). Spice was right, and I'm stoopud for not listening to her.

On the bright side, she and T.Bone will certainly enjoy an excellent concert - fate will make sure a concert I'm not at is better than one I am.

Ain't no points for no one

The warm-up and cool-down riddles weren't hard enough to be points-worthy - that's why they were warm-up and cool-down riddles. The answers to the two riddles worth points were a secret and a feather (highlight to read).

Bees? BEADS?!?


I'm so excited that this exists -

Crime wave continues

I can't say whether or not MQW was involved in this heist too, but I'm not ruling her out. Maybe the big stomach is just an empty shell she hides shoplifted things under.

At the Scrapbook Superstore yesterday afternoon, three young girls entered, went into the employee-only back room, took three employee's wallets out of their purses, and walked back out. Apparently they did the same thing at Oreck and the DIY pottery store that I can't remember the name of, all within the same 15 minutes. All the wallets were recovered from a Market Square trash can, sans cash, but thankfully-not-sans credit cards, ids, Copp's disount cards, Steep & Brew punch cards, etc.

Back at the store this morning, I overhead M.Bro talking to one of the employees whose wallet had been taken - I was all like, "What state are we in? What year is it?" because the conversation went something like this -

Employee: "Look, I'm not a racist, OK? I dated a black guy in high school. But, gawd, yesterday I was all like 'fucking niggers!' you know? I mean, I have to pay for their food stamps and their welfare, and now they're gonna rob me too?"

M.Bro: "Uhh...we were just leaving - bye"

Seriously - I didn't know people talked to other people like that! How do you respond to something like that, other than extracting yourself as quickly as possible?

Eleven Racing

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler say my website is awesome.

Mooo! mooooo? moo.

Can you become more lactose intolerant as you age? I drank gallons and gallons of milk up until a year or two ago - enough that my mom would buy two extra big jugs when she knew I was visiting home. Over the past few months, I've noticed that even a small glass makes my stomach bloated and grumbly. Cheese, yogurt, lattes - they're all fine, thankfully, but a cold glass of milk, with that gorgeous frosty condensation on the outside, makes me feel ill.

Dateline: Irresponsible journalism

Dateline just ran a story on pornographic spam, spurred by a religious mother who wanted to find out who would try to steal her daughter's innocence by sending an ad for www.spunkfarm.com. Did, John, the Dateline correspondent say, "Uhhh - you have a computer in your daughter's room without internet controls and spam filters, foo'?" Nope - they went to Canada (three times!), NYC, and Las Vegas - first for the owner of the domain name, then to the website manager, then to the person who sent the e-mail himself. When they found him (which did surprise me a little bit), they asked how he could sleep at night after sending porn spam to people that didn't want it.

His response? "Uh, dude? I e-mail 20 million people a day. 19.9999999 million delete them without reading, but somebody does - or else I wouldn't be in business. How is that different than McDonald's advertising on Saturday morning cartoons? Or your local SUV dealer buying a billboard on the beltline?" Well, that's not exactly what he said, but he should have.

John, the Dateline correspondent doing the story, then showed him a picture of the woman who received the e-mail. "Do you recognize this woman?" John asked. Huh? "Ummm...huh?" was the response from the scrumdizzled spammer. "Well, why would you assume she wants to hear about spunkfarm.com?" John continued. "Do you even understand how spam works? Or how advertising works? Or are you just playing stupid because you think the audience doesn't understand? When you get spam, do you think there's one person sitting at a computer in Montreal entering your specific e-mail address, hoping that you'll respond?" again, is how he should have responded, but didn't.

And then - AND THEN - to end the story, the host gave some tips for reducing spam - including one that made M.Bro and I smack our foreheads and groan simultaneously. They suggested buying anti-spam software (OK - fine with that) but then said, "Or you can download it online for free," and showed someone googling "anti spam software"!! Smack! Groan!

That's such a huge victory for identity thieves and all manner of internet bad guys! "Oh, hey, well this here pop-up says it's free, but they need my credit card number to verify my address. That sounds fair - 40910544..."

From the website, which is almost verbatim from the broadcast:
Even better, some of the best anti-spam tools are available for free on the Internet. “It’s just a matter of you taking the time to search them out and learn how to run them,” says ["spam expert"] Everett-Church.


What an irresponsible story, in so many different ways. I'm sure it was personally satisfying for the correspondent and Dateline got to run some good ads with "spunkfarm" in the teaser ("But I didn't want to see those ads!" - TV watcher. "I don't understand" - Dateline ad exec), but you know who benefitted the most from this story? Spunkfarm! Their website must have been plugged two or three dozen times during the 15 minute clip - I'm sure they got tens of thousands of hits the hour after Dateline aired!

Points available!

Riddle me this, blog-man -

Warmup - What has one foot on each side and one in the middle?

#1 - What is too much for one, enough for two, but nothing at all for three?

#2 - What flies when it's on and floats when it's off?

Cooldown - What starts with "e" ends with "e" and contains only one letter?

Frazz


Hee. Click for the biggy-big version

Eleven Racing

Huh - making a real website is more difficult than posting on a blog. I have to write a lecture this weekend for the slavedrivers in my lecturing group, but I may get a chance to work on www.allthewayuptoeleven.com too.

Dove Real Beauty - Revolutionary? Or "same"volutionary?


OK, Dove, I give you props for using normal-sized, healthy women in your ads....or do I? The Real Beauty ad campaign gets a lot of media time, but only rarely do I hear the product mentioned - a firming lotion. Message? Size 12? Yo go, girrrrl! Cellulite? Either slather up or get out your muumuu, tubbs.

Real Beauty gets hyped as a revolutionary new way of thinking about beauty products, but isn't it still just preying on women's insecurities? But even more deceitfully by doing so in an underhanded way?

Anniversary!

No, not my blogger-versary (although that's coming up in a few days) - today, I've been married (to the same person) for four (consecutive) years. Congratulations to me us!

The trick is imagining them as targets

Brent, on his date last night: "She had a Bush/Cheney sticker on her car, but that's OK - I've tagged Republicans before."

5 points

Place the new sub-headline. Google-cheaters are reborn as ashmatic otters - just something to think about.

New lid

A woman from Giro JUST CALLED to say that I didn't use the most recent industry purchase form, so she couldn't process my order. She's faxing the new form, and then I have to start the 3-week wait all over again. Grrr! I wish they would have just checked instead of brushing me off two weeks ago! She couldn't tell me what information the new form asks for that wouldn't have been included on the older form - only that she couldn't process an order using the old form.

51 weeks ago...

Huh - sometime in the past few days, my site counter rolled over to the big 10,000 - all in just under one year. Half of those were me checking to see if I had new comments before I realized I could sign up for e-mail alerts, but that still leaves a lot of hits from y'all. Thanks for reading - I'll try not to let you down.

A long weekend calls for a long race report, but this is ridiculous

The long-awaited and long-in-the-making Max-o-Mania race report is live, as of 10 minutes ago. Missy came back from Walgreen's with the photos we took, so I took a break from reading old time series articles and inserted them into the appropriate spots - now, off you go.

The Max-o-Mania race photographer took about 1400 photos, which will be posted on their site soon. I'll find the best and post those on here as well.

Also, the move to a real website for my race reports and photos is in motion. The site will be www.allthewayuptoeleven.com - 10 bonus points to the first reader to identify the reference.

Cat commune update


My mom sent me a current photo of the cat commune, two and a half months after I posted pictures of it the first time. They lost one to respiratory infection and three have been moved to a building further away from the house, but there are still at least 200 adorable kittens being raised collectively, learning to share, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Eventually they'll start making lower and lower-quality shoes just to meet the five-year plan, they'll start reporting each other to the state police agency, and tons of tons of Kibbles & Bits will rot in Siberian warehouses.

Zombie.

I feel like one.