The article has some other interesting gems in it, but that one knocked me out of my chair. Not because I don't believe it, but because even with all my cynicism I didn't think it was quite that bad. Not only does that explain why I don't get to drive a flying car here in the far-flung year of 2005, but it also explains the resurgent fascination with creationism. It's much easier to say "God did it" or "That mystical piece of toast did it" than to actually stop and read a book or do some research. Putting the responsibility onto someone else is an unfortunate theme amongst humans. I saw it at my former place of employment, and it continues full force. "God done did it all, and now I'm gonna go watch me some NASCAR and then some wrasslin'." Soon to be printed on the newly-designed currency for our blossoming theocracy. After all, them NASCAR cars go around in circles, just like the Sun goes around the Earth! That makes it a divine sport!
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Oh. If you've read this far and have no idea what the title has to do with the post, here you go.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Old: "Innocent misrecollection is not uncommon."
New: "People sometimes honestly forget things or make mistakes about what they remember."
The first one has five words and is easy to comprehend. The second has twelve words and smacks of a third-grade reader. The problem is not that the wording is "confusing", the problem is that we're cranking out illiterates in our schools. I just hope that everyone gets on with their cave paintings after I'm dead. Or send me to a cave with my books, and they can go on with their pointing and grunting. When the "No Child Left Behind" rule came along and put the responsibility of a child's education on the school instead of the child, that marked the end of any hope for even a minimally-educated America. In my book, anyway. Reason 834,072 not to replicate the DNA.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
When the rain stopped, we drove down to the Tucson Mall. Along the way, my reflexes were put to the test. A young woman suddenly decided that she and her car needed to occupy the exact same space as our car. She didn't use her turn signal, wave, or even turn her head in our general direction. She just went for it. Luckily, I wasn't groggy from my nap. She didn't have to make a turn, she didn't even speed up. I honked the horn at her, and she gave me an "oh well" hand gesture. My teeth are grinding so much that sparks are flying out of my mouth like one of those little wind-up Godzilla toys. (I'm trying to cut back on cursing, and it's also good to be able to spit forth flame on cue.) Then, however, came the part that made Deb and I curse up a storm. First one set of wee bitty hands appeared, then another. The woman had two small kids in the back of the car. If I hadn't been paying attention, the kid on the driver's side would have been crushed. If I had panicked, I could've easily hit her car and made her spin, and probably both kids would be crushed. (My car was the larger in this equation.)
Now, I may not understand why people want to have children, but I understand it even less when the people who do have children don't give enough of a damn about them to turn their heads when they're driving on a three lane highway. I guess you can always make more kids, right? Idiots.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
And waterfalls? Plural? We didn't go near them, but the binoculars showed us they were huge. Just as the binoculars showed us the unfortunate fate of the cars that drove off the road at the Seven Cataracts Vista. If there was anyone in the cars when they went over the edge, they certainly didn't survive. And they didn't even roll all the way down to the bottom.
Windy Point Vista was unanimously the scariest part of the trip. Mainly because the scenic overlook was built away from the side of the mountain so you were really looking straight down on... well, everything you had seen so far. Not a place for those afraid of heights, yet three out of four of us were just that. (Myself included.) I'm not ashamed to say that I clutched the iron railing as I took pictures. Yet, if you look at the pictures, you'll notice which idiot went up even higher to take pictures of the other three? Looking down at the road, and the previous stop, wayyyy down there... yikes.
And the sky kept putting on a show for us. Sunny, then cloudy, then thunder. Always raining over part of the city (or state). For us, though, it was comfortable and breezy.
Drive up a little (ha!) more, and there's a sign informing you that what you see in the distance is New Mexico. I do not know exactly how far that is, but Google maps estimates 120 miles as the crow flies. (That's like being able to see Montauk Point from Brooklyn, or Oswego from my parents' house.) (Putting things in perspective for my faithful readers.) (And don't quote me on distances, OK? Close comparative analogy, here.)
Also of note were the stone walls, made of indigenous rocks. What kind of rocks? Neat kinds. Like rocks with mica, and iron pyrite (fool's gold).
Further we drove, and things kept changing. There was a lake up there, but we didn't stop. At just over 8,000 feet, we hit the ski resort. And grass. Lots of it. Pretty cool.
On the way back down, we were treated to a textbook Arizona sunset. The sky changes so rapidly through so many colors, if you look away for a minute and look back it's as if you're looking at an entirely different sky.
The whole trip was amazing. We travelled the climatic equivalent of Mexico to Canada in under 100 miles. It took us a little over five hours, but I'm ready to spend another 5000 hours there. I want to explore every rock, every waterfall, every precipitous drop. But I'll need to get a few more cards for the ol' digital camera first...
Oh yeah. Irony. At the apex of our journey we encountered a family consisting of mommy (Barbie), daddy (Lloyd), and Brittany/Morgan/Paige/Paisley/Ampersand/Insert pretentious name here. Barbie did not shut up. Not once. Lloyd was taking pictures, but then it came time for the "spontaneous" photo of the little offspring. The kid was four, and wanted nothing to do with it. We think she was actually having fun getting Barbie all annoyed. (When we got back in the car, I turned to Deb and told her she was wonderful. She asked me why I said that, to which I responded "because you are nothing at all like that woman.") Here's the irony: Barbie & Company were on the same flight out of Tucson as Scott & Matt. Way to put a cap on the vacation!
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
This is all well to the south of us. We had a light rain for most of the day, and it's stayed cool. (74 as I type this.) No more ceiling leaks or anything like that.
The other noteworthy event, for me at least, is that I reformatted my computer today. It started to hang whenever I tried to do anything with images. That's why my last few posts have had links to the Kodak site instead of any eye candy. Repairing XP just made it worse, so I started over. Saved all of my images, but my e-mails are gone. So if you're reading this and you want to hear from me, send me an e-mail.
OK, off to install more stuff. Keeps my mind off of how empty the apartment is now.
Monday, August 22, 2005
In other news, my nephew has started a blog. It's the "Kid Photo" link on the blogroll. I just hope he and my brother can continue blogging at the rapid-fire 28.8 speeds they achieve at home.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
We also got to experience the antics of another species. This happened at around 6pm, when the desert really comes alive. The animal in question is the Red-blooded Idiot (ignoramus ignoramus). We were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to see two different sub-species. While enjoying the brightly colored flowers and multitude of butterflies at the butterfly garden, we heard the call of the New York Idiot (vinnicus goombaticus). They are extremely rare in Arizona, and are heard only during tourist season. This specimen was heard to cry out: "Hey! Dehs uh tunnuh buttuhfloyz ova heeyuh!" I've spent some time in the field, so I'm able to translate that into: "Hey! There's a ton of butterflies over here!" I couldn't help but laugh as soon as I heard that, because in my head I was hearing the follow-up statements: "There's a friggin' ton of air out here!" and "There's a ton of dirt on the ground!" This species can be counted on to remark upon the obvious at decibel levels that would drown out commercial airliners.
The other species of Idiot was encountered shortly after that. This was the sub-species Illiterate Fat Ass (no readicus butt hugeicus). This alpha female was heard to bellow "Which way are the hummingbirds?" to no one in particular. I suppose she didn't realize that her Death Star-sized ass was nigh-eclipsing the sign which read, in part, "< Hummingbirds". (Where the "<" denotes an arrow pointing the direction one would travel should one desire to see the hummingbirds.)
These and many more species were pouring in to the establishment as we were leaving. We were all glad they were travelling in the opposite direction.
It should be noted that we had some fascinating discussions regarding the different sub-species we had encountered. Punctuated with much laughter. Science at its best!
We also got to experience the haunted mine. It was cheesy, but well done. Rubber bats, rats, and skeletons... and a maze. In the dark. With small angled bits of wood on the floor so you're not only feeling your way along the walls, but you're also tripping as you drag your feet. Oh! And narrow, too. My shoulders were brushing against the walls, and just when you turn to correct that the walls turn as well. Deb made it through the maze first, and then got to see yours truly come through with Matt holding my shirttail in one hand and Scott in the other. A conga line of Scotsmen in a haunted house in the desert doesn't happen every day.
Then, cut to about 11pm. We're all outside on the patio because it's a cool, breezy evening. We're watching a small airplane go by in the distance. Then it turned around and headed back. And again. And again. It slowly dawns on us that this plane is flying in a search pattern over the mountains. You know, the ones directly out our front windows? After about an hour, a helicopter comes zooming in on the scene. Low. Very low. The helicopter zapped its bajillion candle power spotlight on the mountains while the airplane continued to circle. Cool! The binoculars are out, we're looking at all this stuff as it goes on for about 20 minutes. No idea what/who they're looking for. The helicopter and airplane abruptly leave in different directions, but the helicopter came back about five minutes later to shine the spotlight on the mountain again. Then it left. That was it. Hopefully there will be some mention of it on the news tomorrow. Otherwise it'll just be one of them there mysteries of the desert.
Hey, when you vacation with us, you get a thrill-a-minute! We should charge for this!
Friday, August 19, 2005
If you've read Scott's stuff over at his blog "Scootertown", you know that he's discovered that aches and pains don't exist in this climate. If you have aches and pains and have resigned yourself to the fact that they'll be with you until you die, you're wrong. (I was.) It's good to see him actually feeling well for a change.
Click on the things for pictures, yadda yadda. I'm tired, so that's it from me.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Their first full day in AZ found them in Tombstone. Probably because we drove them there. A good time was had by all. It was significantly less crowded, and the temperature was much cooler. It's really a fascinating place to visit, even if you're not into the whole western/wild west thing. And speaking of wild west things, poor Deb had to put up with this:
Somebody send her a sympathy e-mail, quick!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Why do people have children?
I'm not looking for a biology lesson. I'm looking for the why. What is it that makes you wake up one day and say: "I'd like to make another person!" (This question, obviously, is for those who actually planned the existence of their children.) A few words of warning first. Don't tell me it's genetic. I've known plenty of people of both genders of all ages and sexual orientations who flat-out do not want children. They may like children, even love them. But they don't want to make one.
So please, share your thoughts. I hate it when I can't figure things out. I've opened comments to all comers for this one. Thanks in advance.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
See, here's the thing. Despite the fact that it was an absolutely lovely day here, cool, upper 60s low 70s, and we were in an air-conditioned store... if I had been carrying ice cream it would've turned to steam by now. I think the candies in the display next to me had all fused into one billion-calorie nugget at this point.
Through teamwork and perseverance, Spicoli and Todd managed to complete the purchase. Sure, it took about 20 minutes longer than it should have, but I'm certain they formed a bond that only two stoners can share. Shame that neither of them will remember it.
Oh, and when we finally exited the store, a string of expletives that would make Lenny blush was heard ringing through the Arizona night sky. A white-hot slice of New York, baby.
For those of you still reading, the picture is of part of the ceiling at the San Xavier mission. I just thought it looked neat.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Oh, and the parents were younger than me. Damn stupid kids having kids.
The picture is from tonight's walk at sunset. Have I mentioned lately how great it is here?
Thursday, August 11, 2005
So, all in all, we're quite pleased. Didn't know what to expect quality-wise from cafepress, but now I'm glad to have stores there. (Sorry this whole thing just sounded like a commercial, but now I feel better about selling things after having seen them.)
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
He tripped again, and fell headlong to the rocky soil. Just like that, his time, luck, and speed ran out. Unfortunately for him, there was just enough light to see his own extermination.
Despite the dark clouds, this picture was taken at the last light of sunset. Just a short walk from our apartment. Pretty neat, huh?
I guess I'm concerned not for the intelligence of America, as I knew that was headed for the crapper anyway. My concern is that if this trend continues then most of the people I know will be burned as witches simply because they know how to do stuff on a computer. That real-yet-unreal dimension of ones and zeroes is downright scary! If'n I can't touch it, then it's bad! She turned me into a newt!
Theocracy and de-evolution. Two of many reasons I will never have children.
Monday, August 08, 2005
In other news, the roof still isn't fixed. Doesn't really bother me considering that the same storm knocked out power to several thousand people who, as of yesterday, still didn't have power. I'll take a leaky ceiling over no power any day.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
This evening's "severe weather alert" was precipitated (no pun intended) by a very cool double rainbow. Yes, it's out our front window. That area seems to be rainbow central or something. The bottom "bow" was very strong and fully formed, but neither of us could get it in one shot. This is the best picture I could get, though. I have others, but they all have dots of rain on them.
Speaking of rain, I may have been a bit harsh in my estimate of Arizona's monsoons. I say that in the hopes of appeasing the monsoon gods who have seen fit to pound the apartment so severely that the roof is leaking. Where? Why, in the computer room, of course! We had just shut off the computers after a particularly close (and loud!) bolt of lightning struck, and went to another room. I was walking by the computer room when I heard an odd sound. Like the window was open. Nope! Just water leaking in through the ceiling and dripping on the new carpet. Oh, and on one of the power strips. Nothing too severe, right? (Luckily, not near the computers.) We did move some furniture and put up some garbage cans to catch the water, though. There's a strip of water damage about a foot long on this side of the closet, and maybe six inches on the other. This is one of the good things about living in an apartment. Tomorrow we make a call and say "fix it", and it gets fixed. Sunday or not. Because, same time tomorrow, we're likely to have more thunderstorms.
Lastly, I had my first international sale at cafepress. Japan, no less. That there interweb is really cool.
Friday, August 05, 2005
Now, I don't consider myself cheap. I'm sure there are those who would disagree with me, but I don't care. I think many of you will agree with me when I say that if I'm going to give someone money with that many zeroes on it, you damn well better worship me, peel me grapes, and throw rose petals at my feet. And I get to beat the crap out of you whenever I feel like it. I do not expect to pay that much money to sit in a room with 49 other people who have difficulty with some of the, shall we say, more basic aspects of education? (Case in point: more than one person today had a problem following the alphabet. English. You know, the one with the song? Yeah.) We also learned today that the people in the room wanted to retire at 65, and live for 30 years afterwards. I think that the fact that 1/3 of the people in the room are 94 1/2 had a lot to do with that strange demographic hiccup. 95 is a speed, not an age. If you want to be that old, then there's something seriously wrong with you.
So, needless to say, we're not going to sign up for any additional classes. If it was a tenth as much, then we'd probably do it. The classes are really quite good. It's a bit discouraging to learn that two out of three instructors borrowed the money to take these advanced courses from Mommy and Daddy, though. (Damn kids.) We're going back tomorrow. Just because. We paid for three days, we'll get as much out of it as we can. I'm just not keen on selling a kidney to learn more. (Not my own, anyway.)
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Today was our first day of the STAR Trader stock market seminar thingy we purchased thanks to a late night infomercial. The parts that sucked were having to get up at 7am in order to get there on time, and having to take a sleeping pill in order to fall asleep in the first place. (Yeah, I know. Boo hoo.) The class was very informative. I'm impressed with it all so far, and we both feel we're getting our money's worth. Teach me how to read charts on a computer to make money? Where have you been all my life?!? I don't have to talk to anyone, never go near a phone, don't have to get up early, and I get rewarded based on how well I figure stuff out? I think I hear my calling calling.
It was also interesting to note yet another cultural difference. I've been in a large number of classes in NY, both as a student and as an instructor. This was the first time I have ever seen every single person come back from break and lunch on time if not early! Sure, you could argue that since the people actually paid to be there, they're not going to want to miss any of it. I would counter that since the people who were in the classes I taught paid taxes, they had paid to be there as well. (But that kind of logic never worked.)
Anyhoo, we've got two more days of learnin', which means two more days of alarm clocks.
Oh! Here's something that'll scare the people who know me... it was flippin' freezing in the classroom! Granted, I'm still not wearing pants, but it used to take a hell of a lot for me to get a chill. (Hypothermia for a normal person = chill for me) Either my blood has thinned out to a fine mist, or we were right under an A/C vent, but it actually felt good to go outside into the 90-ish weather! (Hmm... maybe I was abducted by aliens and replaced with a replicant. Stupid aliens could've at least made this body thinner. Or maybe some hair.)
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Personally, I'm waiting for the "misuse of an apostrophe S" law.