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Quarter Life Crisis

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
South Park is starting to become hilariously funny again. It lost a bit of it's luster after the first season but the wit has be slowly coming back over the past two seasons or so. I love how they are making all the new episodes on a weekly basis so that they can deal with current issues and events in a timely manner. And unlike the first season or two, each episode, as perverse and shocking as the story line usually is, has some sort of moral lesson now. Last weeks episode dealt with elderly folks ability (or lack thereof) to drive a car, a reaction to the recent accident in Santa Monica, CA where an 86 year old man plowed into a farmers market killing ten people.

As much as I know that I will hate to lose my license (and basically my freedom) when I become elderly (if I make it to be that old), I strongly believe that something needs to be done about elderly drivers. If you can pass a law that says you can't get your license until you're 18 years old now, or one that takes your driving privileges away for driving home after drinking only one or two beers, you can certainly pass one that helps "curb" (pun intended) elderly drivers that are unable to properly control a car. Elderly drivers are just as dangerous nowadays as teenage drivers are.

How about mandatory drivers tests every two years for anyone over 70 years of age. You don't pass, you don't drive. Or at least some sort of annual checkup involving a vision test, a reaction time test, a motor skills test, and a cognitive awareness test. I know some people may argue that we need to respect the elderly and by doing this we would be "profiling" them or taking their freedom away. I say let's save as many lives as we can including those elderly people who would be potentially putting themselves at risk. My grandpa has Parkinson disease and broke down into tears when he realized that he could no longer drive himself around. My grandma who is still very healthy and extremely capable does all of the driving for them now. I think in the end though, even though he lost one of the most basic American dreams of hitting the open road in his Cadillac whenever the feeling struck, he sleeps better at night knowing that he is making that sacrifice to keep himself and other drivers around him safe.

Man, I have got to get my ass one of these suckers. Potentially very cool if they can expand the application platform a bit. The folks at Blogger are using it to track how many new blogs are created each hour.

I have to give a "shout out" to MODot for the job they did working the roads in the past few days. Snow is hard enough to deal with on the roads but ice is truly a bitch. Especially when it's falling just hours before the morning rush. I had absolutely no problems getting to or coming home from work on Monday or Tuesday (with the exception of a few well timed ice chunks melting & flying off the top of some 18-wheelers). No sliding, fish-tailing, peeling out, or anything of the sort (which could be simply due to my exceptional driving skills). There was nothing but clean asphalt for me to drive on the whole time. In fact, it took only five to ten minutes longer for me to get all the way downtown during the AM rush hours the past two days. Not too shabby. I actually arrived earlier than I usually would when the roads are clean.

Right now the temperature outside is a brisk nine degrees and is expected to drop to about five degrees with wind chills in the negative teens. Hopefully that will be our low point for the winter and there's nowhere else to go but up. Only about one month left now until the first signs of spring start peeping out from behind the cold chill of winter. Bring it on, I'm about done with winter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
According to the Presidential Match Quiz, I'll be voting for John Kerry in November if he wins the Democratic Party Nomination for President. The quiz asks a series of questions about social issues, the environment, social security & welfare, etc and wants you to rate how strongly you oppose or favor each issue. It's a great little quiz for people who aren't keeping up on what each candidate is all about, or even if you are, give it a try to see if it comes close to who you're currently gunning for.

This could be the year. The year that finally brings home the Oscar for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For those of you who didn't know yet, The Return of the King has already brought home the Golden Globe for best picture as well as Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (the Golden Globes don't recognize technical achievements such as film editing or sound effects). Today, the Oscar nominees were announced and ROTK ran away with 11 total nominations (more than any other movie this year) including Best Picture and Best Director (see the full list of nominees here). Given the situation, ROTK is poised as the front-runner in the race. Here's why.....

A.) Nine out of the last ten years, the picture that has won the Golden Globe for Best Picture wins the Oscar for Best Picture.

B.) Often, the movie that recieves the most nominations, does end up walking away with the award for Best Picture.

C.) Although the film has no nominations in the Best Actor/Actress or Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories, it has won awards for best acting ensemble from several different reputable film critics associations including the Critics Choice Awards and the Washington D.C. film critics association.

D.) The "Save the Best for Last" or "Third Time's a Charm" rule. Unlike with most sequels, the academy knew in advance that there were going to be three of these movies. Those of them who had actually read the books before also probably knew that the third film had the potential to be the best of the three. Which it easily is. It would be a travesty to nominate the two previous movies for best picture in consecutive years only to pass over the third and best film at the end.

E.) Other than ROTK, there is no clear cut favorite among the nominees. Master and Commander can't possibly win with against another epic like Return of the King, Lost in Translation is an obscure comedy, and although both Mystic River and Seabiscuit are great films with the potential to take home the prize, voters with a tendency to vote for the more dramatic films may end up splitting their votes evenly between these two.

Of course I can't guarantee a win on this one. There are quite a few reasons why it may not win, like the fact that science-fiction and fantasy films never win the award for Best Picture. But on this one, I'm going to be optimistic.

Just stepped outside to have a cig before I hit the sack. It's snowing pretty good and all is quiet. Very beautiful, very peaceful.

Friday, January 23, 2004
I hope everyone has downloaded all the songs they want to get off the Music of the Moment list. I'm going to start rotating those tracks out soon and putting some new ones up. In fact, I may put at least one new one up today. I'll probably start putting the new tracks in at the bottom of the list (#10 will always be the newest track and #1 will be the oldest) so if you haven't already done so, go download Dishwalla's live version of "Angels or Devils".

Thursday, January 22, 2004
Also, if anyone has any clue about how to.....

A) Line up the Blogger & Haloscan banners with the counter all on the same line (left, center, right) at the bottom of the page.


B) Move the comment link to line it up with the "These thoughts flowed....." line below the posts as well as help to change the text formatting of the link.

Please comment or email me and I can send you a copy of my blog template. To help determine what exactly I need to do. Thanks.

Any hockey fans remember when a fan fell into the penalty box after taunting Toronto Maple leafs player Tie Domi and they proceeded to duke it out until linesman and arena security broke it up? Well, as part of his lawsuit against Domi and the Maple Leafs, the fan wants a rematch with Tie Domi (for the story read inside the grey outlined box) in a boxing event to benefit charity. I guess that's more respectable than suing for millions.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Wow, two politically inspired posts in a row!! And after this one Liam is going to want to shoot me in the kidneys with his potato gun. This article basically sums up all the "not so hot" statistics that the Bush administration has racked up since they have been in office. This one here is the infamous "Would you hire this man?" George W. Bush resume. Now before any of you jump down my throat on this one, I will admit that the first article is from a UK news source and that the second one is an editorial from a liberal website. I'm sure that a few of those stats may be false, exaggerated, or simply misleading (even though the UK article does list references). Think about it though, if even half of those statements are true, that's pretty damn sad. I won't say anymore (unless my comment link malfunctions from the high amount of negative feedback). Until then I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Here's a funny little animated movie about the national budget and what our country spends money on. WARNING!! Liberal views ahead!

Well if you didn't think the last crazy story I linked to was bad, try this one on for size. Imagine the most sexually deviant thing a person could possibly do, and then read this story about it. Really fucking sick.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Here's a damn cool article from Time Magazine explaining how we are going to go about putting men on Mars in the next couple of decades. Here's apparently why we shouldn't go, at least not so soon.

This article right here wins the award for strangest news story of the week. Damn religious zealots.

As some of you may know, I'm a pretty laid back dude. Except when I'm driving.....and there are idiots around. Today on my way to work, I'm zooming downtown on highway 44 in the left lane doing a comfortable 73 MPH. This chick in the lane next to me who is going considerably slower than I am just decides to float over into the left lane with no turn signal about one second before I was going to pass her. So needless to say I have to pretty much slam on my brakes and avoid putting a huge Honda "H" on her rear fender. I'm used to this though. Does it piss me off, yes, but people changing lanes without a turn signal is not a rare occurrence. I personally think it's really lame that people can't do something as simple as flick their wrist and hit their turn signal which could in some cases save a life even if they are too "cool" to do it as a common courtesy.

Now of course this chick is in front of me and controlling my top speed which has now dipped to a meager 61 MPH. This again is not uncommon, cars doing the same speed as everyone else on the road jumping into the left lane and bogging down traffic that wants to go a little bit faster. Causing people not only to get pissed off but to pull stupid stunts to try to get out from behind the slow car and back into a faster lane of traffic. Seriously, it's illegal to drive in the left lane if you're not passing someone and dangerous when you interrupt the flow of traffic. Check your mirror and get the fuck out of the lane if someone is behind you. (At least someone is doing something about this annoyance. Thanks Illinois!)

After driving behind her now for a mile or so I begin to realize why she didn't use her turn signals and why she couldn't tell that there was a line of cars behind her all waiting to pass. I noticed that she was swerving back and forth in the lanes and couldn't maintain a constant speed to save her life. When I looked a bit closer I saw that this bee-otch was putting on makeup!! On the fucking highway!! During rush hour!! Oh and she wasn't putting on lipstick or something like that. She was doing her eyeliner (or mascara) while looking in her rearview mirror. Un-fucking-believable!! That's almost as bad as the guy I saw reading a completely unfolded and wide open newspaper on the highway a few years ago. Now its one thing to slap some lipstick on at a stoplight or to put on some blush while your in a traffic jam and no one is moving anyway, but this was absolutely ridiculous. People that pull that kind of shit on the road are just as dangerous as drunk drivers and should be punished in a similar fashion. Had I not been a safe driver that prefers not to talk on my cell phone while driving, I probably would have called the cops on this ho-bag.

Ok, done bitching now.

Notice I went ahead and created a new section in the side-bar called "Picture Archives" just underneath the "Music of the Moment" section. Now you can download all those swell digital photos I've taken without having to search through all my old posts. Handy-dandy, eh?

Sunday, January 18, 2004
Wheee!! Comments are now back up. I'm going to need to do some more modifications so I can get the link to the comment window the way I want it (text size, style, color, location, etc) as well as modify the comment window itself so it matches the rest of my blog, although I do kind of like the way it looks right now. I'm probably going to go back and delete most of my recent posts too, so me bitching about comments and servers being down isn't cluttering up the page.

UPDATE: Yaaayyyy!! Daver's server is back up too! Now the New Years pictures are back up.

Thursday, January 15, 2004
Since I can't post on Chris's site since his comments are down as well, I'll respond here to his post about the Cigar Insurance Fraud story. I'm sure you've all heard the story or received an email about it by now. Here is the lowdown.

Monday, January 12, 2004
Ok, time to get all you monkeys off my back and give you all what you have been waiting for, the New Years pictures. I really haven't had time yet to sit down and write about the whole rundown of what I did over the holidays but at least I can hopefully tide you all over until then with these pictures. Just click the either blue hyperlink to download the .zip file with all the pictures in it. Sorry some of them are a bit out of focus, I think due mainly to the constantly changing lighting conditions because of the disco lights. Here are a couple that I decided to post for your viewing enjoyment. The first is of my friend Lauren and I and the second is of Lindsay B, Liam and Mike H busting a move on the dance floor.

So, like Liam has already mentioned, the Rams blow their Super Bowl hopes in one of the most exciting football games I've ever seen, and the Blues lose again to a mediocre team. What's next on tap? The end of Brent Johnson's days as a Blues goaltender? Or is Ray Lankford going to come back and kick ass for the Cardinals? Man, this could shape up to be a strange year in St. Louis sports.

Time for yet another quiz.....

you are seagreen

Your dominant hues are cyan and green. Although you definitely strive to be logical you care about people and know there's a time and place for thinking emotionally. Your head rules most things but your heart rules others, and getting them to meet in the middle takes a lot of your energy some days.

Your saturation level is higher than average - You know what you want, but sometimes know not to tell everyone. You value accomplishments and know you can get the job done, so don't be afraid to run out and make things happen.

Your outlook on life can be bright or dark, depending on the situation. You are flexible and see things objectively.
the html color quiz

Actually, a fairly accurate description if you ask me.

Friday, January 09, 2004
I got an email from my sister regarding our old buddy Nicky V. the other day. Here's what it said:

"I checked the Improv Olypmic website to see the new roster and noticed that Nick was listed on the new Harold team "Spider Hole." That is very cool; congratulations are in order. I thought you might want to post about it on your blog. @ the bottom of the page.

(I feel like Connie.)"
My very religious and internet savvy great aunt.

"Praise Jesus,

Katie, feel free to comment and explain further what the impact of this new development is. Also congratulate Nick for me.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Like I said, I was thinking about adding an "Album of the Moment" feature in addition to the individual tracks I have made available for download. Well done, and done. If you look to your right in the margin, there it be. Just above the "Music of the Moment" tracks. It will probably take between 30 - 45 minutes to download with high speed connection, but that's a small price to pay for a free CD. Here's a bit about the first album I chose:

BT - Movement in Still Life: There's no specific reason that I chose this album to post first other than A) it was in my CD player today, and B) I think I listened to it for 4 months straight at one point. By far BT's most accessible album, the grandfather of progressive/dream trance has mixed a little bit of everything on this album. Just enough of an electronic music feel to please his hardcore fans, but plenty of rock, pop, and even hip-hop to help display his mind-numbing talents to a wider audience. Some of you may have heard the energy filled hardcore pop-rock single from the album called Never Gonna Come Back Down. A must listen to in the car on a big Saturday night out on the town. Tracks like Madskillz and Smartbomb display his affinity for hard breakbeat hip-hop, and the masterfully edited title track (Movement in Still Life) gives the album a retro-danceable Michael Jackson on LSD type song. Love on Haight Street is one of my surprise favorites, a rap song, done the way I feel rap should be done. With great musical arrangements and lyrics that go beyond "drinkin Crystal", "booty shakin", and "bling, bling". Great variety on this already, but we're not done yet. Let's shake it up even more.

Shame is a perfectly crafted and quite beautiful alt-rock pop song. You can barely tell it was the creation of an electronic music artist. It's so ready for rock radio it's just silly it never made it there. With the help of vocalist Jan Johnson, BT gets back to his purest trance roots on the breathtaking Godspeed (probably my favorite electronic music song of all time) and on the richly layered and ethereal Mercury and Solace. Unbelievable what one man can do with a keyboard and a computer. If you're in the mood for something more relaxed, BT's got you covered there too. Electro-trance-pop like Running Down the Way Up or Dreaming with full string arrangements and Jan Johnson on vocals could take you away from this planet for a while. Speaking of space travel, the album's sparkling gem is track six, Satellite. It's hard to classify really. BT's first real attempt at vocals sounds shaky at first but once the chorus kicks in you'll know why this guy is a musical genius.

From a kid who had mastered Chopin and Bach on the piano at age six, and dropped out of the Berklee College of Music because he felt it was holding him back, we get this. I have more respect for this guy than most people will ever know. He's scored a ton of movies, collaborated with over 20 major artists, and single-handedly changed the face of music for our future. Always on the cutting edge, keep up the good work.

"To marry melody, harmony and memorable songwriting with the most bleeding-edge technology possible is my passion. These are the things that excite me." -- Brian Transeau

Sweet. It's official, Barret Jackman dislocated his shoulder and will miss the rest of the regular season and the entire Stanley Cup playoffs. Not that we are going to go very far now without two of the best defenseman in the league. Our only option is to wait until Jackman's salary insurance kicks in after he misses 30 games, add that to Macinnis's salary insurance and maybe we can trade for or pickup a free agent or someone on waivers at the trade deadline. Both of their salary reimbursements combined should add up to several million bones. That's about the only solution I can come up with, otherwise here's to another wasted hockey season.

In case no one noticed yet, I did post two new songs up on the "Music of the Moment" list. I did decide to go ahead and do it as a rotating top ten list, which of course will be in no particular order. I'll just rotate out the songs that have been up the longest as I put fresh songs on the list. I may at some point do an album of the month feature which will be basically a complete albums worth of tracks available to be downloaded as a .ZIP file. Should be great for those of you with CD burners. Anyway, here's a bit about the new songs:

Howie Day - Come Lay Down: A dark and slightly psychedelic pop rock song with some neat effects and excellent background noises. Reminds me of a mix between Dishwalla and some "The Bendz" era Radiohead. Excellent strong chorus with fluid transitions.

Damien Rice - Amie: Extremely mellow and sad song. Like most of the rest of his album. But it's a great love song with a beautiful melody. It almost sounds like part of a movie score. Oh, and the string arrangements are truly beautiful, especially towards the end of the song.

I'm sure most of you who read this already know, but now that I'm back to blogging since the holidays are over I'd like to officially congratulate Megan & Pete on their engagement. Many people (myself included) were wondering for the past few months when it was gonna happen, and now we all know. I'm so happy for the both of you and wish that you both have all of the happiness and love that is attainable in this crazy world. May every choice that you make together from this day forward bring you one step closer to your dreams. Best of luck in life and love. Bring on the wedding day!! I love you both. Here's a picture of the two lovebirds early in the morning hours (about 4 AM) on New Years Day....

Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Whoo Hooo!! More good news for the Blues. Last night we got shut out by one of the worst teams in the league. Weeee! And we dropped from first place to sixth place in the ESPN power rankings while Detroit moved up from seventh to first. Yes!!! And to top it all off, ESPN is reporting that last year's rookie of the year Barret Jackman could be side lined for the rest of the season because he re-aggravated his shoulder injury! Not to mention the fact that Tkachuk left last nights game with a slight neck injury. Wooopieeee!!

I found this cool little website the other day where you can create your own portraits in the style of Picasso using pre-made shapes for hair, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. I ended up doing a self portrait and saving it, and then going back and modifying my hair a bit to make it look more realistic. Which I guess realism is sort of against the point when doing a Picasso. At any rate, here are the two pics:

Sorry I can't actually post the pics on here because they actually use Macromedia Flash Player to create the image, so I can't save it as a .jpg or .gif and I'm not advanced enough as far as HTML programming goes to use flash as an image source. If anyone has any ideas on how to do that, let me know. Also, if any one out there does their own self portrait on the Mr. Picassohead website, paste the link in the comments area so we can all see them.

Update: Thanks to Nick and Liam for learnin' me how to display the pictures.

I ran across an article whilst browsing some of those "bored at work" websites that I just spoke of in my last post. If you've ever wondered why I haven't gotten off my lazy ass and gone to grad school to get a M. A. M. E. (Master of Arts and Entertainment Management) or an M. A. M. B. E. (Master of Arts in Music Business Education) degree, here's one of the reasons why. I'd like to consider myself a pretty straightforward and honest guy, and even though I absolutely love music and border on being a music dork, and would love nothing more than to devote my life to bringing good quality music to the masses, I just don't think I could do some of the shit described in this article. Read it. I'm the young A & R guy that longs to be the "fat cat" executive that calls everyone "baby". I've known about the inner workings of the music industry for quite a while now, longer than most people my age. But every day, the "average Joe" is learning more and more about how the industry operates due to the recent lawsuits filed by the RIAA against music downloaders. The article is called "The Problem With Music" and was written by Steve Albini, best known for producing Nirvana's In Utero album. There is a ton off good information in the article, especially the chart showing how money is distributed among everyone involved with a particular band. The one bright spot is that most independent record labels don't operate under these kinds of standards, although by the same token, that's one of the reasons they don't make a lot of money. The music industry is almost wholly corrupt and is moving in the opposite direction it should be. Signing bands that all sound the same, only releasing material that fits into the "radio ready" mold, pigeon-holing itself into a target market demographic of 12 - 21 year olds, suing it's own customer base, not keeping up with new technology, destroying great bands you'll probably never hear who are locked into bad contracts, or making one hit wonders out of perfectly commercially viable bands (ask me about what happened to Dishwalla sometime). Eventually the giant will fall here, I'm just not sure I want to be under it when it does, .....if you catch my meaning.

Ever been really bored at work? Most of us have at some point I'm sure. So try doing this; do a Google search for "bored at work" and see what comes up. You might be surprised to find out how many sites out there are specifically devoted to people who are truly that bored at work. This game is a fun one that one of our production managers, Ken, stumbled across a few weeks ago while my dad and I were both out sick. He found it on this site which is basically a list of jokes, games, stories, and other miscellaneous bullshit to keep you from stabbing yourself with a sharp fountain pen on one of those extremely boring days at work. Thankfully I don't have to many of those. Here's something else from that site, a story that is bound to make each and every one of you giggle.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
I was driving around the other day and couldn't help but stop and take a picture of this churches marquee:

Now that is a bold statement if I've ever seen one.

Update: OK, you guys got me. It is a joke. But just in case you are interested in making your own funny church sign, take a trip here and do your worst.

I've been meaning to post about the Blues lately. But now I'm not sure if I want to. When I first intended to write about them back in early December, we were essentially tied for first place in the Central with Detroit (with 6 games in hand on them), had one of the best records in the NHL, in the midst of a 9-1-3 streak, and we were first in the ESPN power rankings over the entire NHL. Now on the other hand, we are on a huge skid of mediocrity. Our record since the end of that nice streak is now 2-4-2, not impressive to say the least. We need to get our heads back in these games and realize that come spring time, these games mean as much now as the ones do in March and April. Our goal scoring is way down, and our defense is allowing miscues that the normally strong Blues D would never do, and the chemistry on our top line seems to be fizzling out a bit. I'm impressed with some of our rookies, Danton, Nickalus, Backman, and Rycroft especially, but some of our second and third year guys aren't doing much. Jamal Mayers, Christian LaFlamme, Khavanov, Salvador, Finley, and Boguniecki have only 5 goals and 9 assists between the six of them. Granted, Boguniecki has been hurt most of the season and most of those players are defense, but someone has to start scoring besides Tkachuk, Weight, Demitra, and Drake. Hopefully now that most of the major injuries are done with, (knock on wood) except Macinnis of course, we can start to get our swagger back. I guess we'll see in April.

I've been duped into taking all those quizzes you guys were posting about while I was sick last month. Here are the results:

The "How Punk are You?" quiz:

  • My #1 result for the selector, How Punk are You?, is Not Punk at All

    Weee, finally a quiz that gives realistic answers.

    The "Ethical Philosophy" quiz:

    My views are most closely related to:

    1. Stoics (100%) Click here for info
    2. Spinoza (92%) Click here for info
    3. Thomas Hobbes (92%) Click here for info
    4. Epicureans (86%) Click here for info
    5. Jeremy Bentham (83%) Click here for info
    6. Kant (83%) Click here for info
    7. Jean-Paul Sartre (82%) Click here for info
    8. Nietzsche (75%) Click here for info
    9. Aquinas (74%) Click here for info
    10. John Stuart Mill (72%) Click here for info

    I don't know how accurate this one is. I don't totally disagree with any of the above philosophers but I don't wholly agree with any of them nor do I subscribe to any of their individual belief systems.

    The "What Matrix Persona are you?" quiz:

    You are the Oracle-
    You are The Oracle, from "The Matrix."
    Wise, kind, honest- is there anything slightly
    negative about you? You are genuinely
    supportive of others. Careful not to let people
    take advantage of you, though.

    What Matrix Persona Are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Ok enough already, I get it, I'm an old black woman!

    The "How evil are you?" quiz:

    You're mostly a good person. You're good
    most of the time, but you know how to be bad.

    *How evil are you?*
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Makes sense to me!

    The "Which of the Greek Gods are you?" quiz:


    ?? Which Of The Greek Gods Are You ??
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Like Chris, I too am the Greek god of dreams. Ok, enough quizzes for now.

  • Besides the fact that it was the holidays which are always hectic, and I was sick a bunch the past few weeks, and I had tons of friends in town over the holidays, here's another excuse for my lack of blogging: Busy as hell at work.

    Usually we are pretty slow here this time of year, maybe a few spotlight or wireless microphone rentals to churches and schools that are putting on holiday pageants and theater productions, but other than that usually we are dead in the water. I was planning on taking off the Friday after both Christmas and New Years to give myself back-to-back four day weekends. This was apparently not in the cards for me since we got so busy all the sudden. We just had a four city tour leave the shop yesterday for the Discovery Channels new "Health Challenge" program, something we had been prepping for over the past three weeks or so. Last week we had received a call to do some lights, sound, staging, and curtains for all the Rams press conferences throughout the playoffs so we had to go set that up. We also did some production for the Celebrate 2004 New Years celebration in Forest Park which took up a bunch of time. Then Saturday we had a last minute call to produce an event for Hillary Clinton at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. Not to mention that we helped out with the presidents visit to St. Louis yesterday. All in all I've only had three days off since the 22nd of December and that includes Christmas and New Years Day. Normally that wouldn't be something I would complain about, but over the holidays it sucks trying to balance illness, family stuff, going out with your friends, and working just about everyday. Especially when everyone else you know is on vacation. I was going to take a day or two off this week just to get caught up on personal stuff that I have been falling behind on, but maybe I'll just try to cram in as much overtime as I can get while I have the chance.

    In case anyone hasn't heard yet, NASA's next unmanned mission to Mars is now in full swing. The remote controlled "Spirit" land rover has landed on the surface of the red planet and is currently beaming pictures back home. Visit NASA's homepage for the Mars Rover missions here to find out more info.

    I just got back inside from having my second one of these. I must say I'm quite impressed. A new type of cigarette that releases almost no secondhand smoke, never releases or needs to be ashed, is almost completely odorless, and is better for you than most cigs? No way I thought. But the concept seems to make sense. I would recommend that any of you smokers out there go and check out exactly how it works by visiting the website yourself, (fill in your b-day and all that crap and then click "The Eclipse Concept" and then click "3. How it works") but for those of you who don't want to visit the site, here's the basic rundown. Imagine it as working on the same concept as a coffee machine; hot water passes through the coffee grounds to release the flavor. Same concept, except now we are using hot air. Basically there is a small insulated carbon tip that you light much like a tiny charcoal briquette. The carbon tip burns slowly and passes super hot air down the cylinder (the rest of the cig) which contains tobacco. The super heated tobacco then releases a smoke/steam substance which you then inhale. Once the carbon tip burns out your cig is finished. Since the carbon tip is the only thing that actually burns, and it is insulated, there is no ash. The cigarette remains whole after you are done with it. Also since the carbon tip is the only thing that is burning (actually more of a slow smolder than a real burn) there is none of that annoying second hand smoke that comes of the tip and gravitates to all your non-smoking friends faces at the bar table (I know you are all familiar with that). Less second hand smoke combined with the fact that the tobacco never actually burns means less smell too. My mom has a nose like a bloodhound and she couldn't even smell it on me right afterwards! Usually she can smell smoke on me as soon as I walk in the door!! The taste is a bit different and they say it takes a bit of getting used to. But they are saying it has much less tar and nicotine than your average light cig. If that's the case, it may be worth looking into for my friends sake as well as my own. Check it out!

    Being sick blows. It's one thing to get sick, take some meds, and then get better but this is ridiculous! Here's how my last month has gone as far as illnesses are concerned:

    Dec 10 - 13: Mild sinus infection, no big deal. Kleenex, lots of water, and some Vitamin C right??

    Dec 14 - 20: Sore throat kicks in early AM on Sunday the 14th, I head back to bed and wake up at noon with about a 100 degree fever. By the next evening its pushing 103 degrees. I've got the full blown flu. My fever tops out early on Wednesday at about 104.6 degrees. All the horrible symptoms are there too, massive headache, full on body aches, sore throat, cough, chills & sweats, etc. I finally feel well enough on Saturday night to attend Karyn's holiday party.

    Dec 20 - 22: Still recovering from the flu, a heavy cough sets in trying to kick up all the congestion that had drained into my chest while sleeping over the course of the past week. YUM!!

    Dec 26 - 28: Nasty abdominal pains begin. I have no clue what caused them or what it could possibly be. Bad gas pains and lots of time on the old crapper. I won't go into any more detail than that.

    Dec 28 - 31: Muscle pains from hell all the way from my lower back up through my neck to the base of my skull and into my shoulders. No idea what this is a result of either. I could pin it on sitting through the ROTK for 4 hours but I've seen movies that long before with no problem. I suppose I could have just slept really funny but this was some seriously intense pain. Could it be an annual reminder of my car accident from last year which happened almost exactly one year ago from the day I started getting the pains? Like Frodo's knife wound at Weathertop, it may never fully heal. I'll have to sail from the Havens.

    Jan 4 - Present: Back pains have been popping up mildly again as well as symptoms of a head/chest cold. I can't wait to see what happens next.

    Maybe it's time I go see the doctor and do some sort of a "Quarter-Life Checkup". I've actually been meaning to do something like that. They recommend it at 20, 25, 30, 35 and then every other year after that. Maybe this past month is the motivator.

    Monday, January 05, 2004
    Ok, well I'm back, or at least for the most part. I've been waiting to blog all evening but it seems as though they were doing some scheduled maintenance on the blogger system. I've got a ton of stuff to cover here over the course of the next day or two, and I'll probably save the whole "what I did over the holidays" stuff for a bit later since I'm sure it will be a big post and take me at least an hour or so to write. But until then I'll give you all a couple of "quick and easy" cheap thrill posts to tide you over until I have the time to sit down and do things like upload pictures of the New Years eve party and such. Oh, and speaking of the New Years eve, cheers to a great 2004!

    Friday, January 02, 2004
    Man, there's nothing better than driving home after work in the month of January with all your car windows down blasting your music. I can't believe it was almost 70 degrees today. A hell of a treat if you ask me. Maybe I'll wear some short sleeves when I go out tonight. Oh and BTW, I'll resume regular blogging on Sunday and fill everyone in about all that has happened over the holidays.

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