Why Plinko hates you.

the life and times of one jaded motherfucker.

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Uncle Phil

:.News of the World.:
Washington Post
NY Times
Howard Kurtz
Leonard Pitts
The Onion

:.On Wisconsin.:
Milwaukee J-S
Wheeler Report
Gannett Wisconsin

Penny Arcade


:.Current Book.:
Woman In the Dark - Dashiell Hammett

:.Last 6 Books.:
The Catcher In the Rye - JD Salinger
Grendel - John Gardner
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - Roddy Doyle
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Theft - Peter Carey
Saturday - Ian McEwan

:. Bands .:
Dismemberment Plan
Jets to Brazil
Promise Ring

Mark Helprin
Kazuo Ishiguro
Wilkie Collins
William Faulkner
Philip K. Dick
Dashiell Hammett

The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien
Frank Herbert
Dan Simmons
The Dark Tower
Stephen King

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Tuesday, September 30
There was a time when I conceived of this web site as a forum for my thoughts on current events, no matter how crazy. That time, which has been largely sandwiched between periods where my web site has been little more than a very, very public diary is something I'm moving back to a bit today.
Not that I see the website-as-soapbox being the ideal content for Why Plinko Hates You, for he most certainly does hate you for reasons that occur every day and about which you have every interest in reading, I'm sure. Rather, lately I haven't had much to write about in my own life, but there's always plenty of news/television/advertising/drivers which engender an unhealthy amount of anger in me. So, lets go with that.

The top item on my ire list is the federal do-not-call registry, which is in jeopardy of being ruled inconstitutional. I am not actually on that do-not-call list, but I am on Wisconsin's. Should the federal registry be deemed unconstitutional then our own state's list would soon fall to the wayside as there is nothing in the law, as far as I have seen, which will exempt it from the same fate the federal court ruling holds for the national.
Now, aside from the vein in my head that's ready to pop because a federal judge on his of his own violition willed a new constitutional right directly from thin air, in this case the right to call people to solicit them to purchase things, there is another issue about which I want to speak.
The issue that breaches the imaginary rights of telemarketers?
That groups that exist to raise money for charitable, religious, political and miscellaneous non-profit organizations are exempt from the edict to not call the people signed up for the list.
Now, as a sensible person, I thought there was nothing wrong with this separation. After all, any half-wit can differentiate between scum-of-the-earth telemarketers and the annoying-but-tolerable-because-the-money's-for-a-good-cause fund-raisers.
Or, I thought as much until the representative of fund-raising organizations in a recent Journal-Sentinel story was from one of those fucking groups that claims to raise money for sheriffs. You know, one of the 100 shadow groups for various arms of law enforcement that harass you every day and actually call you names and act indignant if you don't want to donate, even if the reason you give is that you're unemployed and have no fucking money.
If we can't craft a law that sends these assclowns up a river, then they all have to go. It's better than never answering your phone because apparently there's an inalienable right to be a dick over the telephone now.

Oh, and just because I've been listening to Lewis Black again:


I feel much better now.

Sunday, September 28
It's been another busy weekend, full of partying and whatnot.
I'm glad the busy weekends are over for a while though, the weddings and birthdays and trips are fun, but it's good to have a break every once in a while.

Of course, I have a rather unexpected birthday all of a sudden: Imoan's birthday is coming up next weekend and I find myself in the unenviable position of finding a gift for someone I've been casually dating for all of a month.

In other news, I finished the terrible, terrible book. I'm going to start another - let's hope better one - directly.

So, in order to buy gifts for my friends and family with birthdays last week, I had to go to the mall up in Appleton. Apparently, as it turns out, there's nothing to do up there except hang out at the mall because every goddamn person in town felt the need to hang out there. It took me half and hour to find a parking spot and it's not even October yet.
It also seems they don't have any restaurants there except the Olive Garden, because Friday night they were turning people away due to the overwhelming wait to get a table.
It's not as if these people live in Oshkosh, which is a fine city outside of it's near-complete lack of decent restaurants and shopping. The dozens of restaurants offering all sorts of perfectly acceptable places to eat and they all flock to the Olive Garden.

Of course, I was also at both of these places, so it could be conceived of as hypocritical of me to be aghast and call the people of our neighbor to the north boring.
But, I was at the mall because I had three birthday presents to buy, leaving me with little choice but to brave the crowds, what was their excuse, some sort of sale at Hollister, now with 10% more disdain?
And unfortunately, Atom and Emily wanted to go to the Olive Garden and as I had to wait a while for them to arrive, it would seem a waste to go elsewhere when we all had places to be later on. Really.

So the lesson, kids, avoid the mall, it's busy there.

Thursday, September 25
Money, ugh.

I can't imagine where I'd be if I hadn't finally found a job that actually issued paychecks when I did. As it is, I'm making more money than I ever have and I can still hardly pay the bills.
I suppose in five years, once the car, parents and credit cards are all paid in full, things will be pretty well. I hope to be getting paid a little more by then as well, but lets not count chickens right now.
So, I just started consolodating my student loans, and I'm going to vow to stop going out to eat so much and possibly swear off so much time at the bar.

So, to celebrate my newfound fiscal responsibility as well as the end of crazy busy weekends, Friday/Saturday dinners are back in action. I'll pass out more details later, but keep your mind on things you'd like to have and which nite works best for you.

And now its my tee time, don't like to keep Mr. Jones waiting.

Tuesday, September 23
The cold continues its dark reign of terror.

I spent the afternoon in a mild coma. Fortunately for all involved, I had the sense to take the afternoon off sick from work rather than sleep at my desk. I've done enough napping at work lately and lets be honest, my couch is much more comfy than my desk chair at work.

I have heard interest in FF: Crystal Chronicles, I say let's go!

According to MSN, this is the #4 site to visit if you're looking for the Sucking and Fucking of Korean Girls, which I hope doesn't leak to the general public because I know only one Korean girl and that sort of thing is her business. If you ask me.

The book I'm currently reading is terrible and I'm kind of torn. You see, I love the Dune books. I've read the proper series several times and the lure of peering into the world is very very attractive to me,. but the new books are a real trial to get through, being so wooden and lifeless as they are. So, if I seem unusally surly you can blame Kevin J. Anderson, science fiction's #1 hack.

Monday, September 22
I still have a cold. I am totally starting a petition to have colds kicked out of this country.

As for this weekend, the wedding was fun, I took lots of very dark pictures that will require Photoshoppery so that all can laugh at my co-workers dancing.
Once again going to a wedding resulted in me telling Miss Velveteen all about how I want to have my wedding. You know, no chicken dance, pies instead of cake.
I also want an air-hockey table at my reception, in case you're curious.

Working at the video store entailed standing around for three hours in exchange for $25 cash, a 2-liter bottle of coke, some pizza and a free rental of the Sci Fi Network Children of Dune DVD. That's a fair exchange, I think.

I watched Amelie with Imoan after a lovely dinner of curried lamb with peas. I must say I love peas, they might even be my favorite vegetable after onions and carrots. And I suppose shallots, and garlic's a vegtable too, right? I also eat lots of potatoes, so they should be up there, too.
Okay, moral of the story:
Peas good, fire bad!

Friday, September 19
Oh, before I forget:


It’s cold out, so naturally I had to go and get a cold.
Actually, I’ve had a cold for a week, but it was really minor until today. Now I’ve been sneezing and sniffling all over everything at the office in a desperate attempt to make my co-workers share in my misery.
I have another big wedding this weekend. Thankfully, I’m not in this one, so I can sit back and enjoy myself.
Provided I’m not sneezing the whole time.
I will try to stop by OshCon on Sunday before the Packer game, but that largely depends on how quick I am to get up after a night of partying with the co-workers.

I hung out at Imoan’s apartment last night, even though we watched Temptation Island for a while it was a pretty good time. I guess it helps that Sonic Youth and Wilco performed on PBS’s Soundstage.

I am one of the few not headed out to see the funny tonight. Instead, I have agreed to help out a friend by working for him at the video store tonight. I’ll try not to laugh uncontrollably at people when they rent Just Fucking and Sucking 2 for the second time, but that’s about as comedic as my night will get.

Tuesday, September 16
Because you need more information about my existence, I've added a the book I am currently reading as well as the last five books to the minutiae at your left. Now you can watch how slowly I get through books these days, especially since I'm sure I'll be too lazy to keep totally up to date.

Two words people: jerky cannon.

I was going to write to you about whatever oddities popped into my head at the time, but I got a phone call from Shu-Ling, who lectured me on moon cakes and the horror of American girls wearing bikinis in front of their own fathers!

So now you get nothing.

Monday, September 15
Oh, I finally got off my lazy bum and updated Josh's link, now that he's defected to movable type.
While I agree with my erstwhile copydesk co-worker that the Beloit College Mindset list is a sign of stupidty, I think the same applies to MT. Every time I visit a MT blog the text constantly disappears and sometimes overlaps somehow. It's like someone's always putzing with the tracking. Could it be that there's a site that hates PCs or IE as so many hate Macs and Netscape? I guess, but you have to admit it would be pretty stupid.

This will be my first full week of work in a month, owing to holidays, business trips and half-days of vacation. I can feel how long its going to seem already.
I tried to keep on track by doing a lot of auditing today, poring over my spreadsheets carefully to get everything squeaky clean. You see, like many people, I can do my job carefully and meticulously every moment and either work sixty hours a week or be relentlessly behind. As a second option, I can let a lot of busy work slide and only pay attention to the major things. That option has the consequence of me having to clean everything up every so often, but I'm convinced the net work necessary is much, much less.
But, now that I've audited my most-complicated things, how will the rest of my week go? Rest assured, I'm shuddering in anticipation just as you are.
I've gotten too used to struggling to fit everything into a shortened week, now with five whole days I might just get bored.
I suppose last week I technically worked 50-odd hours, thanks to getting paid for traveling and schmoozing, but even a greasy conniving little bastard like me doesn't try to pass it off as real work, you know?

Anyway, the date was good. We watched LA Story, which is a really great movie I had mostly forgotten about. I think I'll refrain from telling her about her new nickname just yet, though.

Speaking of movies I had mostly forgotten about, am I the only person who watched Caveman! about a ho-jillion times during childhood? I suppose not since someone at work was talking about how her husband just bought it and she was disturbed by his affection for it. I imagine the movie is absolutely terrible, but an to an eight-year-old, having it on the Movie Channel every week was a real treat.

Sunday, September 14
The house is clean, must be because Imoan is coming over.

Today has been spent mostly cleaning and fighting a minor cold. That and a little time spent enjoying the ineptitude of the Detroit Lions.

I made steak au poivre last night and some roast vegetables. I think for the first time in my life I can say I used too much butter. The meat was extra rare, which would have been fine if the sauce wasn't all butter. I'll keep that in mind for next time.

Tonight chicken parmigiana and then strawberry-rhubarb pie.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love pie?

The girl at the grocery store checkout saw me purchasing both strawberries and rhubarb and asked me if I was going to attempt to make the pie myself. She seemed incredulous, despite the fact that she had already scanned the frozen pie crusts, which make the hard part of pie-making fairly low-impact.
I guess that's the kind of mystique pie holds on people, its so good it must be really hard. I guess slicing fruit, covering in sugar and cornstarch with some cinnamon and nutmeg then baking in a pie crust with some butter must be a monumentous task for some people.
I suppose many people tell me that cooking is too hard. As if paying attention to something other than the television for twenty minutes is some sort of superhuman feat.

Okay, that's enough crabbing for now. I have to prepare some salad and get ready. Have a lovely evening, kids.

Thursday, September 11
Okay, now I'm finally tired. I got back from Tennessee with a surprising amount of energy. I suppose you don't really get all that tired when you spend most of your time sitting waiting to get or go somewhere. But today was a full day of work, plus lunch and dinner with the vendors.

I volunteered to taxi some of them around, which was nice, since I got to leave work for a while to drive them out to the Outlet Mall and even shop for myself for a few minutes, all on the company dime.

Dinner was a very fun time, too bad I have no idea when I'll get to hang out with a bunch of people who actually work on my product. It would be nice to have a more personal connection with the people I e-mail every day.
We ate at Vitale's and Fratellos, the latter being as poor as ever. I barely touched my food at Fratello's because they gave us so many appetizers I was full before my soup showed up.

So, now I know a lot of dirty jokes about Elephants and/or camels. I also am now known for talking a lot by people on three continents. Go me.

My tiredness coupled with a lack of interest in computer games led me to cancel out on TBCS for this weekend. I just wasn't looking forward to it. Maybe I'll miss it a bit and then next time, but I haven't touched a PC game other than Rocket Mania and Shadows of Undrentide since the last shoot. I'll get my house clean, some bike riding and golf in instead.

Wednesday, September 10
And we're back.

Tennessee was an odd trip, I spent more time traveling than actually doing anything.
I can now say, definitively, that there are some people in our department with whom I would like to never ever again spend time with. Many of our vendors from the Far East were pretty fun, though, once they warmed up a bit.

The hotel was not good, mostly because the service was absolutely terrible, they messed up a lot of things. I would have blogged and checked my e-mail, but they still did not have their 'business center' up and running.

The only good food we had was at the Stockyard in Nashville, which was fairly swank. I think the 19 of us rung up a bill of about $1,000, all of which was fortunately picked up by the corporate office. I sat at a table with a man from Korea, Singapore, India, Egypt, another from India but working in the UAE and a woman from Singapore who lives in Turkey but is moving to Hong Kong shortly after she gets back from this trip.
I think ours was the only table that even tried the rooster testicles, much less finished them. They're terrible, in case you're wondering, as I had to do my best Anthony Bourdain and try the 'exotic' (read: gross) foods.
Basically, we ate, drank wine and told dirty jokes. Let me tell you this, basic dirty jokes are much, much funnier if they come from a foreigner with a thick accent.

I'm sure there's other things to tell, but I'm tired and need to get some sleep in my own bed before trying to sort out all that went wrong while I was gone.

Sunday, September 7
Let's get posting before I turn into Atom or something …

It's been a busy week, I've hardly seen my house, much less sat down to blog.

I wonder if we could go a whole week without some sort of shakeup at work. Heck, when I come back from Tennessee next week, I won't be surprised if they up and moved to another building or something.
Not that the latest change affects my department directly, its just the first in a series of changes I expect through the end of the year.

Anyway, it was a tough week, mostly because my boss was stressed and I don't like it when that happens. Fortunately, I'll be gone half of next week, so I won't be bothering her with incessant questions every day.

In the non-work front, I've been playing a lot of Mario Golf in what passes for spare time. I think Mr. Jones and I are going to start scheduling a regular tee-time, if anyone else wishes to hit the virtual links with us.

I neglected to mention that Wednesday night the Dismemberment Plan played their final show. I'm looking for someone to fill the gap, if anyone has any suggestions.

Went to the farmers market in Madison yesterday with Shu-Ling, which was a lot of fun. She thinks we should open a noodle house in Oshkosh. I'm not entirely sold on the idea yet. I also got to enjoy some tasty Babcock ice cream, something I really ought to make an effort to do every time I hit Madison.

Miss Velveteen and I had the best Halloween-costume theme idea yesterday, see store for details.

I suppose the curious among you are wondering how Friday night went.
I had a very good time, which was a considerable improvement upon the total blah that was last week Wednesday. I'm not sold yet, but it was an encouraging development. Or, not, depending on your perspective.

We (meaning Miss Velveteen and I) went to Edsel's gallery exhibition last night. I saw two paintings I really wanted, but the one was $325 and the other was reasonably priced but bought by a co-worker whom I will hound mercilessly about it for a few weeks. Doesn't she realize how much my walls are screaming for some artwork??

Pink chimneys in Maine couldn't keep me away.

Wednesday, September 3
Well, crap. Looks like Blogger ate my post from last night.
Rest assured it was thought-provoking and insightful. You may want to change your life because of it.

The parts I remember, summarized for her pleasure:

1. Bought a GameCube, Mario Golf and Soul Calibur II
2. Work is really crazy with someone on vacation
3. Second date Friday night. I know, I know.

Blah. It was way more interesting last night, but I need to get dressed for work now.