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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Sunday, February 29
Today was a beautiful day, and I was even outside for several minutes, as we headed to Princeton for some Water Street shopping. It's nice to know that there are actually quirky little boutique shops selling interesting wares outside of Madison. All I ended up with was some bizarre sauce products, though. Spray-on BBQ sauce and some spicy ketchup. I'll let you know how they work out.

I still have some lingering cold to work out, but I don't think it's crippling or anything.

As today is Leap Day, which sounds just wrong whenever I hear anyone say it, I think everything seems just a little out of it to me.
It's that or the sinus pressure is getting to me.

Saturday, February 28
Dare I say I am feeling better today?

Mr. Jones came over today and we got Mother's new computer running. There were some issues, but nothing he wasn't up to. Really, it's best to leave the PC assembly to Mr. Jones, it would take me all day to get it right.
Meanwhile I scrubbed the range top and now I have the cleanest stove of anyone I know.
Of course, the oven is a different story.

Dinner at Cy's was good, I'm looking forward to the follow-up in a few hours at Mongo's, just sitting around playing solitaire and listening to the new Shin's album (thanks to the generosity of DerK).
It's really good, if you're asking.
My apologies in advance that I can't follow the theme this evening, I don't own anything that could be called 'Hawaiian' no matter how generous one becomes with the term. I tend to avoid prints in general, not to mention bright colors.

There were more layoffs announced at work this week, though they were ones we all knew were going to happen soon enough, so there won't be much fretting.

Other than that, it's unexciting city over this-a-way.

Thursday, February 26
Got this interesting piece of e-mail today:

Plinko rules ok
please and don't forget it OK!!!

They redid the set and it looks amazing don't be a hater!

I guess I'm kinda suprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.

Wednesday, February 25

My cold is turning into tired soreness. So much so that I took sick time off for the afternoon.
I wish something interesting were gong on, but it really isn't.

This weekend should be fun, provided my health holds up. Cy's on Friday for one birthday party, then Mongo's on Saturday for two more. Now that's celebration.

In my haste to congratulate my blog on it's third birthday, I forgot to salute Pyro on having thirty-five more.

Now, off to bed!

Monday, February 23
And the sick just get sicker.

I'm in full-blown cold mode today. The best part of it all is that my boss is also sick - and so is Velveteen. We're just an unhealthy little clique at work right now.

It seems I have a new furnace. Maybe I'll turn the heat up and see how that turns out. Of course, it's kinda warm out, so it really won't tell me anything.

I think at one point today I had some things I wanted to tell you, but right now I'm stuffed so full of mashed potatoes that stressful thoughts seem almost dangerous.

But before I go to sit and digest for the rest of the evening:
In not posting on Friday, I didn't give myself the chance to say 'happy birthday' to the blog. Now I have to wish it well, three years and three days old today.

Sunday, February 22
The theme of the weekend is I'm getting sick.

I've been fighting a cold since early last week, it keeps creeping up on me every evening, then I beat it down with some naproxen and by morning I mostly feel fine. I can feel the soreness in my throat creeping toward my left ear and while I can think of worse things, having an ear-infection is far from first on my list of things to do.

I stayed home tonight to roast a chicken and do my taxes. It took like twice as long as usual (the taxes, not the chicken) because Rolf paid me in 'non-employee compensation' instead of 'other income' - so I had to file all the stupid lines for business income, even though I don't file the tax form for the business. I was very close to removing the whole thing and taking my chances that the IRS wouldn't check and go after me for the money. Heck, I'm fairly certain I did something wrong anyway. But, with my luck they'd be knocking on my door Monday looking for the $1000 difference.
Yes, I went from a refund of $679 to owing $310 to the feds. Fortunately, the state will return about $400 to me, so I'm not totally screwed. I can't file yet, though. I need to get some forms from the landlords for my rents paid so I can get $44 of that back from the state. Plus I need to print things, so I'll be finishing up at the home of maw and paw.

Yes, TBCS was this weekend. I wasn't able to fully enjoy it because my nose was stuffed and my throat hurt. I had some fun playing games. I think eating mostly sugar and drinking so much soda didn't help my cause against the cold, though.

Thursday, February 19
I am tired. This has been a long week and I don't know why.

There's a TBCS this weekend, which is nice. I'm really excited about it, what with the new PC and all. Plus, it looks like FedEx will bring Mother's new hard drive tomorrow, too bad we won't have time to install it until next week.

I don't know what else to say, politics just haven't tickled me since Clark dropped out of the race for president. I'm reading a great, but difficult book, and I haven't had time for much gaming lately. So, I guess I'll turn in and read some more!

Tuesday, February 17
I have little to nothing work-related to talk about today. I am officially scared of the day when my boss is gone on maternity leave, though. I bet they'll be thankful that I'll be salaried then, because I can't even begin to fathom the overtime I'll be putting during that season. As it stands now, I'm at work about 45 hours a week, and I add about three or four more that I do at home answering e-mails from makers (rarely on the clock, because I'm just curious, seems silly to pay OT for that).
Now my boss does about 40 at the office (having a toddler at home hurts) and some more at home, depending on the workload. Suddenly, Velveteen and I will have to take on all that work for three months. Eeep. Even with the support of our friend from Deutschland, it's gonna be a ride.

So, as the calm before the storm, I'm trying to plan a vacation before the maternity leave starts. I'm pushing Mother to take me to Montreal for several days. Maybe we'll take a side trip to Toronto or Ottawa.

I forgot to vote today. Instead I had planned to make a dinner of ribs and mashed potatoes for the Joneses during the hockey game. Dinner had to be watched, so I couldn't get down to the polling place after work. Ooops.

Monday, February 16
Okay, so I was sick and tired of staring at the same out-of-date reading list. I was always too lazy to look up the books on Amazon, so no more linky-linky for you.

Mostly I've been reading, eating and playing UT2k4. The latter is pretty exciting, though I have the same problem with it that I have with every UT game, which is that the weapons absolutely suck.
It's a really nice engine with great maps and it runs well without demanding a lot of machine, but the weapons have sucked since the orginal and seem to have only gotten lamer as time goes on. My issue isn't with their conception, only that for all the fancy technology and creuelty they pretend the weapons have, it takes a ton of shots to kill a player in the game. What's the point of developing explosive rockets and laser guns if you have to shoot someone with it five times, or ten or twenty if you use that old technology of bullets.

I was so hoping the weather would warm up so I would stop freezing every night in my bedroom. I'm actually kind of getting used to the space heater. Had I known it would be noisy I would have probably picked out a different one.

Work got really stupid today. Sometimes I wonder how so many people can get away with being so crazy. Oh well. Maybe some day I will be eccentric and not beholden to any concept of reality and then I can run a department, too.

Sunday, February 15
Good morning. Today I head for the hamlet of Kohler, WI, for the semi-annual Kohler Fire Department Brat Fry where I will eat lots of brats and enter drawings for bottles of Kessler that I won't win. And a good time will most certainly be had by all.

Friday night I ran into a bunch of people from the Nowhere. It made me realize how far away from a journalist's mindset I have come since I left the paper. At the magazine, thoughts of business were always in our heads, and now I work in a very corporate setting its strange how defensive I get about the company I work for.
It's a different perspective, and I know I'm mostly right about it, but it bothers me that I might not be totally right about it.
I guess I'd go into detail, but most people don't care and the people who would, I don't want finding my thoughts online through a search engine, you know?

So, brats, brats and more brats! That and some UT2K4 before we leave. Rawr.

Thursday, February 12
I have fully intended to post these last few days, but between hockey games and boozing it up at the only bar in the world, I haven't had much free time at home lately.
Besides, all I ever hear about is some car, anyway (wink).

I need to get off my butt and do my taxes. I'm sure there's some money coming back to me, somewhere.

Yes, I am sad that the General dropped out of the race, but I'll live.

Monday, February 9
Damn Onion! He couldn't influence General Clark to come to Oshkosh in the morning, now I might have to miss out because we have a meeting that afternoon. And a stupid meeting, if I must say so, myself. Maybe I can connive my way out, but with my luck, the General will reneg at the last minute if I get out of work to go meet him.
Besides, I'm starting to resign myself to having John Kerry beat the presidency out of that worthless brat in the White House. I would rather have the NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (retired) do it, but a decorated Vietnam vet would probably do it well, too.

In personal news, I'm trying to think of what kind of vacation I would like to take this year. I haven't been anywhere since the three days in West Virginia in July '02. Before that, my last vacation was the UK in March '01. Anyone with good ideas is welcome to suggest them, as I am generally clueless.

Sunday, February 8
Happy hockey weekend! Velveteen and I went to see Miracle last night. It was pretty good, considering you know the ending when you go. I'd go into more detail, but I don't think anyone cares, do they?
Also, the NHL All-Star game starts in 1-1/2 hours and I am busy making chicken wings.

I bought a space heater because it gets so cold in my bedroom and the natural gas heat is so expensive. Unfortunately it is somewhat loud and gives off a faint smell of petroleum, which would be fine for most people but I am regarded as a light sleeper. So I when I turned it on I had to sit up and read for an hour or so until I was so tired I couldn't help but fall alseep.
Even then I woke up every hour or so to its noise, but it did get the bedroom pretty warm.

I watched President Bush on Meet the Press, talking with Tim Russert. I am not convinced that people who intend to vote for him in November aren't just wrong, they're crazy. If that means voting for John Kerry, I guess I'll have to do it, but not on the 17th.
Speaking of politics, Onion managed to bring my presidential preference to Oshkosh this week, now I need to mull taking a half-day off to lick Onion's boots and help out so I might get a chance to meet the General.

Saturday, February 7
Good morning. I've been a drip about posting lately and I don't know why.
Not that this development puts me behind anyone else. It seems the blogging phenomenon has largely fallen out of favor with guys of bad and otherwise natures.
For my part, the general reason is laziness. There's also the fact that it's cold and it seems to be impairing my ability to type.

This weekend I plan on doing some laundry and rebuilding my old PC to give to Mother, as hers is old and broken. Other than that, I'm going to be tapping my fingers in utter boredom.
You know how it is.

Monday, February 2
So it's already February. That means no more snow and ice, right? Well, it does if you merchandise seasonal items at Target and Wal-Mart. I went to both places, in that cold, unseasonable snow looking for a snow brush for my car, since mine recently broke and, the way I figure it, there's still three months of snow weather left this year.
Naturally, the forward-thinking folks at the stores know its unlikely anyone could still need a scraper or a snow brush, so they've thoughtfully removed those items from the shelves to make more room for storage containers that take up about a third of the shelf space at retail stores from January until about May.

I wish there were something political to discuss. I'm thinking about volunteering for Senator Feingold's reelection campaign, as he's just about the only politician in the Federal Government whom I really believe in. But, there's no campaign office north of Madison, which kinda sucks.

Also, I have no real rhyme or reason for my affection for General Clark, I just think he'd be the one most likely to beat George Bush, and that would be the best thing for this fine nation of ours.

In work news, they inexplicably fired someone whom I was rather fond of, for bogus reasons, if you ask me. It gives you chills whenever something like that happens. I don't want to fuss over details on it, for obvious reasons. But just keep that sort of thing in mind, that just because you do your job very well and get along with just about everyone doesn't mean they won't make up a reason to fire you someday.

Sunday, February 1
For any of you who might have been alarmed by the words 'the heat is not working' at the end of yesterday's post, don't worry, it's sorta working now.

It does get pretty cool in here at night, but I think I was pushing 70 for most of the daytime. Of course, its nice that the outside temperature pushed up twenty degrees to 10 or 12 for most of the day.

In other news, I roasted a whole chicken for the first time last night, with some lovely potatoes, carrots, leeks, mushrooms and garlic. I did not stuff it, the vegetables sat at the bottom of the pan. The one thing I learned from the experience is a lesson I have learned many times, the instant-read thermometer is my friend. It took much longer than I expected to get the thickest part of the chicken to cook to temperature.

Today I am going to make lasanga, from my continually-evolving recipe. I still question whether or not I should put meat in it. I am not fond of Italian sausage in my lasanga, and while I grew up on hamburger in it, it still seems kinda wrong somehow. I also plan on making it without cooking the noodles at all before assembling. Every iteration, I have tried to get it to stay together more. The one thing I do not like about eating lasanga is that the layers tend to slide apart when you cut it. I've been gradually thickening my cream-based sauce layers and using less marinara overall to help with this.

As long as I'm on a food-talking kick, I should added to my discussion of my recent obsession with pork that I am also using a lot more beans in my cooking, as an inexpensive substitute for meat. I could eat beans and rice three or four times a week, but I probably should work on variations. Right now I basically eat a spicy red beans and rice with onions, garlic, bell pepper, corn and usually with a little bacon and/or sausage (chorizo or andouille).
It's much better tasting and much less expensive than even the cheap Vigo Beans and Rice bag meals which I used to eat a couple of times a week.

Recent interesting articles for your pleasure: The Washington Post feature on the upcoming conflict over nanotechnologies. Since most people I know are sci-fi types, I'm sure they'd like to see how the real-world stuff is coming.
My take on it is pretty cautionary. I remember the PR-disaster that was biotech foods - 'Frankenfoods' in the media - when I worked for the newspaper.
What I don't get is why the companies involved in these new world-altering technologies have to act like belligerent scientists in a comic book about the whole thing. I can just see them talking in all caps with lots of extra exclamation points and emdashes (—) for dramatic effect while rushing ahead with new technologies without considering the consequences.
I mean how bad would it be to, you know, do all the cautionary testing and consider the long-term effects of your new products before getting all crabby that some people oppose your research?

And while I'm being political, Wesley Clark in '04! Those stupid liberals in New England and Iowa are fucking us all by voting for John Kerry and the media can't tell a story that isn't about Howard Dean. Woo Clark! I'm gay for General Wesley Clark!!