Monday, July 31, 2006

Vampire Pyramid Scheme

As far as I can tell, the whole point of this game is to get people to click a link to get "bitten" and become a vampire. Then they put out links to bite people, and so on. I don't know if you get anything if vampires you sire then sire additional vampires, but if so then it seems to be a pyramid thing. Those crafty undead.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Skeletor strikes again


Obviously, Skeletor has moved into Dr. Evil's secret volcano lair and is using his mind-control-beam-satellite to make female celebrities think that looking skeletal is hot (also known as Operation Ally McBeal).

That's the only explanation that I can think of that would cause someone like Anna Kournikova, who made a career of being hot and a hobby of playing tennis, to go from fit and smoking (above)to emaciated and bony.(below)

Belaboring the obvious, this is not a good look. Look at her arms, they look like she's 80.

Anna, eat a sandwich. You can have half of mine even.

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Pastor breaks from the Right

This article touches on a couple of notions I mull on. One is the involvement of religion in politics, the other is the compromising of faith for financial reasons.

The first is pretty straight forward. The Right has been very active is getting religion into politics. I really think that the polarization caused by the gay marriage issue kept Bush and many Conservatives in office, because it brought a lot of moderates over to the Right for that election.

The second is something I have talked about before. At what point does your church start being more about business than belief? I think about it almost every time I drive by the megachurch that is in my neighborhood. Running something that big takes a lot of money. When do you worry more about the bills than the message?

I have to applaud the pastor in the article. While I'm sure we don't agree on many things, he had the cajones to stand up and say that his church should not be involved in politics despite the financial backlash.

And to clarify, I'm not anti-Christian nor anti-Republican. There are a lot of good works done by Christians and their churches, and there are political points I agree with Republicans on.

But I am anti-theocracy.

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Weight update



Not much of an update really, seeing as I remain at 232 pounds. KNH sent me a text informing me that she is only 2 pounds away from her GenCon goal, which means she'll hit it (and I promise to be good and not wave Pringles under your nose).

This week was rough. I worked at another location on reconciling their inventory and things were really jacked up. Lots of stress, lots of driving (w00t for getting paid for drive time plus mileage), and going to lunch with their team meant that I didn't have my usual low-calorie lunch. Fortunately, I resisted the stressed induced urge to pig out late night, so I guess I should be glad that I didn't put back on weight.

So for those playing the home game... I weigh 245 last GenCon, 240 when I started the gym and 232 now. My original goal for GenCon when I joined the gym was 225, so I won't even be close. Maybe if I'm good between now and then I'll make 230. Not that I think people really care how much I weigh, but putting it out there gives me a little more motivation.

And the Pringles remain unopened.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

VA discriminates against dead Wiccan soldiers

Get this, the US Dept. of Veteran Affairs refuses, despite 9 years of requests, to allow Wiccan soldiers to have a pentacle engraves on their marker. There are 38 approved symbols, including one for atheists, but despite the fact that the military recognizes Wicca as a valid religion, the VA refuses to approve the symbol for use on military grave markers.

There are articles about it here. and here.

I have to admit that I was surprised that the Indianapolis Star featured the story prominently, given its usual conservative bent.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Wal-Mart suffers two setbacks

The FDIC put on hold the approval of all ILC's for 6 months, which includes Wal-Mart's endeavors to open their own bank. Of course, Wal-Mart promises not to compete with regular banks. Right. That's like a kid promising not to eat any of those freshly baked chocolate chip cookies while you run to the store. The article is here.

Wal-Mart also decided to get the schnizzel out of Germany, dumping its 85 stores for a billion dollar loss. Which sounds like a lot of money until you realize how much they make... it'd be like me losing $100. Not something I'd relish, but certainly no fiscal disaster (especially not with the over-time I put in this week). Click for the article.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Liberal Media My Ass

This is a clip showing how Fox News used some creative editting to try to smear some Democrat. Obviously they didn't want to waste time on fluff pieces like the economy, the war, or Bush trying to slow down medical research.



I really need to find the Nazi fanfare from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Natural flirt? Ummmm... right.

My friend Nicole mentioned this in a comment, so I decided to take the quiz to see what it says...

You Are a Natural Flirt
<
Believe it or not, you're a really effective flirt.
And you're so good, you hardly notice that you're flirting.
Your attitude and confidence make you a natural flirt.
And the fact that you don't know it is just that more attractive!


Riiight.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Got Self-esteem?

You Have Low Self Esteem 32% of the Time

Generally, you feel pretty darn great about who you are, even when you mess up or fail.
Occasionally, a huge setback will make you question yourself, but you pick yourself up quickly.

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How is your inner child?

Your Inner Child Is Scared

Like a kid, you tend to shy away from new experiences.
You prefer what's tried and true - novelty is scary!
New foods, new places, and new friends are difficult for you to deal with.
Some say you're predictable, but you enjoy being comfortable.


Don't know how much I agree with this, though I guess I could see it in that I've pretty much fallen into a quiet routine in my life.

But judging by my diet pictures, my inner child should be a fifth grader. I've been carrying that sucker a long time.

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Flying Monkey Hungry Tigers



Does this monkey realize that these tigers' idea of play means eating him? Obviously not. A cute video, safe for the kids even.

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Review: Clerks II

One of these days I'll figure out how to categorize my blog entries.

A lot of reviewers don't like Kevin Smith's newest movie. In fact, one high profile critic, Joel Siegel, walked out of the press screening. Fortunately, I'm not like most reviewers. I review more based on how I enjoy the movie then on its "critical merits". That's why I liked Dukes of Hazzard, though to be honest my generosity in rating it was probably based on equal parts of nostalgia and alcohol.

Clerks II was laugh out loud funny, and not just for me. I don't remember the last time I heard an audience laugh this much. Is it vulgar? Eff yeah. This is not a movie I'd watch watch with the family. It's a Kevin Smith movie, and not trying to be sappy sweet like Jersey Girl (though to be honest, I do like Jersey Girl). This is Smith going back to his roots, f-bombs and all.

The movie does drag in a couple of places... it is essentially almost all dialogue. But if Kevin Smith had written the dialogue for the Star Wars prequels, they wouldn't have been as painful. The only real plot twist isn't a surprise if you've seen the trailers... evilstudios and their evil trailers.

Overall, I'd rate it 4 out of 5 trenchcoat wearing flying monkeys. There's an obvious joke I could have used from the movie, but once you see it you'll also know why I didn't.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Diet Inspiration

I dug this picture up for some diet inspiration. I have one copy on my fridge, and another tapes to a can of Pringles on my kitchen table. The can has gone unopened for 2+ weeks now.

Why Pringles? Because I like them. A lot. MMMmmm... salty carbs. Here's a fun fact... one can of Pringles has as many calories as 10 12 ounce bottles of Michelob Ultra Amber. Ten. I think I just heard Nicole drop her mouse. When we work on our minis, we like to share a can of Pringles and have a couple of beers. Ten.

Of course, I could apply Oz logic, drink 10 beers and say that it's only as many calories as 1 can of Pringles. And wonder who put the wood laminate flooring on the wall.

But I won't do that. I've finally broken a plateau and my weight has started moving down again. I started at the gym at 240, plateaued(?) at 235, but in the last week or two dropped to 232.

Ten.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm Abe Lincoln

My MySpace friend Lucy sent me this quiz... I'm not sure if I've posted it before or not. One of the benefits of Ozheimer's, so many things are new again.


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Sunday, July 16, 2006

I need to raise a zillion dollars


I'd better pull all of those old Powerball and Lotto tickets out of my wallet and check them. I was going to save them for my retirement, but then I saw this. If I'm going to break my 5 year dateless slump, I might as well do it with style. And some of the money goes for a good cause... the rest would be for liposuction, plastic surgery and a personality transplant. Maybe I can convince her I'm related to big-time Hollywood producer Barry Osborne? Maybe I am?

Maybe I can become my own third-world nation, declare myself oppressed, and get financial help from the UN and Bono. That plot of land in Scotland has to be good for something besides my "title", and of course I'm oppressed. I haven't had a girlfriend, let alone a date in 5 years, wouldn't you be oppressed?

Or is that depressed?

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Fruity-Oaty Bar Commercial



Not mandatory!

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Cult of Success

I was offered a chance for a promotion at work. By offer, I mean bordering on brow-beaten to the point that we ended our weekly leadership meeting at work with our GM saying "As the last item for our meeting, I need everyone to beat up on Oz to take this manager's position."

Yes, it's flattering that they want me to go back into management. They want me to a lot.And it would mean a significant jump in pay. Significant... they had already talked about meeting my money demands knowing that I wouldn't take anything that meant the equivalent of a loss of hourly rate. When I quoted how much that worked out to as salary, including figuring for overtime, the response was immediately, "Would you take it if we agreed to pay you that?"

Ever since this has come up a couple of days ago, I've been stressed about it. Mainly because I'm at odds with myself. Part of me thinks that turning down this promotion equals failure, part of me thinks that I am stupid to turn down the money, and part of me thinks that it is my responsibility to take the position because they will be hard pressed to find anyone better qualified. These parts are in conflict with the part of my that doesn't want to do this.

Why don't I?

1) Quality of life. Right now I work a very predictable schedule that borders on being civilized with a 40 hour work week. I have a life outside of work and have time for that life. If I ever get a girlfriend, I'll have time for that. Becoming a manager means a minimum of 50 hours a week with an unreliable schedule that will probably involve a lot of nights and weekends. And no paid holidays guaranteed, plus a 6 day, 60+ hour work week during the holiday season. Hence the offer for copious cash... it would be based on my current rate x55 (40 + 10 hours of o/t).

2) Stress. Dealing with asshole customers, corporate crisises, etc. Not to mention worrying about the performance of the departments under me.

3) No support for the position on a district/market/corporate level. I've seen plenty of other managers in this position left to the wolves and they've castrated the job. At the market level the job is split into 2 disciplines. At the supervisor level it is split into three. At the manager level... it's still all one. Instead of doing what's needed for those disciplines, these managers get used as bitches to run the sales floor in most stores.

4) Poor job security. The turnover for this position is horrible. Corporate can't seem to get a clue. See the aforementioned wolves.

5) No guarantee my replacement will be even close to my caliber. Right now we have a great team and the only person I would consider to be a suitable replacement doesn't want it... and even if she did we'd need a replacement for her position of the same caliber. See Stress above.

Fortunately, the GM took my "final answer" today and has started looking elsewhere, so I should be able to chill out over the weekend.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Switched to Firefox

For someone who prides himself on his adaptability, I sure do hate change. That's why I've been dragging my feet on switching over to Firefox, because I didn't want to go through the hassle of redoing all of my favorites and log-ins and what-not. My friend Weasel finally convinced me it was really easy, so I downloaded and installed Firefox.

Importing my favorites/bookmarks went smoothly, although they are now in a different order, but the log-ins didn't make the trnasfer, which led to a lot of recovering of lost passwords from sites I've been automatically logging into for who knows how long, since I vary passwords and neglect to write them down.

I haven't started playing with plug-ins yet. I'll have to Carlton's site again and read up on his recommendations.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Buy me another round!



On a whim, I decided to go to Fionn MacCool's Irish Pub to have a few pints and watch Highland Reign, a local Celtic pub band. Since my usual partners in crime were unavailable for various reasons and it was too short notice for my larger circle of friends, I was on my own. Not as much fun as with friends, but the alternative was stay home and play on the computer all night.

The crowd was much smaller than the last time I was at MacCool's, and if not for a large birthday party then place would have been over half empty. The band was okay, but they were working in a new fiddler, so it sounded a tad rough.

I had two strokes of good fortune. One was that the bartender forgot one of my pints for 10 - 15 minutes so she didn't charge me for it. The other was that a regular bought everyone at the bar a round, and I happened to be sitting at the bar. He did the same thing last time I was there a few months ago, also on a Saturday. I'll have to remember this. The only thing better than a cold pint of Guinness is a free cold pint of Guinness.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

So sayeth Oz

I've been forbidden from making prophetic statements at work now by my collegue Melissa. We were talking about the various stores I would have to help with their impending inventories, when I leaned back and said "I'm going to have to go to Store 123." Melissa asked if Manager X had quit or gotten fired and I replied that he would step down or leave the company before then, so they would have a new manager that I'll have to train and help.

Later my GM entered the warehouse and I repeated to him my prediction that I would have to help Store 123.

"Oh, because Manager X stepped down?" he replied. I gave him a brief blank look. "I just came from there... he's stepped down."

After I filled him in on my earlier prophecy, we both found Melissa. She turned to me and said "You are not allowed to say things like that out loud anymore."

Also, while at Store 123 my GM talked to their GM. Their GM was bemoaning the fact that now they would do a scrub and find out that their shrink number (percent of product inventory lost vs. sales) was going to jump to a cetain percent.

"Oz says it will be higher," my GM told him. He seemed doubtful. "If Oz says it will be higher, I'd expect it to be higher. Oz knows what he is talking about."

Store 123's GM began rubbing his head.

I don't know what amuses me more... that my GM invoked my name, or that he did it to rattle someone's chains.

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Movie Review: PotC - Dead Man's Chest



The best way to sum up this movie is that it is the "Empire Strikes Back" of the Pirates Trilogy. Once you see it you will understand, trust me.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Some Star Wars fans regard ESB as the best of the original trilogy. DMC has the unenviable job of turning what was a stand alone movie into a trilogy, which means not everything is resolved.

A lot of the original characters are back, almost all of them. Even the undead monkey, which for some reason remains undead despite the Curse being broken in the first movie.

This movie is a bit slower paced, and some of the action set pieces just seem to be there to provide action and are more unbelieveable than any in the original. It seems like the writers came up with some of these first, then wrote the overall plot.

That being said, it is still a good movie though not on the par of the original (which I rate at 5 fm). Fans will be more forgiving, especially since Depp remains in top form as Jack, I mean Captain Jack Sparrow.

My rating: 4 of 5 undead pirate flying monkeys.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Can you mime a meme?

My friend Nicole put this on her blog, so I've filled out my own answers and posted it here.

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1) Dishwasher (college food service)
2) Door-to-door home improvement sales lead poller
3) Domino's Pizza driver (30 minutes or less... 30 minutes or less...)
4) Inventory Supervisor

B) Four movies I would watch over and over
1) Desperado
2) The Mummy/ The Mummy Returns/ Scorpion King
3) Pirates of the Caribbean
4) Serenity


C) Four places I have lived
1) Chicago IL
2) Griffith IN (next to Gary)
3) Franklin IN
4) Indianapolis IN

D) Four of my favorite TV shows
1) Firefly
2) Smallville
3) ST:TNG
4) Buffy

E) Four places I have Vacationed
1) Europe
2) Florida
3) Milwaukee
4) ummm... other parts of Europe

F) Websites I visit daily
1) my blog
2) something positive and sluggy freelance
3) Nicole's blog
4) Sherri's blog

G) Four of my favorite foods
1) steak
2) chicken fried rice
3) peanut butter and bacon sandwich
4) french fries

H) Four places I would rather be right now
1) A pub in Ireland
2) A pub in Scotland
3) A pub in England
4) Hawaii... in a pub

I) Four people I think will respond
1) Sherri
2) Lisa (if she reads this)
3) Lucy (ditto)
4) Toomey

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Superman Returns review

This comic pretty much sums it up.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Nicole's Origins report



My friend and partner in gaming scheming Nicole put up her con report with pictures in her blog.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Origins Cliff Notes

I spent the weekend in Columbus Ohio at Origins 2006. This is a summary, and hopefully my friend Nicole will put her pictures up on her blog. Yes, I took my camera. No, I never got it out of my luggage.

On Friday Nicole and I headed out hoping to make it on time for a 7:00pm Firefly LARP. Fortunately her brother Greg already was there and got our tokens to get in the game in advance. Despite a plethora of Ohio State Police, construction, and the usual road idiots, Nicole got us there in the nick of time.

The Firefly LARP was fun. I know that some put LARPers just above furries and people that write slash fan-fic on the geek hierarchy, but we had so much fun we went back Saturday. My experience as a GM came in handy. The GM at the LARP announced that combat was beginning in the saloon we were all in and everyone needed to decide what they were doing. She then said "one..."

I recognize a GM countdown when I see one.

I dove behind a table. Literally. When she hit "two..." three quarters of the room followed suit. I may write more about the adventures of the crew of the "Soldier of Fortune" later. After the LARP we hit a micro-brew pub. Mmmm... beer.

Four of us stayed in a suite. I was happy not to be on the floor as I got to sleep on the couch in the living room. Unfortunately, I forgot that it had a hide-a-bed in it, so I spent the night slightly scrunched up. By the time Mikey (the fourth member of our quartet, a friend of Greg's from Wisconsin) pointed out to me at 6 or 7 in the morning that the couch was a flod-out, I decided it wasn't worth actually rousing enough to open it up. Besides, I can't complain as Mikey was sleeping on a bedroll on the floor in the kitchenette.

Saturday we picked a D&D game (actually I think Greg picked it). It turned out to be a mix riddles, puzzles, and of course combat. I was playing a bard with 18 Charisma. To say that I hammed it up would have been an understatement, and I was in "push the button" mode. To the GM's credit he kept things moving, especially since he took in three more players than he had planned.

We squeezed in dinner (we skipped lunch for the D&D game) at a huge sports bar with room for 300 customers, but about a dozen actually there (including us). Food was okay (though at that point we would have probably eaten the menus), but service was slow. At least the waitress was cute. :)

Then it was return to Firefly. We had a slight advantage having played the night before. Again we showed we were smarter than the average bear. When someone outside the "bar" yelled that Reavers were attacking, everyone else ran out of the bar to where the fight was. We flipped over tables for cover then swept the bar for left behind loot. We ended the night showing that twinking out your ship doesn't matter if you aren't in it when action goes down. That and we got to serve a little crow.

We finished the night at a martini bar in downtown. I'm not a martini drinker (my alcoholic father was *really* fond of martinis and my first bad drinking experience involved gin), so I settled for a concotion called a "Dead Irishman", which is a black-and-tan made with Guinness and Dead Rogue Ale.

Sunday was the prerequisite shopping in the huxster room. Nicole and I collected more business cards for websites than actual purchases, but we both managed to find a couple of things we were looking for and have a mental list of things to watch for at GenCon.

The trip back Nicole and I spent most of the time plotting and scheming about the Firefly LARP, which will be at GenCon. Hopefully we can get a bunch of our friends to play the game, giving us an additional advantage in numbers.

Then I aim to misbehave.

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