July 06, 2010

The Family Shade

"Shut up Nephew, I'm trying to watch the fireworks."

"No!"

Little boys are twits. I was one, so were both of my little brothers and so is every little boy I've ever met. Most of them are nice most of the time, but in the heart of each little boy is the ability to be a real twit.

So it should come as no surprise that my 7-year-old nephew is also a twit.

As many young boys do, my nephew talks incessantly. He asks insightful questions, he asks stupid questions, he makes valid observations, he makes insipid observations, he misinterprets adult conversations, he interrupts adult conversations and he is just generally unhappy unless the air is abuzz with the echo of his own voice. He reminds me a lot of myself at that age.

Yes, I know what you're about to say.

Shut up.

So, anyways, as of the 4th of July, my nephew and I had been around each other for just about 2 days. As most of you know, I am not an incredibly patient man when it comes to ... well .... anything. Even when people are guilty of the same sins that I myself am (or have been) guilty of. So after two days between the incessant prattle and my nephew fighting with my niece, my patience was incredibly short.

So we all went out together to watch the fireworks: Anna, my sister-in-law, my nephew, my niece and myself. It was starting to drizzle and things started very well as my nephew proclaimed, "It's raining!"

At this point I decided that my patience was running thin enough that enduring my nephew's presence was going to result in an explosion on my part that neither of us wanted and so I wandered off. Unfortunately, he took this to mean that I had been imparted with some secret knowledge of the best spot in the area from which to watch the fireworks, so he followed.

After walking about 100 yards, I stopped and waited. Sure enough, he walked up and began making random proclamations about 5 seconds following his arrival.

"Nephew, you have two options: stand near me and stop talking or go away and talk to your heart's content."

After a 20 second pause, he resumed talking. I walked off again.

This process repeated itself 3 or 4 times as the rain picked up pace until I reached the point where I decided that I should probably go fetch an umbrella for the ladies. Sure enough, Nephew followed me to the car, chattering all along, "Why are you going into the house?" "Oh, you're getting in the car... do you think we'll be able to see the fireworks from the car?" "What's in the back of the car?" "We can't watch the fireworks from the back of your car, can we?" "That's a small umbrella, why do you have such a small umbrella?" "I thought we were watching the fireworks from the car, why are you locking the car?" "Where are you going with the umbrella?" And so on.

By the time we'd reached the ladies, I was about done. "Nephew, if you want to stand under the umbrella with us, you need to stop talking and just watch the fireworks."

"Ok"

20 seconds later. "What do they make fireworks out of?"

20 seconds after that. "I'm getting wet... HEY! Why aren't you sharing the umbrella with me?!"

"Nephew, I'll give you one more chance, and then you don't get to use the umbrella at all."

A whole minute later. "Why does the Niece get more umbrella than me?!"

This time he was watching for it and began fussing the instant the umbrella was removed. "I'm just going to stand under my blanket."

"Why won't you share the umbrella with me?!"

And then a miracle occurred: my nephew stomped away by himself.

And then he stomped back, emotion and volume building as he ranted.

"Why won't anyone share with me? You're supposed to share! Adults are terrible sharers! Everyone else is standing together under the umbrella and you won't share with me?!"

And then, at a fever pitch: "YOU'RE DEPRIVING ME OF THE FAMILY SHADE!"

At this point, I lost it. I absolutely lost it. I was laughing so hard that I was crying, the umbrella was shaking and Anna was elbowing the hell out of me.

And then the nephew stomped off again, only to shout about the abuses that he had suffered from 20 or 30 feet away.

The evening ended with a whimper rather than a bang when Nephew announced that the rain had stopped. At that point, I just set off on my own and avoided him for the rest of the evening.

Yes, I'm a terrible sharer. And I deprived my own nephew of The Family Shade.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:07 PM | TrackBack

May 18, 2010

What to do with Failed Executives

So, in somewhat less civilized times, pure and utter failure in military and executive endeavors was typically ended in a more abrupt and irrevocable sense. The Japanese and Romans had ritual suicide, the French had Madame Guillotine, the Chinese had have the state-administered death penalty, and the Great Depression had nice tall buildings with conveniently-open windows all along Wall Street.

Sadly, with few notable exceptions in China, there's no real penalty for thorough corruption, malfeasance and utter incompetence on a scale that beggars the public interest. Enron, Goldman-Sachs, Bear Stearns, Citi, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, GM, Chrysler and now BP... all of these companies ought to have had their CEOs step down at the very least and probably had most of their executive boards drug out and shot. Instead, most of the failed companies still have their failed leaders in place poised for more failure. Personally, I'm all for the notion that if your salary has more than 6 figures in it, you have to accept a "bullet to the head" clause in your employment contract. At least it would make me feel better about watching all of those birds covered in oil if I could watch BP executives getting shoved into that open oil geyser at the bottom of the ocean.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:41 PM | TrackBack

April 19, 2010

Best for MY Kid!

"You'll know what's best for your own child."

Really?! Because I keep hearing that from various self-help people and even from nurses at the hospital. Also pediatricians. Maybe I'm just a hair on the old-fashioned side, but am I the only one who thinks that may be just a bit overplayed?
I'm trying to figure out where this comes from, because I hear it everywhere.

Look, I'll be the first one to cede the point that parents do spend more time with their children than anyone else (generally) and that there is a certain level of behavioral subtext and empathy that develops with that bond, but I'm also a firm believer in the power of expert knowledge. And yes, you may know your child better than anyone else does... but does that power negate the fact that you know jack about medicine other than what you read on the internet? And you want to tell your doctor in the face of the preponderance of evidence to the contrary and the combined knowledge of two hundred years of medicinal practice that vaccines aren't good for your kid? Really?!

This comes in under the same category as "I know my body" and all manner of psychobabble nonsense. I don't completely disregard the notion that a body's sensory inputs exist for a reason, but people are willing to put WAY too much emphasis on limited personal experience and anecdote for things ranging from self-diagnosis to all manner of hokum (*cough* Holistic Medicine *cough*) and hoodoo to the point where they're willing to ignore expert practitioners of the scientific process because it doesn't "feel right." Again, I'm not saying all doctors are perfect or even that there aren't agendas in play by various organizations (drug companies, for instance), but just being moron with an internet connection and access to Wikipedia doesn't make you qualified to pretend that you have an advanced degree and expertise in quantum physics, so why would you think that WebMD can make you a medical doctor?! Or a fully qualified teacher, for that matter?

Obviously, if you want to homeschool, I think that it can be done. And God knows that I've never made it a secret that I have almost no respect for the actual science of elementary education beyond basic crowd control dynamics. But at the same time, if you're not willing to give it the devoted time and effort that professional teachers do in terms of basic education, continuing education, pedagogy and subject matter expertise, why would you think that anyone would respect the fact that you "know your kids". I can know my daughter all I want, but that doesn't make me qualified to teach her French. First, I have to also know French... and well enough to TEACH it, at that.

Wow... this got long-winded and ranty. Circling back around, knowledge of one's kid(s) cannot replace subject-area expertise. It can yield a limited subset of results as far as the basic care, feeding and maintenance of one's kids, but for truly advanced results, see an expert.

Oh, and there's one quotation that I feel is rather poignant in this case... especially with regards to the true professionals in the practice of their trade. You see, your kid is a great kid, and I'm sure you love yours. I know I love mine. But let's not go pretending that your kid is such an individual that a pediatrician/teacher/obstetrician/baby furniture vendor has never seen one like yours before. Or...

"Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." - Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:20 PM | TrackBack

April 16, 2010

My Money's Worth

You know how most people had at least the occasional meal of bologna sandwiches and Koolaid during the summer when they were kids? It's like the All-American lunch. Except for me, because my mom was a health-food nut who wanted us to eat good, wholesome food. We weren't even allowed to have cereal with sugar in it like Frosted Mini-Wheats until I was in high school. So I kind of have this secret love of Koolaid and bologna, precisely because I was the only kid who had good healthy sandwiches and stuff.*

Anyways, the point is that I was looking out the window the other day and I noticed the neighbor kids were selling Koolaid. And here I thought, "man, that would be sweet!" and so I got a dollar worth of change (sometimes these kids can be real scalpers) and went to see how much Koolaid my modest fortune would buy. Lo and behold, $.50 bought me a whole Dixie Cup of standard-issue red Koolaid. And I stood there, surveying all that my riches had procured me and I sipped gratefully from my Dixie Cup...

And proceeded to spit it all over the street in front of the Koolaid Stand.

"Did you kids put sugar in this Koolaid?!"

At this point, the three fourth-graders looked askance at each other while the 7th-grade older brother of one of the kids laughed at them. Of course, not to be outdone, they all three attempted to blame the Kindergartener. And I wasn't going to let them get away with that.

"You mean to tell me that three 4th-graders can't figure out how to make Koolaid?! Maybe you SHOULD have left the Kindergartener in charge!"

Of course, at this point, I decided that this swill wasn't worth drinking without some sugar. "Alright guys, get me some sugar or I want my money back!"

"No way, man!" "Yeah, no way! All sales are FINAL!!" "Oh yeah, FINAL!"

Even the kindergartener got in on the action. "FINAL!!!"

Do I look like I'm going to get pushed over by a bunch of elementary school kids?!

"Last chance, guys... or I'm going to drive away all of your business."

"You couldn't do that!"

Just watch me. You see, I had some signs that my neighbors (the parents of these very same fraudsters) had placed in my yard to encourage people to honk at my house to celebrate my new daughter. In fact, two strips of duct tape and a cut-up box later and I had myself a little protest sign.

And so I marched back outside and picketed the Koolaid stand that had ripped me off with a sign that read "This Koolaid Sucks!" That's right, I was picketing a kids' Koolaid stand. You've met me, right?

Of course, the kids were livid. "You can't do that!" "Yeah! This is private property!" "I'm gonna go tell on you."

I reiterated my demands: "I want a proper glass of Koolaid or a refund, take your pick."

"We're not doing that!"

"Very well then, the protest continues." And so I walked up and down the street in front of their stand for about a minute while two of them ran off to tell on me. Unfortunately for them, my neighbors thought this was hilarious. Yeah, that's right, my neighbors are awesome.

When they returned defeated, they had an offer for me. "If you stop protesting, we'll give you a new glass of Koolaid."

"I believe that's what I've been offering... so let's see the glass."

At this point, one of the less ethical ones piped up, "You need to pay us another quarter."

"You little thieves, I'm pretty sure you're not even paying for the freaking Koolaid, the sugar or the water!"

"So?!"

I hefted my sign as if to return to my appointed rounds and they finally capitulated and filled me up a new Dixie Cup. And so it was with pride in my heart and Koolaid in my belly that I returned my sign to my garage, where it awaits another dishonest sales pitch in the neighboring front yard.

And to be fair, given that they're not quite bright enough to make Koolaid, I can't help but think that another unintentional scam is on the horizon. I just hope they don't try to make something tricky like lemonade.

*That said, my mom never bought us American Cheese, and I thank her for that. I mean, why would you want to eat plastic cheese?! It tastes like plastic!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:06 PM | TrackBack

March 21, 2010

Ability to Govern

"Stop the Takeover!"

According to this ad on Facebook, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama are taking over the country and the Republican Governors' association can help stop them. Alright, I'll stop to give your brain a second to work that one through. Did it make any sense to you? Me neither.

People are just stupid over healthcare reform. Really, from what I can tell, Americans haven't been this stupid about politics en masse since the Civil Rights Movement. An no, I'm not trying to draw moral parallels (though those of you who side with Glenn Beck ought to take a minute to consider which side of that argument "Social Justice" would come out on... I'm just saying) ... all I'm saying is that the American Public in general hasn't gotten this stupid riled up on an issue being decided by politics since the Civil Rights Era. Or maybe that's just how it looks to my relatively-young self.

My point is that right now, as in most mid-term election cycles, the party in power is losing influence and the party of the opposition is gaining influence. Why? Because Americans don't vote for a candidate, they vote against a candidate.

I don't know how this works out in countries with multi-party Parliamentary systems, but in 'Murrica, people don't even know what Congress is doing most of the time. And when they vote, they don't know what they're even talking about. According to a Pew survey, 44% of Americans who claim to be "closely" following the debate on Healthcare Reform don't even know that "public option" deals with health care and only 18% know that Senator Baucus is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee that is tasked with writing health care reform legislation (at least over half of those questioned knew that they didn't know.)

So this is what puzzles me: how can the electorate claim that they vote for people with any sort of modicum of responsibility or eye to ability to govern? And what's more, when people start spouting off about the "will of the people", why should I listen to them? Really, all I know is that after one political party gains control, they will do some things dovetail with their agenda and then the other party will get into power.

And really, my problem lies less with the notion that anyone is dissatisfied with the current regime and more with the claims by the loyal opposition that the candidate that they're voting for will do a better job than the current regime.

And really, I'm looking at you Republicans. Because right now you're trying to convince me that you'll do better than the current regime. You're going to encourage fiscal responsibility and fix the economy. And, honestly, I don't believe you, and here's why:

Over 8 years with a Republican president (6 of those with a Republican majority in all of Congress) with a budget surplus, somehow the country got 3.3 trillion dollars further into the hole. Those tax cuts that were supposed to fix the economy and help cut the deficit? Yeah, 3.3 trillion dollars further into the hole AND a giant recession that erased all of those gains.

Over the 8 years of a Republican presidential budget (and yes, as President Obama explained to the morons in Congress at the State of the Union, you write a budget for the upcoming year, not the one you're in), we went from $1.9 trillion in the last Clinton budget to $3.1 trillion in the last Bush budget.

It should be noted that only one of those years, ONLY ONE (2001), did the US Government spend less than it made. And, in fairness, President Clinton was the one who submitted that budget (though, also in fairness, under a Republican Congress.)

So what I would like to know is this: Would the Republicans like us to elect them because they've demonstrated an ability to govern? Because they've established their credibility in sticking to their core principles? Because their healthcare solution isn't the same "sweep it under the rug and pretend everything's just fine like we've done for the last 30 or 40 years?" Because really, all that I'm seeing is yet another volley in the "elect us because we're not them" game of political Hot Potato that has perpetuated American Politics for the last 3 or 4 decades at least.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:20 AM | TrackBack

August 30, 2009

With Child

So for a number of years, whenever the notion of my having children was brought up in discussion, it was concluded that this sort of thing would portend the End of Days or some such nonsense.

With that in mind, I'd like to announce that my wife is with child. Also in that same vein, the due date is April 1, 2010. No, I'm not making that up and no, it's not a joke. Also, I failed to plan it that way... because if I were planning these things, I would have probably aimed for a date that I could turn into an offensive joke (like, say, April 20, November 5 or May 5, just off of the top of my head.)

"Make sure you put something in there nice about God, ya know" - Anna

Yes dear. To be fair, she's right... I have a wife with a pacemaker and myself have diabetes... 100 years ago, neither of us would probably still be around to be having a child, and certainly wouldn't be in the position to be HAVING children. Not to mention thanks to God for having a children on the way when so many do not (and no, that's not an invitation to twins.)

Really, I could keep rambling here for a while, I am rather pleased on the topic, even though I am also rather terrified. But let's just say I figure things will be get interesting here.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:41 PM | TrackBack

June 07, 2009

Quality and Quantity

So I've been jotting down a lot of half-done essays on a variety of work-related topics of late. Meetings, performance reviews, layoffs, peer reviews, re-orgs... the beat goes on.

The point is that I get a lot of half-done writings put together, primarily in meetings. This is, of course, because easily half of the meetings I sit in (time-wise) are comprised of agenda items which either inform me of nothing or add absolutely no value to my work for my having heard them. As a result, I have a lot of time to write, but it's very disjoint time. I do plan on finishing those essays, but it's a somewhat lengthy process that really doesn't leave me updating a lot.

This of course, also gives rise to my using twitter... and even better, because verbosity is something that I continually struggle with, the 140 character limit is a test of my revision skills and at the same time allows me to pass on information without spending 20-30 minutes of the time that I'm actually at my desk typing up blog posts (not to mention the several hours of polish that they probably really need.) It probably wouldn't be very professional of me to use my work time for that...

This of course, by necessity, also leads me to contemplate the future of this blog. More frequent updates are preferable, but they necessarily suck up time or just end up being low-quality. I feel that something like twitter fits the billing for that rather nicely and has the added benefit of enabling me to communicate links.

Of course, I really should come up with some sort of twitter aggregation service to plug into my blog here... and that leads to another point. We really do need to upgrade our services to MT 4.0 or something else... really, anything but a blogging service that dates back to sometime in 2004 or 2005 if memory serves. In the land of the internet, our back-end is will-nigh unto prehistoric.

So, new objectives:

1) Longer, more significant and less frequently-posted essays.
2) Mechanism for conveying links and "cheese sandwich" updates in a (hopefully) witty manner.
3) Update to the blogging back-end.

I'll get right on those and tell you how it turns out.

Oh, as to the twitter piece, for right now I can be followed at @vengeful_cynic

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:56 PM | TrackBack

April 28, 2009

Quick, Someone Find a Pond!

Sadly, I lack a pond. But even lacking a pond, people should go wish Ardith a happy birthday.

I know she'll just love all of the added attention.

And while we're at it drawing attention to Ardith, I think I'll share a Dr. K quote regarding her that he shared at the honors dinner the week of graduation:

"So I heard about Ardith for a long time before I met her, and I had this picture in my mind 'Ardith the Dragon-Slayer'. And then I met her and I thought, wow... I guess it's more like 'Ardith the Squirrel-Slayer.'"

Happy Birthday, Ardith.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:12 AM | TrackBack

March 04, 2009

Hey You, Get Off of My Side

A co-worker of mine once sent an email to the CEO of the (rather large) company that I worked for (and CC-ed it to half of the rest of the company), complaining about working conditions that were unsafe and could potentially harm employees, not to mention costing the company millions of dollars in legal fees, workers' compensation issues and other expenses. The problem was that the email was written in such a manner that there was one spelling or grammatical error for every four words. The worst part was that I agreed with this co-worker: these were issues that needed to be addressed, but now they would be relegated to the inane demands of a drunkard, all because the argumentation was poorly presented and riddled with errors.

As a fiscally conservative individual beset by a socialist administration, I feel much the same way. I am deeply troubled by the problem of attempting to spend trillions of dollars to jump-start the economy, not to mention an unwillingness on the part of the Obama administration to address the problems attendant in the banking industry for fear of upsetting the stock market. And yet, what is my alternative? Rush Limbaugh?! A Republican party that alternately embraces President Bush's spending policies, ridicules those of Obama and refuses to stand up to its own pundits? And what's worse, the current Republican party seems willing to allow itself to play Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly and make ridiculous and inane statements in an effort to "consolidate the base."

As a Christian conservative, this will hardly be the first time that a stalwart attempts to defend the ground upon which I stand and does it so poorly, unconvincingly and with such reprehensible tactics that I am forced to side with opposition in addressing my would-be ally before I can resume my own defense. And this troubles me... after all, while I would argue that I am at least a slightly above-average representative of mental acuity, I'm not that far above the median... and I would like to think that I'm defending an intelligent position. So why is it, then, that I am beset by idiots who occupy my positions? Or is it that there is an equal distribution of idiots and simply that I'm that much more sensitive to the issue because the position they defend is my own?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:21 PM | TrackBack

February 28, 2009

Spring Cleaning

So, I've been doing some spring cleaning and am in an effort to get back on track with my blogging, or something. Old links have been cleaned out, a couple of new comic links have been added.

Per the usual blogger, I'm having something of a crisis of content. I used to be able to say whatever I wanted. I also didn't used to have a job or a boss to whom I had to report. Unfortunately, the best of what I have to write is also the stuff that is the most likely to make the boss upset either in terms of content or in terms of tone. Not to mention I have my own future at stake here.

Obviously I'm not going to sacrifice my job for the blog... but is there some middle category. Obviously I'm still free to do social, political and moral commentary. The problem is that, at least to my own mind, the thing that I'm best at is telling stories. And really, there are so many great stories to tell. I think I'm going to have to work out a way for that to happen.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:49 AM | TrackBack

February 17, 2009

Offensive

Do you know how hard it is to go through my day and intentionally avoid saying offensive things?

Thank goodness that I sit in a lab where there are only a handful (relatively-speaking) of managers who can get in... but still. Even with all of that, I have to mentally leave my regulator on and watch what I'm saying at work just about all of the time.

I honestly don't think most of my friends realize what a strain this sort of thing is for me. I think I need to go start a company where our main product is something so offensive that I couldn't be sued for harassment, no matter what I said.

Wouldn't my parents be so proud?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:41 PM | TrackBack

February 13, 2009

Hosting is Changed!

We have officially gotten our dns moved over to bluehost. Now my normal posting may resume.

In other news, Ardith is going to be upgrading the blogs to MT 4 sooner or later. Yay MT4!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:30 PM | TrackBack

February 06, 2009

Legitimate Excuse

Why no posting? It goes something like this. About a month ago, I did some paperwork and some paying of bills to change our hosting location. I just haven't backed up the servers and actually done it.

I really should have made Ardith do some of this, but I haven't even gotten around to pushing her into doing it.

And now I'm awake at 2 am with freaking acid reflux... so I probably shouldn't start the task right now.

In other unrelated news, apparently I have this thing linked into my facebook profile, which I should probably undo. And I may have some people that I'm a chauvinist... which is both amusing and unsettling. I kind of miss being a college student whose favorite hobby was making absurd statements and seeing who responded and how. Results may vary in a professional setting... but I have to say that I do have a co-worker who does this and gets away with it. Frequently.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:56 AM | TrackBack

January 04, 2009

To-Do 2009

So, in conversation with my wife and others, I'm working on a list of stuff that I have to do. This branched out of a list of things that I have to do around the house and stuff, but I suppose there are also books that I need to read and projects of my own that need undertaking... etc, etc, etc.

As to my personal projects, if anyone has any ideas, by all means. Also, I'm happily taking book suggestions because, right now, my book list is pretty much all programming books (several of which are listed here) and a stated need for an authoritative book on home repair. Beyond that, I plan on getting some more books for my pleasure reading and will happily take suggestions on what books I should be buying. And yes, I'll happily buy/borrow/steal textbook-type books as well.

Around the House
1) Close off ventilation to unused bedrooms (in such a way that it can be re-opened in <5 mins)
2) Use silicon sealant or something to reduce air movement through crappy old windows
3) Weather-stripping and sealant around front door
4) Tear out shelving in blue bedroom

Side Projects
1) Organize books on book-shelves
2) Take pictures throughout house to post and send out
3) Reformat and reload Anna's and my computers
4) Reformat and reload NAS & server boxes

Books That Need Reading
1) Some Authoritative Book (or Books) on Home Repair (probably ought to buy one or several on recommendations from others)
2) The C++ Programming Language: Special Edition - Bjarne Stroustrup
3) The Art of Computer Programming, Boxed Set: Second Edition - Donald Knuth

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:52 PM | TrackBack

January 01, 2009

Resolute

I'd really like to blog more actively. With the slacking of my peers, it's fairly easy to be the most active Shadow Council blogger.

It's also really hard to take everyone else to task about not blogging enough if I don't blog more (and hopefully, more meaningfully) myself.

So here's to no weeks that go by without at least one post... and hopefully more than that.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:01 AM | TrackBack

December 23, 2008

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

This is the first Christmas I've come back to Ohio since I got married. It's also the first Christmas that I've been back in Ohio since my brother has been married and the first Christmas since Mom moved into her new digs.

It's really kind of weird. I mean, Geoff has been married for over 2 years now, I've been married over 3.5, but it really seems like kind of a shock not to have everyone at my mom's house. Of course, it's also been 4 years since my Dad told me that he and Mom were getting divorced and almost 7 since he moved out... so I guess in that sense, it's been 7 years since I had a Christmas like the sort that I grew up with... but each year it seems like I get a little bit further from my childhood.

Of course, stuff changes beyond just the house. Places open and close in Ohio, teachers have moved on and retired from my old high school, the "little kids" that I once went to church with are now 6 feet tall and 16 or 17 years old. I mean, the realities of my life are that things change and not just the things that I'd been hoping to see change. The prolonged absence makes it more noticeable.

So in a sense, I get to celebrate the fact that my family is bigger than it was before and (as much as she can drive me nuts), for the first time, I will get to celebrate Christmas morning with my brother's wife as part of the family. But at the same time, there is a pang of mourning that comes from my father's choice to leave us, the fact that we're not in the house that I once lived in (a mixed blessing to be sure), and the apparent toll that another year of hardship has taken on my mom and grandmother.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:16 PM | TrackBack

December 09, 2008

75th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition

This month marks the 75th anniversary of the passage of the 22nd Amendment, which became law on December 5, 1933. As a partaker of alcohol in moderation, this pleases me.

That said, I wish I could have been a bootlegger.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:34 AM | TrackBack

December 03, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday

or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Little Children"

Actually... that's a patent falsehood. I love my niece and nephew, but I'm sure glad I don't have a 6-year-old and 3-year-old living with me full-time.

I would like to note that I have some of the best in-laws of anyone I know. My father-in-law was on vacation and still managed to help me with (read: do most of the work) home improvement projects. My mother-in-law did easily half of the cooking and 90% of the dishes. My sister-in-law... well, she kept and eye on the kids. And my brother-in-law kept buying lunch and alternated with me as we played Wii Sports with the niece and nephew and showed only the lack of compassion that two childless 20-something males can as we beat a whiny little child in direct correlation to the amount he whined. Oh, and my father-in-law kept buying stuff for me, which was awesome and MUCH appreciated.

On Thanksgiving day, Anna's cousins from Madison came out as well as her aunt from Chicago and aunt and uncle from Milwaukee, their daughter and her fiancé. Much food was ate by all, oyster dressing was tried for the first time by many (with no converts that I'm aware of), and we ended up with enough pies that there was 1/2 of a pie for each adult in attendance.

Really, there were too many great things for me to sum them up all here and now, but suffice it to say that I am duly impressed (again) by my in-laws.

Oh... and it's SNOWING!!!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:19 AM | TrackBack

November 05, 2008

Hail to the Chief

First off, I'd like to render my sympathies to my friends who wanted to see a McCain/Palin win. I can't say I'm giddy about an Obama win, but I find it preferable to the alternatives.

Really, any scenario where we balance out 8 years of Bush and 6 years of a Republican congress and their erosion of individual freedoms and civil liberties is a welcome change. Beyond that, I guess we'll see.

obamapuppy08.jpg

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:38 AM | TrackBack

September 01, 2008

Book Meme

I found an interesting meme of 100 books in the English language that someone thinks that you ought to have read. These lists are a dime a dozen, though I happen to like this one in particular, probably owing in no small part to my having read a sizeable number of the books on the list and Tolkien and C.S. Lewis making multiple appearances. Really... it's highly slanted towards British authors, but it's worth looking at. I thought about hiding it below the fold, but my front page isn't all that occupied these days by text. It should be noted that my responses in particular as far as ownership goes are subject to my memory, made harder by the fact that easily half of my books are still in boxes. Oh... and I'm still not 100% sure what Anna does or doesn't have.

1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you own.
3) Underline the books for which you have SEEN A MOVIE OR TV PRODUCTION.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (obv. have only seen movies of some)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (no movie, unless Conspiracy Theory counts)
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (BBC FTW)
34 Emma - Jane Austen (SO MUCH HATE!)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - if you ever get a chance to see this, watch the Simpsons' episode instead
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (again, seen some, not all)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (Apocalypse Now counts, right?)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (have seen both movies)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:14 PM | TrackBack

August 24, 2008

My Great Friends

So... since I last posted, Anna and I have acquired a house. And then we moved into said house. Yeah, I know... I'm bad about these things. We'll take some pictures when things finish getting cleaned up to make it up to you.

In any event, I would like to thank my friends who have made this all possible: Ardith and Jason Hoyt, The Moores, Barbour, Maples, and my wife's cousin Heather and cousin's boyfriend Jeff. I'd like to especially thank Barbour and the Moores for making long drives and Ardith for helping out on not one, but two weekends.

Weekend one (for which the Moores came out) involved moving all of my stuff out of storage and into my house. That all went fairly well and made my new house seem much smaller, now that it was full of stuff. This said, it was really nice to get out of that tiny apartment. Also, I'm not going to miss the Zombie... not at all.

This last weekend marked Barbour driving up as well as Heather and Jeff driving out from the Milwaukee area. Oddly enough, this is also where the Moores live, so it would seem that I have trips to Wisconsin in my future. Also, this means that there should be a steady stream of quality beer being brought to me... but I digress. In this last weekend, we started to unpack all of the stuff that the first shift of friends brought in and put it away. Anna is happy to report that the kitchen is in good order. Oh... and the fridge is happily stocked with beer, cheese and wine. I'm pretty happy.

Also, after two weeks, the damages on new expensive stuff that I've had to buy as a home-owner:

5 book-shelves (2 5-shelf, 3 3-shelf)
2 sets of curtains
1 lawn mower
1 grill
1 new wooden desk for Anna

Really, I'm quite pleased, albeit slightly poorer. I'd also really like to thank God for giving me such gracious friends. I mean, yes, I buy food and beer (and top-shelf booze) for my friends who come out to help, but most of them are busy people who could take the money for the gas and the time and buy their own food and beer and not have to work... so I'm really thankful for them.

I'd also like to make a special note of thanking Jason Hoyt by not mocking him for waiting until nearly making it to 21 before even getting his drivers' license. I'd also like to note that I'm not mocking him for having his little sister getting her license before he did. See Jason? I don't give you a hard time ALL of the time.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:37 PM | TrackBack

August 04, 2008

Interaction with My Slum-Lord

So The Zombie* and I have had a variety of inane conversations and she's convinced me that she's really not the smartest woman. Here's the most recent:

So I left notice on Friday with the Zombie that we're moving out at the end of the month. When I got out of the lab on Friday afternoon, my cell phone had a message on it. I checked it, and it was the Zombie telling me that they wanted to show my apartment and that I should call them back to confirm. Well, obviously, my apartment is a mess and I don't want it shown, so I called back and got a busy signal. So this morning I called back again, left a message with their answering service and gave her my office number (not for the first time) for them to call me.

The Zombie: "So, we're showing your apartment at 11 am this morning... is that okay?"

The Cynic: "No, I would rather that you not do that."

Z: "Well, you should have called us back on Friday when we called your cell phone... it's scheduled now."

VC: "Wait a second... So you can schedule my apartment for showing unless I call you up to tell you I don't want to?"

Z: "Well... so long as you're there, you have the right to refuse, but I already scheduled the showing."

So at this point I guessed I'd have to go home and turn them away at the door or... *shudder* clean, so I lobbed the long-ball.

VC: "Look, if you show my apartment, you'd best be sure you're covered legally, because I WILL call a lawyer"

Z: "Well FINE then, we just won't show your apartment. You'll be gone at the end of the month ANYWAYS!"

*click*

Yeah... I think she just hung up on me. I'm just puzzled as to what the crap she's thinking... as if living anywhere besides in these crappy apartments is a punishment or something.

----------------------

*So, when my slum-lord wears her makeup, she looks like a zombie. I know from various conversations with her that she can't be older than 40, but the amount that she's smoked makes her look 65 or so and she has stringy, dirty hair to accentuate the look. Thus, I refer to her as The Zombie.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:19 PM | TrackBack

July 31, 2008

The Trials of Attempting Property Ownership

Yeah... I know, I haven't gotten back to the Moore wedding. I'm really not sure how to write significant pieces of it in order to keep it meaningful and accurate while at the same time refraining from over-editorializing and potentially writing things that I might not want to have published to the open Internet. Bear with me.

So Anna and I are buying a house. And part of buying a house is having a home inspection. So I went on my home inspection with the local Crazy Jamaican Home Inspector. I definitely recommend the guy so long as you don't mind that he's not really big on punctuality. He's very thorough, but very stereotypically Jamaican with respect to punctuality and attention to things like dates and times.

Anyways, we found a couple of issues with the house... nothing deal-breaking, but it turns out that the owner before the current owners was something of an aspiring home handy-man. Except that he sucked at installing toilets, electrical outlets and REALLY sucked at installing dishwashers and soldering copper piping.

The Toilet - When you grab it and try to swing it back and forth, there's about an inch that it comes up off of the ground and probably 45 degrees of motion from one extreme to the other. Oh... and it leaks to the basement. Fortunately, it leaks onto replaceable drop ceiling tiles... but it's still a problem.

The Electrical Outlets - He failed to ground any of the outlets that he installed in the garage.

Copper Piping - So when soldering the copper piping above the hot water heater, he failed. There are probably half a dozen pinhole leaks that have led to a bed of copper oxide roughly half an inch high on top of the hot water heater.

The Dishwasher - The capstone of the whole experience. So when he installed the dishwasher, he apparently noted a lack of electrical service under the counter. No matter, there are outlets on top of the counter. So what did he do? He drilled a tiny hole, cut off the end of the plug, fished the cable through, spliced the end back on and attached it to the wall. Except, apparently he also sucks as splicing, because the plug has since melted to the point where there is significant copper exposure. Seriously, I'm surprised nothing's caught fire yet.

All in all, I'm very grateful for the home inspector, because while there's a lot of things that I caught on my own, there's a much longer list of little things and significant but subtle things that I would have never noticed. And if anyone's buying in Cedar Rapids, talk to me... The Crazy Jamaican is sure to drive your Realtor nuts, but he's damned good at what he does.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

The Moore Wedding: Part One

Really, this ought to be one contiguous story. And perhaps it will be, in time. But for now, it's being told episodically... because there was simply too much that happened this last weekend for it to be one blog post. In fact, the story of the trip leading up to the wedding and the night before the events described here are a story in and unto themselves. And honestly, if you want that story told, talk to Anna. But anyways, as I was saying.

There have been few times in my life where my instinct towards laziness would have served me better than this last weekend. I say "would have," because I utterly failed to heed its balking wisdom when, a month or so ago, David Moore asked me to emcee his wedding reception. Really, I should have panicked when he offered me room and board for the weekend simply in exchange for my talking into a microphone in front of a willing crowd, but we'll get to all of that in good time.

Instead, allow me to start with the third ill omen, wherein I called the groom on the morning before the wedding to get directions and was informed that he was only just now getting the marriage certificate. In due time, I would have occasion to take pause and contemplate these warnings, but at that time, I was far too preoccupied with attempting to navigate "Chicago-land" without a freaking map.

To his credit, the groom gave me excellent directions to the bride's house, where I was greeted by the recently-returned groom, the eager bride and Ziggy, The Best Man.¹ Well, really, Moore was fluttering about like a chicken with his head cut off, Sharon was busily preparing flowers and Ziggy was printing programmes. We all sat around a while and chatted and got caught up while I looked over the directions to the audio rental store. Since it was getting on to be 11:30 and there looked to be roughly a 45 minute drive, Anna and I headed out to get the audio equipment early so that we could test it in advance.²

A confusing, haphazard and poorly-mapped out hour of driving through Chicagoland later found us at the "audio rental store." It is at this point where I should digress and note that as I was perusing the Google map that David had kindly supplied, I noted that "store" looked like it was in a subdivision.³ Laughing this off, I supposed that this was simply owing to the bizarre and ridiculous road layout situation of the greater Chicago area. Our arrival in a subdivision gave credence to my initial misgivings. All of this said, I was in the computer business long enough to find valid and viable home-based businesses, so we found the house in question, drove up and got out.

Approaching the two men standing outside of the garage, I boldly announced my intentions, "Ummm... I'm here for some stereo equipment."

The men looked up at me and confusedly at each other. One spoke up in a Germanic accent as the other politely pantomimed, "Stereo? Go to front door. Yes?"

Shrugging, I waved politely, smiled and walked up to the front door. After knocking produced no result, I rang the bell. Barking ensued from inside and after a short wait, a tiny little old lady came to the door in what appeared to be a bathrobe and sneakers with some kind of small, furry dog under one arm. This woman looked like she'd had a hard life and, in all actuality, seemed as though she might have already died and was simply unaware of it other than the fact that her bottom lip had already bloated to disgusting proportion.

"HELLO?!"

"Yes, we're here to pick up the audio equipment."

"WHAT'S THAT?!"

"THE STEREO EQUIPMENT! WE'RE HERE TO PICK IT UP!"

"HERE ABOUT A STEREO?! That's nice... step inside."

And in we stepped, into the garbage storehouse. Well, to be fair, besides the actual wallpaper and paint, nothing in the house looked like it was actual trash. Instead, there was a 30'x40' room filled three to five feet high throughout with what could only be described as assorted... stuff. And rising high above the room was an overlooking hallway connected to the stairway that dumped out in front of the door through which we'd just come, and that hallway also appeared to be loaded with stuff. It was almost as though the occupants had been acquiring the unsold surplus from every estate sale in town for the last several years, to the point that the only way through was a narrow path along the wall below the stairs.

As we wandered inside, the little old lady toddled off towards the stairs, dog under one arm. Traversing the 5 feet with all of the grace of a small child learning to ride a bicycle and half of the speed, she began to shout.

"BRYAN!"

"BRYAN!!"

"BRYAN!!!! YOU HAVE VISITORS!!!!"

With this she paused and gazed back apologetically and then set off toddling down the aforementioned narrow path that had been cleared to one side of the debris field. After some time, she arrived at a door, which she opened and resumed her shouting.

"JASON!"

"JASON!!"

"JASON!!! THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE FOR YOUR FATHER!!!"

Noting that she wasn't being responded to, the little old lady shuffled back to the foot of the stairs and, step after tortuous step, began to ascend them. After seemingly an eternity, the would-be zombie reached the top of the stairs and began screaming again.

"WHERE'S JASON?!"

Almost incongruously, she was finally answered by a perhaps shriller female voice, "HE'S PROBABLY ON THE PHONE!!"

With a shrug, she turned to make her ascent, dog still under one arm, toddling precariously as she climbed slowly downward. "You'll have to excuse me... I can't afford to fall." Gazing pointedly at the dog that apparently needed the chariot ride more than grandma needed the balance, I omitted my response as she ambled slowly downward.

After this strenuous journey, the woman paused for breath and then made her way back through the minefield and over to the door that she had visited earlier.

"JASON!!"

"JASON!! THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE!!"

And, finally another response, "I'M ON THE PHONE!!"

"GET UP HERE!!"

We were met by an interlude full of angsty stomping followed by a young teenager emerging from the basement. Taking a parting blow, he turned on grandma, "I WAS ON THE PHONE!!" and then breezed past her and up to us, replacing bravado with teenaged awkwardness even as he shuffled through the wreckage.

"What's up?"

I figured repetition was the key here... say the same thing to enough people and maybe one of them would be able to help, "I'm here for some stereo equipment."

"Oh... that'd be my dad." Jason turned and pushed some piles of stuff aside to reveal a mountain of previously-unseen stereo equipment. "Hold on a sec."

And with that, Jason was all business again, whipping out a cell phone. Some mumbling later, he snapped the phone shut.

"He says come back in an hour."

So here I am, it now being 1 PM, 45 minutes from Joliet, without sound equipment, being instructed to come back in an hour. "Sure... whatever."

As we headed out the door, first I called Moore and gave him an ear-full. Not as much as he deserved, but as much as I could pile on the groom in good conscience. After fighting a losing battle to calm my rage, Moore picked a rapid retreat in the form of "Got to try on this tux... bye!"

In between his sad wailings about all of this business of finding shady-ass sound equipment dealers not being his fault, Moore had noted that the number for this monument to ineptitude was located on one of my sheets of paper. As Anna and I departed to find food, I called our "equipment supplier" and was assured that he would be there between 2 and 2:30 PM.

During our drive, Toad finally called. "Wait... so if all of the guys are out getting fitted for tuxes, where the hell are you?" Sensing a chance to add to my motley posse of errand-runners, I gave Toad some crude directions while I stopped off at Target to get a real map. After a series of quick redirects and a lunch at a shady gas-station subway, we were now under way with Anna in the lead and Toad and I following in his crappy Korean rental car with its busted-ass transmission and screwed-up remote locking system.4

We arrived a short while later (in spite of Anna's frequent attempts to lose us at stoplights) and this time bypassed the Europeans completely as we headed for the door. True to form, our ringing of the bell was greeted by the walking dead and she invited us in again with the comment, "Oh look, you brought a friend!" I think she may have also mentioned something about the woman being in charge, but really, I was too busy trying not to stare at the dead maggot that she had stapled to her lower lip.

And then we were off to the races as grandma bypassed screaming up the stairs to scream down into the basement after Jason. And then, after a couple of failed attempts, she ascended beneath. And just as we were starting to wonder if the dog had finally tripped her up for good this time, she re-emerged, sadly shaking her head. "There's nobody down there." Then, without so much as an attempt to shout up the stairs, she began her ascent anew... every bit as frightening as the previous one. She did finally reach the precipice, commenced with some shouting and some muttering with the woman in the next room and then proceeded to tempt fate yet again by coming back down the same stairs.

"She called Bryan and he and Jason are on their way. Would you folks like to sit down?"

Almost in a panic, I stammered out an excuse, "We need to make a phone call.... outside.... on our cell phones.... long distance...." And not waiting for a response (fearful, really, of getting one), I charged out the door into the sunlight. Sensing the need for haste, Toad and Anna followed close behind, leaving the zombie standing bewildered on the now-empty landing.

As the zombie finally closed the door, Toad looked back and forth between Anna and I and shook his head. "Wow...."

After some puzzled glances back and forth, Anna pointed out that we should probably figure out the situation with the train riders. A quick phone call confirmed that they would be in soon enough that it would make more sense for us to go pick them up before we went back to the bride's house, which, of course, raised the question of how long we would be remaining at this improvised electronics shack. Just as Toad began mapping out a way to the train station on his phone via Google Maps, a van burst into view and it appeared that our erstwhile sound equipment had finally been stolen for our use... err... showed up.

Bryan and Jason hopped out of the busted-ass van and Bryan greeted me apologetically, "It's been a rough day... let's get your equipment." And with that, Jason vanished into the house and I followed Bryan into the garage, where he proceeded to open two additional vans and began lobbing equipment out of them and into a pile, shuffling through the piles as he went.

And then, the cops showed up.

No, I'm serious, a cop pulled up and began asking Anna and Toad questions about the box truck that was parked on the street while Bryan continued obliviously lobbing electronics.

"Is this your truck?"

(In concert) "No."

"Do you know whose it is?"

(Again, a concert of "No.") Toad followed up with, "We don't live here and we're not even from around here."

At this, the officer shrugged, inquired of the Germans, and then proceeded to begin writing the truck a ticket.

As all of this went on, Bryan continued to lob electronics until one of the Germans wandered up. "Bryan.... is your truck?" he asked, pointing at the box truck.

"Yeah..."

"Is police!"

At this, Bryan practically sprinted over to the truck as Toad and I loaded the stuff that he had already set aside into the car.

"You know, Toad.... we could just leave now and nobody could find us."

"Yeah... but then we'd be stuck with stolen goods."

"We're already going to be stuck with stolen goods... at least this way we won't have to pay to rent them."

And before we could wander further down this speculative path to dubious morality, Bryan returned.

And without too much more haggling, we were on our way to get Jared, Rachel and Wilson and rid of the shady sound rental guy... for now...

¹ Really, I can't say enough about Ziggy and his level of preparedness and organization. I'm pretty sure that everyone agrees that without Ziggy, there would have been no wedding.

² Having done this sort of thing a couple of times, I'd like to note that you really want to get the audio equipment as far in advance as possible. Rental audio equipment tends to be in lousy shape owing to all of the amateur "sound experts" who use it and all of the teenaged morons who tend to repair it and you really want to check out your system and find the kinks well in advance of the ceremony. In our case, I really wanted to get far enough out ahead of it that we could even go back in and get replacements if we ended up with duds.

³ I also noted that this stupid map had gotten me lost more than once and that it would appear that I would need an actual "Chicagoland" map of my own rather than relying upon the fragmentary maps in Moore's Google Maps printouts. Really, I should have just bought an iPhone at this point... but that's neither here nor there.

4 Really, I ought to let Toad expound upon the strangeness of this rental car, but suffice it to say that whenever you used the keyless entry to unlock the thing, it popped the damned trunk. Oh... and the 5-gear pretend manual transmission was designed by giving a group of mental patients access to a CAD program.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:43 PM | TrackBack

July 13, 2008

The Wedding

Grats David and Sharon Moore! I have many more thoughts on this event including a rather detailed retelling which will have to wait.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:49 PM | TrackBack

July 05, 2008

5th of July

Really didn't do much for the 4th. Well, that's not strictly true... we went on a "nature hike" (read: 5 mile hike on a nature trail near my apartment wherein we stopped frequently to allow Anna to take copious pictures), saw Hancock (which really isn't as bad as the reviewers are calling it... it's just really not all that good), and went and "watched" some fireworks (I say "watched" because we only saw the top 40% or so of the detonation field from our distant vantage point, and because it was a very short show.)

Anyways, pursuant to the 4th, we were invited to come out to the middle of jack nowhere:


View Larger Map

to spend the 5th of July with the Hoyt Crew, along with two of the members who we brought out from Cedar Rapids in our car.

First off, let me say that the Hoyts were excellent hosts who fed us well and kept us very entertained. I'd like to say that I wasn't a terrible guest... but considering that I kept egging on various children, encouraging civil disobedience, undermining various quality morals and just generally telling stories of my personal unsavory past, I really can't claim to have been anything but. Even so, adults laughed politely while Ma furiously scribbled down an extensive list of heresies, falsehoods and bits of foolishness that she would have to unteach over the next week. For her part, Anna made sure I didn't misbehave too badly while Ardith looked on bemusedly.

We did have a great time, and I learned a great deal about a variety of subjects including horses, engineering, electrocution, ingenuity the wrongness of animal cruelty, the technical difficulties of housing giant squid, the difficulties attendant to painting garage ceilings, the dangers of having children and a variety of other subjects. Really, in my opinion, that last point bears expounding upon in light of all of my friends who are having children.

To paraphrase Pa Hoyt (and I wish I'd taken better notes): children become destroyers of property round about age 2 and it takes them roughly ten years to grow to the point where they reverse this trend, during which time, you spend a lot of time re-fixing things that they break. While it should be noted that others felt this to be a tad on the excessive side, he does have the experience that only fathering 10 children can provide. And really, one only has to look around at the Hoyt homestead to realize that the Loren is a seasoned veteran of and a veritable expert on home improvement and repair... I'd take his word on it if I were you, prospective parents.

In the end, I hope that I didn't break too many minds or cause Ma too much extra work. That said, the kids seem mentally resilient and very well-grounded: I'm confident that they'll figure me out for the menace to society that I am and ignore my radical teachings. And if not... well... I'm sorry Ma: I'll send chocolate.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:50 PM | TrackBack

June 20, 2008

Not Drowned Yet

So... Anna, Moore and Ardith are all now posting more frequently than I am. For shame.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:54 PM | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

A Real Job

I've gotten a lot of questions about the new job, so let's see if I can sum it all up.

1) I'm doing something interesting... which is a nice change. I work in the Government Systems side of things at Rockwell Collins, testing the JTRS GMR.

2) I work in a cubicle, on a nice computer with a pair of 19" LCDs.

3) They have popcorn on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

4) I see Ardith once every couple of days. She is still short and antisocial.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:56 PM | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Lost in a Snow Bank

Yeah... that's where I've been. Actually, I've been acclimating to my new job. And dealing with being a bachelor. And being lonely.

As many of you will recall, I don't do so well by myself. But not to fear, assuming Wheeler and Anna beat me enough, I've got stuff that needs posting. And with any hope, I'll get it posted... though I wouldn't go holding my breath if I were you.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:20 PM | TrackBack

February 29, 2008

24 Hours Left

We have now entered the period of the last 24 hours of The Cynic living in Longview. I will come back to visit and I will come back to move Anna, but, at least for the forseeable future, this is it for me and Longview.

Those of you who have my cell phone number would do well to call it if you want to see me before I depart. For those who do not, check with someone who does. I would love to see as many people as possible before I jet, and you can make it happen

Or something like that.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:35 AM | TrackBack

February 07, 2008

While I Write

While I work on writing up a post on the acquisition of the new vehicle, here are a couple of pictures:

4runner_front_1.jpg

4runner_side_1.jpg

More below the fold (I would use thumbnails, but the thumbnail creator is on the blink.)

4runner_front_2.jpg

4runner_interior_1.jpg

4runner_back_1.jpg

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:39 PM | TrackBack

February 03, 2008

The Unveiling

Well, with it being official, I would like to announce that Anna and I are moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa in order that I may work at my new job as a software developer and tester at Rockwell-Collins. As some of you know, the offer has been on the table since mid-January after I interviewed with Rockwell, but that, for a number of reasons, I've been keeping a lid on it. Actually, if I were a good blogger, I would have already written all of this up in anticipation... but I'm thinking that a 2-month impromptu sabbatical should serve to settle any arguments to the contrary. Or... as the British would put it, I'm "rubbish at blogging."
Actually, in case I fail to get proper posts up, let me just jot down a couple of quick updates:

1. Anna and I are moving up to Cedar Rapids (oh, look, I already got that update up... look at me and my mad skills)
2. I have a new car for said job (yes, Anna also owns said car, but until she moves up, it's undesputedly My Car)
3. I have been watching a LOT of Dr. Who (hence the unusual predilection for highfalutin diction and old-world vernacular)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:19 PM | TrackBack

January 23, 2008

Sekretive Happenings

Usually I try to post once a month. And it's kinda been two months... and not a peep from me.

Stuff is going on that I really am not at liberty to discuss yet... good stuff, but stuff that's not out there for general consumption.

So while you contemplate that, watch this:

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:30 AM | TrackBack

August 27, 2007

Moving Redux Redux... etc.

Dear Wheeler,

This letter is to inform you that you have officially used up all of your allotted relocations for the next two (2) years. My back is sore, my arms likewise, ditto on my legs and even on my hands, feet and head. Also, I feel this would be an appropriate time to remind you that my rates increase significantly with the accrual of personal property but can be easily mitigated by the provenance of additional movers. In other words: you need to procure some more friends with pronounced musculature.

Regards,

The Cynic

PS While I appreciated the vast array of good food to which I was availed, I am specifically writing "must be fed Mexican food at least once" into my next contract. That is all.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:43 AM | TrackBack

July 19, 2007

Spoilers

Just so you know, I have a general principle: spoiling something for me will make your life miserable. I mean, Wash dying and Rosebud being a sled aside, I WILL bring Barbour along and, together, we will kill you.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:13 PM | TrackBack

July 09, 2007

Vacation Again

Lake City is a special place... and I choose that word specifically for all of its full denotative and connotative range. And, by all accounts, it comes into its own at the epitome of special on the 4th of July. So it was decided by6 my wife and my in-laws that I should definitely experience Lake City in all of its wonderful eccentricity on Independence Day week.
And that's how I find myself dragging out of bed at 3:45 in the freaking morning on the Friday before the 4th. Why was this necessary? Well, I'll let you do the math: it's roughly a 16-hour drive to Lake City from Longview, assuming a minimum of delays, and the DFW Metroplex is on that route. In order not to end up in the joy that is DFW morning traffic and the potential for delays due to construction, etc, etc, I need to not be in the Metroplex between 7 and 9 am... oh, and it takes about an hour to get through the Metroplex (assuming a lack of severe traffic or delays.) So, 3 hours to the far side of DFW, I either have to be on the other side by 7 am or I want to be showing up after 9 am. So, I either leave at 4 AM or after 7 AM... the latter landing me in a situation where I'll be going over mountain passes in the dark: not really a great option... especially if I somehow end up driving them - given that my only experience in driving mountain passes is precisely none.
In any event, early morning awakenings and long drives notwithstanding, I was happy to find myself in Lake City in time for Alferd Packer Days. For those of you not in the know, Alferd Packer is (was) the Lake City Cannibal and my favorite icon of Lake City. I may have written about him before... if so, I'll find it around here at some point. Anyways, when I was informed that Packer was being celebrated in song and drink... and by drink I mean solid, locally-brewed beer, I was there. And for $10 I got a glass stein with Packer's mug on it, that stein filled once with beer and $2 refills. I think I even supported some wonderful Lake City charity like the Lake City Friends of Bears or something.
But even better than Saturday's festivities was what we did on Sunday. It's not just that we got to go to Church outside in our hammock chairs, but that the service that we attended was all of the churches in Lake City holding a joint Community Service. Yes, all 5 churches in town banded together to hold the service: Presbyterian, Grace Brethren, Episcopal, Baptist and Catholic. Yeah... that's right, the Baptists and the Catholics in the same service cooperating and singing together, saying the Apostles' Creed and even listening to a sermon by a Baptist minister. I really couldn't even begin to tell you what the sermon was about, what hit me was the ecumenical spirit in that community: after living so many years amongst Catholic-haters, Baptist-bashers and various denominational segregationalists, I always feel amazed and even slightly convicted by people setting aside the less-important things for the core doctrines of the Creed and the unity of Christ's Church.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:30 PM | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

At roughly 9 am this morning the phone rings. It's a customer who had wanted to pick his computer up on Friday. Owing to circumstances beyond my control, we closed at 5 pm on Friday, rather than 7. I apologized profusely and asked the man when he planned upon arriving to pick up his computer.

"Well... what's the damages?" was his reply. When I informed him that his bill post-tax (for parts and labor) was just over $200, he balked. "You see, if you'd gotten to me Friday, I couldda payed that. But over the weekend some utility bills an' shit came up and now you gonna have to wait."

With a shrug I informed him that I would be holding his computer until he payed his bill and that it wouldn't be a problem. After he agreed and went about his way, though, this puzzled me. I mean, not to pass judgment on other people whose circumstances I don't know, but does it strike anyone else as odd that this guy had prioritized computer upgrades over an apparently-urgent utility bill?

In my estimation, I've done this guy a service. After all, if he'd actually gotten his computer on Friday afternoon, by his accounting, he would have had his electricity or his water or something shut off over the weekend. And nobody wants to endure a Texas summer with his water shut off... that's for sure.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:55 PM | TrackBack

May 23, 2007

Ironic

I have had an irrational fear of needles for as far back as I can recall. This fear is due, in no small part, to my harassment at the hands of my father and brothers. My earliest recollection of this fear was when I was approaching my 5th birthday and being informed that I would have to get a DPT Booster shot... which my father overdramatized, largely due to his own phobia. My 10th birthday was greeted with a wonderful ditty that I believe either one of my brothers fabricated and all three used to mock me from time to time "Ten.. ten... booster shot again." Now, it sounds silly, but taking an individual with a deathly fear of needles and adding insult to injury is how we develop psychoses... or something like that.

Now, as most of you are aware, about two months ago, I was diagnosed as a diabetic. As of about 6 weeks ago, I started sticking myself with a lancet between 1 and 4 times a day to ascertain my blood sugar so as to make sure that I was within the proscribed limits. As I did this again today and milked the hell out of one of my fingers, I realized that the process really didn't bug me anymore... which is a stark contrast from the near-panic that hit me on the fateful day that my sacred life fluid was tapped and stolen to confirm that my blood sugar was over 500 (mg/dL).

And then, as I was reading about the inane decision on the part of the FDA to refuse gay men the option of donating blood, I said to myself... "You know.. I think I could stomach that." Yes, this is the same guy who dragged his wife (then-girlfriend) with him to get a tetanus shot due to the pure terror it struck in his heart. You know what the best part of all of this is (in terms of irony)? For probably the next year, I'm ineligible to donate due to the impetus of my changed perspective: diabetes... until my doctor says I'm properly in treatment, anyways.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:59 PM | TrackBack

May 09, 2007

Alone in Longview

So... graduation has come and gone. As my wife noted this morning, it's been a week and change since we've actually just spent a night in the house, just the two of us. Not that I'm complaining, mind you... but it does kind of put a damper on my blogging. Not that I really needed help in that respect, but you know how it goes. I'll post some more warped links and transpose an essay from a crinkled up old bulletin and hopefully you'll forgive me. That's how we do these things, right?

Anyways, Randy is in New York, Barbour and Sharpton are at their respective homes in Missouri, Martinez has returned to California, Paige is back in Boerne, Rebecca is back in California for the summer, Gallagher has returned to BFE Nowhere (Greenville), and, until Randy gets back from his little trip to NY (screw you and your pictures that keep showing up in my inbox, Randy) it's just the Wheelers and us in Longview. Damn... that sucks a lot. I mean, you've all abandoned us.... what are we going to do?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:48 PM | TrackBack

April 20, 2007

Backlog

Well, this is going to be something of a variety post... well, actually, I think I'll post some of the old stuff that I'd written up in the last two weeks on napkins during my lunch breaks and backdate it or something. Yes, yes, things from the fevered mind of the Cynic.

Oh... and a little FAQ stuff regarding the diabetes stuff that I posted yesterday regarding questions that I've gotten over IM and whatnot:

Diabetes, eh? Care to elaborate?

Oh... my bad.... details. I'm still confused that people want to know these things... I try not to know this stuff, and I'm the one with the sickness. Anyways, I have Type II Diabetes and I'm non-insulin dependant. Right now, I'm taking pills twice a day to help regulate my blood sugar, but the idea is to regulate down to where I can go of meds.

Doesn't being diabetic involve sticking yourself with needles? I thought you hated needles.

The Cynic is deathly afraid of needles and refuses to think more about the subject. Kindly refrain from referring to the subject again. -- The Cynic's Subconscious Mind

You sound depressed, are you ok?

I'm quite fine. Please stop worrying if I'm going to die or anything like that. My dying would be too easy for all parties involved... I intend on living long enough to make all of your lives very unpleasant. I wouldn't want Anna to get out of helping pay off my loans that easily either.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:38 AM | TrackBack

April 19, 2007

Life Happens

I was going to title this one "The Last Mountain Dew"... but I figured I'd try to be slightly serious given that 95% of respondents haven't found this nearly as funny as I have.

You see... I haven't posted for the last two weeks or so because stuff of a rather serious nature has come up and I've kinda been on the fence about it. As some of my more insightful friends will tell you, while I may talk a great deal and tell stories and give my opinions, these things rarely give insight into my own personal trials and difficulties. That's because I prefer to think of myself as invincible and whatnot... and I really would just as soon not advertise problems that I might have. However, this is going to come up with a great many of you sooner or later, and I do like people to tell me stuff... so sometimes that means that I have to share personal stuff as well. After all, my friends like knowing these things... or something.

Anyhow, for the last two months or so (maybe three) I've been drinking an ever-increasing volume of water on a daily basis, experiencing some numbness in my left hand, sweating like crazy and having random, abrupt changes in the quality of my vision (going from 20/20 the next day to 20/80 the next and then perhaps back again 2-3 days later.) So, I began doing a bit of research at about Spring Break and I said "hrmmm.... that's not good." And then I promptly attempted to repress this and hope things would go away... after I told my wife.

So, two weeks ago, my wife informed me that I'd stalled long enough and she was dragging me to the doctor. Turns out, I have diabetes... who'd have guessed?

Now, most of you have spent some time with me in person, but for those who haven't (and I'm not huge on posting pictures, either), I am not a small man. Nor am I a man of small appetites. Oh... and I drink a lot of Coke. Well... drank.

You see, your average person has a blood sugar level of somewhere betweek 120 and 160 or so. 80-180 is the acceptable range, but under 100 and over 160 and things start to get weird in your body. At around 300, the amount of sugar in the body gets to the point where the body begins dumping a significant amount of sugar into urine to get things under control and in poorly-hydrated persons, comas can occur. Typical glucometers measure up to 500 mg/dL... mine was off the top of the chart.

So... the fact that the doctor didn't hospitalize me is probably a Good Thing, but suffice it to say that I've been on meds and strict orders as to what my diet can and can't consist of for the last two weeks. The Tuesday after I registered off the chart, thanks to an assortment of medications and an absence of sugar, I was down to 187. So it would seem that I'm not going to die... except from fear of needles.

You see, I have to get a glucometer of my own (which was finally purchased last night, after a week of procrastinating) and measure my own blood sugar so that I can figure out what food does which to my blood sugar and whatnot. That's sticking myself with a little spring-loaded razorblade and taking my precious bodily fluids and plugging them into a little demon-box that tells me to drink less Coke.

Speaking of Coke... I haven't had one in two weeks, and it sucks. Coke Zero is not Coke and Splenda is not sugar. And needles do not belong in or around my arms. Suffice it to say that this has generally not been fun... but I have to note that my wife has been very supportive and that it looks like I'm not gonna die.

I'm still wondering if that would have been preferable.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:53 AM | TrackBack

March 23, 2007

Anyone Home?

*beep* *beep* *beep*

Cynic: (mutters) freaking interruptions... (wanders up front to meet customer)

Customer is a man in his late 50s with worn clothing and disheveled hair.

Customer: What do y'all do?

Cynic: Well, Sir, we build, upgrade and repair computers and provide IT support for businesses and home users.

Customer (confused): So y'all could look at my Compaq and fix it.

Cynic: Yes I could and I'd be happy to do so.

Customer: Could y'all look at my computer then?

Cynic: Uh... sure.

Customer exits and Cynic goes back to grab a couple of tools. After waiting for a minute or two for the customer to return, the Cynic notes that the customer appears to be fooling with something in his truck. He then notices the customer approaching the door with a large CRT monitor as a middle-aged woman comically stumbles along behind with a tower that is still attached to the monitor by several cables. This parade continues into the store until the man sets the monitor mid-floor to catch his breath.

Cynic: Sir, I really don't need your monitor. Cynic makes sweeping gesture at several monitors. I have some of my own.

Customer: Well, I need ya to test mine and make sure it works.

Cynic: "Ok..." Cynic attaches monitor to computer and indicates to Customer that it does, indeed, work.

Customer: You sure you don't want to keep it to test my computer... it ain't never really worked right.

Cynic: Sir, your monitor is large, bulky and unnecessary. For all intents and purposes, one monitor is exactly the same as another... please take your monitor.

Customer: But I'll need you to show me how to hook it up when I come back and I don't want to take it home and bring it all the way back.

Cynic: Sir, like I said, one monitor is essentially the same as another. Here, I'll show you now with your monitor and when you come back, I can show you again with one of mine. The connection is color-coded and everything and this is the only 25-pin connection on the back of your computer that matches this connector on your monitor. See? It's very simple.

Customer: What about them two knobs there?

Cynic: Knobs?

Customer indicates screws on either side of the cable

Cynic: Oh... those tighten in to hold the cable in place.

Customer: How do I use them?

Cynic (giving the customer a strange look): You tighten them in to hold the cable in and you loosen them to pull the cable out. They're just little screws to makes sure the cable doesn't come out accidentally.

At this point, having slipped out unobtrusively a minute earlier, Customer's Wife returns with a keyboard, mouse, and two speakers, along with a fax machine.

Customer: Oh yeah, could you make sure all of that stuff works too?

Cynic: Listen sir, I'll be happy to make sure that your fax machine works with your computer, but as for the rest of this stuff, I'll be happy to show you how it hooks up and assure you that it works when you come back to get it.

Customer: But I don't know how to hook it...

Cynic (interrupting): Yes, I know, and I"ll show you when you come to pick it up. after I know that the computer works properly. Now, let me help you guys out with this monitor.

Cynic promptly picks up The Giant CRT and lugs it out the door, leaving Customer to follow along.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:27 PM | TrackBack

March 19, 2007

Spring Break Open Thread 2007: The Winners

Yes... I know, it's not the morning. The problem is, while Toad has clearly won the quantity prize, I'm not so sure if anyone won the quality prize. So... here's what I'm gonna do... another contest.

Go through the comments and find the comment that you feel should win the quality contest and leave a comment here advocating that comment. The most well-advocated comment will be rewarded, as will its advocate. Oh... and you can't advocate your own comments... sorry. Oh... and I'm not advocating for anyone unless I'm well-bribed.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:10 PM | TrackBack

March 09, 2007

Spring Break Open Thread 2007

Because I don't get a Spring Break, because Wilson's blog is on indefinate hiatus, and because I am bored and in dire need of silliness, I am stealing the Open Thread for this year's Spring Break.

This year's rules:

1) No flamingos.

2) No singing, dancing, smoking, drinking, or speaking in strange tongues.

3) Polysyllabic words and those which use more than 5 letters of the alphabet are strictly forbidden.

4) Posts containing more than two hyperlinks are also forbidden, unless:

4a) Said links are to amusing websites... and then all posts with links are forbidden.

5) No quibbling, snivelling, cavorting, bandying, perambulating, prognosticating, equivocating or verbing.

6) There is to be no campaigning for candidates in various elections - imagined or not.

7) As always, contestants who post after 1 am will be disqualified.

Suitable prizes will be distributed in the way I feel most appropriate to such contributors who fulfill one or more of the following categories (or at my discretion): (a) the most frequent commenter and (b) the commenter who breaks the rules the most effectively. As always, all LU alumni and students are welcome to participate, but this is not limited to you.

Winners will be announced after the thread closes... probably. Oh, and the thread closes at 11:59 p.m. (Central) on the 18th (Sunday).

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:54 AM | TrackBack

March 08, 2007

Month Off

Since everyone else gets a spring break and I don't, I guess I decided to take the month of February off. Though, as Wilson notes, everyone seems to be posting with more frequency than I am. We are taking steps to change that, effective immediately.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:35 AM | TrackBack

January 12, 2007

Longview Vacation

Wilson crashed here last night after we sat up for a while and chatted about his graduate program and the politics attendant thereto. I had to get up entirely too early to drive Anna to school... oh, the joys of only having one car.

Anyways, so Wilson and I got out the door, grabbed some breakfast and tried to get Wheeler up for LAMP. Turns out that Wheeler didn't want to be on time, so Wilson and I went on ahead (stopping briefly in the Ice Cave for me to actually eat breakfast) to a fortuitously-timed Friday LAMP... with Dr. Batts 'officiating.'

I honestly didn't know that Dr. Batts could talk for such a short stretch of time, as the homily he gave was short even by Episcopal standards. Now, granted, it was a homily filled with Batts-style repetition ("Did you know that we're in the Church season of Epiphany?"), but I was amazed at its brevity.

After chapel, the SC descended upon Heath-Hardwick as is our custom. Oh... and Dr. K has discovered that he has access to the old CPI forums. That's right, the halcyon days of yore are with us again. I'll be attempting to log on and recover those in the days ahead.

So, taunting Dr. Woodring, K and Johnson was jolly good fun... but there was lunch to be had. Off to Joe's with the Wheelers and Wilson, where we met with my friend Luis and his girlfriend. Lunch was good, as Joe's always is.

Back to campus, where Gallagher finally arrived. With the four of us together in the Ice Cave for the first time since Wilson and Wheeler graduated, we decided to capitalize on the oppurtunity and forcibly eject the usurpers. Actually, we didn't... after all, Randy's art would have gone with him, and I must admit that it's a far sight more attractive than the old matador painting. Not that I mind the matador... but it's not exactly high-quality.

Oh... remember how I dropped my wife off at school? Turns out, she wanted to be picked up at the end of a hard day of work. So we did... except that we went by way of the loop... where there was a train. The train wasn't just crossing the road, the train was stopped... and showing no signs of moving. So we back-tracked and ended up being a bit late picking up Anna. Yay for stupid Longview.

After retrieving my wife, we returned to our apartment so Wilson could grab another shower before enduring his 30-some hour train trek. I've always thought there ought to be nicer train services for people who don't want to endure the railway version of Greyhound... but that's just me. After that, we joined the rest of the crew for a bite to eat and then we sent Wilson on his way to Chicago and on through to Syracuse. Send him an email if you get a chance... it's a long train ride.

The evening was finished out by playing cards at the Wheeler abode and going to see Stranger than Fiction with the Wheelers and the Dirty Old Man. I'll probably write about Stranger than Fiction later... but suffice to say that it more or less boils down to a more-amusing-than-usual chick flick. While I was hoping for something more, as a chick flick, one could do far, far worse. But Will Ferrell in a chick flick? That's just messed up.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:00 PM | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

Visitations by Wilson

So Wilson is in Longview until tomorrow. After an enjoyable but all-too-brief lunch with Wilson, Wheeler, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Watson, I find myself back at work, grinding away.

Word has it that Wilson is haunting the HHH offices even as we speak. We'll probably do a bit more of that tomorrow where I'll be taking a day off to enjoy with Wilson and Wheeler. I hear that Gallagher will even be driving in from Greenville to mark the occasion.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:28 PM | TrackBack

January 02, 2007

The Joys of Microsoft

So this morning I said to myself, "Self, I think I'd like to listen to some music today." So I went over and hooked up the NAS that we keep in the back that has some 70 GB of music on it (all legal, of course.) Now, because I'm lazy and didn't want to go hunt down the network name or address of the NAS (which is necessary to get the music) I figured I'd just use the UPnP (Universal Plug and Play... it's a network service that lets you use network stuff seamlessly like it was on your computer) functionality on the NAS to my advantage. Problem is, Windows XP frequently doesn't install and enable UPnP by default... so I went and found the install option and started it... and then it asked for the XP disk. Well... I was kinda busy at the moment and didn't have the disk handy, so I cancelled the install so as to get back to it later. And that's where the fun began.

Upon cancelling the install, most of my network functionality ceased. I could open up the remote share on the server, but I couldn't use web browsers and I couldn't use any of my internet-connecting programs... at all. Several hours of attempted fixes later, here I am, reinstalling Windows (after the repair failed.) Granted, given a couple of days, I could probably find a fix... this isn't unfixable. But I don't have the time. This is the one computer in the world that I need working almost all of the time. So here I am... reloading windows. At least this time I'm not installing x64 edition.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:45 PM | TrackBack

January 01, 2007

Unexplained Absence

It seems that over holidays, I get lazy. Thanksgiving approached, and I went AWOL. Christmas came, and I did likewise. Bad Cynic.

So... I will be attempting to post daily. The thing about getting behind is that once you get backlogged, you're reluctant to catch up. Maybe I'll back-date to the first of the year and make it a New Year's resolution to post daily. Yeah... I think I'll do that.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:15 AM | TrackBack

December 07, 2006

Cynic on Hiatus

So where did I go for the last month? Well... it started out as something of a break by virtue of the fact that I was swamped at work. And by the time I got that sorted out, I was waiting for a post to come to me, and then it was the computer and so on it goes. But I figure I owe it to myself to go and backlog and stuff... if only for my own mind in posterity.

Oh, I'm not on hiatus... I'm back from hiatus.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:21 AM | TrackBack

December 05, 2006

Bachelor on the Loose

I an scheduled to put Anna on a plane to Austin this afternoon. I am then a bachelor until Friday. Consider yourself warned.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:55 PM | TrackBack

December 01, 2006

Two Freaking Weeks?!

Happy Birthday, Cynic.

Two weeks at the RMA facility in Kentucky after they receive my motherboard before they ship it back.

#@$#$*

As a note, the email from ASUS regarding the RMA is copied in all of its 1995-era HTML glory below the fold...

Dear Sir or Madam:

Your RMA# is ########.

PLEASE KEEP YOUR RMA# ON HAND, AS YOU MUST PROVIDE IT TO THE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS FOR ANY STATUS CHECKS AT (510) 739-3777 EXT. 5105. The RMA Process runs approximately 10 BUSINESS DAYS (excludes ALL holidays, weekends, and transit time back to you) from the date your product is RECEIVED AT OUR FACILITY. Customer's are responsible for 1 way freight to ASUS. Our standard shipping back to customer is FEDEX Ground.

***Please note if your product is one of the following, please return your product with the following accessory:

P5 series Motherboards-Please make sure to put the CPU Cap back on the motherboard to prevent pins from bending. If it is returned without the CPU Cap the product may incur a fee to have the product repaired or rejected back to you.

VGA CARDS - MUST be accompanied with the fan/heatsink, otherwise it will be rejected as physical damage.****

A8N SLI Deluxe-If you use only 1 video card with this product, please return the EZ Selector Card so that it may be properly tested as well***

You must write your RMA# on the outside package

. (If you don't write the RMA on the outside of your package your product will be rejected at time of delivery).

Attention your package to RMA department. Do not attention your package to an RMA representative, unless instructed otherwise.

Do not include any accessories such as manuals, software, CPU, memory, retention mechanisms or clips, cables, or your original box

. If you send any of the above mentioned items they WILL NOT be returned or replaced.

Also to insure proper troubleshooting/ testing, please include a brief description of the problem you are having with your ASUS product, any troubleshooting steps you may have tried, AND your CASE# from technical support if given one.

Please be sure to package return product very carefully to prevent damage during transit.

ASUS is not responsible for losses or damages incurred due to shipping / improper packaging. We recommend two inches of padding all the way around your product itself. You MUST package your product in a box.

Physical damage is NOT covered under your ASUS warranty under NO circumstances and automatically VOIDS your warranty on your product. This damage can include any shape or form of corner / edge damage, broken traces, broken CPU socket, and/or burns. If you do send a product in that is physical damaged, you will be notified and the product will either be repaired / replaced for a fee or rejected.

The RMA Process runs approximately 10 BUSINESS DAYS (excludes ALL holidays, weekends, and transit time back to you) from the date your product is RECEIVED AT OUR FACILITY. Customer's are responsible for 1 way freight to ASUS. Our standard shipping back to customer is FEDEX Ground.

ASUS will reject any products packaged in an envelope.

Your Technical support case# . Please keep your case number in hand if you will be needing technical support regarding this issue.

(Technical support: 502-995-0883)

**ASUS Computer International (USA) is a warranty repair service center. Please contact place of purchase for credit, refund, upgrade. Asus does not provide these services under any circumstances.

**RMA numbers that begin with (EK)

Ship to address:

ASUS Technology Service

Attn: RMA Dept, RMA# _____________

7100 Intermodal Drive, STE# A

Louisville, KY 40258

To check status please email to

rma@asus.com <mailto:rma@asus.com

Best regards,

ASUS RMA Dept.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:44 AM | TrackBack

Freaking RMA

So... yeah, my motherboard is getting RMA'ed. Woo-hoo.

On the upside, I'm not going insane... at least about my computer. Nor did I set my motherboard setting wrong. Yeah... my motherboard is just a lemon.

Hey, I had to call at 5.30 am pst to get through, but get though I did.

Happy birthday to me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:09 AM | TrackBack

November 30, 2006

Motherboard Woes

You see, all along here, my secret fear is that my motherboard just hasn't been set correctly. It should be noted that the ASUS Crosshair is a fine piece of electronics and machinery and that it makes me happy.... but it's a finnicky piece of work, owing largely to its complex overclocking system and recent release. To make a long story short, it's much more designed for you to configure it than for it to configure itself, because that's what overclockers typically want to do. I mean, who wants stock settings... honestly?

So, I called up ASUS, hoping that my settings wouldn't be jacked and, if they were, someone would correct me.

Step 1: "If you have internet, go to http://livesupport.asus.com ... it's way faster.

This sounded like a good idea... until I went to http://livesupport.asus.com and noted that while the open hours said: "5:30am-9pm (pst)" and it was clearly 11 am central (which is 9 am pacific), the little box said "Live Chat is CLOSED."

Stupid ASUS... and back to the phones.

Step 2: Wait on hold... where an "average of 10 minutes" becomes 30

Seriously... how the hell is the average 10 minutes? Do they take the average over the course of the year or what?

And when I did get ahold of someone, he informed me that they were really swamped and if I took a number, I'd get a call back. I informed him that I'd only be at work for another 3 hours and asked him where they should call me. He estimated that it might take them longer than 3 hours to reach me.

"So when should I hear from you guys?"
Response: "Sometime today?"

That was 2 pm. It's now 5 minutes until their 11 pm central close time. And I still haven't heard from them. You know... with Wilson no longer policing me... I think I will say that I hate the bastards at ASUS. I'd be using stronger language, but little old ladies read this blog.

Tomorrow, it's war.

Oh... yeah, step 3?

Step 3: Send an email to tech support

Response time is typically 48 hours... they closed my case after 4 with no resolution. Go figure. I'm so pissed right now that I'm inarticulate.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:58 AM | TrackBack

RMA?

The drama of my computer building continues. After bringing the other computer here at work online (I'll tell the story about that sometime when I'm not angry already), I swapped video cards... and, lo and behold, my video card works in the other system and its video card (which works in other computers) doesn't work in mine. The plot thickens.

I'm pretty sure it's my motherboard at this point (as I'm mostly out of other things it COULD be) and thus, it's time to call ASUS.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:12 AM | TrackBack

November 29, 2006

RMA Is On

Yesterday and this morning, the weasels at EVGA failed to inform me that even after I paid money for the cross-shipping service, actually getting the RMA number for the next-day cross-shipping takes 2-3 business days. Stupid telephone monkeys. Well, it's ordered now.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:14 PM | TrackBack

Suspect #1

Well, after a night of memtest-ing, it would appear that the ram and the cpu are fine. As a resul of this, it was decided (by me, of course) that it's time to call EVGA.

The guy was pretty helpful and very impressed that I'd actually gone to all of this work diagnosing my system. Apparently, most people who build systems just call up and say "hurk... gimme an rma, I think my video card's done broke itself."

In any event, I've paid for the Advanced RMA stuff and after I spend the rest of the day diagnosing this thing, I'll be on the RMA like white on rice.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:17 AM | TrackBack

November 28, 2006

Trouble in Paradise

World of Warcraft stays up for between 3 and 5 minutes before crashing down. It would appear that other graphically-intensive stuff follows suit. I've spent all day fiddling with settings and to no avail.

My current theory is that my video card is jacked up... I will be contacting EVGA in the morning for RMA stuffs. For now, I'm considering purchasing the Advanced RMA insurance so that I can get the video card cross-shipped in the even that I need it. (Ends up being about $3 more than the shipping costs, allows next-day air, and I don't have to pay any shipping.)

Oh... and my motherboard doesn't clock my ram correctly and there are reports that it does the same thing with CPU's, so I've spent most of the evening hunting down ram and motherboard timings and voltages in the fleeting hopes that setting those would fix my problems. It hasn't.

The plan right now is to run memtest overnight to check for cpu and memory errors, and failing that, it looks like the video card is going to ge the good ol' RMA. As of right now, I've run 5 cycles of memtest and everything looks good.... but a night of good burn-in testing can't hurt, can it?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:03 PM | TrackBack

November 27, 2006

Coming to You Live

From the Tower of Doom. Fear the Thermaltake Armor with 25 cm side fan. Currently installing Windows... all is well thus far. I plan to lug the monster with me to work tomorrow and get WoW up and running.

Earlier on Anna said to me, "Please tell me the case isn't as big as the box makes it look."

I could tell her no such thing, for it is stinking huge.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:48 PM | TrackBack

The Computer is Here!

I just got a call from my wife informing me that all of the parts for the computer that I ordered last week are here. Oh happy days, it's computer building time... and then I can give my current computer some upgrades (a DVD-RW drive, a new case, some cleaning, better fans) and it become's my wife's. Maybe now she'll be able to raid properly. Hopefully even by this friday.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:26 PM | TrackBack

November 13, 2006

Lead-Up to The Big Game

As many of you know, I am from Ohio... and at this time of year, that origin gives me a certain amount of responsibility with regards to spreading disdain for Michigan and awaiting the Big Game. This becomes especially important in years such as this one. I will explain all of that in further installments, and for now I leave you with some perspective.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:13 AM | TrackBack

November 06, 2006

Our Loss

I've suspected for some time that it would come down to this. Citing professional concerns, time considerations and personal reasons, our most popular, regular and vocal blogger is shutting down. Jonathan Wilson is closing up his own little spot in the blogosphere... a sad day in the life of The Shadow Council.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:00 AM | TrackBack

October 30, 2006

Why I Voted Kinky

As I went into the voting booth on Sunday for Early Voting, I went in with a heavy heart and an unsure stance. You see, for me, as for many with whom I associate, there is no good candidate for Texas Governor. Allow me to explain.

Many of my friends and I (with certain exceptions) have been raised Republicans since we drew the Republican breast-milk from our mothers, lest we be tainted and warped by the foul mind-warping Democratic formula administered by men whose liberated wives were too busy to be feeding infants. In any event, as we grew older, we were informed that the Republican Party was God's Chosen Party and that George W. Bush was God's Chosen Leader for America. And since God's Chosen Leader left behind such a capable man as Richard Perry to govern in his stead over God's Chosen State, who were we to question?

But seriously... if you've been a Republican your whole life and your whole family treats the political party as akin to religion (leaving out, for a minute, the party's flagrant campaigning on the basis of religion), it's a bit hard to step out and be the black sheep who might vote Democrat. Many, myself included, drew hope from the presence of Carole Keeton Strayhorn... right up until the point where she made an ass out of herself trying to get "Grandma" Strayhorn on the ballot and until, at least for me, a closer examination of her issues revealed that she hoped to increase spending, cut taxes, and draw the balance out of the ether... or something.

"Alright," said I, "let's do this. Let's cross party lines and vote Democrat." And then I noticed something. Unlike most Texas Democrats who will try to avoid the issues of abortion and gun control, owing to the fact that most Texans are rather Republican in their stances on both, Chris Bell had come out in a rather strong stance even for a Democrat and refused to vote against partial-birth abortion and was in favor of gun registration and a ban on assault rifles. Well, this kind of got me to investigating Chris Bell a bit more and challenging my earlier assumption that he wasn't the kind of Democrat who I disliked. Now, would he be a better governor than Rick Perry? Probably. But I just couldn't vote in good conscience for someone whose politics vary that drastically with mine... especially considering that Bell's only real selling point in the first place is "not Rick Perry."

And this leaves me with Kinky. Now, really... I couldn't vote for Kinky in a real political election which caused me to dismiss him out-of-hand at first. And then I looked at Austin and I took a hard look at my choices. Honestly, Kinky is the best out of the four precisely because he's not a real political candidate. He's like Jesse Ventura: if he gets elected, it will be because all of the alternatives sucked that much. To my wife's questions of Kinky's political stance being better than Bell's, my response is that it's more or less identical, balancing some improvements for some downsides... and honestly, if I've got to swallow some bile and vote for someone who I really don't trust or like, I'd rather vote Kinky.

I guess that will be my new mantra: "Vote Kinky, Because Texas Deserves It"

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:06 PM | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

The Eventful Walk Home

As some of you know, in an effort to render myself into a healthier (and slightly smaller) Cynic, I have taken to walking home in the afternoons as the option presents itself. This means that 4-5 days a week, I take the 1.5 mile route home by foot, making a couple of small detours to chat with friends of mine who work at establishments along my route home.

At one point in particular, the shortest route home would have me walking right alongside a busy stretch of the loop, so like a clever lad, I walk up the parallel residential street that sits about 20 feet from the loop and then cut across the lot of the appliance store at the end of the road. This has been a rather productive endeavor as the street is all but vacant and it gives me a nice chance to wander through suburbia and admire all of the wonderful homes that the white trash residents have allowed to go to pot. Yeah... so it's not the nicest neighborhood, but it keeps me out of traffic.

Earlier this evening, as I was taking my daily walk through hickdom, I noted several dogs barking loudly from one of the hicks' front yards. This is not atypical in and of itself, though I noted that the dogs were out front instead of being fenced in around back of the house and closer inspection revealed that they were not chained up. Now, being a rather open-minded fellow, I figured the dogs were trained to stay in the front yard, bark menacingly and let travellers go along with their business. Suffice it to say that I was a bit taken aback when all three dogs took to the street and moved to within 10 feet of me, barking at me. Feeling in my pocket, I reached for my knife and attempted to walk a little bit faster as I noticed that the dogs were attempting to surround me.

Working back to some of the random knowledge I'd acquired on the way, I remembered that dogs attempt to surround their prey in order to take it down. Not one to be taken down, I began making lunges at the dogs in order to keep them all on one side of me, preparing to deal with the first one to charge. As those who know me will note, when truly angry, I have somewhat of a frightening presence and, believe me, these dogs were upsetting me. It was about at this point that the stupid inbred owners of these dogs came out of their house and noticed that their dogs were menacing me. As they began calling for the dogs, one of them attempted to charge and came up short of a kick that probably would have broken a bone or two. At this point the inbreds began shouting that I needn't kick the dogs, these were good dogs and wouldn't bite anyone. Right after this they managed to call off the dogs and I glared at them and walked off, thankful that I hadn't had to deal with the probable confrontation that would have resulted, had they noticed the knife that I was preparing to use on at least one of those mongrels.

Muttering to myself and thinking pleasant thoughts about calling animal control, I resumed my stroll, giving my friend Tim a call to recount my suffering at the hands of stupid hicks. My street crossings were thankfully without incident, and I proceeded to the mall, where my friends at Software Etcetera were holding my $10 Happy Hacker keyboard that they'd just gotten in (Logitech knock-off, not the real deal... :-( )

Wandering in, I noted that the store seemed packed with people, most of whom had come in search of a PS3 reservation, all of which had been sold hours before. As I stood around chatting with the guys who work there, a customer came up and sat a stack of games on the table, asking how much he could get for them. The response was $19 in store credit with a special that they're currently running or $8 cash. After some hemming and hawing, the customer decided that he wanted cash.

Now, some of you know, I'm not too easy on idiots, nor am I particularly reticent in pointing their idiocies out to them. True to form, I told this guy that $19 was a much better deal than $8... to which he replied that Software Etc. didn't sell cigarettes and he needed smokes. Yeah... because an stupid premise makes an idiotic decision viable, right?
Deciding that this was a lost soul, I began channeling P.T. Barnum. "You want $10 for those games?" I asked, whipping out a crisp Alexander Hamilton. "Sure," he said, handing me the games. Well, I've already got some stuff on reserve at Software Etc. and I wanted to buy my keyboard, so I handed them the games, they handed me my keyboard, and they transferred $9 to my reserves. Yes, that's right, I made $9 just for being able to do math and not having a nicotine addiction.
Now, if I can only get those dogs taken to the pound or at least have the rednecks fined, it will have been a very productive walk home.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:50 PM | TrackBack

September 23, 2006

To My "Brethren"

To my "Christian Brethren" at Longview Baptist Temple:

I applaud you in that you're out in the community going door-to-door, trying to win people to Jesus. I also applaud you that you're encouraging people to get to church via a free ride on your buses rather than spend money on their own gas. However, send a representative to my door before 10 am on a Saturday morning again and I will not be giving you any brotherly love but rather some of that Old-Time Religion like that described in Isaiah 66:15-16.

But seriously, people like to sleep on Saturday mornings. Do you honestly think that going door-to-door this early is going to engender open-minded responses to a church already viewed with suspicion?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:24 AM | TrackBack

September 19, 2006

Yarr!

Shiver me timbers! It do be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Get ta celebratin or we'll make ye walk the plank!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:52 AM | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

There and Back Again

So I went back to Ohio, I saw a lot of people, and I realized as I sat in church how much I missed being there. I don't know if I'll ever be able to move back to Cincinnati, but it's just amazing to be able to visit and see all of the people who God used in my life and in the lives of all of the people in my family.

I got to see my close friend Tim and spend time with him. I even got to go up to Miami and spend a couple of days with him there and attend a class with him (yes, I'm such a nerd.)

I "got to" go shopping with my mom, my grandmother (Nana, for those of you who've met her) and my great Aunt Anne (Nana's sister.) I love spending time with them... but I'm not sure I would have chosen to go shopping. That said, I'd forgotten the fun that I can have with those ladies... and how funny Nana is. She was arguing with my Aunt Anne and ended the conversation jokingly announcing that it was going to be her way or "I'll break your arm."

My little brother Jonny is also growing up and getting much more mature. Not only can he hold an extended and intelligent discussion, he's passionate about the Lord and the mission trips he's been on. I've just been amazed with the work that God's done in Jonny in the last year and pray that it continues.

There are so many other people I saw and got to visit: family, friends, my brother Geoff, his wife... it all went by so fast. The wedding was touching... and shorter than mine. The sermon was good, albeit slightly pointed... and probably longer than it would have been if Geoff and Christie hadn't requested that it be slightly shorter.

All in all it was a great trip and one that I hope I don't end up waiting a year to repat. Time will tell.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:17 PM | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Well... actually it's not really the U.S.S.R., it's Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm back for my brother's wedding, to spend time with my friends, to have fun times with my family, and pretty much to sow Cynicism and whatnot throughout the world.

I will try to update as much and as regularly as humanly possible, but without a computer to call my own and borrowing the computers of others... well... you know how that goes. Oddly enough, this will probably result in slightly more regular updates than experienced when I'm in TX. In any event, email is a yes, cell phone is with me, IM is irregular, and WoW is probably a no. See you next Sunday, Texas.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:52 AM | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

More Snakes on More Planes

So, 24 hours saw me sitting down in 4-Star Theatre in Kilgore to watch Snakes on a Plane, getting out and ganking one of the posters, getting 5 or so hours of sleep, working for 4 hours, eating lunch, packing, flying to Cincinnati (with a brief stop in Dallas), and going into Cinema Springdale in Texas, getting a beer at the bar that they have on-site, and then going to see Snakes on a Plane.

Is Snakes on a Plane just that awesome that I needed to see it twice? Well... I think once would have been enough for just me, but I needed to see it with my friends. As a reviewer wrote last week, SoAP is a communal experience that has to be enjoyed jointly to be truly appreciated. The Cynic's corrolary is that to have enjoyment, you need to see SoAP with your friends... as many of them as possible, even if it means seeing it multiple times to hit up all of your friends.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:42 AM | TrackBack

July 19, 2006

Wikipedia-ing

So where have I been? Over at wikipedia, of course. Keeping track of the vandals, wiping them out, and whatnot.

Oh... this last weekend? With Wilson in town... yeah, I suppose I ought to do some play write-ups and the like. This is mostly to assure you that I am, indeed, alive.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:32 AM | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

Internets

So... yesterday I visited the Longview Cable office. I've not had internet reliably in my apartment since it was supposed to have been activated last Tuesday, and this fact had me greatly angered. My visit was answered by a receptionist attempting to give me technical support and finally by a chance to speak with an actual "technician": an incompetent woman (yes, I know, redundant) whom I suspect was also a phone support specialist or something.

So, this "technician" was sassy, obnoxious and clueless. Oh, and she made the mistake of swearing at me. Apparently this is considered good conduct in Longview Cable Tech Support land. I probably ought not to be so proud that I tutored her both in the workings of the cable modem that they have in my apartment and the proper usage and assembly of profane and insulting dialogue... but... well... there it is. Now, given the choice of deciding to get her fired and shooting back, I probably should have chosen the former, but well... let's just say that having Anna several hundred miles away and a lack of sleep were partially responsible. That said and in hindsight, it felt very good to choose the latter.

In any event, apparently my vitriol, anger and profanity mixed together to get me results, because today I got a phone call informing me that my cable technician (note: not the crazy woman from the LCTV office) was on my doorstep. Ignoring the possibility of this being retribution for my conflict with the psycho woman, I rushed home and assisted the technician, who found nearly 25 dBmV worth of excess lossy spots between the main box and my apartment cable drop. Over the course of the next half hour, he bypassed and fixed some of those spots and just boosted the signal to account for problems and made me a happy man who now has internets.

So yeah... sometimes I can nuke the crap out of flies with vinegar. Take that: Anna, Wilson, Mom, and anyone else who has called my pursuit of verbal sparring a less than noble and productive endeavor.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:53 PM | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

My Anna....

She is gone to Lake City until next week. That sucks... =(

I hope she enjoys herself... but it still sucks that I'm down here by myself.

Oh... and getting up at 3.45 am sucks too... but not as much.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:25 AM | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

FYI

It should be noted that even as I tried to post, my internet connection went haywire. From what I can tell, the connection between my cable modem and the connection on the other end is tenuous at best... so if you should attempt to get ahold of me, bear in mind that I'm dropping packets like Shaggy and Scooby were dropping acid.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:17 AM | TrackBack

The Man Who Moved

There was once a man who needed to move across town... because the apartment that he lived in was small and dirty. The apartment wasn't really actually dirty, but it smelled very dirty on account of the man's upstairs neighbors being mean and nasty people. The man's upstairs neighbors smoked and drank themselves silly all night long and every morning, the man's apartment smelled as if he had been doing the same. To make matters worse, the man's wife was made sick by all of the dirty smells and kept awake by the noise of the nasty upstairs neighbors. So, the man and his wife decided to move to a nicer place.

Now, moving (even across town) is not an affair for the faint of heart or the weak of muscle... especially when one's new apartment is up a rather haphazardly-arranged flight of stairs. That said, the man had some good friends to help him... and help they did. So after two evenings of hard work, most of the man's worldly possessions (and even those of his wife) had been loaded into the back of a rickety truck, driven across town, taken out of the back of the truck, and carried up the stairs and into the apartment.

Somewhere in the process of doing this, the man realized that he would very much like an internet connection at his new apartment like the nice people at the cable place had told him he could have. And they even came out and promised that it would work... but it would appear that they were misinformed, or just stupid. For when the man tried to set up his internet, it just didn't work. Try as he might, the man could not make his internet work... and so he did the thing that he hated to do: he called technical abuse.

Technical abuse is the secret name for the people who live inside of the telephone and pretend to help you with your computer and electronic problems. You see, once upon a time, there were real people who lived on the other end of the telephone and helped people with problems, but then the companies that hired the people decided that they could buy cheaper people in India and put them inside of the phone. The problem is, when they crammed the people in there, they forgot to cram some support in there, and then all they could fit in was a little script for the people in the phone to read off of.

So anyways, the man called technical abuse and after talking to 4 or 5 different people over the course of a very long time, he convinced them that he really knew what he was talking about. The people in the phone seemed very impressed at how much he knew about computers and electronics... so much so that they even agreed to send one of the people outside of the phone to come and look at his problem and make his computers get on the internet.

Sadly for the man, he was at work when the person from outside of the phone came, and so Technician (for that was his name) talked to the man's wife. And while the man's wife was good at many things, she was not well-versed in the secret trickery that Technician and his technical abuse friends practiced... and so Technician only fixed the man's internets a little bit.

And so now the man sits at his computer. He surveys his apartment, filled with partially-unpacked boxes and haphazardly-arranged furniture, and he is pleased with that. He looks at his computer, lovingly glowing and filled with electricity after spending several long days in darkness, and he is pleased with that. He looks at his happy blue wireless box, which sends internets in every direction to anyone who know's the man's secret handshake, and he is pleased with that. And then, he glances at Technician's box of lies, and he is sad and angry. For Technician's box of lies sometimes gives the man internets... only to take them away like an angry little boy stealing a piece of candy, and then it holds the internets hostage until nobody is watching, and then sometimes it gives them back.

Technician may have won this round, but the man is watching. The man will get technician... of that much you may be sure.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:16 AM | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

No Updates?

I was about to give Gallagher, Wheeler, Toad, and Paige crap about not updating.... and then I realized that I hadn't posted in two weeks, as evidenced by all of my beautiful long posts dropping off of my blog when I posted my bit of humor this morning.

So where has the Cynic been? Mostly at Wheeler's apartment, watching through the first season of Desperate Housewives. It's rather amusing and a good bit better than I'd suspected it would be. Still probably not up to my standards of "things with lasting cultural and intellectual value", but a good laugh and some fun times with friends.

We've gotten most of the way through the first season and the show, while frequently witty, is not above giving in to cliche. So far I've seen numerous scenes of marital turmoil, threats of extra-marital affairs, the gay young man crisis, depiction of religious leaders as out-of-touch and hopelessly trapped within an antiquated moral framework and several others. That said, I do have to recommend the show on the grounds that it manages to easily balance several dozen plot-lines in such a way that, even in keeping the allegedly-prerequisite ongoing suspense of a serialized drama, it manages to avoid the feeling of unresolved baiting and contrivance that is definitive of shows like 24 by allowing the viewer to have the rare joy of seeing something resolved on a regular basis. Further, just when the viewer feels like a character is going to fall into the trap of being cliche, the story-writers have a way of subtly twisting things to prevent the audience from losing interest. I don't know how long I'll be able to continue to enjoy the show, but for now, I'm still watching.

Ah... you want to know what Wheeler has been up to as well? I'll put the screws in him this evening and make him post. It's what good friends do. That, and help you move while only breaking small amounts of your stuff.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:52 AM | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

Anniversary

A good number of people were curious as to why they couldn't get ahold of me this past weekend. As some of you know (and most others will now remember), Anna and I have been married 1 whole year as of the 8th (that's pretty crazy.) As such, and because Monday was a school day and we spent the previous weekend with our friends, we decided (or rather, I told Anna to reserve the weekend) to do something fun for the weekend.

Now, as many know, I am given to plotting and sneakery. So I did a bit of working my local contacts and found a very cool little Bed and Breakfast in Pittsburg, TX (an smallish East Texas town less than an hour from Longview.) The Carson House Inn and Grille got me in at a rather late notice (some other plans that I had attempted fell through), got me a nice room (albeit one with entirely too much exposure to the morning sun), and provided an excellent dinner and two wonderful breakfasts.

Anna was uninformed where we would be going, much to her disapproval (she is something of a control freak in situations where she has been left in the dark.) I had arranged for the Wheelers to meet us at the Carson House for dinner, a tricky affair since neither Jared nor I had incredibly sure directions for how to get there from his remote honeymoon location. That said, things went off extraordinarily well, and each of us made it there within 2-3 minutes of the other, with a minimum of wrong turns.

Dinner was excellent (I've said that already, but it bears repeating) and the chicken crepes were absolutely amazing. I think I might want to go back just for the chicken crepes. Dessert was also rather impressive, and it was an altogether enjoyable dining experience. Who knew that you could find such good food in such a remote place? Dinner conversation was remarkable and probably should have been recorded... but quotations will be withheld to protect the innocent, and to provide a paper shield for myself.

After dinner, the Wheelers wandered off and Anna and I went up to explore our room. It was quite cool... decorated with period furniture and yet comfortable and not feeling like I should be fearing for my financial future (as I often do in antique and china shops.) One last point of note on sleeping in Pittsburg: it is a train hub of East Texas, and at least one set of tracks runs within 50 yards of the Inn. As you can imagine, this led to some consternation from Anna... though I can't say I minded. Then again, I can sleep through anything.

The following day heralded a tour of the surrounding towns and a visit to a winery. The tour of the local towns was instructive, but not altogether enticing. The fact of the matter is that old towns in East Texas are largely similar and begin to run together after a point. That said, there was a noteworthy "Exotic Animals Veterinary Clinic" along the route which housed zebras and giraffes and gazelles and what-have-you. Beyond that, we mostly just made fun of the Ugliest Baptist Church in the World (First Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant, TX.) Pictures are forthcoming... but suffice it to say that two pieces of rebar should not be welded together and affixed to an incinerator stack and then decorated with christmas lights in an attempt to make a steeple. It just shouldn't be done.

Following our tour was a stop at Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, of KZQX fame. It should be noted that Anna and I are turning into oenophiles (albeit poor ones) and that most vacations cannot be considered complete without at least a purchase of a bottle of wine, if not a visit to a winery, a taste testing, and a purchase of multiple bottles of wine. While we didn't actually get the full tour of Los Pinos (it was a bottling day), we did get to experience the unique feel of the young and expanding winery and taste most of their wines (they were sold out of one rather enticing white.) After a rather fine lunch, and the purchase of 5 or 6 bottles (and some rather cool shirts), we took ourselves back into town. At this point, I began reading through my guide to the Pittsburgh area and noted that there was a replica of the Ezekiel Airship in one of the local museums.

No, not an inventor named Ezekiel, but an itinerant Baptist preacher named Rev. Burrell Cannon. The man might have been a nut, but the airship is said to have worked... and it was well worth the $4 cost of entry to the museum to see the airship and the exhibit. Now, the rest of the museum about the town, the railroads, and the poultry industry... these things really didn't appeal. But crazy Baptists and flying machines? Count me in.

After this, we visited the local "actual farmhouse" museum. Can't say as they appeal, but there are sure a lot of them, so somebody must like the things. Outside of this line from the tour guide, I would count the tour a loss: "Oh yeah... they had running water back then. 'Here child, run and fetch some water!'"

And, true to form, Anna and I rounded out the afternoon finding a Hasting's to read at (and spend ourselves into the poorhouse at), and then went to go see MI:3 (better than 2, maybe better than 1.) We capped the evening off with dinner at Braum's and then a trek back to the Carson House. In spite of my best efforts, Anna decided that we would arise at 8 in the morning so that we could make it to church in Longview (instead of arising at 10, as I suggested, and attending church down the street.) And so, our mini-vacation came to an end with us being early to church. Go figure.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:26 AM | TrackBack

May 09, 2006

Graduation

So, at some point in the middle of the Great Weekend of Chaos Mark II (Mark I, having been occasioned by my own wedding), Anna and I saw fit to attend graduation. Plans were made to meet people before graduation and meet with the graduates afterwards and we felt generally good about ourselves and our planning foresight... and then it rained.

To those of you not familiar with graduation at LeTourneau, it is an outdoor extravaganza the like of which could not be replicated indoors... especially due to the estimated annual attendance of 4,000 graduates, professors, family members, friends, students and alumni which no building on campus could hold. But, the show must go on, and so it did. Solheim Arena was chosen as the new venue for graduation, being as that it is one of the largest indoor venues on campus and is adjacent to the Belcher Auditorium, which is nearly as large.

Anna and I showed up at roughly 9:20 and weaseled our way to a much nicer parking lot than was being used for the typical alumnus (we do know our way around campus) and then found our way into Solheim. After a bit of confusion, we found seats next to Rachel Wheeler (that does sound odd) and Daniel Leatherwood, and there we stayed... for a bit. At around 9:40 or so, it was announced that Solheim appeared filled to capacity and that everyone should take his seat so that if the room was not already at capacity, it could be filled to such. Scarcely a minute later, all students, alumni, and all people who weren't an immediate family member of a graduate (or a grandparent) were asked to relocate to the Belcher Auditorium for overflow purposes.

As an aside: anyone who knows me knows that I am not really about to be told to go give up my hard-earned seat to some twit who showed up late and lacked the foresight which my friends and I posessed. That said, I am not without sympathy... and when my wife rather pointedly tells me that she's not about to be the reason that some parent doesn't get to see his or her child graduate in person, I'm not so cold and callous (or stupid) as to contribute to ruining some parent's day (or to land myself in the dog house) by refusing to budge.

So after an intense internal struggle, some pointed interjection by my wife, and Leatherwood making his own exit, Anna and I made our exodus from the Solheim Arena and into the hall leading to Belcher Gym. The hallway had filled to capacity in the intervening period since we'd left it and we progressed at a crawl towards the gym, all the while being packed in from behind by a sea of likewise-disgruntled humanity. Roughly half-way down the hall, we were joined by faculty and staff who weren't directly involved in the graduation process and had volunteered to sacrifice their own seats for family members... which is kind of depressing when you realize that some of these faculty and staff are part of the only family that many students have for four or five years, but I digress.

As we neared the door to Belcher Gym, the line ground to a halt, and it was at this point that a revelation which had been nibbling at the edges of my mind came to the fore... the graduates sit in Belcher before they go out to the graduation ceremony. So the graduates would have to fight through the sea of humanity to get out of Belcher, would be generally unable to leave their posessions behind, and would carrying their posessions with them outside and around the building, due to being unable to fight down the hallway from whence the bulk of the attendees were coming. It was a generally disheartening thought, and one at which my wife arrived at about the same time.

Waiting at a stand-still in the gridlock, looking forward to watching graduation on a live feed (a black-and-white live feed operated by an absent-minded camera-man), Anna and I asked each other if breakfast wouldn't be far superior to the experience that awaited us. A moment of discussion mostly centered around how in the blazes we would get out, looking back over the glutted halls surrounding us. However, Anna's gaze alighted on the doors to the dressing rooms, and she informed me that she knew of a back exit. That settled, we left, promising to return for the post-graduation festivities.

The remainder of what followed will be chronicled elsewhere, except to say that we were vastly unimpressed with what happens at graduation when it rains. There has to be a better solution out there, and someone really ought to find it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:38 AM | TrackBack

April 20, 2006

Anna's Children

...no, we're not talking in a biological sense. However, today her students are taking the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) in the math subject area. A large percentage of the assessment for her performance this year as a teacher is based on how her weasels... er... students do on this test. So praying for them to pass might not be a bad idea... or at least pray that they'll be able to represent the hard work of their teacher, in spite of some of their worthless, slacking selves.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:29 AM | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

My Family In Law

Many of you have been asking about my wife and her family in tones that nearly demand an update.

Anna's mom is technically discharged and is staying at the hospital (frequently residing) with my father-in-law to keep him company and keep his spirits up. After some faulty starts, his ankle is now plated together, covered in skin (grafted from elsewhere on his body) and being forcibly kept in place until such time as it is able to be moved. Its owner is less than pleased at the prospect of being cooped up, in pain and unable to move. We're all praying that he is released soon.

My brother-in-law who lives in East Bufu, East Texas (really the middle of Jack Nowhere) is trekking up to Denver with his 4-month-old and wife to help take his parents back to West Bufu, Colorado and assist them in their attempt to get life back to some semblance of normalcy. Oh, and my father-in-law, being self-employed, has a number of contracted jobs that need to be done that my brother-in-law is hoping to finish in the time he's up there. I don't envy him that at all, I've seen the kind of work-load my father-in-law keeps. That would be the kind of thing to drive me insane, even if it weren't plumbing and construction work.

And as for my wife. She's healing up rather nicely... except for the unrelated infection, the fact that the pacemaker seems to be programmed to run too fast, and the fact that her stomach really seems to be hating on all food that isn't soup. Which is to say she's more or less her usual self. She's not quite up to taking swings at me for getting out of line yet, but I'm sure that too will come, but I might get a grace period for trying to be a decent nurse... ;-).

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:43 PM | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

Anna's Heart

To those who are curious, Anna has now successfully acheived the status of part woman, part machine. Her pacemaker implant surgery lasted just over an hour, and after 4 hours of observation, a false start on leaving, another 30 minutes of waiting for Anna's light-headedness (from standing up too fast and a bit of underhydration) to subside, and an hour to get Anna's chest x-ray, we got back to the digs that we've been staying at in Houston.

Anna was even feeling well enough to undertake an hour drive to go eat gumbo with family, less than 12 hours after getting her pacemaker installed. So yeah, she's a little green (literally), itching with the discomfort of healing, and mildly irritated about her mostly immobile left arm, but Anna's doing pretty well. I'll try to get her to post later.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:57 PM | TrackBack

March 10, 2006

Prayer Request

I just got a call from my wife, who got a call from her younger brother.

My parents-in-law were on their way down to Texas and got in an accident with a semi. They're ok, but the semi is totalled and it seems that they're at least shaken up and maybe a little injured... and thus are en route to a hospital somewhere in Southwest Colorado, as of my last information. I will be keeping my faithful charges in the Ice Cave, Iowa and Cincinnati abreast of the latest developments... so if you're not hearing it here, tune in there or, by all means, call my cell.

Update: As with anything of this nature, the initial facts were lacking and incorrect in places. It seems that Anna's parents collided head-on with a pick-up truck due to some slipping on the ice (it's not clear which party slipped), knocking both cars off the road on opposite sides. The occupant of the truck, upon it coming to a stop, jumped out of the truck and proceeded to run across the road, running in front of a semi going 55 mph, which hit him and killed him.

Anna's dad had a bone sticking out of his ankle and her mom had neck pain, probably whiplash. They are both en route to Denver, where they are going to the hospital. Anna's younger brother came to get the stuff out of the Suburban so that it could be totalled, so he will probably be following later to Denver. Combine all of this with some nasty icy weather in Colorado and you've got a long day ahead in the family.

At this point we're not sure what to do about Anna's surgery. Oh yeah, which, by the way, the morons at the Dr's office called up and said, "Didn't we tell you Wednesday? Well, it'll be on Wednesday now!"

Update #2: It turned out that Anna's mom had a ruptured spleen and what appeared to be a cracked vertebrae. Her dad had a compound fracture (possibly broken in two places) in his leg, apparently right above the ankle. They were rushed to a hospital in Alamosa (I think) and then taken by helecopter to Denver, where my mother-in-law went into surgery. There, they took out her spleen, her problematic gall bladder (hey, they were in there anyways), and discovered that while her neck appears to be fine, she's got broken ribs on both sides. But she got out of surgery find and was recovery in the ICU last we heard. My father-in-law was just getting prepped for surgery to deal with the leg.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more today. Anna's blog is keeping updates also, but since I hate reading on her template and her comments are still jacked (something that I should fix), I will keep the news up-to-date here as I am able.

Thanks for all of your prayers.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:56 AM | TrackBack

March 07, 2006

Where?

*Cynic picks up the phone and inhales to start speaking*

Customer: I'm having a problem with my computer's sound system.

Cynic: Alright, sir.

Customer: It's making a funny squealing noise and I can't hear anything.... let me show you.

Cynic: No, sir that's.... *interrupted by loud blast of shrill feedback*

Customer: What do you think I should do about that?

Cynic: Well sir, I can't really diagnose it over the phone, but I would be happy to help you if you could bring your computer system in.

Customer: That costs money, don't it?

Cynic: Yes sir.

Customer: You won't do it over the phone for free?

Cynic: Well sir, as I just told you, I can't do it over the phone, for free or otherwise.

Customer: Well... ok, where y'all located?

*Cynic gives standard directions* On the loop, across the street from Johnny Carino's and Home Depot, next to Jack's Natural Foods.

Customer: Ummm.... I'm new to town, where's the loop at?!

Sidebar: "The Loop" surrounds just about all of Longview and is the main thoroughfare on the North Side of town, accessing the mall, all main eateries, both Walmarts, etcetera...

Cynic: Alright sir... why don't you tell me where you're located.

Customer: Ummm.... I don't really know... does Gilmore road sound right to you?

Cynic: Right... ok, yeah *proceeds to give directions from Gilmer Road*

Customer: So yeah, can I call you if I get lost.

Cynic: Yes sir.

Customer: What's y'all's number?

Cynic: Sir... you just called me.

Customer: Oh... yeah. Thanks!

Cynic: Best of luck sir.

It should be noted that if he runs out of luck and never makes it here... well... you get the idea.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:49 PM | TrackBack

March 06, 2006

Hard Out Here

So I watched the Academy Awards last night... and I personally thought Jon Stewart was hillarious. Sadly, the stars at the awards don't excel in laughing at themselves... so Stewart's self-deprecating shots at the hypocrisy and arrogance of Hollywood, which resonate well with his audience outside of the Kodak Theatre, barely managed to stir a chuckle from the crowd within it.

In light of Ardith's review, I guess I'll do a bit of looking into some of the individual awards. I was rather amused by the Academy's attempt at drawing attention to some of the lesser-known categories like "Audio Mixing" and "Set Design" through Stewart's trademark political attack-style commercial spoofs... and I was rather saddened by the lack of quality entries to choose from in the Best Original Song category. The three nominees were: Travelin’ Thru, from Transamerica (Dolly Parton), In the Deep, from Crash (Bird York), and It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp, from Hustle & Flow (Three 6 Mafia). The first song is abysmal, the second mediocre, and the third, while amusing, is obnoxiously repetitive and annoying as hell. Given the choices, it's no real surprise that "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won. Though, every now and again, I suppose the Academy is allowed to perpetuate its string of "Awards that make you wonder." Oh... and to quote Jon Stewart: "For anyone keeping record, Martin Scorsese, zero Oscars. For Three 6 Mafia, one."

Beyond my general disdain for this year's Best Original Song, I thought the Awards did a rather decent job overall. As with every year, I was surprised and ashamed at the number of award-winners and top nominees that I haven't seen and, as in past years, resolved to get Wheeler's worthless self to start ordering some of those movies in as soon as they come out to DVD. And I mean, as much as I really don't want to see anything about country music, the fact that Reese Witherspoon now has an Oscar for her work in "Walk the Line" may just mean that I can see it... maybe.

In any event, to quote Jon Stewart, "I think being a pimp just got a little bit easier."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:31 AM | TrackBack

February 07, 2006

Anti-Social

An interesting point I'm coming to notice about myself is that while I am one of the most extroverted people I know, I like to deal with people on my terms. Which is why, at the end of the day, I start feeling anti-social towards the people who bother me at work. No, not my friends who come to bother me at work... but the customers and potential customers who actually do bother me at work.

You see, I've been criticized frequently in the past by my more amicable and socially conscious friends for intentionally excluding those with whom I do not get along. In short, given a chance to interact with 15 people, I will befriend those who are intelligent (insofar as my prejudiced gauge of intelligence goes, anyhow), entertaining, and at least marginally socially adjusted and will begin to, almost subconsciously, attempt to alienate the people whose combined indices of annoying and stupid eclipse my preset tolerance for such things. Ideally, I am left with a group of people who I really like to be around and have managed to evacuate the area of people who I really hate being around. If you've ever seen me in action, you have to admit I'm pretty good at it. Probably not something I should be proud of... but it works... much to the irritation of my wife.

In any event, the problem with work is that, no matter how annoying customers are, you just can't go running them off. They're paying you money, after all... and that's a big part of actually doing business. Now, I'm lucky in my particular business in that stupid usually has a very low shelf life in my store. The corollary to stupidity is that someone who knows almost nothing about everything usually hasn't specialized all of his handful of brain cells into any one thing... usually. The rare exception to this corollary gives me more headaches than you will ever know.

But yeah, so stupid and annoying come into my store on a fairly regular basis... and I can't drive them off. This typically results in an increase in my angst and a decrease in my social nature, to the point that when I get off of work, I usually just want to lash out and stab someone. I still want to see my friends... but I really don't want to deal with anyone outside of that group.

Cynic the misanthrope... go figure.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:00 AM | TrackBack

January 25, 2006

One of them Linuxes

So a guy just called and said... "So I see you've got them free Linuxes... which kind of those would I want for hooking up my Playstation and my computer."

My response: "Ummm.... eh.... wha? Sir, you do realize that an operating system is something like Windows, right?"

"Oh, yeah, right. So I want to hook up my Playstation and my computer to the internet and don't wanna keep taking the cat cable out and plugging it into one and then the other."

"Sir, what you need is a router... it already has a micro-operating system with Linux on it."

"But... how will I hook up my Playstation and my computer to the little Linux?"

"Sir, we will sell you two more Cat-5 cables... they're only $.50 a foot and then you can hook everything up to the router."

"Ok... so I come and buy this little Linux and these two cables and I'll be good to go?"

"You should be sir... there are some minor configurations that you might have problems with (oh yeah, you will) and if you do, one of our technicians can come out on-site and configure your router for you."

Note to self: no more ads in the paper aimed at anyone with a 3-digit IQ and anything more than a knowledge that computers exist.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:30 PM | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

Domesticated?

I think it's safe to say that I am not a well-domesticated man. The problems started with the instant mashed potatoes. On the back of the container there are several columns of figures to relate to the amount of each ingredient you'll need for a certain serving size. Unfortunately, there are two columns with large volumes in them: one for the size of the container and the other for the amount of water added. Obviously, the size of the container will be larger than the amount of water needed... by a significant margin. However, if you get splatter or something on the "water column" and don't really think that anyone would bother enumerating what size of a container is needed to make instant mashed potatoes (I mean, come on, just grab a freaking pot and go), you might read the "container column" and think "two quarts of water to 3 cups of potatoes... well, ok." In thinking this you would be wrong. You would also make some nasty-looking potato soupy stuff.

Now, the rest of the cookery (mostly left to Toad) went fairly well... and dinner was good and all of that. And then the wives tried to make us watch American Idol... and so we ran off to put up shelves. While the actual shelving went off without a hitch, apparently my neighbor relations aren't so good. I mean, it was only 8 or 8:30 when we started in on the shelves... how was I supposed to know that the neighbors would object to our drilling holes in the wall and banging nails into it? So we got about half-way through the project, with all of the holes drilled and most of the shelf-hangers anchored when the wall started making banging noises of its own. "Odd..." we thought, "the wall gnomes are usually much more subtle than to be making a loud racket. Maybe they're putting up shelves of their own." Continuing on to anchor the L-braces for the shelves, we started hammering and the gnomes started at it again, and then from the next apartment came a female scream, "QUIT IT!"

"Hmm.... I'm guessing that wasn't the wall gnomes."

To which Toad replied, "Yeah... guess not."

"Maybe we should call it a night"

"Maybe... I think you can finish this tomorrow on your own."

"Yeah... hehe... we pissed off the neighbors."

"Hehehe!"

Our wives were somewhat perplexed by our amusement and made us watch American Idol as penance for not having finished. For our parts, we endured our torture with a stiff upper lip and filed grievances with Amnesty International. That show is criminal.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:05 AM | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Misplaced Nouns

Random Customer: "I'd like to buy some of that eterna... etreno.... eternal.... utrinal..."
Customer's Wife: "Infina-something."

long pause

Random Customer: "He told me what it was and now I've done forgot it... stuff looks like phone cable."
Cynic: "Oh. You mean ethernet cable?"
Random Customer: "Yeah, that stuff... I knew it had a funny name."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:45 AM | TrackBack

January 05, 2006

Customers Scare Me

I really ought to just start a blog with stories about the various and sundry people who visit my store and say/do retarded things. Maybe it would get better readership and whatnot... a la Acts of Gord. In fact, the temptation is very great, if only because people love reading about that sort of stuff, and I love writing about it... and I love attention.

Anyways... so this lady calls up with her computer and says, "I called SBC (the DSL/phone company) and told them about my computer problem, and they think it's my hard drive."

So do you want a replacement hard drive?

"Umm... maybe... is this one of those places that does computer repair work and stuff?"

(No, I just ask people if they want me to do hardware replacement work to screw with them and then tell them to bugger off.) Yes ma'am... you can feel free to bring it in and I'll have a look at it.

"Can you fix it while I wait."

Ma'am, it may take me 5 to 10 minutes to determine if your problem is, in fact your hard drive, and additional time to ascertain if there are other problems involved and how much it would take to fix them. That's not even counting repair time.

"So you can do it while I wait?"

Ma'am, that's not even counting the potential repair time of imaging the drive across, which could take several hours, in addition to updating Windows, virus removal, etcetera.

"So you probably can't do it while I wait?"

I'd rather you didn't... I'll give you my card so you can call me and I'll get your number so I can call you when it's done.

(She apparently took me very literally, calling at least 5 times over the length of just yesterday to "check up and see if we'd made any progress.")

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:40 PM | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

Freaking Wheeler

Hey Jared. Do you want a ride back from Dallas? Check your email, then.

Oh... and if anyone else sees this and then communicates with our filthy goat-faced Guatemalan crackhead (see how family-friendly that was, Wilson?), please tell him that checking his email will lead to getting a ride.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

New Year

So yeah... Anna has some goofy procedure tomorrow. And for whatever reason, one of the prerequisites of said procedure is that the victim... er... testee is required to have no more than three hours of sleep that night. So, like a good husband, I'm trying to stay up with her, for at least some of it.

I really haven't done any of my first-of-the-year posting that I should be doing... in fact, I haven't really posted at all since I listed my complaints as regards juvenile human spawn. So with apologies, I will get to that as we speak.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:27 PM | TrackBack

December 31, 2005

New Years

As this year draws to an end, I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the blessings having been afforded to me this year. I suppose I shall have to do a good and proper "year in review" post... but suffice it to say that this has been an excellent year, in spite of everything else and whatever setbacks may have come. I mean, marriage, graduation, a job.... wow.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:41 PM | TrackBack

December 20, 2005

Blessings from the Lord?!

Let's put it this way... I write this as I ride in the van with my 1-year-old niece and 3-year-old nephew. As far as brats go... these are the well-behaved ones. And to their credit, they have had to tolerate a marked change in elevation accompanied with traveling in a somewhat-crowded minivan for 7 hours (probably 8 by the time this is all said and done.) But yeah... my niece keeps screaming off and on in a rather closed space. Granted, this is a new development that only started about the last half hour before we had lunch (where she pretty much screamed for 30 solid minutes) and probably indicates a desire to be done with all of this... but all caveats aside, I can't handle it. I am literally blaring Metallica as loud as it will go on this laptop so that I don't develop a pounding headache as a result of the stabbing sensations in my forehead that I get every time she screams.

So yeah, that makes my life fun and joy... but I would be remiss if I didn't attempt to make a Hobbesian insight about my 3-year-old nephew's seemingly-schizophrenic alteration between treating his younger sister nicely and taunting/poking/hitting her. And while one could make an argument for him having learned this behavior from other children, I find it perplexing that he would have learned such a behavior and applied it towards a largely non-adversarial relationship. Granted, one could argue some adversity for motherly attention (FREUD!), but I have a hard time seeing how this translates into random acts of unprompted cruelty (albeit infrequent) directed at his helpless and harmless little sister.

All that to say, the point of this little whimsy is that my sister-in-law asked today, "Have you ever considered not having kids?" and I would be lying if I didn't say "Yes... frequently." Especially when I bear in mind that these are good kids.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:05 PM | TrackBack

December 19, 2005

Vacating

Until further notice, I am on hiatus in Colorado. As per usual, my cell phone will be with me... and I will attempt to make posts as I am able. If you don't know my cell # and still want to contact me... well, VengefulCynic [at] ... well... this domain (shadowcouncil.org) will get to me, and I might deign to give you my cell phone number, or at least respond to your email. More later.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:40 PM | TrackBack

December 13, 2005

They Think I Lie

Lady: Hello, is Brad there?
Me: I'm sorry ma'am, he's busy with a call on the other line, can I take a message or help you with something myself?
Lady: Go get Brad, I want to talk to him.
Me: Ma'am, he's busy or else I would... is there something else I can do for you?
Lady: Brad just doesn't want to talk to me.
Me: Ma'am, being as that your name and number don't show up on caller ID and also given that I haven't even had a chance to tell Brad who's calling yet, I find it highly unlikely that Brad has told me to lie to you.
Lady: Just tell Brad to call me back *click*
Me: Umm...

*breaks out the sticky note* Brad, psycho woman with no name and no caller id information who is convinced that your assistant manager is a liar wants a call back.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:44 AM | TrackBack

December 09, 2005

Goings-On

I would like to thank everyone who showed up at Joe's for my birthday whatnot. Since there are far too many blogs to link and people to thank individually, I would just like to thank my wife for organizing it and Joe's Pizza and Pasta for putting up with 20 of us and cutting us a break on the price... I know it should have been more than the $80-some that they charged us to feed 20 people.

I would also like to thank Ma Hoyt (somewhat belatedly) for the 'not birthday' card she sent me. Every now and again, it's nice to get some mail from someone who isn't Sallie Mae or someone else who I owe money to. At least, I'm pretty sure I don't owe Ma any money... ;-)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:48 PM | TrackBack

December 01, 2005

Another Year

At this time last year, I was a student, unengaged and unmarried, looking forward to final projects and finals, and a semester away from graduation.

Two years ago my goofy friends dragged me out to Jefferson to celebrate my birthday, despite Anna being sick with mono and most of the others being under the weather one way or another. Yes Jared, I've mostly forgiven you for skipping out due to severe illness.

Life has been good to me. God grant that this next year will be as good as the past one has been.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:46 AM | TrackBack

November 29, 2005

Sacred Month

I offer my condolences to my various college friends (and even to those in college who I really don't like) on your entering "the sacred month." It was first referred to as such to me by my old professor Dr. Chen as "the sacred month where students like you do the only real work they intend to do for the whole semester." Now, I know some of you are bogged down simply as a course of the natural progression of the semester, while others have taken the practices of the Cynic to heart, and are just getting into all of the stuff that you should have done months ago.

For the edification of the masses, I will post a list of projects accomplished by me during the sacred month in years past.

Freshman Fall: Bearing in mind that you really don't do much in freshman fall, I wrote both of my little theological treatises for Dr. Woodring, both of which could have been done far sooner than the last week of class and finals. Ah... the joys of freshman year.

Freshman Spring: Like freshman fall, I really didn't have much by the way of actual work to get done... go figure. Ah yes... I did finish that damned bolt. I also studied a lot of Calc 3... pretty much the final for which I was best-prepared in my tenure as an undergraduate.

Sophomore Fall: Ah... Diff EQ and your stupid excercises in homework copying, how I loathe you. I finished 3/4 of my Armstrong Data Structures programs during the last month of the semester. It was also during this stretch that I gave the longest presentation of my college career in P.O.D. I also took the $*%$&% $%&%*$%*$ *$%&$%$* $&&%$$*#$(# $#&% $%&$%$%* P.O.D. Final. I'm not sure I'll ever forgive Batts and DeBoer for that class.

Sophomore Spring: I did a LOT of Bib Lit Journals. I also wrote an entire term paper for Historiography in one day. I would also like to note that it was during this last month that Stu and I walked out of I&M in the middle of Dr. Anazia's yammering. I'm particularly proud of that.

Junior Fall: You will note that up until this point, I had managed to shirk the majority of my workload altogether. It is at this point in one's career that that starts to change. I would like to thank Dr. Varnell for making my draw hundreds of pointless UML Diagrams during the last month of this semester. Dr. Leiffer also gets credit for the most-skipped class of all time where I had a LOAD of work to make up during the last month. I also wrote a decently-long complete BS paper for learning from leaders, and polished off the month with more writing for Inklings and the final from hell in that class. I mean, I was prepared... but 10 pages of writing?!

Junior Spring: You see, I did this one ALL wrong. I had a prophets paper that Woodring made us do for the beginning of April, a 3-parts-in-a-series program for Baas' Computer Theory class that was supposed to be done over the whole semester that I did in the last month, and 3 separate programs for Programming Languages that I did in about the last two weeks.

Senior Fall: Determined to do better than I had in the Spring, I got most of my work done earlier... but I still ended up doing Algorithms and Networks programs late into the last month. This wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't had a COMPLETE screw-up of a group for Varnell's special IBM class and 2/3 of my teammates for King's Software Engineering class weren't utter... well... I'll be nice: academic deviants. This resulted in my not even seeing Anna the two weeks of school more than 5-10 minutes a day plus (some) meals.

Senior Spring: On the upside, it was this semester that I gave new meaning to passing with doing nothing. Almost nothing done for Architecture, Program Translation and the IBM Project combined... nothing really done for Speech, a decent bit of effort for Watson's Brit Lit II and NOTHING for Racquetball. I mean, hell, it's racquetball. What little I did this semester was mostly the hell of preparing for a wedding/graduation/move/get-a-job. That was fun.

So there you have it.... 8 semesters of slacking, each followed by its own month of furious effort. I feel your pain... and you can keep it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:56 AM | TrackBack

November 25, 2005

Broken LED

So Wednesday I was given the service call of doom... or so it seemed at the time. You see, when little computer companies sell high-end computers with on-site warrantees, there's no way in hell that they can service more than maybe a 200-mile radius... maybe. So what they do is they contract to a third-party on-site technical support agency. And when such an agency lacks a presence in a particular region or is too busy due to proximity to the holidays, such an agency contracts to us.

Anyways, we got a request for service on Monday that we accepted, not really thinking of the implications. Turns out, the agency wants us to "fix a broken hard drive LED." That's right, the little red light on the front of your computer that blinks when your hard drive is accessed... the one that is usually soldered into a lead that comes from the front of your case and is hot-glued on. Fortunately, we're brave at Plug 'n Play and figured that the odds were against the user's comptuer having blown an LED without having had a colossal motherboard failure and that it was far more likely that the lead had come off the motherboard or something workable. However, just in case, I brought a soldering iron, a whole array of tools and some industrial solvent for my 1:00 appointment in Hallsville.

As has ever been my luck with Hallsville, I found myself slightly turned-around following the directions I had been given, and thusly found myself on a residential street where the locale in question was supposed to be located... and after a time, I even managed to find the house... with one small hitch: the house lacked a driveway. This seemed peculiar, even for the Hickville, USA town of Hallsville... and I resolved to investigate later. Upon approaching the residence, I noted that it did not appear to be occupied by a hermit, which suggested that the lack of a car and a place to put one was odd... but I resolutely rang the doorbell and was greeted by a rather... normal-looking gentleman in perhaps his mid-50s.

The house was in something of a state of disarray that was indicative of someone having just moved in and I was ushered through the maze of boxes to the computer. Observing the client use the computer, I could not help but notice that the HD LED was, indeed, unresponsive. It was at this point that the client began to tell me of his woes, beginning with "they went and put a RAID in my computer and I didn't want one" continuing on to "it didn't come with a modem" and cumulating in "when they put the modem in, the hard drive light stopped working." It was at this point that I paused for clarification: yes, in fact, the computer company put in an extra hard drive in a performance-increasing RAID array in the user's new computer for no extra charge (free upgrade of the month or some such nonsense) and he demanded it removed. Oh, and the modem was presumed to have been standard with a computer because, "every computer has a modem." So basically, I had my work cut out for me with a man who seemed somewhat difficult to please... joy.

Next, we turned off the comptuer and I sat it on its side... a process that seemed to upset the client to no end as it was apparently unnatural to turn the device away from its usual (and natural) orientation. This was followed by the ceremonial opening of the case... another one of those unnatural acts we technicians perform. And lastly, the examination of the motherboard. And it was here that our hero sighed with relief, as he noted gleefully that a quick removal and flipping of the HD LED lead caused the current to be passing in the correct direction through the LED in question and render it illuminated once more. And the peasants did rejoice, the hero did charge the contracting agency, and he subsequently left quickly before the client envisioned new demands.

Oh... and as it turns out, this house is one of only two houses on its residential street to have a driveway on an parallel street that lies behind it. How bizarre.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:53 AM | TrackBack

November 23, 2005

"The I Button"

Thanks in large part to Anna being off of work this week, this morning I got to work around 8, instead of the 7:30 arrival followed by a half an hour of killing time that I usually do. Anyways, when I walked back into our work-room, I noticed a computer that had been freshly-built with a note on it that said "was here working on this until 4... don't expect me in until afternoon" which was signed by my manager.

From this, I surmised that the client had wanted the computer built for today and so I examined it and gave it a once-over to make sure everything worked and that there weren't any issues resulting from Brad's sleep-deprived work. Satisfied that the computer was ready, I moved it up to the front of the store, where it was picked up later this morning by an employee of the client for whom we had built it.

At about 11, I got a call from Caleb. "Umm, Cynic... I'm scared. I think we should go take our computer back from that client."

Cynic: "Why is that, Caleb?"

Caleb: "They just called up and told me that the computer wasn't working."

Cynic: "Well, that's not probable... it left here working."

Caleb: "That's what I told them, and they said their technician couldn't get it to boot or respond or anything... so I asked to talk to him."

Cynic: "Good call."

Caleb: "Yeah... well, I got him on the phone and he told me, 'I only have one question for you... that little button on the back, is it supposed to be in the "I" position or the "O" position."

Cynic: *Breaks up laughing* "NOOOOOOOO!"

Caleb: "Yeah, I told him the "I" Position and he responded 'Wow! It turned right on! I'm just going to fiddle with it some more now.'"

Cynic: "Damn."

Caleb: "I wanted to say, 'Please don't fiddle with it... for the love of God just bring it back!'"

Cynic: "I think we can safely invalidate their warranty on grounds of their technician ruining that computer.... because I'm pretty sure he WILL break it."

Caleb: "I feel bad, because they're a non-profit and I really like the lady in charge of this place... I think I should tell her that their technician is a moron."

Cynic: "Yeah... and tell her that if he touches the computer again, we'll invalidate the warranty."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:27 PM | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

My Attention

It has come to my attention that the SC blogs are rated family-friendly and are not being actively filtered by some of the more upstanding and anal-retentive ISP's out there. You have no idea how irritated it makes me that Wilson has won this one.

A bit of history for those who haven't been here since the beginning of this shadowcouncil.org thing. Back in time... way back in January of 2004, we came to the conclusion that Blogger sucked and decided we were leaving. And by "came to the conclusion", I mean that we had already known for a long time that the arbitrary server crashes, down-times and maintenance windows that Blogger was famous for had come to be an annoyance. And by "decided we were leaving", I mean that I had decided to front the money from my credit card to provide hosting digs (to be paid back by individuals... sometimes) and that I had conned Ardith into doing the actual work of setting up MT on our new host so that we could get the hell out of Blogger-land.

Anyways, as one of the conditions of moving to sc.org with the rest of us, Wilson insisted on family-friendliness. I'll give you one guess as to whose blog was the only one that had to be cleaned up (which also happened to be the longest-running and, at that time, containing the most posts.) In fact... I think (*goes to check*) it's still up in all of its uncensored glory over on blogger. This insistence was satisfied by me as I went through and ran the conversion process on my old posts, censoring as I went, along with doing other things like correcting a rather reprehensible habit I had picked up for hot-linking images off of the sites of others. But all of that to say, I was now family-friendly... mostly.

Granted, I'm pretty sure that Wilson's ISP at home still won't let him visit my site... but I don't think it will typically let him visit his own either, and his doesn't even get interesting search hits for "midget and big man sex", "power wench", or "www.man have sex little midget woman". All that to say is that I'm family-friendly now, I don't really want to be, and I blame Wilson for it. I think I might revert... if it weren't for the fact that the rest of the sc.org bloggers have gotten used to family-friendly and might be unwilling to allow me to revert.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:54 AM | TrackBack

November 02, 2005

Faithful Henchman

I am now Murray's faithful henchman. I stumbled into the kitchen yesterday morning to the now-familiar sounds of my wife flipping out about the presence of a mouse. Only this time, Joe had gotten his poor paw stuck in the mouse trap, but was still alive and well. He was understandably upset about this and was scurrying back and forth with the trap in tow, trying desperately to save his poor paw. He looked so sad and desperate, you just wanted to make him feel better. At least, I did... Anna was muttering and going on about killing him.

Putting a stop to that sort of homicidal ranting, I tried to use the broom to pull Joe and the mouse trap out from the side of refrigerator where he had dragged it. Sensing the malice of my mate, Joe decided to take temporary refuge underneath the fridge. Minutes passed with Joe moving around underneath the refrigerator with his trap as I negotiated his safe conduct with my increasingly-agitated wife. The deal was I could set him loose, but only outside. So it was that I pushed the refrigerator to one side, grabbed the mouse trap (by the safe end... I didn't want a delirious mouse to bite the hand that was going to set him free), and took him outside, where I pried the bar open and set him loose. The end... or so I thought.

Yesterday evening, I set down in the bathroom to do some light reading. As I sat there, in scampered Joe. I bolted upright as I was a bit startled, thus scaring Joe out into the hall. Joe should have stayed with me... as his presence out in the hall attracted the attention of the more wrathful resident of the apartment. I hurried out to Anna, who was already informing me (rather bitterly) that Joe had just run into the bedroom and she was unhappy with this fact. I wandered into the bedroom, and there sat Joe, gazing about from the middle of the floor. Knowing that I had to act fast or lose Joe, I begged Anna to get my a broom and a dustpan. Chasing a limping Joe from the bedroom (so yes, I know it was the same mouse), I cornered him in the hall. Anna seemed much more willing to allow for his escape in light of Joe's improving manners (barging into a married couple's bedroom to hide out is considered bad taste in most areas), and so she handed me the broom and dustpan, whereupon I scooped Joe up and escorted him outside. It was only after I let Joe loose that I informed Anna that it was, in fact, Joe who I had just let loose. She might have been a bit peevish... but at least our resident mouse lives on. And Murray approves.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:51 AM | TrackBack

October 31, 2005

Murray

I think it's safe to say that the only person to blame for the 2nd return of Joe has to be Murray. Yes, technically we are standing at the 5th actual reappearance at this point.... but I think we can safely break down Joe's appearances into episodic events (the 1st coming, the return, the 2nd return.) And behind it all is the ever-popular and self-proclaimed UberSkull of the Underworld himself.

Any doubters will be pointed to the fact that it would appear that Joe has, in fact, learned the inner workings of the mouse traps and can now actively avoid the firing mechanisms and yet still clean them of all but traces of peanut butter. I must gladly thank Joe in this in that he doesn't utterly clean the mouse traps, thus helping me deflect accusations by certain parties that I perhaps set the traps without bait (advertently or inadvertently, you be the judge.)

Anyways, so I got a call on Sunday afternoon from my wife, who seemed to be slightly hysterical. Yes, apparently there had been yet another mouse sighting. But what was worse was the fact that Joe had taken one of the mouse traps underneath the refrigerator where he and his friends had proceeded to clean it off, without fear of it going off. As she spoke to me, Anna got shriller and more irritated as she apparently alternately saw and heard mice around the refrigerator. So it was that I was commissioned to get more mouse traps.

For the record, why is it that even though I like the mice and I want to have them around, I'm the one stuck killing them? And further, I get not wanting to have mice around... but taking it to Anna's homicidal mania seems to lack for a logical stepping-stone in the process. But that's just me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:58 AM | TrackBack

October 23, 2005

Joe Lives!

It would appear that not even a mouse trap can take Joe down. As of yesterday, we have confirmed Joe sightings! Sadly, this has also precipitated ultimatums from my wife regarding Joe's ongoing existance and my setting traps to kill him. My refusal has met with a great number of threats and allegations regarding the responsibilites attendant to my status as the "Man of the House"... and so it would appear that today, we are hunting for Joe again, all the while silently rooting for him... and biting my tongue rather than pointing out that Ma seems to do just fine hunting her own mice.

Go Joe!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:19 AM | TrackBack

October 16, 2005

He Came to Us in Peace

R.I.P.
Joe Mouse
? - 16 October 2005

Roughly a month ago, Anna first met our friend Joe Mouse. This was an exciting event, as Joe frolicked about the apartment for the amusement of all. Sadly, Anna could not peacefully coexist with Joe and his unusual ways, and thus I was ordered to exterminate Joe.

Through a series of delays and procrastinations, I managed to avoid laying out the implements of cultural insensitivity for over a month. Sadly, Anna's wrath would not be so easily turned aside, and yesterday occasioned several Joe sightings, including one by myself. While I valiantly argued on Joe's behalf that he added culture to our humble abode and wouldn't hurt a fly, Anna refused to budge.

What's more, even though Anna was the party responsible for decreeing that Joe should die, I was made the unwilling executioner. Though he came to us in peace, we have killed him anyways... and the blood is on my hands, to my great and abiding shame.

As penance, Murray and I mourned Joe's passing, and freed him of the trappings of this world, sending him on to a better place.

I hope Joe won't hold my unwilling part in this against me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:32 AM | TrackBack

October 08, 2005

Longview Cable

Longview Cable sucks... a lot. You should never get it if you have a choice, and if you already have it, you should get your cable and internet from somebody else. Here is what happened to me: it could happen to you.

Last month, due to an effort to reduce the number of bills being paid out (and the exponentially high risk of accidentally forgetting to send one out), we got direct bill to credit card set up on at least half of our bills: LCTV and CableLynx included. Yes, Cable and Internet are two separate bills, for no reason that anyone can figure, but we had them both billing to the credit card.

Then, because my wife is good like that, she called Longview Cable to verify that the charges were going to be processed on the credit card and life would be good, and she was assured that there would be no problems. This was the 28th of September. Then, on Thursday, October 6, our cable internet went down. Those of you who have LCTV and CableLynx know this isn't very rare, so I called tech support and found myself waiting in a line of 8 people... and after 20 minutes, I deteremined that there must be only 1 tech answering calls. Thus, I used a nifty feature and left a call-back number so that I would hear from them that evening or the next day.

Friday morning I checked my messages (none) and then went off to work, expecting a call. Work was busy and the cares of home slipped my mind, until I returned home to no internet. Pissed off that I had gotten no call, I called up tech support and managed to wait out the line and get through. I was pleasantly suprised to find a competent tech who checked the server I was working through and then paused to check my account, in the space of 2 or 3 minutes. He informed me that my account was on hold and gave me the information to call LCTV about it. Calling LCTV yielded me the information that the accounts people were gone for the day (apparently they leave at 5) and the informative young lad promised to leave them with my number.

Saturday (today), I awoke around 10.30 to no call and no message. Beginning to suspect this was typical of LCTV/CableLynx, I called them. The lady at the other end of the line seemed to be a tad inept... as it took her about 5 minutes to pull up my account. After we got through that, it took her another 5 or so to figure out why it had been disconnected. Once we'd gotten through all of that, she told me that they had already billed me and had somehow disconnected my internet anyways and that she was fixing it. Following this was a rather irritating set of restarting the cable modem 3 times followed by her calling tech support, another restart and renewing my IP a couple times before I finally got internet back. She promised that her boss would call me so we could discuss the wretched service I've gotten from LCTV/CableLynx... but I'm not holding my breath. Looks like I might be calling or visiting on Monday.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:06 PM | TrackBack

October 05, 2005

Blogger Goes Down

You see... it's at this point in time that I can't help but notice that the SC blog system is up and the Blogger system is down. Thus, as it would appear, it is the perfect time to appeal for those of you who are on the dark side to come to the SC.

Yes, we have a post/comment system that doesn't go down at the whims of Blogger... friendly local admins, and a reliable host. So, if you feel that you ought to consider hopping in, drop me an email at v.e+n-g=e,f`u~l&c^y$n%i'c\ [at] shadowcouncil.org. Heck... even if you haven't been invited by name and you're interested, drop me a line. The bandwidth is there, as is the web-space. That, and we haven't put Ardith through the wringer lately... and we know she needs to be working harder than she is right now.

This means you: Martinez, Barbour, Sharpton, Scott, Paige, and Rachel. Oh, and our Xanga associates Melby and Fleetman are more than welcome to leave their crappy digs as well. I mean, I would make an offer every time Xanga screws up... but that would be a bit harsh.


Oh, and I apologize to anyone who may feel neglected by a lack of a personal mention... it's late and I'm sure to have forgotten to invite someone who ought to ditch Blogger. So by all means, even if you've been slighted by a non-mention, take this as a invitation to get out of your web-slum and into a nicer place.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:00 PM | TrackBack

September 27, 2005

Faith in Humanity

Someone really ought to ban me from interacting with the public in retail locations. Someday soon, I'm going to decide that one of these people has just lost the license to live. The parents of a family who came in today came pretty close.

We knew that we had incoming customers when we saw a toddler come... well... toddling up to the door. Caleb graciously let the toddler in and we stood amused as he charged down the center aisle while we awaited his parents and brother. Once they made it in the door, I took to talking to father (who was holding a computer) while the mother set about tracking down her children as Caleb stood aside, surveying the situation. Now note, while I have few doubts as to the status of the mother, the guy who walked into my store shouldn't, by all means, have been the father. He looked about 19 at the oldest and acted with an immaturity and social awkwardness that belies the onset of adolescence in most boys... and yet it would appear that this was his family and he was the head of it.

It became quickly apparent with the mother's frequent barking at her two young children and her simultaneous disregard for the fact that they kept getting more hyper and reckless that this woman had no control over her two sons, nor did she have any clue about this whole mothering thing... at all. As things became more apparently uncontrolled, Caleb and I had a quick whisper-conference wherein it was agreed that he would try his best to prevent the children from destroying any inventory, as it was apparent that the mother didn't really have the capacity.

I then went to talk to the man who informed me that they were evacuees from Mississippi who would be staying locally for a while. Asking him what I could do, he grinned (more about that later) and produced a "Matrix Online" box and queried, "What do I need to get so's I can play this?" I told him I'd have to plug his computer in, at which point he informed me that he was gonna have to type the password in himself and wouldn't give it to "nobody." After I informed him that we had utilities to deal with such problems and suggested (rather forcefully) that he could go keep an eye on his sons for a moment, his curiousity was piqued. Rather than going to deal with his children, he began pestering me for the application we used so that he could "play around with it" (otherwise translated, get into my wife's account... go figure.)

At about this point, mom wandered up, abandoning even the appearance of attempting to control her children. As I explained that the system would need RAM and a new video card to be brought up to spec, I noted that the computer was a bogged-down mess that was loaded up to the gills with porn. At this point , the couple decided to discuss what they could afford, so I wandered off to help Caleb with the brats. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of earshot before I got the distinct impression that a significant amount of the relief moneys being received were about to be set aside for computer upgrades, and the wife was arguing that she ought to get her computer (left behind) replaced before the husband got more upgrades... and then there was the prospect of their ailing vehicle.

I hurried further away, eager to assauge my guilt for selling these people things that they shouldn't be buying, coming up to Caleb and helping him watch the children for a moment. As it dawned on me that I would feel better selling people things that they couldn't afford to buy than I would continuing in this babysitting fiasco, I waited for a lull in the conversation and returned to my customers post haste.

As I stood there, double-checking his system configurations and discussing his final choices, I began to play 20 questions. It came out that our husband and wife duo typically had the two brats in day care until 3 so they had plenty of time to do a bit of gaming, hence their presence in my store. They had opted to go the cheaper route on equipment at this junction so as to save money until after they had discovered how much it would cost to repair their car and perhaps buy the wife a new computer. At about this point my boss arrived back from an off-site job and began chatting up the husband while I completed the sale and talked with the wife. It was at this point that it came out that she was currently pregnant with twins. I didn't know whether to congratulate her or look up some adoption agencies and pass her the numbers.

In any event, it was at about this point that we finished the sale, gave the couple their new parts (plus a game that the husband had decided to snag) and sent them and their spawn on their merry way. It was at this point that I slipped through the back door and began shuddering at the thought of this couple continuing to breed and we discussed what we had all been thinking about: the husband and his "fresh out of the trailor" appearance. He smelled of the most foul things in nature and his breath was even worse, he looked kind of like a young, blonde Una-Bomber, and his teeth were nasty, yellow, caked in grime and housed in bleeding gums. All told, I was very glad the whole family was gone and hope that I never have to deal with any of them again.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:53 PM | TrackBack

September 18, 2005

My Friend Jason

When I lived in New York, I met and befriended a guy named Jason. Jason always wanted to be a pilot and while I was starting high school in Ohio, he started taking classes to get his private pilot's license, in addition to his normal high school stuff.

Several years later, I went off to LeTourneau... and I tried talking him into coming, but he raised the valid point that LU is expensive as crap. So, he went to Embry Riddel and got all sorts of licenses, graduating a year before I did (though, he IS a year older and all.)

Anyways, due to an incident that happened on Friday, he's getting his 15 minutes. All I can say is it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy and I'm just glad he's ok, and hopefully enjoying his bit o' limelight.

I would like to note that this is the first of my friends to ever get noted in one of my warped links. Isn't that sweet?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:39 PM | TrackBack

September 11, 2005

The Cynic Works!

So where have I gotten off to? You would think that with a computer in front of me for roughly 50 hours a week (M-F) I would be posting with a bit more regularity. But yeah, I've been busy... all kinds of busy, with my job. And really, even when I'm not busy with my job, I do have a wife who I like to see every now and again.

On the flip-side, by the middle of this week, barring a barrage of new business, life ought to be substantially calmer at the job with the advent of finishing off inventory. That ought to be replaced with the less-stressful jobs of figuring out Win2003 Server (not my choice, I would have done Linux), getting our webpage up, and fixing a couple of computers a day. Mmmm... thinking work. But yeah, stop on by some time... I have lots of free time to talk to customers. And while I can't build you the cheapest computer in existance, I work for the only store in town that will happily put Linux on any computer you want and save you the $100-some dollars of an OEM Windows install.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:24 AM | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Life as a Professional Tech

I've been the Assistant Manager of Plug 'n Play Computers for 3 days. In those 3 days I've spent roughly 28 hours at the store, doing everything from providing quotes over the phone to glancing over resumes to repairing computers to performing inventory to engaging in interior decorating overhauls of the store. I've been having a blast working with my boss and the "Marketing Man" to help improve the store-front, develop a functional business plan, acquire a fix on where the company currently stands, and just do the plain day-to-day stuff like talk to customers, take orders and fix computers.

In the course of the last couple of days, I've seen all sorts of special things. The top of the list, as I've told some of you, is a resume that lists having a baby as employment experience for a computer tech/sales postion. Other interesting points of note are customers. Check that, pretty much every oddity that pops up in this job is the result of a customer. Today, it was the customer who was under the impression that her monitor was what she needed to bring to the shop so that we could fix her computer... and when we finally talked her out of that, she told us that she could indeed bring the grey box... but she didn't know if she could disconnect it from the monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. She also referred to the case as the "software". I was amused.

Anyways, come by and see me sometime... maybe I'll even score you a discount or something.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:19 PM | TrackBack

September 03, 2005

My Kingdom for a Job!

As many of you know, I have been unemployed since I ceased my activities as a traditional full-time student in May. Unfortunately, this period of time neatly coincides with the months that I have been married, meaning that my wife has never had any financial support from her husband... and that's been kind of sad and a little bit rough as far as money goes. As many of you have been told over the years, teaching does not pay well.

Anyways, I've been looking around for a job for quite some time now, and the market in Longview, to put it politely, sucks. I've had a couple of calls, even an interview in Mt. Pleasant (which is an hour away), but nothing by way of a seemingly-good lead, other than the local company that's been giving me the run-around for roughly 1 1/2 months.... that is, until this week.

I had heard that Plug 'n Play computers on the loop was hiring about a month ago, but when I went there, they'd already filled the position. So, it was much to my surprise that I heard over the weekend that they were hiring again... and lacking anything better to do, I went to check it out. It turns out that the manager, Brad, has had terrible luck with employees. He's had 6 of them in the space of 8 months and only once has he had 2 at the same time. Four of those 6 were just clueless and inept... not really bad employees as much as they were bad hires and incapable of doing the jobs for which they were hired. The 5th employee was capable, just lazy... more willing to invite his girlfriend to the store and sit with her rather than do work. And the 6th... yeah, he robbed the store blind. So to say that I was overqualified in comparison with my BS in Computer Science, experience in technical work, and good references by reputable people was an understatement. Fortunately, Brad wanted what I had, I wanted what he had (a job at a company that really wants to grow), and we both got along very well. Still, there was the matter of convincing the owner (his father) that it was worthwhile to pay me a bit more than the average "pimple-faced" technician. That took the rest of the week and saw the hiring of a very intelligent and capable business-man to handle the marketing side of thingsl. So, on Friday, I got the official word that I was hired, along with another LU grad so that we'll have 2 guys to do technical work and a guy to do marketing.

Usually, I'm not very excited about work... I've had some bum jobs and even the good jobs have been rife with bad co-workers or nasty customers. But this job, I'm really excited about. The challenge is more than I've faced at any other job, but I'm really anxious to prove myself, help this business get off of the ground, and help build it into a competitive brand. So yeah, if you need software, hardware or computer labor or you know someone who does, send them my way and I may even buy you lunch.

note: at the moment the web site is down (one of my first projects) or else I would give you a link. More on that on Monday, after I've worked a day.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:36 PM | TrackBack

August 29, 2005

The Great Steak-Out

To those of you who weren't fortunate enough to make it down to the Ice Cave yesterday, you missed out on good steak and fun times. I don't even remember how many people showed up, just that I cooked up 24 steaks and had roughly half a dozen left over. I could go count now... but that would involve getting up.

Anyways, I want to especially thank Paige and Paige's Mom for making the mashed potatoes on such short notice. I was especially amused that this was only their second time making instant mashed potatos, and they were very good anyways... especially good when you consider that by their accounts, the first time (made only 2 weeks ago) was a great failure. I would have tried to get Paige to make the real thing, but these were almost as good and really... mashed potatos from scratch for 20 or so people? That would just suck.

And then there was the problem of finding a grill. It has been my knowledge for several years that there are some grills floating around the Honors Apartments at LU that were set aside for the use of the students living there. So, given the option of using electric skillets or real propane grills, I set my compatriots at the Ice Cave to finding a grill. To make a long story short (and I'm sure they could tell you the long part that I wasn't there for), there are 3 such grills, and they all suck. The least sucky one was there when I arrived, and it lacked lava rocks and a flame distributor, which means when I turned it on, it shot two huge streams of fire straight up. Well, that's a lie, when I turned it on, I discovered that Uncle Doug's assessment of the lighter was correct and, as a result, I needed to find fire. For some reason, Wilson wouldn't allow me to use my tried and true method of lighting a paper towel on the range (he says it makes the Ice Cave smell bad or some such nonsense)... so I was forced to solicit a lighter from the masses... and it turns out that Paige has one (and that's probably a Bad and Dangerous Thing.) So, when I finally did get the fire under-way, I really should have taken a picture of the flame-thrower grill, but suffice to say it was utterly worthless to cook steaks on it... would have been about as effective as a blow-torch. So, because I was the cook and busy preparing, I sent Uncle Doug and Wheeler to go find lava rocks or something... and they went to bug Corey and to check the other two grills. In the end, there were no lava rocks, but Corey Ross turned out to be our hero as he let us borrow his industrial-size 3-burner grill of doom that I used to cook 15 8-ounce steaks on at once. I was pleased, because I'd been planning on cooking 24 steaks in shifts of 4 or 6... and that would have taken a while. As it was, the whole operation, plus Mollie's chicken (which was left behind at my apartment and Anna had to go fetch) finished up in just over 30 minutes of cooking and right on time for everything to start... even with 30 minutes of grill-finding delays.

It should also amuse everyone that Wheeler was late to the 5:00 scheduled start of the grill-out at his own apartment. I will cede that, for the first time in the collective memory of the SC, he had a good reason to be late: he was picking Martinez up at the airport. That said, it has been proven that Wheeler can be late to his own apartment in addition to being 10-15 minutes late to everywhere else he goes... and that's just sad.

The food was good (or so I thought... but I cooked the steak that my wife seasoned, so I'm biased on that), the conversation was great, and it was just wonderful to see everyone got back... even Wilson, in spite of his car attempting to foil his return. Leatherwood called at one point for something or another, and we all said hello to him over speaker-phone. My wife was even good enough to switch the speaker-phone off before he could start waxing eloquent about something or another. I mean, I can talk anyone to death... but Leatherwood has me beaten and then some.

All too quickly, it was over and then everyone had to go put their stuff together for the start of the school year or attend a Themelios function or some such crap. I must say that it's nice to be (mostly) moved in already and not having to move in right now... it's probably one of the few points from LU that I won't miss... other than going to Freshman Orientation Crap. Sorry about the mandatory Freshman Retreat, Tyler... but better you than me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:51 AM | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Virtues of Comparison

When I look at everyone's blogs, I realize that I'm not such a big slacker after all. I mean, you figure Barbour hasn't posted ALL SUMMER LONG, Gallagher has been stuck at a median rate of about two posts a month for at least a year (with a bizarre exception like 3 posts in July and a post a month for the other summer months), my wife posts irregularly at best, and Moore manages to post half a dozen times a month. Oh... and let's not forget our Guatemalan... I mean, while Wheeler only posts once every week or two, at least he's got verbosity going for him (something one usually can't say for Ardith, though her latest post proves that she can occasionally be counted upon to write at length on the more interesting points of her life.) But in the end, Wilson's really the only one of us who really puts me to shame... and well, I've never been one to compete with Wilson on dedication to scholastic pursuits... I'm just too taken with talking to people.

That said, I have a couple of posts cooking along which are attempting to make it up some time in the near future. Heck, if you pester me (unlikely), they may see the "light" of day a bit faster... come to think of it, we should probably all pester each other to be a tad more prolific and regular in our writings. And in high Cynic style... I name our first victim to be Barbour of "I can't post during the summer" fame. So when you see him/talk to him, be sure to smack him for me and make him post or something. As for me, well... I'll get to that later. Right after I nurse my little addiction for a while.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:44 PM | TrackBack

June 25, 2005

Fallout Zone

I really wish I had a digital camera right now so that I could take some pictures of our apartment and show them off. We officially moved in yesterday, but it took me until this afternoon to finally manage my computer getting set up so that I could do work and (eventually) post.

More impressive than all of this is the fact that we've moved more stuff into this place than we even owned 2 months ago. Our friends and family have been very good to us, as has God, and so we have furniture and a roof to keep the rain off of it and 4 walls to keep the Guatemalans from stealing it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:06 PM | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

As Promised

Here is a picture of me with my beautiful bride. At least she looks good... everyone knows that even photographic geniuses like Morgan have their work cut out when dealing with my ugly mug.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:00 PM | TrackBack

June 12, 2005

Blogger on Hiatus

One will note that it's been quite some time since I've posted. So long that I'm beginning to feel like Wheeler or Moore or maybe even Gallagher.

I really don't have a lot by way of excuse other than married life, classes and World of Warcraft have come together to steal my soul. I'm also searching for a job with every spare minute I have, so we'll see what that comes to.

I ought to write down more, but I must run errands for my wife. After all, being the stay-at-home husband involves doing a bit of domestic work to earn my keep. That said, it's been a good ride... even if I feel very guilty for Anna working and me taking fun classes and playing. Ah well, I'm sure things will balance out when she gets summer break and maternity leave and all of that stuff.

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June 08, 2005

Pictures Are In!

That's right! The official wedding pictures as taken and digitally cleaned up by our own Morgan Miller are in! Soon, we will post a couple of the favorites online and maybe even attempt to set up a gallery of sorts for those of you who are really interested.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:46 PM | TrackBack

May 23, 2005

The Eagle Has Landed

So, Anna and I are back in Longview after putting roughly 3300 miles on the car in our various honeymooning travels. The stuff we need is mostly in our temporary home, we have gone to dinner with Wheeler and Rachel, we have put more stuff up in storage, we have opened the wedding presents received at the actual wedding (that we hadn't had time to open before now), and life is generally good.

Tomorrow Anna has interviews with Garland ISD in Dallas, and I get to sleep in. Life shall be wonderful.

Until later... we are now in apartment 3B and we both have our cell phones with us. You should stop by or give a call (email us or IM us if you lack our cell numbers, I really don't want to post them.) Anyways... enjoy yourself as I am enjoying myself.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:14 PM | TrackBack

May 20, 2005

Hello Again

As some of you may notice, I am happily going along and retro-posting to inform the world of everything that happened on the honeymoon in North Carolina. There's still a whole lot to type up and post, but I figured it would make a pretty good record for posterity and make for entertaining reading.

As for right now, I am camped out in Cincinnati at my mom's house until we roll back down to Longview. I will catch people on IM as I am able.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:02 AM | TrackBack

May 17, 2005

The Last Day

After having such a wonderful dinner the night before, Anna and I decided that we would go and find a nice dinner to finish the day off with. First, we decided that we ought to make some half-hearted attempts at finishing off the bit of food that we'd bought for the week and hadn't yet consumed. Thus, I made a big breakfast, complete with scrambled eggs with lots of stuff in them, fried bacon and some wonderful biscuits that Anna actually made. Here we should note that Anna improvised said biscuits out of pancake mix and water... no knowledge of proportions nor any directions. They were good.

After breakfast, we ran around town taking pictures for posterity. We also stopped in at a quaint little local bookstore. It really didn't end up being the sort of place that one would want to visit very often... sort of a knick-knack shop combined with a sad attempt at a mall bookstore. It had the occasional book that you would want and a whole lot that I suppose someone wants... but it seemed to try to provide variety with a very limited quantity to a somewhat lackluster effect. Ah well, the cards were rather entertaining in any event and if it would have been a bit closer to Moore's birthday, we would have picked up this nifty card that we found for him.
Anna cooked up a wonderful assortment of left-overs in a unique spaghetti casserole for lunch. I also was treated to green beans with bacon and onions: a culinary creation of whose existence I was not aware. All in all, Anna has been doing some outstanding cooking

This afternoon we bummed around and took a nice long walk to the pier. We then paid a frikking dollar each just to walk on the local pier. It was a nice pier... but not so nice that I should be paying a dollar to walk on it. For a dollar, they should have had a midget out there doing tricks or someone there to give me a foot massage or complementary martinis (or at least cokes.) Bunch of tourist-baiting malcontents... %&%^&@#

Anyways, the weather was wonderful, the view was marvelous, and we are very happy with our stay. At this point, all that we have left is a bit of cleaning and packing... but first we shall go hunt down a meal. We keep trying to go to this little place called the Indigo Marsh Chophouse, and if that fails, we shall go revisit Skulley's.

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May 16, 2005

Dinner in Wilmington

Dinner was quite the experience to say the least. The ideal plans, as we set them out, involved going to the local laundromat, doing a couple of loads of laundry, and then coming back to finish off some left-overs for dinner.

Reality was, as ever, far more interesting. Our journey began when we realized that the local laundromat closed at 6 PM. This precipitated a search all over the island which culminated in the conclusion that there was no laundromat available on the island to people who wanted to do laundry after 6 PM who didn't live in the local trailer park. And thus, we expanded our search to the nearby town of Hampstead. After searching that town in vain, we stopped in at a local gas station where a goodly clerk did some phone work for Anna to find an open laundromat. Turns out we had two options: the close option that would close about 30 minutes after we got there, and the Wilmington option.

Going back through my posts, I find myself shocked that I have failed to express my disdain for Wilmington, NC. The place appears nice when approached from the west, but one is quickly confronted by the fact that the stupid city lacks any efficient way of getting through it. Every single fricking route is plagued by narrow roads, a plethora of stop-lights, poorly-engineered intersections, too many commercial venues, and bad signage. In short, the city is a standing monument to urban and suburban sprawl in all of its nasty glory. To add insult to injury, I quote the local tour guide that this to say about local drivers, as it lists tips in dealing with local traffic:

Red-light runners. Local drivers are bad about this. To protect yourself, look twice before going on green to be sure some knucklehead isn't trying to race through on yellow.
Turn-signal phobia. For some reason, many Wilmington drivers don't seem to do with those levers on their steering columns. Keep that in mind, and keep the rest of us in mind too: Please use your turn signals when changing lanes, and especially before making left-hand turns.

Oh... that reminds me of my last little pet peeve: many of the major roads with businesses on either side lack left-hand turn lanes and some of the major intersections lack them as well. Combine this with idiots who don't use turn signals and it adds up to hell.

Anyways, by virtue of this explanation, it should be becoming clear to you that Wilmington is death to get through, and so it was. Thus, I was reluctant (to say the least) to return there for my laundry needs... but we had no choice.

You see, as a result of a bit of poor planning on our part, we had put the wet towels in with the sheets. Thus, it was either wet sheets or laundry in Wilmington. We chose the latter, and after leaving the condo around 6 PM, we found an open laundromat around 7:30. After negotiating the stupid washing machines, I sent Anna to go find food whilst I reveled in the fact that we seemed to have found Wilmington's equivalent of South Longview. Fortunately, I owed my best friend Tim a phone call, so I passed away the time discussing the finer points of our plans to see Star Wars on opening night (yes, I know, but I can't help it... I need to see the last one, and I'm praying... nevermind, you know what we're all hoping for.) Anna was back before I knew it with a disgusted look on her face and a McDonalds' bag in her hands (Anna hates the golden arches, so I knew things had to be bad.)

"It was the easiest place to get to and this area is really ghetto" was the first thing out of her mouth. I was fine... I've never really minded McDonalds', but she continued. "There was a homeless man who walked in and tried to bum food off of people." You are now wondering why I hadn't already left this area, and believe me, I wanted to. But now my laundry was almost done washing and I wanted to dry it before I left this horrific little grotto. But anyways, it was at about this time that I noted something else that was very unusual about this laundromat: it had a ratio worse than LU. So now we have the laundromat of down-on-their-luck ghetto-dwelling men? Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Anyways, we got out of there without any real incidents... and Anna even managed to talk me out of burning the whole city down. Let this be a lesson to you: stay out of Wilmington.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

May 10, 2005

Mawwiage

So yeah... I'm now married. I'll swear on my blog for the second time since the sc.org move-over... damn. It's strange being married, but a very good kind of strange. I highly recommend it to those of you considering vows of celibacy and the like.

I wouldn't have been married without a wedding, and that wedding wouldn't have happened at all without such excellent friends as we have. Anna and I would like to extend thanks to everyone who made it ("thanks times 1000"), everyone who helped out, everyone who sent wishes, and everyone who prayed for us. We felt it, and the wedding wouldn't have happened without all of that... much less have been the spectacular success that it was. My only regret is that we didn't manage to beat the rector into allowing us a receiving line to meet so many of you who couldn't stay for the reception, or couldn't stay long enough for us to make it around. ( :-( )

Bless you all for all of your prayers, support and well-wishing.

Oh yeah... and some of you have been griping about not being let in on our plans and whereabouts. We left the wedding, hit up a car wash (the one at Marshall and H.G. Mosely) which cleaned EVERYTHING off, and then we ran off to Jefferson... and here's where we'll stop being so detailed... (Anna sticks her tongue out at you... all of you)

... our tale continues the following... er... afternoon... with a hurried return to Longview to deal with some niggling details and then a return back to Jefferson. Jefferson hotel rocks... and the honeymoon suite is quite nice... ("mmm.... king-sized bed")

This morning we departed early, had breakfast in Jefferson at The Bakery (actual name) which was very good. We then drove to Atlanta, making intermittent stops for food, Drink (mmm... ;-D), and gas. We are now in Atlanta... soon to be departing for Topsail Beach in North Carolina. We'll be there for the next week... and maybe we'll find somewhere to post from. If not... well... we'll post sooner or later.

Thanks again.

-Mr. and Mrs. (edit) Cynic

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:33 PM | TrackBack

Travel, Pt. 1

After a wonderful breakfast at the Jefferson Bakery (just "The Bakery" in Jefferson), we drove to Atlanta. Turns out, we probably should have at least driven to the other side of Atlanta, but thems are the breaks. We posted, we ate, we found a decent motel.

The only real interesting notes from this day are that it was a long drive, especially being as tired as we were. An important note to those of you who aren't yet married but may become so: driving a long way to your honeymoon destination may not be the best idea in the world... but it's negotiable as long as you get a good bit of sleep each night. This may be a problem for some of you who have always slept alone and haven't had a new and beautiful wife next to you. It's very hard to sleep the whole night through as your body adjusts to having another warm body nearby, and when you wake up, it's especially hard not to just play with your wife's hair and muse that you're really married, which in turn wakes her up... and as a result neither of you gets much sleep.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:16 PM | TrackBack

May 09, 2005

Almost Honeymoon

You see... when you skip town without having spent a lot of time on getting out the days previous, there are usually some niggling details. In our case, we had to deposit some checks (after photo-copying them to remember to send thank-yous), pick up a replacement blinker light (which turned out not to be broken), drop stuff off at the storage unit, and pick up some last stuff from the apartment to drop in storage. I would like to stop and thank all of the guys in my apartment for dealing with my stuff as ably as they did, and I would especially like to thank Jared for dealing with my tux along with everyone else's and his brother's. After that little foray into Longview, we darted back out to Marshall for dinner at Applebees' and then back up to Jefferson for another relaxing nights' sleep at the Jefferson Hotel.

It was quite a nice day, and a necessary break.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:15 PM | TrackBack

May 08, 2005

Wedding Bells

I really had planned not to get up until around noon and to head up to the hotel to get dressed and ready to go at that point. However, I think the stress of the day caused me to wake up in a cold sweat from some dream around 9 am, and after that point I couldn't calm my nerves enough to get back to sleep.

So it was that Gallagher and Wilson were also vaguely awake, and I conferred with them and we decided that we could join mom for breakfast at IHOP. I called and told Geoff to pass that along, and then Wilson took the traditional 30 minute shower of his, and so we revised our schedule a bit and departed at 10, which ended up being about the same as the rest of the family. I am told that at this point, Anna had been up for a bit doing pictures and whatnot... but this is where we all laugh and note that there are a couple of perks with being the groom. Oh, and I'm assuming that Martinez was asleep as we had no way of reaching him, and we know that Wheeler didn't want to get up that early... so we just dashed off and left them to their own devices.

Sunday breakfast at IHOP is insane on any Sunday. On Mothers' Day, it's even worse. Thusly, there was an interminably long queue that left us standing around outside, us being myself, Gallagher, Wilson, Tim, Jonny, Geoff, Mom, Nana and Christie. At some point, it was realized that I lacked a beard trimmer, and so Geoff went with Christie to go buy one for me while we waited. Apparently, Tim and Jonny were wandering about outside at this point and declined a ride from Geoff. Then, it started drizzling and in a mad dash of valor, the two managed to run over to the van from across the parking lot and jump in to narrowly avoid the torrential downpour that followed. It was very impressive to behold, or so I'm told.

Lest I get bogged down in trivialities, I should note that breakfast was good, and was followed by me heading to the hotel to change and the SC-ers running back to campus to confer and prepare. It should also be noted at this point that a beard as massive as mine is no trivial thing to tame and trim to size. It took roughly 45 minutes and was accompanied by much pain and wailing from the Gremlin as the Great Goat was reduced to the little goatee. A shower and shave followed and it was decided that I should be tuxed at the church rather than risk rain-spotting the tux in the dashes to and from the car.

I arrived at the church in time to meet up with the SC crew, who were just noticing Gallagher's tie dilemma. After getting us all dressed and ready to go, I was abandoned with my hair unfinished so that all of the guys could be photographed. Most of my anxiety can probably be linked to the being left alone. In their absence, I attempted several times to make calls to the hotel where I would be staying that night and was met with complete failure... and this only served to increase my anxiety. Fortunately, at this point my brothers apparently snuck out of the picture-taking extravaganza and came back to entertain me. After this, a couple of anonymous friends returned to confer with me about absconding with the car to a hidden locale, and this at least served to keep my mind off of the coming show.

Shortly after all of that, Lily came back to work on my hair, and then it was time for pictures, pictures and more pictures... followed by a brief respite of pacing. My nerves were a bit better off now that my friends were all around me, but then I decided that they should have to suffer as I had suffered, and as such, I began proclaiming aloud my intent to escape. At this point, my nerves got one last shot as I had to listen to Anna loudly speed-talk from around the corner... attempting to soothe her nerves or something and stress me out in the process. God has apparently built some sort of mechanism into men to make us want to go calm our beloved women down... and it was very aggravating to listen to Anna gibber as though a mental breakdown was imminent and not be able to do a thing about it.

Anyways, after that the show was on. We processed, we stood, we watched processing, I got to hold on to Anna, we stood... vows and stuff... more standing... blessings and sermonizing... more standing... and finally the blessed kneeling followed by taking a seat for communion. I have heard it said that all brides are radiant and all grooms are nervous... and I will definitely agree that the bride was radiant (she was also nervous) and that I was nervous (and probably not radiant.) It should be noted that Dr. Watson's sermon was very good... but my feet hurt and thus I had a hard time focusing.

After we were proclaimed husband and wife, it was out the door and around the corner to wait for more pictures, and it is here that I have my profoundest regret. Namely, we didn't have a receiving line. I missed saying hello and thank-you to a lot of wonderful friends and family because of that one fact and a lot of people had to leave before I made it to them at the reception. After Morgan got the pleasure of bossing the SC around and the dubious pleasure of dealing with my brothers, it was off to the reception for cake and food and punch. First we said our hellos to a lot of wonderful people, then we cut the cake (and we smeared it all over each others' faces), then we tossed the bouquet (to Lily) and the garter (it was originally avoided by all single men, and then picked up by Baba), and then we waited... and waited... and waited. Apparently, Gallagher sold us out to my brothers and they finally got to decorate the car that had been hidden from their sight... and they were very pleased. And then we ran off into the night... but first we had to get the car cleaned.

I highly recommend the new little gas station on the corner of H.G. Mosely and Marshall... it has a nice little car-wash that COMPLETELY removed all remnants of the decorating job and in 4 or 5 minutes flat. Don't worry, we got honked at once or twice before we made it there.

After that, it was off into the night to the Jefferson Hotel and its wonderful king-sized bed, where this account will trail off and leave the reader to his or her own imagination.

Oh... one last thing, the IHOP in Marshall (more or less just off I-20) has a 15% discount for students, 25% discount for service-men with ID, and 50% discount to uniformed cops. Just figured that any hungry college students and military folks in the area might like to know that (I don't think I know any cops... but I know some desperate Q3 guys who might pick up cop uniforms.)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:14 PM | TrackBack

Married in the Morning

The countdown eclipsed 24 hours yesterday as I was working my butt off to get things ready to go into storage and the 12 hour mark was eclipsed as I lay asleep, building up my strength. So it's now 10 AM and I'm going to be getting married in 5.5 hours. That's not much time... at all.

I'm afraid I won't be able to say hello to half as many people as I should like nor should I be able to enjoy the best party thrown on my behalf to date half as much as I should... but I want to thank all of you in advance and I am sure I will thank you all again after I am done and married.

5.5 hours... (said in a voice filled with awe and wonderment) damn.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:01 AM | TrackBack

May 07, 2005

Graduation... almost

Unlike Anna and Ardith who are totally done with their degree plans and already have their nice, shiny diplomas, I still have one more class to take before I will be officially done. Fortunately that class is Introduction to Fine Arts, as taught by Dr. Watson.

But I get ahead of myself...

The morning started out bright and early at 7:30, and I even dressed up in collared shirt, khaki slacks and a tie. I did wear sandals, but that's more or less to be expected, right? I went and fetched Anna and we walked over to Belcher with Ardith, where we got food and our caps and gowns. $75 to drag in some crusty Alaska politician for a PR stunt and to sit there and watch 200 night college students who I don't know get diplomas?!?! But I get ahead of myself again...

After getting dressed up in our regalia, Anna and I met with my dad, her mom and my grandparents to get our pictures taken. More accurately, campus was chaotic and it was all anyone could do to show up at 8:15 and get over to meet us by 8:45, but my dad, Anna's parents and my grandparents made it. That said, after the pictures were done, we ran inside, we got in the group picture, Anna figured out that her tassel was actually an engineering tassel, we got lectured at by admin, I got $5 from some alum who wanted me to donate it back to LU (they can blow me; kiss that $5 goodbye...), and we finally got ready to march outside at 9:45.

After going to last year's graduation, I knew what to expect and it was mostly more of the same. I clapped my frigging hands off for the 100+ traditional undergraduates (most of whom I knew at least by face) and got a diploma cover and a picture with Bud. Then I started out clapping in some sort of good-faith effort for the GAPS students, until my hands got tired. After that, I clapped for Terry Turner, and Ethan and Ken (who both got their MBA's.) Just an aside, MBA's take forever, because a Master's degree comes with a hood, and at LU they put the hood on each and every one of them... and it takes 20-40 seconds per hood. You do the math. I know it's nice to do all of the graduation stuff with the non-traditional students, but the traditional students have busted their butts together... shouldn't we all at least graduate together and not have to deal with LU's cheap budgetary considerations? $75 graduation fee.... grrr....

Anyways, after graduation was finished (my best friend, the best man Tim having arrived from Cincinnati at some point during graduation) we all went over to Solheim to do pictures with Anna's family and my family. Nana was there, as were my brothers and my mother, but I don't think some of Anna's siblings were. Anyways, we did more pictures, Anna and I returned our gowns, we all ran around campus a bit, and then we went over to McWhorter Park (I think) to do lunch with all of the family and friends.

Lunch was good, of the Bodacious BBQ variety. All of my family that made it down was there, Anna's parents, siblings (with families) and her Uncle Jon (my favorite trouble-maker in her family) and Aunt Carolen were there. Anna's parents organized the thing, and were even gracious enough to invite some of our poor, starving college friends. After getting food in all of us and having some revelry and discussion, we spent 20 minutes trying to organize logistics. This little personification of hell was characterized by my hard-headed middle brother in one camp, my father in another camp, my ambivalent grandparents, Anna's stressed-out mother, and a whole lot of interested bystanding parties organizing into various circles and Anna and I running around between them as each attempted to dictate some subplot of the plans. Guh...

Anyways, after lots of chaos, Anna and I managed to figure out that she should go back to campus with her Uncle and Aunt to finish cleaning and packing, Dad should go with Anna's mom to do flowers, Anna's dad should go with Kirk and Eric to drop off food and then come get tuxed, and Mom, Nana, my brothers, Tim, Christie (Geoff's girlfriend) and I should go immediately to get tuxed (meeting up with others at some point in the tuxing process.) I think everyone else went to relax in hotels, but honestly, I was so busy thinking of details directly related to wedding stuff, that I couldn't tell you. Oh yeah... and the crew went to go crash the Hoyt party at some point in there...

The tuxing process went well and virtually without a hitch on our end (though it would appear that Gallagher's tuxing from the day before had unrecognized issues, but we didn't find out about that until later.) It turns out that due to his experience in the high school orchestra and wearing a tux to every concert, my youngest brother has become an expert in the art of tuxes... or at least enough so that between his experience and my one other experience in wearing a tux at Toad's wedding, we were able to help all interested parties into their tuxes. About half-way through, Anna's brothers and father showed up along with Amanda (Eric's wife) and they tried on tuxes while Amanda joined the tux evaluation crew along with Mom, Nana and Christie as they looked over each of the guys as they came out to show off tuxes. Anyways, at this point we all finished up and ran our separate ways with Jonny driving Tim and I down to LU after dropping off Nana, Mom and Christie at the hotel. Jon got to see the denuded Ice Cave and we mostly finished off the process of depopulating the Ice Cave of stuff just in time for Jon, Carolen and I to run things up to storage while Anna finished dealing with apartment checkout with Tim's help.

It should be noted at this point that any decently full day could have ended at this point and be said to have been a very productive day, but our day had not yet begun to fight. After leaving the storage facility, I received a call from Anna informing me that she would probably be late to the wedding rehearsal (along with the best man and a couple of the bridesmaids.) Fortunately, I arrived on time and attempted to pacify all of the involved parties as people kept piling up at the rehearsal. I have to say that there are two unsung heroes of the wedding rehearsal are Christie and Dr. Mrs. Watson. Christie kept my dad out of my hair and in the business of getting the food for the rehearsal dinner, and Dr. Mrs. Watson kept all of the details smoothed out and came up with a lot of good logistical suggestions and helpful tips. Rehearsal ran long (as every rehearsal I've ever attended has) and then there was a little bit of running back and forth, but dinner was finally served around 6:50 or so (only 20 minutes late) to some very hungry people (to whom it seemed closer to an hour and 20 minutes late), myself included.

After the chaos had died down, we found ourselves looking at a couple of details for the Unity Candle left to play with and a reception room to rearrange. Oh yeah, and people to find sleeping places for, groomsmen to relocate, and a little bit of partying to do. Fortunately, all of the cleaning and preparatory nonsense didn't take too very long at the church, but it did start eating into the night-time hours. Between that and the final cleaning back at the apartment (where it was discovered that we could fortunately spend the night), the groomsmen deemed it a bit too late to do anything other than sleep, and so Tim and I made the trek to Applebees' all by ourselves, where Jonny had decided that he would meet us, sans Geoff (who probably wanted to spend time alone with Christie.)

Here, fortune played a hand, and my friend Kevin Baba rolled in from out of town to amuse us all at Applebees'. Kevin is quite the character and was very entertaining and Tim was quite amused by his antics and his wondrous story telling. Kevin is really quite the entertainer... if only he could manage to be the sort of fellow that one takes out in public with polite company, he would have a real act going. Anyways, the evening went well, drinks were had and enjoyed by all (except for my underage brother), and we had a riotous good time... even if it was a mellower sort of riotous than I think Tim might have liked. Ah well... such is life.

The evening was finished out by Jonny driving Tim back to the hotel (where he was informed that breakfast would be had at IHOP at 10 am, much to his dismay) and I drove back to LU, with Baba tailing me close enough that for a while, I was convinced I had angered some gangster or something. Anyways, I crashed at the Ice Cave, and thus ended a VERY long day.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:13 PM | TrackBack

AWOL

So yeah, the last 48 hours have been very stressful. I've had to check out, pack up, and try to coordinate everyone coming into town. And I haven't even graduated or gotten married yet, so the next 48 should bode interestingly as well.

Due to residential considerations, I will probably be out of contact save by email and MAYBE a post, if I am so lucky. Keep well until I get back online.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:16 AM | TrackBack

May 06, 2005

Check, check, check

The day started out with the graduation breakfast. This should probably be a post in and of itself, but I digress. After running myself fairly hard the night before (staying up until almost 4 am) to get things packed and ready to move out, I went to pick Anna up at her dorm at 9:50 or so to make it to breakfast by 10. The breakfast was nice with most of the stuff there provided by the faculty and staff who had come to give their best wishes to the graduating seniors. After a while of eating and kibitzing (I don't remember who Anna and I sat with, but I'm sure she does) the graduates were encouraged to get up and talk. Caleb Roepke and Matt Cadmon talked, Leatherwood talked, Becky Casselberry talked (I think), and memory blurs... oh, and Dr. Helmuth talked and closed things off. All in all, it was a very nice breakfast with some nice sentiments mixed in. It really reminded me how much I would miss this place.

After breakfast, Anna and I called her parents and went down to our apartments and loaded up everything that we had packed into their Suburban and our Camry. After all of that packing, we trekked up to the north side of town and deposited the whole lot of it in storage, got gas, and headed back to campus, picking up lunch along the way. It would be more accurate to say that I came back to campus to clean and check out and everyone else went off to run errands, but more about that later.

I got back on campus around 1, and we were supposed to have all of our stuff out of the apartment and cleaned up in time for our 3:30 - 4:30 checkout. For a while, I honestly thought we might pull it off. Turns out that Wilson actually managed to pull it off (with a great amount of help from his father) and Gallagher came pretty stinkin' close (I think he might have made it if it weren't for a couple of complications that he will surely mention.) Wheeler got to stay for the summer and came out smelling like roses... whereas I have a WHOLE lot of stuff.

In the meanwhile, Anna and her mother went to Tyler, Pounds Field to pick up my Nana (maternal grandmother who didn't want to be called Grammy Sherman in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.) As it turns out, her flight got delayed by 2 hours in Houston, which would have made her late for the graduation banquet and my fiancée and her mother late by proxy. So Anna and her mom (I still don't know what I'm supposed to call my mother-in-law to-be) came back to Longview, and I was left trying to find some poor schmuck to sucker into running out to Tyler to catch her plane. At that same time, I began getting phone calls, reporting that my Paternal Grandmother Cynthia and her husband (Grandpa Earl for the sake of convenience*) had just arrived in Longview. So, I ran around the apartment, called in some more banquet tickets, and begged Strang... er... Gallagher to run out to Tyler to pick Nana up when she arrived... which turned out to require him to leave no less than minutes after he agreed.

Anyways, with graduation banquet looming large, I realized that Nana couldn't make banquet and so I wouldn't need her ticket. So I begged Wilson to run and pick up only 1 ticket (instead of the two that I had called in earlier) and I would keep cleaning. Turns out that I could have used that ticket, as Dad called an hour or so later, having arrived in town after driving 12 hours from Cincinnati, instead of the usual 14 that it takes (lead foot runs in the family and the construction in Arkansas is finally done.)

So yeah... it was Grandma, Grandpa and I running to graduation banquet with Anna and her parents. We sent Dad off to his hotel for and dinner and an early turn-in (he turns into a pumpkin at 9 PM EST, which meant he was about ready for bed just as the banquet started.) An important note is that Grandma and Grandpa had never been to campus before, so it took them a bit to find the place, and Anna and I had been confused as to where the banquet would be, so that added to the fun. Anyhow, we found the grandparents and went and got seats, whereupon Anna's tardy parents arrived and we all had dinner, punctuated by some rather entertaining speeches filled with jabs at LeTourneau by people from whom I would never expect such things. All in all, it was a nice event, but probably not worth the $13 per ticket except that I got to see my friends receive honors, and that was really nice.

About 10 minutes (maybe less) into the banquet, Geoff called to inform me that he, my mother, my "little" brother Jonny (at 6 feet tall), and Geoff's girlfriend had all made it into town. So I tried to line them up something, but they just wanted to eat and crash. Anyways, the evening was ended off by seeing my grandparents off to run back to the hotel, lining up picture time for the following morning, calling all of the family to organize logistics for the next day and wish them good night, and going back to Anna's apartment to help put furniture back where it was supposed to be.

It was fortunate on the furniture front that we were assisted and largely organized by Anna's father, at least on the door front. My future father-in-law is a handy-man extraordinaire, and if anyone could help with the hellacious project of moving full-sized wooden doors out of the attic and putting them where they belong, it was Anna's dad. That bit took about 45 minutes, and the wiser heads ducked out at that point, right as the cleaning began in earnest. Shortly thereafter, Anna and crew decided things needed to be moved here and there and I ducked out a bit to do more phone calling and apartment work, returning to finish bunking beds with Ziggy and Moore's help and then heading back to my apartment for an early bedtime. Hitting the sack at midnight helped prepare me for my 7:30 am wake-up the following morning.

*footnote: He's been my grandpa all of my life, even though we're not technically related, and he's a cool old computer nerd who has taught me a lot of things and helped me fix a lot of computer problems.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:12 PM | TrackBack

May 05, 2005

Inhale, Exhale

Well, it would seem that my Dad has decided to be wonderfully helpful about my stuff in Ohio and is going to drive an empty truck down because I didn't "pull my weight" or some such nonsense. Most people have families who try to make their lives easier when a wedding goes down... mine seems to have the idea that they should try to make my life more hellacious.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:12 PM | TrackBack

May 03, 2005

Stress

It comes this way every semester, but this time it's worse. That ball in my chest and feeling of unease, as if there are a million things wrong and the worst part is that I can't remember most of them but yet I know they're there lurking behind me watching and waiting for the most inopportune moment to rear their nasty heads and send all of that hard work of mine spinning out of control and wrecking my whole life in the process. Fortunately, I'm keeping myself busy enough that the only time the monster can get into my head is right before bed and right as I wake up. It's the finals, the last bit of stuff, the wedding, the fact that I still don't have a job, and then whatever new stress can brew up. Maybe this is God reminding me that I still need Him and now more than ever... but I wish it wasn't all so unpleasant.
I could do with a few less reminders about my own insufficiency and a little bit more comfort about the future.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:14 PM | TrackBack

May 01, 2005

Debtor's Prison

A great many of you owe me money in some form or another. For those who are counting, hosting runs us about $4 every 3 months, and I get hit up in January, April, July and November. Let your conscience be your guide, but most of you SC-ers owe me roughly $16 at least. As I'm poor and about to be marrried, now would be a good time for you to pay up.

To those of you who owe me various other monies, I would love if you paid up on those as well.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

April 15, 2005

Wiki Wiki Wiki

Where have I have been? Well, I must direct your attention over to Wikipedia. More specifically, I must send you over to my page so that you can see the prolific nature that I have taken on. Perhaps it's just that I love doing work that isn't required or something, but I've taken to Wikipedia like a fish to water.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:47 PM | TrackBack

April 05, 2005

chirp, chirp, chirp

Well, I keep intending to post an essay that I've been working on related to illegal immigration... but I also keep having work to do. Right now I'm embroiled in an IBM project that has already inflicted one all-nighter on me and looks like it might get me with a second (I hope not.)

This is a public service announcement... The Cynic is not dead, but you might wish he was if you run into him on the day after an all-nighter. Consider yourself warned.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:04 AM | TrackBack

March 22, 2005

If You Want It Done Right

Some of you may or may not have noticed that we've been having problems with comment spam for about the last 36 hours. It turns out that the MT plug-in we've been using to stop comment spam (MT Blacklist) can generate some SQL difficulties that you can read about here. All that to say is that we've needed to talk to tech support, and so I nominated Ardith for the job after I got Gallagher to look into the problem initially.

As of 11 or so this evening, the problem was still unresolved and worsening... and so I took matters into my own hands. At 11:35 PM I sent in a tech support request after doing a little bit of research and writing. At 11:40 I got a response indicating the problem had been solved.

Just goes to show that if I want something done right, I need to do it myself.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:43 PM | TrackBack

March 19, 2005

Perkins Reloaded

Being as that we're back in Cincinnati and Anna had never been to the Perkins of Legend, it seemed appropriate to give it a visit. My best friend Tim, a fellow veteran, was understandably reluctant to revisit the home of the worst restaurant service available in Cincinnati, but that reluctance, as always, was tempered with the anticipation of another exciting Perkins episode. Thus, it didn't take me too long to sell Tim on the idea and so we went, with Ben in tow.*
I began anticipating a good time when I arrived at Perkins and noted that the parking lot was parked 3 cars deep in some areas, as opposed to the common American practice of parking 2 deep and leaving access aisles such that there isn't a middle car that is potentially prevented from exiting. In light of this entertaining parking scheme, Tim pulled through one spot and I followed him so that I would be able to leave at the proper time. What's more, upon exiting we discovered that this mystical "third row" wasn't a row at all but rather a mechanism of parking in the access aisle unilaterally adopted by the presumably disoriented (and potentially inebriated) customers of Perkins.
Upon accomplishing the marvelous feat of parking, we set out to go in, only to pause at hearing noise emanating from the adjoining dumpster. Tim managed to mutter "dumpster diving" just in time for us to note a man climbing up onto the dumpster and sitting down upon it. Then, instead of rifling through it, he discarded several boxes into the dumpster, hopped down, and dashed into Perkins. We thought this slightly odd, commented such, and proceeded into the restaurant where, lo and behold, this same employee was standing at the front counter, handing a customer her take-out food. This level of sanitation should have discomforted me, but I was distracted at that moment by a man sticking his head in the women’s room.
Pausing to attempt to figure out what was going on, I noted a couple of "Caution: Wet Floor" signs on the floor, that the man looking through the door was wearing a Perkins shirt, and that the peeping tom and the man at the counter both appeared to be managers. Oh... and the man at the counter appeared to be agitated and, well, gay.
As we stood there waiting, Peeping Tom darted from bathroom to bathroom and into the back, at which point the counter manager paused to shout after him, "I've already dealt with it!" Noting that he wasn't being acknowledged and affecting more flagrant mannerisms by the moment, the dumpster-diver turned to a heretofore-unnoticed Perkins employee sitting in the waiting area and said, "You'd better get him out of here or me and him are gonna have to fight!"
The employee looked up from where he seemed to be trying to hide and responded, "I don't work here any more James, leave me out of this."
At this point the manager emerged from the back and James interjected, "It's all deatlt with! I've been on my hands and knees wading, through 6 inches of water for the past hour to get the water up, but it's dealt with! Get out!"
The manager turned to James and told him, "I'm just doing my job!" and then turned and retreated into the back, where James followed him after barking at the camouflaged employee. It was at this point that our waitress emerged from some side door and escorted us to our table.
After being seated, I had to know what was going on. That, combined with the apparent unprofessionalism of both the restaurant and the waitress prompted me to inquire, "What's been going on in here?"
The very question seemed to be all that the waitress needed by way of encouraging to unload the ever-increasing burden of the goings-on of the evening to somebody. "Well," she began, "this isn't even the first of it. It all started earlier this evening when a group of drunk guys brought this girl in and she decided at some point to go sit with a different group of guys. Now, they were also drunk and we could smell the alcohol from over there," she continued, pointing over to the kitchen. "There was almost a fight and the manager had to come over and break that up and we had to hurry up to get them out of here."
"What about the manager who's here now?" I prompted.
"That started a bit later," she answered, leaning over conspiratorially, "when the toilet in the employee bathroom plugged up. Water poured everywhere and there was, like, two inches of water everywhere in the kitchen and all of the bathrooms. And our manager is gay, so he was all exaggerating when the general manager came in. And now he's checking up on our manager and they hate each other so I just hope we get the general manager out of here because they're back there screamin' at each other right now."
After a bit more colorful dialogue wherein the waitress informed me that I looked like a stoner friend of hers whose hair she used to braid, she wandered off to find somewhere to hide or something. It was at this point that a group of 6 young teenaged girls, sporting a good bit of attitude, was seated at a nearby oversized booth. One of the girls was given a chair and was sitting in the aisle, which was promptly noted by James in the kitchen. He came storming out, looking very agitated and very gay, and tried to calmly tell the girls that they couldn't have a seat out in the aisle due to the fire code. I must admit, I was really hoping for an explosion, but the girls moved into the booth together with only minor grumbling.
It was at this point that my coffee arrived, complete with a suspicious layer of sludge on the outside of the carafe. I didn't ask, I don't want to know, and all I can say for the food was that it was barely tolerable, and without the company it wouldn't have even acheived that. Sadly, the rest of the evening was largely uninteresting with one exception:
Roughly 10 minutes before we were to leave, the waitress came back by our table to check on us, and inform us that she hoped her TV wasn't going to burn. Apparently she was renting-to-own a 64-inch plasma television and had spent roughly $4000 on it. For reasons that weren't explained, she was remodeling her apartment or something and the television had just been moved to James' apartment for storage earlier that evening. Apparently, James had just received a call to tell him that his apartment had just caught fire. Thus, the manager had rushed off to his apartment, leaving our waitress to hope and pray that her television wouldn't be burned. I suspect and hope it had some sort of insurance... but this was just one more oddity to top out a rather entertaining, and surprisingly well-serviced Perkins run. Come to Cincinnati with me and I'll hit Perkins with you, too.

*note: This was more of a risk than it sounds because Ben is a notorious over-tipper and supporter of the International Brotherhood of Waiters and Waitresses, no matter what a bunch of hacks they are. We've had to steal Ben's tip back from him in order that we can under-tip for execrable service on numerous occasions.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:11 AM | TrackBack

March 17, 2005

Happy Leprechaun Day

The leprechauns are BACK!!!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:06 AM | TrackBack

March 03, 2005

The Fine Art of Wench Management

Following is the outline from my speech in Col. Payton's Speech and Communication class today. If I have time and enough response, I'll rework it to an actual transcript form:

  1. What Is Wench Management
    1. Making the Women Around You Act Reasonably
      1. Scenarios from real life
    2. Why Do I Care?
      1. Immortal Question: "Do I look good in this?"
      2. Three Words: Irrational, Illogical, Over-Emotional
  2. Could I Learn?
    1. Are you a rational person?
    2. Do you need to learn?
      1. LeTourneau
      2. Real World
  3. How Is It Done?
    1. My Borrowed Methodology
      1. Insistence
      2. Persistence
      3. Consistency
  4. Persistence
    1. Don’t Give Up
      1. Everyone has bad days
    2. Keep Reinforcing Reason
      1. Eventually you WILL teach her to listen to it.
    3. Think Fast
  5. Insistence
    1. Don’t Let Irrational Thought Win
      1. Thought Reform
    2. Provide Incentives
      1. Chocolate and Flowers
    3. Women CAN be made somewhat logical
      1. Social conditioning
  6. Consistency
    1. Keep Pusing Logic and Rationality
      1. You can win by sheer force of will
    2. Don't Get Sloppy
      1. Unlike Canine Training
    3. Keep An Escape Plan
      1. Remember the ELH-2 Raid
  7. What About the Wenches?
    1. You Could Participate and Learn
    2. I Could Hope
    3. Just Have Some Chocolate
Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:50 PM | TrackBack

March 01, 2005

Manly Month of March

Welcome to the Manly Month of March. For more details on participation, talk to Gecko.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:00 AM | TrackBack

February 14, 2005

Happy Schmoopy Day

As a very happy man who has three months of bachelorhood remaining, I must say that today is a great day to consider all of my many blessings, especially that of my future wife. May you find yourself equally and abundantly blessed either today or in some day hence.

Because I really can't let Valentine's Day pass without posting something sappy.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:24 PM | TrackBack

Happy Massacre Day

This is my second Valentine's Day with a wench... and my last as an unmarried man. To those single people out there, I empathize and bring you a link to Wilson's list. Even if you've read it before, I encourage you to read it again... the list is very worthwhile.

And for those of you unfortunate enough to not have known me back in the day when I was a more verbal chauvinist, I bring an excerpt from the forum flame-war that more or less led to my close friendship with Anna, which in turn led to where I am now... but anyways, here you are:

Being as that the Shadow Council more or less runs itself these days, I have decided that I will be pursuing other things in addition, so that I don't get slow or dull on my rhetoric.

The idea of returning to the halcyon days of yore when men ruled the land as they should and women held their tongues has always appealed to me. Recently, I have begun to explore the feasibility of making such a change and it occurred to me that even should I control the government in an autocracy, I would need something more. Just because women are relegated to their proper state as second-class citizens doesn't mean that they won't continue to stir up dissension and create problems for my regime.

And then, as is with all problems, the solution came to me. The control of all forms of media would be my tool. Primarily, the constant barrage of the news media and entertainment would reinforce my message of truth. Feminist literature and the like would be banned and burned. As a cautionary measure, women would be forbidden to read, but this would take some time to implement. In the meanwhile the state-run media would pervade all of life. I honestly don't think it would take much to return peoples' minds to the proper frame of reference with the use of that media...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:11 PM | TrackBack

January 19, 2005

The Weekend is Coming

Here it is Wednesday evening and I am happily looking forward to the weekend for two reasons:

1) We're going to be ponding Paige for her birthday on Friday... regardless of the temperature or how many people she musters to her defense.
2) Friday is now an especially significant day of the week (warning: not family-friendly)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:25 PM | TrackBack

January 15, 2005

Controversy

As I have been personally involved in both the organization of the Independent and spreading the news of the controversy attendant to its dismantling, I feel it necessary to post on the ensuing chaos of the past 48 hours.

Up until evening on Thursday, I was of the sure opinion that Dr. Austin had indeed called the prospective editor of the Independent and had ordered it shut down. While I am admittedly guilty of not following up on information myself, I would have to say that my position as a fairly highly-placed editor within the Independent did not predispose me to going and looking for what could amount to be trouble. On Friday, a flurry of damage control came from administration, including several administrators who I respect and trust a great deal, basically saying that allegations were false. I think my friend Wilson sums the whole thing up very nicely.

All that to say, is that I am now in an interesting position of not knowing what's going on. Some have said that there is a natural tendancy to villify LU Admin... and I would respond that this is due to a natural tendancy of LU Admin to withhold and repress information and color the information that is released to the students in such a way that they are not trusted. Combine this with a couple of controversial disciplinary moves that they've made and you've got yourself a lack of trust on the part of the student body. Others will fairly assert that the administration has done very well by the students on many occasions, and I will agree to some extent or another... and I will really say that someone should have done some follow-up before I published a post like I did a couple of days ago, LeTourneau deserves at least that much benefit of the doubt.

Where does this leave me? Trying to figure out what really happened.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:23 PM | TrackBack

January 13, 2005

A Dream that Died

Some clarifications on what was to be The Independent:

The publication in question was intended to be a non-profit independent newspaper to serve as a service to the students and the community. While the authors and editorial staff would have been compensated for their time and efforts in the form of pay (rather than class credit as with school publications), the paper itself filed for non-profit status in the vein of The Dartmouth Review.

It has been suggested that perhaps faculty or the Student Senate could take up the cause of the paper. Insofar as support from the Senate or the Faculty is concerned, I would be hesitant to ask any such groups to stick their necks out on something like this. The attitude taken by Dr. Austin is such that I don't think that the University would brook any opposition in this matter. That said, I suppose I could ask a senator or two to look into it. However, especially as far as student organizations go, the express point of an independent newspaper is to be outside of the school's purview, so I really don't think it would have been a good idea. Even moreso, I feel that involving faculty would be a bad idea with the way that Dr. Austin feels about this as he is their boss and I wouldn't want to endanger their careers. In short, I guess we might talk to Senators, but this thing seems to be quite dead.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:00 PM | TrackBack

January 11, 2005

Alvin O. Austin

Bearing in mind that this is second-hand knowledge, I'm rather irritated and want to get this out there:

As some of you may or may not know, a group of students came together at the end of last semester with the idea or running an independent campus publication at LeTourneau University. The idea was to run it better than the Yellow Jacket had been run and to make a paper that the students would want to read and would be proud of.

Plans were in place to run the first edition of the paper this Friday, and people were excited. Then President Austin found out. Without going into a whole lot of details that I'm shaky on, he called up the prospective editor of the independent paper this afternoon and told him not to publish. He furthered that if the paper was published, the staff would be expelled and the paper would be sued by the school. There was no tone of compromise, no inquiry as to the purpose of an independent paper... merely the promise and threat of a scorched-earth campaign directed at the staff of such a paper in the event of noncompliance.

Right now, I'm kind of numb. I was really looking forward to this, as a chance to do some journalism outside of the constraints of the Yellow Jacket and to get pay to do fun work. I had even gotten so far as to thinking out some fun articles I wanted to write about LeTourneau and just what a good time we could have with an unfettered paper and with a real budget that the editorial staff had secured through advertising. Talk about your let-downs...

All I want to know is how someone can do something like that to a group of his own students and claim to be a man of God and to be leading a campus in the direction that God wants us to go.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:48 PM | TrackBack

January 07, 2005

My Fault

In case some of you hadn't noticed, shadowcouncil.org was down for about 12 hours earlier today... that was my fault. Rather, at least half my fault and partially the fault of the impatient people at hosting matters who charged a credit card without money in it and closed down the account within 24 hours. I will beg off on the fact that I was travelling and sleeping during the majority of that period of time.

All of that said, it's my fault that things went down...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:49 PM | TrackBack

January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:00 AM | TrackBack

December 31, 2004

At Year's End

It would appear that I am running out of year with which to blog. That would also mean that we are nearing our 1-year anniversary at Shadowcouncil.org and that it is about time for me to post my year in review.

But as I work to do all of this compiling and whatnot, I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year and note that while the Asia quake-related death tolls are topping 120,000 there appear to be minimal to nonexistant animal fatalities. How bizarre...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:00 AM | TrackBack

December 29, 2004

Blown Back In

So after my brief stay in the windy city, I am back with Anna. I guess it's now time for us to get quasi-serious about wedding planning after almost 2 weeks of slacking bliss.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:23 PM | TrackBack

December 26, 2004

Fruits For Jesus

I'm going to hunt down the sermon mp3 from today and bring a copy back with me. My youth pastor gave the sermon today and at the very end, he was trying to make a point about love and the church body as a whole. When he prefaced his illustration with, "I told my wife this morning that I was going to do this, and she laughed at me," I knew we were in trouble.

He started out well by pulling out a bowl and saying that without an emphasis on loving one another, the church is a lot like the empty bowl... a nice bowl, but very empty and not doing anyone a lot of good. Then he paused, and pulled out a pair of apples, and likened some members to apples where it doesn't take long to get through their thin protective layer and get to know the "sweet part." So we're still good. And then he pulls out a pear, noting the slightly thicker skin and the different nature from the apple. And then a grapefruit, noting the really thick skin and the fundamentally different contents. We're starting to lose him there, but then things get really interesting. Bill pulled out two oranges, looked from one to the other almost stunned, and kind of blurted out, "and some of us are just happy, shiny people." Still kind of dazed, he tossed the oranges in the bowl with the other fruit, pulling out a banana. Staring at it, he mumbled somethign about rotting bananas and having to cut them up and stuff. Without much further production, he started referring to us collectively as the "fruits of the Church." And then, to finish off his abortive efforts, Bill noted the sniggering occurring in the youth section, realized what he'd said, and proudly announced:

"Hey, it's ok to be a fruit as long as you're being a fruit for Jesus!"

Thanks Bill.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:39 PM | TrackBack

December 24, 2004

Poisoned!

In light of the wonderful roads and snow emergency, I decided to defy the odds and the authorities and drove down to Tim's house. I arrived about half way through It's a Wonderful Life, so we finished watching that, played some cards and were generally bums until about 3 am. At this point, it was decided that we should make a Perkins run.
After digging out the end of Tim's driveway to the point that I could get the van out, Tim, his sister Christy, Danny G and I drove off into the snowy night. The roads were crappy and largely unplowed as we drove through the sleet towards Perkins. We drove by Dunkin Donuts and Christy whined loudly about our choice of Perkins over her beloved Dunkin Donuts. Driving on, we arrived at Perkins only to note that the 24-hour establishment had closed. Christy gleefully announced that we were going to Dunkin Donuts, and the rest of us lacked counterarguments in that we lacked alternatives... so I turned around and we went to Dunkin Donuts.

Here is where I made the mistake. The doughnuts were fresh, as they were being placed on the trays as we arrived. I, however, didn't see fit just to order a doughnut... so I ordered a bacon and egg croissandwich. I really should have suspected something was up when the sandwich was rubbery as if it had been microwaved, but I was hungry and I ate it without much thought. And that was that until 10 pm at Tim's house, when I awoke to an angry stomach. It wanted to get rid of the badness, and it wasn't taking no for an answer.

So there was puking badness followed by a feeling of much relief. Sadly, this resulted in a mess. The mess was cleaned and I took a shower and went home. Unfortunately, the driveway at home was covered in snow and the subdivision was in a bad way. So I parked the van in the road and climbed up the driveway to help clean the driveway of snow. It was shortly after this that I noted a fundemental truth of food poisoning: it leaves you weak. I was barely able to shovel at a rate of 1/4 that of my little brother. So after about 10 minutes of my abortive efforts, my mom came out and sent me inside. It was around this point that I realized I was feeling much sicker. So I got some pajamas on and crashed on the couch, where I remained for about 6 hours after ingesting a peptobismol. For dinner I had a piece of toast and a glass of coke, following which I went to bed.

Anna called around 7:00, and I got sick again between when she called to tell me her brother's cell number and when I called her back. That said, it was nice to hear from her... and very encouraging to know that there was someone out there who had a better day than I did.

After talking to her, I went back to bed and slept fitfully and deliriously until about 12:30. My fever-addled dreams had something to do with a cathedral or something... I don't recall except that the whole thing made very little sense even in my fitful state and I was happy to awaken at 12:30, at least until I noted that I had a terrible migraine. Hobbling upstairs, I was happy to note that Jonny was still up, and he graciously went and got some Excedrin for me. So now I'm without a headache and about to go back to bed. NO MORE POISON!!!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:16 AM | TrackBack

December 22, 2004

Snowed In

Mmm... I love snow. That said, I hate it when there's so much on the ground that you can't get anywhere. It's so beautiful... and such a pain in the butt.

The difference between the Midwest and the Northeast is that in the Northeast (and just about anywhere else that averages over 40 inches of snow in a winter) it is known that if you plow the snow when it starts and keep plowing, the roads will stay clear. In Cincinnati, nobody has that one figured out. So when there were 4 inches of snow on the road, someone realized, "Crap! Cars are getting stuck! Quick, get plowing!"

But by then, it was too late. And so the area is in a snow emergency and I don't think that we're supposed to go out in the snow unless we have a very good reason to be out on the roads. Not that I will allow such nonsense to stop me... but life could prove interesting between now and Christmas. Stupid government plow monkeys...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:29 AM | TrackBack

December 20, 2004

Bunch of Saps

Well, I would like to thank the bunch of saps whom I call my friends for responding so kindly to my post regarding engagement. I will try to keep you all posted as things roll along... but right now I'm mostly just settling in for a nice, restful Christmas.

Oh yeah, and unlike some others whom I know, I get to experience the joy that is a bustling Christmas, and I love it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:44 PM | TrackBack

December 19, 2004

"It's About Time"

So I was faced with a conundrum... do I let her go home and hold on to this thing for a week and a half, having already asked for permission, or do I ask her the question and give her the ring.

Now, obviously the ring wasn't doing me a whole lot of good in my pocket. In fact, its large angular box was causing discomfort on a purely physical level, not to mention mental and emotional anguish that the unasked question was wreaking. Had I talked to her about marriage before? Yes. Was it almost certain that she would say yes? Oh, yeah. Would she kill me if I didn't get around to asking soon? You'd better believe it. Was I still nervous about asking her? Quite.

That said, I had even gotten the really hard part out of the way the night before when I called her father to get permission. I mangled the hell out of asking him, and really illustrated my ability to turn even the simplest of sentences into a convolusion on par with the Gordian Knot. But Anna's father was benevolent and saw it in his heart to ease my worries and give me permission to ask Anna.

So with permission to ask out of the way, here I was with this ring and this question and the awkward problem to solve. Oh yeah, and I was sitting in an airport, looking at the reality of being about 3 hours from letting her go for a week and a half... and I didn't want to do that.

I was out of cards, folks, so I improvised. It was sadly unromantic, and I regret not being able to do better with the time I was given, but I wasn't given much. So I asked her if she wanted her gift now or later. She said now, and thus she was offered the gift. She accepted and said "yes" to the question that came to her with the opening of the gift, and has thusly set my mind at ease... to at least this stage of things.

And so, we await May 8... the day of a celebration to which all of our friends are invited and which, hopefully, will be more romantic and less necessarily practical.

More details coming... stay posted. And in the meanwhile, see what my fiancée* says about the matter.

*Note the gender-correct spelling, Wilson.

December 17, 2004

Once Again At Home

So here I am, back at home in Cincinnati. I'm alive, well and all in one piece. More news coming, pending sleep and thought.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:28 AM | TrackBack

Finals Observed

I'm posting odd things I see during finals week here:

12/14/2004 1:04 AM - Gallagher practices singing along with Catholic Hymns (specifically, "Bring Flowers of the Rarest")
12/14/2004 1:09 AM - Wilson prances through the Ice Cave flapping his hands like wings and saying "I'm Jet Li! I'm Jet Li!"

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:00 AM | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

*gurgle*

To the outside world:

Yes, I'm alive in here. Not particularly thriving at the moment, but I am working myself to a near-fatal state in order to pass my classes this semester.

To those in here with me:

I'm in apartment 12A, MSC1 or the computer labs. I would love it if you came to give me a hand: either in the form of fellowship or maybe C++ programming.... I'll take either or.

On a slightly sarcastic note: *

It's finals time, and that means it's time for me to drink myself into a gutter. Come one, come all to the Wednesday night binge-fest. That will be the Cynic, laying in the gutter in a slushy pool of half-frozen cheap beer, vomit and indiscernable fluid. You should join me in the gutter... I'm buying.

*I have gone to the trouble of dropping in the specific note about SARCASM because I know LU Admin probably reads this blog and you never can tell if they can take a joke. Also, some of you don't know me too well and might actually suspect that I would do something like this. I assure you, I have no intention of ever finding myself in the state enumerated above.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:24 AM | TrackBack

December 09, 2004

Finals Schedule

Monday:
7:30 – 9:30 a.m.
9:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Tuesday:
9:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Wednesday:
12:45 – 2:45 p.m.
Thursday:
9:45 – 11:45 a.m.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:00 PM | TrackBack

December 08, 2004

Craving the Warpedness

A Desperate Guatemalan in Search of "Real Ultimate Power"

So apparently my roommate was astonished that the warped link I had shared with him wasn't yet posted. As he put it, "WHY isn't it on your blog? I need it!"

Another addict joins my happy distribution chain.

So without further ado, I bring you Real Ultimate Power - the bound and printed edition. Ninjas, on paper, flipping out and killing things. Go Robert Hamburger!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:24 PM | TrackBack

December 03, 2004

License for Evil

I would like to thank Ma Hoyt for sending me a birthday card with a license to cause trouble... specifically to "Do Evil." I think everyone around here would like to join me in thanking her for such a gracious push in the right direction. I feel truly inspired to go wreak havoc.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:45 PM | TrackBack

December 01, 2004

unHappy Birthday...

I just want to thank everyone for the birthday cards and whatnot that I've received. Right now I'm a bit too busy to do much other than work. It's not that my friends haven't come together and been with me on an enjoyable day, but rather that I'm far too busy to really get much enjoyment between all of the work that's coming due.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:42 PM | TrackBack

November 05, 2004

My Wonderful Brother

If anyone was wondering if there was someone more warped than I am, they haven't met my brothers. Geoff in particular, is quite special. Below the fold is a conversation for those people who enjoy my warped links. It's got some gems in it, but it's largely quite disturbed and definitely not family-friendly or for people like Anna.

Geoff: dude
Vengeful Cynic: yo
Geoff: we all just shaved our pubes and put them in kurts toilet
Vengeful Cynic: DOG!
Vengeful Cynic: that ain't right
Geoff: minor oil slick too
Vengeful Cynic: that ain't right
Geoff: yes it is
Geoff: propose yet?
Vengeful Cynic: not yet, Geoff
Vengeful Cynic: not yet
Vengeful Cynic: I'm going to bed, dog
Vengeful Cynic: I'm tired
Geoff: ring shop yet?
Vengeful Cynic: mebbe
Geoff: let me give you something to think about while you sleep
Geoff: im dating the ropp now
Vengeful Cynic: seriously?
Geoff: yeah
Vengeful Cynic: as in, Christie?
Vengeful Cynic: as in, Christie that drove me to school?
Vengeful Cynic: not that I don't believe you
Geoff: haha
Geoff: yeah
Vengeful Cynic: I just need to hear you say this a couple of times to counteract all of the other things I've heard you say about her
Geoff: hahahaha
Geoff: i know, thats what mom said
Vengeful Cynic: dude, you're growing into a mature guy
Vengeful Cynic: at least... kinda
Geoff: haha
Vengeful Cynic: I'm almost proud
Geoff: remember how this convo started
Geoff: with the pubes thing
Vengeful Cynic: like I said "almost"
Geoff: hahaha
Vengeful Cynic: night dog
Geoff: peace

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:43 AM | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

Election Day

Sadly, Hosting Matters (may they rot in hell) was down today like a hobo on a ham sandwich. Thus, instead of being able to exhort people to vote and make notations on those people too lazy to vote while people like myself had to vote absentee, I merely get to comment that even though I might not like the end results, I love Election Day and everything that comes with it.

Yes, I am a political junky, and proud of it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:38 PM | TrackBack

October 27, 2004

3-Day Week

Day 1 of my wonderful 3-day week is down. I might have a lot of homework and other stuff to grind through, but at least it's only 3 days worth.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:02 PM | TrackBack

October 22, 2004

Fall Break!

I'm sooooo tired... I need this break like you wouldn't believe.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:02 PM | TrackBack

October 19, 2004

I'm Not a Baby-Sitter

So here I sit, in the computer lab, listening to this brat scream her little head off. I really should ask the lady to leave, but I don't see how that could do anything good for me and with my luck, I will get screamed at by her and then have a complaint filed with my boss. So instead, I blog about how much I hate children and post mean things about them:


"Never raise your hand to your children -- it leaves your midsection unprotected."
-- Robert Orben

An S*P comic just for children.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:45 PM | TrackBack

October 12, 2004

I Hate Spam

Just when I thought that the comment spam wasn't going to get any worse, I start getting offers like these:

Now granted, I am not a purveyor of links of this variety, but that is not to say that I am totally opposed to the entreprenurial efforts of such web content providers. In short, that sort of thing will sell regardless, and in such a case I cannot cast aspersions on the fact that someone will sell it because someone will buy it. However, I will not be party to such ad sales unwillingly, much less on a pro bono basis. It just isn't right, on too many levels to count.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:42 PM | TrackBack

October 06, 2004

The Eternal Treadmill

Where has the Cynic gone?

Well... first off, I've had a lot of work to do lately and it really doesn't show many signs of slowing up. When I get past the 15 hours or so of work I do each week, I have 18 hours of classes. When I get past the 18 hours of classes and the associated 30 horus of homework, I get to my time with my friends. When I have spent time with my friends, I try (with a disturbing lack of success, lately) to spend some time with Anna. And when that is done, I try to sleep.

If I had any time left over, I would blog. Sadly, between an exegesis, two programming projects, grading, a take-home test, psych journals, bible journals and two tests, I really haven't had much time to blog. Oh yeah... did I mention I was sick all weekend?

Not that I want pity... I just want to remind those readers who seem to have more time to post of what life is like for the rest of us.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:21 PM | TrackBack

October 01, 2004

Sick... Bleh

So I have a fever and life sucks and I'm feeling like crap. But at least it's friday.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:38 PM | TrackBack

September 27, 2004

Got Work?

It wouldn't be a wondrous slacker week if I still wasn't managing to put off work and effort for as long as possible and goofing off in the mean time. In short, go to The Butcher Shop on Mondays and avoid homework. But if you do go, be sure to keep an eye out for the LU-ers like Dr. Batts.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:33 PM | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

Three Long Weeks

As any good friend of the Cynic knows, I am a slacker. That's actually a fairly large part of who I am... especially when it comes to being a student. This is not to say that I don't get my work done and I don't know how to work hard... but I do have a finely-honed appreciation for relaxation.

This aforementioned slacking has given me a natural inclination to... miss class from time to time. This usually isn't a huge problem, and though it has gotten out of hand in one or two classes, this proclivity to forego class attendance has become molded into part of my general scholarly approach and I would contend that it has enabled me to cope with larger amounts of stress than the average student due to the relief that such skipping gives.

That said, every semester I set out to wait a little bit longer than the one before to skip class. Last semester I made it two whole weeks and I was determined to make it three. Making matters worse was the fact that I committed the sin of informing Anna of my inclination to do this... which quickly turned into a promise to Anna. Today was the last day of the three weeks.

I'm not sure yet how to properly celebrate... Anna keeps trying to make me promise to behave and only skip once every two weeks (blech.) I, on the other hand, might have just skipped every class tomorrow if I didn't have a test in one, little reason to skip the next and a group that is counting on me for the afternoon class.

How sad... maybe I'll skip my afternoon class anyways and try again on Wednesday.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:41 PM | TrackBack

September 19, 2004

M.O.C.K. Assault Upon The SC

Anna and I had occasion to wander back to her apartment yesterday evening to discover that Ardith's mom had sent Ardith a care package. Oddly enough, she also saw fit to send some apples and various and assorted other items to the members of the Shadow Council.

Thus, Ardith gleefully informed me that she would be taking the box over to the Ice Cave and dispensing her mother's generosity to its intended recipients and so we wandered over, myself carrying the box, Ardith carrying the enclosed letter, and Anna carrying a breath of air or something (notice how I'm the only one around here who does any work.)

So it was that the three of us wandered into the Ice Cave and rounded up the denizens so that Ardith might read to us of the great trials and tribulations endured by her mother (and dutifully recounted to inspire thanksgiving in the hearts of the Shadow Council) in order that she might retrieve the aforementioned fresh-picked apples to send to us. After reading of the hardships suffered by the maman d'Ardith, Ardith dutifully dispensed the various and sundry items which had been sent on our behalf. Oh, in case you were wondering, I was sent a box of Band-Aid's and some antibiotic cream so that I wouldn't have to go around with a sock on my finger any more. I will allow the rest of the grateful recipients to express their gratitude as well as explain their gifts in their own times and on their own respective blogs. I will just say that we are very thankful to the Hoyts and M.O.C.K. This would almost make up for an early-morning wake-up attempt or two on Ardith.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:32 AM | TrackBack

September 16, 2004

If Only You Were in My Class

Today in Introduction to Psychology we discussed male performance anxiety at the urinal. Not to mention the unspoken social rules of urinal usage and the great fear of The Trough. You know you wish you were there. Hell, some of you just wish you knew what I was talking about.

On the other hand, most of you really don't want to be in either my Networks class or my Software Engineering class. Networks is a good deal... if it weren't at 8 in the frigging morning. Software Engineering is one of those classes that's a great deal as long as you can get the professor to stop talking about his 3000 PowerPoint lecture slides that he wants to fit into one class period. Admittedly, it's hard to do... but Dr. King has so many applicable anecdotes to hear and so little of the slideshow is worth beans. I guess you'd just bring a book to read, like I do.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:49 PM | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

00:04:00.00

You just wish that you got out of any of your Tuesday/Thursday classes (or hell, any of your classes for that matter) in that kind of time. Even better, I managed to make a group presentation along with 5 other presentations in that space.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:56 PM | TrackBack

September 08, 2004

Pray for Dr. King

Yesterday I went to Software Engineering expecting my normal slacking oppurtunity and anticipating a nice nap to go along with it. Then I watched Dr. King wander into the room, looking like he had just aged 10 years since last Thursday. He proceded to tell us that his late wife's mother, who had cared for his children when his wife passed away, had died of smoke inhalation when her house burned down on Monday. So he is flying to Australia today to go to her funeral and see his children. Be praying for them, Dr. King especially.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:37 PM | TrackBack

September 07, 2004

The Long Break

For reasons like class, personal life, friends and work I have been lacking the time required to do a proper post in the past week or so. I am sorry and will attempt to make up for it by backtracking and doing a series of little posts as to what in general I've been up to. Suffice to say that it's been a lot of hanging out with friends and going to class and not a lot of blogging.

In the interim I've resumed my job as an IT lackey and taken up grading Computer Science 1 for Dr. Varnell. The combination has proven infinitely interesting in allowing me to sit in the computer labs, get payed to grade CS1, and be payed to watch the computers. A verfy nice deal.

This has kind of been a week that has held all of the omens of the calm before the storm. Every class I go to seems to be forewarning of the mountain of work about to frall on my head. So, in typical fashion I have been spending every available moment with Anna, the SC and all of my professor friends. After all, if I'm doomed to spend the whole semester doing lots of work, I'll be damned if I'm going to pass up the chance to bum around with my friends while I can. After all, this is the last year of college. Better make it count.

With this post, I suppose I'm writing hte epitaph to a wonderful summer and the 3 great weeks with all of my friends back at LeTourneau and me with nothing to do. Now I suppose I shall get about the ugly business of being a decent student and attempting to enjoy my great friends at the same time. Come see me so that you can enjoy the great slackerness in between the attempts at work.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:40 PM | TrackBack

September 02, 2004

Christianity vs. Psychology

Our assignment for Introduction to Psychology today was to write a paper outlining the position of a website that said that Christian Psychology works and a website that said Psychology was un-Christian. After that, we were to write a one-page position paper with our thoughts on the subject. Being a rather reasonable fellow not holding with such nonsense as "Psychology takes people away from the Bible and into pseudo-science" I decided that Psychology and Christianity had no call to be at war, and wrote as much in my position.

The paper was required of us in class today, but before then we were to write a number on a scale from 1 to 10 on the back of our paper, illustrating how much we felt the two topics coincided (1 being none, 10 being total overlap.) Now typically, I would have rolled with about a 9. However, I have always been somewhat argumentative and felt a good discussion brewing, so I went with the superlative 10. Dr. Hetzel then separated the class into 10's and the rest, placing us each on one side of the aisle and challenging us to convert one another.

Let it be known that LU students largely can't argue their way out of a wet paper bag. There were about 6 of us who could intelligently dissemble our positions, and oddly my typical ability to argue seemed to be flagging as I stammered and stumbled over words. Fortunately, my compatriots assisted brilliantly, and we converted a decent number from the class over to the side where the 10's were.

All in all, the class was an interesting introduction to "how the other half lives" so to speak. I haven't really in all of my life come across a Christian who actually believes that Psychology is evil and not of God. Sure, I've encountered quite a few with serious misgivings about Freud and psychoanalysis, but I think this may be my first chance to meet those who honestly don't trust Psychology. Should be fun... I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:02 PM | TrackBack

August 31, 2004

Finding Some Class

This morning my alarm clock dragged me out of my blissful dreaming at 7:30. Yeah... that sucked.

Networks started the day at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. I think this is the first 8 a.m. class I've ever taken... but I could be wrong. I honestly don't remember. Not that I remember much of anything about class this morning, but still.

9:30 brought on Introduction to Psychology. Actually, it brought on me making it to class slightly late, only to be slighty confused. Dr. Matlock-Hetzel was up front, and here I was sure that Dr. Rod Hetzel was supposed to have been teaching. At about this point, my name was called for roll... and thus I was unable to pursue my train of confused thought. A minute later, I got the vague impression that Dr. Hetzel was unable to be there, but this was in fact his class. This was followed by a syllabus, a homework assignment and being dismissed from class. Before I got a chance to become properly confused, class was over.

The end of class oppurtuned a meeting with an old acquaintance who is now a freshman. I accompanied him and his friend to the bookstore where I purchased my costly tomes and mocked him as he payed too much for his. This was followed by a visit to Quad 3, dropping my books off in my room, and heading to Saga. Saga sucked... but the company didn't, I don't care to elaborate.

Software Engineering followed lunch and was immensely special. I say that because we saw a presentation from the Pheonix Project to entice programmers to their team, witnessed the confused explanations of the class by Dr. King, and listened to him ramble about stuff that I picked up in Software Systems. All in all, that's an hour and a half that I'll never have back... and I'm almost as bitter about that as about the $200 worth of books King wants me to buy for his class.

That was the end of classes... a wonderful checkout time of 1:20. Beat that punks. Tomorrow should be fun, but I really do enjoy the overall ending time of before 1:30 PM. Almost makes up for that 8 am class.

Almost.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:50 PM | TrackBack

August 30, 2004

Summer's End

Well... this is it. In less than an hour, summer is officially at an end. I am sad to see it go... sadder than I have been in quite some time. It is wonderful to know that for the first time in many years, I have had one of those summers that I really would gladly do over again.

Granted, other summers have had their moments: last summer comes to mind with a month of glorious bliss. But on the other hand, those summers also have memories of long weeks of boredom, loneliness and frustration. Thankfully, this has been pleasantly devoid of those aspects. I will miss it and remember it well... but now it is time to get back to work.

To that end, I pleasantly lay down to sleep in the awareness that the alarm will signal re-entry to the realm of 8 am classes entirely too soon.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:21 PM | TrackBack

Letter to the Editor

When I read the write-up (click the link and search for LeTourneau) on LeTourneau in the Texas Monthly, I just knew that I had to respond. Below is my response to their article:

As a LeTourneau student, I think I can satisfactorily say that you guys hit the nail on the head as it comes to LeTourneau. In fact, I only really had two points of concern with your otherwise well-informed and insightful guide.

1) The numbers you cited about LU (such as minority attendance and guy/girl ratio) include information about satellite campuses. Which is fine if you want to discuss the adult evening classes in Dallas and Tyler, but the main 4-year campus environment is actually closer to 70:30 guy/girl and has grand total about 15% minority enrollment. For future reference, you might want to consider checking the numbers given to you by the admissions office and talking them over with a student or two. Students tend to know the tricks that admissions plays and will be more than willing to correct you on them.

2) You might want to consider avoiding admissions-employed students when you visit a campus. Your class recommendations and traditions list indicates the views of a very narrow spectrum of students, and I can guarantee you that the vast majority of students hate Jimmy Ames' classes with a passion. The man couldn't teach a fish to swim if his life depended on it.

Thanks for the very clever and insightful article.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:50 PM | TrackBack

August 26, 2004

People are Back!!!

Pretty much all I have to say is that I am very happy about this. Anna got in on schedule by plane this morning and there was much rejoicing. Wheeler was nowhere near as punctual and arrived after his stated arrival time, and a day late to boot. But we forgive him... or we will after we've properly beaten him. Our exploits for the day were numerous and entertaining, but I am far too tired to outline them. Maybe tomorrow...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:17 PM | TrackBack

August 19, 2004

Returning to Normal

I hopped out of bed around 10 am this morning, grabbed a shower and gave Scott a lift to the airport so he can skip town until next Sunday. Then I returned to the apartment to clean it, pending the arrival of Wilson and his dad.

Much of this cleaning was due to the potential appearance of his mother on-campus if Wilson had been too sick to drive... but I must say that the apartment was much cleaner and looked pretty nice. Unfortunately, in the middle of the cleaning process, I managed to slice a decent little bit of my finger with a dull knive. The cut was about 1/8 of an inch long and went down to the bone on my left pointer finger. So, like a good Boy Scout, I hunted down a sock and used it to apply pressure and soak up blood... only good use for a sock I've had in quite some time.

Ardith was good enough to help me tie the sock in place some hours later, and Wilson kindly put his medical kit at my disposal when he arrived. Currently, the cut is healing nicely, but it makes moving things around the apartment very difficult. Sadly, my clever ploy to get Anna to come back early to tend to her wounded boyfriend didn't work.

Fortunately, we managed to move all of Wilson's stuff in between the intermittent torrential downpours and in spite of my messed up finger. Currently all of my well-done cleaning is being rendered for naught as we rearrange the apartment from summer mode to scholastic grinder mode. At least the beds should be ready for occupancy...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:05 PM | TrackBack

It Wears Me Out

In case anyone ever wondered why people like me occasionally lash out at inane profs or end up really tired after dealing with some classes... I think this sums things up rather nicely.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:46 PM | TrackBack

August 18, 2004

More Sanity for Me

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am at my best when I have people around. I am an extrovert, and having lots of people around energizes me. Thus, with everyone popping in and being back and whatnot, my brain is starting to go to normal.

Sadly, Anna isn't here to regulate it, so you'll be seeing what the Cynic does without a wench for the next week.

*Cackles evilly and uses Dark Sith rituals to force-lightning several small cats into fertilizer*

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:39 PM | TrackBack

August 17, 2004

Unexpected Arrivals

This morning I got up and was faced with the unpleasant and daunting task of taking Anna to the airport and seeing her off for a week and a half with a straight face. I think I executed my task admirably... I kept my straight face all the way out to the car. In related notes, if you're flying in our out of Gregg County in the near future, there is massive road construction going on between LU and the Gregg County Airport.

Anyways, so I came back to the apartment and decided that the best way to distract myself was by reading and playing computer games. So I did both... at the same time. Reminded me of my good old days of Sophomore Spring Break where I did that all week. Not that I particularly miss it with any sort of regularity... but it is fun to be irresponsible and self-amusing every now and again.

So there I was, being irresponsible and I heard a knock at the door. Honest to God, my first thought was, "Oh crap, they've come to ask why I'm not at work!" Then I remembered that I'd told Chris I wasn't coming back and even so, nobody at Phys. Plant cares nearly that much... so now I was just confused.

Attempting to cover my confusion with knowledge, I sat up and looked out the peep-hole. That just made things worse.

I opened the door to find Aaron Scott, standing on my doorstep, sporting a devilish beard and looking like he'd been lost in the forest for a month. Summoning him in, I discovered that others had been informed of his pending arrival, but nobody had bothered to inform me. Odd, since he was staying with me... but not so out of character for Scott anyways to neglect a detail like that.

So we bummed around, and I was far less bored... which was good. And then he regaled me of tales of being a pewter-monkey and of his summer gone by. After bumming around for a while and chatting it up with the masses, we decided that we were hungry. So with a few hijinks, we went to crazy $0.99 a slice pizza place on the north side of town. And the pizza was fairly good... not as good as Joe's, but worth the price at least.

After such wanderings, we returned to my apartment, where I taught Scott the basics of Alpha Centauri and set him loose while I read a book. There I sat, enjoying my reading and watching Scott play, and life was good. This went on for several hours, pausing for me to wander out to check my mail and whatnot at some point in there... and we were generally amused bums.

Then around 11.30, there came a knock at my apartment door. I had some vague fears of the LU Gestapo searching for Scott, but I laid those aside to go have a look out the peephole... laying a hand on my knife for reassurance. And I was confused yet again...

Opening the door, I found a Moore... doing his typical prancing about and whatnot.

Me: "What the crap, Moore? I thought you'd be here tomorrow or Thursday."

Moore: "Oh... I thought you'd figure that out since I said I was in Chicago and all on my blog. I guess I should have been a little clearer on that."

Me: "That seems to be the name of the game today. I have a Scott also."

Around this time Scott came peeking out, hearing his name called. And there was general revelry and amusement that another SC member had returned home.

Moore regaled us with tales of his rusty pickup and its devouring of 9 quarts of automatic transmission fluid between Chicago and Longview. And we mocked him, and then helped him unload his stuff. I got stuck with the stupidly unwieldy and heavy 21" monitor for the second year in a row.

After all was said and done, I offered each a spot on one of the many couches in 12A. We chatted, we cursed Moore, we sympathized with his many expenses in the trek south, I blogged this, and we went to bed. If two more unexpected friends want to show up tomorrow, be my guest.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

August 12, 2004

Who Needs Sleep?

So I decided that I wasn't going to be responsible today. After all, earlier tonight, I was wide awake and full of wonder, prompting a night of gaming and reading. So here I sit, very much tired after enjoying all of that gaming and reading and realizing that I really ought to be up in a couple of hours. Ah well... fun times as long as I don't do it too much.

Who Needs Sleep?
-Barenaked Ladies

Now I lay me down not to sleep
I just get tangled in the sheets
I swim in sweat three inches deep
I just lay back and claim defeat

Chapter read and lesson learned
I turned the lights off while she burned
So while she's three hundred degrees
I throw the sheets off and I freeze

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

My hands are locked up tight in fists
My mind is racing, filled with lists
of things to do and things I've done
Another sleepless night's begun

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

There's so much joy in life,
so many pleasures all around
But the pleasure of insomnia
is one I've never found
With all life has to offer,
there's so much to be enjoyed
But the pleasures of insomnia
are ones I can't avoid

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around

Hala Hala Hala

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

[Repeat]

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:39 AM | TrackBack

August 11, 2004

Got Roomie?

Sadly, Guatemala has abandoned me to go home to his family out in West Texas for a couple of weeks. At least I get another weekend with Anna before she follows suit.

If you are coming in to LU sometime soon, a prospective date of arrival would be nice to get my spirits up.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

August 10, 2004

Night of Pain

So when I got home last Tuesday, my mom mentioned that her laptop had been acting up. Giving it several cursory glances, I promised to do whatever needed dealing with to make it stop acting slower than a dead sloth. Earlier today, I sat down at it to run diagnostics. No virii, no spyware, no malware, no suspicious programs, nothing. Any number of cleanup tactics didn't work, all of the while making it clearer and clearer that this computer needed reformatting.

Sadly, because I didn't come to Ohio thinking that I would be doing much computer maintenance, I left most of my software and tools in Texas. Thus I commenced with downloading images of the cds that I would need and wandered off to do other things. Mid-afternoon I came back to check on the images and commenced backing up all of Mom's stuff. Around 11 or so, I was finally ready... or so I thought.

"Oh... oops. Jonny doesn't have burning software on his computer. Guess I ought to download that so that I can use it to burn those images for Mom's computer." And thus I commenced getting those and chatted with Anna, praying that this wouldn't keep me up too late. Shortly after midnight (eastern) Anna went to bed and I decided that it was time to get to work.

"Great, now I've got cd-burning installed on the relatively-new desktop machine. Let's burn some cd's. Wait... no burner?" It was true, the only two machines (out of 5) in the house with burners attached to them were my brother's laptop (which was locked-down in his bedroom with him asleep) and the old family computer (which is powered-down and disconnected at the moment.) Silly me, I figured Jonny would salvage the burner to place in the new machine... turns out he's too lazy. So now I have to go drag the machine up from the basement and connect it to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, network or go wake up Geoff and thieve his laptop. I cursed and went to get a coke.

20 minutes later, I'm still cursing and realizing that I don't think well when I'm stressed-out and tired. But wait... the external DVD burner might still be in the Living Room with all of the stuff from Dad's picture digitizing project. And sure enough... it was. It even had the cd's for the software and drivers it needed. So there I went, uninstalling the burning software from the new machine to install the new burning software and configure the dvd burner. And after 5 restarts, I burned off my cd's and now I was finally ready to go... and it was 1 am.

I started the computer reformatting, and began to suspect the problem with Mom's computer all along was the hard drive. Reformatting in NTFS kept me there until about 3 am. At this point, I started installing and updating, while trying to stay awake and read my books. It's now about 4, and I have decided that I will do something stupid if I didn't get to sleep... assuming I haven't already. My ride to the airport leaves at 10.45 and there's still a lot of stuff not done like packing and finishing transferring files back.

Stay tuned...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:54 AM | TrackBack

August 08, 2004

Sermons

Today, for the first time in entirely too many months, I heard an intellectually-satisfying sermon. It was a lot like getting something back that I'd forgotten I'd lost. Maybe because I've had to go without that for so long, I've stifled the need and tried forget about it, but today I was reacquainted with my long-lost friend.

I guess that brings me to my conundrum about Longview. I know I haven't visited all of the churches there, and right now I'm convinced that I'm where God wants me... but that doesn't mean that I particularly appreciate the fact that I don't get intellectual fulfillment from church except when Dr. Watson preaches.

I could search for another church... but I really hate church-shopping and in the end, I'm about out of leads anyways. Honestly, I don't know what to do at this junction. I guess I'll just ride it out to graduation and see what comes then.

All that to say is that I had forgotten how great it was to come home to intelligent sermons that stimulate the brain cells and encourage faith that is neither blind nor unreasoning. We need a church like that in Longview, Texas... badly!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:48 PM | TrackBack

August 05, 2004

Clothes Shopping

Today was the day of shopping. You see, I need some new shorts and new sandals. Rather, I needed them... because in the space of 40 minutes I managed to purchase 4 new pairs of shorts and 2 new pairs of sandals from 3 different stores. That's why men are much better shoppers than women. Oh yeah... and my mom was along to pay for said clothes and to find the best prices.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:57 PM | TrackBack

August 02, 2004

'Nati Bound

Just to warn you all, I will be heading out at a bright and early hour tomorrow so as to visit my home in Cincinnati, Ohio. If anyone wants souveneirs, Skyline Chili, or Reds parafanelia, comment here. I will keep you posted as best as I can.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:21 PM | TrackBack

July 31, 2004

A Painful Experience

So I got up around noon today, and logged on to IM. Lo and behold, the Wench had beaten be out of bed (a rare thing for her on a Saturday) and was making rumblings about going clothing shopping.

I said to myself, "Self, I hope she enjoys her forray into the hellacious realm of clothing retailers."

Then she informed me that she only needed one pair of jeans and wanted to know if I would come along. Fully aware that this might be a tad unconfortable on my part, I agreed on the terms that she would accompany me out to lunch.

What followed would be kindly termed an educational experience as I spent a half an hour wandering J.C. Penny's as Anna searched for a pair of jeans. As an aside, I would note at this juncture that guys' jeans are miraculously simple to search for with two numbers representing the waist and length measurements and holding to that universal standard. For the guys out there who are as ignorant as I was, womens' jeans are a size (0-20something) with a short, medium, long and extra tall measurement (there might be even more.) I'm just happy that retailers understand that guys hate shopping for things in on vague terms and use a universal metric.

Oh... and Anna also succumbed to the womanly vice and found 2x as many purchases outside of the scope of the original shopping venture, which is to say that we came in search of jeans and left with some sort of terrycloth robe thingee and a velcro thingee... or something like that.

All that to say is that I'm glad that I'm a guy and am proud to claim all of the shopping privileges and exemptions included in the package. Oh, and I'm advocating that someone put an arcade or something in those stores for guys who have to wait for their wenches.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:59 PM | TrackBack

July 29, 2004

Rudely Awakened...

There was just a whisper of light breathing through the dark windows, so it must have been about 6 a.m. I was absently smiling and congratulating myself that the temperature had just reached the point that my blanket would be comfortable. Thus, I grasped in idle happiness at my comforter and made some half-hearted gestures to tug it from where it was wedged on the bedside and thus benefit from the joy of a bit of added warmth. Bear with me, the details are fuzzy and rather abstract up until this point.

All of a sudden I heard a small grunt and felt the entire bed shake, followed almost immediately by a thud and a crash on the floor. Leaning over the edge of my bunk, I saw Jared dangling from his bed below, feet still tangled in sheets and looking a tad dazed on the floor.

"Hey Jared, are you okay?" I asked, attempting compassion.

"Uh... yeah..." Jared replied, stumbling to his feet and turning on the desk lamp.

That bit of courtesy aside, I began cracking up laughing. It was early, and Jared had just fallen from bed. Considering the hour, it's a miracle I didn't fall out fo bed myself.

"Ah! It was that damned blanket of yours! I thought it was a rodent crawling on my back!" Jared accused.

I laughed harder as Jared sullenly killed the light and crawled back into bed. That was worth being drawn awake for.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:26 PM | TrackBack

July 27, 2004

Still Alive...

Yes, I know I've kind of been off the radar screen for the past couple of days. I've been rather busy watching movies and reading. I'll attempt to make a couple more substantive posts tomorrow at break.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:33 PM | TrackBack

July 22, 2004

Today ResLife Doesn't Suck

THIS IS THE REAL IMPORTANT PART OF THIS MESSAGE: Due to approximately 50 interrelated factors, the decision has been made NOT TO MOVE YOU OUT OF THE APARTMENTS ON AUGUST 1. In other words, everything is exactly as it was before this soap opera began (as far as Summer Housing goes).

Have I mentioned lately that Steve is the best RD in the whole world? Because I should have...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:58 PM | TrackBack

July 21, 2004

Movie Update

Because I haven't been a very good poster lately, here's a new updated version of my movie listings. As you can see, I've been a bit busy to watch movies as well.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:01 PM | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

Lying Bastards

Dear summer residents,

We have some details concerning the transition out of summer housing into fall housing. Due to our need to complete a thorough cleaning of the Honors apartments, we will need to make that space available to Facilities Services to prepare the apartments for the fall semester.

If you are living in Honors housing or Carpenter house for the fall semester, you will need to move to the Trinity halls on August 1st and then will transition back into your fall housing assignment on August 18th. We will be providing your housing assignment for that two week period in the Trinity halls. Women will be housed in ELH and men will be housed in Mabee hall.

If you are living in any housing assignment other then the apartments or Carpenter, you will make the move to your fall housing assignment on August 1st to accommodate shampooing and waxing the Honors Apts.

Yeah... so what they're saying is that they hate us. What makes it worse is that we were told by ResLife that we would be delaying the move down to the apartments in order that they could be cleaned sufficiently for us to move in permanently for the year. Sadly, this is apparently not the case and assurances by Residence Life that we would be undisturbed by multiple moves this summer have turned out to be lies.

It all boils down to this: is LeTourneau willing to treat its students with some respect and courtesy regarding this and forego the extensive carpet/floor cleaning this year, or are they going to be lying bastards and inconvenience us all? It must be nice to be Brad Bowser and be able to demand this without any sort of personal rammifications.

We understand that this is new information and we apologize for the inconvenience of an extra move this summer. We would like to offer you a time to talk with Stephen and myself on Thursday evening at 10pm at the village center about any questions you may have about this move. If you have questions before this meeting time, please feel free to email Stephen or myself with those and we will try to get back with you as soon as possible. Please understand that this is not our first choice by any stretch of the imagination but it has become the only option that we can find to make sure that the apartments are ready for the fall semester.

So yeah... Thursday they can expect to hear back from us. At this point I would like suggestions from the masses as far as reaching my goals go. The goals are something like this:

1) Avoid moving
2) Failing #1, get financial compensation or rent cancellation
3) Failing #1, garner assistance from ResLife in the moving process

I guess I'm just so depressed that I know most of LU admin doesn't care enough to do anything about this other than screw us over and that they'll never even consider going out of their way to help us out. That's just how LU is.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:04 PM | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

In California

So I flew into LAX last night and spent some time wandering and waiting around the airport due to some bad information related to Stu's arrival gate. After we got Stu, we went to In-and-Out Burger and then got Yuill's flight. Subsequent to Yuill's arrival, we proceeded to Dollar Rent-a-Car where we stood in the infinitely long line of doom. After we finished the waiting and the renting, we drve back to Toad's pad in Camarillo. Following was fairly amusing conversation between the lot of us that lasted until bedtime at about 2 am local time.

This morning, there was much getting up late followed by breakfast, more bumming around, the arrival of Ziggy and Toad's friend Daniel, and eventually lunch. Lunch was at little pizza place called Topper's and was followed by much bumming around, until we finally were picked up to get our tuxes sized a bit late. Of course, as any good procrastinator knows, lateness compounds and it was thus that we arrived at the rehearsal very late.

Fortunately, even though we were late, the rehearsal was scheduled to be very long and we thusly ended up on time to the rehearsal dinner and actually ended up with time to spare. Rehearsal dinner was wonderful Chinese food and we then proceeded to Toad's pad... where we currently watch a movie and enjoy ourselves.

At this point I would like to note that while I typically enjoy bumming around, today's bumming was atypical and frustrating. Typically, bumming is done of my own choosing and I thusly am pleased by my option. Today, my bumming was of someone else's choosing and due to complications with wedding planning and the like. And while I mostly enjoyed it, I was reminded that I am an anal-retentive control freak. In the future, I will be sure to bum because I want to rather than because of circumstances beyond my control...

Now the wedding is tomorrow and I need sleep and stuff... I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:57 AM | TrackBack

July 15, 2004

As I Pack Again...

After having a charming lunch with Ardith, Anna, Wheeler and Heather, it is time that I pack for yet another trip. This time I'm going out to California to be a groomsman in Toad's wedding. Should be fun times and I will get to see some good friends of mine whom I've been missing. I will attempt to keep everyone posted while I'm gone, but failing that I'll update when I return on Monday.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:49 PM | TrackBack

July 14, 2004

Loathing Work

If you give me a whole summer, I will find a way to develop a dislike for the job I work for that summer. If given a job that is easy to dislike and/or that I have already worked before, that dislike will blossom and grow into full-fledged hatred. We are about reaching that hatred point at paint crew. Happily, I am going on a long weekend to attempt to forget this hatred by next week.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:32 PM | TrackBack

July 11, 2004

On Food

I would just like to take a moment to thank the lovely ladies who have been cooking for Jared and me over this summer. It has been a delicious and very healthy summer and we will be sad to go back to Saga in the fall.

This evening's delight of blueberry pancakes as cooked by Ardith with fresh blueberries picked by Anna and me last night was a particular treat. It's been a while since I've had any that good and I think the same could be true for most of the meals that we've had this summer. I can't think of a better way to eat away from mom then with the cooking of these lovely ladies and I would like to thank them for making this summer such a memorable experience.

Oh... and for the official record to all detractors, Ardith can indeed cook and she does so very well (and she crochets a mean tea-doily as well... quite the domestic female figure she's going to make.)

I guess that inspires me to say one more thing for Ardith's benefit:
"Go on, make like a housewife!" -Raymond Shaw in The Manchurian Candidate

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:29 PM | TrackBack

July 08, 2004

The Camel

As is our custom once a week, the crew went out to dinner tonight. Unlike usual, we went out on Thursday instead of Wednesday due to some culinary oversights on Anna's part last night... but it was all good as we departed for Joe's tonight... even if we did get off a touch late due to some miscommunication.

As we travelled, it was remarked that Ardith is becoming quite popular. She disbelieves this notion... so I'd like you to help her find out by IM-ing her and telling her if you have her IM and emailing her if you don't. But I digress...

Upon arriving at Joe's, we recalled that the place gets a bit crowded around 6, but given a short wait we were seated. Without having to be informed, the waittress knew that I would require a Coke (now that's service.) Apparently I have a bit of notoriety, because on my first refill, I was given a full pitcher of Coke to accompany my now-brimming glass. Short of a couple sips from Anna, I finished the entirety of said pitcher along with my two glasses. Yeah... now I'm buzzing sugar like crazy and have had to pee several times this evening. Oh yeah, the pizza rocked as well (Jared and I saved half of it due to Saga not being open this week and us not having much time with which to make and consume lunch.)

Long story short... um... come to Joe's with us. We have fun, the staff knows us, and I get lots of Coke!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:32 PM | TrackBack

July 04, 2004

Back in Town

So yeah...

I am tired and going to sleep now. But when I get up, I will tell you all more of my life and adventures in CO over the last week.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:06 AM | TrackBack

July 03, 2004

Long Way Home (Day 2)

After a terribly long day yesterday, we got up bright and early this morning in an attempt to figure out what to do in order that we might make it home today. To that end, we held a discussion at breakfast with the four extremely interested parties as well as Amanda's grandparents. In the end we came up with three possible solutions:
1) Get the Blazer's transmission fixed
2) Leave the Blazer unfixed for now
3) Sell the Blazer and buy a Suburban

Essentially, our situation was such that we probably couldn't get back to Grapeland (if you made a triangle of Houston, Dallas, and Longview, Grapeland would be essentially at the middle.) To that end, Amanda's grandparents graciously offered to allow us to borrow their van to drive home if we exercised either option 1 or 2. Theoretically we could have driven the Blazer the 8-9 hours back to Grapeland, but the odds were good that we wouldn't have made it. Finally, Eric and Amanda had been talking about selling their Blazer and buying a Suburban for quite some time and this seemed the ideal time to do it if possible.

With all of this in mind, it was decided to set out to the car dealership and see what could be done with the Blazer. This decision was magnified when a nice 4WD Suburban was located costing $7800... quite a good deal and exactly the variety Eric and Amanda wanted. After a test drive there was copious negotiating and haggling and whatnot. At one point Eric and I were left to sit and talk with the car salesman whilst the rest of the crew went to check some other dealerships. Shortly after all of this, a very good deal came down the pipes and Amanda's grandparents offered to help out with the down payment and so it came to be that at 12.30 we had left the Blazer at Plains Chevrolet and drove away in a bright red Suburban.

After all of this hoopla, we headed back to Amanda's grandparents' house to have lunch before heading out. It is here that I must take another aside and tell you a bit about Amanda's grandmother. You know those people who simply cannot resist sales and must buy anything that is selling for a good deal? Well, Amanda's grandmother is like that with grocery stores: if food is on sale for cheap, she will go to said store and buy said food... regardless of need. Bearing this in mind, Amanda's grandmother was quite pleased to see us upgraded from a Blazer to a Suburban and crammed the back of the Suburban with 3 or 4 copy-paper boxes of food as well as two full ice chests. By the time we ate and headed out at 1.30, the car was stuffed to the gills and we still had a 8.5-9 hour drive ahead of us.

Fortunately, the roads were generally clear... surprisingly so considering that we were driving on Saturday of the 4th of July Weekend. Making good time, we hit Braum's for dinner in Decatur and had wonderful burgers and glorious ice cream. Following this, we made the fateful trek into Dallas-Fort Worth where we got sidetracked yet again courtesy of confusing road junctions. Happily, we slipped out of the DFW area and made it back to Eric and Amanda's around 10.30. Sadly, this was not the end for us... and after unloading and reloading into Anna's 4-Runner we set off for Longview at 11.

Up until this point the roads had been fairly clear of pulled-over vehicles... but that all changed as we headed out. We saw probably 9 or 10 individuals pulled over, most doing field sobriety tests as we passed. I also called in a Mercury Cougar who was drunkenly driving along ahead of us as we neared Palestine. Hopefully someone got him before he did something really stupid. As we pulled in at 1.15 or so, I happily unloaded the car and greeted my port of origin. It has been a long and enjoyable week, but I'm glad to be staying put for a while.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:59 PM | TrackBack

July 02, 2004

Long Way Home (Day 1)

We started out this morning with every good intention at leaving Lake City at 8 am... at which point we were sitting around the table in Anna's parents' house eating eggs. But we really did get on the road at 8.15 (Mountain Daylight Savings Time) and started the trek out of the mountains.

Several hours later, we passed through the bizarre little town of Chama, we stopped off at a gift shop where we ended up spending 45 minutes browsing around looking at antiques, knick-knacks, t-shirts, indian blankets, and the stuff in the pawn shop next door. Guh... so now we're an hour behind. I would take this time to point out that the trip from Lake City (where we were) to Amarillo (where we stay between Lake City and Longview) is typically about 8 hours. However, Anna's brother and sister-in-law are looking at taking a youth group skiing in Taos, New Mexico and wanted to go through said town to look into lodging, which entails 3-4 extra hours of driving... but I get ahead of myself.

After Chama, we proceeded to drive through the mountains of New Mexico and across some rather barren desert-esque mesas until we arrived in the town of Taos at about 1 PM (MDST.) Back at the pawn shop, one of the workers had recommended Michael's Kitchen and thus we stopped there for lunch. Holy crap... that is the best Mexican food I have had in a very long time and quite possibly the best sopapillas that I have ever had. Our conclusion was to recommend the place to anyone we know... and it was with fully bellies and Moore-esque contentment that we headed out to find the Taos Mountain Lodging Center.

After backtracking a little ways out of Taos and a false start that took us 8 miles out of our way, we actually managed to find the Lodging Center, nestled in Arroyo Seco (a little town just outside of Taos, on the way to the slopes.) Before I describe the Lodging Center, allow me to describe Arroyo Seco. Take a mental picture of a little tourist trap of about 500 people set in Southwest Pueblo style (with the typical baked mud houses and the green, red and yellow paint and roof tiling and the like.) To that, I want you to add several trailers and the accompanying detritus would be found in a poor Appalachian setting. To finish, I want you to visualize a poor urban setting and take the feel of insecurity, the graffiti, and the feeling that nobody cares. When you have all of that in your mind, that's how the town of Arroyo Seco feels like, though not necessarily containing all parts in all areas. The Taos Mountain Lodging Center was the complete blending of all of those parts, complete with rusted-out trailers and Indian tipi's together on the lawn with chickens and peacocks running around, barbed wire fencing, and graffiti.

Eric and Amanda never did find the owner to talk to him, but suffice it to say that the visit was more than enough. The lodge itself reeked of cat piss and looked like it had seen better days. Thus, about 2 hours behind schedule now, we pressed on eastward, at least content that Eric and Amanda had narrowly avoided taking kids to stay in the Taos Mountain Lodging Center.

The drive eastward for the next two hours was typified by a stretch where we were navigating mountain roads with a speed limit of 40 MPH with a truck in front of us towing a trailer with no tail lights and a cop driving behind us. Thus, after getting out of the mountains, we stopped for a change of drivers. As luck would have it, we found a prospective short-cut that turned out to save about 40 miles on driving. As it turned out, that short-cut was a beautiful stretch of empty road with a posted speed limit of 50-65 and a realized speed of 70-75. It was here that we made up a little bit of time, and as we neared the interstate I was appointed to drive into Amarillo as Anna dislikes city driving and Eric had driven most of the day.

As I began driving, I was noting that the time was headed for 8.45 CDST as we crossed the border into Texas. I continued to run at 80 MPH accordingly, so as to get to Amanda's grandparents' house in Amarillo by about 9.30. Sadly, about 40 miles out of Amarillo, a nasty smell emerged and white smoke began pouring out of the back of the truck. Thus, we pulled over and got out of the car as Eric began looking it over. The transmission had declared its undying hatred for us and was noisily expelling transmission fluid, oil, and water from the bottom of the vehicle.

Fortunately, Eric figured that staying out on the side of the road wasn't a good solution. So we babied Eric's Blazer to a gas station, got some transmission fluid and oil, and refilled it. In response, the car's engine temperature came down and it didn't seem to leak any of said fluid out. This began the stressful and slow trek to Amarillo, which gracefully ended without further event. The evening ended with a nice dinner fixed by Amanda's grandmother and declarations of uncertainty of what to do the following morning, culminated by all of us crashing so as to be ready for what the morning would hold.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:22 PM | TrackBack

July 01, 2004

Vacation At An End

This last day of vacation has been quite a ride. It started off with a trip to the Ourey Hot Springs, where we relaxed and luxuriated in 105 degree thermal springs. After that, we went and got some lunch and wandered around the town for a bit. Following this experience, we went into Montrose (about 30 minutes away from Ourey) to send Anna's older sister and Anna's nephew home via airplane.

Along the way, we stopped at Walmart, when Anna's younger brother called to inform us that the water heater in one of the cabins that Anna's parents manage had caught fire. Oh... and it was about now that all of us began to realize that we had gotten sunburn due to our negligence in applying sunscreen at the Hot Springs.

Anyways, so we dropped sister and nephew off and saw them off, went and got a water heater, and returned the 2.5 hours from Montrose to Lake City. After that, we went to get dinner at the Crystal Lodge, where Anna's parents treated me to some of the best steak I've had in my life, along with some nice grape juice and a wonderful slice of Key Lime Pie. The evening was finished off with some bumming around and relaxing ahead of the rather lengthy drive we have in store for ourselves tomorrow.

To that end... look for me on Saturday, I should be off the radar screen until then.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:32 PM | TrackBack

June 27, 2004

Cynic Reporting In

Just so everyone knows, Anna, her brother, her sister-in-law and myself pulled into Lake City at about 4 or so this evening. It has been a relatively uneventful trip thus far, much to my pleasure. That said, I'm really not a huge fan of long driving trips. That's all now... time for bed.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:00 PM | TrackBack

June 26, 2004

Travelling

Just a headsup... Anna and I are going to be leaving today to drive up to Colorado and this process will be taking two days. During that time, I will be incommunicado.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:56 AM | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

Manage Your Spawn

So Jared and I went out to hit the lunch buffet today at Pizza Hut before he skipped town to visit the Wilson. Upon entering, we were informed by the employees that they were expecting two busloads of gremlins any minute now and that we should pick a table away from the hellspawn staging zone and get ourselves some pizza whilst there remained pizza to be had.

Fortunately for us, it took about 20 minutes from when we got there for the little weasels to arrive and another 10 minutes or so after that for them to organize into waves to hit up the buffet table like vultures on a dead cow. Sadly, after the blessed calm before the storm, the storm hit with a vengeance.

Within 5 minutes of them getting there, they had managed to rip a door of its hinges, annoy everyone in the place, spill soda everywhere, eat everything in sight, and be as loud as humanly possible. And considering that they looked to be late elementary and early jr. high age, I was shocked to see that they had two leaders for about 40 of them. Sick.

Thus I leave you with this warning... don't inflict your spawn on others without proper adult supervision, or they might run afoul of those whom they annoy and end up maimed.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:34 PM | TrackBack

June 24, 2004

Worn Out...

You know, at the rate summer work is going, I'm going to be anxious to jump back into classes come August.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:38 PM | TrackBack

June 19, 2004

Should Have Been Better

Well... after a wonderful evening out with Anna in which we went and had a nice dinner and saw The Terminal, I must say I am pretty well ready for sleep. That said, I really can't say that The Terminal is all that bad, and it's actually fairly high up on the list as far as chick-flicks are concerned.

Tom Hanks does a fantastic job as the stranded Viktor Navorski, a traveller from a foreign country where a coup has just taken place and whose status in the international community is now in flux. To put a long story short, Navorski must attempt to survive in an airport (which is pretty much hostile by definition) and becomes romantically interested in Catherine Zeta-Jones' character Amelia - a promiscuous and emotionally confused flight attendant with a horrible taste in men and an irresistable tendancy to hook up with the married variety.

To put it fairly, the acting is superb, the cinematography is solid, and the musical score and sound are brilliant. My problem is with Spielberg and the screenwriters. The antagonist is illogical, poorly-explained and nigh schizophrenic. The story itself is a tad choppy with some rather poorly-explained jumps. In the end The Terminal comes off as a wonderfully sappy movie with a good feel... but you can't help but think that if anyone could have done better and should have done better, it's Spielberg backed by the very strong cast he had at his disposal... and thus the film disappoints in that regard. It should have been better... I think the 78% overall that I rated it pretty much sums my feelings up fairly nicely

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:57 PM | TrackBack

June 18, 2004

Hateful Labors

I really hate work... but the weekend is good. Sleep now!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:51 PM | TrackBack

June 13, 2004

Anti-Monopoly

So yeah... Randy, Wheeler, Anna, Ardith, Lily and myself played Anti-Monopoly tonight. We had to coerce Wheeler, but in the end he played and enjoyed himself.

I'll make a more complete post about this sometime in the morning, but here are some quotes that I recorded during the course of the game:

"It's like being tickled when you have to pee... it just doesn't work!"
-Anna

Cynic: It's a mob run by women!
Lily: It doesn't matter, we have fun... and we bake!

Wheeler: You took my last dollar Lily!
Lily: Good! I'll spend it on whores!

"We're the ones paying for it... of course we know what's going on [in Ardith's Houses of Ill Repute]!"
-Wheeler

Ardith: Yes! I exist to cause you pain and suffering in this life!
Wheeler: That's kind of pathetic really...

"I heap loathing on top of your self-loathing!"
-Wheeler

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:43 AM | TrackBack

June 11, 2004

The Hydrant

Some days you're the dog, and some days you're the hydrant.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:51 PM | TrackBack

June 09, 2004

Summer Work

The problem is simply this, I don't have enough time any more. What makes matters worse is that being on your feet 8 hours a day is fairly tiring. Not to mention, everyone else is fairly zapped and we're all working 40 hours/week. So I get up at 7, go to work at 7.30, get off work at 4, go eat dinner around 5 or 6 and if I'm lucky, we do stuff until 10 or so. Beyond that, it's mostly bumming around. So yeah, I'm glad I work with Wheeler or else the lack of human interaction would kill me. To make a long story short, I'm tired, I'm tired of being tired, and I'm tired of everyone else being too tired to do much of anything. Guh... this isn't what summer is supposed to be about.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:04 PM | TrackBack

June 08, 2004

Paint Crew

I hate work and work hates me... but at least it pays. I remember last summer thinking my job wasn't so bad, but then I remember that I only worked 20 hours/week last summer and I'm full-time now. Hopefully, the manual labor will cease soon.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:34 PM | TrackBack

June 04, 2004

First and Last

So yeah... I go reintroduced to a dirty four-letter word on this the last day of the week. That's right, this was my first day at my new job... and that means w***.

But now it's the weekend and life is good... so no more thoughts about w*** until Monday.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:16 PM | TrackBack

June 03, 2004

YES!!

Normally I wait the standard 3 days before I link a blog, but this is something that we've all been awaiting for quite some time. Martinez has started a blog!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:05 PM | TrackBack

June 02, 2004

Power Outtage

Good times were had by all this evening when power to LeTourneau was taken out by a passing storm. Actually, we were about 20 minutes into watching Chicago and ended up bumming around and doing a lot of nothing. Good times were had by all, however.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:43 PM | TrackBack

June 01, 2004

Page Upgrades

So yeah... I'm working on a new template. The biggest problem is trying to set up a series of database queries and the like so that I can have a "Current Movie Ratings" display, a book display and all of that. It's fun work though. Getting to do a lot of SQL and whatnot and trying to integrate it with PERL. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:58 PM | TrackBack

May 28, 2004

Where Did He Go?

So many of you might have been wondering where exactly I went off to. Or probably not... but since we're sustaining the illusion that you actually wondered and since this really is my blog and we're perpetuating the illusion that you are all truly interested in what's going on in my life, I'll tell you anyways.

First, my film class ended on Tuesday evening. The problem was that Wheeler and I had been putting off some of the work until the end of the class. The bigger problem was that the work we'd been putting off turned out to be the most mind-numbing and time-consuming portion of it. So yeah... that sucked.

Beyond that, as you might have noticed from my growing film list, I've kind of been doing the whole movie-watching thing.

What's been taking up my day hours, you ask? Well... I kind of rediscovered a Windows port of an old classic. So... there you have it. Between that and doing a good chunk of reading, I really haven't had many free hours.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:49 PM | TrackBack

May 26, 2004

Summer Coursework

So... apparently I got an 'A' in film. That rocks. I got to go to class, gain new critical perspective on watching film, watch movies, and raise the ol' GPA. I need to take more Watson classes like that.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:23 PM | TrackBack

May 25, 2004

Guh...

So the problem about putting work off to the last minute is the doing all of the work in the last minute.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:51 AM | TrackBack

May 24, 2004

Air Conditioning

So yeah... the A/C finally works and I'm ecstatic. Maybe I can finally sleep in my own bed in comfort.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:32 PM | TrackBack

May 23, 2004

Shrek 2

As some of you may have noticed from my movie listing, I went to see Shrek 2 on Friday. It was subpar at best.

To be fair, it was a sequel to a fairly successful movie and it would be unfair to expect a parallel performance to the original. Of course, this is why I usually avoid sequels, because sequels tend to suck. But I got suckered in by good reviews and my friends (I'm not going to blame Wheeler as he was as much dragged as I was) and went and bore witness to another testament to the failure of sequels.

Detractors will say that the plot was cute. I will counter that there was no plot and that the entire movie consisted of pointless action with a thinly-veiled purpose of providing a springboard for a series of gags, most of which seemed forced and like the writers were trying much too hard to be amusing. The endless gay jokes were annoying, the transvestite step-sister wasn't funny, and persistant cultural references were banal and pointless. Let's face it, there were a lot of funny lines and interesting gags, but they were outweighed by a brazen overall sense that the spirit of George Lucas was in our midst somewhere with his quintessential corporate whoredom.

So yeah... the ending might have been considered cute if it weren't so obnoxiously cliched. Combined with the obnoxious music video tribute to American pop culture, and I was left wanting something more... something better.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:32 PM | TrackBack

May 21, 2004

My Bizarre Grades

Because LeTourneau hates me, they sent my grades home instead of letting me have them here. Thus, my mom is redirecting them for me after opening them and getting them for me at my request. Oddly enough, I made a better GPA for the semester than I was figuring in a completely different way than I expected. I still don't know why I didn't get an 'A' in Stats or Operating Systems... but then again, I also don't know why I got a 'B' in Programming Languages and Computer Theory, as opposed to a 'C' and a 'D' respectively. So all in all, I think I came out better on the whole. Oh yeah... and I got an 'A' in Prophets, so that's cool.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:49 AM | TrackBack

May 20, 2004

Tired

I had forgotten that consistently getting out of bed before 8 am hurts like crazy. I am tired... to bed with me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:25 PM | TrackBack

May 18, 2004

Film Class Goes On...

So Wheeler and I have been taking film class with Dr. Watson and have been enjoying some quality cinema. Today's particular piece was High Noon, which is not only a good Western, but is also allegorical of Hollywood during the HUAC Inquisition.

On the basis of the technical merits of High Noon and the quality acting, I would easily rate it among the best Westerns I have ever seen. But beyond that, there is the clever and insightful portrayal of the wholesale abuse of the Screen Actors' Guild by the House Un-American Activities Committee. You really ought to see the movie and read up on the background of the times... it's all quite fascinating.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:33 PM | TrackBack

May 15, 2004

Movies

So yeah... Wheeler and I have been watching movies at a fairly rapid clip, many along with Anna. So we've decided to come up with a rating system and I'll be posting the updated list here every so often. Today's film was The Hunt for Red October, and it was enjoyed immensely by all. All I really have to say is that I agree with Wheeler that Alec Baldwin doesn't make a very good Jack Ryan.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:51 PM | TrackBack

May 11, 2004

What a Day

So yeah... I've been doing a lot of nothing and enjoying it immensely. I'll be working next week, but I'll be goofing off like crazy until then. Oh yeah... and Studies in American Film with Watson starts tomorrow. That should rock. Jared and I will keep you posted.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

May 09, 2004

Mothers' Day

So yeah... to those of you who read this blog and are the mother (figuratively or literally) of some young brat (or older brat)... Happy Mothers' Day.

I guess I ought to also note that I have an awesome mom who is a saint and the only female in a house of obnoxious men. I love you mom!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:33 PM | TrackBack

May 08, 2004

All Gone

It's been one of those days where you realize that you didn't do anything at all and then you realize how much you enjoyed it. I got up around noon and bummed around until about 1, at which point I endeavored to walk to Bodacious with Anna and Lily. We got about 3/4 of the way there when we realized that it was so crowded that the line extended out the front door and promptly turned, went back to the parking lot, got in Anna's car, and drove to Taco Bell.

The rest of the afternoon was marked by a brief visit to Dr. Watson, bumming in Corey's office as Anna counted money, bumming on MSC-1 with Anna and Ardith as we awaited Wilson and Wheeler, bidding Wilson farewell, sitting in the courtyard with Ardith and Anna whilst Wheeler talked on the phone and going to Walmart.

The trip to Walmart was allegedly an attempt to get fish drops for Anna's fishtank which quickly turned into Anna's little cupboard-stocking excursion... oh, and Ardith got an atlas so she doesn't get lost driving home and back. Fortunately, that all ended in a drive to Bruce's where we got dinner. Bruce's was advertised as the best root beer floats in Longview... and while we didn't actually get floats, they do have very good root beer in these giant glass steins that are probably at least a litre. They also have awesome burgers. In short, it was an epic experience that Moore would have enjoyed.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:25 AM | TrackBack

May 06, 2004

Summertime Blues

FINALLY OVER!! You know how you reach that point where you just don't care any more any you just couldn't give a rat's ass, no matter what? Yeah... I just hit the point of no return about an hour ago. That program I was doing... yeah, I just kinda half-assed it. It works, but it's the ugliest slice of code I've written in quite some time. So now, I'm going to sit here in the labs and dream about stuff to do this summer. In the meanwhile: check out this paranoia-laden website about an Illuminati book.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:19 PM | TrackBack

Stuff to Get Done

So yeah... I still have nonsense to get done. Fortunately, in 24 hours it'll be done one way or another. Pray for all of those driving home.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:04 AM | TrackBack

May 05, 2004

Overworked

Sorry... I just don't do well with work hanging over my head. It should all be over soon, but until then...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:48 AM | TrackBack

May 04, 2004

Note to Self

So when scheduling classes, attempt to line things up so that you won't have 3 finals on Wednesday and none on Monday. That really sucks.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:11 PM | TrackBack

May 02, 2004

Spam Issues

In case you'd forgotten, I still keep an active log of all of the spammers I've banned, and I would encourage you to add names to that list. As soon as school lets out, I would like to implement the following:

1) We need to change our commenting script's address.
2) We need to install a program that checks the user webpage and email address against one of the spammer lists out there.
3) We need to organize strategic missile assaults on the 3rd-world countries where these spammers hide.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:18 PM | TrackBack

Finals

Yeah... this is more to remind myself than anyone else:

Tuesday:

12:45 – 2:45 p.m Programming Languages

Wednesday:

9:45 – 11:45 a.m. Operating Systems
12:45 – 2:45 p.m. Computer Theory
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Statistics

Thursday:

9:45 – 11:45 a.m. Prophets

Oh... and if you're like me and hadn't put much thought to exactly when your exams were and don't want to miss them, here's a link to the schedule.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:02 PM | TrackBack

May 01, 2004

One More Week

So yeah... I made it. Everything is more or less offically over and the loft is down. The crew even made it out of the D&D encounter alive this semester. Now I'm going to go find my wench and enjoy her company.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:57 PM | TrackBack

April 30, 2004

More of the Crew

Before I get started, I would like to note that the last week of finals is not the time for your alarm clock to break. I realized this morning that the damned thing wasn't going off at all. I suspect that's reason I missed class yesterday but I have no proof. That said, I'm in the market for an alarm clock it would seem...

All of that aside... as this hellacious week draws to an end and grants me brief respite before the next begins, I would draw your attention to the two 41-ers who are also members of the Gallery. They have passed the mandatory waiting period and are now linked up. Welcome aboard "Shapton" and Barbour. (Sorry Sharptiano, I had to do that.)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:07 PM | TrackBack

April 29, 2004

Lonely Day

The end of the semester is always the worst time. The friends are going to be leaving, the classes ending, and the graduates never returning. And instead of spending the time with everyone like I would love to, I stress about stuff that I should have done already. And so I sit in my room and program along, preparing to go to class and then go to work and program some more.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:47 PM | TrackBack

April 24, 2004

My Ideal Job

The longer I sit and think, the more I come to the conclusion that I am uniquely talented and gifted and the sad truth of the matter is that my ethical and moral bases are in direct conflict with the fact that I am best-suited for a job as a professional criminal.

Allow me to elaborate: primarily, I am a generalist. While I am capable of focusing on a specific task at hand, I am much better at looking at a think from the top down and focusing on the big picture and comprehending the inner workings enough to allow me to manage a specialist in particular areas. Generalism notwithstanding, I am fairly well-versed in the broad field of illicit computer activity, which is nearly a necessity for the modern criminal. Beyond both of these, I have devoted many long hours in my life to understanding the application and circumvention of the law and the enforcement thereof and hold forward the aggregate of that knowledge in tandem with a facility for networking with the right sort of people as well on my way to a theoretical capacity for criminal management.

All of that said, I still do have a certain lack of practical knowledge. While I might have done a decent participation in digital misdeeds in my younger days, I have suitably reformed to the point that I would need retraining. Beyond that, I'm woefully out of touch with my paranoia, my gun skills are rusty, and I'm not in such wonderful shape to be dealing with running from police. So, I guess I should at least think twice before going into professional crime... that said, I still wish I could.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:46 AM | TrackBack

April 21, 2004

Java

I don't really mind the Java programming language persay. It's not all that bad, and the shortcomings that I find in the way of pointer handling are made up in a lot of other ways. That said, when I can't install any of the development software on my computer because Sun can't be bothered with making quality installer packages, that sucks. If a class of CS Majors and a Phd CS Professor can't get your software to install and work properly on the most readily-available platform out there, how can you expect to get more people developing for you?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:32 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2004

On the Business of Chapel...

Call me crazy, but I really didn't enjoy chapel today. It all started with praise and worship. Granted, I'm fairly obnoxious regarding my likes and dislikes of praise and worship... that said, I'd like to be able to understand what's going on. If we're singing in Spanish, I really don't have much of a clue. We could be singing in Swahili or even "Made-Up Space Language" for all I care. Yes, I know we're being "diverse" and "multi-cultural," but the simple fact of the matter is that if I don't understand what I'm singing, there isn't much point. The traditional argument is that there is a significant population of Spanish-speakers at LeTourneau... and that's fine with me. I would just like to point out that there is a significantly larger population of people who don't understand Spanish, and the fact of the matter is that it's required that one speak English to end up at LU in the first place. So yeah... I'm having serious issues with praise and worship that might as well have been in "Made-Up Space Language."

That rousing praise and worship chapel just really put me in a wonderful mood for the message. That said, the message didn't start out half bad... essentially Corey correlated Simon of Cyrene's carrying of Christ's cross with a Christian's carrying of each other's burdens. And then it got weird... because "carrying burdens" all of a sudden meant rebuking others in love when they needed it... and by others, it means just about anyone you feel like rebuking whom you suspect might be a Christian. I've heard that sentiment several times before, and usually it ends up with overzealous Christian teens going around and making general asses out of themselves. And what's worse, Corey encouraged this sort of nonsense by telling people not to worry about feeling silly or stupid in confronting their friends and acquiantances.

Look, I'm not saying that this sort of thing doesn't have a place, and indeed there is quite the biblical precedent for confronting a sinner in love... but that said, I would like to look at the example of Christ and the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-42. I really don't want to do an in-depth exegesis, I just want to point out that before Jesus confronted the Samaritan woman's extensive sin problem, he established a rapport and earned a right to say something. I would like to take this as an example rather than people who walk up and start condemning people.

Oh yeah... and I really wish people would lay proper logical framework for chapel messages. I know they typically have something valid to say, but I really dislike the fact that an unacceptably large number of chapel speakers don't have the logic of a hill of beans. If I'm made to listen to these people, at least they could do me the favor of spending some time on their talks.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:37 PM | TrackBack

April 07, 2004

yeah...

So... I'll post more about my thoughts on charismatic worship and on the Fourth Servant Song of Isaiah and Deutero-Isaiah and a host of other things when i have time in the labs tomorrow.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:45 PM | TrackBack

April 06, 2004

Working on Stuff

Here's the crazy thing: at this point it's all about robbing Peter to pay Paul in terms of the work I'm doing. And even worse, when I should be either working on a program or my imminently due exegesis, I would rather be reading...

Hey, I know I'm a slacker... back off!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:12 PM | TrackBack

April 05, 2004

My Wench

Yes... I know that I owe you a longer entry. But sadly, I really don't have the time... so I'm just going to say that I have the best girlfriend in the world and I don't brag about how good she is to me nearly often enough.

Oh yeah... and I think I ought to note that the phrase "I hate homework" is a fairly common search engine hit around here, as are "formaldehyde dragon" and "Rigoberta Menchu." Just thought I'd let you know.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:25 PM | TrackBack

April 03, 2004

Inklings

So yeah, today was the Inklings conference and it rocked. I got to hear some high-quality scholarship, help out a bit, and just really enjoy myself. My paper presentation went fairly well, as did those of the other LeTourneau students who presented.

I really wish I could sum up and do justice to the papers that I heard presented... especially the good ones. I think what we'll have to do is try to get some sort of linkage to any of the ones that I can find posted online and try to paraphrase those I can't once I get my conference publication.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:43 AM | TrackBack

April 02, 2004

Long Day

Yeah... so I'm presenting a paper today and stuff. Maybe I should sleep...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:37 AM | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

Buying Pie

So yeah... if you are at LU, are interested in summer missions, have money, and/or are an SC member, see this post.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:58 PM | TrackBack

March 24, 2004

Sleep Deprivation

For whatever reason, I have always required a lot of sleep. Unlike some people I know, I am in dire straits unless I get at least 6 hours and I am really not my best with less than 7.5.

Fortunately, I require less sleep with training... but a week of spring break and sleeping 10-12 hours a day broke me of my ability to do 6 hours with ease. Thus I sleep to recondition myself. Night...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:31 PM | TrackBack

March 19, 2004

Wedding Work

So yeah, I came home and get to run sound at some friends' wedding. I tend to enjoy this sort of work as it pays well, provides and interesting vantage for the whole things, and comes with the added bonus of getting to be an active part of things rather than just a spectator. Granted, as the sound guy I don't want to be noticed... but it's cool being in the know.

That said, rehearsal dinners are a pain in the butt because I sit in the back and get ignored until I have to walk up to the front where things are being rehearsed and ask questions like "Do you want me to mic you for your vows? And just how do you propose I do that?"

Fun times... wedding tomorrow, should be interesting. I must say, this is different from my typical time of running sound tech in that I will have a beautiful assistant sitting alongside me. To bed now... I have to be at the church freaking early because it's a morning wedding. Bleh...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:34 PM | TrackBack

March 18, 2004

March 17, 2004

Literary Chauvinism

So I've been rereading Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time) and I stopped mid-series to re-read Eric Flint's The Philosophical Strangler. The contrast in the treatment of gender roles is quite fascinating. On one hand we have the cold sociopathic manipulative female of Robert Jordan who beats and bends the grudging men of the world to her will. On the other we have Flint's males, who go into manipulation by women knowing full well that they love the women entirely too much to hold it against them, and yet being manipulated even as they walk into a situation where they know the odds and know what they should do to exert their own will on the situation at hand.

The whole contrast begs for a circumstance where men are not being dragged around by their noses and manipulated into situations, and Flint (as should be expected) does introduce the occasional man who is seemingly above the whole situation. However, Jordan seems to delight in a feminist perspective of women running the world in dominantly matriarchal society where the only men who do get into power are guilty of idiocy and gain power only by random luck and sustain it by sheer brutality. It's enough to make one wonder if Robert Jordan is gay.

That said, each author provides an amusing and captivating story which drags you into his world. Jordan is exceptionally amazing in that one is compelled to read even as one has SERIOUS misgivings about his sociological interpretations and the bizarre anthropological situations that he constructs. These are some books I recommend to anyone and would encourage comment from all who have read them.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:38 PM | TrackBack

March 16, 2004

Upgrade

So I've been home a couple of days and I've finally decided that it's time to fix this desktop computer of ours once and for all. Sadly, none of my family members are quite nerdy enough to jump on the offer of Red Hat or some other quality Linux distro... so I downloaded the update kit and deemed my home computer capable of SatanSoft XP.

Thus, I've spent all day cleaning up old crap, moving stuff to other drives, and pirating and installing a new OS (I left my XP cd in Texas.) This was followed by pirating and installing numerous other apps over a DSL connection and bringing this computer up to a generally working state. Oh... it is so nice not to have all of the ad- and spyware that my brothers downloaded.

Anyways, enough of my gleeful exclamation... go visit Randy's warped links. I gotta admit, I'm glad to have someone helping in that department.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:52 PM | TrackBack

March 14, 2004

Home

So yeah, Anna and I got in to Dayton about 1.75 hours ago. From there, we waited, and waited, and waited around a baggage claim that took entirely too long to return our luggage. And by too long, I mean we probably waited at least half an hour. Absurd.

Anyways, so then we drove the 45 minutes back to my house from Dayton and then I showed Anna about ever so slightly and then she called in heart monitor stuff as everyone else (read: my brother and father) went to bed. Mom is off on a retreat... Lord knows where Geoff is. Ah well, church is tomorrow morning in about 7.5 hours and there's a 20 minute drive and a shower to look forward to between now and then. I sleep now... I wake later... I will probably try to talk to you this evening some time.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:49 AM | TrackBack

March 13, 2004

Gone

Now that nearly everyone else is leaving... I will depart as well. Sorry for the lack of posting... I will get you up to speed from Ohio.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:21 PM | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

Back

So yeah... I'm back in Longview. Can't say as I've missed it all that much, but I've missed the people there. Just in time for the "stinky tuna trees" to come into bloom. I love spring...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:28 PM | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

Leaving Town...

As you can see, I'm supposed to be driving out momentarily.
It's too early.
I hate mornings.
I can't think.
Go read this link.
You're probably still in bed.
I hate you.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:52 AM | TrackBack

Gone

I will be going to Houston with Anna tomorrow. Because in a time like this, that's where I should be. It's funny, I almost think I should resent going to Houston and having to miss a day of class for this... but I'm really just filled with joy at having God's peace and joy in the midst of a rough time and feeling very honored that I was asked to go.

Pray for us... Anna especially.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:43 AM | TrackBack

March 06, 2004

Movie Watching

Saw Hidalgo with the wench. If you want to go see a feel-good movie with your wench and still have a bit of action, I kinda recommend it. Granted, it's lacking on the cerebral elements, but if you watch it in unison with The Last Samurai and Lawrence of Arabia, it provides an interesting look into the concept of "the noble savage" as well as a contrasted treatment of Eastern culture and inidigenous American cultures.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:20 PM | TrackBack

March 01, 2004

Blogging Fun

With regards to the change in blog theme, you may comment on that under this post.

With regards to the ongoing discussion regarding the IMPACT program, I continue to be quite amused with the answers that come in. Keep on sending the humorous responses... and if someone actually has a legitimate response to the question, I would be honored to see it. But as of yet, we have no positive IMPACT on the campus from the aforementioned program.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:04 PM | TrackBack

February 29, 2004

My Challenge

Can anybody name one good thing the IMPACT system has done for this campus?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:03 PM | TrackBack

February 27, 2004

Long Week

Wow... I think I need to set aside a bit more time for posting. Sorry all, but I'll try and get up a comment about today's awesome chapel a bit later.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:13 PM | TrackBack

February 26, 2004

Chapel

So yesterday, we got to hear from Eric Buehrer, a guest speaker who is apparently the president of Gateways to Better Education. His organization exists to further the teaching of Judeo-Christian beliefs and values in the public arena, especially public schools. Incidentally, before I get into a criticism of his talk, I will note two things:
1) Dr. Jimmy Ames (the education prof who introduced Mr. Buehrer) put the entire audience to sleep in the 30 second introduction and thus things got off to a rough start with a cold crowd.
2) Apparently Eric Buehrer is on a first name basis with Mel Gibson, with whom he watched The Passion about a month ago. We gather this from "I saw [The Passion] about a month ago. Me and Mel... Mel was there. Me and about 500 other pastors."

His reasons why Christianity could and should be taught broke down into four arguments, namely: Christiantity is culturally appropriate, academically legitimate, legally permitted, and morally imperative. While I would agree with all of these points and agree that Christianity can and should be taught in the public schools, his support was absolutely abysmal.

Before I can even get to his main arguments, we have the problem of dealing with his absolutely awful prelimilary remarks and straw men. At the beginning, he spoke of a stupid argument about the words "Under God" being in the Pledge of Allegiance and noted that they weren't in the original and discredited arguments for returning to the original by saying "it took 50 years to get it right." After this, he moved to an example where a teacher re-wrote a class production of The Sound of Music without mention of nuns and a abbey in order to take religion out of it and how a parent successfully fought her on that. Another example is a child being forced to wash a cross off of her hand that she had drawn on it so that she wouldn't upset other students. Can we say "straw men?"

Here are his arguments, in chronological order, organized under the categories in which Buehrer placed them:

Christianity is Culturally Relevant
First, we have our suspect statistics:
"85% of Americans claim Christianity?"
"40-44% of Americans attend church in a given week"
"61% of African-Americans describe themselves as attending church weekly"
"39% of Americans referred to themeselves as 'committed born-again Christians'"
And then we have a reference to a Newsweek article:
(date 7/16/2001) - Newsweek "Christian music is now the hottest genre in the entire music industry"
The article also mentioned Left Behind, Veggie Tales as selling well and having cultural significance. And from that, he drew this conclusion and moved on:
"It is reasonable that American schools teach American students about american culture and Christianity is deeply-rooted in American culture."

Christianity is Academically Legitimate
Here we started out with another straw man of a teacher agreeing to allow a student to do a report and presentation on Psalm 23 but refusing to allow the student to read Psalm 23 in his presentation.
He branched from this to the legality, noting that the Department of Education has given students the right to incorporate their faith into their schoolwork.
After this, his only justification for reading the Bible alound (aside from when you've been allowed to do a report on a particular Biblical passage) is because it's a thing of "literary beauty."
From here he jumped to the Texas State curriculum and noted that religious awareness education is present in many different places in the curriculum and that it shouldn't be irrelevant in Texas schools in light of its educational standards (that's all well and good in a conservative state like TX, try NY for a different perspective.)
And finally, Buehrer noted that it is proper and allowable to present religious holidays in light of their historical and ongoing religious significance, such as with Easter and Christmas. Granted, this only works sometimes in more conservative settings, but it's something.

Christianity is Legally Permitted
Buehrer first noted that the 1963 case Abbington vs. Shemp invalidated the requirement of religious ceremony and reading in school. However, the courts explicitly stated that a study of the Bible was a academically legitimate one in the light of a study of comparative religions and in light of its historical impact. He then pointed out that even the ACLU noted that objective teaching of religious impact in schools. And that was essentially that

Christianity is Morally Imperative
Buehrer asserted that modern children are morally aimless due to a lack of religious roots. He then made the more or less syllogistic assertion that if people follow Christianity and stick to the morals it teaches, they will be moral.

If you look up and read the main talking points, you may wonder why this bothered me so much. And I can't even really give the man justice by typing the talk out. The fact is that I happen to have been in public school for 13 long years and nobody agrees that the place needs Christianity more than I. That said, there wasn't one of his arguments that I either couldn't find fault with or couldn't point out the obvious straw-man that he was using to build his case. It's people like this who bother me to no end because I look up at them and I see them destroying something that I find valuable by their ineptitude and inability to find real talent to do the job that they are botching. Thanks for another quality chapel!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:24 PM | TrackBack

February 25, 2004

Note to Self

Stuff I need to do to bring this blog up to where I want it:
1) Fix the width issue (make the center column automatically size)

2) Update my links
note: links all updated (and I removed them from here because they were doing some funky stuff)

3) Import my old comments
4) Add a counter
5) Get new features

update: I'll be using this post as a scratch pad to keep notes of those things that I'm actually doing

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:08 PM | TrackBack

Tickets Fixed

Thank You GOD!!!

You see, there was this stupid college student. And he was on much crack and was ordering airline tickets to go home from Hotwire (yay, Hotwire!) and ended up doing something stupid and screwing things up. Suffice to say he wasn't paying a lot of attention until the tickets got ordered and then he realized he had screwed-up, nonrefundable tickets. And he cried...

But he wasn't a total moron, and he emailed hotwire within 2 or 3 minutes of this happening. And he emailed his parents. And fortunately, he called hotwire today and about 5 minutes ago, they fixed things. So now life is good and I'm not he isn't out $320 for a stupid mistake anymore.

Oh yeah, go buy your tickets from Hotwire. They rock.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:08 PM | TrackBack

February 21, 2004

Symphony

I'm going there tonight with the crew. Commentary, criticism and possibly pictures will be forthcoming.

Update: Symphony was good, the food and fellowship that followed were great, and the company was excellent. More details anon.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:22 PM | TrackBack

February 16, 2004

Praise and Worship Chapel

Yeah... so I missed out on chapel today... the chapel that seems to have everybody talking. So, as is my practice on this sort of thing, I went back to listen to the audio on the web.

Everybody else seems to have the main points covered, except this and I wanted to get the direct quotes that bothered me. For those of you who are double-checking, the fun begins at about 0:28:00. The passage at issue is James 5:13-16 and the part that of the service that I'm quoting (the italicized first part is fairly loosely quoted, but the voice and intent seem to stick true, at least to my mind... the part in block quotes is far more precise as it is the main issue of my criticism.)

"please come forward... there were lots of hands... let's come forward... let's be bold... come on... anybody who raised their hand come forward. Anybody who isn't a Christian, come forward. i wanna dare you to do something if you don't believe in christ, whether you want it or not. I dare you to come forward and receive prayer."

"I want every bold person in here who believes that God wants to do something big on this campus to come forward. Everybody... if you are bold and believe the words in this scripture, I want you to come forward and lay hands on these people. ...Not something you see in a Baptist church. And if you're still seated, I just ask that you would pray with us and agree with us in prayer... hold nothing back.

I recognize now and I'm here to say now, I know that God does not always heal anybody" ... "but to deny and never ask for healing and never do this would be to disobey that scripture that we just read. So we're going to pray in faith and believe in the healing of those who are lost, those who are hurting and those who are sick."

All I want to say is that regardless of your stance on the call to come forward, those are some pretty strong words and they seem at least slightly prejudicial against people who don't want to come forward. Oh yeah... and I'm going to have to come out and flat out disagree with the bolded part above and contend that while I respect Vinny... he did a quick yank out of context and some fairly bad exegetics with the text at hand.

Let me be clear here: I have nothing wrong with calling people who are sick forward to pray for them. While it might have been bizarre, I really don't even take issue with attempting to get the unsaved to come forward (granted, "I dare you" was a bit puerile... but God can use any situation.) My problem was with the tone applied to those who didn't come forward and the abusive exegetics on James 5:13-16.

To those who say, "God used that service for me." I am glad for you and I praise God for that. But I would point out that God can use anything and that doesn't exempt us from questioning and examining the practices of those who lead us in worship.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:20 PM | TrackBack

Fun Quotations

Apparently, I'm on the 8th page of Google searches for "fun quotations." I noticed this from checking our statistics and realizing that's one of the top search strings we're getting.

I guess now I just need to start that service up at a greater clip and a bit more regularity and I could start generating traffic from it. And by "generating traffic" I mean scamming the system... go me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:35 AM | TrackBack

February 15, 2004

Valentine's Day

I really don't know what to say except that it was great, it's been a great weekend, and I love my girlfriend dearly.

She is wonderful in that she puts up with myself, my family and my friends and all of the obnoxious things that come along with that list. She drives me everywhere, listens to my nonsensical ranting and tolerates my cynical musings. Without her, I really couldn't have had such a great day yesterday and again today.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:07 PM | TrackBack

February 14, 2004

Hail the List

A good friend of minehas been working on a list of reasons why he won't be getting a wench any time soon. The list has capped out at 42 reasons and appears here just in time for Valentine's Day.

To that list, I must say that I generally agree. While I would point out that the benefits outweigh the downsides, I will also note that the downsides as depicted by Wilson are largely correct. Great insights old chap, I'll be glad to read them at your wedding reception some day.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:10 PM | TrackBack

February 11, 2004

Log Files

As I was perusing through the log files, I discovered that our most popular search string this month is "d". Just thought you'd like to know.

Others in the top 10:
"fun quotations"
"inflatable church"
"mono sick"
"formaldehyde dragon"
"vengeful"
"best t shirts ever"
"dragon formaldehyde"
"factorial"
"jung typology"

And another that Jared should appreciate: we've had 4 hits this month on "rigoberta menchu pictures".

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:09 AM | TrackBack

Have You?

Have you ever said anything so incredibly stupid that even as you closed your mouth, you realized that you hadn't wanted to say it? Even worse, you're not even sure why you said it except that now you're going to regret it? And what if it hurt the person you said it to and you didn't even mean to say it or even mean it in the first place?

How do you fix something that stupid?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:22 AM | TrackBack

February 04, 2004

My Education (Part 1)

A consideration of my educational background grants me considerable insight into my formative years as well as my interactions with others and perspective on these interactions.

It must have been 2nd grade or so when I realized that I was being used to further the educations of others. In hindsight, I don't believe that this problem would have ever come to a head if it weren't for my perpetual boredom at school. You see, to my young mind, my perpetual boredom was a direct result of the teachers slowing down to accommodate the lazy students. To further this, now she wanted me to drag along those same students whose laziness and inattention had led to my boredom and the wasting of my time in the first place.

Granted, this simplistic understanding of mine failed to take into account the difference in scholastic capability between myself and others... but remember that I was a 2nd-grader. Besides this, the kids I was helping might not have been as "smart" as I was, but they were slacking so hard that some of the desks were outperforming them... thus negating any possibility of some sort of revelation and resultant compassion that I might have had for them.

And, as is the case with this sort of injustice in the mind of a child, I took my problem to my most trusted legal representative: my mother. I told mom in no uncertain terms that I was having no more of my time wasted by these hangers-on and that I was tired of doing nothing but tutor others in school. My mother took advantage of my simplistic and childish logic and turned the discussion into an evaluation of my lack of compassion and unwittingly started a debate that we've been having for 15 years. After all, she might have painted me into a corner that I couldn't have found my way out of at the time... but I had this nagging feeling that there was something wrong with her argument and eventually I figured out the problem, thus creating new arguments. And behold the argument of homogenous versus heterogeneous grouping and the underlying compassion or lack thereof present in the systems has kept us amused and sparring through my academic career... but I digress.

Being as that I was attending a 4th-rate school in a 3rd-rate district, this sort of nonsense kept up in droves. 3rd-grade was a lot like 2nd with the notable exception of a rudimentary attempt at dividing advanced English from remedial and likewise for math... thus causing me to only have to help bring up the rear guard in Science and History. This pattern continued through into 4th grade with a slight change in that advanced 4th-graders were combined with remedial 5th-graders, creating a 3rd group that was meant to accelerate people whose academic background was at least better than what we had in our grade and thus things bogged down a bit less frequently.

Midway through 4th grade, I moved to New York. This move facilitated an educational Renaissance whereupon I was transferred to one of the best public school systems I have ever seen and was given a teacher who really cared. I guess at this point I really ought to enumerate how Mount Healthy (old district) differed from Shenendehowa (new district.)

In Mount Healthy, there were 3 major demographics: Catholic families, elderly couples and families on welfare. This is a community on the edge of the incorporated district of Cincinnati and bears all of the markings of a once-affluent area that had since had almost all of the money move out or huddle into small pockets throughout the area. Thusly, most people either had no kids, had their kids in private school, or didn't care about their kids' education (generalizations, but statistically provable) and this caused the school's funding which came from property tax levees (voted on by the residents) to stay at the constant rate that it had been at since the 1970's. This lack of funding provided class sizes in the 30+ region in elementary school. Combine that with teachers who were extremely poorly paid, buildings built on governmental grants for experimental "open learning" (read: no walls between many classrooms) and 50% of the student populace from government-subsidized housing and anyone who could afford it getting their kids to private school and you have Mount Healthy.

This is getting long, so I will close this section with a comparative look at Shen. Put simply, there are exclusive private schools in many areas that are nowhere near as high-quality nor as elite as the upper-level classes at Shen. Even the "forgotten 50%" received far better treatment and educational provision than anyone I've seen in any other district. There were sports of every variety, classes for all manner of special interest, classes of 15-20 students, massive and expensive school buildings, specially-hired teachers' aides who did nothing but provide educational assistance and VERY well-paid teachers. Students and parents generally cared (if only to keep up appearances) and more than anything, were willing to pay the high taxes to ensure excellent education and high property values.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:58 PM | TrackBack

February 01, 2004

Where I've Lived and Visited

Bold = Been To
Italics = Lived In

1) Alabama, 2) Alaska, 3) Arizona, 4) Arkansas, 5) California, 6) Colorado, 7) Connecticut, 8) Delaware, 9) Florida, 10) Georgia, 11) Hawaii, 12) Idaho, 13) Illinois, 14) Indiana, 15) Iowa, 16) Kansas, 17) Kentucky, 18) Louisiana, 19) Maine, 20) Maryland, 21) Massachusetts, 22) Michigan, 23) Minnesota, 24) Mississippi, 25) Missouri, 26) Montana, 27) Nebraska, 28) Nevada, 29) New Hampshire, 30) New Jersey, 31) New Mexico, 32) New York, 33) North Carolina, 34) North Dakota, 35) Ohio, 36) Oklahoma, 37) Oregon, 38) Pennsylvania, 39) Rhode Island, 40) South Carolina, 41) South Dakota, 42) Tennessee, 43) Texas, 44) Utah, 45) Vermont, 46) Virginia, 47) Washington, 48) West Virginia, 49) Wisconsin, 50) Wyoming, and 51) Washington, DC

Put more visually (places I've visited):

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:15 PM | TrackBack

January 31, 2004

Quality

Due to a lack of time and a general burning out of the high quality that has been my effort since the switchover, I apologize and promise quality when I'm in the labs tomorrow...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:02 PM | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Friends

Throughout the course of my life, I have known few whom I trust with any details about my life and fewer still to whom I would even acknowledge that I had emotions, much less what they were. From a time early in my education, I was a cynic and deeply mistrusting of any efforts to ascertain who I was and how I thought.

Thus, it is with a clear head and a steady hand that I have allowed those whom I now gladly call 'friend' into my life and have allowed them to see a modicum of who I am. It is frequently difficult to overcome such instinctive fear of betrayal, skepticism of motives, and inability to trust... even in my interaction with my closest friends.

But it's nights like tonight where I come to understand that God didn't make us to live alone, as islands. When I can stand and pray with and for a close friend and truly empathize and feel the pain of another... this is a gift of God. When I can understand that I am His instrument and want to be used by him to heal another, even if it is at personal loss... this is a gift of God.

I feel so unspeakably blessed that God has seen fit to work through my cynicism and bitterness to allow me to by His instrument. That I might be entrusted with friends by God, this is truly an amazing thing.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:28 AM | TrackBack

January 25, 2004

Anti-Social Sundays

As some of you know, my Fridays and Saturdays are frequently spent with my friends and thusly I spend very little time on my computer. Sunday is the day that I return to commune with the 1's and 0's for a while. And thusly, I have a barrage of links and other fun stuff for you to have a look at today. Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering why I was never on IM on Friday and Saturday, now you know.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:18 PM | TrackBack

January 24, 2004

Saturdays...

A Saturday is a good day if you can spend it with your friends. I am truly fortunate that again today, I have spent my day off with some of my best friends and with the woman whom I love.

I guess I set all of this in perspective when I contrast it with this past break where I was 1000 miles away from Anna and at least several hundred miles away from most of my good friends. Sure, I was with my family... but you can only see so much of your family with their busy schedules. It's then that you learn to appreciate the friends that share your daily life.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:02 PM | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Thoughts...

I was reading through my little notebook that I keep with me that I might record thoughts for later consumption and I figured I might want to get one of them out there:

When I was passing through Palestine, TX on the way back to Anna's family reunion/older brother's wedding, we stopped to get gas and ended up in Bath and Body Works such that Anna could buy some stuff. Granted, the place creeps me out a bit, but it is amusing to go there, as it seems to be a certain appeal in observing "how the other half lives" so to speak... but I digress.

So we went inside and the first thing that I observed was this giant sign on a display in the center room which read: "Shop Now! Buy More! Be Happier!" Right then and there I lost it. I started laughing and couldn't stop. Men, bear this in mind when you go shopping with a girlfriend, women don't appreciate it when you poke fun at their gender-specific idiosyncracies... even if the idiosyncracy has nothing at all to do with her personally and it really is more of a general amusement.

So... I went around the store and smelled the different odors and was generally not amused. Men wear cologne to attract women, but I'm pretty sure women wear this stuff to spite men. After spending that much time in the store, I really started losing contact with the logical center of my brain, deadened as it was from the prolonged contact with the stronghold of "the other half" and I let slip these comments: "Bath and Body Works: It's the Smell of Hell" and "Bath and Body Works is Satan in a Bottle." Yeah, welcome to my life.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:51 PM | TrackBack

January 21, 2004

Background, part 1

It's always at the dark watches of the night that I feel like starting these things out. I've been cranking on this for a combined hour or so throughout the day (thank you Wheeler for upping the ante and Anna for following suit.) As with Wheeler's, there is no way I'm going to get all of this into one post, so let's hope it makes sense as a part of a whole...

A proper understanding of my social interactions with others should find its start at the root causations and work its way to the present or, simply put, begin at the beginning. Granted, my memories from extreme early childhood are fragmented and incomplete, but I remember something of a conflicting dichotomy between my internal world and the external reality. Few people realize that I've had a very active imagination for a very long time... as I'm sure many do. Mine's just a bit odd reaching from way back.

At some point in this dichotomy, I began to acheive ridicule for my odd affectations due to my excited imagination. Upon becoming excited, I would do odd things like wiggle my fingers and toes. Granted, most of these behavioral tics were quickly unlearned, but I still caught a lot of grief and teasing from them. Combined with early abuse over my larger-than-average head and I began to realize that I was not like the rest of the world and learned of their cruelty.

There comes a point in every individual's life where he/she realizes uniqueness and a lack of total commonality in thinking. In my own life, I believe this occurence hit fairly early on, relatively speaking. My first real encounter with foreign thought processes was with my brother Geoff learning his letters. Myself, I never remember learning letters and I have it on good authority that this was early knowledge and that I always enjoyed this sort of thing. My middle brother, on the other hand, had them drilled to him the summer before he started kindergarten and believe me, he didn't appreciate his lessons one bit. It was then that I started to suspect that there were people who didn't love learning as much as I did.

During 2nd grade and even more in 3rd grade, the naivete really wore off. While I continued to be (at least in my own mind) friends with everyone, there were conflicts that occasionally arose in a manner that might be construed as serious. I mean, since time immemorial the noble boys had carried out the great Jihad against the feeble and gross girls, but besides that conflicts began to arise between those who felt that they were in some way intellectually superior.

It might be pertinent to point out that a lot of my arrogance dates back to this point in time, when I went to a pathetic excuse for a public school and was one of perhaps 5 kids in my grade who was really ahead of everyone else. And of course, being as that my natural inclination has always been learning and since at this time I was very driven to be the best, I tended to end up getting the top score on just about every test... and our teachers did me the ego assistance of noting the top score. So yes, I can be arrogant... but it has typically come from honestly knowing that I'm the best at something.

It was near this point in time (in 3rd grade or so) that I began to notice some traits in myself that I really didn't like. I had come to like to hear myself talk and I had affected this very sure tone of voice that implied that if someone thought I was wrong, he or she was clearly at error. I also noticed that I tended to get stressed out very easily over stupid little things and since the discipline for the poor behavior of others was frequently meted out upon the entire class, this stress frequently tied up my stomach in knots in an effort to control everything.

So, there you have it... by the ripe and developed age of the end of 3rd grade, I had developed a sort of intellectual arrogance and was very convinced that I was the smartest person of my age and was a better thinker than anyone else (my age) I knew. That, combined with an increasing reluctance to hear myself talk and an appreciation that the world of books was far more informative than my classmates drove me to introspection and isolation.

In hindsight, I had friends in the manner which 3rd-graders perceive friendship and was even fairly well-liked by these associates. Granted, by this time I had developed into quite an anomaly amongst my friends, but most of my hubris was internal and I tried to be an agreeable and helpful enough fellow. I had developed a good friendship with a boy named Tim who went to my church and we got along splendidly.

It was in much this manner I plodded through my 4th-grade year until about fall. I don't remember the day or even the month, but it seems like it was about fall when my father told me we were going to be moving to New York. I remember that we were on Miles road as it zigs and zags through the woods close to my along a creek bed and we were on our way home from Tim's house. And that, friends, is when the Cynic was conceieved, so to speak.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:42 PM | TrackBack

January 18, 2004

Fire Alarm

Well, the fire alarm went off about 10 minutes ago. Somebody tossed a smoke bomb through a bathroom window on 1A and it summarily set off the alarms over there. I really would like to get a hand on whoever like that... I'd have a good mind to maim him/her.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:40 AM | TrackBack

January 17, 2004

One Long Day...

So I rolled out of bed at 8:30 am and am now contemplating bed. I should go play Star Wars with the crew, but I'm just too tired. Over the course of today, I went to breakfast, chapel, Operating Systems, Computer Theory, Statistics, dinner on MSC-3, Return of the King, Starbucks, back to school, Walmart, and back.

Breakfast was standard faire, and the company on MSC-1 as we awaited the onset of chapel was up to the usual quality. Chapel itself featured an appearance from the "Smell-Good Praise Band," who sang Wilson's favorite praise chorus. Although I must say, other than that I really rather enjoyed their worship time... and "Spring Break Missions Chapel" has never flown like this, making it all good.

In case you were wondering, Baas' quizzes are still evil and his matching is nearly satanic. Operating Systems would have been fun today if I hadn't had to stare down one of those quizzes. As for Computer Theory, I love it... and the class should continue to be a lot of fun. Finite computing is all sorts of special.

Statistics insulted my intelligence, as usual. However, today I also got to make a presentation, so that livened class up a little... at least from my perspective. And Erickstad did bust out with, "Some students are class lubricants, others are class irritants. Personally, I prefer lubricants to irritants."

Pizza was due to LSM whoring out to get students to come up and find out about Spring Break Missions. All I know is that I helped Moore hand out pizza and as a result, I got ahold of a respectable amount myself. It was good fun, and I didn't even have to stay for skits or commit to a mission trip.

Return of the King still rocks... and it still needs an Oscar. And I loved seeing it with Anna. Starbucks coffee is still good and enlivening. Walmart is still therer, and it's raining outside. I'm tired... so you'll have to ask for more details.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:59 AM | TrackBack

January 16, 2004

"Working..."

It's one of those things where I really start to feel bad that I work and all that I really end up doing is answering a couple of dumb questions, looking officious, checking some Student ID's, and bumming around. On the bright side, I spent the better part of 3 hours converting blog entries and am getting ever-closer to done.

As an aside, things seem to be on the way up, but keep me in your prayers... it promises to be a long semester.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:26 AM | TrackBack

January 15, 2004

In a Funk...

For whatever reason, the semester just doesn't seem to be falling into place. If anything, things just aren't clicking at all. I guess some sleep and study would help... not to mention a clean room. I just need things to start going right. I'll take whatever prayers I can get to that end...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:43 AM | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

Responsibility for Authority

It's been one of those days that I'll be rolling around in my head for a good long while. But in the interests of sleep, I've put the major points of contention down in the notebook of continuing thought and will record the sole thought that escaped the notebook and remains recorded on my hand.

"Responsibility Rests Where Authority Lies"

For the record, this responsibility includes blame for failure.

Oh yeah... and I've managed to get all the way back into August... I'm making headway!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:04 AM | TrackBack

January 12, 2004

Bedtime

Sooner or later, I'm going to come up with a cleaner way to end the day and sum everything up in a bloggable format. But until then, I think I'm just going to say that my friends are back, my girlfriend is feeling better, and life is good.

I am now incredibly tired and looking very much forward to sleeping in my own bed, in my nice cold room. Pardon me for a couple of hours whilst I sample its goodness...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:13 AM | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

Back for a While

So yeah... I went to that wedding/familiy reunion with Anna and had a very good time. I met some fairly bizarre family members, spent lots of time with Anna, and just generally enjoyed myself. Oh yeah, and I took down lots of fun notes on just about everything. It should be fun getting all of this sorted out...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:56 PM | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

I'm Here and There

So yeah... Anna's family picked me up yesterday and I drove to Grapeland with them. It is good to have Anna back... very good.

Slept in a cabin with Kirk last night, and this morning Anna, her Dad, and I drove back up through Palestine (to drop off trailer), got breakfast, picked up my luggage, Anna's sister Karin, Karin's husband Ryan, and their son Caedin (sp?). Now, we're dropped off at LU, repacking, and headed back down to Grapeland. See you Sunday...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:37 AM | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

The Rest of the Week

So here I am at Caleb's, waiting until noon so that I might figure out where the crap my luggage is. If I'd been flying, I would be just now arriving in Longview... funny thing that. I'm listening to Caleb and his brother watch something on TV... and I think it's in Spanish, but it could be in Portuguese for all I know.

Anna's family will be here to pick me up sometime this afternoon, and beyond that I just don't know what's up... I don't know if I'll be able to hunt down a computer to post on for the rest of the week, but I'll try and commandeer my computer to bang out a post on come tomorrow. Beyond that, look to my coming in 3 days.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:46 AM | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

In Dallas...

So yeah... I have really good friends who are very good to me. I'm sorry Charlie, I don't know where you got to or why you weren't answering your phone. But anyways, on to the story:

So, shortly after my discovery of the wonder of the undisturbed computer terminal in the abandoned airline terminal in Dayton, I came to the realization that the flight I was leaving on had been delayed an hour coming out of Dallas. And sure enough, we were about 45 minutes delayed leaving Dayton. Now, this raised a problem because I only had a half an hour layover in Dallas. And to make matters worse, the people at American Airlines are morons... because when we landed, we had to sit on the tarmac for 15 minutes, waiting for a terminal to free up. Nevermind that they'd known when we were getting in for the last 2+ hours... they still couldn't figure out where to put the plane.

So we got off the plane, and "Ooh! Look! That was the last flight to Longview for the day!" So I went and talked to the ticket agent and she booked my flight for 9:30 am tomorrow morning... and told me that they couldn't do me any good (no food, no hotel, no rental car... nothing.) So, I went and despondently started calling people. First, I called Charlie, who was supposed to be picking me up at Longview... and I got his voice-mail, which is him quacking into the phone. So I left Charlie a message and called my dad, who told me to go give them hell and call him back. And finally, I called my beloved girlfriend who told me that she would try and call Charlie.

Newly determined, I went back up to the ticket counter... bent on finding something that the bastards could do to help me out. No dice, and no flights anywhere near Longview either. So I called Anna back and told her what was up, and she told me that she's the smartest and most helpful woman in the whole world... no, actually she told me that she'd called Caleb (who lives in Ft. Worth) and he was going to come pick me up and let me stay at his place... I just came to the conclusion about her being smart and helpful on my own. So, here I am, at Caleb's house in Ft. Worth. Now... Anna's family is driving through tomorrow and is going to pick me up here on their way to Grapeland. There's just the small matter of my luggage...

I Get to See Anna Today!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:35 PM | TrackBack

Flying...

Oddly enough, there is this nifty computer terminal in this all-but-empty section of the airport that I was exploring. It doesn't let aim express load up, but its security settings were loose enough that I could hijack IE and blog. I was supposed to be flying Dayton->O'hare->DFW->Longview, but apparently the plane that was servicing Dayton->O'hare was having difficulties. So, they put me on a flight from Dayton->DFW that leaves here at 5:30 and makes my life simpler. If this actually works out, the only downside will be spending an extra 3 hours in the airport. But this is arguably my best solo airport layover ever.

I take that back.... I just got AIMExpress working. I'll be on until about 4:45 EST... say hello!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:49 PM | TrackBack

It Lives

So yeah... the blog is FINALLY up off of blogger. Now I have my work ahead of me in exporting all of my old posts from blogger.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:13 AM | TrackBack

January 05, 2004

So I'm Lazy... What's New?

I'm way too lazy to go find a disturbed link. Here's to hoping that this is the last post on the old and nasty blogger system!

Alright, here are two joke threads that I was passed.

Days Until I See Anna: 2
Days Since I Saw Anna: 20

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:43 AM

January 04, 2004

Excerpts from Wench Management

"Why do you need a book on wench management? Why, you ask, is it so hard to get females to do what they're told when they have such an easy time manipulating men? The trick is all in how we understand the world.
You see, men tend to be logical and women tend to be emotional. That said, we men have one very powerful emotion that tends to get us in a lot of trouble and emotionally-saavy women tend to use this to their advantage. Thus, we're trapped by an emotion that we can hardly manage, much less control.
On the other hand, you're a man, just trying to get a wench to do what she's supposed to. Problem being, you're approaching the situation from logic and women have no secret logic receptor that overrides their emotions. In fact, playing to logic tends to confuse the issue and create a whole new set of vague and ambiguous emotions..."

That might be the beginning... or it might not. We'll see.

Disturbed Links of the Day: Tricksy Surveys
Days Until I See Anna: 4
Days Since I Saw Anna: 18

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:17 PM

Blogger's Days are All But Up!

Let's put it this way... we're very close to getting off of blogger!

Eric: "So were you the honorable student who didn't look at the board for the answers?"
Jake: "Why?"

Ardith: "Why am I the odd one out?"

Disturbed Links of the Day:
Where verylazy.com redirects
to

Days Until I See Anna: 3
Days Since I Saw Anna: 19

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:32 AM

January 03, 2004

The Writing Begins... Again

So yeah, today I started writing again. It's been a long
time since I've written anything of a respectable length that I didn't have to,
and most of that unnecessary writing turned out to be trash. It seems like I can
never get past the catharsis stage to the point where I just have quality ideas
and content to generate. We'll see if this goes any
differently.

Disturbed Links of the Day: TibFib's Homepage
Days Until I See Anna: 5
Days Since I Saw Anna: 17

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:11 PM

January 02, 2004

Here I sit, Playing with the Year in Review

I've been sitting here, toying with a "Year in Review" post. I'm up to April. Hopefully I can publish it tomorrow.

Disturbed Links of the Day: 2003 Google Zeitgeist
Days Until I See Anna:6
Days Since I Saw Anna:16

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:30 AM

2003: Year in Review

Before reading this, I would have you note that this is probably the rough draft and there are some places where it needs help and a lot of linking action. That said, feel free to comment on things that you feel I've left out... and I'll probably toss them in there. In fact, I encourage criticism, nit-picking and error-hunting.

2003: A year in review from the perspective of The Vengeful Cynic

January 2003
This month sees the return of the Cynic and all other good LU students to campus for the Spring Semester.
Cynic skips chapel.
During Missions Emphasis Week, the Cynic runs across a contingent of people from Quad 3... and takes a liking to them.
Cynic and Shem spend a lot of time talking down at Q3.
The Cynic starts blogging.
Cynic and Wilson are enrolled in Historiography together... this is a very bad idea but nobody knows it yet.
The Cynic gets access to the electronic bulletin board associated with Contemporary Political Issues and starts assembling the framework to build a
gallows to hang himself.
The Cynic vents... a lot
C-4 informs the Cynic that the age of consent in OK is 16.

February 2003
Space Shuttle Columbia burns up on re-entry over Texas; Cynic's father calls at 8am to ask questions and continues to call every half hour until phone is taken off the hook at 11am.
Cynic skips more chapel.
Cynic pulls an all-nighter down at Quad 3 with female involved... damned shame I could never get the luck to do that sort of thing with SC people.
C-4 reminds the Cynic about the age of consent in OK.
The infamous "satire" post of the Cynic goes up on the Contemporary Political Issues forum; Cynic is nearly lynched by frenzied wenches.
Frenzied wenches calm down and propose truce. This truce is the beginning of very good friendships.
The term "Happy People" comes into existance and the war against them in its current form begins.
The Cynic gets sick.
Cowboy starts blogging.
Brenton is "asked" to take down his confederate flag.
Ardith starts blogging.

March 2003
Manly Month of March.
Anna starts blogging.
Cynic drops Circuits 2; changes majors from CSE to CS and thus gains modicum of sanity.
C-4 again tells us all about the age of consent in OK.
Cynic skips chapel, yet again.
Spring break comes; Cynic's parents come down to visit and everyone else skips town.
Cynic rides with Jenny, ELH-2 girls up to Paris, TX in order to accompany Jenny back to Longview.
Parents leave town; Cynic spends week having a blast on virtually-vacant floor.
New LU Forum starts up.
Judge is stolen by ELH2 wenches; recovered.
Stitch is stolen by Bandits; held for a week.

April 2003
Cynic discovers Something Positive!
Cynic skips more chapel due to this discovery.
Bandits clean house in LSM Pie Auction to send money to LU summer missions.
Admissions Nazis kick Cynic out of his own table at Saga.
Wilson discovers 10 minute rule printed in Faculty/Staff Handbook.
Cowboy decides he's not coming back to LU.
Cynic (and rest of America) submits taxes.
International SARS outbreak hits national news.
Randy's sister dies in a horrible accident; Randy starts blogging.
Cynic, Gecko, Dunny, Anna decide to stay on campus for the summer... Stan and Caleb stick around for a while.
Spring Semester ends with finals.
Cynic does lots chapel make-ups due to all of that skipping; vows to skip less chapel.

May 2003
Cynic moves to the John Thomas Hall for summer residency; decides it sucks.
Gecko wanders Texas; gets corrective eye surgery.
Fire alarms in John Thomas Hall go off... a lot.
Stan leaves to go home.
Cynic starts going to St. Mike's.
Wilson starts blogging.
Moore starts blogging.
Tom Elliot vists East Texas for Jordan Groody's wedding.
Matrix Reloaded comes out; fails to live up to expectations.
Cynic declares war on NOW.
Gadzooks decides to go to an all-female store with a horrid ad campaign.
Cynic starts working at Physical Plant; discovers a whole new definition of slacking.
Cynic gets sick of school; skips town to see little brother graduate.
Anna starts taking a programming class; Cynic starts helping.

June 2003
Cynic returns to school; realizes how much working for Phys. Plant sucks.
Ardith tries to recruit thugs to mess with Cynic; fails miserably.
Fire alarm in John goes off more.
Cynic, Gecko, Anna start visiting "high places" on campus.
Cynic starts playing on Gaia; flaming morons.
Cynic, Dunny, Gecko move to apartments; get out of shitty dorm with much effort.
Cynic upgrades computer.
Cynic catches knife in the back from Anna and Gecko.
Linear Algebra finishes.
Wilson skips the country.
Cynic helps Anna with more programs.
Cynic, Anna, summer residents go to Texas Rangers game; have much fun.
Anna throws up on Cynic.
July 2003
Dunny's car is broken into.
Cynic gets a tetanus shot; doesn't die.
Cynic takes up Wench Management Consulting.
Cynic picks up a wench of his own.
Cynic goes home for two weeks to placate parents.
Cynic and crew play demolition at Perkins
NFL fines Detroit Lions for not interviewing minority coach in hiring process.
Jenny came to visit Cynic in Ohio; they travel the city, loot and pillage.

August 2003
Julie starts commenting on my blog
Crew nearly gets kicked out of Perkins.
Cynic moves back up to Tyler
Cynic gets hired at IT.
Cynic goes with Anna to Lake City to pick up car.
Stu gets fired from IMPACT.
3rd Annual Texas Bigfoot Conference is held.
Wilson returns to school; leaves; comes back again.
The SC is back at school.
The SC church-visitation squad starts up; visits Pine Crest.
Notorious "Demon Bird Sermon" is preached.

September 2003
Cynic and crew visit "El Cancun" get food poisoning; Wilson skips to go to Marketing dinner.
Infamous Yellow Jacket with no back page is printed.
Only Longview Symphony of the semester occurs.
Moore picks up a wench in a record low amount of time.
Wheeler starts blogging.
Wilson discovers Oral Roberts.
Moore contributes Markov Chain generator to cause; runs Leviticus through it.

October 2003
Cynic discovers repository of poison oak; has hives breakout on hands as a result
Martinez sends out more hillarious bible study emails.
Morgan and parents come into town; go to IHOP with the SC and crew.
Cynic and Anna stop church shopping; stay at Saint Mike's.
The Gallery starts causing trouble in their own right.
Cynic starts taking WMD donations.
Fall break happens; crew sticks in town and watches movies and plays board games.
Cynic drives to and from Dallas twice on the business of getting Toad to/from DFW airport.
Gallagher starts blogging.
Scott starts blogging.
Fall-fest week insanity begins.

November 2003
Fall-fest banquet happens; Cynic, Anna, Moore, Sharon all go.
Matrix: Revolutions shows, lives down to low expectations and exceeds them
My brother Geoff's good friend Jamie dies in horrible accident.
Thanksgiving comes; Cynic and Anna go to Dr. Olson's house
Cynic does next to nothing over Thanksgiving break
Master and Commander comes out and doesn't suck; balance is restored to the Force

December 2003
The Cynic has a birthday; is taken to dinner by the SC crew and has a blast.
Cynic buys new speakers with birthday money; the music lives again!
Hell week and finals week hit LeTourneau; many die.
The first semester ever where the Cynic is neither chapel deficient nor
doing make-ups ends; Cynic is proud.
Anna comes down with mono; goes home to Colorado.
Everyone leaves to go home; Cynic sadly drags himself home to Ohio.
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King hit theaters; Cynic
remembers why movie theaters in Cincinnati are so much better than those in
Longview.
Several days later, Ardith and Anna manage to see RotK near their respective podunk towns.
Christmas happens; people give gifts, are happy.
Cynic is sick.
Wheeler finally sees RotK; rest of SC mocks him.
Terror level is raised to Orange; promises to be a pain in the ass to all
travellers.
Cynic reads... a lot.
Cynic ends the year on the phone with Anna, and is generally pleased with how this year has gone

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:01 AM

December 31, 2003

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all. Don't have much time, so the disturbed link kinda sucks. Or maybe not... But first, 101 ways to fix the 'net. And now, the endcap, because I am running a bit late to get somewhere.

Disturbed Links of the Day: Woman Ticketed for Indecent Exposure (clean)
Days Until I See Anna: 7
Days Since I Saw Anna: 15

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:46 AM

December 30, 2003

Funerals Suck

So yeah, I went to a funeral visitation for my high school youth pastor's mom. It was mostly just to support him as I never had even met his mom, but I guess that visitation just prompted me to do a lot of thinking about life in general. Namely, how much time are we wasting in life, throwing it away on stuff that doesn't matter at all? I would assert that we need to spend more time putting life into perspective so that we don't waste time on the stuff that doesn't matter.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Bizarre News Year in Review (thanks Wilson)
Days Until I See Anna: 9
Days Since I Saw Anna: 13

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:42 PM

Books and other Lessons

Books are expensive. I read books fast. Thus, reading is an exceptionally expensive hobby for me. And thusly, I hit used book stores and sales when I can. Not to mention libraries. So, today I hit Half-Price Books and I hope to be hitting ebay tonight to pick up some more books. Fortunately, it looks like I'll have enough books to take me, assuming I try to avoid reading too many more of them.

These days have been fairly rough as far as coming to grips with my relation with God. It would seem like He is really trying to leverage me into a position where I'm listening and I have a hard time being in that position for any length of time. That said, I am working and praying that I will come to learn what He would teach me and, in time, come to be a better student.

Disturbed Links of the Day:
Top 10 Banned Ads for the Year
Street Mattress

Days Until I See Anna: 8
Days Since I Saw Anna: 14

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:17 AM

Faith in Hard Times

I've never been a person with a lot of faith. I guess it comes from the fact that I'm a very analytical, logical and straightforward person who has a hard time with what he can't see. Combine this with the fact that I am a cynic, any you come up with a real issue.

As much trouble as I have with general faith, it doesn't hold a candle to the problems I have in trusting in God's goodness. God works for our overall good... and that's fine, except that for all I know, that means another bullet in the ass tomorrow and the day after, and the day after, and so on. And when that bullet in the ass really takes the wind out of you, you have a hard time asking for God to bless you, knowing how well the last "blessing" went.

I guess, in the end it comes down to this: life sucks right now. And I keep praying that it'll get better sooner than later. But right now, it just keeps getting worse. And I guess I just have to have faith that in the end, this misery and despair won't break me. Let's hope that it doesn't...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:01 AM

December 29, 2003

Commenting is down... again. Between

Commenting is down... again. Between Blogger and Enetation, it's a miracle that I manage to get this thing to work at all. I guess it goes without saying that I need to get real hosting and MT.

Yet again I am reminded of just what a bizarre and eclectic fellow I really am.
Thoughts for today:

You know, the restaurant industry in general is very poorly run and since my mind is on coffee shops of late, we will focus there. You need to understand your target demographic. If you are looking for teens and yuppies who want to feel a bit snobby, the best way to do this is NOT to monopolize half of your store with gaudy-looking crap for sale with your logo on it. The key here is a layed-back atmoshpere: mellow and subdued are the key. Kill the lighting, figure out a way to get rid of that menu monstrousity on the wall behind you, and get rid of the metallic art-deco furniture in favor of padded chairs and wooden tables. Also try to find some classy people to work at your store. If you're going to charge $5 for coffee, make it look like the place is worth it. Another thing, get some wireless internet and some subtle power outlets by the tables for laptops. Maybe even a terminal or two in an out-of-the-way spot. Don't charge for the internet (maybe charge for use of the computer) and watch the nerds flock. And they'll be much more likely to buy more coffee if you keep them sticking around.

Why is it so hard to find the places that need workers? I was out helping my little brother find a job today and we drove by all manner of stores and restaurants, grabbing applications. And literally 95% of the places that were hiring had no indicator of it. There has to be a better way for this. It's not like the companies don't want employees and it's not like the people who are in need of work don't want to get a job... but there is really no better way of a teenager finding a job then walking into a place cold and asking for an application. What gives with that?

Now that I'm home and away from the people I want to be around and the mental engagement of school, I finally get my head to clear and start thinking straight again. I mean, I haven't had this much spare mental energy since about week 2 of the semester. Why is it that we never have the time or resources to get things done when we're all at school together and it's only all by ourselves that we start getting really creative? And why is it that I forget all of the truly interesting thoughts somewhere between the car and the computer? I need to get something to record my brain waves, because I even have thoughts slip my mind in the several seconds it takes to fish the notepad and pen out of my pocket. Sad, isn't it?

I am very bad at trying to resist reading the books that I buy. Granted, I also borrow a lot of books from my friends to keep me in the money, but since I've been home I've read: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, Dragons of Spring Dawning, The Case for Israel, The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, Slander, Treason, Bias, Why I am not a Muslim, Unveiling Islam. I'm currently working my way through the Space Trilogy and then I'll
probably read some other stuff. Bear in mind that I've read a lot of these
before, but one makes due with what one must.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:11 AM

Very Long Day

Wow... a very long day with a lot of thinking. Not a lot of conclusions yet, give me some time for that.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Freaking Canadians!
Days Until I See Anna: 10
Days Since I Saw Anna: 12

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:23 AM

December 28, 2003

Uneventful Times

Well, that was an interesting day. Nice and uneventful.

You will note that I am now posting the estimated number of days until I see the Wench. Granted, it's not a precise estimate yet (still doesn't account for several favors, but it's good enough for now.)

And now I'm tired and shall go to sleep...

Disturbed Link of the Day: The Chuck E. Cheese To Keep Your Kids Away From
Days Until I See Anna: 11
Days Since I Saw Anna: 11

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:38 AM

December 27, 2003

Murphy Hates Me

Here's something that especially Moore and Ardith should appreciate:

You know how some days things are going well and you can do nothing wrong? Today was one of those days that nothing that I did went right. Well... not everything, just anything related to fixing this one computer.

So Tim's dad has a computer that he uses for work. Thusly, when he got it, he wanted to buy it OEM and thus have a warantee and the whole mess (he owns his own business.) So this is about the summer before my Senior year in HS. Now, 3 years later, it sucks. He tries to play newer games, and the on-board video overheats and kills itself. So he comes to us, complaining about his computer restarting itself and making funny noises (way too much dust in there, starts to make bearings in fans creak.)

This was several days ago... we took things apart, used compressed air to dust them, and went and bought a new PCI video card (no AGP port, onboard video) - an ATI 9000 PCI. That, along with a fresh format/reinstall for the first time in 3 years seemed to fix things. But apparently, there were issues (it's a 3-year-old computer, what do you expect?) So, today we were going to transplant a motherboard, processor and RAM to fix things.

Tim just "happens" (as many good nerds do) to have an Intel board and a corresponding Celeron 2.2 Ghz sitting around for a rainy day overclocking project. And since Tim's dad is willing to buy them off of him, we go off and get a 256 stick of PC2100 RAM to get the stupid thing up and running and decide to wait and see if it needs anything more for the tasks it handles. Bear in mind that up until this point the project has gone fairly well and taken only a moderate amount of time considering the tasks undertaken.

After a bit of other token shopping, Tim and I rolled back to his house and got started on the whole business of rectifying matters. We got about 3 minutes of deconstruction in when I noted, "Tim, you didn't tell me this IBM was an Athlon!" "So?" "It's OEM Tim, $10 says this power supply hasn't got Intel P4 support." What? And thus, after being at Tim's for about 5 minutes, we recessed to go get a new power supply of the modern variety. Closest place was CompUSA, so we ran there and back.

Now, we take old power supply out. It is at this point that I note that the new power supply is about 2 inches longer than the old. My rapid-fire and increasingly-creative cursing soon drew Tim's attention and he joined in with a few choice epithets. Fortunately, Tim had another computer that he had bought off of a friend's family for $20 a month or 6 back that he hadn't bothered to strip down for parts yet. So he ran to get this and I spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out this particular variety of Compaq OEM case. After opening this case we noted another essential thing: this case had at least .25 inches of dust on everything. If not more. And we had just used the last can of compressed air up on Craig's (tim's dad hates being referred to by "mister") computer...

So off to RadioShack, which is only 5 minutes versus 15 but has compressed air for $6 a can. Tightwad, overpriced bastards and their $6 can of compressed air... But we were now 20 minutes from CompUSA and wanted to get back, so we bought their compressed air and went back. We then dragged the case outside and blasted all of the dust off of it (used up the entire can) and went back in to strip the thing. But when the dust settled, we found another interesting dilemma: this power supply had been special-made for Compaq and was a mirror image of every other power supply, thus the case's rear cut-out had the plug on the wrong side, and it even lined up wrong flipped.

However, at this point rage set in and it was time to stop buying new shit and start making things happen. First up: saber-saw the hole to the size we need it. And finding said saw takes us up to the Finding Nemo interlude with Tim's family, complete with steak dinner. After dinner, we located said saw and carved the hole. After some filing and the arrival of our buddy Dan, it was time to finally start mounting components. So with a bit of coaxing, the power supply went into it's newly-carved position and all was well. Now time to mount the motherboard. Oops, the little aluminum cover won't fit on quite. Just a tad too snug a fit. Not really worth mentioning except that Tim managed to slice his finger open in this process and while he was gone, Dan and I filed the opening a bit and got things working right.

So Tim returns to the motherboard snugly in place, shielding installed, and the power supply still looing pretty. Next goes the RAM and then the video card (note, this mobo has an AGP slot, rendering the special hunt for the good PCI video card that took the most time on the first run a general waste.) Now to power up... ooops. OEM case with special power button wiring. "Damnit, let's test POST anyways..." I exlaimed, grabbing the front of the old case, dragging it over and connecting the power button to get it to go. Well, POST is fine... but it's beginning to look like time for a new case. More cursing ensued from the 3 of us, while I sat and wracked the brain for a solution. And then Dan found it... because this OEM button rack actually just had a power button and two LED's, all on one strip.

And it just so happened that the power switch was the last two pins on one end
of this little connector and we could connect it to the mobo if we did it right. And thus, Dan saved the case.

After that, I finally got things back in order and started bossing people around, espcially after one of my two flunkies tried to tell me that jumpers and master/slave don't matter and they could just connect things up. Prompt smacks and beatings removed their insolence mostly, but it wasn't until I allowed them to see what would happen their way that they listened. And thusly, at 10:30 PM EST, we finally started the installation of WinXP. At this point I am noting 2 things: 1) I am sick and I am getting tired... I should go home 2) if I go home, I can talk to Anna on IM. Thus, I was driven home by the crew (the new machine is good, but the cd drive for the moment is a 4x burner b/c tim is too lazy to pull a good optical drive from his computer for the job) while they waited for the install to finish. Oh, it is now nearly 3AM EST and word has it that things still aren't done.

The sad thing is usually things go much better than this. Granted, I am the resident software specialist (if you can make cracked copies of shit work, you can make just about anything work) and not there for the software... but this day has just been cursed. Little to nothing went right, from the beginning of physical installation through to the end of software install. It was just amazing. I
guess everyone has one of those days sooner or later.

Morals of the story:
1) Avoid factory-built systems
2) Custom-built OEM shit sucks
3) Know what you're getting into at the start and research this
4) Saber saws fix a lot

Disturbed Link of the Day: Online Cemetary
Days Since I Saw Anna: 10

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:20 AM

I Belong in Fight Club!

I Belong in Fight Club!
Fight

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Freakishly close on some points... way out there on others. All in all, a good quiz.

Oh, and see this PvP comic! You'd best believe that there will be mass nerd rioting if our demands aren't met!

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:19 AM

December 25, 2003

It's Christmas and I'm Sick

Well, Christmas was something of a day in that I was very sick for most of it. But I got a movie and some books and some clothes and some money... so life is good. Time to go shopping tomorrow to spend a lot of that stuff. Let's just hope that my health mends enough to allow for that.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Escape from Neverland
Days Since I Saw Anna: 9

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:37 AM

Stab Time

Something amusing that Moore sent me: The Longest Sig File Ever

And a wonderful IM conversation on stabbing that I had with Anna yesterday:



Anna: yes dear, stabbing is always the answer
Cynic: yes... stab even
Cynic: *can't type today*
Anna: ya know, if you stabbed everyone you have issues with, that takes a lot of the enjoyment you get out of arguments with them
Cynic: heh...
Cynic: oh, I wouldn't kill them
Cynic: just stab them
Cynic: classic conditioning
Cynic: "being stupid gets you stabbed"
Anna: ah
Anna: i think ignoring people works just as well.
Cynic: bah
Cynic: stabbing is so much more effective because it improves peoples' lives
Cynic: they learn to be smarter
Cynic: and all it costs is a pint or two of blood
Cynic: is that such a high price to pay?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:43 AM

December 24, 2003

More S*P for Christmas

And before things here roll over midnight and it is officially Christmas, let me link you to this wonderful eye candy.

Disturbed Link of the Day: The Best Page in the Universe
Days Since I Saw Anna: 8

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:56 AM

What to do?

Well, it's Christmas Eve Day in these parts and I'm figuring that since I probably won't be up tonight managing my usual 10pm-2am EST shift online, I will post now and then if I get a bit of time, I might post a little blurb later.

Things that I still have to do:
Wrap presents (alright, so I bought them all with time to spare, now they just need to be wrapped)
Go to Christmas Eve Service (6 PM I think)
Go to party at friends' house afterwards (probably stay there until 10 or 11)

Hmmm... that's a short list for today. Kind of simple really.

Things that I ought to deal with before I go back to Longview:
See friends from high school
Pirate software for Geoff's computer (so he doesn't have to shell out $1000 for software for school next semester)
Put in some work on the local effort to get a new tax increase to fund the local school district
Spend more time with my family
Enjoy the snow (that is falling as we speak)
Fix the family computer (I fixed it when I got back... it will probably need help before I leave)
Be a bum

Yeah... that should about round things out...

Disturbed Link: The New Bachelor Candidate

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:20 AM

December 23, 2003

Sick After Resisting Mono

Well... I lasted 2 weeks or so of exposure to Anna's mono and I've lasted a week here in Cincinnati... and it looks like I've finally fallen sick.

*knocks on wood*

It looks like I'm not too terribly sick and this illness should stick to the Cynic's tradition of not being sick for a long period of time and not getting too beat down for a while. Sure... I'll feel like shit for a couple of days, but I should be back up in action before the week is out. And now, I shall watch Letterman, because it entertains me much.

I love watching David Letterman after a long day of being a bum.

Some wonderful Dave quotes:
"Word has it that Saddam is now despondent... they say all he does all day is sit in his cell staring longingly at a picture of George Bush. This sounds a lot like Al Gore."

"If you're thinking of a gift for Saddam you can't go wrong with a Sharper Image Turbo Nose-Clipper."

And of course there's the top 10...

Top 10 Things that Department Store Santa Doesn't Want to Hear from the Kids:

10) Remember me? I'm the kid with the week bladder
09) You smell like supermarket gin.
08) The real Miracle on 34th St. would be if they accepted my mom's Mastercard.
07) I want a 2004 Pontiac Aztek.
06) If i don't get an X-box, I'm gonna hunt you down old man.
05) I'm Jewish.
04) I love you Kenny Rogers.
03) Frankly, I'm just here to please my parents.
02) While Im talking to you, my mom is shoplifting blouses.
01) Mom says you're my real daddy.

Well... I promised myself that I wouldn't start tracking this until I couldn't help it. So hear's the end trailer of the posts for the remainder of my stay here:

Disturbed Link of the Day: The Destruction of a Toyota Truck
Days Since I Saw Anna: 7

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:53 AM

December 22, 2003

Bragging...

Well, I've seen my beautiful girlfriend off to bed. Now I must just briefly brag that my mother is one of the most open-minded and thoughtful conservative parents I know. I am very blessed to have her with a liberal arts background and a Houghton education.

I would also like to note that I have really missed my church here for these past however many months. The sermons preached are just so good that I can't believe I have been making due with less.

Lastly, I guess I'm probably either a lich or a half-fiend.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:21 AM

Warped Stuff

*is laughing so hard he's crying*

I'm listening to Jim Rome and here are some things that happened in this last year:

WNBA is the most betted-upon professional sports league of its kind (Jim Rome suggests this is due to OTB.)
A kid got arrested for calling a hooker to his hospital room.
Apparently 8 games in the season, Detroit was 7.5 games out of first.
A sports writer got fired for quoting Haywood Jablome in a piece.
Some writer wants to turn the life of Evil Kenieval into a musical.
Brian Anderson thwarted a mugging in SF by running down a mugger.
JV Basketball coach in Arizona arrested for bringing strippers on school trips.
Aaron Ralston got lost hiking and chopped off his own arm with a pocket knife to get loose.
A bowling coach in Iowa was busted for kiddie-porn charges.
A German man was arrested for walking down a street with a severed head in one hand and a knife in the other.
15 players and 2 coaches in a New York school got arrested for going to a strip club.
A little-league mother told her son to attack another child during a game.
A fitness center in Denver stayed open while there was a dead body was on an
exercise bike... they just moved him to the side and covered him with some
towels.

Oh... and check this:

Staff-Chucks


And life wouldn't be complete without a warped link...

Disturbed Link of the Day: Odd Feminine Products Hit New Lows

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:24 AM

December 20, 2003

Christmas shopping fun...

So now most of my Christmas shopping is done. I did it all in one fell swoop today as I went to visit the overcrowded and poorly-designed mall with my little brother and friend Tim. After taking half an hour to get to open parking, I spent the next hour or so finding the stuff that I'd catalogued in my head over the year that I needed to get. After that, we trekked over to Tim's house where we watched the UC basketball game, had dinner, watched some of The Mummy and fiddled with his dad's computer. Now, I'm back at home, being a bum and watching TV with mom and brothers.

While I've been sitting here, I've been talking to a friend from school, and it has been decided that we can categorize everyone in the immediate SC into D&D races:

I am clearly a large dwarf Wilson is probably Elven (for the unitiated, note that Elves only trance 4 hours a night as opposed to sleeping 8 and are typically frailer)
Anna is either Human or Half-Elven, probably Human given the proclivity for math and teaching...
Ardith is clearly a gnome
Wheeler is probably an over-large halfling
Martinez is probably a human (especially with all of that obsession over knowledge(engineering) and knowledge(math))
Moore is a half-orc with an addiction to food (granted, he's an endurance man... but the one-track mind for food says half-orc)

(the gallery will get their treatment soon enough)

And just on the note of the bizarre, check this guy out. I will never be nearly as cool as he is.

And on that note, I think I'm off to go make a quiz about D&D races or something. Yes, I'm a nerd... and spending a whole day with Tim didn't help that.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:03 AM

December 18, 2003

Hot Topic and the Law of Saxophones

Damnable enetation is down again and thus I don't know if my newfound time and proliferance is a good or bad thing. Failing any feedback, I will continue to post as I have inspiration and time:

Well, after the Christmas tree fun I went to go Christmas shopping at the local mall. That was all sorts of entertaining... I guess it's been a while since I've been people-watching in the mecca of teenage culture. I am here to report that while styles have changed, the mentality of the late 90's is still alive and well. It's so funny watching everyone in the mall fit into whatever cultural stereotype they aspire to. And one other note: Hot Topic is the Abercrombie & Fitch of teeny-bopper "goths."

After this wonderful experience wherein I explored the local stores and came up with gift ideas, I returned home to eat a home-cooked meal (ahh... real food) and then went to my little brother's concert. There were three band groups playing:
1) Chamber Winds (the band for people who the director can't turn down)
2) Jazz Band (for hardcore band nerds who do band 2 periods out of 4 per day)
3) Wind Ensemble (the band for people who are too good for #1)

As expected, the first group sucked... I mean they were awful. But I was close enough that I got to observe Jonny's law of saxophones in action. That being, "Saxophones are typically quiet, unless they don't know the piece in which case you can't hear them at all except when they get to the part tht they know, which they play really loudly to make up for the rest. And God forbid the saxes like the song, because then you can't hear anyone else at all."

Oh... and yes Jon is in Wind Ensemble but not Jazz Band (when you can take 4 classes/semester each year and you already take band both semesters, taking Jazz Band on top of that for a total of 50% of your education being band is a bit much.) And they were very good. Not as impressive as the Jazz Band, but I enjoyed the performance very much. Oh, and I'm now inspired to go to the high school tomorrow.

And as a non-sequitur for the last note of the evening:

If you had half an hour to prepare for an hour-long presentation on
anything, what would it be and what visual aides (if any) would you use? (My answer comes tomorrow.)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:49 AM

I am the Anti-Grinch

Amazingly enough, I am much more prolific when I have time on my hands with which to write. Isn't that just shocking?

Today my dad and I went and got a Christmas Tree. Apparently things have been fairly busy around here and when you combine that with the fact that my father isn't really all that into Christmas, you get to be about a week before Christmas and without a tree. My mom and I are quite into Christmas, but up until Tuesday I was in Texas and she is doing ESL tutoring and thus isn't available during the day. So, all that to say is the Christmasy types were busy, and the Grinch wasn't inclined to get one. My brothers? Lazy and too busy doing other things.

The whole Christmas season just gets me sentimental. Don't ask why, I don't know. It's just been that way since I was little. I like doing the whole traditional stuff and getting ready for Christmas and decorating and opening up another door on the advent calendar every day and lighting advent candles and the whole nine yards. I guess it's just that my family (dad especially) doesn't really get into that sort of thing. And when you get into a habit of not liking to do much in the way of Christmas, you just don't.

I guess that's just my whining about wanting to enjoy Christmas more than anyone else around me here. And of course, it doesn't make things better that the Christmas season at LeTourneau sets in right at the most hellacious part of the year and thus I really don't have time to enjoy it there. Christmas decorations? Yeah right. Note to self: enjoy Christmas more when you're off on your own.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:49 AM

December 17, 2003

Return of the Cynic to "Reel" Movies in "Reel" Cinemas

I went and saw Return of the King. It was epic. I am going to have to go see it again very shortly. I could nit-pick all of the parts I didn't like or how the plot was improperly followed and details were left out, added and rearranged, but everyone will do that and it isn't necessary. Suffice that I will say that I agreed with Wilson on the sheer patheticness of the light-beam effects in RotK: Gandalf's staff driving back the Nazgul should have looked more impressive than a flashlight and the same goes for Sauron's red-hued flashlight.

On movie adaptations of books as a whole I will say this. A director is much more talented if he can use his limited resources and budget along with the limitations of physics and acting to stick to the plot of an adapted writing than if said director changes things to make it easier to film. What's worse is if a director changes things merely because he dislikes a particular part of a story and wants to make it go another way.

As much as I have loved Jackson's Lord of the Rings, the simple fact of the matter is that Tolkien was a masterful writer and developed a much better story than anything Jackson could do by altering the original. Jackson is less guilty than most directors in that his film sticks closer to the original than is status quo. That said, just about any major change Jackson has made either takes away from the plot continuity or just has a lesser effect than what Tolkien had written. I will grant that Jackson has done marvels with Gollum and also has done marvels with screenplay, but I am not willing to say that merely because Jackson has done well, we shouldn't beg for him to do better.

In any event, that's my bit of whining on that... and I will make one final note that seeing movies in Cincinnati is just so much better than seeing them in Longview because the prices aren't that much higher and the theaters are SO much better. If you ever have occasion to come by, ask me to take you to see a movie at The Rave and you'll see what I mean.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:01 AM

Back to Ohio

For better or worse, I am in Ohio. And today, in about 3 hours, I get to go see Return of the King. And now I shall laugh at all of you who cannot see it today.

In other news, Cincinnati is a great place to go do things late night if you want to go downtown. My brother has been going to University of Cincinnati all semester and knows all of the great places that are open until 4 or 5 am or open 24 hours. I wish Longview was cool like that.

I renewed my driver's license today and now the picture on it transformed from a young-looking teenager to a stoned-looking college student. It's pretty crazy-looking.

Nothing else happening around these parts thus far. Sooner or later, the famed Perkins run will go down again, and I will be relaying stories of goodness and entertainment to all. Until then, feel free to IM me when I get on and I will talk to you as much as I can.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:31 AM

December 15, 2003

At the Brink of Misery...

And now, we are finally at the end of the semester. In fact, we're at the holding period wherein I wish I could just be going home and everything would be right... but it's not.

In the end I really try to believe that God is working this all out for good, but it's so damned hard to see that from in the trenches. Nearly, all of my friends have gone home, leaving me nearly alone in this dorm. I stayed over because I went to a wedding with Anna today that was supposed to have signalled the real beginning of my break and the start of a nice and enjoyable 4-week break together. Sadly, this is not how things are working out.

Said aforementioned girlfriend has fallen victim to mono. As such, it has necessitated a change of plans and is sending her home to Colorado whereas I am still going home to Ohio. So, instead of the nice, enjoyable 3 weeks at Christmas with Anna... I have 3 weeks of wishing I could be with my sick girlfriend who will be 1000 miles away. I'm trying to put a positive spin on this, but it sound hollow and trite.

The fact of the matter is that I've always seen people who try and see the silver lining on the stormclouds as morons. Can't you see that things suck? What's the point in contenting yourself with the paltry pittance that is all you have to be happy about?

But in the midst of all of this, I have to admit that there just really isn't much point obsessing over the abysmal facts of reality. Yes, it really sucks... I know it, you know it, we all know it. But in the end there are only two real options, get over it or don't. And since I plan on getting over it sooner or later, I might as well just get over it now. Granted, the next 3 weeks are going to be misery, but I'm going to make the most of the time I have left here in Longview and I'm going to try and enjoy the company of my friends as much as is possible.

That said, I'm having a really hard time getting over it and moving on. I can stop obsessing... but I'm having a really hard time trying to stop feeling like crap. And this, ladies and gents, is why I had exiled my emotions to Tahiti. They bothered me a hell of a lot less there.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:50 PM

"Christian" leadership...

So yeah... a couple of goofballs from Washington convinced me to join this other guy's forum (note: he is related to the goofballs and lives in the same house with them.) Don't go spamming the thing or anything or I will have to authorize him to hunt you down and kill you. But if you like a good and honest discussion with a very friendly atmosphere, this is a good place.

That said, there was a wonderful thread about this forum called ClayShaker which, from what I understand, is intended to be a fairly positive Christian forum where people can fellowship and enjoy each others' company. Unfortunately, the admin of this forum is a 19-year-old college student with some interesting takes on leadership (read: he would make a good LU admin) which include: deleting posts which upset him and/or challenge the way he administers the board, banning people for doing such things, and construing disagreement about the two aforementioned policies as running afoul of them and thus cause for deleting disagreeing posts and banning users. Granted, from what I understand, policy is not concrete on this and in fact part of the problem is there really is no clear and defined policy and thus the only certainty is uncertain ambiguity.

Now, I normally would stay about as far away from something I know this little about except that the admin is being a power-thirsty moron and people are so fed up with it that they feel the need to discuss it somewhere, just to purge it. So, they went over to this other forum and proceeded to do so, and things were going well and I made one or two posts to try and help clarify what was going on and channel things in a good direction.

Well, as can be expected and even predicted, last night the admin of ClayShaker caught wind of this outpouring and was not happy. He rolled in and linked up this board on ClayShaker to encourage his people to come over and "fight the good fight." To be fair he brought one intelligent person with him whom I was happy to talk with. However, he also brought two morons and he himself was acting the part of a complete and total ass.

So I responded in about the nicest and most contrite way you will ever see the Cynic roll with, and the idiocy just kept on flinging. Now, as predicted, said admin is going to ban all offending parties from his board unless they come back on their knees and kiss up and try to resolve their differences in the dark, in secret. Does this sound to you guys like something LU admin would pull? All I can say is that we need to hire this guy, because he's got all the makings of a successful LeTourneau administrator and he's only 19: wants to resolve all problems in secret, is unbiblical, responds very poorly to admonishment, and just acts like a jackass... oh yeah, and there's no way on earth that he could be
wrong.

All of that said, Cory (the guy whose forum this is) has called a moratorium on this thread for a while to cool it down and hopefully shed the light of reason rather than rampant emotion on it (from the perspective of the reasonable crowd)... so if you go over and read, don't respond to this pile of idiocy. Yes, we know it's there... we're just trying to give it some time so we don't have to drag it out and shoot it like the rabid dog it is.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:45 AM

December 12, 2003

Brain Tests

I finally got around to taking that Brain Test. I was fairly impressed by the accuracy of 25 or so questions.

Auditory :
53%
Visual : 46%
Left : 72%
Right : 27%


Cynic, you are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:14 PM

December 08, 2003

Finals Schedule

My lazy self is just getting around to posting my finals schedule:

Monday:
12:45 PM - 02:45 PM Digital Electronics
08:00 PM - 10:00 PM Only Inklings

Tuesday:
09:45 AM - 11:45 AM Software Systems

Thursday:
09:45 AM - 11:45 AM Numerical Analysis

Other Assignments Due:
Tuesday - 12:00 AM Learning from Leaders (paper)
Thursday - 9:45 AM Numerical Analysis (extra credit program)

Add in that wonderful work shift from 2:30 (or whenever I get out of Digital) until 6 and that will be a ball-breaker of a Monday.

Here's a funny little story if you've been following the SCO vs. Linux debacle. If you haven't it's funny anyways. Not really warped but my mind is too scrambled for warped right now.

Now Playing
Third Eye Blind - Narcolepsy

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:34 AM

December 07, 2003

My Friends Rock

As I sit here thinking that I should REALLY go to bed, I need to put up a quasi-happy post and just say the following: I have the best girlfriend and the best friends ever. I was truly awed by the amount of effort taken on my behalf to take me out to dinner on Friday night and give me a good evening out.

Even in the midst of finals, sickness, projects and the like my friends took me out to dinner in some little town (Jefferson I think) in this nifty little Italian Restaurant with a hotel upstairs. We then proceeded to wander around town for a bit and then drive to Marshall and go to a coffee house where I was treated to coffee and cheesecake (it was good Moore, too bad you couldn't make it) and a rousing game of Scrabble. And as all good Friday nights go, it was finished off by Honors Bible Study.

Thanks to all of you who could come and thanks to those who wanted to and couldn't... I am just honored to have such great people around. You bastards are the reason that I can't just be a cold callous cynic all of the time... :). Now, especially to Wheeler... get better, NOW!

Now Playing
Trapt - Headstrong

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:58 AM

December 05, 2003

Rated R


My life is rated R.
What is your life rated?

Is there any real suprise here?

Now Playing
Godsmack - Voodoo

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:27 AM

December 03, 2003

New Speakers!

Today I went out and bought a new set of speakers to replace my old, jacked-up set that had served faithfully for 2 years. In the end, a power pin sheared off and brought an end to an otherwise-great run.

And then I went from July to December without music or sound. At first it wasn't so bad... I really don't need sound for most of what I do and considering that for the first 2 months after this I was in an apartment with a group of guys who had music to run, I didn't mind. But slowly throughout the semester, I have grown to miss my music. And it has grown into insanity. I have come to miss my music to the point that I listen to music nonstop in the labs (where I have working speakers) and one day last week, I just grabbed my discman and put on the headphones so I could hear music.

In the end I did what I had to do, I took the remainder of my birthday money plus some of my own and went and bought speakers. Italian Leather Sofa never sounded so good...

Now Playing
Third Day - These Thousand Hills

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:42 PM

December 01, 2003

Happy Birthday... to me

Happy Birthday to me... I think. I'm another year older... and I have the worst week ever to have a birthday. It's always right during hell week/finals. I REALLY need a drink... (of water, Doug.)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:57 AM

November 29, 2003

Experiment on "Cold"

I performed an experiment today in response to all of the whining that's been going on due to the "cold" outside. I went back to my room and pulled out all of the clothes that I'm never seen in and went on a walk. Jeans, socks, shoes, sweater, coat... and it wasn't cold outside, not even a little. I don't know what everyone is whining about. The only thing that even bothered me slightly was the cold wind, and so I got out some ear warmers from one of my pockets and all was well. About half-way around the loop, I had to open my coat up becaue I was getting hot.

Update: performed the same experiment this afternoon and walked over to Bodacious... still not cold.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:51 AM

November 27, 2003

Bumming on Break

So... it's been an interesting couple of days and I'm sticking in town for the Thanksgiving break while everyone else is heading off elsewhere. I must say that there is entirely too much work to get done this weekend for me to be burning time and not really doing anything yet... but I do need a break and hopefully I will be able to get everything done that I need to after I get a bit of rest.

Hopefully I will be able to get more up tomorrow... I'm going to take it easy and go to get some food at around 5 at a benevolent professor's house with some friends of mine. Until then, I'll be sleeping, watching football, and maybe doing some work. Until next time... remember: "While there are many trees in the world, goldfish don't like tomato juice."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:10 PM

November 20, 2003

God Wants Us to be Happy

Well, that's enough of the melancholy. And now for some pleasant thoughts... or at least mildly so.

Today in class, Varnell told us that God is happy and God wants us to be happy. In the interest of getting out of class and not strangling the man, I didn't object strenuously. I should have maimed him for that. God is joyful (as in the joy of the Lord) and God wants us to be joyful and content. However, that is not the same thing as happy.

Nothing else particularly interesting on the mind at the moment, except that some jackass was messing with my brother and making fun of his departed friend... so if any of my mildly unethical friends who aren't avowed to be good little computer users want to jack with IP 157.89.184.220, I wouldn't mind. It resolves to an Eastern Kentucky University IP, so it should be fairly stable and mostly on.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Dwarf Tossing Banned (so what, there was a problem with dwarf tossing before this?)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:55 AM

November 18, 2003

The saga of my brother

The saga of my brother continues, but right now it's moreso with him. Most of you are familiar with the fact that all of my compassion put together could fit in a small thimble. The pure reverse is true of my brother. He cares so much that sometimes it scares him that people might take advantage of him and to that end he has a the facade of a cactus. Underneath that cactus, however, is a man who would give the shirt off his back along with his pants to someone who needed them. He's cynical enough and perceptive enough to see through people... but when someone really needs help, my brother is the first person in there to give it.

I'm sure some of you are familiar with the concept of survivor guilt. Now take that, and imagine you could have made several dozen different choices in the hours leading up to a friend's death that might have avoided that death. In light of that, I can't even begin to understand what my brother, who would gladly have given himself in exchange for his friend, must be feeling at this point... and I know it must really suck.

That said, pray for my brother... he's in a really dark place and it's one of those wounds that only God and time can heal.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:16 AM

November 16, 2003

Gorge Accident

Well, I have more information regarding my brother. Here is a news story related to the gorge accident. Talking to my mother, apparently there was underage consumption involved and a friend of mine was the person buying the beer. Now I really don't have a problem with underage consumption provided the person that is buying knows that those involved are responsible and they won't be hurting themselves. However, drinking paired with tall cliffs is NOT a good idea.

That said, pray for my friends who were involved with this. I knew just about everyone involved in this, most of them go to the church that I'm a member at. Two of them had to carry the body at least part of the way out, a task that my brother would have usually undertaken if it weren't such a close friend of his. My brother is VERY traumatized and upset about this and could really use prayer. The friend that bought the beer could be facing legal problems and has had to procure a lawyer, and thus he is also very much in need of prayer.

The circumstances surrounding this pretty much amount to this: my brother has been camping down at the Gorge for about a year. In that time, he has taken many people from the church with him. A lot of people are realizing that this could have been them or this could have been their kids. I'm shook up at the thought that this could have been my brother and at the same time, I grieve for him and know that this has to be unspeakably hard. The guy who died was a very close friend: his only real friend at UC. The two had been going through Young Life leadership training together and spent much time together. This is going to be a very hard couple of months.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:48 AM

November 15, 2003

The Spectre of Death

The spectre of death seems uncomfortably close of late. I just got off talking to my brother and apparently he and some guys went rock climbing yesterday and one of they guys he went with fell to his death. This is coming close on the heels of a wonderful conversation I had with a friend discussing what she would do if the choice came down to either she died or a baby she was going to have died.

You see, I've never really had any real fear of dying myself. I mean, sure, it would suck... but I guess my faith in where I am eternally doesn't let me get really bothered about that. But losing friends, that's the thing that scares me. When Bekah died the summer between Freshman and Sophomore year, it was like a piece of me got ripped out. I knew her for less than a year, and yet she was a close friend and losing her hurt... a lot. I can't even imagine what losing some really close friend or family member would be like.

I guess it just all boils down to this: do I have the faith to get through something like that. I pray that if God would put me in that sort of situation that He would also bless me with the faith necessary to get through it... and at the same time pray that nothing like that comes any time soon. Because I'm not so sure I have that much faith.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:43 AM

October 22, 2003

Fun in Dallas

Well... after trying to find someone to go get Toad in Dallas and failing... I did it myself. Fortunately, I brought good company for the drive and even when I took a wrong turn and got lost, she managed to make things better. Wenches are very handy.

Also, Gallagher has passed the threshold for posts to be included on the links list... not to mention having posted a rather interesting church review of his home church in Sherman, TX. Guess that's one less church I have to visit... and one more little hell-hole town in Texas to stay away from.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:07 PM

October 19, 2003

Fall Break Rocks!

Yesterday was a good day... a very good day. In case you ever doubted, I am the king of corruption. Give me money and power and I will corrupt people and organizations to do my bidding so that I get more money and more power. Just ask Wheeler, I am a ruthless monopolist... Carnegie and JP Morgan have nothing on me. I raked everyone else over the coals and bankrupted competitors and monopolists alike to emerge the owner of the world of Anti-Monopoly.

Oh yeah, and I also bore a bit of witness to a fairly mean game of Risk and played a bit of poker... not to mention taking a nice long walk with my favorite girl... yeah it was a good day. The only real downside was that I didn't get to play D&D and in honor of that, here's a nerdy cartoon in that vein.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:04 AM

October 18, 2003

The Break is Upon Us!

Mmmm.... fall break. Now the million-dollar question is what to do over said break. Obviously, I will be wanting to spend copious amounts of time with The Wench, and some of this will also be spent with those who didn't skip town on me (also including some of the Gallery who don't have blogs and the infamous Martinez.)

There is always the question of what to do in said time... but right now that seems a bit too complicated. After being up for 10 minutes, I think I'll just go back to bed for a while. That seems a bit simpler and more straight-forward.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:42 PM

I Made It... to Bed!

Well... I made it to the weekend. The blissful break weekend. And I'm tired and feeling a tad sick. I'll be going to bed now.

Consecutive Software Systems Classes the Cynic has Dismissed : 3
Cynic's Chapel Credit Count: 28

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:45 AM

October 15, 2003

Attendance Policies Suck

And I think to myself, "Guh, why did I come to class today?" and even as I do that I already know the answer, "attendance policy." The miserable thing about undergraduate study in this sort of environment is that going to class is always a crapshoot. Especially in Software Systems, where you never know if attendance will be taken, if group meetings will be called, or if important assignment-critical information will be distributed. Odds are good that none of these will happen, but by the same token, if a student does miss on one of those critical dates, a volatile explosion on the part of Dr. Varnell is all but ensured and you'll either have to mollify him or take it in the shorts on your grade. And yes, today would be the second day in a row that I've dismissed software systems myself.

And while you're at it, check out this wonderful news post.

Consecutive Software Systems Classes the Cynic has Dismissed : 2
Cynic's Chapel Credit Count: 26

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:46 AM

October 14, 2003

My Current WMD Cache

Updated 15 Oct 2003 2:00 CST

Thank you all for your kind weapons donations. I am now the owner of 10 WMD's and hope to receive more. Thus far I have been gifted with:

Fear Gas Bomb
Donated by A Dark Shadow

Neutron Bomb
Donated by Mad Scientist

mass to energy conversion bombs
Donated by A Librarian

Sunshine supercannon
Donated by Doug

Sunshine Cannon
Donated by Anna

Bombs. Lots and lots of bombs.
Donated by Ross

nuclear fusion devices
Donated by Jon M. Sharpton

Instant Pun Generator
Donated by heh heh heh...

Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Donated by A Concerned Citizen

Hydrogen Bombs
Donated by Blame Jared

The African children will be very pleased by your generousity.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:54 AM

October 13, 2003

Need WMD's!

*shoulders sag*

...so very, very tired... and I don't have the slightest clue why. Maybe it's just that I keep bottling up mental stress and putting it off to deal with a bit later and when I'm swamped with work on Mondays, it all comes crashing down. Or maybe I should just get a bit more sleep... hard to say.

*smacks self awake

On with the program...

Well, that chapel today was all kinds of special. Memo to people who disagree with chapel speakers: the proper way to voice your displeasure is NOT to stand up in the middle of chapel and say so. Even if the speaker is dead wrong and spouting heresy, you just won't get anywhere like that. However, in that vein, I figured it would be pertinent to share that my Mormon name is Johoshua Chevrollette, in case you were wondering.

I would also like to take this chance to thank Jared for pointing me in the right direction to find the little gem on the right (duplicated below):

Donate Weapons of Mass Destruction

Please find it in your heart to donate. The poor starving African children will thank you.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:13 AM

October 10, 2003

I Need a Creative Scam!

I was sitting in class today and pondering about live in general and came to the conclusion that it would be really nice to have a car of my own. The problem here being money. I'm not sure as to the solution as of yet, but I'm thinking that with the help of my clever friends and readership we could probably think up something. I know that there has to be a gimmick, or internet stunt of some variety that hasn't been done that we could do to scam some money together.

Really, I don't even really need a car, I just want us to come up with some scheme to scare a lot of money up so we can go down in infamy with such millionares as the creators of:

1) Pogs
2) Pet Rocks
3) Beanie Babies
4) Slap Bracelets
5) Pez Dispensers
6) Troll Dolls
7) Tamagotches

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:14 AM

October 05, 2003

The Church Hunt Ends Here

Well... today I have yet another edition of "Exploring Longview's Church Scene." This week we went to Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. In the past, the name of this church successfully weirded me out and even in the face of a lot of my good friends going there, I wouldn't go. Then over the summer I went with a lot of the crew that was still in town, at Dunny's prompting I think. This might have been pursuant to going to a wedding there, I can't remember which came first. In any event, I liked it and came to realize that the name wasn't really creepy and in any event, I shouldn't be driven away from a church by the name... especially in light of a really vibrant service and some really good preaching from Father Neil and Jeff Richardson.

Over the summer, Father Neil went on vacation and thus was replaced on a weekly basis by whatever local priest in the parish needed a spot to preach. Sometimes Dr. Watson preached and sometimes Jeff preached, and both were very good. This itinerant preaching varied from really good to really sucky. But the worship was solid and the fellowship good. Thus, after 2 years of on-again, off-again church visitation, I was encouraged to get back to church and thus prompted to do a bit of church shopping in Longview before settling at Saint Mike's... and thus the great exploration began.

Here we are, at the beginning of October and by a series of odd coincidences and interesting timing snafus, we found ourselves at Saint Mike's this morning. I was encouraged and uplifted by the worship, revitalized by the service, and renewed in spirit by the sermon. Neil preached a very good sermon on revival and apparently he's going to be doing a series on this in the next couple of weeks. And I think that this is going to mark an end to the great church hunting extravaganza for at least the immediate time-being. While I'm not 100% satisfied with Saint Mike's, I don't think that it's possible to be 100% satisfied with any earthly church and I really do feel like God is calling me to Saint Mike's. So, I guess that's where I'm going to start showing up every week. Incidentally, I apologize for a lack of any really odd/entertaining tidbits from church this morning... I guess that's the downside of going to a good church.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:04 AM

Morgan and Parents Come to LU

Morgan and her parents came out. And we met them and they met us... and then a lot of us went to IHOP. Nothing really profound except, in the words of Morgan's dad, that blogging is a lot like pergo laminate flooring. For those late adopters, they need to see how things play out before they get in. It was definitely interesting talking to him. Probably moreso than any of the other conversation I had this evening. No offense to everyone else... I was quite pleased to see the turnout, but one of my biggest passions in life is interacting and relating with people and nothing intrigues me more than interacting with someone and trying to find some commonality in which we can relate. Morgan and Julie already have commonality with this ragtag bunch... but I didn't know Jim and he had more or less avoided the LU Blogosphere and thusly I had to do more work in relating to him.

And now comes some puzzling out and around. I've gotten several underhanded comments about my language of late. Nothing overt, nothing condemning, just a little comment here and a little comment there. And it occurred to me that at someone point or another, it had become a crutch. I, the arrogant man of thesaurus, had slipped to using 5 or 6 words to frequently express myself. Not that these words don't have a place in the language within certain context and that their superlative meaning has been lost on me. But I really need to introduce enough variety that each word retains its unique flair and thus when I call someone an ignoramus, a moron, or an idiot, they mean something different than when I refer to someone as a walking experiment on the human condition post-lobotomy or when I call someone a fucking moron, it really takes the cake. That's the inherent problem with humanity right there, familiarity dulls the inherent art of living. If I were to use the same words all the time, even if they were the best words to describe something and perfectly good words, they would eventually lose meaning. That's why we need so much variety and synonymous syntax: so that people continue to appreciate the profundity of what we're saying.

Anyways, all that to say is that I came, I saw and I've returned... and the LU weapons policy is still among the most empty-headed, rash and irrational things that one could have puzzled out to keep students safe. They would be better off wasting their time and resources on putting up armed guards and razor-wire, because there's no way in hell that students are a bigger threat to other students than the social denigrates of South Longview.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:24 AM

October 01, 2003

My HANDS!

Well... that's annoying. And by "that" I mean my hands are swelling up with some manner of evil and itching like the death.

You see, when I was in high school, I went on this mission trip to West Virginia. And there I shoveled sand out of a yard that had been flooded so that the grass could grow green again. But apparently this was the sand of death or had the nasty West Virginia River Disease on it or something, because it caused my hands to break out in hives. I had to get steroids to make said hives go away, but alas... the foolish wench of a pediatrician to whom I went gave me an incomplete steroid regimen and the hives came back with a vengeance. In the end, she was afraid to put me through another regimen and just gave me hand cream.

Because of this unfortunate series of events, the hives never went fully away... just dormant. And so when I'm really stressed out, I'll get about a dozen itchy little red bumps the size of pinpricks on my hands that annoy me a bit and last a day or so.

But this time, I had a bit of physical stress on my body. You see, I sat on the south end of the berm last week and apparently got a bit of poison ivy/oak or something on my back, but it refused to go away and went nuts. Maybe I'm allergic to poison oak... I don't know. But regardless, after about 3 to 4 days of this, my hands started breaking out. And now, they're close to their original horrific glory. Thus I was brow-beaten to go to the doctor today. But fear not, the doctor was good and gave me steroids to ease the itching and get rid of the bumps. I guess now is as good of a time as any to go start lifting...

Oh... on a side note, new warped link for today: Nude Man Carrot (not pr0n)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:58 AM

September 28, 2003

More church-shopping

Well... we did that whole church shopping thing again today. It was fun the first or second week... but it's really starting to get old. Hopefully we have somewhere selected by the end of October... but I'm beginning to doubt it. Maybe my standards are just too high after my church at home, but I am just generally unimpressed by the low-quality exegetics in this area of the world. Granted, the worship is great, but don't you people get it? Worship is the easy part... lots of churches have good worship. Good preaching, solid preaching with depth to it, that's the hard stuff to find. I'll take mediocre worship and a great sermon any day over a great worship and a mediocre sermon. Granted, both are essential. But you can almost always get together with a group of solid Christians and worship together. Good exegetics aren't easily done on your own without years of theological and Biblical training and even then, it's hard work.

On the topic of global politics, you've all known for some time that I hold a special disdain for European Socialism, and contemporary European culture and politics in general. Apparently, there are others who feel that these decisions are rotting away at Europe from the inside. Read this and tell me what you think.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:44 AM

September 22, 2003

Cynic's Hour of Power

Welcome to the Cynic Hour of Power wherein I complete all of the homework due this evening... after procrastinating a bit. I have 3 hours to do the polishing on my story, do a write-up on an as-of-yet unspecified passage and on Four Loves, not to mention some reading for Learning from Leaders. Should be fun... feel free to stop by as the mood strikes you.
Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:49 AM

September 21, 2003

Fall Symphony!

Yes, I know that post wasn't very bitter and cynical. And those of you who want to go congratulate the Wench for her talent, go for it by all means.

I bummed around today and then went to the Longview Symphony. It was fairly good... 3 pieces that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly I can't remember the other two composers, but the middle piece was Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet and it was very well-done. (Aside: Question to Grammar Nazis... How does one punctuate the title of a musical piece?) I got to go with Wilson, Ardith, Moore, his wench, and of course my most beautiful date (yes, it's smarmy... get over it) and we followed the trip to the symphony with dessert (or something like that) at Applebees' with a large number of Bandits and associates. It was good fun and fellowship and all in all a good evening. If only there were more evenings like this with fewer days of work (like Monday) to look forward to. Hopefully I will be able to lay my hands on some good pictures of said event within a week or so. If you're lucky, you might even get a look or I might post one or two.

A parting word to the wise: if you steal something, take good care of it. Especially if it's something that I'm involved with...

*glares meaningfully at parties who know who they are*

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:15 AM

September 20, 2003

Another Day, Another Dollar

Well... another week is done. I really should post more than I do during the week... but you try and come up with interesting posts while you're also trying to balance classes, a wench and the ominous task of being the ubiquitous cynic. The funny thing is, I relaly need to do a bit more of balancing classes. Fortunately, I'm at the 4-week-in mark and I'm doing alright. Problematically, I'm a natural slacker and will skip class and assignments with no real reason at all and I'll get myself in trouble by doing that. Add in a tendancy to rocrastinate too much and a reason to be doing something other than class or homework and I rarely get to work. And that's not good.

So hopefully I'll get on that and get on some backlogged school stuff. At least the job is fine and the rest of my life seems to be sailing along smoothly. And for those of you chuckling about the new, happier Cynic... it really boils down to this. Try staying pissed off or even remotely upset when you're pretty much totally in love and focussed on trying to keep someone else happy. It doesn't work so well...

However, just give me a good reason to be pissed at something and I'll get back to you with a diatribe. Ask the Yellow Jacket monkeys... I'm not done with the evisceration of morons by a long shot, I'm just out of the business of searching out new morons to verbally abuse.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:37 PM

September 07, 2003

Football...

I got to watch a bit of football before I came to work today. I really miss getting to do that and one of these days I'm going to make up for the distinct lack of football in my life that I've been experiencing of late. The problem is that with work on Sunday afternoon and other commitments on Saturday, I hardly have any time at all to watch my favorite sport. Just a thought or two as I watch the box scores for the afternoon develop and start to wonder if I could kick on the game on the projector in one of the labs...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:52 AM

September 04, 2003

Death to Cancun!

Well... I'm back out from under my rock and on the road to recovery. On Sunday night, a good group of us (including The Wench, Moore, Damian, Toad, Ziggy and Sharon (Wench's roommate)) went to the Cancun restaurant on High Street across from Sonic. Don't go there yourself. While the ambiance was unique and the food certainly authentic, all of this was made up for the following day when we all came down ill in some form or another. Some felt midly unwell and others like myself got violently ill. Ziggy even managed to puke all over the place in Statics class and then decided to stick around. He gets the award for great determination (or great stupidity for dragging himself to class in the first place.) On the other hand, Moore, The Wench and I skipped classes altogether.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to come help us go burn down this place, let me know.

And just as a random aside: here's a guy who deserves some sort of award for his remarkable IQ. I hope they just kill him out of mercy to the rest of humanity. And while I know I might be annoyed if I had tomatoes thrown at my car, this response is unacceptable.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:10 AM

August 31, 2003

Pine Crest Bible Church

I'm always amused when I get the chance to go to a new church and muse upon the differences between their way of doing things and the way that I'm used to (along with all of the different ways that I've already run into.) This week, we had the joy of going to Pine Crest Bible Church and boy was it a fun time...

We rolled in a couple of minutes after the service had actually started and thus missed introduction. After what came later, I'm fairly grateful for that stroke of fortune. The singing selection was interesting and conservative (read: hymns), but hey, to each his own. After this, the real fun began as the pastor proceeded to preach from Revelation 18. For the first 20 minutes, I was exposed to this message: "Babylon is materialistic and materialism is bad... materialism is bad... materialism is bad... Babylon is materialistic... materialists will mourn Babylon... materialism is bad."

A fairly sound message, not very well preached and certainly not very deep, but fairly sound nonetheless. Then things got interesting as he proceeded to tell us about the evil demons and evil demonic birds that infested Babylon and went to this passage:
He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all {other} seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
Mat 13:31-32 (NASB)

He then asserted that this passage was referring to the "Mystery Kingdom" which exists between Christ's first and second coming. Ever heard of the Mystery Kindgom? If so, enlighten me, because this was a new and special reference. He then further asserted that the birds were clearly demons living in the time of the Mystery Kindgom. Anybody out there willing to take a hack at this?

While this was easily the most aggregious of the bad exegetics on display today, there were other interesting observations from the sermon, such as "modern pop cultural music" being evil and some more yammering about the demonic birds. I will leave others to review other aspects, but will close in saying that the constant advertising for the evening service on giving was a bit unsettling, especially in the face of this sermon on materialism. That pretty much breaks my cardinal rule on discussing titheing in sermons and the whole guilt-tripping bit and even moreso with the heavy lines about materialism... and encourages me to take myself to a pew elsewhere as if everything else hadn't.

I guess I should have refrained from using the name of the church... but then again, I want you to be warned if you decide that you should go yourself. For a different perspective, Wilson already has a review and I'm suspecting that some of the others with whom I went will as well... sooner or later.

Incidentally, here's the church doctrinal statement (I dug it out of the webpage, the actual provided link is broken.) Would you expect such a train wreck from such an innocent statement?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:20 AM

August 27, 2003

Bud Chapel!

Interesting day thus far. Word of advice: Bud chapels may be boring, but they also contain things to mock him for, without fail. Today was no different as we were exhorted to use integrity in our use of library materials and were likened to lemons with which the University was in the business of making lemonade. Ah yes, and Dr. Carl was positively frightening in his jazz rendition of Amazing Grace.

Analysis of Algorithms with Dr. Baas should be interesting, contrasted sharply by Digital with Dr. Leiffer, which promises to be boring and to start out with a waste of my time and a lot of work. Today I spent 30 minutes being instructed in basic binary. Ardith, Zippy and I came up with things that we'd rather be doing. Sadly, I have no webspace to post the illustrations to, but the list included:

stabbing myself in the eye with a stick
baking
cookies
sleeping
being run over by an old lady
installing windows 98 on a 486

Well, now it's time to go buy some books before the much-accursed bookstore closes so that I might be able to do my homework for the vast array of classes which I am in. Fortunately, I only need the Numerical Analysis book right now... which means I won't be going broke as quickly.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:21 AM

August 26, 2003

Juvenile Antics

Well... the Council is back on campus and life is going fairly good. My meetings went well and it is safe to say that we are back in the business of doing business again. I got to go spend an evening with a bunch of friends and some new Honors people and just generally got to see lots of people whom I haven't seen in a while. And then I returned to my room...

Apparently some of the juvenile idiots on the floor didn't take too kindly to my spending time elsewhere and felt it necessary to show their displeasure in the form of a prank. That's fine, I like pranks... within reason. What I fail to understand is how taking everything imaginable, including clutter and random boxes and papers, and stacking it in my room such that it will take me hours to remove it is even remotely funny. Maybe I just lack the proper perspective... but somehow I doubt it. I am incredibly grateful that my RA and roommate, the man known as Toad, found this as unamusing as I and threatened to fine the hell out of all of the perpetrators if things weren't rectified. Thus, while there is still trash in my room, I am assured that it isn't nearly as bad as it was and I'm sure that the beatings will continue until the crap is gone.

The million dollar question is my response. I mean, I love a good prank as much as the next guy. But I'm also fairly sure that a couple of idiots managed to drag most of the freshmen into this and thus, there really isn't any good response. All I know is that anybody who thought this would make me more likely to stick around the floor at all during the next weeks must be incredibly stupid. If it weren't for my RA and two or three other good guys, this puerile bullshit would be almost enough to convince me to move elsewhere.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:32 AM

August 25, 2003

Registration and Comradery

After sitting through the hell that is registration, it felt good to go harass some professors. It was just about right to be sitting in Dr. Johnson's office with Wilson again. Granted, the office has relocated, but it was still very refreshing. Incidentally, the fate of the universe is going to be resting in the hands of the chosen few once more. It is good to be going back into the school-year.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:40 AM

August 24, 2003

Well... most of the crew

Well... most of the crew is back and the rest returns tomorrow. All in all it's been a good day, especially the whole sleeping in part and spending the day bumming around with Ardith, Moore, and Anna. It will be good to have most of the people who belong here back. Sadly, a few can't return... as is always the case. They will be missed.

Oddly, it would appear that my philosophy on life is changing at least a bit. I am still cynical of humanity, but cannot help but feel that there is something biblically unsound with being cynical of fellow Christians and I know that there is something wrong with being cynical of God. Thus, I am at an impasse with my philosophy. Do I come up with a new name for it, or do I just come up with a modified version and claim to be a sect of mainstream cynicism?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:37 PM

August 22, 2003

Orientation Fun

Check these guys out. That's one ballsy press release to be sure, regardless of the truth to the hype that they're generating.

While I'm at it, I figure I might as well give a general update. The frosh are here, I am tormenting them and there are numerous leads on unwanted souls which I am diligently following up on. Orientation moves along and I warp some and try to talk others out of going, and all in all I am feeling back in my element.

If there are freshmen willing to sell souls, vendors in the market to buy or people interested in getting in a league with the Cynic, get ahold of me. If you don't know where I live, ask for the guy in the cloak. I'm sure someone will be able to give you directions... for a price.

Wise words from Ethan for today:
"To be on a network, use a phone cord you must not."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:52 AM

August 17, 2003

Back in My Room...

Well.... I'm sitting here looking around at a much-cleaned but still very cluttered room and wondering how to deal with it. I'm sure the ideal solution is to open up the 4 or 5 boxes with all of the "assorted paper" in them and discard the unnecessary variety of said paper and merely retain the essential. Then I could go through all of my "assorted crap" and figure out what is needed and what I'll never use and by means of that (along with giving away all of this food that I'll never cook or eat) get down to a smaller quantity of stuff. It's as my parents say, "you get stuff to fill the space you've got."

It's true; after a year in a room by myself I can verify that I've got nearly enough "stuff" (not all of it even really worth keeping) to fill a room. It's going to take some getting used to... this having a roommate and all. But it will be a welcome change. Now off to more cleaning until Toad gets in...

Oh, and here's a link for those who have been missing them: Cat Translator

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:14 AM

Back in the Intellectual Groove

I think I might be finally coming to understand the creative drought I experienced over the summer. It may just be that I'm so used to having all of these great minds to bounce ideas off of. I just might be even more of an extrovert than I think and really need the outside influence to feed off of. I mean, I'm a decent guy for coming up with things on my own, but I just feed off of outside influence. I go from mediocre to just insane with one person to talk to... let alone if you give me a small army. Yes, the Shadow Council is returning to the land of pulpy little minds waiting to be influenced. It gives me goose-bumps just thinking that the army of subversives is going to be back together in just over a week.

Yes, that is a nasty little grin you see spreading across my face...

Maybe we can even do odd stuff like this at LU. On the other hand, there really aren't enough students, and if we started mobbing, the neighbors might decide that it's time to go LA Riot on LU. On second thought... I pass.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:09 AM

August 16, 2003

Refuse to be Manipulated

My motto for the day is: "Refuse to be manipulated." My buddy Stu is the current reigning king in that department. Right now I wish I was as cool as he is. The saddest part of all of this is that the person who would robably be proudest of him won't even be here next week to hear the wonderful story and pat Stu on the back. Wow, that's depressing.

Anyways, here's a song in honor of Stu... (Eagles - Witchy Woman)

Witchy Woman

Raven hair and ruby lips
sparks fly from her finger tips
Echoed voices in the night

she's a restless spirit on an endless flight
wooo hooo witchy woman, see
how high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got
the moon in her eye

She held me spellbound in the night
dancing shadows and firelight
crazy laughter in another
room and she drove herself to madness
with a silver spoon
woo hoo witchy woman see how high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman she got the moon in her eye

Well I know you want a lover,
let me tell your brother, she's been sleeping
in the Devil's bed.

And there's some rumors going round
someone's underground
she can rock you in the nighttime
'til your skin turns red
woo hoo witchy woman
see how high she flies
woo hoo witchy woman
she got the moon in her
eye

(lyrics courtesy of Lyrics.com)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:52 AM

August 15, 2003

I Have Returned!

Still back, tired as ever. Oh yeah, here's a copy of the email I sent to my parents... kind of explains the interaction I have with them as well as the life I lead here. To be fair, I was a bit less than informative as to my travels whilst I was away with the Wench.

It is late, I am tired… so I will be brief. I ended up working from 8 AM this morning to 9 PM this evening with an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner. I ended up working a lab shift among many other things. Thusly, I failed to call this evening. I’m sorry, I’ll try again tomorrow… at least then I get off at 5 and will have time to do that. Calling Gecko and bugging him doesn’t do anything, please leave the poor boy alone.

Take care,

-Cynic

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:24 PM

August 13, 2003

Back in Longview

I am back in Longview. The Panhandle is an ugly place to visit... I don't recommend it unless you have friends to go see or are really intent on going to see Palo Duro Canyon. I went and saw a wonderful play there called "Texas Legacies" which gave me a whole new insight into the screwed-up nature of Texans. I will be reviewing it later this evening.

As far as my "letting" the wench shoot, I really didn't have a choice in the matter, short of physically taking the gun from her... which probably would have gotten me shot or worse. Context: we were staying with Anna's Uncle and Aunt who own a small armory of handguns and offered to let both of us shoot. I really don't think preaching my doctrine of unarmed wenches would have gone too well considering that Anna's Aunt and cousin were both examples of armed wenches. All I can say is that I escaped with my life and without any bullet-holes and plan on living on to do better in the future. You may all rest assured that I will try my best to keep handguns away from the wench to the best of my abilities...

As far as the countdown, I forget what it's counting down to and whatnot. I'll play with it later this evening and do some polishing up and whatnot. Not sure where the plans take me from here, but we'll see...

As to a good beating, bring it. And as to my losing my ability to ridicule wenches... Sez who? Further, where is the basis for my being removed from my divinely-appointed duty?

Disturbed Link of the Day: Cheesesteak Politics?

Done With Vacation :(
Days Until Summer is Over: 4
Glorious Days of Living on 1B this Year : 1 (and holding, pending my return)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:26 AM

August 11, 2003

In Amarillo...

I am no longer in Colorado... I am in Amarillo, Texas. I'm not sure which is worse.... but both are superior to Longview. I'm so glad that I don't have to fess up to having been born in that wonderful place. It's bad enough that I have to come to terms with myself over just spending four years there at college.

Yes, Anna and I are dating. If you hadn't figured that out by now, I'm sorry. More straightforward information and some sort of a formal post will be forthcoming upon my return. And if any of you start commenting, you know the drill. And in case you hadn't read, she took up shooting a handgun tonight and enjoyed it. I'm scared and I'm her boyfriend, imagine how you'll feel if you start making smart remarks. Not to mention that if she doesn't finish you off, I actually have aim.

I really don't have much more to say other than if you get the chance to drive through Colorado, do it. And if you have the chance to drive around West Texas, don't. Oh yeah... dial-up still sucks in Texas as much as it did in Colorado. As crackhead would say...

-Cynic Out

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:41 AM

August 10, 2003

The Work-a-holic

Yes... I am still alive. I am still in Colorado and I leave tomorrow. Sooner or later (Wednesday) I plan to return to Longview. Until such time, I leave you to your own devices and to the knowledge that I have some really vicious disturbed links to put up upon my return.

Oh yeah, and the sadist in me keeps giggling at the thought that there is going to be a record influx of freshmen and I get to try and corrupt them all. Do you really want to see the Cynic become a work-aholic? Because it's about to happen... after all, spreading corruption and the seeds of discord is a full-time job.

*cackles maniacally*

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:39 AM

August 09, 2003

Lake City is Cool... Unlike Dialup

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: Dial-Up Internet

Well, here I am safe and sound in the wonderful state of Colorado. Anna's family lives in this wonderful town called "Lake City" which should be renamed to the "Remotest Outpost of Nowhere in Colorado". It's a beautiful area and very amusing and quaint, but the fact that dial-up is required because high-speed fiber into town has been resisted by the denizens of said town should tell you something. Their further insistance that the last thing they want their town to be is like Teluride should pretty much tell you all of the mindset that you need to know: archaic, quaint and determined to stay that way.

Incidentally, the area up here is very beautiful. If it weren't for this primitive tourist trap of a town and its related astronomical prices, I would really find nothing wrong with it. Granted, it's 2 hours from anything that could be remotely referred to as "civilization" and 5 hours from a major city, but it is really a nice place. This is the kind of place you could have a summer vacation house if the people weren't so militantly backwards.

Due to the increasing frustrations of trying to do anything in the neighborhood of good posting on this computer and a lack of access to my normal faire of disturbed linkage, I anticipate that I will be hit or miss on disturbed links until I get back to 1B.

Disturbed Link of the Day: What Women Really Want (warning, 1.7 Mb file)

Days Of Vacation Left: 5
Days Until Summer is Over: 15
Glorious Days of Living on 1B this Year : 1 (and holding, pending my return)

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:53 PM

August 06, 2003

Gone to Colorado!

Here's the deal. I'm packing up and should have already probably left. So here's the stats and some links or something and then I'll talk when I have time to and stuff. And I'm going to count days lived on 1B as how many nights I have spent in that bad up there over my head (it's a system for counting, inaccurate but it'll do.)

Disturbed Link of the Day: Inkblot Passwords?

I'm Gone Again!
Days Until Summer is Over: 17
Glorious Days of Living on 1B this Year : 1

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:33 AM

August 05, 2003

Moving Back Home

Well... more stuff is moved up to 1B and it should be ready for occupancy as of tomorrow. I could actually move my computer up there and live there now, but I'm going to abide by the school rules and whatnot and just move everything up there and wait to actually live up there until after this next weekend.

I'm pondering the fairly good odds that I won't be able to update to my blog daily whilst I am out of town in Colorado... and I guess I'm ok with that, as much as I'd really rather have my updates going up daily. After all, wouldn't it be better to take that time off and enjoy a good vacation? With luck, I might even keep good records and post them after the fact...

Well, it's time for sleep so that I will be able to do my moving tomorrow. I'll talk at you all soon.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:11 PM

I Claim this Land!

I'm up here and I've more or less moved in. I now claim the title as the first Bandit back to 1B for this year and demand obeissance for my accomplishment. Yeah... and I'm pretty sure I'm the first one back in Tyler period.

RAH!

Incidentally, as the countdowns go, I leave tomorrow to stay in Fort Worth with Caleb and then depart for Colorado the following morning and due to the fact that I'm back on 1B, I'm not on the count for Apartment.

36 Days Lived in a Shitty Apartment!

Disturbed Link of the Day: Stupid Person's Guide to Life (thanks Gecko)

I'm Gone Again as of Tomorrow!
Days Until Summer is Over: 18
Glorious Days of Living on 1B this Year : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:19 AM

August 03, 2003

The Loft Lives!

Tired now... must sleep. Got loft put up in my room in Tyler and will finish shoring it up tomorrow. I'm very much looking forward to moving back in...

Will post more details tomorrow...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:52 AM

O'Hare Sucks

The Cynic Will Exact Vengeance Upon: O'hare International Airport

Well.... I'm back. I got in yesterday more or less on time, no thanks to American. My flight from Dayton left late enough that they bumped me off of the connecting flight from O'hare to Dallas, even though I made it to the gate with a minute or two left to spare. Bastards... leaving me in freaking O'hare like that. The worst part was that the delay was due to a new traffic regulation system that they have for flying into O'hare so that they won't have congestion. We sat for 20 minutes on the ground after a 10-minute delay, waiting for the air traffic control clowns to clear us.

This would be twice now that I have had problems flying through O'hare, although as my single-serving friend on the flight from O'hare to Dallas pointed out, any problem that merely results in a delayed arrival in the same day is just a minor problem. Any problem that just results in inconvenience of having to hurry though airports (which is what happened to me) is merely that, an inconvenience. The fun stuff is when you get delayed overnight or they lose your luggage or temporarily misplace it for a week or two.

Anyways, all that said, it is much better to be in Longview and not flying around the entire country. Although, I'm doing more of that flying around stuff later this week... but I really don't think it'll be so bad seeing as that I won't be going through O'hare.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Get Paid to use Bad Software

Days Until I'm Gone Again: 3
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 35 (and sadly, counting again)
Days Until Summer is Over: 20
Days Since it Last Rained : ??

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:42 AM

August 02, 2003

Picking Up a Following

Hmmm.... I'm getting new responses every now and again from people whom I don't know or whom I have seen commenting elsewhere on Jonathan's blog or something. Granted, I love that people are reading my blog and I haven't been dragged out and flamed (yet) but I am also insatiably curious. If you are reading this and you aren't an LUser, be a good little lad or lass and leave a comment on who you are and how you found my blog. For instance, I am a college student at LU and I found this blog by being the author. I also linked through Shem who is a friend of mine from school.

Obviously, LU admin isn't going to fess up to actually reading a blog... that would be all kinds of balls and stuff and coming out from behind the smoke and mirrors. But for the rest of you, I'd love to hear how you are getting to me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:25 PM

Flying Back to TX!

Alright, I'm flying out this morning to go back to school... home if you will. Stark contrast from two weeks ago where I wanted nothing less than to be on the end of the flight and I wanted the flying to drag on forever. This time, I'm ready to be done already. I'm going to try and sleep all the way home. Mmm... it's odd to call Longview home.

And here's an odd quote from my friend Tim about a girl named Julia... "She's short... I could hit her with things, like cereal"

Disturbed Link of the Day: "Armed" Robbery?

I'm Flying Home Today!
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 21
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:34 AM

August 01, 2003

Perkins, Take 2

Went out to dinner with the crew tonight.... at Perkins. Sadly the service was much better than last time, as I would have greatly enjoyed setting the crew to work subversively. As it was, the crew did some overt damage and nearly got us kicked out by exploding a half-and-half container everywhere. Note to self: bring a more tightly-controlled crew to cause mayhem.

Outside of that, we hit bowling earlier on in the evening and I proved that I suck 90% of the time at it. I didn't even break 100... it was bad. Before that I had dinner with the good friends of the family and bummed around. It was a very good end to a very restful vacation. Now I'm just ready for it to be over with...

Disturbed Link of the Day: Optical Illusion (thanks to my little brother Jonny... best known to all of you as the source of the gargling sand joke)

I'm Back at School Tomorrow!
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 22
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:55 AM

July 31, 2003

Cincinnati Tour Service

Mmmm.... great day. I got up fairly early and dropped my little brother off at work at Kroger (my former and favorite employer.) After that, I headed back and bummed around and scared up some coffee. Jenny got up and we chatted for a while and headed downtown.

Yes, I am the cheapest bastard in the world and I went and parked at Family Dollar in Covington so I wouldn't have to pay for parking. Wandering around the city for a while was fun and we got to see all of the wonderful baseball-themed art. Jenny also got to see a street named after Pete Rose and several signs about him. She had been curious earlier as to how I even knew who this guy was. Ignorant wenches...

We also got to hit Half-Price Books and Barnes & Noble on the way back before she had to cut out. It sure was a lot of fun showing someone around the place and getting to have a friend in town. I ought to do more of that... when I'm in town myself, that is.

After Jenny left, I picked the little brother back up from work and proceeded to go to a softball game and then bum around with Tim. We spent what should be nearly the last couple of hours working on Dan's computer and then went out to get a late night snack at Applebees'. Again, for the umpteenth time this vacation, I was cursed with a bad waiter.

At least this time, the problem was just that the guy was a rookie. But boy, was he a rookie. Granted, I'm a fairly demanding customer. But come on, 3 refills in 45 minutes? Ridiculous! To make matters worse, he jacked the checks all up, took forever and was never there when you wanted him. He also repeatedly forgot little things like napkins and kept bringing back the wrong drinks. In the end, we tipped him $1 on a $15 tab. Not too shabby considering we were going to just leave 50 cents until we started feeling bad for him.

That's all the news for the day... tune in tomorrow for the last day on sabbatical before the return to Texas.


Disturbed Link of the Day: Bury Me In a Pet Cemetery (thanks Wilson)

Days Until I'm Back at School: 1
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 23
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:21 AM

July 29, 2003

Being a Bum...

I really do love being on vacation... today I did more or less nothing besides bumming around. I helped some friends move stuff, played wiffleball(sp?), went to a church softball game and went swimming with my brothers and some friends from the church youth group. Tomorrow promises to be more of the same with some friends and bumming around the city. I'm thinking we might go wander around downtown, go hit the Loveland castle for Jenny's benefit and go get some coffee. Long and short is that I have half a week left of vacation and plan to stick to slacking.

For my own benefit and yours, a list of things that one should do while in Cincinnati:
1) Go to Skyline
2) Go to a Red's Game
3) Eat Graeter's Iced Cream
4) Drink Jones
5) Eat at Panera (they're everywhere, but it's still good)
6) Go to the Books in Shandon
7) Eat at White Castle
8) Visit Union Terminal
9) See Fountain Square

Incidentally, Damian is updating his blog again (after a year away) and it's very amusing. I suggest you go check it out... especially the wonderful story of the ineptitude of our very own Physical Plant.


Disturbed Link of the Day: Text-Message Divorce?

Days Until I'm Back at School: 3
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 25
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:18 AM

July 26, 2003

Presentation Done...

Got that crazy powerpoint thing done. I think I'm going to burn it to a cd, take it back to Texas and fix it and finalize it on my own computer. A gig of RAM OWNS 256 mb. Oh yeah, and laptop interface sucks.

Aside from going to church today, I went to a party for an old friend from church whom I rarely get to see anymore. It's kind of sad that we so rarely see each other, but she's doing really well and I'm really glad for her and proud of her. Yes, you heard that correctly... people who I've known that long tend to get a bit of "happy treatment" from the Cynic. Just don't go expecting any for yourself, after all I'm a stingy bastard who doesn't give out handouts.

Anyways, so that's that... and I'm looking forward to a visit from Jenny later this week. Hopefully that will help burn through these last couple of days here before I get out to go back to school.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Bowling For Columbine (thanks Anna)

Days Until I'm Back at School: 5
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 27
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:10 AM

July 25, 2003

Why is the rum gone?

Why is the rum gone?

Rum is good That's what I'd like to know! This bottle is empty...

brought to you by Quizilla

Well... I just jumped on Moore's bandwagon and took the "Why is the rum gone?" quiz. I hate people who make quizzes that won't show you all of the results... but other than that it's a rather amusing and fairly good quiz.

I got up at a decently early hour today and went to bum around with my parents. Since I'm very rarely home and spending time with them, they even offered to go do the stuff that I wanted to do... which was pretty cool. First, we went up to this cool bookstore in a nearby little podunk town called Shandon. I bought $45 worth of books there (including another copy of The Prince for only $.50) and could have easily bought $100 more. Jonathan and Dr. Johnson would have loved the place... so many quality primary-source books and older histories. Stuff that a library as old as LU's should have but doesn't. You would think that if the LU library doesn't specialize in new stuff and has lots of old stuff, at least it would be good old stuff... and you'd be wrong. The LU library specializes in three things: being quiet, being vacant, and just sucking.

After that we went out to this cool little castle that some crazy old WW1 veteran built out in the middle of Loveland (another little town in the middle of Ohio.) I think he essentially built it because he thought it was cool (logic I can't disagree with) but his stated reasoning was something like this:
America is going to hell in a handbasket (note: the year is 1927) and something must be done, therefore I will re-establish the order of King Arthur and get a group of "knights" together to uphold this code of honor. All knights need a castle to be proper knights, thus I will build a castle.
Personally, I would have just stuck with "castles are cool... living in one would be even cooler... thus I will make a castle to live in." But hey, that's just me... and I wasn't the one educated in France so maybe that's the difference.

Anyways, now I'm back home scanning more pictures to finish up this powerpoint presentation and looking up some new and creative ways to spend money. Don't enjoy the disturbed link too much...


Disturbed Link of the Day: BANG! BANG! BANG! (thanks Stu)

Days Until I'm Back at School: 6
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 28
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:42 AM

July 24, 2003

Being a Bum...

Another wondeful day of vacation wherein I got up at the bright and early hour of noon after going to bed at 2 am. You all wish you were this lucky (except David, who has been doing this all summer.) I woke up to a fresh pot of coffee being brewed and generally being left alone for the first 10 minutes of being up. Granted, this is less time than I like being left alone, but when at home with my two brothers and parents there is only so much one can demand. Plus, it was only my mom and she usually demands little in the morning, especially when I've just gotten up.

Anyways, reading blogs I am once again reminded that people shouldn't start arguments with people like Jonathan if they're not willing to back up said arguments with anything other than empty rhetoric, strong words and the occasional insult. I tried to get the perma-links and it failed... so used the link to the pages instead.

Incidentally, I'm about fed up with Blogger permalinks. It's going to be stab time here really soon. I'm thinking that as soon as I can get back to my room to cancel my Camelot account, I'm going to start channeling the resulting cash towards payments for webspace and setting up a blog and a page out on the open 'net.

I'll probably be sitting here all afternoon scanning pictures and the like, so holler at me if you're so inclined.

Disturbed Link of the Day: "Star Wars Kid" Sues (here's the actual video)

Days Until I'm Back at School: 8
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 4
and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 30
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:48 AM

July 23, 2003

Perkins

The Cynic and His Crew Exacted Vengeance Upon: Perkins

Last night my best friend, youngest brother and I had the joy of going out to eat at the local Perkins. I had a nagging thought in the back of my head that this might not be the best idea ever considering that the last time I had been there the service hadn't been so hot. Regardless, just about all alternatives for late-night dining were closed and so we went. In hindsight, we should have gone to Big Boy.

We knew it was going to be an interesting night when the greeter started talking. He seriously sounded like he was taking estrogen supplements and was about 40 years old and female as opposed to late-20s to early-30s and male. The demeanor and carriance indicated that he was an incredibly out-of-place (and out-of-costume) drag queen. The cognitive dissonance was such that I couldn't stop glancing back over at him every time he talked, but I wouldn't say that it really bothered me. The same could not be said for my companions who couldn't stop giggling every time he talked... which provided for amusement as our dining experience consisted of 2 hours of mostly waiting. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We were seated and the waitress arrived about 15 minutes later... wonderful. We placed our orders and waited another 15 minutes for my coffee and their waters to actually show up. Mind you, Perkins coffee is toxic and I really didn't feel like coffee especially, but the trick is that when you get coffee you also get a pot of coffee to keep yourself going. So about 20 minutes later, I still had half a pot of nasty coffee that needed four sugars per cup to make it drinkable, but my counterparts were out of water.

Now, when this particular little motley crew feels neglected and ignored by the server, boredom kicks in and destructiveness is the rule. After I had used all of the sugar at our table in my coffee, it was decided that the sugar should be replenished... with the salt. That accomplished, Tim took a little single-serving creamer and squeezed it into a cup, wherein it practically exploded. Eyes bright with excitement, he and Jonny each grabbed a creamer to replicate the process on the underside of an adjacent table. Yes, I know, it was destructive and juvenile. I already told you that... but we were bored and had been there for the better part of an hour without so much as a whiff of our food and only 2 visits from the waitress (1 to get our orders, 1 to deliver our only round of drinks.)

So, an hour and a half in, our food arrived. And it was cold and terrible. How you make someone wait for an hour and a half for cold food I'm not sure, but we choked it down and the quality was reflective of our experience up until that point. And, yes, it was still go time. Perkins had invoked the wrath of the vengeful diners and there would be no getting out of it by serving us bad food in an untimely manner! The syrup was tempered with Tobasco, the Tobasco with salt and the surrounding environs were decorated with a coat of creamer, delivered in a manner most satisfactory to the erstwhile painters. I will note at this point that I did none of this, I merely made suggestions. I do have some level of decency, my best friend a lesser level, and my youngest brother virtually none.

Unfortunately, at some point we ran out of ammunition. Having destroyed every condiment within 2 tables of our own and growing anxious of discovery, we began casting anxiously about for our waitress. And after another 15 minutes or so of that, I went hunting for her to demand my bill. We'd been here for over 2 hours at this point and my companions were threatening to take things to the level of physical demolition at this point. After a 5-minute trek through the restaurant and another run-in with our lost drag queen, I found the waitress and managed to get her to give me my bill.

I should take this moment to note as an aside that I know how hard food service is and that late-night dining restaurants are a poor combination of terrible customers, bad understaffing and useless help. And really, I could see that our waitress was being overworked to the extreme last night, but I began to suspect that part of this was a simple lack of caring. I mean, really, if you aren't going to at least try and get back to me with water 15 minutes after I request it, your tip will suffer.

In the end, we vastly over-tipped by leaving a dollar tip (mostly out of guilt on my part) on a $25 tab and left. Jonny half-heartedly suggested lighting the place on fire but I really couldn't see what good that would do beyond forcing the owner to actually put money into the place. As we sped off into the night, I vowed never to return there if for no other reason than they might have figured out who added Tobasco to every syrup server within our section. Yes, it was immature but it was also 2 am and we were getting no service at all... what do you expect from a group of two bored college students and a bored high schooler?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:48 AM

Busily Scanning Pictures...

Well, at least I've got something to do to keep me busy for a couple of hours tomorrow. My brothers went with the church youth group on a retreat and they're doing a picture slide-show on Sunday. My return to town has prompted people to remember that I am a technologist and that I can set up this sort of thing on a computer and run it through a projector. Thusly, I have been nominated to scan several hundred pictures tomorrow and set up said presentation for Sunday. Should be interesting anyways.

Now if only I had webspace to put some of said pictures on to amuse you all...

Just incidentally, I think that humans have something to learn from this beetle. We have a long way to go before our society is that advanced.


Disturbed Link of the Day: The Mythical State

Days Until I'm Back at School: 9
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 31
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:28 AM

July 22, 2003

New Sandals!

Shopping went more or less without incident due to the fact that I wasn't really feeling up to shopping and thusly I was more in a hurry to get out than ever. In my haste, I still managed to note several teenaged girls who were working through the same rack of clothes for the entirety of the hour or so that I was there. In that time I managed to get new shorts, shirts, button-down shirts and two new pairs of sandals whilst they managed to find and discard one or two racks of clothing... from what I could tell. Maybe there's some precise science at work there.... I doubt it.

Being home is really starting to bore the piss out of me and even moreso that I really don't feel like being in town. The larger curse is that between reading books like a madman, watching movies and goofing around on a computer, I still can't manage to keep myself distracted. It may just be that I'm not very good at being an introvert when I'd like to be around people and am so used to having people around. After all, at school there's always someone to go do something with and I rarely have to just kill time by myself. I miss that and want it back.

Anyways, enough about my being a pathetic excuse for an introvert... here's the link and the stats.


Disturbed Link of the Day: Ode to Bad Commercial Art

Days Until I'm Back at School: 10
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 4
and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 32
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:09 AM

July 21, 2003

I Need to Sleep In!

I went to bed at 3 am last night after going out with my friend Tim to see a movie and bumming around and talking with him until 2 am or so. The general plan was that due to the sleep defecit created by getting up for work last week and perpetuated by a 6 am wake-up for travelling followed by a 8 am wake-up for chuch, I was going to sleep until I woke on my own. Sadly, this was not to be.

At 9 am this morning I was shaken awake by my mother and informed that she had rescheduled my dentist appointment (formerly scheduled for when I was going to be out of town) to this morning and that I needed to get up to be at the dentist's in an hour. Granted, she had just asked them to get me a cancellation and she had been informed only an hour before myself... but still. I REALLY hadn't wanted or planned on getting up before about noon today and thus was in a fairly grumpy and tired mood. To make matters worse, after speeding to make a 20 minute drive in 10 to make said appointment, they were 15 minutes late on my appointment. Stupid dentists... at least I didn't have any cavities.

Oh, and this evening was made eventful by referring to a "dumbass idea" as I was distracted and who should hear me say this but my mother. The sparks flew my way and I quickly and sheepishly apologized. I really need to get my brain focused on keeping me out of harm's way while I'm at home; this would have never happened in high school. Anyways, check out the jacked up link and thank the Good Lord that you live in America (unless you don't and then pray that you might be delivered here.)

Disturbed Link of the Day: British Judges Suck (c/o Wilson)

Days Until I'm Back at School: 11
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 33
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:05 AM

July 20, 2003

Church at Home!

I got to go to my home church today. I keep forgetting what good preaching I have at home. While the worship can be a bit lacking from time to time, it's mostly good and even when it's a bit skimpy, the sermon more than makes up for it. I really have loved Saint Mike's, I just wish that they would find a permanent priest and that he could preach well. The problem now is that they're getting every guest priest in the diocese and some of them are good preachers and some of them preach the worst 5-minute homily ever.

My brothers get back from their church trip today and that should be interesting. I've really missed them and look forward to spending some time with them. As I've referenced in the past, my parents have been split for over a year and need prayers. It looks like they're really trying to work on getting back together and have gone to a shrink and all of that, so ongoing prayer is greatly appreciated. All that to say is that it's really good to be home and I just hope that things are going to work out in my immediate family so that I can feel comfortable coming home again.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Birds of a Feather

Days Until I'm Back at School: 12
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 34
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:17 AM

July 19, 2003

Homeward Bound...

I do believe this is the second time I've left for home and really not been looking forward to anything other than the return. It should be a good two weeks, but I really just don't want to leave for two weeks. Incidentally, it's morning and I'm tired... but at least I can sleep on the plane.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:31 AM

Done Flying for Now...

Well... I'm back home. Aside from stupid mechanics and the fact that my ride was held up on her way to the airport by traffic for an air show, it was a fairly uneventful trip.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Relationship Gone Horribly Wrong

Days Until I'm Back at School: 13
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34 and holding
Days Until Summer is Over: 35
Days Since it Last Rained : who cares?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:18 AM

Fly Away...

I did the work, I'm about to do the packing... and then I'm out of here as of bright and early this morning.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Liberian Soldiers in Drag (courtesy of Wilson)

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 34
Days Until Summer is Over: 36
Days Since it Last Rained : 5

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:33 AM

July 17, 2003

Tired of Vacation

Well ladies and gents... 3 hours of work and some packing and cleaning stand between myself and a 2-week vacation. I am definitely going to enjoy my two weeks off from work and the ability to bum around like a champ, but I wish that it could be with all of my fellow Bandits and Honors comrades. Anyways, all that to say is that I'm tired and beat down and ready for a vacation from work but I'm getting tired of vacation from my friends.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Old Man Can't Drive

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 33
Days Until Summer is Over: 37
Days Since it Last Rained : 4

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:29 AM

July 16, 2003

Texas Shakespeare Rocks!

I went to Kilgore College to see the Texas Shakespeare Festival's performance of "Comedy of Errors." It rocked... I think I might even pay $20 again to go see it if I wasn't going home this weekend. If you have the chance, I definitely recommend checking it out. Not a whole lot went on today besides that: work or otherwise... I just hope to get the rest of my work (or at least a good chunk of it) done tomorrow so I can be off on Friday.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Naked Paintball?

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 32
Days Until Summer is Over: 38
Days Since it Last Rained : 3

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:57 AM

July 15, 2003

Blogger Still Hates Me!

Well... it would appear that Blogger doth not love me as I attempt to load my page tonight... And as it prepares to rain outside, I would remind Anna that it doesn't rain in East Texas in July.

Disturbed Link of the Day: 2-inch Waist Corset (blocked for no reason I can discern)

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 31
Days Until Summer is Over: 39
Days Since it Last Rained : 2

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:48 AM

Trying to Wake Up...

I don't know what's gotten into me, but it seems as though I need more and more sleep of late. Last night i went to bed around 12:30 and got up at 10. This is after 4 or 5 days of getting 8+ hours of sleep. I hope I'm not turning into the narcaleptic Gecko.

Here's something to amuse you as I head off to work... it seemed to be the kind of comic that befits a man of my outlook on life.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:29 AM

July 14, 2003

Got Wench?

Alright, so I've had this great idea for a long time and I think I can now manage to afford it and set it up using Brunetto T-Shirts.

The general gist of the idea is to make a t-shirt with "Got wench?" printed on the front of it in the same font of the "Got milk?" ads. Now all I need to do is dig up the font and do some sampling with it to figure out how I'd like it to look. Incidentally, minimum order is 10 and while I'd love to have 10 of these shirts, the cost might be a bit much. It's looking like the cost per shirt will be under $10, so if you're interested in getting in on some of these wonderful shirts, let me know.

A note on the disturbed link: at first glance the page just looks a tad odd, not disturbed. But take a closer look and you'll realized that just about every frog looks smacked out of his respective mind and there are also several products that could easily double as shot-glasses and bongs.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Lilly Pad Store

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 30
Days Until Summer is Over: 40
Days Since it Last Rained : 1

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:54 AM

July 13, 2003

Good Day!

Moore has a great disturbed link up. Go check it out.

It's been a fairly good and pleasant day, even by my standards: good food, good friends and good fun.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Woman vs. Cockroach

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 29
Days Until Summer is Over: 41
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:45 AM

July 12, 2003

Is Summer Beating You Down?

To those of you whose asses are being kicked by the summer, let me offer you this bit of encouragement. Today is 7/12

Assuming you are coming back for IMPACT, (I think) you have to be back on 8/14. Assuming you are not, you are back 8/24 (if you follow the rules.)

According to this math, you personally have anywhere from 33 to 43 days before you are back here... which is just over a month. Assuming you want to come back a bit early, I will find somewhere for you to stay* until you can check in... you have my word. Lest you think this bit of empathy and kindness is out of the ordinary, allow me to explain:

Last summer, I was ready to be done before the summer even started. My dad moved out in March and the last place I wanted to be was at home dealing with this. Within the first couple of weeks at home, word came back that Rebekah Gamwell, a good friend of mine, had died in a car accident. I never did find a well-paying, steady job: I settled for temp agency work and Kroger, often going for a week or two between jobs. In short, summer sucked hard.

So if you're just ready to be done with summer, or if it's beating the living hell out of you, let me know. We'll see what we can do for you.*

*Note: These housing arrangements shall be in no way construed to be anything less than in full compliance with LeTourneau University policy and will be in only those places sanctioned by Residence Life Staff, the Trustees, Bud, and the Pope.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:18 AM

I Make a Better Despot...

I tried taking Wilson's What Western Ruler Are You quiz. Problem is, I really don't get anyone whom I even remotely resemble. I guess I just wouldn't make a successful Western Ruler... I don't have enough optimism or trust in people. I think I'd make a better totalitarian...

I've been thinking about the coming year and stuff and I'm realizing more and more that I'm going to realy miss having Cowboy around. Last year during Philosophy of Death, it was talking with Cowboy for an hour after class and getting all of the related stress out of my system that enabled me to take that class without turning into a homicidal maniac. This spring, wandering with
Cowboy and talking with him was one of the greater pleasures of the semester. He seems to have a unique perspective on life that agrees with mine and yet is
completely different. I could really use that refreshingly insightful perspective right about now...

Disturbed Link of the Day: Stonehenge and Sex?

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 28
Days Until Summer is Over: 42
Days Since it Last Rained : 3

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:16 AM

July 11, 2003

It's Late... But It's Here!

Well... I'm back late again, but before I sleep I guess I'll do the disturbed link... I can't let down the peoples.

Disturbed Link of the Day: It's Raining Electronics

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 26
Days Until Summer is Over: 44
Days Since it Last Rained : 1

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:55 PM

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Well... it's Friday. A happy day, a glorious day, and a day that I didn't work a single minute. Fun times. This is what summer is about: bumming around, doing nothing, chilling out with friends and enjoying life. I just wish I could get payed to do this rather than painting.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Brides For Sale

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 27
Days Until Summer is Over: 43
Days Since it Last Rained : 2

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:42 AM

July 10, 2003

Two Warped Links!

You'll note that due to my late return to my apartment last night, you were deprived of yesterday's link of the day. Fear not, you will get two this morning to make up for it and then the usual this evening. Oh, and Edge weekend is this weekend for those of you who care about such things.

Disturbed Links of the Day:
A class I wish LU offered
Topic for a new Honors history elective

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 25
Days Until Summer is Over: 44
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:32 AM

July 08, 2003

Rough Times at Phys. Plant...

You know it's going to be a rough day when you're just waking up and looking for something on your computer only to stop for a second and realize that you've never had that file - it was just in a dream last night. Alright, so nerds dream about computer stuff sometimes, so shoot me.

At least I'm not dreaming about chess anymore... usually...

Update: It's lunch time... I just worked Grounds Crew all morning and I'm hot, sweaty, tired and staring in a blank stupor off into space.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:30 AM

Disturbed Links for All!

It would appear that Wilson has taken to posting disturbed links on his own now. Hey, more disturbed links are better. Even Ardith got in on the action the other day. This pleases me and makes me happy... in a sick and sadistic kind of way.

Note: Blogger perma-links are kinda screwy... the post referenced should appear at the very top of your browser window.

Before someone beats me to the punch on Hulk...

Disturbed Link of the Day: Hulk Doll upsets parents

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 24
Days Until Summer is Over: 45
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:09 AM

July 07, 2003

Flight Plans Finalized

Well, I've gotten most of the to-do list that I had to get done out of the way today. My flight plans to Cincinnati are set up, my check problems with the Business office are cleared up, my vaccination paperwork is filed with the nurse, and the ball is rolling on my registration.

Incidentally, I'll be leaving 7/19 and returning 8/2. If I bother formatting the html so that it looks right in blogger, I might even post my itinerary.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:57 AM

July 05, 2003

4th of July Fun!

Well, due to a lack of anything else interesting around here and a good offer by my roommate D, I went up to visit his family about 20 minutes north of town. They fed me home-made brisket, barbeque beans and sausage.... it was REALLY good. I can't help but wishing my mom lived a bit closer after a visit like that. Afterwards we bummed around and shot off some fireworks and then went to Ore City to watch the fireworks. I have to admit, they weren't a big city production, but they were top-notch for a little town and much better than I had anticipated. If I'm ever in town for the 4th again, I'm going back to Ore City.

Incidentally, I think I'm going home for two weeks at the end of the month to whom it may concern. Where I go from there is anyone's guess, but two weeks is about the limit that I can stay at home and still feel like I'm visiting rather than becoming re-assimilated. This may be a good or bad thing, but this summer I really don't feel like going home to stay, so to speak.

I will comment on the disturbed link as if you are female and/or one of my more gentle readers, you really shouldn't go to this link. And if you do, don't say I didn't warn you...

Disturbed Link of the Day: Why The Sea is Salty

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 20
Days Until Summer is Over: 49
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:08 AM

July 03, 2003

The Shot is Done...

This guy has quite possibly the best job ever.

And this guy's blog never ceases to amaze and amuse me every time I read it.

Incidentally, the shot went off without a hitch short of my bleeding all over my shirt immediately afterwards. I highly recommend the Gregg County Health Clinic to anyone in or near Longview who needs shots. The shots are free and the people who give them are very good at what they do.

Disturbed Link of the Day: The Crystal Children

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 19
Days Until Summer is Over: 50
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:53 AM

July 02, 2003

Donate to Fix Cars!

If your summer job is providing you more cash than you usually see during an entire school year, take some time and a few bucks to donate to repairing Dunny and Hellmuth's cars. Oh, and if you have any information on the "glue-sniffing asshole" I'm sure Dunny would love to hear about it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:55 AM

No Shot for Me... Yet

Here's an idiot to euthanize.

I worked a full 8 hours today and tried very hard to get a tetanus shot. Unfortunately, shots are only available at the Gregg County Health Clinic from 12:30 to 4 and I got there are 4:30. So I guess it's not 8 hours tomorrow... oh darn (hear the sadness in my voice.)

Disturbed Link of the Day: White Trash World (blocked)

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 18
Days Until Summer is Over: 51
Days Since it Last Rained : 6

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:15 AM

July 01, 2003

I need a Shot...

Some days I love my parents and some days I hate them. Someone needs to make me go get a tetanus shot and follow up on finishing registering for classes. I also probably ought to be going to work more than I am. Some days it's rough being a slacker who knows that he should get off his butt and get things done. Well, if I go to bed now, life will be better than if I go to bed later.

And the RA made tomorrow room inspection day as of this morning.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Slo Mo

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 17
Days Until Summer is Over: 52
Days Since it Last Rained : 5

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:39 AM

Cops On Hand at 5AM

I was rudely awakened at 5 AM to the sound of banging on the door. The worst part is that while this was an annoyance to me, it was nothing compared to the wonderful news that the cop had for Sam and Dunny that their cars had been broken into.

For those in administration who keep telling us that fences discourage an open community, I have this challenge. Come park alongside us and do what you would encourage us to. Let's see just how long your attitude stays this way when your car is broken into, your friend's is stolen and your roommate's is vandalized. What does it say when nearly every laundry change machine on campus has been stolen at some point or another. It tells me that open community is for the birds. I want guard towers with armed guards. Give security a handgun and a shotgun and let's weed out the local ingrates. At the very least, electrify the fence... what's left of it anyways.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:33 AM

June 30, 2003

Another Dead Post...

Stupid blogger killed my post, so here's all that I really remember... Oh yeah, and Ballard's back in town.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Richard Sandrak

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 15
Days Until Summer is Over: 54
Days Since it Last Rained : 3

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 12:25 PM

The Crew is Back...

Well all of the local crew is back again and apparently Anna came back sick. I stopped counting how many times I've been barfed on in my life, but it brings the total within the last year up to two. Wonderful life that I live.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Hero Machine

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 16
Days Until Summer is Over: 53
Days Since it Last Rained : 4

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:49 AM

June 28, 2003

C-4 Shouldn't Meet Freshmen

Incidentally, on more of an FYI note, I met Katy last night and she has the look of an honors wench to her. This should be amusing.

Who the hell introduced her to C-4? Someone should know better than to introduce innocent previewers/freshmen to him. It's a recipe for disaster. It's like handing a person susceptable to addiction over to an experienced crack-head... it just shouldn't be done.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Christian Hedonism

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 14
Days Until Summer is Over: 55
Days Since it Last Rained : 2

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:46 AM

June 26, 2003

Fiasco...

Apparently I am involved in a new summer fiasco. Wondrous... and generally amusing. Sadly, somehow Anna and I are among the last to be told.

I could make generally amusing insights into Sam's love life and educate him on the word "fiasco." But instead, I think I'll just laugh and point out that so far as I know, I'm still in the running for my $5.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:42 AM

Blogger Update...

Well... I was gonna post last night. However, when I got on, the thing was whining something about updating everyone to the new Blogger. Maybe that means that it won't lose any more of my posts or other screwy things like that.... I hope. It does look nice though, and I wouldn't be annoyed if it hadn't gone and updated when I wanted to post.

Incidentally, it didn't rain yesterday that I know of but today when Gecko and I went outside we were greeted with a deluge. Fun stuff that East Texas Rain...

Oh, and when you check out this great disturbed link of the day, be sure to check out the Nazi Sheep.


Disturbed Link of the Day: Stoned Gecko

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 12
Days Until Summer is Over: 57
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:55 AM

June 24, 2003

Too Early

You know it's too early when you go browsing blogs and wonder why that Vengeful Cynic hasn't posted recently... seriously. Every Tuesday for the past 3 weeks, I have remembered why I skipped work every Monday for the past 3 weeks. It sucks, it's long, it's boring and I hate it. But I need the paycheck, so I continue to work.

I'm just doing some quick math and figuring that if I road-trip and bum for roughly a month, that just leaves a month of summer left to agonize through. There's a happy thought. As I've said before, if you want to be included in the road trip, if you have a place for us to stop, if you want to be picked up and leave for school early, let me know. If you're concerned about getting back to school too early and not having a place to stay, we can work with you on that too. I have friends, enemies and neighbors who will be willing to put early arrivals up, especially those whom our friendly Res Life staffers won't let move in.

I usually avoid linking up "disturbed news" for links of the day, but the last line in this article disturbed the hell out of me.

Disturbed Link of the Day: Tongue Forking

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 10
Days Until Summer is Over: 59
Days Since it Last Rained : 2

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:14 AM

June 23, 2003

Rangers' Game

I've never had so much fun with pennies in my life. The scene: The Ballpark in Arlington. LeTourneau SummerPLUS students and administrators go to a Rangers vs. Astros game. I have penny projectiles.

My first target is Bri... you've gotta pick on the LU Admissions liar... you've just gotta.

Next up, for a bit of a stretch in my aim, I go for two rows down and about 10 seats over and go head-hunting for the Limey Brit... SCORE! I manage to hit the Brit and graze the penny off of his fiancee while I'm at it. Dunny flips me the bird, ignoring the presence of the children. The children fail to see the act: no harm, no foul.

Next target is Corey. Corey is sitting behind the Brit and Q, another shot, another hit.

Note: up until this point, all of the targets have known that I was the one throwing the pennies... Corey is apparently ignorant to this fact (unbeknownst to me at the time.) As I sit back and scope out more targets, the real fun begins.

Corey, noting that the Brit had been looking around and holding a penny not more than 30 seconds earlier, assumes that Dunny threw said penny at him. Thus, he holds his drink over Dunny's head and attempts to shake a drop of condensation unto the Brit's head. The drop holds on with uncommon tenacity and as Corey works his magic, he manages to pour a good splash of coke (or whatever was in that cup) unto Dunny's head in lieu of the drop. Corey is shocked, Dunny is confused and pissed, Querida is slightly amused and confused, and I am rolling in my chair laughing my ass off. This gets better when Dunny asks Corey why he did this and Corey responds "because you threw that penny at me." I realize that this attack should have been meant for me as Dunny turns, glares and explains. I am nearly in tears from laughter.

Does it end? Nay, it gets better.

Doug and Brent have brought their families (including small sons) to the game. Each (along with Stephen) has a pre-k son. The three boys cavort around, extol the virtues of the Rangers and deride all Astros fans as only pre-pubescants can, "you better stop cheering for them!"

I pelted them with pennies, and again they knew not their benefactor. Doug's boy was pleased and confused, Steve's boy was glad for the penny, and Brent's boy didn't even stop cheering to wonder about the source of said penny. Brent's daughter was also a beneficiary of a penny and she was greatly confused as to its source. Bri and Joy attempted to tell her that I had done it, but I acted confused and pointed her towards Corey. After much convincing and Corey being dumb enough to throw a quarter to the boys, all were convinced that he was at fault.

Prompt me later for more details on this, I am tired and need sleep and am ceasing to make much sense.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:25 AM

Sleep Makes Me Sane

Sleeping in is good for the soul. I have awaken refreshed and a new and much more sane individual.

Here's some advice for those who are of a similair mindset to myself: avoid spending appreciable amounts of time with wenches. They start to cause you to act like a decent person... very bad if you are a jerk like I am.

People are always referring to me as the bad influence, but I'm not the one who's inducing nice actions. The nerve of some people...

Anyways, off of that odd little diatribe and on to other news of the day.

We are considering doing some random roadtripping in August. If you want to participate in this event of random wandering across the country, let me know. No promises, but if you want to get away from your home or wherever you are a couple of weeks early, get ahold of me now before we make plans of any sort...

Disturbed link of the Day:Tucker Max

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 9
Days Until Summer is Over: 60
Days Since it Last Rained : 1

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:16 AM

June 21, 2003

Don't Go in the Ball Pit

Well... it's Saturday. And I guess that means it's officially time for a "what the hell is going on in the Land of the Cynic" update.

Last night a group of us went over to Chuck-E-Cheese in Tyler. It pretty much blew, I don't reccomend you do the same. The pizza was very good as far as Chuck-E-Cheese goes and actually would merit eating more often if it wasn't both overpriced and located 30 minutes away. The company beat out the food and the lousy selection of crappy games by a long shot. I remembered that I hate the rat maze tubes as much as ever and that the ball pits still stink like pee. All in all, I remembered why I usually avoid Chuck-E-Cheese. On the bright side, we did pool our meager stockpile of tickets (we were even bright enough not to spend more than $10 on tokens between Anna, Crackhead, Stu and I.)

In other news, I've lived in this damned apartment for a week and it's still a mess. I really ought to go clean more stuff up, but I really just can't bring myself to expend the effort. I should, but I just can't seem to motivate myself to do it.

After almost 3 years of staying away from OSes that avail themselves to usage for "alternative means" I am installing Linux again. I tried installing Redhat and it crashed and decided to deactivate my USB ports during the installation, thus leaving me without a keyboard and mouse for an hour or so. Thusly, I have recalled the reason why I had switched over to Debian. Because I'm still a bit rusty, I'm gonna stick with something simple (the only other cds I had around were Mandrake) before going either back to Debian or over to Gentoo. We'll see what happens.

Incidentally, it's down to less than 9 weeks until summer is over. Oh, and I was doing some math and I'm pretty sure we haven't had a totally dry day since moving to these damned apartments. I hate rain.

Disturbed link of the Day:Ouchy The Clown

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 7
Days Until Summer is Over: 62
Days Since it Last Rained : 0

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 02:02 AM

June 18, 2003

Linear Algebra is DEAD!

All I have to say is that Linear Algebra is done. W00T!!!!

Disturbed link of the Day:Man Runs Over Criminals' Car

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 4
Days Until Summer is Over: 65

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:23 AM

June 16, 2003

Don't Trust People

The new computer is up and running after a better part of two days of headaches. At least now, I can enjoy my gig of RAM, new spiffy case and all of that jazz. Now we can clean this apartment up and stuff.

Incidentally, apparently I made the mistake of the summer a week or so back by falling asleep in the John Thomas Lobby. Anna apparently took a picture involving myself, the Judge and a smiley face. The worst part is that as I was lying there tired, I SPECIFICALLY REMEMBER wondering if falling asleep was a good idea and glancing around and figuring that Anna and Gecko wouldn't let anyone screw with me while I was asleep. Gecko was asleep for most of the time, so I guess I can't fault him for most of what went on and he did retreive the stolen Judge.

I'm probably just making a big deal of nothing and I haven't seen the pictures myself, but it's one of those things that I rarely let my guard down as a cynic and now I feel like an idiot for doing so and am ashamed for not abiding by my own standards. If you're going to preach a philosophy, stick with it or you'll be mad at yourself when you don't. And that's the Cynic's lesson for the day.

Screwy Link of The Day: Toilet
Ice

Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 2
Days Until Summer is Over: 67

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:51 AM

June 15, 2003

Out of the Dorms!

We Are Out of the Shitty Dorm

Sadly, this marks but another chapter in the passing of the summer that is coming to be known as "not as shitty as last summer, but not great either." Instead of the Shitty Dorm, whose days occupied is finalized at 38, we are now in the Shitty Apartment. All in all, life is good though as I sit here preparing to set up my new computer. But alas, I am a lazy bastard so there will be no link of the day until tomorrow and no blow-by-blows about relationships that aren't.

No More Stupid Fire Alarms!!!
Days of Living in a Shitty Apartment: 1
Days Until Summer is Over: 68

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 06:36 AM

June 11, 2003

Go See Moore...

As for the daily update, apparently I have forgotten to link up Moore... sorry about that. He's taken to posting every now and again in Spanish, so I'm going to have to administer a beating over that when he gets back.

Screwy link of the day: Dancing Paul

Days Since Last Fire Alarm: 3
Days of Living in a Shitty Dorm: 35
Days Until Summer is Over: 72

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 04:47 AM

June 10, 2003

Blogger is Beating Me!

Guh... Blogger keeps eating things. Anyways, sorry for not posting yesterday. I guess I'm just not on it like I should be.

Disturbed link of the day: Khai

Days Since Last Fire Alarm: 2
Days of Living in a Shitty Dorm: 34
Days Until Summer is Over: 73

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:49 AM

June 08, 2003

Everything is Broken!

I hate it when blogger FUBARS. I wanted to whine about the fire alarms at 3 am, but it wouldn't work. As is, I've been insulting idiots on Gaia at a fairly regular clip. If you want to abuse them too, go ahead and get on. I'm Vengeful Cynic, the Brit is on as well... as is Shem.

Here's a link to the dissident frogman, where you will find good conservative commentary and a very well-done cinematic clip on the war in Iraq.

Screwy link of the day: Khai

Days Since Last Fire Alarm: 0
Days of Living in a Shitty Dorm: 32
Days Until Summer is Over: 75

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:54 AM

Two Fire Alarms!

Two fire alarms this morning. 3 am and 3:30 am. Damned busted fire alarms.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 05:38 AM

June 07, 2003

Make Better Cars

As much as I love to hate yuppie organizations, I have to admit that the Sierra Club has a point with this advertisement. That said, I fully respect your right to drive a gas-guzzler if you feel like it. The point is just that someone realy ought to be trying harder to make more fuel-efficient SUV's along with cars. Screw the environmental issues, I'm concerned more about the economics and the dependence on the Middle East that a giant national oil need engenders.

Screwy link of the day: Bicepmania

Days Since Last Fire Alarm: 4
Days of Living in a Shitty Dorm: 31