Archive for December, 2004


Roadside Memorials

Tonight my Mom was driving us home after picking up a new kitchen table. Ahead I saw a shape on the side of the road, a shape that looked like someone wearing a very ugly jacket. I wondered if this idiot was about to step into traffic until we were right on top of them. Then I realized it was an elaborate flower memorial for someone who had died in an accident.

I’m going to sound like a harsh bastard here, but get your damned memorials off the damned roadside! I am very sorry you lost a loved one. I sympathize with your loss and your pain. However some of these memorials are monstrous. This particular one has been up for two years. My Mom has seen less wary drivers swerve to avoid what they thought was a person stepping out into the road.

Is the side of the road the best place to try and remember your loved one? Wouldn’t your living room make a better venue? After a certain amount of time very few people aside from yourselves are going to know why there’s even a memorial at the side of the road. After two years I feel certain that many people will simply think that some idiot was drunk and drove off the side of the road and killed themselves. Possibly not true but but these things are irritating, distracting, and ultimately dangerous for those of us still living.

For the sake of those of us still living and driving these dangerous hunks of metal, glass and oil, please take down your memorials and put them in your living room or in your church or in someplace private. Driving can be dangerous enough; don’t make it worse. I doubt your loved one would want more injuries or death than their own.

Comments Off on Roadside Memorials | Catergorized: grrr  thoughts


Happy Holidays!

I want to wish anyone reading this a Happy Holidays. I’m off in the Washington, DC area with my parents. As my dad recently got broadband *and* a wireless access point, I am still a happy internet denizen. I should easily reach my unstated goal of the equivilent of one post per day for the past year… but that’s neither here nor there.

Happy Holidays!

2 Comments | Catergorized: family  life


Fsck the South

I’d recieved an email castigating the South and their so-called values from NHK a while back (with slightly different text) and thought, “That would be a great thing to put up with links to relevant information.”

Well, it looks like someone did it, and even got their own domain name for it. Fsck the South will make any liberal frustrated with the recent 2004 Presidential election quite happy. I agree with the sentiment, though I am looking for what I hope will be better solutions than just saying, “Fsck off,” to a good portion of the country.

One of the links they refer to I found particularly interesting was this one. It describes in detail why the notion that we have always been a Christian nation is patently false. The Founding Fathers were not very interested in religion, just as they were dubious of true democracy.

President Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802, “The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between Church and State.” In fact he actually took the time to create his own New Testament with all the non-real material extracted. The link is a very good read, and what I really appreciate about it is that it comes from a Christian religion school.

Good stuff. I’m glad someone put it out there.

3 Comments | Catergorized: political


Tahoe 2004

Amy Ford and Doug Nerad Gambling in Tahoe
Amy and I gambling at the local grocery store.
I took my first trip of the year to Tahoe this weekend. The occassion: Bill’s birthday. He’s officially three decades old. We -Bill, Amy, and Sam- met at Ann’s and ate at the Gilman Grill on Saturday, then departed. Amy rode with me and we had great conversations about politics. In fact we were so distracted most of the landmarks we expected to see along the way were missed. Places like, say, Sacramento and Auburn.

We stayed at Amy’s Mom’s place, just south of Reno, NV. It was a known quantity that I would be making Meat Purse on this trip. With Amy’s Mom driving, Amy and I shopped for the dinner and got in some gambling. For Amy’s Mom, here is the recipe for the fancy version of Meat Purse.

Meat Purse
Meat Purse!
Meat Purse

Flank Steak
Mushrooms (optional)
Feta or Gorgonzola Cheese
Sewing Needle or Suture with String
Soy Sauce (special; see below)

Marinate Flank Steak in SoyGarlic Sauce (if you have time and inclination). Chop Spinach and Basil and simmer off some liquid. Let cool. Brown Flank Steak. Mix in chopped Garlic, Gorgonzola, and Salt to the Spinach/Basil. Stitch Flank Steak and stuff with mixture. Place on a rack in a pan and cook at 350 to your selection; medium takes about 30 minutes.

Incidently, the “Soy Sauce (special)” is about 30 cloves of garlic that had been soaking in soy sauce for about a month (when I first had an inclination that I would be making dinner for this trip). It is something my Dad would like very much…

Meat Purse, salad, mashed potatoes, and ample beer accompanied the watching of Elf, which was hi-larious. That was last night. Today we boarded at Mount Rose, and I left early to try and get home early. Yeah, right. Five hours later I’m finally home. Why is it drivers out here think they are entitled to drive in the fast lane when they are clearly going SLOW? Anyways, it was a good time. I only wish I were independently wealthy so I wouldn’t have to go to bloody work tomorrow.

Meanwhile, time for bed.

2 Comments | Catergorized: food-drink  friends  life  tahoe


Does Anyone Remember?

I remember as a child when I didn’t regard the world as a dangerous place but as a world of adventure…

Does anyone remember when no one locked their front door? I remember as a kid I’d run over to my friend’s house and go straight in without knocking. I remember when no one wore bicycle helmets. We made ramps out of plywood and bricks and I jumped my Huffy with the black and yellow striped banana seat over it and into the yard. More often than not I wiped out.

Sometimes I feel like we’ve lost something between then and now. When I was young, doors were unlocked and the keys were in the ignition. Today we lock our cars, we lock our homes and, by extension, ourselves and our society. A locked door does not say, “Welcome, neighbor!” We lock ourselves away to protect those we love, yet what is the best way to protect them? Security systems and bicycle helmets?

I remember as a child when I didn’t regard the world as a dangerous place but as a world of adventure that was a lot of fun despite cuts, scrapes, bruises and, at least once, a nail through my foot. I’m sure my parents worried about me and sometimes I was told to be more careful, but they never stopped me. “Go outside and play,” my Mom would tell us when we got home from school. I didn’t think much of it then, but I love her for it now.

3 Comments | Catergorized: memories  thoughts



I hadn’t looked at my Blogshares account in a long time. Imagine my suprise when I discovered I am worth over four trillion dollars…! Once again, I only wish this were applicable in real life. *sigh*

Comments Off on Trillionaire | Catergorized: geek


Social Security Not Doomed

Here’s some news to me. After years of hearing various politicians blow their horns about how Social Security is doomed and the only solution is to privatize the whole system, I finally hear from the experts (including Treasury Secretary John Snow, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Health Secretary Tommy Thompson) that Social Security will be fine until at least 2042 (or 2052 by other accounts) and even then the returns don’t go to zero, they just go to approximately 73%. Read the summary report here.

Which begs the questions: Why are we trying to fix this now? Why are we trying to solve this in less than one Presidential term? Why is the only solution the Bush Administration is proposing is the privatization of the entire Social Security system, which alone will cost an estimated two trillion dollars ($2,000,000,000,000)?

Who will be recieving those two trillion dollars (where will it go)? Assuming a lot of the money goes into Wall Street and other American stock markets, you can bet that investment firms will make millions -if not billions- of dollars. Who does that benefit? Not me and not you (unless you happen to have large amounts of stock already in an investment firm, or are an executive at one). At least not directly.

In truth, investing that kind of money in stock markets will, almost of necessity, give a huge boost to the economy. Suddenly corporations who are listed on the exchanges (sorry, you’re screwed if you’re not) will get huge influxes of cash to spend on hiring new employees (and perhaps, if generous, a few needed raises). Research funds might increase. Who knows, maybe even customer service and actual products will improve. These corporations will probably also buy loads of private planes, yachts, summer retreats for useless advertisers/marketers/sales types, and vast quantities of corruption, graft, embezzlement, etc, will suddenly become the norm.

Hey, what’s a couple million in embezzlement when the economy was just hit with several hundred billions of Social Security dollars?

What worries me: Who garuntees my money will still be there when these corporations go belly up (remember the Dot Bombs?) or lie about their bottom line (Enron forever!) or need to be bailed out (remember Savings and Loan Bailout from the 80s, and Neil and Jeb Bush involvement?)…?

The corporate world is not pure as the driven snow. Privatization of Social Security without serious serious thought, planning, and simulation would result in these corporations writing thier names in the snow in yellow. Great. At least until the snow melts and there’s nothing left.

The study shows that the issue does need to be addressed, but that we have time. Start now, but set the goal for solving the question for ten years in the future, in 2014. You’ll still have solved the problem almost 30 years before it becomes a crisis.

1 Comment | Catergorized: political  thoughts


Thanks: Mr. Gahan

When we lived in Korea the first time (my 7th, 8th and 9th grades) I had a teacher named Mr. Gahan twice, once for English and once for an elective Linguistics class. Mr. Gahan taught with startling enthusiasm and was one the only teachers I had in public school that could get students genuinely interested in a potentially boring and tedious subject. Part of this was the interesting approach he had to teaching and part of it was simply because he was a nutbar.

Take, for example, when we were covering poetry in English class. He was trying to demonstrate how rhythmic and colorful the poem The Eagle by Alfred Lord Tennyson was and was running into resistance from us. Suddenly he jumped up on his desk and perched on the edge like an avian superhero and recited the lines in a British accent holding the book in front of him but reciting from memory.

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

He suprised us and got us to pay attention. It worked and to this day I can still hear him trilling every “r” while grasping the desk with his free hand.

His Linguistics class started a lifetime love of languages. He introduced us to small selections of text from other languages and we translated and compared them. I studied for that class to the point where I can still recite the opening lines to Caesar’s Gaulic Wars in Latin and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in Old English, and I only know the full text of the Lord’s Prayer in German. His obvious excitement for languages and their evolution powerfully influenced me and I have a love of languages, especially constructed languages, that persists to this day.

Once Mr. Gahan said that in 30 years time we would find him sitting at a street cafe in Paris. I hope this is still true. Unfortunately I can’t find any information on where he is today, or even if he’s still alive. It probably doesn’t help that I can’t even remember his first name. Yes, my brain is like a sieve. Mr. Gahan was one of the two best teachers I ever had along with Professor Henderson, and certainly the best teacher I had at Seoul American High School. The 30 years will be up soon; I wonder if I should make a trek to Paris and wander the streets.

Comments Off on Thanks: Mr. Gahan | Catergorized: korea  life  memories


iCompositions Free Stuff

I forgot to post this earlier in the week, but it appears that iCompositions, a Garageband news site, has put together a page of useful tools including links to free loops, software, hardware vendors and more. Good stuff!

And in a quick aside, I broke a string on my guitar yesterday at rehearsal. I just put the strings on sometime this summer. That’s the first time I’ve broken a string in less than a year’s time after putting fresh ones on… and this is one record I’m actually kind of irritated with. Oh well, at least I have another set.

Comments Off on iCompositions Free Stuff | Catergorized: apple  audio


Hey Hey, Ho Ho

Protesters and their protesting should be allowed. However, one thing that shouldn’t be allowed at any protests anymore ever is this chant:

Hey hey
Ho ho
[fill in the blank]
Has got to go

It’s old, tired, and irritating. Stop it. Stop it now. Come up with something a bit original. Take a lesson from your close kindreds the Cheerleaders and mix it up a bit. I’m not saying dress in skimpy outfits like cheerleaders, though that would certainly garner attention, but maybe a new cheer would cause a few casual passers to listen. That sad old chant is like elevator music; ignorable.

Comments Off on Hey Hey, Ho Ho | Catergorized: grrr  thoughts
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