Only Gay Men Watch the Oscars

Monday, February 28, 2005
Or so Chris Rock proclaimed. Funny, at my Sunday Basketball game almost every guy left to go watch the Oscars. Believe me, most of these guys are definitely not gay. Then again Chris Rock did add a caveat, men who are NOT in the business and I guess most of the guys I play with are.

All that being said I did not watch the Oscars last night but I'm glad that Jaime Foxx won. He has come a long way since his In Living Color Days playing Wanda. I did get to watch Ray this weekend and have to say he did an Amazing job portraying Ray Charles. He also did a great job in Collateral but I totally agree that Morgan Freeman deserves to get an Oscar, one of the great supporting actors to come along in a long time.

Netflix Complaining

Thursday, February 24, 2005
I swear this isn't a Netflix all the time blog but after my last post about Netflix I have to change my opinion slightly.

The service I've been getting since my last post took a nosedive. Its like Netflix read my post, figured out who I was, and decided to just piss me off even though I wrote a relatively nice post. First, the number of DVD's I get has slowed to a crawl. Before I would be able to get 2 turnarounds a week. On the 3 out at a time that is 6 DVD's a week more or less, probably more like 4.5 a week. But now I'm lucky to be getting 3 a week. I haven't slowed down my movie watching but Netflix is now processing and shipping my DVD's next day. It use to be that I return on Saturday, the get it and ship Monday, get new disks Tuesday. Now it is like ship Saturday , get on Tuesday, ship Wednesday, get new disk Thursday. The icing on the cake happened yesterday when they shipped me a DVD that had a HUGE crack in it. Quite literally the DVD was broken all the way through to the center. Maybe it was the Post office's fault but if Netflix shipped this DVD (they are supposed to inspect them before they go out) then WTF?

OK, so I can understand throttling me a little more. I don't like it but now I'm starting to think it is just completely unfair. Not getting a movie on top of my queue is one thing, getting worse service is another. It is like going to the all-you-can-eat buffet but the restaurant telling you because you are fat and can eat more than others you not only don't get the same choices of food everyone else does but you can only get one plate every hour. Oh and for this privilege you get to pay the same as everyone else.

Again, I'm not enraged at the situation, if I were I would cancel my service. But I'm not so sure I can give Netflix an endorsement either.

Barry Bonds and Steroids

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
I hate Barry Bonds. I hate the San Francisco Giants. I hope Barry Bonds never hits another home run again.

All that being said, I think he gets treated unfairly by the media. The guy is a jerk, no doubt about it and in some way deserves what he gets. But I'm sick and tired of everyone getting on him about steroids. Look, I think he did them. He admitted using a cream by accident but I do believe that he probably used steroids extensively and that has attributed to his crazy home run totals.

But come on. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Has the guy ever failed a drug test? No. That's because baseball turned a blind eye to the problem even though it is clear they knew about the problem as long as 20 years ago. I blame baseball, not Barry Bonds. No doubt taking steroids is cheating but players cheat all the time. It doesn't make it right but at the same time I won't condemn him until there is indisputable proof he did take them.

Painting the Room

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
With Jenny coming by today, I have to blog about something.

So a perfect Jenny Smith topic. I painted my room this weekend. I'm not quite done but I'm close, and I'm not so sure I like the color combination I picked. For the trim I picked a Mahogany color to kind of match the wood furniture in my room. For the walls I picked a yellow. I like yellow and generally I like rooms painted yellow but I think I picked too yellow a yellow. Oh well. If I don't like it I guess I can just paint it again. I'll just finish up the room and see if I like it when its done.


Friday, February 18, 2005
My company use to occupy most of our current building. However, because we haven't been doing well, we have moved out of the east part of the building. The vacated part of the building is where my group use to occupy and where I started out with the company. I barely saw the west side of the building and that was because it was on the way to my car. Yesterday, they repainted the east wing and it is now empty and ready for someone new to occupy it.

Seeing the empty, newly painted hallway makes me kind of sad. I remember when I first came to the company. I had such high hopes for it. I thought the technology we were working on was cutting edge. The people I interviewed with and eventually worked with were bright and dedicated. The culture of the company was great. We were going to build a great product and I was going to be on the ground floor of it all. Going to a small company can be risky for someone like me. Not only is there a greater chance of failure but it can hurt your long term career prospects as the name isn't as recognized.

But it was a risk I was willing to take. The great thing about a small company is the chance to make it grow. I'm the type of person who wants to dare to do something great and meaningful. But now, that part of my life is over and it is kind of sad. I still plan to work for a company and make it grow, whether it is in my current job or the next. But looking down that empty white hallway, and the end of which lies the past, can only make someone like me a little nostalgic.

Hockey is Over?

Thursday, February 17, 2005
They canceled the NHL season yesterday. Did anyone even notice there wasn't a hockey season? I'm a sports nut but barely noticed it. The only thing I noticed was a positive, no Hockey highlights on ESPN so the highlights I actually care about came on sooner.

Good Riddance!

Special Tax for Wal-mart

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Before I start, let me tell people who do not normally read my blog this: I do not shop at Wal-mart. I'm not a particular fan of their policies and hiring practices. I hate their stores because they are warehouse like and often very dark and dirty. But I choose to combat Wal-mart in the best possible way, I don't shop there.

But now there is a bill in Montana to tax retailers who do more than $20 Million in sales. Basically, the more successful you are the more you are going to have to pay. It takes aim squarely at Wal-mart, and to some extent Target and Costco, whose critics complain that they pay their workers so little that it is up to the public to subsidize the workers' meager wages.

Now my first take, two wrongs don't make a right. The real problem is that you expect everybody else to subsidize lower paid workers. If there is no social welfare then there is no problem. However, this is a very long topic in and of itself and I don't really wish to argue this point right now.

OK, so lets just take social welfare programs as a given. Is it a good idea to tax Wal-mart? The impetus behind this is to presumably help those who Wal-mart is underpaying. Does it really? Any economist will tell you that in truth, the effect is unknown. Take this scenario.

Faced with higher taxes Wal-mart does what any business does, it tries to maximize profit. Taxes always have some effect on behavior because it changes the relative cost of doing business. It will probably either

a) cut costs, most likely through wages and benefits since this is most businesses biggest and most flexible expense.
b) raise prices

Neither is good for the people the tax is trying to help. For those who hate Wal-mart and believe it is the devil, have you actually shopped at one? Do you see the people who go there? Most are struggling families who go to Wal-mart because its prices are so low it allows them to stretch their dollar that much farther. Raise prices and you directly hurt those who need it the most.

I am sure there will now be arguments that Wal-mart created this class in the first place by paying their workers so little that they can only afford to shop at their stores. Take a good look. Wal-mart is huge; millions and millions of people shop there, much more than are employed by Wal-mart. But that isn't even the point. Even if Wal-mart created this class I have less of a problem with that than the government fixing the problem through taxation. I have to agree with the Wal-Mart spokesman, government should not pick winners and losers in business. If you allow government to pick on the biggest kid on the block, what is next? What is to stop them from taxing the 2nd biggest kid, and then the 3rd? As soon as #1 is taxed into oblivion and #2 becomes #1 what happens then?

So lets stop Wal-mart the right way. STOP SHOPPING THERE! Tell your friends, spread the word. Evangelisize Target. Lets just not do it by having government do the dirty work.

The Pressure

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
So today is Tuesday, which means Jenny Smith will be reading my blog. What to write, what to write.

Can I just write how ridiculous it is that I can not afford a home in Southern California. Prices are outrageous. Any sort of decent Condo around the Pasadena area has an asking price in the mid 300's. Houses start somewhere in the 400's. That's outrageous. With some creative financing I can probably afford it but come on now. It scares me to think how some families are affording to buy homes out here; they must really be stretching themselves thin.

I on the other hand refuse to be stretched so thin. Considering my family history I have a need to always be prepared for the worst. That is why I have a very large cash reserve in case something bad happens. If I stretch myself too thin in buying a house there is that constant fear in me that I will need that cash. I've really never had such an emergency but it only takes one. Yes I know, I can get a 0% loan and do all sorts of other things, but that doesn't sit well with someone who is as financially risk adverse as I am, at least when it comes to large purchases.

My Thoughts on Valentine's Day

Monday, February 14, 2005
Today is Valentine's Day. Most of my previous girlfriends, with the exception of the last one, would say I'm a very romantic guy. I go out of my way to be thoughtful and to plan romantic evenings throughout the year. I always buy my girlfriends flowers and I'm prone to give gifts at random times. Every time I have had a girlfriend on Valentine's day I have done something special for her just so she knows what she means to me.

That being said, I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day. Yes it is a Hallmark and Chocolate and Flower industry holiday but that is not necessarily my problem with it. I just think it is

A) An easy way out
B) An easy trap to fall into

A boyfriend should be romantic the entire year, not just one day. Just because he buys you flowers and chocolates and takes you out that night does not make him a good boyfriend. For guys like me that try hard the entire year it sickens me that some guys get a "Get out of Jail Free" card for just being thoughtful on one day.

What upsets me even more is that if I share this view with females I often get chastised for it. So a guy like me, who is certain to bring you flowers on every month anniversary, gets in trouble for not following the crowd one day a year. How silly is that? Wouldn't you women rather have a guy who treats you like a queen every day of the year? A guy makes sure to make a big deal of your anniversary since it is YOUR holiday. A guy that tells you he loves you not because he is supposed to but because he wants to?

I guess I just don't get women.

My Netflix Experience

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I have now been a member of Netflix for a little over 3 months. Thus far I can't really complain. In the last 30 days I have received 22 movies, that's right 22 movies. I paid a total of $19.47, less than $1 a movie. I haven't always gotten my top priority movie but that is because the way Netflix determines who gets what movies.

There has been a raging debate about whether Netflix throttles its customers. That is, the more your rent, the worst your service gets. You don't get your top priority movie, they delay the shipment of DVD's, etc. Well I guess Netflix has finally owned up to it. This is ganked from another site

We receive rental returns Monday through Friday, except holidays. We process nearly 100% of returns the same day we receive them. When we check-in a return, an e-mail is automatically and promptly sent to you to let you know that we have received your DVD.

Our goal is to ship you the DVDs listed highest in your Queue. We try to ship you DVDs from the distribution center closest to you so that you get movies quickly. Often, on the same day that we receive a DVD from you, we will ship the next available DVD from your Queue. In certain instances, your next available DVD will not ship until the next business day following our receipt of your returned movie. This can occur, for example, when your top choices are not available to you from your closest distribution center or the number of shipments to be processed by the distribution center on that day has been exceeded. When this happens, your DVD will ship on the next business day and may come from an alternate distribution center.

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those members who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their Queue more often than our other members. By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members. Those that rent a lot of movies get a great value and those with lighter viewing habits are able to count on our service to meet their limited needs.

I have definitely experienced some slowdown but since I obviously still get a lot of DVD's it isn't that bad. I often get movies with a "very long wait" designation which didn't use to happen before and I will often get next day shipping instead of same day.

I don't really have a problem being "throttled". I did have a problem when Netflix wouldn't admit the practice as it was clear to me that it was going on. As long as businesses are fair and honest with their customers I have no problems with practices like this. Netflix has a vested interest in keeping their other customers happy, I happen to cost Netflix money since they pay more in postage then they get back form me. As long as I know the rules I have the ability to very loudly complain by not giving them my dollar.

Making Mistakes

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Believe it or not I make mistakes and I make a lot of them.

There is a perception that I think I am always right, I don't think this blog helps that image as I like to argue about things that others, especially those who read this blog, don't always agree with. I like to argue for argument sake; what I see as entertaining others find very frustrating. This is why I refuse to argue with certain people. I have learned that some people hate to argue with me, you know who you are.

I am sure that I have annoyed enough people and lost a few potential friends with this behavior. Others, initally put off by this attitude, have stuck around long enough to realize that this is just one side of my personality, and by no means the most dominant. To those of you that this is true for, thank you for sticking around to get to know the real me.

Nothing is perfect, especially not me. I make mistakes all the time. Unlike some people I know, I have even failed :) I may not get things right the first time, but I learn quickly and am usually much better the second time around.

So for anyone who has ever gotten mad at me for making some crazy argument or for starting the argument in the first place, please forgive me. I love a good argument, but I would never choose one over a worthwhile person.

I Love DVDs

Monday, February 07, 2005
I'm watching Garfield, which ended up not as bad as I expected. There was a scene where Odie is locked out of the house by Garfield (which was actually quite sad) and he ends up chasing a bunch of cars.

As he is running down the street I swear the place looked oddly familiar. I paused and went backward and clear as can be is the 4th Dimension and Old Town Pizza in Downtown Monrovia. It was only a brief scene but sure enough it was Monrovia and pretty easy to tell since you can pause DVD's so clearly.

Rough Week

Friday, February 04, 2005
It's been a rough week, actually a rough two weeks. Work is pretty much beating me up. I'm definitely not getting enough sleep and working until pretty late most nights. I'm totally losing track of the days but realized that its Friday, thank god. I'll still have to work this weekend but at least it will be on my timetable. So instead of doing my job, I'll do the job of two other people.

Superbowl this weekend, that should be fun. Not having the traditional party this year. I invited some people over but thus far it might just be me and Bandit cheering on the Eagles.

Absolute Dominance

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
How dominant is Barry Bonds? Carlos Delgado signed a contract with the Florida Marlins. In his contract his a bonus if he happens to win the NL MVP award. It also stipulates a lesser bonus if he finishes second, but ONLY if he finishes second to Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds has won the award a record 7 times.

Now that is dominance.

January Reminds People to Vote Republican

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
This is what the Democrats don't get. Every January people are reminded why it is better to be a Republican.

I did my taxes yesterday. I payed A LOT of taxes this past year. A LOT. I paid more taxes this year than most people earn. I paid enough in taxes to buy a new car, a NICE car. While that is good in the sense that I earned a lot of money, it strikes me as terribly unfair.

I am not rich. I earn a good living but few people could argue that I live an extravagent lifestlye. I take very little from others. I have never claimed unemployment, I have never been on welfare, and I don't get any tax breaks for being married, having children, or owning my own home. Yet somehow I am deemed the one best suited to pay for all of this. My virtue, the fact I pulled myself up and have never asked for anything, makes me the one who must bear the greatest burden.

Am I being selfish? Absolutely. But few people who know me would think I am. I donate my time to good causes when I can, I donate to charity every year, and I'm an honest man. I worked hard and sacrificed a lot to be in the position I am. I studied hard, didn't party in school, and squeezed every penny so I can have something for later. I don't mind giving to others since I have a lot but shouldn't I be able to take care of myself and my loved ones first? Why must I care for other people's children and families first before I care for mine?

Yes I know, Republicans spend a lot of money and the budget rose the fastest under W. But the fact remains that the Republican platform is for smaller government, lower taxes, and ensuring that everyone is a Christian. OK, the last part I can't get on board with but everything else sounds good to me.

I have always voted Democrat. I believed that no price was too high to ensure personal freedom; that was until I started paying the bill.