Cats and Smelly Clothes

Monday, April 28, 2008
I'm not sure why, but my cat loves my smelly clothes. The smellier the better. Whenever I come home from playing basketball, I'll take off my sweaty clothes and socks and throw them on the floor somewhere. Inevitably my cat will find it and decide that he wants to make love to my sweaty smelly clothes. He will start rubbing around in them, especially his cheeks which cats typically use to mark things they consider to be theirs.

It is similar to how he acts around Cat Nip. Now I don't know if it is me specifically, or all smelly clothes, but I find it to be very interesting. Do my sweaty clothes have the same affect on my cat as catnip?

MVP Race 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is a tough year in the NBA. It saw the most hotly contested Western Playoff race in history, with the #8 seed winning 50 games. But an even tighter race is shaping up over who is MVP.

Let me go on the record as saying I think the MVP is a stupid award. It is an award without any clear criteria and whose meaning has changed over time. But a winner must be chosen, and this year it seems to come down to two players. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.

Now, like I said, I don't really care about this award. But since they give it out, I wish they would just be consistent with the criteria. I have had no problem with Kobe Bryant not winning the award before. I often agreed with the reasoning. In the past it has been one of three things. Kobe wasn't the best player on his own team (when he had Shaq), he didn't make his teammates better, or he just wasn't on winning teams.

Few people would argue that Kobe Bryant isn't the best player in the league. But ever since the Colorado incident, Kobe has become someone people love to hate. They will come up with any reason to degrade Kobe's accomplishments.

I actually think if Kobe deserved MVP, it should have happened in one of the previous two seasons. Two season's ago, he was unbelievable. He had his 81 point game, averaged 40 for a month, and put together a string of 50+ point games. Last year, he carried a team consisting of Kwame Brown and Smush Parker into the playoffs. Kwame Brown and Smush Parker. Seriously folks, these are people who shouldn't even be in the NBA.

But Kobe's team was never one of the elite teams. I don't agree with that as a criteria, you can't always help who you play with, but if that was the criteria, I have no problem with it. This year however, Kobe had the best team in the aforementioned brutal Western Conference. So what reason can people possibly come up with now?

  • Chris Paul led a Hornets team to the 2nd best record when nobody thought they would do anything. What did Kobe do? Show me one person, just one, who had the Lakers finishing any better than 8th in the conference. I dare you to do it. Most had them finishing at the very bottom.
  • Chris Paul has less help. Really? Peja, Chandler, and West are all-star players. None of them were hurt this year. How many all-stars does Kobe play with? One, Pau, and he wasn't there for half the season. Key players like Ariza, Bynum, Gasol, Mihm, all hurt this year. Most of the players that are doing great this year were on the Laker's teams in year's past. When they sucked, it was Kobe's fault. Now that they are doing great, Kobe doesn't get any credit for that. it's a joke.
  • But just look at all those assist. Chris Paul makes his teammates better - If this is the criteria, you might as well give it to a point guard every year, because it won't be a fair contest. Point Guards have the ball in their hands more than anybody else. They are, by design, going to get the most assist and make their teammates "better" than anyone else.
If they give it to Chris Paul, I won't be mad. He is fantastic and probably deserves it in any other year. If Lebron gets close though, then I have a problem. If Kobe couldn't win it the previous two years, no way in hell Lebron deserves it.

Small Town = Better Food

Sunday, April 20, 2008
I'm not much of a small town type of guy. I like living in urban settings and so small towns don't do it for me. Recently though, on a trip, I went through several small towns. The thing that was most consistent in all these different small towns was that the quality of the food was very very good.

I'm not sure if this is true for all small towns, but it got me thinking about it. I wonder if the food is just better in small towns. As I started giving it some thought, it actually made sense to me that the food would be of higher quality. First off, most of these small towns did not have very many fast food places or national chains. When I travel, I tend to frequent national chains only because you know what you are going to get when you go there.

Now, since I didn't have this option, I was forced to go to these smaller places. This makes it more likely these types of places can stay open (although I would never condone not allowing a national chain to set up shop). Given such a small town, there can only be so many restaurants that can be supported. That means you better be pretty good because you are going to have to depend on repeat customers to stay in business.

Further, the pace of life is just slower, so I wouldn't be surprised if these small town restaurants just took more time and care in preparing their food. I mean, seriously, the food was fantastic. We had a great variety of food from pizza, burgers, fish, clam chowder (which is excellent all along the Oregon coast), and cookies. All of it was very good.

So how about you? Have you noticed a different quality of food in small town America?

Jordan River Moving - Think twice before using

Sunday, April 13, 2008
I don't normally like to call out individual companies and the bad service they give, but I had to do it with Jordan River moving who recently handled my move from Seattle to Los Angeles. For anyone even considering using Jordan River moving, I hope this helps you.

I had several companies give me estimates for my move to California. Although my new job was paying for it, I wanted to save my company money if possible. Jordan River's estimate came in the lowest, and so I went with them. Big mistake. I should have just paid more money to get movers that would have done a better job. I wasn't too worried because I really don't have too much stuff, and the stuff I have isn't too expensive, but the extra cost would have been worth it to avoid the headaches.

The estimate I got was a "not to exceed" estimate. Basically I had a cap on the total cost that I would be expected to pay. I was told they usually estimate conservatively and I would likely not have to pay that much, but that I definitely would not have to pay more than this. I made sure to clarify this several times.

Jordan River showed up in time. That was about the only good thing that happened. I paid for a full move. That means they come in and pack everything up as well as move my stuff down to California. They rushed through my packing. I and my girlfriend sat there while they packed my stuff and I never felt like they were really trying to pack my stuff to ensure it stayed safe for the move. Even this didn't bother me too much because, like I said, I don't have really delicate or expensive stuff. But it got worse.

It really started with trying to get my stuff down to California. I didn't have a place picked out yet, so my stuff went into storage first. After I got my place, I called to arrange to get my stuff delivered. From the time I called, it took two weeks to get my stuff out of storage. It seems I just missed the truck that went down one week, and my stuff was behind some other people's stuff the next week. I'm a patient guy, so this didn't bother me too much. I had to sleep on the floor for a while, but I dealt with it.

However, when trying to arrange my stuff, they attempted to charge me more money because my stuff weighed more than their estimate. I told them they gave me a "not to exceed" estimate and that I wouldn't be paying them any more money. They said they would look into it. They came back again and said I would have to pay the money. I told them I had the contract in hand, and it clearly said on it that I had a not to exceed estimate. They finally relented and agreed. Later, when the stuff was finally on its way, a different person told me that I owed them money. I couldn't believe I had to go through this again. They figured it out eventually, but it upset me that I had to even talk about it again.

The day my stuff arrived, I got the call that the mover would be late. I said fine, I just want my stuff so show up l ate if you have to, but just get my stuff to me. The driver shows up with one other guy to move all my stuff into my place. The other guy was somebody they had picked up from a temp labor agency down there. That kind of miffed me that they would just hire some random person to move my stuff but I let it pass. What happened next though was pretty much unforgivable.

The driver realizes he underestimated the amount of help he needs. I have more stuff then he thought and without help, he won't finish till well after midnight. So he ask the temp guy if he knows anybody who would want to help. The guy says no. Then, he decides to ask some random guy walking down the street if he wants to help out for a few bucks. The guy declined. Hiring a temp guy from a labor agency is one thing, trying to hire someone off the street is quite another.

I was fully aware that these guys would not leave until very very late if I didn't help, so I decided to just start moving boxes for them. That's right, I hired movers to move me, and I ended up doing the work. Now to be fair, they didn't ask me to, but without my help, they would have been at my place past midnight. As it was they were there till 11:00 p.m. I also didn't feel comfortable having my stuff sit outside the moving van late at night on a relatively busy street, so it was in my best interest to make sure the stuff got moved quickly.

It gets better though. My stuff was strewn all over the van. It was clear they didn't transport my stuff with care. It was completely disorganized, and the driver spent all his time trying to find my stuff and sort it out with another person's items. Luckily, I had the full shipment list and was able to match everything, but I'm certain if I hadn't done this I would have either ended up with someone else's stuff or without some of my own. To exacerbate things, I noticed that several of my packages had water damage at the bottom. Probably because the movers in Seattle had let the box sit in some water before they moved it to the van. (it was raining the day of the move). As if adding insult to injury, as they moved my mattress, they dropped the mattress onto a freshly watered lawn. Luckily it was covered in plastic, so the damage to it was minimal, but still, it was clear to me that they didn't care much about my stuff.

So in short, don't use Jordan River moving. Perhaps my experience was isolated, but with all your options, why take the chance?

Lasik Update - Got Glasses

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
For a while, it has been somewhat difficult for me to drive at night. I had chalked it up to my vision getting progressively worse after lasik. To that end, I went to the eye doctor recently to get an updated prescription and some glasses.

The doctor told me that I indeed no longer have 20/20 vision. However, my prescription was quite low, so low he really couldn't give me any less of a prescription. Knowing how my vision is at night, I decided I still wanted to get glasses so I can hopefully be a little safer when I drive.

I got my glasses today, and they do help somewhat, but not greatly. Turns out I don't actually need the glasses. The actual problem is the much dreaded "Halo Effect" that people often get after Lasik. I noticed it a little bit after I got it, but it wasn't too severe. It has definitely gotten worse for me over time. It isn't to the point where it is a great problem when I drive, it is just annoying.

So I guess I'll have to just deal with it for now. Still think the Lasik was worth it. It's great 99% of the time. Just wished it had stayed where it was when I first got it. Oh well, there aren't any guarantees.

Too Much Bravo

Thursday, April 03, 2008

My girlfriend might be making me turn gay.

Last night I had a very odd dream. I dreamed that I was in a competition. My goal was to make Women's Pajamas using some out of the ordinary items. In case this doesn't sound too familiar to you, it is a common challenge that people have to do on Project Runway. I personally hate the show, but I watch it because it is one of my girlfriend's favorite shows.

But I might have to insist that we don't watch it anymore, or at the very least she watches it when I'm not around. It's one thing to have to watch it, another thing when I start dreaming about it.

Running Red Lights

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Something funny must be going on in Southern California. On two different occasions today, someone has seen fit to run a red light right in front of me, almost causing an accident. The thing that even makes it more sad is the fact that both these cars were already stopped at the red light. It wasn't as if they were speeding to try and cross the intersection before the light went from yellow to red. The light was already red for them and they decided to just drive right through.

I'm not sure if there is a question on the DMV test that reads

Red means

a) stop
b) go

But there should be and if you miss it, it should be an automatic failure FOR LIFE. Maybe because it is April Fools day people decided to see if I was paying attention.