Saturday, April 29, 2006


Between the NHL and NBA playoffs and the NFL draft, I've been watching more sports programming than usual as of late. Because of this, I've seen that commercial for Heineken Light about a million times. The first time I saw it, I instantly recognized the song as a very bad rip-off of the old Sir Mix-A-Lot tune "Swass". I'm not much of a music downloader, so I can't offer a link to the song, but check your favorite legal or illegal download sites if you're curious. The lyrics are available here. According to the Urban Dictionary, swass either means super cool or sweaty ass (or perhaps both, depending on context and usage).


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

You Shot Who in the What Now?

This week's AV Club has a handy guide for anyone out there who is not annoying enough on their own and needs more obscure Simpsons quotes to insert into daily conversation. I have been accused excessive Simpsons quoting many times, so I have some pretty strong views on what constitutes a good Simpsons quote. The AV Club has picked out some good ones. Personally, the only quotes from their list that I ever use are: "I was saying 'Boo-urns", "Crisitunity!", "You shot who in the what now?", and, of course, the timeless "Worst. Episode. Ever." Some of my other favorites that weren't listed in this piece are:

Quote: "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter"
Episode: "Mountain of Madness" (2/2/97)
Context: Homer's response after Bart launches into a diatribe against teamwork, sharing, helping, and tolerance.
Real-Life uses: Any time you see somebody broadcasting strange and frightening viewpoints. Of course, if you think this person really is a nutjob, it's best not to let them hear you, lest they add you to their mailing list.

Quote: "But I did a good job... a good job"
Episode: "Homer at the Bat" (2/20/92)
Context: Mr. Burns is upbraiding the hypnotist that he hired for his softball team for making Roger Clemens think he's a chicken. The hypnotist pulls out his watch and utters this quote to convince Mr. Burns that he actually did a good job.
Real-Life uses: Whenever you mess up, you can mimic the hypnotist's soothing voice to try and cover up your mistake.

Quote: "One highway, zero city"
Episode: "The Bart Wants What It Wants" (5/18/99)
Context: Rainer Wolfcastle speaks this memorable line when Homer asks him what kind of gas mileage his gigantic SUV gets.
Real-Life uses: A good way to describe any gas guzzler. Bonus points for saying it with a German accent.

Quote: "Fox turned into a hardcore sex channel so gradually, I didn't even notice"
Episode: "Lisa's Wedding" (3/26/95)
Context: This episode shows a look into the future (2010), where Marge is upset with the state of the Fox television network.
Real-Life uses: Any time you need to bemoan the state of network television programming.

Quote: "The nye Mets are my favorite squadron"
Episode: "Much Apu About Nothing" (5/5/96)
Context: With an anti-illegal immigrant fervor spreading across Springfield, Apu tries to blend in by feigning an interest in Major League Baseball.
Real-Life uses: A humorous way to declare your ignorance in a certain area, especially sports.

Quote: "It's my first day"
Episode: "Simpson Tide" (3/29/98)
Context: After using this excuse for his latest screw-up at work, then using it again after Mr. Burns learns that it was not Homer's first day and demands to know why he thought he could get away with lying to him, Homer loses his job and joins the Naval Reserve, where he uses the same excuse yet again after nearly causing an international incident on the high seas.
Real-Life uses: A way to absolve yourself of any and all responsibility no matter how badly you've just screwed up.


On the Rhode

When I started this blog, I hoped that it would be a good way to keep friends and well-wishers up-to-date on the latest goings on in my life. I have attracted more readers than I thought I would, but I haven't been very good at keeping anyone up-to-date. Keeping that in mind, I'm happy to announce to that we bid adieu to Syracuse about three weeks ago for the biggest little state in the union, Rhode Island. This was the fourth time I've moved across state lines since graduating from college, so I guess this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Syracuse was never my favorite place to call home and in some ways, I knew that we were going to be leaving there sooner rather than later.

It's not too difficult to find people who are ready to bad mouth Syracuse. On at least three or four occasions over the past three years, I have met people who, upon learning that I lived in Syracuse, proceeded to tell me how much they loathe the 'Cuse. I don't consider myself a master of social etiquette, but I try to avoid openly insulting someone's hometown upon meeting them, no matter how much I might dislike it.

Sadly, a lot of what people dislike about Syracuse is true. Like most once vibrant cities that are down on their luck, Syracuse is trying to reinvent itself. There seems to be a real effort to help improve the relationship between the university and the city and if that continues in earnest, I'm sure it will pay some dividends. Without the university, Syracuse really would be the hellhole that people claim it already is. So while Syracuse may get a bit of a make-over, it will probably never be the hip and vibrant city that it claims it wants to be. Even in its glory days, I doubt it was all that exciting of a place. Still, in my opinion, there are no boring cities, only boring people. My grandparents spent most of their lives in Terre Haute, Indiana and probably lived a more stimulating life than some people who live in the middle of great international cities.

Not to kick Syracuse while it's down, but I have to say that the weather there is really awful. I've spent most of my life in so-called bad weather areas, but Syracuse is only place where the weather really bothered me. According to the National Oceanograhic and Atmospheric Administration, the average annual chance of precipitation in Syracuse is 46.6% and the average percentage of available sunlight is 44.6%. Statistically speaking, you have a better chance of seeing the sun and staying dry in Seattle and Portland than in Syracuse. On top of that, you've got a mean annual snowfall of 110 inches to deal with.

While our careers are ultimately what pulled us away from Syracuse, the general malaise that permeates life in Central New York was a strong contributing factor. In Syracuse, it is impossible to ignore the signs of decay and decline. Even if you look beyond the vacant buildings and empty freeways, there is a strong undercurrent of negativity and resignation flowing through almost all public discourse. It's difficult to enjoy life in a place that everyone is trying to figure out how to get away from.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Best Job Ever

I subscribed to Money magazine not because I thought it was a great publication, but because they offered me a one-year subscription for $10 and threw in a bonus one-year subscription to Business 2.0. I figured that I could easily get $10 of value out of that proposition, so I accepted. This month's issue of Money ranks the top 50 jobs in America, and as it turns out, I've got the best job. Actually, that's not entirely true, as I am unemployed right now. When I start my new job in a week or two, I will once again be employed in America's top profession (drum roll, please)... software engineering.

I don't know if I entirely agree with their methodology. For one, the person they singled out as having the number one best job in America is the director of technology at Electronic Arts. I don't know anyone who works at EA, but I have found that most video game companies have a reputation for being relatively bad places to work. Still, I'm glad that they didn't join the chorus of media types who have been proclaiming that software engineering jobs are all going to India, China, and other low-cost areas of the world. Outsourcing is real, of course, but there is still plenty of good work left for talented software engineers in the US and I can't see that situation changing any time in the foreseeable future.

Me and My Shadow

MDS pointed me to Kevin Smith's blog yesterday. Be sure to read his nine-part series about Jason Mewes (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob fame) and his struggle with and victory over drug addiction, entitled "Me and My Shadow". It's a great piece of writing. I read all nine parts consecutively yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Fish Story

If you have enjoyed a nice sushi dinner recently, you may have the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to thank for your delicious meal. According to this story, which ran in the Chicago Tribune yesterday and was also featured on the public radio program Marketplace, True World Group, a vertically integrated fresh seafood wholesaler, was founded by Moon and is closely affiliated with his Unification Church. As the article states, True World supplies most of the estimated 9000 sushi restaurants in the US and funnels a portion of its profits to Moon's Unification Church.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Help Wanted

I'm back in the job market, and I have learned a few things that may be somewhat useful and/or interesting to other job seekers out there. These things only apply in situations where you are receiving a lot of unsolicited job leads from various staffing agencies and recruiters who find your resume on any of the big job searching web sites. These recruiters abound in the high-tech world, I'm not so sure how common they are in other industries. Some recruiters have good leads, but most of them are trying to fill pretty undesirable jobs, IMHO. A good way to figure out who they are working for without having to call them back is to take the company description out of the e-mail they sent and search for a key phrase from that description in Google. Generally, they just cut and paste the company description from the company website, which Google has almost certainly indexed, so you can figure out if its a company you are interested in or not pretty easily.

The other thing that I have learned is that a lot of these staffing and recruiting companies have outsourced some of their work to India. I've gotten numerous phone calls from people who spoke barely intelligible English about six-month contact development positions in Iowa that utilize technologies and skills that appear nowhere on my resume or online job profile. I guess with the money that these companies have saved by outsourcing their work to a C-list Indian call center, they can afford to have someone call every job seeker in their database about every position that comes across their desk regardless of their qualifications, location, or experience.

Still, I think that job searching technology is improving. I'm a big fan of Simply Hired, which is a job search engine that searches all of the major job search engines and corporate websites and aggregates the results for you. It has the most extensive search filtering capabilities of any job search engine I have seen.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

School Days

I was filling out a job application that asked for the mailing address of my high school. To my surprise, my Google search turned up a Wikipedia entry for my high school. Any estimate on how much longer until Wikipedia has cataloged every piece of information known to man?