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Jul. 20th, 2010

I did not die.

It seems noteworthy to point out that I am not, in fact, dead. While I doubt sincerely that anyone out there in cyberspace gives a much of a hoot, I nonetheless feel the need to assert my existence. Furthermore, I've decided to scope out this livejournal stuff and see what's cool and junk.

Mrs. Trout47 and I have been living in our new house for almost a year now, and although I still jump noticeably when the mortgage bill comes in the mail every month, I no longer have the facial tick that was a permanent fixture during the homebuying process. I feel pretty comfortable here, both physically and financially, although in the back of my mind I can't help but wonder what would happen should the wife and/or I come to an untimely demise job-wise. Probably not a strong possibility, but in this economy and in this state, you never know. And I'm a born worrier; it's what I do. At any rate, life is good. See you around the site. It occurs to me that many people spend a lot of their time on blogs apologizing for not blogging more often. I'm not going to do that. So, if you don't like it that I haven't written in a year and a half, too bad!

No really, I'm sorry.
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Jan. 3rd, 2009

At least there will be Pink Floyd

If we all do indeed die as a result of a cataclysmic (is there any other kind?) impact with the planet Earth, it's good to know that David Gilmour and the boys will still be rocking. You can view this high-def vision of the end of days (which, like all good-quality end of days scenarios, pays about as much attention to science as the Death Star personnel paid to a tiny yet unbelievably vulnerable access port two meters wide, here.)

Sep. 23rd, 2008

What am I, a lazy a$$?

Answer: yes, and I'll thank you not to stare.

More specifically, I'm lazy because it apparently takes an earthquake these days for me to post here. Whatever happened to me, anyway? I don't know. I don't have much to add at this point, as the following few sentences will prove.

Everyone I know is still alive, as far as I know. I still like chocolate pudding. (Sadly, there's none in the house at the moment.) And I have homework again. Maybe I'll write about that next time I come back.

Or maybe not. I'm such a tease.
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Jul. 29th, 2008

Lucy, how I've missed ye (and other thoughts)

 You know you're a real So-Callie when A) earthquakes are somehow annoying and fun, but not really scary, and B) you know that one Cal-Tech geologist's name and face like she's an old friend. Well, I got to see my long-lost friend Lucy today as she reported on the 5.4 earthquake we experienced at 11:42AM. (Info here if you care.) No harm, no foul, just the usual frayed nerves, scared pets, and convenience-store security-cam footage across the southland.

It's been a weird week for yours truly, and it's only Tuesday evening. Monday morning I decided to start off the week by wrenching my ankle pretty badly as I hoofed it to the bus stop in the morning, busily futzing with my iPod instead of looking down at the pothole-laden street I was crossing. And since I couldn't really fall down in the middle of the crosswalk and cry for my mommy, which is what I wanted to do, I had to keep walking and do that thing where you try to convince anyone who might have been watching that, for reasons unknown, that is precisely what you meant to do at that moment. "Just a little thing I picked up in college, folks. Nothing to see here. Totally intended that." Anyway, although there is clearly nothing torn or broken, and there is no swelling, my foot still hurts like a mother. I also got attacked by a bee while waiting for the bus yesterday morning; he would've stung me, too, had the bus not come just in the nick of time. Despite my batting the air like I was high, crazy, or both, the bus driver pulled over to pick me up anyway. Awfully nice of her, I thought. This, combined with the quake today, makes me wonder about the success of the rest of the week. Maybe God is telling me to stay home.

In other news, I have crossed over to the dark side and bought a laptop with Microsoft Vista. I know, it's evil. And it is. No argument here. But the deal is, I've decided to spend less, rather than more, time online, so instead of being a downloading fiend and checking a slew of websites obsessively every day just to see what's new, I'm going to bookmark only a few things and use my home computer less for goofing off. I will write, listen to music, and do some surfing, but not much more. Also, I've found a suitable open-source substitute for the evil of Microsoft Office 2007 at openoffice.org that seems to be suiting my needs just fine so far, thank you very much. The new laptop is allowing me to try to rebuild my music collection, which I have begun but is a slow, suh-lowww process. But things are on the up-and-up in this area again.

And, turning to house-buying, Mrs. Trout47 and I in the last few weeks have scoured the entire local region for houses that might fit into our price range without breaking the bank. (The INUs have been noticeably quiet lately; not sure why.) This is an overwhelmingly time-consuming process, particularly for Mrs. Trout47 since I am acting as sole breadwinner and bacon-bringer-homer for the Summer months. But we have looked at literally hundreds of houses online, driven by scores of them in person, and now walked through about a dozen or so. We are looking for the perfect match (completely unrelated footnote: if I go the rest of my natural life without hearing anyone use the phrase "The Perfect Storm" not in regard to a book or movie with that title, I will die a happy man) of a turnkey house (as they say in the parlance) that won't be in the upper levels of what we want to spend. Not an easy proposition. Our real estate-savvy friends (one in particular) says that the market may very well continue to drop, perhaps going down another 10% in the next calendar year, maybe even as soon as Christmas. Of course no one knows anything for sure, but this is something to consider. The wife and I are in no real rush, so if we don't buy this Summer, we won't be heartbroken. We will, however, be able to recite the Thomas Guide from memory.

All for now. (Not much of a conclusion, but there it is.)


Jun. 30th, 2008

Whedony goodness

For all my readers out there--of which I think there are one--behold Joss' latest bit of goodness.

www.drterrible.com    edit: Dr. Horrible

I am doing my bit, Joss, in promoting, just like you asked. I expect residuals!

on drugs

No, this is not a C.S.Lewis-esque treatise about drugs, but rather an echo of what someone recently told me drinking a double espresso is like. (Actually, I believe he said 'on f#$*ing drugs' while mouthing the adjective rather than vocalizing it, but still.)

I recently thought to myself (since, as an owner of an internal monologue, I don't think to anyone else) that I would like to inform myself about buying a home. Mrs. Trout47 and I have been pondering this notion for a while, but in the last few weeks we've gotten serious about doing some looking around town because "a terrible housing market" such as ours really means "a terrible housing market--if you own a house; not too bad if you're looking to buy one, as long as the economy doesn't totally go down the toilet, which it probably will because have you seen how much money we're spending per month in Iraq alone". We thought to ourselves (see earlier) that two people without kids or debt ought to be able to own their own home because our money isn't being sunk into anything else.

But then we remembered that we live in Southern California. So, basically, our options break down thusly:

1) buy a dump in a good neighborhood; fix it up gradually, applying the sum total of handiwork skills possessed by two English majors.
2) buy a nice house in a not-so-good neighborhood; make pacts with the neighbors for in case stuff goes down.
3) buy a nice house in a good neighborhood and never have another spare nickel ever again; eat stale, off-brand cereal twice daily.


Continue to live in this apartment, INUs and all. The Idiot Neighbors Upstairs haven't been so idiotic lately, although I remain convinced that they have no obligations to society whatsoever. Their summer routine is even more unscheduled than their regular one. I remain convinced that they never work, but also that they never sleep, which could be one of the symptoms of their being on drugs. I went to bed a little after 12am this morning and woke up at 3:30 to the sounds of what might be best called "showoff sex". (How hard can we rattle the bed? How loud can you moan? Give me a break. You're not porn stars, calm down.) It's now nearly 5:30, and their TV is still running and somebody is still going in and out of the apartment, slamming the poor screen door every. single. time. See, they're not actively idiotic. They don't have to be; it comes naturally to them.

All I know is I'm up at 5:30 doing this instead of sleeping. The birds have begun chirping. 
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Jun. 24th, 2008

On Carlin

George Carlin died this week, which is odd because I was recently wondering when he would. Watching his final HBO special a few weeks ago, I saw a Carlin who was a bit more bloated and who moved juuust a little slower on stage. But he was still Carlin.

I liked Carlin as a comedian. To use several adjectives in a less-than-artful fashion, I would say that he was hysterical, incisive, and cranky. That combo seems to do it for me, humor that strikes at fundamentally American and/or human things. As a performer, he had a shtick and it worked. Sure, it took him some time to find his sea legs, but aren't we all in a state of constant reinvention?

And yet. Some of the people I find the funniest, in that hysterical/incisive/cranky way I mentioned earlier--Carlin, Bill Maher, Lewis Black--often rub me the wrong way when it comes to their takes on religion. When the subject turns to that, as it inevitably does with these guys, I shift in my seat and fidget because I know what's coming. For instance, Maher makes no bones about it, in his standup shows and in "Real Time": he thinks anyone with any religious belief set is touched in the head, at best, insane at worst. I do not hyperbolize; I've seen him use this very language several times. Carlin was much the same, though not quite as self-righteous as Maher: he chose to point out humanity's tendency toward hypocrisy. Throw religion in the mix, and, well, that added fuel to the fire. Hey, no argument here.

But here's the deal: I won't deny there's a whole lot of hypocrisy among religious folks out there, but in return for this, you gotta give me something--you've gotta admit that not everyone who professes a sincere belief in something beyond the pale and goes about living this belief is 1) crazy, and/or 2) a warmongering nut-job. Not all us Christians are George W. Bush. We don't all drive Hummers and live in mansions watching TBN. And, even more telling, we don't all distrust evolution, hate "the gays", and blindly vote Republican in every election. We are so careful--too careful, as Carlin pointed out--in this politically correct, politically charged society to embrace and celebrate every possible difference that might exist between people, rendering everyone unique and special and wonderful. (Aside: Vonnegut deplored this attitude; many of his books comment on the lack of human connections.) But so often, we "wacko Christians" get lumped together, labeled crazy, and easily done away with. Comedians like these three guys trivialize people's beliefs and dismiss them with a wave of their hand, indicating they think we are crazy, our points can't possibly be varied or valid, and that we all drink the same Kool-Aid as certain prominent Christians in this country. There is no room for diversity in our group.

It makes me wonder about the future of religious tolerance in this country, quite frankly. We are so quick to embrace anything "other" for fear of appearing imperalist or colonialist or old-fashioned or whatever. We are beginning to educate our schoolchildren about Islam--and I think we must do that so that someday we have a vice president who knows the difference between a Shia and a Sunni--but if a teacher has a Bible on her desk, she is asked to remove it from sight because the ACLU will take time away from complaining about a Santa-less nativity scene on someone's yard to demand that she be fired. The backlash against Christians is beginning to be of growing concern to me, and it will continue to be a problem as long as people lump people of Christian faith together as "them." What other group would it be acceptable to categorize so broadly and dismiss so easily as "them"? Blacks? Women? Homosexuals? I think not.

We've come a long way, baby. Jesus saves.

RIP, George.

Addendum (6/24, 11:55am): THIS article appeared on CNN.com this morning. Interestingly, it includes comments about Carlin's treatment of religion, as well as responses to his death by Lewis Black and Bill Maher, as well as Jerry Seinfeld, another of my favorite perfomers/writers.

Jun. 16th, 2008

I still love animal crackers

Look, I'm not saying they're the best cookies money can buy (um, besides which, they're crackers), but I still dig 'em. And the fact that they still come in those boxes with the strings on 'em just makes 'em better.

More blather later.

Jun. 14th, 2008

And we're back....well, sorta

Thought I'd better post something, even if it's practically nothing, in between trips out of town. (Got back Thursday night; leaving again Tuesday morning. Boy, are my arms tired, etc.) No hints, now, as to where I'm going or where I've been, but since I'm still on Hawaiian time and hence still awake at, gosh, pushing 2am now, here I am.

Went to the doctor today for my regular appointment. (Every 2.25 years, like clockwork.) Turns out I continue to be afflicted with the disease known as life, and as there is no known cure, I guess I will continue to suffer along with it and cope as best I can. The good: my BP is down. The bad: my weight is up (again). The indifferent: my back pain is likely due, according to my new doctor who replaced my old one who apparently retired sometime in the last 2.25 years, to the fact that my hips are out of alignment, lopsided even. This probably explains existing pain (back), previous and since intermittent pain (knee), and the fact that I haven't found a pair of pants that fits right since I was 12. More back and  joint pain, likely on the right side, is probably in my future. Something to look forward to. A symptom of life.

I get back in town just in time for the first EVER matchup between my Halos and the Atlanta Braves (Thanks, interleague play!) only to see my team play a stinker and lose. Lots of close calls didn't go our way, but that's no excuse. We just flat out lost. And to think I had half a mind to go to that game tonight last night. (Not sure what my other half a mind was doing at the time. I may have left it in the cabana on the beach.) I also am beginning to realize I may be a cranky purist at heart after all when it comes to some things, like interleague play and instant replay in baseball. I can't go for those things; heck, I can't even get over the DH, and it's been, like, 35 years, which is longer than I've been alive. As with just about everything else, we tend to over-romanticize baseball's heyday and place it in some kind of pre-lapsarian epoch (Hey, what am I, a dictionary? Go look it up.) in which there was no betting, no cheating, no bigamy, hot dogs cost a quarter, and the players were monogamous, clean-livin' demigods who looked good in tight pants while legging out triples, but that just ain't so. Still, the fact that so many fundamental things--distance between bases, organization of rosters, size of fields (give or take a few feet--I'm looking at you, short porch in Yankee Stadium and Green Monster in Fenway)--suggests a certain permanency to the game. The fact that we can still gawk at Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA in 1968 or Ted Williams' .406 BAVG in 1941 and appreciate their place amongst an ever-expanding glut of numbers and statistics and acronyms (know what PECOTA is? how about VORP?) proves this to be true because those numbers still carry significant meaning, if only to stat-geeks like me. Sure we have "moneyball" and Bill James and retrosheet.org; but it's all still baseball. And I don't want anybody tinkering with it. Everybody knows that the mythical origins of baseball are baloney, but I choose to believe them. And there, whether it was some guy's pasture in Cooperstown, New York or Elysian Fields, you can be darn sure that the Cubs didn't play the Yankees, and nobody played DH.

Jun. 2nd, 2008

Goodbye, Blue Monday

I'll be away from technology for a few days after tonight, so I won't be posting for a while. I wish I had something profound to say, but I don't, so instead I'll leave you with a few words from Kurt himself.

"We are here on earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."
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