What You Say?!?

December 17, 2004 5:26 pm

One of the things I really like about working at a small company is the ability to personally know every employee, from senior management to temps. We had our annual holiday gala last night, and it was nice to get cozy with everyone. I glanced around the room and realized I could name each person, where they sit in the office, and recall a meaningful conversation with them. This speaks volumes not only to our tight departmental integration, but also to the people themselves. I'm glad to have co-workers that I can build strong working relationships with. There's nothing better than knowing you can trust your peers to match your work ethic, perform consistently, and be friendly all at the same time. Plus, I bet I'm one of the few people who can say they toasted the CEO's wine glass (this is a man who raised $15M for a startup financial firm with the snap of a finger), watched the COO give every warm body in the company hugs and kisses (when this man calls, you drop everything and give him 110% of your time) and called a tab in the CFO's name (putting kamikaze shots on the credit of the man who controls your firm's entire accounting and risk management? utterly sweet).

Sometimes it really is worth all the hard work.

December 15, 2004 8:42 am

We recorded Sci-Fi's "Legend of Earthsea" on TiVo to watch last night. I feel Sci-Fi did an admirable job with "Dune," sticking as close to Herbert's vision as marketing constraints and limited budget could allow. So though I feared they would mess up Earthsea, I also hoped that at least the spirit of the story would be captured.

Boy, was I wrong. Sci-Fi completely and utterly fucked Le Guin's masterpiece. Not only did they sex it up (they sexed up "Dune" too, but not to the point where the characters were no longer themselves), but they completely deviated from any plot the books ever had. Within the first 5 minutes, they destroyed Tenar's persona, turned Ged into a simpleton, introduced a "villain" that didn't even appear in any of the books, rewrote the world origin, demolished any viable storylines, and adding insult to injury, they fabricated all the dialogue. There wasn't a single conversation that took place in the books, none of Le Guin's nuanced language, her simple yet heartening style. They took a beautiful world filled with complex characters, profound morality, wonder, and duty and fucked it into an unrecognizable pile of steaming dogshit.

Sci-Fi has decimated a fantasy classic, turned it into a joke, a horrendous sham, poorly written, poorly executed, with none of the intriguing story and atmospheric depth that made the books so enjoyable. It's not even entertaining as a standalone feature. Sci-Fi had no right to even relate this atrocity to Earthsea, much less claim it was "based" on Le Guin's books.

I sincerely hope this production doesn't turn off readers from the series. The Earthsea Cycle is a fantasy staple that laid the foundation for many fantasy concepts and literary techniques. Unlike Tolkien, who specialized in world and race building, and who clearly drew the line between good and evil, Le Guin concentrated on individual character development, on the gray areas between light and dark, exploring social consequences and conflicts within the heart, treating magic as an extension of the soul. She is a gifted storyteller and this mockery of her work is a true shame. Sci-Fi has ruined this so-called adaptation and I hope whoever approved this production rots in the worst hell imaginable.

December 12, 2004 10:48 am

I have three paper cuts on my right hand. WTF?!

December 8, 2004 7:57 am

Driving in heels is weird. The angle is all wrong. I never realized how much I depended on the responsiveness of the pedals. In heels, I feel much more removed from what's going on with my acceleration and handling. Maybe that's why women are stereotyped as bad drivers - you can't properly control a vehicle in fucking heels.

December 4, 2004 5:13 pm

Enough ranting for now. I submit to you, Big Ass Lego AT-AT:

Vic and I braved Toys R Us on Black Friday to pick this up. We got the last box on the shelf, at a 50% discount, then spent the afternoon building it together. We are such consumer whores. I already have all the mini Star Wars sets in my office, but apparently that is not enough.

Random side note: there's a little place up Route 27 that has the best chocolate chip bagels.

December 3, 2004 12:03 pm

Oh, no, boys and girls. I'm not done yet! (see what a whole month without the release of online venting does?)

The death of Arafat. Whatever your opinion of him, nobody can deny that his passing is a chance for change. I feel the Middle East must not miss this opportunity, but probably will. As for the man himself, I've run the gamut from intensely hating him and all he stood for to totally understanding where he and the people he represented were coming from. I could say the same for Sharon, actually. But regardless of personal feelings, a man who embraced terrorism yet was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient is hard to forget, and while I wring my hands at the mess he left behind, I can't help but feel a little hope. In life, I think he made some grievous mistakes (Camp David, anyone?), but in death, he offers hope that the next Palestinian leader will be able to capture as much of the world's attention without resorting to violence, and will be the more savvy, thoughtful negotiator his/her people need.

This also reminds me of the class of '03 commencement. When Desmond Tutu proclaimed the world would see no peace until Israel was a sovereign nation, the crowd went wild in support. But when he proclaimed there would be no peace until Palestine also was a sovereign nation, there was thunderous booing. To me, this is the crux of the problem. I'm sure if Reverend Tutu made the same statements at a ceremony with a large Islamic population, the cheers and jeers would be reversed. Those entrenched in the conflict and the ideology behind the conflict can't seem to forgive and move on, to grant that the other side is just as human and has the same desires, along with the same passion in defending what they hold dear. The history is so long and complex that righting wrongs by committing more wrongs simply will not work anymore. That kind of strategy is useful when conquering, invading, or crushing, but I do not think those are the ultimate goals of the majority of Israelis or Palestinians. If they are, then may both groups have the shit nuked out of them, because that would be no less than what they deserve.

I-287/Route 24 Ramp Construction. Usually when road construction is completed, the traffic pattern eases. Not for New Jersey Civil Engineers Snorting Coke! The main interstate I take to work is I-287 North, and I use it to connect to Route 24 East through a ramp. Originally, this ramp became its own lane once it hit Route 24. Basically, Route 24 was a single lane highway until the ramp from I-287 came in and created a second lane on the right. This seemed perfectly fine to me because:

(1) Route 24 is only single lane for about half a mile before I-287. While it sucks to drive on a single lane highway, this isn't a very long distance.

(2) A lot of drivers come from I-287, so it made perfect sense for the ramp to have its own lane. It kept those already on Route 24 from having to deal with the incoming I-287 flux. So if you're already going 70 mph on Route 24, you never worried about the I-287 drivers slowly coming up the ramp. You could just sail past and let them deal with their own slow lane.

(3) Immediately after the I-287 ramp becomes the second lane (and by immediately, I mean a few feet), there's a ramp from a local road that merges into the right lane. Again, this makes sense because the right lane is still slow from the I-287 ramp, so the slow merging traffic hits the previous slow merging traffic, and it all works.

Well. Those morons at NJDOT completely fucked this up. They decided Route 24 needed a second lane before the I-287 interchange. And rather than allow the I-287 ramp to continue as a distinct lane, they decided to merge it. WHAT A HUGE FUCKING MISTAKE. Traffic is ten times worse than it was before, and I'll tell you why:

(1) Remember that ramp from the local road? Well, now you have two merging ramps within feet from each other. Anytime you have that, it means slower traffic.

(2) Everyone is all happy that Route 24 now has two lanes, so people flood the right lane, which is fine until you hit those two on-ramps one right after the other. All sorts of lane shuffling, braking, swerving, cutting off, and other nasty driving behavior ensue.

(3) This new setup allows even more chain-merging than before. What is chain merging? Well, you're in the right lane and you come up to a merge. During rush hour, people ahead of you tend to slow down to accommodate the incoming traffic. So you pop out of the right lane into the merge lane, essentially pretending you were merging in from the ramp. Then you drive all the way down the merge lane, finally forcing yourself back into the right lane when the merge ends. ONLY IN NEW JERSEY have I seen this happen on an almost daily basis. And given the fact that TWO merge lanes now exist, I routinely see cars use the I-287 merge lane, then hop over to the local road merge lane. All this does is create a massive headache and endless frustration for those of us who prefer to drive according to standard traffic practice.

Yes, I did just write a really long traffic rant. I'm entitled. I hate the drivers in this state and I hate the incompetence of those in charge. If they had the budget to build this new lane, they could have used some brains and spent it on the hundreds of areas that actually needed change. What a waste of my tax dollars and time.

Carbs. Get these stupid low carb items off my menu and out of my grocery store. I want my food manufacturing conglomerate to concentrate on bringing me tasty artificial flavorings filled with sugar. I want my Italian restaurant brimming with pasta. I want burgers on buns, not a fucking pita, and I want bagels in the morning and dinner rolls at night. Fuck you, bandwagon low carb dieters. 95% of you have no discipline whatsoever and are destroying your cholesterol (plus, when you finally get that heart attack you so richly deserve, I have to chip in for your medical insurance, so shove that steak and eat some bread already). If you want to lose weight, then get the hell off your lazy ass and exercise. Eat a balanced meal - this does not mean pork rinds with butter on the side. Drink lots of water. And stop pretending you know what you're doing. You are not a nutritionist. You are not a doctor. You are not so foolish to believe a book can tell you everything you need to know about your body's health.

No wait, you are that foolish. Fuck you and your carbs. Take them to Africa or South America where they are actually needed.

December 2, 2004 7:35 am

Damn. I didn't get to post anything here for the entire month of November. A lot of stuff has happened since, and I'm in a ranting mood...

The U.S. election. Fuck. That is all.

11 states, 0 gay marriage. While I'm not surprised, I'm extremely disappointed. I've never heard a logical argument against gay marriage from anyone, not from family values proponents, not from religious fundamentalists, not even from public policy makers. The key word here is "logical" and that seems to fail every opponent I've ever heard, read, or spoken with. It frustrates me that a country whose leadership touts freedom as a mantra for war refuses to allow its own people freedom when it comes to something as basic as recognition of marital vows. Fuck you, voters against gay marriage.

Vioxx and the FDA. In this country we are innocent until proven guilty. Until a judge finds otherwise, Merck did nothing wrong. They acted responsibly. While pulling Vioxx will cost them billions in sales, who knows what it might spare in future legal costs, especially if it could be proven they knew the results of the study and didn't act. To pull such a profitable product off the market completely is way more than they had to do. They could have just recalled bottles, put new warnings on the labels, then continued marketing the drug, and been perfectly within legal realm. But no, they did the ethical thing and removed the danger altogether. And what they do get for this act of humanity? A shitload of frivolous, expensive lawsuits. This is partially because lawyers are greedy, but it's mostly because consumers are idiotic asswipes who can't tell their left hand from their right. Every elderly person will be signing up for a piece of the Vioxx pie, regardless of whether they were actually effected. I'm pretty sure 95% of the people lining up for a class action have never read the study on Vioxx, nor do they understand how the pharmaceutical companies lose due to this inanity. And let's face it, the less money they have to develop drugs, the less likely you're going to get any when you need them.

The whole uproar about the FDA is bullcrap too. No matter what happens, the FDA will always be criticized. Either they're in the pockets of big pharma or they're letting people die. If they approve too many drugs, they get ripped on; if they approve too few, they get ripped on; if they pull drugs off the market, people hate them; if they allow drugs to stay on the market, people hate them. The FDA is no friend of the corporation. A shitload of money is involved in FDA compliance and considering how few potential drugs make it to production, I would surmise the FDA is not very high on any pharma company's list of pals.

Sudan. Darfur. It's amazing how evil we can be. It's amazing a government can still get away with the calculated murder of its own citizens. Another stunning display of how wretched humans can be, how pathetic and worthless. One more example of how religion, hatred, and violence are often intertwined, how ethnicity and faith can be perverted into condoned slaughter. When those aerial photos were released of smoldering burning circles that were once homes, humanity should have hung its head in shame. Fuck you, liars and bigots. Fuck you for adding more strife and death to an already suffering continent.

See archived entries for October 2004.
See archived entries for September 2004.
See archived entries for August 2004.
See archived entries for July 2004.
See archived entries for June 2004.
See archived entries for May 2004.

Back to Self.