Archive for January, 2009


1. Tina Fey

With her portrayals of Sarah Palin, Tina Fey almost single-handedly made SNL good again.


2. Joss Whedon

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so, because it is simply so off-the-wall laugh-out-loud funny. And the music rocks, too.

Honorable mentions to Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day for this also.


3. Barack Obama

The exhilaration of Obama’s victory still hasn’t faded in all places. The Blagojevich affair, the continued economic crapness and the violence in Gaza have largely overshadowed it, but Obama allowed a great many people to believe in something better, inspired many people to get out and vote for the first time, and stopped the election from being a quasi-Hobsonian choice between Hillary Clinton and John McCain.


4. Harry Redknapp

As I mentioned in my “2009 won’t suck” post, the new Tottenham manager has been turning the team around and getting some good results under the collective belt. Here’s hoping we see more of the same.


5. Juande Ramos

The previous Tottenham manager. Although things turned sour later on, Ramos steered the team to a Cup win and thereby ensured our continued competitive presence at a continental level as well as national. But enough was enough.


6. Anne Mulcahy

While Xerox’s CEO didn’t have a direct hand in the decision to hire me, her continued support for my department is a big part of what made it possible. 2009 has brought layoffs, it’s true, but 2008 was still made better for me. And while the layoffs have stung all over the company, the aforementioned support was probably also a major factor in keeping the attrition down to the levels we ended up seeing.


7. Aaron Sorkin

I know The West Wing has long since finished its run. That said, it is still one of the greatest shows ever to air, and watching it on DVD for the third or fourth time through was still great. Especially knowing that certain of the West Wing characters were based on actual politicians who figured strongly in the 2008 campaign.


8. Nate Silver

A less well-known name, but one which made a few headlines in 2008 and which I believe will make more and more, Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com made a name for himself using statistical models and a huge amount of polling data to predict the results of the 2008 election, which he did with remarkable accuracy. His efforts inspired me to make my own predictions – using less advanced math, of course – which also went rather well.


9. Arianna Huffington

2008 was the year in which The Huffington Post shed at least some of its liberal bias and made an effort to become a very credible news source. While many of the articles, particularly the op/eds, continue to show a strong liberal slant, the more objective “HuffPo” overtook The Drudge Report as my news site of choice.

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Is It Time Yet?

Obama: Is it time yet? The fat lady’s done singing…


Inauguration Crowds

Crowd: Is it time yet? The guy 1235965th from the right in row 213958365 needs to pee, and he can’t hold it much longer.



Obama: I do solemnly swear that I am up to n… umm, faithfully defend and execute stuff. What you just said, Mr. Chief Justice.



Spielberg: CUT! Get him the script again and we’ll retake in five minu– oh. I’m not in charge here.



Obama: OK, speech time! Can I get a HELL YEAH!


Obama Inauguration

Obama: The economy is in crisis, but you can still get a Five Dollar Footlong at Subway. We now return to my speech.



Bush: Nice speech. By the way, to get the sink to work in the executive bathroom you have to jiggle the handle.



Emanuel: SO glad I had Bill Clinton tell Dubya that thing about the “sink”.


APTOPIX Obama Inauguration

Sasha Obama: You did good, Daddy. Now where the hell’s my puppy?


Photos from Drudge Report and Huffington Post.

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Relief, and sorrow

I am still employed.

Not entirely sure why, at this point; let’s look at the reasons I had to be hopeful.

The 2008 numbers are up The person who crunched the numbers is gone.

My manager wasn’t called upon to axe people My manager is also gone.

But the axe is now done swinging, and it bit deep throughout our department. Between today’s layoffs and the voluntary separation offer that went out at the tail end of last year, we’ve lost 10 people out of 40-45.

I’ve heard that other parts of the company are getting hit harder.

And the PA just called for medical emergency response team to the area where they’re offering the next-step career counseling – so either someone just had a breakdown, or someone went postal. Probably the former, but the latter is not completely without precedent.

This has been a brutal day, during which I have seen far too many hard-working and dedicated people, many of them friends, join the ranks of the unemployed.

Those of us who are left have a meeting in a little over an hour, during which we will presumably discuss how on earth we’re all going to structure our work from here on out. It probably won’t be pretty.

But I will be here for it, and for that I am very grateful.

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The Other Other L Word

The prospect of impending layoffs at Xerox has been weighing heavily on all of us here in the last couple of months; ever since it was announced that the company was seeking to cull roughly three thousand employees from its workforce, most of us have wrestled with the unanswerable question “will I be one of the three thousand?”. While this constitutes about 5 per cent of the total workforce and thus gives people the knowledge that there is about a 95 percent chance of being just fine, that’s still not a comfortable enough margin for anyone to feel secure. However, the questions will soon be answered – L-day is at hand.

Tomorrow, an unspecified number of Xerox employees around the globe will be provided with boxes in which to pack up their desks.

Indicators are good for my team, in the following ways:

  • The 2008 numbers for e-commerce are up compared to 2007.
  • The higher-ups continue to hand us project assignments that stretch well beyond tomorrow.
  • The meetings during which certain managers were informed that they would have to cull people did not include my manager.

However, those are not cast-iron guarantees of anything.

So if you happen to like me, and not be secretly plotting my demise or anything, I would appreciate good wishes tomorrow – perhaps a prayer or two if you are so inclined.

If, on the other hand, you are secretly plotting my demise, but in a manner which involves a nasty copier-related “accident”, you still have cause to hope for my continued employment, so I would ask the same favor of you.

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A sesquipedalian exercise

I admit it; I’m a lexiphane, and often rodomontade about it. Many people evince a certain dyspathy toward such logophilia… but at the risk of being panglossian, I am inclined to tripudiate at the notion of more widespread lexicographical pedagogy, and hope that the often philodoxical and kakistocratic educational establishment might someday accomplish more than mere goving at this post. If through ontology alone I might maieutically induce someone to hansardize – to forsake intellectual omphaloskepsis for metanoia – it would cause me at least a modicum of vainglory.

Amid the apricity and psithurism which pervade much of the nation today, perhaps some young tatterdemalion might relinquish his or her linguistic pusillanimity, sequester himself or herself (no circumlocution or tmesis here) with a good dictionary and begin to mentally estivate.

And now, as proprioception causes me to remord a recent borborygmus, my loquacity and garrulousness find a terminus.

That was fun.

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The tail lights on our car stopped working over the Christmas holiday. We were out driving to try to keep L asleep in his car seat, and someone pulled up beside us to tell us our brake lights weren’t working. This being a potentially serious issue, we pulled over as soon as possible and got out to look. Brake lights were working just fine. Got back in the car and made to head back to Rochester. During the drive, a couple of other cars caught our attention due to their occupants gesticulating at us. Hmm, we thought. Are the brake lights out and just working intermittently? Pulled over at the next rest stop.

Brake lights work.

Indicators work.

Tail lights… oh snap.

D turned on the flashers so we could be seen in the dark and we got off the Thruway (fortunately we were only a mile from our exit at this point) to take the car to Sears Auto Center (this being a Saturday evening, Sears were what was nearby and open). They changed the fuse, and the new one blew immediately. With the expectation that doing it again would somehow produce a different result, they changed the fuse again, and strangely enough the new one immediately blew.

Oh well, the gentleman said. Looks like it’s a wiring problem, and we don’t do that here.

Called our regular mechanic on Monday morning. He’d be able to look at it Wednesday.

Dropped it off on Wednesday, and picked it back up the same day, with working tail lights. Yay!

Drove to Canada on Saturday, and on the way back someone in another car gesticulated at us. Sure enough, the tail lights were out.

So I took the car to the mechanic again this morning. They’re going to need to look at it more deeply than I can just wait for. So tomorrow I will be needing to find a ride to work.


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I suppose the title of this post is a little misleading, in that if I have bothered to list something here, then I apparently at least a partial fuck about it, enough to write about it. Some would argue, though, that a partial fuck is in its own way more pathetic than no fuck at all, but most of all, these nine things could vanish from the face of the earth and I would not miss them in any way.

1. Miley Cyrus

By extension, Hannah Montana and High School Musical in their entirety. So, so sick of seeing these bloody things advertised on everything that is large enough to contain a facsimile of Miley’s unfeasibly large and artificial smile.

2. The dodgy activities of the neighbor of the boyfriend of the daughter of the former employee of the college buddy of the pastor of the husband of a defeated vice-presidential candidate.

Why are the media still squeeing over Sarah Palin? Until she gets indicted for something or runs for office again, stop trying to make a scandal over people she might vaguely recognize if she passed them on the street.

3. Slash fiction

House isn’t screwing Wilson. Snape did not bugger Harry. And I’d be willing to bet that Ernie is not giving it to Bert.

Just stop.

If you want to write fiction with gay protagonists, and include explicitly or implicitly sexual scenes, then great – I have no issue with this, and will quite happily read it. If you want to take somebody else’s characters out of context just to have them shag, regardless of how inappropriate and unrealistic it might be, I think you might need to root out whatever pathological impulse is driving this and stomp on it.

4. Screamo

This is where I’m going to sound like an old person: if you can’t make music without screaming tunelessly into the microphone while your band throws their instruments down fifteen flights of stairs… don’t bother. Find something else to do, like whining on your MySpace about how nobody understands you. At least there, I don’t have to encounter it.

This is where I hope to sound less old again: there is such a thing as good emo, contrary to some of my earlier assertations. Panic at the Disco, The Academy Is, and several other bands from the FueledByRamen/DecayDance stable are well worth a listen.

5. Superhero movies

Facile plots, wooden acting and outrageous special-effect budgets. Did I miss anything?

There are a few exceptions to this, of course, but haven’t we had enough superhero movies for one decade? Maybe something totally new and creative and well-acted wouldn’t actually kill anyone.

6. The Jolie-Pitt family

Nothing else I can really say here. There’s drama. There are many babies. There are tabloid ‘scoops’. I simply don’t care.

7. Drug-resistant hyper-virulent strains of bird flu

There’s no point worrying about this. It’s hyper-virulent. It’s drug-resistant. So if it has your name on it, you’re going to get it. Take the usual precautions you would take against getting sick and hope for the best.

8. Snowed-out global warming conferences

It was ironic to hear about it the first time. Now it’s just annoying. Yes, it’s still going to snow. Sometimes even in May, or September. That’s because the issue is more complex than “OMG the world is gettin hotter :(“. Many people have chosen the path of referring to the issue as ‘climate change’ in order to make it less confusing for the retards who point to snowflakes as proof that global warming is a myth.

Ultimately, even if we’re not actually causing global warming, we are still pumping ton after ton of toxic chemical shit into our air and water – shouldn’t we be doing something about that even if we’re not staring the Grim Reaper in the face?

9. The novelty song about ‘Barack the Magic Negro’

It’s racist. It aired on the Rush Limbaugh show. Was anyone still looking for proof that Limbaugh is a dick? This was just one more example in a long career of dickitude.

This may well be all I have to say on any of these topics for the rest of 2009 if not beyond. Now for some more positive content.

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I’m interrupting “9 for ’09” here to report that I have now had my fingerprints taken for the FBI to run a check on me.

That sounds ominous and “dude, what did he get caught doing?”-y. But now I’m going to take the bad-boy-glamorous shine off it.

This is actually a requirement during the process of becoming a citizen of the United States.

Interestingly, this is also a requirement during the process of procuring for oneself a green card. Four years and change ago, I drove to the same place and had my hands manhandled by the same people, but apparently my fingerprints have somehow changed during the intervening time.

It’s all part of my nefarious plot, you see. I change my fingerprints every couple of years so that I can keep getting away with stuff. It’s lengthy, and painful, but it’s so rewarding.

Or something.

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This is the start of a new temporary (maybe 9 days) feature wherein I make lists of stuff. So yeah. Reasons 2009 won’t suck.

1. New albums from Guster and Carbon Leaf

They’re not the only ones, of course, but two perennial favorites who will be releasing new material for the first time since 2006. Perhaps this will be as good a music year as that was.

2. Radical topiary

By which I of course mean the wholesale removal of the Bushes from the political landscape. I know that Obama has an extraordinarily difficult year ahead of him, and as such I am hesitant to expect a full reversal of the Bush policies I have disagreed with. However, I believe that he is likely to bring a change for the better, and I look forward to seeing it.

3. The return of Jermain Defoe

Tottenham have been woefully short on goals this season, largely due to the previous management’s boneheaded decision to sell off our three most prolific strikers in 2008 without lining up a proven replacement. As such, we were languishing at the foot of the league for a long time. Mercifully, said management has fallen under the proverbial axe, and due to the arrival of the new manager one of those strikers is now returning. Two other existing players are beginning to find their rhythm as well, and we have won more games than we have lost in the last 4-5 weeks. Here’s hoping this continues and we can climb the table again.

4. Going to Florida

On the 23rd, we will be escaping the cold and wet and dreary weather for a week in the sticky-out bit at the bottom right of America. More on that when it happens.

5. Getting our own place

2009 will in all likelihood see us moving into a house of our own, away from the mental depredations inflicted upon us throughout the years by noisy neighbors and flaky landlords. 

6. Baby steps

L is very close to taking his first steps, and will almost certainly do so either this month or next. It’s something that is second nature to any of us, but an extremely important milestone for him, and I can’t wait to be the proud daddy when he manages it.

7. Commemorative coinage

2009 sees the extension of the State Quarters program for one more year, four new Presidential dollar coins and four commemorative pennies. OK, so it’s only 14 coins and thus about 1.2% of my collection, but there are new coins coming out and I’m a coin nerd and that therefore makes me squee like a 7-year-old seeing the newest line of Hannah Montana merchandise.

8. More interesting work

Ever since I started at Xerox, I’ve been working on one big behemoth of a project, now mercifully complete. This means that I get to do a wider variety of things.

9. Steve Jobs is still not dead

Notwithstanding the rumours that keep screwing with Apple’s stock price, one of the computer industry’s titans is still alive and kicking, and thus there will be more pretty shiny toys released this year.

So yeah. Should be a good year.

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