Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Question Mark

I have no idea what to do today. So here's a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head.

Monday, February 27, 2006

More Confusion

So it turns out that even though I was hired to do web development, supervise student technical assistants, and provide technological consultation to various faculty across campus, I am, in fact, not supposed to do these things. This is the word from top management. Also, I am not to have access to the database servers or the development servers. I am not to have sys admin rights to the computer labs, which I am now not supposed to be in charge of. This is not due to any mishap on my part. This was allegedly part of the plan all along. This leaves me with one major question: what the hell AM I supposed to do?

Nothing, apparently. Which is what I did all day and will likely do for the remainder of the week.

I am listening to this, by the way. It's really good. I should have majored in music or English or something artistic like I wanted to. C'est la vie. La vie n'est pas grande.

Monday, February 20, 2006

an update on goings on

We had the first meeting for the play yesterday. Abbie printed off copies for everybody and we had a read through with all the cast members who could make it. There's something about listening to other people read the words you have written. Sometimes it comes out like you expected. Other times they mess it up completely. And sometimes, in rare instances, people take a different interpretation of your words and somehow make it better than you thought it could be.

The bad thing about a reading like this is that I always get terribly embarrassed. My face turned red, my hands started to shake, and I had to keep my head down to avoid looking at people. It's a strange combination of happy excitedness and strange fear. And its the same thing every time.

Christy's sister Aimee was there to read all the open parts and its amazing to see her at work. She is definitely a very gifted actor and its a shame she can't be a part of this. Assuming she would even want to.


Today is Monday and for some reason I'm in a really good mood. It's cold as hell, but the sun is out, so the campus has a crispness to it that you can only see in winter. Normally I am not a big fan of the colder months, but today is an exception to the rule.

I just got out of a meeting with the main IT group, which I will call Team Cynical(TM). Team Cynical(TM) consists of computer guys in their mid thirties who couldn't quite hack it in the real world and have thus resorted to careers in academia. I don't like to use this popular maxim when it comes to teachers since I know several who could run circles around the majority of people in the "real" world (including my sister and this guy), but in the case of the non-educational roles, the description is apt. And, yes, I am well aware that the description covers my job as well. I tried for years to get a job in the "real" world and met only with frustration. Academia is not very challenging, at least not yet, but it is comfortable. So at least I have that going for me.

The majority of the meeting with Team Cynical(TM) consisted of them complaining about a faculty member's request to purchase a certain piece of unnecessary hardware. Yes, they are correct in their belief that the hardware is unnecessary and that her request is due primarily to her inability to understand basic technology. But here's the rub. The hardware only costs $20, and they'be been fighting it since the Fall. This lady is faculty. She will fight tooth and nail to get what she wants, because that is what faculty do. In speaking with jimi this weekend, I learned that part of a phd education is learning how to outlast the lessers when it comes to the acquisiton of resources. And if jimi's story is the norm, this lady hasn't even begun to fight.

It was neat to see the guys from Team Cynical(TM) in action, though. They elevated profanity to an art form. It was beautiful. One guy was not merely "working on the new application," he was "fucking up that shitty software that basdtard sonofabitch from the fucking rare books department had requested five fucking months ago." I'm a big fan of profanity, and even I had to sit back in awe of these people. Rather than come up with workable plans to complete the projects that had been given them, they chose instead to spend an abudnant amount of time complaining about how much work they had to do followed by an equally overabundant amount of time coming up with new ways to avoid this work in the future.

Perpetual procrasination is the name of the game, apprently.

I don't begrudge them, though. I've played that role in other positions; some of which you've read about here. But I don't want to be like that any more. So it's a good thing I don't have to work with them too closely. It is also a good thing that my boss and my boss's boss are apparently behind me 100%.


I've got the itch again. I currently have a plethora of writing projects I'm working on. Two short skits, a little one act, and a monster of a play that would put my last project to shame when it comes to scope and complexity. Don't tell Christy or Abbie about that last one, though. They'll kill me if they find out!

There's also that book idea I've been mulling over for a while. Perhaps I should get started on that.


Have you noticed that everybody seems to be in the process of writing a book recently? It's like its a fucking trend or something. This week its writing a book and next week it'll be investing in time shares. After that, maybe everybody will pick up nuclear physics as a hobby and then our energy problems will be no more!

Either that or somebody will accidentally explode a nuclear device in a large city and send the Ameircan way of life to a bitter and ugly end. Given our declining performance in math and science over the years, the former scenario seems much more likely.


I wonder if the previous section has landed me on a government watch list. If so, goody goody. It means some poor schulb in the CIA has to read this blog over and over in search of scandalous material. And when he finally makes his report, he'll have to say, "All I found was crappy writing and lots of references to burritos."

I feel sorry for the guy. Or girl. Or whatever.


Pitchers and catchers are currently working out at camps all over the United States. No, this is not a gay joke. This is major league baseball! Spring training is soon to start and that means real, live, American baseball is soon to follow. For those of you who dislike baseball, it all means warmer weather. So shut the hell up.

I'm not too keen on the Reds chances this year. I always said that the new owners would like to take a year to get to knwo the organization and learn the strengths and weaknesses from personal experience rather than reports from past coaches. And this is exactly what appears to be happening. I was sad to see Sean Casey go. I don't care if he wasn't the prototypical first baseman who mashes homeruns and lumbers around the bases so slow they have to time him with a calendar. He was a consistent 300 hitter and he made hitting a double to the gap in close, late inning games his speciality. He'll do well in Pittsburgh, especially since he'll likely hit in front of Jason Bay.

Yes, I was sad to see him go. But it was good to hear that the Reds had made the move in the hopes they could lure Matt Morris away from St. Louis. The deal eventually fell through and Morris went to Frisco, but it shows that the new management has recognized the team's bigesst weakness. Pitching. And, really, when you look at the lineup, there were only three big name players you could loose in order to make that deal. Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr, or Sean Casey. Adam Dunn can play both outfield and first base, and he is still relatively young. His patience at the plate (evidneced by his high walk total) tells me that one of these days he's going to learn how NOT to strike out so damn much. When that happens, watch out. Griffey would not have garnered the kind of revenue the Reds needed in order to get a pitcher like Matt Morris, despite his resurrective 2005 season. Casey's glove was easily replacable and the Reds had a glut of outfielders. It was the smart move. Had they pulled it off, they Reds might actually have had a shot at contending this season. As things stand, they don't. But at least management is thinking about the right things. Finally.


One of the fun things about MY library's proximity to the dance school is that, on days like today, I get to work to the sound of african drum beats that seep through the walls at strange intervals. You don't get this kind of fun in the corporate world.


The return of baseball means that I get to take part in yet another failed season of fantasy baseball online. For the past few seasons I've been in a league with people who used to live on my floor when I was a CA back at Wright State University. It's a keeper league, which means that at the beginning of each season you get to choose 10-12 people from your previous roster to keep before the draft that kicks off the start of the season. This means that your ability to recognize talent early on will eventually pay off in perenial success. It also means that if, like me, you are a terrible judge of young talent, your team will be whipped like sick rats year in a year out. Here are a few of the marquee players I have traded away in the past two seasons for what I thought would either be young talent or veteran resurgents...Todd Helton, Bartolo Colon, Michael Young, Jake Peavy, Barry Bonds, Joe Mauer, and many many others. I take part in the league only to assure that somebody else will not finish in last place. But it's fun! So I keep doing it. And you never know. Maybe Barry Zito will finally pull his head out of his ass, and maybe Curt Schilling's foot won't fall off. You never know. It could happen.

One of my friends once said that the defition of faith was the ability to persist in belief when all the available evidence spoke otherwise. This, he said, is why faith is so close to (if not the same thing as) stupidity. I'm beginning to see his point; at least in this instance.


Enough for now. There is work to do! Sorta.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

update from the fat front

I had a very groovy, very artistic post for you today. It had all kind sof funky linguistic rhythms and turns of phrase. You would have liked it. Unfortunately, I deleted it before I got the chance to post it. So you'll have to settle with this.

The Fat Project is now on day 46. This morning I arrived at the gym, expecting to see Nate's ugly face, but instead I saw an empty waiting room and a gym full of stupid college kids. I waited a while longer, but he never showed. Apparently Nate needs a bit more beauty sleep than the rest of us, because he called later to apologize, claiming he'd "accidentally" slept in.

Sure, Nate. We all know what's going on.

content in the knowledge that I could move much faster on my own, I proceeded onward, setting up shop at a bench next to a tiny girl who was struggling under 5 pound hand weights.

"Don't laugh at me," she said, a little embarrased.

"Don't worry," I said as I pulled out the 25 pound hand weights to start bench presses. For those of you who don't know, if you're a guy, 25 pound hand weights should never enter into the conversation when discussing pectoral muscles. Never. She smiled at me and then strained to push her weights skyward.

Things went well this morning, although not as well as I'd hoped. I bumped up a lot of my weights this time around and, as such, was unable to meet the requisite number of repetitions on the later sets.

Look at me ... talking like I know what I'm doing.


the funny thing about losing weight is that you never know where you're going to notice the signs. Sure, you have the big signs like moving down a notch on your belt or waking up one morning to discover that you are literally half the man you used to be. But the little things that happen along the way - those daily occurances that confirm your overall success - are strange.

For instnace, when I lost 120 pounds back in 2001 - 2003, I noticed it in my legs and my forearms. I'd stand in the shower and marvel at muscle definition I have never before seen. I'd run my hands through my hair (this was back when I had hair), and notices muscles in my forearm. One morning, early on, i remember putting on my jeans and thinking, "these feel a bit loose." It never occured to me until later that this was probably the first sign that I had lost weight.

This time around, I'm noticing it in my hands. The skin around my fingers droops a little and the little v-shaped indentation between the thumb and forefinger is a bit more pronounced every day. My knuckles stick out more; especially the Muhammad Ali knucke. I've also noticed my neck getting smaller. The large signs are still there. Don't get me wrong. I lift up my shirt and the skin roll from previous fat projects (which shrank significantly, but never left) has begun to grow at an alarming rate.

It's strange, but I like it. It's good to be going in the right direction again.

Follow along as the sasquatch transforms himself from flabby freak to a still flabby but slightly smaller freak. The numbers and stats of his endeavor are located here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fleecing The Stupid

From Catholic's Apologetics International:
CAI will write a check for $1,000 to the first person who can prove that the earth revolves around the sun. (If you lose, then we ask that you make a donation to the apostolate of CAI). Obviously, we at CAI don't think anyone CAN prove it, and thus we can offer such a generous reward. In fact, we may up the ante in the near future.
Easy money!

Monday, February 06, 2006

No Words

Today has been a very long day, and I can't think of anything fun to say. So here's a picture of Abraham Lincoln in Fubu.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ain't Got No Alibi

I took a few minutes out of my otherwise dull morning to help some of the guys from another IT office plan setup for a new computer lab which is slated to open at my library (MY library) in just under two weeks. While we were there, one of the managers walked by and said, “Hey let's get some pictures of the setup for campus ads.”

And then he said, “Hey Joe! You’re the new guy. You get to be in the ads!”

Now normally it’s a good idea to put “action” shots in your advertisements. Nothing turns people away faster than the idea that nobody will be in the shiny new lab but them. Well, you will get some people, naturally, but they’re usually the kind of people who prefer solitude and privacy when computing. These are not the kind of people to whom you would like to cater unless you charge a steep by the minute fee. And even then you want to make sure you’ve got a good deal of industrial strength cleaning supplies.

They took the pics with me as the star, and I was truly amazed at how ugly I am. Most people, even those with self esteem problems, have at least a little bit of confidence in their looks. Nobody expects to glance in the mirror and see Lurch from the Addams Family glaring back at them. Or this.

Click the pic for a sexier Sasquatch

DAMN! The baldness. The Quasimodo lump on my back. The turkey neck. I am one UGLY sonofabitch! The massive gut (hidden by Isaac’s head). No wonder I can’t get a date.

(eagle-eyed sasquatch fans will notice that the man sitting just behind me is none other than Tim Timbermann, aka “Felty,”, who went missing several years ago and has since returned to civilization. He works a few buildings over from MY library).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Survey Says

Survey Says
By Joe Shaw (c) 2006

(A large, hairy man walks across a wide lawn at a large college campus in the Midwest. He notices a group of people standing ahead with clipboards. He lowers his head and dons a mean look, but the people approach anyway. The hairy man tries to pass but is immediately accosted by one of the clipboard-bearing group members. Clipboard-boy speaks and moves with effeminate mannerisms)

CLIPBOARD BOY: Do you have a moment for equal rights?
CB: I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus, and I’d like to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Oooh. I’m not interested. Thank you.
CB: Why, because you hate gay people?
LHM: No. No … I hate married people!


CB: Do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus, and I’d like to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Ok.
CB: Did you know that the religious right is trying to criminalize our rights to marriage?
LHM: They are?
CB: Yes.
LHM: That’s terrible. Well, I’ll see you later.
CB: What? Where are you going?
LHM: Bible Study. And after that I’m meeting with the College Republicans.


CB: Do have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: No. I only have thirty seconds.
CB: Ok, well I’m with the gay and lesbian…
LHM: ... twenty five …
CB: uh … the gay and lesbian group here on campus, and I …
LHM: …twenty…
CB: What?
LHM: I said you had thirty seconds. Now you have fifteen seconds … fourteen … thirteen…
CB: Well I wanted to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Can you do it in eight seconds?
CB: No.
LHM: Oh, well. Sorry. (walks away)
CB: Don’t you care about equal rights.
LHM: Sure, but next time it needs to be more efficient.


CB: Do you have a minute for civil rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus.
CB: the gay, lesbian, and bisexual
CB: the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered
CB: the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning.
CB: the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning college students of America.
LHM: I bet that’s one hell of an acronym.
CB: You have no idea.


CB: Hi, I’m with the GLBTQCSOA.
LHM: That sounds like a mouthful.
CB: It’s not that bad once you get used to it.


CB: Hi, I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus!
LHM: Hi, I’m with the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!
CB: Oh boy. This is awkward.
LHM: Yeah, it kinda is, isn’t it?
CB: Nice tie.
LHM: Thanks.


LHM: Excuse me, what are you doing here?
CB: I’m telling people about gay rights.
LHM: Don’t you want to talk to me?
CB: No.
LHM: Why not?
CB: Because you’re not interested.
LHM: How do you know?
CB: Because we have radar, too.


CB: Hi, do have a minute for me to berate your religious and political beliefs?
LHM: As long as you’re willing to accept that I couldn’t care less about what you’re saying, sure!


CB: Hi, do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: Well I’m from the …
LHM: Damn, dude! Check out that chick.
CB: What?
LHM: Check her out, dude. Right over there. The one with the huge rack!
CB: Uh …
(LHM smiles and watches her as she passes, then turns towards CB again)
LHM: Sorry about that. Now, what did you want to say?


CB: Hi, I’m from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered group on campus. Do you have a minute to talk about equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m with the … what’s wrong.
LHM: Nothing
CB: Am I making you nervous?
LHM: No.
LHM: Yes.
CB: Why, because I’m gay?
LHM: No, because I don’t like surveys?
LHM: Ok, it’s because you’re gay, but I like gay people!
LHM: I mean I have lots of gay friends!
LHM: I have one gay friend.
LHM: I knew a gay guy once.
LHM: (ashamed) But I made fun of him behind his back.
CB: Nevermind.


CB: Do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus, and I’d like to talk to you about marriage.
LHM: Ok.
CB: Did you know that the religious right is trying to criminalize our marriage rights?
LHM: They are?
CB: Yes, they sure are. They don’t want gay people to get married.
LHM: Whew. That’s a relief.
CB: What?
LHM: Well I’m not gay, so I don’t have anything to worry about.


CB: Do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus, and I’d like to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Ok.
CB: Did you know that the religious right is trying to criminalize our marriage rights?
LHM: I didn’t know gay marriage was legal.
CB: It isn’t.
LHM: Why did you say the religious right was trying to criminalize it?
CB: It just sounds catchier that way.
LHM: Hey, yeah, it does!


CB: Do you have a moment for equal rights?
LHM: You mean gay rights.
CB: How did you know?
LHM: Because, dude, you’re wearing an ascot and a pink jacket with a feather boa.


CB: Do you have a minute for gay rights?
LHM: Yes.
CB: Did you know that George Bush doesn’t care about gay people?
LHM: I didn’t know Kanye West was gay.


CB: Hi, do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Yes.
CB: I’m from the gay, lesbian, and bisexual group here on campus.
LHM: Yes.
CB: And I wanted to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Yes.
CB: Did you know the religious right is trying to criminalize homosexuality?
LHM: Yes.
CB: We think gay rights are important and we would like you to sign up to become member for the human rights campaign.
LHM: Yes.
CB: Great! Our members usually donate anywhere from twenty to thirty dollars per months to support our campaign and keep overhead costs low. How much would you like to donate?
LHM: Yes.
CB: What? You need to tell me how much you want to donate.
LHM: Oh, I sorry. I no speak English.


CB: Hi, do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m from the gay and lesbian group here on campus.
LHM: Really? Could you hookme up with some of your lesbian friends?
CB: ---
LHM: Oooh, but make sure they're hot, ok?


CB: Hi, do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: It depends on what you mean by “equal” and “rights.”
CB: I use the generally accepted terms.
LHM: Well if we’re going for exactness we should strive for truth ahead of popularity.
CB: I don’t think we need to be that exact.
LHM: Well I’m assuming this is an important issue we’re about to discuss.
CB: True.
LHM: I don’t what there to be any ambiguity.
CB: There won’t be.
LHM: How do you know?
CB: Most people understand what those words mean.
LHM: Do you have statistics to back this up or is it merely your opinion?


CB: Do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m from the gay and lesbian group and I’d like to talk to you about marriage.
LHM: Sorry, I’m not gay.
CB: That doesn’t matter.
LHM: It sure does!
CB: No it doesn’t. Marriage rights affect us all.
LHM: Oh! Marriage RIGHTS. I thought you were proposing to me.


CB: Hi, do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure. Fine. Whatever.
CB: I’m from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered group here on campus.
LHM: (sighs)
CB: And I’d like to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Go ahead.
CB: Did you know the religious right is trying to criminalize gay marriage?
LHM: No they’re not. They’re trying to stop you people from changing the laws in this country to fit your sick behavior.
CB: Only because you dumb asses aren’t capable of opening your minds to consider anybody but yourself.
LHM: There you go again, unwilling to engage in conversation, forcing your beliefs down everybody else’s throats.
CB: You’re the one forcing his beliefs. I’m just trying to get equal rights.
LHM: Special rights is more like it.
CB: Listen here, you …

CB: brain dead redneck.
LHM: Limp-wristed pillow-biter.
CB: Homophobe.
LHM: Faggot.

(ding) (ding) (ding) (ding) (ding)



CB: Do you have a minute for equal rights?
LHM: Sure.
CB: I’m with the gay and lesbian group here on campus, and I’d like to talk to you about gay marriage.
LHM: Good to meet you.
CB: Did you know that the religious right is trying to criminalize our rights to marriage?
LHM: Well, actually, since there is currently no right to gay marriage, they aren’t trying to criminalize it.
CB: That’s true, I guess.
LHM: And it’s not just the religious right. Strict constitutionalists, even some who are for gay rights, oppose it as well.
CB: That may be the case, but the fact remains that, regardless of your beliefs on religion, from a legal standpoint gay marriage and straight marriage are the same.
LHM: I can see that. For the most part, at least.
CB: And anybody who disagrees is a bigot.
LHM: Having differing opinions doesn't make you a bigot.
CB: That's what the religious right says.
LHM: Opponents to gay marriage are not so easily defined.
CB: Oh?
LHM: While many religious conservatives disagree with homosexuality as a lifestyle, the vast majority support a “live and let live” mentality. They might disagree with it for religious reasons, but they don’t hate homosexuals. They don’t believe in forcing other to accept their beliefs. It’s only those who speak out the loudest who do.
CB: But, regardless of a person’s level of involvement in politics, isn’t a belief in the inequality of marriage rights akin to hate?
LHM: It isn’t exactly an inequality in many people’s minds.
CB: Oh, really? How is that?
LHM: They believe that the constitution defines marriage as an act involving a man and a woman and they do not believe in redefining the constitution . It’s disagreement based on constitutional means, not sexual orientation.
CB: That sounds like an excuse to me. It sounds like they use this argument instead of saying what they really want to say.
LHM: That might be true for some, but not for all. With the former, if you can give them a good reason to change the constitution, then you would likely convince them that gay marriage is ok.
CB: How about the 19th amendment, or the Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Topka Board of Education?
LHM: That’s a good place to start, I think, and like I said, I agree with you from the legal standpoint for the most part. But like all important discussions there are specific issues that require hashing out in order to come to some consensus. And I’m not sure we have the time or the ability to do so here, in the middle of campus.
CB: Maybe you’re right. But I have another question if you don’t mind.
LHM: Shoot.
CB: Isn’t the belief that homosexuality is a sin also a form of hate?
LHM: Well from the Christian standpoint, we all sin. So, no. It isn’t hate. It’s just the recognition of God’s law. Being a Christian and being homosexual are not mutually exclusive.
CB: The religious right seems to think so.
LHM: Now, wait a minute. Just because somebody is conservative and a Christian doesn’t mean they’re also hateful or that they believe God doesn’t love homosexuals. That’s like saying all men with tight jeans and well manicured fingernails are gay. Or that all jocks are not.
CB: Yeah. Sorry. But this still sounds pretty hateful to me.
LHM: What?
CB: Homosexuality as a sin.
LHM: I understand what you mean. But it’s really just a semantic.
CB: A semantic?
LH: Listen. There are Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin and there are those who believe it is not. We disagree about rules and regs all the time. It’s only through a relationship with God that we can truly understand the nature of sin. And even then, we only understand a bit of the sin in our own lives. When that happens, sin takes on a whole new meaning. It isn’t as simple as whether or not you said your prayers before you went to bed at night.
CB: Are you saying there’s no right and wrong? That we define what is right for our own lives.
LHM: No, not at all. I’m saying God defines it for us. And our understanding of that nature matures the closer we come to Him. Sin is a personal thing between you and God; not you and God and another person. It’s only when somebody thinks they are somehow “better” because they do not partake in this one particular sin that it becomes hate.
CB: That’s the whole “deal with the plank in your eye before you deal with the speck in your brother’s eye” thing, right?
LHM: Yeah. The point is the relationship with God. And that’s open to everybody, regardless of which sins weight us down.
CB: Well there certainly are a lot of Christians who forget that verse when it comes to homosexuality. At least, that’s how it seems to me.
LHM: No, you’re right. There are probably more than you know.
CB: Well, if you’re looking to get involved with our group, we’re accepting memberships.
LHM: What’s involved?
CB: We act politically to ensure the rights of homosexuals across the country.
LHM: To be honest, I don’t like to donate to political groups. They’re usually too broad for my taste and even if I agree with the main point, I end up funding another action with which I disagree.
CB: (dejected) Oh.
LHM: But I’ll take a look at your group’s website and if they seem legit, I’ll give them a call.
CB: Well, thanks.
LHM: You’re welcome.
CB: Have a nice day.
LHM: You too.