Saturday, December 24, 2005


The Christmas tree is shining brightly as I sigh and ponder how lucky I am. It’s been an incredible year: I asked the most amazing girl in the world to marry me and she said “yes.” I managed to get through another year of the work/school roller coaster with my sanity mostly in check – not to mention that both have yielded pretty good results. I’ve painted a few good pictures, written some fairly amusing prose, and listened to awesome music, new and old.

Tomorrow Monika and I head to Houston, where we’ll have more good times, including a few trips to the infamous Jade Village (I’m crossing my fingers), some tennis matches to remind the boys where they land in the pecking order (kidding, kidding (?)), and finally, Rajiv and MA’s wedding on New Year’s Eve.

I am blessed to be surrounded by such loving family and friends, and just to be alive and kicking in the first place. Here’s to more learning, loving, and living.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Professional Tennis player Mariano Puerta was slapped with an 8-year ban a couple days ago for a second steroid infraction. The first infraction was for the ingestion of clenbuterol, which was supposedly for asthma, and the second was for etilefrine, supposedly from drugs his wife was taking. Regardless of whether he will end up remaining guilty as charged, the current ruling is based upon the fact that as a professional athlete, he has a responsibility to remain vigilant in ensuring that he isn’t exposed to any anabolic steroids that could give him a competitive advantage over the rest of the field.

In Austin last week, there was apparently some sort of tiff between some members of the Longhorn football team and other guys that were out partying downtown. Armed Robbery? Trash-talking? We’ll find out.

Regardless of guilt or innocence, though, both of these situations piss me off. Puerta might not have taken steroids – but then again, if he didn’t, why does he have the biggest traps in tennis? And why did he come from nowhere to kicking ass and almost finishing in the top 10 in 2005? If that was truly the result of hard work, you’d think he’d be particularly sensitive to the eye of scrutiny upon him, not only due to his surprising results, but also because of this: “Puerta is one of six Argentine players caught up in doping cases in recent years.” (

Back to my beloved Longhorns. Perhaps these stories are merely the result of someone trying to get attention – after all, those pictures of Matt Leinhart accompanied by the “he is a womanizer” e-mail proved to be completely false (
arash_markazi/12/16/ But regardless of whether the Longhorn players or the other guys started whatever took place, nothing changes the fact that one of the guys hanging out with the players supposedly had a gun.
Now, if I’m Cedric Griffin, I’m the happiest guy in the world. It’s my senior year, and my team is undefeated. We’re going to the National Championship. I’m going to graduate in May with a college degree (yeah, yeah, I know, but here comes the best part…). Best of all, I’m about to make MILLIONS of dollars per year. I’m going to make so much money that I can wipe my ass with $20s, maybe even $100s if I’m feeling saucy. So why would I do something as stupid as getting involved in a heated argument where there’s a firearm present?

Maybe these guys are actually innocent, and I’m way off base. Maybe they’re victims of the media, or victims of their own family and friends’ mistakes. Or maybe they just have no shame.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


People are awful drivers. Once they are inspired by the holiday spirit, though, they are a force to be reckoned with. I’ve compiled a list of reminders for those of you who might be a little forgetful during this last-minute holiday rush:

-In this country, we drive on the right side of the road.

-That “thingy” sticking out of your steering column is a “turn signal.” To be used when turning, or cutting people off.

-If you’re in a minivan carrying 2 or more children, please don’t go more than 10 over the speed limit. If only 1 child, 15.

-If you are in the right lane and realize with 100 feet of leeway that you actually wanted to turn left, you are only allowed to make a full stop and block traffic if you need to cut over 2 or fewer lanes. If more, you must have at least 150 feet of room.

-If we’re at a light and I honk at you because the light’s been green for 5 seconds and you aren’t moving, it’s not because you clearly aren’t looking at the road, it’s because I’m helping you be on time for pissing off someone else!

Keep these in mind and you’ll have no problem on the roads this holiday season – go get ‘em, tiger!

Sweet, sweet success...

From the person who inspired the "Broken" post:

You win… Trent needs my help. No one buys his albums anymore and he’s probably starving to death on his yacht at this very moment.
I’ll buy the d@mn album IF I ever see it in the store again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I got my first CD player for Christmas in 1991, along with my first CD, U2’s “Achtung Baby.” I turned 12 in January 1992, and over the course of that year, bought albums from a few other artists you may have heard of: Nirvana, White Zombie, and Green Day (each of those is a story in itself). I knew I liked rock (thanks, Dad), and all of those albums delivered the goods.

Late in the year I was chatting with my friend Adam, who was going on about how this band “Nine Inch Nails” was coming out with a new album, and he was going to get a copy for me when he went to the store. I was oblivious upon receiving it, and gave it a good bit of scrutiny; it was the first album case made of cardboard I’d ever seen. It didn’t flip open in the traditional way, either – it had a three-flap n-i-n (hmm, no backwards ‘n’ option on this keyboard…) cover which revealed the CD. There were lyrics – and another interesting note: “Nine inch nails is Trent Reznor.”

Of course, it was time to see what this was all about: I placed the CD delicately in the tray, and let it wind up – 99 songs?! I pushed “play.”

“Pinion” is essentially a warning. I ended up cranking my stereo volume far beyond reasonable levels because the track fades in from nothing, so by the time it reached its steady-state volume it was seriously loud. Then came the rapid-fire opening drums of “Wish.”

“This is the first day of my last days”


SHIT!!! An avalanche of noise like nothing I’d ever heard before. A sound not so much like guitar, but like an earth-shattering explosion, like a caged animal trying to escape.

Should I turn it down? Naaah.

“Wish there was something real, wish there was something true!
Wish there was something real in this world full of you!”

I was only 12, but I knew this was what hurt sounded like. Reznor had taken all his anger and put it in a little box, engulfed with flames, and offered it to us.

“Broken” has aged exceptionally, and stands as one of the cornerstones of Reznor’s body of work. The other day I was talking with a casual listener who said “I just can’t convince myself to pay full CD price for an EP” (which of course, effectively prompted this lengthy response). He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Why Badger?

That's what my classmates in school call me. One of the guys among us is great at coming up with nicknames; one day he called me "The Badger." I said "Badger? I didn't go to Wisconsin." And he said, "No, no. The Badger is a ruthless animal - they just keep pounding away at something until they get what they want. That's how you are with this school stuff - you're just relentless."

After his explanation, I decided I like the nickname, so it's stuck ever since.


So the government has been tapping U.S. citizens’ phone lines.

How could this happen? This is a breach of our rights, our privacy. As to whether this order was necessary, or whether the goals could have been achieved through different means, I won’t say, because frankly, I’m dealing with incomplete information.

However, I have a big problem with this:

“Sources with knowledge of the program have since told CNN that Bush did sign the secret order in 2002.

The sources refused to be identified because the program is classified.” –

Let me clear my throat, and repeat, CLASSIFIED.

Now, maybe I’m biased because of the industry I work in, but objectively, the term “classified” means a couple different things:

1. You shouldn’t tell anyone any of this information, because it is vital to the nation’s security.
2. You CAN’T tell anyone any of this information even if you felt so inclined, because it is ILLEGAL to do so.

Now, let’s step back for a second. Do I think that all classified information should always be kept secret? This brings to light ethical dilemmas such as “the whistleblower.” The idea is that someone knows something that they aren’t supposed to tell anyone, but the public has a right to know that information because it’s predicated on lies. See Exhibit A: Enron. I don’t think anyone would argue against Sharon Watkins’ actions.

So what of the whistleblowers in this case? These people were among very few people in the entire country that were entrusted with information that was highly classified. It was illegal for them to come forward with this information.

But perhaps, like Watkins, they know something we don’t? Perhaps the president authorized this program to stop terrorists, but it’s being abused, and our government is spying on everyone without rhyme or reason. In my opinion, if this is the case, whoever came forward to the press with this highly classified information should reveal themselves – if they felt that this covert operation were so heinously out of control that the public should know, and that courts would immediately declare the order unconstitutional, then they should be able to fess up to their actions. If they are right, they should have no problem sleeping at night, and will probably be regarded as heroes.

Otherwise, they are just snitches.


Post-write-up thoughts: maybe I’m old school, but I think that people should take accountability for their actions. Particularly as while I wrote this up, I saw various other headlines on CNN, such as “Democrats plan to investigate constitutional breach…”

Perish the thought, but if we had a Democratic president, something tells me the Republicans would be doing some investigating as well.

The concept that this charade could be politically fueled makes me want to wretch.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


One of the worst feelings in the world is when you've just finished a test, and you thought you nailed it, but then you talk about it with friends, and start to realize that you didn't do as well as you thought initially. In fact, you think you bombed the damn thing, which is extremely rare for you, which makes the feeling that much worse...


Welcome to my random thoughts.