Friday, March 30, 2007

...And Here is a Perfect Poem:

Go check out this poem on Chad's blog. It is simply amazing.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Miles the Lap Dog.

Miles is a not-so-little puppy now. Here is a recent picture. Note that his head looks a little disproportionately large here since it's closer in the foreground than everything else in the picture, but this is still a reasonable indicator of how big he is:

That picture is of me trying to get his paranoid butt to sleep on the bed we bought him. Yes, that's right, if there is a single word I find most appropriate to describe our puppy, it's "paranoid." He is one of the most lovable and well-mannered dogs I've ever met, but he acts like everything is a big conspiracy. The bed is a good example. "I haven't seen this before. Is this supposed to be here? Hmm. Maybe I'll take a sniff. WHOA now, I think I got a little too close to it. What? You want me to lay on that thing? But I don't even know it that well! NOOO!" *Runs*
It's a three-ring circus getting him to lay on his bed every night. And the only way we can get him to do it is by laying an old comforter on top if it, which he was sleeping on beforehand. Hey, if he can't see the wacky new bed, out of mind, right?
He is also the world's biggest lap dog. When you are sitting on the ground, Miles does what I call the "Sit 'n' Lean." He sits, then leans against you to such an extent that if you were to magically disappear, he'd literally fall over.
What can I say? He loves his mommy and daddy. I can now easily see why dogs are referred to as "man's best friend." I had a dog growing up, but that was really my parents' dog. Miles is our dog, and he certainly acts like it.

A 100% Chance of Being Fixed.

Am I the only person that doesn't understand this? This "50% chance" nonsense is blowing my mind. The outcome of the match is already freaking determined!

Now, as far as what McMahon and Trump agreed to privately regarding the match outcome, I'd almost be willing to bet that Trump wants to shave his head. The publicity for that event would be absolutely through the roof. And we all know Mr. Trump likes publicity.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


MySpace is a useful site in some can get in contact with people you haven't heard from in years, you can network easily, you can even get exposed to cool up-and-coming bands (if you can filter through all the crap). However, it has the worst user interface EVER. I've often complained about this with friends but figure I may as well complain about it on Scatterbrain as well.

Okay, this is too funny - I clicked on "blog" to illustrate the convoluted way that "blog" points not to YOUR blog, but blogs from other users in your network (why not "Friend Blogs"?). Instead I got the classic error report that I see every time I log on to the site. But a screenshot is worth 1,000 words (click on the image to enlarge):

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Not Even Close!

What am I talking about in the subject? The fact that Sanjaya wasn't even close to being voted out of American Idol this week. He wasn't in the bottom two.

I read somewhere that Howard Stern is encouraging his listeners to "vote for the worst." I find it hard to believe that the actual turnout has anything to do with what Stern says, though, because his average listener is more interested in porn than a singing competition, and would clearly be too lazy to actually call in and vote for some competition for which they couldn't care less. Right?!

So that means that the viewing public didn't place Sanjaya in their bottom two slots last night. People actually thought Stephanie Edwards and Chris Richardson were worse?

I blame everything on the crying girl, who got more airtime during Sanjaya's performance than Sanjaya himself. "We can't vote him off - it'll hurt that little girl's feelings!"

You pansies!!!

In Honor of the Latest Money Flying Out the Window.

The Beatles - "Taxman"

Let me tell you how it will be;
There's one for you, nineteen for me.
'Cause I’m the taxman, Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cause I’m the taxman, Yeah, I’m the taxman.

(if you drive a car, car;) - I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit, sit;) - I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold, cold;) - I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk, walk;) - I'll tax your feet.


'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.
Don't ask me what I want it for, (ah-ah, mister Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more. (ah-ah, mister heath)
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
'Cause I’m the taxman, Yeah, I’m the taxman.
And you're working for no one but me.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Idol Last Night.

This leaves me with nothing else to say.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sore (Again).

Today I spent most of the day landscaping in the front yard (there was a brief respite to play tennis, wherein I received the biggest ass-whoppin' I have in years, but I was actually pretty happy about it because I actually played really well, but this isn't about tennis, so...). Who'd have thought that outlining a small garden area and tree with stones would be brutal, back-breaking work? I'll try to get some pictures when I get a chance.

The good news is that I got the stones for free. Perish the thought - those things cost about $3 a pop, so if I'd bought them from a store I'd have been out at least $100. Fortunately for me, a neighbor down the street has 4 palettes that were leftover from his construction that the builder was otherwise going to toss, so he's handing them out for free to whoever wants them. He's saving us big bucks!

An amusing side-note is I almost busted my ass rolling the stones to my house via said neighbor's wheel barrel, which had some sort of run-flat tire on it. The sod is still uneven in a lot of the yards around here. After I loaded the wheel barrel to the brim, I lifted, thinking "hey, I'm a pretty strong guy, any load is no big deal for me" and promptly began to fall over, until I summoned all my strength to avoid crashing down. Then the 100 meters to the house was a lot like the world's strongest man competitions where these guys pick up gigantic inanimate objects and carry them as far as they can before they drop them and collapse. As soon as I reached my front door, I was out of commission. Man, that was a heavy load.

Anyway, today I certainly learned why landscapers earn so much money. This stuff is tons of work and it's non-obvious how to do most of it. I needed to finish the "tree project" with some mulch, so I went to Lowe's to find it. Who knew how many differnet kinds of mulch you can buy?! "Yes, er, I'd like mulch. You know, the kind you put around trees." Pine, cedar? Color? Consistency?

Eh...I'll start clicking with this stuff eventually!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bad News ADD.

Throughout the morning I've seen no headlines beside those of Superterrorist's proclamations of "I am responsible for every act of terrorism or anything else bad that has ever happened. E-V-E-R. Your grandma passed away last night? Me. Your dog took a shit on your carpet? Me. Bring it!" So it's interesting, shall I say, to see that the first headline to trump such "mass destruction" is that Al Sharpton thinks a witness is "suspicious"! I'm not kidding! Thank you, Al Sharpton, for telling me what your opinion is. I now feel enlightened.

Summary - what news is more important than the topic of death and destruction of our country by psychotic terrorists? Any case where there may have been racial profiling. Head for the hills, people!

Perish the thought, but maybe a few guys were going to their car to get a gun, and the police had to open fire to avoid getting shot. Not 'till you're friends with a cop do you understand how screwed up people are in general...

If You Are a "Lost" Junkie...

You must go watch this video on Lostpedia immediately!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Okay, so some medicine may cause people to get up and take a spin while they are actually asleep. But how, exactly, is that different from how they normally drive?

American Idol Last Night.

Yesterday I got my first chance to catch American Idol this year. I must say, I am a bit surprised – I typically find that at least 5-6 contestants are truly talented and have some remote chance at winning the big prize, but this year is basically a crap-fest. It didn’t help to see contestant #1, Brandon Rogers, butcher “You Can’t Hurry Love” and forget the words. It’s fortunate that next up to bat was Melinda Doolittle, who has an amazing voice and a great attitude about her. It’ll be interesting to see how her demeanor changes, if at all, as she becomes more famous with each week that goes by.

Then there’s LaKisha Jones. What a voice. Wow.

The only guy in the competition that I found interesting was Blake Lewis, because if anything, he is Justin Timberlake’s long-lost, neglected twin. I mean, come on. The singing, the falsetto, the dancing, the beat-boxing? Is there room for another Justin on the airwaves?

I’d guess at who will get the axe this week, but the competition for biggest loser is so intense that I’m sure to fail. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Neon Bible".

The Arcade Fire are back at it with "Neon Bible". Their first full-length release, "Funeral", was highly regarded by just about everyone, but among my "music buddies" I am a bit infamous for not appreciating it on the same level as everyone else does. This is not to say I don't like it - I think it's a great album. But that's the thing - I think it's a "great" album, whereas in my "King of Hyperbole" fashion I usually think something is AMAZING or INSANE. I have actually come to appreciate "Funeral" more since obtaining "Neon Bible," but this is about NB, so...

"Neon Bible" is fantastic and grows on me more with each listen. It's an album of fairly gloomy atmospherics - hence the often-stated "post-apocalyptic" comments by critics. As I type this, the sky is grey and rain is falling, and it couldn't be more appropriate. "Neon Bible" is a rich, layered experience where you appreciate the nuances of the songs more with each listen. Upon first listen, I liked the first handful of songs so much that I grew accustomed to them before even getting to the latter half of the album, but now, a handful of listens later, I've become a bit fixated on the latter half of the album, which I think is the stronger half. "Ocean of Noise" is my song of the year thus far, featuring a finale that should make Sigur Ros proud. "(Antichrist Television Blues)" has a fantastic sense of urgency about it which is matched with the perfect ending.

One more thing - crank it up. Arcade Fire are supposedly known for their live shows (I have yet to verify this but hope to at some point) and I can see why. Try this at home, kids!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tournament Results.

Summary: I lost in the semis.

Match 1: my opponent had solid, consistent groundstrokes. As the match began, I came out of the shoot characteristically nervous, as has been the standard these days, and was playing pretty badly. I lost the first set 6-4, I think. I could already tell that my opponent wasn't as fit as me, though. When I came out in the second set, I was feeling warm, had some sweat worked up, and felt a lot better about my strokes. That was pretty much the end of that as I closed out the next two sets in short order.

Match 2: I played the #3 seed. Lucky for me, I had only a short delay after the first match, which is good for me because I like to stay warm. I'm not sure exactly what happened here, but I came out firing and just obliterated the guy. From the initial warm-up I could tell this was a guy that hit extreme spin and was likely to go for a lot of angles. I essentially removed his ability to do so by keeping the ball deep, with a lot of spin, corner to corner. He started getting frustrated quickly and was never able to come up with anything that would work against me.

Match 3: As I started hitting with this morning's opponent, it was obvious that I wasn't going to be able to overpower him. This guy rifled the ball. Then an interesting thing happened: right out of the box he started missing a lot. Akin to match #2, I just tried to keep the ball deep, keep him on the run, and make him create shots. I went up 6-2, 5-2 on the guy. Then came the aforementioned power. I think at that point he realized that the match was pretty much over so he started going for broke. The problem was, it started working because he started painting the lines, hitting corners, etc. It was all very frustrating, to say the least. He took the 2nd set and went up 4-0 in the third. I was dead tired but wanted to leave it all on the court, so I fought hard to get back on serve, 4-5 in the 3rd. I was serving. Blistering return to deuce corner, 0-15. Blistering return down ad line, 0-30. Hard serve by me, 15-30. Monster forehand by him where maybe half a ball-hair landed on the baseline, 15-40. I think in the last point, he hit a hard forehand into my body which I sent wide.

I don't want to dwell on the negative because from a generic standpoint, I played really well this weekend. Ultimately it comes down to the same story as it usually is these days - fitness. When I played 3 hours a day 5 days a week as a junior, rocking out tournaments was no big deal. These days, playing tennis for a couple hours a day, twice a week, you get to that third match and your legs are just gone. Now, I was more fit than opponent #3 today, so that's a pretty bad excuse. The bottom line was that he started swinging out at the end which made me backpedal a lot and threw off the entire balance of the match thus far at that point. For tournaments down the road I'm going to have to do a lot more cardio in preparation, and just a lot more fitness training in general. It's frustrating when you wish you could be training for something multiple hours per day every day, but then that whole "job" thing gets in the way. You juniors out there need to soak up all that free time while you have it.

Anyway, I truly believe that I haven't met a 4.5 yet that I shouldn't beat, not to mention my ultimate goal is to win a 5.0 tournament. Of course, 'till I execute, it's all pointless babbling that makes me look like an chump, so I'll be working on getting fit enough to put my money where my mouth is. The next tournament is coming up in a few weeks.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tennis Today.

I won my first two matches. I'll provide more details later. :)

Friday, March 09, 2007


Monika and I saw "300" this afternoon. If you are looking for a war movie that tugs at your heart-strings by exposing you to the harsh realities of events that strike somewhat close to home, a la the recent Clint Eastwood films, you're in the wrong place. If you want a graphic novel copied and pasted from page to film a la "Sin City," you're in for a hell of a ride. I absolutely loved "300". It's two hours of balls-out blood, guts, and gore, where the bodies are flying around at such a rapid rate it becomes somewhat comical. But that's what this movie is about - the style, the bravado, and the effects. It delivers the goods.

The Furniture Odyssey: Follow-Up.

Today our furniture was delivered and all was well - until the time came to assemble the bed. It's hard to put a bed together when you have no hardware to do so. This is what happens when you buy floor models.

Long story short: I went to another Sears store and convinced the store manager to give me the hardware off their display bed. He really did make my day.

So now, finally, Monika and I have bedroom furniture. Big props to Tim and Dorice, the store manager and soft lines manager at the Hulen store, and Roger, the store manager at the Ridglea store, for doing everything they could to make their customer happy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Roids "R" Us. this still news? I will consider it newsworthy when the headline is "(Awesome Player Here) confirmed to have never taken any sort of steroid."

The Furniture Odyssey.

Yesterday it took me over 2 hours to give people a bunch of money. You’d think they’d be happy about it. But apparently buying furniture is massively difficult. At least, that’s been my experience thus far. Here’s how the story goes:

Monika and I wanted new bedroom furniture upon moving into the new house. Translation: we’d place the bedroom set we were using in the apartment in the guest bedroom of the house and ring up a new bedroom set when we found one we liked.

As you have read, we were going to Sears three to four thousand times per week at that point buying our appliances and other miscellaneous items. While waiting around for help one day, we noticed some furniture in the corner:

We took a closer look. It felt solid, it looked good, and wow – the price was pretty low. Plus if you bought 4 or more pieces (we would need the whole set) you’d get 20% off. This became an absolute no-brainer. “Ring us up!”

“Hmm, that’s weird.” The cashier couldn’t get any of the items to ring up. “Not available for order” became the new mantra. Okay, we’ll try another Sears. No dice. We went home and tried the ‘net. I loaded up the cart. Everything was at the sale price, but no 20% discount on the net. Who cares – it’s still cheap. We completed the order. The next day I got a phone call telling me that the order was canceled because they don’t actually have the items. Are you freaking serious?!

That was in January. Since then I heard various conflicting information and went to Sears another few thousand times to check for availability. Finally, about a month ago, we went to the store nearest to our house and I happened upon the store manager. He told me he’d look into it. About three weeks later he called me, to my surprise, and told me he was still working on it. This Monday I got a call from his soft lines manager telling me they were going to work it out so that I could purchase the floor models at a discount – sounds good to me. A deal was arranged to get some pieces from one store and the rest from another. I’d get the sale price minus 40%.

When I went to the “other” Sears (2) that I had not been speaking with, but my contact at Sears 1 had, Sears 2 Lady told me that she couldn’t sell me her floor models because whereas Sears 1 isn’t going to sell the furniture any more, Sears 2 still does. What?! I ended up going into the back stock room with the Sears 2 Lady because she had a dresser in a box and I wanted to inspect it. Red flag #1 – one of the feet is TAPED to the box. You’ve got to be kidding me. I lowered the box on its side to find that the bottom was undone and parts were falling out of it. I told her I wanted the floor model at a discount. She said she couldn’t sell me that when she can just order me a new one. Wait – a NEW one?! If that were possible, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place! She quickly found that she wasn’t able to order a new piece. I bought the mirror and the dresser there for 40% off.

Now to Sears 1. I stood around for about 20 minutes before I found someone to talk to, and I was about 2 minutes from canceling the entire transaction before I found an associate that could help me. Note that this was because I actually walked around the store to find someone myself since the girl manning the phones was acting completely aloof, and the one manager that had been nearby decided to go upstairs and wander around instead of helping me. Note that this was essentially the perfect storm because she lady I had been talking to, who was great, just happened to be on lunch when I came in (she eventually returned to close it out) and the store manager was on vacation.

At long last, though, I was finally able to buy the other pieces of furniture for 40% off. All-in I was able to get the bedroom set – all floor models – for about $1000. They should be delivered on Friday, and hopefully they will be well-wrapped and won’t be damaged by the Sears shipping crew, or you’re likely to see Scatterbrain replaced by a picture of a nuclear bomb exploding.

"Lost" Last Night.

I really enjoyed the episode last night. A nice return to form. They have certainly boosted the sense of urgency. I can't wait to see what happens with the gigantic "Fence o' Death" next week protecting the Others' neighborhood.

Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again - this show is going to come full circle! The "Losties" are going to become the "Others." I think that the current "Others" are plane-crashers (or or boat, or whatever) who came to the island uninvited, were told to stay away from the Dharma people, but eventually overthrew them for food and shelter. Now the current "Others" see where it's going with the "Losties" and are taking extreme measures to keep them away - they don't want to kill them, but they definitely want them to stay the hell away because they can see what's heard it first on Scatterbrain. :)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Recent CD Purchases.

Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City

“Silent Alarm,” its predecessor, was nearly perfect, so I listened to the new album with intense scrutiny. I must say, though, it delivers the goods. Without trying to engage in any sort of ranking since I’ll need to listen to the album at least 20 more times ‘till I form a long-term opinion on it, I can say that the new album is certainly richer than the first. While SA had a raw, almost punk-ish edge to it, you can hear a logical evolution in the new album, which has more complex arrangements, intermittent electronic beats, and singing with more range. Overall, I certainly recommend the album.

AFI – Black Sails in the Sunset

Here’s the story – I bought tickets for Edgefest, a concert a local radio station hosts every year featuring tons of bands. The headliners this year are The Killers, whom I love, so this was a no-brainer. Accompanying them are My Chemical Romance, AFI, Muse, and many other bands. Of the “big names,” AFI was the only band I was largely unfamiliar with. This is not to say I’d never heard anything about them at all, though – what I had heard was that they used to be a hardcore punk band and have lately “sold out” with their major label releases. I decided to hop onto Amazon, the beacon of impartial album reviews (snicker) to find out more.

Generically, the popular opinion is that AFI used to be a lot “harder,” but have recently “refined” their sound into something that’s different, but has nothing to do with selling out, just “progress.” I’ve been in the mood for hard music lately, so I bought what many believed to be their finest of the “hard” albums, “Black Sails in the Sunset.” I must say, this delivers the goods. A military-style opening drum beat followed by the chant “through our bleeding we are one” lets you know that these guys must pull this off in grandiose style in a live setting. From there, you have about a half-hour of continually pounding screaming and fast riffs. I have to say, though, that I found almost every song particularly catchy even on my first couple listens, whereas it usually takes me a while to warm up to stuff like this.

So, I can emphatically recommend “Black Sails in the Sunset.” Now that I’ve heard the “old,” it’s time for the new – I just ordered the latest and most polarizing album to their fans, “Decemberunderground.” It’ll be here next week, hopefully, and I’ll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, I can already say that “Miss Murder,” the single, is catchy as hell.

My Chemical Romance – I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love

Over the last couple years, MCR has been my token “new band that I really like,” since I typically grumble and turn up my nose at the continual emo crap-fest taking place on pop radio these days. (Note the irony of complaining about emo when my favorite band by far is Radiohead, and I also love Travis, Coldplay, etc.) MCR’s “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” was immediately memorable, as was the recent “The Black Parade” which I believe I also mentioned on Scatterbrain recently. In fact, “The Black Parade” is so good that it was in continual rotation in my car for a good month or so. Now that I’m about to see the band live, I figured it’s my duty to become familiar with their entire catalog, so I bought their first album.

I had read reviews of “I Brought…”, of course, and unsurprisingly, they are fairly polarized. The metal-heads think it’s the good stuff and the new stuff sucks. The people that like the pop hits hate the old stuff. Big shockers. Well, my taste is typically fairly indifferent and I love metal, and this is what I think: I appreciate the hard edge to the old stuff, but the package is just a little too much, and by that I’m referring to the lyrics. Just as Dashboard Confessional can get a little old because the entire album is about bitching about relationships, such is “I Brought…” It seems as though the album is about lead singer Way complaining about a relationship with some chick and the entire affair is rather melodramatic. Of course, there are a LOT of albums out there about failed relationships that work perfectly, so that’s not the whole picture. Perhaps my opinion is based on the fact that with “The Black Parade,” I feel like the band has found perfection for their skill set, so hearing this album makes me think about a band that hasn’t figured out what they want to do with themselves yet.

If you’re a huge fan of MCR, it’s worth picking up to hear the band’s progression and complete your collection. If you’re fishing for something random , I’d steer clear.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Wal-Mart Sucks.

Really, I shouldn't bother writing anything else because it's pretty self-explanatory.

Perhaps it's accentuated by the fact that Monika and I frequent Target so often, which has similar prices but is infinitely more pleasant. Or perhaps it's the fact that I typically never go to Wal-Mart outside of 10 pm - 8 am, i.e. when everything else is closed - maybe that's when they allow the super-disgruntled employees into the store.

Any way you slice it, the entire shopping experience there is highly unpleasant for me. It's crowded, messy, cluttered, and filled with assholes. Maybe I should try going there during the day.

Monday, March 05, 2007


I've been playing a lot of tennis lately. When I play, I tend to get home, head to the court, play for a couple hours, head back, eat, shower, etc., and when all is said and done, the day is basically gone. Hence, you have a lack of blog posts.

I have my first tournament of the year this weekend, the Fort Worth Spring Open. I'll try to maintain an account as melodramatic as the last one.

On a side-note, Scatterbrain started shedding many e-tears the other day, when I Googled "Scatterbrain Blog" and didn't even see the blog on the entire first page! I used to be the first result! It pains me. But this is what happens when I don't write enough. So thank you, Google, for encouraging me to be more prolific.

P.S. I owe a lot of taxes this year. Shit.