Dental Plug

Looking for a good dentist in San Jose? I recommend Patricia Vielbig, off Bascom in Rose Garden. (In that weird little triangle of Naglee, Bascom and Forest, across from Mountain Mike’s pizza.)
Love her. And I hate dentists.
You know what amazes me? I spent decades in DC not going to doctors or dentists because they were unpleasant. But here in San Jose, I’ve had extraordinary good luck with doctors, even the ones I either picked at random (dentist) or were assigned (cardiologist). Evidence that people are nicer here in California? That’s been my experience, but people who are from here don’t believe me. They should visit DC sometime.

We’re gonna need a bigger display

I dunno, maybe it was one of those bugs that will never be reproduced. But it was spectacular: I resized a pane in a Finder window, and was suddenly presented with a window that, if printed out, would stretch 20.34 feet in length. Don’t take my word for it — have a gander at the screenshot [176K].

Read this again on December 22, 2009

Jon Gruber enjoys pointing out the ridiculous rants of pundits who are invariably wrong, saving their screeds and bringing them back up a year or so later for laughs. Imitation is a sincere form of flattery, so I’m going to save this silliness for later: a comment by yet another anti-Apple nerd who, like many of his kind, doesn’t understand what makes Apple products successful and thus can’t wrap his mind around the idea that they might have staying power. This one comes from a cnet web page discussing potential future iPhone models.

Projections from the pros, not the fanboys, is because all of the major phone companies will have Android phones next year, some of them more than one, that by end of Q4 2009 there will be more Android phones sold than all of the iPhones combined.

Remember that iPhone, as a phone, isn’t even a blimp on the phone world. Nokia sells more phones every day than all of the iPhones sold in the first year. The only place the iPhone is popular is with the smart phone crowd. Apple’s draconian and almost fascist handling of the App Store will be it’s death.

I encourage you to read some of the other comments by this guy, but wait a year or so so you can really laugh out loud.

Let’s get pragmatic

I’m a little bugged by all the hits Barack Obama is taking on inviting Rick Warren, the admittedly repugnant fundie from Saddleback Church, to give the invocation at his inaugural.

First off, when explaining his decision Obama spoke to us like we were intelligent adults. He rationally explained that all opinions would be welcomed in his administration — that alone makes a huge change from the current administration, where only one viewpoint is allowed. Still, Warren is a divisive and hate-mongering figure.

So here’s the way I look at it. Obama began his explanation by reiterating his support for gay and lesbian equal rights, something which to my memory has never been so consistently and clearly stated by a president-elect (or president). That alone was significant. Meanwhile, people are up in arms about a 2 minute symbolic utterance on one day — this is completely inconsequential. I am more interested in who Obama will appoint to the Supreme Court; the people he places in positions of power and policy development.

Rick Warren is not being given any kind of power, he’s simply giving an invocation for a minute or so, and while some people think this legitimizes him in some way, I don’t see that it makes any difference at all after he steps back from the microphone. Obama doesn’t agree with the man, and for Obama supporters to feel let down somehow is silliness.

The thing I like about our next president is the idea that he’s not going to do the strict bidding of any one group, and that includes any group that I may be a part of. The only group that matters is “all of us.” Together, diverse, disagreeing and messy and open and American.

Remember: Bush is still wreaking havoc

Another last-minute twist courtesy of the current occupant:

The Bush administration today issued a sweeping new regulation that protects a broad range of health-care workers — from doctors to janitors — who refuse to participate in providing services that they believe violate their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctor’s office or other entity if it does not accommodate employees who exercise their “right of conscience.” It would apply to more than 584,000 health-care facilities.

The 127-page rule is the latest in a flurry of federal regulations that the administration is implementing before President Bush’s term ends, including a number that would weaken government protections for consumers and the environment. [WaPo]

This is ridiculous. Yet another weapon of the fundamentalists in their war to turn this country into a Taliban-esque theocracy. Seriously —if you are against dispensing birth control, why did you become a pharmacist? If you think abortions are wrong, don’t take a job as a physician in an abortion clinic. These people who complain that doing their job is against their religious beliefs are beyond the pale — they deliberately took a career where they could then turn around and refuse to do the work in order to advance their fundamentalist agenda.

Imagine for a moment that I was morally opposed to, say, religious fundamentalists. And I decided to take a job working for Focus on the Family. Would I then be allowed to sit back, not do any of their noxious work, and yet continue to get paid? Don’t think so. Can I join the Army voluntarily and then refuse to carry a gun or fight because as a Christian, I was taught that one of God’s fundamental laws is Thou Shalt Not Kill? Oh, wait — seems like those fundamental laws of God don’t count anymore.

Which brings me to another rant: ever notice how the ultra-fundamentalists out there dig around in the Bible for tenuous prohibitions against, for instance, gay people… but completely ignore the big 10? You know, the big 10 rules that they love to post up in courtrooms and on public property? Seems like those rules mean nothing at all. Especially the one about adultery, the one about killing…

The hilarious result of mega-bank mergers

So, let me get this straight: the taxpayers have shoveled billions and billions and hundreds of billions of dollars into the vaults of the big banks with the idea that they would then lend it to us.
In other words, we’ve given them our money and then beg them to lend it back to us AND WE’LL PAY THEM TO LEND IT BACK TO US.
And still they won’t lend it.
When you can’t pay someone to take your money and then lend it back TO BE PAID BACK TO THEM AGAIN, something is completely, irretrievably wrong with the banking system. We’ve been bled dry by huge financial corporations, we’ve slowly bled out with the thousand cuts of fees, fees, fees for everything from ATMs to daring to speak to a bank teller. Credit card companies have sucked us dry by raising interest rates to usury levels. Mortgage companies disregard income when making loans, investment companies slice and dice the debt and sell it again a dozen times. The damage wrought by deregulating and letting the rich run amok is too severe. Close ’em down. Shut ’em down. Give us our money back, forgive our bad mortgages, close down the credit card companies and usurious loan sharks and start again at zero.

And my house is an estate

No other recent first family has lived in a city neighborhood like the Obamas. The $1.6 million mansion he and his wife, Michelle, share with their two young daughters sits just off a busy street — a stretch of which has been closed to traffic — and his closest neighbors are just a few feet away.

I wish the media would stop referring to the Obamas’ home as a mansion. $1.6 million is simply not a mansion, no matter what people may think. This is the 21st century, and this house is in a nice neighborhood in Chicago. $1.6 million is not all that much.
By way of comparison, there are “mansions” here in San Jose just down the street from me that go for the $3-6 million range. A little less than half a mile away is a Victorian that sold for $1.8 million last year.
The people who are trying to paint the Obamas as members of some moneyed elite are pretty hilarious considering how the other party lives. And where the other party lives.

Going to Work Gay

Today is the — in my opinion — ill-conceived “Day Without a Gay.” The idea is to show in some concrete way how gay people contribute.

There’s plenty wrong with this. The first thing that irks me is the title, where once again gay people are reduced to an adjective. Man, I hate that.

Next, there’s the idea that people must stop doing what they do in order to be appreciated for it. Here’s the thing: if you work for an inclusive, non-bigoted employer, the fact that you’re gay is no big deal. Why penalize that employer by playing hooky in protest? Or, if you’re working somewhere where you have to hide your sexuality, then taking the day off today could well cost you your job.

Although my job frustrates me no end, I am lucky to be working somewhere accepting and inclusive. We all are trying to make it through an incredibly difficult economic slump (one that affects our customers more than most) and it seems spectacularly selfish of me to take the day off to make a point. I don’t need to punish my employer (a small, independently owned business) to protest the actions of bigots elsewhere. I know for certain that my employer appreciates me and who I am.

Since the original protest plan came about, it has mutated in response to these sorts of concerns. Now, the idea is to take the day off and then go volunteer somewhere in your community. Well, that sounds admirable but not only is it a knee-jerk patch on a bad idea, it’s also not so simple. 90% of the time one doesn’t just walk in off the street for one day and do volunteer work.

And then there’s the added silliness: another movement says to withdraw $80 from your bank account to demonstrate the buying power of gay people. What? What exactly does anyone think this will achieve? There are 1,708,000 ATMs in the world. I have to believe that no matter how many people withdraw $80 today, it will be a statistical drop in the ocean.

All this is completely ridiculous, ineffectual, and just cements the public perception of gay people as drama queens.

Crunching the numbers

I’ve been somewhat anal about logging my fuel consumption since getting my new car. I have three different calculations going, which shows how numbers are hardly incontrovertible facts these days.

Ain’t got nothin’ to say

There are many, many reasons why I haven’t been prolifically posting here on my blog of late. Let’s take a look at the top excuses.

  • The Bush Era

    I’ve spent so long railing against the Bush administration, from before he took office to the point where the rest of the country finally caught up with me and booted his whole gaggle out of power. Now, I’m exhausted and just can’t do it anymore; thankfully the rest of the blogosphere is covering all that quite well, thank you.

  • Work

    After three years working for myself, I now get up at 0 dark thirty and drive to work. Sitting in a tiny chicken coop cubicle all day doesn’t seem to be conducive to blogging. My days are chock full of surprises and insanity which I am sorely tempted to document and blog about for the horror, rue, and amusement of you all — but I made a decision way back when I started this blog that I wouldn’t write about certain things, my job being one of them. (Trust me, I’ve been stalked at my office before, which would be a funny story if it weren’t so very, very creepy.)

  • California

    Well, as of May I’ll have been here 4 years. What more is there to say about it?

  • Mortgages

    Hey, I’m a guy who took on more mortgage than he could afford (what choice did I have in California?) but has managed to make every payment, on time, and throw in a little extra. This means, of course, that I won’t get any kind of bail out or assistance when I finally start missing payments, so you can probably expect some whining about that farther down the road.

  • Dating

    Another subject I never write about — before I left DC there was someone I was, frankly, serious about and I started to tread into this territory by writing about a mysterious initialed man, it was frankly very unsatisfying and I just don’t want to expose myself that much. And in the last 4 years… well, nothing at all worth writing about anyway. Life here is pretty lonely but I have a dog.

  • Facebook and Twitter

    Perhaps this is the crux of the problem. Facebook and Twitter have made it easier to jot down observations, anecdotes and commentary, instantly and with little fuss. I don’t have to sign in to the blog, write a clever title, type and type and type, categorize, submit, blah blah blah. Just 140 characters and I can distill the moment down and shoot it out to the world. They’re also much more, well, social. Here on the blog, there is a core of regular readers and commenters but the process is a little more distant. Facebook and Twitter are more fluid and I can fool people into thinking I’m funny when I only have 140 characters to work with.

  • Time

    I just never seem to have the time these days. It’s not that I’m jetsetting and living a type-A life… it’s just that I get up early, spend all day at work, get home and work on my part time job, work on some freelance stuff, and then collapse in bed by 9:30. Like many people, I find myself working hard to support a lifestyle that I don’t have time to take advantage of — and I’m not living in a 4,000sf mansion, I’m living in a 830sf bungalow. Wow, things are out of whack, aren’t they?

Anyway. See? I just don’t have anything to say.