Notes on Driving from DC to Chicago

  1. If you take the northern route, you save about an hour, but it costs $29.25 in tolls.
  2. Eventually, if you see enough trucks behind you, their fronts will start to look like dog faces, and you may even start discerning individual breeds.
  3. Of the three turnpikes (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana), Indiana is the best by far. No police, no construction, lower tolls, a smoother ride, and the best speed limit system I’ve seen: (70 cars, 65 trucks). Kudos Indiana!
  4. It is probably not the greatest idea to choose soup as the food you are going to eat while driving 70 miles an hour, but eventually you will get the hang of it and even enjoy it (after burning your mouth and spilling it on one of your only two pairs of pants).
  5. When calculating your arrival time, remember to take the time change into account so you don’t arrive 2 hours earlier than you expected.
  6. Remember to wave at Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toledo, South Bend, and Gary.
  7. Gary is ugly.  Sorry Gary, but it’s true!
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Possible Hiatus

I’ll be traveling the next week or so to Chicago and Iowa, so posting might be light.  Or, it might be heavier, it depends on 1) internet access and 2) if anything blogworthy happens.

Maybe poober can fill in the gap with a few posts.

Coming face to face with yourself of five years ago

This post isn’t as science fiction as the title makes it seem.

The other day I was going over some old postings I’ve made to my college messageboard (the fact that my 5-year college reunion is coming up is strictly coincidental, I promise!)  These postings go back until just after I left college, though they are fairly sporadic. It’s amazing to me how, the farther I go back in time, the less I resemble the person that I was both in the tenor and substance of the arguments I made.

The really strange thing is that I did the same thing about two years ago, and at that time I was very comfortable and confident that those posts resembled who I was at that time.  I wonder if the window of personality sameness is 3-5 years, and I’m falling out of that window, or if it’s just that I have grown a great deal in the past few months.

But that’s the thing — we all change over time.  The same person, fives years apart, can be as different as two totally different people are.  I don’t think that’s true of me.  I’ve been pretty consistent, and I’m unsure as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I guess if I had any advice for my 5-years-ago self, it would be: you’re on the right track, but don’t get comfortable.  If you have a choice between relaxing and being complacent and doing something that stirs things up, do the latter.  Actually, that’s probably good advice for anyone at any time.

Do you have any old writings you could review?  I wish I had logs of all the IRC and ICQ chatting I did when I was in high school. If you’ve been using gmail, it keeps track of everything, which is a nice feature, but it could also be college or high school papers or letters to loved ones.  If you have any, I recommend you take some time and read them and reflect on who you were.

What advice would you have for yourself of the past?  Do you like who you were and do you like who you are?  Why?

Libertarian Nomination

A REAL convention!

The Democrats might also have a real convention this year (though I doubt it), but I found David Weigel’s liveblogging of the Libertarian convention voting very excellent, even if I’m unsure how I feel about the result.

The result I’m unsure about: Bob Barr is the nominee this year.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 1

I may be a couple days late on this one, been trying to keep busy but I finally caught up with it on Tivo. I generally am a big fan of Last Comic Standing, I’ve watched 3 out of the 5 seasons already aired, and it’s one of a very very few shows on television that can make me laugh out loud. In the summer, it’s pretty much the only thing my Tivo records (so if you have recommendations for other summers shows, let me know.)

LCS is really two different shows. Like American Idol, there first is a series of auditions and celebrity judges making the cut and selecting the semi-finalists, and then there’s the competition itself which is a series of challenges followed by a head-to-head stand-up competition. I like both aspects; the auditions are generally pretty funny, but can be frustrating, and in the competition you really get to see people’s personalities and root for them.

To speak to this specific episode – it included the auditions in New York City and Tempe, Arizona. I’ll speak to the results of the competitions but I want to make clear that since the producers of the show don’t show us all the competitors (even those that make it to the evening audition in front of an audience), there might be some real gems that we didn’t even find out about.

In New York, the judges were Richard Belzer and Steve Schirripa. It was a little strange because two pairs of comedians got tickets: one was a set of (identical?) twins who have an interesting shtick that consists of both of them talking over each other and then doing jokes where one makes fun of the other. If they have a lot of material, they could go far.

The other paired-up comedians were a duo who pretend to be stereotypical happy innocent Christian evangelicals and perform songs from that viewpoint. It may just be a coincidence that two pairs were chosen, but it seems like the people who end up getting picked are the ones who are not necessarily the funniest, but have the most interesting personalities or backstories. Esther Ku reminds me a lot of Dat Phan (mostly because all her jokes seem to be about her Asian mother).

The New York comedian who I thought most deserved to move on but didn’t get to was Dan Curry (MySpace seems to be the place for comics). They only showed him telling two jokes but they were definitely good and made me laugh out loud.

The judges in Tempe were Fred Willard and Kathy Najimy. I don’t know exactly why they choose Tempe to go to, but I think a lot of the comics come from Las Vegas. They seem to have found this season’s impressionist here in “Marcus,” who was quite good, as well as the pretty boy (not to denigrate the comedy of Adam Hunter, which I haven’t seen enough of yet to judge).

They probably should have selected Rob Little, the happiest comedian, but I think having selected God’s Pottery, the Christian folk duo from New York, they were afraid of ending up with two (technically three) happy-happy people in the competition. That’s too bad because I thought Rob Little was pretty good.

The comedian they didn’t even give a chance to that they definitely should have was the Alien Warrior Comedian. He didn’t even make it to the show with an audience, but I think another set of judges may have given him a fairer shake. Kathy Najimy seemed a little more put off by him than I think was merited. I’m a Trekkie though, so his shtick appealed to me a little more than others perhaps.

I plan on keeping up with the show this summer if I can, but I’ll probably be on vacation next week so my post may be fairly late, if I end up doing it at all.

All my last comic standing posts.

Needed more Short Round or Sallah

Just saw the new Indiana Jones.  It was so-so, definitely not the best movie of the series.  It started out pretty strong, if a little abruptly, and the action sequences early in the film were solid.  There was perhaps a little too much action.  It didn’t feel like Indiana Jones to me, it felt more like a cross between James Bond and National Treasure.

Of course, maybe that’s what Indy always was and I was just projecting a little too much mythos.  I suppose with lower expectations I might have liked it.  I did smile when they threw in some subtle (and not so subtlel) references to the other films.

If you’re not a picky filmgoer, you should definitely see it, but if you only like the cream of the crop, you can probably wait until it comes out on video.  They did have previews for Hancock and Wall-E though.  I am interested in those two.

Dystopian Book Club

Some of the guys at work like to joke about being members of the dystopian book club. They compete to see who can come up with the most dystopian books they’ve read that are of a high quality. Just for kicks, I’m listing what I can come up with here:

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
  • Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Harrison Bergeron – Kurt Vonnegut
  • Neuromancer – William Gibson
  • Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler
  • Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson (?)

As an adjunct, the dystopian movie club:

  • Brazil
  • Blade Runner
  • Equilibrium
  • The Matrix Trilogy
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Children of Men
  • Logan’s Run
  • Escape from New York

A lot of the movies appear to be from the 70’s, which is interesting.

Can you come up with any more off the top of your head? No cheating!