Feb 8, 2008

bowing out with style

I've written this post a hundred different ways in my head - and the only way to do it that seemed true to myself was to write the way I always write. That being said,

There are a lot of similarities between me and Mitt Romney. Let's go over the obvious first. We are both:
Tall (i'm two inches taller)
Have full heads of well coifed hair
Rabidly Conservative
Liken ourselves to The Great Communicator

I know... all of those are so obvious they should go without saying. But it turns out, we have one final thing in common. A couple of days ago Mitt announced the end of his campaign for President of the United States. While I'm sure it was a hard decision, I know it must also bring a lot of relief and the storm of stress that surrounded him and his family can finally dissipate. He can kick back with his boys from Bain Capital, and go back to swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck. (In my head, that's what rich people do with their leisure time)

Like Mitt, I too am putting a bookend on one chapter of my life. This blog.

There was a time when I was a regular, 2-3 post a week blogger. I had content spewing out of my ears. Not only was I writing like mad, but I was addicted to the stimulus I got in the form of comments. Comments are the currency of blogging. It's what pays the bills.

Every once in a while, I wouldn't get comments on what I thought was a great post, and I'd get in a sour mood. I was constantly checking my statcounter info, who was finding me, where where they reading, how long were they staying... me. me. me.

Like presidential campaigns, blogs are largely about ego. You can argue this point with me, but you won't sway me. Many blogs are about self promotion. The blogger thinks their life, their perspectives, their insights... are so interesting that they will publish them for the good of the internet and people will come by the hundreds to sup at their table. I thought like this, also thinking "maybe one day someone will discover my blog and decide me they want me to write for them."

One of my professors at CU did her doctoral research on the 2004 campaign said some things that really stuck with me. She said that "to be a presidential candidate, you should probably be a masochist." The amount of self inflicted wounds, and scrutiny you go through is unbelievable. Also, she said "you need to have a huge ego. You honestly need to believe that you are the best person in the world for this position."

I get really nausiated when I read blogs where people are like, "how come no one comments?" "I know a lot of you read my blog, but..." grumble grumble whine whine woe is me.

Here's the thing. (ever since I've been in grad school I've been infatuated with economic analogies) The blogosphere IS the epitome of the free market. Blogs come and go. If you have really unique, dynamic, well put together product (blog), the market will respond (comments). If you don't, then they won't. But begging people to buy your product (blog) is not how the market works. People respond to innovation, price... you have to create the supply, because the demand is obviously out there. So write some creative crap and let people enjoy it. If not... your blog/writing probably sucks.

Also like Mitt, I realize that I can't compete with others. There are way smarter, funnier and more dedicated bloggers out there. Its not fair to have a blog post once every fortnight, and then for me to get snippy because there weren't any comments. I read the Freakanomics, Wired, and Malcolm Gladwell's blog and cringe in inferiority. With blogs like these, who needs lowercase numbers?

Additionally... Since I started this blog almost 2.5 years ago, I've changed a lot, but I've tried to keep my blog the same. When I started my blog I was a young professional embarking on a cross country trek to find himself. I found myself, and a lot of other things. I found great friends, a great city, but most importantly, a great woman.

There have been countless times where I've wanted a blog that reflected more of what my life was like now. I know in the past I've kind of dissed biographical blogs before... and also like Mitt I'm now changing my mind so eat crud. What I like about family blogs is that they strengthen ties between family and friends. That's what I'm interested in, and less interested in the pursuit of "comments."

Talking about my new, bicycling/grad school/married life on THIS blog always seemed inconsistent with the tone I had previously established. I think good writers monitor the bigger picture - and how their writing works in concert with its environment. Others may be able to do it, but for some reason it just didn't mesh with me. So I'm not going to do it any more. I want a more biographical blog, one where I can keep in touch with loved ones and talk about funny conversations, trips, friends, and not have to have some clever angle all the time - all in the hopes of getting feedback. I want to talk about my life and not pretend like my blog and my life are two separate entities.

So this, my friends... strangers... is the end of lowercase numbers. It's not the end of my writing. I'm still writing. I write for an organization that I volunteer for where I get to talk passionately about bicycling.

I also have a blog with my siblings/spouses/parents that I've seriously neglected, which I want to re-invest in.

Finally, I want to start writing about my new and exciting life with my wife Ashley. We set up a blog a little bit ago... and are working on some content in the near future. Don't worry, it's not going to be one of those cutesy brown and baby blue themed blogs where all you see are pictures of us caressing each other's face. I want it to be a place where we can talk about work, about school, where we can announce a bun in the oven (not yet), etc. It'll be about our life, which at times is hilarious, exciting, dramatic, sad... but most importantly, it's us.

In case any of you would like to keep tabs on us, you'll want to go here. And just like the URL indicates, it will be rad.

Finally - one last request - if you wouldn't mind sharing one of your favorite lowercase numbers memories/posts on the blog that would be great. I'll keep the blog up, as it will be a handy way to check in on blogs that I already have linked. Also, I'll want to keep it up in case I ever need it for resume material when the New Yorker comes knocking at my door.

adios muchachos...


Feb 6, 2008

stickin' it to the Man

There are few experiences in life that bring such joy, such contenment, such... pleasure - than the experience of sticking it to "the man." There's something about the man... isn't there - and how bad you just want to stick it to him. The man could be your boss, your supervisor, your teacher, the government, the world. It's as vague or as specific as you need it to be. But the one thing about the man is... he'll stick it to you if you don't give it to him first.

I had an opportunity to get nailed by the man... aka... the computer gods several weeks ago.

Ashley's computer was feeling a little ill, so I took it into the store and the sales assistant informed me that the hard drive had given up the ghost. Bad news. How much would it cost to repair? $300. But that wasn't all. Little did I know that this was just the cake. A thin, lifeless, spongy cake. The icing you ask? It would cost another $400 (mandatory) to replace the outer aluminum shell because it had been dropped. $400 dollars worth of bitter, nasty, frosting.
A whopping $700 for a repair. Might as well invest another 3-hundy and get a new macbook right? Eat into the savings, right? Get robbed by the man right?

I consulted Chris, my brother in law who is a nascent expert at sticking it to the man. Not to mention, a real life Mr. Wizard, castrating fruit flies and performing other intricate operations pertaining to stem cell research at Johns Hopkins. He directed me to a website that showed detailed instructions on how to install hard drives, and all other sorts of commonly replaced parts in computers. Wow... show me more.

He informed me that not too long ago, his computer had met a similar fate. He decided that he was mad as hell, and he wasn't going to take it anymore. (my words) He found the aforelinked website and did the exact same repair. And it was a success!

I bit the bullet... bought a new, fancier, bigger hard drive for Ashley's computer, and waited for them to come out and visit so he could walk me through the steps. Fortunately, they were due out for a visit because my sister in law won a free trip to California, lucky dog.

Turns out, doing the repair wasn't as intimidating as I thought Mostly using a tiny screw driver and allen wrench to take the cover off. I was glad to have Chris there to hold my hand, but honestly - the directions were on par with your standard lego instructions or putting together your new fjourdourjkufknog from Ikea.

Ashley's new hard drive was $100 dollars - for a 100GB hard drive. Her old one was a 60GB. Now we have all the memory we need for music, documents, pictures... and archived blog entries about sticking it to the man.

Storage increase = 40 GB
Savings = $600 bucks
Satisfaction for sticking it to the man = Priceless

I feel like there are opportunities everywhere to stick it to the man, if we only have a little encouragement and some hand holding. Do you guys have any experiences when you stuck it to the man, or times when you could've but didn't? Regrets? Let's hear about 'em.... cause honestly, the man is winning this debate and could use some bad PR.

Jan 25, 2008

crossing over - THE bad idea

This is in response to the article I just read in the LA-Times announcing that Scarlett Johannson is going to put out a solo album in March. Yuck.

I don't know what it is inside me... but everytime I read or hear about an act(or)tress "crossing over" into the musical world, I just cringe. Also, I think that crossing over should be left to the professionals, like John Edward. ; )

Part of me thinks it's ego - they are so in love with themselves that they really can't bridle the belief that everyone will devour what they put out.

Sometimes I think they are led by others who blow smoke up their hiney, telling them they can make a quick buck by pooping out an album.

It's not that I dislike Scar-Jo, I think she's fine. However, after watching Scoop I realize that the only role she was ever really suited to play was debbie-downer in Lost in Translation.

Moving on... the list of terrible cross overs is seemingly endless. I'll just name a few and leave it to you to remind me of ones I've forgotten:

Shaq - tried film and music.
Jennifer Love Hewitt - hits like "lets go bang," "bare naked," and "the greatest word." simply stunning
Paris Hilton
Alan Iverson
That one Duff Girl
Lindsey Lohan
Britney Spears
Mos Def
DMX, IceCube, Snoop, the list goes on...
Ludacris - too fast, too much ludacris.
Madonna - I cried for her bad performance in Evita. Ok, confession, I never saw it. But she was somewhat charming in League of their own.
Justin Timberlake - Didn't see Alpha Dog. Don't know anyone who saw it. But he has been a great host on SNL. Check out the Barry Gibb Talk Show. (man i miss jimmy fallon)
Mark Walhberg - Best work - I Heart Huckabees.
Andre 3000 - Me and three of my brothers (note, that makes 4 Brothers) saw the movie 4 Brothers (which coincidentally has Mark Walhberg in it). For the record, I did not like seeing Dre stab some dude in the chest. gruesome.
Will Smith - Very charismatic. He's music is really tacky, but on the big screen he's fun to watch.

Reviewing the list, Obviously there is a hierarchy. Sports stars going to music is a pretty big leap (into the toilet bowl).

Actors going to music, also doesn't work very well.

Of all of the leaps to make, I think the best recipe is if you are a musician, and then you go into acting - what are your thoughts on this? Looking at the list, I'd say the best cross overs are Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith - both musicians before actors.

Who did I miss? Who are your favorite crossovers? Who are the worst?

Jan 17, 2008

things i'd like to do at the airport or on the airplane

But I don't have the courage to.

When the person working at the desk asks me, "Do you have any baggage to check?"
I'd like to respond, "Does that include emotional baggage, cause I've got a lot of that."

I'd like to go through the security line in a trench coat, much like a streaker would wear. I'd also like to wear only the trench coat... like a streaker.

Then, when they ask me to remove my coat, I'd simply tell them that this was the only article of clothing I was wearing (much like a dress), and that by taking off my trench coat I'd be undressing. "You wouldn't ask that woman to remove her dress, would you?"

After some confusion and thoughts of me being some sort of weirdo... I'd like to pass through security with the satisfaction that I didn't have to do what the TSA people said. Some of them really really enjoy enforcing arbitrary rules on people. I want to give them a dose of their own medicine.

Maybe the first time I tried It I'd just wear a tank top and some gym shorts... try to call their bluff and see if they'd check me. Surely, It can't be against the law to wear only a trench coat, do you think?

When I'm on the plane, I'd like to recline without guilt. I cannot do this, so I do not. When people try to recline in front of me I simply strengthen my resolve of wedging my knees behind their seat. You see, it takes no effort for me to do this as my knees are already touching the back. All I need is a little ire, and then the person in front of me becomes enemy #1. Try as they might, their seat will not recline. I'd rather go through five hours of constant pressure on my knees than let you have the satisfaction of reclining. Unless they appear to be taller than me... then I yield out of empathy.

However, the odds of this are pretty small. Standing at 6'4", I'm taller than approximately 99.4% of American men. That means there are roughly 9 million men taller than me in the US, or one out of 16 men. I like those odds!

Did you know, the average height for men in the Dinaric Alps is 6'1". 5'7" for women. Wow.

Once the plane lands (and that familiar ding goes off), everyone rushes to their feet. But we all know that there will be little movement for the next 10-15 minutes. It seems like I'm always toward the back, hating every individual that is in front of me. They were so skilled at putting their suitcase up in the overhead storage, now it appears as though they are trying to disarm a nuclear bomb as they take it down. They look so puzzled. "Get that damn bag out or I'll come over there and bludgeon you with mine."

But really, what I'd like to do is push my way forward with a little "excuse me, pardon me" sequence. You notice how almost any one moves at the request of "excuse me," even when it's to their own detriment. You see people doing this number all the time, on crowded mass transit, at concerts, etc. People move, even when it is in their best interest to stay put. We've been programmed. I'll use their programming against them.

Once off the plane I want to ride on the baggage claim carousel (or is it marry-go-round) and look at everyone's face who was just on the plane with me. I'd like to do that, and to climb back up into that cavernous-black whole where all of the luggage appears. In my mind, once I pop my head in for a gander, I'd see an enormous system of belts and claws, notched wheels and an intricate system of cogs like a grandfather clock. Controlled chaos. Like the inside of a toy/claw game.

[For those of you who think you are good at those, read this amazing pathetic story]

That pretty much sums up all of the things I'd like to do at the airport or on an airplane. What would you like to do?

Jan 10, 2008


Why do we (or at least, some people) say "tuna fish?"  As in, "Honey, would you like me to make you a tuna fish sandwich?"

Isn't adding "fish" behind "tuna" completely redundant? What other kind of tuna is there?

We don't say "would you like some rainbow trout fish?"  Perhaps this should extend into other meats as well:

I'd like a hamburger cow please
I'd like a bacon pig lettuce vegetable tomato (fruit?) sandwich please.
Mom, the turkey bird is delicious this year!

Across the Atlantic, there's another kind of redundant.
In England, when people are "laid off" they say they've been "made redundant."
"Hey Paul, you still working in at the steel mill?"
"Nope, I was made redundant a fortnight ago."

I think the idea that you, as a person - are now redundant, is kind of a funny idea.

Anything redundant in your life worth sharing?

Jan 7, 2008


Hey kids... you may be aware that once upon a time this blog was called "Mr. Pulsipher goes to Washington." It was supposed to be an autobiographical sojourn through the mean streets of Washington D.C.  At that time, my desire to live/work in DC  coincided with my personal interest in politics, and my blog reflected that. After a while however, I noticed that I didn't particularly like the direction my blog was going. For several reasons.

1. Picking on the Bush Administration was like "shooting fish in a barrel." I got winded in the early rounds, much like Apollo Creed beating up a lifeless Rocky Balboa.
2. My critiques & rants were not particularly well crafted nor insightful. Just typical angry democrat platitudes. It made for really uninteresting reading.
3. I wanted to give people something enjoyable to read. Reading angry political blogging is like reading a sixth grader's journal penned in pig-latin. I get it, but I want my 6 minutes back.

That being said, I'm about to tip toe near those waters again. I'm sorry, but seeing freaking Chuck Norris with his smug grin behind Mike Huckabee after his "victory" in Iowa made my blood boil.

By and large, celebrity endorsements are pretty anemic. Yet... I do think it speaks to who the candidate is trying to attract. After all, if you felt an endorsement were a liability, you wouldn't go around telling people about it.

It has been a wild and crazy celebrity endorsement season. Larry Flynt, the founder of the Hustler Empire endorsed Dennis Kucinich. Oprah endorsed Obama. Chuck Norris endorses Huckabee.

This begs several questions. What the hell does Chuck Norris know about politics. Two, who looks to Chuck Norris as a political sensei? Oprah - with her seemingly limitless sphere of influence makes sense as an endorsement.  It has been argued that even the Flynt endorsement is supposed to have 1st amendment implications (big stretch).

What does Chuck Norris add to your campaign? Credibility to to those with a penchant for martial arts. Also, those who like Texas Rangers. No, not the baseball team - an elite branch of the lone star state's justice system - memorialized on Norri's hit (or something else that rhymes with hit) show "Walker, Texas Ranger."

Three years ago (or so) there was a lengthy list of Chuck Norris attributes that spread originally through chain email, and was posted everywhere. Somewhere along the line it went from laughing AT Chuck Norris, to laughing WITH Chuck Norris. The guy is a has-been (or maybe, "was-he-ever"?) and holds as much celebrity clout as Rowdy Roddy Piper. I'm embarrassed for him, and for Mike Huckabee.

Now that I've got that out of my system... I think this begs an imperative question. Who are the top people you'd want to endorse your political campaign, and who are the last people you'd want an endorsement from.

I'll suggest a few, and wait for your brilliance on the matter. Living or Dead, does not matter.

Endorsements - Yes Please!
The Google Guys - let's face it, they've got the midas touch.  plus, with every google search my page would be at the top.  
Oprah - I think that every house with a TV on at 3pm has Oprah on it.
John Elway - the man is a Legend. If I were running in Colorado I'd secure 97% of the vote on his endorsement alone.
Louie Anderson - fat comedian with a nasal voice stretches the bounds of the comedy genre.  It takes a big man to put your name on the line in the pursuit of "kitsch" comedy.  I am that man.

Endorsements - No Thanks!
Chuck Norris - it says "I have bad taste in tv and film, and am an otherwise sloppy person"
George W. Bush - political suicide

Sinbad - you have to draw the line with comedian endorsements somewhere.

Jan 3, 2008


Like everyone, at New Years I make some resolutions. Unlike most people - my resolutions were concerning the reduction or swelling without suppuration. You see, resolutions have lots of different meanings:

1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
5. the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.
6. the resulting state.
7. Optics. the act, process, or capability of distinguishing between two separate but adjacent objects or sources of light or between two nearly equal wavelengths. Compare resolving power.
8. a solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc.
9. Music. the progression of a voice part or of the harmony as a whole from a dissonance to a consonance. the tone or chord to which a dissonance is resolved.
10. reduction to a simpler form; conversion.
11. Medicine/Medical. the reduction or disappearance of a swelling or inflammation without suppuration.
12. the degree of sharpness of a computer-generated image as measured by the number of dots per linear inch in a hard-copy printout or the number of pixels across and down on a display screen.

Most people are referring to number two on the list when they are making new years resolutions, but not me. I'm going for number 11. I want to have a year free of swelling or inflammation without suppuration.

Ok, I confess, I have no idea what suppuration is - but I do plan on making and keeping my resolutions like I do every year. I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I was 100% successful at accomplishing my resolutions last year.

Like most of you, I have resolutions pertaining to fitness, education, and professional development. I also have a resolution to learn more spanish (a continuation from last year's successful achievement) *ehem:
Uno agua pura por favor? (my most oft used phrase in Guatmala).

Hopefully you guys don't have any goals pertaining to the suppuration of inflammation, but perhaps you'd like to share some yours with me? You know what they say,
a goal never spoken is just a wish. Actually, I have no idea where I heard that. I hope I didn't rip that off from Steven R. Covey or I'll be mortified.

So make with the resolutions!

Dec 19, 2007

Frosty the Snowman

This image is from Frosty the Snowman I recall watching as a kid. Something always bothered me about the nose. It's supposed to be a button, but it looks more like smashed Michigan cherry.

Does it bother you that we sing "Frosty the Snowman" at Christmas time? It bothers me, because it has nothing to do with Christmas. No yule tide, no references to the Nativity or Nativical referencs, no gift giving, nary a Santa or reindeer shout out.

Some kids host a chilly seance, erect a snow-demon who takes them around the city for winter tomfoolery before the sun comes out and melts him. Weird.

Honestly, despite it's lack of Christmas connection, the kiddies love singing it and it will probably always be associated with the season.

Here's a charming version performed by Fiona Apple.

Dec 17, 2007

it's the most wonderful time of the year (for music)

I think one of the keys to making your holiday season "just right" is to fill in the blanks with holiday music. Times when you'd normally listen to your regular music, that's when you should bust the holiday stuff. I mean, it sits on your shelf (or more aptly, the wasteland that is known as your hard-drive) gathering dust for eleven months, you might as well bust it out and really get sick of it right?

Lately I've been in the mood for some new stuff, while still paying tribute to the classics. I've come to get your input on what you feel are the Absolute Necessities for Holiday Music. Here are some of my favorites (which I'll be sharing with you in the following week).

Last Christmas, Wham
Christmas Don't be Late, The Chipmunks
Frosty the Snowman, Fiona Apple
Blue Christmas, Elvis
O Holy Night, Sufjan Stevens
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy, David Bowie & Bing Crosby

What is on your Christmas Essentials playlist, and will you share it with me/us?