HBO has this Documentary film festival going on where they feature one every Monday evening. It’s been quite entertaining. The one from last week was the best so far. It was called Resolved and it was about high school debating. When I was on the debate team it was a nice civil affair. It has since devolved into sheer insanity where the speakers literally speak up to 200 words per minute trying to cram as much as they can into their alloted time. What made this film interesting was that in addition to showing us debating in its current form, it also follows a couple of kids from a public school near LA that decide that their entire focus will be on bringing down the system as it currently is. It’s pretty cool stuff and also pretty amazing and mostly it all made me feel incredibly stupid. I reccommend you check it out.

DFA Wireless

Howard Dean’s advocacy group Democracy For America has started a cell phone company that donates 10% of your payments to their group. They offer to buy out your old contract (up to $175) and the best part? They have pledged to not submit to warrantless wiretapping! They are using the Sprint network and appear to have a number of nice phones (though no replacement for my awesome LG Vx8350). I’m fairly certain I’m going to switch over.

New Laptop

So I wanted a laptop and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. I had no interest in an Apple. I wasn’t buing a dell. I wanted a Thinkpad but it was out of my range. I went out and looked around and found a gem of a computer. I simply love it. It’s a HP Pavillion dv2000. This one was about $700 and has everything. Built in webcam, wireless, firewire, great sound, 2GB RAM, a decient CPU, a 5in1 card reader, DVD burner.. man this thing rocks and I totally reccomend it!

Quicken is Evil

Well, Intuit, the makers of Quicken are evil. Quicken is actually a great tool and I use it every day. But lately I’ve been getting the feeling that Intuit is trying to milk their loyal customers for money.

Point 1 : I’ve been using Q for about 10 years now and 2 years ago they kept begging me to upgrade. I was happy with the old version so I didn’t. Well, soon enough the old version stopped working with my bank. Apparently to use online banking I would have to upgrade. Good one Intuit.

Point 2 : I’ve been getting bugged constantly to upgrade again. Again, I see no reason to but now the software is failing.. well, the internet part is. I have to check my stock quotes online about 6-7 times now to get them to load properly. Strange huh? Something that has been working fine for years now is failing.. I would bet that the new version works great. Fuckers.

Please give us the tools to measure our energy usage!

About 18 months ago I talked about how if we consumers had ways to monitor our electricity usage and other energy usage, we’d jump on the chance and perhaps as a nation, we’d save a ton of energy. Well, as usual I was right:

Here is a shocker: a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Energy Department (PNNL) demonstrated that if you give people control and tools to monitor and adjust their electricity use, they use them. If everyone had these tools, it could eliminate the need for 30 large coal fired power plants and $70 billion in construction and infrastructure.


Ever since I first saw a particular episode of “Veronica’s Closet” (1997-2000) where there was a bet to see if someone could invent a word and get it into the new york times, I’ve wanted to do the same, but instead of the NYT, I wanted my word or expression to enter the mainstream. Interestingly enough a word that a friend and I came up with and started using in highschool circa 1986 ended up exploding into the mainstream in 1999 when it was uttered in the movie American Pie. You may have heard of it: MILF. Yes, I know you don’t believe me, but if I had the time I would explain in great detail the origin and subsequent popularity of the word but I don’t. Instead I have a moment to tell you about two new things I’ve come up with that I hope someday to hear in public spoken by someone I don’t know.

The first is an expression that I came up with that you would use if you want someone to give more effort or if you want someones writing to be less boring or if you want someone to be more aggressive, etc. The expression is “Gimmie some pepper”.  I know it sounds stupid at first, but once it gets popular you may hear it everywhere. For example, the coach of a girls cheerleading squad is not happy with the lackluster performance would say: “Hey girls, give me some pepper out there!”.

The second expression I’m much more proud of and I think it has a better chance of succeeding.. I can see it in a hip hop lyric sometime soon. The expression is something on the lines of “that’s really felt” or “that’s felt”.. What it means is that something is really cool or good looking. It comes from the fact that felt is the fabric used on the best poker tables and pool tables and it also comes from “heart felt” meaning that something has hit home. Originally my idea was for it to be a style expression as a reverse word to use (since felt is a cheap fabric).. so you would say to your lady “damn girl, you’re looking felt tonight!”.

Use these as much as you like.. but remember where you heard it first…

How to avoid causing a traffic jam

For a very long time I have followed the driving principle that when on the highway, always attempt to maintain an even speed and do not use the brakes too often (if at all). This, I believed, would en mass stop traffic jams. In short, I was doing my part to avoid causing traffic jams. But the technique was developed and maintained in my head only since I believed that little changes would amplify back to the other drivers. I was often teased about my belief. Well, behold!