Tuesday, May 31, 2005

At the beach

At the beach

On the beach in Salter Path.

Sent from my Treo

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

It's been a banner week - lots of Congratulations and Good Luck

Thank you, thank you so much. It means so much to me. I just want to thank everyone who made this moment possible.

What am I being congratulated for, you might ask? Uh, no, I didn't get promoted. No, I didn't get a Ph.D.

No, No. I thought you would have guessed by now. Let me just tell you. I bought movie tickets! I really can't take all the credit, it was a team effort. If Ariel hadn't loaned me four bucks and instructed me on the proper use of a web browser, I wouldn't be getting congratulated at all.

It's been a heckuva week. Just the other day I was wished "Good luck" by the nice people at ebay. And I needed it! I almost wasn't one of the lucky ones. That object I so prized was slipping away. But then, out of nowhere, inspiration struck! I upped my bid! The strategy worked - the "I (Heart) Lesbos" T-shirt was mine! What a fun game.

congrats, originally uploaded by weissjeffm.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I take it as a complement

How is it that so many Muslim extremists are furious enough at the Jews to do and say things like this and this? Isn't it America they're supposed to be mad at? Are they just stuck on hating Jews out of centuries of habit? America is not Jewish. As proof, I say to all "jihad" believers: check out our shopping malls in November. Compute the ratio of "Jingle Bells" to "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel". Then come back in April and do the same, but this time compare the number of Easter eggs to Gefilte fishes. That will give you a very close approximation of the Jewish stake in American culture. It's practically zilch. Or as we like to say, "Bubkes".

How are Jews still their sworn enemy? There aren't that many Jews left. Worldwide, Muslims outnumber Jews 85 to 1. For such a large section of Muslims to blame their problems on the Jews, is like Andre the Giant complaining that Gary Coleman took his lunch money. It's like the Duke basketball team choosing Davidson as their arch-rival.

Jews are only 0.2 percent of the world, but apparently, we control everything. We control the banks. The American government. Didn't you know the Jews orchestrated 9/11 and pinned it on Muslims? For some reason, certain people miss this obvious conclusion: We must be awful smart, or strong, or have super powers, or something, in order to pull that off. Just imagine, each Jew taking on five hundred gentiles, and winning. Some would say it's nothing short of divine intervention.

I am honored to be thought of so highly. You might not be aware, but some of us do claim to be God's chosen people. This image of us is totally inaccurate, of course. But I take it as a complement.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Out on the lake

Out on the lake, originally uploaded by weissjeffm.

I spent most of the day yesterday on my friend Jeff's boat on Falls Lake. As you can see, I am in my element here. What's not to like? Sun, water, beer, and a vehicle to ride around on. I don't personally wakeboard (I will try to pick it up at some point), but it's pretty easy to just kick back and watch other people do it. Especially this guy Dale who was doing backflips and getting 6 feet of air. My fisher-price cameraphone was unable to capture that to any satisfactory degree.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Today's MindF*ck

Never before have I wanted so badly to curl up into a fetal position and just mutter comforting words of complete denial. "No. No, it wasn't real. It was just a joke! Wasn't real, just a joke. Soon they're going to say it was only a joke. They're going to tell me I was punk'd, and we'll all have a good laugh. Hahah. A good laugh."

It had Kirk Cameron in it, for god's sake. It had to be a comedy! It had the makings of a perfect satire. I sat there smiling for the first few minutes, fully entertained, expecting to be laughing my ass off. Any second now, here comes the punch line. But I soon realized something was very very wrong. A feeling of abject horror crept up on me. It may not, in fact, be a clever satire at all.

Dear readers, I must warn you. You might want to start with something a little milder first. Try the medium hot sauce before you try the atomic.

I recommend starting with My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. I assure you it's mere child's play, compared to:

the Way of the Master!!! (For full effect, Click "No" when it asks you if you are a Christian).

What's in there, you ask? I can only tell you what Yoda once told Luke Skywalker: "Only what you take with you. Your weapons - you will not need them."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

If you're going to make fun of Hollywood, do it right.

There's plenty of ammo to make fun of Hollywood. It's like shooting fish in a barrel - not even sporting. I won't participate. I'll merely post some links to stories of Tara Reid and Anna Nicole Smith making complete asses of themselves.

What I'd like to point out, is at the bottom of the Tara Reid article (written by Jeannette Walls):
Cameron Diaz wouldn’t buy some animal tusks because she was worried that the animals they came from were endangered — but then she found out they were extinct. A source says that the “Charlie’s Angels” star was shopping the Barneys store in Beverly Hills on Saturday, looking at some tusk bracelets for $1,650 each. “She asked if they were elephant tusks and said she just couldn’t buy them if they were,” says a source. “The saleswoman assured her that they were extinct mammoth tusks and she bought three."
The context makes it pretty clear what Jeannette is implying: "Stupid actress thinks there's big difference between buying a bracelet made from extinct animals, and one from endangered animals!" After all, her column is called "Jeannette Walls delivers the scoop". The headline "Rich actress buys expensive bracelet" is not exactly a "scoop".

Hold on a second, Jeannette. The problem is, Cameron is absolutely right - there is a big difference. She doesn't want her money to motivate poachers in Africa to shoot elephants. She can buy mammoth ivory with a clear conscience. They've been carcasses since pre-historic times. There's nothing at all contradictory about her purchase.

Jeannette, don't you feel pathetic? You've shot at fish in a barrel, and missed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

White Lake results are in

They finally posted the triathlon full results (they take 2 days to get the relay splits so I can find out how I did relative to other swimmers). Let the analysis begin.

Out of 660 swimmers, I was 19th overall. Which is ok - depending on how I look at it, I can feel good or bad about it. I beat 95% of the competition. That's good! But nearly all the swimmers who beat me went on to do a 56 mile bike and a half marathon. That's bad. But open water swimming was never my forte anyway. That's good! The lake contained potassium benzoate.

That's bad.

(Sorry, I have this compulsive disorder where I insert references to "The Simpsons" in everything I say. Even though I know that most likely no one will get it. But at least I picked a popular quote.)

I just have to remember the goal was to help the relay. The relay won, so I say, mission accomplished.

Monday, May 09, 2005


I am limping around today on calf muscles that I shredded (on a microscopic scale, anyway) from cramping up after that cold lake swim. No pain, no gain? I expect to be able to dunk from the foul line after I recover from this. I have never been so hobbled by soreness. On the one hand, I feel an old feeb. But on the other hand, a handful of people were taken away on stretchers after that swim - and they had wetsuits on. So I am not a total wimp.

Timely reminder of what a red, ass-backwards state I live in

Ariel and I are moving in together. I think it'll be nice - not having to carry our crap back and forth to each's other's place, and having a woman's touch in my rather spartan townhouse will make it a lot more homey. What I am not looking forward to, however, is adding another entry to the list of crimes that I have committed in my life. At one point or another, I have been guilty of: Underage possession of alcohol (countless times), possession of a fake ID, possession of illegal drugs or "narcotics", DUI, and a cornucopia of minor moving violations. I am not particularly ashamed - there's nothing that most of our recent presidents haven't done. I'm actually a little bit proud - I was at least smart or lucky enough not to get caught. Fortunately for me, I am pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired on many of my crimes, and there's no evidence left of the rest. So if any law enforcement personnel are reading this, sorry for getting your hopes up. The only thing you can bust me for now is.... (drumroll please)


Punishable in North Carolina by a $1000 fine and 60 days in jail!

According to this fine article, the law is rarely enforced. Whew! Glad to know that my fate is in the hands of wacky ultra-conservative judges:
"At least one judge, U.S. Magistrate Carl Horn in Charlotte, regularly asks defendants whether their living arrangements violate the cohabitation ban. Horn, who declined to be interviewed for this story, has refused to release violators unless they promise to comply."
The law is being challenged by the ACLU. So perhaps someday I will be absolved of this particular crime (that I now realize I have actually committed before. Four times, if you count each woman as a separate incident. Again, mister police man, statute of limitations is expired. Ha ha, you can't touch me. Not for a few weeks anyway, when Ariel's lease runs out.)

North Carolina is such a beautiful place. Why does its government have to suck to such an embarrassing degree?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

By my new improved calendar, summer has officially begun.

As everybody knows, summer begins on June 21st, the summer solstice. Duh.

Well I say nuts to that. The longest day of the year is the 1st day of summer, but the 2nd longest (June 20) is in the spring? That doesn't make any sense. The 2nd longest day should also be in the summer. Heck, the 50th longest day should also be in the summer. Shouldn't the longest day of the year be smack dab in the middle of summer?

Everything is half a season off. If the equinoxes and solstices were in the middle of their respective seasons, everything would make a lot more sense. Some might object to my system because on my "first day of Spring", it's still cold. Yes, it's true that temperatures don't follow my plan as perfectly as daylight does. Temperatures tend to lag at least several weeks behind the amount of daylight. But the seasons aren't supposed to reflect temperature anyway. In some places, the temperatures do weird things, like in my former residence of San Mateo, CA. The hottest month there is September.

By my decree, the new seasons shall be as follows:

Summer - May 6th to August 5th
Fall - August 6th to November 5th
Winter - November 6th to February 5th
Spring - February 6th to May 5th

So happy (belated) first day of summer, everyone!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

White Lake Half-Ironman

White lake half ironman, originally uploaded by weissjeffm.

I did the 1.2 mile swim today in the White Lake Half Ironman (in southern NC).

Well, the water was really as cold as it looked. Do you see anyone in the picture above insane enough to be in there without a wetsuit? Well I was one of three people (out of 800) who went with bare skin. As I entered the water, I experienced "inhalation response" for the first time in my long swimming career. That's when you enter cold water and you have involuntary rapid breathing. I am glad I knew about the phenomenon, or it would have been even more alarming. (This is why I suspect the water was colder than the announced 64 - I've been in mid-60's water before and never had this happen). I don't think I've ever before been unable to hold my breath even for a few seconds.

I managed to get my breathing under control in the few minutes before my wave was started, and felt ok for the swim. I was (obviously) cold, my legs weren't getting good circulation and very soon felt crampy, even though they were only doing my usual lazy 2-beat kick. The water was clear, so I had an easy time navigating the buoys and the slower swimmers in front of me (from the earlier wave starts).

I got back to the dock and there was a line of about 5 people trying to climb the ladder to get out of the water! That cost me about 30 seconds. As soon as I got my legs under me, they started to cramp - not from being tired, it must have been from lack of blood flow. So I then had to run (rather gingerly) 150 yards to the transition area, at which point the cramping really flared up. But at least I had already passed the timing chip to my teammate and he was on his way.

I experienced another odd sensation later on - about 20 minutes after putting my parka back on, I felt warm again, but then I felt blood rush into my legs (which I guess were still cold) and suddenly got cold all over. That was my body reconnecting my legs to the blood stream, I guess. Weird.

The day warmed up dramatically (too late to be of any help for my leg of the race). By the time Tom (the biker) finished, I had shorts on and it was a perfect day. Our relay won! Our time was 4:23:07, which was slightly faster than the individual Elite winner, and 10 minutes ahead of the next relay. Nice work, Tom and Scott.

All in all, a pretty good day.

Sunrise at White Lake

White lake half ironman, originally uploaded by weissjeffm.

It's a beautiful sunrise at White Lake. I'm here for the Half Ironman relay. It's COLD. 45 degrees outside, I am wearing my Carolina swimming parka. I stuck my hand in the water, and it feels very cold. Just the fact that there's no steam coming off it on such a cold morning tells you there's not a great temperature difference between the air and water. Lovely. Can't wait to dive in there. Without a wetsuit.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"My boyfriend is in love with you... and I hear the weather will be nice this weekend" ???

So Ariel forwards me a strange email this morning. It was apparently sent to her by mistake, perhaps meant for some other Ariel at Duke. Here's the text (names changed - I don't want to make these people's personal lives public over a misdirected email):
Hi, Ariel... Don't know if you know me, but my name is Elaine, and I am Peter Griffin's ex- girlfriend. I thought that, since you are seeing someone, I would give you the heads up about him breaking up with me because he's decided he's in love with you. I just thought you and your boyfriend/fiance (peter's confused if he's that or not) should know about his intentions. He told me he was going to tell you and ask for an ultimatum...your fiance or peter... be weary though... he gets violent if he doesn't like the outcome...i know. the handprints on my arm are because i won't wait for him to find out if you feel the same way. good luck... hope you have a good week... i hear the weather is actually going to be nice this weekend!

The whole thing is interesting, a window into someone's private life. But what I find most intruiging is the last sentence. It just seems so out of place. A reflex of polite small talk. Elaine, I think everyone involved would understand if you skipped it, it would be a pretty awkward friendship. If being curt is ever appropriate, this is the occasion.

Truly worth a thousand words

originally uploaded by David Wulff.

I ran across this picture on Flickr (although that isn't where it originated). At first it appears totally ordinary. At first.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Nasty bathroom at the Varsity

Nasty bathroom at the Varsity

Don't get me wrong, I like the Varsity. And I'm not afraid to wash my hands with dish soap, I really don't mind. I just find it amusing, considering the following: 1) The employees are aware of the difference between dish soap and hand soap. It's the artsy theater, after all. 2) There is a drug store not 50 yards away.

Why does the "theory" of "Intelligent Design" provoke such anger in me?

The latest installment in my "Idiots are taking over the world" series.

For those not familiar, the theory of "Intelligent Design" is basically today's opposition to the theory of Evolution. This so-called scientific theory is being pushed into public schools by religious zealots. It's exactly like creationism, except they've removed the word "god" and given it a new name.

The whole idea, admittedly, sounds at first entirely plausible. Certainly, some complex things (like cars) are built by intelligent designers. And evolution sounds so implausible. When you imagine a single celled organism (which few people ever bother to do), and then you see a cat or a rabbit, you have a hard time imagining how one turned into the other, entirely on its own. It's difficult to imagine the countless steps involved to get from one to the other, over a period of a billion years. Heck, it's hard to imagine a billion years. Heck, let's step back even further - it's hard to imagine a million years. (sidebar: It's sad that so many people don't even know the difference between a billion and a million. Both words are interpreted as "a lot". Perhaps this has something to do with our government budget being completely out of whack. "We spent $89 million on tsunami relief, and $89 billion on bombing Afghanistan flat." The inequality is completely overlooked, because, well, people skip right to imagining what they would buy with $89 million.)

Anyway, here is the part that makes me angry. Just because something is difficult to grasp doesn't mean it's not true. Yes, you have to actually sit down and study and think for quite some time. Otherwise, the idea that "man evolved" seems even less plausible than "the universe was sneezed from the nose of the Great Green Arkleseizure, fully formed, man included" (OK, that's Douglas Adams' made-up god, but to me it's no less ridiculous than any other creationist theory).

What angers me is the people who are too lazy or scared to even listen. They either don't listen because learning science takes effort, and they find the 3-word explanation of "God did it" far less strenuous. Or, they don't listen because pulling creationism out from under their belief system would make it collapse like a house of cards. If creationism is wrong, then Genesis is wrong (if taken literally, anyway), then the Bible contains serious errors and cannot be the word of God. I am not insisting that people abandon religion (although that would be nice), how about just taking the Bible a bit less literally? There are actually good ideas in there, if you don't get caught up in all the miracles and smiting.

How about not forcing your religion (and your ignorance) into public schools? Just because you've deprived yourself of a science education, please don't ruin it for everyone else. OK, I admit this comes from someone who went to a science and technology high school. I found it a joy to learn stuff you could actually use to make predictions. You can use physics to predict where a thrown ball will land. It actually works! You can use biology and evolution to predict what kinds of fossils you will find in certain rocks. It actually works! The theory of Intelligent Design can't be used to predict anything at all. As a scientific theory, it's absolutely useless. It's only use is to numb your mind to make the questions go away. It's quite effective for that. And the people who claim that it's science are actually being listened to, in the politically-correct interest of "equal time". And this is what really pisses me off. Ignorance is winning.

What's going on here?

What's going on here?

Something was happnin in the practice gym at the dean dome today. Cameras, spotlights....

Sent from my Treo


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.