26 March 2008

Only 27 Created...Ever

I am thoroughly convinced that there are only 27 contemporary christian songs that have ever been written in the history of...contemporary christianity. They simply keep recycling between one compilation cd to the next, give or take a few songs per cd.

I'm a sucker for any Time-Life-y type commercials advertising compilation cds. The commercials where they have song snippets and scroll all the names of the songs across the screen. There was one on the other night for something called: "Christian Power Anthems For Worship" or whatever. You get the gist of the type of cd to which I'm making a reference. The thing I noticed about all these song sound bytes is that they are the exact same songs from all the other "Christian Songs 4 Ever" or "Let Us Praise Him With These Same Songs"music compilation commercials I've been seeing off and on since, oh, 1987.

You may ask why an atheist would actually know anything about contemporary christian music? Well, because I was subjected to it by a former undergraduate dorm suite-mate of mine in the mid-1990s. Although I'm sure she didn't believe that listening to "Our God Is An Awesome God" was torture for me, it was. But my tastes at the time tended toward glam rock, so who am I to judge?

And yes, "Our God Is An Awesome God" is still in the compilation cd rotation, even now. Incidentally, I think those who subscribe to the old-testament-type vision of god might beg to differ with the adjective "awesome." They'd be more apt to go for something like "Our God Is A Smiting God." But I digress...

This reminds me of a guy in my high school PE class. He had penned something like "John 4:19" and "Paul 9:21" on the sweatpants he wore in PE. I was always under the impression that they were people's track times, since he was also on the track team. As in, "John ran the hurdles in 4 minutes and 19 seconds." It was YEARS after high school when I finally realized they were bible verse numbers (about the time I learned that person had become a minister).

25 March 2008

iTunes Is Watching You

I'm growing a bit wary of iTunes' podcast feature. I don't usually listen to podcasts since I prefer to simply have a bit of background noise when I work. Music is good for that; paying attention to a podcast isn't. The exception to my rule is the "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" podcast. It's short so it doesn't take up a lot of time at work, plus I usually either learn something from it or reconfirm some grammar tidbit I already knew.

I've set up iTunes to automatically download each new Grammar Girl podcast for me, but I don't listen to them in a timely manner. Sometimes I have quite a few of them sitting there - even a few months' worth. This isn't a big deal for me. I don't mind seeing the little counter in iTunes reminding me that there are eight or nine Grammar Girl's waiting for me.

What really annoys me is once I get a backlog of them iTunes starts prompting me to either listen to them or unsubscribe from the podcast. Or the new episodes won't automatically download - they require me to click something else to "get" them. My iTunes preferences are set to check for new podcasts everyday, download the new ones, and save them all. There's no option for "hey, if I haven't listened to this in a few months start bothering me about it."

Why would iTunes care if I'm not current on my grammar tips? Why are they monitoring it? Guess what, Steve Jobs, I'll TELL you if I don't want to receive the podcast anymore - remember that your mother always said to never assume...it makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me." Maybe I enjoy hoarding Grammar Girl episodes in much the same way some people enjoy hoarding cats.

21 March 2008

Eyeballs 2.0

Thursday, March 20, I got new eyeballs via IntraLase Lasik.

Before the miracle procedure, I looked something like this:

I now look something like this:

The surgery was quick - just a few minutes - and just felt really weird with some minor discomfort during part of it. Afterwards there was quite a bit of discomfort (burning sensation in the eyes) on the hour-long car trip back home. I was expecting this, thanks to information provided by our foreign correspondent in Belgium. Incidentally, my sister, who had the same thing done one month ago, didn't report any discomfort. That's because she's an eyeball sissy and they gave her Valium before the surgery and she slept the whole way home. Of course she didn't have problems. Not being an eyeball sissy, I had no drugs. But after a few hours with my eyes closed I felt MUCH better. And lo and behold! Now I can see. The LASER eyeballs also come in handy for heating up soup.

EYEBALL 2.0 UPDATE: Friday I had my follow-up appointment with the doctor who did my surgery. My vision is 20/15. I'm still having a bit of a problem with the accuracy of the eyeball LASERs though. I keep firing about 8 - 10cm to the right of what I'm trying to zap. I lit some of our curtains on fire by accident....

11 March 2008

NISO Pants Standard

Although I'm planning on devoting at least 254 pages to this topic when I finally get around to writing my manifesto, I'll summarize here:

Women's pants sizes need some kind of NISO standard. I went to a Banana Republic outlet store awhile back and purchased a pair of pants. I went to my local Banana Republic and found some jeans I wanted to buy. Naturally, I chose to try on a pair that were the same size as the pants I'd purchased previously...cuz one would think that if the pants fit in that size, then the jeans from the same retailer would as well. Did the jeans fit? No. They were two sizes too big.

What's with this? Why can Dr. Nate go into a store and buy pants without even trying them on and I'm hauling four different sizes back to the fitting room?! And it's not just a Banana Republic thing. Same thing happens at different stores - try on two different types of "bottoms" (e.g. jeans, skirts) and come away with two different sizes. Hell, try on two different styles of jeans and come away with two different sizes (yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Eddie Bauer). Can't more retailers use inch measurements on women's pants just like men's?

03 March 2008

Universal Truths, Issue 1

Universal Truth #0: Absolute zero is -273.15 Celsius

Universal Truth #1: No one can be in a bad mood while listening to "Fat Bottomed Girls."

Universal Truth #2: If Harry Dean Stanton is in the cast of a film, then any scene with Harry Dean Stanton in it will be cinematic genius even if the rest of the movie is crap.

Universal Truth #3: Gregg Allman is badass.