This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Tour of My New-ish Apartment

Well, I finally joined the early 2000’s and got a wireless network set up at my crib. It was totally by accident, as I got the access point for free from my boss, who was going to get rid of it because it’s old and not cool anymore. But after much frustration and headache, I got it working here. Sitting in this cool chair in the living room with no wires attached to my computer, I am able to get on the internet and see every stupid thing it has to offer, even the Star Wars Kid and the Wauwatosa, WI site on Myspace. Also, if I wanted to, I could connect to several other peoples’ unsecured wireless networks around here. If I were poor and had no scruples but a ton of gumption, I would totally cancel my Comcast/Warner cable internet and just mooch off the people around me. Take my friendly computing advice: Use a fricking WEP key. Otherwise, you’ll get nothing but hop-ons all day. Do you drive around in a stair-car? No? Then don't surf around on the stair-internet.

I wonder if Irving, my new city, has a wireless connection anywhere or everywhere. There’s certainly enough white people in northern Irving to get that done. I’m sure I could go to the Starbucks down the block or something, but it’s much more fun to get community internet. I feel like I’m getting something for the taxes other people around me pay. Plus, I don’t want Starbucks watching me and figuring out ways to sell me latte’s.

My wife had the brilliant idea of me going around to different rooms in my apartment and blogging about them as I sit there, now that we've settled in slightly. I don't know if this is going to work, or if it will be super-boring, but we're going to try it anyway.

I'm currently wirelessly sitting on the floor in front of the 27-inch TV in the living room. It's sitting in an otherwise empty entertainment center that is just barely big enough for it. I know from experience that the entertainment center weighs about a buhzillion pounds. Behind me is our "sectional," and I am leaning against it. I remember going to sectionals in High School. To the left of the entertainment center is a giant black & white picture. The picture is of my and my wife's heads. There are some other things on the ledge that we haven't put up yet. We had to put up the heads first. There are some upacked boxes on the floor, but way less than there were a week ago. To the right of the TV are some empty boxes, a ledge covered in all sorts of miscellaneous crap, and a blonde wooden bar stool. Under the shadow of the bar stool is a hefty bag full of shoes we're throwing out. Don't worry, we still have a buhzillion more pairs of shoes in the closet by the Master Bathroom. But more on that later.

Beyond the wall behind the TV lies the dining "room," an itty-bitty box of space which I am now sitting in. I can no longer tell what the people on TV are saying, but that's ok because it's just season one of Laguna Beach grinding to a standstill. The dining room table is one of those tall tables that are in vogue these days. The table is covered in boxes, and the only other things of note in this foxhole are the hutch in the corner (which I can't see because of the boxes) and the light above the table that split open my nose when I first moved in. This used to be the coldest room in the house before I closed the vent. Now let's get out of here because I'm getting no wireless signal and I'm illogically paranoid that my wireless card will forget how to connect.

On the floor of the kitchen is my dog Allie, and she's pantingly anticipating a shipment of popcorn from the microwave. She had been lethargic and clingy all day, until my wife got out the popcorn. This is a big kitchen, way bigger than the kitchen we used to have or the dining room we currently have. It has a ton of counter-space in a u-shape that also contains an enamel double death sink and a futuristic electric stove with the hot surface that glows red rather than the exposed metal circles. If I was smarter I'd know the name for that. Anyway, I love the stove and I haven't even used it yet. It makes me feel like I'm in space. Gimme some Tang.

The cabinets are wooden and plentiful, and the kitchen is completely unpacked. I'll spare you descriptions of the spices and the flour, but you should know that we have poultry rub and we aren't afraid to use it. Ok, that's not true -- we are afraid to use it. We have no idea what it is.

Also on the counter is a bunch of stuff we never use, like coffee filers, a cookie jar, and a bread maker. I think we've made bread once in the last five years. Also useless are the things on top of the cabinets way up by the ceiling, things such as the "pasta bike," the "waffle maker," and the "wok." They are useless in the sense that we never use them any more. Maybe I'll make Allie ride the pasta bike, just to get my money's worth out of the thing.

The laundry room (really more of a closet) is part of the kitchen, and there's a new washer and dryer in there that we had to do touch-up painting on because Sears is evil. We buy the extended warranty, and they have the audacity to give us grief when we want them to come out and fix the paintjob on the brand new washer/dryer set that they messed up. We just paid them $1200, and they can't even install the things to our satisfaction? What kind of Tim Burton-esque nightmare world do we live in here? Did I wake up in Guam?

The only room that borders the kitchen is the living room, and the ledge o' crap isn't enough to stop me from hearing Kristen crying because she has to break up with Stephen. Like she has any real feelings. I'm getting a crappy signal in here as well, so let's try to reconnect, shall we? I'll meet you in the bedroom.

Our master bedroom kicks all kinds of butt. Our bed (header and footer) was purchased on sale from a guy with a funny voice at Mattress Giant. They should change the name, because they got some nice affordable beds there. It's made of a brown metallic substance and it's about as classy as we'll get. There's a file cabinet to the right of the bed that's serving very dutifully as an end table. Unfortunately, there are a couple of Precious Moments figurines on it rght now. On the other side of the bed is an empty wooden bookcase (all our books are in the closet of the 2nd bedroom right now -- they'll probably be the last thing we unpack, because they're so stinking heavy) that I'm using to hold up a clock-radio that doubles as our alarm. It's on my side of the bed (the right side) because I'm pretty sure my wife doesn't know how to use it. In fact, sometimes I think that's half of the reason she keeps me around.

In the corner of the room next to the bookcase is our dog's house, which is where we have to put her during rainstorms these days. If left to her own doggie devices, Allie will immediately unleash her bowels on the carpet when she hears thunder. This is unacceptable, but thankfully she doesn't mind her little house so much. It's her safe place in a world of evil thunder and vaccuum cleaners and basically anything bigger than her that makes noise or isn't nailed down.

Our dressers are on either side of the room, only my wife's is by my side of the bed and mine is by her side. It's a bad system, but I don't feel like moving them. On her dresser (and my side of the bed) is our old TV and VCR. I'm convinced that the reception is better since we moved here and got Comcast/Time/Warner/Megalopoly Cable TV. I can see Dayle Hinman's makeup more clearly now, I swear. The glare on the TV during the day is bad because we have two big windows in this room. It gets hot in the morning with the sun blasting through, too. It's kinda sad because we really like windows, but we never get to use them in the 105 degree heat. I can't wait for fall.

The Master Blaster Bathroom is off the bedroom across from the bed. It's got what the brochure called a "Roman Tub," which is from what I can tell just a bigger, deeper bathtub. My wife likes it, though. Our shower curtain is a brown froofy thing my wife calls "The sexiest shower curtain ever." I like it, but I don't know about all that. The only other thing of note in here (generic tile, generic shower, generic colors) is the fact that it has two sinks, so two people could theoretically get ready at one time if they had to. Oh, and above the mirrors are a line of those clear bulb lights that you see in movie dressing rooms. Wowza.

Off the bathroom is the Master Blaster Closet, which has a floor covered in my wife's shoes. Remember, we also have a bag of shoes we're throwing out. Not to be too generic guy/girl here, but this is a problem I see no solution for. At least she put her sandals (known up to five years ago as "thongs") upright in a little basket. We'll see if that lasts.

The rest of the MB Closet is filled with my ridiculously out-of-style clothes. Man, it's hot in this bathroom. Let's get out of here.

On the other side of the apartment from the Master Blaster stuff is the computer room, otherwise known as the "office," otherwise known (quite optimistically) as the "second bedroom." The corner of the room holds our cool new glass desk with the laptop computers on either side (very rarely are the both there, now that we've gone wireless). Our big ol' 17-inch monitor is in the center of the desk, and is in many ways the centerpiece of the room. We should probably rethink that. The monitor is connected to both our desktop computers via a KVM switch. Yes, I love technology. Always and forever.

Also on the cool glass desk are the entire set of Homestar Runner figurines, which I rediscovered in an ornate christmas goblet during our move. I just had to get them involved. They were like the first thing I unpacked. The goblet is on the desk, too, along with some generic "computer stuff." In fact, this room is filled with all of our computer stuff, CD's, books, games, and just about any miscellanous household item you can think of. It's like our catch-all room. Office supplies? Check. Pads of paper? Check. Guitar? Check? Cords for electronic devices we no longer own? Check. Winter Clothes? Check. Excess bedsheets? Check. See what I mean?

The other big item in this room is the daybed, which we had to disassemble to get in here. I really like it, though. It's got a bunch of cool pillows on it and stuff. Next to the daybed is another empty bookcase, looking lonely. But forget that -- it's time for the junk room!

The junk room is the "other bathroom," and it's filled with all sorts of stuff that should be unpacked and functional, but aren't. There are six semi-packed boxes in here, as well as a couple of bags, a few tupperware containers, and a magazine basket. At least the toilet works, though. The bad thing about this bathroom is the fan switch is closer to the door than the light switch, so every time I come in here I turn the fan on instead of the light. Maybe that's why we haven't unpacked these boxes -- it's too much trouble just to get the room lighted.

That's're done. Wasn't that tedious? I hope not.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reality Shows Lead to Breakups

I'll spare you the links to the stupid stories, but you need to know of an epidemic that's sweeping the nation: Couples from "We're so stinking in love" reality-TV shows are breaking apart like Baghdad buildings.

Overrated guitarist Dave Navarro and former "Dumbest Woman in the World" contestant Carmen Electra are calling it quits. Their show was nothing but lies.

Off-puttingly overmohawked Blink-182 drummer (Something) Barker is getting divorced from his unlikely wife, former Miss USA (?) and clean blonde southern belle Shanna Moakley. The kicker? He's filing for divorce from her. This was another show that was filled with lies, and I think theirs went two seasons.

Not to spoil the second lumbering season of The Hills, but Lauren and that terrible stumpman Jason have broken up. Yeah, this was bound to happen, but we'll count it as part of the epidemic anyway. I'm sure she'll take him back for no reason again in 6 months, because that's what girls who drop out of college do.

...that came out way too judgey, and I apologize. But girl's gotta learn before she ends up married to a Jason or a Talan or a Stephen or some other blank piece of doo-doo with too much money and no soul. Jason practically had horns. What took her so long?

These three join Flav and Brigitte, Nick and Jessica, Flav and Hoopz, and countless other bachelors and bachelorettes who have "found love" on the TV. Rob and Ambuh, Wes and Cher (from Beauty and the Geek II, which nobody besides me watched), Brady Bunch and Model-Chick, and the Osbournes had better watch out before they find themselves on opposite sides of the canyon of love.

Zero Tolerance Policy

You can't swing a cat these days without hitting somebody espousing a zero tolerance policy about something. Whether it be drunk driving, cussing on TV, asprin in public schools, or not having one's car-topper lit, every entity in power these days seems to think that zero tolerance is a great idea. It saves them from having to resonably consider a punishment, you see -- you broke "the law," so you get the assigned punishment, and that's just the way it is so don't bother complaining about it. It's ironic that in such an enlightened and tolerant age we have gravitated towards "zero tolerance" as a way to deter people from doing bad things. Could it be that our so-called "tolerance" is nothing but an excuse not to think about things that are difficult? Could it be that tolerance becomes zero tolerance at the precise moment that we have to consider the consequences? We say, "We can tolerate you until you annoy that point, we must completely stop you."

But who gets to decide which behavior is annoying, and therefore outlawed? Who gets to decide what behaviors are tolerated, and therefore celebrated?*

Since nobody can satisfactorily give me an answer to that question, I will fill in the power vacuum myself. All questions or concerns should be directed to your mom.

Things I Will No Longer Tolerate.

1) People hitting-and-running me with their oversized pickup-truck tires. Yes, this happened a couple of weeks ago, and I've been mad ever since. After floor-buffing the side of my car, the bastardo in the white truck pretended like he was going to stop, then sped away. He caused $1600 dollars in damage with his little side-swiping maneuver. I bet he feels like a winner because he didn't get caught. He should consider himself lucky I didn't have this zero-tolerance policy three weeks ago, because man, he'd be intolerated.

2) The idea that Terrell Owens is "misunderstood." Yes, his childhood was terrible (if you believe his book). However, he seems to have no desire to change, which takes the edge off any sympathy I might feel towards him. If you think he's misunderstood, read this: He's an infantile and insane money-grubbing scum who doesn't realize his problems with the media are his own fault. Either that, or he's a self-aware WWE-style fake "bad guy." It's one of those two things. There you go, now you understand him. See how easy that was?

3) Insane Papa John's Delivery Drivers. There's the guy who's working on picking all the rubber coating off the corner of the wall by the driver's station, the guy who gave his two weeks 3 months ago and who doesn't want me touching his car, the guy who takes boxes home every day, the guy who's a hick and won't talk to me, the cental american guy, the guy who steals deliveries and everybody knows it, the guy who drives really slow and wears his pants too high, and the guy who does origami. Actually, the Oregai guy's ok. Anyway, who can work in an environment like this? Of course, I love them all, but its very trying.

4) Mohawks. Seriously. It started when some frat idiots began pushing their hair towards the top of their head for no reason, and now every brick-head in the world is trying to look like a late-70's punk-rocker. The only person who should have a mohawk is Mr. T. The next time I see one of these, I'm going to attempt to machete it. Seriously. Because I have a machete.

5) Keanu Reeves Soiling-Up Otherwise Good Movies. A Scanner Darkly joins an ever-growing list of films that would have been a lot better had they cast someone better in the lead. This has been going on for way too long. They have to know they're ruining these movies. What is it going to take to get him back into "dude"-based screwball comedies? A bat? 'Cuz I got one of those, too.

6) Impoliteness. When I open the door for you, say "thank you." Failure to do so makes me think you think you're better than me, which you aren't. I'll say "you're welcome" anyway, and you'll feel like a dope. Even worse are the people who don't hold the door for you, because it's too much trouble and they need to get to pilates or something. This is all terrible behavior, totally indicating a bad childhood and failed parents. I'm sorry about your bad life, but hold the door for me. I'll say "thank you," I promise.

7) 107-degree heat. I didn't move to Phoenix. I moved to Dallas. Dal-las. It gets to be 100 here, not 105 for a week. Poor homeowners can't even water their lawns. It's disgusting. If this happens again, the world needs to build a giant air conditioner and point it at Dallas.

8) Bad Refereeing. Let's say you're on a journey to a castle, and you're trying to beat an accursed rival there. Let's say that you arrive at the castle's location, only to find that it has been airlifted 20 miles closer to your accursed rival. That's what bad refereeing is like, and not even Mark Cuban can stop it. Dirk Nowitski, I feel your pain.

9) Kirstie Alley

10) Bad, pretentious food. The French invented most of this crap, and it's served with sauce zigzagged over it to distract from the fact that the portions are Rhode-Island-sized and taste like leather. It also costs too much. You know you like steak (or, if vegan, tofu steak-esque) better, so just eat it and stop trying to look cool.

11) DRM. How did the Big Five Music Scumpanies decide to stem the rising tide of music sharing over the internet? By breaking the one product they do sell that means anything -- CD's. Now we're practically forced to go elsewhere for music that won't break our computers. It's 2006 -- can't computers and music coexist peacefully yet? I'd ask congress for help, but congress has an Orrin Hatch in it, and he hates computers. On the flip side, DRM would be a great rap name.

12) Rising interest rates. New Fed Chairman Greenspan II has done nothing but raise interest rates for fear of "inflation." How is inflation going to hurt us when people have no money? How is it going to grow when gas prices are artificially keepng it down? Greenspan II kept rates steady this week for the first time in a while, which means that he thinks the economy is slowing down. Thanks for ruining the economy, you blockhead. The sad part is we were just starting to get out from under the 9-11 economic dust cloud, and now nobody has any money again. Oh, and thanks for preventing me from buying a house, too. That was great. Why can't we just lower the rates down to zero and see what happens? Is that really any worse than this?

13) Creating a great TV show, getting screwed around by a network for 2 straight years, getting cancelled, being resurrected by another network, then quitting because you "can't take it anymore," leaving the show's fans holding nothing but reruns and DVDs with frowns on their faces. Mitch Hurwitz, I'm talking to you.

* This is footnoted because I don't feel like taking the time to fit this point into the body of this post, but the word "tolerance" has come to denote almost a worshipful attitude towards something, as opposed to merely tolerating it. We even expect people to put aside their religious beliefs if we (as a society) deem something "tolerable." Think I'm overstating this? Listen to liberal news commentary for 5 minutes and you'll be amazed with the vitriol directed at the "religious right." There's no tolerance for religious beliefs if they get in the way of general, non-religious tolerance. This is why we're probably all dead, and you can use whatever antecedent you'd like for the pronoun "we."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

People Who Made Horrible Choices

You know, I was going to make fun of Maurice Clarett getting chased down by 5-0, tazered, and arrested with four loaded guns, a hatchet, and a bulletproof vest in his car. I was going to say he set a new standard for "keeping it real." But Maurice Clarett is a real person who was betrayed by his ego into making several disastrous choices in a very short period of time. The new poster-child for brash and pointless egotism, he's now going to go to jail for a while. According to this fascinating article, it seems like he's made some sort of peace with himself and the choices that he's made. I don't have any idea what its like to make such bad choices...Ok, maybe I do. But I don't know what it's like to think that carrying around a small arsenal is a good idea. He was clearly paranoid, but of what? And was the threat real?

He was arrested near the house of a man set to testify against him in an armed robbery trial. This robbery was one of those bad choices I was talking about. Was he going to flat-blast the witness? Did he just happen to be in a place that looks extremely suspicious? That's for the police to sort out. All I know is, we're all about ten bad decisions away from driving around with four loaded guns and a bulletproof vest, so don't get too comfortable. And stop all that bad stuff you're doing, lest you turn out like Mr. Clarett.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Read this article from YAHOOOOO.

I know it's too late to be posting, but this morgellons thing is crazy. Hundreds of people claim to be suffering from crawling skin and weird vein-like lines. Is it a real thing? Is it a bit? Is it psychosomatic? Is there any satisfactory explanation?

Perhaps it's finally the end of the world.

It's way too late to be posting.

Things I learned at work yesterday (nerds only)

I fixed three computers at work yesterday, and learned a very valuable lesson on each. Isn't life super-great? Look out:

1) Always check the router in the closet. After a power surge, you may not think the business you're at is large enough to warrant a router in a closet. You might think that switch by the server is the one that controls everything. You might be wrong. I learned that you always must check all potential closets for the routers first, because you'll waste everybody's time if you don't.

2) SBC/Yahoo is sending cable modems with routing technology built-in, so if you have an existing router you're screwed. Seriously, you have to disable the original router so the brand-new pointless "2-wire cable modem router" can route things. If you don't, the two routers will just stare at each other like a fat kid stares at cake, and you won't be able to surf the internet, which defeats the purpose of having SBC/Yahoo in the first place.

3) When that "cable" light on your cable modem is blinking, that means that either your cable modem or the line itself is mocking you, and there's nothing your local computer guy can do until Comcast (actually, Time/Warner -- probably Time Magazine, actually) sends a dude out to do testing on the modem and the line. Really, there's nothing we can do, and we told you this last week. Please stop calling us, because you're far away and nobody likes you.

But seriously, I love my job.