Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alabama Getaway

Major Domo Billy Bojangles, sat down and had a drink with me,
Said "What about Alabama? It keeps a coming back to me.
Heard your plea in the courthouse, Witness box began to rock and rise,
49 sister states had Alabama in their eyes.

Alabama getaway, getaway. Alabama getaway, getaway,
Only way to please me, ya just gotta leave and walk away.
Grateful Dead "Alabama Getaway"

So I got to head down to Montgomery, AL, for a work meeting (Air Force Portal Content Managers Meeting at Maxwell-Gunter AFB) for a couple days this week. I was also giving a presentation about the new Air Force Website (, which should be launching in 3 or 4 weeks (fingers crossed). I've never been to Alabama, and most of what I know about it comes from watching "My Cousin Vinny" too many times or reading the works of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights fight. Based on "My Cousin Vinny" I can attest that there is red mud everywhere. Granted, I didn't stuck in any, but I did see it near construction sites.

Unfortunately, my time was a bit tighter than I'd like, so I never got to hit the town to see what's shakin. I did make it downtown for lunch one day and had a nice meal at Montgomery Brew Pub where I had a great beer called "Rass Kisser" or "Razz Kisser" or something like that. It was pretty tasty and I would've killed for a few more of them because it was such a nice day. Anyway, I think the tone of the trip was set when I asked a cop at the airport, "So are restaurants open late here, or should I get moving here." He smiled and in a nice drawl said, "Nawww, they close pretty early. They roll up Main St. at dark in this damn town." OK. I headed to my hotel, which was a lovely place next to the highway. My window looked out to a Waffle House, Outback Steakhouse, Lone Star Steak, a gas station, a car dealership, and a blinking billboard that kept telling me to go to a Montgomery Biscuits ball game.

I checked online to find the addresses of a few restaurants that my friend's co-worker had sent me, having been here for business recently. I was psyched to check out Jubilee Seafood, but alas, it was closed on Monday's. I continued checking to see what was around and was boggled by the huge amount of chain-type restaurants. As my indecisiveness got the better of me, I realized that it's nearly 9:00, so I headed to the Lone Steak Steakhouse next to the hotel. For shame. After dinner, I went to a gas station across the street to get some waters and snacks for the meetings. There was a lovely crackwhore holding a baby hanging out in the lot. She didn't talk to me. Inside, I saw the requisite counter full of pickled pig's feet, pickled sausages, and various jerkys. I also found a soda called Dr. Wham, which along with Grapeico, was on sale for $1.09!! Of course I had to get one (I didn't get a Grapico) and I'm happy to report that it's quite delicious. Kind of like a Dr. Pepper, as the name would imply.

My hotel (Drury Inn) has a free breakfast buffet with eggs, sausage, make-your-own Belgian waffles, and the coup de grace, biscuits and gravy. As I noshed on these treats the first day, I realized the folly of my ways, knowing that these fat- and carb-laden goodies would be my demise during the meeting. But hey, free biscuits and gravy. What do you want. Interestingly, the Drury also has a free happy hour at night with 3 free drinks per day and veggies and nachos! Sweet deal.

I got to have a nice bbq dinner at a place called Jim 'N Nick's. Gotta say, that was the highlight of my trip, aside from Dr. Wham. I opted for the meat combo, for which I picked baby back ribs, smoked hot links, collard greens, and mac n cheese. Delicious eats! Sadly, I decided not to bring my leftovers to the hotel because I figured 1) I'm not eating the ribs and sausage for breakfast, and 2) I'm not flying with them back to DC.

As I write this, I'm sitting in an un-air conditioned conference room at the JAG school at Maxwell AFB. There's a B-52 in front of the school, as well as numerous other planes near Academic Circle. As always, I like to bring it all full circle. During my trip, I've been singing "Love Shack" by the B-52s in my head. Why? because I've been driving on the Atlanta Highway, which runs through Montgomery. And today I'm greeted by a giant B-52 sitting in front of the building. Wow, between B-52s and Dr. Wham, 'Bama's been pretty good to me! Bonus full circle: "Alabama Getaway" was this week's theme, and this Friday I'm heading to Philly to see the Dead.

Update: Gotta say, overall, Maxwell was pretty decent and I have to say that the people of Alabama were super friendly everywhere I went. I'm glad to see that service and manners still count in some places. So kudos to Alabama for being a gracious host. Southern hospitality is alive and well. And flowing with gallons of sweet tea.

Friday, February 27, 2009

James Bond and Experiments in Boredom

I just spent the better part of the past week ill at my homestead, hepped up on Percocet and antibiotics. To quell my boredom, I watched numerous movies using the On Demand system. For starters, On Demand kind of sucks. There’s really nothing on. Yes, between HBO, Showtime, Encore, Starz, and The Movie Channel, I was at a loss of what to watch, and that includes the new and free movie selections that are part of On Demand. Granted I did manage a few useful shows after all was said and done.

HBO—I watched the entire current season of Big Love. This show rocks. I recently caught up on Season 2 and was very much looking forward to Season 3. It’s not disappointing. I also watched all of the current episodes of Flight of the Conchords. They rule. Don’t let me catch you checking out my Sugar Lumps.


Back to the Future—Classic goodness.

21—The movie wasn’t so great, but I enjoyed the true story that was turned into the movie. The guy who wrote the book “Bringing Down the House” was featured on History Channel a couple years ago when they did a series about Vegas cheats. If those shows didn’t motivate you to cheat the casinos then nothing will! Now if only I understood basic math. . . A couple years ago in Vegas I had 2 separate dealers at different casinos tell me I’m the worst blackjack player they’ve ever seen. C’mon. I’m sure there have been worse. Maybe.

Then there’s Bond. Encore has been airing Bond movies all month. Lots of Bond movies. So I decided to see a few I haven’t seen and some that I love.

Casino Royale—this movie has eluded me for a while for some reason. Probably cuz I don’t get out to the talkies too often. I enjoyed it overall. This is not your mother’s Sean Connery Bond! Connery would have never said, “The bitch is dead.” Good action. Now I need to see that movie that qualifies for the stupidest title in history—“Quantum of Solace.”

From Russia, With Love—Classic Connery. Exotic locales. What’s not to love.

For Your Eyes Only—Longest ski sequence in a film. Probably longer than the ones they showed on “Ski Patrol.” The young love stuff with the figure skater was a bit weird, but what are you gonna do.

A View to A Kill—Walken at his creepy finest. Grace Jones. Yeah, she’s got quite a sack.

The Living Daylights—This movie stars Maryam D’Abo, (she’s the first cousin once removed of Olivia D’Abo a.k.a. Karen Arnold from “The Wonder Years”) as Kara Milovy (she plays a cello in the movie). I believe Kara is one of the dumbest Bond girls that existed in the Bond pictures. This is not to say that D’Abo was dumb: her character was. Some of the shit she pulled in the movie was so lame. Witness the scene when Bond was trying to take off with the plane loaded with opium. Kara drives a jeep down the runway to catch up to him and starts screaming and waving at him. WHY??? What did she hope to accomplish? Even Bond has a look of annoyance on his face. Then when she drives the jeep onto the plane, she parks it and goes to hug Bond while he’s trying to fly the plane!!! Stupid move again. She goes on to commit other dumb moves throughout. Though I want to love Kara, I can assure you she’s no Pussy Galore or Melina Havelock. Melina had balls. That chick could rock the crossbow like nobody’s business. AND she was smart enough to leave an oxygen tank on the bottom of the sea, thereby facilitating an escape when it was needed.

So what? Well, Bond movies are as known for their action as they are for the Bond Girls. Hell, Maryam even wrote a book about the Bond Girls! Usually, the girls are strong. Kara wasn't weak (she was supposed to be pretend to assassinate a Russian general), but I just think they made her too dumb. For a great bit of Bond Girl sputtering, witness Sick Boy's wee rant in "Trainspotting" by Irvine Welsh.

Ursula Andress, the quintessential Bond girl. That's what everyone says. The embodiment of his superiority over us. Beautiful, exotic, highly sexual and totally unavaiable to anyone apart from him. Shite. Let's face it. She can shag one punter from Edinburgh, she'd shag the whole lot of us.

Agreed, Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in "Dr. No." Hell yes, she rules the Bond school. That's a Bond Girl you can set your watch to. And the recent addition of Dame Judi Dench as M brings forth another tough cookie who won't take any shit from Bond. And now to bring it full circle. Jonny Lee Miller played Sick Boy in Trainspotting and he loves to talk Bond. He's the grandson of Bernard Lee, who played M in the Bond films until 1979. Irvine Welsh uses "Dame Judi Dench" as a euphemism for flatulence and stench in his book "Filth." And now she plays M. Think about that for a while.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Social Media and Branding News for today

Sad day today. There's something that makes a tragedy worse when it befalls your hometown. (Plane crash in Buffalo in case you haven't been reading news today.) Still awaiting full passenger manifest to be posted to know my friends and family are safe. Anway, say a prayer.

On with the news. So many stories, so little time. Read them all here!

Survey: Consumers Prefer McDonald's Over Starbucks? Very random study by Pew.

NCAA Backpedals on Banned Substances in Vitaminwater
Says Normal Consumption Doesn't Put Athletes at Risk for Positive Drug Tests
Never knew that anything in Vitaminwater was considered banned. Now I know.

Sports drinks scratching surface of mainstream potential - Powerade
Powerade is gaining traction in the sports drink market. At least they don't have a letter for a logo!

Starbucks introducing instant coffee. Seattle coffee company spends 20 years on patent to make instant coffee.

"Hey! How 'bout a Sanka?!?"

Social Media and Blogging Ethics and a Code of Conduct

Great read if you need to create strategy or educate leadership at work about social media.

Getting Social Media Approved by Your Boss

This is something near and dear to my heart. I work on this type of issue almost daily. I'm still processing Geoff's ideas and will respond with my own experiences soon.

Social Media for Your NonProfit. Tweet or Not to Tweet. (Thanks to Son for providing link)

Good rundown of some basics for incorporating Social Media for nonprofits (or work in general)

Blogs from the U.S. Government

Partial list of some official Gov blogs. Good for research.

Alright. That's enough reading for today. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Three packs, Detroit Red, Redd Foxx, and random stuff

As I continue to waste way too much time on Twitter (for work, school and personal reasons) and Facebook, I'm still torn on blog consolidation. That said, I figured I'd try to get myself back into a blogging routine (outside of what I do for work). That said, here's random thoughts for today.

Today's Lesson:

If you didn't watch "Make 'Em Laugh" on PBS a couple weeks ago, do yourself a favor and try to find reruns. It was a 6-part series hosted by Billy Crystal and narrated by Amy Sedaris. The show covered different aspects of comedy throughout American history. Overall, it was an amazing series. I was also amazed when I realized how much my own comedy stylings were influenced by the likes of Abbott and Costello, Paul Lynde, and W.C. Fields. Oh, that's right, I don't have comedy stylings. No matter, I did watch a lot of the classics when I was younger and they probably shaped something in my life. Anyway, I was catching up on part 5, "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break: The Wiseguys" on TiVo last night and was cracking up on the segment about Redd Foxx. I learned that 1) his real last name was Sanford (as in "Sanford and Son"), and 2) he was called Chicago Red to distinguish himself from Detroit Red, a.k.a, Malcolm X, who was his friend! Who knew?? Amazing. I also never knew that "Sanford and Son" was based on a British comedy (though what American show isn't based on a British comedy?!). I wonder if the Brits will ever base a show on an American comedy. Probably not.

Anyway, it gets better. On the way into the office this morning, "My Favorite Mutiny" by The Coup comes up on the iPod. At the beginning, I notice the lyrics

"Out ya mouth, I'm not concerned/Cause y'all got the nerve/It's y'all turn like Detroit Red/When he said he had an ultra perm."

Say whaaaa??? If not for "Make 'Em Laugh" I wouldn't have known that they were giving a shoutout to Malcolm X! And now you know too.

Another lesson:

Washington City Paper reports that some liquor stores in DC are selling 3-packs in light of the recent ban on single beer sales!!! That pic looks like a 3-pack of tall boys. I like it!
My final thought for the day. I caught some of the TV interview with that lady who had all those kids in California and is now up to 14. I gotta say, she's an idiot. Then I read this article. Gets me even more fired up. I just hope the kids do OK.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Consolidation of blogs?

Well, here we are in a new year and I realize I haven't been writing much lately on the ol' blogs. So now I'm pondering the notion of maintaining just one blog. I mean, do I really need two? If I can't keep up with one, why do two? The initial intent was for this one to be my screeds and rantings and the other one to be more "scholarly" or work-related. Should I consolidate? I'm thinking that might make it easier. Or maybe I'll just close both of these and create one brand new SUPER BLOG, the proportions of which the world has never seen!! Nah, sounds like too much hassle.

Stay tuned. A decision will be coming soon (and by soon, I mean at the glacial pace that I seem to work under these day :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rock the Vote, DC!

Getting cranky/
Need a spanky
"Don't Touch My Bikini" -- The Halo Benders

Just a little bit past the two-hour point of the voting process The Halo Benders came on just in time to remind me that I was indeed getting cranky. And no, thank you, I didn't need a spanky. I would have liked to dole a few out to the poll workers though. Holy Christ. I'm down with the vote. I've never missed the chance to hit the polls and put on my sticker. I got a degree in Poli Sci. I interned for a senator. I understand bicameral legislature. I went to the bars to watch the debates because that's what you're supposed to do in DC. I get it. Then why can't the people who run the polls get their act together and make the whole thing a bit easier and a bit faster? This was the longest I've ever waited in line to vote for anything. I've also never seen lines like this aside from waiting for concert tickets.

I arrived at my appointed polling station on M St. at 8:15am or so. I was feeling pessimistic because of the news reports, but knew I had to do my civic duty. I walked down M St. and saw the line that awaited me. I passed the church and kept walking, then made a left onto 15th St., and kept walking. I finally stopped a few feet from L St. Not a good sign. Luckily, the temperature was pretty decent, I had tunes, a newspaper, some homework, and a cup of coffee. The line didn't move much but I just kept reading. I felt accomplished when I made my way back to M St. Finally around 9:15, I entered the church and noticed my friends Doug and Gretchen walking out. Odd, I thought, considering they were behind me in line. Apparently, the people with last names in the middle of the alphabet were pulled out of line because the line inside was empty for those letters. Cursed by my name! Bugger. Oh well. I figured, "I'm in now. How bad can it be." Well, the A-B line was 2nd longest, only beat by the S-T. So I waited and waited. The hour was nearing 10:00 and my feet were tired, my bladder was getting full, and I was hungry.

After finally getting checked in at the alphabet desk (took over 20 minutes), I got to get into the next line to wait for a ballot. That took a bit over 15 minutes. Then I finally got to get into another line to wait for a kiosk where I could fill in my ballot. DC uses a paper ballot where you connect a broken arrow with a pencil to indicate your choice. Of course they were out of "privacy folders" when I received my ballot, so I had to wait a few minutes for those too. The girl in front of me was getting a little lippy with the lady behind the table. "This early on Election Day and you're already running out of stuff?????? Not a good sign." I agree. Next, I filled out my ballot and then got into yet another line to submit it into the tally machine. There were two machines. One was broken. A tech showed up as I was standing in that line. Finally, success! My ballot was inserted and I received my sticker. I then walked out looking as miserable as everyone else I saw. Yay democracy.

So, overall yes, it's great to vote. You should all vote. We need to do that brand of business. I voted; therefore, I have the right to post this blog bitching about election day. If I hadn't voted, I'd have no right to bitch. The process was just too slow. The flow of traffic was a giant cluster eff. Plus, what was with all the people taking pictures??? Do you really need to document how long the line is for posterity? The media was getting on my nerves too because they kept pushing through the church to get shots of the crowd. Not sure what stations the media were from, but I'm guessing it was nothing you'll likely see, unless you watch the Kazakh Broadcasting Channel. Or ZNN (Zimbabwean News Network).

OK, after class I'm heading to the DCCC election party. Cuz nothing says HAPPY ELECTION DAY than a bunch of drunk politicos waving little flags and drinking free booze ;) Actually, I went last year, or whenever Nancy Pelosi took charge and it was solid event. I remember being on stage waving one of those little flags. We'll see how tonight goes. I have a feeling the celebration will be even stronger.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Is Atlanta Radio Q100 Playing Games?

There's a radio station down in Atlanta called Q100. I don't know anything about it because I don't live in Atlanta, though I did see a couple of shows down there that I really enjoyed. Anyway, the station had a contest where people submitted videos of themselves singing New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) videos. The videos were voted on, with the winner ultimately winning a trip to Las Vegas to see NKOTB. My friend's friend, who lives in Atlanta, told my friend Dave about the contest knowing that Dave had made a video of a NKOTB song--"You Got It (The Right Stuff)". Dave told us about the contest and drummed up some support. Easy cheesy, right?? (I learned that from "My Name is Earl").

So was it easy? Apparently not. The finals were down to five contestants. People went on the Q100 and voted on their favorite video. The contest ended with a winner to be announced on October 6th. On Oct 9 I asked my friend Dave if he heard anything about the contest and he told me that another group, #5, had won the contest. I thought that was odd. Dave was able to link back to the poll survey results and showed me why he was dismayed. His video had won by a long shot--42% vs. 14%--against video #5, who won.

So what's the deal Q100? Why did video #5 win when clearly #4, Dave and my friends, won (purely based on votes)? I'm calling bullshit for now, unless there were more voting factors that you failed to make clear. Fair is fair and you should at least explain how the other people won. So how 'bout it? What's the dilly?