Two and a Half Days in Adware Hell

30 September 2008

The pimply faced twinks who sit in their parents’ basement and write malicious code for computer viruses have motivations that are largely beyond my understanding.  I am sure that when they get hoped-up on Mountain Dew and Ritalin that they have animated chat sessions with their friends to brag about the uber-cool coding they just finished.  They cost the world economy billions of dollars a year in lost productivity and they think that’s hip – fine.  They are not my problem.  The demented asshats who design adware viruses, however, reflect a particular kind of stupid.

By their inverted logic, if sufficiently pestered by pop-up ads, a victim will submit and purchase something from one of their bottom dwelling clients.

It started innocently enough – an email forwarded from my Only Slightly Sleazy Lobbyist Friend to a political video I had to see.  One accidental click led me down a path to computer hell.  Adware viruses burrowed deep into my operating system and bombarded me with advertisements for the next 60 hours.  I utilized every technical trick in my not insignificant arsenal to no avail.  Uninstall this, delete that, restart. Rinse. Repeat.  For. Hours.  The affair that began Sunday afternoon finally ended on Tuesday night. 

Dear Adware Idiots, and Lowlife Clients, if I ever see you or your clients, first I’m going to kick your ass and then I send you a bill for my time.  What makes no sense to me is that even if I wanted the sleazy services you provide, I would rather take a flame thrower to my own cock than buy something from you.  Surely there is a special place in hell reserved for your kind.


The Thing No One is Discussing About the Financial Bailout

29 September 2008

I have been paying rapt attention to the goings-on with the Financial Bailout Legislation.  I read the Washington Post from cover to cover every day, the Times (NY, not that fish wrap known as the Washington Times*) on Wednesday and Sundays; and NPR keeps me company when I am working from home.  I have supplemented my usual sources of information with the Wall Street Journal, NYT everyday, Slate.com and a couple of other sources – time permitting.  I understand the problems in our current financial climate, hell, I explained it to one of my financially challenged friends in about 15 minutes and without the use of a whiteboard, graph, or extremely esoteric terms associated with financial engineering.

I’ve listened to the politicians and the pundits, sat silently digesting the opinions of leading world economists, watched both of our presidential candidates demonstrate a barely cursory understanding of the situation during their debate.  The thing that disturbs me the most – and there are more to choose from than bloggers with an opinion – is the lack of discussion regarding reasonable contraction.

Lubricating the credit market to ensure that the world economy continues to operate is necessary, and the morally responsible course of action.  However, the focus on “keeping main street Americans in their homes and protecting the value of their homes” is an economically backward concept.  One need not be an economist** to understand that home values have risen at an unreasonable rate nor to comprehend stabilizing the value of housing at an artificially high and unsustainable level would prolong the crisis.

This situation sucks for people all over the country who bought houses at inflated prices and with mortgages they could not afford. But over-paying for a house whose price is being recalibrated by the market is not really a good reason for the government to jump on your financial grenade.   Yet no politician is willing to state the politically difficult but economically unequivocal fact that bubbles must contract – even ones that are going to cause Main Street to defer their American Dream.

 

 

* I don’t hate the Washington Times because of the politics of their editorial board, but because the writing is bad.

** but I do have an academic background in the subject.


Superfluous Friday Edition Volume II

26 September 2008

23 Random things crossing my mind lately

 

  1. Meeting women at an art museum on Sundays in football season isn’t quite as easy as shooting fish in a barrel; but only because you have to first convince them that you are straight.
  2. I think voters who are undecided at this late date just like the attention.
  3. Libertarians are rejoicing
  4. Anyone who uses the desire to have a beer with a candidate as a basis for voting is not welcome to my scotch.
  5. How many times can the little boy in the oval room cry wolf?
  6. USC really… you got your asses handed to you by the Beavers?  I am a huge beaver fan, but come on, seriously?
  7. I will be smiling all day tomorrow with happy thoughts for this lady and her groom.
  8. Mark it was so nice to chat with you last night; and thank you for your service.
  9. Though I am not the biggest fan of televisions in restaurants, when said TVs do not have volume or closed captioning that reflects a particular kind of stupid.  Are trying to appeal to the lip-reading market segment?
  10. Hanging with my Only Slightly Sleazy Lobbyist friend is a delight.  Hanging with OSSL and his fully sleazy boss and colleagues made me want to take shower.
  11. Phillips After Five – Among the coolest ways to spend the first Thursday of the month
  12. I am addicted to my StatCounter
  13. How is it possible that in 2008 we still have a professional sports team named the Redskins?
  14. I still have a crush on Grace Van Owen and the classic BMW she drove in the first two seasons.
  15. This week I celebrated the birthdays of John Coltrane, Bruce Springstien, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It’s not too late for you.  You have three easy toasts this evening.
  16. I broke out the power suit, the write me a check tie, and the I’m kind of a big deal cufflinks yesterday – and still didn’t land the client.  This economy is harshing my mellow.
  17. This weather makes me want to build a fort in my living room and watch movies all day… while eating cupcakes.
  18. Since LivLuv has declared it TMI Week, I lost my virginity in a teenage cliché – the back of my car.
  19. I am not very good at TMI apparently.
  20. Going to the opera opening night solo is not a good idea.
  21. Dave, since our last email exchange about theme music I have narrowed it to three bands: Joshua Redman before he lost his mind with that electronic tangent, Trane’s 1952 band, or Chuck Brown’s Second Chapter Band.
  22. How cool would it be to have theme music?
  23. Writing this list is a blatant admission that I am dealing with writer’s block.

DC Dive Bars – Sometimes the Deep End is Best

25 September 2008

When I want to go to a bar/lounge 9 times out of 10 I want to sip, and sup, someplace swank. Oh, but that 10th time, I want to go to an old fashioned dive bar – a good jukebox, faded vinyl booths, and crusty bartenders that usually call everyone champ or hon. my favorites, in no particular order…

The Tune-Inn, 3rd and Penn., Capitol Hill – this place is the perfect anti-dote to bars packed with hill staffers who can’t seem to talk about anything but politics. The drinks are stiff but the regulars aren’t.  During one visit here I found myself at a table with a notable playwright,  a PhD holding bike messenger, and a VP for a national bank chain – I wish I had tape recorder going that night.


The Raven, 3100 block of Mount Pleasant Street, mount pleasant – great jukebox with an eclectic range of rock’n’roll and old motown, and no credit cards accepted. The Raven in specific and Mount P. in general have gotten a tad bit too popular for my tastes on the weekends, but it is still the Dean amongst DC Dives.

Fox & Hound, 1527 17th NW, Dupont Circle – you have to love a place where a Vodka-Tonic is a large glass of booze and a small bottle of tonic.

Lil’ Pub, 7th and Penn., Capitol Hill – fashioned from an old Little Tavern (anyone else have fond memories of those grease palaces?) this place is always dark even if you are drinking with the hard-cores at 2pm on a bright Tuesday afternoon.   A horrible pool table dominates the back room – don’t ever play One Handed Tony for money.

 

Toledo Lounge, 18th between Belmont and Columbia, Adams Morgan – with a burger that is better than it has to be, a decent beer list, a spectacular juke box, and socio-economically diverse clientele I have long been a fan of this place.  Add-in the rainy day discounted drinks (“When It Rains We Pour” a sign declares) and this place is a clearly a Joint.

 

Polly’s Café, U Street between 13th and 14th NW – This place is at its best when the weather is cold enough for the fireplace to be going.  The underground hipness (the kind of hip that would never call itself hip) of this place has waned since it opened in the early 90s but it remains a great place to wrap yourself in exposed brick walls, a good jukebox, and a proper pint of Guinness.

 

The Argonaut, 1433 H Street, NE, Atlas District – it is difficult to include a place with food this good on a list of dive bars, but the feel of the place dives as well as a glass jawed fighter who has a gambling problem.

 

Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club, Bladensburg Road NE, Atlas District – this places earns its spot on this list, if for no other reason, because of their self-description: “[O]ur bar’s not for everyone but we’re pretty friendly despite not liking most people.”


Displaying My Grasp of the Obvious

24 September 2008

I got pretty well smacked around the table at my regular pool game last night.  In a very obscure game loosely based on snooker principals, I was down 36 to 20 in a race to 50 – somewhat akin to being down 6 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a baseball game.  I had just rattled the seven ball around the corner pocket, the ball, in seeming solidarity with most of my shots that night, stubbornly refused to fall.  Shaking my head I walked away from the table to the bar and took a sip of bourbon.  My friend, Jersey John, declared “Refugee, it’s just not your night.”

“John, it’s fine.  I have him right were I want him.”

“Really, Refugee, where is that?”

“Right behind me with my pants around my ankles, but at least I know were he is.*”

 

 

* a line shamelessly borrowed from this movie


John Coltrane Saved My Life

23 September 2008

I had a serious bicycle accident in my teenage years.  I spent a week in intensive care but at the time of my accident all I wanted to do was stand-up and walk-it-off.  There were a couple of people fussing around me when John Coltrane ran to the group. 

“Take it easy, son.  I’m a doctor; I saw what happened and I’ve called an ambulance.  You need to be still now.” His baritone was soothing. 

“Trane?” I feebly asked.

“Yes, son just lay still now.”

I awoke several hours and several tubes in my body later.  Still groggy, I looked around for Dr. Coltrane to no avail.

Two weeks later, released from the hospital and mostly ambulatory, I returned to the accident site.  I knocked on doors wanting to thank Dr. Trane.  There were no doctors who lived on that block, or the next.

Maybe it was the spirit of Trane or more likely it was the hallucinogenic effects of pain.  Either way, Happy Birthday John Coltrane – you are one of my favorite things.


Wasted Romance

22 September 2008

I’ve admitted that I am a prototypical romantic.  What I’ve never disclosed is that it took me years – almost twenty of them – to make the cognitive and emotional distinctions between romance for romance’s sake and romance inspired by another.  For too long in my life, my imagination conjured the romantic notion and it was proffered for the next or current woman in my life.  In essence, I was a romance whore and used women as receptacles of my gestures. 

The love note I wrote because I wanted to turn a phrase.  The quarter in the jewelry box engraved with instruction to call me whenever.  The earrings purchased because I remembered the mention of some obscure designer.  The orchids.  The dinners.  The walks under the harvest moon.  All were actions sometimes born of the cognitive rather than the emotional.

In the same way that writer’s block makes we wonder if I have exhausted my supply of meaningful words, a woman who doesn’t inspire my inner romantic used to make me wonder if I have hit my quota of gestures grand and small.  I now understand that lack of inspiration to be simply a lack of inspiration.

This weekend reminded me of the desire to be inspired and to inspire, of the importance of not wasting romance. 

That is a litmus equation where I must solve for variables on each side. Fortunately for me, John Coltrane swooped down on his saxaphone and taught me the formula.


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