The real Ghostbusters

Every year, people ask me if I’m going as a Ghostbuster for Halloween. But I always reply, “Why would I wear my work uniform on the one day I’m supposed to dress up like something else?”

Still, in honor of Halloween, I’ve got some shots that Kat took of me in full Ghostbusters gear. She recently upgraded her photo rig to a lovely Nikon D700 so she wanted to play around. These are a few of the results.

I’ve always thought of Ghostbusters as supernatural janitors. It’s not a pretty job; it’s messy and it’s hard work. So we were trying to tap into that sense of exhaustion, like the scenes you see of firefighters after battling a blaze for three hours. Plus, I was trying to draw on some sadness; this guy sees death everywhere, and doesn’t necessarily want company after a tough slog. He just wants to, well, rest in peace. Even though I couldn’t resist goofing off a bit, I think we got some of that vibe, and I think these are pretty cool shots.

Click on these for larger versions:

Jury duty

I’m there right now. I hate it. My dad got called for a really big murder case when I was a very young kid; I remember how disruptive that trial was for our family. I’ve never felt good about this process since. I always report, but I have never served, and I never want to be chosen. (My orientation lady just said today is an “incredibly unique day” at the courthouse, so I wonder what the hell that means.)

I know a lot of people get excited about it — “You get to perform your civic duty! You get to see the justice system up close! And your case might be ripped from the headlines for an episode of Boston Legal!” But I say, shove it. Here’s why: I’m all about personal responsibility, from saving the earth to saving time in meetings with coworkers — I’m a big believer in taking care of your own shit. And while it’s my responsibility to serve on a jury if called — and I’m here, I didn’t try to get out of that responsibility — I always sit here and think, why am I here? Because, arguably, someone else wasn’t responsible. Someone couldn’t take care of their own shit. Someone hurt someone else or wronged someone else or divorced someone else and couldn’t take responsibility for their actions. So their responsibility becomes my responsibility — they can’t clean up their own mess, so I have to put all the things I’m responsible for on hold and come clean it up for them. That’s fair how?

That’s a serious question — were we talking in person, over lunch, I’m sure some of you would bring up some excellent points to counter my view, so I’m game to hear them.

I know some folks look at jury duty as a good thing — hey, in addition to all that fun TV drama, I get out of work! Maybe that’s great if you hate your job, or you don’t feel like you do anything important at it. But I don’t hate my job, deadlines are constant (and just as mandatory as a jury duty summons), and I’m a central figure with a lot of responsibility on my team. It’s not what I’d call a hardship that requires an exemption, but it does just make things messy. And again, if you take responsibility for your shit in the first place, things don’t have to get messy.

Also, and this ties into the responsibility thing, I almost take this TOO seriously. I know someone’s happiness or sense of justice for their rest of their life may be altered by what I help decide. That scares the living fuck out of me. I don’t take that responsiblity lightly at all, and that makes me uncomfortable. I worry about other people who are like “Yeah, whatever” when they’re called and don’t take it seriously.

I just upgraded my laptop to 4GB and I have two large batteries that will take me for around seven hours. I have Wi-Fi, iPods and, of course, magazines. Now, while I wait and hope to be dismissed so I can get back to being a responsible adult, I believe it is my civic duty to go play Plants vs. Zombies.

The gout update

A little health update, since I don’t want to be one of those “oh woe is me, I am sick/ill/crazy” and leave it at that. It’s taken several weeks, but the foot is feeling a lot better. Gout is not the kind of thing that goes away immediately, or even altogether; it’s the kind of thing I’ll have to manage. But I can do a lot to minimize the problems from it, and I’ve made some changes to my diet that, along with some druuuuuuuuuuugs, have helped me over the last few weeks.
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Windows 7

I should not be typing this. It should not be possible.

I started messing with PCs in the late 80s; my first OS was DOS 2.11. I’ve used several versions of Windows since then, but I was a Vista-hater; I stayed with XP. I actually chose my laptop primarily because it came with XP Pro while most machines with shipping with Vista. But when I heard about Windows 7, I was pretty excited. I put RC1 on a netbook just to see for myself. Then I preordered three copies of Home Premium at a deep discount (one for Kat’s gaming PC, two for my machines), hopeful that this time, it would be different.

Well…it’s different. I’m writing this on my laptop, which now features Windows 7 on it, from a fresh install replacing XP. Then I installed Win7 on two more machines, including my quad-core main rig. It took me more time to back up my data on these machines than it did to install Windows 7 and see it up and running on all of them.

I was prepared for disaster, and I figured that this would take all weekend. Instead, this was, by far, the easiest PC upgrade I have ever done. Microsoft nailed it.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention a few helpful things. My laptop only had 1GB and it still runs Win 7 just fine; I am upgrading to 4GB next week because I’m a power user d00d and I thought I already had more than a gig, but I was a little surprised at how it handled itself with such low memory. I still recommend 2GB for a minimum. AVG Free works fine for virus protection, and even though I backed everything up, I still forgot a few things. So back everything up and then go through visually and check again.

Dr. Tima’s Honey Kola

Found another oddball soft drink at Whole Foods recently and, as usual, had to give it a go.

What’s better than HFCS? Real sugar. And what’s the best-tasting form of sugar? Honey. This stuff is wonderfully sweet without being overpowering. No caffeine, but we’ll give it a pass for that. There’s only one bottle in the photo because there’s only one bottle left. Highly recommended — next time you’re in the hippie supermarket, seek it out.

PS3

I finally caved a few weeks ago. I was looking for an excuse to get one last year but could not find one, but the price drop and redesigned new unit were enough to push me over. Kat (who actually did go so far as to get one for me, but I returned it in price protest) has been a little resistant because she doesn’t want to support Blu-ray; the only reason it exists is because Sony forced a format war after the DVD Consortium had already chosen HD-DVD as a standard high-def format, and she hasn’t wanted to reward them for that shitty nightmare consumerist behavior — and I agree. But…both Firefly and Ghostbusters came out on Blu-ray. And there are a bunch of exclusive downloadable games I wanted to play. Also, the slimmer unit looks less like a Foreman grill. And besides, as a lifelong gamer, I hated not having one of the major systems.
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Dan vs. Food

This was an IM exchange from several months ago that I’ve just learned my wife not only saved, but passed around to friends.

Kat: so tonight for dinner, chicken and rice and grilled zucchini

Dan: two out of three ain’t bad. gonna grill on the panini?

Kat: you just have to try it, yep

Dan: has zucchini changed in some major way since the last time I tried it? Because I have never, ever liked zucchini.

Kat: when did you last try it?

Dan: cucumbers, sometimes I have talked myself into them. Zucchini smells bad to me and tastes bad to me. I still don’t even consider zucchini an option

Kat: try a small piece, if you don’t like it I won’t bug you again

Dan: you said that last time

Kat: then I won’t bug you til I forget and bug you

Dan: in Encyclopedia Amrich, zucchini is notable for being what Derek Smalls stuffed down his trousers and little else. “In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower.” OMG

Kat: it makes great bread

Dan: I am not interested in eating swollen ovaries

Kat: you are such a baby!

Dan: just because I choose to research vegetables to understand them and perhaps make them MORE appealing does not mean I am a baby

Kat: you eat the flesh of animals, but are squemish about veggies

Dan: I recall my parents having fried zucchini and/or italian dishes with zucchini. Because the animals are tasty. I will try it. Again.

Kat: that’s all I ask

Dan: and perhaps this time we will mark the date so it can be remembered as “the last time you tried this”

Kat: how come you have no memory of what I tell you, but food you remember?

Dan: Because your voice is melodious, and I get wooed by your siren’s call, but zucchini is traumatic and I weep

Kat: If I don’t think it is very tasty I won’t have you try it

Dan: wow, that’s as close to a guarantee. What is it supposed to taste like, besides hot, which is not a flavor but a sensation

Kat: squash

Dan: see, I hate squash smells too. I was actually thinking “well at least it’s not squash” — not kidding

Kat: It’s like a dense buttery cucumber

Dan: but cucumbers are interesting because, like carrots, they are crisp and light, and if you recall you actually got me eating raw carrots.

Kat: true

Dan: I don’t love them but I can eat them now and sometimes even CHOOSE to so we have raw carrots and lettuce….that’s inching its way toward a salad. If I can just get over the tomato issue.
dress it up with garbanzo beans (another Kat victory) and a few sprouts (which you don’t like) and maybe a little feta as a reward for eating a salad in the first place.

Kat: lol

Dan: so why fuck that up by grilling squashesque vegetables? but doesn’t it just make them hot and mushy?

Kat: Cause I like them and everything isn’t about you

Dan: lol—very little is about me but I’m just pointing out that you were on a path to progress, and this is a weird detour. sadly I find no recipes online that contian both the words “zucchini” and “tequila”

Kat: I can dip it in tequila for you

Dan: that’s a waste of good tequila

The Pinball Hall of Fame

Most folks don’t even know such a thing exists, but exist it does, in a tiny non-descript strip mall in Las Vegas (as opposed to all those descript strip malls in Las Vegas). Kat was heading to Sin City for a Photoshop conference so I burned a few vacation days and went along, doing my own thing during the day and hanging out together after her conference was done. I twisted fellow pinball junkie Rob Smith‘s arm to come along (his wife was at the same convention) and after a small adventure on the public bus system (hint: do not let me navigate), we arrived.

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Busy as hell

I like blogging, honestly. I’ve just been crazy busy lately and haven’t had time. Last week I took a short vacation to Las Vegas with Kat, and I have some fun photos of the Pinball Hall of Fame to post — but I haven’t sorted through them.

It’s crazy time on the magazine and deadlines are beyond…well, everything. When I can sleep, I have nightmares. Recent ones include nuclear annihilation and something that I just remember screaming and waking Kat up. I know it will all be worth it, but this project is taking its toll. It can only get better, and I’m speaking mathematically.

Meanwhile I’ve got a bug that’s going around so I’m hoping it doesn’t bloom this weekend. I plan to lay low. Maybe that means I’ll have time to sort through photos!