blog.asurroca.com my personal blog

April 30, 2008

On the Subject of Water Polo

Filed under: humor,thoughts — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:13 pm

When I learned that water polo was not, in fact, an underwater version of regular polo, I became very disappointed. Gone were the visions I’d had of players riding atop oxygen tank-wearing horses at the bottom of an Olympic size swimming pool and swinging at a ball around the pool’s surface ever so slowly with a mallet. And I held this notion much longer than one might expect.

I was equally disappointed when I found out that underwater basket weaving was not about dipping yourself underwater while weaving baskets so much as dipping reeds underwater before weaving baskets out of them. I held this notion longer than my idea of water polo. By “longer” I mean “until a few weeks ago”.

April 15, 2008

U.S. Satisfaction, 1980 through 2008

Filed under: politics,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 6:58 am

Gallup posted their latest polling results on overall U.S. satisfaction yesterday. Here is full story, and here is their chart:

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008

The first thing I noticed looking at this chart was that, lo and behold, satisfaction increased during Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s terms, and decreased during both George H.W. Bush’s and George W. Bush’s terms. An unscientific estimate—I squinted my eyes and looked at the chart really closely—shows that Reagan inherited an abysmal 17% satisfaction level and left with a 50% satisfaction level. Bush inherited that high satisfaction level and left with it at 29%. Clinton inherited that level and left with it at 53%. And under the younger Bush, it’s gone to a pre-Reagan era low of 15%.

Gallup U.S. Satisfaction poll, 1980 - 2008 with arrows depicting trend during various presidential terms

A terse translation: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton inherited shit and turned it to gold, and both Bushes took that gold and turned it back to shit.

April 14, 2008

Remembering the D.C. Starbucks Murders

Filed under: personal,thoughts,work — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 10:34 am

With so much tragedy in the world, it’s easy to become jaded, and unless you can identify with a particular story, these tragedies are easy to ignore. The only news story that’s ever haunted me was the triple-murder at a Starbucks in D.C. that happened during the summer of 1997.

The other day, I saw an episode of Murder by the Book on Tru TV about the Georgetown murders, and it gave me chills. I’ve seen so many crime dramas, and watched so many documentaries on crimes on Discovery Channel, TLC, etc. that I never even associate with the victims—I associate with the cops and forensic investigators every time. What makes this case so different? Starbucks.

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April 13, 2008

Don’t Hitch-hike in Turkey

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:17 am

An Italian woman who had been hitch-hiking to promote world peace was found murdered. From the BBC News article:

She had said she wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people.

I guess that didn’t work out so well. Call me jaded, call me cynical, but God, that was a terrible idea.

April 11, 2008

Wii: No Gamers Allowed

Filed under: rants,reviews,technology — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:53 am

I have a confession: I’ve never beaten a Wii game. Despite lining up at midnight and purchasing the Wii on launch night, I have never played through to the end of a single of my Wii games. I blame Nintendo for ignoring the rules of crafting a solid entertainment experience; namely, you need to retain the player’s interest throughout the entire plot, not just the first hour of game play.

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April 9, 2008

Using a Meme to Sell Life Insurance? WTF?

Filed under: advertising,humor,news — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:08 pm

So, I’m minding my own business, reading Slate, and see one of those “family killed by ninjas, need money for karate lessons” pictures off to the right of the page. Then, I see it is an advertisement for life insurance. Oh, and the article in question was about John McCain visiting Mo Udall on his deathbed. Deathbed? Life insurance? Get it?

Here is the ad in question:

Accuquote ad brings the lulz

April 7, 2008

No Gas Day, Part II

Filed under: business,rants — Tags: , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 11:14 am

Seriously, people are still on about this “buy no gas” nonsense? Do so many people have such a fundamental lack of understanding in economics that they actually believe that boycotting the two largest gasoline brands will force a price war that cuts the price of gas in half?

I’ve been seeing the Facebook group How to get GAS back down to $1.30 per gallon popping up lately. I already ranted on this nonsense the last time I got wind of a word-of-mouth movement to lower gas prices using consumer might, some two and a half years ago.

I won’t even bother to delve into the reasons why this is bullshit this time around. In a nut-shell: there is more than enough demand for fuel that a boycott will do nothing to shift the price of a barrel of oil. Your individual vote counts. Don’t waste it on nonsense like this. Get to the polls this November instead if you want real change, people.

April 6, 2008

A Bush and his iPod

Filed under: humor,politics — Tags: , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 8:40 pm

So, I happened across an clip from a George W Bush interview wherein he talks about the music he has on his iPod. Presumably, he has an iPod Shuffle as well, but that was not the model shown in the clip. At any rate, the bit toward the end was classic. Were it Jerry speaking with George instead of Brit Hume speaking with President Bush, this could have been a segment from Seinfeld (also, if the show were still on in the post-Walkman era):

Bush: All of these… I put it on shuffle. Dwight Yoakam… I’ve got the Shuffle, the, what is it called? The little…

Hume: Shuffle.

Bush: It looks like…

Hume: The Shuffle. That is the name of one of the models…

Bush: Yes, the Shuffle.

Hume: …called the Shuffle.

Bush: Lightweight, and crank it on, and you shuffle the Shuffle.

That’s some snappy sitcom dialog! Right up there with “spare a square”. Here’s the clip. Enjoy.

April 5, 2008

A Long View on the 2nd Bush Administration

Filed under: politics,thoughts — Tags: , , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 2:12 am

When George W. Bush’s presidency began, I was young enough for my complaints to be dismissed as stemming from my being young and inexperienced in life. Back then, I worried that the United States was approaching decline; that she could no longer support her people with the jobs needed to keep growing; that without immediately changing her course, we would be lost.

Some eight years ago, we were on a precipice. We chose, by a very slim margin, to back down; and then, we were pushed off. Over the years that followed, we have fallen. We have lost our security, our rights, our jobs, our financial stability, our global standing, and only God knows how much else. And I believe that we’re not going to understand the full extent of how far we’ve been pushed until years after the 2nd Bush administration has passed.

I was thinking of this as I read about a poll wherein 61% of historians polled viewed the 2nd Bush presidency as the worst in our nation’s history. Whether or not we elect the right man for the job this time around, we’re still in for an entire generation of problems. A generation of problems which we will have traced to one moment in the year 2000, when the ship of state was hijacked.

Perhaps a decade from now we will be able to take a long, sober look at this administration. Only then, when we have (hopefully) undone most of the damage it has caused, will we truly understand exactly how bad this administration has been.

April 3, 2008

To the Fives: WP2.5 and FF3b5

Filed under: reviews,technology — Tags: , , , , — Alfonso Surroca @ 12:09 am

I just finished upgrading my WordPress install to version 2.5, and it’s as fresh as the name of its new theme (hint: It’s called “Fresh”). Everything about it feels right. Installing or upgrading WordPress used to be something like getting Ubuntu to play nice with Broadcom Wi-Fi cards on a laptop (read: pain in the ass). Not today. No, today, upgrading from WP 2.1 to 2.5 consisted of me:

  • Exporting all of my posts
  • Copying over my plug-in and upload folders
  • Replacing the WordPress directory with the new ones I downloaded
  • Running the included upgrade.php script

Easy as pie for nerds.

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