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Reunion Report

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Ten years and several thousand drinks ago I graduated from West Linn High School (yes, in 1996). In the last decade more has happened in my life then you'll ever be able to read about, but suffice to say that I'm not where I envisioned myself, I've kept some friends and made many new ones, and I've certainly not accomplished what I hoped to - but there's still time.

I'm currently in business school I have no money - and for some reason the reunion committee decided to have it at Kells in downtown so the admission was ridiculously high. My plan was simply to not go (and not just for financial reasons) I had, however, some friends from college (who I happened to go to high school with) going so I offered to be the designated driver and just hang out in the bar while they were reunioning and limit myself to one drink per hour. Which, as a plan, was going along quite nicely for a while...

Because I have some of the greatest friends on the planet, I was able to get into the shindig without having to pay the exorbitant $60-ish dollar advance fee or the $72-ish dollar door fee. I was sneaked in - MacGuyver style. One donated admission wristband, one pair of nail clippers, some fingernail glue, and some creative ingenuity (thanks Dawn, Alex, and Robyn) and I was able to walk right in. (I didn't eat the food, however, figuring that I hadn't really paid for it.)

Once I got up there, I was amazed at how short I felt! Back in high school I was - at 6'1" - one of the taller people in the building. It seems that's changed in the last decade as some people have hit a growth spurt. And gosh, it would have been nice to see this page before I went!

Unsurprisingly, not one person I hung out with during my two-year stint at WLHS was at this reunion. Seriously. The friends I had during high school were either a year (or two) younger or simply didn't attend. So while the people that I hadn't seen in a long time stayed that way. And since high school was very clique-y the reunion was filled with the same cliques; people talking to all the people they knew ten years ago. I did manage to see some people I knew and was able to make them feel better with my "I don't have a job, I sold all my stuff and live in a studio apartment in Salem while I work on my MBA. How are you?" speech.

In the end, the reunion was fun. There was some surreptitious adventure, some familiar faces, a few drinks in a good bar... and traveling there and back with some really great friends - the ones I don't have to reunion with.

Vote! (by mail)

It's election time, folks! That's right, the mid-terms are here (and I'm not talking about tests) and it's time for us, the empowered voters in our representative economy to send new senators and representatives to Congress and pass a wave of new state, county, and city measures.

I am, as in many previous years, incredibly impressed by and enamored with Oregon's Vote-by-Mail process. I enjoy the fact that I have a week and a half before the day the ballots are due to "get around" to voting. I need not schedule my day around voting; I can schedule voting around my day. It also opens the door to a collaborate process. (My mother and I usually talk about the measures and candidates.)

Recently, more and more attention is being paid to electronic voting; the process of pushing a button on a screen and having your votes tallied that way. Over at Ars Technica, a wonderful article was written about the ease with which election fraud could be committed using electronic voting methods.

Me? With our convenient vote-by-mail process I don't worry about it. I'm convinced that my ballots are safe and easy to audit should it be necessary. Since it uses the same "fill-in-the-hole-with-a-number-2-pencil" method that I grew up with, I don't have to worry about "hanging chads". I love Oregon's electoral process and wish that it - not electronic voting - could become the method by which we preserve the voice and the will of the people.

ALARMIST MEDIA

Thursday, October 26, 2006
Ignoring the content for a moment, I'd like to consider the following scenario:

On KGW.com, the big, fiery graphic on the front page declared "CROWDED CHURCH SET ABLAZE."

The actual article (registration required, I think), however, sings a slightly different tune:
One churchgoer suffered minor burn injuries, and damage to the church was considered minimal.
While, according to the article, it's terrible that someone tried to light the church and several churchgoers on fire, it just seems to be a case of a "small fire" versus "SET ABLAZE!!!!11" Am I the only one that sees the difference?

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Current Mood: Uh... purple?

I had the most wretched midterm of my life this morning and I hated every minute of it. So, in true Burton 1.0 fashion, I'm working my way through my second bottle of wine tonight. Drinking alone sucks... but it beats the alternative. (That would not drinking at all, for anyone who might have been confused.) So yeah... I'm "wine" colored at this point.

I'll do the job

Monday, October 23, 2006
According to the IMDB, movie studios have pulled the plug on the "Halo" movie, which is supposed to be based off the video game of the same name. Furthermore, it seems that Microsoft (producer of the video game) has vowed to see the movie produced.

I'd like to volunteer for the directing job.

Seriously! I'll do it for free. Stop laughing! According to the article one of the biggest problems is the price tag. Hell, when you count my salary (that's free, remember) and the fact that I'm cheap cheap cheap it's a bargain! I'll get the movie made, I'll get it made well, and I'll get it made on budget and on schedule.

There's really no reason not to do it. Sure, I don't have a lot of experience. I mean, the most I've ever done is a home movie. But as we're learning in school here, profit is a function of risk; the more you risk the more you stand to profit (or lose, of course.) The way I see it having me make the movie is a huge risk - but there's far less to lose and just as much to gain! It's perfect! Just email me and we'll work out the details from there...

Trying again

So I did something of questionable wisdom this last weekend. I got another motorcycle.

I couldn't keep the Honda Ascot I picked up from my friend; as heartbreaking as it was I couldn't fix it enough to make it run safely and could find anyone to fix it (the place that I took it to that actually COULD work on it flat-out refused to.)

Of course y'all remember that I had to sell my Triumph Sprint ST to finance my business school adventure. The most perfect motorcycle on the planet and I hate to sell it.

However, an opportunity came up for me to purchase one from a good friend. She sold me a 2003 Kawasaki Ninja 500R (with only 1060 miles!) for a very good price. :)

This is a fun little bike. The engine's the same size as the one on the Ascot (though 20 years newer) so it's not a speed demon, but it'll get up and move if I need it to. Where the Ascot topped out around 70 MPH or so and my Triumph ran out of steam around 137 MPH or so (er... I've been told) this'll edge up in to triple digits with a long enough straightaway but is quite comfortable in town and at most freeway speeds. And since I mainly got it to commute on (when I need to) I think it'll work quite nicely. Since it's relatively new hopefully nothing will break that I can't fix (or some place will be willing to fix.)

Let's hope this try goes well!

Incomparable

Thursday, October 19, 2006
I highly recommend everyone here check out Monkey Farm Frankenstein (I've mentioned them before) and download their newest remix, "Sweet Dreams Style" which is a combination of Eurhythmics' "Sweet Dreams" and "Like My Style" by 50 Cent.

This is good stuff, people. Definitely check it out. And, while you're at it, buy their album!

Sidewalk Chalk

Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I'd like to thank somebody - I'm just not sure who. They made my day last week when I saw this randomly printed on the sidewalk:
In case you can't read it in the picture, it simply says this:
Hello,
I hope this chalk
finds you well +
happy and I hope
you don't feel lonely.
Give a hug today. It
can save a life.
Smile! And remember,
tomorrow is a new day
for something amazing to happen. So I think
you should see it.
Whoever wrote that... thank you. It made my day. :)

T-shirt slogan

Monday, October 16, 2006
It's been suggested to me that my latest revelation, aided in small part by a fearsome and worthy mix of Vodka, Kahlua, and milk, should be a T-Shirt slogan.
I'm fairly certain that all someone needs to rule the world is a copy of the Bible, the Prince, and the Art of war.
If anyone feels like printing these, I want (er... demand?) a piece of the action. And yes, I want that attributed to me.

Everyone Loses, No-One Wins

Sunday, October 15, 2006
Why are we here?

I don't mean that rhetorically; I'm actually interested in the answer. As far as I can tell, the end result of everything we do is that we're all going to die. Our individual destiny, at least on this world, is worm-food and there's not a lot any of us can do to change it.

I'm working on an MBA. Why? As I'm studying I'm reading about people give everything for success; people who work eighty, or one hundred, or one hundred twenty hours a week. I'm trying to figure out why. What if (and I'm hypothesizing here) we all just lowered our standards, chilled out, and sat cross-legged on a mountain-top until we starved to death. The end result would be the same (that being death) but with a lot less effort in there.

I think our reason for being can be summed up in four words: To survive and perpetuate. Those two nifty infinitives define humanity. Unfortunately, with the surviving and perpetuating comes an unfortunate byproduct: people seem to find more interesting and efficient ways of killing each other.

I really hope that there's something greater in the universe; I really pray that there is because if this is it, this crawling through the mud trying not to get killed and hey, maybe make a quick buck on the side while we ponder where we want to be buried... I don't know.

I just don't know.

Educational Video

Growing up there was one educational video that I loved more than any other school video ever. (No, it wasn't in sex ed!) That video was "Powers of Ten". Now, thanks to the power of the internet and now Google, too, I can bring you "Powers of Ten"!

Enjoy.

Now wasn't that awesome?!?!?!

Magical Blogger Mood Ring

Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Current Mood: Gray

Another night spent poring over school readings alone in my apartment, trying not to think about anything else but usually failing. It's my life. Can I do with it what I choose?

Advice to anyone thinking about becoming a student: not much health insurance in that field. Practice good dental hygiene.

What is a birthday without wine?

Monday, October 09, 2006
My friend's birthday party was Sunday. Five of us hopped in the car and, to celebrate my friend, went on a wine tasting tour in the Dundee Hills area.

First on our tour was the Rex Hill vineyard. The wine there was all right; we sampled three white and three red wines which was a fun way to start the day. The sampling room is a pleasant cellar area with a lot of accessories sitting around; there's a nice ambiance.

Second stop? We went to Sokol Blosser. They also had a nice tasting area, though we opted to sit outside because it wasn't really raining. (Yes, we're all Oregonians.) The red wines produced by Sokol Blosser weren't remarkable, but the whites were awesome. The Evolution wine was particularly good, but the dessert riesling was unforgettable (and unaffordable!)

Me, enjoying a glass of wine.

After that we ended up meeting my dad at Domaine Serene, which has an incredible tasting room. The wines we tasted were all right but not, in my mind, spectacular. The view, however, was beautiful as were the facilities so it was very much worth the visit. (Also, they had very good crackers.)

An Archery Summit bottle of wine

Finally, we went to the exquisite Archery Summit, where we tasted the finest wines of the day. The 2003 Red Hills Estate Pinot Noir was absolutely fantastic and was my personal favorite wine of the day. Sadly, my current student budget doesn't allow me to enjoy such wines outside of a simple tasting fee. Nonetheless, anyone touring Oregon wine country should definitely make Archery Summit a stop on their list so as to enjoy the incredible wine and gorgeous site.

My friends birthday was wonderful because we were a bunch of good friends tasting a bunch of good wine; the situation couldn't have been better. I had a great time and I suspect everyone else did, too... though car sickness was starting to get the best of us by the end of the afternoon!

Just don't look directly at the blast...

In other exciting world news, the DPRK, let by the charming and charismatic Kim Jong-il, (yes, that's irony) has become the world's latest nuclear country (bringing the total to eight, I believe.)

 A 23 kiloton tower shot called BADGER, fired on April 18, 1953 at the Nevada Test Site, as part of the Operation Upshot-Knothole nuclear test series.

So there's the handy Fark-provided link on why nobody's stupid enough to start a nuclear war. I'm not sure I agree. With terrorists who aren't concerned with retaliation and decidedly unstable regimes (try to figure out who I'm talking about here) the house of cards built by the nuclear countries is getting decidely unstable.

Where do we head from here? As other countries such as Iran develop ostensibly peaceful nuclear programs and certainly other countries have covert research operations going, perhaps we should ask ourselves why we want nuclear weapons? What good have they brought the world? The end of World War II (at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives?) What evils have they brought us? Unmeasurable. Pandora's box has been opened... I guess our only hope is that nuclear weapons will be used for deterrence only, since any other use is unimaginably horrible.

The Halo Effect

Thursday, October 05, 2006
If you were to look up "The Halo Effect" in the Wikipedia, you'd see (among other information) the following:
In brand marketing, a halo effect is one where the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand.
Now, this is, of course, after the scientific explanation of the Halo Effect that goes something like, "[it] refers to the cognitive bias in which the assessment of an individual quality serves to influence and bias the judgment of other qualities." Yeah, yeah, that's nice. Usually, it's seen in the marketing world referring to the iPod (I swear I was going to write that before I saw it mentioned in the Wikipedia article) wherein many Apple products are "cool" because the iPod "roxxors" (this isn't, of course, to imply that they weren't cool before the iPod.)

To paraphrase Newton, however, for every effect there is an equal and opposite anti-effect. In this case, Wikipedia refers to it as the "horns effect". For instance, imagine you're in politics. If you're suddenly highly unpopular or really creepy, all of a sudden anybody who's been seen with you is highly unpopular. (This could also be due to the snake-like backstabbing nature of politics, though. It hasn't been scientifically proven one way or the other.)

Anyway, this is what happens when yours truly (that's Burton 2.0 for the rest of you) thinks about something, decides to write about it... and THEN does the research.

Class dismissed.

Burton 2.0

Sunday, October 01, 2006
It's been one of my goals over the past several years to get to know myself. To understand myself better and figure myself out. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and from now on, I want to be known as "Burton 2.0" (or just "B 2.0").

You see, prior to last month everyone who ever met me was dealing with Burton 1.0 (or just "Burton".) But now you're dealing with the new Burton, the Burton 2.0. You see, Burton 1.0 was a terrible student with wretched study habits, poor time management, and played too many video games. Burton 2.0 is going to be a better student, study often (and hard), work to manage his time better, and isn't going to play video games. Burton 2.0 is going to be a substantially different person in nature... and hopefully better in character, too.

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