Free Advice to Book Merchants
Posted by substrate 11 years ago
When you're coming up with the idea for your little boutique store that provides service and an atmosphere that Borders can't - take a little extra time and have somebody spell check the name of your book store. Preferably before publishing it in the local free paper, the local glossies and especially before getting the nice and expensive professional sign. The Book Celler might be an intentional ironic misspelling, but more likely it's an unintentional moronic spelling.
Hell froze over...
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
or at least Devil's Punchbowl did. The Devil's Punchbowl is a neat little scientific preserve in Wisconsin near Menomonie. It's also one of my favourite places in Wisconsin. The weather was fairly mild yesterday so I decided to spend it outdoors.  
Where should substrate go?
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
I've got a long weekend coming up and I want to get away someplace. I don't really know where though. Here's my criteria:  
I'd prefer a direct flight from Minneapolis and I'd like it to be warm. It doesn't need to be in the nineties but it should at least be in the 60's and hopefully sunny. I want to be able to do something when I get there, maybe a few day hikes or a cool place to people watch.  
I don't care about posh hotels or stuff.
Secret Beaver!
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
Thank you Secret Beaver! I'm going to start reading tonight.  
I'm just looking for some touch...
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
I spent the weekend in Texas visiting a friend. I saw the Mesquite Rodeo which was kind of neat. I was pretty amazed at the crowd. I expected that my friend would be one of the few people from outside North America there but it was far from true. My favourite part was the bronco riding though I admit that the sheep riding by the 6 and under crowd was hillarious.  
The sculpture of the cattle drive in downtown Dallas is stupendous. My digital camera was in the shop this week or I'd have snapped some pics. I also toured the Texas Book Depository and left so very sad.  
San Antonio and the river walk was a lot of fun, the boat tour was neat but I prefer to do things rather than sit and have things happen. On the other hand I probably wouldn't have heard the history without it.  
It's amazing to be someplace where so many people display their local pride. Texas or long-horned t-shirts, hats and stickers were on the majority of people. The only thing I've seen close was my first day in Wisconsin - the Green Bay Packers were near their 1996 Super Bowl victory. I went to the mall to buy a bunch of things I forgot to bring before moving and I was amazed at the sea of green and yellow. The image of a little old lady wheel-chair bound and on oxygen dressed up in her Green Bay Packer jacket is indelibly imprinted on my memory.  
Everybody I met in Texas was really cool except for one horrid woman (her family - presumably daughter and son-in law and their offspring were super nice though).
Viva la revolution
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
You know, certain members keep claiming that liberals are embracing all these communists and fascists but I rarely ever see a post by any of the liberal members about any of them. Instead I see that the overwhelmingly vast majority of posts on these alleged liberal heroes are by people who identify with the conservative movement. The couple of members who normally do this are also the usual suspects for trying to bait an argument in the wording of their posts. Get over the persecution complex guys.
Annoying automobile facts
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
I got pulled over for speeding today, the only problem is that I was doing  
the posted speed limit, 30 miles per hour. I saw the cruiser, checked my speedometer and it was within a mile of 30. I went around the corner and then the cruiser turned around and turned on his flashers.  
I think I'm suffering from the same problem one of my friends has, if you drive a sports car police just assume you're speeding. In this case I was hugging the turn pretty tightly because it makes it feel like you're going fast even though you're not.  
I got off with a warning but I thought he was going to taser me when I told him (and refused to change my point of view) that I wasn't speeding, that I'd checked my speedometer when I saw him.
Chapter 11 questions
Posted by substrate 12 years ago
The company I work for was up until early Monday morning publicly traded. Monday at 4am we filed for Chapter 11 protection and our bond holders now own the majority of the companies equity. I've got a few questions.  
I'm used to being able to use the SEC website and various legal databases to determine the health of the company and to an extent the mindstate and comittment of the executives. I'm assuming I won't be able to see employment contracts anymore, but will I be able to see financials? Is there any oversight to verify the integrity of the financials?  
My equity in the company is all gone, I don't expect to see it back. I get the impression from our execs that we won't be getting equity in the new company (unless I get a sudden promotion to a C level executive). How do phantom options work? It seems like there's a lot of ways to shaft employees with phantom options since it's not real equity. In the event of a sale to a larger company I think that the value of these phantom options would be at the mercy of the new owners. Am I correct in thinking that I shouldn't treat them as a long term retention incentive?
Chicken Little Republicans
Posted by substrate 13 years ago

Even the cowardly lion became courageous. How about it Republicans? Maybe some warm milk before bed instead of invading foreign countries and weakening the constitution for a change?
Bah humbug...
Posted by substrate 13 years ago
against my better judgement I decided to stick around at my present company until September. I figured that then I'd be able to take my sabbatical as a compromise for being underpaid and being forced to work beneath my abilities for another 6 months. The work I'm doing is vital to my group right now, challenging in terms of the number of hours I'm working but not in terms of being intellectually stimulating. I went ahead and renewed my apartment lease and put in my sabbatical request. My manager approved it, his higher up needed to approve it as well but he was out of town. Between my manager signing off and the VP coming back the sabbatical program was cancelled. No month in New Zealand for me this summer.
Radio Promotions Gone Wrong
Posted by substrate 13 years ago
There are only a few local stations I listen to: A hard rock station, a classic rock station and NPR. The two rock stations are independent stations, not affiliated with anybody. There used to be an alternative rock station I listened to but it changed into a country station.  
Driving into work a couple of weeks ago I ended up on the classic rock station and heard the theme song from The Brady Bunch. I didn't know what was going on, I figured that one of the Bradies bit the biscuit or something. After that they play Leave it to Beaver and the Andy Griffith Show theme song.  
I'm pretty puzzled but figure they're up to something. That's when they come on the air and talk about their new format change. TV Theme Song radio. I figure it's a gag but they continue on for a good 15 minutes at which point I arrive at work. They had people calling in for requests and everything.  
Before I turned off my car I deleted the station from the presets. Fast forward to last night, I'm driving home from the gym and the car next to me at a stop light is playing classic rock. Before the lights changed an announcer came on and announced the station, it was the station. It was the same station that said they changed to a TV Theme Song format. I look them up on the internet between visits to porn sites and find out that the TV theme song was a gag to introduce their new slogan: "The Big Cheese".  
I'm no advertising and promotional guru but even I know that if your gag is enough to make people quit listening or watching then you've lost. I don't attach pictures of Tubgirl or Mr. to my resume. Yeah, the HR drones that prefilter them would notice it but it wouldn't have the desired effect.
Judge John Coughenour's truly patriotic words
Posted by substrate 13 years ago
I'm quoting this off of another site, but I won't mention the site nor will I provide a link. The sentements and speech here are beautiful and didn't need the leftist commentary that the site attached. In fact it detracted from the message here.  
This is what patriotism should be. This man is defending the constitution and still managing to do justice in a terrorism case. These words are brave and inspiring.  
U.S. Western District Judge John Coughenour's statements while sentencing "Millennium Bomber", Ahmed Ressam.  
U.S. vs. Ressam  
(Court's comments.)  
THE COURT: Okay. Let me say a few things. First of  
all, it will come as no surprise to anybody that this sentencing  
is one that I have struggled with a great deal, more than any  
other sentencing that I've had in the 24 years I've been on the  
I've done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement  
that appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended  
offense, but also recognizes the practicalities of the parties'  
positions before trial and the cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even  
though it did terminate prematurely.  
The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is  
two-fold: First, that we have the resolve in this country to  
deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it  
should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in  
Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our  
system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal,  
or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or  
deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond  
those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States  
I would suggest that the message to the world from today's  
sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment  
to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the  
threats to our national security without denying the accused  
fundamental constitutional protections.  
Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen  
and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon  
killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous  
defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence  
determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.  
Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a  
public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite  
detention, no denial of counsel.  
The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and  
made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of  
terrorism. Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders  
our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men  
and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a  
model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the  
terrorists will have won.  
It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my  
body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of  
the United States.  
We will be in recess.