The Flaming Lips Part 2: The Prequel

Here’s part 2 of my The Flaming Lips concert post, in which I discuss the pre-show stuff.  I’ll talk about Austin Music Hall in general some other time; Yelp’s reviews are pretty accurate for now.

Pre-Show

This got too big and I just deleted two paragraphs.  The pre-show experience was heightened when AMH let people over 21 in about an hour before the posted door opening time.  This moved me from about 100th in line to more like 30th in line.  Hooray for age perks!  They had a lobby with a bar that they let us mill about in; this is most likely to combat the bars across the street who had competitive pricing on beers.  Can’t let your concert customers pay someone else for beer!  I got a water because I’m too lame for beer.  After they let us in (only about 10 minutes late; not bad) I made a beeline for where I thought would be the best position.  Then we watched the tech crews get stuff ready.

The crowd was pretty nuts.  I saw Santa Claus, people in bunny suits (the white fuzzy kind, not the sexy-lady-in-fishnets kind), and one guy that I thought was a bunny was actually a unicorn.  That guy was front and center in the mosh pit.  Rock on, Mr. Unicorn.  There were lots of silly hats, and I was disappointed that I hadn’t known this was going to be a common thing.  I have a DJ Lance hat that I would have worn, and it would have turned out to be extraordinarily appropriate.  Oh well.

Warmup Band

The warmup band was Stardeath and White Dwarfs.  The art on their site reminds me of TFL, they’ve collaborated with TFL, and the music was complementary to TFL’s music.  The stage was crazy; lots of strobes, lots of spotlights, lots of fog, and this weird sparkly LED thing was set up behind the drummer.  I’m not sure if this is something they usually have or if it’s one of the benefits of opening for TFL, but it definitely made the show more enjoyable.  I liked them, and I think I wouldn’t mind seeing them as the headliner one day.  I’m buying their album soon and I’ll see if that opinion changes.

I feel sorry for them because the crowd wasn’t really enthusiastic.  Part of it was their fault; they didn’t really say much to the crowd.  The only thing I remember is “One more song and then TFL will come out!”  I think if they’d have tried a little harder to get the crowd into their show they could have got a better response.  On the other hand, everyone was there to see TFL so getting the crowd interested was definitely a tough job.  They weren’t booed, but they only got scattered claps and cheers after each song.

The Transition

After S&WD left, I was prepared to spend the next 30 minutes or so watching groupies and techs set up the stage for TFL.  That’s how it’s worked at all the other concerts I’ve been to so far.  Those bands are losers. Within minutes, Wayne Coyne himself was on the stage fiddling with the mic and guitars.   Techs were still doing things (one of them fell off the stage at one point, poor guy!) After a while, the rest of the band was on stage, and we still had 20 minutes or so before the show.

Soon, I saw the red dot of a laser pointer and started getting agitated by it.  Then I turned around and saw a DJ Lance handing out huge handfuls of them.  I went to investigate and she claimed it was an interactive part of the show and asked if I’d hand some out for her.  So I scooped up a huge handful and did.  The next 10 minutes or so were spent shining lasers at random things.  Then the show started.  But I’ve already talked about that!

Next time: I think I’m going to review Infinite Space, the DS game I’m playing.

Miniblog

I started a Tumblr blog.  I’ve had an account on Tumblr for a few weeks now, and mostly what I did with it was try to find out what kind of purpose I might find for it.  After fooling around with it and getting comments installed on it, I decided I’d found a niche.

My Tumblr blog is for the little things I find or think of that are too small for blog posts, but require more discussion than a tweet.  I’ve got a huge instapaper backlog of sites that I’m supposed to read later.  My del.icio.us list is tainted because coworkers follow it, so it’s more business than personal.  I needed something that I could use to find the little Youtube videos, quotes, and sites that I want to look back on every now and then, and Tumblr fills this need.

So the hierarchy of information about me is as follows:

  • My Twitter account is for brief thoughts, discussions with other people on Twitter, and random retweets of links that look interesting.  Twitter doesn’t archive your stuff forever, so it’s all throwaway.
  • Links, quotes, or thoughts that I want to stick around forever go to Tumblr.  In particular, if I have a somewhat long comment or want to call out a section of a page I’ll use Tumblr.
  • This blog is where longer, more organized thoughts go.

I’m happy with this, it’s cleared up some of the problems I had with using instapaper and del.icio.us.

The next long post will be about the band that played before The Flaming Lips, followed by comments on the venue.  Both will be much shorter than the Flaming Lips blog post.  I’m going to wait a few days because I want this to have some visibility.

The Flaming Lips

Oh March 12, 2010, The Flaming Lips played at Austin Music Hall.  This show is on my “top 5 events of my life and stuff I’ll probably reflect on when I’m dying” list.  It was incredible.

I have pages of stuff to say about it, but I’m trying to keep my blog posts smaller than a certain size.  I’m not sure what that size is, but this is too big.  I’m sorry, there’s just so much to say I don’t want to cut anything out.  This post is my description of the band’s show, omitting the comments about the venue, the pre-show, the warmup band, and the transition.  That’ll all get described over the next week.  I’ve never been to a concert that would take pages to describe.

The Prerequisites

Here’s a summary of some stuff that the omissions will mention and describe but are relevant to the show:

  • Either the acoustics in AMH suck, the band was playing too loud, or a combination of both.
  • I had an awesome position with a clear view of the stage.
  • The band set up their own instruments, so we got to see them and start the crowd interaction about 20 minutes before they actually started playing.
  • Laser pointers were handed out shortly before the show, with the promise that it was part of “an interactive show”.
  • The lighting rig included a backdrop that could be transparent *or* a video display.  There was a camera mounted on Wayne’s microphone with some video filters that made it look like they were recording an 80’s video.
  • I can’t remember the set list perfectly; if I say, “I think x was next” it means, “There may have been a song before it where nothing really notable happened”.
  • I haven’t bought Embryonic yet so I won’t recognize or know the title of any songs from it.
  • “Something notable” in a concert like this is not only a common occurrence, but makes almost every other show you could attend seem as exciting as a checkout line.

Now you’re up to speed on some stuff I didn’t feel like explaining in detail in two places.

The Show

If you’re an avid TFL fan and have been to one of their concerts, there’s probably no surprises here.  If you’re an avid fan, you probably have an idea what the show was like.  It’s so much cooler to experience it than it is to watch videos of it.  I’ll walk through what I remember of the show as accurately as possible (I wish I’d had something to type notes on!), then try to piece together a set list.

The show started with this weird dude that looked like a hobo who came out and read what I guess was a poem.  I didn’t understand it, partially because it was hard to hear him and partially because it sounded like it was one of those poems you are supposed to sit and think about.  He left, and Wayne made it clear he was going to do the hamster ball crowd surfing thing and made sure the mosh pit was well aware that they might want to secure their drinks.  After informing the mosh pit to stay alert, he left and some sound effects I recognized as the ones from the opening of Time Travel… Yes! started playing.  (I might have got the hobo/Wayne speech out of order.)

Some of the things I am about to describe are very strange. I promise I am not exaggerating anything.  If I can’t remember something clearly, I’m either not going to type it or say “I don’t remember”, so don’t assume I can’t remember so I’m using hyperbole.

The backdrop started a video of a nude woman walking around with some psychedelic filters over it.  Soon, her genitals started glowing and I was reminded of Old Gregg’s “mangina”.  As if this weren’t absurd enough, soon Miss Glowing Genitals sat down and assumed the birthing position.  This is when we discovered the video rig could be opened like a door.  One by one, the band members who weren’t Wayne emerged from the giant flashing vagina.  (It sounds a lot more gross than it was.  It was more like a large, football-shaped solid color portal than something from the pages of Hustler.)  Of course, after this Wayne’s crowdsurfing ball inflated and he started the walk around the audience.  I believe this sequence heavy with birthing imagery is meant to tie in to the new album, Embryonic.  Good thing I took all those literature classes, right?

Then the confetti starts.  On both sides of the stage, there were machines that blast confetti out and fans to blow it into the audience.  Lots of confetti; it was usually 30 second long blasts at a time.  There were lots of fog machines, lots of spots, a giant disco ball (if it were truly a ball it’d probably have an 18-foot diameter!), and lots of dancers in the wings dressed like DJ Lance.  We’re about 5 minutes into the show, 20 seconds into the first song, and my mind is already completely blown.  This is just the beginning.

I didn’t recognize the song they played while Wayne was surfing the crowd in his inflatable hamster ball (I guess it’s an embryonic sac in this interpretation).  It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t put a title to it.  After some crowdsurfing, Wayne returned to the stage and climbed out of his ball.  I didn’t recognize the next song either, but it was pretty good.  This is when the balloons were released.  There were between a dozen and 15 balloons, all about 2 feet in diameter kicked out into the crowd.  You’ve seen beach balls at concerts before; this was kind of the same.  Except these are *huge*, confetti is being blasted everywhere, there’s fog everywhere, there’s strobe lights, naked lady is still dancing on the video screen, the band is playing, and laser pointers are following the balloons everywhere.  I started taking pictures every few minutes because after trying to look at everything for a while my mind kind of overloaded and I had to look at something else for a minute.  2 songs in and my mind has been blown twice.  This pattern continued.

The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power) was next.  They had some custom video for this song, and the lighting strategy changed a little bit.  At some point during the song, some new actors joined the DJ Lance crew in the wings; on stage right it was a man dressed up like a star or the sun and on stage left it was a giant walking catfish dressed like a sailor.  There’s still balloons, fog, confetti, and lasers everywhere.  I seriously would not have been angry if the show ended here, even if the tickets were double.

After this Wayne asked everyone to pop the balloons.  I was kind of sad, but he promised that there was a reason.  With the balloons popped, he told everyone to get the laser pointers ready.  In particular, he said if we were afraid to point them at him he wanted as many people as possible to do so, and that there’d be a part of the next song where he really wanted us to let him have it.  The song was either Vein of Stars or In the Morning of the Magicians; I can’t remember exactly which one.  The lights were very dim, and the video backdrop was a “space” scene with stars.  In the middle of the song, the screen said “Get your lasers ready!”, then counted down as the lights were killed.  It turns out Wayne had a big mirror, and as we all pointed the lasers at it the fog picked up and the result was like being inside the UPC scanner at a supermarket.  Incredible.  I tried and failed to get a picture of it, but it was one of the more beautiful parts of the show.  4 songs, 3 mind-blowing moments.

I think the next song was Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1. Wayne claimed this was his first time playing acoustic on stage.  Steven seemed surprised but confirmed this after the song.  I find it hard to believe but I guess it could be true.  It was sing-along, and Wayne claimed we screwed him up and he had to start over in the middle of the first verse.  From there, it was still sing-along but his vocals were much more prominent.  It was a great performance of a great song.  In the 2nd verse, Steven started echoing Wayne’s lyrics through a megaphone; it caught Wayne off guard and for a minute I thought he was going to get the giggles and have to stop singing.

From here, my chronological order is almost completely screwed up.  Everything I say past here could have happened in just about any order unless I specifically say “x happened, then y”.

Remember when I couldn’t decide if Vein of Stars or In the Morning of the Magicians was played?  The other one was played at some point.  At one point, I remember seeing Wayne grab a particularly large balloon (this one was more like 3 1/2 feet in diameter), place it on the stage, then lay on it to pop it.  It looked like it would have hurt to hit the stage after that!

An awesome song was played that I didn’t recognize, Wayne told the band “play ??? the Leaves!” before it.  In this song, he had a big cymbal he was hitting and naked lady made an appearance again; she hit a cymbal in the video in time with him.  This song was incredible and probably one of the best songs they played.  I think as this song wound down, the band started playing solos and Wayne left the stage and reappeared at the back of the mosh pit, where he put on these giant foam hands that I’d spotted early in the show and wondered what they were for.  They were LASER HANDS.  Lots of green lasers were emitted, and looked really awesome.  Apparently he had trouble getting them to work, and they promised him he’d get to make up for it with his “psychedelic light wheel”.  This was a gong surrounded by some kind of weird sparkly LED light thing that the warmup band also used but you haven’t read that yet.  The song was Pompeii am Götterdämmerung, the lights were tinted red, the video looked like lava raining down, and there was so much fog and strobes that sometimes I really couldn’t see the stage.

At some point, Wayne said the next song was one they said they’d play every show until “the stupid war started by George W. Bush” is over.  We got a speech about the virtues of peace, and while I’m conditioned to treat such things as “hippy stuff” everything said was heartfelt and true.  Then he played Taps (though it seems like the trumpet used played itself) and this was followed by The W.A.N.D. I’m not sure if he meant for Taps or The W.A.N.D. to be the song they stop playing, but it’d be a shame if they quit playing The W.A.N.D. so I guess I hope they meant Taps.

Waitin’ for a Superman is probably one of my least favorite TFL songs; I should write a post on why.  I knew they were going to play it because I heard the sound crew fiddling with it while I was in line.  Before they played it, Wayne talked about a Mark Linkous, a member of Sparklehorse who recently committed suicide.  Apparently Wayne and Mark were pretty close, because even from 50 yards away I could tell it was an emotional speech.  Waitin’ For a Superman was dedicated to Mark Linkous.  I could tell by Wayne’s face that this was the only song of the night that wasn’t played for the crowd; this song was played for Wayne.  I enjoyed Waitin’ for a Superman for Mark Linkous on this night.  Now the song has a powerful memory attached to it, and I think I’ll enjoy it more in the future.

I think The W.A.N.D. was the “last” song, though the encore is such a tradition I don’t think it really holds much meaning anymore.  The first encore song was She Don’t Use Jelly, and the video backdrop was the music video for the song.  It was great to see this in concert, though I’m not sure how much the band enjoys it:

Wayne: Hey Steven, you play this every night don’t you?

Steven: Yep.

It’s probably true.  That’s the shame about big hits; I imagine eventually the band gets tired of playing it.

The next encore song was incredible, but I don’t recognize it at all.  Wayne said the name of it, but what I heard was “???ted ??? the ?ex”.  I eventually decided it was either “Addicted to Sex” or “Convinced of the Hex”, but had never heard the song so I couldn’t tell which was right.  The song was really good.  Naked lady made her final appearance of the night for this one.

I think it was during that song that Wayne pulled out a leaf blower from who knows where that had one of the big balloons attached to it with confetti inside; he then proceeded to use the leaf blower to inflate the balloon bigger and bigger until it popped and sprayed confetti everywhere; this took more than a minute and the balloon was huge by the end.  Neat!

I was just thinking to myself, “Man, this was incredible, but it would have been even better if they played Do You Realize?“  Well, that was the final song of the night.  I knew what it was as soon as the countdown began, and the performance was incredible.  I think the confetti blasters ran for the entire song.  Wayne had confetti/streamer guns he shot into the audience.  A few last balloons made the rounds.  After the song was “finished”, the lights dimmed and the band played a slower, quieter version of the final chorus.  It was the perfect ending to an incredible show.

Set List

I didn’t tweet the set list for this concert like I did for the CAKE concert.  This is mostly because my phone’s battery was nearly dead and the phone was the only camera I had so I was saving it for that, but also because I couldn’t peel my eyes off the stage.  This forum post has a set list, and I don’t have any contest with it.  I’m not going back through this post and replacing “I don’t know what the song was” with songs from this list because everything above here is just a braindump of what I remember of the experience.  Anyway, here’s the set list according to someone else:

  • Worm Mountain
  • Silver Trembling Hands
  • Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
  • Vein of Stars
  • Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1
  • In the Morning of the Magicians
  • See the Leaves
  • Pompeii
  • Waiting for a Superman
  • Taps
  • The WAND
  • She Don’t Use Jelly
  • Convinced of the Hex
  • Do You Realize

I feel like there’s one song missing from this list.  I rearranged in two places. I remember the video backdrop for In the Morning of the Magicians was not the starfield, it’s hard to describe what it was. The balloons were already popped when this song was played, so Vein of Stars had to come first because it’s when the balloons were popped.  The forums list had Taps, Waitin’ for a Superman, and The W.A.N.D. in the wrong order.

The Opinion

This was hands down the best concert I have ever attended, and is etched onto the list of things I will remember forever.  The Flaming Lips did everything in their power to get the audience involved in the show.  They seemed to really like playing in Austin, though that could be the normal artist flattering the audience chatter it felt genuine.  The set was at times overwhelming.  Their heavy use of the soundboard to recreate the studio sound takes some of the fun out of hearing a song live, but all of the things happening on stage more than make up for this.  Some bands play through their songs but you get kind of bored because they wear out their repertoire of tricks/props and start repeating stuff.  Every song in this show had a unique backdrop and lighting setup, and almost every song had some unique prop or behavior of the band that made you feel like the song was part of a bigger performance.  Tickets were $35 and I feel like I stole something.  I feel like I paid for tickets to watch a filming of America’s Funniest Home Videos and instead I got a performance of Cirque du Soleil; it’s hard to believe that you can get a show of this quality for that price.  I think every show I attend will be diminished after experiencing this.  This is why I wrote such a monster of a post; I’m sorry for how big it is but I am just so excited that I experienced this I couldn’t bring myself to leave any details out.

Are there songs I wish they played?  Yep.  I’m listining to my TFL playlist right now and I’ve heard at least 10 I wish I’d heard.  But I own 6 albums and they’ve made 13, not counting bonus tracks and collaborations; I think they’d collapse of fatigue if I could force them to play the kind of setlist I’d love to see.  These guys played for at least an hour and a half and covered some of the best songs from their last 3 studio releases, and I am positive that the next time they play I’ll see a completely different catalog of songs, and eventually I’ll probably hear most of my wish list.  I am most thankful that they played Do You Realize? in this show, because it’s the best contender for my favorite song.  Without that song, I think I would have been slightly disappointed.  Next concert I’ll have my fingers crossed for any of the following, in no particular order:

  • Are you a Hypnotist?
  • All We Have Is Now
  • It’s Summertime
  • Fight Test
  • Turn It On
  • Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
  • The Gash (Battle Hymn for the Wounded Mathematician)
  • The Sun
  • Hit Me Like You Did the First Time
  • Pretty much the entire Clouds Taste Metallic album
  • My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion (The Inner Life as Blazing Shield of Defiance and Optimism as Celestial Spear of Action)

That’s  enough for the set list to more than two shows, so I suppose I’ll just have to visit a few dozen more concerts and hope I catch a lot of them.

If you have the chance to see The Flaming Lips, take it.  If you don’t, one day you will look back on your life and notice that it feels like there’s something you missed.  That’s the hole in your experience left by not attending the concert.

What does a software engineer do?

It is not uncommon for me to find myself in a social situation where someone asks me what I do.  When I state, “I’m a software engineer,” the conversation dries up pretty quickly.  My guess?  People ask what you do in an attempt to find something they might have in common with you.  Many of the people I meet aren’t software engineers, and it’s a field that definitely has an aura of mystery around it.  I might as well say I’m a mime for the reactions I get.  People are taught that it’s hard or the domain of geeks. It is the domain of geeks, but most of us know well enough not to start babbling about software design to people who aren’t interested.  Talk to us about movies, or TV shows, or explain what you do at your job.  Often, software engineers are curious and excited to learn about the intricacies of other fields.  Knowledge, particularly uncommon or obscure knowledge, can be a very powerful tool for software engineers.

Anyway, that doesn’t help explain what a software engineer does.   “Software engineer” is roughly interchangeable with “software developer” or “programmer” in my opinion; I might use any of these terms accidentally but they all mean the same thing to me (this will cause some friction with other software engineers, but it’s a good simplification.)  What I do is the same thing that any other engineer does, and it can be described thus:

I solve problems for my client, and ensure that my solution meets all of the constraints in which the client requires the solution to operate.

That’s a beautiful definition to me.  It’s indecipherable to non-engineers.  Let’s talk about what it means.

Solving Problems

This is pretty self-evident.  Programs are created to solve problems.  Microsoft Word exists because people want to write letters, reports, books, and a myriad of other document types.  Microsoft’s engineers solved this problem by developing Microsoft Word.  The specifics of the problems I solve aren’t important.  Software engineers satisfy whatever needs the client expresses.

Good software engineers have a special talent for describing problems in very discrete steps.  Think about giving directions to someone.  You could tell them, “It’s 10 miles away at a heading of 210 degrees", but that won’t help them.  What they want is, “Follow this road until you reach a 4-way stop sign.  Take a left onto Oak Street.  Follow that for 5 miles, if you see a McDonald’s you’ve gone too far…”  So, too, must software engineers find a way to express a problem in very simple terms.  Computers aren’t as smart as you may believe; you can’t tell a computer to fix a cup of coffee.  You have to tell it to walk to this drawer, open the drawer, remove a filter, then close the drawer, and so on.  Good software engineers can break complicated problems down to these tiny steps, then get the computer to follow the steps.

It’s not all simple.  Here’s a variation of a famous problem in Computer Science:

A salesman needs to visit 10 cities on a sales trip.  He has to start from Boulder, Colorado and end the trip there as well.  Given a timetable of flights to and from each city over the next few months, determine the flights the salesman should take to spend the least amount of time on his sales trip.

This is called the Traveling Salesman Problem.  For more than 30 years, we have tried to find a way to break this into simple, efficient steps that will yield the best solution in the shortest amount of time.  For 30 years, the answer has been, “You must try every combination of flights and compare the time it takes.”  This can take a long time.  If there’s 10 cities and 8 candidate flights between each city, there’s more than a billion possible solutions (my calculation may be wrong, it’s quite late for statistical analysis!  If it is wrong, it is too small).  Add an 11th city and there’s 8 billion solutions.  In the real world, the trip would likely involve more than 20 cities and hundreds of flights between each city.  It can quickly approach a point where if the computer tests 1,000 paths per second it will take so long to finish the calculation that the salesman will have died aeons ago and the sun has fizzled out.  So software written for this task tries a few thousand trips and picks the best one out of that.  It’s not the best solution, but at least it’s a solution.  Part of a software engineer’s job is recognizing hard problems like this and explaining to the client why they cannot be solved perfectly.  The software engineer that finds a way to solve any of these problems in a practical amount of time will become very famous in the community.  In fact, there’s a list of 7 of these problems known as the “Millennium Problems” that carry a $1 million bounty.  It’s been 10 years since the bounty was posted, and none have been claimed.  Not all are related to software engineering directly, but a solution to many of them would turn modern mathematics inside out and thus have a dramatic effect on software engineering.

Meeting Constraints

This is one where I could ramble on for hours, and this post is already longer than I want.  The client never wants any old solution to a problem.  Usually the client needs it to be fast, small, accurate, bulletproof, or any number of other things.  Would Microsoft Word be so popular if it used 3 Terabytes of storage (as of today that’s multiple hard drives)?  Would Youtube be a success if videos took 9 hours to download?  Would Facebook be popular if every page took 15 minutes to load?  What if MSN messenger took so much memory it was the only program you could run?  Now you have a concept of the kinds of constraints software engineers have to respect.  It’s not enough to just solve a problem, I have to make sure that the solution satisfies whatever constraints the customer wants. 

Those are the externally visible constraints; the user sees them.  There’s also constraints the user won’t ever see, but still matter to the software engineer.  These have to do with how the code is written.  These constraints include complexity, quality, communication, effort, budget, and time.  These constraints are also very related to each other, and satisfying one usually means sacrificing another.  For example, code complexity makes it harder for developers to understand what they are doing.  Complicated code decreases quality, makes communication more difficult, increases effort, and can increase budget and time.  However, fixing complicated code takes a lot of effort.  When a project is over budget or running late, quality and complexity usually suffer.  But when you increase complexity and decrease quality, you tend to have more bugs and spend more time fixing them.  We call this a tension between the constraints because when you work on one, it has effects on another as if they were connected by a rope.  I suppose you could call it a tradeoff as well; that fits.  Good software engineers understand dozens of these constraints and strive to reach the best balance among them while staying within time and budget.

That, in a nutshell, is what a software engineer does.  Software engineers solve problems, but ensure that the solutions are satisfactory.  It’s not magic, it’s a rigid scientific approach to describing solutions to problems.  In the next post, I’m going to talk about some quirks software engineers tend to share and some myths surrounding software engineers.

On New Year’s Resolutions

So I’ve already missed one of my resolutions multiple times.  That resolution was “blog about something once a week.”  The biggest problem I have is I wait to blog until I have something epic to talk about; I need to work on producing smaller posts about interesting topics.  No one wants to read a blog with 4 posts/year.

I need a better WordPress theme, and I need to spend some time learning how to customize WordPress better.  I really don’t like how it’s tough to get from my landing page to the blog, and it’d be nice to have a login link somewhere.  There’s a couple of books that look promising; I hope they don’t prove to be cruddy.  It’s a shame that libraries don’t carry relatively recent computer books, but it’s not like they’re rolling in dough.  Funny that there’s always money for rockets and prisons but we can’t fund education or healthcare.

This looks like week 9, so maybe I’ll meet my goal for the rest of the year.  Here’s a couple of extra resolutions for the heck of it:

  • Maintain my current weight; stay under 150 pounds.
  • Lower my triglyceride count; it’s still > 900 which is horrible.

Hopefully I’ll do better about meeting those two resolutions than this one. 

For some reason Windows Live Writer’s bullet lists are broken.  Hooray!