Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Georgia on my mind- a trip & an election.

Savannah, GA is like walking into a storybook. It seduces with trees dripping with Spanish moss, voices dripping with southern drawl, and the local food dripping with sweet Savannah honey. It is a coastal city, further south then San Diego, providing sunshine and mild winter weather. 

Savannah Pictures: Essay
Saint John: Catholic

Historic Home: Lovely

Lion Gargoyle: Rawr

River Walk: Festive

Pirate Thanksgiving: Yum

Tybee Island: Sunrise

Beach House: Mine

Magnolia, Palm: Trees

Good Times: All

Car Ride: Long


Note: Saxby Chambliss secured the GOP senate seat from Georgia, dashing the hopes of a filibuster proof senate for the Dems. Meaning if the Dems had 60 seats in the senate, they would hold the power to be able to stop any minority move to halt votes. Thank goodness... and this has nothing to do with partisanship. This has to do with balance of power.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Single-Blind Controlled Test

All of the sudden gas is down to under 2 bucks, some guy with the name "Hussein" is in charge, and Saturday Night Live is funny again. And due to a bizzaro turn of events in America we have new burdens. Some people burdened with the choice of what to do with their political career. Others are faced with grave markets and financial woes. Do I invest in this or that? Do I keep my job or look for something during the political shake up? Things have changed and decisions need to be made. I myself had to decide on a toughie today:

At the Seven-Eleven the Skor bar caught my eye... but right next to it was the Heath bar. Which to get? Whats the dif? I had no idea. I bought both so I can once and for all put this to rest.

A Single Blind Highly Controlled Field Experiment Study:

Skor v. Heath

Main Category: Crystalline Solid Disaccharide

Also Included In: Monoclinic Hemihedral Crystalline Structure Bases

Publish Date: 20 Nov 2008 - 4:00 PDT

Study Participant(s): Mary A. McMullen (known alias: McMary)
Participant demographic: 27, Caucasian, Non-Smoker, College educated, Mormon, and all around Bad-Ass.

Materials: 1 Heath Bar (made by Hershey's) and 1 Skor Bar (also made by Hershey's).

Abstract of Study Structure: I broke off a piece of the Skor and a hunk of the Heath... I put them in a cup, shook the cup and then closed my eyes. I took the first piece out with my right hand and ate some. Then I took the second piece out with my left hand; ate some of that one. I decided which I preferred. Since they have the same texture, I didn't know which was which. It was not until after I selected the winner did I open my eyes. Skor bar insides are much darker then Heaths. That is how I was able to tell which one was which after the conclusion.

Matrix & Results:

Values: "Hb"= Heath Bar; "Sk" = Skor

If the optimal sample size is Large, the sample estimator of the effect is normally distributed, and the critical value for rejecting the hypothesis that there is no effect is

As one might expect for the regression of one right-hand-side variable on the others, its least-squares solution is closely related to the solution Hb of the mode for Sk, since for a probability of size Hb that the null will be accepted.

Hb i2x ~ (Sk + 18)

---------- = 12589643.35

(-5 Hb )

Conclusion & Discussion: Heath Bar tasted better. If I had a choice, I would choose See's White Chocolate Coconut Cashew Brittle.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

For the Win, Martin Sexton!

Last night I ate a delicious apple. I will detail its sweet nectar, its succulent taste... though, since you didn't have a bite for yourself, I fear you may never fully understand:

First on stage was Ryan Montbleau with nothing more then an amp, a mic and his guitar. He put down his guitar and reduced the room to silence as he sang "How Many Times". The dust in the light of the stage lamp was the only thing moving. He captivated. Sure, he must be worthy to open for Martin Sexton, but I don't think anyone expected the genius lyrics that tumbled out. He should have his own show. (Wait, I just googled him. Turns out he has his own show. He even has people who open for him. And he still opens for Martin... of course.)

Then Martin. Oh, sweet sounds of Martin. Last night was his last show of this tour- he will have a smattering of stand alone shows through the holidays at places near his hometown, where he got his start and where he lives now- but the tour ended last night. He delighted us by saying,

"Here is how it will be tonight: You say it, I play it... I am done with the set list; I am just going to play. Whatever, my stuff, Freebird, Zeppelin, whatever you want... you say it, I play it."

We immediately started shouting out requests... one by one Martin filled the requests. The "crowd"(1) loved it. After each song ended there was another song shouted out and another song played. This went on time and time again. Finally Martin said:

"Really, if you say it I am going to play it. If that means I am here all night long, even if there are three damn people and me, I will be here". Who does that? About the time a typical concert would be wrapping up, I settled in and recognized this was something that would probably never happen again.

As the songs ran out, and the show drew to a close Martin said (speaking to his crew), "Well this has been the longest show ever by a how long? What? *pause* yeah". I don't know if anyone ever really answered him. It was just knowingly understood that it surpassed all others. That was right before the three encores.

Unselfishly trying to be respectful of our time…Martin began to wrap up by thanking us... then someone said to him “we have no where to go” so he gave us more! 

It has been said that Martin Sexton maybe the only artist who actually sounds better live then he does recorded with millions of dollars of re-mastery. John Mayer said that Martin Sexton is the best live performer he had ever seen. Billboard says he is the finest male singer/songwriter in recent memory. I say: The Martin Sexton concert was so epic that it could be the concerts all others are measured up to, but even I realize that the legendary night can not be the bar; it wouldn't be fair to all the other concerts. Marty- you're the apple of my eye.

(1) "Crowd" definition: Martin apparently signed with Atlantic Records back in the day but asked to be released of his contract with them because he cared about the music, not the money. This sucks for Atlantic, but means great things for the fans. Like tonight- I had more people at my Halloween party then at this concert. The venue only holds a couple hundred, and it wasn't even full. The annoying guy in the back row would say something in his normal speaking voice and Martin could hear him just fine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I really like the Fall; particularly October. Here is why: It is after summer, so people have just had the time of their lives and are in general content. It also is far enough into the new school year (or fiscal year for those in real jobs) that everyone is feeling comfortable and in the groove of things. But, the holidays aren't upon us yet... the end of the semester/calendar year is far enough away that that junk it isn't on the mind... so there is the absence of the hustle and bustle of the busy season and the holidays. And the weather! Crisp air, crisp apples, crisp leaves. Perfect. 

I like it as much as I like the color red... and that is a lot. Here is a list of colors I like, and the order in which I like them:
1. Red
2. (intentionally left blank)
109. Black
110. Purple
209. All other colors- they all tie for two-hundred and ninth place.

The point is I like red that much more then all the others. Same with Fall.

Another thing about Fall is that I always have high expectations, and they are always met. This Fall being no exception. Oh, and one more thing... I happen to like creepy things. NOT creepy people, that would make me a creepy person, and I just said I don't like creepy people. I do like creepy things. They add excitement, intrigue. Fall is full of creepy things. 

I will now give the people what they want: a picture essay detailing my Fall highlights.

After a hunted house- but before the mountain coaster. Waited in line for an hour, and guess what? Totally worth it. 
(Dani, Jen, Dave, Me, Kim, Travis, Carolyn)

Turns out McMullen's are a big deal in Cumberland, MD. We own the whole town. 

We found the Headquarters of History! 
(Travis, Kim, Me, Dave)

Halloween Night @ my Spooky Soiree 
(Me, Jonathan)

Halloween Night @ the pre-party dinner party 
(Me, Katie, Steph)

Buggy on the road in Amish Country, PA

Maple Leaves @ Shady Maple 
(Spencer, Brian, Sarah, Jim, Me, Ashlee)

Bonnet wearing fools @ Kitchen Kettle
 (Me, Ashlee)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Don't speak in absolutes. Ever.

On cnn.com today the headline was "Feds low rate doesn't save stocks". Oh, really? That's funny- it's only been one day. Language like that is what causes hysteria. Stop it. 

It's not that there are no absolutes in our lives; sure there are. But when you start speaking in absolutes it creates this false sense that there are no other outcomes...  Irrational teens often use this kind of language, "You never let me play outside" or "Everyone hates me". Sure, not everyone hates that kid. Just Johnny down the street hates that kid (it's just because that kid isn't allowed to play outside with him; otherwise they would be best friends. ) With kids, this language is excusable since their scope of time is so narrow and they have a limited breadth of experience to prove them wrong. 

Now in times of despair everyone is speaking in these down-trodden statements (see what I did there- I was kidding- not everyone is speaking with absolutes- that is ridiculous- but I made you think that everyone was and that possibly you too were to blame). 

It is especially annoying when people believe these absurd absolutes. So, to you I say: stop it. 

*credit to Geof Lory for some of these ideas, he always gets me thinking ;)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thanks Slick Willy

Today I will feature a guest blogger... from the past: Steve knew what was up. Below the picture you will find an interesting read from 1999. Enjoy.

Not that it matters, but if you are looking for someone to blame... I found him. It's tough to really say if it was Bill or Hill (she was the one really in charge).

Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

Published: September 30, 1999

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

''Fannie Mae has expanded home ownership for millions of families in the 1990's by reducing down payment requirements,'' said Franklin D. Raines, Fannie Mae's chairman and chief executive officer. ''Yet there remain too many borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required who have been relegated to paying significantly higher mortgage rates in the so-called subprime market.''

Demographic information on these borrowers is sketchy. But at least one study indicates that 18 percent of the loans in the subprime market went to black borrowers, compared to 5 per cent of loans in the conventional loan market.

In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

''From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us,'' said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. ''If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry.''

Under Fannie Mae's pilot program, consumers who qualify can secure a mortgage with an interest rate one percentage point above that of a conventional, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of less than $240,000 -- a rate that currently averages about 7.76 per cent. If the borrower makes his or her monthly payments on time for two years, the one percentage point premium is dropped.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, does not lend money directly to consumers. Instead, it purchases loans that banks make on what is called the secondary market. By expanding the type of loans that it will buy, Fannie Mae is hoping to spur banks to make more loans to people with less-than-stellar credit ratings.

Fannie Mae officials stress that the new mortgages will be extended to all potential borrowers who can qualify for a mortgage. But they add that the move is intended in part to increase the number of minority and low income home owners who tend to have worse credit ratings than non-Hispanic whites.

Home ownership has, in fact, exploded among minorities during the economic boom of the 1990's. The number of mortgages extended to Hispanic applicants jumped by 87.2 per cent from 1993 to 1998, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. During that same period the number of African Americans who got mortgages to buy a home increased by 71.9 per cent and the number of Asian Americans by 46.3 per cent.

In contrast, the number of non-Hispanic whites who received loans for homes increased by 31.2 per cent.

Despite these gains, home ownership rates for minorities continue to lag behind non-Hispanic whites, in part because blacks and Hispanics in particular tend to have on average worse credit ratings.

In July, the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed that by the year 2001, 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low and moderate-income borrowers. Last year, 44 percent of the loans Fannie Mae purchased were from these groups.

The change in policy also comes at the same time that HUD is investigating allegations of racial discrimination in the automated underwriting systems used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to determine the credit-worthiness of credit applicants.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Soviets need to be punished for their actions, thus I am calling them Soviets from now on... afterall, they are acting like they used to.

I hate Giant grocery stores... there are about a million reasons why, but mainly it's because I love Harris Teeter that much more.

Out of desperation the other day, and by the other day, I mean TWO WEEKS AGO (time frame is important in this story) I was running through the local Giant across the street from my house when I spotted a sight that made me gasp out loud:


I was appalled, so I checked the bag for a factory stamp. 2008, this loot was fresh. I was sick.

Now, I really can't get too pissed about the commercialization involved with them stocking for the holiday of holidays, they do it because it sells. Demand drives supply. I love capitalism, so I can't really be upset. But, this tale is not only to piss off our socialist soviet friends, but also to tell you that I was a bit excited. Why?

There are two holiday candy selections that I like to stock up on. Some will buy boxes of girl scout cookies to last through the cold bitter winters, but really, there are only two seasonal items worth such honor.

Exhibit A: Mini Cadbury Eggs

What would I do with a real, full size Cadbury egg? Nothing. But the mini ones; they are special.

Exhibit B: Candy Corn Kisses

Some people (most people) hate them. I am not those people. When Hershey's decided to come up with this exotic flavor, I had my doubts... I mean, no one knows what Candy Corn really is anyway, right? (Wikipedia doesn't even really know... they throw out words like "usually contains" and "may varry" in the entry... and they think they know everything over there at wikipedia, so for them to be iffy on the details says something).

They are nastily delicious. A phenomenon like when something hurts so good... black licorice is another example of a food that s nastily delicious. And again, only a few of us can appreciate the taste.
Anyway, Candy Corn kisses are for sale. Save me some.

P.S. Apparently last year Target- a big box, anti-local, discount department store, like Walmart but red instead of blue- had exclusive rights to sell the Candy Corn kisses. Another reason for the socialist soviets to hate this post and another reaon for me to love Candy Corn kisses and capitalism.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

August Adventures

So there I was, on the Yacht Harbor in Sausalito, California...

... and eating lunch over the bay- literally- the place is on stilts. I had a fine meal at Spinakers (I would recommend it). I also won a bet about the Bay Bridge- mom you still owe me that $500.


So there I was, enjoying a campfire on Ismailof Island in the Kachemak Bay...

... When I discovered a whale bone! This was right after eating the fresh shark and Alaskan salmon and chatting with Marian (she owns the island).


So there I was, exploring the private island of Halibut Cove...

... and discovered the not one, but two human skulls in the art studio of Diana Tillion. I am still concerned.


So there I was, after hiking to the backside of a glacier...

... and discovered this beautiful blue ice berg. Don't worry, we were packing bear spray.


So there I was, fishing in the deep seas off the southern coast of Alaska...

... when I caught this Miracle Fish! I still have the bruises from the fishing pole to prove it.


So there I was, at the Hick Fest in the hills of West Virginia...

... and I completely lost the ice cream eating contest!.... but this girl did ok:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beijing 2008 (so far): The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Everyday people can not get really involved in the ins and outs of foreign policy, of world domination… but every two years we are allowed to collectively come together to compete. Even if you are not an athlete, you can participate. The Games are just a front for what is really happening.

This year, the olympic waters run deep. There has been much more buzz around these games. It’s almost as if China has something to prove, because, well they do… if they plan on dominating the world, they better darn well be able to dominate the Olympics.

Everyone is sitting around waiting for the USA to lose our Superpower world force. History shows that countries can only sustain this position of power for a couple hundred years, and we are passing our prime.

Enter Michael Phelps. Sorry, China. But the swim team isn’t the only thing going on these days… right now we have more medals then any other country (as time of publishing, China still holds more gold, but its in things people don’t care about like weight lifting and judo).

Here is the deal: with the small stories, the big picture is painted… allow me to elaborate on three key elements that have been overshadowed by what really matters here: We beat France in the 400 relay.

The Good: My Girls

Following just behind Red China, the USA Women’s Gymnastic team has advanced to the team finals competition. To qualify, five gymnasts from each country competes on each event and the top four scores count towards the team score.

Right before the start of the qualifying round, Samantha Peszek heard her ankle pop while warming up Sunday… leaving her able to compete in only one event during the team qualification round and left her team shorthanded.

The team shaken-up, still competes. Someone jumps out of bounds during the floor exercise. Another falls completely on her backside during her dismount. And it continues…Despite their five major mistakes (all of which were not subjective, but automatic point deductions) my girls finished the qualifying round less than 1½ points behind China, our main rival for gold and world domination. The Russians are third.

Will it be Russia? Will it be China? The dollar is slipping, the Leader of the Free world is less then impressive, the girls are falling off the balance beam… and we are still able to stay strong.

The Bad: Opening Ceremonies

Dazzled by the dance, I sat in the comfort of my home and increasingly got more and more pissed as the ceremonies went on. They were beautiful, I was continually impressed with depth of art and work that went into putting on such a show… but wait a second. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WASTED THEIR LIVES FOR THIS.

That’s right… human resources were grossly misused. There were far too many mass dances and meticulous ceremonies with costumes that spent millions of dollars, and more importantly, millions of collective hours to produce.

I understand that China has tons of people and that a couple thousand is no big deal to them. But it is to me… it is to Georgia… it is wrong. What the hell are they doing spending their money, time, energy on making boxes raise up and down to music, only to discover it wasn’t computer generated, but HUMANS were under those boxes. No thanks. You know what Americans are good at? Being lazy. We use it to our advantage… we know that we need to produce the most amount of product for the least amount of energy. Another reason I am not afraid of losing power.

If this is what China has to offer, we don’t want it.

The Ugly: Bob Costas

UPDATE/EDIT: I forgot two important things...
1.) China is a commie country. That alone is enough to stop them.
2.) They are also cheaters... those little girls on their gymnastic team are like 10 1/2 years old. Seriously.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not OK

Finally we can have our guns in the District, but we can't roam around as a free man/woman. New "Neighborhood Safety Zones" (NSZ's) will be set up and literally have police checkpoints.That's right, if you want to roll down certain streets in the District you have to pass by our fascist police and tell them why you are there. So if you don't live there, work there, or have a "legitimate" reason to be there they will kick you out or arrest you. Just depends.
Define "legitimate"? I mean really:
I am going to check on my baby's mama, let me in the 'hood. Ok.
I am going to make a baby, let me in the 'hood. Ok
I am going to steal my baby, let me in the 'hood. No.
Right, sure, like anyone is going to be just tell the police what mayhem they are planning on doing once they are inside the fascist territory.
Another exciting part of this new plan is pedestrians will not be subject to the public safety checks:
You would like to go in there and shoot someone? Ok, but you gonna walk in there like a man!
Are we being kept out or are they being kept in?:
I think we all know the answer to this... I can think of a place in time where this happened... everyone wore badges on their arms identifying themselves. The General Government of the Nazi administration set up a similar plan back in Warsaw during WWII. Fail.
I know what you are thinking- the 14th Amendment, right? Apparently they took the "We the people of the United STATES" too literally again. We know, you are a district. We also know you are crazy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Fourth O' July

This may very well be my last Independence Day in DC... combine that with the fact that we have an overwhelming love of our Nation, and what is produced is the best Fourth ever.

Here is a rough time line of events from my fourth (yes, I started on Thursday, after all that is the day they sat down and signed the declaration) with a few notations.


Bonfire- well, it was supposed to be a bonfire, till we realized that we didn't come prepared to put out said fire... so we didn't want it to get too big. That and it was like 90 degrees out. So we kept the actual fire on the smaller side. It was fantastic though. Complete with a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. Of all the things happening on the 3rd of July, I am confidant that the spirits of John Hancock, Ben Franklin, & Co decided to come to our bonfire.


Fun Run- How can a run be fun? Make it short and theme it! Matt Waldrip wasn't going to stand for a pancake breakfast with out a fun run... so we made it happen. Everyone wore patriotic garb and set out to run the exhausting two blocks... Kristi and I hosted two water stations. Proper hydration is an important liberty we all share.

Pancake Breakfast- It takes a lot for me to be impressed by an event that I don't plan. I was impressed.

The Pool- Nothing is more American then stretching your entrepreneurial skills and getting a good 10 people in a pool with one pass for two.

BBQ- Yum. Well, Kyle put too much pepper in the pork, but other then that it was great ;)

Boat on the Potomac- They said it couldn't be done... but we had our own little miracle and secured a boat that took us from Old Town Alexandria, up to Georgetown, DC along the Potomac River... We then stopped and enjoyed the fireworks on the water. No better view of the fireworks in DC- framed by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

To start a bonfire- you need only one thing: a card carrying Eagle Scout! Thank you Joe Johnston.

But to really get the bonfire going, it needs to be hot! Thank you Katie Magleby & friend.

Good times had by all!

Fourth Fun Run:

Pancake Breakfast:

On The Potomac:

I had one of the best independence days to date...