For nearly 3 months now I’ve been sans cell phone. I’ve actually been torn between enjoying being completely “off the grid” and being able to call people in a pinch. Well, it couldn’t last forever and now with my wife’s AT&T contract expired, we’re free to get away from the great devil phone company and get us both phones at a company that doesn’t suck the souls out of it’s customers.

That would be T-mobile. Sure, they’re not 100% perfect, but I’ve never dropped a call in the Houston area on a T-mobile phone. AT&T on the other hand, drops calls for my wife nearly every day.

Now my biggest hurdle is the phone itself. It seems that, following a complete removal from the T-mobile website and store fronts, my phone of choice, the Motorola KRZR K1, is either discontinued or being replaced with something else. I’m actually kind of upset about this. It was the perfect phone. It was the single most hackable piece of technology I had ever used up until recently when I got my DS. It was great. You could put just about any java game or app on there, load it up with MP3s as ring tones, all sorts of stuff, all with minimal effort. I’ll be very disappointed if there’s no equivalent to replace it.

That brings me to the lack of suitable other choices. There’s really only three that I’d consider in my price range. From Motorola, the W490 and the ROKR and the Samsung Katalyst. I used to really like Nokia phones, but the Nokia selection that’s available to T-mobile is really kinda weak. The Nokia 6263 is really the only thing I’d consider from that camp, and that’s more of a last resort sort of option. Actually, so is the Katalyst. Crackberries are right out. Not even going down that road.

That leaves me with a phone that’s a step below the phone I want, or essentially the same phone only in a form factor I don’t like. Awesome choices huh?

Then of course, there’s stories like this here and here. 16 new phones for T-Mobile coming in July/August. Crap. Now what do I do? Wait another month? Granted, nearly half of the announced new phones are Nokia and most of those are “budget” phones that will probably replace the current “free” phones that come with new plans, but still. Point is that new phones are landing this month and I’d be pretty pissed if I got a phone tomorrow only to find out that it’s discontinued and replaced with something else by Friday.

I hate phones. Can’t we just go back to parchment paper and carrier pigeons?

I’m so tired

I’m emotionally and physically drained, with no vacation in sight. I’m so tired that I’m letting weird things get to me.

What I heard on the radio this afternoon made me so pissed off that I came right home, sat down, and started typing what you’re reading now. What I heard were two things, both Obama related. First, that FISA had passed easily, and that Obama had not only not filibustered it like he had said he was going to but that he actually voted for it. The second was a sound bite in which he says we shouldn’t worry about immigrants learning English, but that all our kids should be learning Spanish.

Now, I should preface my opinion by saying that over the past few months, he had been growing on me as a candidate. Hilary was scary, and McCain is downright crazy, which left only Obama as someone to vote for. Sure, I didn’t agree with a few things here and there, but in general, he wasn’t too bad and I could see myself going that way in November. Now I’m not so sure.

FISA is a huge deal. If anyone talks to you about it and says it’s nothing to worry about, check them for wires or a high fever because something isn’t quite right with them. It’s not so much a big deal that it gives the government more freedom to wiretap whoever they feel like, because lets face it, they were going to do that anyway. We’ve all seen enough suspense/conspiracy movies to be totally convinced that they were going that direction anyway. What is a bigger deal is that they gave wide sweeping and total immunity to any of the companies helping them, retroactively. Again, we all knew they were doing it, but under things like the Freedom of Information act, we could find out about them. Now, not only can we not find out what they’re doing, but we can’t find out what they’ve already done. They’ve already built rooms for sifting through all our phone calls and data, but now we can’t call them out on it. It’s complete bullshit from start to finish. Complete crap and Obama voted for it. Most pundits will say that he did it so that he wouldn’t give republicans ammo for the general election about how he was “soft” on terrorists. Too bad this has about as much to do with terrorist as an ice cream cone and, more importantly, he should be confident enough in his own record and (most importantly) his beliefs that he shouldn’t have to worry about what the big bad republicans might run in a TV spot against him. Fine, he doesn’t look “soft” on terrorism, now he just looks soft on civil liberties and protecting The Constitution! Way to go Obama camp.

Secondly, I’ve listened to the full sound-byte about him and learning Spanish about a thousand times now. I’m not as pissed about that as some people I’ve heard talking about, mostly because radio fuck-tard pundits are running the shortened version of that which cuts out the end where he actually ties it together. He’s saying that the Mexican immigrant should learn English and that we should learn Spanish to be more multi-cultural, just like Europe. That all our kids should be “multi-lingual” because it’s important to understand other cultures and be more “worldly”. I’m not saying it’s ok, just that the actual meaning of his comment seems to have been skewed from that to “they’re coming anyway, so you might as well learn Spanish”. That’s not what the man said, and shouldn’t be taken that way, as some in the media will no doubt do anyway.

Having said that, I have a problem with his actual message. I was going to say that we can be as “multi-cultural” as we want but then I realized that we already are. We have every kind of restaurant in the world, the supermarkets have food from all different places, our book stores carry things in dozens of languages, classes are offered in public high-schools to speak those other languages. Let me say this very clearly.

We are already diverse.

We’re more diverse than any European country you could name. What’s worse is that we A) don’t realize it and B) are afraid when people criticize us for not being diverse enough. We’re pussies. Sorry to be blunt about it, but we are. I don’t know when it happened or when it’s going to end, but somewhere along the way we became more concerned about making everyone feel welcome and making everyone else happy that we’ve bent so far backwards that we’re losing our identity as a nation. We are the melting pot country. That’s what makes us great. But we’re already that county, we don’t need to try and become that country.

Let me tell you something. In Mexico, when you call a business or a toll-free number, there is NO option to “Push 1 for English, Push 2 for Spanish”. It’s 100% Spanish. I know because I’ve called them. Our company has offices all over the world. There is no other country that gives a shit that you don’t speak their language. More importantly, if you talk to someone who’s actually from Mexico, which I’ve had the chance to do on thousands of occasions, they are extremely patriotic. They love their home country. They wear the flag, the hat, go to soccer game to cheer on Mexican teams over US teams. When the World Cup was here, 95% of the people living in Houston cheered for the Mexican football team when they were playing against the US. They love their county and are extremely proud of it. The reason that they are here in the first place is to get ahead because the economy in their country sucks, and they’re trying to create a better life for themselves, and I can respect that. But you could never ever ask one of them to give up their love for Mexico.

If you told the Mexican people that they could come here in droves, freely, BUT that their country had to stop speaking Spanish and be 100% bilingual, they’d never do it. They have such pride in their culture that they’d never change it’s roots. That’s something we don’t have any more. That kind of national pride to keep heritage no matter what.

They’d never change, Europe would never change, Asia would never change but everyone is asking us to change. “Open up your culture and your languages and your borders” they say, when they’d never do the same if our rolls were reversed.

I believe that too. Somehow we’ve gone from a culture of “embracing” other cultures to “changing for” other cultures. Please, by all means, come here, stay, enjoy. Share with us your cooking, your culture, your music and your languages, but accept ours as well. Americanism isn’t “a collection of cultures” it’s become a melded culture of it’s own. A culture that started diverse but has blended over time to become the great country it is today. The language of our country is English. It’s the common ground that everyone here can get to.

I’m all for being worldly and learning new things and new languages. But we should be proud of heritage we have. The Russians, 1 language. The Chinese, 1 language. The French, 1 language. Canada? 2 languages, and the French Canadians walk all over those people because they think they have a right to. Is that what we want? McDonalds menus in two languages? Stop signs that say “Stop/Alto”. I don’t think so.

So, the next time someone tells you to “be more diverse and accepting of other cultures”, ask them to change their culture instead. And if you meet a snooty European that thinks we’re all intolerant bigots, just tell them to go see if the Arabs want to learn Hebrew to “be more diverse” and see what happens.

Fuck political correctness and any candidate that bows to it (that’s all of them). I’m not voting for any of these assholes.

Awesome weekend

It’s Monday, and I’m back to the grind. But that isn’t going to stop me from reveling in what was a truly epic weekend. For starters, mid-day on Friday I got the call from my old boss that he had two tickets to the Red Sox game against the Houston Astros. Not only were they impossible to get tickets, they were club level, as in IN the club. This was the first time that the Sox had ever been to Houston so you bet your ass that I was going. I grabbed my buddy Dane, got the tickets and headed to the stadium early. We got there early enough to catch batting practice and have a couple crappy hotdogs and a beer before the game started. The seats were out of this world. First base side, looking right at the base, row 4, club box.

It was a fantastic game. Sox won. Dice K and Paps pitched with some help from Manny Del Carmen in the middle. JD Drew parked one in deep right. Good solid game. Of course, I brought the camera.


More photos in the Photo Gallery.

I also had a great day on Saturday being all manly with the guys from church. We had rented a jack-hammer to break up an old patio Brady had in his backyard so we all took turns running the jack while everyone else watched. It was actually kind of fun. Saturday night we had some awesome fajitas with Matt & Melinda and then Sunday we got to see Wall-E, which deserves a post of its own (which I’ll write up soon) for how awesome it was. One of the best movies this summer and definitely one of Pixars finest.

All in all, a great weekend.

Matt out.