Robert's House of Hamsters

Somewhere between Sacramento, the Oregon border and that tingly feeling in your toes.


An LOL before your HNY


Yes, another blog for you to ponder

Due to the fact I'm a total attention whore, I've created this blog:

MySpace Buzz.

All the interesting stuff the media is saying about MySpace, at one convenient site.

Oh, and Zuri's blog, Addi-Sports, is now in the blogroll.


No dissin' on DisorDat

My latest Internet addiction? Daily You Don't Know Jack.


An airing of grievances...

Today is the 23rd. This is, technically, the proper day for the celebration of Festivus, even though the Festivus party I went to was last night, where this happened, as filmed by KZ. (you can see me in the background laughing)

But, it would not be a proper celebration of Festivus if I did not participate in the Airing of Grievances. So, here they are:

*My first grievance is against the State of Oregon. Some of us don't mind pumping our own gas.

*My second grievance is about the near-impossibility to watch rugby or Australian Rules Football on television in the United States. Come on, people, it's worth it.

*My third grievance is directed to Ken Grossman. As I have recently relocated from Chico, please explain to me how, in 40 miles, the price of a six-pack of your beer goes up by more than a buck.

*My fourth grievance is directed to television news. It really annoys us newspaper folks when you're late to everything. Please be more punctual.

*My fifth grievance is directed to human biology. This issue of needing at least six hours a night to sleep is a bunch of crap. It would be very useful if I could spend some that time doing things like laundry. Couldn't it be something like three hours a night?

*My sixth grievance is directed to myself, because I'm already feeling tired of grievances and I'm stopping now. Have some more fortitude from now on!


Material happiness personified

Making over 32 bucks an hour...but you're working on Christmas while your family waits an hour's drive away.

Meanwhile, I've got buddies on the other side of the planet with boots of sand trying to not get blown up.

Oh, and one more thing...

...if all else fails to get power to the stove, check the $&#@ing breaker box.

My nomination for Idiot of the Week is firmly set.


Rum ba bum bum...

If there's one Christmas song that's always stuck out in my head, it's "The Little Drummer Boy."

I have multiple versions of the song to listen to on my computer and it's constantly been in my head for the last few days. I personally recommend the versions by Audio Adrenaline (because they're the best band on the planet) and Lonestar. (went Celtic and bluegrass with it, a double plus)

I think this song is on my mind for two reasons:

First, the theme. Here a bunch of kings giving these lavish gifts which don't really hit them hard in the pocketbook, while this poor kid gives what he can as well and it's all good.

Second, it reminds me of Happy Camp. At my old church back home, it was a regular Christmas event for John Bergen to perform "Little Drummer Boy" a capella. I think the notion of home is fairly strong for me this Christmas, since I'm working on it. Even though I'll still be getting to see my family, it's in Sacramento and not Happy Camp. So there's still something missing.

Anyways, here's to the ox and lamb keeping time.


Reason #45789587643.3 cell phones can sometimes suck (exaggerated)

Trigger Happy TV was such a cool show. I miss it.

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I'm online!

To celebrate, I'm posting a chain e-mail!

This came from my mom by way of aunt. At least I find it funny...

Christmas songs for the disturbed

* 1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

* 5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

* 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells



Wednesday is my night shift, so I used this morning to discover something interesting: It’s really odd being this close to Sacramento.

If you hit the traffic at just the right time, Sacramento is less than an hour’s drive from Yuba City. How much less than a hour’s drive I’m not going to say in order to keep those who read this blog that are related to me from complaining about driving too fast.

But, when my aunt was in Yuba City on Monday helping me unpack, she told me about the IKEA in West Sacramento. I printed off the directions while at work Tuesday and made the trip this morning.

For those unfamiliar with IKEA, they’re a Swedish-founded (but Dutch-owned) international chain of massive stores selling inexpensive furniture made even more inexpensive by the fact you assemble it yourself with picture-only instructions.

I’d never been in an IKEA before, but I don’t know why I needed to print off directions. That place was friggin’ massive, a mighty blue cube along the left side of westbound Interstate 80. How IKEA stores aren’t noticible from outer space is beyond me. When I get internet back in my house, I’m looking up IKEA stores on Google Earth just to be further boggled by the size.

IKEA stores also have restaraunts offering a mix of American and Swedish food. I took the big breakfast. (redneck for “moderately-sized but toward the small side breakfast") This is eggs, potatoes, a couple pieces of bacon, a Swedish pancake and a cup of coffee. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Swedish pancake (turns out I was expecting the wrong flavor—they’re potato-based) but the potatoes were excellent.

When my aunt told me IKEA furniture was cheap, she wasn’t kidding. I wound up getting a computer desk, end table, television stand/table and a metal wastebasket for less money than I paid for the two floor lamps at Target.

Of course, I’m singing IKEA’s praises now, but I had to head straight for work after getting back to Yuba City, so I haven’t had to deal with trying to assemble these things.

We’ll see how that goes before I pass final judgement.

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Apartments are great, but apartments with food are better.

I did bring down a few dry goods from Chico—mostly cans of chili/soup and boxes of Rice-A-Roni and Hamburger Helper.

Small problem, though—my apartment is supposed to be getting a built-in microwave installed and, for some reason, my stove is not connected to electric power, likely for that reason.

So, even though I had food, I had no way to cook most of it, or effectively boil water. A trip to WinCo was on the way.

For those unfamiliar with WinCo, it’s a West Coast chain of large grocery stores (interestingly enough, the letters in WinCo are the first letters of the states they’re in—Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California and Oregon. Thanks, Wikipedia!)

I was first exposed to the WinCo in Medford, liked it and wound up shopping there for pretty much the whole time I lived in Chico. By luck, there’s also a WinCo in Yuba City.

At the moment, the Yuba City WinCo is throwing me for a loop. You see, it’s set up identical to the WinCo in Chico—except everything is in reverse.

No joke, similar to the letter, but backwards. General flow of traffic is counter-clockwise rather than clockwise. I just felt wrong.

I also began to create a list of food items I’m going to miss from Chico:

1) $5 six-packs of Sierra Nevada.
2) Basque Norte marinade
3) Cheaper booze in general.
4) Thai food—you’re the man, Simon!

I’ll probably add to the list as time goes on.

Even with the trip, my food options were limited…you know, no stove. So I wound up buying a package of pre-formed hamburger and cooking them all on my George Foreman grill. That should be good for a few days, whenever they’re supposed to get in and get the damn stove taken care of.

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So I woke up at my apartment in Chico early Monday morning (about 6 a.m.), not out of nervousness, but because I had inevitably fallen behind in packing my stuff. My uncle was coming in two hours and I still had a few boxes to fill.

I was able to get most of it by the time he showed up. He had a trailer in addition to his truck, which we wound up needing for my furniture, even though I wasn’t taking all I had in there with me.

On that note, my apologies to Mr. Corey Thompson, as myself and Nick were unable to fulfill his final request for his computer desk.

Anyhow, by 10:30 my uncle and I were on the road to Yuba City, leaving behind just a few items from my closet and walls and some of my cleaning supplies. We passed a rather nasty accident above Gridley. I mean u-g-l-y. That sports car didn’t have a front end anymore.

I have this note on getting stuff into my Yuba City apartment: If you thought just having to pack your crap was bad, wait until you’re moving it up a flight of stairs. Sucks major.

Needless to say, I was thankful when my aunt came up from Sacramento about an hour after my uncle headed back to Redding. I let her handle that one job I didn’t want to do—organizing the kitchen—while I took care of my bedroom.

I did get a compliment from my aunt on the quality of my apartment, which was important considering she was also doing the spy job for my mom. I forgive her, because she alerted me to the fact there’s an IKEA in West Sacramento (more on that to come.)

At this point, I was turning stiffer than David Duke at an Al Sharpton speech if I sat down for more than five minutes at a time. But I was so tired I didn’t want to move.

Yet I still wound up going to Target and buying two floor lamps, primarily because my bedroom had no lighting.

The 10 o’clock energy boost hit, and I wound up staying up to watch Headlines. (well, there’s that and I had to do laundry because I had no clean clothes for work the next morning)

Thus ended Day 1 in Yuba City. More exciting stuff to come.

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Can going dumb keep the A's in Oakland?

Well, these two guys are willing to give it a try. Personally, anything that avoids the risk of having another dumb-ass Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim-style team naming is all right with me:


Child of the 90s

This wound up being a bulletin on MySpace, which is where I stole it from:

You're a 90's kid if:

You remember watching Doug, Ren & Stimpy, Pinky and the Brain, and Two Stupid Dogs.

AAAAAAAH! Real monsters.

You've ever ended a sentence with the word "SIKE!"

You just cant resist finishing this... "Iiiiiiin west Philadelphia born and raised..."

You remember TGIF on ABC. Step by Step, Family Matters, Dinosaurs, and Boy Meets World.

You remember when, 2Pac and Selena died.

You remember when it was actually worth getting up early
on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

You got super excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

You remember reading "Goosebumps."

You took plastic cartoon lunch boxes to school.

You remember the craze, then the banning of slap bracelets and slam books.

You still get the urge to say "NOT" after (almost) every sentence...Not...

You used to listen to the radio all day long just to record "Your FAVORITE song of ALL time."

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Captain Planet. He's a Hero.

You remember when Super Nintendos and Sega Genesis became popular.

You always wanted to send in a tape to America's Funniest Home Videos... but never taped anything funny.

You remember watching home alone 1, 2 , and 3........and tried to pull the pranks on "intruders."

You remember watching The Magic School Bus, Wishbone, and Reading Rainbow on PBS.

You remember those Where's Waldo books.

You remember when Mortal Kombat Was "Da Bomb"!

You remember eating Warheads.(those sour candies.)

You remember watching the 1st Batman, Aladdin, Ninja Turtles, and 3 Ninjas movies.

You remember Ring Pops.

You remember drinking Fruitopia and Surge.

If you remember when every thing was "da BOMB"

When they made the new Lunchables so that you could make tacos and pizza!!

You remember "boom boxes" vs. cd players

Writing M.A.S.H. notes. (and the twenty different versions of that.)

Making those little paper fortune cookie things.. and then predicting your life with them.

You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell"

You haven't always had a computer...and u lived without the internet.

You watched the original cartoons of Rugrats, Power Rangers,and Ninja Turtles.

You had a favorite New Kid on the block, and you knew all of their names

Michael Jordan was a king.

Yikes pencils and erasers were the stuff!

All your school supplies were "Lisa Frank" brand.

You remember when the new Beanie Babies and talking Elmo were always sold out.

Growing Pains.

Care Bears and The Gummy Bear show.

Gak was the coolest thing invented.

Lambchop's song never ended.

The old dollar bills.

Silver dollars, were cool to have.

You remember a time before the WB.

You collected all the Troll dolls.

You owned a portable tape player.

If you even know what an original walkman is.

You remember wanting to sit on the orange Nickelodeon couch.

You've gotten creeped out by "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

You know the Macarena by heart.

"Talk to the hand" ... enough said.

You always said, "Then why don't you marry it!"

You know the significance of the number 23.

You remember POGS and Slammers

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Packing sucks...

You never realize how much crap you have until it's time to pack it all.

Right now I've got a bunch of dishes going in the dishwasher, a pile of dirty clothes which closely resembles a miniature Mt. Shasta and too many damn boxes to count.

I've been too busy to call AT&T/formerly SBC/formerly Pac Bell or PG&E for utilities (well, there's power at my apartment, it's just the complex is paying for it and I don't want to start off on a bad foot.) Also, I'm going to have to get overpriced Comcast cable at my new apartment.

Needless to say, I've got to press on and get through all the packing tonight, since my uncle and possibly one of my cousins is showing up here at 8 in the morning with a trailer to haul all my stuff down to Yuba City. Another aunt will be coming up from Sacramento to help out with getting settled in (hopefully she can also scout for more things that need to be written on The Move-In Of Everything Wrong With The Apartment.

I'll be back in Chico next weekend to do the bulk of my cleaning at this apartment, since I can't officially kiss it good-bye until the 27th.

There's also my work benefits and Xmas shopping for the 'rents to do.

These little moments are brought to you by Life. (the experience, not the breakfast cereal)

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Oh, snap!

Interesting site I came across today is Wii Have A Problem...

Apparently, with a combination of low tensile strength and overenthusiastic gamers, flying Nintendo Wii remotes (the motion-sensitive controllers) are causing some serious damage to walls, televisions and windows.

Nintendo's president says they are looking into it. Yeah, might be a good idea. Better to spend a few more cents on stronger cords than to have a bunch of lawsuits over plasma screens with remote-shaped holes.

For an example, check out this video to see what the issue is.

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Youth sports asshattery

If you want to know why I've had a slight cringe whenever I was assigned to cover youth sports, this letter to the editor in today's Chico Enterprise-Record (which I don't write for, for the record) should pretty much explain it.

Forking over a bunch of cash doesn't give you carte blanche on the sidelines, jackass. And the eye-exam line makes you look like even more of a moron.

Bet your kid is really proud of you. Then again, it appears as though it wouldn't take much for the kid to be the more mature one.

I'm watching YOU, too!

It's fun having a traffic counter on this blog. Here are some of things I'm learning:

*Among the countries to hit this blog have been usual international suspects Canada, Australia and the UK, along with Germany, Poland, the Philippines and Jamaica. Ya, mon.

*The city with the most hits besides Chico? Medford, Oregon. Hi to all my aunts and cousins.

*Six people hit me up from the link on my comment on Ryan Sabalow's blog. Thanks for letting me traffic leech, Sabalow!

*Totally random cities showing up (for which I have no explanation): Newport, KY; Plano, TX and Madison, WI.


A reporter's worth

At a message board for one of the areas my new paper covers, this comment was posted about my paper offering a half-price subscription special (which a lot of papers do during the holiday season):

When we wanted to renew so that we wouldn't have to miss any papers they wouldn't cut us a decent deal so we stopped the paper delivery.just a short time later this half off offer came out,guess we aren't that only ones that feel the paper is over priced.You can now subscribe at $36.00 for six months,$72.00 a year.

I didn't include the part where the paper's name was misspelled multiple times (there's only one "e" in "Democrat," folks)

But it's the "overpriced" comment that got to me, and I've only been with the paper two weeks.

Normally, a year-long subscription to the paper I write for is $129.60. Sure, sounds expensive, but break that down by the 365 papers produced every year (Yes, there are papers on holidays--I know this because I'm not going to get to see my family on Christmas) and it comes out to less than 36 cents per day for the newspaper.

By comparison, at the newsstand price, a year would come out to roughly $208.

I won't be self-centered and consider just the local copy. There's also special sections produced (heck, the housing development town this particular person lives in has it's own small publication my paper produces) plus there's insert advertising that, on some days, could offer a coupon that saves the person more than the 36 cents being paid for the paper.

Not to mention, if you look at it on a monthly basis (little more than 10 bucks), a newspaper subscription is significantly less than people pay for cable/satellite, telephone, morning coffee, etc.

But I think what bugs me about this more than anything (now I'll be self-centered) is saying 36 cents is "overpriced" for something I work for, something I put a large amount of time into. Something I'm currently driving for over two hours every day and burning up 60 bucks a week in gasoline, even with my gas-sipping Japanese compact, in order to help produce. That's not worth 36 cents to some people. Nor is the work of over 100 other people that work at the paper as well (there's more beyond the editorial department)

Your two cents (only 34 more to go): How would your work not being worth 36 cents to people make you feel?