Saturday, 15 January 2005: Why is it that something ceases to operate just when you need it the most?
This happened to Katie and I this weekend. During the coldest days of the year, thus far, the furnace went on the blink. On Thursday night, the "auto" function on the thermostat/furnace went out. However, the "on" function was still operable. So we assumed that it was a thermostat problem and purchased a new one on Friday and installed it Friday night. However, after installing the new one, neither the "auto" nor the "on" functions worked. For two nights, we slept in a townhouse that was 52 degrees cold.
On Saturday, we had a repair guy come out and fix it. Apparently, the clothes dryer (which is in the same room) was sending small amounts of lint over to the furnace which was clogging up the burners and starter thus inhibiting them from working. Not a good thing, but at least it's fixed.
Heat = happiness.
Friday, 14 January 2005: Along the vein of the Muppet Jim Henson I shared with you all back in December, this one was just too good to not let you know about. In February, Playskool Toys (now a division of Hasbro) is releasing an all-new Mr. Potato Head. And he's getting one helluva makeover...
Playskool calls him Darth Tater. I, myself, prefer Tater Vader, but who am I? Nobody, that's who. Just an average joe with a great idea for a toy name.
I still like him, though.
Thursday, 13 January 2005: Anybody who really knows me understands my penchant for cartoon violence. Heck, I was weened on Beavis & Butthead and Ren & Stimpy. Can you get much more violent in an animated medium? Well, I answered that question today by following a random link on the OT.com forums.
What I found on the other end of this link was something known as Happy Tree Friends. I thought it would be something ridiculously stupid. It is. But it's funny as hell as well. A bunch of cute and cuddly woodlands creatures who find death in the most gruesome ways possible.
If you have the time and a good sense of humor, check them out... Happy Tree Friends.
Wednesday, 12 January 2005: No, Katie and I did not go to the gym last night as we had originally planned. Okay, fine, you can call us slackers, but we do have a good reason. We went out with a couple of friends last night. Just about an hour before my day at work was going to end, Katie called me and asked if I wanted to go to dinner at Chili's with her chem friend, Vanessa, and her boyfriend, Billy. We've gone out with them before and it was fun, so I said, "sure, why not."
While at Chili's, we all talked about how we needed to go to the gym (gotta love how talk of the gym coincides with eating out) and we all decided we would go to our respective gyms pretty soon after dinner. Then somebody threw out the idea of going to a movie. So much for the gym. That idea got tossed aside like a sweaty gym towel. Instead, we all went to see National Treasure.
You know what I've discovered? If you have rock-bottom expectations for a movie or just have no clue what it's about, it can be thoroughly enjoyable. As was the case with National Treasure which I had no desire up to this point to see. So I went in with few to no expectations, and it was a lot of fun. It was basically a modernized Indiana Jones sort of tale. Not the greatest acting, but this is a popcorn flick, you should expect it to just be fun and highly unbelievable, both of which apply here. I recommend it. The review is coming soon.
So to Vanessa and Billy, thank you for a fun night. Hope to have another one soon!
Tuesday, 11 January 2005: Unless you've been living under a rock (or listening solely to country music stations on your radio), then you have probably heard of a "mash up." For those unfamiliar, a mash up occurs when a particularly talented mix master or DJ takes two or more existing songs and mixes them together. I am not one such mix master. However, there are many people out there with quite a bit of talent in the field.
One such guy is Party Ben out of San Francisco. For the most part, he mashes songs together for his Sixx Mixx radio show on Live 105 (105.3 FM) in San Francisco. But he also has many of these mash ups available for download from his site. And some of them are really spectacular. If you have an MP3 player and a love of techno or hip hop (most of his mash ups have some form of a techno or hip hop backbeat to them), then check out PartyBen.com.
If you want particular track recommendations, then shoot for U2 vs. Way Out West "Vertigo (Breaks Mix)," Incubus vs. No Doubt "Hellamaniac," Madonna vs. New Order "Bizarre Light Triangle," Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs. Andrea Dorea "Bucci Maps," and Chic vs. Beastie Boys vs. Franz Ferdinand "Chic Franzie Boys." Some pretty good stuff here.
Another good site from which to download music of the amateur or semi professional variety is MacJams.com. This site hosts music that is made by the common man both with instruments or just electronic. But one of the rules of the site is (and this is not really a hard and fast rule, per se) that the music should be mixed using Mac's Garage Band software. I've found some great stuff on this site such as Chattabox, Stun Nutz (my friend Eric), and ronnielong. I don't have any songs on the site, but I do have a user profile (the wonderfully original Kevin Apgar). My homepage lists a bunch of the artists and tracks that I like so check them out. If you register on the site (no cost involved), you can rate songs and download them.
A final site I've recently discovered is HipHop-Battles.com. It's quite a bit like an online version of the rap battles that you may or may not have seen in Eminem's movie 8 Mile. Just without the live aspect and the potential for post-jam violence. This is a British site and you may need to register (again, free) so you can download the MP3 files and rate the jams. Good stuff though.
And if you have any recommendations for other sites that host good music, please e-mail me with the URLs.
Monday, 10 January 2005: After a hiatus that has felt like nearly forever and has also left me feeling relatively empty, 24 is back on the air! And in pretty grand style to boot. The two-hour premiere was last night and there was another two hours of the show tonight. That's one-sixth of the show already having aired in a matter of two nights. But it also allows Fox the chance to get in last minute ratings during May Sweeps as the last of the remaining 20 episodes would fall pretty close to the end of the month. That'll be a big one. Likely to be commercial free as well. We can hope, right?
Sunday, 9 January 2005: Jen and Brad broke up. Meh. Okay, whatever.
Moving on to more pressing matters in the world...
Oh, and I need to apologize to all of you who may have thought you should have been one of the "chosen few" (as per my December 1, 2004, post) who would receive a Christmas card from Katie and me with information about our new townhome. No, it's not that you're not special, more like we're slackers. We haven't sent them out yet. So don't feel unloved... just yet. We're doing a Happy New Years card (which, by virtue of the name, could really be given out anytime) along with our moving announcement. We need to take a new picture and then it will be ready to send.
So, ideally, if you haven't heard from us via USPS by the end of the month, then you can feel slighted. 'Til then, this is a gripe-free zone.