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4 posts from February 2005

Oldies: Sunday, February 20 - Saturday, February 26, 2005...

Friday, 25 February 2005: I think this will be Katie's and my time to catch up on some Oscar-nominated films. I finished watching Maria Full of Grace today and it was good. We also own Ray (we bought it when it first came out), but have yet to watch it. That should change in the next day or two. Last night, we were planning on seeing Million Dollar Baby. Unfortunately, those plans fell through. But we still want to see it and will likely do so in the next day or two. Maybe even on Sunday just before the Oscars start. It wouldn't be the first time we've seen a nominated film on the day of the Oscars. We did it some years ago with.

Thursday, 24 February 2005: Hey Scott, I know you're likely to read this before I have a chance to talk to you. Well, head out to Best Buy and ask for some money back. You just bought your 40GB iPod Photo last week for $450 or whatever it was. I just saw it at Best Buy today marked down to $379 because the 40 Gig is being discontinued in favor of the new 30GB iPod Photo. Run, man, before it's too late.

Girl at Best Buy told me you have two weeks from your date of purchase to try to get money back.

Tuesday, 22 February 2005: In light of what happened to me yesterday, you'd think I would be a bit tentative about trying anything risky with regards to computers, right? Nope. I jumped right in today and completely overhauled the operating system of my baby... my G3 PowerBook Lombard. Not some little OS upgrade either. I jumped from OS 9.2 up to X.3 Panther. I must be suicidal.

I've been wanting to upgrade the OS in this laptop for some time now but have been completely and utterly afraid of whether or not it would work well considering my laptop is only a G3 and a 400MHz processor. I've had many people reassure me that it would be okay and that it might even run faster. Apparently, that's the effect that versions of OSX has on PowerPC Macs regardless of age (okay, maybe not all of them, but mine was supposed to be great with it).

So I took the plunge and finally did it.

It's working great. I'm loving it because now all the Macs I work on are on a pretty level playing field in terms of OS and software. I like it. A lot.

Monday, 21 February 2005: If you are not in the mood for reading a rant, a long, blood-curdling, hate-spewing, seas-of-fire rant from hell, please click here.

For those of you still here, don't say I didn't warn you.

So I get to work today and break out my Cruzer Mini drive (the thumbdrive that contains all the files for this website as well as all my personal and academic files) and pop it in the USB drive of my computer to update this site. Lo and behold, I get a data I/O error, something I've never seen before on my Mac. I try to load it again, same thing. So I try to open files another way and discover that somehow or another, my thumbdrive was corrupted. Nearly half the files on my drive would not read no matter what I tried to do to save them.

ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

There are few things that fill me with more anger than having something computer-based crap out on me and not be able to do a damn thing about it.

I immediately began downloading all the files from the web server that hosts my site back down to my thumbdrive. I figure, at least they're backed up on the server.

But this isn't going to help me at all with my personal and academic files. So I start sifting through and trashing anything that I don't absolutely need. My next step was to attempt to open each and every one of the remaining "necessary" files and see what will and what won't open. Photos were pretty much shot as were any graphics projects I had saved on there. Video files still seemed to work, but they were relatively unnecessary, so I pitched them anyway. Then I broke into all my class files for the MBA program. To my horror, about 75% of them were corrupted and would not open.

I called IT thinking it was just some virus problem and had them install SOPHOS virus protection. To no avail. The files were truly corrupted and I have no choice, really, but to pitch them. Some of the files can be replaced with copies my professors have, but that only covers two out of the six classes I've taken.

I'm still holding on to the corrupted MBA files just in case someone knows a way to fix them. But I also finished cleaning up everything else and burning it to a CD while I reformatted my thumbdrive and then reloaded the files back on there. I finally finished just before 2 o'clock this afternoon.

I am crying and screaming inside simultaneously.

I need a Fukitol. Maximum strength.

Sunday, 20 February 2005: Did anyone else watch tonight's episode of The Simpsons? In order to reestablish Springfield as a tourist friendly town, the townspeople decide to declare themselves a place where gay people can get married legally. When Reverend Lovejoy refuses to perform the ceremonies, Homer becomes ordained via the internet.

It was really a funny and creative episode and it reminded me of my own internet ordaining of several years past. Yep, I am an ordained minister. Of course, it's in the Church of Beer. How a propos, eh? Well, it worked for me. Wonder if any ceremonies I perform would be legally binding? I can think of several people that would likely want to be married in the Church of Beer. Ah, the reception...


Oldies: Sunday, February 13 - Saturday, February 19, 2005...

Saturday, 19 February 2005: I am so proud of my brother-in-law, Scott. He has taken the first step towards completely jumping ship from the Evil Empire of PCs to the Wonderful World of Mac.

Yes, he bought a 40GB iPod today. A beautiful way to start the transformation, indeed. Not only does he have an iPod with 25 more Gigs than mine, but he's got a color screen. It's awe inspiring, let me tell you.

Now, we just need him to go all out and buy a new Mac to replace his Gate's-of-Hell-Way desktop computer.

Thursday, 17 February 2005: Despite this rightfully being Katie's week for gifts (okay, I suppose I'm entitled on Valentine's Day), she bought a gift for me online and it came in the mail yesterday. It's something I've been wanting for a while and, even though Katie has repeatedly told me to buy one, I keep forgetting to go ahead and actually order. So, last night, she presents me with my gift... a T-shirt from CBGB (& OMFUG).

CBGB is a rock n' roll club in New York City (despite the fact that the name stands for Country, BlueGrass and Blues). I have always wanted a shirt from CBGB and have always wanted to see a show in their hallowed hall. That place is one of the most renowned names in rock n' roll. Almost any rock, punk, or underground act that is located on or near the east coast tries to play there. And many from even further away.

I really want to go there desperately. A T-shirt is a very good start. Thanks, hon.

Oh, and she got one for herself as well. While mine is charcoal grey, her's is red. Very cool.

Unfortunately, we have to exchange them both. They are cut pretty small and our normal sizes don't fit either of us. I dropped them in the mail today and hope to have the new ones back in a week or two. I can't wait to start wearing it.

Now, let's hop a flight to NYC.

If anyone out there would like a little more information about CBGB, check out this pretty exhaustive history of the club written by founder and owner Hilly Kristal. The website calls it "brief"; it is anything but.

Wednesday, 16 February 2005: Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday, dear Katie... Happy birthday to you!

This morning, I woke her up with strawberry pancakes and her gift, a sapphire and diamond necklace. Really pretty and it looks good on her. I wanted to get her a necklace with a stone in it that matches some of the stones in her wrap. Of course, she followed up the thank you with, "now I just need the earrings!" This was followed by her goofy, big smile. The kind that says, "I don't really mean it, but if you were to happen to buy me some in the future, I wouldn't be opposed." Guys know how this goes.

Drop Katie a Happy Birthday wish.

Update: I met up with Katie for lunch today at Applebee's and, being the moron that I am, I show up at Chili's. Go fig, eh? Well, when I finally made my way to the proper restaurant, I arranged for the whole sundae and balloon treatment for Katie. When the balloons showed up, she got her typical shade of red, looked at me, and said, "I hate you" in the way that people being embarrassed would say it. Everybody within earshot was laughing. It was great. You could tell she loved it. She may have been cursing and swearing my very existence, but she loved it.

Monday, 14 February 2005: Happy Valentine's Day, hon.

I'm kinda sorry we already exchanged gifts as it doesn't really leave much for today. But, then again, Katie is working tonight so we wouldn't really have had that much time to do anything.

In fact, how did I spend Valentine's Day? After work, I was at the gym for a little over an hour. Then I ran a couple of errands. Next came some more home renovation as I hung a couple shelves in our office as well as the blinds and a valance over the windows. And all this handyman stuff happened during the commercials between segments of 24. Good episode, by the way.

Romantic, eh? Hey, nothin' says lovin' like working around the house, eh?

I'll make breakfast in bed for Katie tomorrow (didn't do it today because this is one of her only chances to sleep in; so I like to let her).

Sunday, 13 February 2005: It has been a while since Katie and I have been to the theater on a regular basis like the good ol' days. This weekend, we took a step towards remedying that situation. On Friday, we saw Hitch and on Sunday, we saw In Good Company. Both were pretty good films and worth the money we spent to get the tickets.

The only real downside was that we saw Hitch in a theater that we generally think of as rather ghetto in comparison to where we normally go. We had no choice because we wanted to see it that night and it was the only local theater with a showtime that worked with our schedule. So we went. And we will never go there again. Horrible sound and picture and it was full of teenaged girls shrieking into our ears from the row behind us. My god, what dirty whores. Heh heh. Couldn't resist.

If you're not catching my reference, read the 11 February entry below.


Oldies: Sunday, February 6 - Saturday, February 12, 2005...

Saturday, 12 February 2005: Yes, I realize that today is not Valentine's Day, but Katie and I decided to exchange gifts anyway. Well, this is the anniversary of our engagement and we were going to order Chinese food (which has become a bit of a tradition around this time of year anyway) and she's going to be working late on Valentine's Day, so why not today? So we did.

I got her a PajamaGram. Really cute blue PJs with moons and stars all over them along with the matching slippers. She loved them. And she says they're extremely comfortable. She got me a Nintendo GameCube. I've been wanting one for a while, but my interest waned until recently. So she got me one. You know it's good when your wife contributes to a video game habit. Not that I have one... not yet anyway. Well, you can blame her when I'm admitted to a twelve-step video game addiction program.

Thanks, hon. I really do love the gift. I just hope you love your gift as much as you say you do.

Friday, 11 February 2005: One of the things I find to be a lot of fun with regard to working in a small, private college is taking the time to walk around the campus and listen to students as they walk by. It's like a pseudo, quasi, adult version of Bill Cosby's "Kids Say the Darnedest Things."

For example, three guys came out of a building near me and were walking by when I heard one of them say (italics refer to the emphasis he placed on his comments), "and then she said to him... and then she said to him... and then she said to him... and it was like." And all his friends started laughing hysterically. No, I did not miss any of his comments. That was exactly what he said. And there were no visual cues given by him that were intended to serve as nonverbal hints as to what message he was attempting to convey. That's all he said. And they laughed. And I thought to myself, "you guys are a bunch of friggin' morons!... you guys are a bunch of friggin' morons!... you guys are a bunch of friggin' morons! What the hell are you laughing at?" All the while laughing hysterically to myself.

I think this is an example of Alpha Male dominance over what I can only assume are referred to as Beta Males. Obviously the Beta Males exist for no other reason than to reaffirm the existence and dominance of the Alpha Males through laughter, grunts of approval, and slaps on the ass reminiscent of watching an episode of Beavis & Butthead. These actions serve to inflate the Alpha Male's bloated ego while concurrently giving the Beta Males a sense of cameraderie and belonging. I really wish it was legal for me to carry a concealed weapon.

On my return sweep through the University quad, I came across a group of four girls leaving a dorm. Two of them walked ahead while two others started talking about where they were going. The one said she was going to the mall. In response, the other said, "I hate you, you bitch! You suck!" Then one of the girls who had leapt to the front of the pack came running back yelling, "you dirty whore! I'm gonna kick you in your babymaker!" To which all four of them started laughing uncontrollably. Good to know we have a campus full of dirty whores. That's definitely something to remember should my brother ever need a date. Maybe I should have gotten some phone numbers for him.

Unfortunately, it's time to return to my bedroom and work on the website again.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005: I just found out today that Burger King is giving away mini Activision handheld video games in their Kids' Meals. They have four of them available each being released in two different console colors. These are complete throwbacks to the old Atari 2600 era Activision games and I think they're fun as hell. But what's even more fun is the website that Burger King has put together to promo the tie in. You gotta check this out. The site is a real gas. Burger King/Activision.

Tuesday, 8 February 2005: Maybe I have a different definition of the word "nondescript." Gimme a second while I check...

Nope. I was right.

According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, the word "nondescript" means one of two things:

1 : belonging or appearing to belong to no particular class or kind : not easily described

2 : lacking distinctive or interesting qualities

So why, when I ordered Katie's Valentine's Day gift last week, and I expressed concern over it being delivered to our home, did the salesperson assure me that it would arrive in a "nondescript" box? When I went home for lunch with Katie today, the gift was sitting outside our door (Katie was upstairs sick in bed) in anything other than a "nondescript" box. It was a powder blue box covered in white flowers with the name of the company emblazoned on the front and two sides of it. The name of the company, alone, gives away the contents of the package. Luckily, Katie was too sick to answer or go check later on (or so she assured me). But it ticks me off to think that my gift would have been ruined by misinformation. Grrrr...

Monday, 7 February 2005: Ah, a sign that the end of the world is near... or, at the very least, that some severe legal system reform must happen very soon.

A judge in a small-claims court in Colorado has ordered two teenage girls to pay an elderly woman $900 for baking cookies for her. Yes, that's right. They baked her cookies and must now pay her $900 in addition to those culinary delights. Last July, these two girls decided, as a random act of kindness, to bake cookies for several neighbors. They opted to do this instead of going to a dance where they feared they would be drinking and taking part in other acts of malfeasance. So they made little gift packages and adorned them with paper hearts that read "Have a Great Night" and left them on the doorsteps of their neighbors and rang the doorbells and left. Yes, terrible, isn't it?

Well, by the time they got to this woman's house, it was 10:30 at night. The neighbor was so shocked by the bell ringing that she had an anxiety attack. The next day, she took herself to the hospital. The $900 constitutes medical fees and court costs. No punitive damages were awarded.

I'm sorry, but this is the epitome of ridiculousness. These girls were doing something nice for neighbors. How often do teenagers do something nice like this? Roughly never? Does this mean I should be able to sue trick or treaters? No, wait, they don't leave anything for me. They take. Okay, can I sue Santa Claus for invading my house upon a midnight clear on Christmas Eve? It's late. I know I had constant anxiety attacks as a child on Christmas (granted they were more anticipatory in nature). Hmm... should I sue the big guy?

When will the craziness end?

If you really want to read this article, knock yourself out. You gotta read it to believe it.

Sunday, 6 February 2005: The Super Bowl is now over, as is the NFL season (save for next weekend's Pro Bowl game). Sadness is setting in. What the hell am I going to do for my sports fix for the next couple months? I guess I'd better start watching NCAA and NBA basketball. Illinois is doing very well.

Now for a rant on the Super Bowl...

The game was good. It was a close game in which the Philadelphia Eagles looked like they might actually come back and win it all at the very end. They only lost by a field goal. The Patriots just played harder and wanted it more.

I'm really glad that the game was good because everything else about the night sucked. The commercials, which were pretty good last year, were effectively terrible this year. There were a couple of highlights like the parachutists with the Bud Light six pack and one or two others were decent. But those few constitute a mere 2% of the overall commercial broadcast. The rest were horrible. And, it seemed like repeat commercials were constantly being played. I saw that Ford Mustang convertible-in-snow commercial three times and the same with the P Diddy Diet Pepsi commercial. Why so many repeats? Were no companies willing to shill out the money for the commercials? Maybe it's time to reevaluate the cost structure for Super Bowl commercials. Something's gotta be done.

The other bad part was the highly anticipated Simpsons post-game episode. It was terrible. No ending to it whatsoever and the humor was just sorely lacking. The same could be said for the "preview" episode of American Dad. I love Family Guy and this new cartoon was done by the same guy, Seth McFarland, so I was really let down. It will be another few months before new episodes begin airing, so maybe they will take some time to execute some better scripts. I hope.


Oldies: Sunday, January 30 - Saturday, February 5, 2005...

Saturday, 5 February 2005: Being a former toy collector (currently in remission... sorta), there are several things about the state of the current toy industry that tend to tick me off to no end. Things like short shipping — in which a company intentionally limits the numbers of a certain figure, vehicle, etc., that they include in a specific shipment of a series of toys —- really annoy me.

But there is nothing more annoying to me than region or event-exclusive figures... when a special figure is made for a specific event or is only made available in one area of the country (or world) as opposed to another. You see this happening with toy conventions and the like.

Well, McFarlane Toys, which for years has been one of the world's premier toy companies, is releasing a region-specific action figure for their Major League Baseball line that I want like no other. For a majority of my life, I was a diehard New York Yankees fan. We all know that I am no longer a fan because I'm tired of their recruitment tactics and bottomless budget, but I was one. And for one big reason... a certain first baseman named Don Mattiingly. He was a god to me. I collected nearly all his cards, obtained autographed photos, purchased an unofficial comic book biography of the guy, I still wear my warmup jersey emblazoned with his number 23, and even have one of his customized Louisville Slugger bats. Now McFarlane is putting out an exclusive three-inch figurine of him sold only through the Manhattan Toys 'R' Us store. The figure will be made available on Thursday, April 14 and Todd McFarlane, himself, will be on hand to sign the case for the figure from 4-7 p.m.

Okay, I could give a rat's patootie about getting a signed copy from Todd. In fact, if I were to come face to face with the guy, I would tell him off for making this (and others) an exclusive figure. I just want the Donnie. That's all. Just the figure. Is that so much to ask?

I know Don Mattingly was a lifelong Yankee. So it would make sense to sell the figure there. But his fanbase is nationwide. He was a class athlete and, heck, he was from the Midwest (he hails from and still lives in Evansville, Indiana). Expand the availability, Todd. Please. This is just not fair to the rest of the world. And the prices that this exclusive will be demanding on eBay will just be ridiculous.

Anyone want to nab one for me if they happen to be in Manhattan on that date? I'd love you forever and pay you back for the purchase, shipping, etc. Or we could make some sort of in-kind trade? Let me know. Please.

Friday, 4 February 2005: It's Friday, we've all made it through another week. I'm proud of us all. But for those of you still harboring a grudge towards your work week, I've got a little something for you. Print it out and stick it on your bulletin board at work to make you laugh anytime you're a little P.O.'d.

How do I invest in this pharmaceutical company? It's sure to be a hit.

Wednesday, 2 February 2005: I know it's been a while since I've written a music review. Actually, I've only written one — Van Halen's "Best of Both Worlds" set. But it was, in my humble opinion, a pretty good one. Very detailed and, I hope, very informative. Well, I'm gonna tackle a second one pretty soon. I picked up Motley Crue's "Red, White and Crue" two-disc hits collection yesterday and I feel compelled to review it. Why not? It's a damn fine set so far and I could have some fun reviewing it. So keep an eye peeled.

Tuesday, 1 February 2005: I find it so funny what results turn up from Web search engines that only seek out keywords. Back in my January 3 post, I'm ranting about Paris Hilton and I make an offhand comment about Nicole Ritchie. Suddenly, I'm the number two site listed on MSN's search engine for people trying to find information on Nicole Richie. I've gotten several dozen hits because of it.

I could have developed an online reputation for having a quality blog or be known for my movie or book reviews. Instead, I've become a haven for those trying to get a Nicole Richie fix. Gee, just what I aimed for in my creation and maintenance of this little cyberspatial refuge.

I should just shut this entire site down now. Kill it. Dead.

Sunday, 30 January 2005: Katie and I decided that we'd spend this weekend starting some of our home renovation projects. Yep, we can actually do work on our place now and it's a nice thing... I think.

Our first couple of projects entail two of our bathrooms and the office. We're painting the walls in the office (three will be a dark beige and the fourth will be a red accent wall). We are also painting the walls in our upstairs guest bathroom (what we have dubbed the "outdoors bathroom") and we are putting new lighting fixtures in the outdoors bathroom and the downstairs half bath.

It's proving to be interesting. I've never painted or done wiring before, but I'm learning on the fly and learning pretty quickly at that. It's actually kinda fun. And, tearing apart what the people before us have done has taught me what not to do when decorating a house. My God, these people were pretty damned clueless. I learned many lessons and I'd like to share them with you now...

1. Screws work better in drywall with anchors:
These people would drive screws into drywall with no anchors whatsoever; and, when they did use anchors, they were the wrong size so you could just pull the screw right out.

2. Paint is not an anchor:
Yes, they also would use paint to seal things to the wall. Literally. Paint was a mounting bracket to them. Yikes. When they repainted the place, they would paint around stuff that was mounted on the wall in lieu of actually removing it and painting the wall behind it. This translates to us having to chip shelves off the walls and then sand down the edges created by layers of paint. It's really sad.

3. Gravity is not an anchor, either:
Yet another problem, they never fastened any shelves down to their braces. The braces would be on the walls and the shelves would just be sitting on the braces. That's it. Gravity was serving as an anchor. This was the case in the garage, the laundry room, the front entrance, and even in their children's room (our office). I'm shocked there were no accidents regarding falling shelves. And what made it even worse was that the shelf braces were not even securely attached. Either a case of one screw per brace so that you could physically swivel it on an axis or a case of wall mounting of a brace without anchors.

These people had some really nice decorating ideas, but some severely piss-poor execution.

Okay, I'm over it.

No, not really.