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34 posts from May 2006

Four days of the week, she thinks I'm the enemy...

Just a deuce of quick notes here for all of you...

Overthehedge_1 DaveCago 2006
Yes, the day nears! Dave will be in Chi-Town this weekend and, on Saturday, a bunch of us bloggers will be getting together at a place called Piece in Wicker Park/Bucktown for pizza, beer, and general nothingness.

So far, it will be Dave, Jenny, RW, Chanakin (I think), Mocha (I think), Gary (perhaps), and myself. In terms of non-bloggers, Katie is going to be there as well as my brother and sister-in-law for added fun.

I think there might be someone that I'm missing on that list. In fact, I'm pretty convinced I'm missing someone. If you are that someone, I apologize. Just let me know.

I love agenda-less get togethers.

And this is going to be one cool group of blogger peeps.

It's still open to anyone who wants to come on by. Just let us know so we can plan on an extra seat or two.

International _____ Day
I've become a contributor at a site known as International _____ Day. This is a fun little site that seeks to make a holiday out of every day of the year.

They took the month of May off for whatever reason. But now the site is returning and the number of contributing writers has bumped up from six to 10.

My contributions will be up on June 2, 11, and 22 and I'm quite proud of them. I hope you enjoy them as well.

I will probably devote a little time each week to highlight the coming week's holidays. So here's what we've got so far for the coming week...

  • Thursday, June 1 - International Be Ferris Bueller Day
  • Friday, June 2 - International Banana in the Tailpipe Day
  • Saturday, June 3 - International Styrofoam Day
  • Sunday, June 4 - International Disconnect Day
  • Monday, June 5 - International Chuck Norris Day

I'd provide links to them, but, obviously, these posts won't go live until their given day. So add the site to your aggregator and check for new posts each day.

Oh, and I'm taking suggestions for July. I'm trying to stick to a funny movie/food theme and I will need scenes that have some good dialogue as that plays into each of my posts.


You've been thunderstruck...

Can anyone explain to me why it is when you're sitting inside, alcohol has a much more decisive effect on you than when you're sitting outside in the heat?

The other night, I had three beers at a bar, and it hit me pretty nicely. Yesterday, however, I had three beers and three mixed drinks at a cookout at my friend's house and felt nothing. Of course, it was 90-something degrees out at 99% humidity and I could barely feel my skin let alone the alcohol attempting to soak into my bloodstream.

The weather was absolutely horrendous yesterday. Those temperatures are no exaggeration whatsoever. Then, in a matter of 10 minutes, it dropped about 15 degrees when the clouds finally added that final degree of humidity necessary and opened up to pour out cats and dogs. Possibly literally in some areas.

Yes, 10 minutes was all the time that elapsed between blue and cloudy skies and an impenetrable grey blanket saturated with rain.

But the storm certainly made for a nice photo op.

Clouds roll in

Lightning

Continue reading "You've been thunderstruck..." »


I just made you say "underwear"...

Why is buying underwear so damn difficult?

As a guy, I have a natural aversion to clothes shopping. It's pretty much just par for the course; or so I've been led to believe.

But, shopping for underwear is, by far, the worst aspect of an already detestable chore.

A couple months ago, Neil at Citizen of the Month, wrote about the difficulties he had deciding amongst tight whities, boxers, and boxer briefs. He was a bit perplexed. Which offer the best comfort, the best protection, the best coverage, and the best breathability and freedom for "the boys"?

Well, Neil, I hate to have to break this to you, but choosing amongst these three styles is the least of your worries. Disheartening? Sure. But it's a fact that you must face; and the sooner you do so, the better off you'll be.

Even though you may now have decided which style you like (for me, it's boxer briefs), you are now relegated to the task of choosing both the make and model.

Say whaaaa?!?!

Okay, think of it in terms of car shopping... choosing amongst an SUV, sedan, and sports car is akin to the tighty whitey/boxer/boxer brief decision that has already been made. But now that you have chosen "sports car," you must choose the maker such as Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, etc. (Hanes, BVD, Fruit of the Loom, etc.) as well as a model such as Mustang, Charger, Corvette, etc. (Comfort, Comfort Flex, Classic, etc.). Oh, and "etc." is no exaggeration, let me tell you. There are far too many "models" for our own good.

But the difference between car and underwear shopping lies in the fact that you can test drive a car. Such a privilege does not exist with your underwear. Oh no. And, yes, I understand and agree fully with the rationale behind this decision. But it doesn't mean it sucks any less.

Comfort is of the utmost importance when dealing with your twig and berries. I'm sure comfort is just as important for women, as well; I only pray the "twig and berries" are removed from the equation. So knowing how your undies are going to fit would be appreciated. As it stands, though, we cannot know until we buy. And underwear is anything but cheap. A single pair can run as low as a couple dollars each to as high as $30 a pair. That's one helluva blind investment.

Trial and error in underwear sampling is a pain in the, well, not the ass so much as the other side. In eight years of donning boxer briefs, I have found a few that I can stand wearing but only one single pair that I truly love. It is the world's greatest pair of underwear. It fits perfectly, it cradles and protects, and the fabric in the legs does not quit (think how socks stretch after being worn for too long); but, at the same time, they are also not stiff and unforgiving like so many others. It's like wearing bicycle shorts... full flexibility and maximum breathability.

Comfortflex_1 As would be expected, of course, I have never found another pair of these beauties.

And, to boot, they're beginning to show their age. The first time I saw an age mark in this pair of undies, I was ready to cry. I was in shock and denial. No! These are supposed to be my indestructibles! The pair I would have until the day I died!

This is clearly not what was meant to happen. The Gods of Crotch Comfort are conspiring against me.

This week, I began a Web search, in earnest, for replacement pairs of my beloved Hanes Comfort Flex and found one seemingly reputable dealer that carries them, Beall's in Florida. They are even Amazon's official third-party supplier of this brand and style. Well, maybe not "official" so much as "only." Sadly, I was actually in a Beall's in Leesburg last September when I was visiting my grandmother. But, underwear shopping was the furthest thing from my mind at that time. Damn!

Now, I find myself debating the purchase. We're talking $15 for two pairs of undies before shipping charges. And, while the online description claims these are the same type, the picture looks very little like the pair I've come to know and love.

Do I? Don't I? Should I bronze this pair in memory of their honorable service?

My head hurts.

And the boys just ain't feelin' the love.


Break on through to the other side...

For the first time since 2001 (with the release of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and The Others), Katie and I saw a "double feature," per se, at the movies. We went with my brother and future SiL to see a deuce of films last night. Actually, it wasn't intended to be a double feature. Our initial plan was to just see The Da Vinci Code, and we did just that.

How was Da Vinci? Meh. Sorry, that wasn't entirely fair. It was an okay movie and it might've been better if we had never read the book before in our lives. Emphasis on "might."

On second thought, even as a standalone flick, it was only remotely decent, at best. The plot was convoluted and really lacking in clarity and believability. And, damn if it wasn't boooooring. Sorry to burst your bubble if you're planning on seeing it. But I was having a lot of trouble staying interested. Oh, and for the record, I agree with Brandon's take on the film vs. book interpretations of the character of Sophie Neveu. Actually, we all did. It became one of our major points of discussion.

After we left the theater, we stood outside debating the "finer points" of the film. We were standing out there for well over 15 minutes discussing it in the hallway. That's when we all decided we needed to make up for this experience and discovered that there was a showing of Over the Hedge in about 20 minutes.

OverthehedgeSince we all had been wanting to see it, we went for it.

Now Hedge was a great movie! This was easily one of the best animated films I've seen in years. Hell, it was one of the best comedic films, period, that I've seen in years. I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard at a movie. The characters were well developed, well voiced, and there wasn't a single scene that wasn't completely engaging and entertaining throughout the movie.

It was also some of the best computer animation I have ever seen. This is the first time that I have truly seen a film from another studio that can compare to the quality of animation that comes from Pixar. The only outside film, prior to this, that could compare to Pixar films was Shrek, and Hedge even put that to shame.

Prior to seeing it, I wasn't sure how I felt about Bruce Willis being in the starring role; but, after actually seeing (well, "hearing") him, he was brilliant. His voice has such character and he brought R.J. the Raccoon to life. But the best was Steve Carell, of The Office, as Hammy the Squirrel.

If you can see only one movie this summer, so far, let it be Over the Hedge.

Okay, there's my big film recommendation.

Enjoy... I'm off to open the gym.


I want to know what you're thinking...

Stolen from Dave who, in turn, stole it from Neil (not of the Kramer variety; thought I should clarify).

  1. What curse word do you use the most? More than likely the four-letter "f" varietal. Although I'm a big fan of words that make use of "a$$" -- a$$hat, a$$hole, jacka$$, a$$face, George Luca$$, etc.
  2. Do you own an iPod? I've owned two (3rd gen and the 5th gen video) and Katie owns a 4th gen.
  3. Who on your MySpace “Top 8” do you talk to the most? Probably Jacquie.
  4. What time is your alarm clock set for? 5:45 a.m. and then I snooze once or twice before I actually get my lazya$$ up.
  5. What color is your room? Two of the opposing walls are a light sage green and the other two walls are a  light cream color.
  6. Flip flops or sneakers? Given these two options, sneakers. However, I am a big fan of my Birkenstocks.
  7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture? Take it. Don't want to crack the lens.
  8. What was the last movie you watched? In theaters, The Sentinel; on DVD, The Presidio. 
  9. NyquilDo any of your friends have children? Yep.
  10. Has anyone ever called you lazy? Yep.
  11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster? I was once addicted to NyQuil. Giving it up was a bitch.
  12. What CD is currently in your CD player? None. That thing hasn't been used in quite a long time.
  13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk? Skim. But I do feel the need to indulge my sweet tooth every once in a while.
  14. Has anyone told you a secret this week? Yes.
  15. Have you ever given someone a hickey? Yes.
  16. Who was the last person to call you? A co-worker. Sadly.
  17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back? I'm convinced of it.
  18. Did you watch cartoons as a child? You betcha.
  19. How many siblings do you have? One by blood, two by marriage.
  20. Are you shy around the opposite sex? Perhaps initially. But not for long.
  21. What movie do you know every line to? Real Genius and Ghostbusters.
  22. Do you own any band t-shirts? Yeah, but not any recent ones. Still wishing I bought one from the Depeche Mode show last November, though. Or that old Pearl Jam Che Guevara-inspired shirt from a couple tours ago.
  23. What is your favorite salad dressing? No faves, really. But I alternate amongst ranch, Italian, bleu cheese, raspberry vinaigrette, and honey mustard.
  24. Do you read for fun? Oh yeah.
  25. Do you cry a lot? Not really.
  26. Who was the last person to text message you? My wife.
  27. Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop? Both.
  28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoo? Another tattoo eventually.
  29. What is the weather like? Grey and dreary.
  30. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos? If I was single, yes.
  31. Is sex before marriage wrong? I don't think so.
  32. When was the last time you slept on the floor? About half a year ago.
  33. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? Six if at all possible.
  34. Are you in love or lust? Love. Very much so.
  35. Are your days full and fast-paced? Unfortunately.
  36. Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages? Yep. I have the need to.
  37. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? 32.
  38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar? Very much so; even though I often make mistakes as well.
  39. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Yes. Great America in Gurnee, IL.
  40. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex? Depends on the situation.
  41. Do you like cottage cheese? Yes. But I only recently developed a taste for it.
  42. Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back? Fall asleep on my side, but am known to wake up on any one of the three listed.
  43. Have you ever bid for something on eBay? Yes.
  44. Do you enjoy giving hugs? Yes. Again, dependent upon the situation. Obviously, I will not hug Dave now.
  45. What song did you last sing out loud? Bon Jovi, "Wanted Dead or Alive." Damn you, Chris Daughtry.
  46. What is your favorite TV show? Currently, Grey's Anatomy and 24; all-time, Quantum Leap or Cheers.
  47. Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with? Jim Henson.
  48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? Wow, I'm not sure.
  49. What one thing do you wish you had? The means to travel whenever and wherever Katie and I want.
  50. Favorite lyrics? Not necessarily my absolute favorite, but one of my favorites, "Home" by Depeche Mode.

Steal at will. And have a good rest of your weekend.


Well there's floodin' down in Texas...

It is my firm belief that Texas must be the fattest state in the entire United States of America. Oh hell, it's probably a safe bet that it's one of the worst areas of the world.

I make this claim having never set foot in the state before in my life. And I'm pretty sure that after making it, I will never be welcome there, ever.

But I also make this claim with the utmost in scientific research by my side. Highly objective... thoroughly scrutinized... scientifically verifiable.

Texasdoublewhopper Yes, my claim is based on the naming system used by Burger King to designate their new two-patty behemoth known as the Texas Double Whopper.

No, it's not the worst burger developed in recent years. There have been far worse, in fact. But that does nothing to take away from the heart-attack-in-disguise status of this mother of an ex-bovine.

And if Texas is responsible for this burger, God only knows what else they have lurking down there in their heavily protected state recipe files. A San Antonio Super Sloppy Slurpy? Prodigious Padre Island Pancake Patty Melt? Corpus Cristi Crunchy Crusty Cristo?

Yeah, enough of that. My stomach's turning just coming up with those names.

Why did BK decide to sully the image of the Lone Star State in such a way? I realize that when the annual Top 25 Fattest Cities report is released, Texas typically has a handful of cities in the top 25 (four in 2005, alone). But do we really need to denegrate them further? Don't you think they're probably full of enough doubt and self loathing as it is?

But what scares me even more is the fact that I am unable to give you the nutritional facts on this beast. This new burger is conspicuously absent from the downloadable Nutritional Information PDF file on the BK Web site. Whether this is because it is so new or they are afraid to share the truth remains to be seen.

Regardless, I'm scared.

You poor, misunderstood Texans.


Should have known...

It was bound to happen some time.

If you've ever purchased music from the iTunes Music Store, you're likely familiar with the process:

  1. Miscituneslogo Set up account with your credit card
  2. Find the music you want
  3. Click "Buy Song" or "Buy Album"
  4. Enter your password and click "okay" on purchase confirmation screen
  5. Enjoy

The tricky point is step number 4. Some people disable it entirely so they are not bothered. I, however, leave it enabled so it gives me one last chance to back out of a purchase.

The problem arises in that the password entry screen only shows up once per iTunes session.

Yesterday, I was downloading a bunch of the free tracks that iTunes offers on a weekly basis (I am not one to say no to free). I went to the page for one artist, clicked the purchase button for the free track, and entered my password. The download commenced. Then I visited the page for a second free download and clicked the "Buy Album" button.

Gah! Noooo!!

I didn't want the whole album, just the free track!

I don't even know who Eric Lindell is! Why would I want to buy his entire album??

But it was too late. I could not stop the purchase and iTunes does not offer refunds.

Mr. Lindell, your Change in the Weather album had damn well better be worth the $9.99 I unintentionally spent on it.


In all fairness, I've been giving the album a listen as I've been writing this and it's not bad. Bluesy, with some reggae undertones. I can deal. So far, a pretty good accidental $10 purchase.


On a music-related aside, I broke my virginity last night and watched my first real dose of American Idol. Before some of you lambaste me, I only did it because there was nothing else on. So I watched the first hour of the finale.

I was subjected to the Golden Idol sequences as well as the "Pickler and Puck" bits (Wolfgang Puck introducing Idol castoff and hick country girl, Kellie Pickler, to fine cuisine).

Two points I feel need to be made. One a question; the other a comment.

  1. How do you AI fans put up with Ryan Seacrest? That just confounds me. He's such a tool. And he's so in love with himself.
  2. And Kellie Pickler... oh Pickler. I thought Jessica Simpson was dim. Pickler just made Simpson look like a Rhodes Scholar.

I feel so dirty.

Kapgar out.


Throw in the towel...

I'm still trying to fully grasp why it's tomorrow of all days since the man died on May 11, 2001... alas, tomorrow (Thursday, May 25) is Towel Day!

Towelday

If you are a fan of Douglas Adams and his infamous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series of novels, then you should spend tomorrow showing your appreciation of the man and his work by toting a towel with you everywhere.

For those who have not read the books and may be asking "why a towel?" I defer to the book itself...

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

If you are so inclined, show your respect and carry your towel. And post a photo. Could be fun.

Thanks to Bec for the heads up.


The more things change...

If there is one thing that has changed as a result of writing on this blog, it's that my desire to write has increased exponentially. I find myself practically needing to write something every day. It's become a bit of an obsession, much to my wife's chagrin.

The other benefit is that my faucet of ideas has become a plumber's dream... constantly trickling. I'll be driving home or walking around or sitting somewhere and an idea might hit me square in the face. "Damn! I want to write about that!"

Of course, this well of ideas always tends to run a bit dry as I wait for that moment when I can get behind a computer and type out my ideas. From time to time, I will find myself debating if an idea is worth holding on to at which time I'll find some scrap of paper to write it down on. If it's not scrap worthy, I forget about it only to regret it later.

Miscmoleskine I've decided to remedy this situation the Wil Wheaton way (I'd link to the relevant entry on his blog, but I can't find it)... a Moleskine.

A Moleskine could simply be described as a diary, and, in all honesty, it is. Mine is a black, hardcover one with the elastic band around it to keep it shut and a sewn-in page marker. It fits right in my front pocket and, for the last couple weeks, has proven its usefulness as I've written out entire posts in it before typing them in here.

I don't know why I broke down and bought something I swore I would never use or have a use for, but I find myself using it quite a bit. I've already filled nearly 20 pages of it with random rumblings. And I hope to write up a lot more in it as well as maybe try my hand at sketching again.

Now that's something I haven't done in years. Wow. I was once a sketching whore. What the hell happened?

Go ahead and make fun of me for having "a journal" if you so desire, but this thing definitely has one other great advantage... I never have to worry about it burping back at me that it lost some of what I wrote. It's always there. Well, I guess I could lose the whole book or rain could make the ink run, but I'd rather not think about that.

Oh, and would you expect my Moleskine to be adorned with anything less than a Mac logo? Of course not!

The back already has a Jimmy John's "We Deliver" sticker on it. As I find other stuff I like, I'll probably continue to customize the cover as I go. Strange, yes. Unique, definitely.

It's odd where you find cool stuff... stuck to a sandwich wrapper, of all places. A wrapper I may otherwise have been pulling a J.K. Rowling with by writing ideas on it.


That's why she fell for the leader of the pack...

I found this on both The Unofficial Apple Weblog and ArsTechnica's Infinite Loop.

Miscisheep

iDont (you can key it in yourself if you so desire; I won't be bumping their hit count with a built-in link) is a viral marketing campaign against iPod owners the world over.

The campaign -- perpetrated by SanDisk in support of their line of MP3 players that they hope (emphasis on "hope") can actually compete with Apple's iPod -- wants to make people believe that, if you own an iPod, you are just one of a herd not expressing individuality in any way, shape, or form.

I'm sorry, but this bugs the hell out of me.

Back in my marketing classes during my undergrad and now in my M.B.A. program, we have learned that when you are in first place, you advertise to the strengths of your product. You just do a bunch of self promotion in your ad campaigns. When you're in second place, you play on the weaknesses of the company in the #1 slot.

Is it a testament to how good the iPod is that SanDisk could not find a flaw to exploit and, instead, opted to attack the users of the gadget? Or is it just marketing suicide and their marketing department are a bunch of imbeciles? Probably a bit of both. One tip, guys...

YOU DO NOT ATTACK YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMER BASE!

Are you guys flippin' idiots? Right now, if anything, you've pissed off the people that you are hoping to woo. Why would a customer want to show allegiance to a company that just insulted them? You've automatically limited your market to the 10% of users who opt for MP3 players aside from the iPod and its family of products. That is a percentile that big boys like Microsoft are trying to appeal to as well. So, by stealing shares from them, you've pissed off the bull and you're going to get the horns. Microsoft won't sit back and take it. And I hope they put you out of your misery.

And Apple is likely just going to sit back and watch as it all plays out.

iPod owners are happy with their players, for the most part. They are easy to use, reliable, and damn nice looking. Are we sheeps because we use them? Hell no. We're sheep if we buy into your bullshit manifesto and jump ship to your product.

Individuality lies not in the means you employ to play your music, but in the music you choose to play on it.

And it should also be noted that the site only has two product reviews that it links to in their "The Alternative" page. I'm not sure if this is because there haven't been enough reviews of the product overall, or just not enough good reviews for them to show. Also note that one of the reviews links to a site called anythingbutipod.com. Gee, wonder if they'll be objective.

SanDisk, it was fun knowing you. You've lost my business entirely. And I'm sure I won't be the only one.

Don't ever call me a sheep because I opt for quality.


Just leave it alone...

Am I antisocial?

I sometimes find myself debating this question mentally. It seems I quite often have an overwhelming desire to just retreat within myself and ponder whatever random thought I may have at that moment in relative solitude.

And I am quite content to do so.

Sometimes this process may only take a few minutes; other times, it can take hours.

And the worst thing that a person can possibly do during this time is to interrupt me.

Really quick interruptions are fine. Things happen and information needs to be conveyed and it, perhaps, cannot wait until I emerge from my protective cocoon. But, what I find happening more often than not, is the relayer of the information will drag out the conveyance process for a looooong time instead of just giving me the abbreviated version of what's going on or they will break into a bout of small talk as though dragging me out of my bubble kicking and screaming is their own personal crusade and I will be all the better a person for it.

Why do people act this way? Why is it so bad to want to be alone from time to time?

I'm not always like this. I just have my moments where my best company is, well, me. I do, quite often, like the company of other people. Friends are a great thing; sometimes, the best thing. And I'll be the first to jump in on a conversation about the probable box office take of X-Men III or how Stephen King writes killer short stories but cannot sustain an entire novel to save his life (not anymore, at least).

However, on those occasions when I am clearly attempting to steer our conversation to the end of the track instead of whipping around for another spin, please respect that. And don't act as though I'm putting you off. Really, I swear it's nothing personal. I may just have some weighty thoughts I'm trying to make sense of (and, no, I likely don't want to share them, either). Or I might be debating the pros and cons of some pending decision. There is also the possibility that I'm "in the zone" on a project I'm working on. Don't mess with a person on a mission.

Is this a human way of acting or is it just me?

Do any of you have similar desires for solitude? How do you deal with interruptions?

Perhaps this is just a "man thing" thus explaining why we males are renowned for doing our best thinking "on the can."

Things that make you go hmmm...


Mama said...

First, I'd like to wish my mom a happy 60th birthday. As you might recall, we had the party for her back in April, so you can visit that post for some photos.

Happy birthday Mom. We love you.

On the topic of moms, Katie and I are going to take part in a charity 5K walk a couple hours from now to benefit Huntington's Disease, I think. I'm assuming it's Huntington's because we were asked if we wanted to do this walk in honor of our friend's mom who died of the disease about two years ago.

Katie and I have never done a charity walk before. We have no idea what to expect and we had very little notice (we just found out this past Wednesday) so we're definitely not getting any sponsors, I'm sure. But, if it all works out well, maybe we'll do these more often. It would be pretty cool.

So wish us luck.


Pour your forty out...

How many places was this taken from? Let's see... Dave, Karl, Jax, Brandon, Nicole, Bec, SJ. Anyone else? If I saw this on your site and forgot to give appropriate credit, I apologize. But this meme is making the rounds like wildfire.

A Meme for Adults

1. What's in the glove box of your car?
Nothing particularly interesting... paperwork for the car, an old portable AM/FM radio, a cellphone case, paper, pen, toothpicks. Told ya it was nothing special.

2. Favorite classes in college (or high school):
Western Civilization from 1850 to Present (taught by a Marxist) and Southeast Asian Cultures. Fun times in both.

3. Shampoo brand:
Neutrogena T-Gel, I think. Katie picked it up for me, I just use the stuff.

4. Favorite piece of furniture you own:
Our armchair... you just sink into it.

5. Idea of a really good first date:
One that results in a second date. That is always a good thing.

6. Favorite fruit:
Blueberries.

7. Pick a passage from a favorite book:
I don't remember passages from books, just books that I like and I'll take this opportunity to plug Paul Davidson's The Lost Blogs, particularly the entry by Albert Einstein. All you fellow bloggers will love this one.

8. What would you eat for dinner if it were your last night on Earth?

  • Local: Anything Katie makes, but I do love her pasta sauce.
  • State: Eduardo's in DeKalb.
  • National: The Beach House in Kauai, HI.
  • International: Ummm... couldn't really tell ya.

9. Free will or destiny?
I'd like to think we all operate completely on free will, but I tend to think some things are predetermined. What those things are for me remains to be seen.

10. What would you sing at karaoke?
Anything where I keep my mouth shut. You'll thank me.

Continue reading "Pour your forty out..." »


What the world needs now...

First, an apology. I'm not sure if this will actually affect you or not, but if you've had an influx of posts showing up in your RSS aggregator from me lately, I'm sorry.

I've been cleaning up old posts by recategorizing them. I've noticed that my old category system is not working well. I'm not able to find a bunch of the posts I need to find for the sake of linking in more current posts just because I have no idea how I would have categorized a certain topic. What makes sense as a category now, clearly didn't make sense when I first wrote it. Now I can't find jack on my site. It's just become such a pain in the butt.

And, to add a little salt to the wound, the Technorati search box really doesn't work worth a crap. Anyone else notice that? It's free, but it doesn't do so well. I think that may be going bye bye very soon. I'll keep the profile link, but to the search box, I shall bid adieu.

So everything's being recategorized. And I'm proud of the job I've done so far. Going back to my 2005 posts, I've pared down 21 different categories to just nine. That will make life so much easier. And when my 2005 posts are done, I'll start weed-whacking the '06 stuff.

I'm just tired of all the confusion I've been having finding old stuff here at Kapgar.com. And if I'm having problems, that means that someone else out there is likely having trouble as well.

I'm doing some more cosmetic work around here as well in anticipation of my first blogiversary (sorry, no cool prizes like at Dave's place). I will do a little tweaking of my template and colors a la Secondhand Tryptophan and I'm also in the process of developing a new header banner.

Okay, enough techie talk. How about a quickie meme?

This one comes from Nicole and she took it from some MySpace thingie.

The point of this meme is to perform a Google search with the phrase "[your name] needs" but replace [your name] with, well, your name... obviously. Then list the top 10 results that come back. You may have to look in the title or in the body of the results to get your answer. So here goes...

Kevin Needs:

  1. Kevin needs your money - AMEN! PayPal it this way!
  2. Kevin needs your help! - see the first one.
  3. Kevin needs expert witnesses, research... - apparently I'm in legal trouble.
  4. Kevin needs sleep on Flickr - too. many. pictures.
  5. Kevin needs help amplifying his message - ummm... okay.
  6. Kevin needs sexual and emotional tension - sure, why not?
  7. Kevin needs Js help - whatever. This J better be damned good at what s/he does.
  8. Kevin needs a picture - I've got plenty; but I prefer to be behind a camera, not in front.
  9. Kevin needs his own fan club - AMEN! Who's starting it?
  10. Kevin needs to get some! - some what? I have no idea what you're talking about.

Steal if you so desire.


And you may ask yourself, how do I work this...

Somebody remind me... I am a Web designer, right? That's what I do for a living, isn't it? I think my business card... yep, it says "Web Developer."

Miscquestionmark_1So why am I drawing a complete blank when it comes to some basic HTML coding?

Over the last few years, I've become so accustomed to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and the terminology that it employs, that I've begun to take its benefits for granted. Whether I'm handcoding the CSS or relying on WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver to autocode it for me, it's been my language of choice when it comes to encoding text-related aspects of Web design.

Yesterday, however, I needed to write the code for an HTML e-mail that is going to be sent out by an advertiser. They told me that it would work best if I just designed the e-mail in Dreamweaver as a webpage, have it approved, and send the code to them to drop in their mail program.

Their one caveat, however, was that I not use CSS anywhere in the code.

I never realized what a pain in the butt this request would become until I tried to remind myself how to code a font family and relative font sizes within the actual body of the HTML. These are things that CSS has taken care of on my behalf for years.

For the life of me, I could not remember how to do it. I couldn't remember the phraseology that HTML uses. It's almost the same as CSS, but just different enough that it escaped me. It is some of the most basic code that Web developers use, but it eluded me today for reasons unknown.

I actually dug up my copy of Timothy Gottleber's Excellent HTML -- the very book I used when I first began to learn Web design eight years ago in grad school. The pages of this book have not seen the light of day since that particular class.

As foolish as I may have felt keeping this on my bookshelf at work all these years, right about now I'm glad I did.

All you professional designers out there, go ahead and laugh. I deserve it.

This is just one of those brainfart sorts of days.


You are the talk of the town...

I've received some interesting comments regarding a couple of my recent posts about television and the Prez Bush press conference interrupting shows.

It started on Monday a little something like this...

Claire: "Be warned that the President has an address tonight so that may throw off things if you're TiVoing."

Me: "BASTARD! At least I'll be home so I can figure things out for when Katie gets home from work. What time? This is going to piss off the networks and fans immensely."

Claire: "8-8:30 is what the listing I looked at said. They're actually showing last night's GA ep again at 8, but it's getting cut in half by the address. I just don't want it to cut into the finale of HIMYM."

MadIrishMan: "Get ready. Now that a former FOX guy (Tony Snow) is the White House Press Secretary, Bush will be cutting into a lot of programs in the future. If and only if the networks give him the time. Some regular networks might not give him the air time. Most of his speeches will be on cable news."

Me: "Claire and MIM, this is just crap. I don't want it cutting into HIMYM or Grey's Anatomy. And, sadly, I'd rather watch CSI: Miami than our president. If he keeps screwing up networks' schedules like this with his incoherent BS, it's likely they'll give him less and less time. They don't want anything pre-empting their season finales. This is May Sweeps. The ratings here determine their advertising income for the next season. There's no better way to lose viewers than to pre-empt season finales with our dipshit of a president. Why does this reek of bad PR effort to save face? It's just going to backfire."

Claire: "It's supposed to be about immigration legislation which I am interested in, but I'm not sure I can make myself watch him. 'I'd rather watch CSI: Miami than our president.' Miami has been so bad this year, I stopped watching; nonetheless, I think the same is true for me. Guess I'll just look up a transcript later on."

And it continued on Tuesday's post like this:

MadIrishMan: "Maybe that is President Bush's idea. Ratings will be down when he is on and it could hurt the networks. ;) But, to his credit, this is something he should have been doing 4-5 years ago. I cannot remember a President that has spoken on TV driectly to the public less than GW. Just a stat I heard. This was the first time GW has spoken to the country from the Oval Office on a domestic issue. Now how bad is that?"

Tracy Lynn: "That stupid man forced me to miss most of the ball game so that I could watch my shows last night. Bastard. Why can't he prioritize appropriately?! ;-) He did NOT need twenty minutes to say what needed to be said. He could have just dropped it into a commercial space, that would have been way more considerate, and would have allowed me to Tivo AND fast forward through it."

Me: "MIM, I agree he should be doing something far more regularly than just once a year. He's a media troll. Just don't interrupt us and our shows."

But it was Tracy's comment that got me thinking... is there a better way for the President to handle this sort of situation? Is there something he can do to get the information out via the mainstream media and not piss off both the networks and viewers?

And here is the solution that I came up with...

Continue reading "You are the talk of the town..." »


C'mon, let's get it started...

Since I'm not exactly feeling inspired at the moment (ironic considering I just proclaimed how I rarely struggle for a post topic... go fig), here are a few notes.

MisclivingwithwarNew Music
As sad as this sounds, I still have to buy the latest Pearl Jam album from iTunes. I can't believe that I, the Pearl Jam fan I am, have not yet picked it up. Katie's brother may be sending it my way, too. I think that's why I'm holding out, to see where I get it first.

But has anyone listened to the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album Stadium Arcadium yet? Is it worth buying the whole thing or are there only a few tracks that are worth the download? I'm curious.

I think I may have to pick up the new Neil Young album Living With War. What I've heard sounds pretty good. And it's been a while since I bought an album off iTunes.

Any other good stuff I'm missing out on? Let me know.

Summer Reading List
Each year, the library staff where I work puts out a summer reading brochure containing reviews of books from faculty and staff. When they sent out the e-mail requesting reviews from us, I sent them the link to Fun With Dead Trees and told them to use whatever they wanted to fill in the gaps.

They thanked me with candy.

Cool.

President Bush
Oh how I cannot stand this guy! Just when you think he can't find any new ways to piss me off, he decides to pre-empt an evening's worth of season finale programming with a press conference about the immigration issue.

You know what? Just give us the bullet points in an online article, Dubya, okay? I can't stand hearing your incomprehensible voice prattling off information that you barely understand. And to do so on a night when I'm trying to watch the finales of How I Met Your Mother and Grey's Anatomy while depending on my TiVo to record 24, I just cannot forgive you.

As a good American, I know I should care, but I just don't. I want to watch my TV shows and not have to deal with you.

And you have now pissed off the networks as well since you're pre-empting a couple of the biggest shows around with a press conference during May Sweeps. That is the time when ratings determine advertising rates for the coming year. I'm sure these networks are none too happy that you are dragging down the ratings for the night with your nonsensical ramblings.

I will admit that the networks managed to deal with it appropriately. They either aired a filler episode in the remainder of the hour around Bush's press conference or they were able to delay their schedule the necessary 20 minutes and got enough notice out to their netlets and the cable providers so that DVRs could reprogram accordingly.

NBC 2006-2007
It's been quite a while since I've had reason to believe in the theory that NBC can actually put together a solid primetime lineup. And with some of the shows they are throwing around for next season, I'm not exactly thinking that next year will be much better.

Apparently, NBC will debut six new dramas in an effort to boost their lagging ratings.

  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip featuring Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford about the behind-the-scenes happenings at a TV variety show. Sounds like it could be interesting, but NBC is already putting all their eggs in this basket, which frightens me. Coupling and Miss/Match, anyone? I'll still give it a shot, I think. Someone in their post-Friends career has got to finally have some luck (aside from Jennifer Aniston whose luck began before leaving the show).
  • Friday Night Lights about a high school football team. Movies about H.S. football? Sure. A television series? Not sure about that one.
  • Kidnapped about the abduction of a teenage boy. While I can understand, and enjoy, a show about investigating the kidnappings of many, different random people -- Without a Trace -- I don't see how you can build a show for an entire season around a single kidnapping.
  • The Black Donnellys about an Irish family involved in organized crime. This could be interesting. I'm sure MadIrishMan will be all over it. But this isn't expected to premiere until January.
  • Heroes about everyday people who discover they have special powers. Ummm... haven't we had enough of this supernatural predilection lately?
  • ... Wondering what #6 is? So am I. The article mentions six new dramas, but only winds up listing five. Go fig, eh?

NBC also has two new comedies coming out: 20 Good Years with John Lithgow and 30 Rock with Tina Fey. I only know that the latter is about a writer (Fey) on a TV variety show. So what, now everyone's going to program about Saturday Night Live-esque shows? That's two for NBC alone. Aye aye aye.


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Don't close your eyes...

After the visit with both sets of parents yesterday to celebrate Mother's Day, Katie and I returned home hoping for nothing more than a relaxing evening of some minor decorative work around the house, cheap pizza, and catching up on some TV shows.

While the first two items on our agenda would've easily complemented our desire for relaxation, the final one most certainly did not. In fact, for the most part, we were on the edge of our proverbial seats (hard to really be on the edge, per se, when we're laying in bed).

Wow, when did Desperate Housewives actually decide to become worthwhile? Last night, we had to watch two episodes because we never got around to watching the one from the week before. And both, believe it or not (I'm still not sure I believe it), were actually pretty good. Over the top? Yes. But that's what we've come to expect from D.H. when it's actually good. Otherwise, it's nothing more than poorly written tripe.

Then, of course, there was the first hour of the three-hour, two-night season finale to Grey's Anatomy.

Miscgreysanatomyposter_1Dear. Sweet. God.

Here's the coversation Katie and I had immediately following the show (I have eliminated spoilers)...

Katie: "Gah!"

Kevin: "Woah!"

Katie: "I can't watch it tomorrow!"

Kevin: "Yes you can."

Katie: "No I can't."

Kevin: "You can't stop now. It's going to be really good!"

Katie: "But I don't want to know how it turns out."

Kevin: "You've been watching all season, so far. Why would you not want to see how it ends?"

Katie: "If I don't watch it, then nothing bad can happen."

Kevin: "It'll still happen, you just won't see it and then you'll be confused when next season starts."

Katie: "No! It won't happen. I just won't let it."

Kevin: "It's going to happen whether you want it to or not. So you may as well just watch it."

Katie: "Nooooooo."

Kevin: "Yes."

Katie: "You can't make me."

Well, for what it's worth, I sure as hell will be watching it.


Santa Claus is coming to town...

Okay, maybe not Santa. But this has the potential to be so much better!

Miscdavecago

Anybody going to be in town on June 3 who would be interested in joining us?

Katie and I will be there. Jenny's coming. And there are a couple others that we're awaiting word on. No detailed plans on what will be happening. It may be a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants sort of thing unless the attendance gets out of hand.

But impromptu tends to be that much more fun in a city like Chicago!


Find one hundred ways...

Here I am going against every fiber of my being and doing a 100 Things meme about myself. Hope you're in it for the long haul...

  1. My name is Kevin and I was born in upstate New York.
  2. My middle name is the same as my dad's, although he uses it as his first name.
  3. I have also lived in Kentucky, Connecticut, Illinois, and Iowa.
  4. All told, I've lived in Illinois longer than the other four combined.
  5. I hope to always live in Illinois - Chicago is the greatest city on the face of the Earth.
  6. Although there are other places I wouldn't mind living if the right opportunity presented itself.
  7. I have been employed at my current job for nearly six years.
  8. My anniversary is 9/11. The actual unfortunate events of that day marked my first anniversary here.
  9. I do many differen tthings here at work and I always joke that my business card should read "renaissance man."
  10. Sadly, it does not.
  11. I have two college degrees.
  12. The skills I earned my degrees for are not used in my current job.
  13. In fact, most of what I do was learned OTJ (On The Job).
  14. I'm really not sure if that's a testament to my adaptability or a condemnation of my indecisiveness.
  15. Funny thing is that there are still many things I'd like to try.
  16. I really want to learn some more computing languages to round out my "abilities."
  17. I want to be a more capable graphic designer.
  18. I would love to be a published writer, outside of what I do at work.
  19. I'd also like to fine tune my photographic skills.
  20. I'm a licensed EMT-Basic, but I never did anything with my certification.
  21. I've got a 4.0 GPA in my M.B.A. program, but I feel like I haven't earned it.
  22. I have a degree in Spanish, but barely speak it.
  23. Puedo sobrevivir en un pais Hispanohablante.
  24. And this knowledge has given me a basic understanding of Italian, French, and Portuguese.
  25. I also took some German in college.
  26. To quote Stephen Collins (yes, the dad from 7th Heaven) in a recent interview, "I am a jack of all trades and a master of none."
  27. I'm a music freak.
  28. I will listen to just about anything once.
  29. No genre is safe from my prying ears.
  30. Oddly, though, I never started to develop a personal taste in music until I was 12 or 13 years old.
  31. Despite this love of music, I can't play an instrument to save my life. Not well, at least.
  32. Throughout the course of my life, I have played electric and acoustic guitar, electric and upright bass, harmonica, and flutophone... yet none of them particularly well.
  33. I prefer to leave the music to the pros.
  34. My first concert ever was Kenny Rogers and Crystal Gayle in Lexington, KY, with my parents.
  35. I didn't go to my next concert until a half a decade later and it was Huey Lewis and the News with my mom.
  36. In 1989, I saw Motley Crue on their Dr. Feelgood tour; it changed me forever and I was a freak for live music shows from that point on.
  37. Until the cheap seats started costing about the same as a low-end iPod.
  38. Now I just listen to the music on my iPod.
  39. I'm also a movie and book whore and run Web sites with reviews of each.
  40. While I've gone so far as to upgrade my book review site to blog format, my movie site has fallen a bit behind.
  41. I haven't updated the movie site in more than three months and I'm 13 reviews behind.
  42. I've run out of ways to say, "this movie is crap."
  43. I, seemingly, have not run out of ways to talk about books, though.
  44. But I've only written 150 of them as opposed to more than 1,000 movie reviews.
  45. I grew up a Star Wars geek and still am to some degree.
  46. the prequel trilogy did chill my fandom a bit, although I'm not nearly as opposed to them as some people are.
  47. My favorite of the bunch is The Empire Strikes Back.
  48. I collected nearly all the action figures as a kid.
  49. I still have all the ones I collected.
  50. My dad and I used to play a game where I'd be blindfolded and ID the figures by feel.
  51. I never got under 95% right.
  52. Princess Leia was a dead giveaway.
  53. Miscgoldbikini Like most men my age, I have had the gold bikini fantasy.
  54. 54 is Brian Urlacher's jersey number.
  55. He's a great player, one of the best ever.
  56. But I still don't forgive him for dating Paris Hilton... bitch slut whore tramp.
  57. I do not suffer from Tourette's Syndrome.
  58. Urlacher's Chicago Bears are my favorite team in my favorite sport.
  59. I wasn't always a pro football fan, though.
  60. My high school football coach ruined the game for me.
  61. It wasn't until my father-in-law and brother-in-law took me to my first NFL game (Bears v. Buccaneers in 2000) that I became a fan again.
  62. Now I'm a Bears nut; Katie likes watching them, too.
  63. But I'm also a closet Pittsburgh fan.
  64. Nearly my entire famiily is from the 'Burgh.
  65. I was very happy when the Steelers won the last Super Bowl.
  66. I'm also a baseball fan and I root for the Cubs.
  67. My baseball passion is not what it once was.
  68. Probably because the Cubs suck and show no signs of improvement.
  69. But I still root for them.
  70. I grew up a N.Y. Yankees fan.
  71. I was born in New York, so I'm excused.
  72. I could give a rat's ass about them anymore.
  73. I hate when teams buy championships.
  74. I know I've told the story before, but Katie and I met when we were in college.
  75. I was her Hall Director. I abused my executive privilege. Heh.
  76. We were dating less than three months when we went on our first vacation to San Francisco.
  77. Of course, my brother and mother were on the trip with us.
  78. We loved S.F. so much, we went back a year later.
  79. We're supposed to go again this August. Stay tuned for details.
  80. I love Katie and would go to the ends of the Earth with her.
  81. Even if she does think I'm cheating on her with our iMac.
  82. Admittedly, blogging is my mistress.
  83. I enjoy it far more than I ever thought possible. But hey, Katie knits, I blog.
  84. In one month, I will have blogged every day for a solid year. Quite a feat in my mind.
  85. I've only rarely struggled for a topic.
  86. Writer's block is a bitch slut whore tramp.
  87. Maybe I do suffer from Tourette's.
  88. I've only met one blogger in person - Dave.
  89. That may soon change. Details forthcoming.
  90. There are a ton more that I want to meet.
  91. And I've got some real-life friends who I think would make great bloggers. Gotta work on them.
  92. I told myself a while back that I never wanted to do a 100 Things post.
  93. I really don't know why I finally relented.
  94. I never thought I could find enough to say.
  95. Now I feel like I could go on for another 100 Things.
  96. Even if these last several are fluff.
  97. But isn't this entire post just that? Fluff?
  98. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be.
  99. The other good thing about a post like this is I can use it as a starting point for newcomers to the site.
  100. God bless memes.

Did you learn something? Anything?

Was it worth reading through to the end or did you glaze over at about #25? I tried to make it interesting, I swear. But, well, I'm not all that interesting a guy.


When the shit hits the fan...

Everyone has those stories from throughout their lives in which they did something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but, in the long run, proved itself to not have been the wiser path to tread. My life is full of them...

  • Swapping electrical switches without, first, killing the circuit breaker.
  • Consuming food or drink well past its posted "freshness" date.
  • Chiseling glue off the back of a junior high shop project with one hand holding the board opposite the chisel-bearing hand (it was pretty cool seeing the sinewy muscle that operates my thumb, though).
  • Reflushing a toilet that is already draining slowly.
  • Jamming a freshly sharpened pencil into my grade-school desk, eraser first.

We've all done them. The above-listed examples were all committed by yours truly at some point in time in my life. And, in some instances, multiple times. For some of these, I still have the scars to prove it.

Miscceilingfan However, I have one, akin to a recent story told by Magazine Man, that happened to a guy I once worked for that is no less memorable.

As a Hall Director in grad school, I reported to the Assistant Area Coordinator whom I shall henceforth refer to as "Rev" (he was, in addition to his regular Residence Life duties, an ordained Southern Baptist minister). Rev was a great guy: easy to work with, supportive of "the troops," appreciative of life in general, etc.

You could tell him anything and we often did. Especially when we had problems with certain residents because we knew he'd help us out... he always had our back.

Over the course of one particular year, we were all having run-ins with a specific resident. Put simply, she was a major thorn in our collective side. I won't go into specifics other than to say we were desperate for her to leave the hall. Rev even told A (my fellow Hall Director; there were three of us in this complex) and me that if this resident agreed to move out for the upcoming academic year, he would get on top of his desk and dance a jig.

This I had to see.

I veered away from my regularly intolerant attitude towards Resident X and took a more proactive approach... I sought ways to convince her that her life would be better if she found housing outside our dorm complex. I even searched for apartment listings for her. I was such an angel, despite the obvious horns supporting my halo.

A month before the end of the school year, Resident X entered my office and announced she would not be returning to our hall the next year. I gave her the canned "Oh, we'll miss you" all the while clenching my sphincter to deny the winged monkeys their inevitable escape.

When she left, I found A and told her the good news and, together, we marched down to Rev's office to tell him. We were both looking forward to our mini-Riverdance.

Rev didn't miss a beat. With no prompting or reminding whatsoever, he hopped atop his desk and commenced his spectacle.

It was then I noticed just how close his spinning ceiling fan was to his desk and, at this moment, his head.

My warning was not nearly quick enough as Rev was thwacked in the head by the rotating fan blade just as I began to speak. He fell off his desk to the floor in a daze. A and I helped him to his feet. He then reached up and dabbed unsteadily at his freshly bloodied forehead.

And what do you think happened next?

He resumed his jig.

You cannot say he's not dedicated to his art.


Secrets stolen from deep inside...

10 Questions From Jacynth:

Jacynth developed this little beaut. And I'm now jumping on the bandwagon, albeit a little later than most. C'est la vie.

Basically, just answer the questions with as much honesty as you can muster.

1.  If you could live in another era, what would it be?
Victorian England. I know, I know, you just asked for a time, not a place. Well, living in America during the time period of Victorian England does nothing for me. Actually it does as it was the time period with the great Western push and cowboys and whatnot. But this era in England is so completely different. That's why I kinda have to specify a place as well. I've developed a little fascination with the time period. I love the literature from that era, I love the history, I love it all. Plus I want to find out who Jack the Ripper really is.

2.  If you got paid $200 million per year, would you be an Alaskan crab fisher (keep in mind this is one of the deadliest jobs)?
I would do it for a day just so I could have a cool Sebastian Junger-ish story of my own. He's lived such an incredible and enviable life.

3.  Did you eat glue as a child?
Nope. I did like mixing it with hand lotion and spreading it on the back of my hands and letting it dry. The purpose was to scare the bejeezus out of my female classmates who thought I was ripping off my own flesh. Worked like a dream. The lotion made it all stay in one piece instead of shredding in mid peel.

Miscackbar_14.  If you could be in a movie, what would it be and why?
What a tough, yet fascinating question. I feel like Brodie Bruce in Mallrats being asked what comic book character he would prefer to be. I would pick something simple like the deck officer, Major Derlin, in The Empire Strikes Back that was played by John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven from Cheers). Or maybe Admiral Ackbar, right, in Return of the Jedi. He was pretty cool... "It's a trap!"

5.  If you could set up your own mafia ring, what would you call it?
The Quasi-Corsicans? I don't know.

6.  If you had the choice between meeting David Hasselhoff or Tom Cruise, who would you choose and why?
While I would relish the opportunity to be able to prove to Tom Cruise that Scientology is a cult, I know he wouldn't go for it no matter how much evidence is laid before him. On that note, I pick the D-Hoff. He did drive KITT and worked with Donna D'Errico, right?

7.  Would you ever fly Hooters airlines?
Abso-friggin-lutely! And I know Katie would fly it with me! Wings on wings, baby!

8.  Would you rather hear no evil or see no evil?
I'd rather hear no evil. At least this way I could still watch their lips and make up my own dialogue. That would be fun. Especially with Dubya.

9.  If you started a search engine, what would you name it?
Ask Kap! Sounds like "gas cap" or "asshat," doesn't it?

10.  If you had the ability to see five years into the future, would you do it?
I'm afraid I'd be too disappointed with what's happened to the world to want to know. Five years in the past? Sure! Show everybody what will happen if they re-elect Bush and maybe attempt to thwart 9/11. It kinda makes you wonder how the world would differ today if 9/11 never happened.

Well, you know how it goes. Steal away!


Tonight there's gonna be a jailbreak...

Now this is just cruel!

Fox, FX, and Apple have announced that the iTunes Music Store has now started carrying several current shows from each network as well as some more classics.

Included in the list of culprits are, from Fox, 24, Prison Break, Unan1mous, and Stacked along with classics like Buffy and Firefly. FX is offering up The Shield, Black/White, 30 Days, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to the store. They're even going to offer up Lost in Space.

Miscitmsshows

This isn't fair! There are so many on there I would watch. Okay, I'm safe on 24 since Katie and I already own the DVDs. But I've been wanting to watch Firefly, The Shield, and 30 Days for some time now. Karl has just recently talked me into giving Prison Break a shot and Sandra has convinced me to give Buffy a try on DVD this summer, as well. This is either a sign that these shows are worth my time, or someone is really out to screw my wallet!

The good thing is that Firefly, for the entire run of the show, only costs about $25 at iTMS whereas the DVDs come closer to $50. So that's a pretty good thing, right?

So what's next, Apple?


Try try try to understand, I'm a magic man...

Just what constitutes "magic"?

This is a question that has been swirling in this unpretty head of mine for some time now.

Basically, my definition of "magic" is quite reminiscent of the low-rent magicians that apply their wares at little kids' birthday parties pulling rabbits out of their hat, the never-ending scarf in their breast pocket, the origami art that transforms to a bird and flies away.

I once worshipped David Copperfield (not the Dickens variety, sorry). He was the be-all/end-all magician. He did it all. And I watched on TV as he made the Statue of Liberty disappear before our very eyes. I knew it wasn't legit, but it was still pretty damned cool. Maybe my parents can correct me on this, but I think I even saw him perform live once when I was a kid.

Heck, even GOB's failed illusions on Arrested Development were enjoyable in the absurdly comical sense.

With the publication of the Harry Potter novels and the release of the affiliated films, magic re-emerged in the spotlight as magic-endowed children fine tune their craft in a fictional prep school dedicated to the teaching and learning of magic, both good and bad. These kids levitate, transform, and make items disappear at will.

To me, this is what magic is all about. The ability to do things via slight of hand that are impossible for the normal person. Walking through solid objects, making something disappear, making something else reappear, etc. That is the traditionally accepted definition of magic, right?

Well, here's what Merriam-Webster online has to say...

Main Entry: 1mag·ic
Pronunciation: 'ma-jik
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English magique, from Middle French, from Latin magice, from Greek magikE, feminine of magikos Magian, magical, from magos magus, sorcerer, of Iranian origin; akin to Old Persian magus sorcerer
1 a : the use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces b : magic rites or incantations
2 a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source b : something that seems to cast a spell : ENCHANTMENT
3 : the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand

Miscblaine My question to you is, how is it that what David Blaine does is called "magic"?

Last night, Blaine was involved in a stunt in which he attempted to hold his breath underwater for nine minutes.

A while back, Blaine encased himself for several days in a block of ice in NYC. He has also had himself buried alive as well as "trapped" in plexiglass and suspended over both NYC and London.

And those are magic how?

Yeah, it's amazing that he can hold his breath for so long or didn't succumb to hypothermia or didn't eat; but none of them are magic in the sense that I've come to understand it. It's definitely not covered by the M-W definition above.

So what gives? Why is what he does so damn special?

To me, it's just boring, plain and simple. A waste of airtime.

If Blaine had made himself disappear from inside the block of ice to the ground outside and his skin wasn't blue... I would consider that magic. If there was a shark in his watery gerbil ball that ate him alive and he reappeared whole immediately afterwards... magic!

However, the only magic I see is his ability to sucker in viewers to these spectacles. What am I missing?

Harry Houdini... awesome!

David Copperfield... cool!

David Blaine... hack ratings whore.

Damn, was that out loud? Is Blaine going to make me disappear? No, wait, that would require mag...


Latest Fun With Dead Trees review - Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan


Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on!

I know I have done this several times on my old static HTML blog. However, since this is the first year that I will be hosting my TV awards on this new site, I am going to start the numbering anew.

So welcome to the first-annual Primetime TV Kappy Awards. The only television awards show that truly matters!

[canned audience applause]

Why’s that, you ask?

Because they’re my opinions! Woo hoo!

[laugh track]

However, unlike in years past, Katie is actually going to be joining me on the voting and commenting process. After mere minutes of cajoling, she acquiesced. So another big woo hoo!

Here’s what is going to happen… I have three different categories of awards to present today: acting, shows, and miscellaneous. Pretty straight forward. However, I also, in some instances, delineate between “rookie” and “veteran” status. For the record, “veteran” refers to any actor or show that has been around since before this past season. Kiefer Sutherland, for example, is a veteran on 24 since he’s been on the show for five seasons now; the show, itself, also qualifies as veteran. “Rookie” refers either to an actor or show that is new at some point this season. However, it can also apply to an actor/actress that joined a veteran show just this season. Peter Weller is a rookie actor on the veteran show 24.

Making sense? Cool. Then let’s get started.

Continue reading "Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on!" »


Empty head feels good, yeah (part 2)...

(Click here for part 1)

I'd like to spend a little time today highlighting the rest of my favorite blogs as listed in my blogroll in the left menubar. Feel free to click on through to any or all of them to find out for yourself why I like them so much.

Kaply, Inc.
Tracy Lynn is a fellow Carnie over at CotM. That would be how I discovered her writing. She's quite the interesting sort of lady and will blog about anything that comes to mind. You gotta love it.

Ms. Sizzle Says
Sizz is my girl! I can easily count her as one of the best bloggers on my roll and I look forward to each and every one of her posts. But what's great about her is that she lives for feedback. Many bloggers just see comments on their posts and move on. She responds. Reader respect is something that tends to be lacking amongst many bloggers. Thankfully, almost every one of the blogs I read has a very reader-oriented blogger behind it.

Ninja Poodles!
I think, but am not absolutely positive, that I discovered Ninja Poodles from the Lost Blogger campaign. While her site is dedicated to anything, including her family, home, and garden, at the heart of her site lies her uber-stealthy dogs o' doom. And I love those stories. She's also my fellow book signature collector.

Not Content to Crawl
Let's see if I can recall the roundabout way we met... Nicole found my Flickr account and left a comment on a photo quite some time ago. I went to her Flickr site and found a link to her blog. Then I started commenting, she started commenting, and now she's one of only four Chicago-area bloggers I know. Considering how many NYC and California bloggers I know, I find it quite odd I don't know more from Chicago. Anyway, check her site out. She's got some great insight into family life and her photo site is incredible as well.

Postmodernes Sprachspielen
Postmodern Sass, or PoMo Sass for short, is the other brain behind Carnival of the Mundane. And, to be honest, that was how I discovered her. Funny how Six Degrees of Blogging works. I found Citizen of the Month through someone's site; he was a CotM participant, which got me interested; I participated and found Sass' site as a result. But she's a great wordsmith and definitely worth a read.

Secondhand Tryptophan
Karl is also a fellow Lost Blogger and, if we get off our lazy butts, my co-author. Heh. But his site is very akin to my own... full of rants and raves about any number of topics. And I find myself in some strange mindlink with him as it seems we are contemplating similar topics on any number of occasions. Kinda freaky.

There are a bunch more in the extended post... 
 

Continue reading "Empty head feels good, yeah (part 2)..." »


Papa's got a brand new bag...

I decided I wanted a unique meme to do today, so I did a Google BlogSearch and found this little jobber from a blogger named Helen in Malaysia.

It's the What's In My Bag meme and your mission, should you choose to accept it (c'mon, with M:I-3 coming out this weekend, you didn't see that one coming a mile away?), is to list all the crap you carry in your bag. Be it a purse, messenger bag (like me), backpack, briefcase, etc.

Here goes...

MiscpostitflagsWhat's In My Bag:

  1. The book I'm currently reading - Marley & Me by John Grogan
  2. The next book I plan to finish reading - The Lost Blogs by Paul Davidson; I tend to keep a back-up book in my bag in case I finish one and need something else to start
  3. Two books on CSS coding
  4. Two CDs of photos from my SLR shoots around town
  5. A package of clear plastic screen covers for PDAs, iPods, etc.
  6. My lucky pen/pencil/PDA stylus
  7. Two USB thumbdrives
  8. A thumbdrive extension cable
  9. Post-It flags - those things are ridiculously handy
  10. Extra pencil leads and erasers
  11. Business cards - no, they do not read "Overlord of Hell"... damn
  12. A Metra train schedule, despite the fact I do not commute to work by train
  13. One or two direct deposit pay stubs from work, maybe more
  14. My Palm Pilot
  15. A tin from Altoids Soft Chews that I use to transport my iPod earbuds so they don't get knotted, tangled, or torn
  16. A little bit of paperwork
  17. A clipboard
  18. One extra pen
  19. My passport and I have no idea why; I think I used it for ID one time and just never took it out of my bag

That's a lot of crap. Time to clean.

Well, you all know how it goes around here... no tags. Steal at will.


Empty head feels good, yeah...

I hate the fact that I wanted to get the information about my copy of The Lost Blogs and the announcement about the Star Wars DVDs out in such a timely manner. Yes, it led to double posting on each of those days because I already had a post up before each of those. Which also translates to way too much text for all of you to read. For that, I apologize.

But what is the other side effect of this timeliness?

I have nothing to say today. N-O-T-H-I-N-G! My mind is a tabula rasa. And not by choice, either.

So I think I'm going to spend a little time today posting about some of the blogs that I've started frequenting since the last time I did a Blogger Spotlight feature here at kapgar.com. Looking back, that was way the heck back in the beginning of November... and my blogroll has grown mightily since that time. If it comes down to it, this might be broken down into two posts.

Starting at the top of my blogroll and moving down...

(insertblognamehere)
Ah Nicole. You were one of Lost Blogger buddies and I've been a fan of your site since that time. I always find it interesting to hear what someone who is from the U.S. and living abroad has to say. There's always a pretty interesting perspective to be read on your site. And I do love the redesign.

86 Tips?
Chicago Jackie is a former waitress who is now working at getting herself into medical school. And her journey is a lot of fun to read about. Check it out.

Afraid of Diving
Jump right in to Nat's blog. She, like me, will write about whatever she wants as it strikes her. And it's pretty damn fun to read. Plus, she's a diehard Pearl Jam fan... how can you not respect that?

Carly Milne
I wholly blame Sandra for introducing me to Carly's infectious writing. And infectious it most certainly is. She's a professional writer having worked for several magazines and writing a book of her own. She's currently at work on another book and chronicling some of the occasional difficulties she's encountered along the way.

Citizen of the Month
Everybody... and I mean "everybody"... knows Neil Kramer. Or so it would seem when you examine random blogrolls across the Web. He's everywhere. And for good reason, he's one fine writer (I mean that in a purely professional sense, of course; I don't want Sophia to think I'm hitting on him). If you haven't checked his site out already, click on over.

This is getting long, so let's move some of these to the extended post...

Continue reading "Empty head feels good, yeah..." »


Nub yub!

Holy shit. It's actually happening. The world is coming to an end.

Mischanshotfirst

They're releasing the uncut, theatrical versions of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD this September!

There are some questions about what kind of quality it will be. But who really cares? They're the originals! And they're official!

I'm just in complete and utter shock.

I never thought this day would actually happen.

Slap me silly and call me Han.

Thanks to Bec for the head's up and all my boys (and girls) at originaltrilogy.com for the additional info!

And they've got a pretty cool T-shirt available to commemorate the occasion!

Mischanshirt

Oh, thank the maker!


Too much information...

I've got a ton of randomness for you today. Sorry if these tangents shoot you all over the place. Just sit back, return your seatbacks and traytables to their upright and locked positions, and prepare for a ride...

Network Neutrality
Talk about the topic du jour, I've been seeing this everywhere lately.

For those not in the know, basically, Network Neutrality is a campaign to save the Internet from a proposal in which telecommunications companies that serve as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to "control" Web traffic flow by making some sites load faster or slower than others.

Effectively, this means that ISPs will be showing preference to some sites over others. And what will likely determine who gets this preferential treatment? Money. Yeah, that's right. If a site wants to see their stuff load faster, they may be forced to pay the ISPs so their site will work better.

What a load of crap.

Here are a couple examples from a list I found of how this could affect us as Web users:

Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.

Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.

I don't really know everything about this topic. I don't even really know just how much of a speed difference there might be. It may be negligible, especially in this broadband era that we now live in. I'm reading what I can on the topic and the prospects do scare the bejeebus out of me, should they be valid.

Either way, this is definitely something you should keep your eyes on over the next several months. If you'd like a relatively easy-to-understand overview, check Wil's site.

MySpace
Sorry Neilochka, but I did it. I bit the bullet and signed up for a MySpace account. I really don't know why (well, I've received two invites lately both from my brother and from Johnny C) and I have no idea what benefits it may have, if any. Time will tell.

Miscmyspace_1But, you can check me out on MySpace here or by clicking on "MySpace" in the left menubar under "Kapgarize Me: Personal."

Actually, now that I think about it, should this be listed under "Personal" or "Communities" in the left menubar?

I do have 11 friends already, including Jesus H. Christ himself. So that's pretty cool. But I've also already had friends requests from three complete strangers. All of them are bands. Two from Chicago and one from L.A. Guess some of them have robots that scour the lists of MySpace users for newbies and locals, eh? Does this happen to each of you a lot?

I'm not really sure who out there is on MySpace that I know, but if you are and want to be my friend, contact me via my account.

"Be my friend, Appleby!"

iTunes/iPod
Thankfully, iTunes won the war with the major labels and the 99 cents/song pricing structure will remain intact. The music labels wanted to have a tiered structure so they could force iTunes to sell more popular songs at a higher price. Those greedy prick bastards. But Apple held strong. And they won. Thank you, Steve Jobs!

In other interesting music news, some miners who are trapped in a coal mine in Australia have been receiving survival necessities via a giant PVC pipe that rescuers managed to drop down to them. They have been given such things as food, water, dry clothing, blankets, vitamins, glow sticks, iPods, digital cameras... woah! iPods? Yeah, iPods have been passed down to the two miners loaded with music of their choosing just to make the time more bearable. Why not? If it makes their time trapped a bit more tolerable, it can't be all bad. Just goes to show that iPods really do make the world go round. Heh.

A New Snack
On a lighter note, both literally and figuratively, Katie and I have, just this week, become utterly obsessed with a new snack food. We found it at The Fresh Market and neither of us had ever seen it before, so it may be new... or we may just both be blind as bats.

Miscgoldfish_1Whole Grain Goldfish Crackers (you will have to enable popups for this site, sorry). And they rock! So far as we can tell, they only come in the original cheese flavor.

How do they compare to the original fishies? We both think they are actually not that much different. Maybe a little less cheese flavor, which translates to less powdery mess. But they are also a bit crunchier.

All in all, damn good! We highly recommend them.

If I had a cool "Kapgar Approved" logo like Dave's little seal of approval, that thing would be pasted all over these little babies. Alas, I do not. And Dave would probably sue my ass from here to Timbuktu for taking his idea anyway. So I'm much better off without it.

At least I've got my fishies.

Veronica Mars, season 2
For all you VM fans out there, here's a bit of good news... the season 2 DVD set for Veronica Mars will be coming out on August 15. This should be just in time for the start of season 3.

Yeah, you heard me CW execs, "season 3"! You'd damn well better re-up the show!


Sorry to throw so much at you. But I'm sure if one thing didn't appeal to you, then, hopefully, one of the other snippets will.


Pictures of the friends you used to know...

As much as I like digital photography and the convenience factor of being able to carry around our little Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P92 point and shoot, there's just something about using my good, old fashioned Minolta Maxxum 400si 35mm SLR camera that still appeals to me.

And it's been quite some time since I've used it. The poor boy has been sitting on the shelf in our closet since the summer of 2003 when I last used it on our cruise.

A couple weeks ago, I broke the 400si out of the bag, popped in a fresh battery and a roll of hi-res film, and started snapping.

Can I tell you how good it felt to use that monster again? For a camera that's nearing 15 years old, it still runs like it's fresh out of the box. I was alternating between both the 35-70mm lens and the 70-210 mm lens and just hoping for the best. I have no formal photographic training and, taking that into consideration, digital photography really is the best option for me as I can delete what doesn't turn out. But damn if that big ol' SLR camera body doesn't feel good in my hands. It just fits.

I really need a digital SLR. But that's a purchase planned for down the road a bit.

Here are some of the resulting shots.

James Street
The corner of James and 3rd Streets in downtown Geneva, IL.

The clouds
Driving down a street near our house in Geneva.

In an attempt to save my homepage from being too long vertically, I've put some more photos in an extended post...

Continue reading "Pictures of the friends you used to know..." »


And I want it now...

After reading Karl's post yesterday, I was quite jealous. I knew that Paul had sent out our copies of The Lost Blogs last Friday, but here was Karl already in possession of his and I had nothing yet. I was sad, confused, remorseful, apologetic, angry... where was my copy?!?!

Damn you, United States Postal Service! Damn you to Hell!

But then I arrived home last night (after picking up the car o' doom) and found my very own California-postmarked bubblepak. I guess maybe I could have been just a bit more patient.

Woo Hoo!!! It was here! I finally had my grubby mits on my own copy!

And here it is in all its deserved glory and splendor. The fruits of my GBBMC labor (it wasn't really labor, per se, but I'd hate to deface the old idiom anymore than I already had) were here!

The Davidson Collection
Ahhh... the new baby posing with his older brother, Consumer Joe (I bought CJ a few months ago)

Yes, I realize I did not win the promotion. However, since I created and admin'd it, Paul rewarded me with my own copy as well. And it was personalized, to boot!

My Signed Copy
He's a smart aleck, that Paul Davidson.

So, I'd like to give my thanks to Paul one more time for allowing me to get away with this project without ever really asking his permission ahead of time.

Normally, such insolence may have found me swimming with the fishes. Thankfully, Pauly's much more forgiving. Heh.


Breakdown, takedown... you're busted...

Saturday morning:
It was a regular Saturday, all things considered. Katie and I were at breakfast in between her lecture and lab finals in anatomy. We were leaving IHOP when we heard the POP... a muted gunshot sort of bang echoing out in the late morning hours.

We looked outside and saw no blown-out tires. A plastic bottle, perhaps? We hoped for the best and drove back to Katie's school for the second round of her exams. I noticed that the car was a bit sluggish in right turns on the way back. But nothing to worry too much about.

Upon leaving the school after the remainder of her exams, we heard another small pop. We looked at each other. Our eyes betrayed our vocalized confidence in the power of the Silver Bullet to hold strong.

We began the drive over to the dealership to drop off the car.

As you would expect from any car, however, the problem did not replicate itself during the trip, so we continued home.

I reassured Katie saying we would use the Beast for the rest of the weekend and I would drive the Bullet to work on Monday as I go right by the dealership and could stop in if I noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Monday morning:
I finished transferring some personal items out of the Bullet into the Beast for Katie should she need them. I got in the Bullet and turned over the engine. As I backed out, I heard the telltale scrape of metal on metal. Never a good sign.

I continued backing off the driveway over the curb. I turned the wheel and heard the soul-searing groan of a car in pain. Extreme pain. When I attempted to straighten the steering wheel to pull forward, nothing happened. The driver's side front tire responded, but not the passenger tire. And I was blocking the entire road. I finally forced the Bullet to endure the pain and drag its broken wing to the side of the road, out of the way of any potential traffic.

I exited the car and walked around to the site of the injury. The tire was turned in, trapped in a perpetual left turn. I peered behind the tire and saw that the cap attaching the tie rod to the wheel base was sheered and the rod was hanging loose.

Oh it's a great morning in the 'burbs.

I called roadside service and a tow truck came and took the Bullet to the local dealer. Katie drove me to work and returned home as we both awaited word on the damage.

The dealership called me at work about an hour later to let me know that it was, in fact, the tie rod. But nothing else was damaged. However, the front brake pads, which we already knew were going bad, were worn down about 95%. As much as I hate to pay for multiple services at the same time, I knew it was better to buy the pads now instead of waiting for the pads to go completely and then have to replace the rotors and discs, as well.

$500 later and here we are praying that this mother of a payment covers the Bullet for quite some time. But the question now arises, with all the work we've put into the Bullet in the last year (a big chunk just since January), should the Bullet be the first to be traded in despite being three years newer than the Beast?

How they stack up:

The Beast - 1997 Ford Ranger

  • 4 cylinder
  • 2.3 liter
  • >95,000 miles
  • no extended cab
  • ~15 MPG
  • 1/4 ton bed

The Silver Bullet - 2000 Dodge Stratus

  • 4 cylinder
  • 2.2 liter
  • >75,000 miles
  • ~25 MPG
  • moon roof

Yeah, the Bullet is three years younger than the Beast and should, theoretically, be in better shape. But the Beast has been doing pretty nicely in the nearly five years since it was paid off. A few problems here and there, but nothing too bad (I am currently knocking on a wooden baseball bat). The Bullet, however, since being paid off last summer, has been into the shop about three or four times for non-routine maintenance work. We'd like to think that this investment of money will be the end of it for a while; but, for all we know, it could just be the beginning (now I'm knocking on a wooden table).

It kills us because Katie always assumed we would run the Bullet into the ground and get me something with a little more get up and go that has better traction for those wonderful northern Illinois winters. A slightly higher MPG would be very nice, too, considering gas prices these days.

But it strikes me now that maybe we should run the Beast into the ground. It's been a great truck and I think it would reliably last me a few more years, at least.

I don't see how either really has that much trade-in value on it. But, certainly, the meager advantage would go to the Bullet based solely on age, appearance, mileage, and features.

We're not sure what to do. We really do need to start thinking more about it, though.

If Suze is right, next week better friggin' rock. I'm buying my lotto tickets now!

For the time being, though, anybody got some Ramen they're willing to donate?


Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on...

To my dearest executives in charge of primetime scheduling at ABC television,

First, I would like to congratulate you on your resurgence in ratings over the course of the last two seasons.

Miscabclogo On your part, there have been some shrewd decisions made regarding original programming. You have taken some risks, signed on some interesting new shows, and had a bit of luck. Okay, well, most of it has been luck. But you've done it. You've taken a network whose only real "hit show" of the last several years was a trivia contest emcee'd by an annoying little simp of a talk show host (and summarily run that into the ground as well by airing it five nights a week), and returned it to the glory that has eluded it for more than a decade.

However, this message is not all about praising you. Please allow me a moment to express my utmost disdain with an alarming trend that your network has taken part in over the course of the last season and a half.

This trend to which I refer would be the horribly annoying recap/clip shows that you seem to like to air about twice a season for some of your most popular shows. Off the top of my head, I can recall recap shows for Grey's Anatomy, Lost, and Desperate Housewives. Perhaps there are others, but those are the only ones I know about offhand.

I don't understand the rationale that is involved in the decision to play such a waste of airspace. Last week, alone, each of those shows was replaced by a clip show. Is it because you were too lazy to play a repeat episode? Some of us would have liked a repeat. Pick a highly rated episode and re-air it.

I realize that last week was the final week before May Sweeps and you don't want to air all the good final episodes in a month that doesn't count toward calculating potential advertiser revenue for the next season. But it does not grant you the right to play this cheap sort of "out" and count it as programming.

Would you like to know what I think is the worst part of this clip show fascination you guys and gals seem to have? It's the fact that because it has never aired before, you are able to list it in programming guides as "new" and not a s a "repeat." This screws up those of us who rely on TiVos and other digital video recorders to catch our shows because we're not around to watch them ourselves. Our DVRs interface with our local cable providers' programming schedules to find out what's new and what's not. When our systems see that Grey's Anatomy is "new," they will record it. We wind up happy because we see a "new" episode of the show in our Now Playing list only to discover it's a damn clip show!

I'm sure you're not worried about it. The recording of a clip show to a DVR still results in ratings for you (I'm assuming that if they can count downloads of shows from iTMS in ratings, which they do in a roundabout way, then they have probably found a way to figure in DVR-recorded episodes as well; correct me if I'm wrong). But don't think this means we actually "like" your damn recaps. WE DON'T. This would be artificial inflation of ratings. It's cheap. You probably don't care, but, for once, think about us and not your "bottom line."

Care to know why this is such an annoyance? Because some of us are big fans of shows like G.A. and we raise them to the tops of our DVR priority lists so their recordings will trump anything else that may come on that night. I'm not exactly sure what shows may have otherwise been on that I would have wanted to record; but, rest assured, that I would have rather recorded something like FOX News than see a recap show (well, that may be pushing it, but you get my point). I'm willing to bet a high number of viewers just automatically deleted the show from their DVRs the second they realized they had been suckered in.

With this season winding to a close, I realize there is little you can or would be willing to do about this phenomenon in the immediate future. But, for the upcoming television season, would you please, please, please reconsider this course of action? Eliminate your clip/recap shows entirely. Air a repeat episode. Please. We beseech you. Take a step back and consider this as though you are one of us... just a normal, everyday viewer who wants to watch their favorite shows.

I'm begging. I don't do that often.

Kevin Apgar
Concerned Viewer

P.S. - I would also like to kindly request that you not embed autorunning audio/video content on ANY of your Web pages. Some of us prefer silence or our own music that we tend to already have playing on our computers as we're surfing. There's no quicker way to make us leave a Web site than by hearing your autorunning crap over top of what we have playing already. Before you say, "well, you can pause the video," allow me to inform you that the "pause" button does jack. I clicked the damn thing a half dozen times with no results. You may want to talk to your Web developers about this one. Make those asshats earn their keep.

P.S. #2 - When the hell are you going to air another episode of In Justice? My wife and I miss it.