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31 posts from June 2006

I am, I am, I am Superman...

I know I may have promised a few of you a post on a certain topic. However, something came up that trumped that particular post in terms of sensitivity to timeliness. So the promised post will go up tomorrow... promise. I really mean it this time.

Anywho, Katie had to pick me up from work yesterday because I had driven her car to the shop to take care of a recall notice that she received in the mail. No, nothing bad, and nothing we had to pay for, unlike last time. So I was actually happy to take it in.

She stopped at home on her way from work to pick up a change of clothes for both her and me because we were planning on hanging out with the future SiL, Jen. She also picked up the mail and immediately called me.

Katie: "You got a couple packages in the mail that you're going to love."

Kevin: "Really? What are they?"

Katie: "Well, one's from Italy."

Kevin: "Kim?"

Katie: "Yep. That girl really digs you. And I'm not touching this stuff."

Kevin: "Black licorice?!?!"

Katie: "Yep."

EXCELLENT!! I know Kim has sent me some black licorice'd goodies before, but that package was expected. This one, I had no idea was coming. So it was an incredible surprise. And a yummy one, at that.

To Kim... thank you so much! You are awesome!

Supermantags The other package was an order I placed last week with the WB Store. In anticipation of the release of the new movie, I ordered myself a pair of the Superman dogtags that support the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

I had been wanting to order a pair of these for well over a year now, but always forgot. Now, it's a bit hard to not remember Superman as his image is all over the place. So I finally ordered a deuce.

And they arrived just in time as we went to see Superman Returns with Jen last night!

So how was it? Oh they're great! Really high-quality metal, nice imprinting on both sides of the tags, and your $10 buys you two of them... one on a classic dogtag metal bead necklace and the other on a keyring.

Oh wait, you wanted to hear about the movie, didn't you?

Continue reading "I am, I am, I am Superman..." »


I'd like to buy the world a Coke...

How many years has the iTunes Music Store been in existence now? Four or more? Yeah, that sounds about right.

And as cool a concept as I always thought it was, I never got into buying things from the store until the right price was thrust in my face (no sex-related puns, please; that means you, Chase). And that price was "free."

Yep, not until that first promotion with Pepsi -- in which "1 in 3 people will win a free song from the iTunes Music Store" -- started did I start picking out songs. I'm a cheap bastard, what can I say? I also participated in the promotion the year after that, as well.

The only thing that ever bugged me about it was that I was always a Coke fan. Yet, here I was whoring myself to the Pepsi machine in order to get free music.

Well, not anymore!

Ipodlime It looks as though a "substantial" iTunes/Coke cross promotion is in the works. Considering the previous allegiance with Pepsi, this potential deal may seem a bit odd.

Apple, apparently, does not play favorites.

So I guess there was a little more to Coke's announcement that they were shutting down their online music store than initially reported.

This is a very good thing for many of us in my little nook of the Blogosphere.

Elaine, I'm sure, will be all over it.

Dave's gonna drink himself into lime-laced oblivion.

Perhaps, even Eve will ditch her Dr. Pepper'd ways in favor of free music. (Come to the dark side, Eve!)

Me? Well, I've become addicted to Diet Coke with Lime as of late. To quote the great Depeche Mode, "I just can't get enough." Actually, this applies to Katie as well. That stuff's just damn good.

And, now, my problem will be exponentially worsened as I try to find that special golden wrapper... er... cap with the free song code.

I guess that would depend on what the actual promotion winds up being, of course.

One can hope, though, can't he?

(iPod image stolen from Amazon.com and they probably stole it from someone else; "Everything's Better With LIME" used with permission from Blogography as it's much cooler than the Coca-Cola logo screen that TUAW used.)


Sweet talking hippie...

One of the great things about the summer is that Katie and I get a reprieve from watching television shows. With how much we watch weekly (we are cutting out about six or more hours for next season), it's just nice to have that extra time to ourselves.

So how do we spend this time? Going on bike rides? Rollerblading? Picnics in the park? Working out at the gym?

Nah.

We've spent the last several days doing something far more personally satisfying than all that. We've been watching TV shows on DVD.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cut us some slack, okay?

Dharmaandgregs1 The first show we decided to check out was one that we watched occasionally while it was aired, but never truly committed ourselves to. It would be Dharma & Greg, season 1.

I remember the show being fun when it was on the airwaves back in the late 90s and early in the 21st century. While we enjoyed it, its passing into the white snowy ether was not that big a deal to us.

So we went into watching the first season of this show not expecting too much. And we came out enjoying it immensely.

As you may or may not know, Dharma & Greg is the story of a freelove hippie named Dharma (Jenna Elfman) who spontaneously marries an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice named Greg (Thomas Gibson). The show revolves around their odd union as well as their families and friends who, despite existing in their own strange worlds, must face the fact that their lives now intersect.

While I like the title characters in the show, I've gotta admit that, much like Will & Grace in its heyday, it is the peripheral characters that make the show. Particularly Mitchell Ryan as Greg's well-to-do father and Alan Rachins as Dharma's revolutionary hippie dad. When the two of them go at it, it's just far more fun than you should ever be allowed to have. And growing up having watched Rachins as a straight-laced legal eagle in L.A. Law just makes his character that much more enjoyable.

The set is three discs long and contains all 23 episodes from the first season, which aired from 1997-98. The discs are dual sided, so you have to have pretty decent eyesight to read the label on the center spindle of the disc. But this is made up for by the fact that the packaging is very minimal, which is something I like. Instead of a big, unwieldy DigiPak that you need to unfold to discover four or more discs (much like the Friends season sets), you have two ThinPak cases, one that is capable of containing two discs. Very convenient and well done. Probably one of the easiest-to-use DVD sets we own.

The extras are very barebone on this set. Some episodes have commentary by Elfman, Rachins, and Mimi Kennedy (Abby O'Neil, Dharma's mother on the show); the "When Worlds Collide: The Dharma & Greg Story" featurette; and the "Reaching Your Inner Dharma" interactive game. But you know me and extras, we don't hang out much.

Also you may discover that a few episodes have easter egg outtakes in the episode menu. Scroll up from the "play episode" option to highlight either "Yin" or "Yang" and click "enter." There may be more hidden in the set, but this was what we found. And accidentally at that.

To put it simply, it was a great set from what I only previously deemed to be a decent show. And I think Katie and I would definitely check out future seasons as they're released.

Overall Rating: 4stars

Next on the Docket: I introduce Katie to the wonder that is Veronica Mars, season 1, and I start in on the short-lived Wonderfalls that I just picked up used from Coconut's. Oh yeah, we also have a boatload of Seinfeld DVDs to catch up on as well. But I sincerely doubt we'll get through all those.

Don't worry, we do spend time doing other things as well. Honestly. It's not nearly as pathetic as it may sound.

Note (6/29/06): Because some people are asking, I felt compelled to clarify that this review was requested. But it was something that Katie and I were going to rent and review anyway. The only thing that changed as a result of the request was the timeline.


In the garage, I feel safe...

One of the great things about owning as opposed to renting is being able to hold garage sales. I suppose someone who rents an apartment could hold a garage sale, but they've never gone over that well in my experience.

This past weekend, our townhome association was holding the neighborhood garage sale. This is an annual thing that really didn't do so well last year because there were only a few sales throughout the association and they were meager, at best.

This year, however, a neighbor across the street felt it might serve us better to pool our resources (read: "items to be sold") into one big sale instead of several smaller ones. True there aren't as many places to stop, but when you hit that one big one, it's a goldmine.

Katie and I never had the chance to go through all our belongings to get everything that we wanted to sell, but we did scrounge together about six or seven grocery bags worth of old stuff including VHS tapes, record albums, video games, wine glasses, flower vases, books, and some other crap. Not a lot, but a little something is better than nothing, right?

I ran the stuff over before work on Friday morning. About an hour or two before the sale was officially set to start. I took over two bags and went home to get two more. As I was leaving her place, a kid in a sports car pulled up and started talking to my neighbor. I continued across the street and grabbed two more bags and, as I was crossing the street with the swag, the kid pulled away from the curb in his car.

I put down the two bags and my neighbor looked in and said, "are those record albums?" I said yes. She said that the kid who had just left was looking for vinyl and she told him she didn't have any not knowing that was what I was bringing over.

. . . Strike 1

On Sunday after the sale, I went back to our neighbor's place and picked up some of what remained. About half my records were sold, plus a bunch of other stuff. We only made about $70, but that was great considering how little time we had to throw everything together.

Granturismo3 I got home and began looking through a few things when I opened up the case for a video game I was attempting to sell. It was a PlayStation 2 copy of Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (a car racing game). And, as I did not expect, the CASE WAS EMPTY. Someone had stolen the game right out of the case and walked off with it leaving me with a useless box and an instruction book.

WTF!?!?!

I've never heard of stealing from a garage sale.

While it makes perfect sense since there's no security and few people working it to watch over all the goods, you'd think people might be a bit more honest seeing as how far marked down the goods are at these things. I had the game marked at $5 and was more than willing to dicker down to 50% of that cost. And still they felt the need to steal it.

What kind of CHEAP-ASS FUCKTARD do you have to be to steal from a garage sale?!?!

It's two days later and I'm still in shock over the whole thing.

. . . Strike 2

Then I went ahead and started to put stuff away. As I went through the few remaining VHS tapes, I noticed a videotape that was never mine. Ever.

It was a copy of Empire Records.

Oh yay.

To any of you who love this movie, I apologize in advance for what I'm about to say. This includes people who may be somehow related to people who helped make the film (Sandra, are you at all related to writer Carol Heikkinen?).

I hated Empire Records. I just could not get into that movie. And I've given it three full chances to win me over. Yes, you read that right... I watched it once straight through and hated it. Despite this hatred, I felt I should give it another chance because so many people I know loved the film. So I did. And I still hated it. I watched it a third time fairly recently and nothing.

I just don't get it. Why do people obsessively love this damn film? The only real reason I watched it those few times, aside from forcing myself to find some merit in it, is because of Liv Tyler's ultra-mega-fuzzy-hyper-miniskirt that she just looks so wickedly adorable in. Other than that... nada.

Considering this hatred of the film, I must classify the discovery of this tape as...

. . . Strike 3

And I'm out.


So find me...

Let's face it, people search for the weirdest things online. And, if you have even a decent stat tracker, you can uncover what weird words and phrases were used that, somehow or another, happened to result in them finding your site.

Several of my fellow bloggers have posted about this in the past. This is my first time and this post is several days in the making as I've been compiling a list of some of the best searches that found kapgar.

The reason it took me so long is, apparently, because my readers and lurkers aren't quite at the level of depravity of those who read, say, Karl's site (I just hadda, man). He gets some twisted search keywords that find his site.

Here are some of the keyword and phrase searches that have brought people here lately...

  • Catherine Bach's Shoe Size - Apparently a Dukes of Hazzard foot fetishist?
  • sxy_wife - A spam mailer that I covered, indirectly, in my Dennis Haskins spam post a while back.
  • Boxers vs. Briefs research - It was the use of "research" that killed me. Has someone actually spent money on scientifically researching which is better? Maybe I should be that expert.
  • Kevin Apgar - While I'm encouraged that this search did, in fact, find me, I'm scared about who was looking.
  • fire fire fire Beavis - Are they looking for a picture of him in flames? Why the descriptor? And why in triplicate? Well, here's all I've got.
  • Afrospanicindioasianization downloads - Sorry, dude. Only a reference to the episode of The Daily Show here. No vids.
  • Elaine Butters Grey's Anatomy - Huh?
  • Robert DeNiro Suspected Terrorists Video for MySpace - I don't understand this one at all. But I will note that I get a boatload of searches by people looking for custom themes for MySpace pages. Another future business endeavor?
  • See me naked - No, really. You don't want that. Trust me on this one.
  • "kyan" site: http://kapgar.typepad.com - So someone was looking for info about the Queer Eye guy specifically on my site? Is that what I'm to take from this search? While not Kyan, I did write about Ted. Hell, there were four searches in a row that ranged from the above-listed search phrase to "lewd Kyan." Is someone looking for Kyan porn? Hey bonehead... I HAVE NO SUCH CONTENT HERE, SO STOP LOOKING!
  • Celebrity Booty Flickr - um yeah.
  • "Conservative controversy" "Matt Lauer" - There's no controversy... Ann Coulter is Satan. Even conservatives will admit that. And Matt Lauer schooled her and showed the world that she is incapable of spontaneous thought.
  • jennifer love hewitt hairstyle bangs - It is horrendous, isn't it?
  • Meredith Vieira Crying - Did the Today show rescind their offer?!?! Please say yes!
  • catherine bell belly button photos - No, you would need Dave's site for quality pictures of Catherine Bell.
  • bought the wrong size concert shirt - So sorry.
  • Cubs jokes - Actually, I got a couple searches looking for this. Since they suck, I'm happy to oblige.
  • dildo lightsaber fight video - Again, more than happy to oblige.

There are some twisted people living in this world, aren't there?


Girls, they wanna have fu-un...

So I was gmail chatting with Jacquie the other day and we started discussing the naming of her blog. Below is the conversation minus parts that are not related to the post at hand.

Jacquie: "You and Karl both make me feel like a million bucks."

me: "Well, you deserve it. You give it right back to us."

Jacquie: "I do? Good. I didn't think I did but I love you both. I have considered renaming my blog 'TO KAP AND KARL, WITH LOVE' or something."

me: "HA HA HA!!!!"

Jacquie:
"But I didn't want to make the very few others that actually read my blog too jealous."

me: "I'll photoshop a To Wong Foo poster to show us instead as your banner."

Jacquie: "AWESOME!  YOU should! That would rock."

me: "'To Kap and Karl... thanks for everything, Jax!' instead of 'To Wong Foo... thanks for everything, Julie Newmar'."

Jacquie: "Sweet, but wouldn't the photoshopped pic have to be u 2 in drag? that would be even better."

me: "Put our faces on two of the others. We each have enough photos up that I could steal something easily enough. I'll never actually dress in drag. Unless there's a lot of money involved. Or liquor."

Jacquie:
"Well, that's good to know."

me: "Not my thing."

So I started working on it.

Continue reading "Girls, they wanna have fu-un..." »


Raindrops keep fallin' on my head...

The Rainy Day Meme stolen from Bec and Karl...

1. If you could be doing what you really want to be doing for a living, what would it be?
Be paid to review movies and books.

2. If you could slap the shit out of any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?
Ann Coulter, duh.

3. What’s the dumbest decision you’ve made in the past five years?
I don't know that I've made any that, in hindsight, are really that "dumb," per se. They've all seemed to work out despite any initial doubts.

4. Give up one for a year: (good) sex or (good) music.
Well, since most new music sucks the sweat off a dead donkey's shriveled nutsack, I think I could give up the music. But I'd certainly be listening to a boatload of podcasts.

5. Dudes, would you rather have a big dick or a great sense of humor? Ladies, nice tits & ass or common sense?
Do I have to choose? Oh fine, I'll pick nice tits & ass. Woah, wait...

Continue reading "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head..." »


You're my alternative girlfriend...

Katie shared this one with me yesterday. Identities are being changed to protect the not-so-innocent. Well, all identities save for Katie's as that would just be silly, now wouldn't it?

Where Katie works is a slower store in terms of business output in a huge chain of stores that spans this great country of ours. She works in one department whose operation is vital to the store overall.

Because they are "slow" (they are in a developing part of town so business is building rapidly), they are often used as a training ground for new employees.

One such "new employee," who shall heretofore be referred to as Billy, came to the store in December for training. Katie, who is a senior member of her department, as well as another senior member we'll call Julie, took it upon themselves to train Billy in all things that he could ever possibly need to know.

Julie, I feel I should note, has a personal policy to never date coworkers.

However, when Billy finished his training and moved on to another store, he became fair game.

Their relationship was brief. And it ended seemingly as quickly as it began. Julie is now in a serious relationship with another guy.

Where Katie works, the store assistant managers tend to rotate often. It's the corporation's way of providing multiple working experiences to the assistants in differing markets so they are ready for when they become managers of their own stores.

Recently, one of Katie's favorite assistants was transferred. Katie was bummed. But a new assistant would soon be arriving.

[C'mon, you gotta see where this is going.]

She showed up at work the day before yesterday to meet the newly assigned assistant manager... it was Billy.

Katie had herself some fun on Julie's behalf for the rest of the day. And the day after that. And probably today as well.

Karma's a bitch, ain't she?


Latest Fun With Dead Trees review - Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine


You wreck me baby...

To the dingleberry outside Panera Bread in Geneva, IL, yesterday...

Here's a tip for when you are backing your big-ass Chevy pickup truck out of a parking space, LOOK BEHIND YOU! That's what your back and side windows are for, to look and make sure nobody else is behind you so you can back up without incident.

I realize you may try to argue that my tiny little quarter-ton pickup can potentially be lost in the mix, but it's BRIGHT FRIGGIN' RED! You couldn't miss it if you wanted to!

Combine this with the fact that I WAS HONKING MY HORN AT YOU and IT'S A DAMN LOUD HORN!

Yet, despite all this, you continued to back up and NEARLY HIT ME.

And then you had the audacity to glare at me as though it was MY FAULT.

Well, eat my shorts, asshat.

If you ever try to pull that shit on me again, I've got a truckbed full of golf clubs and baseball bats and I know how to use them.


Take me out to the crowds...

Guess what I just did? For the first time this entire season, I actually snuck a peek at the team standings in Major League Baseball.

Yeah, sorry, but my lack of enthusiasm for the baseball season persists. Let's put this in terms readily understandable... I've watched more of the World Cup and, prior to that, the Women's College World Series (softball) than baseball.

Scary, eh?

Well, looking at the standings was really strange to me. Lots of things I never would have expected. Here's a division-by-division breakdown:

  • American League East - Meh, no real surprises. Yankees and BoSox at the top as always.
  • American League Central - The Tigers? Really? Hmmm. I never would've seen that one coming. And I swore that, about a month ago, I overheard someone saying that the Royals were doing pretty well. Sure don't look it to me.
  • American League West - When the hell did Los Angeles get an AL team?!?! Oh wait... it's those identity-crisis-stricken Angels, isn't it?
  • National League East - The Mets are in first and the Braves are in last?!?! WTF?
  • National League Central - Cubs doing badly??? The hell you say! Speaking of which, you want a couple good Cubs jokes? Read below.
  • National League West - The NL West is the strongest overall division in baseball? Is Rod Serling delivering a monologue somewhere and I'm missing it?

Yeah, okay, time to go into hermit mode again.

Here are those jokes as relayed to me by a White Sox fan (who knows I'm a Cubs fan)...

Q - Why don't the Cubs have a Web site?
A - Because they can't put three Ws together. (Get it? W="win")

Q - Why did Pete Rose move across the street from Wrigley Field?
A - He wanted to get as far away from baseball as possible.


Here's something completely unrelated. But I feel I must share as it's one of the funniest posts I have read in a while. It comes from Danny, the man behind Dad Gone Mad. I blame Allison for getting me hooked on him.

Before you read what I consider the funny-ass post, you should probably get some backstory on it. Oh, and don't read while you're eating. Just a tip.

Enjoy.


And here are the final bunch of International _____ Day posts for June:

  • Thursday, June 22 - International Food Court Day (mine)
  • Friday, June 23 - International Bugs Potter Day
  • Saturday, June 24 - International Have Sex With A Coworker Day
  • Sunday, June 25 - International Take a Nude Picture Day
  • Monday, June 26 - International Those Wacky Nazis Day
  • Tuesday, June 27 - International Don't Ask Day
  • Wednesday, June 28 - International Be Yourself Day
  • Thursday, June 29 - International Bitchin' Top Ten Lists Day
  • Friday, June 30 - TBA

I fell in a burnin' ring of fire...

Aren't vacations supposed to be relaxing?

If the trade-off is that the relaxing aspect of the vacation is earned by jumping through flaming ring after flaming ring just trying to book the damn thing, then this had better be the most relaxing friggin' vacation Katie and I have ever gone on because I'm going through absolute hell to get it arranged.

Knobhill In an attempt to save money and because we've earned it, we're using the American Airlines Advantage miles we have amassed over the last six years to get free airfare. We each had our own account through AAdvantage so we could gain these miles. Last year, we both finally crossed the threshold necessary to be able to get tickets anywhere in the contiguous 48 states and, as I only learned today, without any blackout periods whatsoever.

The catch is that, since we each have our own account, we will each have to book separately through the AA Web site. If we book on the phone, we will be assessed service charges out the heinie (yes, I said "heinie," although I'm not sure if I spelled it correctly). The danger of this is that we may not be able to get tickets where we can sit together nor necessarily even on the same flight. It's a matter of checking availiability (only a limited number of seats per flight are set aside for AA members) and praying.

Great.

And then there's the hotel. We could stay at the hotel at which Brian and Jen will be staying at nearly $150 a night, which really isn't a bad price. Or we could try to use some of our contacts and stay at a hotel quite a ways closer in town -- I believe a majority of these hotels are in the KnNob Hill area (see photo, courtesy of localpics.com); while another one is relatively close to the Embarcadero.

The price for these hotels is much better as we could potentially get a deal that would allow us to stay for half the total cost of where my brother is staying. And, being so close to where we plan on hanging out anyway, a cab or cablecar ride back after a night of drunken debauchery is much more reasonable. Heck, we may even be able to stumble home with relatively few injuries.

No, none of these are "cheap" hotels; all of them seem to be rated 3.5 stars or above. It's just a matter of me pulling strings and getting deals. But we have to find some membership code number and coupons for a Web site I signed up with years ago so I can use it as an identifier when calling to get the deals. Considering I signed up with the site so long ago and have not used them once, I can only hope that I can still find the coupons and codes.

Again... great.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I need help!


This is kinda eerie... it was brought to my attention by Chase that the time that Katie and I will be out in San Francisco is right about the time of BlogHer. What's eerie about it is that I was thinking "I wonder if our trip now coincides with BlogHer?" Alas, it just might.

No, this was not intentional and I don't think I'm going to be attending or anything (I'm not sure how to entertain Katie if I were to go), but it does mean that I can meet more of you. I was already planning on meeting Sandra while I was out there, as well as, hopefully, Jacynth and Mikey. But I may be able to meet Chase, Karl, and Belinda now as well. Anybody else going to be in the area around that time?

Oh yeah, we are, for sure, going to be in the Bay Area from July 31-August 4 (those are the days my brother and his fiancee are going to be there). But Katie and I were going to try to get out there on the 29th and stick around until the 5th. These dates are very loose and dependent on the airfare we can book, of course. But, if it does work out, I'll let you know.

Maybe all this scheduling headache does have an additional silver lining.


Quick Update: I want to wish my uncle a happy birthday. So... happy birthday, UB!


I scare myself when I let my thoughts run...

I'm not really quite sure what spurred this entire thread, but I suddenly started thinking about some things that scare me. Well, not overarching, lifelong fears; more topical ones, actually. In all honesty, some are a bit stupid (in a funny way), but I thought I'd share anyway.

It scares me that... our trip to San Francisco is only a little over a month away. Initially, we had been laboring under the assumption that it would be happening in late August to early September. Then, yesterday, my brother reveals to me that it will be in late July to early August due to this being a business trip for him as well. He swears this is what he had told us from the start, but both Katie and I disagree. Now I need to haul ass to make sure I can get the vacation time, get our frequent flyer miles to work, and see about lodging. Aye aye aye. I get far too anxiety ridden about vacations.

It scares me that... I can say the word "Cupertino" and Katie instinctively knows that this is a reference to my desire to visit Apple Computer HQ in Cupertino, CA, while we are near the Bay Area. She disregards quite a bit of my geekiness, hence why her memory of this single word scares me.

It scares me that... my truck is approaching nine years old and, during it's brief reign on Earth, it has experienced gas prices that range anywhere from $0.99 to $3.31 per gallon. How is that right?

It scares me that... on occasion, the spam folder in my e-mail account reads more like an untranslated Tao Te Ching.

Spamboxtao


Lady in red...

Just one quick thing for you today... something I haven't done in a while and I miss terribly.

... my first Mystery Photo Contest in months!

Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure several of you weren't even readers of kapgar the last time I did one of these.

So tell me, what is this?

Mystery Photo

Okay, have a good rest of your weekend.

I told you it was a quickie. Please don't feel used and disregarded. I'll be back for lengthier and more meaningful fun tomorrow.

Promise.


My name is...

I stole this one from Nicole who stole it from her sister. And it's a fun one, so enjoy.

There is only one little change to it that I made, since so many credit ID verifications rely on "mother's maiden name," I think I'll change the relative questions below to my grandmother's maiden name if that's okay with all of you.

What's Your Name?

  1. Your Rock Star Name (first pet and current street name):
    Tippee Caldwell
  2. Your Movie Star Name (grandfather/grandmother on your mom's side, favorite candy):
    Bill Hershey
  3. Your 'Fly Girl/Guy" Name (first initial of first name, first two or three letters of your middle name):
    K. Way (works, doesn't it?)
  4. Your Detective Name (favorite color, favorite animal):
    Blue Kitty
  5. Your Soap Opera Name (middle name, hometown):
    Wayne Fairport
  6. Your Star Wars Name (first three letters of your last name, last three letters of mother's maiden name, first three letters of your pet's name):
    Apgzac Mea or Apgzac Jin (We don't currently have pets, so I went with my two late cats, Meatball and Jinx)
  7. Jedi Name (middle name spelled backwards, your mom's maiden name spelled backwards):
    Enyaw Cazc
  8. Porn Star Name (middle name, street you grew up on):
    Wayne Filkens
  9. Superhero Name ("The", your favorite color, the automobile you drive/want):
    Drive: The Blue Ranger • Want: The Blue Cobra (YES! Either are pretty cool actually)

Steal away!


Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes...

Hey! Click through from your RSS reader so you can see the new look!

Is it wrong of me to say that I'm sweating bullets right now in anticipation of what everyone has to say about the new layout here at Kapgar? I'm freaking out, in all honesty. I actually had to sit here and convince myself to click the button. Literally.

I don't expect everyone to like it. That would be asking far too much. But I hope at least a few of you do.

Here are the details...

  1. Photo banner
    I'm using a photo I took a couple years ago from the balcony of our old apartment at sunrise as the header banner. I've been a geek for this photo since I took it and it still ranks in the top two of my all-time favorite photos that I've ever taken (my fave being one of the Golden Gate Bridge taken in 1999).
  2. Smaller site name
    I want the focus on the photo and, since the name is in a rather uncluttered area of the photo, I feel it still stands out despite the size. Oh yeah, I also pitched the "life in HTML/XML" bit as it was getting too cliche.
  3. Background color
    This only affects the fill bars on the sides of the site. I was getting tired of all the white from the old look so I gave it a bit more life by sampling one of the colors from the lantern in the banner. The fill color behind the text will always remain white for ease of reading, though.
  4. Restrained column width
    I got tired of seeing how different monitor resolutions affected the layout of my site, so I restricted it. Typepad has very minimal options in this area, though. So I went for the widest I could find which was 500 pixels for the body and 200 for the sidebar. Actually, I could've gone 300 on the sidebar, but that makes the sidebar ridiculously wide.
  5. Sidebar changes
    Most of the actual sidebar changes have been implemented incrementally throughout the last couple weeks. Reducing of music recommendations to two from three, reorganizing some of the search functions, switch to Blogroll from my manually maintained link list, a couple new badges, loss of post calendar, and feed switch to FeedBurner.
  6. Font change
    This may be completely unnoticeable for many, but I switched from Trebuchet to Lucida Grande. Not a big deal, really.
  7. Link color
    I sampled some of the blues in the banner to come up with the blue color in the links. It was tough to see at first so I greyed out some of the body text to make the links more identifiable. It may still be a bit difficult for some to see, but I don't mind it. Oh, and the mouseover orange color on the links is also a sample.

Okay, enough from me. Now I want to hear from you. What do you think? Be honest. I'm a big boy, I can handle it.

Lurkers! Come out and tell me what you think as well. All opinions are welcome.

Before I forget, I need to thank Katie, Karl, Kristin, and Johnny for their input on my preliminary designs.

Oh yeah, happy one year blogiversary to me!


Latest Fun With Dead Trees review - A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore


You gotta know when to hold 'em...

I know I'm not much of a poker player. That much I've readily admitted to in the past.

However, I was kinda forced into learning to play organized Texas Hold 'Em last year by some friends who are poker junkies and, aside from my first match which was my intro, I did pretty decently. Actually, I won the tournament.

Now, I kinda like playing poker. Not that I'm good at it or anything. But I don't loathe the thought of playing anymore.

And damn if this particular tournament doesn't sound like fun...

Pokerstarsblogger

It's a Texas Hold 'Em online tournament exclusive to bloggers who actively write (more than twice a week) and whose blogs have been in existence for over two months! And it's a free buy in.

I found out about this at both Neil's and Karl's sites and Karl has since been trying to talk me into playing.

Check out the potential booty (from the event site):

  • 1st place - World Series of Poker Main Event package (valued at $12,000)
    This package includes a free $10,000 buy-in to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event, a free hotel stay during the WSOP main event, and $1,000 additional spending money.
  • 2nd-9th place - $1,500 World Series of Poker entry
  • 10th place - $1,000 online heads-up match with Team PokerStars' Wil Wheaton
  • 11th-20th place - $370 seat in the PokerStars WSOP 150-Seat Guaranteed tournament
  • 21st-40th place - 4GB iPod Nano
  • 41st-50th place - $215 Seat in Sunday Million
  • 51st-54th place - PokerStars Letterman's Jacket

I so want in on this tournament. Of course there are probably well over 2,000 entrants as of right now (1,925 as of the time that Karl registered). But I think it'd be a blast.

When it's free, what have you got to lose?

Oh yeah, the love and respect of your family, that's what. It's scheduled for Father's Day (June 18). That's the big catch. Katie and I will be with my family so justifying playing poker for a few hours may take a miracle of modern debate.

Maybe next year. Actually, I'm thinking definitely next year (barring another scheduling snafu on their part).


Hot summer nights and my radio...

... or iPod as the case may be.

If there is one thing I love about summer, it's the chance to roll down your window and crank up your music as the wind blows through your hair (okay, so there's not much on my head for the air to blow through, deal with it) driving down the road.

Kissrevenge At times like this, I don't mind commuting. Today, for example, I was coming back to work from lunch with Katie and I was jamming to KISS's "Unholy" and "Domino" off their not-nearly-respected-enough 1992 release Revenge. God I love that album (save for one song).

So, in honor of the weather, I suggest we declare today Drive Jam Mix Day. Create yourself a new mix CD or iPod playlist with all your favorite driving music and crank it up when the weather is as incredible as it is today.

Hell, it's kinda late in the day, isn't it? Howsabout we stretch it through tomorrow, too.

My "Summer Driving" playlist is 60 songs strong right now and includes KISS, Van Halen, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Poison, Warrant, Motley Crue, Queen, Queensryche, Megadeth, Guns n' Roses, Skid Row, Velvet Revolver, Dokken, Buckcherry, Ozzy, Ratt, Faith No More, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

Noticing a theme? Yeah, I like heavy guitar riffs and drum lines when the windows are down. I don't care what kind of glares I get from people as I drive by jamming my stereo at 11 on the volume knob (it'll come to you). I need to make my drive bearable and this playlist will do just that.

And since we're on the topic of special days, here's my once-again tardy list of upcoming days for International ____ Day. I think I'm going to list a few too many just in case I forget again next Tuesday. I'm bad like that.

  • Tuesday, June 13 - International Reminisce Your First Joy Day
  • Wednesday, June 14 - International You Poke It, You Own It Day
  • Thursday, June 15 - International Phobia Day
  • Friday, June 16 - International Be Nice To French People Day
  • Saturday, June 17 - International String Theory Day
  • Sunday, June 18 - International This Day In History Day
  • Monday, June 19 - International Call In Sick Day
  • Tuesday, June 20 - International Jealousy Is Cool Day
  • Wednesday, June 21 - International I Don't Care Day

Oh, and if you want to have some more participatory fun, head over to Sandra's cyberniche and take part in her comment orgy. Don't know what a "comment orgy" is? Well, head over anyway as she has a good description of it.


Do you go to the movies, find a friend in a film...

It's kinda funny, but the other day, I was looking for something to post about (actually, I was looking for a meme about movies) and I started to check out the American Film Industry site. Can you believe it's been eight years since AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list was released to a skeptical crowd of movie fans?

Afilogo It kinda blew my mind when I thought about this as well. While I don't agree with the list entirely, it's not bad overall. But it's hard to come up with a list such as this just knowing that it could be outdated in mere months. Yes, the list has parameters for inclusion, but will it ever be updated for any of the brilliant films that have come out in the near decade since? I dunno.

Also while perusing the site, I saw just how many lists have been released by AFI since then. I remember a couple of these and watched some of the televised fanfare of it all. But there has been a new list each year.

This year's new list, which is supposed to air tonight on CBS, is 100 Years... 100 Cheers. Supposedly, it's all about the 100 most inspiring moments in movie history. Suffice it to say, if Rocky isn't on the list, I'm killing somebody. Or I will, at the very least, have Apollo Creed box their ears in.

I'm wondering how many more lists they can possibly come up with. How do I get a job making lists for AFI? Can someone please tell me? You can't tell me I wouldn't be good at it.

So, in honor of the new AFI list, I'm going to revisit the list that started it all just so I can see how many of the movies I have seen. It's probably a bit pathetic, but I want to give it a look-see anyway.

Below is the list and the movies I've seen are in bold.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. Casablanca (1942)
3. The Godfather (1972)
4. Gone With the Wind (1939)
5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
7. The Graduate (1967)
8. On the Waterfront (1954)
9. Schindler's List (1993)
10. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
11. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
12. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
13. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
14. Some Like it Hot (1959)
15. Star Wars (1977)
16. All About Eve (1950)
17. The African Queen (1951)
18. Psycho (1960)
19. Chinatown (1974)
20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
23. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
24. Raging Bull (1980)
25. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
26. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
27. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
28. Apocalypse Now (1979)
29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
31. Annie Hall (1977)
32. The Godfather Part II (1974)
33. High Noon (1952)
34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
35. It Happened One Night (1934)
36. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38. Double Indemnity (1944)
39. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
40. North By Northwest (1959)
41. West Side Story (1961)
42. Rear Window (1954)
43. King Kong (1933)
44. The Birth of a Nation (1915)
45. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
46. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
47. Taxi Driver (1976)
48. Jaws (1975)
49. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)
50. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

51. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
52. From Here to Eternity (1953)
53. Amadeus (1984)
54. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
55. The Sound of Music (1965)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)
57. The Third Man (1949)
58. Fantasia (1940)
59. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
60. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
61. Vertigo (1958)
62. Tootsie (1982)
63. Stagecoach (1939)
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
65. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
66. Network (1976)
67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
68. An American in Paris (1951)
69. Shane (1953)
70. The French Connection (1971)
71. Forrest Gump (1994)
72. Ben-Hur (1959)
73. Wuthering Heights (1939)
74. The Gold Rush (1925)
75. Dance With Wolves (1990)
76. City Lights (1931)
77. American Graffiti (1973)
78. Rocky (1976)
79. The Deer Hunter (1978)
80. The Wild Bunch (1969)
81. Modern Times (1936)
82. Giant (1956)
83. Platoon (1986)
84. Fargo (1996)
85. Duck Soup (1933)
86. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
87. Frankenstein (1931)
88. Easy Rider (1969)
89. Patton (1970)
90. The Jazz Singer (1927)
91. My Fair Lady (1964)
92. A Place in the Sun (1951)
93. The Apartment (1960)
94. Goodfellas (1990)
95. Pulp Fiction (1994)
96. The Searchers (1956)
97. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
98. Unforgiven (1992)
99. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
100. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

52 out of 100. Not bad, but not great. For a movie buff like me, I guess it's actually pretty pathetic. And to think there was a time that a friend and I said we were going to sit down during college and watch them all. Then Katie and I made that same vow a few years ago. Clearly never happened either time.

I also find it amazing how many of these I know I've seen but I can barely remember having watched. All Quiet on the Western Front and Unforgiven, for example.

No, this is not a meme, but if you'd like to go ahead and give me some total counts on what you've seen, I'm certainly interested.


All I've got is this touch-tone phone...

All kinds of cool little things to discuss today. So I shall give them headers for your ease of reading.

Sinjin Smith I am not...
While sand volleyball through my park district actually started up last Monday, I didn't get to join in with my team until this week because I was working the gym during the first set of games. This week, however, I was there and I was lovin' it.

This is my third year playing sand volleyball but my first on this new team. The captain of the team I normally play with never showed up back home from college this year. Honestly, I have no idea where the hell he went. So I joined up with someone else I know from the gym and we got rocked.

Yeah, you read that right. We got our asses handed to us. Let's see... 15-5, 15-5, and 15-13. At least we did much better in the third game, but that was only after we blew a seven point lead. We were actually winning pretty handily and just stunk the rest of it up. Not good.

But we had fun and it feels really good to play volleyball again.

Let me tell you about an idea I had for an episode...
Apparently my Kappy Awards post has struck a chord with some television forums whom have posted data about a few of the individual awards.

The NUMB3RS subforum on televisionwithoutpity.com was pretty happy about my awarding of the One-Two Punch in a Drama and the Best Actor Who Should Be Given Some Respect By Finally Being Made A Full-Time Cast Member awards to Rob Morrow/David Krumholtz and Dylan Bruno, respectively.

Well, one poster was wondering whether or not the awards could be taken at all seriously, but, even if not, that it was pretty cool all the same. I was so touched by both the mention and the links (hits are a good thing, right?) that I joined up just to say thanks and poke a little fun at myself. So I said, "Nah, you can't take the Kappys all that seriously. Just fanboy ranting and raving about TV. I say this because I am that fanboy. Thanks for coming on by and checking them out." No, that wasn't all I said, but this is the pertinent stuff.

Then a user by the name of Cheuton chimed in with, "The Kappy Awards are cool. Fanboys and Fangirls make the world go 'round."

I thought this was really nice of Cheuton to say so I started reading through the forum a bit more. Soon, I realized that Cheuton was chock full of information about the show that the normal viewer or fan would never have access to such as the number of sets that were built, info about full-time vs. guest-starring status, etc. So I visited the page for NUMB3RS on IMDb. It was there I discovered that one of the creators of the show was a woman named Cheryl Heuton.

Nah. Couldn't be. Could it?

So I checked on the forum. Sure enough, both Cheryl Heuton and her co-creator Nicolas Falacci were confirmed as regular contributors to the boards.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal, true. But it certainly made my day.

I also got a nod at the talkcsifiles forum for my award to Anna Belknap of CSI: NY as Best Rookie Actress in a Drama. I didn't join up over there just because I didn't have anything to say. Maybe down the line I might join. Who knows?

Two cans and a string are better than Nextel...
Sonyericssonw600i_1 I think I may have decided on a new cellphone for that October 1 jump from Nextel.

For one, we are going to go with Cingular. We know more people on Cingular than we do on Verizon so we'd save even more money with the free user-to-user calling. Money saved is always a good thing.

So, despite the fact that Cingular will be introducing a new RAZR with iTunes built in sometime soon, I think I will be going with a Sony Ericsson w600i (sorry Karl). It's a nifty little phone that does most of what I need it to do, is really sturdy, and has some strong reviews both by Amazon users and C-Net users and their editor. Plus, I talked to a couple people I know personally who own it and they love it with a passion.

Even if it doesn't have absolutely everything I wanted, it has a vast majority of my preferred features and has some nice trade offs on the rest.

Of course, this is pending its availability come October. Knowing my luck, it will be outmoded by then for another phone. We'll see, right?

Thanks to all of you for your input on the matter. A lot of what you said really did help with the decision-making process. I appreciate it.

Some high falootin' computer lurnin'...
Most of us bloggers and professional Web developers know what a CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) is. If you don't, I'll let you click over to Wikipedia and discover for yourself.

Anyway, my job is allowing me to enroll in a CSS class at a local community college.

This is a very good thing because, put simply, a stronger knowledge of CSS would greatly benefit me at my job. No question about it.

But, a nice little side bennie (sp?) is the fact that it will help with my Web design skills in general. I will be very able, for example, to make tweaks that will allow this little rat trap to look quite a bit nicer.

I'm pretty stoked about it.

To do this class, I am going to have to take a hiatus from the M.B.A. program as I really want to put forth all my effort in this one area and not spread myself too thin. Yes, this will push me back by two classes in my program. However, since I was really only taking the M.B.A. stuff for kicks (sick, eh?), there is no deadline by which I have to graduate. So a minor delay is no big deal.

If I like the class enough, I may go ahead and follow it up with one on XHTML. It can't hurt, right? The job may not cover that one, though.

Prettifying things...
And, on the topic of design, be on the lookout for some visual changes here at Kapgar. I've got a new design that's almost completely done that will be launched for my one-year blogiversary here at Typepad.

I'm really happy with it and have gotten some great feedback from my wife as well as Karl at 2HT and a professional graphic designer I know. I hope the rest of you like it, too.

I know that many of you have commented on how you like the simplicity of my site. And I appreciate the positive feedback from all of you. But, to be honest, I'm sick to death of all the white on this page. So I'm giving it some color and a bit more personality overall.

I'll detail the rest of the changes upon launch. This will probably happen on Friday, so remember to click through from your RSS readers and give me your honest opinion. When it happens, that is.


And I thank you for bringing me here, for showing me home...

After spending a big chunk of Saturday painting trim and doors in our bedroom, Katie and I decided we needed new doorknobs for all the rooms in our house. So we joined up with my brother and his fiancee and hit a couple home improvement stores in the area. Since we all know almost exactly what we can find on a daily basis at Home Depot, Lowe's, and Menard's, we opted for one we'd never been to before... HOBO (Home Owner's Bargain Outlet).

None of us had ever been to this place before as it's a good 45 min to an hour drive from our place, but we'd heard plenty about it from people we knew. Everyone raved about the selection and the prices and all that good crap. So we decided to give it a go.

Well, the most accurate word in my description of the place would be "crap." First, we discovered that their return policy would only give you an exact exchange or in-store credit. Even within the 30 day return window and with a receipt. Then we discovered that their selection of basics was only equivalent in terms of quantity with other normal home repair places. Not a huge selection, not a spectacular variety as we'd been promised.

And then the prices... oh the prices. They were the same. I did not notice a difference at all, in all honesty. The kitchen and bath faucets were nearly the same price as places like Home Depot. In the few instances that there was actually a meager price difference (offset, I'm sure, by the amount of money we spent in gas to get there), it was only because they carried only off brands. Not that I'm adverse to trying off brands in some areas, but only if the return policy would guarantee my happiness. And it did not.

We left. This place sucked. Instead of leaving to go home completely dejected, Brian and Jen promised us the "shopping experience of our lives" and took us to IKEA. Jen is an avowed IKEA whore dating to her days growing up in southern California. She sucked Brian into the Cult of IKEA once she moved out here. Katie and I, despite always driving by one in Schaumburg when we'd go into the city or go to Woodfield Mall to shop, had never been to one before. It was time. So we hit the one in Bolingbrook.

Ikealogo_1Holy Dear Sweet Mother of Jeebus.

The building, alone, frightened me. By itself, it's larger than most strip malls. And two levels, to boot. Then there was the fear factor instilled in us by the sight of Jenny jumping up and down in her seat as we pulled near.

When we entered, Brian and Jen explained to us that the bottom floor is where they carry all the goods separated by department. Upstairs was where they had their showcases set up displaying practical uses for their products. These showcases were set up as entire rooms with nearly every single piece of furniture, decorating matter, and organizational material being an IKEA product. Ed Norton's character in Fight Club was right, you really could build an entire existence just using an IKEA catalog.

Of course, before we could really do any shopping, Brian announced that he needed to buy himself a meal of meatballs from the kitchen. THE KITCHEN! It's a home improvement store with a full-fledged eatery! I'm assuming this is because they expect you to get lost and will need to have some sustenance in you while you await the arrival of the blue-and-yellow-clad search and rescue team. Brian and Jen bought a 20-piece Swedish meatball meal with sides of rice and mac and cheese. Katie and I had a side of mac and cheese and a bowl of soup. Now that Brian felt fully energized, it was time to venture forward.

The selection of stuff was incredible. While a lot of it was geared towards short-term usage (I really don't think a big chunk of it could withstand a lot of abuse), they did have some nice home organization and decoration items. And that's a big chunk of what we bought... some newspaper files and a desk organizer unit along with one framed print of San Francisco and three oversized poster frames so we could finally hang up the big travel posters we had purchased from allposters.com.

As cool as the place was -- and judging by the more than two hours we spent there, it was certainly cool -- we had trouble making the most of our visit because we were so overwhelmed by how much stuff was there.

But we'd certainly make a return visit.

If for no other reason than because we never did buy our damn doorknobs.


The roof is on fi-yah!

On the way home from work a couple days ago, I hear my cellphone start to ring. It's Katie.

Katie: "So when you get home, don't be shocked to see a fire truck in front of our house."

Kevin: "WHAT!?!? Are you okay? Is the house okay?"

Katie: "Oh, I'm fine. Kathy [our next door neighbor] called the fire department because she thought her washing machine caught on fire."

Kevin: "Isn't that usually reserved for gas-operated dryers?"

Katie: "Yeah, but the motor burned out on her when she ran a load during her lunch break and left to go back to work. When she came home, there was smoke everywhere."

Kevin: "Oh. Lovely. So no actual flames, though?"

Katie: "Nope."

Kevin: "Guess she'll be getting money back from that company that installed her washer last week, eh?"

Katie: "No. They're still waiting for her new washer, which is on order. They were here installing her new dryer."

Kevin: "Call this the ultimate sign that she really needs a new washer, eh?"

Katie: "No doubt."

Kevin: "So our unit's not on fire."

Katie: "Nope. We're good."

Knowing that our unit was not on fire just made me want to get back that much quicker so I could snap a shot of the fire truck. Being a firefighter junkie like I am (having taken the test in a couple departments, but not quite making it), I wanted some photos. And Geneva fire trucks are cool. The bottom 2/3 of the truck is red, while the top 1/3 is black. They are even cooler when contrasted with the neighboring St. Charles trucks that are that God-awful fluorescent green, which always makes Katie joke, "they're not ripe yet."

However, they were leaving as I was pulling around the bend and with how tight the street can be by us, if I tried to take a picture, I think the resulting accident would've made the squad stay behind longer than they really wanted to.

Beavis

Random Post Commentary by Beavis & Butt-head

Beavis: "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!"

Butt-head: "Hey Beavis... Kapgar just said his unit's on fire."

Beavis: "No he didn't, you bunghole! He said it's not on fire."

Butt-head: "Oh. Then why are we still reading this crap? He was much cooler when his wang was in flames."

Beavis: "Yeah. Now his unit's cold. Brrr... cold."

Butt-head: "Beware, the cold unit of Kapgar."

Beavis: "Gah!! I don't want to hear any more about this, Butt-head! This sucks more than anything has ever sucked before."

Butt-head: "No kidding. Let's go break something."

Beavis: "Yeah! Heh heh hmm hm. Just... not my unit."

Butt-head: "Dude, I wouldn't touch your unit if you paid me."

Butthead


I'm talkin' about devil crabs...

Sorry, no meme today. Taking a Saturday off so I can catch up on some fun posts after this week's current events charge into the Blogosphere.

I pray I'm not the only one out there who watches My Name is Earl. It's a great show and one of the few sitcoms that NBC is still showing. It's also been renewed for next season, so either I'm not the only one who watches it or I hold far more influence over NBC execs than I previously anticipated.

Yeah, okay. Anyway, I was driving to Panera for lunch yesterday when I looked in front of me and suddenly exclaimed, "Holy crap! Crabman's flinging rubberbands at me! And he's enormous!"

The Mobile Crabman

Alas, it was merely an old OfficeMax truck with their spokesperson of a couple years past, Eddie Steeples, who now costars as Darnell "Crabman" Turner on My Name is Earl along with Jason Lee and Ethan Suplee.

But what makes this vehicular encounter even funnier is that, down in the bottom left of the truck's backdoor, someone finger scrawled in the grime, "Hey Crabman". It's not the easiest thing to see, so I blew it up a bit. Hope it helps.

Heycrabman_1

I used to love those old OfficeMax commercials. Steeples made me laugh to no end. Before Earl started, I always wondered what happened to those commercials, then I found out... their star moved on to bigger and better things.

I really wish they'd re-air those commercials. Or maybe make fun of them in an episode of Earl. That would be a great nod to his past.


Shoot to thrill, play to kill...

[Note: today's post is being dictated to one of Kevin's many editorial assistants as he felt the need to gouge out his own eyeballs after watching half of the new Paris Hilton music video. We got so sick of hearing him wail "Oh, the humanity!" that we made it a point to shut off the video and force the pencils from his hands just as he was about to shove them in his ear canals.]

Yeah, thanks a pantload for that link, RW. You'll get yours. You may not know when, you may not know where; but it will happen. Mark my words.

Hot damn there's been a lot of crap in the news lately. I've covered a bunch of it already this week and It's been a long time since I've been this charged up about current events, let alone dedicate almost an entire week's worth of posts covering them. I'm scaring myself.

Jason Grimsley
You know who this guy is? He's now a former Major League Baseball journeyman whose house was raided by the IRS recently looking for evidence of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Grimsley was brought in to the fold a while back when the steroid investigations were in full swing and he was let off the hook despite failing a drug test.

However, now that HGH is being tested for in the MLB, he's come into the limelight again as agents discovered back in April that he was receiving a shipment with a season's worth of HGH and served up an anticipatory warrant to investigate. He agreed to cooperate and spoke extensively with agents. However, he rescinded that cooperation when, allegedly, they wanted him to wear a wire in hopes of implicating Barry Bonds.

However, he supposedly has already named some names to the tune of 30 or more professional athletes Grimsley alleges are users and abusers. We don't know who they are just yet and it seems like many may be sweating out the wait.

But if this is as inflammatory as it could be, it could shake baseball to its core. I think even moreso than what happened in the last couple years with the steroid probes.

Can the game ever be clean again?

Read the full 20+ pages of affidavit on The Smoking Gun.

Zarqawi
I know I should be happy that a strafing by U.S. jets wound up killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of Osama bin Laden's grand poobahs. Don't get me wrong, I am glad he's dead.

But it just doesn't seem like a step in the right direction toward solving the problem at hand. I'm not really sure that anything we are doing will ever make the world as "safe" as President Bush seems to think it will.

With each Al Qaeda chief that gets killed, another one just moves into his place. And the line is never ending. We will never be at a loss for people who consider us the enemy and will sacrifice their lives for what they think is right. It just won't happen. This is a losing battle. But it's one that I don't know if we can ever back down from now that we are so embroiled in it.

Or perhaps I'm just melancholy because I was on Google Maps yesterday and, for some reason, found myself scanning over New York City and I saw this...

Groundzero

Yep, that's Ground Zero as viewed from satellite. I've never actually seen this view before and I'm kinda shocked I never bothered looking at it via Google Maps before. Now that I think about it, I have looked at NYC via Google Maps before, but never on the "hybrid" setting. It was always just set on "map" view so I could see the streets.

Not that images of Ground Zero haven't been all over the news, Web, and print publications for years; but, today, for whatever reason, it just really hit me hard.

The last time I was in NYC was, I believe, sometime in late August 2000 and I saw the Towers. I never went up in them, but I saw them while I was staying down in Times Square and when I flew into and out of LaGuardia Airport.

And I'll never be able to see them again. And Katie will never be able to see them for a first time.

So I apologize for my somber demeanor right now.

Weird how indiscriminately memories and emotions strike you, isn't it?


I need a remedy for what is ailing me...

Ladies and Gentlemen...

We here at Kapgar Industries, Inc., have a storied history of bringing you products that have been created with the sanity of our customers in mind. It is with that very orientation that we present you with the next in our long line of products...

The SeatShocker 2K6 (TM)!!

[audience applauds wildly]

We know that as years have passed into the twilight, so has basic human courtesy. On the street, in restaurants, in theaters, and in other public venues, the lack of concern and compassion manifest in a person's level of respect for their fellow human has been on the decline.

People fight in public, they are loud, they are whiny, they do improper things in inappropriate places such as using cellphones in theaters and bringing children that are far too young (like, say, still in diapers and baby carriers) into movies in which they don't belong like The Omen.

That is why we have developed this new product with you in mind.

The SeatShocker 2K6 (TM) is a relatively unobtrusive device that many may not even realize is attached to their seats. However, an individual specially trained to identify problematic situations can deliver a shock that, depending on the setting, can either just... er... "shock" a person into realization of their misbehavior or even completely incapacitate a person up to 350 lbs with a single push of a button.

Before you express concern at the humanity of the device, allow me to point out a few things.

  1. Only individuals trained to use this device can do so. They can be employees of your own establishment who have undergone a rigorous training program or you can hire one of our own ShockDocs (TM) to join your staff specifically to operate this device.
  2. No other people can use the SeatShocker 2K6 (TM) as it is biometrically protected from use by anyone other than the person assigned to it.
  3. The shock level meted out by the SeatShocker 2K6 (TM) can never be lethal. Much like Automated External Defibrillators (AED), it has a sensor that can detect the maximum shock level a target can endure. This sensor, should it need to, can actually override the setting that either your employee or our ShockDoc (TM) has chosen for the task at hand. It can also pick up on defects in a target's heart or other major organs and can still be used in people with ventricular assist devices and PaceMakers without disrupting their functioning.

For those of you in need of devices to shock awareness into people that are not seated, please know that we here at Kapgar Industries, Inc., are working on a new line of Shockers for these very purposes. Inappropriate displays of affection in elevators? We'll have you covered with our RailShocker 2K6 (TM) to be released in the third quarter of this year. Disgusted by people publicly scolding their children for problems they never even committed? Try our WalkShocker 2K6 (TM), which will be available just in time for the busy holiday shopping season.


Yes, Brian and I actually did experience a sub-one-year-old baby in the theater with his ignorant parents during the screening of The Omen. And, as would be expected, he cried just when you don't want him to. And, again as would be expected, the parents never got up and took him out of the theater as the rest of us wanted them to. Hell, they never should have had the kid in there in the first place.

I. Hate. Stupid. People.

The movie?

Not bad, not great. It had its few jump-out-of-your-seat moments, but they were very few and far between, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Too many thrills can desensitize the hell out of you. So these jumps were pretty well chosen and timed.

The visual effects were spectacular. All the kills were quite unique and very well done. Emphasis on "very." Some of the best looking killshots I've seen in a movie, in fact. The only fake looking scene is the one (shouldn't be a spoiler here as the scene was in most of the trailers and TV previews) in which Julia Stiles is falling. The fall is fake, but the landing is awesome. 10.

However, it was a very laborious film in terms of its pacing. It never got up to a speed that kept you wanting to pay attention as opposed to looking down at your watch.

The acting was a mixed bag. I really liked Stiles as Kate Thorn and she had some interesting emotional range to her character. Pete Postlethwaite was pretty damn good as the wide-eyed and fearful Father Brennan as well.

Liev Schreiber and David Thewlis as Robert Thorn and Keith Jennings, respectively, were okay, I suppose. Well, Thewlis was a bit better than okay, but almost every scene he was in was shared with Schreiber who was pretty emotionally shallow and this fact dragged down my perception of Thewlis' performance a bit, unfortunately.

As for Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick)... just keep that kid the hell away from me. A bit freaky to say the very least.

Omendamien

Overall Rating: 2stars


Every single one of us, the devil inside...

I told myself I wasn't going to post anything about 6/6/06 on the day it actually happened. While you would think this is the sort of day I would really get into, I was truly getting sick of seeing all the build up to it. It was everywhere. The Naperville (IL) Sun community newspaper even gave it a full front-page spread. Apparently it was a slow news day in the western suburbs. People were making such a big to-do about it that I just couldn't stand it anymore.

So I'm posting about 6/6/6 on 6/7/6, or, if you prefer international dating methods as I do, 6/6/7 or 7/6/6... your choice.

However, there were a few things I just had to mention.

The iPod Chronicles
Many of you have read about how I believe iPods and their users develop a bit of symbiotic relationship, right? Well, it's happening with Black iP as well. Last night, as I got in my truck to come home from work, I put BiP on my dock and pressed play. Since it's on random, I never know which of the more than 5,000 songs will play first.

This time? INXS' "The Devil Inside." No joke. I swear to God. Appropriate, eh?

I was half expecting Beck's "Devil's Haircut" next. However, the Devil's Day theme ended with our fave Aussies.

International ____ Day
I'm a bit behind on listing the coming week's holidays. Sorry about that. It just didn't seem to fit in to my posts on either Monday or Tuesday. So here it is a day late; hopefully not a dollar short.

Satan Incarnate
Okay, that's a bit strong to describe this person. How about "dumb as a nail, self-involved bitch"?

Did anyone watch the Today show yesterday morning? I don't watch it all that much since the announcement that Meredith Vieira would take over co-hosting duties with Matt Lauer. However, this week has been heaven. Katie Couric is gone and Vieira's not quite there yet. So Ann Curry, who should be the co-anchor, is sitting in with Matt.

Anncoulter_1 Anyway, yesterday, Matt was interviewing Ann Coulter. She's a political analyst and writer whom I've heard of but had never really seen, listened to, or read before. She was booked to help promote her new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

Well, as you would expect if you've ever watched any interview show, it wasn't just about the book. Lauer started grilling her on her opinion regarding the war in Iraq, immigration reform, and Bush's attempts to push through a gay marriage ban (you all already know my opinion on that one). He was giving her some good, but fair questions. Nothing too tough. They were questions that anybody with a passing knowledge of current events should be able to answer, and they should have been easy for an analyst such as Coulter.

She was fumbling through them worse than a teenager about to lose their virginity. She was an awkward, mumbling deer in headlights. She was pulling every no-no that you ever learn in speech and broadcast journalism courses in school. And there wasn't a single question that she answered to the satisfaction of either the viewing audience (I'm assuming based on my own reaction) or Matt Lauer. You could tell he was getting frustrated.

However, when he said, "let's discuss a quote from your new book," she said, "Great! Finally what I came here to talk about!" (I paraphrase, for the record).

As soon as she said that, I turned it off. At first, I was fascinated by how bad she was. Clearly she is the sort of political analyst that can work only in a situation in which she either has a substantial amount of time to think things through adequately or an editor to catch her guffaws. If televised, I think she must require a script and teleprompter. She obviously cannot think under pressure.

And her enthusiasm for talking about her book and nothing else just disgusted me. I couldn't watch any more.

They say that first impressions last the longest; or, is it, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Well, either way, the first impression she left on me was far from a positive one. She's a moron.

The Omen
So how am I celebrating the day after Devil's Day? I'm going to see The Omen tonight with my brother and his fiancee. Katie has no desire to see it, and just doesn't do horror movies in general. She was more than happy to be working tonight and sending us off to see this. I've heard good things about it and I dig Julia Stiles. I'll let you know.

UPDATE
I found a video of Coulter's appearance on the Today show on YouTube. The video is not the best quality, but the audio speaks volumes. Check it out...

Youtube


Love me, love me, say that you love me...

I always thought of myself as rather average. Ordinary. Run of the mill. I don't have any particularly astounding abilities or achievements. I'm not a great man. Just normal. I love. I eat. I sleep. I work. I play. I breathe.

But, when it comes to thought, I'm clearly ahead of the pack. This isn't some conscious choice I made. I didn't wake up one morning and decide, "Kevin, you are now a forward-thinking individual."

And what would be this great thought that I have? This belief I hold that makes me greater than the status quo? I'll tell you...

I think gay people should be allowed to get married.

Yes, folks, you read it here. Kevin believes that the state of matrimonial bliss should be experienced by those who love people of the same gender.

No, this is not a technically groundbreaking belief. I know many people who share in it. Katie is one of them.

Yet, for some strange reason, a large percentage of this country holds an innate phobia of same-sex marriage. They cannot possibly fathom such a thing. In fact, our President is proposing a Constitutional ban on it.

Well, here's a point for you to ponder... it's not something that you need to fathom.

No one is asking you to be a partner in a same-sex union. All you need to do is acknowledge and accept that there are same-sex couples out there that do love each other in the same way that you love your hetero significant other.

Who are we to determine who "should" or "should not" fall in love? Who are we to say that one group of people can be legally recognized as a couple and another cannot?

You can throw all the "legal," "ethical," and "moral" justifications you want at me. You can point out all the Biblical claims that it is wrong.

But I won't buy it.

I know what it's like to doubt the power of love only to discover that it truly can exist, even for a loser like myself. When you find it, you want to grab on to it and never let go. If you have not experienced this yet, I hope you do. But don't deny someone else their right, as a human being, to follow their heart.

To be honest with you, the United States has a much bigger problem to worry about, in my humble opinion. The bigger problem is that we make it far too easy now for heterosexuals to get married and divorced. (Yes, it's an ironic claim considering I'm fighting to make marriage legal and easier for homosexual couples, but, oh well, deal with it.)

Two people who have known each other for mere hours can get married in Las Vegas and a select few other areas with nothing more than a late-night marriage license, a fistful of cash, and drunken lust. On the flip side of the coin, two people who suddenly decide they no longer love each other can end it, no questions asked. And, for the right price, the divorce can be expedited through the legal system, just ask Hollywood. Money clearly does make the world go round. How is that right?

And you're worried about two people who love each other enough that they are willing to fight the legal system and put their love out there on display in front of the ignorant and intolerant masses so they can be together? These are people that clearly are truly, madly, deeply in love with other. Most of us can only dream about something that great and you want to take it away from them.

Now tell me whose priorities are out of whack?


Don't make me cry for a piece of the pie...

DaveCago 2006 was a rousing success!

While one person (Chanakin) was unable to attend at the last minute, we had two late additions to our motley crew (Steve and Susan).

The entire attendee list includes Ariana, Dave, Gary, Jenny, Kelly, RW and his wife, Steve, Susan, Katie, Brian, Jen, and I.

Katie, Brian, Jen, and I headed downtown after running a couple errands and grabbing some lunch. Then we did a bit of shopping in the area and hit a great T-shirt shop called T-shirt Deli (recommended by Jenny) where we each got a shirt for Brian and Jen's wedding next June in Vegas. I also picked up a vintage remake (a bit oxymoronic, eh?) of a Donkey Kong shirt. Very nice. I wore it that day. Dave met up with us after we finished with our T shirt order.

Piecepizza The evening officially started at Piece and people slowly trickled in over the course of a couple hours. It got to the point that we had to steal a couple extra tables to add to the end of our already long table. The crew at Piece put up a bit of a stink about it as they had a reservation for a birthday party at those tables for a set time. However, these people didn't show up for their party until well over an hour later. Pissed us off considering how snotty they were being about it.

But, the pizza at Piece was incredible! Jenny did a great job picking out the place. I would've helped more, but, to be honest, I've never been to Wicker Park/Bucktown and had no idea what was there. But Jenny did great!

Afterwards, we headed out to a tequila bar called Salud. Unfortunately, Katie, Brian, Jen, and I had to head out shortly after we arrived at Salud. But, from the sound of things, they had a good time with multiple mojitos.

But we all had a lot of fun while we were together and I hope to meet up with a bunch of them again in the near future.

Oh, and I do have some photos...

Jenny, Ariana, and Kelly
Jenny, Ariana, and Kelly.

Katie and I
Katie, her tongue, and I.

Continue reading " Don't make me cry for a piece of the pie..." »


I wanna soak up the sun...

How many of you thought that today might mark the end of my streak of consecutive days of posting? Oh, ye faithless hordes.

I'm here, and I've got a post. Albeit a short one. Just a recap of our day to the tune of a MasterCard commercial.

Trip to the Kane County Flea Market = More money than I care to remember
Trip to the grocery store shopping according to Weight Watchers standards = More money than I care to remember
Sunburn acquired at both the flea market and while gardening with Katie = More painful than I care to remember
Long-term benefits on both our health and relationship = Priceless

Sunburns and spending money may suck, but spending time with your wife makes it all worthwhile.

Oh yeah, we also saw The Break Up. Not all that. We were actually quite disappointed. And my review of DaveCago will go up sometime tomorrow complete with pictures.


Who's gonna drive you home...

I know that I've read some memes lately on a few blogs here and there that I've liked and wanted to take part in. However, at the moment, they're avoiding me. That's right, I cannot find the sites where I originally read them. So I guess I will have to create one for today.

I shall call it...

AutoMeme

  1. Driver's seat or passenger seat?
  2. What was the first car you owned (could have been purchased by someone else)?
  3. What is the first car you paid for yourself?
  4. How many cars are currently housed in your place of residence? How many are still operable?
  5. If money were not a factor, what kind of car would you own?
  6. If a police investigation was not a factor, what kind of car would you destroy any time you see it? Why?
  7. Does driving in big city traffic fill your veins with adrenaline or your pants with something a bit worse?
  8. What is your biggest pet peeve regarding driving and/or your fellow drivers?
  9. What's the most expensive traffic ticket you've ever received (could be monetary or jailtime)?
  10. What is the name you've given to your current vehicle (be honest, everyone names their car)?

And my answers...

  1. Driver's seat, definitely. While I do admit to liking being a passenger in my wife's car from time to time, any time I'm in the passenger seat of my truck, I feel like an alien without a green card.
  2. A 1984 Chrysler LeBaron purchased by my parents in 1992. I flipped it a month and a half later. I didn't own another car until late 1997, although I drove one of my dad's old business cars when I was home from college.
  3. My red 1997 Ford Ranger that I'm still driving.
  4. Two, the Ranger and Katie's 2000 Dodge Stratus.
  5. Tough choice, but I think I will have to go with a 1964 Shelby Cobra.
  6. Honda Element. The fugliest car I've ever seen. It looks like those old-styled train engineer caps. In a close second is the Pontiac Aztek. Gah! Thank God they killed that line.
  7. Adrenaline, baby! I live for competing with taxi drivers. So long as it's not Travis Bickle, I suppose.
  8. Idiots of any variety. Slow drivers, drivers that cut you off, drivers more attuned to their cellphones than the job at hand, you name it.
  9. $75 for 15 over. No jail time. Sorry to disappoint.
  10. A few different names.
    • "Lordbug" - a name given by one of my friends since my truck is black and red like a ladybug but far too manly to be given that name; so the Ranger got a variant.
    • "Beast" - with Katie's car being "Beauty." 
    • "Red Ranger" - for obvious reasons.
    • "Anduril" - for all you not so well versed in Lord of the Rings lore, Anduril is the sword that Aragorn carries and he's a Ranger from the west. My truck is a Ranger and he resides with me in Chicago's far west suburbs.

You know the routine. No tags. Just takes.


And baby, talk dirty to me...

Before you ask, no, I'm not going to post what was said that led up to this little Gmail chat between Johnny and I. Suffice it to say, it's time for him and I to open up our own Zazzle or CafePress store and sell some of these beauties as T-shirts, hats, mugs, etc.

I think I've got a twisted enough market right here just in my own readership to make it worth the initial investment. I can see Mikey ordering one or more, for sure.

Johnny: "She likes it bloggy style!"

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Type dirty to me!"

Kevin: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Post it hot, leave 'em wet."

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Want to see my 'post'?"

me: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: The longer the post, the better."

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: My blog goes deep."

me: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Tickle these keys!"

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Want to see my Blogroll?"

me: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Feed me."

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Do you mind if I see your stats?"

me: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: I'm up(dated) every day."

me: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Comment on this!"

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: No one wants to see the back end of Wil Wheaton's blog!"

me: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Definitely Words For My Enjoyment."

Johnny: "Co-ed Naked Blogging: Is that a mouse in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

Admittedly, some are better than others. Me? I'm a fan of the Blogroll one.

So, any interest?

And, yes, we're both aware we need severe psychiatric help.


Call me...

As of this coming October 1, Katie and I will have served our sentence in hell and will be jumping ship from Nextel/Sprint to either Cingular or Verizon.

We enjoyed Nextel in the early months. However, there remains very little justification to stay with them. Too many things happened that have soured us on the whole experience. For example:

  • We thought we might save some cash by using the walkie-talkie feature ("Direct Connect") to talk to some of our Nextel-enabled family and friends and, to be honest, we've only ever really used it with each other.
  • We get very few minutes during prime hours and run out of them quite quickly requiring Katie and I to talk to each other on Direct Connect, which is annoying as hell. I've become one of those people that sits there talking out loud on his phone holding it like a child holds a tin-can phone.
  • That chirp. Damn that horrifically ear-shattering chirp that lets you know a DC call is coming in.
  • The battery life is practically non-existent. We've needed to charge these things on a daily basis since the starting gate. And replacement batteries are expensive as hell. One Nextel rep I spoke with said that it takes a lot of battery power to connect and stay connected to their network. My ass.
  • The selection of phones is minimal and the only one or two decent ones cost upwards of $300. And those couple phones pale in comparison to the features and useability of well over half of the phones that are offered by just about any other service out there.

So, the one thing we know for sure is that we are leaving Nextel come October. They keep sending us promos for free minutes if we resign. I just throw them away immediately. Nothing is changing our minds about this decision.

Motorolarazr Oh wait, actually there is one other thing we do know for sure... Katie is getting a RAZR phone. She has loved them since they were first released on the public about a month or two after we first signed up for Nextel. She always said that if we had known that phone would soon be released, we may have stuck with Cingular -- which is where we were before -- just so she could get one.

I, on the other hand, am unsure of what phone I want to get. In all honesty, I hate cellphones (I hate phones in general). They are a nuisance that I'd just as well live without. However, since I've had one for so many years and it's become the primary source of communication between Katie and I when we're not physically together, I kinda have to have one. So I want one that's going to make me enjoy the experience. Is such a demand possible to meet?

As nifty as Cingular/Verizon phones are in comparison to Nextel handsets, I still find myself doubting what is out there and not knowing if I, too, want a RAZR. Plus, now that we're moving out of the Nextel zone, I've discovered just what it's like to actually have a real selection of phones at my disposal. So, as would be expected, I'm confused as hell because there's so damn many to choose from.

Here are some of my demands from my future cellphone:

  • durable - able to be dropped and not die
  • long battery life with a low price for replacement batteries
  • color screen
  • game enabled - both pre-installed and downloadable games at a low price; they're great when you need something quick to pass the time
  • downloadable ringtones - nothing fancy, just ones that are better than the pre-installed fare; perhaps one that would allow me to use my MP3s?
  • ease of use - can you imagine how nice it would be if cellphones were as easy to use as iPods? Ha!
  • cameraphone - I realize that, being the photography nut I am, any cellphone camera is going to pale in comparison; but it's a nice thing to have around all the same
  • Mac compatible - but only if I'm going to need to sync it up for whatever reason (datebooks, photo downloads, music uploads, etc.)
  • small size - my current phone is junior-sized brick

What phones have each of you used? Am I missing something on my demands list? Is such a combination reality or fantasy?

What about service? Verizon or Cingular?

I'm so lost as to what I should do.

Being the geek I am, you'd think I'd love this sort of thing.

I don't.