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25 posts from September 2008

But what it don't get I can't use...

I was having trouble figuring out what to post today. Not so much having trouble writing as I wrote what I feel to be a pretty good post, but I just don't feel quite ready to make it public yet. I'm thinking possibly Friday on that one. You may soon figure out why.

However, then I received a forward from my dad. A man who never sends forwards. Hell, I've questioned whether he knows how to use e-mail... or read books that aren't technical manuals or work-related catalogs... or cook something other than a bologna sandwich...

But, I love him all the same. And this was too good to not post. So here is my Tuesday post as contributed by my father.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you would have $49 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you would have $33 today.

If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you would have $0 today.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you would have received $214.

Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily and recycle. It is called the 401-Keg.

A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means that, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon! Makes you proud to be an American!

Are you investing wisely?

While I can say I currently invest conservatively, I think it may be time to be a bit more aggressive with the market. What are shares of Guinness going for these days?

I do have a meme for you in the extended post, though.

Continue reading "But what it don't get I can't use..." »


Nothing compares...

This bummed us out to no end.

On Friday, Katie and I decided to go out for a very traditional dinner and a movie date. Since the movie started earlier, that was where we started. And Nights in Rodanthe it was (that is how much I love my wife).

Afterwards, we were going downtown to a nice sit-down pizza place called Sanfratello's. We've been there before and enjoyed it, so we thought we'd go again. When we pulled up, we saw it was kinda empty, but there were still some people milling about so clearly it was open.

However, when we got inside, we saw a band setting up. Meh, no big deal. We'd sit in the bar area where the volume would be a bit less (we're soooo old). However, when we got up to the front counter and asked for a table for two, the guy told us that the kitchen was closed.

Closed???? WTF???? The restaurant wasn't closing, according to the sign on the front door, for another hour! This was complete and utter crap. I am fine with having a band play at your place. If customers don't want to hear it and you provided fair warning, then the onus is on them to leave. But don't push everybody out, period, by closing the kitchen! You run a delivery service as well, for chrissake! Did you tell all the phone-in people you were closed, too? How many of them do you think are going to bother coming back after being spurned during normal hours of operation?

Asshats.

We went elsewhere. To a pizza joint that had no problem staying open a bit later than their posted hours to make a couple hungry customers happy. Thank you, Antonio's!

Got a semi-, demi-, quasi-, pseudo-meme in the extended post for ya...

Continue reading "Nothing compares..." »


Get up, get up, get busy, do it...

I work with computers. I have for years. So I've become quite accustomed to a rather sedentary work existence.

Occasionally I get up. Mostly bathroom breaks or a meeting here and there. I may go out for lunch. Never too much before I'm back in front of my computer working.

Today, however, has been an exception. My lunch break was actually the longest I sat down all day. I was all over the place. I can't even remember all the offices I've visited and tasks I've completed.

I wish I had a pedometer to tell you how much I've moved.

Suffice it to say, if I moved around like this every work day for six months straight, I'm convinced I'd look like this...

Balemachinist
[Christian Bale in The Machinist - a damn fine, albeit weird, movie]

Okay, this might be a bit of an exaggeration. But not by all that much.


Your own personal Jesus...

Welcome to Snippet Wednesday #17!

Authentic
Katie was driving this morning when she passed by a church with "Authentic Jesus" on its front sign. Can anyone tell us what constitutes an authentic Jesus as opposed to a fake Jesus and what studies have been done to validate these findings? Can I take them on their word on this? If they're lying, who would I file a complaint with?

Domobacca
I'm starting to wonder if these two little beasts were separated at birth. At left is one of the Target Domokun Halloween plushes and at right is the Mighty Mugg Chewbacca. Eerily similar, aren't they? And, yes, that's a candy corn in Chewie's mitt.

Separated at birth?

Henson
Speaking of little creatures, happy birthday to Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets and so much other great stuff that has entertained me throughout my life. You are a true artist.

Mattingly oversizedMattingly
My BiL Scott sent this bad boy my way. It's an oversized (5" x 7") 1985 Topps Don Mattingly card. Back in the day, I was a diehard Yankees fan (I was born in New York and raised a bit in Connecticut, so I'm excused) and "Donnie Baseball" was m'man. I collected all kinds of Mattingly baseball cards until I stopped collecting sometime in the very early 90s. Scott, who got back into card collecting recently, has been sending me the occasional Mattingly card for kicks. Two of them are in magnetic frames on our fridge while this one is now displayed on my overhead cabinet at work. Thanks Scott (and Becca).

Dairy
Winter twatted this morning about a report that PETA is asking Ben & Jerry's ice cream company to start using human breast milk as opposed to cow's milk. Seriously? Well, as she said, that would be one dairy I'd like to see.

Dew
When the first thing you do upon entering your place of employment in the morning is to head to the breakroom and buy a Mountain Dew, you know something is wrong.


Which is the way that's clear...

Don't ask why, but lately I've been forced to share my time of late on different computers. My arsenal of computers includes my G5 iMac, G3 PowerBook, a Dell desktop, a Dell laptop, and a Lenovo laptop. Plus, there can be any number of other computers I just happen upon to do something.

In one regard, it's kinda nice because I get to see what these computers are all about and run them through more paces than when you sit in a computer store and try a few menial tasks and are forced to make a purchase decision based on that scant information. Not that I'm necessarily shopping at the moment.

However, what drives me nuts are the differences between all of them. On one computer I may be typing up something and hit a long horizontal enter key, others are shorter, and a final may have a reverse L shape. My fingers never quite hit it just right on all of them. On the laptops, the function keys are combined with all these other options that require the use of a blue Fn (function) key and none of the additional functions, nor the Fn key itself, are ever in the same place. The Dell laptop has it just inside the Ctrl key while the Lenovo has them flipped. This is really messing with my use of control functions. Then there's the fact that Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End keys on Mac never work quite the same way they do on Windows machines (this is one of the few things that drives me nuts about Mac).

And finally, the trackpads and mouse buttons on the laptops are all over God's green acres. The Dell has the mouse keys spaced about a quarter inch from the bottom edge of the laptop. On the Lenovo, the mouse buttons run right up to the edge of the computer. After using the Lenovo last night, I had to figure out why, this morning, I was tapping my thumb below the trackpad on the Dell and nothing happened. I was hitting solid plastic. It's the space differential from the edge of the computer where the buttons sit. My hand sits in one place and becomes accustomed to finding the buttons at a certain angle on one, while that seemingly meager quarter inch completely threw me off on the other.

I think it's time to lock all these "form and functionality" designers in a windowless closet and force them to come up with a damn standard already. I know how to type, but this hunt and peck method I need to employ to get used to where things are from one computer to the next is for the birds.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I don't know how many of you watch Mad Men, but I just started recently. I finished season one late last week and am now catching up on the two months worth of episodes from season two that have been sitting on mine and Katie's DVR. Last night I even twatted that I was finally catching up on Mad Men (along with last week's episode of Fringe).

This morning, I check my e-mail to find out that I'm being followed on Twitter by @bettydraper. I can only assume it's because of my Mad Men twat. If you know the show, you know that Betty Draper is the unsatisfied housewife of lead character Don Draper and is played by the stunning January Jones (of American Wedding fame). Of course, while it would be nice, I realize this is not really January Jones. But whoever did do this is having some fun. Not only do they have the Twitter account, but they set up a LinkedIn account for her detailing her work experience as a housewife and fashion model. It's pretty hilarious but clearly marks the beginning of the end of any legitimacy that LinkedIn may have had among business professionals.

Well done, @bettydraper.

Heh, and I just received a follow notice from @bertramcooper, one of the co-owners of the Stanley Cooper agency where Don Draper works. I wonder if the whole cast of characters have Twitter personas run by fans. This is kinda fun.


No one is gonna stop me now...

It's amazing the things you encounter while driving.

For example, on the way to work this morning, I was behind some moron practicing the fine art of douchebaggery (I thank you for that one, Karl). As we approached an at-grade train track, he began to slow down. I'm fine with this considering my suspension system isn't the best and going over potholes, speedbumps, and train tracks tends to rattle my truck to a level I'd prefer to avoid. Basically, I assumed he was just slowing down so as not to hit the tracks too hard.

I was wrong, he stopped completely. For a school bus or a truck carrying kill-me-instantly grade chemicals, I don't mind the stop. But this was just a passenger sedan and, to add confusion to anger, he stopped not before the tracks, but ON THEM!

Dude, I hate to break it to you, but if you're worried about a train nearing the intersection and you don't trust the crossing arms to notify you, STOPPING ON THE TRACKS IS NOT GOING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE! Typically, just the opposite, in fact. Correct me if I'm wrong. Please.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Remember that I Love This Blog award I was graced with by Winter last week and passed out to a few of you? Well, I actually received two more of them as well. First from martymankins and then from DutchBitch. Big thanks to both of you!

However, since I've already passed it on, I'm not going to do it again. Sorry. That's another 14 people to link up. Not that there aren't that many of you out there that are deserving of it, I'm just trying to keep this post short. So, if any of you want to know who in the blogosphere I think is great, just check out my Blogroll on the right. Anybody that is listed in there is totally deserving of your reading. Seriously. And I'm discovering more all the time.


I am, I am, I am...

You all know I am a Mac Whore (tm). I love Mac and all things Apple related. So, yes, it's entirely possible that this obsession has colored my reception of the Jerry Seinfeld Windows ads to a small degree. But I don't think I'm tainted so much that I can't recognize a good ad when it's thrust in my face.

And this, my friends, is a GOOD AD.

Why Microsoft ever bothered to spend the $10 million on Jerry Seinfeld is beyond me when they were capable of this sort of ad for what I can only assume was a fraction of the cost. It strikes to the very core of the Get a Mac ads and does so with personality and energy and gives some humanity to the Evil Empire.

Bravo, Microsoft.

(I can't believe I just said that)


Let me go...

...but I can't.

15 years ago today, I received a phone call that effectively served to change my outlook on life as a whole.

I was a freshman at Iowa State University and I had just gotten back from a morning class when the phone in my dorm rang. It was my mom.

"Are you sitting down?" she asked.

"Yeah, why?"

"Mike died."

I was in shock. Everyone knew he was sick. Pretty much always had been as long as we'd known him. It was some type of cancer. Maybe bone cancer, I'm not sure. He had tumors up and down his spine and his lower torso musculature had degraded to the point that, whereas he was permanently crutch bound in high school, he was remanded to a wheelchair in college.

Yet, despite this knowledge, I never thought it would take his life. Maybe just limit his mobility. He was in physical therapy to rehab his muscles. Medicine had made advances. Surely these two facts alone would help him out.

Perhaps I was too optimistic. I was a glass-half-full kinda kid; a bit naive about how life works in these regards.

Mike was a pretty optimistic soul as well. He was 19 years old. A sophomore at North Central College in Naperville, IL. A diehard KISS freak and lover of all things hard rock and heavy metal. He worshipped the Detroit Lions, Tigers, and Pistons (oh my! - sorry, couldn't help myself). He drove himself everywhere with a slightly altered gas/brake pedal mechanism in his sports car. He went to concerts, sports events, and school with no help from anyone else. Not that he didn't have offers, but he liked knowing he could take care of himself. He lived life as though he would live forever. And many of us basked in his sunny glow.

Maybe that's why I thought he'd never be gone; because he didn't.

And yet he was gone. It wasn't fair. None of it was fair. He was loved by everyone. There was literally not a single person that could say a bad thing about him. Like the line in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, "Oh, he's very popular, Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude." Hell, I'd argue that Mike was more Ferris than Matthew Broderick.

I miss him. Insanely. I keep thinking about what he'd be doing now if he was still with us; if life was fair and he was able to marry (I always imagined him marrying someone named Beth) and have kids and continue hanging out with me and some of our other friends.

I know he and Katie would be friends. He'd love how outgoing she is. How she's "one of the guys" in terms of movies, music, food, drink, and sports. No question in my mind whatsoever.

I think about all the great things he could've accomplished with his life.

Perhaps, some will say, his greatest accomplishment is his legacy. The fact that, after 15 years, people still remember him fondly, visit his grave, and type about him on a Web that he was never able to experience.

Yeah, he will always be remembered. So long as my memory holds strong, Mike will always have a place in there.

Still, though, color me selfish, but sometimes I'd rather have my friend back.


Don't let the sun go down on me...

I_pph_ur_blog Well, apparently sunlight doesn't suck enough to not shine down on me right now thanks to Winter over Sunlight Sucks. She hit me up with the "I Love Your Blog" award.

Winter and I are pretty new to each other. We've both heard of each other for some time either from other bloggers in our circle talking about one of us or by reading the comments that each of us has left on some other blog. Why we didn't hook up (in a purely platonic blog reader sense, of course!) sooner is beyond both of us. But, hey, we're reading now and that's what matters. And I've made enough of an impact to merit one of these bad boys! So that's pretty swank.

However, like any blog award, there are rules. The blogosphere is, of course, a pay it forward kinda community. So here are the rules:

Just seven?? Okay fine, I'll try. And I'm going to stick to blogs that are all relatively new reads for me. I also hope to be giving this out to people that haven't already received this from someone else. Or at least they haven't posted about it yet. Who knows if they've already received it, right? Can't read every post out there. ;-)

Of course there are many more of you out there and just because I didn't list you doesn't mean you're not great. Honestly. No B.S. (for once in my life).

Hey, got a meme for you in the extended post.

Continue reading "Don't let the sun go down on me..." »


I've got my spine, I've got my Orange Crush...

Snippet Wednesday #16 is upon us. Tremble! Or not. As the kids say, "whatevs."

Wally
I had to go shopping at Wal-Mart yesterday during my lunch break. I know, I know, I feel dirty enough as it is. No need to rub it in. Especially since I was stuck in the line of the slowest cashier in the history of man. Holy crap was she slow. She was planning out her bagging strategy as she scanned. So instead of grabbing the next item and running it across the scanner, she'd rummage through the items on the conveyor and pick what she thought would go best in the bag with something else already in there. While that's nice for the person who will be carrying the bags, it's AGONIZING AS HELL for the rest of us. Combine her with the fact that I had a woman two ahead of me in line that was contesting every item's price as it's scanned and I was ready to go Wally on the place (that's what I'm going to now call "going postal" in a Wal-Mart... I'm goin' Wally on yo ass!).

Bleeked
But I did make it out of Wal-Mart with one item that I'd be wanting for some time but kept forgetting to buy... orange Tic-Tacs! Yeah, I'm rockin' it Paulie Bleeker style!

TRL
Well, I guess it was just a matter of time before MTV killed one of the few remaining shows that had anything even remotely to do with music. After 10 years, Total Request Live, also known as TRL, a semi-music related show that made Carson Daly "famous" (and I use that word very loosely) was axed. I wonder what poorly acted series this move is making room for?

Microsoft
Cadscott Not that it's any big surprise, but the second Microsoft/Jerry Seinfeld ad is meeting with criticism much like the first. Admittedly, I can see Avitable's point with the ads. The more I think about it, the more I can understand what he suggested. But the point of advertising is that it should hit you right away assuming that you may only ever see the ad once. Advertising should not be like watching an Orson Welles film where you have to go back and watch it again to see how all the clues fit together to reach the ending. You should be moved to take action immediately and these ads just don't. Well, they do move me to want to buy this t-shirt if only they were available in more than just small and medium. You've seen pictures of me. I could fit my arm (singular) in a small or medium.

Audiophiles
Speaking of kick-ass t-shirts, this one is right up my alley and available in a size that could reasonably fit my generously sized upper torso. But I'm curious why it goes up in price by $2 from large to XL and then back down by $1 in the XXL and XXXL ranges. Strange.

Audiophiles

Fey
Not that you haven't seen already, but it's just so damn cool we should all watch it AGAIN...


The day the music died...

I've been noticing something recently that's alarming me a bit.

Ever since I started using an iPod, I've been losing out on part of the music experience. That being the familiarization of myself with an artist's work.

Remember back in the good ol' days of cassettes -- hell, it even goes back to LPs and 8 tracks -- you knew everything about an album. You spent the money on it and you played it to death all the way through simply because skipping songs could be a pain in the butt. Sure, you could do it, especially with vinyl, but it was always easier to just play it through. So you really got to know the whole album and you got a feel for the message the artist was trying to convey or the overarcing story behind an album (if one existed).

If you made a mix tape, you knew every song that was on it because there was such limited space. Well, at least I did. I could rattle off all the songs in order if I knew what the name of that mix tape was. You say, "Football Psych Up" and I know the tape started with Skid Row's "Slave to the Grind" and flowed into a mix of heavy metal tracks from the late 80s and early 90s including some gems from Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and the like. That was just how it worked. And, yes, this was a tape I listened to every Friday before a football game during my senior year of high school.

Plus I also could identify any song by any artist on any album I owned. Play the first three seconds and I could tell you the artist, song title, and album. No problem whatsoever. That's because I listened to them so often.

Now, with how much stuff is on my iPod, this has waned a bit. And, no, I don't blame it on age; so don't get started with me. But think about it... we have our iPods or whatever MP3 playing device you own with hard drive space through the yin-yang and, thus, we load it with as much content as possible. Once in a while I may pick an album and listen to it. But, for the most part, I set it on shuffle and treat it like my own personal radio station sans annoying deejay commentary and commercials (although I'd love to have Lin Brehmer DJ my iPod; that would be cool).

My music skips around from song to song and album to album so that I almost rarely know what I'm listening to unless I make an active effort to look. And, even when I do, I may not hear the song again for months meaning that I'll just forget anyway.

The other downside to the whole digital music revolution is that you now have the option of buying just a single song from an album. Okay, this isn't always a downside in the case where an album is crap. But if, like some artists do here and there, a single song is part of a larger story made available as an album, you will lose out on the story by just having the one track. Yeah, not everyone is going to care as a listener. But if I were a musician, I think I would feel like all my hard work was shot to shit. Here are these people claiming to be fans, but they don't want the whole story.

It's kinda sad, to be honest with you. Not that I'm giving up my iPod anytime soon, but I think I need to make a more conscious effort to reacquaint myself with the artists and start paying attention to what's playing at a given moment.

Know what I mean?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Have you ever worked with a piece of software that left you angry? I mean literally angry. It was such an infuriating piece of programmed crap without a single, solitary redeeming factor that you wish you never had to use it in the first place?

I've had two such instances in the last 24 hours alone. I want to take the developer and beat him/her to within an inch of his/her life. How could anybody program something so insipid and think it was worthwhile? And, more to the point, how could anyone buy it (no it wasn't me that bought it)?


Take the money and run...

So I'm at home the other day while Katie is working late and I receive a phone call from a number I don't recognize. I pick up. It was Katie's hairdresser, Amy.

Amy tells me that Katie has an appointment with her in October and that, despite a phone message she may receive in the next couple of days, the appointment is still going to happen. Just at another location. Turns out Amy was given a job offer at a new salon and, when she gave her current boss two weeks notice, the boss told her to just leave.

In some cases and industries, I can understand this. If a person announces they are leaving and give their notice, a boss may fear that they might use the time to compile their contacts or some company information and secrets and take off with them. So you want them out before that can happen.

Amy was a hair stylist. There are no secrets to take and all her contacts were her own anyway. So why'd her boss let her go before the notice time was up?

Based on what Katie pays to have her hair done and assuming a bare minimum of five appointments per day in a five-day workweek, that's nearly $5,000 that the salon is losing out on. And I know that Amy has far more appointments than that per day and sometimes works six days a week. There's no way to make up that kind of money without having a new stylist immediately ready to take Amy's spot and especially since many of these customers are loyal to Amy and will follow her in exodus from one salon to the next.

Why would she (the owner) do this? Sure, bitterness can play in here. But you're trying to run a business during difficult economic times. Take the money! Let her work out her couple weeks and you reap some benefit as a result.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): The Chicago Cubs/Houston Astros series was affected by the invasion of Hurricane Ike down in the gulf region. It was not, however, postponed. Instead, it was moved to a "neutral" site in Milwaukee, WI, at Miller Park, home of the Brewers.

I point this out simply because I'm questioning the decision by Major League Baseball regarding how to handle the weather delay of the series. This series was a home series for the 'Stros. To be played at home in front of their home fans in a stadium that they know. That's why it's called "home field advantage."

I realize that the MLB is trying to not shift that advantage from the 'Stros to the Cubs by moving the series to Chicago. That makes perfect sense. But why not wait until the end of the season and replay the series down in Houston? Or play it in a real "neutral site."

Seriously... Milwaukee is not a neutral site for the Cubs. In fact, until the Brewers actually got to be a semi decent team in the last couple seasons, the stadium was regularly filled with more Cubs fans than Brewers fans. It's only a couple hours north of Chicago. Many fans that are unable to find tickets at Wrigley Field regularly venture to Miller Park to watch the Cubbies play. Hell, ChicagoCubs.com even calls Miller Park "Wrigley North."

To the MLB, think next time. If you're going to yank the home field advantage from the Astros, try a truly neutral site geographically located between both teams like, oh, say, Kansas City? They might enjoy actually having some good teams play in their town once in a while.

But, oh well, too late. I'm sure the Astros will complain that the no hitter Zambrano dealt out last night never would've happened if the game were played in Houston.

Go Z!


The old man is snoring...

From what I've read, "remnants" of Hurricane Ike hit us here in Geneva yesterday. I'm having trouble believing it was from Ike. Seems far too soon since the 'cane only made landfall early Saturday morning (like 1 a.m., wasn't it?). But, if they say it, I guess it's true. Anyway, got some photos and video of all that happened in our neighborhood. We actually had to cancel plans because all the routes out of our neighborhood were flooded beyond driveability. But it certainly made for good camera stuffs.

Here are some photos...

And here are a few different videos for your viewing enjoyment...


Ike in Geneva, part 1 from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.


Ike in Geneva, part 2 from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.


Ike in Geneva, part 3 from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Congratulations to Kristy Brown for correctly guessing the order slip challenge from yesterday. The pizzas we ordered were a medium stuffed with cheese and spinach and a medium thin crust with sausage and pepperoni.

The sausage and pepperoni was pretty obvious. But the other... "POPY"... was not poppy seeds or poopie or anything like it. According to the guy at Giordano's, they were going to use SP for spinach but they already used that abbreviation for their special pizza. So they came up with "POPY" meaning Popeye who eats spinach. And it has stuck. Cool.


Where is my boy...

Last night, Katie and I finally got out to a comedy club and saw Kevin Nealon live on stage. While it wasn't knock-down, drag-out laughfest, but it was still funny. I enjoyed it immensely. So did Katie. And, much to my joy, he broke out in a round of Mr. Subliminal with the fans. LOVED IT.

The only downer of the evening was that we found out the Jamie Kaler, Mike on TBS' My Boys, is going to be at Zanies next weekend and we won't be able to make it. How cool would that gig be? I so want to go, but plans preclude it from happening. Damn.

After Zanies, we ordered pizza from a Chicagoland institution, Giordano's. It's been a long time -- way too long -- since we've had Giordano's. I think we were suffering from a bit of withdrawal. So we indulged and ordered a bit to last us into next week.

When I got to Giordano's, I looked at the order slip as they ran my credit card. I was a bit confused by what was on it and thought I may have misordered. I want you to take a look at what we ordered and let me know what you think it is...

PICKUP (2 items)

Med Stfd Cheese
   Popy/

Med Thin Cheese
   S/ PP/

It took me a while, but I finally figured it out. I'll reveal what it is in my next post. In the meantime, guess away.


Why are there so many songs about rainbows...

Yes. YES. YES! (please no "I'll have what he's having.")

The following comes to you courtesy of my old grad school buddy Bobbybng. We lost touch after graduation but recently found each other again thanks to Facebook.

I asked him about this karaokeish routine he used to perform. It's Kermit the Frog's "Rainbow Connection" but he does it with nearly a dozen different Muppet voices. No, it's not a mix of voices he edited together... he actually performs them himself. He is simply amazing when it comes to voices and impersonation and this video is proof of his talent. And I finally got him to record it. I would've been happy with an MP3 file, but he went ahead and did it on YouTube. Daring mofo.

It is one of the funniest things I've ever heard and makes me cry from laughing so hard. And I've already watched it like a half dozen times since I received the link yesterday.

So without further ado, I present Bobbybng as Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Rowlf, The Swedish Chef, all of Electric Mayhem and some others performing "Rainbow Connection"!!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Okay, dude, a dress shirt and sport coat work fine with jeans. Not a problem there.

Throw a tie into the mix and it gets a little weird, but is still marginally acceptable.

However, when you decide to finish the ensemble with white socks and khaki Crocs, I think those of us around you are permitted by law to kill you. I do believe that's in the rulebook somewhere.

Shame my camera wasn't around. You deserve the humiliation.


Don't forget to remember me...

For some reason, I'm having severe trouble mentally reconciling the fact that today is the seventh anniversary of the felling of the Twin Towers, the attack on the Pentagon, and the crash in Pennsylvania of United 93.

I remember how pretty much the entire day transpired like it was yesterday. I'm thankful it wasn't yesterday, of course, but the knowledge that it happened the better part of a decade ago is just a bit much.

And no matter how many years ago it was, it still never seems right to just throw out the normal mumbo jumbo on my blog on September 11. I have done it in the past and I always feel bad about it. Like I'm almost obligated to make mention of it here as a way of honoring the memories of all those who lost their lives.

But it's just too damn painful. Even for a guy like me who personally knew no one who died in the attacks.

Two years ago, I took part in something called Project 2,996, a blogger attempt to write memorial posts to all those who died that day. One blogger - one victim - 2,996 posts in total. It was one of the toughest things I've ever written. Not that I couldn't find the words, I just couldn't string them together in a way that, to me, served as a sufficient memorial; especially since I was given a firefighter, a true hero, to memorialize.

I wrote anyway. And I've found myself rereading what I wrote many times in the two years that have since elapsed. Sometimes I'm hitting myself in the side of the head when I think of something I could've written better. Other times, I just let the enormity of it all wash over me. What my guy, Lieutenant Geoffrey E. Guja, did on that day was done with no regard for his own life whatsoever. He lived, and died, serving others.

So, yes, I do keep referring back to this post each year. But that's simply because I feel it's important to never forget... not a single one of them.

Here are some links to posts of some of my regular reads that I found before heading out. More may show up throughout the day:

These are in no particular order and I may have missed some as I was racing to get this final bit done before running out the door. So forgive me if I forgot one.  If you have written something, feel free to link it up in the comments.


Every sperm is sacred...

Time for some snippets! It is Snippet Wednesday #15 if I recall.

Zazzle
Kapgar85shoesI don't get it. The night before last, I created four items at Zazzle to tie into my declaration that I shall heretofore be known as "kapgar ocho cinco" (a declaration that true believer *lynne* reflects in her blogroll... y'all take notice!). Three of those four items were linked to in the post because they were approved immediately. They were the mug, sticker, and keychain. The fourth item, a pair of women's Keds sneakers were on hold pending approval by the "Zazzle Content Review Team." And they were sweet shoes. The kind even I would've worn if they made Keds for men. Yesterday, I receive an e-mail stating that my shoes were declined due to me violating their "No names or images of celebrities" policy. Well, okay, I guess on the extreme fringe I can possibly understand this. I am using, verrrryyyy loosely, a derivative of the name of a celebrity on my product; unless, of course, they're referring to moi as a celebrity (but I think I'd give me permission, wouldn't you?). So I go check, expecting that my other items were pulled, ex post facto. And they're all still up for sale. Now that's what I call consistency in policy enforcement.

Fringe
Speaking of fringe, I'm on the fringe regarding Fringe, FOX's new supernatural, paranormal, extra-terrestrial, semi-believable, über-weirdo, X-Files-channeling series that debuted last night. It was something that I had no desire to watch whatsoever, but, for whatever reason, actually tuned into. It was slow going. Not terrible, but far from great. If this was still summer and if my regular season shows weren't going to start within the next month, I'd likely keep watching it. But with all these other shows to take up my time, I'm not entirely sure. What did all of you -- if any of you watched it -- think about it?

Palin
I know exactly who I'm voting for in November! Thanks to occasional fish, via edenza's Google Reader account.

Seizure
I know this has been talked about before, but I thought it had been voted down. Apparently not. I ask, is anyone else terrified of the fact that the U.S. government can just up and take your electronic devices after international flights terminating in the U.S.? No rhyme or reason and no guarantee on when it will be returned. Sorry, but this scares me to no end. I know it says that this is only for people coming to the U.S. from foreign countries, but that doesn't necessarily mean it cannot happen to U.S. travelers returning home from overseas, does it? I can see the envelope being pushed to include that. Sometimes, the country I love scares the ever-loving bejeebus out of me.


Just to hit the ball and touch 'em all...

To all you non sports fans, I really am of the opinion that this post is less about sports than it may initially seem, so bear with me, will ya?

I was listening to an old episode of ESPN's PTI (Pardon the Interruption) yesterday and I think it may have inspired a dream I had last night. In the episode, special guest Mark DeRosa, utility man for the Chicago Cubs, stated that co-host Mike Wilbon should've made an effort to warm up before throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game a few weeks ago. It wasn't mean spirited the way I may have made it sound. It was a friendly jab and quite funny actually.

Anyway, so in my dream, I'm warming up before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. I'm at Wrigley Field in Chicago. And, for some reason I don't know about, instead of it being just a pitch to the catcher as most first pitches are, there is going to be a batter at the plate to take a stab at it. Obviously, I want to be on my game, hence my warm up. The batter was to be Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

The problem was that no matter how hard I threw the ball, I couldn't get it to even reach the plate. Even if I tried to throw a wild pitch that I knew would come nowhere near it, I couldn't get it to cross any sort of imaginary plane where the plate would be. It always wound up 5-10 feet short. And I was getting severely frustrated. I knew, in the dream, that I was capable of making the pitch without a problem under normal circumstances, but it just wasn't happening. No matter what I did, I could not get the pitch anywhere near Obama.

So what of this one? Any ideas?

Perhaps I should've stayed asleep long enough to find out if McCain was on deck.


Hey, I got some new shoes...

I just saw one of those "highly touted," "gonna save our asses" ads for Microsoft featuring Jerry Seinfeld. It aired during the Monday Night Football game between the Packers and the Vikings just a few minutes ago.

In it, Jerry Seinfeld was shopping in a mall (already unbelievable) and eating a churro (which might make Dustin switch back) when he sees Bill Gates shopping in a Shoe Circus and automatically assumes that Gates is poor and needs his guidance about everything from churros to showering with your clothes on.

W. T. F. ????

This had to be one of the stupidest commercials I've ever seen. It was just pointless. Aside from the final exchange between the two, it had nothing to do with computers. Oh, wait, it had Gates in it, so I guess that makes it all better.

And they paid Seinfeld how much for this campaign?

I wonder if Steve Ballmer kept the receipt.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I'm making a change around here and I'm hoping that you'll respect the decision that I'm making. What I'm going to do is change my name. From here on out, I am going by the name Kapgar Ocho Cinco. You may not understand why I'm doing this but it's not your place to. This is my life and I will live it the way I want to. But note that I will no longer respond to "Kevin Apgar." That name is dead to me.

I am, now and forever, Kapgar Ocho Cinco.

I think I may put it on a mug. Or a sticker. Ohhh, better yet, a keychain!


Open up your mouth and feed it...

Just had to share our little culinary experiment with all of you...

White Pizza

It's a white pizza (yes, MochaMomma, we're starting kitchen race wars again), meaning nothing but crust, garlic olive oil, and cheese. Our definition is, of course, open to interpretation. The cheese we used is a four-cheese blend of asiago, parmesan, fontina, and mild provolone. One half also has goat cheese (that would be my half).

Oh, tres yummy!


But I ain't got wings...

I finally got off my butt and strung together the strands of video for that third of three Damn Fool Network posts that I recorded somewhere upwards of a month ago. It's a long one, I'll warn ya now. I don't even remember it taking this long to make the thing. Shame it didn't turn out. Oh, did I just ruin it? Hm, oh well.


The Damn Fool Network: Jello Pretzel Salad from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie and I have a fairly busy weekend in store for us. Lots of things to catch up on and places to go/people to see. And yet, if I had the chance, I would totally drop everything to go to Flugtag tomorrow. Is that wrong?

Who wouldn't want to see homemade flying machines crashing down into Lake Michigan?


Didn't we almost have it all...

It's truly sad sometimes how we, as human beings, fight.

We can find the smallest, most insignificant thing out there and turn it into something blown completely out of proportion and use that to justify holding a grudge against our fellow man for longer than it deserves.

Take, for example, a couple people I know... they fall on opposite sides of a long-standing rivalry. And lately, with news that has been coming out, it has become even more bitter. Information has leaked in the press that has made one side feel more, shall we say, righteous than the other. This side thinks that this information ensures that they will win while the other will suffer a crushing defeat.

I found these two friends fighting today. Slinging barbs and arrows back and forth while many of their shared friends just watched. They were stunned into silence; afraid to say anything at all.

I came in on the middle of it and I only wish I hadn't appeared at all.

I have a take on the whole issue. I have a side that I ally myself with. But sometimes, especially in instances such as this, I keep that affiliation to myself. I don't want to alienate friends I have that fall on one side or the other.

So, being the self-appointed peacemaker, I took it upon myself to do what none of our other friends were daring enough to do, I attempted to separate them. My hope was that by forcing some space between them, I could calm them down and maybe make them see each other's side and come to some sort of understanding.

In the midst of my negotiations, I slipped. I said something that revealed my true colors and made one side realize that I couldn't possibly see their viewpoint. That I would never understand why they believed the way they do and why they support who they do.

I guess, if nothing else, the heat was taken off my one friend while I became the target of the verbal onslaught. I tried to calm this person down, but nothing I said seemed to penetrate their skull and lodge itself in their brain.

Finally, I walked away. What else could I do? When people get this heated, the best thing to do is remove yourself immediately and definitively.

But it still hurts. The words sting. The looks burn.

Fuckin' White Sox fans.

Go Cubs.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I think I'm going to brutally hurt the owner of the next gas station I visit that advertises one price on their street-side sign only to discover, after I pull in and shut down my engine, that this is the post-carwash-purchase price.

SHOULD BE FREAKIN' ILLEGAL!!! Isn't that a form of bait and switch?


Tracks of my tears...

Snippet Wednesday #14! We survived #13! Celebrate!

Okay, that's way too many exclamation points. Even for me. Yikes.

Madness
I had been hearing about this mockumentary of the making of the movie Tropic Thunder called Rain of Madness for some time and I've been wanting to check it out just about as long. I found out yesterday that this spoof movie is available... and free to boot. If you have iTunes, check it out. It's a free half-hour of video content. Even if you don't have a video iPod, you can still download and watch on your computer. How can you go wrong? I also love how they're spoofing the whole Apocalypse Now/Hearts of Darkness movie/documentary relationship. Seeing as how I studied both in grad school, I can totally appreciate it.

Nealon
Okay, I don't watch Weeds; not yet anyway. So I really have no way of knowing how good Kevin Nealon is in it. I'm hoping those of you who watch Weeds will confirm that his entertainment abilities haven't waned at all. Why? Because Katie and I have tickets to see him do a live stand-up routine at Pheasant Run in St. Charles, IL, next Friday night. And I'm really looking forward to it. I loved the guy in Saturday Night Live and, when you combine that with the fact I haven't seen a stand-up comedian in... well... I don't even remember how long, that's just a lot of expectation. Please tell me he's good. Please? Oh, and also please tell me that I shouldn't worry that this gig isn't listed on his official Web site.

LouisMourning
I'd like to hold a moment of silence for the poor, little guy at right. I found his broken, discarded body in a rock garden in a parking lot outside a Goodwill store. Considering how much joy these little minifigs have brought me throughout my life, I just knew I couldn't leave him there to rot in the hot, late summer sun. I've named him Louis after Dan Aykroyd's character in Trading Places; once a rich and well-dressed sort of fellow whose life and prosperity were taken from him and he was left a broken and forgotten man. It's just not fair. And now I must figure out how best to honor Louis' memory. Any suggestions?

Ratings
My God, I happened to be tuned in to FX last night as they began showing the premiere episode of the final season of The Shield (no, I didn't watch as I haven't seen any of the series yet; they're in my Netflix queue). But I was amazed by the announcement of the rating of the episode... TV-MA-L-S-V. Woah, when it takes nearly as long to say the rating as it does to play the episode, you know it's good!


Who are you, who, who...

I have a question for you, why, in the modern age of information "acquisition" via the Web, would anyone want to be a celebrity of any kind?

Five days ago, I'd venture a guess that 90-95% of Americans had never heard of Sarah Palin, the two-year governor of our northernmost and largest state, Alaska. This would qualify her as pretty much a "nobody," wouldn't you say?

Now, ever since she was chosen as John McCain's running mate on the Republican ticket, we likely know more about her than she does. Let's recap what we've learned, shall we? I do not vouch for the accuracy of these statements; they are just what I've heard. And I also leave it up to you to decide if they are good or bad; I'm not passing judgment in my recapping of them.

  • SarahpalinShe's a MILF
  • She's a former beauty pageant contestant
  • She's a hunter
  • She's a supporter of the NRA
  • She can certainly handle an assault rifle and look good doing it
  • She has interesting taste in clothing from time to time
  • She's married to an Eskimo
  • She has five children
  • Her eldest son is shipping out to Iraq
  • Her youngest daughter has Down's syndrome
  • Her youngest daughter may actually be the daughter of her eldest daughter
  • Her eldest daughter is pregnant and it may or may not be her second child
  • She's embroiled in "Troopergate" which involved her brother in law (I think), abuse at the barrel of his gun, pressure applied to have him fired, and the ousting from office of the guy who refused to fire him (sound correct?)

The Modern Muckraking Machine (tm) is clearly set on lethally efficient, isn't it? I mean DAYAMN! I've seen people in the limelight torn asunder, but never this quickly.

No, this does not mean she's getting some sort of sympathy vote from me come November. She is a Republican, after all, and I think that means she's born with slightly thicker skin than many. But it doesn't mean I feel any less badly for her.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Oh if only you could've been a fly on the wall for Katie's and my games of Uno last night. You would've been privy to such gems as:

  • Fucker
  • Sonuvabitch
  • Kiss my ass
  • I hate you
  • Can I just win one fucking game?
  • I'd like to be able to say "Uno" just once, dammit
  • Someone doesn't want sex ever again

Yeah, "fun for the entire family," my ass.


And even when your hope is gone, move along...

It finally works! It finally works! It finally works!

[Do note the subdued sense of self satisfaction, will ya?]

For a while, I've had some issues with Yahoo, which was the host and registrar of my domain www.kapgar.com. Yes, that's right, I've actually been in possession of this domain for quite some time (I think about 2001) and used it all the time when I was just doing plain old static HTML web journaling. However, once I moved over to Typepad as my blogware, I gave up using my domain because Typepad and Yahoo refused to play nice. If I tried to create a META redirect from Yahoo to my Typepad account, I received all kinds of error messages from Yahoo that I was in violation of my hosting contract. And Typepad, at the time, didn't have instructions for mapping my domain from Yahoo to Typepad. I was also having problems getting my domain name transferred to another registrar; some vital piece of data I needed to confirm I owned it that I couldn't find.

So I just kinda gave up and stuck solely with my Typepad account completely neglecting what I had at Yahoo. And this despite some people saying how frustrating it was to type in www.kapgar.com and not get my real blog.

Until recently. I logged in to Yahoo and discovered that they now supported WordPress blogs on their site (hence my expressed intent to move from Typepad to WordPress). I figured it was finally time to defeat the bitch known as WordPress and use my own domain name again. So I set up several different ones trying to figure out which I liked best. From time to time, it worked nicely; but other times, I was having nothing but problems.

In one case, updating from an old version of WP to a new one killed my logins and I lost complete access to my blog. In another, I had the thing nearly ready to go, but none of my feeds would work at all; both my post and comments feeds were completely dead and no one was able to help me figure it out in the WP forums. As I'm wont to do, I gave up yet again.

It was about this time that I started questioning why I was really bothering in the first place. I've never disliked Typepad. It's always been good to me. Sure, you can't take a cool free template from some Web site and tack it on to activate a whole new look, but who cares? There are things I can do in WP that I can't do in Typepad; but on the flip side of the coin, there were things I loved in Typepad that I couldn't replicate in WP. Plus, I would've had to sift through three years of posts and change all my self-referential links. So why was I doing it?

I couldn't answer this question.

Today, though, I made a move to solidify my dedication to Typepad and logged back in to Yahoo to deactivate all those WP blogs (including one Moveable Type blog I set up in my frustration over WP).

That's when I noticed it... information for mapping a domain from Yahoo to Typepad that wouldn't violate my hosting contract. So I checked it out. After some mental translation, I implemented the steps. Then I went about waiting the 24-48 hours they said it would take for Yahoo to register the DNS setting shifts. But, we all know how overanxious I am, so I checked it out after a mere half hour. And, surprise, it was done.

That's right! My domain now belongs to my blog... the way it always should have been! So now you can access my blog via either my Typepad URL @ kapgar.typepad.com or my real URL @ www.kapgar.com.

Just as a note, there is no need to change any links to me that you have either in your posts, blogrolls, or feed readers. They should all still work. But it is now that much easier to find me.

Yay!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Don't ask me why, but I have a Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on the TV right now. I've never really watched this show before, save for maybe an episode or two many, many years ago. I just never had an interest. But for some reason, I can't bring myself to turn it off right now. Sick and wrong, but...

Oh, and yes Wesley, there's a lot you need to learn about poker. ;-)