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21 posts from November 2008

And this is my Thanksgiving...

While I won't be able to say it anywhere near as eloquently as John at Buddha on the Road did (thanks for cluing me in to that song so I had a title for this post, BTW), I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S.ian friends. And, although a little late, to my Canadian friends as well.

And, if you're either spending time with or hosting family like Katie and I are, I pray you prepared yourself adequately. We did...

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So tell me why-y-y-y...

Basically, today is just a bunch of those cosmic "why" questions. I'm not entirely sure what inspired this post. But what is the inspiration for any of the tripe I write?

Why does my cellphone always drop the calls I want and never drops the calls I wish it would?

Why is it that Axl Rose can spend 17 years working on a studio album and it's still only middling at best?

Why do my jeans feel tighter while my dress pants feel looser?

Why do we feel more tired the longer we sleep?

Why is it that the Philadelphia Eagles have the fifth highest point total in the NFC and are actually one of the worst teams?

Why is it that the Amazon/PepsiStuff Web site will still let me enter codes for free songs, but I cannot redeem them?

Why is it that the RIAA and MPAA will go after individuals for piracy and not libraries for effectively aiding and abetting the process?

Why can't foresight be 20/20?

Why can't I stay focused when reading through a bunch of books I've really been looking forward to reading and are very good books?

Why is it that Kanye West can totally enthrall me with his live performance of "See You In My Nightmares" on Letterman last night but the album version doesn't come close to comparing?

Why do I keep forgetting that we have a really great collection of breakfast cereal in our cabinet?

Why can't I figure out how to get my damn video footage of this borrowed camera and onto my computer so I can actually post a couple more Damn Fool Network segments?

Why does my site's subscriber count way outnumber my visitor count?

So what's bugging you lately?

Update (11/28): Whoops. Meant to say "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West, not "See You In My Nightmares." My bad.


Great green gobs of greasy grimy...

Does anybody know how to go about petitioning the federal government to remove the Canada Goose from the threatened species list? I've always hated those crap-filled bastards. They are pretty much the only animal I truly hate. And this comes from a guy who generally loves animals. In many cases, more than humans. But now? I want some pate.

CanadagooseThey've squawked at and charged at and pecked at me enough times that I have no reason to feel neither love nor even respect for them. And now they have disgraced my truck.

Katie and I were driving home yesterday morning and along one road was a large park whose fields were being crapped up by a few hundred Canada Geese. As soon as a car ahead of me went past the field, I saw the geese start to stir. Then they all spread their wings just as I was coming up to the flock. They took flight and, in their own confusion over where they should head, they started massing in the airspace over my truck.

Not a good sign at all.

Before I could utter "oh shit," two thuds hit my windshield, one of them right in my line of sight. Two giant green glops of partially digested grass stuck to the tempered glass protecting Katie and I from the frozen air outside. It didn't matter that I was driving 45 miles per hour. It didn't matter that the temperature was well below freezing and it should've frozen it right off my windshield. Nope, didn't matter at all. They stuck like glue.

I don't own a gun. I don't hunt. I don't believe in taking the lives of animals.

But damn if I didn't want to pop a couple shells in a double barrel and go to town right then and there.

And then, after el incidento con la kaka de goose, Katie and I went to a local carwash. It was one of the carwashes attached to a major gas station (BP Amoco, I believe). I went through the carwash like I would any other time.

As we pulled out, a guy and his kid ran up and guided us out and started to dry off my vehicle. This isn't the first time I've seen this. A Sonic wash in Naperville has guys on hand to dry off your car. They do it and wave you on as though no tip is expected. In fact, I think I have tried to give them a tip before and they wouldn't take it. This time, however, the guy waves at me to roll down the window and makes a motion for a tip. I kinda give him a "huh" look and he says that he works for tips. I offer him literally the only dollar that I have (debit cards go a long way, but not in cash-required situations) and he gives me a dejected look and Katie and I drive away.

Is there an expectation to tip a guy like this? I mean he practically stood in the path of my truck as I tried to drive away. I would've had to drive over him or his kid to get through. I stop and they begin drying the moisture from my truck without obtaining permission. I don't owe them jack, do I? I should be able to just drive away, right?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Time for one final review of my Nokia E71 smartphone. Why "one final"? Because WOM World finally did e-mail me back and we are working on return shipping now. I'm not entirely heartbroken because the Blackberry 8820 is coming my way in December. Since my reviews get a bit wordy, I'm moving it to the extended post so my homepage doesn't become too terribly cluttered. Hope you don't mind.

Continue reading "Great green gobs of greasy grimy..." »


How long before you let me go...

Well, it's official, Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money have been nixed by ABC. And not even Ned the pie maker can do anything to revive them. While DSM's cancellation has no effect on me having never watched it before, I am saddened by the death sentences dished out to Daisies and Eli. I love both those shows immensely.

However, unlike most cancellations, Daisies and Eli will be allowed to play out through the 13 episodes that are currently in the can or, at the very least, scripted for production. No new episodes will be ordered.

My question to all of you is whether you will, if you watch any of these shows, continue to watch them through to the end. Before you curse me as nutso or not a real fan, hear me out.

There are two sides to this debate.

On the one side, there are those that will want to watch the shows through to the end. Give them their due. Celebrate their very existence while we still can.

But on the flip side of the coin, there is a very strong probability that there is no way in the name of all that is holy that we, as fans, can ever be happy with how the shows end. That, given the knowledge that the shows are ending and that, at least in the case of Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, there are new projects to worry about (he's moving on to, *ack*, Heroes) and writers may not care about putting their all into the swansong episodes of these dying series. A lot may be left unresolved and I'm scared about how disappointed I may feel by the wrap up and finale episodes.

So what's your take on it all?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Yes, we did see Twilight last night. We did not chicken out. We were not crowded out of seats. And we did not sell our tickets to overzealous tweeners.

Before you continue, there is a potential that some of what I write may constitute a spoiler. Read on at your own risk.

The movie wasn't bad, but was far from great. It was very compressed for sake of time and many scenes were either axed or combined with other scenes as a result. And they made some interesting decisions regarding some key moments in the book such as leaving out the blood testing scene and keeping Bella conscious during the final fight scene.

But our biggest concern was with the characters. Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen was better than either of us expected him to be; we really had our doubts early on. But Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan didn't sell us. And so many of the other characters were so peripheral that they almost didn't need to be there at all and that's sad because they were such strong characters in the book. I think this happened because the filmmakers wanted to focus too much on building the roles of the enemy vampires James (Cam Gigandet), Victoria (Rachelle Lefevre), and Laurent (Edi Gathegi) who never made an appearance in the book until the thunderball scene. In the movie, we got a lot more of them and, consequently it would seem, a lot less of everyone else.

There were a few characters whose casting I thought was pretty spot on considering my vision of them as I read the book. This includes Billy Burke as Bella's father Charlie, Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black, and Gil Birmingham as Billy Black. All were very good, but also very criminally underused.

The camera work was actually pretty decent and I like the soundtrack music that was used. And, thankfully, the tween girls, while numerous, were not as bad as I was expecting. Sure, they all turned into a bunch of slack-jawed Woo Girls (see the most recent episode of How I Met Your Mother for that reference) when Edward was on screen and the girl sitting in front of Katie began hyperventilating and had to leave the theater during the "shimmering."

In all, though, I'd give it three out of five stars and a willingness to watch it again. With fewer girls around.


And, baby, I'm the walking dead...

Dear Lord,

I pray you grant me the strength to survive tonight. It will be one of the biggest challenges of my life to go into the heart of the lions' den and come out with my wits intact and my hands free of blood from having throttled people who clearly know no better.

I pray you grant me the patience to brush off and hear through the insensitive cooing and sighing and screaming that will no doubt occur at his very first appearance and more than likely every instance thereafter. I can't say I entirely understand their level of love and adulation, so I will need your help to weather the storm.

And I pray you grant me the ability to forgive my wife for buying tickets for the opening night of Twilight. But, like me, you know that she loves those damn books.

In your name I pray.

Amen.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): My head is swimming right now.

Why?

Both Gmail and Typepad have hit me at the same time with all kinds of new features and I'm not sure what to do with myself.

Gmailmountains Gmail now has themes that have been pushed out to a select group of users (I say "select" as opposed to "random" to make myself feel specialer). Now you can pick any one of a few dozen different display themes to make your Gmail experience, I suppose, cooler. Some of them are just strange, some are cool, and some, like the one I chose, could be so much cooler than they are. I chose "mountain" because I live in the wonderfully un-hilly region of northeastern Illinois and desperately miss the mountains that I've seen when visiting Colorado or flying out west. But, while it's a beautiful photo, it needs to fill more of the available screen. Too much of my monitor is covered in the slate grey fill color associated with the theme. I'm sure these themes will improve with time, though.

Typepad Typepad has a whole new blog entry interface. They've been talking about it for what seems like a year now and only now am I finally having it rolled out to me. It has a much better RTF toolbar with greater functionality and more choices. But, key for me is the built-in image editor. Sure, I'm a Photoshopper and will still use this. However, if I happen to be blogging from another computer that doesn't have Photoshop installed, it's nice to know I can still do some basic work to images before posting them. Yeah, there are several online options and I've used them. But their use is so infrequent that I can never remember which one I've used and then have to get accustomed to a whole new control panel for a single image for a blog post. Not fun.

Now, if only I can talk Typepad HQ into implementing an image library so I can easily choose an image to use over and over again. As of now, the image uploader only looks on your computer for new images. Something to work on, Typepad.

BTW, you can click on either of those images to get a full-size version for closer examination.

So it looks like I've got some new toys to play with.


Big city downtown...

This Snippet Wednesday is brought to you by the good folks in the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Dutiful
Yeah, I'm back in Chicago for jury duty. They completely neglect me for the entire first week of my on-call period. I'm finally told to show up on Monday of my second week but don't get selected. Don't have to go back in on Tuesday, but wind up needing to show up on Wednesday. And I'm on a strange schedule to boot... Late morning. This means I don't get a normal lunch break either. And if Monday was any indication, they won't have nearly enough time to complete jury selection today and I've only got tomorrow and Friday left in my on-call status. What kind of weak ass case will be tried and deliberated in two days? None. They'll either send me on my way, again, or I'll get screwed and have to serve during the Thanksgiving holiday. Hey, I was happy to help before and you should've taken advantage of my graciousness then. Now? I'm just pissed and annoyed.

Truffle
He has been found. I'd scoured everywhere and had no luck. Then, at the end of my workday on Tuesday, I decided to look under a spare chair in my office. There he was. Probably muttering "dumbass" under his breath. But he's been found and I will live up to my end of the bargain and never look at an orange iPod Shuffle again.

Formatting
Sorry there's no formatting to this post. I'm typing using the mobile interface that Typepad offers and RTF is not one of the available options. C'est la vie.

Video
For those of you who have been recommending them to me for days, I found the Indy rape episode of South Park and Star Wars II episode of Robot Chicken in the iTunes Store. Totally worth the money! Holy crap. I was dying laughing. How does South Park not only stay good but actually improve after 11 and a half seasons? And to the crew behind Robot Chicken... Bravo!

Nokia
I know I'm tempting fate by actually mentioning it here, but WOM has yet to contact me about returning the phone they gave me to review. Heck, I even went the honest route and e-mailed them on Monday to ask what I should do. Nada. Well, if they don't want it...

Now it's time for some Uno on my iPod. Adieu.


Till her daddy takes the T-bird away-ay-ay...

I was sworn to secrecy.

I couldn't talk about it to family or friends. They might try to influence my outlook.

I couldn't use the Web to do my own personal research. Reporter or blogger bias might bend my views one way or the other.

I couldn't even talk to my fellow jurors. We might start thinking things through and unduly influencing each other before deliberations even begin.

Bummer, right?

Not so! I didn't get chosen for the case so I can talk all I want, baby!

For anybody following my Tweets yesterday, I showed up at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago yesterday to report for jury duty. While there, I looked out the window and saw a ton of TV satellite relay trucks. I asked if anybody knew what was going on and Sheila informed me that Obama and McCain were supposed to be in town talking. I looked into it and found out that, in fact, they were in the building right next door to me. How cool is that? I could feel the power rubbing off on me! And, according to Shiny, my own influence was clearly rubbing off on Barack Obama. Here's the reTweeted proof...

mr_shiny @kapgar RT @BarackObama: "just confirmed... Apgar will be right next door to me. Closest I've ever been to a blogging superstar. Scary...

I'm telling y'all, get aboard the kapgar train now while there's still room. ;-)

Anyway, a bunch of us were called into a courtroom and told how the whole jury selection thing would happen. The judge would ask us a bunch of questions and give us each the opportunity to respond if it pertained to us. Unlike in movies like Runaway Jury, each of us was not really grilled individually. It was a group process. And with 43 of us in there, it was a very long group process. And there were a lot of gaps where we sat on our duffs just waiting on the hard wood benches. There is very little efficiency with regard to time at all.

We went through the first round of questions and went on recess. When we returned, eight of us were let go due to perceived conflicts. Then we went around the room talking about who we were, where we came from, what our jobs were, who comprised our household, what jobs they held, and what our hobbies were. Then it was lunch. For an hour and a half (as I said... efficiency? Non existent.)

When we got back, they picked their 14; 12 primary and two alternate. Going through the list in order by our seats, the 14 were picked before they even got to me. The rest of us were sent home and told we didn't need to report today at all, but still needed to check in for potential service on Wednesday through Friday. Just when you think you're free, they suck you back in!

I was kinda hoping to get in on this case. It was a federal drug possession and trafficking case. Meth, no less. How much fun would that have been? DEA. FBI. Chicago Police. Phoenix Police. Fun, fun, fun!

But I wasn't chosen. Dammit. My T-bird was taken away.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Do any of you watch The Big Bang Theory (yes, I know you hate it, Avitable ;-) ). Well, Katie and I love it and crack up repeatedly watching it. She likes it because she relates to the science and math aspects while I can relate to the general geekery. And watching Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons verbally spar each other is fantastic fun.

Last night's episode was awesome! They did a whole sequence tearing apart both the newer Star Wars films and the Clone Wars stuff that has come out and then a second scene debating the merits of the original Star Trek movies. Freakin' hilarious.

If you've ever watched a show created by Chuck Lorre (BBT, Two and a Half Men, and Dharma & Greg), you know that he tends to have some very wordy fun with his vanity cards at the end of each episode. They're hilarious and I often catch myself pausing the TiVo to read them. Hell, he's got a whole Web site dedicated to these cards. The one that followed last night's Big Bang Theory was in regard to the in-show SW and Trek debates and was classic...

Dear George Lucas,

May I call you Mr. Lucas?  On behalf of the writers of The Big Bang Theory, I would like to thank you for your astounding body of work, which has awakened the child within us and unleashed our dreams. That being said, we hope you don't take offense at our good-natured jest regarding your most recent animated efforts. Yes they were cheap shots, but we can't help but hold you to a higher standard -- a standard of your own making. In closing, we are all looking forward to Indiana Jones 5 - The Curse of the Golden Catheter.  Oops, sorry again. 

Very truly yours,

The Writers

P.S.  To William Shatner, director of Star Trek 5. Go ahead, sue us.

Bigbangtheory_2

Check out The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.


Where, oh where...

I'm being punished.

I'm convinced of it.

By the very technology I otherwise love.

Ipod_shuffle My iPod Shuffle is lost. My trusty old Truffle Shuffle (named in tribute to a scene from one of my favorite movies, The Goonies) is nowhere to be found and I think it's a form of punishment for a vile betrayal on my part.

You see, I'm a fan of the second generation orange iPod Shuffle. I've been a fan of it since it came out and was saddened when newer generations of the clip Shuffle were not available in orange. So I've been shopping around the Web for a good deal on one. I keep looking, but I never buy.

And I think my first generation, gumstick Shuffle has had enough. It has sensed my near betrayal and is hiding from me just as I was about to charge it up and put a new playlist on it for my trip into Chicago today.

Yes, I'm anthropomorphizing technology. It's nothing new for me as I've made clear that I think iPods are capable of syncing themselves not only with our computers, but with our brainwaves and emotions as well.

Truffle, please come back. I promise not to cheat on you again. I miss you. I really do. Just come home. Let's talk this out.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): So, Quantum of Solace... we did finally see it Sunday night. A little later than we planned, but still during opening weekend. I'll be honest, it wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be. Was it as good as Casino Royale? Not even close. But it was still gritty and action packed and more daring than most Bond films tend to be.

This also proved to be its downfall to some degree.

As Delmer pointed out in a comment on my Friday post, and I completely agree, the camera work and frenetic nature of the filming did make it difficult from time to time to figure out what the heck was going on. For me, at no time was this moreso the case than during that strange operatic sequence. It almost seemed to me that there were three different scenes blended into one and it just got confusing.

But, Craig still kicks severe ass as Bond. I do think he's the best of the bunch now, officially. He brings a snark to the character that we have come to expect, but without being over the top. He likes the ladies, but the focus is not on bedding them at every turn. And he doesn't rely on gadgets like every other Bond, which I like. It's him, his car, his gun, and his instincts. I'm not saying there are no gadgets in this film. Wait until you see MI6's computer getup. Holy crap.

The reason I'm still holding out hope, though, is because they have a third movie that they are planning on to make this a three-film arc... a Bond trilogy, as it were. And we all know that in trilogies, the middle film pretty much always sucks. Save for The Empire Strikes Back, which is, by far, the greatest Star Wars film ever.

Oh, and where the hell was my Star Trek trailer??? So bummed. I'm not a Trekkie, but I'm dyin' to see this flick regardless. My dad is, too, so I think we'll be each other's date since our respective significant others likely couldn't be coerced to see this even at gunpoint.


My baby takes the mornin' train...

So guess what? The justice system is gettin' an overhaul... KAPGAR STYLE!

After a week of calling in and finding out that I wasn't needed for jury duty, I called in last night, yet again, and found out that I do have to report tomorrow.

Courtmap_2 The timing is actually much better than if I had to report last week considering I had some pretty big projects due at work that would've been painful to try and postpone. So I got all those done and now the jury duty kicks in. Cool. The plan is to hit up the 6:36 train from Geneva to Chicago, grab some coffee, hang around for a little bit, and then report for duty at 8:30 a.m. on Dearborn. 

Yes, I am still looking forward to it even though I checked out some of the daily court calendar from last week and they were all pretty boring cases. Nothing quite like the income tax evasion, capital crimes, etc., that I was hoping would make it all kinda fun. Bummer. Oh, for the chance to stand up in court and scream "STONE HIM!"

But I will do my civic duty, and I will do it without too much bitching.

Also, I will gauge my lunchtime based on how tomorrow goes and, if time will permit and I still have to report after tomorrow, I'm totally cool with doing lunch with anyone who wants to meet up. You still interested, Sheila? Anybody else? Maybe dinner?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): We did it. We bit the bullet. Yesterday, we bought Katie an iPhone.

She's loving it so far even though the idea of paying the extra money for the data plan still irks her. It irks her to the point of feeling buyer's remorse over the purchase. But she, like me, has pretty much hated her Razr phone since day one. So anything that can make her enjoy owning a cellphone is a good thing.

I've played with it a little bit and am becoming much more accustomed to it. For the longest time, I was having extreme difficulty with the menu structure. I couldn't find things on the phone. Now I'm getting the hang of it and it's pretty cool. And at half the price of the phone I'm testing now, it's far more reasonable. But I still may be getting a free Blackberry, so we'll see.

Oh, and that Shazam app that they advertise that allows you to hold up your iPhone to a song and have the app identify it? Totally works. And it's free.

And her wallpaper? Totally appropriate for someone who wants to be a junior high science teacher.

Littlegeeky


Another ringer with the slick trigger finger...

You know it's bound to be an interesting day when you go to brush your teeth in the morning and your toothbrush misses your mouth entirely spreading toothpaste all over your goatee (substitute "cheek" for "goatee" if you have no facial hair). Not the best start.

But, hey! It's Friday! How bad can it possibly get, right? And, to boot, it's a special Double-Oh-Friday! Quantum of Solace, the latest James Bond film, is finally out on this side of the pond. Yeah, Brits have been able to watch the film for a week or two now. I'm sure if I wanted to be illegal about it, I could've downloaded it. But I want the big screen experience and Katie's stoked about it, too. How can a guy possibly want to ruin things when his wife wants to go see an action film? I'm not going to be the one to do it.

So we're going. Likely tomorrow morning. Tonight will be spent with homemade pizza and a rewatch of Casino Royale to pump us up for QoS. Should it turn out good, I will officially declare Daniel Craig to be the best Bond out there.

Qoswallpaper2sm

Can you tell I'm excited?

On a related aside, before I get to the unrelated one, does the lyric in my title (which is from the Alicia Keys/Jack White-penned "Another Way to Die," the theme from QoS) sound like something that should be sung by Scott Weiland during his Velvet Revolver days? I can imagine it being the opening line in the song "Set Me Free" for some reason.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): After coming home from the gym last night to discover a, um, shortage of sorts in one of my dresser drawers, I decided to accept Dave's challenge. I did it through this morning for a full 12-hour stretch. That may not sound like much, but baby steps, people. And it was weird. Oddly liberating, but weird. I have yet to decide when I'll be doing it again, but if the fact that I've thrown out more than a dozen pairs in the last several months is any indication, it may happen sooner rather than later.

Oh, and before you ask, I have no photographic evidence of my exploits like Dave does. You wouldn't want that anyway. Trust me on this one.


Who cut off their tails with a carving knife...

I think I'm going insane.

Paranoia is taking its toll.

It's been a slow, but steady decline to the depths of mental despair, but I'm knocking on the door waiting for the gatekeeper to open.

Many of you have been reading here long enough to know of my Tails of Wildlife Woe. No, I did not misspell "tails." It is in reference to the mouse problem that has occasionally befallen us in our townhouse. There have been a few over the years.

No, we don't have another one. Not that I'm aware of anyway. But try telling that to my brain. Whenever I'm in my house, I see little shadows scurrying out the corner of my eye. Tearing across the countertop. Speeding across the carpet. Skidding over the bathroom linoleum.

But anytime I go to examine, I find nothing. No evidence of mousey miscreants anywhere. No poop. No moved articles. No nibbles in any paper packaging or in the foodstuffs we leave out on the counter.

There is absolutely no empirical evidence that any mice are in my house anywhere!

And I still swear I see them. Sometimes I think they're snickering at me. Their little whiskers fluttering up and down as they cackle at my futile attempts not only to catch them, but just to prove that they even exist.

It's driving me up a freakin' wall!

Make it stop!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Has anyone ever had their iPod not recognize music that they know is on there? This has happened to me a few times lately.

The first was with a song by She & Him called "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" I purchased this as part of a Starbucks compilation album called Have You Heard. Being a purchase direct from iTunes, you would expect it to work. And yet, I could never find it when I scrolled through the artist subfolder for She & Him. The only way I could find the song was by doing an album search for Have You Heard.

Next it was the Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins album Rabbit Fur Coat. I loaded it in iTunes and sync'd my iPod and it wasn't there. Not under the artist name anyway. I could find the album. But I'll be damned if it was available under the name Jenny Lewis or a variant thereof. After a while, though, it just spontaneously appeared.

The third was Jenny Lewis' other solo album Acid Tongue. Again, it would only show up under the album name. I deleted the files and reripped the CD and still nothing. I went into the album info and added her name anywhere I could find a form field related to artist. Still nothing.

The thing is I'm not sure that these are the only albums this is happening with. These just happen to be the ones I was looking for at a given moment.

I don't get it. I just reinstalled the firmware for my iPod and resync'd everything. It took a little over an hour, and I'm still not sure it's going to work. Wish me luck...

... and still no She & Him nor Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue. But Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins is on there.

I'm at a loss.


Rollin', rollin', rollin', keep them doggies rollin'...

Facebook
Even though Katie and I no longer work at the gym (we still work out, just not work at), we still talk regularly with many of our former coworkers and we've become friends with some of the newer employees by extension through our continued relationships. Since I'm a guy who doesn't often think of himself as actually being 33, it's cool to have these "friendships" because they help continue my delusion of youth. The other day, though, this came crashing down when, during a discussion of a picture on my Facebook account of me with my BiL, Scott, that one of these gym girls thought made us look like twins (poor me), the other said, quite bluntly and clearly as an age jab (I hope unintentionally), "you have a Facebook account???" Um yeah. Thanks.

Rustling
Ha! Times are so tough that people are digressing back... way back... like 1800s Old West back. A cattle rancher in Maple Park, IL (two towns west of where I live), reported that six of his bull Holstein calves were stolen over the weekend. One has since been recovered. If one of them was named Norman, we could pin blame to Billy Crystal. Or, I guess it could be PETA reps since his plan was to ween them to full size and then sell them for meat. But, regardless, this is only the second case of cattle rustling in Illinois in the last 15 years. Giddyup!

Apple
10 Apparently, the apple on the cover of the book Twilight bears a bit more significance than it may seem. Robert Pattinson, who plays vampire Edward Cullen in the movie version due on November 21, was caught shopping in the Manhattan Apple Store. See? Vampires have taste... and for more than just blood. Suck on that, y'all! Get it... "suck on that"... vampires? Of course, don't pay any attention to the freaky seven-year-old's request to be bitten that is actually the substance of that IMDb post.

Obamac
Oh yeah, speaking of Macs, according to Famecrawler, President-Elect Obama is a Mac user, too. My officemate said, "just when I thought my love for Obama couldn't get any greater." Yeah, she's a Machead too.

Ankles
I finished my second yoga session several hours ago and my teacher (Yogi? Berra?) is impressed with what I'm able to do as a beginner. It's kinda funny, but several moves are ones that I used to do in pre-practice stretches for football in high school and they've stuck with me through the years. Who knew football would prepare me for yoga. Today, as I was sitting with my feet pulled in and the bottoms of them together, she expressed how impressed she was with the flexibility in my ankles and insteps. And to prove it, she asked if she could stand on them... on the bottoms... as they faced upward. That was, er, weird. Thank God she weighs only like 95 pounds soaking wet.

And thus we wrap Snippet Wednesday #24.


All the pieces, pieces, pieces of me...

I usually hold memes for the extended post, but this is a long puppy so it's going to be my primary post for the day. If you don't like it, blame Sheila and LeSombre. It came from them. Even if you do like it, give them hell anyway. They probably deserve it for something or other.

Oh and I hate that I not only stole the title of this post from Sheila but that it's an Ashlee Simpson song. But it works too well. So tough noogies.

This meme reminds me of the onion layer vs. parfait layer argument in Shrek. That was a funny scene.

LAYER ONE:

  • Name: Kevin
  • Birthdate: December 5, 1974
  • Birthplace: Upstate New York
  • Current location: Geneva, Illinois
  • Eye color: Brown
  • Hair color: When it existed, brown
  • Height: 6'0" or 6'1" depending on how straight my spine is
  • Righty or lefty: righty
  • Zodiac sign: Sagittarius

LAYER TWO:

  • Your heritage: German, British, Irish, and Ukrainian
  • The shoes you wore today: I'm barefoot
  • Your weakness: Katie
  • Your fears: Falling, spiders, and unenclosed heights
  • Your perfect pizza: One of ours
  • Goal you’d like to achieve: debt free and card shredded

LAYER THREE:

  • Your most overused phrase on AIM: people still use AIM?
  • Your first waking thoughts: Why God? Why?
  • Your best physical feature: I'm not sure I have one
  • Your most missed memory: Katie and I in San Francisco

LAYER FOUR:

  • Pepsi or Coke: Whatever's on sale
  • McDonald’s or Burger King: McD's
  • Single or group dates: Single because they seem to happen so rarely, but group can be fun too
  • Adidas or Nike: Adidas because Nike are too damn narrow for my feet
  • Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Neither
  • Chocolate or vanilla: Depends on my mood
  • Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee

LAYER FIVE:

  • Smoke: Nope
  • Cuss: Like a trucker
  • Sing: Only in the car or when I'm trying to drive Katie crazy
  • Take a shower everyday: Yep
  • Do you think you’ve been in love: I certainly hope so
  • Want to go to college: Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt
  • Liked high school: To some degree
  • Want to get married: Been there, done that, no T-shirt
  • Believe in yourself: I question it
  • Get motion sickness: Only twice - once on a plane and once on a boat during a whale watch
  • Think you’re attractive: No
  • Think you’re a health freak: Should be more of one
  • Get along with your parent(s): Yep
  • Like thunderstorms: Love 'em!
  • Play an instrument: Used to play electric and acoustic guitar and upright bass

LAYER SIX: In the past month…

  • Drank alcohol: Yep
  • Smoked: A cigar, only the second one I've had in seven years
  • Done a drug: Nope, unless you count alcohol or tobacco
  • Made out: Yep
  • Gone on a date: Yep
  • Gone to the mall: Unfortunately, yes
  • Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Nope
  • Eaten sushi: You betcha and I'd do it more often if it were less expensive
  • Been on stage: Nope
  • Been dumped: Nope
  • Gone skating: Not in the past month
  • Made homemade cookies: Yep
  • Gone skinny dipping: Yep, only to have a dolphin swim up near me; that was embarrassing; actually this was back in May, but I'll count it anyway
  • Dyed your hair: I have none to dye
  • Stolen Anything: Nope

LAYER SEVEN: Ever…

  • Played a game that required removal of clothing: Yep
  • Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Yep
  • Been caught “doing something”: Nope
  • Been called a tease: Yep
  • Gotten beaten up: Yep
  • Shoplifted: Yep
  • Changed who you were to fit in: Yep

LAYER EIGHT:

  • Age you hope to be married: Already done that and I was 26
  • Numbers and names of children: None
  • Describe your dream wedding: Oh it will be on a beach and I'll be barefoot and then the sun will setting and oooohhhhhhhh... JK; I dug on how ours turned out
  • How do you want to die: Not alone, preferably
  • Where you want to go to college: Or where I went? NIU
  • What do you want to be when you grow up: AN ASTRONAUT! or A COWBOY!
  • What country would you most like to visit: Ireland and Italy

LAYER NINE:

  • Number of drugs taken illegally: None, seriously
  • Number of people I could trust with my life: One or two
  • Number of CDs that I own: More than I realized, 70
  • Number of piercings: By professionals - 0; By accident - A couple, or more
  • Number of tattoos: One, and I'd like another, but I have to figure out what first
  • Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: Several and not in the police blotter either
  • Number of scars on my body: More than I can count
  • Number of things in my past that I regret: I try to learn from them as opposed to regretting them, so I'd say none

As always, steal at will.


Is there anybody in here...

This is kinda funny...

Yesterday, while Katie was working on some homework, I decided to pop in a DVD of the movie The Strangers. It's a horror film "inspired by true events" about a couple who are terrorized in a family home by three masked assailants. They cannot get away, cannot call out, cannot get help, and seemingly cannot stop them. Pretty basic fare.

Anyway, the film started a little bit freaky. One of those things where you watch and convince yourself that there's no way in hell that you will ever let yourself be in a situation where this could happen to you. So, yeah, I was getting the heebie jeebies to a minor degree.

However, about halfway through, I shut off the movie and started Tweeting about how stupid victims are in horror flicks always enabling their assailants and really just making the terror process too easy. I even argued that they pretty much deserve any bad thing coming to them.

Why is this funny? Because after Tweeting this stuff and receiving a reply from @Sheila_CSR about stupid people in horror films, the rest of the movie just became laughable. I couldn't take it seriously anymore. It was a non issue.

Movie ruined.

Speaking of the movie, I wanted a little more information about the "inspired by true events" claim in the opening credits. Turns out that when the director was young, somebody knocked on his family's door asking if someone were home (that didn't live there) much like what happens in the film. The next day, they found out that many houses in the neighborhood had been burglarized presumably by the door knocker testing to see what houses were empty.

That was his inspiration for this blood bath? Seriously? I'd say the use of the word "inspired" is stretching it a bit.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie and I were talking about teaching over the weekend. As many of you know, she wants to be a junior high science and/or math teacher. I was asking her what she could see me teaching, if anything.

"English or literature," she replied.

"Cool," I said. "Well, I'm going to read Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Some English or lit teacher I'd be, eh?


On the road again...

Sorry about the unnecessarily short post on Friday. I really couldn't think of much to say and I was trying out the Typepad mobile blogging platform on my Nokia E71 to see how it worked. Seemed to be pretty nice. Gave me enough basic functionality to write and publish a post, but not much else. I do have a second review of the E71 in my extended post if you're interested, though.

Oddly, though, there are several of you who seem to enjoy my potty humor implications. Twisted bastards... I love y'all!

In other news, I got word from the District Court in Chicago, and I don't need to report tomorrow. I actually am kinda bummed. I've really been building myself up for this. Who knows, maybe they caught word of me talking about it on my blog and disqualified me as a result. I wonder if they would do that for fear of me talking too much. Hmmm...

But there is still a chance I could receive the nod... I was told I have to call in each night before a possible jury duty reporting through the next two weeks. This means I could still go, but the fact that I have to call in so often and never know until the night before is annoying not just to me, but to my boss and coworkers because it's so last second. I pretty much have to leave an out-of-office message on my phone and e-mail account at all times because I won't know until after I've already left work for the day if I will be back in the next day or not. That doesn't seem right to me.

So that's all I've got for you right now. As I said at the top of the post, if you keep reading, there's a second review with some of the pros and cons of the Nokia E71 that I think I have about half a week left to play with before I, *sniffle*, have to send it back.

Continue reading "On the road again..." »


When I'm gone...

It's pretty old news by now, but famed author Michael Crichton has died. He succumbed to an extended, and very private, battle with cancer.

Reading through a few articles about him, it amazed me how much he's done in his 66 years. The man was what you could legitimately call "accomplished." Let's see, according to The Wik, he has been published 25 times with #26 on the way, he's a doctor, he was a visiting lecturer in anthropology, he co-created one of the longest running medical dramas in the history of television (ER), he co-wrote some screenplays, he developed a few video games, he saw several of his novels turned into movies, he even directed one of them. There's more.

I was aware of most of these facts in some form over the years. But, as a lot of knowledge tends to do, things slip out of your mind when you have little to no need for it. So reading it all again was a bit overwhelming and made me feel like I had accomplished very little in life. Many people make me feel that way, in fact.

That's when I started trying to think about how I'd want to be remembered if I were to die right now. If my life ended, what do I want everyone to remember?

That is definitely not an easy question to answer.

Perhaps as a loyal and loving husband with a penchant for entertaining on the Web? Can my drivel even be considered "entertaining"? Damn, maybe I should just stick to "loyal and loving husband."

What about you?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Because sometimes I get cravings. And I'm not even pregnant.

The motley crew

No, not necessarily all at the same time. That would just be weird.


Yeah, she's a promise in the year of election...

Well, y'know, today being the day after election day, howsabout an election-themed Snippet Wednesday for numero 23?

No? Oh well. Sorry. I got nuthin' else.

Obama
Congratulations, President Obama. I know I've expressed my concerns about you here, but I sincerely hope you are the real deal and that all those people who have elevated you to near messiah-like stature are right. We need someone who can lead right now. You have been given the relay baton. Our hope for the future is in you.

Obamawins
[Image heisted from WWDN:iX who heisted it from The Daily Kos]

Landslide
As I tweeted last night, I've pretty much known all along Obama would win. It just seemed to me like a foregone conclusion. But I had no clue that it would be by such a large margin. As the numbers began pouring in, I was floored how one sided it turned out to be.

Chicago
I have to say I'm 100% impressed by my fellow Chicagoans who, by the accounts I've heard and read so far, behaved themselves rather fantastically at the Obama rally in Grant Park (photo gallery) last night. I'd also like to point out, as I did on Twitter, that the first time you heard Obama say the name "McCain" during his speech, there was respectful applause from the audience. A far cry from the booing and catcalling that emanated from the crowd when McCain first mentioned "Obama" during his concession speech. Just sayin'.

8
I was just checking headlines... Proposition 8 was passed (or is close to passing?) in California? Seriously? Wow. I'm shocked, offended, and just downright disappointed. Please tell me I'm misreading this. Or tell me there was a late surge in votes that defeated it and it just hasn't been reported yet. Gay marriage is (close to) banned?

I think my biggest problem with this whole thing is the insistence by pro-8ers that marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. Yeah, our country's 51% divorce rate proves that we've got that one nailed, doesn't it? Even worse are quotes like this idiot...

“It’ll keep the country from getting further into this tolerance thing,” said Brandon Maddox, 16, of Canyon Country.

God knows we wouldn't want people to be tolerant of each other, would we? No wonder we're viewed as a nation of idiots. We've got people like Maddox representing our future. What kills me is that he was interviewed in this article and he's not even old enough to vote. How can we possibly respect his opinion?

I'm off to bang my head against a wall.


You know you twist so good...

Sometimes I wonder why my body doesn't just revolt on me by shutting down entirely and turning me into a vegetable against my will. I wouldn't blame it.

And yet, in my next test of vicious cruelty, er, physical stamina that I am putting myself through, I am joining a yoga class on Wednesdays. I let some friends talk me into it simply because there is a minimum class enrollment for it to happen and I help toward that minimum quota. Of course, I think there is one more that they'll need so I guess the class could possibly still not happen. We'll see.

However, if it does, I'll need your help. In the form of prayer and lots of good will.

Not to guilt you or anything, but if you do think good thoughts for me, I could wind up looking cool and in shape like this...

Maleyoga_2

If you don't, the likelihood is that I will wind up permanently stuck like this, and that's just not right...

Humanpretzel

You must choose, but choose wisely. I beg of you!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): It's been a year and a half since we've had the pleasure of watching Jack Bauer kick some serious arse on the tube. And I've been in withdrawal. Thankfully, though, we're almost there!

The two-hour movie, 24: Redemption, airs on Sunday, November 23 and it looks pretty cool. From what I've read, it sets Jack up as a sort of aid worker in Africa who, as is typical for Jack, is caught up in unfortunate goings on.

Then, on January 11, season seven kicks off, baby! It has been far too long.


And I want it now...

It's been a while since I griped about the Jury Duty information request form I received some time ago. But I was laboring under the impression that no news is good news insofar as I had no desire to serve.

However, a few weeks ago, I received a follow up. This time with specific dates. That can't be good. Or can it?

Basically, I was told to block off a two-week period starting next Monday. At this point, I have no idea if they'll actually need me. But, pending the possibility that they might, I'm trying to make the most of it and be a bit optimistic.

For example, here are some positives:

  • I get to visit Chicago, singularly the greatest city on the face of the Earth. I swear, after 21 years living here, I still get that googly eyed wondrous look on my face every time I go downtown. I'm a little kid. I love it.
  • I get to take the train each day, which is going to save boku bucks on gas.
  • I get to read or listen to my iPod or surf the Web on this Nokia smart phone while on the train. Fun!
  • I get paid. Not much, but it's mine!
  • I've never served on a jury before. The likelihood is that it will be boring stuff, if they even use me. Or it could be some big, juicy case. It is the District Court, after all.

So, yeah, I'm trying to stay upbeat about the whole thing. If I keep pissing and moaning, what good is that going to do? May as well make the most of it. That's so non-cynical of me.

Hey, not sure how lunch works during jury duty, but if anyone wants to meet up in the Loop area for lunch, let me know.

BTW, speaking of the Nokia E71 smart phone I'm playing with, I've got some initial impressions of it in the extended post.

Continue reading "And I want it now..." »


Life is very short...

My buddy, Bdub, warned us about it. But did we listen? Aw hell no.

Katie and I decided to press the good luck streak we've had with Home Depot by ordering a new storm door for the front entrance of our house. It's a storm door. How bad can it be, right?

Yeah.

We go in and find the door we want without a problem. We talk to the guy in charge of scheduling the measurement of our existing door and whatnot and everything is going swimmingly. He tells us that they have about eight of the doors we want in stock and all we need to do is schedule, have the doorway measured, and wait.

On Tuesday night, we get a call from the measurement guy asking if he can come on Thursday instead of Wednesday. Okay, fine.

Thursday comes and goes and we wait. And wait. And still no word from Depot.

I call in several days later and the guy checks his computer to discover that the tech has yet to call in the details. Later that night, I find a message on our answering machine saying that it's now all in the computer and I simply need to come in and pay for the door. By now, we're talking the following Wednesday. I go in on Thursday evening after work and pay for the door. The guy says to expect the call from the installation team pretty soon.

Later that night, I get another call from Depot letting me know that everything is ready to go and I only need to come in and pay. I tell the guy that I've already done that. He digs in the computer a bit and finds that I did indeed pay. "Oh, okay, so when are you picking up the door?" he asks. Apparently, there is a delivery charge for the door that nobody bothered to mention to me at all. I kinda assumed that the installation team just brings the door with them. Guess not.

So, last night, Katie and I go to Depot for some more garden stuff we need and decide that we may as well just pick up our door and save the delivery fee. This is when the real shit starts. The guy in Doors & Windows (D&W) checks the computer and finds that our door is on special order and won't be in until November 13 and the installation team will then have upwards of two weeks after that to get the appointment made. This is nearly bordering on December... FOR A STORM DOOR! Katie gives me a look that says "he is full of shit and I'm not taking this crap!" So I ask him to check to make sure they don't have one in stock. He gets up to look and finds five of them right there in plain sight.

He pulls one and we cart it and take it up front to the special order counter so they can reprocess it all and allow us to take this one home and the store will just keep the one that will eventually come in on special order. The Special Order Dipshit (to be referred to as SODs) starts putting up a stink. And, no, this is not just my interpretation of it all. He was griping and moaning about all the extra work he would have to do to make this happen and he's saying all this as I'm standing there in front of him. Then SODs and D&W get into it about how the code numbers don't exactly match up. Same bar code number, same part number, but a couple digits difference on the SKU code. D&W assures me that it's the same door while SODs tries to convince me that it isn't. I tend to believe the guy that works with the parts on a daily basis, so I sit there and just glare back at SODs letting him know I'm willing to wait.

After another 15 or so minutes, SODs tells me that there is a $10 difference between the doors and that the one I'm taking home is the more expensive and the store will eat the difference but it will become their property and a bunch of other BS excuses that start to run together and mean nothing other than to prove that SODs is just unwilling to do his job. I ask if I have to pay anything extra and they both say no. I shrug my shoulders in a "then why would I give a damn" sort of manner and take my door and leave.

Yeah, an hour of my life on a Saturday night that I'll never get back.

When we get outside, Katie reveals to me that she was almost ready to throw one of the paver bricks we bought at SODs' face. I love when she gets a mean streak.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Got a couple small ones for you.

First, I did get my I Voted sticker. My source came through and I nabbed a couple of them. I may try to have one turned into a button so I can never forget what a hellish campaign period this has been.

Second, we had a grand total of 15 trick or treaters. And a majority of them came before I got home while Katie was here. Total bust of a holiday. None of the junior high kids came so we have all that full-size candy in our possession. I feel like a freakin' chocolate shop. Anyone want to come by and help us clear it out?