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17 posts from May 2009

She wore lemon...

Lemonade standYou know the economy is bad when even children are affected.

Last weekend, we drove by a street corner lemonade stand run by four neighborhood children. They were charging $1 per glass (allow me to say, at that price, the lemonade better have a little alcoholic accompaniment). The next day, they were charging 75 cents. This weekend, they started at 50 cents per cup. Yesterday, it was buy one-get one free.

Wow. That's just sad. Poor kids can't survive in this economy. How long until a larger neighborhood lemonade conglomerate gobbles up their business and sends the kids packing? Aye aye aye.

There's something wrong with ABC Family. While it's cool that they are having a Harry Potter marathon today, I take issue with the fact that they're being played out of order. A couple hours ago, we finished up Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and now we're watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As I recall, those are book four and book three, respectively. If you're going to play them, play them in order.

But should I really expect logic from a network that is soon to be starting what looks like a really bad TV series version of one of my fave teen flicks 10 Things I Hate About You. Yeah, you read that right. They're going to trounce on a great movie (starring the then up and coming Heath Ledger) with a bad show.

Part of me says I should be fair and give it a shot, the other says to run the hell away.

Okay, gotta go flip the ribs on the grill. Adios. Enjoy what's left of your weekend.


It's so hard to say goodbye...

No, I'm not going anywhere. Not yet anyway.

I am, however, bidding a fond adieu to one of the funniest and most creative Web comics around. Yesterday, Tony Dunn announced that he is closing shop over at Tales From Redesignland.

Riptfrl  


For those of you who have not read it, TFRL was a comic satire of Tony's own travails as a Web developer at a U.S. university. Of course, having been a higher ed Web developer in my own past, I was able to relate very easily to his tales of committee hell and off-the-wall project rationalizations. But, you don't need to have worked in higher ed to relate. Honestly, despite it being very Web based, it held a real-world, everyperson appeal very akin to Dilbert. If you haven't had the privilege of reading TFRL, I highly recommend it. Go over there and start reading now as I'm not sure how long the archives will remain standing.

On a very related note, seeing TFRL die, as Tony says, because of "The only two people in the whole world that I know of who have a problem with it," reminds me of one of my own greatest fears as a blogger who doesn't hide his identity... the vocal and highly offended minority.

I know not everybody is going to agree with what I say here. I don't expect you to. That's why this is my blog, my opinion. And, as I'm wont to say, if you want your own opinion, get your own damn blog. But the Web tends to bring out the worst in some people. It's an unfortunate side effect of the virtual anonymity some people feel they are entitled to as they surf around in the cyberether. And, sometimes, people like you and I wind up paying for it. We may be saying something on our blogs that seems completely innocuous to us, but if even one word is out of place, a troll out there may take offense and wind up letting the wrong people know about it and we either wind up like Tony who has to forego a brilliant Web comic to save his job or we just get Dooce'd or Karl'd outright.

I try to be clean. I try to be as inoffensive as possible. But I also want to be honest. And it's sure as shit not easy to keep all three of those ideals aligned in this day and age.

Tales From Redesignland... you will be missed. Sorely.

Seeing this on my Facebook profile yesterday made me laugh...

Lenzfriends
Thanks, Stephanie. I needed the laugh.


It can't rain all the time...

If I didn't wait so long to post, maybe I could have come up with something snappier as an introduction. As it stands, just accept that this is Snippet Wednesday, albeit for only a few more hours.

8
I know it's already been said better by both Dave and Neil, but I just wanted to chime in on the news that the courts in California upheld the vote in favor of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage. I seriously am disappointed. That's all I can really say. While I do agree with Neil that it wasn't the California court's place to overturn the vote of their own people, the fact that it passed back in November in the first place is just sad.

Huckleberry
Reading this entry on Not Always Right reminded me of a time (don't ask me why as they're not really related other than being stupid stuff about classic books) when I went to a Waldenbooks back in high school to buy a copy of Huckleberry Finn for English class. I walked up to the counter and asked the salesperson, "where can I find a copy of Fuck Hinn... I mean Huck Finn. Dammit." They couldn't stop laughing. Several of them. I bought my book and walked out.

Porno
Speaking of titles and controversy, can someone tell me if the official name of the most recent Kevin Smith film is Zack and Miri Make a Porno or simply Zack and Miri? I ask because I see it both ways. I think I've seen it in stores as Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but I just got a copy from the library that was titled Zack and Miri. What gives? Censorship? IMDb says the shortened version is just a promotional title. But I'm thinking if copies are being sold in that name, it's more than just "promotional."

TwitTV
Am I the only one who thinks Twitter is starting to "jump the shark," as it were? First there was the inability to keep the servers up to snuff for just the early adopters. Then they fail to improve their server farms resulting in huge crashes after being hyped by The View and Oprah. Then Ashton started his race to a million with CNN. Now there is Twitter on the big and small screens. This just sounds terrible. Part of me just wants to quit before it gets any worse. And, honestly, I barely use it as it is. 90% of my Tweets recently are just RSS-fed updates from my other sites. Have any of you quit the Twit?

Softball
Dammit, I was so hoping it would rain today so I wouldn't have to play softball tonight. I want to go to the gym and then go home and watch the Blackhawks. Stupid rain doesn't come down when I want it to.


We need some time to clear our heads...

Last Friday, I did something I haven't done in a long time. I'm not really sure why I chose to do it, but I did, and it felt great. And I'd like to encourage each and every one of you to try it. Just for kicks. Or maybe you already do it anyway.

I went for a walk during my lunch break at work. No, that in and of itself isn't the grand idea. But, instead of grabbing a bunch of my electronic crap and taking it with me for this walk as I tend to, I left it all behind. No watch. No cellphone. No camera. No iPod. I was completely unwired. And it felt great.

All I did was walk for an hour, by my guesstimation anyway.

I listened to what was around me, both natural and man-made. I paid attention to the world talking to me instead of hiding inside myself. I heard and felt things I hadn't experienced in what seemed like forever.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like one with the world around me. I was completely at peace.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the use of these devices is inherently bad. I love them all and will continue to use them. But try putting them down for a while. Don't use them. Don't rely on them. Be your own person and live on your own terms and just pay attention again. And it doesn't matter where you are... a mid-size town, out in the country, on a train or plane or taxicab, in the big city... there will always be something new. Just give it a chance. You might be amazed what you discover.

Okay, I was a bit off on my second-week running distances from my first week. That calf cramp was less a cramp and more of a muscle strain. I'm not sure why it happened, but it did. It's still a little tight, but the pain is gone thanks in part to ibuprofen and some major stretching I accomplished yesterday by hiking over severely uneven terrain while playing disc golf with my dad and his neighbor.

I haven't actually been able to run since my four miler on Thursday, although I did several miles on an elliptical machine on Friday night. Yesterday was disc golf and today I'm going to give running another go. Start a new week off right.

So let's see... Week 1 = 10.5 miles; Week 2 = 7 miles; Week 3 = time will only tell.


Where are we runnin'...

First off, a big happy birthday to my mom who celebrates the God-only-knows-what anniversary of her 21st birthday today. I'm sure she'll smack me later for that one.

And on with the show...

This morning at the gym (I took a day off from work), I was running on the treadmill. I kept going and going and told my body it can quit at four miles, but not before. I haven't run any more than three so far, but I had to give it a shot. I wanted to see if I could do it. For one of the few times in the last couple weeks, I hit my stride really early on and just went to town. I knew four miles wasn't going to be a problem. I could just feel it.

At three and three-quarters, my left calf started cramping up. I knew it was because I was probably getting dehydrated. I thought I remembered reading something on Kim's blog about how much hydration you should give your body versus the time you've run, but the details weren't coming back to me just then and I'll be damned if I can find it now. However, seeing as I was closing in on an hour of time overall on the treadmill including warm-up and cool-down walks (20 minutes longer than I'd been on a treadmill to this point) and I hadn't picked up my water bottle at all, this seemed like a pretty logical conclusion.

I powered through the final quarter mile and dropped my speed for a cool-down walk for the final 10 minutes. As I scarfed down the water bottle I had with me, I could feel the cramp abating for the most part. Still there now as I type this, but not nearly as bad. I also now know what to expect when I do this again.

Even with my four miles today, I'm behind on the pace I was at last week. On Sunday, Katie and I ran only a mile as a warm-up for a day with the weights and we had very little time on Monday, so we only got two miles in. Then we took Tuesday off and she worked out solo on Wednesday since I had a softball double header. But I would like to run again tomorrow and Saturday and see if I can improve my overall weekly distance... if I can work out this damn cramp and figure out how to effectively hydrate during my run without stopping. Help? Anyone?

BTW, I just revealed to Katie on the phone that I ran four miles. I think I heard her cursing me under her breath. Might've been a voodoo chant.

Sometimes The Onion's video posts are on fire, and sometimes they're not.

The one that came in via iTunes this morning though, and considering my enjoyment of hockey, is completely EN FUEGO!

I just hope embedding it here at the size that The Onion defaults to doesn't screw with the margins of my page. Oh well. We shall see.


NHL Tries To Woo Fans By Increasing Scoring With Bigger Nets, 3-Point Line


Or else it gets the hose again...

It puts the lotion on the skin or else it gets Snippet Wednesday again.

Liege
Google is starting to scare me, folks. I think it can read our minds. Yes, I'm anthropomorphising it to some degree, but, to me, it is no longer a corporation... it has become an entity all its own... a sentient being. Right now, I'm just waiting for it to start breathing and eating. I got an e-mail from my buddy Eric and, at the end, he says "Or...we could meet for lunch Thurs or Friday." Off to the right of the e-mail (in Gmail, for the record), at the top of the yellow Sponsored Links box, I see...

Addtocalendar

Okay, it's not perfect, but the simple idea that it scanned the message and picked up on this without Eric having created some sort of formal calendar request or .ics file or even listing specific dates, well, it just scares me.

I think we should all just give up now and declare Google our Overlord.

Inspacetweet Twit-Tees
As much as I love that Twitter has launched a T-shirt shop with Threadless and as cool as this "In Space, No One Can Hear You Tweet" T-shirt, I gotta admit a little disappointment that they didn't create their own official Fail Whale or Foul Owl shirts. Yeah, the purpose of this is more of a contest to get the coolest Tweets on a shirt, but you need a Fail Whale T-shirt, regardless. It's a moral imperative.

Site
You remember that Web site I was working on when my thumbdrive corrupted and I lost it all? Well, with Katie's input, I redesigned the site a month or so ago from scratch and it's done and the customer loves it, and so do I. Much more than the first site I created, which I kinda hated. So big thanks to Katie for the help and big thanks to technology for crapping out on me.

Wolf
I seriously want to know what the reviewers of this T-shirt on Amazon were smoking and if they're willing to share. My God. Dems some creative folk.

Vandapples
One of the windows of the flagship Apple Store on the Mag Mile in Chicago was shattered by a drunk guy with a brick. Best part of the article is the comment from MB, "Windows doesn't need help getting broken - Microsoft has done a great job making it break down for you" or the one from Bill, "Maybe he was a PC."

Dream
Okay, Chris Milk is one talented guy. He created a 43 second video meant to encompass a lifetime's worth of memories into a single "life passing before your eyes" sort of video and it's hauntingly beautiful. Some segments are borderline NSFW, but not too bad. No nudity. Although I can't say the still frame below is necessarily one you want your boss to see over your shoulder.

I still can't believe it had as big a crew as it did, though.

If only the final Lord of the Rings movie could've been this concise... I may have actually enjoyed it more.

Last Day Dream [HD] from Chris Milk on Vimeo.

Belongings
I wanted to go out on a positive note and that honor goes to US Airways who have spent the last several months restoring, to the best of their ability, the belongings of the passengers from Flight 1549 that went down in the Hudson River early this year. This week, those belongings began making their way back to their owners. Considering US Airways had no legal responsibility to do this and had already given money to the passengers, it's pretty cool that they did this anyway.


I smoke two joints in the afternoon...

I'm fearing the fact that only three out of 15 of you guessed correctly in my Two Truths and a Lie challenge on Saturday is indicative that I'm more full of shit than I previously thought. So congrats to Becky, Tori, and Stacey for correctly guessing that #2 is the lie.

Here are the backstories, if you're at all inclined.

#1 - TRUTH
Yes, that is my earliest verifiable memory. I say "verifiable" simply because it is the first memory I have in which it cannot be explained away by stories told to me by friends or family members and no photos exist documenting the event. Simply put, I was the only one there so I know it happened. All memories of my first house in New York can be explained by photos I've seen (I can't remember any part of the house that wasn't featured in a photo). Seeing Star Wars? A story my parents told me. Being hoisted on one of those giant public mailboxes by my uncle to watch a parade at the end of my street? In a photo. However, I do remember being in the basement TV room of my house in Lexington shortly after moving in and being surrounded by unpacked boxes. I had nothing to do since my parents were upstairs unpacking, so I did find a box labeled "Kevin's Toys" and, after tearing it open, I found my old BSG Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider ships at the top and started playing with them while watching Sanford & Son. No bunk at all. It was 1980. I'm pretty sure both of those toys are still packed in boxes at my parents' house. I did see them within the last several years.

#2 - LIE
Becky believed this to be false because she thought I changed a single detail. More than just a single detail, though. I did play Little League when I was 10 and 11 and was absolutely horrible at it. However, I was a left or right fielder who saw little to no action whatsoever. Most hits never made it out of the infield and I never had a runner charge me at the plate. In fact (*KNOCK ON WOOD*), I've never broken a bone in my body ever. Twisted ankles, sprained knees, pulled and torn muscles have all happened, but no broken bones. Stacey did make an interesting point about my claim as to never playing again since I do play softball currently and it's pretty damn close to baseball. Good rationale. But if you were to take my statement as it was, then I really didn't ever play baseball again. Honestly. I quit baseball at 11 and never played again.

#3 - TRUTH
Nope. Never smoked a cigarette in my life. Never even taken a drag. Hell, a cigarette has never touched my lips. Both my parents smoked when I was a kid (and, for the record, both quit) and I remember hating the smell so much that actually trying it never occurred to me as a reasonable option. If I hated it then, why would I like it now? As for pot, I've been around it and inhaled secondhand and taken part in controlled burns with local police departments when I was working in college housing, but I've never smoked one. Part of me was always curious, but no one ever actually offered me one when it was available. I had friends tell me they could get me some pot, but they never came through. It wasn't something they had on them at the time so it doesn't count, IMHO. To me, that's like someone saying they can get me a million dollars... until it's in their outstretched arms being handed to me, it doesn't exist. And, therefore, I've never smoked pot.

Oh, and let it be said for all to hear, guess inline with Tori from here on out! According to her comment, she thinks she is one of those people that when she guesses something, the masses should guess opposite if they hope to be correct. I guess that's just not the case anymore, now is it? You go, girl!

Look ma, I'm a Lego Mini-Fig!

My life's ambitions have been realized!

Now if only I could get an actual mini-fig of this. And I seriously want that shirt, too.

Minifig

I just realized that my life's ambitions are pretty paltry, aren't they?

Tell me the story, tell me the legend...

I've seen it over at Avitable as well as on Renagerie. Maybe it's been elsewhere, too, and I've just forgotten so feel free to leave the links to your own similar posts. But I'm now going to attempt one of my own Two Truths, a Lie, and a Pizza Place. Oh, the pizza place is no longer in the game? Whoops. How about Two Truths and a Lie, then?

Simply put, read the following three statements and tell me which one is bull.

  1. My earliest verifiable memory comes from when I was five years old and we had just moved to Lexington, KY, and I found a box labeled "Kevin's Toys," broke into it and found my old Battlestar Galactica ships, and played with them while watching Sanford & Son on TV. I still swear that show was based on my next-door neighbors.
     
  2. I have only ever broken one bone in my life. I was playing catcher on my Little League baseball team and the kid running the bases ran into me to avoid being tagged out at home. The ball popped out of my glove on impact and it broke my rib as I fell on top of it. My team was more upset about the fact I dropped the ball than they were concerned about the fact I was writhing in pain. And nothing happened to the kid from the other team as punishment for running me over in LITTLE LEAGUE. His coach congratulated him, in fact. I never played baseball again.
     
  3. Barring secondhand smoke, I have never once smoked a cigarette or joint my entire life. I never wanted to smoke a cigarette and have never been given the opportunity to try pot. Strange how that works out.

So which is bunk?

I'm not going to use my blog to set fitness goals as Stacey is now so willing to try. Not only do I then have it in writing and know when I fail, but I know you all will call me on it as well. However I will use it to announce personal achievements! Why not, right?

Well, this past week, I ran a total of 10.5 miles over the course of four days. 2 on Monday, 2.5 on Tuesday, and 3 on both Thursday and Friday. And Katie ran an unofficial 5K yesterday at the gym. Woo hoo! We're getting there.


One for the money, two for the show...

I'm of the opinion that not only should I be enjoying this geeky kick that Katie is on, but, to a safe degree, I ought to exploit it for all its worth while I can.

I've suggested a few potential things we can watch together and she just doesn't know which way to go yet. This is where you all come in. I need you to help us decide. I've put together a little poll with some of the things I've suggested and some others I just kinda threw in there and I want you all to vote on what you think Katie and I should watch together next. Bear in mind I've seen all of them, so none of it is new to me; just to her.

And a few explanations and caveats. On "other," don't go suggesting Battlestar Galactica or any other lengthy television series. There's too much to watch and she'll get bored quickly. Firefly is okay because it is such a short series, we already own it, and I figure it stands a chance with her because it stars both Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin, both of whom she loves. And The Last Starfighter is in there for reasons detailed in today's TUA.

Vote away!

On December 4, 1956, Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Recording Studios, witnessed the perfect storm of musical talent in his studio. For that one night, four recording legends met up and jammed well into the night. Carl Perkins, a man desperate for a second hit song after his first, "Blue Suede Shoes," was made more popular by Elvis than himself; a brash up and coming pianist and vocalist named Jerry Lee Lewis; a brooding man nearing both the peak of his career and the end of his contract, Johnny Cash; and Elvis Presley himself, a man disgruntled with his newfound fame with RCA Records who wishes he could return to the simpler times with Sun.

Yes, this is a true story that has been immortalized in the musical Million Dollar Quarter, which Katie and I saw last night with my mom at the Apollo Theater in Chicago. These four legends, along with Elvis' girlfriend Dyanne and session bassist Jay Perkins (Carl's brother) and drummer "Fluke," rocked away the night with some soul and R&B classics as well as some of their own hits and songs that were being worked on for future albums.

The best part about this show is that all the music and singing were live and performed by the actors themselves. Nothing recorded. It was incredible. The actors were spot on in their takes on these classic musicians so far as I could tell (I wasn't quite alive in their heyday, but I've seen enough video). Some of the highlights were Rob Lyons as Carl Perkins who had that rockabilly swagger down pat and had a look in his eye that screamed both that he was the man in charge and yet with just enough of an edge to make you think he could crack at any moment. Then there was James Scheider, a last second addition to the program (he wasn't even the understudy for the original), as Jerry Lee Lewis. He was just on fire, playing out all of Lewis' eccentricities to perfection.

But the coolest thing for me was seeing one of my childhood heroes as the Man in Black. Lance Guest, who starred as Alex Rogan in The Last Starfighter, was 50 feet away from me. This was the kid from a trailer park who played a video game and was subsequently recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Zuur and the Kodan Armada! I wanted to be Alex Rogan! More than I wanted to be Han Solo, and that's saying something. Plus, his girlfriend, Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart), was hot. I was so geeked out I couldn't handle it. And he owned the role of Johnny Cash... the voice, the strumming, the expressions, the raised guitar. Everything.

We loved it. If you get a chance to see it in Chicago or in your own town should you be lucky enough, then GO. It's worth every penny and then some.

Holy crap, did I just blog five straight days? Better slow down before I burn out!


You'll find love again, I know...

Last weekend, Katie and I were plowing through the TiVo and we watched what has become our favorite midseason replacement show, Flashpoint (yeah yeah Canadians, I know it's the second season of the show for you, but we just got it now; we're slow like that). This particular episode was about a young couple on a crime spree trying to make the most of their last bit of time together as she has some rare, sudden-onset disease that will kill her within days and for which there is no cure. It was a pretty heartbreaking episode, despite the Bonnie & Clyde aspect of it all.

Anyway, while in a final faceoff with the SRU (Toronto's Strategic Response Unit - the stars of the show), it is revealed to the woman that the guy intended to commit suicide after her death. She was unaware of his intentions, figuring he would battle through and continue living, even without her.

In her attempt to convince him to not kill himself, she said something along the lines of, "You'll find love again, I'm sure of it." You could see the guy crumble inside and out as the weight of her prediction hit him.

This killed me inside, as well.

Katie and I always worry about how much time we have together. Call it my paranoid nature, but I've always viewed life as being a roller coaster - for every up, there is a down. Sure, it's not the best way to live life, but it's always struck me as the most realistic and practical. When you tie that into Katie's family medical history as well as the fact that my grandfather suffered from Parkinson's, well, it doesn't help abate the fear, to say the least.

So when that line came up during the episode, I had to pause the TiVo and I said to Kate, "no matter what happens between us, don't you ever say that to me. Promise me." I couldn't bear hearing it between two fictional characters on TV; how in the hell would I ever be able to handle it in real life coming from her? I couldn't. I think it would just make everything worse.

Yeah, so maybe that's a little selfish especially considering, in this scenario, it would be Katie who is dying, but damn.

Would you want to hear something like that? To some it may be reassurance that your loved one wants the best for you even after they're gone. To someone like me, it's forcing me, the surviving party, to come to grips with the fact that we'll no longer be together. Maybe, in the moment, as this sort of thing is actually happening and we're actually living it, my mind would change, but I just don't know.

No TUA today. Doesn't feel right.


Can't you smell that smell...

I am making a concerted effort to ensure that this blog is more environmentally friendly. To that end, this Snippet Wednesday is 100% compostable and can be used as a very potent fertilizer (read: kapgar.com is more full of shit than ever).

Mac
I can't wait... less than a week... however, after buying my new camera lens, I may have to hold off a bit. Money, yanno. But enjoy this fake video promo for the new Punch-Out!! on the Nintendo Wii, all the same. Funny stuff.

Bite
Well, my bite hasn't completely healed yet, but no rabies indications either, so that's a good thing. However, I don't think I ever mentioned how Katie asked if Noelle, whom I sometimes refer to as "Devil Dog," might actually be a vampire and this bite would thus turn me into her very own Edward Cullen, complete with great hair. Then she proceeded to stare at me wide-eyed in anticipation of the transformation. Yeah, she was a bit disappointed.

Trek
Katie and I saw the new Star Trek last night after running at the gym. Yep, we're still with the whole running thing, but on to Trek. We both enjoyed the heck out of it. Great movie? No. But damn fun. And, as I always say, if Katie can enjoy a scifi film, all the better. I will say that one of her reasons for seeing it (Eric Bana) was a bit of a letdown as he was so caked in makeup you couldn't tell it was him. But the overall movie was definitely cool and Katie has said she'd watch both the sequel (in which I really hope they do more with Zoe Saldana as Uhura) and maybe even some of the original films with me. Oh, and Simon Pegg rocked that film.

Religion
Sorry if yesterday's post turned some of you off. I know religion is not a favorite topic to talk about. But I know it's bad when the first two comments are from 1) a person who is completely unidentified (Google ID that didn't populate the form fields correctly; perhaps Whall? I think this has happened to him before on here) and 2) another person I've never seen here before. But I thank you all for the comments you did leave. They did confirm my own views on the subject at hand.

Heart
Sadly, no, I didn't see this myself, if it's even real. It was sent to me by my mom. Still funny, though. C'mon people, think about the roaches!

Roachcancer


Here come the Hawks, the mighty Bla-a-ackhawks...

I was at a funeral yesterday.

I was listening to what the priest was saying during his sermon and, at one point, he said that he is very much looking forward to going to Heaven. That he is just living through the mundane details of life on Earth in anticipation of eventually being given the privilege of returning to be with his maker in Heaven. He also said that he anticipates that anyone who goes to Heaven has absolutely no desire to ever return to Earth.

This got me thinking.

Is life really mundane as he says? Just a detail? Why does he view life as nothing but a time out between birth and afterlife? Why isn't he enjoying it more? Wouldn't his god want him to enjoy it and make the most out of it? I don't mean that he should live the life of a heathen or anything, but I don't understand why he would think God would just stick us here as though it's a train platform that you sit on as you wait for the express line to the afterlife. What would be the purpose of that? To me, that comes across more like God saying, "meh, I'm just not ready for you and I'm sticking you there until I feel moved to do something about it."

I always viewed our Earth-bound existence as a time to test ourselves and prove ourselves worthy of a permanent afterlife in either Heaven or Hell or to be reincarnated (yes, I have a wide range of beliefs). To one of these ends, we need to make the most of this time here in our corporeal beings.

Obviously, this would be affected by your own personal beliefs. If you don't believe in an afterlife or God (or a God-like being), then you might have a totally different viewpoint.

I'm curious what you think. What say you?

Sure, most of you aren't going to give a damn about this, but I don't care. I must party like it's 1995... the last time the Hawks went this deep in the playoffs.

Photos and video stolen (with love) from CityGirl912.

BlackhawksBeatCanucks

Oh, and my condolences to Brandon and anybody else who was rooting for the Vancouver Canucks to overcome. No, wait, I'm not really that sorry. ;-)


A million magic crystals, painted pure and white...

A few years back, I wrote an ode to my least favorite neighbor. The bitch (yes, she's a female dog before you all get up in arms) still doesn't like me much and proved it on Saturday.

I knew my next door neighbor and her boyfriend were trying to install a sliding screen door on their place. Since Katie and I had done the exact same thing the summer before with the exact same replacement door, I decided I'd try to help them out.

I walked out my back door and there was Noelle barking furiously at me as she likes to do... all the time... even when I'm sitting in my home doing nothing (except thinking pissed-off thoughts about her). I start to walk over there and she begins to calm down a little bit so I put my hand out palm facing her so I can pet her or let her smell me, whatever. As soon as my hand gets close, she backs up and starts barking again.

I decide "screw it and screw you" and ignore her and walk on to my neighbor's patio. Noelle starts barking more and gets right up beside me and snaps at, and on, my left calf. I was never quite sure if she'd actually do it despite getting menacingly close in the past, but she bit me. Through my jeans and broke skin to boot.

Seriously, WTF? I've never done anything to Noelle. This is the only dog I've met that doesn't like me. And even the other dog my neighbor has, Nico, loves me. I could play with Nico all day long.

Don't worry, the wound is healing and Noelle is supposedly all up to date on her shots.

But I am suddenly experiencing an irrational fear of water. Hmm...

While driving to a family Mother's Day event yesterday (yes, happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms in my life!), Katie wound up veering off into a temporary express lane in the construction zone of a highway. It was no problem as we weren't exiting any time soon, but she was a bit confused as this lane didn't exist the last time we drove the highway.

Katie: "What just happened?"

Me: "You're in the express lane."

Katie: "Is that okay?"

Me: "Yeah, we're not exiting any time soon."

Katie: "Oh, cool. I don't know what happened, I was just following the white line."

Me: "That's what Darryl Strawberry said."

Katie: "..."

Oh, c'mon! You gotta give me points for two-decade-old cokehead references in relation to white lines along the highway!


Welcome to my nightmare...

I'm fine with being 34 years old. It doesn't bother me. I don't feel old (except when my joints creak). And, to me, age is really just a number.

However, once in a while, something happens that makes me wish I was young again. Something, like, say, a CASTING CALL FOR EXTRAS IN THE REBOOT OF THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET FRANCHISE THAT IS HAPPENING AS WE SPEAK JUST TWO TOWNS NORTH OF ME!!!!

AHHHHHH!!!!

Oh how freakin' cool would this have been? Sadly, they were only casting teenagers. And, even though I've been told I look much younger than 34, I don't think I'd make the cut. "Almost" only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear warfare.

It would've been so much fun. Even just a walk-on bit.

548760

Frederick, dear friend. So close, and yet so far.

Well it only took about two years, but the Illinois State Police finally got enough of something to justify arresting that dipshit Drew Peterson in charges related to the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. Sure, this doesn't help with finding Stacy Peterson, his fourth wife who is still missing, but it's a step in the right direction when it comes to getting this jackass behind bars. Ideally permanently.

My favorite line in the article is "Police arrested Peterson at 5:35 p.m. in a traffic stop at Lily Cache Lane and Weber Road in Bolingbrook." That's about a mile from where I played dodgeball and is right where my buddy Eric (Flaming Lips Eric) used to live a few years ago. Am I right about the street, Eric?


Doctor, doctor, gimme the news...

Just drop your pants, put your hands on the table, spread your legs, turn your head to the side, and cough. It's Snippet Wednesday.

eTextbooks
Oh thanks Amazon. Where the hell were you when we were still buying textbooks for Katie in grad school? You come up with this killer idea for creating a larger screened version of your Kindle e-book reader for use with textbooks, newspapers, and magazines. Only you wait until after Katie is done with all her textbook-based learning to introduce it. Damn you!

OTweet-GYN
I was looking at a random stream of Tweets the other day, and these two showed up one after the other. I wonder if the events they are referring to are related.

Workinghard


Tinted
Everything about my musical upbringing is telling me I should hate the new power pop supergroup Tinted Windows. Why? 1) "Power pop"; 2) "supergroup"; and 3) the lead singer is Taylor Hanson of, well, Hanson.

But I don't hate it. I actually kinda dig it. But let me justify this decision before you all scream foul. 1) The other vocalist is Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne; 2) the drummer is Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick; and 3) the guitarist is James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins. How in the name of all that's holy do these four guys come together and record an album? I dunno. It's not great, in all honesty, and many of you may not like it. But I do. Guiltily.

Tintedwindows


Pooh'd
This came in an e-mail from one of my dodgeball teammates. It cracked me up to no end. It looks pretty clear to me as I'm typing this, but if you are having trouble reading it, just click to enlarge (that's what she said).

Poohpiglet


Ah, I just can't enough of Swine Flu jokes.

Customers
A site all about the conversations employees in various industries have with severely stupid customers? Yeah, Not Always Right is quickly becoming one of my favorite Web sites of all time.


Ladies and gentlemen, these snakes are slitherin'...

I looked over at my wife in the car last night on the way home from the gym and thought to myself, "who the hell are you and what have you done with my wife?"

A little background might be nice, eh?

[rewind the scene a minute or so]

Katie: So your Star Trek movie comes out this weekend, doesn't it?

Me: I think so. Why?

Katie: Okay, I'll go see it with you.

Me: Huh? Where'd that come from?

Katie: I dunno, but I'll see it with you.

Me: You don't have to do that, y'know. I'm more than willing to see it by myself.

Katie: No, I'll go with you.

Me: Really? You sure?

Katie: Yeah.

Me: Why?

Katie: I dunno. I just will.

Me: Okay. Cool.

My wife, who has, I believe, never seen any Star Trek film or TV show, is suddenly willing to go see this new film with me. She had no desire before and I couldn't blame her. It's geek porn, plain and simple. And yet, much like Adam, I'm not even really a Trekkie, but I still think it looks cool and want to see it. But I never even was going to ask Katie because I knew, well in advance, what her answer would be, so why bother?

Then this. I'm still curious why. Is she afraid I'm going to run away with some she-Trekkie I run into at the theater? Is she writing her own blog that I don't know about called "My Geeky Husband" in which she is going to chronicle the childlike awe she's expecting me to put display in the theater complete with hidden video (I'd read it)? I'm lost as to where this came from. Complete left field here. And after being so adamantly against seeing it.

Speaking of "adamant(ium)ly," if you want further evidence to support my theory that aliens have abducted Katie and replaced her with a lookalike with a scifi penchant, try this one on for size... she saw Wolverine with me on Sunday. Now you believe me, don't you?

I guess this one is a bit more understandable, though, since it has Ryan Reynolds (albeit in a far-too-small role, as noted by Crys) and Taylor Kitsch. But it's still Wolverine. She's never read an X-Men comic (not that I have, either) and has never seen any of the films and, much like Trek, she always said she had no desire. And, yet, here she was with me in line buying tickets and watching in rapt awe at the screen. Guess what... she enjoyed it! Not one of her faves, by far. But she liked it. She even expressed an interest in watching the original X-Men with me again to see how well the two films flow together.

Has my wife gone geek? Beyond just marrying me, that is.

Should I push my luck and see if she'll finally watch Star Wars with me?

Should I just accept it for what it is? A wife becoming tangentially interested in that which interests her husband?

Or should I worry that some nefarious plot has been set in motion?

I made a new friend while on a walk yesterday during my lunch break. However, he's not the kind of friend you just take home and introduce to everyone. He's kinda timid and likes his privacy. If you get too close, he might get a little pissy... or hissy, as the case may be.

I had my camera with me on my walk and was taking some pictures of flowers near where I work. I ran into another friend who suggested I snap some pics of a plant in a little garden area so I descended the stairs and, just as she was about to follow me, she stopped and said, "SNAKE!"

Yep, there he was, coiled around himself right beside one of the stairs I was just walking on. I think at his fattest point, he was about an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half in diameter. Uncoiled, I'd guess he hits about three to four feet long.

I'm used to seeing garter snakes in the area and even some small snakes swimming in the river just 10 feet away, but never ones this big just sitting there. I think he was asleep, but his eyes were open. I wasn't going to ask.

Anybody out there with snake experience want to help identify him? I've got him loosely pegged as a Cottonmouth.

Update: Local Animal Control ID'd it as a Brown Watersnake.

DSC04218

DSC04215

The rest of the photos are available on Flickr.


I'll cry if I want to...

As a blogger and general Web nut, one of the things I struggle with is trying to figure out what my audience will enjoy and what they won't. No, this does not translate to me fabricating things I think you'll like or skipping information that I fear might go over like a lead balloon. But I do sit here and try to figure out, as I'm posting something, if it will be liked or not. It's mostly to satisfy my own morbid curiosity. I'll still post it regardless of the answer, but I still wonder all the same.

And typically I'm so off the mark it's ridiculous.

For example, I might've taken a lot of time to compose a photo for posting on Flickr. I try to get it just right in hopes of making it look good. I get some views and comments and whatnot and then it just fades into oblivion after a couple days.

Then, I follow it up with a photo for which I have no time to plan. Often, I just grab a camera and snap a quick photo like when I see something while driving such as this jalopy I dubbed "Crap Car."

Crap car

This, of all the 1,867 photos I've taken and posted on Flickr, is the most viewed image on my account. And it's only been posted for a year. As you can tell, it was snapped while driving, it's not well framed, not particularly interesting in terms of visual appeal, and is basically just a last-second photo taken to prove to myself later that I actually did see this car (I've seen it a couple times since then too).

Now this photo is at the top of the results when performing a Google Image Search for "Crap Car." Even when I post entirely new photos on a given day, this one is still the top daily view. Well, I take that back. Occasionally it alternates with a photo I (innocently, at the time) titled "Wet Clothes." Gee, can't figure out why that one gets hits.

I just don't get it. You people are so weird.

But I still love ya.

I was having a lot of frustration with my work computer over the last week. Yes, it's a Windows machine and, being a Mac lover, it gets tough dealing with it. But I have plenty of years of experience with PCs and Windows dating back to the ol' OS2 days (thank you very much Suzi... you and your PEBKAC claims... plllllbbtttttttt!!!). I know how to handle myself with Windows; I just prefer not to.

Anyway, a couple days ago, I'm trying to get involved in a Webinar using Microsoft Office Live Meeting. I've done plenty of Webinars with Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and Citrix GoToMeeting and they've worked flawlessly. I didn't even need to download anything to make them work. They just... did.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting, on the other hand...

At one point, I got a pop-up from Internet Explorer (no, it won't work in Firefox; surprise, surprise) as I was about to download a plug-in to make MOLM run. It read, in typical Microsoft fashion, that the plug-in was from an unknown source and asked me if I wanted to "trust" it.

The kicker... the maker of the plug-in was Microsoft. They don't even trust their own products. Oy!

Oh, and I never got it working. Not in time anyway.