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13 posts from April 2010

Breakin' up is hard to do...

Welcome to the final Snippet Wednesday of April 2010. Can you believe we're done with 1/3 of this year already? Yikes!

Hunt
Just so you all know, yes, the photo scavenger hunt is still on. I've been debating how I'm going to approach doing it and receiving some input from people here and there. I now think I have it all figured out. It is going to start on Sunday and run through the month of May. But what I'm going to do is give three things that you need to find each week. So, each Sunday, three new clues will be revealed and you will have the entirety of that week to take pictures that work for those clues. I would like you each to then put links to your photos in the comments to the corresponding post. How's that sound? So keep an eye out this coming Sunday for the first round of clues.

Hawks
This prayer comes courtesy of my in-laws. I feel its words beating in my heart and coursing through my veins during this NHL postseason.

Our Father, who art in Chicago,
Hockey be thy name.
Thy will be done,
The cup will be won,
On ice, as well as in the stands.
Give us this day, our hockey sticks,
And forgive us our penalties,
as we forgive those who cross-check against us.
Lead us not into elimination,
but deliver us to victory
In the name of the fans....Lord Stanley,
and in the name of da HAWKS.
Amen!!

The Break-Up, frame 07

Norman
Please don't forget about Stormin' Norman right now as he endures a very difficult end to a relationship. He could use your support. Truly.

Films
Today, I just didn't feel like listening to music. [What?? Who is this? Who are you and what have you done with our kapgar??] I know, I know. It's almost blasphemous, right? Well, what I did instead was play movies on my iPod in the background as I worked. Kind of an interesting approach. They were all movies I've seen several times, so I knew I wouldn't need to pay attention at all and I wouldn't be sucked away from my work. That was the plan anyway, and it worked for Star Trek and Blue Harvest. But not quite so well for Inglourious Basterds. Not that I don't know what's going on, but so much of it is in foreign languages that I don't speak that I couldn't just listen peripherally while I work. I still did my work, but I just could not follow along in my mind's eye. Bummer. So, my tip to you, if you want to play movies in the background while you work, avoid those in foreign tongues, okay?

Dinner time, y'all!


Old yellow bricks...

I don't care if it makes me seem childlike... or immature... or too-clingy-to-my-past... or whatever the heck else you may want to call it.

I LOVE LEGOS.

And, this past weekend, I had that love reinforced while meeting with a bunch of people my age and even older who clearly love them far even more than I do.

The guys I met up with were from the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club and they had a really cool display of stuff at the Geneva History Center. While the focus was supposed to be trains, the true amazement came in seeing what they built to surround these trains. The settings were gorgeous ranging from a facade of city buildings from the mid-1900s to space Legos and Star Wars and Starcraft and Indiana Jones and Harry Potter and medieval structures... you name it. I was in awe.

I've always loved trains dating back to the Lionel trains my dad used to set up around the Christmas tree. And Lego trains were always something I liked, but could never justify the cost. So I sate myself by geeking out with what everyone else does.

Oh, and I take pictures. Copious amounts of pictures. Here are some of the pictures I took.

I know Katie gets a little weirded out by my love of Legos even though it truly is small scale by comparison to these guys. So I asked a couple of them how their wives handle their obsession. Turns out one of the wives was actually there and she answered that her therapist told her it could instead be an obsession with fixing or collecting expensive cars. She agreed and her husband's collection took off.

I told Katie what this woman told me. She agreed as well. Not that I'm going to start buying a boatload of Legos, but at least I don't think the eye-rolling will be as bad.

BTW, yes, I am totally going to Brick World 2010. Anyone want to go with me?

It's amazing the difference a week can make.

Last Friday marked the end of my first week of early morning workouts and I gotta say that they're going pretty well so far. In fact, the goal I set for myself of being able to run two miles straight through by our Florida trip I hit on Friday. I know I should have set that goal a bit higher, but considering how poor my running had been going up to that point, I preferred to aim lower and then have to set a new one instead of aim too high and get disappointed.

This morning was a bit more of a test, in my mind. Running two miles after warming yourself up to it the four previous days is one thing, but keeping it up after a couple days off on the weekend is something else altogether.

I did hit the two miles again this morning, but it was a bit painful. As a result, Katie and I have decided that we do need to make sure we do at least some kind of exercise on the weekend. It doesn't have to be the monster workout we do during the week, just something to keep us going so Mondays don't strike back with such blunt force.

Just keep running, running, running...


Can you picture this...

Much like my Brother-in-Pics (and name) Kevin Spencer did, I'm going to take a moment to celebrate having survived 100 days of the Photo365 project. Yes, I'm a few days late as I only yesterday finished uploading from the last several days and only today finished renaming and designating which ones were going to be part of the project. But, oh well.

I'm now on Day 105, but would like to look back on the first 100 days by picking out 10 of my favorite photos so far. These are in no particular order.

Photo365 Day 6 - Multi Screened
I just really dig the picture within a picture...

Photo365 Day 13 - Dusk Lights
I like how the lights tower into the sky.

Photo365 Day 34 - First Responders
A reflection of an ambulance in the hubcap of a fire truck? Can it get any cooler?

Photo365 Day 50 - Bright Lights
Starred light refraction without using a special filter.

Photo365 Day 52 - Clone Army
 I always liked how the lighting turned out.

Photo365 Day 66 - Horse Head
I don't think this horse was meant to be so imposing, but it sure looks it, right?

Photo365 Day 68 - Sunset Hoops
Sunset... one of my favorite times to shoot.

Photo365 Day 72 - Bat Bucket
The variety of an otherwise ordinary item struck me in this shot.

Photo365 Day 78 - Twirled and Recropped
Good capture of motion with Anna's hair.

Photo365 Day 84: Sly Smile
I really like how I cropped this shot even if it was done in Photoshop.

Are there any that you really like from the bunch? I'd love to hear your take on them.

I really love seeing friends who I know have been through tough times lately, rebound a bit and find some happiness.

Call it a bit of a spiritual restoration if you will.


The one behind the wheel...

Welcome to another Snippet Wednesday!

Scheduled
I really dig on this interactive NFL schedule, especially the schedule toughness meter and the star ratings for each game. I wonder if those will both update as the season progresses to reflect any teams initially thought to be tough that instead suck, or vice versa. Whatever the case, the Bears get to play the Bills in Toronto! I so want tickets to that game.

Mad
Yay, the next season of Mad Men has been announced and will air beginning on July 25. The last season finale was so freakin' awesome that I cannot wait for this one to start up. Holy cow puckies!

Mother
I tweeted this to @hismuse yesterday, but I wanted a little more input on it. On this past Monday night's episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) drives Ted's mom to the airport in a flashback dated to 2006. Ummm... when was it that they were teaching Barney to drive for the very first time in Marshall's late Fiero? I think well after 2006. A little hole in the continuity, eh?

Volcano
This photo is one of the many reasons I love photography. This is that volcano that's been wrecking havoc in Iceland.

Volcano
This is now the wallpaper on my work computer, BTW

I know it's not something I captured, but I labor under the hope that someday I will snap an image of something even remotely as gorgeous as this picture. And here is what the photographer, Lucas Jackson of Reuters, had to do to capture it.

When you see things like this, how can you not believe in a higher power, whatever you choose to call him/her? Something that is equal parts horrifically destructive and fantastically stunning.

Oh, and thanks to @cath68 for bringing both this photo and the description to my attention.

Beard
Yes, the beard is going strong. Let's see how it continues. This, of course, is dependent upon the success of the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs in combination with my personal comfort level and Katie's ability to tolerate the "floating beard."

Stay tuned.


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

I'm trying something new for the next month.

In an attempt at a final melting off of weight for Florida in May, Katie and I are back on the Weight Watchers points plan and we're going to the gym in the morning.

What's the big difference? Well, we actually have been keeping points using our phones so we have our list available to us 24/7 and going to the gym in the morning ensures we really go. Katie's been pretty good about going upwards of four or more times a week for the last several weeks. But I've had greater difficulty with all kinds of things planned at night during the week (signings, work, general laziness). During these same "last several weeks," I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've made it to the gym.

That's changing starting yesterday.

I've been packing my clothes for the day the night before. I'm waking up at 5:15. I'm not using the snooze bar. I'm at the gym by 5:30 or 5:40. My workout is done by a little before 7. I shower and change in the locker room. And I'm off to work by 7:20. No ifs, ands, or buts.

So far I've felt really good both days that I've stuck to this plan. I'm more awake throughout the day. I'm more relaxed. I feel better when I leave work knowing that I can just go home and crash instead of going to the gym and fighting it out with the post-work crowd for machines and weights.

I'm sick of being fat.

Fuck this shit.

The more I learn about the iPad, the more I love it.

No, I still don't have one. And I won't for some time. Gotta pay off Florida and the cruise next year. Heck, I haven't even played with it in an Apple Store and I work two blocks from one. I don't want to tease myself just yet.

Plus, considering some of the lengths that people are going to in order to get their hands on one, I think I may just wait until the fervor dies down a bit. If you're going to be afraid to use one of these things in public, what's the point?

Besides, I prefer my fingers intact.

I think I'll aim for the fourth generation iPhone when it comes out later this year. If it's anything like what Gizmodo reported (and the likelihood is VERY STRONG in this regard considering the actions Apple has taken in response to the loss and reveal), then me likey! It's pretty. Nice physical changes from the earlier versions.

500x_iphone4_01
Photo courtesy of Gizmodo

Holiday ro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oad...

We meant to do it about a month or so ago, but for whatever reason, we waited. But we did it this morning. We booked our vacation for May!

EarsWe're going to Florida!

We'll be spending most of the time with my grandma north of Orlando. But we will be staying a couple nights in Orlando proper, so we can go to Magic Kingdom and, hopefully, hang out with some Blogger and Twitter peeps as well!

If you live in or are going to be in the area in mid-May-ish, let me know and maybe we can get together.

Katie and I are stoked.

Last night, my dad and I were going out for some food after attending Nuclear Cowboyz and we had an interesting discussion about the recent spate of natural disasters and their clean-up and relief efforts.

My dad mentioned how several of these disasters have happened in countries where the drug trade is strong. And he asked why you haven't seen any drug dealers or kingpins come forth with donations to help with their country's relief.

While it's possible that they have made donations anonymously, why not make some big public display of donating millions of dollars to the rebuilding effort? Think about it, sure it would bring them out in the open, but it would make them almost God-like to their citizens. If police had trouble with them before, they would be practically untouchable after doing something like that.

Just sayin'.


I smell sex and candy...

Just another Snippet Wednesday...

Beardathon
BeardathonDo I? Don't I? I'm not sure I'm ready to take on another charity related hair thing just yet, so maybe I'll do it on my own as a show of solidarity without trying to earn money. Not quite the same, but fun. Until I get too warm and itchy, that is.

Charity
Speaking of charity, don't you just hate it when the charity and fundraising efforts ramp up where you work? Parents of kids trying to help them by selling shit at work. And chocolate to boot. Bastards!

MGMT
Congratulations, the new album from MGMT, is now out! Happy days!

Hunt
I know I mentioned a photo scavenger hunt yesterday, but I also know not everyone will want to take part. However, for those who don't want to be part of the hunt itself, I could still use some help. I need to come up with some themes. If you're willing to participate in this event, but just don't want to take pictures, please let me know via e-mail. The link is above in my header. Or at least it should be. Well, most of you have my address already anyway. Let me know.

Knox
I have said that I do not believe in paying for signatures, right? So, when a signing comes along for a player I do like that is free, yeah, I think I'll take part. Just like I did last night when Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Johnny Knox was at a local Menards for their grand opening. I waited in line two hours and at 7:58 p.m., just before the stated end time of 8 p.m., I got my balls signed. FOOTBALLS, you sickos! [warning: photo slideshow below; Facebookers, click through]


I'm just like you baby, I'm on the hunt...

This past weekend, Katie and I took part in a photo scavenger hunt with a local photography club. It was pretty fun and I just thought I'd share my pictures along with the themes I used them for down below. Please read through to the bottom as I have a potential idea I'd like some feedback on.

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Into the Air"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"A Different Perspective"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"A Relaxing Place"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Something Shiny"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Doors"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Funny Thing"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Demonstration of Motion"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Stacks"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"Corners"

Scavenger Hunt 2010
"From Inside a Car"

My idea is to run some sort of blogger photo scavenger hunt. If you're interested, let me know in the comments. We can develop a list of 10 things to find and I'd like to limit it to either the city/town in which you live or a nearby larger metropolitan area. But these are details that can be worked out when we get a list of people who are interested. So let me know!


Un-a-dul-ter-a-ted loathing...

If you had been driving with Katie and me tonight, you would've heard some of this. Instead, you only get to take my word that it happened. To set the scene, she was searching through iTunes on her iPhone for some music.

Katie: No! I don't want Justin Beaver as my ringtone!

Me: Bieber, Bee-buhr.

Katie: I like to say 'Beaver' because he's about the same age as Beaver on Leave it to Beaver but Jerry Mather was far cuter!

or...

I can't believe iTunes has Beethoven's 5th under alternative! Beethoven's 5th is NOT alternative. Beethoven is rolling over in his grave going, "what the f&*k is iTunes and what are they doing to my music!?!?"

or...

New Edition is classical??? Frank Sinatra is pop??? I may not know much about music, but I know Beethoven is NOT alternative!!

I love my wife.


Static in my attic from channel Z...

It took four months of dicking around with Comcast, but we finally have two active tuners on our bedroom TV for multiple simultaneous recording capability. Well, sort of...

Comcast Back in December, we got our new TV and TiVo up in the bedroom. This, of course, necessitated getting cable cards from Comcast so we could get the proper channels piped into our TiVo for recording and get all our HD channels to maximize the picture quality on our TV. I called Comcast and that following Saturday, they sent out a guy with a couple of multi-stream cable cards (a multi-stream card allows two channel capability while a single-stream card allows only one channel at a time) to install in the TiVo.

As it turned out, one of the cards was completely shot and the other one was actually only a single-stream card despite the fact that the supplier and Comcast rep (who was looking only at a computer and not the actual card) insisted it was a multi-stream. They griped back and forth and finally the installer hung up and installed the card so we at least had one stream from which to watch and record. Better than nothing, right?

I don't know why, but I kinda took my time about calling Comcast. I just didn't want to deal with them again that soon. Finally, in February, I called back up and scheduled an appointment for them to come and install an MS card. I waited there on Saturday night from 1-5 p.m. and the douche never showed up. I called to complain and ask why I never received a call. They said that since it was "only a card install," they don't call. It's not like it was an important service call like an actual cable box installation. I'm just a card-using peon. They clearly don't make enough money off me for it to be worth their while.

I was pissed and took a little to debug from the experience and called again in late March. We set an appointment for that Saturday and, a mere couple hours before the appointment was to happen, they called to say they were out of stock on MS cable cards and do I want them to just install a second SS card or wait until the MS cards were back in stock. I rescheduled. For yesterday.

The dude came out, and right on time, with two MS cards. He tried both and neither worked. He complained about how cable cards are a joke and they really need to find a better solution for people like me who despise Comcast's cable box and DVR (this same complaint was offered up by the very first installer as well). But, he had three SS cards with him. So he installed one. I now have multi-channel capability like I would have with an MS card. But I didn't want to have to pay extra for having that second card in my TiVo (they charge a monthly rental on the cards).

I called Comcast and they assured me I would not be paying for the rental of the additional card considering all the hell I'd gone through for this. Plus I scored a free installation visit and a $25 credit on my account because they were unable to remedy my problem with a single visit.

Why don't I leave Comcast? Well, Comcast is the only cable provider in my area. AT&T's U-verse is supposed to roll out here eventually, but I'm not banking on that anytime soon. And I don't like Dish or DirecTV options because when a heavy freight train rumbles through the backyard, everything shakes and I just know I'll be realigning that damn dish every time it happens. I don't think a single neighbor on my side of the street has a dish of any sort. So that tells me that my fears are not too far off. Besides, they all seem to now have a two-year commitment and, if I don't like it, I don't want to be stuck paying for a crap service.

In all honesty, despite the shit I went through here, Comcast's service has been great. The only time in nine years that it has gone out was because I screwed up some wiring. I've never had a service blackout that wasn't the result of an electrical blackout, so I'm generally happy with it. It's just when I have to call to have them come out and do something that I start to sweat.

Grrr...

Geez, my Yahoo homepage this morning is so overloaded with who-gives-a-shit headlines, it's ridiculous.

Mel Gibson to donate movie set to Mexican museum - Whatever.

Tiger looks better than ever in return at Masters - I could give a rat's ass about Tiger Woods anymore.

Corey Haim's Mom Nixes Public Memorial Idea - What?? No giant bronze Corey Haim statue for me to weep at!? The humanity!!

Are Brad and Jen Really Hooking Up In Secret? - If she is, any respect I have for her is gone.

They walk among us: 1 in 5 believe in aliens - And how many of them report being probed?

Workers strike over ban on drinking at work - Umm, really? If a union gets involved in this dispute, there's something seriously wrong here.

What will future cultures think of us when they look in historical documents and read shit like this?

I weep.


'Cause I'm saved by the bell...

Wow. Didn't realize it had been so long since I blogged. My bad. But I'm back in time for Snippet Wednesday, so that's good, right?

League
Major League? A League of Their Own? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? No. She's Out of My League, the new Jay Baruchel flick. Katie and I just saw it and it was cool. Surprisingly cool. Highly enjoyably cool. Basically, it's the story of a guy who, according to his friends, rates a 5 on a 10 scale (Baruchel) who, through an act of courtesy and professionalism, scores a date with a 10 (Alice Eve). The rest of the movie is him trying to come to terms with why she would possibly want to be with him while his friends and family keep giving him a mixed bag of advice. I think the best thing about this was that there was very good chemistry between Baruchel and Eve that gave a great air of legitimacy to their on-screen relationship. Plus, his friends (Mike Vogel, T.J. Miller, and Nate Torrance) were hilarious.

Battery
I really wish someone would create a car battery that never dies. Is that really so hard? Can someone get on that so we don't have a situation where Katie's car sits dead in a parking lot again? That would be swell. Thanks!

Pelicans
On Sunday, Katie and I went with my parents to see some pelicans that had temporarily stopped in mid migration at a nearby pond. I haven't posted the photos yet, but, while there, I took a series of 55 photos of them in flight. Instead of just trashing a majority of them, I strung them together as a pseudo stop-motion film. Kinda cool, albeit short. So enjoy!


Pelicans in Flight from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Shorts
I'm still in shock that it's early April and I was able to wear shorts yesterday. No, not to work, but afterwards. It was pretty damn nice. I gotta do this more often!

Lust
I know lust is one of the seven deadly sins, but I cannot help it with these two T-shirts from Found Item Clothing. Damn them and their Twitter account letting me know about this coolness! (They actually found me on Twitter; I'm assuming because of past posts about my Real Genius gear that Katie bought me from their store).

Drago  Bayside 

Must have. Too cool for words.


And I pwedict a bwoody Eastuh...

I know it's a day early, but I wanted to make sure I got these good wishes out to all of you when you might actually see them.

So, have a great Dead Bunny Day!

Happy Easter

Seriously, though, have a great holiday (if you celebrate) and, if you're traveling anywhere, do so safely, okay?

Funny thing... seems that everybody I know thinks that, at this moment, I'm in line at one of any number of local Apple Stores (we have five in the Chicago area that I know of) waiting to get my grubby hands an iPad.

Okay, yeah, I'm an Apple Whore (tm), but when did I become an early adopting Apple Whore (tm)? I got my first iPod more than three years after they first came out. I still don't have an iPhone (but everyone around me seems to). No Apple TV. I must be missing something.

I do think the iPad is one of the coolest things around and I do want one. Just not yet. Maybe a couple more generations in unless I win a lottery sometime soon.

So, um, no review of the iPad from me anytime soon. Sorry if that disappoints you.


She a medusa, she the type of girl that seduce ya...

So, um, Clash of the Titans... yeah...

In a nutshell, the Titans gave birth to the Gods. The Gods killed their parents with the Kraken, a creature created from the flesh of Hades, brother to Zeus. The Gods created Man. And now Man, tired of the tyranny of the Gods, are starting to question their reverence and want to strike back. Hades, who had since been tricked by his brothers Zeus and Poseidon and thus became the king of the underworld, appeals to his brothers and the rest of the Council of the Gods on Mount Olympus to let him strike fear into the hearts of man and, thus, make them begin to pray to them again. Zeus, despite the protestations of his son, Apollo, agrees. Hades goes to Argos, the city that appears to be in the lead in terms of Godly irreverence and announces they have 10 days before the eclipse when the Kraken will be unleashed upon them. The only way to stop the Kraken is to sacrifice Andromeda, daughter of King Cepheus, whom his wife, Cassiopeia, described as having a beauty that put the Gods to shame.

Enter Perseus, a man who, despite being born of the Gods, has his own beef with them because when Hades made the first strike on soldiers of Argos, his adoptive family was killed. Although he won't do it for the people Argos, Io, another Demigod like Perseus, convinces him that it is his destiny to defeat the Gods and that, by doing so, he can face off against Hades and get his revenge.

And the adventure begins.

Yes, that is the plot of the 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans.

Now I'm no scholar of mythology, but I do like to think that I know enough to at least be a threat on Trivial Pursuit. And even I know how much of a bastardization of the story of Perseus is going on here. It's just wrong on so many levels.

So let's put that aside for now and try to think of CotT as a standalone movie. Is it good? Is it exciting? Does it make you want to stand up and cheer? Will you walk out feeling like your money was well spent?

No, somewhat, no, and no. 

Despite all the great CGI work and the fast-paced story and whatnot, I was bored. This movie was special effect after special effect all for the sake of special effects. I think the only time I truly enjoyed the effects were during the battle with Medusa. She was pretty badass. Pegasus was well done, too. But that was about it.

With about 15 minutes left, the film broke and they had to fix it. They offered a refund to the people who didn't want to wait the 10 minutes for the film to be fixed and reset. I debated. Yes, I almost walked out during the climactic Kraken battle. Who does that? Me. Someone who was bored to tears. But, just as I was packing up my stuff to go, the film started back up. I should've left.

The last time I was this disappointed by a movie that I had really been looking forward to was Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. And, yes, I did make the connection that Liam Neeson was in both (he plays Zeus in this remake). And this does make me fear The A-Team this summer.

To recap, for those who don't want spoilers, would I recommend this movie? No. Stay away. Stay far away.

Now for some spoilers and finer details (for those of you visiting my site, they are in the extended post; for those of you reading on Facebook or in a feed reader, you will likely be able to see the whole enchilada so leave now if you want to be spared)...

Continue reading "She a medusa, she the type of girl that seduce ya..." »