The Web 2007

Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you tonight...

It's here!

That most loved and loathed of days for us bloggers!

Blogcrushday That's right... it's Reveal Your Blog Crush Day!

(run away! run away!)

Still here? Well, you should've listened and just run. But, since you are here, I guess I should explain what's going on. Last year, Sizzle and Sandra decided that it was time for all of us to call out those that we crush on in the Blogiverse. Basically, that was it for rules. How many people you crush on is totally up to you, but any more than one or two, in my opinion, requires way more love and affection than I have in my shriveled up and deadened heart. Heh.

Actually, last year, I was more afraid of leaving someone out than anything else. So, in an attempt to make this as painless as possible and not make anyone freak out because I left them out, I opted to only pick a single blogger to crush on despite the fact that I probably crush on a ton of you. I picked Queen Hilly. Oddly enough, using the same rationale, she picked me. That was both thoroughly heartwarming and totally creepy. We both wrote our posts at about the same time and posted independently not knowing that we were crushing on each other nor that we both quoted Highlander in our posts. Yikes.

This year, though, I'm going to be a bit braver. No I'm not going nuts and listing all my crushes, because I'm still certain that I would forget one or two of you, which could lead to diminished perceptions of self worth and, God forbid, eSuicide. I'm not sure what that is, but I don't want to find out.

The way I'm proving my Blog Crush Bravado is by picking not just one girl, but also one guy to crush on. No, I'm not going eBi. I just feel totally secure in my eHetero-ness that I can point out a guy who I think is pretty darn swank as well. And that's just how it's gonna be.

So read on in the extended post to find out on whom I crush.

Continue reading "Ooh, ooh, I gotta crush on you tonight..." »


When the lights go down in the city...

How about some snippets for my first second day in a row of blogging in quite some time?

NBC-Ya-Later
NBC has now officially removed all their TV shows from iTunes. Well, you know what I have to say about that? Screw ya, NBC. I'll watch your shows on TV and if I miss them, I miss them. I will no longer make an effort to watch any of your shows if you're not going to allow me TO PAY YOU so I can put it on my iPod! You're saying no to my money... the one thing, aside from ratings (which should result in money anyway) that you like most. I was about to purchase an episode of Law & Order from last season to watch on my iPod, but since you don't want my money, I won't give it to you. Eat my shorts, NBC.

Protection
I have to thank Yet Another Girl for this one. The township of Manalapan, NJ, is demanding that Google hand over the identity, e-mail address, associated e-mails, blog drafts, and and other information they have regarding a blogger who uses the name "daTruthSquad." Apparently this person has written some critical comments about a township lawsuit and the town thinks it was actually written by the defendant in the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is stepping in to defend the First Amendment rights of the blogger and of Google in their protection of this information.

Favre
I know I'm a Chicago Bears fan and our natural adversary is anybody donning the green and yellow of the Green Bay Packers. However, Packer rifleman Brett Favre was just named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year and I am having trouble thinking of a more deserving guy. After a couple seasons of subpar play from him and his team, the man has come back in a big way this season at 38 years old, an age when most NFLers have hung up their spikes. Plus he has consistently been the top scorer on one of my fantasy teams and I drafted him as my backup. He was bumped to starter very early on. Maybe I'm supposed to hate the guy, yet I cannot help but respect him. He's amazing. Damn him for being a Packer.

Frosty
I was given an early birthday present from a friend in the form of a six pack of special winter brew by my buddies over at New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO. It is the Fat Tire 2° Below winter ale and I am so jacked about trying it. From what I'm told, it can be a very hard beer to find as it sells out rather quickly upon arrival in stores.

Birthday
Nice segue, eh? Yep, tomorrow I turn a pair o' threes... 33 years old. I admit I'm old. But I'm still younger than you, Hilly! Hah! Yeah, that was mean. But she's constantly teasing me or expressing her disbelief that I'm not older than her. So she deserves the poke... um... yeah. I only wish ThinkGeek had a gift registry. Oh the fun I could have! Or maybe they do and I'm just too lazy to look. Oh well.

Power
The area I live in here in the Midwest is expecting one heckuva winter storm today and tonight. If you live in the area, please be safe. Stay home, put on pajamas, find emergency candles, and hunker down with someone you love. Best advice I can think to impart unto you.


His skin is green, but his mood is blue...

You would think that being an American male I would have an innate love of all things Thanksgiving. Heck, if there's one character trait hammered home by popular culture, it's that any holiday involving food is a favorite of men.

Sorry, not so much for me. Never cared much for it. Thanksgiving always seemed like a misnomer of a holiday to me. Kinda like Columbus Day, which is meant to celebrate the man who *cough* discovered North America and became a *cough* friend of the native peoples. We all know that, despite our grade school education, this entire image of Christopher Columbus is a load of crap. He wasn't even close to being the first one to discover North America and he was anything but kind to the natives.

That's how I view Thanksgiving. The image of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down side by side and enjoying a meal together always struck me as being too much of a stretch of how I perceive the reality of the situation to be. Maybe there isn't historical evidence to support my alternate theory, but it all still feels, well, wonky to me.

When you combine this historical skepticism with my continued quest to lose weight, you'll understand why I'm no friend of Thanksgiving.

But there is one good thing to come of the holiday this year... for the first time in a long time, Katie's not cooking the feast and we're not hosting the get together! Oh, it feels so good. We're actually going to spend the holiday with her family. We usually host it for my family, but we wanted a change this year. I think Katie is feeling a combination of relief and anguish. It's a relief to not have to worry about it, but then we watch shows on the Food Network and they're all about Thanksgiving right now, so she starts to feel like she's missing out to some degree. It's a painful mix for her.

What are your plans?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): When I can find well-done schlock films, I tend to love them. Great stuff like John Waters' Cry-Baby make me feel like all's right with the world.

Zombierights This is why I've been loving the short film Zombie Prom. It's schlock, pure and simple, mixed with comic art and a lot of singing.

Basically, it's the story of an idyllic little American town in the 50s whose world is changed by the arrival of an outsider, Jonny ("without the customary H"), who doesn't buy into the societal norms. At Enrico Fermi High School, he falls for a girl named Toffee but she dumps him because her parents do not condone of their relationship. So, in a fit of atomic adolescent angst, Jonny hurls himself into the cooling tower of the nearby Francis Gary Powers nuclear power plant and he returns as a zombie... a zombie who still wants to take Toffee to the prom, no less.

It's best to think of this film as what would happen if Cry-Baby, Pleasantville, The Mask, Grease, and Creepshow were all thrown in a blender and the puree button was left on for way too long.

Oh c'mon! This is great stuff! And it was free on iTunes when I downloaded it. While it's no longer free, it's still only $1.99. How can it get any better? Oh yeah, here's how... the line "This isn't about civil rights. This is about protecting the traditional values that made this country great" being uttered by none other than RuPaul. Yeah, that's right. Ru-friggin'-Paul ranting about traditional values.

Schlockity, schlock, schlock, and schlockers! Come to daddy!

[production image courtesy of ZombiePromtheMovie.com]


I walk the line...

We all know that each of us tends to stray away from the really personal topics on their blogs, even if they are so-called "personal blogs." My question to you is, what do you avoid talking about? Where is your proverbial "line in the sand"?

For me, I won't write about the stuff I think would legitimately embarrass someone I know and love. Sometimes, it's hard to know how someone might react to what I would say on here, so I will, on occasion, ask them if they're okay with me talking about it. But if it's something that is painfully obvious it will hurt their feelings or make them want to hide with shame, then I will avoid it.

I won't write directly about topics relating to work such as where I work, anything related to coworkers, or industrial secrets, etc. The only time work comes into play on this blog is when I write about a indirectly related topic like a lack of regular coffee or how I was unwittingly hired as an assassin. Better safe than Dooce'd, right?

However, I will write nearly anything about myself. When it comes to self-flagellation on a blog, I don't seem to have found my boundaries. I'm sure there are some topics I haven't written about, mostly because they seem wholly uninteresting (even moreso than what I already write about), I suppose. I'm sure there have been a few items I've omitted for the sake of preserving some shred of dignity although I cannot figure out at the moment what they could've possibly been because, so far as I can recall, I've embarrassed myself every which way to Tuesday.

So, I guess it's safe to say that I have yet to reach my personal line in the sand, but I know where to stop with those I love and with work. But that still leaves you.

Yeah, yeah Dave, I know I'm pandering for responses here, but it seems like a legitimate question to me.


Love will keep us together...

I started reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road the day before yesterday on my lunch breaks at work. By the end of yesterday I was 2/3 of the way through the book and beginning to formulate ideas for a review of the book for Fun With Dead Trees. That's when it struck me that I have four book reviews to write still.

Gah!! How did I get so behind??

And I'm about to have a fifth to add to the list. That's not right on so many levels. And, yet, I just don't want to write them. Still. Even after publicly embarrassing myself just now over my slackerdom.

To get over this hump and to give myself further excuse to not write these reviews, yet again, I'm going to throw a meme at you in the extended post.

Continue reading "Love will keep us together..." »


Don't leave me high...

This is an excerpt of a conversation I had yesterday with my office mate (MyOM)...

Me: So I discovered why the break room has three different coffee pots. One decaf is for full strength and one is for half strength. The regular pot is for full strength caffeinated. They use one and a half packets of grounds for full strength and one packet for half strength although that doesn't necessarily add up mathematically.

MyOM: Sounds a bit too complicated for me.

Me: I agree. I think they should all be the way I like it... black, regular, and strong.

[awkward silence]

Me: Umm...

MyOM: Yeah, I'm not going to touch that one.

Me: It really didn't sound quite so bad in my head.

MyOM: It never does.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): It was announced a few weeks back that Radiohead was going to ditch iTunes when they release their new album, In Rainbows. Their complaint was that, on iTunes, people could buy just a song or two and not the entire album. They feel their album is one complete narrative and that it should be purchased as an all-or-nothing deal.

Artistically, I can understand where they're coming from. But, as a fan, I think they're being selfish and bullheaded. That's the beauty of iTunes and other online music stores, you can buy what you want when you want it. And you'll own the music legally.

Then Radiohead made another announcement... In Rainbows is being offered up on their Web site in either discbox or download format and you pay what you think it's worth to you. Whether the amount is $0, the normal $10-15 for an album, or even more, you pay what you feel the album should be valued at. It's an interesting concept and one I'm willing to try. I'm especially willing since I'm not as big a fan of Radiohead's newer tunes. I much prefer their old stuff like The Bends and OK Computer. But, with that offer in place, I'll definitely give this new album a shot.

Radioheaduptoyou

Upon further examination, you are subject to a transaction fee if you order the download as opposed to the discbox version. Not sure how much that is yet, but we shall see. Plus, if you order the discbox, you get it a week ahead of those who buy the downloadable format.

So what is Radiohead worth to you?


Call me...

More snippety goodness...

Caffeinated
There was regular coffee in the breakroom today! Yay me!

Cub-boom
Here's a quick note to anyone who knows that I am a Cubs fan and would like to tease me over the fact that the Cubbies are now down by two games to the D-Backs... yep, I realize it. And no, it doesn't phase nor upset me in the slightest. I am so desensitized by disappointment that any Cubs failure really does nothing to me. My expectation for success is about as high as my expectation that a Will Ferrell movie won't annoy me. Yeah, pretty low.

Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.

Freebies
I love how the Apple iTunes Store gives stuff away for free. Most of the time, it's a B-side to a new album, or a music video, or some song by an artist or new TV show you've never heard of in a hope to give them a popularity boost. Whatever. The key is that it's free.

However, when the freebie is something that I know and love, it's all the better. Take, for instance, the free episode of American Dad that is currently being offered. It was this past Sunday's "Vacation Goo" episode which I thought was brilliant and left me in stitches. And to make it free? Score!

Overlay
I know it's common for areas to be "redistricted," for lack of a better way to word it, in terms of area codes for phone service. Heck, since I've lived in Illinois, I have had four area codes. The reason for this is because the proliferation of new technologies like fax machines and cell phones over the past couple decades has necessitated more numbers within an area code and, thus, the coverage area must shrink and new area codes must be added.

But what I hate is when overlay area codes are applied. This occurs when a single geographic area has two area codes working in it rather than redividing the area. This has already happened in other parts of the Chicago suburbs and now it will affect my area as well. We will soon see the 331 area code work in our 630 zone and all phones, faxes, cells, etc., must be reprogrammed because we must now dial the full 10 (or 11, if you need to use the 1, but cellphones don't need them) digit number to make a local call.

GRRRRRRR!!!

Redesign
I'm pretty sure I mentioned this on here somewhere recently, but I am going to make the jump to WordPress pretty soon. My hope was to have all this done by the middle of this month, but it doesn't seem to be happening. I've got so much crap going on that doing anything to my blog other than posting is just an impossibility. Heck, I haven't even transferred my domain over to a new host yet and that's really the first thing I need to do to make it a reality.

But I do think I finally have a photo in mind for my banner. That's one baby step in the right direction.

Speaking of redesign, I have two sites that I worked on in the past for friends and family to which I need to make some stylistic tweaks. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that all the source files for these sites are nowhere to be found. Original raw images? Nothing. Layered Photoshop images? Nada.

This ticks me off. Now I have to recreate the images from scratch. So not fun.


It's hip to be square...

Snip, snip...

Cube'dCube
For the first time in, I believe, five years, my Rubik's Cube is finally solved! Yay me!

Do you find the timing odd considering Dave's post a couple days ago? Well, yeah, I do have him to thank as the solution he linked to is what ultimately helped me solve it.

I had tried just about everything short of peeling the stickers off and putting them back on (the way I did it when I was a kid). Heck, I even tried to pry it apart (see below), but to no avail. I also tried online solutions and none of them, until Dave's link, worked worth a lick.

Claw'd Cube

But it's done. And now that I know it's possible to solve it and how to do it, I may shuffle it back up and try it again. But not yet. I'd like some time to revel in my accomplishment.

WMPy WMPy WMPy
On that rare occasion that I listen to a CD at work instead of my iPod, I have to use Windows Media Player and, sorry kilax and Diane, but it sucks. I have the worst time trying to figure out the functionality of this piece of software. Everything is so scatterbrained that you can tell a committee worked to set it up.

However, I did get a little laugh from it yesterday. I put in a compilation CD that was not registered with the CDDb and, as expected, none of the CD's information registered in the player. But I still got this in the identifier box...

Unknownbuy

I love it! They don't know who it is, what album it is, or what genre it is... but I can still buy it!

Stupid Microsoft.

Daisies
I owe Dave an apology. I challenged him a bit on the new show Pushing Daisies which premiered last night. He said it was great and that we would all love it. I left a comment saying it better be as good as he keeps hyping it to be.

Well, he was right (yeah, yeah, stroke his ego some more, right?). It was quirky and fun and it had heart and it was beautifully rendered and wonderfully cast and... I just hope they can keep it up. Think the good ol' days of Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands era) meets Dr. Seuss and you'll have some idea of the feel for the show. Then realize it's about a guy who can touch dead things and bring them back to life. But if he touches them again, they die forever and if he doesn't re-kill them within a minute, there will be drastic consequences on another living being around him.

Very cool.


C'mon and be my little good luck charm...

I suddenly felt old yesterday.

Very old.

Katie and I went to see the new Dane Cook starrer Good Luck Chuck. I know, I know, why didn't I read the Good Doctor's review first, right? I seriously should have known better when IMDb's keywords for the movie are listed as "Breasts / Topless / Temptation / Curse / Sexual Wiles." Normally, this wouldn't phase a guy, right? Well, I guess I still tend to look for some of the more traditional movie genre descriptors when selecting a film to watch in the theater. Descriptors like "Drama" or "Mystery" or "Thriller." Heck, it should've served as a warning that "Comedy" doesn't even come up as one of the first IMDb keywords. Even in the expanded list of keywords, the closest you get is "Sex Comedy."

Not that it was entirely horrible. I have seen worse. And this film did have a few (emphasis on "few") redeeming qualities. Alba was somewhat better than normal, which isn't saying too much, and I dug the guy that played her stoner brother, Lonny Ross, apparently of 30 Rock fame.

Yeah, okay, that was about it.

What made me feel old, though, were two scenes in the movie. One scene in which they do a video screen montage of Chuck (Dane Cook) having sex with a ton of women and the other being the final scene of the film.

In the first, I just sat stoically as the various sexual positions were thrown at us on screen. Honestly, it just didn't phase me in the slightest. This could have something to do with the occasional porn party that was held on my dorm floor as an undergrad. Even porn directors have more regard and cinematographic respect for the act of sex than the makers of this film. But the teenagers around Katie and me, who constituted 90% of the theater's audience, seemed to be in awe. It was one of the few times they shut up entirely. If I were the movie screen, I'd feel like I was burning from the intense stares cast upon it.

The final scene of the film, which I won't even describe, was one of those that was just completely unnecessary in the film. For me, it was akin to seeing Ben Stiller's zipper-impaled sack in There's Something About Mary... a movie I loathe. Both didn't help further the film in any way and just served as a means to get some yuks from the crowd. And they both did just that. The kiddies were cackling like hyenas. Not Katie and me, though. We just sat there wondering why we couldn't get up and walk out. We were transfixed, and possibly even slightly horrified. Perhaps we stuck around out of sympathy at what was being done to that poor... well, I'll leave it at that.

And I'll also end this "review" now and leave you with these little bits to help you decide if Good Luck Chuck is one you want to dish out your hard-earned cash for or not.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA):
Katie and I had fun with Kim and Stephen and Diane and Evan this past Friday. We went out to Yu's Mandarin in Schaumburg to enjoy some good Chinese food and drinks and conversation (well, the conversation wasn't Chinese, thankfully). So a big "thank you" to all involved for making it a great evening!


What would Jay-Z do...

Well, the majority, or so it seemed, voted for 3:10 to Yuma with Shoot 'em Up in a close second. So my dad and I went to see the winner.

It was good, no question. It was very well acted and the cinematography was great. Of course, like you might expect of a western, it had a pretty slow build and some moments of boredom. But I've always found this to be a good thing in westerns as it helps convey the mood of life during that era in that part of the world. Would I recommend it? Sure. Enjoy it.

But movies like this always get me thinking... if I was alive during this era and this film was actually depicting life during that time accurately, who would I have been? What I mean is, knowing what I know about myself, what role would I be living out?

Of course, there are two sides to this coin. The first being what role I would like to see myself in, the romanticized vision of how I would like to see my life. Then, on the other side, there's the reality of who I think I legitimately would have been.

Take 3:10 to Yuma. Would I have been the destitute rancher trying desperately to make ends meet who takes on the epic challenge to earn money and, ideally, respect from his family like Dan Evans (Christian Bale)? Or am I the bad ass criminal mastermind who would just as soon shoot his fellow human being than talk to it like Ben Wade (Russell Crowe)?

There are several other characters that warrant consideration in this question as well... bounty hunter and loner Byron McElroy (Peter Fonda), the willing but not necessarily well suited to the task Doc Potter (Alan Tudyk), Wade's loyal second in charge Charlie Prince (Ben Foster), and many others.

I'm not sure which character I idealize myself as being. Each has his promises and flaws. But, in reality, I'm likely either Dan Evans or Doc Potter. Both are kinda in the wrong place at the right time to make good on their lives and turn it into something memorable even if they shouldn't be doing so.

Another movie that makes me think like this is Brian DePalma's classic The Untouchables. Would I be the lawman (Kevin Costner), the criminal mastermind (Robert DeNiro), the unwilling hero (Charles Martin Smith), the aging cop itching to make a difference regardless of the steps taken (Sean Connery), the gunslinger (Andy Garcia), the second in command (Billy Drago), or just some sideliner? While this may sound rather similar to the options in 3:10 to Yuma, you must consider the setting difference and question whether that would have an effect on your decision. In one, you are in the very lawless rural west where anything goes and you have few options regarding how to make a living. In the other, while it's equally lawless, you have options for employment that could keep you on the straight and narrow.

Oh so many questions.

I may just be overthinking the moviegoing experience.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Woo hoo! Tonight is dinner with some bloggers! A triple date with diane and her man, Evan, as well as Kim and her new hubby, Stephen. I do feel bad for Katie, Stephen, and Evan, though, as none of them are bloggers. But at least they can sit there are all roll their eyes at us together. Heh.


Where I will annoy you... until you decide to wake up...

Hey all, sorry about the long weekend of no posting. But it felt kinda nice, so you won't really hear me complaining. However, it's weird to be here blogging again. It feels as though it's been nearly a month since I've posted. My fingers are even rusty when it comes to remembering how to type. Thank God for the delete key. Heh.

Another thing I had trouble getting reacquainted with was my alarm clock. Yeah, I remembered to set it, but this morning was like one of those days where you're using an alarm clock that you're not accustomed to. My brain worries that it won't sound at the right time, or the volume is turned down, or I set it for PM instead of AM. That sort of garbage. As a result, I woke up more than an hour in advance of my preset just to make sure I was up in time. I had a lot of trouble falling back asleep, as well. So I sat there and thought about what to blog. How sad is that?

Speaking of strange wake-up calls, I had one of those yesterday morning. Katie's been dying for me to finish reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as you know, so she can talk to me about it. Well, on Saturday night, I made it to the next-to-last chapter before I decided I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

The next morning, she crawls out of bed for a bathroom trip. Usually, when these happen, she just crawls back in bed. If you were to watch her, you'd swear she wouldn't even make it back up on the mattress and might just fall on the ground and start sawing logs.

Not yesterday.

She, instead, comes bounding out of the bathroom and jumps on top of me and shakes me awake like a child on Christmas morning. "TIME TO READ! TIME TO READ!" You've gotta be kidding me.

Well, I finished it. It was good. Not the best book of the bunch, but I did enjoy the second half much more than the first half. I do have a few questions that went unanswered, but I can deal with it. And I only got misty-eyed once. Just once. And not when you might have expected it.

One final wake-up call for the weekend... well, more like a rude awakening, I suppose. Katie and I went to the Northern Illinois vs. Iowa football game on Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. This was a home game for the Huskies of NIU even though it wasn't played on their home turf.

First, here's a quick geography lesson...

We, the Huskies, have a much shorter drive. And, while I realize that Iowa, being a Big 10 team has a larger fan base than the Huskies do, I really don't like witnessing a stadium filled with nearly 80% raving, yellow-clad beakheads when WE ARE THE HOME TEAM!

Huskie fans should be ashamed. That's all I have to say.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I have made Metalmomma smile! She says it was my Lyrical Challenge post about my shop class incident in middle school. Well, I'm glad it made you smile, but I'm truly afraid of what I'm going to have to do to elevate that smile to outright laughter. Severing a limb entirely is really pushing it, don't you think?

Smileaward1_2 But, anyway, she gave me an award for it. My first blogging award ever!

Since I cannot find the origination of this award, I'm just going to do what Metalmomma did and hand it out to a few random people that I feel deserve it. This is not to say that you all don't deserve one of these puppies, but here are a few I'd like to point out for recent posts.

August at Girl on the Run... she could use a good smile in light of recent events and she's always made me smile in the past, so I'm returning the favor.

Brandon at Down With Pants!... his blog is very much like mine, completely disjointed and all over the place and we like it! Plus, he's secure enough in his heterosexuality to admit when a guy is good looking enough to make him potentially go gay. BTW, mine is Chris Isaak.

Sandra at Internal Monoblog... apparently something's got her real happy these days, and it's rubbing off. Damn you!

Michelle at This Fare City... who knew driving a cab could be so much fun and blog worthy? I wonder if any of her fares have found her blog and thought, "Hey, that asshole is me!"

Greg at What Greg Likes... I love his taste in music and have followed up on several albums he has recommended, although my credit card probably hates him right about now.


Big balls...

Can somebody please tell me what is with the rash of spam e-mail lately with subject lines that read something along the lines of "my boyfriend's phallus keeps slipping out!" and "I'm too small for my man's tool!"

(Most creative and sexually perverse answer wins!)

I've received at least three dozen such e-mails in the last couple weeks.

The other thing I've noticed is that the sender's name is usually male as well. Hmmm, I wonder if these e-mails were meant for Larry Craig, instead.

Seriously, though, I really think spammers need to start working with direct marketing firms so they can properly target their audiences. It might cost them a bit more, but it would certainly save me from having to read subject lines like those above and I would also stop receiving a bunch of spam in Cyrillic and Chinese characters.

Heck, I'd almost be willing to fill out a form containing all my background information and preferences for any number of things if it meant that I'd stop receiving all this crap in my spam box. Almost.

"Oh! It's kapgar! He can't even speak those languages! Don't bother sending that one to him!"

"Free Gateway computer spam to kapgar?? Have you learned nothing?? He's an Apple whore, you idiot!"

"Wait... kapgar doesn't like it that way! He prefers [deleted for the kiddies' sake]."

"Oh yeah, kapgar's really going to reply to an ad for a free seminar run by Ann Coulter. You moron!"

All I'm asking is that you, the "professional" spammer, put a few extra minutes of thought into your spam mailings. We wouldn't hate you quite so much, nor would we target you, nor would you likely have to hide your profession at the family Christmas get-together. Now wouldn't that make for a much nicer existence for us all?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): And when I say "unrelated," I mean it.

Congrats to Kilax who is getting married this weekend! Woo hoo!

It's a wonderful way to live. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


No more tears...

About two months ago, Katie started re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book five). Her reasoning was that it had been four years since she read it and she wanted to know what was going on before we saw the movie together this summer.

Her plan expanded as she decided to re-read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (book six). The plan this time was to refresh her memory on what happened just before book seven so she'd be set and ready to go when the final book came out.

Class got in the way and her reading of book five languished a bit by her standards. She was actually pretty upset with herself for taking so long. Heck, I even went ahead and grabbed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (book seven) so I could start reading it thinking that I would be done by the time she got up to speed. Up to that point, she had always read the books first. By most accounts, I'm a faster reader than she is, no question. But when she really gets into something, she flies. This time, though, I had a feeling I would be able to pull this off; to finish book seven before she caught up and, that way, I'd be able to talk with her about it as she progressed through chapters.

In the end, it was my plan that backfired.

Katie finished her class and tore through the remainder of book five... and book six... and then she grabbed the copy of book seven, sitting on the floor next to my nightstand, yet another victim in a line of about six books that had stacked up over the last few months that I had started reading but had no motivation to finish.

Two days later -- yesterday, in fact -- she finished it. She had the day off work to make up for working this past Saturday and she used it to finish the book.

And she was a wreck during the final 200 pages. She called me a few times at work to give me updates.

"I've got 200 pages left and I can't believe who just died! I can't tell you who, but it's bad!"

"Only 100 pages left and I can't put it down. Someone else died."

"I just finished. It's so sad. But so good! You have to finish this book so we can talk about it."

Her sadness spilled over into just about everything else yesterday as well. It was quite cute, but I never knew a single human being contained so many tears. I realize we, as humans, are 70% water, but after yesterday, I expected Katie would have shriveled up.

She cried as she read the book. She cried when she finished the book. She cried thinking about finishing the book. She cried on the phone to me. She cried as she described her crying to me. She cried when she announced that she wanted to read it again. She cried during reruns of Friends on TBS and claimed it was due to the level of emotion she was feeling from reading the book.

I love you, hon, but please stop crying.

And I guarantee she'll cry as she reads this post later this morning or tonight. Guarantee it.

I only worry that I won't like the book as much. That I will have been desensitized by her over-emotion and it won't have nearly the effect on me. We shall see. I did grab the book again last night and picked up where I left off. I'm now on about page 380 of 760 or so.

Wish me luck. Me, the suddenly slow reader.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): *lynne* over at Life After Work is running a promotion of sorts. She's currently on trips to Malaysia and Switzerland and offered to send postcards to those who signed up. Well, I signed up and my postcard from Switzerland arrived yesterday. It's a beautiful photo of the Alps and a stream flowing in the foreground. It's just cool to get this sort of stuff from overseas. So thank you, *lynne*! And I included the asterisks. Aren't you proud of me?


Freakshow, baby baby, on the dance floor...

When several bloggers get together to party, what else can you call it besides a "freakshow"?

First, I need to apologize. Here I was working hard to get my Palm Pilot up to snuff to post photos semi-live from Davecago 2: The Return, only to not be able to find a reliable, unprotected wifi network where we were. Sorry about that. I checked. It just wasn't happening. Guess I shouldn't have teased, huh?

Suffice it to say, it was a complete blast. We had 13 people in attendance and loved every minute of it. Here is the cast of characters...

The day started with me meeting up with Dave and heading to the Hard Rock Cafe and then the Lego Store. The two of us then headed up to the Apple Store (are you really shocked that the Apple Store and the Lego Store were included when it's Dave and me involved?) where we met up with Gary.

We made pit stops at the hotels where Gary and Dave were staying before heading over to Pizano's on Madison where we tried in vain to hit a Graham Cracker's Comics that had closed a half hour before then went to an "L" station to take some bird's eye photos of Madison Street. Then we grabbed some drinks at the bar in Pizano's.

Jenny was the next to arrive followed by Ajooja, Kim & Steven, Diane & Evan, Ariana, and Robin. At about this time, we were seated at our pseudo banquet table. RW & Lynne were the last to arrive.

Somehow, we all chowed through four pizzas without much trouble, and that was only 11 of us, since RW and Lynne ordered pasta meals.

After determining that we couldn't hear each other all that well, we ventured out to a bar. After trekking nearly a mile, we hit a bar whose outside seating was, get this, closed! What the heck? We couldn't find enough good room inside the place that wasn't right next to where a band was setting up, so we trekked out yet again to a bar inside the Congress Hotel. This was shockingly quiet for a bar, so we sat, drank, and talked. Unfortunately, I had to leave to make my train (the problem with taking trains on weekends is that they run on a two-hour-between schedule... if I miss it, I'm screwed).

But, all in all, it was a fun day with a lot of great people.

I have some photos over on Flickr, but I just had to share my fave of the bunch of one of the cutest couples around, Steven and Kim. Total geek love on this one as he's a Trekkie and she's clearly a more highly evolved human since she's a Star Wars fan.

Steven and Kim

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I have to apologize again as I bailed on Brandon's live fantasy football draft yesterday. I decided to declare it a Katie Day and she and I did a bunch of cool stuff starting with going to our alma, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where we stocked up on new NIU swag for the NIU/Iowa football game this coming Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. We also went out to lunch, saw a movie (Superbad), and cooked a fantastic dinner of steak and rice with peas and a bottle of wine to top it all off.

For those wondering, Superbad wasn't great, but it was fun. As someone I read said, anything with McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and the two cops (Bill Hader and Seth Rogen) was gold! The other stuff was okay. Some was fun to watch while some got to be a bit too much, but we still enjoyed it overall.

And the dinner... oh, the dinner! Fan-friggin'-tastic! A great way to top off a great day.


I'm stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps draggin' on...

Snippets!

America - 1; BP - 0
Pol_hd_victory That's right, BP Amoco backed down on their plans to add thousands of pounds of ammonia and sludge daily to Lake Michigan. The outcry was likely too much of a public relations nightmare for them to handle. Protests at their gas stations and offices in the area, petitions signed, politicians vowing to find ways to stop them... I guess it all added up.

I think what really surprises me about the whole thing is that they held onto the idea that they would do this for as long as they did. I really thought the backlash would've resulted in them turning tail much sooner. Yet they kept maintaining they would do it for the sake of cheaper fuel and more jobs in the Whiting, IN, area.

I, along with the 50,000 other people who signed the online petition started by Congressman Rahm Emanuel and Senator Dick Durbin, got an e-mail regarding the victory yesterday. I just want to say that Dick Durbin has the coolest signature around. Check it out...

Durbinemanuel

I feel like Beavis. "Heh heh, he signs his name 'Dick,' heh heh."

Lindsay, Nicole and Vick... oh my!
It's weird how the world works.

Lindsay Lohan is taking a plea agreement on the multiple charges of drunken driving and drug possession she was hit with this week and she will get out after serving one day in jail. Nicole Richie, for multiple drunken driving charges, was sentenced to the same, but got out, after serving one hour and 22 minutes in jail (I'm sure she learned her lesson). People say that if they were normal, everyday folk like the rest of us, they would have gotten far greater sentences; that their celebrity status saved their butts. This is an assessment I agree with.

Then there is Michael Vick who is likely to get 12-18 months in prison for his role in dogfighting. It's a crime for which he deserves more time served, in my opinion. And now we have someone saying that an example is being made of him because he is a celebrity. If he were a normal, everyday person, he wouldn't get as stiff a sentence. I say "someone" because I only heard of one person saying this and I can't find the article about it that I read.

Can we get our stories straight, people? Are celebrities privileged or targeted? Which is it?

Davecago!
Yeah!! Davecago is happening tomorrow! Woo hoo! To be honest with you, I'm not even sure who all will be in attendance for our evening of pizza- and beer-laden debauchery, but I do know it will be fun.

I only wish Katie could be there. Her job needed her to fill in tomorrow because of someone needing an emergency day off. She might make it if she gets off work early enough, but I'm not holding my breath.


After these messages, we'll be right back...

After yesterday's downer of a post, I felt the need to really kick things in high gear. Inject this place with a little humor, a little wit, a little spunk.

However, today is the day that I'm guest posting over at Hilly's blog! You know what this means, right? No, it does not mean that you will be getting two posts from me today. I don't have that much creativity flowing in my empty head. What it does mean is that I, instead, get to inject her place with a LOT of humor, a LOT of wit, and a LOT of spunk.

As only Duffman and Kool-Aid Man can properly say, Oh yeah!

So come on over and play with me in Blogistan. It'll be fun, I promise!


Zoom, zoom, zoom...

Again, although this may seem like an NFL-related post, it does transcend the football base in which it is steeped. Maybe not quite as far reaching implications as my sideline photographer post, but still and all the same.

Nike Corporation
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005
attn: Marketing and Promotions Department

To Whom it May Concern:

I understand you have a new product in your Nike Zoom line and, as such, you have a desire to market it in the most effective way possible. Being Nike, a good way to do this is to imply speed. Due to this rationale, I completely understand why you would choose LaDainian Tomlinson, running back for the San Diego Chargers and the NFL's top rusher in 2006, as your spokesman. Who better than one of the fastest and most effective runners in the NFL to carry your new line of Zoom products to the top, right? And who better to show him running against than one of the most brutal defenses in the NFL?

And you even came up with a very well-shot commercial to illustrate this point...

However, as someone who is employed in a marketing and promotions capacity as a working-world professional, I must question the mindset of those behind this commercial.

Your goal is to maximize the number of people who respond positively to this commercial so you should be trying to not offend current or potential customers.

So why in the name of all that's holy would you air a commercial in Chicagoland featuring some guy juking out each member of and then scoring against OUR HOME TEAM, THE CHICAGO BEARS???

Whose head was up whose ass when you decided the best way to get through to the Chicago market -- the third largest city with one of the largest suburban constituencies in the United States -- was by showing Tomlinson beat up our home team's defense? The defense that made it to the Super Bowl last year while LaDainian and his Chargers did not. Yeah, we lost, but that's another point altogether. At least we were there.

Admittedly, not everyone in Chicago is a Bears fan. There are pockets of Indy fans down in the southeast, some St. Louis fans in the southwest, and, God forbid, some Green Bay fans in the north (allowing them to live here is simply a charitable act by very forgiving people). But a good 90% of Chicago-based NFL fans are, in fact, Bears fans. Don't ask where that statistic came from, just accept it.

In closing, I'd like to say that you should think before you distribute your commercials next time. Yeah, no matter what, we'd still see it thanks to the wonder that is the Web and, more specifically, YouTube. But at least it wouldn't seem so brazen.

Sincerely,

Kevin "Quite Content with my New Balance Shoes, Thank You Very Much" Apgar


Stone cold crazy, ya know...

In anticipation of writing this post, I have turned my swear jar into a stripper's g-string... stuffed with singles.

Not everyone in this world is going to share the same opinion about everything. I know that. I respect it.

So why can't everyone else accept that fact the way I do and just move on with their fucking lives?

Lately, my anti-Green Day rant has been garnering some attention from less-than-literate "fans." I know I've posted about this before, but it's gotten worse. So bad, in fact, that I have actually shut down the comments on that post and deleted some of what was said.

Because I've become a comment Nazi? No.

Because they have a differing opinion? No.

I'll tell you why... because they've crossed over the threshold of common decency and both threatened and insulted not just me, but someone else I love and others that don't quite exist yet.

Without actually quoting it, just accept that they dragged both Katie and our unborn children into the fray. This was not just some empty, nameless threat like saying "fuck your wife" or the like. They actually name her. I know her name is listed in the post so it's not that difficult. But the very act of putting her name in there takes it beyond an anonymous threat to a far more personal level.

This idiot has moved down in my book from "stupid human" to "fucking coward" by attacking someone who has nothing to do with this and by hiding behind a fake name and bogus e-mail in the process.

Attack me all you want. It's my opinion and I posted it for the world to read. I've opened myself up to criticism and I accept that. I just ask that it be of a reasonable and well-thought-out nature. Sadly, little of it is anymore.

Yesterday, I ran the gamut of emotions after reading that comment. From shock that someone could actually sink that low to fury over it being said to sadness as I considered whether it was actually worth it to keep blogging in light of the idiots that are out there to sheer homicidal rage for obvious reasons.

I've always known that if a physical threat were made against Katie or anyone else I love, I would have no problem defending them. I can fight. I have in the past. But what about this anonymous threat from afar? How do you deal with a desire to reach out and strangle the living shit out of a worthless fucking waste of human flesh that you cannot, and likely never will, see? I just want to take out this rage on something right now.

I know I shouldn't take it so personally and this is exactly the response they want out of me. Well, chicken shit, you got it. Now come out from behind your firewalled safe haven and act on it, you pussy! Put your money where your mouth is. THROW DOWN!

I am so fucking furious right now. My hands have been trembling with rage since yesterday. Typing this post was anything but easy.

By the way, I'm sure Green Day is proud to know what kind of imbecile fans they've earned. Very proud.


Between a rock and a hard place...

Some snippets for you today...

Typepad Outage
Yes, Typepad, the host of this and many other blogs, had a service hiccup yesterday and the system went down. Not sure how long it lasted or how many were affected, but we're back! All of us! We never left you, we swear! We're here waiting for you! Off the top of my head, this would include me, Karl, Hilly, and Nat. Not sure who else.

Lindsay Lohan
Okay, I've had enough. Less than two weeks out of rehab, after agreeing to wear a BAC anklet, you still get busted, yet again, for DUI and cocaine possession. Sorry, don't expect any sympathy from me. You need to disappear for about 5-10 years and then try a comeback. Just leave. Please. And get away from your mom. She's not helping matters at all.

Potter
No. Neither Katie nor I have even started Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet. We haven't had time. So you won't be seeing a review from me anytime soon. Sorry.

And, is it just me, or is there actually someone else out there that's not really in the mood to read this book just yet? I'm so turned off by all the hype right now that I need a little distance. But I know if I do, I stand a much greater chance of accidentally ruining the ending via Web browsing. So I'm kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. Wait to read it until I'm in the mood and will enjoy it or read it now so the ending can't be ruined? Gah!!!

Moore/Braff
But I am about to turn on a friend to the wonder that is Christopher Moore's Lamb and Joshua Braff's The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green. I'm loaning her my copies. I've been hyping up these books to her so much that I hope she's not let down or she'll likely never listen to my opinion ever again. And that would be a travesty!

Robot Chicken
I have become an addict of Robot Chicken on Adult Swim. Yes, some of the sketches can be stupid every once in a while, but the good ones more than make up for it. Rainbow Brite? Enter the Fat One? The Star Wars special? Great stuff! God bless TiVo!

Bird
A coworker turned me on to the music of Andrew Bird recently. So I picked up Armchair Apocrypha and, damn, if it isn't a great album! Then my coworker has the gall to tell me that it's not even his best album (in her opinion). What are you trying to do to me!?!? I'm attempting to trim my iTunes library!

Garden
If this little garden fortification doesn't stop those damn bunnies, I don't know if anything will short of a well-placed landmine. Yeah, I've got the Fort Knox of gardens going on right now.

Fort Knox


Look out, here comes the Spider-Pig...

This conversation happened yesterday.

Me: So I was playing with an anagram generator online today...

Katie: Oh no. What did you find out?

Me: It told me that a possible anagram for "Katie Apgar" is "A Karate Pig."

Katie: But I wanna be a spider pig!

Me: Sorry, you're a karate pig.

Katie: Fine. And you?

Me: "Vagina Perk." (see #14 for proof)

Katie: . . .

Me: Hello?

Katie: Really. Is that what it said?

Me: Yep!

Katie: And you believe that?

Me: It says it so it must be true. The Web never lies.

Katie: Yeah, you just keep believing that.

Me: Love you, too.

I think I'm going to stick with the "they said it, so it must be true" ideal. Any complaints?

I'll warn you now, that anagram generator is addictively fun.


Fuel is pumping engines...

More snippets...

Bend Over:
My chase yesterday morning to find that one last gas station in the suburbs that is charging south of $3.20 per gallon in light of a major recent spike made me recall this conversation I had with Katie on Tuesday. Sadly, all such related conversations tend to end this same way.

Katie: Damn! I wish I filled up my gas tank this morning!

Me: Why? Really good price? Like $3.05?

Katie: $3.00 on the money.

Me: Really? That's awesome!

Katie: Yeah, well now it's $3.29.

Me: WHAT THE FUCK DID BUSH DO NOW????

Yeah, it's true. One of my favorite stations spiked from $3.05 on Tuesday morning to $3.45 on Wednesday morning. This is just sick and wrong.

Can you tell I'm also trying to bump my site's rating a little bit? Don't hate me. I put my seventh of a gallon worth of change in the swear jar.

Slurpee80_2 80 Years:
Happy birthday to the 7-Eleven chain that turned 80 years old yesterday. How did they celebrate? By giving away 7.11 ounce Slurpees (well, "Squishees" now since they are still in the midst of The Simpsons' marketing juggernaut) on 7/11.

Yes, I got my freebie when I went in to pick up my fantasy football guide (you starting another blogger league, Brandon?) I never quite realized just how small 7.11 ounces was until I saw the cup. For your own reference, I've provided a picture of the cup next to a standard-sized wine cork.

Just a bit small. But still free. And I got The Simpsons' Blue Vanilla special flavor and, just like old times, I got a brain freeze. Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!

CTU:
A big thank you to my girl, Hilly, who, a week ago, provided me with a copy of the wav file containing the CTU office phone ringtone from the show 24. Although I couldn't figure out how at first, I finally managed to transfer it to my phone and set it up as my ringtone. Woo hoo! It's the coolest damn thing in the world!

If you'd like the CTU ringer as your own ringtone, send an e-mail to your cellphone (you'll have to figure that out on your own) and put the following code (between the brackets) in the body of the e-mail... [http://kapgar.typepad.com/CTU.mp3].

It should work. No guarantees, though. It worked on AT&T/Cingular for me, though, and when we uploaded Low Stars' "Calling All Friends" to Katie's phone.

Vote:
If you haven't voted yet, please go back to the Lyrical Challenge page and pick your top two lyrics to serve as a theme for my blogging in the future. Voting will close tomorrow.


Will I be on the streets tomorrow...

How about some random snippets today?

Stupid Blonde Reporter:
Amy Jacobson of NBC 5 news in Chicago has negotiated a release from her contract. She's pretty well known around these parts and now even moreso. Why? Because the idiot was caught on tape in a bikini and towel at the house of Craig Stebic, the husband of missing mom Lisa Stebic, a story that Jacobson has been reporting on since the beginning.

Her excuse? She was on her way to a health club and received a call from the sister of the missing woman and turned immediately back around to head to the husband's house, bikini and all.

Now explain to us all why he (one of the PD's top suspects, by the way) was in a swimsuit, as well, and you were eating food at his place with his kids around, huh?

People claimed she was getting some nice exclusives. Now we know why.

And NBC has already pulled her from their Web site. Nice.

Update: Found out the kids were hers, not Craig's. So she had her own kids along with her while doing some "investigative reporting."

Smarter Blonde Reporter:
Ivanka Trump on The View? Wow, that might've even given me enough reason to watch that cacklefest. Sadly, 'tis not meant to be.

Davecago, Take 2:
So, some of you may have heard of this obscure guy named David Simmer II. Perhaps you've seen the name Blogography around the Intarwebs? Well, maybe one or two of you anyway. He's coming to town in August and is trying to pull together a mass meeting of fellow D-list bloggers (I KID!) for a night of pizza and brew in the Loop. Anybody interested?

Graverunners Union:
I was driving home when I noticed some kids practicing baseball. No big deal, right? Wrong. Their practice field was right beside a graveyard.

Catch that last part?

Right ... Beside ... A ... Graveyard

That's when I came up with the coolest idea for coaching motivation ever!!!! The coach needs to show up with two bat bags. When speaking to the team, the coach motions to the first bag, full of bats, and says, "if you don't learn to use these," he then turns to the second bag, full of shovels, and says, "you'll learn to use these."

Think it might work?

Parental Guidance:
I'm so ashamed. Stupid freakin' New Year's Resolution!!!!

Online Dating

Hilly, I think I need you to guest blog again and up my rating. Think you can pull off an NC17 for me in a single post, hon?

Dilbert Porn:
I got this from my desk calendar a couple weeks ago (it's a few years old, otherwise, based on date of original publication). Simply put... best. Dilbert. ever.

Dilbert

And a happy Hump Day to you, too!


Share it...

Look at me! I'm posting on another Saturday! wOOt! (welcome back, Karl)

Katie's at work, I'm at home, I have nothing to do but clean and catch up on The Dead Zone and Robot Chicken, so I thought I'd jump on here and share something that I just added that I think is about the coolest thing around.

No, not an iPhone. That would have to drop about $300 in price before I buy one. But, and I admit this begrudgingly, I like it a lot more than I did when it was announced. Plus, I applaud the fact that Apple is not making free iPhones available to celebrities. Treat them like normal people. At least, not so far. This is how companies should have been doing it all along.

Actually, I'm here to talk about a little feature on a Web service that many of us already use. It's that wonderful little, handy dandy RSS feed aggregator known as Google Reader that we all use it to keep track of what each of us is saying on our sites. Well, news and sports sites as well, I'm sure.

But have you ever noticed the little reverse RSS feed icon at the bottom of each post you read in Google Reader? It's in the circled part of the image below (thanks to  Neil and SJ, via 2HT, for unwittingly letting me use their posts in the sample image).

Readershare

Well, if you activate the "Share" icon by clicking on it, you can share this post with other readers. Google will compile all your shared items on a page that you can link to from your Web site.

And I've done just that over in my menubar. Near the top under "Personal," you'll see a link called "Shared g-Reader Stuff" (not that original, I admit, but it'll do until I think up a better name). Anything I want that I currently read in my Google Reader account can be viewed in here. Right now, it's just a few posts from Chicagoist, but I'll be adding new blog posts and news items as I find them. It's a pretty sweet little tool and one that I think all of us can use so we can share cool stuff that we like.

Now I think I'm off to finish this episode of The Dead Zone. Have a great weekend!


Caring is creepy...

Have you all heard stories about how potential employers may perform Web searches of employees just to see what they can find out? I know some people freak out about this sort of thing, but, in this day and age, it's to be expected. If the information is there, why not check it out?

Besides, we do this sort of thing on people we know all the time, don't we?

We don't?

I'm the only one?

God I hope not.

Yeah, as weird as this may be to admit, I've actually jumped on Google to search for people I currently know and used to know just to see what kinds of fun stuff I can dig up. And, shockingly enough, there's not that much out that's particularly interesting.

Being the eternal naysayer that I am, I keep hoping to find an arrest record on someone I hated in high school. Maybe that shy friend is on the verge of breaking through as the next Steve Jobs. Perhaps an ex girlfriend is now a herpes-laden stripper smoking crack in back alleys off Sunset Boulevard.

The truth is far less interesting, unfortunately. The only truly incriminating piece of information I have on a classmate is one friend who was arrested for drug possession. Of course, I found out about this off the Web. I wonder if there's a police record for him now that I can find via Google. Considering he was such a sheltered mama's boy back in the day, I'm happy he found his true calling.

But he would be about it. And that disappoints me terribly. I keep searching for that one piece of information that will just make my day and I cannot find it. But I want it. Must... keep... digging...

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Did anyone watch the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies... 10th Anniversary Edition last night? Yeah, they revised the list that they developed a decade ago to bump several and add many more. Only one movie in the top 10 was in the same place it was 10 years back. Pretty obvious what that one is going to be.

Thankfully, Fargo was finally bumped off the list. I never quite got that movie and was never in agreement with its inclusion on the list. I've been told by friends that if you ever lived in the Dakotas or northern Minnesota, then this film will really resonate for you. Great. That helps. So 500,000 people in the world understand that film and that's about it. 

But the pleasant shockers were the additions of Toy Story and The Shawshank Redemption and the boost that Raging Bull (#24 --> #4) and Vertigo (#61 --> #9) received on the list. Quite nice. John Wayne's The Searchers jumped 84 places to #12 as well. If you visit the Web site, they have a PDF you can download that shows the 2007 list with a comparison to where it was back in 1997 and how many spaces it moved. It also has an interactive feature allowing you to checkbox the ones you've seen (I'm at 51 of 100). The only thing missing is a list of those movies that were bumped from the original list. That would be very nice.


We are the youth gone wild...

Yesterday, on the way to meet some of Katie's family for dinner, I saw a guy and a girl on a motorcycle. The girl was wearing a helmet!!

I was shocked. I don't see many people wearing helmets on motorcycles anymore. They treat it as an illness.

Then I noticed what the girl was wearing... short shorts and a spaghetti-strap top.

Yay. So when they crash and she goes skidding down a football field's worth of pavement, her head will be in perfect shape while the rest of her resembles a Body World's exhibit. That'll bode well for her dating life.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): My gal from Down Under, Kazza the Blank One, has posted a Google Maps challenge of her own on her site. Go over there and check it out!

I'm not doing so hot at it right now.

And if any more of you out there are posting challenges of your own, feel free to link to them here.


Snippety doo dah, snippety ay...

How about a snippety sorta day today? No, not snippy... snippety. The e-t makes all the difference.

Blogiversary
Yep, today, I think, marks my second anniversary here on Typepad. Woo hoo! It's been a great two years and I've met a ton of great people and it still amazes how much smaller blogging can make the world. Not in a bad way, mind you. I'm just talking about how it can bring people from all over the world that much closer together making us all feel like a virtual family of sorts. It's cool that way and I'm happy to be a part of it all. Whatever little part I can be!

InWeDay
I feel bad. I signed up last year to take part in International Weblogger's Day (InWeDay) because, I thought, what a great idea! A day to celebrate us as bloggers! I got the e-mail about a month or so ago saying that InWeDay was coming up in June and that the theme was solidarity; "How can bloggers get together to overcome some of the problems we face in the real world?"

Wow! Pretty heavy. But I was up to the challenge. I set the date, June 24, in my head and kept thinking, much like how I acted with regard to my best man's speech for my brother's wedding, I've got time and I'll probably come up with a great idea the day before or even the day of.

And then I got the e-mail this morning saying "Happy InWeDay!" Oh crap. It was June 14, not 24. And I've got nuthin'.

So, to those who come up with some snazzy ideas, a big Happy InWeDay from me to you!

Google Map Answers
It always blows my mind how involved you all get in these Where the Hell in Google Earth Is challenges. And many of you seem to not pay attention to what other people were posting in the comments when making your own guesses. Very cool! Why is that point such a big deal? Because all seven of the challenges were solved by some combination of commenters yesterday.

As I said, most were pretty easy, while two were a bit tougher. Yet that didn't stop a couple of you from even managing the tough ones. Here are the answers and the first person to guess each one correctly...

  • #1 - Grauman's (nee Mann's) Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, USA - my BiL, Scott!
  • #2 - Navy Pier, Chicago, IL, USA - Eileen Dover (can't go wrong with a name like that)
  • #3 - Battery Park, New York City, NY, USA - Suze (a Canadian beat all you Americans! For shame!)
  • #4 - Sky Dome and the CN Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - a combination of Scott and Suze (he got Sky Dome and she got the CN Tower)
  • #5 - Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, England, UK - Jacquie (sorry hon, you weren't the 7 of 7 you expected to be)
  • #6 - Apple World Headquarters, Cupertino, CA, USA - Ryan Jerz (this was my geeked-up entry into the contest and, no, I really wasn't expecting anyone to get it so my hat's off to you, MrJerz!)
  • #7 - Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas, NV, USA - Scott (yeah, lose the question marks, you got it right)

I gotta remember to do these more often. I don't want them to become an excuse to not blog, mind you. But they're just as much fun for me to set up as they are for you all to guess (I'm assuming on the second part, of course; let me know if I'm wrong).

Music
I've been having some fun lately with music. In the last month or so, I bought Wilco's Sky Blue Sky, Ozzy Osbourne's Black Rain, and Ultra Payloaded by Perry Farrell's Satellite Party. And, coming soon, we've got new ones by the Smashed Pumpkins (it's only half the band so can we truly call them by their real name? No D'arcy or James... it just doesn't feel right. But the new single, "Tarantula," is pretty good) and Kelly Clarkson.

Yeah, so that last one sticks out like a sore thumb amidst all that metal and alt-rock. I don't care. She's one of my guilty pleasures and I'm proud of it. She is to my music collection what the 1998 version of The Parent Trap is to my movie collection... pure guilty love and you can't take either of them away from me. And, yes, I was watching TPT last night on ABC Family. It's a movie I just can't turn off.


Where in the world is...

Like Diane said in my return post from Vegas, "Nothing like a good vacation to reinvigorate the ol' blog!"

True. But I wasn't expecting the reinvigoration to run away from me screaming bloody murder after a mere five or six posts.

Yeah, I feel like I'm back at square one trying to find something to write about. I had considered talking about the movies that Katie and I want to see this summer, but it just didn't strike me as all that post worthy.

Simply put, the ones we've seen include Spider-Man 3 that we hated and Ocean's 13 that we loved. Ones we definitely want to see include Knocked Up, Waitress, Bourne Ultimatum, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Ones we might see are Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Rush Hour 3, Vantage Point, and The Simpsons Movie. And then there are the ones that I have been told I might have to see with my brother because there's no way Katie will go with me and those are Transformers and Live Free and Die Hard, the latter of which I only plan to see if there's nothing else to do.

Yeah, not much to say there.

So I was playing with Google Maps the other day, which I do way too often for it to be healthy, and I realized it really has been a long time since I've done one of my Where the Hell in Google Earth Is challenges (number 1 | number 2). So why not today? Are you all cool with that? Some are just far too easy while one or two are complete geekfests on my part.

For those who haven't played this game here before, just guess what the Google Maps images are. If you know it, you know it. If you don't, make something up. The wittier, the better.

I'm not sure how long you have to guess. I may just give answers after they've all been correctly guessed. Unless, of course, the comments keep coming in and they remain funny. I like when the answer is already out there and people still keep throwing up crapshoot guesses. Those are the most fun.

They're in the extended post, so have some fun.

Continue reading "Where in the world is..." »


Think about the place where you live...

I love this planet. I hope that you do, too. And I would hope that we all want it to be around for future generations.

But why is saving the Earth such a difficult thing to do?

I've got a friend who is a "green" nut. You know the type, right? She tries to do everything she can for the benefit of our planet. Sometimes it's actually a bit funny to listen to her as she goes on and on about some things. But I respect her dedication. It's hard not to. When someone is this passionate about something, how can you not admire it?

On occasion she gives me tips for living a more "green" existence. Special recycling drives, waste disposal tips, ideas to cut emissions, etc. Thankfully she hasn't gone the single toilet paper square route. Even she thinks that's ridiculous. Laughably so.

But, if several of these things are what we need to do in order to save our planet, why is it so damn inconvenient and even difficult to do it?

A couple local communities have, in recent weeks, set up electronics recycling events. The purpose of them is to allow you an eco-friendly method by which to dispose of old computers, TVs, printers, stereo components, etc. The problem lies in that these events are one-time-only happenings. Why aren't they year round? Why hasn't the company that is actually doing the  recycling tried to score contracts with local recycling or waste collection agencies to allow for weekly curbside pickups like with regular trash? What if an electronic device craps out on me in the weeks immediately following the event? Do I have to hold on to it until the next year? The company that is sponsoring the event isn't even close to where I live for me to be able to drive there and drop them off without it being considered a major waste of gas.

Now that I'm on the topic of curbside recycling pick up... why are they so picky about what they will and won't take? I've had them refuse some items on occasion. Even if they bear the recycle logo on the bottom. C'mon! I'm just trying to do my part to save the environment and you're thwarting me. The same goes for recycling bins that you find in office buildings and stores and out on the street. I've seen them go so far as to say they will only accept flat, uncrinkled paper. What? Crumpled paper is suddenly less recyclable?

Within the next year, more than likely, I'll be in the market for a new car. Right now, I'll probably buy a Ford Escape. I know not all of you are Ford fans. I've heard all the jokes, so save them, okay? I've been a Ford owner for just under a decade now and I really like the Escape. Great drive and, for an SUV, it gets very nice mileage. The new 2008 model gets even better mileage, in fact. But, seeing as how they make a hybrid version of the vehicle, I thought I could do even better, so I looked into it. Guess what? The hybrid Escape only gets about five to ten more miles per gallon than the non-hybrid version but costs almost $10K more. In the grand scheme of things, that's not a great savings. I don't have exact figures, but it would take me, I think, more than the warrantied life of the vehicle to make up that difference so I actually turn my added expense into a savings. Yeah, it helps the planet, and, if you have the cash, why not? But I don't. And I doubt a judge will care that I'm trying to save the planet when I'm dragged into court for failure to pay my bills.

I want to do my part. Really, I do. But it's just too damn difficult sometimes.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): First it was iTunes and the iPod being Windows compatible. Then Apple announces they are moving to an Intel chip so their computers can run Windows natively via Bootcamp or Parallels. Now Apple is making their beloved browser, Safari, for Windows machines. I'm actually using it on my work PC and it's pretty nice. A few small issues here and there, but I'm sure future builds will take care of it.

It's time you all face it... the world will soon be run by a mega corporation comprised of three companies -- Apple, Google, and Adobe. Just bow down now. Make it easy on yourselves.


Get your game on, go, play...

This post is coming to you courtesy of the Butt Crack of Dawn... always there to ruin a good night's sleep.

I told you all that I was not going to be posting during my trip to Las Vegas unless I am able to find a connection, which, if Katie has her way, is highly unlikely. But this doesn't mean you will be lacking for something to read here on Kapgar.

I've undertaken an ambitious project... one that I never thought I could pull off... one that would require a complete duping of many of my fellow bloggers...

That project was fooling six people into actually guest blogging for me.

Yeah, that's right. SIX GUEST BLOGGERS ON KAPGAR!

Now, who?

Well, it actually turned out to be much easier than I thought as all six of the people I initially asked said yes. Can you believe that?

So, stay tuned to Kapgar in the coming week as I bring you a veritable pantheon of All-Star Bloggers that will hopefully bring some quality writing to this Den o' Tripe.

Here's the lineup...

All of these are really great bloggers and I hope you enjoy what they have to contribute here in the coming week.

It took quite some thought to pare down this list and there are many more I would have liked to have guest blogged here. It only makes me wish that I was staying away a week or two longer. Alas, we can only afford so much. Grrr...


All this time you put up a fear for 100,000 years...

I hope you don't mind some bullets today...

Shopping
Skecherurbantread As much as I loathe shopping, I must say that it has panned out a bit in my favor the last couple of days. The other night, Katie and I went to Kohl's and I got a really cool pair of Skechers shoes. I really like Skechers and don't mind getting a little girlie about shopping for them. They're the last vestige of cool I've got going for me so I've gotta enjoy it while I can. And these are pretty darned cool.

Also, last night, Katie asked if I would stop out at a mall nearer to where I work to pick up a skirt they were holding for her (another store called in the hold). I hadn't been in this mall in years and, let me tell you, it was really nice inside. Not nearly as cluttered as all the other malls I've ever visited in my life. There were no abandoned storefronts like the mall near where I live (which, I think, is sitting at about 60% capacity... sad). But, most importantly, it wasn't littered with people. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that I was there on a Wednesday night during weather that would drive most to want to visit the more trendy outdoor malls. Whatever. I liked it. And the skirt that Katie had me pick up is very awesome. She's gonna rock that skirt. And I picked up a copy of a card game called Guillotine from Gamer's Paradise (a store I'll never stop enjoying) that a friend introduced me to a couple weeks ago.

Wait, I did shop a little at the one place where I do like shopping... the iTunes Store. I bought Ozzy Osbourne's new album, Black Rain, and it rocks. The good Ozzy -- circa No More Tears and prior -- is back. Most importantly, so is Zakk Wylde. That man can shred like no other.

Children
Finally, after having them in our possession for more than a month and a half, Katie and I finished the three Netflix DVDs we've been meaning to watch. On Sunday, we seemingly pulled an Africa Day watching both Blood Diamond and The Last King of Scotland. Both were amazing with the edge going to Diamond.

Last night, I finally watched Children of Men. I had to watch that one without Katie because she had no desire to see it whatsoever. It was good, but strange. I love scifi flicks that are not blatantly scifi in feel and this definitely qualified. It was about people living in Britain in 2026, 18 years after everybody in the world mysteriously became sterile. All of a sudden, a refugee woman is found to be pregnant and it's up to a guy named Theo (Clive Owen) to make sure she escapes the wartorn country to a mythical group called the Human Project who can guarantee her's and her child's safety. Really dark and depressing world created by Alfonso Cuaron, the director of the best of the bunch of Harry Potter films, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Stats
I'm a bit upset. I just discovered that, according to my StatCounter site meter, I'm about to hit 100,000 page views. But I'm going to break this plateau while I'm in Vegas, so I'll never actually see it. No these are not all that have hit my site. This is actually just since last July when I signed up for this service.

At the time I signed up, my Typepad stats said I was at about 25,000 hits. So I just assumed I would be at 125,000 when StatCounter read 100K. However, as time has passed, the counts between the two services have inched ever closer. Now there's only a 5K difference between them. Either one is counting too fast or one is counting too slow or some combination therein. I'm not sure what to believe anymore.


This is the end of the innocence...

I just needed to drop a quick note to you all that, as much as it pains me, I'm going to have to kill my e-mailed replies to every comment that is left on my blog. This is not a time issue at all. In fact, my comments have remained pretty consistent in quantity for the last several months. The problem lies in Google. Their Gmail webmail application that I use for my primary account is starting to give me "account frozen" warnings every time I whip through a throng of comment replies.

They actually think I'm spamming all of you. Ignore the fact that I am sending out single recipient replies to e-mails I have already received and not sending out mass replies to persons unknown. Don't pay attention to the fact that I've never been involved in spamming nor the fact that I've been a Gmail member in good standing for two going on three years now.

It makes no sense whatsoever and angers me to no end.

However, since this is my primary address and is tied to more online accounts than I can shake a stick at, I cannot afford to have it frozen or, worse yet, canceled out from under me. And Google has been known to cancel accounts for less; in some cases, no reason whatsoever. It would seem that this is the only solution for me at this point. If a comment necesitates a direct reply or you are a new commenter delurking for the first time, I will most definitely reply personally as I normally would. But if it's just a matter of me saying something like "I agree" or the like, I may have to curtail the personal e-mail. I will still reply to each and every comment left on my blog, but you will have to visit the post to see my reply.

Don't hate me. I realize that the personalization factor is something that many of you have come to expect from El Kapgar. Blame those bastards at Google.

Totally Unrelated Aside: Katie and I just picked up something at the grocery store that we're totally stoked about trying. It's a limited edition Jell-O mix in Margarita flavor. We'll keep you posted. And, yes, we got a kick out of the idea that there was actually a "limited edition" Jell-O flavor. Heh.

Also on the recommendation front, I just downloaded Paul McCartney's new single "Ever Present Past" from his forthcoming album Memory Almost Full. I'm not much for Sir Paul's solo stuff, but this is pretty decent. Rocks nicely. And takes a little jab at his ex Heather Mills. Gotta love that.


No more, no more...

Wow, after receiving a comment from my brother in law, Scott, yesterday congratulating me on two days in a row of what he deemed "perfect posts," I really feel bad that I'm about to lay the schlock down on you today. But, oh well, my streak had to come to a crashing halt sometime, right? And what better way to do that than with snippets!!!

Hang Up
Do I exude "poverty"? When you think about me and what you know about my life, does the concept of "destitution" subsequently pop in your head?

At home last night after work, I received a call identified on our caller ID as my alma, "Northern Ill. Univ."

"Uh oh," my brain said. "They want money. Do I pick it up? Do I not? I already know I'm going to say 'no' but should I at least let them talk and then practice my repertoire of denial methods? Yeah, let's practice." So I picked up.

"Mr. Apgar," the telemarketer said. "My name is Susie Jonesingforyou and I'm calling on behalf of Northern Illi..." and the line went dead.

Did she realize who she was talking to and suddenly just know that there was no money to be had? I can just envision her supervisors in the background... "Crap! It's that Apgar bastage! Hang up! Hang up!"

Wow, I've got a reputation. Or I'm just reading into this too much.

Reading into it is so much more fun, though, isn't it? ;-)

Cancelled
Sadly, my two park district classes were cancelled. Apparently, there was a general lack of registration across the board on their classes and several were canned as a result.

I'm bummed about it and, at the same time, a bit relieved. An odd mix, I'm sure. I was looking forward to teaching, but I was simultaneously anxious about my ability to do it. I felt wholly underprepared despite the classes being about topics I know fairly well (blogging and photography).

I think they're going to try again this summer. Cross your fingers for me. Please?

Lunch
I've blazed myself a path down a slippery slope. This past week, I packed Katie a lunch. Sandwich, apple sauce, and a piece of fruit. I put it, complete with a little note, in her ladybug lunch bag (yes, we both have lunchbags; her's looks like a ladybug because she likes them) and stuck it in the fridge for her to find when she left for work.

She was caught completely off guard and absolutely loved it. That's great, right?

Yeah, until she starts to give you the "pouty, guilty eyes" when you don't do the same every day thereafter.

Help! I'm slipping!

All Dolled Up
Oh, and speaking of birthdays, as I was yesterday, it turns out that while on a shopping trip with Katie, my mom bought a gift for our not-yet-even-conceived daughter. It would seem she's dropping not-so-subtle hints in our general direction, wouldn't you say?

And the gift? A doll... GAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I guess it could've been a ventriloquist dummy...

Painted like a clown...

That suddenly comes to life and eats my flesh...

But this is pretty darn close.

My mom's response to Katie when she -- God love her -- expressed concern on my behalf regarding it being a doll... "He needs to grow a pair."

Love you too, mom.


Just one year of love...

I'm not really sure why this happened, but posting yesterday about the artificial spiking of my stats (get it? "artificial"... cheerleaders... breast implants... yeah, okay) made me get a little nostalgic. Well, I guess it was a little bit of that and the realization that I just recently passed my nine-year anniversary of the first time I started keeping an online journal (March 15, 1998) and I forgot about it to boot.

I've always liked how many other bloggers like Neil have the "on this date last year" feature on each of their posts. So, to wax nostalgic even further, I went back a year and started rereading some of my April 2006 entries.

I never realized what a milestone month it was. Briefly...

Okay, okay, I'll stop patting my own back. I'm developing a crick in my shoulder anyway. 

But it is amazing to go back and reread where you were one year ago. Have you bettered your place in life? Are you worse off? Or are you simply maintaining the status quo? How has your writing evolved? What kinds of things were you doing a year ago?

How is it possible that a whole year has gone by since all this happened?

Hmmm... I'm thinking I may have devolved a bit in terms of writing ability. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

And I just realized I have only seven or eight weeks left until my brother's wedding. Where'd that come from? I guess I'd better start writing that Best Man speech. Anybody got any good ideas I can steal? Please?

Oh yeah, got a meme for you in the extended post...

Continue reading "Just one year of love..." »


Sex sells...

Some of you may be disappointed I didn't post on April Fool's Day. But after how guilty I felt over last year's prank, I told you I wouldn't and I stuck by it. Now on to the real post...

I know Dave has noticed it, but has anyone else figured out what a fickle mistress blogging can be?

One day, you can pour your heart into a post and be so incredibly proud of what you've written and you wind up with record low site hits and even fewer comments. Yet, the next day, you can write complete tripe that you just know you're gonna be flamed for, and yet you wind up with a ton of positive comments and hits.

Why is this?

I'm asking because Friday's post constituted a record day for me in many respects.

I hit an all-time high in single-day page loads and unique visitor count as per Stat Counter. These high counts continued throughout the weekend, which is normally a dead time for me since I don't regularly post.

I hit an all-time high in single-day subscribers as per FeedBurner.

And, yet, I had a pitiful number of comments. One of my lowest of the month, in fact.

I'm not trying to guilt anyone. Honestly. It wasn't a particularly good post. But, usually, my hits show a positive correlation to my comments. I'm not sure if that's the proper statistical term I'm intending to use as it's been years since I took my college stats class. What I'm trying to say is that as one goes up in number, so does the other. High hits = high comments. It's not exactly rocket science.

But not on Friday.

Even Brandon had noticed an odd trend on his site lately and he e-mailed me about it. He is apparently receiving an inordinate number of hits on his site that are being directed from my post about fantasy football from 2006. This made no sense to me, so I checked it out. Yes, there are two or three links alone to his site in that single post. But why would anyone care about a fantasy football season that's dead and gone?

Oh wait, it's the cheerleaders, isn't it? I post a picture of cheerleaders and suddenly I get the perv factor going on my site. Somebody's searching for pictures of them and they get this totally random shot of three Miami Dolphins cheerleaders on my site that I picked up off Google Image Search last year.

I check my own stats and, I'll be damned, that's exactly what it is! Not just for Brandon, but for me as well. I'm not getting a high number of hits because I'm particularly witty or hip or just downright cool. It's because I posted a picture of short-skirted, pom-pom'd sex, isn't it? And Brandon's getting them as castoff from my site. They think they're going to find even more of the same over on Down With Pants! Well, with a name like that, what would you expect?

Well, if that's what it's going to take, fine!

cheerleaders

I can't believe it's true. Sex sells. Even in the Blogiverse.


It's so hard to say goodbye...

As a pseudo-responsible member of the blogging world, I don't want to keep links in my blogroll to sites that are dead. So, a couple times a year, I perform an overhaul of my blogroll and feed reader to make sure that I know who is "alive" and who is "dead" in this great community.

Let me tell you, nothing really pains me more than those few days.

It's not fun to discover that someone has quit the blogging world and moved on to other things. Sure, there are some people you can look at and think "yeah, I saw it coming," but that really doesn't make it any easier when it actually happens. However, there are those people whose expiration from this place is completely unexpected. Then there are those people who say they're quitting and wind up coming back (yay!).

Perhaps it's the optimist in me, but if someone says they're leaving, I hold off for a while. I'm not going to immediately remove them especially if their blog is still viewable. Bloggers like the great writers behind Mocha Momma, One Child Left Behind, and Sucky Blog have all said they're done. Kaput. Outta here. "On a break."

But I didn't give up right away.

Since she "quit," Kelly at Mocha Momma has put up another post, albeit brief. So there is still hope. Brandon at One Child has only been gone for a few months. He could still come back. No, wait, his blog URL now redirects to the Communicatrix. I'm guessing that means he's completely gone as well. It appears Jack at Sucky Blog may legitimately be done. It's been about nine months since he took his "break."

And I keep holding out hope that Chanakin at Sensible Dolt will get his technical issues ironed out. I miss that big galut.

Then there are those bloggers who just leave. No warning that I recall at all. They just jump ship. I'm not going to list any names here because, perhaps, there are good reasons they left and they don't want to share them with the world and, by calling them out, I'm making it more difficult for them. But I had to axe about three sites that fall under this category. One has been gone for sometime now and I kept thinking she'd come back, but she never did. The other two just up and vanished taking their sites with them. Just a void at both addresses now.

I guess if there's one consolation to this whole sordid affair, it's that I now had reason to go ahead and add some new blogs to my roll. If you haven't had a chance yet, give the roll a once over. You'll find some new goodies in This Fare City, radioactive girl, and Pink Bunny Foo Foo.  All are great sites and have passed the ever-strict kapgar blogroll inclusion criterion.

Oh yeah, and I've just signed up with Facebook (Burn, Hilly! Burn!). I don't know why as I hardly use the MySpace account I have. But, I gotta admit, the interface is a heckuva lot more visually appealing at Facebook. Now, can someone please explain to me how this infernal thing works? What are these so-called "networks"? And can I set up a simpler URL like at MySpace (.../kapgar as opposed to .../profile.php?id=555460844)?

Yeah, I'm a noob.