The Web 2008

No time for losers...

Wow, it is getting truly wicked out now. Visibility from the window outside my office is maybe 1000 feet. Beyond that, all whiteness. It's almost like I'm coming close to living out my own Jose Saramago nightmare.

It's times like these that I feel I should have an overnight bag ready to go for work just in case I get stuck here. I can't imagine what it would be like to be stuck at work overnight due to weather that is unplanned. Sure, I've pulled overnight shifts, but they were known ahead of time and I was able to plan accordingly. But this? This is nuts. And I really don't want to be stuck. Not now. Two days until Christmas, for Christmas' sake!

Oh please may the roads be plowed before I have to leave.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Do I look?

Do I dare to actually look and see how it all played out? Oh hell, I guess I'd better...

Bracket  

Topthree


I WON! I WON! I never win fantasy sports! I've been known to play upwards of three leagues in a single sport at one time and never placed higher than second or third. In the three years I've played in Brandon's DOWN WITH PANTS league, I placed seventh and 11th... pitiful. This, though, is awesome!

Okay, enough tooting of my own horn. Now I get to go ball up in a corner and cry that the season is over and I have to wait another eight months for the next season to begin.

But, before I go, can someone please tell me what the hell RW's avatar is? Looks like a booger or Slimer from Ghostbusters. I know I've seen it before or maybe it just reminds me a bit of the smiley from the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


Wildcats, football... Wildcats, football...

There are pros and cons to having been subjected to the flu this past weekend.

  • Pro #1: Without going into any details, I feel the thinnest I've felt in a couple years.

And, actually, that might be the only pro.

  • Con #1: I was sick during Katie's first weekend after her classes ended. The weekend we should've been celebrating not only that she was done for the semester, but that she pulled in another 4.0 GPA. I'm ridiculously proud, but couldn't do much to celebrate.
  • Con #2: My diet becomes Katie's diet. She's not a big fan of cooking for one. So she was eating the same bland crap I was. Chicken noodle soup, noodles, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with those foods, but, after a while, you kinda want a little more.
  • Con #3: Missing one of her family Christmas parties. I guess we only have three this year instead of the normal four. But it still kinda sucks.

I'm not completely over it just yet. But hopefully soon.

Moving on...

I've got a third Five Questions to run through. This set comes from my neighbor to the north, Nat! Here is a link to her 5Q.

1. You recently shared a 10th anniversary with Katie. If you could give her anything in the world what would it be? (She's already had your hunka-hunka burning love.)
You realize Katie laughed her ass off when she read "hunka-hunka burning love," don't you? Thank you for that. I would give her a baby. Simply put. And we will, SJ. Fear not. Mini-Me will happen soon.

2. I have noticed (I could be misunderstanding) that you take it personally when specific Chicagoans or Americans do dumb things. I think "ashamed" was the word you use. Why do you think that is? (And weren't the Bush years just a bit brutal on you?)
You're not misunderstanding. Not in the slightest. I realize what a tenuous relationship the USA has with the world as a result of the Bush Administration. Although I'm not placing all the blame on him, his admin certainly does deserve a big chunk of finger pointing. So the reason why I feel so ashamed is because, even though I realize that stupid people are typically the minority of any population, they are the ones that achieve the headlines in the news. And, given the World Wide Web, these news stories circle the globe faster than the fallout from that meteor in the beginning of Armageddon. And, when that person receives such notoriety combined with the low expectations the world already has of us, it tends to reflect on the rest of the population of the USA as though we're all complicit. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but it's truly amazing how often you hear "stupid American" or "ignorant American" while having done nothing personally to deserve it. Know what I mean?

3. Football. I don't get it. I mean you get more people at college and high school games than we get at the Grey Cup. What's up with that?
Wildcats As sung by Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Goldie Hawn, et al, in the movie Wildcats, "It's the sport of kings, better than diamond rings... football."

It's hard to explain the appeal of American football sometimes. It's even harder to understand why they use the word "football" to describe a sport where feet only touch the ball (or should only touch the ball) a grand total of a few seconds per game. But, in my mind's eye, it's a fantastically fun sport that requires a lot of strategy, balls, and luck. It's organized war. Their playbooks in the NFL are larger than those in a war room, I would imagine. And some people are fanatical about it. No different than football/soccer in the rest of the world. Both sports have equal levels of fanaticism. In fact, considering the movie Green Street Hooligans, I'd almost say that football/soccer has greater levels of fanaticism. I've never seen street gangs fighting and killing to support the Bears over the Packers. Seriously people. It's a freakin' game! Well, except maybe in Texas. But that's a whole other story.

4. I am toying with running the Chicago Marathon in 2009. Care to join me?
If by "join" you mean "stand on the sidelines and cheer like mad," then sure!

5. What one obscure film do you think everyone should see?
Oh, for you documentary buffs, I would highly recommend a little known, barely seen film called Barbed Wire Pioneers: Inventing a Community. Not sure where you'd obtain a copy in all honesty, but I would recommend it if you are creative enough to nab it. And, no, it wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that I helped make it in grad school.


Want to be part of it? Follow these instructions:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
  2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Oh great, I've lost Katie forever. Thanks a pantload, SJ.

Sparklest
Click on the image to be taken to this shirt on SJ's Zazzle storefront.


It's so cool, it's so hip, it's alright...

Payton34
'nuff said.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I like when certain Web sites dynamically change the proverbial little things each time you revisit them. For example, a Javascript-based image rotation or how Flickr welcomes you in a different language each time you log back in or reload the page. I like that sort of thing.

FeedBurner does the same sort of thing. It's a corny message about "your feed" and what it's capable of. And last night's message certainly spoke to the geek in me...

Tk421
Heh heh. Sorry, it's the little things in life for me.


A wise man once told me...

Typically, today would be Snippet Wednesday and I tried, I really tried, to come up with enough snippets to populate a post. But I kinda blew that on Monday with what was effectively a bunch of snippets, but on the wrong day. Oh well. So we're fiddling with the format a bit today. Why? Because I need your help.

I'm looking for a wise man (or woman, lest I be called sexist)... someone I can turn to for spiritual advice or guidance. A person whose actions are of such reproach and whose judgment is free of moral and ethical question (by my standards, of course) that I would feel comfortable, in a difficult situation, simply asking, "What would such-and-such do?"

But it's not just mentally asking the question, I feel the need to make it known to the world that I look to this person for this assistance. To achieve this, I will need physical reminders around me at all times. Do you remember the old WWJD ("What Would Jesus Do?") bracelets from several years ago? Yeah, something along those lines. I want a magnet on my office cabinet, a coffee mug, a mousepad, and a bracelet, maybe more, so that no matter where I look, I will see the solution to my nagging problem, the light at the end of the tunnel. So obviously this person must not only be wise, but marketable.

I'm turning to you, my blogopeeps. Who gets me better than all of you? That's why I want one of you to be that person.

I began considering some of you and came up with a list of positives and negatives, which I have detailed in this post. Do not feel offended if your name is not listed below. If you feel you would be a viable candidate for this role, nominate yourself! Tell me why you would be a good soothsayer. I will certainly take you under consideration.

Be my sage.

So far, I have:

Avitable
Let's see... What Would Avitable Do? I think the appropriate question here is more What Wouldn't Avitable Do? And the answer scares me. Plus, WWAD looks too similar to wad, like "spitwad."

It's Me... Penelope
I love Penelope too much to wear a wimpy bracelet in her honor. Seriously! WWIMPD. "Wimp" right in the middle of it!

Delmer Wells
What Would Delmer Wells Do? WWDWD. That's truly a mouthful, but kinda looks cool on paper.

Snackiepoo
What Would Snackiepoo Do? I dunno. Kinda reminds me of Return of the Jedi, "Bantha poodoo."

Karl Erikson
What Would Karl Do? See "Avitable" above, but realize that, by comparison, Adam has shown considerable personal restraint.

Iron Fist
If I want to be a world dictator, this is the way to go! What Would Iron Fist Do? He'd rain down hellfire and brimstone, I tells ya!

NYCWD
What Would Watchdog Do? If I split "Watchdog" in two, we get What Would Watch Dog Do, WWWDD. A FULL HOUSE, baby! My favorite hand in poker. That's gotta be good for something, right?

Wil Wheaton
What Would Wil Wheaton Do? That's a lot of Ws. Even more than the World Wide Web. So I, like the World Wide Web Consortium (abbreviated W3C), will have to shorten it to "W4D" to make it easy. It's nice and concise as well as memorable and I feel I can trust Wesley Crusher to not guide me astray so long as I can get over the idea that the acronym sounds like a lubricant spray.

Dave2
We all know Dave is evil. He declares such on a regular basis. Why would I want to use someone who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of all things evil as my daily inspiration? It's simple, evil gets stuff, be it items of wealth or favors or praise. Who wouldn't want that? Besides, that bracelet would read WWD2D, which sounds an awful lot like a certain Astromech droid who, through six Star Wars movies, made his vast knowledge and ability to accurately read a situation quite apparent, even if few people listened to his chirps and tweets. Plus, I could then make a What Would Bad Monkey Do? bracelet.

So what do you all think? One of the above or another blogger altogether?


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

Dear Lord,

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

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

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

In your name I pray.

Amen.

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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


I feel fine and I feel good, I'm feeling like I never should...

Hey all.

Sorry, I really thought I'd have something more meaningful to say than "hey all," but I suddenly realized, late last night, that I messed up the importing of about two dozen CDs into iTunes. I had the import functionality set to MP3 format at 128 Mbps (very low quality for you non-techies) because I was creating ringtones some weeks back. And for a few hours, I've been trying to reimport some CDs I still have at better quality, lossless settings (yes, MP3s can actually lose quality over time if reimported or moved around or otherwise messed with enough times).

Thankfully this doesn't affect what I've purchased off iTunes and Amazon.

I've found about a half dozen of the CDs, but I've had to go on the library Web site and re-request a ton that I have already checked out. That won't raise any eyebrows amongst the librarians, will it?

Anyway.

So I'm leaving you with a video. File this under "How in the name of all that's holy did I miss this one when it came out earlier in the month?" I just cannot forgive myself.

Thank you to Funny Or Die for the embed code that the original Huffington Post did not provide.

Oh, and I have a meme for you in the extended post.

Continue reading "I feel fine and I feel good, I'm feeling like I never should..." »


I get so weary...

People ask me why I'm so cynical of human nature. Why do I, who otherwise seems like such a nice and easygoing guy, mistrust my fellow man so horribly.

It's because of stories like this.

Basically, two people in Villa Park, IL, who have prObama signs in their yards received notes in their mailboxes from an unidentified future Darwinism victim that read:

Get the Obama signs off your property -- now. Failure to obey this order will result in the immediate death of all family members.

I realize this is the minority... the bottom of the barrel... the shallow end of the gene pool. Yes, there are many really great people in the world doing fantastic things to make life better for the rest of us. And yet these lowlifes are the ones who dominate the news. Not only do they give the Republican party and American politics in general a bad name, but they cast a pallor on all those people who try to be all that they can be (no Army Reserve comments, okay?).

So you'll forgive my dour outlook on humanity.

Sorry if that bugs you out.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I just received a couple e-mails that have made me very happy this morning.

The first came from Ginger Snaps and her friend Dave Delaney. You see Dave had the same thing happen to him that happened to me on Twitter. He got satisfaction through a site called, well, simply, getsatisfaction.com. On this particular thread, several people griped about how their Twitter accounts were nixed for the same non-reasons as me and their cases were summarily resolved. Considering my Twitter Support e-mails still remain unanswered, I'm giving it a shot. Let's hope for the best as I would hate to have to try to remember all the people I had on my friend list. Thanks to both Ginger and Dave!

Jennylewis The second came from my local library and they now have copies of B.B. King's One Kind Favor, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins' Rabbit Fur Coat, and Darius Rucker's Learn to Live awaiting my pick up.

I love the blues and B.B. is literally the king of them so how can you go wrong?

Jenny Lewis (right) is the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, the former actress who starred in The Wizard with Fred Savage (the movie that introduced the world to Super Mario Bros 3), and is currently my favorite female vocalist. She has a killer voice.

And Darius Rucker... yes, Hootie and the Blowfish Darius Rucker and his turn as a country singer. I've heard a few songs off this album and actually kinda dig it. I'm strangely looking forward to hearing the rest of it.


Where do we go...

In case any of you have been wondering where I've been off to instead of Twittering away, I'll tell you.

I want to say last Tuesday, I actually logged into my account (as opposed to using Twhirl or my cell phone) and noticed a little header saying that there was suspicious activity on my account. However, when I refreshed or surfed to any other page in my account, the message was no longer there, so I pretty much gave it up as a fluke. We all know how readily something wonky happens on Twitter and we get the dreaded Fail Whale. So I chalked it up as a temporary glitch and thought nothing more of it.

However, on Thursday night, I logged in again to check some @replies because I had posed a question that I was looking forward to some answers about. When I got past the login screen, I found this waiting for me...

Suspension

A Fail Owl? WTF?

So I clicked on the Suspended Accounts link to see what could possibly be the problem and there is absolutely no useful information on the page. Crap about potential violation of the Terms of Use, which I did not do. I next filled out the complaint form and, five days later, I have yet to hear jack from them. I received an auto notice about my complaint being received and they gave me a tracking number and that's about it.

When I logged in to check on the tracking, thinking they were possibly just negligent in e-mailing me follow-up information and had been completing stuff directly in my support file, I found this... "USER IS flagged antisocial!" (their emphasis).

WTF does that mean??? Because I don't login every ten minutes and play with all the Twitterati, I'm not a good user? Because I use my cell phone to post messages, I'm a bad person? I mean, seriously, what the hell kind of judgmental crap is this? I login to my Amazon account once every couple of months and they don't cancel me out. e-Bay hasn't killed my account even though I haven't used that one in more than a year.

Hey Twitter, get your collective heads out of your collective asses and realize that some of us have jobs where we can't login from work and we have family lives so we don't login from our houses every freakin' day and night. Cut us some slack, okay? Oh, and HOW ABOUT RESPONDING!?!?

Asshats.

So do I just give up on Twitter? Do I wait it out for them to respond? Do I create a whole new user? If the last one, help me come up with a cool new name.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I need a laugh right about now. So howsabout this...

Simply put, greatest out-of-office notification ever (names have been changed to protect the innocent).

From:     Adam.Ant@email.com
To:         Me
Subject: Adam Ant is retiring

I will be out of the office starting 10/16/2008 and will not return until 01/01/2025.

I will not be responding to your message.

Yes, I did receive this last week. The only thing that might've made it better would be to say "Assume I have moved on with my life."


Stop kickin' my, stop kickin' my...

Once in a while, I like to take a gander at Google Maps and see what I can find. Just spend some time looking. I love Google Maps. I'm thoroughly enthralled by it. Yeah, I know, simple strokes for simple folks, right? Oh well.

Anyway, I was on there recently and I noticed a bit of an abnormality in the downtown area of the city where I live. Here's what I found...

Communityhospital

Community Hospital? I thought the only hospital in my town was almost literally across the street from where I live. So I started checking out the crossroads and it hit me where they were talking about.

Simply put, so not a hospital. Here's how not a hospital it truly is...

Communityhospital2_2

  1. A brand new and amazingly cool Life is Good store
  2. Bridal and baby boutique
  3. Store that sells freakishly high-end (read: "ridonkulously expensive") strollers
  4. Artsy fartsy crafty interior decorating store
  5. Egg Harbor Cafe... good stuff
  6. Michaelangelo's Deli... damn good stuff
  7. Wildwood Steak, Seafood and Pasta... also good stuff
  8. Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery... you on a plane yet, Penelope?

I can think of one place that might help cure what ails you but certainly not in a medical sense. I'm just curious how Google got the idea this was a hospital. Not even close. Considering what Shodeen (developers who pretty much own half of Geneva) charges for rent in the downtown area, I doubt a hospital could ever afford to viably operate there.

I wonder what other abnormalities Google Maps has to offer.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): As some of you may have read the other day on Twitter, I was at a college women's soccer game in Naperville, Illinois. Katie's cousin was on the visiting team and this is a fairly reasonable distance for us to drive from home to be able to see her play, so we did.

I played soccer... er... "non-American football" for two years as a kid and clearly all my knowledge of the game is gone. I picked back up on a little of it here and there as I was watching, but something happened during the game that I couldn't explain. Thankfully, for my sanity's sake, nobody else could explain it either. The girl on the home team tangled up with a girl on the visiting team trying to get at the ball. Home Girl (HG) wound up literally wrapping herself around Visiting Girl (VG) at the waist (yep, they looked like a lower-case "t") and pulled VG down to the ground on top of her. The ref blew her whistle and gave VG a yellow card.

Huh? How's this VG's fault? Can someone explain this to me? That was all instigated and perpetrated by HG, not VG. Hey ref, get your head out of your arse!

I might have to go to more of these. It's fun.


Radio, someone still loves you...

Say a prayer for me...

Make a wish...

Send good tidings in my general direction...

Will me some karma...

Light a candle...

Tie a ribbon around the old oak tree...

Why?

Here's why...

Secondhandradio

And tonight, I'm Karl's guest. Granted nothing is showing up in his upcoming shows list, he said we were doing it. So let's hope it's still happening. Otherwise this post is going to seem pretty stupid, isn't it?

What are we going to talk about? Hell if I know. He asked what I wanted to talk about and I had no idea. We might just make this like an episode of Seinfeld, no purpose whatsoever. I can only hope it will be about as much fun. Hell, I'd consider having 25% the fun quotient of an episode of Seinfeld to be a success when I'm involved.

So get on over to Talkshoe and register to listen or to participate in the message boards or both. It's up to you. The show is set for 9 p.m. tonight, CDT (we are still on daylight time, aren't we?). I believe that's GMT -6 so do the math for your own time zone and tune in. Or you can visit the site tomorrow and listen to it after the fact from the Web site or by downloading to iTunes.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): This morning, Lilly was wandering the living room and started smelling a few little fuzzballs on the carpet. Rather than risk her eating them, I decided to pick them up and throw them out.

As I reached down and touched one, it scooted away. It was a freakin' spider! Gah!!!! And I touched it!! Blech! Icky! Icky!

(I sound like such a little girl, but I HATE HATE HATE spiders!)

Oh, and I smashed the little bastard with my boot and flushed him. Sorry Charlotte.


Which is the way that's clear...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well done, @bettydraper.

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


No one is gonna stop me now...

It's amazing the things you encounter while driving.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why are there so many songs about rainbows...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Don't forget to remember me...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I couldn't answer this question.

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

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

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

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

Yay!

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

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


Election day...

I'm never going to understand the bio-logic of this, but the night before last, I toss and turn the entire night. I get practically no sleep whatsoever. And, yet, during the day, I'm fine.

Last night, I sleep like a baby and today I'm dragging ass.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. WHY??

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): During an e-mail back-and-forth with BlondeBlogger yesterday and today, I find out that li'l ol' me has been nominated as a Hot Blogger Calendar.com Hottest Male Blogger! Holy cow. This is sweet. I've received a couple blogging awards direct from some of you in the past, but never nominated for the sort of thing where you can vote and whatnot.

Well, I know the site says "it's an honor just to be nominated" and I even put that graphic in my sidebar, but I say SCREW IT! Let's turn this mother upside down and give the win to an underdog! Some dude named Comics Curmudgeon seems to be winning. I don't know who he is, but he apparently has quite the following. And, yet, languishing down with very few votes are Karl, Dave, Vahid, Neil, Jester, Marty, and me (I'd mention that Adam and Dawg are doing it too, but, comparatively speaking, they're kicking our asses). There are also several sisters in arms out there in the running like Hilly, Miss Britt, MochaMomma, Sybil Law, and BlondeBlogger. So c'mon! Get out there and vote for us! Let's show them who's got the best readers around!

But, seriously, I am honored that several of you thought about me for nomination. That's pretty sweet.

Oh, and to that one person who offered up a vote for Ann Coulter... burn in hell.


On the road again...

Hey all, just remember that you can check out updates on Lilly's condition throughout the day on her Twitter account. And you don't have to be a Twitter user to just read the posts. So head on over if you'd like some news.

Otherwise...

Hello, you have reached the answering service for kapgar.
We're sorry, but he is unavailable at the moment;
He is busy taking part in the official blogjacking at The Dutch Files.

If you'd like to leave a message, you may do so after the beep.

*BEEP*

Blogjacking


If you start me up...

I feel bad leading into the weekend on such a somber note, so I'd like to leave you with something a bit more lighthearted. But I didn't feel right putting these on the Lilly post. So you're getting them on Saturday.

These are about the funniest damn teasers for the fall return of television shows that I've ever seen...

Here's a second one that doesn't have embed code available just yet. Maybe soon. I don't want to know what "Hide the Hamster" is, but I'd totally rule "Pizza Making."


Get down tonight...

Sadly, another Davecago has come and gone. I say "sadly" simply because it feels like it will be another eternity spent waiting for Davecago the Fourth to happen next year. I really do enjoy meeting up with fellow bloggers even if I am a bit of a social outcast.

Jeez, there were a ton of cool people there. When Katie and I were heading downtown, I didn't really know who to expect to see since it seemed like a lot of people were unable to make it this year like Kim and diane. I did figure on Tori being there if she could find parking (ha!) as well as Jenny, RW, Mrs. RW, and Gary. But, other than them, I really didn't know.

Mocha made the trip, which always makes me happy because I totally PPH her! And I met a bunch of other people I'd never met in real life before like *lynne*, Leah, and Robin. Plus somebody who was introduced to me as Suzanne, one of Dave's blog stalkers. That's pretty cool in a very creepy, cloak-and-daggerish way.

I have some pictures here for you from the event, and from walking around Chicago beforehand with Katie and Dave. They're in a pictobrowser, so you may need to click through from your reader or you can just surf on over to Flickr to see them.

But one of my favorite things about the whole event was commiserating with my fellow bloggers on things that bug us about the medium. From people squatting on blog names (ever wonder why RW's site is misspelled without a "y"?) to not having the amount of time you'd like to read each and every site to the give and take of commenting to coming up with ideas to keep things fresh.

Do you have any idea how good it feels to know that I'm not the only one who feels bad that I sometimes have nothing more to say in a comment than "I totally agree with you"? That's one of the many things I struggle with in blogging... finding something meaningful to say to show support for all of you that I read. I don't want to be that guy who simply says "I agree" but I also know that for some of you, myself included, that's all you want to hear. That's why we write what we write, to get it out and get feedback to either confirm what we are saying or to let us know that we are nutso beyond compare. And sometimes that seemingly meaningless "throwaway" comment is the easiest way to show that support.

But because there are so many blogs we read and so many posts we agree with and so little time to complete it all, we just don't. It's completely understandable.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, just because I don't comment or because someone else you think is a reader of your site doesn't comment all the time does not mean we are not reading or we do not agree or we do not value what you are pouring out of your heart of hearts. We are and we do. Just know that. 'Tay?

Oh, and I got a killer brownie recipe from Tori that will definitely be a future Damn Fool Network episode. Stay tuned. ;-)


And I'm free...

Yay for Vimeo!


The Damn Fool Network: Pizza from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Let's try a little social experiment, shall we?

I'm going to tell you -- nay, I'm going to insist emphatically -- that you not look at Avitable's post for today as it will burn your retinas beyond the point of recovery. How many of you will listen and how many of you will click through out of sheer morbid curiosity?

Last chance.

Av, can you check your stats on this one for me? My eyes still hurt. Thanks.


It's a beautiful mornin'...

Hey all, I have three things to help you ring in this new week and I hope they're as good for you as they are for me.

First, I'm guest posting today for the second time in nearly as many weeks for another good friend Penelope. This time, I won't be writing about how scared I am to guest post, I swear. Nothing cheesy like that. Nope, no cheese... just w(h)ine. So click on through and check it out.

Itsmepenelopegreece

Second, I'm prepping for Davecago 2 (it's 3... sorry) this weekend! That should be great. Okay, correction... I don't think "should" is the proper thing to say as it's Dave coming to town. More like "will." It's always fun when Dave comes to town. And I do believe Katie and I will both be there. Anybody else planning to be in attendance?

Davecago

Third, I've got a fun little joke for you courtesy of my wife. It's a long one, so to keep my homepage a bit uncluttered, I'm putting it in the extended post.

Continue reading "It's a beautiful mornin'..." »


It's got nothin' to do with Mexican food...

Actually, it's got everything to do with Mexican food. But I just love the theme song from Marzipan Taco (I only wish the guys would record a new podcast finally) and decided to steal it here. Sue me. No wait, don't.

But hey, I promised, and technology played nice, so... welcome to the debut episode of The Damn Fool Network! Yes, the audio and video are a bit out of sync. Seems like the camera likes to add a bit of delay when it shows my face, but seems to work fine when it's not my face on screen. So what does that tell ya? Hell if I know.

Anyway, enjoy!


The Damn Fool Network: Guacamole from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): My buddy madirishman (as you've seen him in the comments on my posts) asked if I could help promote a new Facebook group he created. It's called the "Worldwide Irish Pub Crawl" and what he wants members to do is post pictures of some of their favorite Irish pubs the world over. Places where they are proud to gullet the Guinness. I'm a member (actually, I'm an officer) and AmyD has joined as well. This sort of thing could be cool for people who love to eat and drink in Irish pubs and are looking for new places to visit when they're out of town.

So c'mon by, join, and post away.


Stop the world...

Everyone knows what it's like to mistype something. Your finger strays and hits the incorrect key. Nothing big... usually. Heck, most of the time, the spellchecker will catch it.

Unless, of course, the "mistyped" word is still a word in its own right. I heard a story about someone in public relations who was trying to type the word "public" in a press release. The finished, and sent, press release instead contained the word "pubic." Hmmmm...

Now try typing code for a Web page. A mistype can be disastrous. Yes, it can completely fubar the page. Sometimes it's easy to find and correct it when you immediately realize what's going on. Other times, not so easy.

And, then there are those instances that are just laughably hilarious.

Take, for example, today. I tend to use an HTML tag known as "<strike>" when using placeholder text on a draft page. This lets me know that the text needs to be replaced with completed copy before I make it live. This tag displays strikethrough text, or text with a line going through the middle of it kinda like crossing it out with a pen. I had to type in this tag several times via Dreamweaver as it's not one of the default function buttons in this particular version. For some reason, my middle and ring fingers on my right hand couldn't decide who should be typing and I wound up with...

<stroke>blah blah blah</stroke>

(note: for those not familiar with HTML coding, the use of a "/" denotes the end of the piece of text that will display with a strikethrough).

Hmmm... probably not the most accurate use of code in the world.

But wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy to control medical conditions and other worldly problems? Just close the tag to end it all. Hey world, I'm going to </cancer> and </HIVAIDS> and </starvation> and </war> and </hatred> and </discrimination> and so many other things with the press of a few keys!

Ojalá que si...

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Sorry my follow up to last Friday's pepper challenge isn't up yet. I've got most of it done, now I just need to edit. Yes, it's a video post. But it wasn't done in one straight shot. I had to record in a half dozen or so segments and now I need to edit them all together. We shall see. It's been years since I've done video editing. Like eight years. That's a long time and a lot of changes in how the software works. Gah!


I want some hot stuff...

Well, let's see... we have Avitable complaining about everyone on the Web being "either crabby, bitchy, stubborn, depressed, pathetic, upset, crying, or some combination thereof," SJ hoping to "avoid the drama shitstorm polluting the blogiverse lately," and me with absolutely no clue what the hell is going on... yet again. Or maybe I do and I just don't recall. Am I not reading the right blogs?

Sometimes I really feel out of it with what is happening out here. It makes me sad because I cannot relate to what everyone else is involved with. And, yet, part of me feels happy to not know because then I'm not forced to take sides. So I suppose there's an upside.

In an effort to forget about all this drama I know nothing about, I decided to go get lost in a recently opened Whole Foods. A couple of my coworkers swear by the place so I had to see it for myself.

45 minutes of aimless wandering later and my head is swimming no less than it was before. Just with thoughts of food. My God, that place is scary inside! I haven't felt this overwhelmed by a grocery store since I set foot in Woodman's. And that place is scary!

But I did walk out with some good stuff...

Hot hot hot

The question now is, what am I planning to do with all this spicy goodness? And, no, "giving himself salmonella poisoning" is not a viable answer... or, at least, I hope it's not.

The answer, should technology work in my favor for once, will be coming soon!


The smiles returning to the faces...

I grew up with a story my mom told me about an old friend of hers from their college years. They would hang out, talk, whatever. And they were obsessed with The Beatles' song "Here Comes the Sun." This friend was killed in Vietnam and any time my mom heard the song after that, she would cry.

This was how I remember her telling the story anyway. I found out within the last few years that I apparently wasn't remembering it all that correctly. Pretty much not at all. Yes, my mom had a friend she hung out with regularly and they did listen to music a lot and he did get shipped out to Vietnam. However, he was not killed there. And, now that I look at the release date for "Here Comes the Sun," I'm not entirely sure that could've possibly been their song since it came out in 1969, which I believe is after my mom finished her undergraduate work at college. Maybe there is something I'm missing. Maybe grad school friend? Maybe not even from school? I dunno.

However, despite these conflicting details, I still love the story and like to think of it as true because it holds a certain romantic appeal in a time of great personal and political upheaval.

I guess I should consider myself lucky in that I've never been personally touched by loss of a close friend or family member in any of the more recent wars in which our country has been involved. Yes, I know people who know people who... you get it. But in terms of one degree of separation between myself and a person who was killed in action, I know no one.

My grandfather was supposed to be a pilot in the Army Air Corps in WWII, but that never quite panned out. My dad enlisted for Navy duty in Vietnam and was sent on a tour of the Med instead. My uncle joined the Marine Corps right around the time that 'Nam was fizzling out so I don't think he was ever deployed. And I've had some friends in the most recent Gulf War and all made it back intact.

I do think I'm lucky in this regard.

But not everybody is quite so blessed.

AmyD is a fellow blogger who I've known about for some time but only started reading yesterday after being guided there by Avitable and Sheila. Amy's on a quest to help her uncle find an old friend who he lost track of during the Vietnam War. Here's the information from her site and you can feel free to click on through for more information about the search.

Gene Bishop is looking for Charles Stevens. Here’s all the info I have on Stevens:

Charles R Stevens- Indianapolis, Indiana (from there)
Marine Corp
2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, Echo Company, Da Nang, August 1966-1967
Weapons Platoon, Machine Gun

Graduated from Camp Pendelton and served in Da Nang with Gene Bishop. They trained and graduated together, and spent 48 hours in Okinawa awaiting transit together. They were separated upon arriving at Da Nang Air Force Base, Gene Bishop and Stevens served together until Bishop was wounded in Operation Stone, in 1967 and shipped out to Guam, and then Oakland Naval Hospital in the States.

If you have any information please email me (amy AT amysmusings DOT com) or my mom (mkgssong AT yahoo DOT com)
. Thank you!!

Anything that you can do to help is greatly appreciated by Amy and her family. Even if it's just passing on word of this search on your own blog. The bigger the audience, the better the chance of reconnecting.

I'm posting this because I realize how strong a community the blogosphere is and I think it would be fantastic if someone who's reading one of these sites that's posting about it actually has some information that could help. Here's hoping!


The day needs my saving expertise...

Our second canine charge in as many weeks has taken up residence in our house. Peanut, again of quite ambiguous breed, is significantly larger than Lilly. I would fathom a guess at about 15-odd pounds, a lot of which is tightly curled off-white fur that looks like justification for the creation of Eli Whitney's cotton gin.

Aside from size, the other big distinction between Peanut and Lilly is neediness. Both are needy dogs, sure. But when Lilly required attention, she would just leap up in your lap and start slathering your face with her tongue. I'm not sure if Peanut is unable or just trained too well to jump up on furniture, but because of this reluctance, he will whine when he wants attention or run around in circles like a madman. Another method is to start scratching on the edge of where your sitting.

So far, no permanent damage has resulted save for our sleep patterns. But I will admit one thing... Katie was dead on in her assessment of dog ownership. Short-term is the best way to go. Take them for a few days to a week and then hand them back to their owners. I think we are so over wanting to own a dog. But we will certainly continue to dogsit, so long as there's money involved.

A funny observation I've made comes from these dogsitting episodes compared to when I was a cat owner. Both dogs, after maybe an hour of pining for their owners, quickly forgot about them and would treat us as though we were just as good as the originals. Then, in the case of Lilly anyway, when the real owners would show, she subsequently forgot about us entirely. 100% shift in loyalty at the drop of a hat.

Cats, though, take work. If you gain the trust of a cat, it lasts for a lifetime. It didn't matter who would drop by my parents' house to take care of Meatball and Jinx, if it wasn't one of us, they would look at you and you could tell they were thinking "Asshat, who the fuck do you think you are? Leave or I shall hiss you to bits." People (mostly dog owners) think cats are standoffish. Not so. They are just very selective in who hey love. If you aren't receiving the love, consider yourself "unworthy." Clearly someone else already has.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I know I'm a bit late to the game on this one as a couple of my fellow bloggers have already written about it, but I just started watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Freakin' hilarious. Highly recommended.

I would like a Captain Hammer T-shirt though.


Sum, sum, sum, sum, summertime...

Hey all! Happy Saturday to you.

Nothing much going on here right now, so let me direct you over to Secondhand Tryptophan where yours truly is guest blogging as part of Karl's Summer of Love.

I was nervous as hell doing this guest post, but it seems to have gone pretty well. So if you have a moment, drop on by and check things out. Talk atcha soon!

Blogforkarl

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I don't care what the naysayers say, Katie and I loved The Dark Knight. Awesome! And Heath was fantastic. It's not just hype. Seriously.


Runaway train, never comin' back...

This should be fun... tonight marks the first official meeting of what Kim has dubbed the "Chicago Bloggers Social Club" or CBSC for short. A few of us bloggers will be getting together in Chicago to just hang at -- in Dave's honor -- Hard Rock Cafe. It's a small group right now with just Kim, Nilsa and myself along with our first honorary member, Beth.

Other members, who won't be able to make it tonight, include Wafelenbak and Tori. There are several others we might include down the line as well and some I intended to invite this go-round but just slipped up (so don't hate me!), but I'm hoping to keep it relatively small. You'll understand why as you read the TUA on this post.

If you take anything from this post, it's clearly that all single male bloggers need to move to Chicago. I'm the only guy in this bunch.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): A week or so ago, Wafelenbak tagged me with a meme. Oh tagging, how I hate thee. Well, not only will she pay with her life, but now I must respond. It's taken me some time, but here goes.

Basically, I need to detail six quirky things about me. It's hard to say, for sure, what I've talked about before and what I haven't, but I'm going to run with these six anyway as I'm sure it will be new to someone.

  1. I'm a Chicago public transit neophyte. As much as I love and support public transit, I know nothing about it's use in Chicago aside from Metra, the commuter train system. I know nothing about taxis, buses, water taxis, or the El and have only used each twice, once, zero, and once, respectively. But I'll take Metra any chance I get to go to Chicago. Once downtown, though, I tend to walk everywhere. And that's a large friggin' city to walk.
  2. I hate clowns. Nothing new about this. But a part of me actually was happy when I read yesterday that Larry Harmon, who helped popularize Bozo the Clown, had died. Sick, aren't I? The dude's a friggin' Chicago institution and I hate him for it.
  3. I hate crowds. Well, I should be more specific, I hate having to participate in crowded situations. If I have to go shopping in crowded places, I hate it. But if I can just sit back and watch, I'm fine. My cutoff is about a dozen people before I become severely uncomfortable. If there are smaller blister groups within a larger group, not so bad. This is probably why I'm not too keen on attending a TequilaCon... too many people. In these situations, I tend to either clam up or crack inappropriate jokes. And when people at TC would look at these jokes as "inappropriate," you know they must be bad.
  4. I'm a writing newbie. It wasn't until grad school that I actually started to enjoy writing. It was always a pain in the ass otherwise. It was one particular project, too, that did it for me. A professor was pre-grading our semester research projects and told me, the day before it was officially due, that mine was very disjointed and read awkwardly. I had to rewrite a 20-page overnight as a result. I stayed up all night and did it and he told me afterwards that the result was one of the best, and most fluid, papers he had ever read in his 30+ years of teaching. I've been hooked ever since. Damn him.
  5. Grapecrush_2 I have a deep-rooted love of Grape Crush. I don't know why, but I do. I bought a two liter over the weekend and poured myself a glass of that grapey goodness and Katie thought I was going to die of bliss. I don't drink it too often simply because I don't want to taint my love of it. Maybe once a year or less often.
  6. If it's possible to have low-grade OCD, I have it. I do have a pattern for doing many things and don't like to see my methods ruined by somebody stepping in the middle of it. But I'm also not controlled by these methods. I can break them and do things differently, but it has to be on my terms and be my own conscious decision. There are other things that some people swear I'm OCD about, but I think it's mostly just me playing up to their expectations. I'm really not Adrian Monk about where things go on, say, my desktop. Seriously.

Did you learn something about me? Yes? Good. No? Oh well. Sorry. I tried. No, I'm not tagging anyone. You know I never do. Except I may now tag Wafelenbak with every single meme I receive just to screw with her. Heh. I'm evil.


Far from Folsom Prison, that's where I'd want to stay...

There is just something about reveling in other people's agony that makes life so much fun, isn't there? I don't know what it is, what morbid fixation our brains develop, that draws us to this. Why do we all slow down at an accident scene even though it will make our commute to and from work that much longer? Why has Cops been on the air as long as it has? Why do evening news programs always lead off with negative stories?

Because we LOVE 'EM! And we always want more!

Well, I do at least. But I'm a sick bastard.

Mycrimespace Maybe that's why I have a new favorite Web site. It's called MyCrimeSpace and it's clearly a rip off of the ever-popular MySpace site. Heck, the similarities even stretch so far as the site's tagline and logo.

What makes this different than any other run-of-the-mill crime site is that it focuses on criminal acts that occur as a result of the World Wide Web. Be it MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Craig's List, whatever, if it has happened and the Web is involved, you can rest assured that this site will cover it.

Plus, site admin Trench Reynolds has a bit of snark to him (her?) that just cracks me up and makes these fun little reads.

Do I need professional help?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): My co-worker sent this flowchart to me this morning. God bless her for it. Of course, now I'm craving bacon. But there are certainly worse things in the world to crave! Even if you are a Veggiesaurus, it is still pretty funny.

Baconflowchart
(click to enlarge)


Exit light, enter night...

Oh sleep, you fickle bitch, why doth thou spite me so?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): And why is WordPress being such a fickle bitch as well?

My first problem yesterday arose in that my Dashboard was stuck in their pseudo-HTML view (which is far from a true HTML view, BTW). Thankfully, Marty from Banal Leakage helped me figure out how to get the visual editor working.

However, I still couldn't enter a piece of JavaScript code into a page for my site. I have no problem making JavaScript work in TypePad. But to make it work in WP requires me to open the PHP page in an external editor and code it that way. I have the ability to do this and have Dreamweaver in which todo this, but I shouldn't have to.

My second problem, which still is happening, is that my Pages aren't working. I type one up and click Publish and the status changes appropriately to "Published." However, when I go to view the page from the button in the Dashboard or click on the link that dynamically appears in the Tab bar of my page, it goes into what Firefox and Safari call an "Eternal Redirect Loop" in which the code that is created upon publication of the page keeps redirecting to another link and back and forth and it will not resolve itself. I've deleted and recreated and I get the same problem. I checked the WP FAQs and nothing. I checked the forums and one person had the same problem about a month or so ago and the only solution offered up was to backtrack to v2.5 from v2.5.1. So I did that and I still get nada.

I'm really starting to hate WordPress and I'm not sure I'm going to continue with the migration. Sure, I'd save $15 a month not having to pay for my hosted TypePad page, but is it worth the frustration? I'm not seeing the benefit so far.

I'm giving it another week before I bail completely.

Yeah, the TUA was longer than the real post, but I knew I'd lose some of you non-techies if I started right into my rant. Sorry.


Jump... for your love...

It's interesting to watch how quickly you can fall behind on different Web sites in such a short period of time.

Yesterday, I spent some time on my day off figuring things out with my site. As I had announced, I'm killing Fun With Dead Trees, so I had to port all my reviews from there over to my GoodReads account. They're all done... finally... and I had a ton. I think I'm up to like 180+ reviews or some such. I've also tied it into my Facebook account, which is kinda cool.

I also went in and signed up for BlogTalkRadio. Up to this point, all I'd been doing was subscribing to the feeds through iTunes so I could have them download to my iPod on Monday morning and I could get my fill of Karl and Hilly during my commute or at my desk at work (note: listening to Hilly is NSFW; I learned that the hard way, no pun intended). I figure if I ever hope to go beyond just an "archive listener" as they call it, I'd better get an account established, right?

Lastly, I also started the process of getting a WordPress blog set. I was talking to several hosts about plans they offer and migrating my domain name out of Yahoo to them. All of them said they could do it for me if I provided them with some code they needed acknowledging that I was, indeed, the owner. So I start sifting through Yahoo's crapload of crap to find this code and I couldn't. That was when I found out that Yahoo now offers WordPress functionality to people with hosting plans.

Hmmm... I already have Yahoo hosting and my domain is registered through Yahoo... why the hell not? So I clicked the button and it was set up. Now I have a WordPress blog and I'm playing with themes and plug-ins and, when I like what I've designed, I'll make the jump. Not sure how long it will take me to figure it all out, but at least I'm well on my way. Oh, and I already made an upgrade in the WordPress system files to v2.5.1 so I know how to do all that jazz, too. And it's fun using FTP again for a Web site. I've missed playing with Fetch (my FTP service); I haven't really had to use it much since my old static blog days from '98-'05. Such a fun little program.

The real problem I'm having now is figuring out the WordPress UI. It's such a far cry from TypePad that I'm having difficulty adjusting and finding things. I need to do a lot of work to my sidebar and, after all the time I spent perfecting the one I've got now, it's frustrating not knowing how to achieve similar results immediately. Maybe I should just start it all anew and kiss this stuff good-bye entirely. Wouldn't be too terrible except I would miss my dynamically generated "Hear Me" music links. So easy to do. I wonder if there's a plug-in for that.

So, um, yeah, be on the lookout for some new stuff around here sometime in the near future.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Yeah, yeah, I'm about to talk some sports. But it kinda goes beyond sports to civic pride and stupid people and the like. So please don't give up on it already.

Katie was listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about the possibility of a Cubs vs. White Sox World Series in Chicago and how cool it would be. She asked me what I thought, and after careful consideration (I had thought about this in the past, too), I told her.

First off, I explained that I don't think it will happen. One of them will screw it up (hopefully the Sox, heh). But, in case it did happen, I told her I don't think our town could handle it. If it happened, I would likely not wear any gear in support of one team or the other or display any flags or logos on our house or any stickers or hats in my car or at work.

To be honest with you, I have absolutely no faith that the people in this city and its suburbs (or anywhere in the modernized world, for that matter) can treat this as the mere sporting competition that it is. People will yell and throw shit and start fights and damage personal property and everything else that you would hope we, as human beings, would be too advanced or civilized to resort to, but, in reality, are not. And these are unfortunate side effects of fandom that I want no part of.

Call me a pessimist if you must, but I've seen the competition get heated over just our crosstown classic and those are simple regular-season games. I've had Sox fans get pissed at me because I, a Cubs fan, expressed my support for the Sox in their World Series bid a few seasons ago. I was just happy for Chicago as a whole and they were dissing me for being a fair-weather fan. I was not. I was supporting them for the sake of our city, which was desperately starved for a Series title. That's all. I did what most people do during a sports championship run, I chose a side, even if my team wasn't one of the options.

And just these two incidents have completely soured me on the concept of a crosstown World Series. I'd hate it, plain and simple, and I don't want to see it.

Maybe humanity can prove me wrong, but I doubt it. They haven't yet.


He ain't heavy, he's my brother...

Johnny Dangerously: I don't need no lawyer to handle my kid brutha.
Reporter: Wait a minute!?!? You... and he...
Johnny: That's right, we's bruthas.
Tommy Kelly: We were brothers.
Reporters: BROTHERS!?!?

That was the sort of reaction I had recently from one of my softball teammates. I had been e-mailing him about some team related stuff and explaining where Katie and I had gone on vacation a few weeks ago and that my brother and his wife had been there and he comes back with, "wow, you two are really good friends, aren't you? You go on vacation together and your wives get along. That's pretty cool."

Nano!Admittedly, I was scratching my head a bit. I thought everyone knew we were brothers. Sure, we don't exactly look alike. But enough people have told us they see similarities and can easily tell that we are, so I've given up any hope of denying his existence (I keed, I keed).

(Note: the photo is from our Vegas trip last year; you can click through to see the full-size copy on Flickr)

I typed back, "No. I hate the little bastard. He's my brother."

I can imagine he scratched his head to the point of bloodletting after this considering his shocked response.

"You're brothers?!?! Like same-parents brothers? Who's older???" I couldn't help but laugh.

So the next week, we're at our sponsor's bar after the game and I ask a few others on the team if they knew. Thankfully, they all did. But what they said next surprised me...

"Yeah, and he's [pointing at my brother] got you by a few years."

What???

"Um, how old do you think we are?"

[pointing at me] "About 30 and," [pointing at Brian] "about 32 or 33, right?"

"Nope," I said. "He's 29 and I'm 33, but I thank you wholeheartedly!"

That shit seriously blew my mind.

Jocko Dundee: I'm standin' here with my dork in my hand!

Sorry, that has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I just love that line. Oh hell, I love that entire damn movie.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I was checking out one of the cities where I used to live (Lexington, KY) via Google Map's Street View feature and found my old home. It seriously looks nothing like I remember it or like how I've seen it in photos my parents have. Amazing what 23 years can do to a place, eh? Oh, and that's not my actual address. Right street, wrong number.

Boyhood home

Man, if I had the time, I could play with Google Maps for hours on end.


Listening to the wind of change...

Damn, I almost forgot that today is InWeDay 2008 (that's "International Webloggers' Day") and I committed to writing a post on the chosen topic. Well, it's 9 p.m. and I've got a half bottle of Charbono in my system with a second bottle being poured through the aerator by Katie as I type this. Better get crackin', eh?

International Weblogger's Day 2008

What Does Change Mean to Me?

"Change" is never an easy thing to define when it comes to what it means to us, so I'm going to start by changing the question around a bit. I'll give it a shot more in terms of what kind of changes I'd like to see in the world around me.

One, I'd like to see some change in the attitudes of people around me. I'm sick of everybody being out solely for themselves. No regard for anyone else whatsoever. And I'm just as guilty as the next person. I want to see us give a damn for once in our lives. Stop and talk to somebody you don't know. Help someone load groceries. Talk to your neighbors. Stop your car to let somebody pull out of a parking space or cross the street. Don't be in such a hurry in life.

Two, I want to see a change in our politicians. I can't imagine what it would be like to actually have a politician, be they local or larger scale, do what his/her constituents actually wants them to do. To stand up for what we care about and not just what those who donate money to a campaign want.

Three, I'd like to see car companies put more effort into making fuel-efficient vehicles that are affordable to the common man. Katie and I saw a report on Today the other morning in which they said that, due to sheer cost, it would take a minimum of seven years for anybody to start seeing cost benefits from hybrid vehicles. In some cases, it would take 20 years of driving for it to kick in. How sick and wrong is that? Why can't they nix their gas guzzlers and focus more on fuel efficiency? If you did that, the production costs would come down making them more realistic for all of us. Forget about big oil and their money. Think about the customers for once.

Four, higher education costs need to come down. The cost to attend college these days is ridonkulous and it's only getting worse. When I started college, the cost to attend a state school was less than half that to attend a private school. Now, at least in Illinois, they seem almost equivalent. Or at least within a few thousand dollars of each other. Why is that? Why has state schooling become so much more expensive while private schools have gotten only slightly worse by comparison? A college education is a prerequisite for almost any job these days and it seems like it's only becoming more difficult to obtain that elusive degree now. In fact, according to one of Katie's teachers, only 28% of Americans these days receive their bachelor's degree. Not sure where that stat came from so I'm not certain of its authenticity, but it's scary enough that I felt I should include it.

What change would you like to see?