4 posts from June 2002

Oldies: Sunday, June 23 - Saturday, June 29, 2002...

Friday, 28 June 2002: I am truly surprised this did not happen sooner. Have you ever heard of a piece of software called Gator? Well, it's a program that saves all your personal information (name, address, credit card info, etc.) in one neat little package so that when you visit a website, you can automatically upload your information when ordering something and you don't have to type all your data in each time. In other words, software developers are capitalizing on laziness. Sounds nifty, right? Well, bundled with this software is an advertising manager that will automatically pop up ads when you visit websites that are supposed to be related to that particular site (for example, you go to Amazon.com, it will pop up an ad for Barnes & Noble or something of that sort). Many users of Gator don't realize that this ad software is bundled in there. They just kinda assume that the administrators of the websites they are visiting are throwing in those pop-up ads. Well, they're not. And they're pissed about the ads especially when the ad is for a competitor (rightly so). Now, ten web publishing companies are suing Gator. What I'm hoping for is that, if these publishers win, it will be a major strike against pop-up ads in general. Maybe some kind of legislation will be reached regarding these ever-annoying advertising menaces to either limit or eliminate them altogether. I can only hope.

If you'd like more details, check out this N.Y. Times article.

Thursday, 27 June 2002: Last night, I passed my exam and I am now certified in CPR. It's actually a pretty fun process and really informative. What made it even better was that my instructor is a licensed and practicing paramedic so we got to hear some pretty good horror stories about life on the job. And I got my fair share of razzing from everyone in the class because I was the only guy enrolled.

Well, that's step one done...

Tuesday, 25 June 2002: I never thought that I could become so entranced by video games again. I had an Atari 2600 and 7200 when I was a kid and I loved them. I also had the old 8-bit Nintendo console in the early 90s and I loved it. After that, I did purchase a Super Nintendo which I only played occasionally. So little, in fact, that I didn't really hold onto it too long. Oh yeah, I also had the Turbografx 16 which I also didn't play too often. As a result of my sudden cold streak with video games, I never bought into the N64, PlayStation, or DreamCast. Yeah, some of the games interested me, but not enough to spend the money on the system.

However, about a month ago, I got a PlayStation II and I'm hooked. Although I only own two games so far (Madden 2002 and Salt Lake 2002), I've been renting a few here and there. I am currently addicted to Spider-Man and PacMan World 2. It's a blast. The games aren't nearly as difficult to play as I once feared they would be. And the controller, while it is far more complex than any controller from any of my old systems, kinda grows on you after a while. Don't worry, I'm not so addicted that I ignore Katie. I've only played a little bit here and there and mostly when Katie's on duty at the pharmacy. When she's gone and I'm home alone, I don't feel too guilty about playing. Oh yeah, I'm about halfway through Spider-Man. However I'm stuck on PacMan. So if any of you know of good websites to get cheats on games, let me know. Any little bit will help.

Monday, 24 June 2002: It's been a heckuva long time, but it is definitely the appropriate moment to revisit the "Darwinism Missed Me" file. This one out of Canberra, Australia. Up to six students from a small town west of Brisbane were busted having made fake driver's licenses to get themselves into pubs and clubs. Apparently, a lot of work was put into making the IDs as real as possible. However, keen-eyed bouncers decided to look very carefully at the pictures on the IDs (which already makes them significantly more responsible than 95% of American bouncers) and discovered that the boys were wearing their school uniforms in the photos. Now, one kid who actually used the ID has been fined A$675 (US$385) while the rest, if it cannot be determined that they actually used them, will be given notices on their permanent police records.

C'mon guys, it sounds like you all really put some thought into this. You worked out the templates nicely on your computers and found a high quality printer for the whole charade. Why in the name of hell would you be stupid enough to wear your prep school uniforms in the photos? And why they hell didn't at least one in the six of you realize what a mistake you were making?

Survival of the fittest? I think not.

Oldies: Sunday, June 16 - Saturday, June 22, 2002...

Friday, 21 June 2002: For those of you who work in an office environment, you just gotta love those days when you have the opportunity to get the hell out of the office. I am doing just that today. No, I'm not taking a vacation day. I'm actually going to be doing work. I'm delivering some brochures and flyers to AU's Lake Geneva Campus for a concert series that starts this Saturday known as Music by the Lake (do note the shameless plug). It's a good hour-and-a-half drive up there from here and I'm taking Katie along with me for company (and slave labor since she'll probably help me unload the truck anyway). Our Lake Geneva Campus is absolutely gorgeous and if you ever need to just get away from it all, I highly recommend the area.

Wednesday, 19 June 2002: In contrast to yesterday's "cool" post, here's a pretty creepy one. British engineers have developed a "tooth phone." Yes, you read that right. It's an implant that can be surgically placed inside a tooth and contains a tiny vibrator and a radio receiver and works like a mobile phone. Incoming signals will be transmitted to your inner ear by bone resonance (vibration of the bones in your head).

So, when you receive a call, your tooth will start vibrating. If you've forgotten about the phone, you'll think you're having a toothache, go to the dentist, get a root canal, and all this because little Jimmy called to get a ride home from teeball practice. Also, it's taken me long enough to get used to the sight of people using handsfree headsets on their cellphones when they drive. If you don't see the headset right away, it looks like they're talking to themselves, right? Now, you won't see jack and you're really gonna wonder who in the world needs their demons exorcised and who is just talking on their toothphone. How about the possibility of permanent migraine headaches from all the "bone resonance?"

I do have a few pretty big questions about this new technology. What kind of warranty does this phone come with? Can you imagine having to take that in to be serviced? "Um, sir, you're gonna have to rip out that tooth if you want us to work on the antenna." Imagine showing up at the customer service counter at Best Buy with your extended service plan taped to your tooth. How about charging the damn thing? Do you have to plug your head into a cigarette lighter? What about turning the stupid thing off? Can you imagine being in the middle of sex and having your head start vibrating from something other than extreme sexual ecstasy? "Yeah, baby, it was good for me, too!" Ah, who knows, it might just heighten the orgasm. You never can tell, eh? Any opinions?

Tuesday, 18 June 2002: Wanna see something pretty cool? Here's how Katie and I would look if we were South Park characters...

[image lost]

I found this pretty cool Flash application online that allows you to create custom South Park characters. The first rendering of myself found me in a strait jacket. But I decided to be a bit sweeter the second time around. Yes, I will admit that I was more than a bit gracious with my hairline. It's not my fault, the options were a bit limited. I had to customize my goatee using Photoshop. The only thing I don't like is that with this being a Flash app, it's a bit difficult for not-quite-so-literate computer users to obtain a semi-permanent copy of the character they create. I have Photoshop so it was much easier. If you know how to use screen captures, that's the best way to save this image. Oh yeah, I guess it would help if I provided the link to the site, wouldn't it? Well, here it is... South Park Creator. Ignore the German mumbo jumbo, wenn sprechst du Deutsch.

Monday, 17 June 2002: Sad news for Pam Anderson-Lee-Rock-whatever-other-name-might-come-next. Not only is her engagement to Kid Rock over and done with, but, it was announced today, that the plug is being pulled on her syndicated series "V.I.P." I've got just one thing to say... that show is still on?!?! I thought that show was gone a couple years ago.

Sunday, 16 June 2002: Yep, I'm back, and judging by the fact that this site got roughly 10 hits in the last week and a half, it's pretty apparent you guys actually took me seriously when I said I wasn't gonna update while on vacation.

Ah, well. Katie and I had a boatload of fun in Florida. We visited my grandparents and our friends Jay and Kara (as well as one alcohol, dance, and cajun food fueled evening also spent with Mojo and his wife Gabriela). We hit up Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, a bit of Cape Canaveral, several spots in Orlando (no theme parks... they cost too damn much these days). It was just a ton of fun.

One thing I wanted to make note of that I found quite funny. When Katie and I were in Leesburg picking up a few groceries for one of our visits with my grandparents, we decided to buy a Central Florida map to help us get around a bit. On the map rack in a local Publix were several varieties of Florida maps as well as the requisite U.S. highway maps. However, right in the middle of one of the racks was a solitary map of... ta-daaa... the Middle East featuring Afghanistan, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Found that to be quite odd. We're both guessing that it's just there for those current events nuts who want to follow the goings on now that our boys (and girls) in uniform are on the march in that part of the world. The map is pretty cool, all the same, with a list of major events in the area from the end of WWII on up to modern times. Hell, the map is so recent it even includes the fact that terrorists from this area of the world hijacked planes and used them as missiles against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I think my favorite part of the map, though, was the fact that when you open it up, the first thing you see is an American flag. That's gotta be pissing off some middle easterners. C'est la vie, eh? 

Oldies: Sunday, June 2 - Saturday, June 8, 2002...

Friday, 7 June 2002: This is one of those times when you just want to scream out, "That's my f#$%^n' luck!" I enter online contests from time to time when I see something that interests me, is sponsored by a reliable source (i.e. not a company I've never heard of that is likely to just use my e-mail address for spam), and has a worthwhile prize. And, as would be expected, my ratio of wins to losses is far from the greatest. Well, a little over a month ago, Entertainment Weekly magazine held a contest for complimentary tickets to an advance screening of The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon and Franka Potente. Well, this definitely piqued my interest seeing as this movie is probably #3 on my must-see summer movie list behind Star Wars Ep. 2 and Spider-Man. What's better is that it's two free tickets to an advance screening of it. I could review before many other people which carries a certain aura of "cool" with it. Well, guess what came in the mail yesterday? My complimentary pass for two to The Bourne Identity. So why does this make me want to swear profusely? It's scheduled for June 12th which is the middle of the week that Katie and I will be in Florida visiting our friends and my grandparents. And, of course, the screening is in downtown Chicago. Dammit anyway. That just ticks me off to no end. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna be in Florida next week, so don't expect much in the way of updates. In fact, don't expect any. Was that a bit blunt? Yes, but it was also honest. I'm taking the time off and my source code disk is staying at home so I will have no access to be able to update this page.

Thursday, 6 June 2002: For all you Chicago Bears fans out there, McFarlane Toys has announced that series 5 of its line of NFL figures will include the A-Train himself, Anthony Thomas. I'm happy about that one. I might just have to get him to put alongside my Brian Urlacher figure. And, if ever there was a reason for women to want to collect action figures, here it is... also included in series 5 will be pretty boy Patriot QB stud Tom Brady. Not bad for a rookie to already be immortalized in injection-molded plastic.

Wednesday, 5 June 2002: While I will admit that the FBI, CIA, the White House, and especially the INS did make some mistakes regarding their handling of information regarding suspected terrorists and their activities in the U.S., I really think people are attacking them a bit too much. Maybe an FBI agent did write a memo about Arabs in flight schools. Perhaps the CIA did know that a couple suspected Al Qaida members were now in the U.S. Okay, so Prez Bush did see a memo about a terrorist threat to occur on U.S. soil. And we all know that the INS did screw up on their student visas. The question that government officials, the media, and the public are asking is whether this knowledge would have helped prevent 9/11. My take on this matter... no. There is no way any of these agencies could have done jack to prevent terrorists with a mission. If they could have even known that something was planned for 9/11, there is no way they could have anticipated the magnitude of the attack. Before 9/11, the world's perception of a terrorist hijacking was for masked men to take over a plane and demand that they either be flown somewhere or that some government release some prisoner. We've never known terrorists to hijack planes and fly them into buildings. This was out of the scope of comprehension of just about anyone the world over. And, in my humble opinion, there is no way to stop a terrorist whose mindset is to wreck havoc on someone's way of life. If we prevented them from executing their plans on the 11th, they would've just waited until another day.

I heard an interview with the husband of one woman killed in one of the flights. He said that had his wife known that this was going to happen, she never would have boarded her flight that day. Well, buddy, hate to break this to you, but even if these agencies did make the knowledge public, we still had no idea what date it was going to occur on nor what flights would be hijacked nor from what airport. What, is your wife just gonna cancel every flight she was ever going to take until the event happened? I seriously doubt it. She'd be out of a job.

Does this mean that I'm letting these agencies completely off the hook? No. While I do think that they are all getting a bad rap from people who are just not thinking this through entirely, I do believe that some serious work needs to be done on the part of all these agencies when it comes to interagency communication. These teams need to work together and share information in an attempt to make life safer for all of us. Both the FBI and the CIA are renowned for being very protective of the information that they come by. Well, it's time to give up your petty possessiveness and realize that by being as selfish as you are with your information, you are killing people all over the world... not just Americans. Start talking to each other. Share information. Talk with foreign defense agencies. Share with Interpol. Do whatever it takes. We're in a new world here, it's time for you to evolve as well.

Monday, 3 June 2002: Oh, thank God. I was suffering withdrawal from my favorite movie sites last week. The Digital Bits staff took a week-long vacation. While I'll admit that they do deserve it, I had nothing good to read on the Net as a result. That in combination with the fact that UpcomingMovies.com editor Greg Dean Schmitz stopped updating his page entirely because he apparently now works for Yahoo! Movies and has moved all his stuff over there to be run on a database driven system and probably earn a helluva lot more money as a result. I'm happy for Greg as well and I'm sure I'll get over my withdrawal soon. It'll just take me some time to get used to the new look of his site. Oh, if you wanna check out his new stuff (since his old site will shut down in another couple of weeks), go to movies.yahoo.com/upcoming. Ideally, I will now have new stuff to read to pass time on lunch breaks.

Sunday, 2 June 2002: I was at work today (yes... work on a Sunday... no, this is not a normal occurrence). I was here because both yesterday and today are commencement days here at Aurora University and I volunteered to take photos of the goings on today. As part of the PR department, we like to have nice candid, heartfelt photos of graduates and their friends, families, and professors that we can use on promo pieces later on down the line. It's always nice to have that one key photo with the parents crying and hugging their child who just graduated from college and is about to embark on a life in the "real world." But, do you wanna know the one thing I noticed? In all my wanderings today, all the best photos came from either African-American families or hispanic families. There were few to no good family shots from us white folks. And that got me thinking... why? Why aren't there any good shots to be had of white families celebrating the graduation of their children? Sure, I did find one or two good photo ops and I tried to take advantage of them, but about 80% of my photos were of either black or hispanic families and friends. The only conclusion that I've come up with so far is that graduation from college has almost become an expectation of white children by their parents (don't worry folks... I am white, so I think it's okay for me to rip on my own racial heritage). It's almost as though it's become sort of a threat, "you will get a college education or else." You see what I'm saying? Perhaps us white people feel that shows of emotion are not proper in public. I'm not sure. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that other races, creeds, ethnicities, etc., just do a better job of realizing how momentous an occasion a graduation really is and they're not afraid to show how proud they are of their child's (friend's, nephew's, grandkid's, etc.) accomplishment. Maybe I'm just thinking into this way too much. I dunno. Any opinions?

Oldies: Sunday, May 26 - Saturday, June 1, 2002...

Friday, 31 May 2002: I have been getting such a kick out of this story as it's been unfolding over the last couple of weeks or so. The five-year-old daughter of Christina Silvas, a 24-year-old mother in San Francisco, was expelled a few weeks ago from Capital Christian School because it was discovered that Mommy Dearest was a stripper at Gold Club Centerfolds in San Fran. Apparently, Silvas' chosen occupation violated the school's Christian Committment/Philosophy doctrine that all parents are required to sign so their kids can gain entrance to the school. Despite her initial protestations, Silvas quit her job and her daughter was reaccepted to the school. Not to worry, though, because when something funny like this happens, the job offers just come pouring in out of pity. As was definitely the case here. Silvas has been, for a week or so now, working at a radio station. Now, however, Ms. Silvas will be showing her wares yet again, but this time for Playboy Magazine. Last week, she flew out to Hef's Lair (or should it be "lay-her"?) and posed for a few shots. The issue should be out soon. The school's response? Well, likely it was "no comment" or something similar, but they have decided to not expel her daughter again. Guess the first time resulted in more undue pressure than they ever could have expected. Heh. If you wanna see what Silvas looks like (with clothes on), check her out at this CNN Article.

Thursday, 30 May 2002: Heard some disquieting news. Just when us Star Wars fans thought George Lucas was done f'ing around with his original trilogy (I'm referring to the Special Editions released back in 1997), TheForce.net brings us this little bit (sorry, I can't find the original article to link to). Apparently, Lucas is not quite done fixing what ain't broke. He has said that he plans to film more new footage to splice into the original trilogy including a scene with Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala that would be placed in Ep. 6: The Return of the Jedi to establish that she's not dead and, knowing how Lucas likes to screw things up, she'll probably be rejoined with her son and daughter. God forbid. Please. Just let him film Episode III and then, God, let a lightning bolt strike him dead so he can't do this to those films. Releasing the SEs was bad enough, but now this?!?

Wednesday, 29 May 2002: Okay, either a helluva lot of people were going to the second-run theatres this past weekend or this movie was rereleased or somebody really can't count... I'm not sure which. The point is Monsters, Inc. jumped back up in the weekend box office ratings in a big way. Last week, it was #44 in the top 100 movies which really is not bad for a flick that has been out since last November. However it hasn't been in the top 20 for over a couple of months now. This week, due to some kind of resurgence, or maybe just a popular outlash against Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, our favorite scaremongers jumped back up to #15. That's pretty incredible. Was this flick rereleased with absolutely no fanfare whatsoever? If you know, drop me a note.

Tuesday, 28 May 2002: I must have misunderstood something. I thought that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the travel industry was hurting. So, taking that into consideration, wouldn't you think that those involved in the travel industry (airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, etc.) would want to reduce their rates to try to entice people to use their services? That would be my method of reasoning. So, why the hell can't I find a reasonable car rental rate for the week that Katie and I will be in Florida? I've been to Avis, Budget, Enterprise, National, Alamo, you name it. And all the online rates I've been quoted (even including online specials and coupons) have been ridiculous. This really sucks. Do any of you have any friends in the car rental field that can get us a discount? Please let us know as soon as possible as we are going to Florida very soon.

As for my recent lack of updates, I could say that I've missed updating this page but I would be lying. I have enjoyed my time off. I should do this more often instead of struggling to find something to write. Oh, things that make you go "hmmmm"...