37 posts from August 2006

Won't get fooled again...

I recently took part in a writing initiative over at Literary Hype based on the Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon. I have yet to see Rashomon, but from what I've been told, it's the story of a murder whose details are being explained by several different individuals and all the stories are completely different. If you want a better analysis, check out Hyperion's review on Movie Hype. And, yes, this film is now on the top of my Netflix queue.

Hyperion, who headed up the project, found two pieces of related artwork ...

one a murder scene

the other a council of bishops conferring about the murder

... and assigned several of us a character to write as. He gave us a rough sketch of what was happening, a description of each person in the paintings, and a few other details to stew on, and we all went to work.

The end result of our efforts can be found on the Hyperion Institute along with links to each individual tale.

I actually wrote my part of the story a little over a week ago. It's weird to go back and reread it.

But, I do hope you enjoy it!

And the rockets' red glare...

I just wrapped up a pretty cool show that I TiVo'd last night while in class. It was a TLC Special Presentation called Anthony Bourdain in Beirut and I highly recommend it to all of you.

Bourdain Anthony Bourdain is a chef and host of The Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. In the show, he travels around the world with his camera crew to try culturally specific cuisine.

In all honesty, I've never seen the show as I don't watch all that much on The Travel Channel, but he strikes me as a pretty interesting guy, so I may start. Heck, I would not have known about this special if I hadn't seen the promos, ironically enough, during the episode of Miami Ink when Garver was tattooing Bourdain's shoulder.

Anyway, he was in Beirut this past July taping a new episode of AB:NR and just happened to be there when the recent violence between Hezbollah and Israel erupted.

Literally, it was his first day in town and he and his host/guide, Joe, had finished eating at one place and were walking around town talking and taking in the sights when, several blocks away, machine gun fire erupted.

As many of you who read the news know, the violence continued to escalate and, eventually, Bourdain was evacuated like many of the other American citizens in the area.

Some might call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others prefer to think of it as being in the right place at the right time; pure journalistic serendipity.

It was a really fascinating show and if it's on again, I recommend watching it. And, knowing TLC, it will air again.

Mama, I'm comin' home...

Last week, I was considering cobbling together an "in memoriam" sort of post to some of my favorite blogs that have gone the way of the do-do. In recent months, we've lost XtineFiles, SuckyBlog, and Two Thoughts Before the Epiphany (the link to the old site is completely dead). All three are brilliant blogs maintained by fantastically talented bloggers (Christine, Jack, and Rabbit, respectively) and I was sad to see them all go.

However, literally the day that I started putting words together for my post, I get a Bloglines notification that a new post is up at XtineFiles. Could it be??? It is! Christine is back! Woo hoo!

Then I received an e-mail last night from Rabbit that she's back, but at a new home that she has dubbed Everyone Loves an Underdog. More great news!

A big, open-armed welcome back to the Bloggy Cosmos to both Rabbit and Xtine. We missed ya.

Now if we can just convince Jack to come back...

There's simply no immunity...

Daniel Edwards is one sick bastard.

Drawing a blank on the name? Here is something to help jog your memory. He's the sculptor -- some might argue "artist" -- behind this...


Suddenly coming back to you, isn't it? Yep, that's Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug. It's pretty twisted that anyone would want to "memorialize" this with a sculpture that is on public display.

I realize that childbirth is one of the greatest things a person can be a part of. Hell, you're bringing new life into the world. Well, the woman is, while her spouse/mate/significant other gets their hand crushed or passes out cold in the OR. That person is a bit more peripheral to the process, but I'm sure it's important to them all the same.

However, regardless of how amazing a process it is, capturing it artistically remains a taboo area in my book. My wife has already warned me that there will be no still or video cameras in the room during the birthing process. I wholeheartedly agree. I wouldn't want photos of that. So I can't imagine what she'd say if asked about having the moment memorialized in clay.

I digress.

Continue reading "There's simply no immunity..." »

Oh baby I love your way...

You can all be ashamed of us now.

Curiosity got the better of us (and is threatening to be the death of us).

Katie and I are currently tuned in to FOX's Celebrity Duets.

[cue the firing squad]

I'm not exactly sure why we're watching this tripe. But it's on and I decided I'm going to blog the experience.

Lucy Lawless
We opened with Xena, the Warrior Princess herself. And, hell, she's blonde. She looks good! But she's singing with the most wretched of musical artists, Michael Bolton. I'm not entirely impressed, in all honesty. Next!

Alfonso Ribeiro
Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is duetting with one of the non-Beyoncé members of Destiny's Child. And you wanna hear the kicker of it all? He's better than she is. Heh heh. I love that. He's a pretty good singer and he's got decent stage presence. But he's used to hamming it up. Now I just want to see him duet with Tom Jones. I think he's got the most natural talent of all of them, so far.

Continue reading "Oh baby I love your way..." »

I'm a football, baby, rollin' round the field...

This is my time of year. A time I look forward to each year and always seems to fly by far too quickly.

That time is known as Fantasy Football Season! And, this year, I am a part of three different leagues.

The first one is a league with some of the regular posters over at MySportsRadio. It's a private league hosted through Yahoo and it should be fun even though I missed the live draft and wound up with a relatively sketch team overall.

My second team is with the guys that I've been playing fantasy football with since 2001. We start up a new league each year, but this is the first time we've really attempted some sort of keeper league. Each of us chose an offense and defense player from our team last season to "keep" this year. However, since we didn't pay for a true keeper league, we had to just work it out ourselves. Oh, and we also expanded it from six teams last year to eight this year. So we also had to figure out how to make it somewhat of an expansion draft. But it seems to have worked out. Despite some browser issues during the live draft, I've got a pretty good team and I should do decently during the season.

The final team I just signed up for and hadn't even planned on until I read about it on Down With Pants. Yep, our fair commissioner, Brandon, started a blogger fantasy football league. It's a pretty bitchin' idea and I would recommend you all check it out and consider taking part.

Right now, it's just Brandon, Dave, and me. But we're hoping it will expand. Not sure yet what the maximum number of teams are. But it will be fun. Even if you're not a football fan and know little to nothing about the game, you should consider it (Karl, please reconsider). I knew very little about football when I started in on fantasy leagues against my will back in 2001. I wound up doing pretty well. I think I ended in third place out of eight teams. It was great. And I've done it every year since. I always have fun.

Oh, and unless Brandon wants to correct me, there's no rule limiting this league to just men. Having some of you ladies in the league would be a blast, too. Chase? Kilax? Jacquie?

If you're a blogger and you're looking for a good time, then check out Brandon's post for more information.

You know you want to. And they want you to, as well.
Just click here.
C'mon... just one little click and football greatness can be yours.

It's pointless to even diss...

I somehow just knew this was going to happen.

During last night's Emmy Awards show, the primary writer and producer from My Name is Earl, Greg Garcia, delivered what he thought would be a funny acceptance speech when he was awarded a statue for outstanding writing in a comedy series. Instead of listing people he wanted to thank, he listed those that you would not hear him thanking.

His list included a junior high teacher ("My eighth-grade social studies teacher who told me to sit down and shut up because I wasn't funny. No thank you, Mr. McAdoo"), one of his previous Hollywood bosses ("My boss when I was a production assistant on the show Step by Step who made me clean the gum off the executive producer's shoe"), and God ("And finally God. I am sure you are responsible in some way, but you took my hair and that's not cool, man").

I'll tell you what, it was flippin' hilarious! Katie and I were cracking up. But I knew that someone somewhere would either blow it out of proportion or find some way to convey some sort of misinterpretation of his words.

And I found it this morning via Reuters.

No, the author of the article is not saying that Garcia really is dissing God. In fact, he/she/it does a pretty decent job of pointing out in the text of the article that it was a joke.

But not everyone reads beyond the headline. In fact, many people in today's world live on a headline-to-headline basis. They try to glean all the news they can get from simply reading a headline, a caption, or a news ticker on the bottom of the screen during TV shows.

And here we have a headline that simply reads, "My Name is Earl writer disses teacher, God."

When I took journalism courses in grad school, we studied the power of the headline. We discovered just how important something as seemingly innocuous as this brief little snippet can be when telling the news. If you don't write one carefully, you could lose a reader or convey a totally incorrect perception about the story as a whole. Our goal, during that study, was to come up with headlines of our own for existing articles. It was a cool assignment and one that I only did moderately well at.

But I did learn that it was important not to give the wrong impression of the article as some people only read the headline. And, unfortunately, very few Web headline writers truly take the time to think through what they cobble together.

Sometimes, this is all the impetus some right-wing religious nutjobs are going to need to go on one of their "pro-family" crusades and try to convince companies to pull their sponsorship of the show this coming season.

It's not right. Not at all. But it happens, and far too easily.

Or maybe I'm just too cynical of human nature.

There's somethin' wrong with the world today...

I need to make some changes here at kapgar. Something's gotta give.

Scrat Have any of you ever watched the movie Ice Age? Remember that squirrel-like character, Scrat? He spent the opening sequences of the movie scouring the frozen tundra for acorns that he could horde for the coming, well, ice age? That was all he did. He ran around collecting the nuts to protect himself from future events unknown. And each nut was a prize to him, something worth risking it all for. Damn the consequences.

That's who I've become as a blogger. And I hate it.

Yes, I just compared myself to an animated representation of an animal that we're not even entirely sure existed. Ever.

In my quest to ensure that I have some sort of product here on kapgar on a daily basis, I've become a post whore. I'll find a good idea and write it up and then horde it for that day when it may become needed; that hypothetical future date when I may wind up with nothing to say at all. So I sit on it and save it as a draft post until such a time.

And what happens? It becomes stale. Yep, much like Scrat's acorns, it becomes old and worthless to others. However, much like Scrat, I'll still treat it as important and throw it out there on the web as some sorry excuse for a post for that day.

I've become more worried about my own personal quest to maintain my blogging streak than I am about being a good blogger. One who writes for the sake of writing. A person who blogs simply for love of the art.

I think this became most apparent when Katie and I went to San Francisco. I prewrote a bunch of posts to fill the days that we were gone. I was more worried about keeping you reading than I was about being true to myself as a writer. If I had been a good blogger, I would've just taken the time off (or found some way to blog from California). Since that time, it has seemed like a descent into the abyss of bad writing. Yes, many of my posts have been somewhat fresh, but several have been old, stale acorns. Clunkers.

This is where I need to change. I need to stop worrying about running out of things to say and just be more timely about my posts. I need to live in the moment. I need to stop planning for my own ice age... the hypothetical writer's block.

If there are days when I have a boatload of things to say, I may give you multiple posts. Other days, it may wind up being just a single entry. I may even miss a day here and there. Well, that last one may not be as big a problem. When have I had nothing to say? Heh.

All I know is that I need to be truer to myself as a writer. I need to allow myself to just write as I feel the urge. Instead of hording my words, I need to let them flow. That's one of the things I admire about Karl. He writes. It's more about the craft than some personal goal for him. I need to find my inner Karl. No, I'm not trying to thief his methods or his style. I just want to redevelop the passion that I once held so dear when it came to this site.

But would you all still be willing to read if I give you several posts in a given day? What if I miss one? Will you still come back?

If I've alienated any of you with my bad blogging practices of late, I truly and wholeheartedly apologize. But please give me another chance to make things right.

We are the Bears Shufflin' Crew...

Hey, I finally had a relatively decent eBay experience buying a jersey.

A couple weeks ago, I decided on a jersey I wanted to represent my favorite football team on Earth... the Chicago Bears. And that representative jersey would be Mike Singletary. "Samurai Mike" is da man and, shockingly, despite the love for him that Chicagoans have, you don't see that many people donning the famed #50. So I got one from some guy in South Korea, which, I'm sure, means it was mass produced in a sweatshop. But, c'est la vie.

A week ago, I got the jersey in the mail. Well, it should have been the jersey. Instead, I got an Oakland Raiders jersey for Otis Sistrunk. Wha??? I e-mailed the seller and told him of the mistake. Then, since the package actually contained the packing slip for the person who really ordered the Sistrunk jersey, I tracked her down and gave her a call.

The eBay seller told me that he had, in fact, made a mistake and would send me out a new one. In the meantime, the actual buyer of this jersey called me and told me she would like it if I sent it to her as it was intended as a gift for her husband for his birthday yesterday. So, this past Tuesday, I did just that. Although we both figured she would probably receive my jersey, she had not gotten it yet to know for sure.

On Wednesday, she called to confirm that she did get my jersey in the mail. She also said she'd put it in the mail to me on Thursday. That day, I also got an e-mail from the seller in South Korea telling me to keep the jersey he had mistakenly sent me as it would cost him too much to pay shipping to have me send it back.

And, on Thursday, I got the replacement jersey from the seller in South Korea (much quicker about this shipment than the original; he must really want a positive review on eBay).

So, in summation, I'm receiving two Mike Singletary jerseys for the price of one. How sweet is that? This almost makes up for the Mark Grace debacle last year.

Here is Mike Singletary back in the day...


And here I am doing my level best to look like Samurai Mike. However, I really look more constipated than anything...

Kapgar Singletary

But, hey, it's a damn nice jersey!

Goodbye my friend...

My dear friend,

Why has our friendship failed? I feel as though our relationship was never quite given the chance it so richly deserved.

Was it something I said? Was it something I did (or did not do)?

I've tried to be a good friend. I talk about you on occasion. I visit. Even when I'm exceptionally busy, I will check in to make sure things are kosher with you.

Yet you spite me so.

Regardless of the efforts I have made to allow our friendship to bloom, you make absolutely no move whatsoever to take "us" to the next level. You seem more than happy to just sit there and do nothing; content in my actions, but never reciprocating.

I don't get it.

But I don't want it to end. Clearly, I feel more indebted to our friendship than you.

Some might call it codependency, others obsession. Me? I prefer to use a Web acronym to describe it... BFF... yes, "Best Friend Forever." That's what you mean to me. And that's what I thought I meant to you.

Is it because I am just one man? A lone soul in a sea of millions striving to be your pal?

I know you are well loved. You have many, many friends. But none of them would ever treat you the way that I would if you'd just give me a chance.

Those other 101,872,606 "friends" you have? They don't care about you the way I do. They're nobodies. Just faces trying to be cool by association.

Tom, why am I not your friend? Please explain this to me and help me reconcile my feelings.


Still your BFF,

Heartbroken in Chicagoland

I've got a meme for you in the extended post, courtesy of C(h)ristine.

Continue reading "Goodbye my friend..." »

Fuel is pumping engines...

An ode to Full Throttle Fury energy drink...

This morning, I woke up, my brain on hold,
My joints were stiff, I was feeling so old.

But I planned ahead, I knew I'd need gas,
A little something to kick my sad ass.

Last night at White Hen, I went to the back,
Where energy drinks were lining the rack.

Vitamin Water, Red Bull, and Rockstar,
So many are crap, some taste like pure tar.

There in front of me, a can in jet black,
You'd helped me before to get my day on track.

Full Throttle's your name, with a citrus taste,
You gave my day zip, got rid of the haste.

But, behold on your left, what's this I see?
A can in red? A new you called Fury?

I'm a marketing whore, I like new stuff,
This logo, so tribal, so mean, so tough.

Today I awoke and pulled up the tab,
The smell inside gave my senses a jab.

I took my first sip, I drank it right down,
Such a foolish choice, I'm such a damn clown.

My eyes shot open, my feet left the floor,
My body in gear went straight for the door.

I should know better, I don't want to die,
Dropped down in a hole and covered in lye.

A wise man I'm not; my instincts, they stank,
All sixteen ounces in this can I drank.

Read these words I've written here on display,
If given a can, Sweet Christ, run away.

In all fairness, though, this stuff is not bad,
If you've got a stomach that's ironclad.

If energy drinks are truly your "thing,"
Then Full Throttle Fury's praises you'll sing.

Yeah, I was floating after this can. Quite reminiscent of my espresso pulling days. Yowza! But I sure got a lot of work done and I wasn't complaining about it in the slightest. Amazing how little complaining you do when you have the energy of a stampede of wild horses.

Oh that's what dreams are made of...

First off, happy Blog Appreciation Day! If you want to check out the photos I made for others as well as the ones that were taken for me, check out the Flickr album I dedicated to the cause. I really loved doing this and can't wait til next year to do it again. I want to officially thank Neil for coming up with it.

Oh hey, SJ created a Blog Appreciation Day user pool. Cool! Now we can all share!

And now for the meat of the post...

Talk about your childhood flashbacks. I was checking out Karl's site yesterday and he posted about being a child and taking advantage of his first girl-given set of digits by calling her early one Saturday morning.

No, I was not reminded about calling a girl. I usually just went to their house, but at a more human hour. I was not a phone sort of person then and I still hate them with a passion now. What sparked my memory bank was his talk about being a child who is awake really friggin' early on Saturdays.

I was the same way.

While I may have hated waking up early during the week because of the whole "time to go to school" aspect of it all, I was more than willing to dash any hope of sleeping late on Saturdays in lieu of my cartoon schedule.

I woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to make sure I didn't miss any of it. To be honest with you, I cannot even really remember what shows I watched on a regular basis. I only recall the desire -- nay, the need -- to get up early so as not to miss any of it. There is nothing more shameful or sinful than being a child who missed one of the hallowed Saturday morning animated gems, and then have your friends find out.

The kicker was that I never set an alarm clock to wake me up. I don't even think I owned an alarm clock at that age. If I needed to get up, say, for school, my parents were expected to wake me. Back then, there was no way you could possibly expect me to willingly get up for something I didn't want to do.

Saturday morning was something else altogether, though, for despite my lack of a physical alarm clock, I had the oddest internal alarm clock. And I remember him vividly. Yes, my internal alarm clock was a he. Not an "it," not a "she," but a "he."

No matter what I was dreaming about during my slumber from Friday night to Saturday morning, my internal alarm clock would show up at exactly the right time.

WoodytoystoryHe was a cartoon looking guy with a big toothy grin and wide brown eyes. Oddly enough, thinking about it now, he looked an awful lot like Woody from Toy Story. Sans the ten-gallon hat, boots, vest, badge, plaid shirt, and jeans. No, he was not naked. I was not a perverted child despite how I may be now.

Anyway, he would slide in from what amounted to stage left of my dream and he would be wearing a bad 70s/80s brown sportcoat with shirt and tie like so many other reporters or news readers of the day (don't ask me about pants as I only ever saw him above the waist) and he would have one of those ceiling-hanging microphones much like the announcers in boxing matches. And, while my dream was still happening behind him, he would look at me and say, "Kevin, it's time to wake up for cartoons!"

But his voice was so real, unlike anything else in my dream.

I've found that dream-based audio has a sort of faraway feel to it. It's muted and a bit ethereal. This voice, however, was booming and in-your-face. Almost as though it was a person speaking to me in real life to wake me up. But this was never the case because nobody else in my house was ever awake at this time of day.

Until my alarm clock awoke me, that is. My eyes would shoot open and my body would bolt upright in bed. Then I'd run downstairs in my pajamas, grab a bowl and spoon, pour some cereal and milk, and plop my ass down in front of the TV for my four-hour cartoon marathon.

It was childhood heaven and I have my dreamscaped alarm clock to thank for not allowing me to miss a second of it.

Always look on the bright side of life...

The thing I don't understand is why spammers out there actually think we would read the crap they send out to us on a daily basis. They either have the most ridiculous sender names or the most horrendous subject lines. Isn't the purpose to make us want to read your spam so we actually click through and you get paid by whoever hired you?

Check out some of the beauts I've gotten recently...

You can click on the image to see it a bit larger.

First, I must point out that I've become seriously tempted about trying that French Fry Spam Casserole recipe listed at the top. It sounds mmm-mmm good, doesn't it?

Well, I'd also like to take this opportunity to reply to some of the spam messages. One on one. Mano a mano. Them and me. And you, too, I guess, since you're reading this.

Dear millerstubbs, there's a Viagra Pro?!?! Damn! My doctor's been holding out on me! That bastard!

Dear kjmn, let me check with Katie and I'll get back to you. 'kay?

Dear Sara Delsie, who knew GNC carried Viagra, Ambien, Cialis, Xanax, Cipro, etc. No prescription?!?! YES! And at 82% off!?!? Do they even know they offer such a discount?

Dear Nursing Degree, you might want to get a better name. Your parents were cruel. And what gives? You mean my blog doesn't help hundreds of people daily? Now I'm sad.

Dear ronpfaff, that's a mighty bold claim. I'm holding you to it. If it doesn't work, I'm gonna beat you with my Viagra Pro-lengthened penis.

Dear Ms Suzan Gerald, Thank You!!! Thank You!!! Thank You!!! for what?

Dear support, SUPER VIAGRA?!?! You mean it gets even better than what millerstubbs and ronpfaff are offering???? Dayamn.

Dear Ahmad, oh great. Write to me in some Middle Eastern text, why don't you! If it hasn't already happened, I'm sure my e-mail account has been flagged by Homeland Security now. Thanks a pantload.

Dear servixu, nyah nyah! I don't have my PayPal linked to this e-mail account!! Thought you could trick me, didn't you?

Dear geos1945, after being offered Super Viagra, I don't think I could go back to an inferior product like Viagra Pro. Just won't cut it anymore.

Dear M/s Laura Jones, what's in it for me?

Dear FlowGoFunFlash, and just where are these tattoos located exactly? I've heard Angelina has some pretty provocative ones in some rather, shall we say, "clandestine" locations.

Dear kethera, my penis is not the happiest he can be?!?! Oh hell no! I want a happy cock!

Oh hey, I just got another one from DHL offering me a job as a Part-Time Account Manager for their DHL Mail Services. This job would include a $90,000/year salary, comprehensive medical and life insurance for me and my dependents, annual raises, set work schedule, weekly paychecks, direct deposit, "and so on!" That is quite a generous offer for a part-time position! Sign me up. Let's see, I just need to reply to kricv@eroticfun.co.uk. Excellent! Thanks. My resume is on its way.

There are some strange people out there. And they all seem to be finding my e-mail account. Great. I feel loved.

Oh, and my respect to the first person who can tell me why I used the particular song lyric that I did on this post. No, not just the name of it, but why.

Latest Fun With Dead Trees review - A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger

It's a bitch alright...

You. heinous. bitch.

With that brief statement, I officially declare war against the bookstore at the College of DuPage (COD) in Glen Ellyn, IL.

I am taking a class starting tomorrow at UCLA (the University Closest to the Lombard Area) for my job. It should be a fun class (CSS and advanced HTML) and I look forward to taking it.

Htmlxhtmlcarey However, being a day away (well, a few days away at the time this incident actually occurred), I figured it's probably a good time to buy my book. So I looked on eFollett.com (Cod State's online presence) and found that my book is Patrick Carey's New Perspectives on HTML and XHTML, Comprehensive. eFollett had it listed for $67.50 new and $51.00 used.

Being the bargain shopper I am, I immediately went to Amazon.com, among others, to comparison shop. I'm sorry, but textbooks are a ridiculous amount of money that I don't believe for one second they warrant. So, any deal I can find on textbooks, I intend to take. If it's a book for personal reading, yeah, I'll buy from an independent book seller if at all possible. But textbooks are just painful in their pricing scheme. And I use the word "scheme" intentionally.

This is where I ran into a problem. eFollett said that my class required the 4th edition. Amazon didn't have theirs labeled as a 4th edition. In fact, Amazon only had a single edition available and it wasn't exactly easy to determine what the edition number was (a problem I have constantly with Amazon and they really need to work on it).

So I called Fish U's bookstore directly and asked if they could provide me with the ISBN number. The guy who answered said that he is not allowed to give ISBNs out over the phone. I completely understand why and half expected him to say this. They don't do it because they want you to buy from them and don't want to facilitate your comparison shopping whatsoever. He said I would have to come into the store to check it out myself.

I asked if I could speak to a manager. He huffed and then got the Divine Miss A.

Continue reading "It's a bitch alright..." »

I think I'll go eat worms...

Neil from Citizen of the Month is a pretty big name in the blogosphere. Or, at least, I think he is. He's a great writer, a great netizen, and just a genuinely good guy.

So, when he comes up with or recommends a cool idea, who am I to say no to the opportunity to take part in it? Be it the Carnival of the Mundane (he didn't come up with this idea, but he was the one responsible for introducing me to it) or his Bloggers with Biceps campaign. They're all great.

Now, however, he has developed the creme de la creme of bloggity goodness. And he shall call it Blog Appreciation Day and he shall schedule it for Thursday, August 24, 2006. So it was said, so it was done.

Put simply, the idea is to show appreciation for your fellow blogger by showing yourself reading their blog. It's that easy. You may wonder how you would go about doing that. It's the wonder of digital photography. Just take a shot of yourself reading this person's blog and send it to them via e-mail.

So I'm going to do just that. If you would like me to show you all some blog love, leave a comment here and I'll take a shot of me reading your blog. Heck, on Thursday, I'll even link to a Flickr album with all my blogger requested photos.

When I first read this on Neil's site, I immediately knew it was cool. And, being the idiot I am, I made what I thought was a ridiculous request of Neil. I said, "Can I get a picture of Sophia reading my blog from New York? Heh." (If you don't know who Sophia is, you clearly need to read more CotM... go there... now.)

Little did I realize just how often she reads his site; and his comments. For I received this from Neil via Sophia's cellphone...

And here we have Sophia reading my site! How cool.

About a half hour later, I received a second e-mail from Neil with another photo...

Thus proving Sophia is actually reading my site from NYC.

And, let me tell you, this made me feel really cool! I can only hope that this feeling would be shared by everyone else out there. So I am DEFINITELY going to do my part. I have my camera, an empty memory card, and extra batteries. Request away!

Oh hey, Karl's taking part as well!

It's better to burn out, than fade away...

As Katie and I were driving to her grandparents' 60th anniversary party yesterday, I relayed a bit of a conversation that my friend, B, and I had on the way to the Bears game on Friday.

me: So B pointed over to a Camry in the other lane and asked me what I thought of them. I said I liked them and was considering one as my next car.

Katie: Wait. So you want a Camry now?

me: Well, it's under consideration.

Katie: What about your Escape?

me: I still really like the Escape. But if I decide to go for a sedan, then it would probably be a Camry. You know that.

Katie: What about a Highlander?

me: That's the car that you want, though.

Katie: So we can't both have one?

me: There can be only one.

Katie: Huh? Why?

me: Never mind.

Anyone? Anyone?

Okay, fine, I'm a geek. We all know it.

But it was a good weekend overall. Snakes on a Plane was schmaltzy, but fun; the Bears won 24-3 over the San Diego Chargeless; Katie and I saw Talladega Nights: The Ballad of RIcky Bobby with Brian and Jen on Saturday and it was much better than we were expecting; and the 60th anniversary party was a big hit. Yep, a damn fine weekend.

Latest Fun With Dead Trees review - Cast of Shadows by Kevin Guilfoile

Tell me darlin', can you picture this...

Just when I thought I had actually discovered the end of the Internets, or at least the end of the useful Internets, SJ sends me this little doozy. It is fd's Flickr Toys.

The site allows you to apply different cool effects such as borders, speech bubbles, templates, etc. to existing photos. And, as the name would imply, it plays quite nicely with Flickr. However, despite being able to directly upload the results of my fd fun to my Flickr site, I really don't want to give them my username and password. I'll upload manually.

Oh the hours of joy that can be had here.

Here are a couple of the images that SJ made with my photos (my lawyer will be contacting you regarding the copyright infringments... heh) to introduce me to the site...

Frame Within a Frame Within a Stamp
This would be my frame within a frame now within a stamp out on Hawk Hill.

Golden Gate Bridge stampified
Here we have a Golden Gate Bridge shot stampified.

Continue reading "Tell me darlin', can you picture this..." »

Everybody's down on their knees, listen like thieves...

This post idea originally came from Tiff and I really dug it. So I asked, she said yes (I think), and here it is.

Europefinalcountdown I'm 31 years old and have been a music fan for quite a vast majority of that time. Be it listening to whatever my parents happened to have playing in the car when I was a child or those first early cassettes I bought on my own (The Beach Boys, "Weird" Al Yankovic, Europe, The Beastie Boys, and Bon Jovi - motley mix, isn't it?) or any of the hundreds of CDs and digital tracks I've purchased or downloaded over the years. Music has been there for me.

But I, like Tiff, have always run into a problem that plagues the music industry as a whole. This problem is that there are very few albums out there that can be considered wholly listenable. Sometimes you'll hear a song on the radio that you like and are interested in purchasing but you fear buying the entire album on which the song is contained because the rest may be, and usually are, complete crap.

Yes, this problem has been abated somewhat by digital downloading in which you can just buy individual tracks, but it still hasn't stopped the music industry from putting out tripe and calling it music.

This has made me appreciate, even more, those "perfect" albums. The ones where I can sit and listen to the whole thing beginning to end, with no desire to skip tracks at all.

No, despite the prominence of the album cover on this post, I do not consider Europe's "The Final Countdown" to be a "perfect" album.

While there are more, here are ten such albums that I have on my iPod...

  • Depeche Mode "Violator" - my first DM experience and still one of my favorites, although "Ultra" is up there.
  • Bruce Springsteen "Born to Run" - 10th Avenue freeze out!
  • Van Halen "OU812" - not nearly their most popular, but my personal favorite.
  • Motley Crue "Dr. Feelgood" - one of my first and best live music experiences ever.
  • The Replacements "Pleased to Meet Me" - damn you, Eric, for making me a Replacements freak.
  • U2 "Boy" - heaven; pure heaven.
  • Radiohead "The Bends" - I still prefer the older Radiohead.
  • Michael Jackson "Thriller" - he's a freak, but this album rocks.
  • INXS "Listen Like Thieves" - there are several INXS albums I could have picked, but this is one of the coolest.
  • Aerosmith "Toys in the Attic" - nothing like the classics.

What would make your list?

Oh, and I've got a meme for you in the extended post, courtesy of *lynne*.

Continue reading "Everybody's down on their knees, listen like thieves..." »

I can see the venom in your eyes...

Before I get into the meat and gravy of this post, I would like to point out that, for the first time since my college years, my weekend actually began on a Thursday! Remember those days? God they were fun.

Let's see... a Thursday night Snakes on a Plane viewing, Friday night Bears v. Chargers preseason game at Soldier Field, Saturday night get together with my brother and future SiL (FSiL), and Sunday night 60th anniversary party for Katie's grandparents. It's a good weekend.

Oh, and it's also a good time because the Smashing Pumpkins are back in the studio, baby! Granted this iteration, as it stands, could just as easily be Zwan in that only Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin are back so far, but it's a good start and one I hope will get better as time goes by.

/mentally wills James Iha and D'arcy to come back... na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na/

Now to the good, slithery stuff... my review of the Snakes on a Plane experience.

Yes, I called it an experience as the viewing of this movie goes far beyond just what's on screen. Read on.

Here's the nutshell recap...

A late 20/early 30-something extreme sports freak named Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) accidentally witnesses the murder of an L.A. district attorney at the hands of a long-investigated but never convicted mobster named Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson) while on vacation in Hawaii. Although Sean manages, barely, to get away, Kim is intent on finding him and it's up to FBI Special Agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) to keep him safe until Kim's trial commences in L.A. But first, they have to get back to L.A.

Kim still wants Jones dead so he loads his 747 with a time-release cage filled with hundreds of the world's most poisonous snakes that will get out when the plane is partway over the Pacific Ocean with no chance of being able to make an emergency landing. And thus we set the scene for Snakes.

And now for a new style of review for me. I shall call it the Spaghetti Western Deconstruction (SWD)...

Continue reading "I can see the venom in your eyes..." »

Lady Luck, c'mon give me what I want...

Before I post this, I must make clear that I really feel bad for my friend who had this happen to her. Now that I've posted my disclaimer...

A friend of mine recently had something wonderful and, at the same time, terrible happen to her.

She was at a golf outing with her husband this past weekend. I don't know if he was actually participating in the outing or not or if they were just there. I know she wasn't playing as she's about six months pregnant. Something tells me a belly that size wouldn't agree with the motion necessary to swing a driver. Color me crazy.

Being pregnant, she was getting pretty tired and, when they thought the raffle ended, they left to go home.

Apparently the raffle was just getting started. They found out a couple days later that they had won a 30" plasma TV and a $100 gift certificate to Best Buy. Great news, right?

Wrong. You had to be present to claim your prizes.

When her husband told her this, she was almost in tears. I sat there with saucer-sized eyes as she related the story to me. Wow.

Yes, the raffle had rules and everybody knew them, so the rafflers (?) are covered. But it doesn't make it suck any less.

Who made who, who made you...

The resurgence of vintage rock n' roll T-shirts over the course of the last several years is a trend that has both a good side and a bad side.

The positive? True fans such as myself can buy the old shirts we were either too young or too poor to buy back in the day or we have since ruined or lost.

The negative? Poseur idiots can buy them and pretend to be fans.

Do I really think Jennifer Aniston listens to MC5 enough to warrant wearing the replica shirt that she did a few years ago on Friends? I somehow doubt it. Even if this is the case, I cannot fault her so much as it was a wardrobe department decision moreso than her own.

Along those lines, though, is there a chance in hell that the 11-year-old kid I saw riding his bike in circles outside mommy and daddy's house the other day can name more than two or three AC/DC songs and thus justify wearing the replica Back in Black T-shirt he had on? Not flippin' likely. The last time the Young brothers put out a studio album (2000's Stiff Upper Lip), I'm sure this kid could count his age on one hand.

Please. On behalf of true rock fans the world over, stop forsaking us by wearing shirts for bands you barely know and thus making a mockery of our fandom for the sake of being "hip." It's just not right. On so many levels.

I seriously want to go to my parents' house and bust out my box of old concert T-shirts so I can wear them proudly. Then, when some preteen punk asks me where I got it (Target? Kohl's? Hot Topic?), I can look at them and say...


Everybody come together...

I had something slightly freaky happen to me last night.

I was at home waiting for Katie to come home from work when I received a phone call from a 715 area code. According to Area Decoder, that's a northern Wisconsin locale. The caller ID showed a personal name and, even though that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a spam call, I decided to answer it anyway. Usually, if it's a number I don't recognize, I won't pick it up at all. Why I did this time, I'm not sure.

The guy on the other end initially sounded calm as he said that he was making a strange request but he needed my help. He gave me his name and said he was from northern Wisconsin. So far, everything was matching the information on caller ID. Yet my internal alarm bells were sounding.

Apparently, he has a friend who lives down here on my street (he never said what the street was and I didn't offer up the name as confirmation). He's been trying to contact her for a few days, but there is no pick up and all he ever gets is an answering machine.

Then he asked if I knew the person by name. I could hear the desperation coming through in his voice and I knew his next question, should I say "yes," was whether I could stop by to check on her.

However, I didn't know the name and I told him so and that I was sorry.

Nobody on my street or any other street in this townhome association has names on their mailboxes or doors. We do not have a community directory. Unless we have run into each other and made a conscious effort to get to know one another, we really wouldn't know each other at all.

He gave me the first names of several other people that she had mentioned in conversation with him in the past. I had not heard any of them in my neighborhood either.

I realize I could've looked her up in an online phone book, but he never offered up her last name. And he never gave me her address either. I would assume that if he knew her that well, he would've had her address and could offer it up for me to check in on her.

I suggested the police and he said he didn't want to take it to that level. Then he asked, "what's the name of the hospital down there in Geneva?" This was the first direct indication that this call wasn't someone illegitimately phishing for information. So I gave him the name of the local hospital. That was about all I could do.

He then said he wanted to cross off my name from his list so he didn't accidentally call me back. I did not offer up my name, but the last name he gave was actually one for my nextdoor neighbor. I played along and said that was me. If nothing else, she would not wind up being called and I knew what number would show up on the caller ID so I wouldn't have to pick up the phone again.

I really don't know this person and don't know whether or not his request is legit. He did manage to clear up some question as to the validity of his call by confirming the city name and my neighbor's lastname. But I had no way of looking up information on her that he probably should have had anyway. And, if he truly was concerned and wanted me to check in on her, why not just give me her address or phone number or even her last name? I could do a lot more with that little bit of information that he, as her friend, should have.

Jealous ex or legitimately worried friend? How should I have interpreted that?

I guess if ever there was a reason to get to know your neighbor, this would be it. Whether to be able to check in on them or to warn them that someone has been asking about them.

Oh-oh, me so horn-y...

Following the theme started yesterday, here's a conversation that Blundering American (BA) and I had recently on Google Chat.

It all started last Friday because Johnny C. posted the following Google Talk status message... "Johnny: is filming gay porn with Kevin as we speak!!"

I had the following reply as my status message... "Kevin: refuses to take part in Johnny's quest to be a gay porn star."

So, of course, BA had to chime in...

BA: "Johnny Quest wants to be a porn star?!?!?"

me: "I'm thinking."

BA: "now that's going to be an interesting cartoon!"

me: "Scary, more like."

BA: "i wonder what the lunchbox will look like"

me: "Ewwww..."

Barney BA: "and they thought the telletubbies were bad..."

me: "How about an illicit video of Barney and that yellow stegosaurus?"

BA: "'Hey baby, come over here and I'll show you a real fossil.' *cheap porn music* Geez, i'm totally warped...definitely a friday afternoon"

me: "What does a dinosaur porn mustache look like? I can't concentrate on work anymore today."

BA: "'Is that your tail, or are you just happy to see me?'"

me: "Again... ewwww..."

BA: "i saw this thing on HBO once with Bernie, the stand up dinosaur"

me: "What a long horn you have?"

BA: "HA"

me: "I'll save YOU from extinction."

BA: "Bernie looks like Barney and says, "So, I said to the hooker, 'If I've got to eat it, you've got to wash it'.'"

me: "Nasty."

BA: "dinosaur pick up lines...i love it 'So, you eat from this tree often?'"

me: "I can just imagine Barney saying, 'I'm so glad triceratops' are already on all fours.'"

BA: "ok...that made me laugh out loud at my desk"

me: "Happy to help."

BA: "ok...with that prehistoric porn, i think i'm going to finish [work]. I'll catch ya later...oh, and i'm hoping to finish my epilogue to blundering through israel soon..."

me: "cool. Have a good weekend."

BA: "u2"

Damn, it's just been a porn-o-rific couple of days here on kapgar, hasn't it?

Let's get rocked...

I'm not a big fan of horror movies.

Well, not movies that adhere to the modern bastardization of the genre anyway.

I have not, nor do I want to see Saw (ha!), the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hostel, etc. Okay, admittedly, I did watch The Omen and Ring, neither of which really floated my proverbial catamaran.

But, one recent DVD release may find me changing my mind.

Finaldestination3 The movie in question is Final Destination 3 and my reason for wanting to violate my own personal standards code and see it is because of this kick-ass feature on the DVD where you pick the outcome. You, alone, control if a character lives or dies.

How friggin' cool is that?

As a kid, I grew up addicted to Choose Your Own Adventure novels. In them, you chose the next step that a character might take. Any time an option was presented to them, you, the reader, are given the responsibility of deciding the character's destiny. Although, I don't think quite recall any protagonist deaths in the series.

It was just plain cool. Oh, and you could read the novels dozens of times and, theoretically, never have them turn out the same way twice.

Now we have a movie that offers you the same option.

This is about the coolest thing to hit DVD since the Virtual Sex series some years back in which you chose the act, position, whether the girl...

Well, you get the point.

And not like I know firsthand or anything.

This is just what I've heard.

No really.


God put a smile upon your face...

Ahreelee_1 This has got to be one of the coolest things I have ever seen in terms of independent video production.

Basically, an artist named Ahree Lee began taking a digicam self portrait of herself on November 1, 2001. This trend continued every single day. I think it's still going on as she calls this film a work in progress.

Well, she has now taken each shot and spliced it together into a film showing her evolution over what amounts to nearly five years. Each photo is a single frame within the video and, while it may sound a bit weird, the end result is fantastic.

And the music on the video was written by her husband. It, too, is really good.

Yes, this video is also available on YouTube, but if you watch it on AtomFilms, she actually receives a royalty for it. Either way, it's free to you.

Check it out.

Oh, and I've got a meme for you in the extended post, courtesy of SJ.

Continue reading "God put a smile upon your face..." »

Are you man enough...

Is it wrong to occasionally feel as thought you are not permitted, per se, to sing certain songs? At least, not out loud?

I'm not trying to imply that I'm better than a particular song or artist. Nor am I saying that I feel this song falls under the category of "guilty pleasure" and I should, therefore, hide my enjoyment of it. I am quite proud, in fact, to be a fan of this song.

I just feel awkward singing it.

SherylcrowtnmcThe song in question is Sheryl Crow's "Strong Enough" from her debut album Tuesday Night Music Club. It's one helluvan infectious tune, isn't it? Great melody, great singing, great musicianship. And I won't lie by saying that Sheryl's Hotness Quotient (imagine "hot" spoken with a throaty, Homer-like gurgle) didn't play somewhat into the early days of my enjoyment of her music.

My problem with the song lies in the lyrics.

"Are you strong enough to be my man?"

Gah! i don't want to sing that. Could it be any more awkward? I would not have minded having Sheryl sing those words to me. But I don't want to accidentally have some other guy think I'm singing them to him.

Just imagine being a guy stopped at a light in your car and you're blasting this song with the windows down and singing along to it when another car pulls up beside you. The human curiosity factor kicks in with the person next to you who is watching as you belt out Sheryl's words. Then comes the line, and that, too, emanates from your mouth at the same volume as the rest of the song. You suddenly become self conscious and look over at the car waiting next to you, and the guy in it blows you a kiss.

No, no. Not good.

"Are you man enough to be my man?"

Jesus, girl! Twice in one line?!?! What are you trying to do to me?

What's worse is that you cannot easily swap words around in this song to save face like you can in so many other songs. It's not nearly as simple as the rhythmically loose "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals which was gender swapped by Kiss on their Love Gun album. "Gal," "girl," "ma'am," etc. None of them work in the carefully rhymed scheme employed in "Strong Enough." It's almost as though Sheryl constructed it solely so hetero men would fail at singing it.

What's a music-loving guy such as myself to do? Do I continue trying to gender swap despite the apparent lack of rhyming quality? Do I discontinue singing the song and just (gah!) listen to it only? Or do I throw caution to the wind and sing it aloud in all its femme-oriented glory and pray no guy perceives it as an off-handed pick up line?

Oh the difficulties we face in this thing called life...

In between I drink black coffee...

Throughout your high school and college years, you may have any number of part-time jobs to fill the time and give you that necessary extra cash to buy the little luxuries that you'll never be able to afford again (God bless rent-free living with your parents at that age).

I had a boatload of jobs: waiting tables, register jockey, customer service, telemarketing, slave labor, you name it.

Starbucks But one of the most interesting experiences I had was working at Starbucks Coffee.

I know many of you live and die by the caffeinated sea nymph (sorry to steal back a line I used on your site, Alissa). I was a late bloomer when it comes to coffee. I didn't discover this nectar of goodliness until my sophomore year of college when a friend took me to Gloria Jean's for my first real taste. I never became hooked, but I enjoy it once in a while. It's a great wake up call when you need it. Let me tell you, there is nothing quite like a grande double-shot red eye, no room.

One summer, I decided to get a job at the world's finest purveyor and it was quite a learning experience. No, not the interview process. That was actually relatively normal despite my comment on Pauly's site.

The interesting part was the learning process when drawing espresso shots.

True coffee connoisseurs will tell you that there is, in fact, a perfect shot of espresso. People are quite picky about it: the age and temperature of the beans, the grind setting, the way the grounds are tamped in the filter, the temperature of the water, the length of time taken to pull it. Considering how much people will pay for a simple shot of espresso, I guess they have the right to be picky. So learning how to pull the perfect shot is essential to your employment at Starbucks.

And the learning process involves drawing repeated shots until the supervisor watching over you is sufficiently impressed with all the above listed features. Everything must be perfect. And no one-off shots, either. If you do it once, you must be able to do it several more times to make sure it wasn't just some fluke.

Oh, and did I mention that we are required to drink every single shot we pull to make sure it tastes right?

Yes, they start strong. Shots one and two can be rough if you're not that familiar with espresso. Three and four just slide down your throat like candy. You become a bit numb after five and six. And I truly doubt you'll have any memory of numbers seven and eight as you won't even be sitting still long enough to realize that you're drinking something. Anything after that may as well be embalming fluid. You'll be dead from caffeine overload. All the while your fellow baristas are snickering behind your back.

I really don't know how I pulled through that particular day. It was rough. No, not the imbibing of liquid crack so much as the subsequent caffeine crash. That was horrible. About 45 minutes after my final shot and my bout of floating in tightly wound circles eight inches off the ground, I hit rock bottom.

You remember when Wile E. Coyote would fall off a cliff after chasing the Road Runner? The long fall, the crash, the puff of smoke? It all happens during a caffeine crash. I swear I even remember Porky Pig waving me off with a "B-dee, b-dee, b-dee, that's all, folks!" It wasn't pretty.

I do not recommend it. If you never listen to another thing I say... er "type"... just trust me on this one.

Memories... like the corners of my mind...

Well, depending on how long you've been reading kapgar, you may or may not know that I like to do a sort of highlights reel of trips we go on. This usually involves creating a list of "positives" and "negatives" and letting you all read through. The last time I did this was back in September for my Florida trip. So here goes with a good v. bad of San Francisco 2006...

The Positives:

  • Christopher Columbus Katie was with me
  • Going with my brother, Brian, and his fiancee, Jen
  • It was San Francisco, baby!
  • Katie was with me
  • Absolutely unbelievably stunningly gorgeous weather especially when compared to the rest of the country (sorry about the triple adverbs there; I felt it needed the extra emphasis)
  • Katie getting her very first digital camera and loving it
  • Katie was with me
  • Mondavi freebies - the tour and all the tastings, plus a discount on merchandise
  • Poppy Hills Golf Course freebies - yeah, I may not have detailed those for legality's sake
  • Katie was... well, you get it
  • Yet another cool car rental in California - the first time out there in L.A. two years ago was a Ford Escape, which was awesome
  • Seeing Paul's The Lost Blogs on the bestseller rack at Cody's Books
  • Having my Nintendo DS (rockin' Mario Kart!) for the trip home while Katie and Jen watched Friends on the DVD player
  • Great food
  • Fantastic scenery
  • Beautiful hotel
  • It was, simply put, great

The Negatives:

  • Small planes - it was an American Airlines S80, which I had never heard of and could find very little information about online when I looked. Now I know why, AA doesn't want you to know how small they are
  • Being delayed on return in Dallas/Fort Worth - why couldn't the mechanical problems have happened in San Francisco instead?!?!?!
  • Cost of the trip - not cheap, but worth every penny
  • Didn't get to meet Sandra, Jacynth, Mikey, Chase, or Karl - that bummed me out more than you know
  • No Web connectivity at either the Dell kiosk or Apple Store - WTF
  • Margaritaville in Sausalito closed down
  • Gas prices - but, some stations were still actually cheaper than here in Illinois
  • Dead DVD player - resulting in yet another California vacation trip to a Best Buy
  • Running out of space on my memory sticks - we had to purchase a 1 GB stick while out there; I've never taken that many photos before
  • Having to leave San Francisco behind

I find this to always be such a good way to wrap up a trip. Hope you enjoyed it.

Oh yeah, I've got four days worth of photos up on Flickr now. Stay tuned as I hope to have the final day's worth posted sometime later today. Thank God for lunch breaks.

Tomorrow: it's back to reality.

Shed your skin... I'm coming...

I just received the greatest frickin' phone call of my life. And it wasn't even from a live person.

I'm sitting here on my lunch break when my cellphone rings.

I look at the caller ID and it's Chase! Holy cow! Chasey-chase-chase! Cool!

I pick up and say "hello?"

The voice on the other end is decidedly un-Chase-like. In fact, it was rather black and male. Oh hell, it was actually Samuel L. Jackson.

He starts off talking to me personally and then kicks into his spiel in support of the movie, Snakes on a Plane, coming out, according to the recording, on August 18. I have now been instructed to stop playing with the Web and my camera, pick up my girl Chase, and go see this movie. Oh, I'm also no longer allowed to play with my badass beard. Or so Sammy says.

All I could do was laugh. And I couldn't stop. And my boss and three coworkers were in the next office having a meeting. And I was laughing. Out loud. Uncontrollably.

And I don't care.

I needed it.

Thank you, Chase! You rock, girl!

This one's for you...


Oh yeah, guess I'd better go see the movie or both Samuel L. and Chase will stick a boot up my ass.

Days and days...

So would you all like to read the day-by-day of our activities out in S.F.? It's a pretty sordid laundry list of activities. You've been warned. Oh heck, I'll spice it up with a few photos since I've got the first couple days of shots loaded to Flickr (four more days of photos still need to be uploaded).

Here goes...

Sunday, July 30:
Jen sawing logsWe stayed up all night from Friday because it just wasn't worth trying to fall asleep for two hours only to wake up, shower, and pretend to be awake for the limo ride. Some of us survived it, some did not. We took a stretch limo to the airport and caught our 6:55 a.m. flight to Dallas/Fort Worth. My brother's flight, through his company was a bit different as it was scheduled by them, so he flew to Denver instead. The three of us then caught a 10:25 flight to Oakland. We got our rental car and drove across the Bay Bridge to the Marriott Courtyard in Oyster Point, just south of San Francisco on the 101.

That afternoon, we drove to Sausalito and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant called Nian Jing or some ridiculously difficult name to remember that is somewhat similar. Hell if I know.

We then headed up into the Marin Headlands and did our thing on Hawk Hill. That "thing" involved extensive photography, nothing else. Well, maybe some exploring of the abandoned gunnery outposts. Then we checked out some other batteries tucked further back in the headlands as well as some observation posts. There was a ton of hiking involved, but the photo ops made it all worthwhile.

We ended the evening with a joyride through the Presidio during which time we met the biggest imbecile of a security guard any of us had ever experienced. Moron.

Finally, back to the hotel.

Continue reading "Days and days..." »

I'm still alive...

First off, I want to reassure you all that I will get through all the comments on my site sometime very soon. You know me, if you've commented (and assuming Typepad's notification e-mails work properly), I will reply personally. I also plan to get through the 1,780,345 posts, give or take, that have accumulated in Bloglines. I may not comment on every single one of them, but I will read them. So long as I don't go batty in the process, that is.

I think today's post is going to be spent sharing with you some of the notes I wrote out in my Moleskine while in S.F.

This conversation happened while cruising through the Presidio grounds on Sunday, July 30...

Me: "So what is this building?"

Security Guard: "I really can't say."

Me: "Is this Lucas' film department?"

S.G.: "I'm really not at liberty to say. But you can get more information at w-w-w-dot-lucas..."

Me: "lucasfilm-dot-com?"

S.G.: "Yeah, that's it."

Me: "So you cannot confirm that this is George Lucas' new film department that has been publicly reported to be on Presidio grounds, yet we can get more information about it from LUCAS' own Web site?"

S.G.: "I really can't say."

Me: "Yeah, okay."

I shit you not.

Continue reading "I'm still alive..." »

Return to me...

Hey all. Just wanted to drop you a note that we are back and we are alive.

Actually, we got back really early yesterday, but I was too tired to post any sort of message to beat out the prepost I already had set up.

As for details regarding the trip, I still have a boatload of photos to upload to Flickr and quite a few thoughts to gather and handwritten notes (how archaic!) to develop into real posts first. So, be on the lookout for those over the course of the next couple days.

Stay tuned! I promise it will be fun.

Well, I can't really say that, can I? We're all our own people with our own idea of what constitutes "fun." Suffice it to say that it was fun for us and we hope it will be fun for you. Sound good anyway?

Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it...

Okay, some of these questions may be a little similar to Meme-ology, but there are enough new ones in here to justify doing it anyway. Oh yeah, stole it from Wordnerd.

The Food Meme

How do you like your eggs?
Really depends on my mood. I like 'em scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, smashed, whatever.

How do you take your coffee/tea?
Coffee would be black and medium to medium-strong in taste. I also like Frappucinos. Tea would have to be green and hot or unsweetened and cold.

What are you favorite breakfast foods?
I love plain cereals like Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and Corn Flakes. But I also like eggs, waffles, pancakes, English muffins, and bagels. But these latter ones I don't eat all too often. Typically because they take too much time to prepare. Unless it's a weekend.

Peanut butter: smooth or crunchy?
Smooth Jif. That's the only one I'll eat. Actually, it's the only peanut butter that either Katie or I will eat. The rest just doesn't cut it.

What kind of dressing on your salad?
Bleu cheese, ranch, Italian, vinaigrette, French.

Coke or Pepsi?
Coke. Preferably Diet Coke varietals anymore.

Continue reading "Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it..." »

I don't wanna, baby, I don't wanna...


You can't make it end! You can't take this away from me!

I. Won't. Let. It.

In case you were wondering, this is the last day of our vacation in San Francisco and I don't want it to be so. I figure if I bitch and whine enough, maybe the powers that be will allow it to continue in perpetuity.

Please, if you have the ability to allow us to stay here in San Francisco, I would greatly appreciate the effort. I would feel forever indebted to you. You would be my hero.

Make the week continue a couple more days. Delay the plane. Cancel it. Create some sort of inexplicable yet highly dangerous weather pattern over Chicago that shows no signs of letting up until, oh, say, next month?

Whatever it takes... I truly don't care.

I love this city. We both do. We would live here if there was ever hope of being able to afford a mortgage. Or a rent. Or a cardboard box, for that matter. This city ain't cheap.

Just let me stay.


Mr. Jones and me, we're gonna be big stars...

God it's been a long time since I've visited the Jones Soda Web site.

In all fairness, it's not as though I was ever much of a frequent visitor, but it is a fun site. They have all kinds of kitschy little interactive bits and pieces such as a fortune cookie reader, customizable music player, full nutritional content labels for every single one of their hundreds of drinks, magnetic words game, etc.

LauralabelI first discovered the site a couple years ago when I was at a Panera Bread and picked up my first Jones Soda and saw the cool photo on the label. Turns out that they ran a contest with Panera Bread where photos taken by PB employees were selected to appear on the labels.

I thought it was pretty cool and checked out the site to find out more information about the promotion.

Soon after, I discovered that an old college friend of mine, Laura, was one who had her photo on a label. It's the label at right, save for the fact that mine came on a bottle of root beer, not diet black cherry soda.

Actually, after conducting a search on Jones' photo gallery just now, it turns out she has more than a dozen photos posted in all. And they're all really nice. I'm not sure, however, how many actually made the cut for labels. I know of two offhand.

I was thinking how cool a thing this would be to try out. But I want some input from all of you.

You've seen the many photos that I've posted here on the site and over on my Flickr site. So, if you have a moment, check them out again and let me know in the comments or via e-mail which ones you think I should submit. It doesn't appear that there is a limit to the number I can upload to the gallery.

Oh yeah, and they make some pretty killer drinks, too.