24 posts from March 2008

And in a big country...

Quick sidebar: Don't forget to sign up for the Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign! We currently have nearly two dozen participants and we've extended the sign-up deadline to April 15. Head on over and blog for a cause!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Why do I sometimes feel like I'm obligated to like some movies that are released? It's almost as though some movies receive so much acclaim, be it from critics or fans, that I almost think I have to like them even when I don't. And then, if I don't like them, I feel bad about it and go back and try to create reasons to like it anyway. How twisted and wrong is that?

Well, I'm done making excuses for movies I don't like. It's my opinion and I'm sticking by it. After all, isn't that what entertainment is all about? Watching or hearing something and letting it "hit you" in that special way so it leaves an indelible mark on your psyche?

So that's what I'm doing from here on out. No more forcing myself to like something. Forget that. It's not worth my time. If I don't like, I don't like it. And there's little to nothing that anybody can do about it.

Nocountry Here I go... No Country For Old Men... sucked. And, for some reason, I think Katie and I are going to be the only two people in the world who feel this way.

Seriously, though, it was painfully boring and slowwwwww. Dear Christ, each minute was laborious. I think that if I were to time a minute of that movie, it would've equaled 120 seconds of real time, it was that slow.

Sure, Javier Bardem was good in an incredible creepy and menacing way and he had one heckuva cool gun, but that wasn't enough to save it.

The ending was painful and I felt no allegiance to any character in the film. It almost struck me that all of them deserved what they got.

Oh, and what is up with Netflix's timing service? Or maybe it's the movie studio that is to blame, but the envelope from Netflix listed this movie as being two hours and 22 minutes. So when the film cut to black at 1:57, I was left hanging. I thought there was going to be more. Some sort of resolution to the whole thing. But I got nothing. Nothing but credits. And I felt empty as a result.


I have a meme for you in the extended post. So keep reading!

Continue reading "And in a big country..." »

How do you feel...

...I'm lonely.

Oh, good morning, Michael! It's wonderful to hear your voice nudging me from my slumber.

I've always loved your voice. Isn't that strange? No, not that I'm such a fan, but that all my favorite male vocalists are dead. You, Freddie Mercury, Jeff Buckley... and it's difficult because I can never again expect to hear new material from any of you. I have to live with what I have.

And I can never see you perform live again. God that was a great show back in '93. You and the rest of the guys were on top of your game. I still have that guitar pick from Kirk Pengilly and I remember you reaching out and slapping five with me a few times from the stage.

I never mentioned that I was thinking about you the other day. The trip I took with some friends to New Orleans in 1997. It was the morning of our last day and we turned on MTV News only to hear that your body was found dead in a hotel as a result of hanging. It hit us all hard. Me, Mike, Jesse, that fourth guy whose name I don't remember. We were all affected. We were all fans. Are all still fans.

I miss ya, Hutch.

But at least we have those occasional mornings when you wake me up via the alarm clock. We will always have those, won't we?





Video killed the radio star...

Oh, how could I not use that song as the title for this post?

I did it. I finally did it. I created my first video post. I'm not sure of the quality (audio, video, or content for that matter). In fact, the only thing I will guarantee is that it will not be the most exciting video you've ever seen on YouTube.

And does anyone know how I can easily control sibilance on an eyeball camera with an integrated mic? I sound like freakin' Cobra Commander.


'Cause I'm the taxman...

Excellentblog First off, I need to thank Karl. He graced me with an Excellent Blog Award! This is kinda cool seeing that about the only thing I really receive that is blog related usually begins with "Please cease and desist..." So this is quite the pleasant surprise!

And I will follow the rules as stated by whoever started this award. Apparently I must now:

  1. Identify the originator of this award, and link so he can get his well-deserved traffic. That would be Mr. Secondhand Tryptophan himself, Karl!
  2. Pass on at least 10 Excellent Blog Awards.

10? Only 10? Well, shoot. Whittling it all down might not be too easy. But I'm going to try. Seeing as how this is very limiting, I don't want anyone to feel left out. I still love ya. But I'm also going to try to give the award to people that didn't just receive it from Karl, either. And, let me tell ya, that's not easy considering we read a lot of the same blogs.

All of these are excellent blogs and I really encourage you to check them out. Except that Refuse to Blog gal, Lisa. She paid for inclusion on this list. ;-) JK.

I hate to admit that there may be an ulterior motive to my participation in this award. Perhaps I'm hoping, by doing this, that I will receive some good karma as tonight I'm heading into the accountant to file our tax returns. And I'd like to actually receive some money this year. Supposedly we're eligible for that big payback that Dubya is offering up, but we'll see.

Yes, I use an accountant because he knows his stuff and charges us very little because he's my dad's longtime accountant. We've got too much crap we're juggling here in terms of statements and whatnot and I'd have no idea what to do if I decided to use some online program to file them.

It's really probably just a matter of sitting down and learning how to do it. But it involves scary things like numbers and math. Then, there's the constant fear of an audit. Bright spotlights shone in my face as two big guys in gorilla suits and dark sunglasses pistolwhip me with Texas Instruments scientific calculators while forcing me to account for my piss-poor math skills.

Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit. And I realize I'm pretty small potatoes in the grander scheme of things, but I'm also pretty certain I'd mentally crack under the stress of an audit, even without calculator-based assault and battery. So knowing that I have someone who is licensed to back me up just in case is a big reassurance.

But some good juju doesn't hurt either.

Take my breath away...

I'm not sure if I'm being targeted or not with this little tidbit. Let me know what you think.

All the bathrooms where I work are equipped with those automated air freshener dispersal units. A pretty cool device that makes the bathroom smell nice even after someone makes it smell, well, not so.

My concern arises in that it seems as though it always sends wafts of "freshness" into the atmosphere anytime I'm in there. I could just be washing my hands and nothing else and it'll go off. Whatever the case may be, though, it always puffs while I'm in there, without fail.

So, as you might expect, I begin to question if this thing works on a timer and I just always happen to be in there at the exact right moment or does it have some sort of smell sensor and it knows when the air is bad? Is this device trying to tell me something?

All I keep thinking is Top Gun... "Slider... * sniff sniff *... you stink."

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I'm starting to wish I was Scottish, because the appeal of owning and wearing a Utilikilt is truly growing on me even if the thought might terrify the rest of the world. You gotta watch the commercial on the homepage and just try to tell me it doesn't remind you of a colorized version of something you'd see in Clerks. Then go in and watch some of the fan-made commercials that they have archived. They're hilarious.

Let's talk about you and me...

Just a couple quick notes before I break into the meat and potatoes of today's post.

Sadly I'm not going to TequilaCon this year. Sorry. I really, really want to, but Katie and I are going to Florida again in May and the chance to tour south Florida and see Miami and Key West for the first time in our lives kinda trumps Philly. Sorry all. I will miss you. And I am still going to try to eventually hit up one of the TequilaCons in the future. I just don't know when.

But that's no reason why Hilly shouldn't be allowed to go!

Help send our Hilly Sue to Philly Poo! (Actually, I guess that should be "Philly, PA" but that just doesn't rhyme).

As a note, clicking on either the image at right or the link above will take you to Avitable's site. If you've never been there before, I must warn you that you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. You must be cautious. Oh and NSFW (as in NEVER Safe For Work).

Love the tiara, BTW.

I would also recommend going over to Brandon's site for a well-thought-out reason why ham is the #1 choice of Easter party-goers. Fantastic story that reeks of being made into a South Park script. I miss the SP Jesus.

Oh, and now that I've got you in a charitable mood. Guess what's back!

Yes, for the first time in two years, I'm resurrecting the Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign!

No, Paul is not releasing another book that I'm aware of. This time, the benefit was intended to be for Carly Milne's Sexography: One Woman's Journey from Ignorance to Bliss. However, once she realized that April was National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, Carly decided to take it one step further and turn this promotion into a fund raiser for the  Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN). Well, it took a lot of begging and promises on her part (check's still in the mail, right Carly?) before I finally relented on my wholly self-promotional ways and agreed to turn my grassroots effort into a fund raiser as well.

If you are interested in joining, please head over to the GBBMC2008 homepage and check out the details. All kidding aside, it is a great organization and we both hope this promotion can help them out in a positive way.

Oh yeah, and did I mention there are prizes? I mean SERIOUS PRIZES. You're clickin' now, aren't ya?

Just as a note, unlike the last time I did GBBMC and agreed to post on my blog for those who wanted to participate but didn't have blogs of their own, this time, you must have your own blog. Even if you start it up solely for the purpose of participating in this promotion. That's fine with me. We'll hook ya yet.


The world was such a wholesome place until...

Happy Easter to all of you!

Could've been better over here. Katie's sick. Technically she has been for about a month. Even while we were in Florida, but I think the weather helped her, well, weather it out a bit better.

Now that we're back and have been for a couple weeks, her sickness is back too. And it hit full steam ahead in the middle of last week. She went to urgent care and they diagnosed her with the tail end of bronchitis and a variation of whooping cough. Yay fun.

So we missed the Easter celebrations this year. Well she did. I still went to my parents' house even though I told Katie I'd stay with her. She insisted I go. But we stayed home from her parents' party especially since her grandmother, who already has chronic respiratory problems, would be there. Probably not a great place to have Katie mix and mingle.

Speaking of "mix," we spent the day catching up on some DVDs. Rather interesting mix if I do say so myself. Let's see...

I told you it was an interesting mix.

And a Happy Easter back atcha!

Show me the way...

Some snippets today...

Katie and I have been giving the new sitcom Miss/Guided a shot. I've always dug on Judy Greer as she usually plays the snarky best friend roles and steals a lot of the scenes she shares with others (Arrested Development, 13 Going on 30, Love Monkey, and The Hebrew Hammer, for starters). So seeing her take the lead should be interesting. Anyway, one of this week's three episodes featured Ashton Kutcher, one of the show's producers, playing a substitute Spanish teacher who (SPOILERS) is fired when they discover he doesn't have a degree like he states in his CV (the education world's version of a resume).

This got me thinking, how many times does this sort of thing happen and have any of you ever considered completely falsifying a resume and applying for a job just for kicks? What job would it have to be to make you run that risk?

The show also got me thinking about guidance counselors/advisers as that is the role Greer plays in the show. I know in high school I went to see my guidance counselor for college and class advice on an occasional basis. But I never even found out who my adviser was in college. I swear I never even knew their name nor did I ever see them. They were supposed to help you plan your schedule and make sure you graduated on time and the like. I don't know why, but I never needed the help and apparently I must've slipped through the cracks somehow as I never received a letter or any communication from my adviser in my four undergrad years.

I'll be perfectly honest with you, I would've been completely willing to have my NCAA brackets completely blown if Belmont won last night against Duke in the first round. Just to see a #2 lose to a #15 would've been beautiful. And for that #2 to be Duke? My most hated team in the NCAA. The place from whence Christian Laettner spawned forth. Sorry, I'm a UK fan, so I hate Duke. And, yes, I know UK lost yesterday. But they were a #11 seed who lost to a #6 seed so it's understandable. Damn you, Belmont!! You could've scored one of the biggest upsets in March Madness history. And I would've even bought a T-shirt so I could wear it in front of my brother in law.

Cinematical scored a preview picture of Ray Park as Snake Eyes in the upcoming G.I. Joe movie. He looks pretty cool. As I said in my comment on the page, he looks just like the second costume that Snakes wore in the comics. So I was pretty cool with it, save for one thing.

I'm not sure how many of you were G.I. Joe fans, either of the toys or the original comics, but I was a fan of both. And, I'm sorry, but that red mark on his upper arm is actually supposed to be a tattoo hidden on his forearm. (SPOILER) It's a mark showing his affiliation with the clan of ninja that trained him and his "brother" Storm Shadow. And it's supposed to be used to reveal the relationship that underlies their rivalry, not an advertisement of his belonging to a clan of warriors that have long been considered extinct. Small beef to some, big beef to me.

I am still pretty excited about the movie, regardless. It's got a pretty awesome cast.

Was anyone else completely weirded out by this week's episode of South Park where Kyle and Stan try to save Britney Spears from the world? I didn't quite know what to make of it. Neither did Katie.

Tonight there's gonna be trouble...

This is just such a blah sorta day. I woke up not feeling "it," you know what I mean? That indescribable thing that motivates you to get up and start your day? This, of course, meant I had no idea what to write about today. No clue whatsoever.

So I turned to Metalmom. She used the meme that I tried out yesterday saying that she was thankful to not have to think up a topic of her own. So I challenged her gratitude and asked for an idea for today in return. What she gave me was pretty interesting. It came from Darned to Heck. Basically, you take the phrase "what's more important..." and pit two things against each other.

Oh, now this opens up a ton of possibilities. The odd thing was that most of the pseudo-contestants I came up with referred back to my childhood. Star Wars vs. Star Trek, G.I. Joe vs. Transformers? Lego vs. Erector Sets? Kickball vs. Dodgeball? Halloween vs. Christmas?

That last one got me thinking... what's more important, Santa Claus or his elves?

This almost becomes a bit of a chicken or the egg argument as both are pretty codependent. 

Santa Claus delivers the toys. But the elves have to make them. Without the elves, Santa has nothing.

On the reverse side, though, without Santa, the elvish creations never see the light of day; they'd be unemployed.

Santa is the face of Christmas, but you can almost argue that he's just a figurehead with the real power belonging to the elves. The Parliament to his Queen of England.

Could the elves replace Santa easier than Santa could replace the elves?

Perhaps the elves would hire a consultant to help them develop some sort of delivery center model like an Amazon.com? Should they unionize? Would they find a new figurehead or keep using Santa's portly image? Would they have to pay royalties to the Claus family to keep using his image or has he been around long enough to have outlived trademarking?

Should Santa upgrade his facilities and use a robot-driven assembly line? Maybe he should just subcontract through other toy manufacturers and save himself the development costs inherent in his current business model. Just slap a "Santa Approved!" sticker on their packaging.

You'll notice I still haven't decided which is more important. That's where you come in. Let's argue this one out, all of us. Throw in your two cents.

Okay, this is pretty stupid, admittedly. But I'm feeling really weird right about now.

For those not in the argumentative mood, I've got another meme in the extended post.

Continue reading "Tonight there's gonna be trouble..." »

I will eat your soul...

Recently, while watching some show on E!, Katie and I saw a newsbit in the crawl that tends to run along the bottom of every E! show about how MTV has opted to not play the new Gnarls Barkley video for the song "Run" because it has strobing lights in it that have been known to induce epileptic seizures.

An interesting decision, to be sure, but it's MTV's right to make it. But then I got to thinking... MTV turned away a music video? That implies they still play music videos.

But I'm not here to lambast MTV again about how they've turned tail and run from the artform that made them who they are.

I am here, however, to ask for your help. I love music videos and am truly desperate to watch some again. I used to have a disc I burned years ago that contained some spectacular videos including Björk, some edgier (I hate that word) Madonna bits, Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin, and a couple others, but I can't find the disc anywhere. I'm going to try to find those online, but I want some other suggestions as well. I really dig on creative stuff and would like to find some good videos or sites dedicated to music videos that have substance beyond what Top 40 radio declares is the hit du jour.

What are some of your favorite music videos? Can they be found on the Web in a downloadable format that I can convert so I can watch them on my iPod?

Oh yeah, here's one of my personal faves. Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy," which remains one of the most terrifying videos I've ever seen. I can't explain why other than the faces. Oh God, the faces.

Oh, and I've got the latest viral meme in the extended post for ya.

Continue reading "I will eat your soul..." »

Tell me what's on your mind...

I feel like there is a giant clock ticking behind my head and the world is leering over my shoulder as I sit here debating my choice for President of these United States come the November election.

Yeah, that's right, I'm still undecided, not just on candidate, but on party as well. Everyone has their pluses and minuses but, being the cynic that I am, I tend to look more at the minuses or what I perceive will be their potential faults.

But I think what is making matters worse is that I have yet to find a single article in the media recently that dishes on the candidates in a truly objective manner. Everyone gushes or everyone bashes, and I am sick and tired of it. I don't want to read anything put out by a candidate's campaign or party as you know that will be slanted. Nor do I want to read a book written by the candidate themselves (I'm just too afraid that I'll be disappointed should a candidate not live up to the ideal I set for them after reading their book).

I received the most recent issue of Rolling Stone with Obama on the cover and was looking forward to reading it (I'm a bit behind on reading my issues of RS right now). Until, that is, my officemate told me she finished reading it and described it as a "love letter to Barack Obama." Now I have absolutely no desire to read it at all. And the only thing worse is when a reporter claims to have no affiliation, but their writing reeks of a lean (check out James Poniewozik's interesting suggestion).

Why can't we find members of the media who have no leaning or, for the purpose of writing an article, can put aside their preconceived notions in favor of giving a fair and accurate portrayal of the candidates?

If there is an article out there that you can recommend, please do so. I need help. I realize I have half a year left, but I'd like to get started on the process of making up my mind. Please help.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): If your whole life came crashing down on you, would you try to auction it all away? Interesting.

On the rocky road to Dublin...

I hope you're all going to celebrate the holiest of holidays tonight... St. Patrick's Day!

If you are, may the luck o' the Irish shine down upon you.

If you're not, may a thousand angry, drunken Leprechauns torment you in your sleep for weeks to come.

So... how about some holiday cheer in the form of jokes and a rhyme?

Guinness The Mouse on the Barroom Floor
Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor
when the pub was shut for the night.
Out of his hole crept a wee brown mouse
and stood in the pale moonlight.
He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor,
then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long you could hear him roar,
'Bring on the goddamn cat!'
(from islandireland.com)

Light Bulbs
How many Irishmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One to hold the bulb and five others to stand around and drink until the room spins.

Water to Wine
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Lost at Sea
Two Irishmen, Patrick & Michael, were adrift in a lifeboat following a dramatic escape from a burning freighter. While rummaging through the boat's provisions, Patrick stumbled across an old lamp. Secretly hoping that a genie would appear, he rubbed the lamp vigorously.

To the amazement of Patrick, a genie came forth. This particular genie, however, stated that he could only deliver one wish, not the standard three. Without giving much thought to the matter, Patrick blurted out, "Make the entire ocean into Guinness Beer!"

The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash, and immediately the entire sea turned into the finest brew ever sampled by mortals. Simultaneously, the genie vanished. Only the gentle lapping of Guinness on the hull broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances.

Michael looked disgustedly at Patrick and said, "Nice going Patrick! Now we're going to have to pee in the boat."

Fly in the Beer
One day an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walked into a pub together. They proceeded to each buy a pint of Guinness. Just as they were about to enjoy their creamy beverage three flies landed in each of their pints, and were stuck in the thick head.

The Englishman pushed his beer away from him in disgust.

The Scotsman fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it as if nothing had happened.

The Irishman too, picked the fly out of his drink, held it out over the beer and then started yelling, "SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT YOU BASTARD!!!!"


And I'm hungry like the wolf...

Update: Please note that there are photos on this post that do not play nicely with feed readers.

Last night, Katie and I went to our first Chicago Wolves hockey game. They are a semipro team renowned for doing much better than our local pro team, the Chicago Blackhawks. And for a fraction of the pay. Considering their level of success, how much fun it is, how much cheaper it is, and my old love of hockey, you'd have thought we'd go to these regularly. We really should.

Oh, and I got to play with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel that night. That was fun, too.

So the Wolves lost to the Peoria Rivermen. It was still fun. And the best part was the Kiss Cam when it showed a guy who refused to kiss the girl next to him. Then she turned and kissed the girl next to her. That's hot. Didn't get a picture of that, though.

Do you want to play...

I got this from the faboo Miss Sizzle who got it from multiple other sources and, me being the movie buff, I had to do it myself!

Here’s how it works, should you decide to participate:

  • Pick 15 of your favorite movies
  • Go to IMDB and find a quote from each movie or quote from memory
  • Post them on your blog for everyone to guess
  • Fill in the film title once it’s been guessed

These are your rules to play:

  • No Googling or using IMDB search functions (Don’t cheat!)
  • Leave your answer(s) in the comments

Some are tough, some are obvious.

Update: I have placed correctly guessed answers and the names of the first person to correctly guess it in parentheses.

  1. "It belongs in a museum!" (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, kilax)
  2. "Bend over." "Ben? Nice to meet you! Victor Hugo." (Fletch Lives, Dave2)
  3. "When someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES!" (Ghostbusters, sizzle/Fella)
  4. "There aren't enough scoundrels in your life." (The Empire Strikes Back, claire - suze missed it by three years)
  5. "I hope the Pacific Ocean is as blue as it has been in my dreams." (The Shawshank Redemption, SJ)
  6. "Oh, did I stutter? Everybody gone all quiet and shit? About a minute ago it was like an evening at the Apollo up in this motherfucker, now all of a sudden it's quiet as a church." (Poolhall Junkies, allison)
  7. "Then tell it right, COB. Pavarotti is a tenor, Paganini was a composer." (The Hunt for Red October, SJ's Bret)
  8. "And I'm from Mattel. Well, actually I'm from a smaller company that was purchased by Mattel in a leveraged buyout." (Toy Story, Hilly)
  9. "Although I cried at the end of The Dirty Dozen." "Who didn't?" (Sleepless in Seattle, sizzle/Fella)
  10. "But wouldn't it be great if number one this Christmas wasn't some smug teenager but an old ex-heroin addict searching for a comeback at any price?" (Love Actually, suze w/ help from SJ)
  11. "All right, what about this guy? Ask yourself, why has he got his hat pulled down like that?" "He's fuck-ugly." "Or, he doesn't want you to see his face." "'Cause he's fuck-ugly." (Hot Fuzz, sizzle/Fella)
  12. "Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law." (Robocop, sizzle/Fella)
  13. "What about that time I found you naked with a bowl of Jello?" (Real Genius, diane)
  14. "Out! Back to the sixties! Back! There's no place for you here in the future! Get back while you still can!" (Field of Dreams, Lisa)
  15. "They wanted me to build them a bomb, so I took their plutonium and in turn, gave them a shiny bomb-casing full of used pinball machine parts!" (Back to the Future, sizzle/Fella)

Still one left!!

It hurts to say it, but it's probably me...

I heard something interesting on an episode of Karl's Secondhand Radio show (yes, I listen in the archives, not live, sorry)... he and Fab were talking about totaling cars and this got me thinking about the time I did that as well. And how I don't remember it at all. I alluded to this accident in a past post, but here's the whole story.

I was 17 years old and it was the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. I remember waking up that morning at a friend's house where I had spent the night. And that's about the last thing I remember for the next 12 or 14 hours.

I stopped at a CD store where I purchased a CD single (who the hell buys CD singles? That should've been my first indication that it would be a bad day.) of Sting and Eric Clapton's song "It's Probably Me" that they wrote for Lethal Weapon 3. I do not remember buying this nor visiting the store, but I do still have the CD somewhere. Hey, it was a pretty decent song. One of Clapton's last good ones. And it serves as my only reminder of that day.

Afterwards, I purchased balloons for my then-girlfriend's birthday. These same balloons, according to police speculation, are what caused my accident.

I had the balloons in the backseat of my stylin' 1984 Chrysler LeBaron and my front window was open. The balloons blew from the backseat up into my line of sight. I brushed them away with my hand, which hooked the steering wheel and pulled me off the side of the road. Well, this road I was on had a pretty steep embankment running off it. I went down the embankment and hit a large bump in the ground caused by one of those two-foot-diameter water runoff pipes. The front end of my car stuck and the backend flipped up and over the pipe and I landed on the roof of my car. Then I continued to roll down the embankment and wound up back on my four wheels, but, by the time it was all done, I was facing the opposite direction on the road.

I was taken by ambulance to the local hospital where I later "woke up." I use quotes around that because, to my mind, I was out the entire day. I have episodic amnesia of the whole thing and I remember opening my eyes in the hospital to see two friends standing over me looking down at me in my hospital bed. I passed back out and woke up again later in a recovery room with my family and a bunch of friends sitting in there with me. However, to them, I was awake the entire time. I was never passed out. I was awake and talking to them and asking questions about what happened. The difference, though, comes in that they remember me constantly asking the same questions over and over again. Their answers never registered in my head. The moment I stopped acting so messed up was the moment I remember waking up.

The police say my seatbelt was the only thing that came between me and death. I had a deep laceration in the back of my head that required stitches and that was about it.

Up to that day, my dad never wore his seatbelt and he is in outside sales so he drives everywhere on daily basis. From that moment on, he never forgot to wear it.

And from that day on, I never drove with balloons in the passenger part of any car I own or borrow. (I'll put them in the trunk, but that's about it).

What about you? Any somewhat more memorable accidents in your life?

P.S. to Karl, nice choice on Rhett Miller for closer music this past week.

Hit me with your best shot... fire away...

Guitarheroiii Okay, prior to the E3 conference in 2007, it was announced on IGN that Gibson Guitars had become an official partner with Activision, the creators of the ridiculously successful Guitar Hero series of games, so that the guitars that would be released with the then-upcoming Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock game would be styled after Gibson axes and bear the Gibson logo on the headstock.

The game has been out for months now on, I believe, all modern console video game stations. Again, it sold like wildfire. Hell, even I have it and love it because I'm rocking out with my Wii-model Gibson Les Paul, one of the finest guitars known to man.

Fans are happy, Activision is happy, and Gibson Guitars is happy.

Er... maybe not.

ComputerWorld reports that Gibson is claiming a patent infringement against Activision. They own a patent, filed in 1999, for technology that is intended to simulate a musical performance. Now, they believe Activision has violated it with Guitar Hero.

Never mind that this infringement claim was filed only this January... after three iterations of Guitar Hero have been released on multiple video game systems over the past three years... after Gibson became an OFFICIALLY LICENSED PARTNER WITH THE COMPANY MAKING THE GAME!

If you feel a company is violating a copyright, why the hell would you partner with them? Maybe I'm just a simpleton, but wouldn't this partnership imply some sort of tacit approval of the product that bears your logo and design work?

Wouldn't this be like the NFL suing Reebok for making replica jerseys after giving Reebok permission to use both the NFL logo and all the team logos on said jerseys?

How fucking stupid is this?


Oh, for the record, I have begun playing it just on trial mode to get used to it before I start a career or whatever they call it. I freakin' love it! My best songs are Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" on which I scored a 98% and Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" that, on my first try, I nailed with 100%.

Now that I've played through all eight of the songs available in trial mode, I need to get working on that career.


By the way, I'm still waiting for Dave to create stickers of his Lil Dave with a Wii guitar so I can put it on my mini-Les Paul. Because that would just be cool.


Won't you be my neighbor...

Some snippets for you...

I promise, the pictures from Florida will be up and ready to go tomorrow. They're mostly loaded... only mostly loaded. I'll have an album up tomorrow.

I've been wondering when I would start reading gripes about that incessant political robocalling that happens around election time. That's when you receive a call from a political candidate only it's not really the candidate but a recorded message either from them or some random lackey. They just keep getting worse and they're driving me nuts. And I totally agree with this newspaper blogger who theorizes that some people probably vote against candidates that use it excessively simply because they're pissed. Probably not the best way to elect someone to office, but I totally understand it.

FredrogersHey, they have Towel Day for Douglas Adams, so why not this?
In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, March 20 is now being declared "Sweater Day" in honor of Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

I grew up loving Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. It was a fantastic show. Well, at least insofar as I remember it. Along with Electric Company, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and reruns of The Brady Bunch, this show was the pinnacle of entertainment for me.

I think my favorite bit about the whole thing was the trolley and how it was the means by which we were transported between two different worlds... our reality and then the world of Make-Believe. I don't know why that simple transition did it for me, but it did.

So, yes, I will be wearing my sweater on March 20. Will you?

Bonus points if it's a zip-up cardigan and you actually sing the theme song to a coworker.

Hey, come join me in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 29 (8 p.m. CDT). It's a movement that started last year in Sydney, Australia, where people shut off all electronic equipment, cars, and other mechanized stuff and just, well, do what they would do if none of that stuff existed. Use your imagination. Not you, though, Avitable. Your imagination scares me.

To that same old place that you laughed about...

Guess what?

I'm ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck.

Seems I took a four-day vacation from this place and the online world in its totality. I had that free WiFi connection that I mentioned on Wednesday. Then I went back to try to access it on Thursday and got nothing throughout the entire morning. So I dropped off my laptop in my room and left it there the rest of the week. Didn't even open it.

I realize I could've paid for a wired connection in my room, but that would've required me using my "Katie time" to check e-mails and blog and whatnot. I wanted to do that in the time between sessions at the conference, not during Katie time. Then we were in transit most of Saturday and recovering from both being sick yesterday. Nothing like the extreme weather shifts and having a girl a row in front of you and across the aisle on the plane hacking into a sick sack twice during the flight (and missing it on one occasion). My aren't we all so healthy?

All in all, it felt good to not be tapping away at a keyboard. Even though my inbox is teeming at the moment.

But it is weird to be completely disconnected. You suddenly realize how ingrained your online persona becomes with your "real" self. Not everyone understands this. I have many friends who might be reading this right now and shaking their heads. But that's only because they don't have a job that keeps them online all the time. It's different when you're here all the time partially because you have to be. Everyone has aspects of their life that others don't understand, right?

Anyway, I am back. And I do have lots of photos that will soon go up on Flickr and may wind up cross-posted here. So stay tuned. Here's one from our trip to Epcot that I'm posting simply because they e-mailed it to me so I already have it on my hard drive. Cool little ride known as Spaceship Earth. Don't we look hot in lycra?

Greetings From the Future

It's a small, small world...

Just as a note, last night with Avitable and Karl was fun. Sadly, babysitter issues kept Miss Britt from being able to join us. Babysitter issues in that Britt has probably now killed her.

We hung out and talked for a bit and then got dinner at Raglan's, an Irish pub in Downtown Disney. Good food, Guinness on tap, and Irish music. Hard to go wrong with that combination.

I'd like to thank both Avitable and Karl for coming out and tell Britt that we missed her.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Here are 10 things I've learned, or have been retaught, while down here in Florida...

  1. No matter how many times I repack, I'm always going to overpack.
  2. More hotels have laundry facilities than ever before; but finding time to use them is the trick.
  3. Disney can pack a lot of people into its parks... a lot. But, thankfully, they have the public transportation thing down to a science.
  4. It doesn't matter what odd night of the week you're going out; if it's in Disney, it's gonna be busy.
  5. Finding WiFi connections is easy; finding free ones, not so much. Seriously Disney, $195 for a 24-hour WiFi connection? Are you freaking kidding me? At home, I pay $195 for DSL service, but I get 10 months of it and the WiFi is free with my own hardware. And a hard-wired connection in my hotel room for the same amount of time is only $9.95. Am I really supposed to believe your WiFi is worth an additional $185.05? Guess I won't be able to get work done remotely.
    (thankfully, I just found out that my conference sponsors set up a free WiFi hotspot; I wonder how many people are going to glom onto this one?)
  6. I love vacationing, but 95% of hotel beds suck; this one is no different. Same goes with showers. The TSA needs to make allowances so that travelers can bring a pipe wrench and replacement shower head with them in their carry-on luggage and not be red-flagged at security checkpoints in airports. Hotel showers are no comparison to the comforts of home.
  7. Considering how entertainment minded Disney is, you'd think they'd have nicer TVs in the rooms than an old 15-inch tube with bad picture and sound. I know you're supposed to be out and about in the parks, but eventually you have to go back to your room, so make it worth our while.
  8. I am going to be soooo far behind on blog reading and comment replies when I get home that hari kiri might be a viable alternative.
  9. Conference check in takes 10 seconds, so why the hell did I show up at the beginning only to sit around for an hour afterward?
  10. If I hear "It's a Small World After All" one more time, someone will pay with their life.

I'm sure I'll learn more as time goes on. I'll keep you posted.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right...

Today should be interesting. We leave Nano's place pretty soon to head back down to Orlando to check in for our stay at the Coronado Springs Resort on the Disney properties. I've been to Disney parks many times, but never stayed at one.

But tonight is when it gets really interesting... Katie and I are getting together for a mini blogger meet up with Karl, Miss Britt, and Avitable. We're going to take the Webby acronym BFF and give it a whole new meaning... Bloggers Fucking up Florida.

As I said, should be interesting.

Got a meme for you in the extended post.

Continue reading "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right..." »

I'm a loser baby...

You know how Bill Cosby used to do his whole "Kids say the darnedest things" some time ago? How about we start "My Nano says the damnedest things"?

Nano was showing us a picture of her and her sisters when she pointed out one of her sisters whose eldest daughter just retired. Apparently, she's loving it. Like really loving it. This was how Nano described it to us...

"She's happier than a little boy with two cocks."

Oh holy hell, I love my Nano.

Yesterday, we spent time at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Pretty cool place that serves as a natural reserve for all kinds of animals. Most of these animals were injured in some way, shape or form and were brought here for recovery and rehabilitation before being released into the wild. Creatures like bald eagles, black bears, Florida panthers, and their most popular guests, the West Indian Manatees. We took a ton of pictures before the battery in my camera died, but never once saw a manatee. Kinda bummed about that, but I'm not surprised. They kinda come in and out as they feel. No pens like many of the other animals.

We wrapped up the trip with a great seafood dinner at the oddly named Stumpknockers in Inverness. Good place, just a strange name. And Inverness was a pretty cool little town as well. I would have taken pictures, but as you read before...

The night ended with the three of us vowing to kick each other's ass in Phase 10. Nothing like a friendly game of cards amongst bitter rivals, er, loving relatives.

Yeah, except it was my ass getting kicked in all games.

I suck.

Sugar, we're goin' down...

The flight down here was rather uneventful. As someone I spoke to said, uneventful is better than the alternative.

One nice thing, though, flying on Northwest for the first time in my life, was that we didn't have to fly into Atlanta/Hart's Field, the worlds' busiest or biggest or most confusing airport, depending on with whom you talk. Instead, we caught our connection in Memphis. What made it so nice was that it split the trip almost exactly in half so both legs of the flight were equal. That was pretty cool.

Then, upon arrival in Orlando, we went to Enterprise and picked up our car. They had none of the cars listed on the Web site as being the vehicles representative of the "standard" car size. So we opted for a Toyota Prius. Actually, I opted for it. I've been curious about this vehicle for some time and figured "what the heck." (On a semi-related aside, the Toyota Web site is very cool).

Holy cow, this is one sweet little vehicle. Not only does it average 40+ miles per gallon, but it's deceptively large inside. I was very comfortable and, once I got accustomed to how electric engines run, it was really fun to drive.

The drive to Nano's house was 61.5 miles and the gas gauge hadn't budged from full.

I am in love.

I'm going to continue gushing while I give you a bit of a post I wrote earlier this week to keep you entertained. I hope you enjoy...

If there's any one thing I like to do more than any other via this blog, it's stimulating your mind. Call it Kapgar Cranial Calisthenics, if you will. I like to make you think, consider your options, wrack your brain, etc.

So when an idea such as this comes along that's too good to pass up, you know I'm gonna ask.

I was in the bathroom the other day, er, taking care of business, as it were, and one of the iPod earbuds that was draped around my neck (my expensive Bose ones) fell down and toward the urinal. Thankfully, there wasn't enough slack on the cord and it came nowhere near the point of no return.

But, therein lies my question to you, what monetary value level must an item surpass for you to be willing to plunge your hand into the "point of no return" and retrieve it from a public toilet (not urinal)? How much does this value threshold change if it contains, well, not-so-clean water? And, lastly, what items have you retrieved from a near watery grave in the past?

C'mon, be honest. Everyone's gotta have a limit and I wanna know what it is.

Don't know when I'll be back again...

Actually, yes I do. A week from now. March 8 to be exact.

Any time now, our limo will be here to whisk Katie and I away to O'Hare Airport where we hope the planes will be at least relatively close to On Schedule so we can fly off to the land of oranges, sun, and statewide power outages known as Florida!

The first few days will be spent with the Nano. It should be fun. It always is.

Then we're off to Orlando and Disney and a meetup with Karl, Miss Britt, and Avitable, which should be fun as well. Although, I must admit that meeting up with bloggers for the first time is always a bit nervewracking for me. I'm not sure why, but it is. So I'm hoping for the best.

Like all vacations that any of us go on, you try to be as thorough as possible with your packing while still toting as little as possible. These attempts at minimalistic maximization always result in the forgetting of some vital piece of something. Be it a toiletry or article of clothing, whatever.

This is my challenge to you... try to guess what I'm going to accidentally leave behind. Obviously, even I don't yet know the answer and it may be days before I figure it out, or I may notice it immediately. But try to figure out what it will be and I'll let you all know. I may even have a prize for the winner.

Talk atcha soon.