25 posts from June 2008

No bone movies...

Welcome to the Kapgar Cineplex 6 where we try to actually make your moviegoing experience fun again! Tickets are relatively inexpensive as are the food and drinks. And if you follow these simple rules, I guarantee you will enjoy the experience. I do not, however, guarantee the movie will be good, but I will provide direct phone numbers to PR departments of the major studios so you can call and bitch if you so desire...

1. Get here early. The doors to each theater close one minute before the trailers begin and you will not be granted entrance after this time. This is not to inconvenience you, but so you do not bother the patrons that were here on time by stumbling around in the dark, stepping on feet, trying to find a few open seats.

2. Seats are assigned. The earlier you purchase your tickets, the better seats you will have. Plus, our online ticket purchasing system will allow you to select your seats ahead of time just like when you buy tickets for a jet. Gone are the days of Southwest Airlines "cattle call boarding" in the movie theater. We want to reward you for purchasing online or being here enough in advance to get good seats. Plus, it also helps us to know if there will be enough empty seats in clusters for couples and other groups coming in closer to the start time.

3. Don't just shut off the ringer on your phone, turn the whole thing off. It's great that some theaters are cracking down on people making or accepting calls during a show, but that's not enough. Just as bad is when people open their phones for texting and the screen lights up and temporarily stuns the eyes of people sitting behind them. Annoying! Violators will have their phones confiscated and then be "stoned" publicly with our collection of phones.

4. We have audio/video security systems built into seats. So be careful what you say or do. We reserve the right to post stupid things on YouTube. That includes you, Mr. I Moan Every Time Angelina Jolie Does Something Sexy During Wanted (that seriously happened to me last night).

5. Ratings are not just unenforced suggestions. We actually go above and beyond what the MPAA suggests with their ratings system. There is no caveat that allows for parental supervision. "G" means that everyone can enter, "PG" allows for anyone over the age of 7 to view the film, "PG-13" means you must be 13 to enter, "R" means you must be 16, and "NC-17" means nobody under 17. IDs must be presented. If there is any question, we will err on the side of caution and deny entrance. Sure, this might seem Stalinist, but considering I saw an infant in a screening of The Omen, I feel extreme measures must be taken.

What other suggestions would you have to make your moviegoing experience more pleasurable and worthwhile at Kapgar Cineplex 6?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I think I mentioned, at some point in the past, that Katie and I were planning on using a photo I took several years ago of the Golden Gate Bridge as a massive wall hanging in our vaulted-ceiling living room. Well, we did do it and I just completely forgot to post pictures of it. My bad. Here you go...

Here is the finished product. No, we did not cut away negative space to account for the "missing area" in between the frames to make it look more like a window view. We just sliced the picture into pieces and framed it. The reason is because, until we started hanging them, we had no idea how far apart we'd space the frames. This is why the line of headlights looks staggered. Oh well. We like it.

Framed! From afar!
This is so you can gain a little perspective. That's a 42-inch plasma on the credenza below the hanging.

Well I walk into the room passin' out hundred dollar bills...

I have a new favorite photo of Katie and me from a wedding we were at yesterday. I only wish the camera that was used to take this was set at higher resolution. The original image is not much larger than this. Sadly.

Save a horse

Oh, and the deejay was playing Big & Rich's "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." Hence Katie's reaction.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): For anybody questioning whether or not they're going to see WALL*E in theaters. Go now. Fan-friggin'-tastic. Pixar has made one of the best romantic-action-scifi-comedies I've seen in a while. Human actors can't seem to pull off the romantic chemistry that these writers and animators did with cartoon robots with limited dialogue. How?

How does Pixar keep improving on itself?

See how they run...

I came home from work yesterday and saw some odd little mound of something laying in the driveway. So I parked my truck in the garage and started to walk out following the dirt marks left by the tires of Katie's car. These very same tire marks happened to run through the front half of the mound in the driveway.

When I got out there, I saw that the mound had a string coming out the back of it.

I knew exactly what it was so I went upstairs and found Katie who was finishing a book in bed and motioned for her to come to the window overlooking the driveway.

"Nice shot," I said.

Her eyes focused on the mound on the driveway and instantly became as big as saucers. "OHMIGOD! I killed Stuart Little!"

Yep, the score is now 1-1.

As in one dead mouse for me and, now, one dead mouse for Katie.

How stupid does a mouse have to be to be hit by a car that's traveling a mere 15MPH pulling into a garage?

I hesitate posting the photo I took, though. ;-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I need professional help?

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

(click to enlarge)

Exit light, enter night...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All we are is just another brick in the wall...

I'm having a little trouble believing that I'm already up to Snippet Wednesday #4. How the hell did I get this far already without getting frustrated and giving it up? No idea.

I got some gems for ya.

The Chicago Public School District is apparently having a tough time with attendance. Without going into specific numbers, suffice it to say they are well below the state average. So how best to improve this trend? How about bribing kids to go with incentives for perfect attendance? That's exactly what they did. They mustered together a brand new Dodge Caliber (remember my love of those?) and drew a name.

The winner? Ashley Martinez. Oh yeah, did I mention that she's a 12-year-old seventh grader?

Good call on the prize list, CPS. The damn thing will likely have been driven into the ground before she's legal.

And Christamighty, Mr. Martinez, couldn't you have pulled that damn Bluetooth off your head for the photo shoot? You look like a friggin' tool.

Walle_2 Wall*E
While reading the Boston Globe article I referenced yesterday, I noticed a sidebar button with Wall*E in it. The movie hasn't even come out and I've already declared myself a bonafide freak for the little guy. Damn if he isn't the cutest hunk of steel and tank tread I've ever seen. So, of course, I clicked through. What would you expect?

It was a quiz about robots throughout cinematic history. The quiz functions in a very backassward manner that makes no sense whatsoever (keep clicking the "next" button), but it's got some interesting information in it. To be honest with you, I did pretty poorly. I'd tell you my score if the quiz actually gave me one. But it was still a fun read.

Yay me! New Amos Lee!

I only wish I could go see him on his next tour, but he's in Chicago on a Monday night. WTF?

The town the melo is referring to in her definition of "suburbia" is the town where I spent many of my formative years and it is where my parents continue to live to this day. I spent a lot of time there and have witnessed how much it has changed. And the story she relates cracks me up to no end.

But at least they were 20-ounce cups. I think most kids cheap out and use the supersize Dixies.

Julianne Hough looks pretty cute in a Cubs jersey and hat singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the Cub's seventh-inning stretch against the O's last night. Too bad she doesn't sound like she looks. But, as Katie says, everyone sounds bad in the seventh-inning stretch. Shame.

I'm having all kinds of fun configuring plug-ins and widgets for the new blog. It's interesting. I really think I'd be better off creating my own from scratch, but that requires learning some PHP code. I may actually do it, though, just not yet. In the meantime, I'll have to make do.

Can any of you WordPressers recommend any cool plug-ins and widgets that you like? Links?

Smack my bitch up...

I'm not a particularly religious person. I do believe in God or some higher being that oversees all that we do down here and hopefully steps in every once in a while to intervene. I believe that something happens to our souls when we die, be it a heaven, hell, or limbo state for those who have unfinished business. But I am not an active churchgoer by any stretch.

Bible There was a time in recent years when I was. I actively took part in Bible studies and faithfully attended church with some of my college friends. Ironic that it was while I was in college, eh? But things happened that soured me on church and worshiping and the whole kit and caboodle. I just stopped.

Another reason why is because I don't feel there is any one church that fully and truly represents my diverse beliefs. Despite the U.S.-prescribed policy separating church and government, I feel that they are very similar, at least in my head, simply because I feel both entities require you to believe one way or the other.

If you are a Catholic, you believe this. If you are a Muslim, you believe that.

If you are a Republican, you believe this. If you are a Democrat, you believe that.

It's a bit oversimplified, sure. But you get where I'm going with this, right?

I believe that religion, like politics, should be the ultimate salad bar of ideals and values. I think that each and every religion practiced in this world has some merit to it. You pick and choose what you want to buy into, if anything at all. It should be an individual's choice what they want to think. A lettuce leaf of faith here, some bacon bits of hope there. I think this is why I love the book Lamb so much.

But I've always felt that I was alone, or at least close to alone, in this belief system. It always struck me that so many people out there with whom I share this planet, were very deadset in their beliefs. Especially Americans who can get downright militant about it.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I read an article in the Boston Globe reporting the results of some massive study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life that finds that a majority of Americans actually believe that many religions can lead to eternal life and that there is more than one way to interpret religious teachings.

What? Really? This is great! I'm not alone in this. This is one of the greatest feelings I've had regarding my fellow man in quite some time.

Sorry, I still find it amazing that, with the billions of people on this planet, I can still feel so insular.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I was kissing Katie good-bye this morning and she opened a weary eye and said, "I'm sorry, I think I swung my arm out in the middle of the night and smacked you in the face."

"Well," I replied. "If I develop a black eye or other bruise while at work, I'll call and let you know."

Does this make me the "bitch" in Prodigy's song?

Fly to the angels...

Before I start, I need to send some love to the family of comedian George Carlin who died last night at the age of 71. I'm not going to say too much about this other than I was a fan of his stand-up routines as well as his many movie appearances. In a world rife with stale comedy, he was a God. And now he's up there cracking up his God as well. There is a really cool tribute to the man over at Shiny's Takeout.

[Just as a warning, I have a meme coming up next. If you're not a fan, skip through to the end as I have photos and a contest down there.]

This is a new meme that was started by Avitable (with bait taken by Brandon) based on an article he read in EW listing the top 100 movies of the last 25 years. Apparently it isn't enough that AFI puts out a Top 100 list and revised it just recently, now EW has to get in on the action. C'est la vie, eh?

According to the rules set by Adam, you must bold the titles of the movies you've seen and asterisk the ones you liked. For me, because a movie isn't asterisked doesn't necessarily mean I didn't like it. It could just mean that my forgetful ass doesn't even remember what it was all about other than to say I do remember seeing it. Such is life at the advanced age of 33.

  1. Pulp Fiction (1994) **
  2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) **
  3. Titanic (1997) **
  4. Blue Velvet (1986)
  5. Toy Story (1995) **
  6. Saving Private Ryan (1998) **
  7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) **
  9. Die Hard (1988) **
  10. Moulin Rouge (2001) **
  11. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) **
  12. The Matrix (1999) **
  13. GoodFellas (1990) **
  14. Crumb (1995)
  15. Edward Scissorhands (1990) **
  16. Boogie Nights (1997)
  17. Jerry Maguire (1996) **
  18. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  19. Casino Royale (2006) **
  20. The Lion King (1994) **
  21. Schindler's List (1993) **
  22. Rushmore (1998) **
  23. Memento (2001) **
  24. A Room With a View (1986)
  25. Shrek (2001) **
  26. Hoop Dreams (1994)
  27. Aliens (1986) **
  28. Wings of Desire (1988)
  29. The Bourne Supremacy (2004) **
  30. When Harry Met Sally... (1989) **
  31. Brokeback Mountain (2005) **
  32. Fight Club (1999) **
  33. The Breakfast Club (1985) **
  34. Fargo (1996)
  35. The Incredibles (2004) **
  36. Spider-Man 2 (2004) **
  37. Pretty Woman (1990) **
  38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) **
  39. The Sixth Sense (1999) **
  40. Speed (1994) **
  41. Dazed and Confused (1993) **
  42. Clueless (1995) **
  43. Gladiator (2000) **
  44. The Player (1992)
  45. Rain Man (1988) **
  46. Children of Men (2006) **
  47. Men in Black (1997) **
  48. Scarface (1983)
  49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) **
  50. The Piano (1993)
  51. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1988) **
  53. The Truman Show (1998) **
  54. Fatal Attraction (1987) **
  55. Risky Business (1983) **
  56. The Lives of Others (2006)
  57. There’s Something About Mary (1998)
  58. Ghostbusters (1984) **
  59. L.A. Confidential (1997) **
  60. Scream (1996) **
  61. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
  62. sex, lies and videotape (1989)
  63. Big (1988) **
  64. No Country For Old Men (2007)
  65. Dirty Dancing (1987)
  66. Natural Born Killers (1994) **
  67. Donnie Brasco (1997)
  68. Witness (1985) **
  69. All About My Mother (1999)
  70. Broadcast News (1987)
  71. Unforgiven (1992)
  72. Thelma & Louise (1991)
  73. Office Space (1999) **
  74. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
  75. Out of Africa (1985)
  76. The Departed (2006) **
  77. Sid and Nancy (1986)
  78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  79. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
  80. Michael Clayton (2007)
  81. Moonstruck (1987)
  82. Lost in Translation (2003) **
  83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987) **
  84. Sideways (2004) **
  85. The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005) **
  86. Y Tu Mamá También (2002)
  87. Swingers (1996) **
  88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) **
  89. Breaking the Waves (1996)
  90. Napoleon Dynamite (2004) **
  91. Back to the Future (1985) **
  92. Menace II Society (1993)
  93. Ed Wood (1994) **
  94. Full Metal Jacket (1987) **
  95. In the Mood for Love (2001)
  96. Far From Heaven (2002) **
  97. Glory (1989) **
  98. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) **
  99. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  100. South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)

83? Not too shabby. I did think I was going to do better as I had only missed out on four films up through #50. But then I hit that mark and it seemed to all be downhill from there. Oh well.

Oh hey, got some photos that I took from Swedish Days in Geneva this past weekend. You will have to click through to see the presentation applet. Sorry about that. I have no idea why it won't show in most readers (well, maybe it works in some readers, but certainly not in Google Reader).

Wii Fit socksThey had a pretty sweet 20-odd kiosk set up of Wii Fit that we were all able to try out. My mom and I are hooked. Plus they were handing out some nifty Wii Fit ankle socks with the rubber nubbies on them. We managed to snag about nine pairs and are going to give away three pairs of them to the people (one pair to each person) who can come up with what we deem to be the most creative description of why they need them in 25 words or less. Katie and I will both be judging. This contest is open until my post goes live on Monday, June 30 and the winner will be announced during Snippet Wednesday on July 2. All replies should be left in the comments. No e-mails, please.

Have fun. Lie through your teeth if you feel the need. But, make it good, okay?

Baby take my hand...

I actually wasn't going to post today, but then I saw a rash of disturbing articles about animals and I suddenly came up with a topic. Sorry it's so late, though.

We all have fears.

Some of my more common ones that I'm pretty sure I've discussed here at some point in time or another are things like falling, heights, and ladders. All pretty common and interrelated. I'm also not a big fan of spiders although I'm not as bad with that one as I once was.

However, there is one deep, dark fear I have that I don't discuss all that often. I think it's because, if I admit it aloud, that's admitting that it could be a reality. Until today, it wasn't. Not in my mind. It was simply one of sheer conjecture... a purely irrational fear that no one could ever see possibly happening... not anymore, though.

In Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, a six-foot-long, black-headed python was found in a toilet in an apartment complex. And not just any apartment, this one was on the 10th floor. Just when you think you're safer the higher you go, not so. To make matters worse, it was speculated that the damn thing had been squirming back and forth from apartment to apartment through the sewer pipes for God only knows how long.

So, so wrong.

Maybe it's just me, but I never want to sit on a toilet and feel... well... that. No no. Not what I ever want to experience. And, yet, I've feared this sort of thing for some time. It just seemed to make too much sense. I think it dates back to seeing the movie Alligator with Robert Forster in which a parent took his son's pet alligator that he won at a carnival and flushed it down the commode. In the sewers, it grew to mammoth proportions and terrorized Chicago.

Speaking of alligators, check this out... a six-foot alligator was found in the Chicago River! How twisted is that? Not what you wanna see while swimming, eh?

There are all kinds of weird things in places they don't belong. Yesterday, I saw upwards of five absolutely enormous fish in the DuPage River in Naperville that looked like Koi fish. They were about 16-odd inches long with really fat round bodies. Not your standard river fish, by any stretch of the imagination. I wondered if they came from some flooded yard up north that had a Koi pond.

What's next? Dogs and cats... living together... MASS HYSTERIA!

Jump... for your love...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fox on the run...

Snippet Wednesday #3 is now in the books! On the books? In/on... it's one of those two. Oh whatever.

Lukerussert Luke
'nuff said (see picture at right, courtesy of Wong/Getty).

Oh man, Honda has announced the release of the FCX Clarity (although I do remember reading about this previously) and it had a ceremony in Japan with several celebrities being given the car. So my question is, how the heck do I get on this list of people who receive a freebie car? Any chance Honda is looking for bloggers who will whore their sites in exchange for one of these cars? If so, sign me up! I'll promo it and write about it! I'll even make it a new special event-based blogging day. I'll call it Honda Monday! So, um, Honda execs... how about it?

Yep, it's time to nix Fun With Dead Trees. It never quite became the book review blog I had hoped it would be and it's my fault. Hell, when even I can't keep up with regular reviews (simply because my desire to read is nil), you know there's something wrong. I can't expect my guest reviewers to do all the work for me. So I'm killing it... check that, let's call it "recycling." Fun With Dead Trees will soon be no more and I'll be moving all my personal reviews to my GoodReads page where about half of them are now anyway. If you have reviews on FWDT and you'd like to keep copies, I'd suggest a quick copy/paste as they'll be gone in a week or so. Hurry on over!

So how many copies of Firefox did all of you download yesterday? I got three. One for my Mac, one for a loaner laptop, and one for my work computer. Needed to be done. Quite pretty.

You know, the discovery that road rage and bumper stickers are very closely correlated (no, not that they elicit road rage, but that people who have bumper stickers are more prone to it) shouldn't surprise me. And yet it does.

Got this from Marty and Karl. Kev likey...

Find out Which Marvel Superhero Are You at  LiquidGeneration.com!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

That shit seriously blew my mind.

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

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

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

Boyhood home

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

When you turn to trash...

Yesterday, we were at my parents' house for Father's Day and the SiL wanted a glass of milk, so my brother went to the fridge and poured her one. She took a sip and nearly gagged as it had curdled a bit. No cottage cheese just yet, but to call it "sour" would've been an understatement. The sell-by date on the carton was about two weeks gone.

This morning, having taken a cue from the milk incident, I grabbed a bag of black forest ham that I intended to use for a sandwich for lunch, unzipped the bag, and sniffed. Better safe than sorry. I know I'm taking my life into my hands by doing this. Lord knows there are few better ways to start your morning than by whiffing rancid food. But it's better than just making the sandwich and finding out, after taking the first bite at lunch, that it's, er, aged ham. Thankfully, as I noted in my head, "it still smells like ham."

But I ask, what is your preferred method for testing the goods in your refrigerator to see if they're still, well, good?

Do you sniff?

Do you taste?

Or do you stick solely to the dates printed on packaging even though those are sell-by dates and not necessarily dispose-by dates ("sell-by" implying that it should still be good for a couple days afterward)?

Any bad experiences with food?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie and I saw The Incredible Hulk this weekend. While it wasn't nearly as cool as Iron Man, it was actually pretty decent. We both enjoyed it far more than we expected to. Edward Norton was pretty good as Bruce Banner and, in some extreme transformation close-ups, actually looked a lot like the late Bill Bixby. I would watch it again. Maybe not on the big screen, but when it comes out on DVD, for sure.

Also, as a fan of the original TV series, I really did appreciate all the nods the movie made to the series. I counted a handful or so in terms of references, cameos, and name dropping. Very cool stuff.

And, thankfully, the "final scene" in this movie was before the end credits instead of afterwards so we actually saw it unlike how we missed the sequel reference in Iron Man. I still need to see that. Time to check YouTube.

Listening to the wind of change...

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

International Weblogger's Day 2008

What Does Change Mean to Me?

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

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

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

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

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

What change would you like to see?

Molotov cocktail, the local drink...

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about cliques amongst bloggers. Many of my fellow bloggers have tried hard to dispell the rumor that there are closed circles to which many people cannot get in or become "members."

I'm here to tell you that this is absolutely, 100% true.

And, after much investigative work, I have discovered what the so-called "barriers to entry" are in the biggest of these cliques... The People's Republic of Blogistan, ruled over with an iron fist by Queen Hilly of Snackiepoo.

I would like to warn you, before you continue on with your reading, that I am taking my life into my hands by revealing what so many have worked so hard to keep secret. Many Bothans died to bring you this information.

Here is what I found. Learn, love, and live these rules and you should be a shoo-in for inclusion in the PRB.

  • Deny the existence of Oprah Winfrey.
  • Bashing extreme Conservativism (sp?) is hailed as heroic. Particularly when the target is Ann Coulter.
  • You must live in Florida, Washington, or California (damn there are a lot of bloggers from those states); I will keep you updated on Illinois' negotiations for junior partner status.
  • Hold a daily moment of silence for Veronica Mars and don't let Kristin Bell's role in Heroes serve as a substitute.
  • Twat all things that do not make it on your blog; oh, and if you call it "Twittering," you're as good as dead to the PRB.
  • By the way, there are many different means by which to update your Twitter site; you should personally employ at least two or three of them.
  • Use of the word "wOOt" is highly encouraged both on- and offline and especially in comments at Karl's site.
  • Posting naked photos of yourself is a plus.
  • Tequila consumption is mandatory, although excessive wine and beer consumption ain't so bad either.
  • Having a geek T-shirt collection, including ones designed by fellow bloggers, is smiled upon.
  • Speaking of Geekdom, if you can't laugh with intimate understanding of just about everything that happens in The Big Bang Theory, you gotta up your geek quotient.
  • You know, without thinking, who NPH is and you love him.
  • Dedicate all spare time to playing with your Wii (the Nintendo, you sicko). You must have at least a 125 average in Wii Bowling to have your mere presence acknowledged with a grunt or head nod; 200 if you want fellow bloggers to actually talk to you.
  • Admit that MySpace and Facebook are sooooo over in your mind. Although you don't need to nix your account, don't actively use it unless you play Scrabulous obsessively, in which case you're forgiven.
  • "Being Dooced" doesn't exist; it is now known solely as "being Karled." Just accept it.
  • Create a theme day on your blog.
  • Having a cartoony alter ego is cool. Get one... now.
  • Meeting fellow bloggers in real life is good, not scary.

I know this list is large and trying to take it all in and assimilate it with your blogging life may seem daunting, but you must.

[for anybody too clueless to figure it out... this is SARCASM]

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Driving to work today, I saw a giant gas cannister on the side of the road with a rag sticking out the end of it. Tip - if you want to make a Molotov Cocktail, you shouldn't use a shatter-resistant container.

It can't rain all the time...

There are few things more frustrating than when a needed Web-based service goes down either temporarily or permanently.

Right now, I'm attempting to do some work and a service that I rely on seems to be down. I can get to the login screen and enter my password, but then my browser sits there chugging through the login javascript for several minutes before returning an error message. I've tried nearly a dozen times now in multiple browsers (just in case) and nothing. And I know it's not my computer or Web connection as this is the computer I've always used with it and I can access pretty much anything else on the Web.

Currently, I have three projects that require me using this service. By the end of the day, that count is guaranteed to go up by one and another by tomorrow. This count could potentially increase more than that with other unforeseen events. Thursday is my big day when it comes to this service and, as you would expect, this is the day it goes kablooie on me.

Most people would tell you to have a secondary service ready to go as a backup. But that requires paying out extra cash for something that will wind up being used once or twice a year and then it would have to be configured to do what we want it to the way we want it to and, well, it would just take more time and money than it's worth.

I'm getting really sick of waiting around for this and not so much as a downtime message on their homepage.

Web (and its users)... sometimes I love you; other times, well...

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Okay, I know my brief experience with Iowa was, well, sketchy, but damn, what has it done to deserve the heavenly pounding it's been taking lately?

First it was the tornado that pummeled Britt's hometown.

Then it was flooding that left approximately 1/3 of the state in tatters (and also drained a lake in Wisconsin... drained a lake! Have you ever heard anything more unreal?).

Next came a tornado that touched down in a Boy Scout camp killing four teens.

Then it was more rainfall.

I know I'm not the biggest Iowa fan in the world because of what my old roommates put me through in my brief time there, but dayamn! What in the holy hell can they possibly expect next? Locusts?

Winner takes it all, loser takes a fall...

Time for Snippet Wednesday #2! (and there was much rejoicing... yay.)

Katie and I started watching the TNT series The Closer on DVD recently and are loving it. The final disc of season one should be in today from Netflix and then we're on to season two. We've also set the DVR to catch any episode it can find including the upcoming season four. I mean it, we are hooked. Katie walks around using Kyra Sedgwick's twang as she says "thank yewwwwww." And me? I just get a kick out of seeing G.W. Bailey who was always one of my faves in the Police Academy series. Overall, though, the cast rocks.

To all you people who are Closer whores (I know I read a post from one of you recently, but I cannot find it for the life of me now), does it really stay this good throughout the series or are we setting our expectations way too high?

Does our gag reflex get more sensitive as we age? I ask because, while I'm brushing my teeth, I also brush my tongue to get rid of that morning/dragon breath that tends to occur. Bear in mind that I don't brush that far back on my tongue at all, but it seems like my desire to toss, and thus ruin all my brushing efforts to that point, is heightened of late. Sometimes it's so bad, I start to see stars. Can't be good, right?

We've all had the discussion about deleting spam comments from our blogs in the past. If it's garbage and it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, nix it, right? Well, what if it's from someone you don't know, a company actually that is promoting sex paraphernalia, but the comment they leave actually is related to a post? Not just in some peripheral way, either (for example, saying "Oh, I totally agree with you" and not being more specific). This referenced my actual post. Are spambots getting that intelligent that they scan your text to develop smarter comments or do you think this was a legitimate comment? Nix or keep?

It's time for a little spring cleaning of my iPod playlist. No, not the big iTunes Master List, but the smaller subset that always makes it on my iPod. It was already pretty small as it is but it will be even smaller. To the point where having a larger iPod almost seems foolish.

Out of curiosity, though, do you ever clean up your playlist? If so, what criteria do you use to make the decision what to nix? Is it like clothing... if you haven't worn (listened to) it in such-and-such amount of time, it's gone?

Speaking of iPods, with the warranty-related problems I've been having, I'm thinking about just swapping out for one of the new iPod Nanos. I may do this today, even. With this trade-in, Best Buy will kick in their lemon rule and allow me to swap and the next available iPod is the whopper 80GB, and this just seems like a ridiculously large iPod to own. I don't see the purpose in having such a large damn iPod that I wouldn't even fill up 25% of the way. If I could use it as a portable hard drive, then I could see it. But each time I plug my Mac-formatted iPod into a Windows-based PC (computer at work), it always prompts for a reinstall of the firmware and won't read it without me doing this, so hard drive usage of this iPod is non-existent unless I never use it on anything other than my home computer. So whaddaya think? A Nano? In anticipation of picking up one of the new iPhones down the line? Sadly, I have no choices other than this. The swap must be done within the same product line.

First of all, a big thank you to everyone that chimed in last Friday to congratulate me on #1,000.

As for the winner of the contest, I counted up the number of correct answers for each entrant and then employed a highly scientific method by which to pick a number; well, not really. But it still seemed to work and thus we have our winner. And it is... [drum roll, please]... #63...

KILAX! Drop me a note and let me know if you'd prefer a gift card for Amazon or iTunes and I'll figure out how to get it to you.

Here I am, stuck in the middle...

Middleman (also Middle Man) - n. a person who relays a message from one party to another to facilitate communication; generally in business situations.

See also: "an awkward damn position to be in."

Oh how I hate being a middleman. Hate, hate, HATE! Generally when I find myself in a position where I'm playing middleman between two groups, I do everything in my power to get out of it. I hate having to pass messages on without having the benefit of the knowledge of what's going on to be able to answer further questions. One of the parties always seems to think you have all the answers and all you can do is sit there as they stare back at you expectantly.

Other times, though, it can be fun. Take, for example, the gym locker room last night. I was in there getting ready to leave after my workout. There is one teenage guy (kid 1) in the shower when a second one (kid 2) enters.

Kid 2: Dude, where are you?

Kid 1: [from shower] Huh?

Kid 2: Hurry up, man! Jason's getting pissed. Stop playing with yourself.

Kid 1: What?

Kid 2: I said, Jason's getting pissed. Stop playing with yourself!

[kid 2 leaves the locker room]

Kid 1: Dude, I can't hear you over the shower. What did you say?

[I look around to see if kid 2 comes back in... he doesn't]


Kid 1: Oh... thanks.

Me: Yeah.

Highlight of my evening.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I was watching the news last night and they were talking about a speech that Obama gave yesterday. The sound bites they played about how McCain is going to continue Bush's trek down the Economic Uncertainty Expressway sounded pretty good, but, then again, sound bites are supposed to sound that way. I may have to look up the entire speech. Anyway, they flashed over to McCain who was stumping to supporters at some coffee house somewhere. His response, "Our economy is stable." Actually, "stable" may not have been the word he used. Might've been something else, but you get my meaning. Let's assume "stable" is the word he used for the sake of this post, though.

Our economy is stable?

The cost of milk and beef is higher than it's been in a long time. Gas prices are through the roof with no visible sign of relief. Rice imports are practically nil due to famine and the inability of producing countries to support themselves let alone us. The housing market is in a slump in nearly all major cities across the country (note the "nearly all").

And I'm supposed to believe that our economy is stable?

Mr. McCain, I was having difficulty figuring out who I want to vote for. Thank you for making my decision in November that much easier.

I'm goin' back to school...

I don't know where this question came from in my head, but I was thinking about it yesterday for whatever reason. What I want to know is how you decided what college to attend?

There are many possibilities that are generally listed as reasons: location (as near or as far from where you currently live as possible), available programs, financial incentives, etc. So what helped you decide?

Me? I applied and was accepted to five universities. Two of them I applied to just for kicks to see if I could get in. The other three I was seriously considering for whatever reason.

In terms of a major, I had declared my intent on joining the architecture program at Iowa State University even though I wasn't sold on it. The idea of entering college undeclared didn't strike me as a viable option. I had always been led to believe that you needed that direction as immediately as possible. And, well, I liked the idea of designing buildings... having some near permanent legacy that could easily be shared with anyone you know. "Yeah, you see that building? I created it." Something like that.

Iowa State had a great architecture program. It was also far enough away from home that I could have some semblance of independence. And it was also in a strange new land called "Iowa" to which I had never visited... college is a great place to get a new lease on life and I was pretty fixated on leaving high school behind me. Not that I disliked my high school experience, but I just didn't want it to continue.

Of course, things change.

While I loved ISU and the campus and many of the friends I had out there, my roommates really soured my experience. In fact, there were very few Iowans that I became friends with... really only one. All the rest of the people I gravitated to and became friends with were from Illinois, Nebraska, and Minnesota. This was not planned. I did not pre-screen them. It just wound up that way. Maybe there was just this scent of desperation about us that made us find each other. And the one Iowan with which I was friends was one who did not want to be an Iowan; he harbored dreams of moving to Chicago when he graduated.

And there was the changing of my half-baked, hastily made decision to be an architecture major. I knew nothing about the program and what it entailed when I chose it my senior year of high school. To be honest, I had pretty much changed my mind before I even started at ISU. I had spoken with people who worked in architecture firms in the Chicago area to get a feel for what it was all about and decided it wasn't for me.

So I reapplied to and was accepted at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. Even though it was much closer to home, I realized that college was whatever I wanted it to be. In my head, it could be as close or as far from home as I wanted, regardless of geographic distance. And I freakin' loved it in DeKalb. It was a fantastic place to go to school (no, they're not paying me to say that; but they can if they so desire). I was highly involved in different activities and kept myself very busy. I made some great friends and great professional relationships. It was, simply put, awesome. Despite changing my major yet again.


Oh, and in postscript, kids, it's okay to be undeclared when you enter college. Don't make a rash decision.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Why do power outages seem to always happen when you least want them to? If the power is going to go off overnight, why do it on a night when you have work the next day and thus wind up sleeping poorly because you're worried about whether or not it will stay on when it finally returns and whether the battery backup in your alarm clock still has enough juice to wake you up in time, etc.? Why can't it just happen on, say, Saturday night when you don't give a damn about what time you wake up on Sunday? Or happen at some time when it's actually cool enough or there is enough of a breeze outside (sans rain) that the fact you no longer have power to your fan or air conditioner is not a big deal? That would just be too easy, wouldn't it? Stupid storms.

This celebration could last throughout the year...

...or just through the end of the day. We'll see.

Yep. Today's the big party here at kapgar!

Party? What party?

Cake1000candles As Claire so astutely pointed out to me, while ajooja may have written up the 1000th post on my site, and done a damn fine job I might add, it wasn't my 1000th post. So I ran a couple quick calculations, subtracting out the number of guest posts and unpublished posts, to determine that today is officially my 1000th post on this blog! Plus, it falls within a week or so of my three-year blogiversary, so I'm wrapping it all up into one semi-, demi-, quasi-, pseudo-mediumish celebration!

Yay me!

But wait! Didn't you say that there was some sort of participatory aspect to this whole thing?

That's right, Don Pardo! Because this little hovel wouldn't be what it is without all you, my readers, I'd like to give back. Even if it is just a small little return on all the daily joy you provide me through your input. So I'm giving a $30 gift card for either Amazon or the iTunes Store to one lucky commenter. That's $10 per year of blogging. I'd love it to be more but I don't quite have the budget for it at the moment. Gotta pay out my life savings to those big oil companies.

There's gotta be a catch. You're never this generous.

Ah, you are so smart! There is a catch, but not because I'm not generous. Just because I like to have some fun.

No, it's because you're cheap and you like fucking with people's heads.

Well, you might not be that far off.


Bite me. Anyway, here's the catch. This contest is only open to people who have commented on this blog at some point during my three years here. I can check, too. Typepad keeps pretty good records of this stuff. So if you're returning after a long hiatus of non commenting, please be sure to use the same name as you did before or I won't be able to find a record of past comments.

That's it?

Not exactly. Another catch is that you have to do a little work.

Here it comes.

As you may or may not realize, the titles of all my posts dating back to sometime in July 2005 use song lyrics or titles. What I want you to do is take all my posts since I returned from my vacation a week and a half ago (Tuesday, May 27) through yesterday (Thursday, June 5) and tell me what songs they come from. As a bonus, tell me why I chose that song for that post.

That sounds difficult.

Well, it's not so bad. The last week and a half of posts are pretty simple. Now that I look at them again, they're scary simple. As for why I chose a song, that's a bit more subjective. If you come up with the real reason, great! However, I won't rule out creative descriptions. But that's totally up to me.

So the person with the most correct answers wins?

Not exactly. The person with the most correct answers will get the most entries into the drawing.


Well, much like how Avitable does his Lazy Sundays, you guess what you are able to guess and you don't wind up losing just because you can't get them all.  You get one entry for a correct song ID and one entry for a correct (or creative) reason why I chose it. If you guess five correctly, you get five entries into the drawing. So, sure, a person who guesses more has a better chance. But you, with even one correct guess, will still have a chance to win.

Is that the final catch?

I guess there is one other smallish one... if you live outside the United States, your gift certificate may wind up being worth something like a dollar after currency conversions. Don't blame me. I don't set the exchange rate.

Weak dollar.

Amen. So get out there and figure out where my titles come from and why and leave your guesses in the comments section of this post. Yes, I know this promotes the possibility of cheating, but oh well. Play nice. This contest will be open until noon CDT on Tuesday, June 10 at which time I'll close the comments. Then I'll get everything prepped and hopefully have the winner announced in the next Snippet Wednesday post on June 11.

I still say you're cheap.

And you're annoying.

Annoying is forgivable and sometimes cute. Cheap is just, well, cheap.

Again, bite me.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Tomorrow night is the showdown! A contest between armies who are squaring off in the alleys. That's right... it's the Great Blogger Bowl Off! Katie and I will be facing off against Team Kilax and Team Former Blogger Formerly Known as Diane in a grudge match for the ages at AMF Lanes in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Be there, or be square. And we all know a square ball just don't roll.

(Brandon! Help me conjure the Aura of Lebowski! I need all the help I can get. I haven't bowled in five freakin' years.)

NOTE: Comments are now closed and the winner of the contest has been announced.

Picture pages, picture pages...

I'm really too busy dealing with trying to dress nice for work today to be mentally creative. Besides, yesterday's inaugural Wednesday Snippets was pretty damn long... epically long. So I'm going to let Adena, Brandon, and Karl be creative for me. Thanks y'all!

The concept:

  1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
  2. Using only the first page of results, pick one image.
  3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:

  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food? right now?
  3. What high school did you go to?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush?
  6. What is your favorite drink?
  7. What is your dream vacation?
  8. What is your favorite dessert?
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  10. What do you love most in life?
  11. What is one word that describes you?
  12. What is your flickr name?

Here we have my results...


1. Classic KG: Kevin Garnett, 2. Creamy Three Cheese Macaroni, 3. Warrior (ironically, it's me!), 4. When I'm sleeping, I slow down my breathing...Living in dreams, dreams that come true...thinking of the color blue... ZZZzzzzzz..., 5. Joss Stone, 6. Anyone for Guinness?, 7. Kisumu - Lake Victoria, 8. 14th August 2007 / Day 226, 9. Retired homeless fisherman, 10. Katie in the sky with diamonds, 11. {wayward}, 12. October anniversary

Remember, tomorrow is my smallish celebratory contest. If you want to be able to play, you need to have left a comment sometime in my three years of blogging. So have at it!

Boom, here comes the boom...

I'm starting to wonder if I should just declare Snippet Wednesdays. Everybody seems to have themes of some sort... Dave's Bullet Sundays, ajooja's Friday Bullets, Avitable's Lazy Sundays... and they all center on weekends. I think we need to give some recognition to the middle of the week. So, yeah, I'm declaring this the Snippet Wednesday #1 (even if I've done these on Wednesdays before, this is the official start)!

Well, Barack Obama has apparently sealed the nomination for the Democratic Party. And I still don't know who I'm voting for. No, this doesn't mean I want to vote for McCain. I don't. I guess I keep hoping for some killer third-party candidate to come along.

I think I've finally nailed down why I'm suddenly so indecisive and negative. In the beginning, I was all about Obama. I bought into his promise of change. And yet I've seen nothing but the same shit only amplified over past campaigns. I was expecting the "change" to start with campaigning. I thought he'd remove himself from the mud slinging that typified American politics. In fact, I expected him to. And he didn't. He just dove right into the pit and began flinging like everyone else. And this Democratic Party campaign has been more divisive than most I remember.

Obama's luster, in my mind's eye, has been tainted by his willingness to participate in bullshit politicking.

No, this is not a snippet dedicated to Brandon's wife.

If you were given the choice between certain death at the hands of an invading army or an uncertain future being whisked away to an alien world, which would you choose? This was the dream my brain graced me with in the 10 minutes of snooze time I had this morning. An army, much akin to the invading Latin American army in Red Dawn (they were advised by Russians, otherwise they spoke perfect Spanish; never noticed that when you watched the movie as a kid, didya?), was barreling through all U.S. towns killing everyone. Then, when they got far enough away, they would wipe out the remainder of the town with a nuke.

However, aliens that looked like a cross between Whitley Streiber's vision (not modern teenage girls) and those from Shyamalan's Signs and other more recent films were preceding the army offering the chance for people to go with them to their world. But there was no way to know if this was going to be some paradise or a human smorgasbord.

If you had to make a choice right then and there, what would it be?

One thing is for sure, I'm never hitting the snooze bar again.

I'm upset with both Target and Circuit City right now. Their Sunday ads looked like they were offering some cool stuff with a couple of new release video games this week and I wanted them.

Legoindy Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures came out and Circuit City was offering a T-shirt and Belloq Lego. I could give a rat's ass about the T-shirt, but I thought it would be cool to have a Lego minifig that looked like Belloq in his Jewish ceremonial garb from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Well, that was how I interpreted it with how quickly I glanced at the ad. So I went into CC yesterday only to discover that Belloq was an unlockable character in the game and not a toy to use with my Indiana Jones Legos. Dammit. (You'll have to forgive that I'm not a big gamer so "unlockable" didn't register in my head as video game jargon.)

Target's ad promised some cool swag with copies of Guitar Hero on the Nintendo DS. I have no idea how Guitar Hero would play on the DS, but color me intrigued by both it and the swag. So I went in there only to discover that the game isn't coming out until the 22nd. I've seen CC and Best Buy advertise ahead of time, but never Target. Even the sales guy was confused by this tactic.

I walked out without buying anything at either place. Since there's no free shit to be had yet, I must wait until it's more cost effective to buy them. I need to save up some coin to pay the balance on my copy of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith coming out soon.

I've heard of some great excuses for why an online service has been rendered temporarily unavailable in the past, but this one takes the cake.

StatCounter, the service I use to count hits on my site, was giving me single and very low double digit counts over the weekend. At first, I wondered how I offended so damn many people. But yesterday, I found a post on the StatCounter blog explaining that they had an explosion at one of their data centers. A big explosion.

Not that I'm doubting the authenticity of this story. It's just a whopper of a tale, don't you think?

Pushing Daisies was ranked in an AOL poll as the best new TV show. Cool! Totally deserved although I would've also been happy with that honor going to Eli Stone.

Oh yeah, I've got a little celebrating to do on Friday and I hope you'll join me. There will be a giveaway. But you have to be a commenter on this site. Not a regular one... a single comment will do. So if you're a lurker and want to participate, comment on any post sometime before Friday to be eligible. Details will be forthcoming.

Best. 404. Error. Screen. Ever.

Good morning, Aztlan...

How do you let a friend know that you no longer consider them a friend?

No, I'm not dumping anybody. I'm just curious. Back when I was young, I typically just stopped talking to a person. If they persisted, then I might verbally lash out at them. I kinda hoped that would get my point across and it typically did.

While on vacation, though, Katie and I were talking to the Bro and SiL and they related the sordid story of their neighbors and their separation, trial reparation, divorce, and subsequent relationships. Some twisted shit happened that my Bro and SiL knew about but didn't tell one of the involved parties and it wound up in some bad blood. In their defense, I wouldn't have reported it either simply because it's just too mired in shit to even want to try to relate accurately.

The SiL started talking about how her friend, the now ex-wife, reacted to learning about the "mired in shit" events and to the fact that our SiL knew about it. In an attempt at levity, for which I'm well known, I chimed in.

Me: Awwwww, did you get defriended in MySpace?

SiL (sheepishly): yes.

So that is the modern equivalent of a stinging rebuke, eh? No, you don't get embarrassed in a small public forum anymore. You are completely removed from not just the Top Friends list, but the overall Friends list as well for the entire online world to see.

I can understand how some might be hurt, but it still makes me snicker a bit.

Do you think it was Tom's intent for his site to become a thermometer of public acceptance when he, or whoever else was responsible, created it?

What does it take for you to "defriend" someone in MySpace or Facebook? Have you ever been defriended? Care to share the circumstances?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Katie and I had a pretty pleasant surprise last night, we rented The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and enjoyed the heck out of it. Neither of us read the original C.S. Lewis novels although I had an interest but never got around to them because I wasn't a fan of fantasy or sci-fi books growing up; just mystery and horror. And neither of us had any interest in seeing this movie when it first came out in theaters in 2005.

AslanHowever, having seen trailers for the second film in the series, Prince Caspian, and both of us thinking that it looked relatively decent, we decided it would behoove us to watch the first, well, first. Makes sense, right?

So we got the disc from Netflix and threw it in the player last night with some apprehension. We had no idea what to expect. Other than the audio mix being a bit off (it was really hard to hear them talking sometimes and when your neighbors' bedroom is right on the other side of your media wall, you can't really keep it too loud), it was incredibly enjoyable. The kids in the lead roles were really good; Tilda Swinton was more than adequately scary as the White Witch (I think she's scary looking in real life, too, so that helps); and the other supporting cast including James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and the voices of Ray Winstone, Dawn French, Rupert Everett and Liam Neeson were all top notch.

Now I'm actually looking forward to Prince Caspian. This, of course, is the kiss of death. C'est la vie. But it does have Peter Dinklage in it. It's hard to go wrong with Dinklage in the cast of anything.

Campaign slogans, election year...

So I was reading some headlines this morning and I found out that Hillary Clinton secured the Puerto Rico primary. This led to a rather shocking revelation on my part...

Puerto Ricans can vote?

I know that Puerto Rico is a protectorate of the U.S. or a territory or whatever the hell is going on down there. I also know that Puerto Ricans have no desire to become a U.S. state whatsoever. Well, I'm sure someone down there might like to see it happen, but I think, for the most part, they want nothing to do with us in an official capacity. And, yet, they get to vote?

This lack of statehood, of course, also means they don't have to pay taxes to the United States. Dang, how'd they get the best of both worlds?

Nice gig, eh?

Does anybody else feel like, during this campaign season, they've learned more about American politics than they ever wanted to know? Yeah, that's my hand flailing wildly back and forth.

Oh, I'm depressing myself again. I need happy thoughts. How about a Wayne's World reunion a la the 2008 MTV Movie Awards? Classic stuff here!

For the record, I've never embedded an MTV video before, so if it doesn't work, blame them and click over to their site to view it. Totally worth it.

I think I may just increase the happy factor even more with a meme in the extended post. Sound good by you?

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