14 posts from October 2009

When you wish...

Taking a cue from Marie's post yesterday, I'm going to write up my own I Wish... list.

I wish...

...Katie would graduate sooner than December, maintain her 4.0, and wind up with many job offers from which to choose her ideal teaching position.

...someone would just donate us two new cars.

...all my friends in need of a job could find one.

...the idiots who skimmed my credit card number would be caught and violated in a very uncomfortable place while wasting away in a foreign prison.

...we would get an inordinately high number of trick or treaters this year.

...I could take Katie on a trip anywhere in the world she wants to go.

...all financial issues would resolve themselves.

...I could cook anything without worrying about how it's going to turn out and without relying on cookbooks or recipes; make me Kapgar Batali!

...our house would clean itself.

...we'd have a grounds crew in our townhouse association that actually made our monthly assessment a worthwhile investment.

...that people could accept each other for who they are and stop fighting, name calling, and judging without getting to know someone first.

...that two tickets to XRT's Big Holiday Concert 2009 featuring The Flaming Lips, Phoenix, and Pete Yorn would just magically find their way into my hands.

...I had an ice cream cone right now. Double scoop. Chocolate Peanut Butter. Waffle cone.


C'mon. This is me. Did you really expect them all to be serious? Oh and I guess that might count as a meme to some degree, right?

Well, they didn't "magically find their way into my hands," but I did score tickets to the Big Holiday Concert!

Sadly, Katie can't go. Bad timing with work and whatnot. But she wanted me to go anyway, even without her. It's me, my Lips-man Eric, and his wife Michelle.

So, even though it's six days after my birthday, we'll just pretend that the following are in town to help celebrate with me...

Pete Yorn


The Flaming Lips

So, um, yeah, that's two Flaming Lips shows in one year.

You could argue I'm hooked.

I'd argue that you're right.

Feel good...

It has now been two weeks since I had my head shaved in the name of charity.

I haven't heard a single bad comment from anyone regarding the new look. Overwhelmingly (like 100%), people are in favor of it. I'm sure there might be some people who just aren't saying anything. But, hey, if you don't speak up, how can your opinion count for anything, right? Oh well.

However, despite the ridiculous level of support, I can't say I'm used to it yet. When you change your appearance, public opinion weighs heavily in your own acceptance of it, right? If a bunch of people hate what you did and it's actually reversible, you may go ahead and undo what you did... or so I would think. The same goes when people like it. You keep it going.

Not that I'm planning on going back to being balding, but I still haven't completely mentally accepted this new me. I feel like the same old guy. Then I either reach up and touch my head for whatever reason or I catch a glimpse of myself in some reflective surface and suddenly am reminded of this new look and have a "wow" moment. Like it's all hitting me for the first time that I did this.

Does that ever stop? It's getting a bit annoying. I'd like my mind to just accept that it has happened and, unless razor blade prices get even more ridonkulous than they already are, it's going to stay this way.

Make my brain accept it!!


When, upon waking up, the first thing you do is roll over to your significant other and ask what day it is because your brain can't process anything, just don't do it.

Don't wake up.

Don't get out of bed.

Do call in sick.

It's probably not worth it.

Why the hell am I not back in bed?

Just open up your mouth and feed it...

The last Snippet Wednesday of October 2009. Where the hell has this year gone?

Okay, this has been driving me nuts and considering the current popularity of the genre, I feel we need a decision and that right now! Where should vampires fangs be? Some TV shows and movies have them on the back two incisors like The Lost Boys and True Blood. I find this goofy looking because they just clash with the already pointy incisors, but it's very efficient for grab-and-go dining.


Then there are those shows/movies that have them where I feel they look best, on the canine teeth. These teeth are already pointy and it looks natural when the canines just grow out a bit to become fangs. But it's gotta be a bitch to have to bite back that far on a person so the canines can make contact. Fast food would be an impossibility. Seriously, try it. Stick your forearm in your mouth and see how far you have to shove it in (that's what she said) before you can get a good grip with your canines. Some examples of this can be found in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bram Stoker's Dracula


Oh, and don't get me started on goofy little Nosferatu boy. I'm not even including his front incisor appearance as an option. Although he is certainly getting a handful in this shot, isn't he?


So what say you? Rear incisors or canine fangs?

The library got me Phish's new album, Joy! I'm not a huge Phish phan, but I've heard bits and pieces of this album and have liked what I've heard. Maybe I'll go back and pick up some older stuff later on.

I just finished watching Battlestar Galactica, season 2.5. Damn! Talk about a cliffhanger season ending! All I can say is that if I were watching this series live, I'd be pissed I'd have to wait however long to find out what happens in season three. Thank the Gods for DVD. And thank my library for having all these seasons available so I no longer have to wait for Netflix to do it for me. I had a friend offer to loan me the whole series, but I was afraid of how long it would take me to watch it. May not be a problem anymore.

Don't you hate how on the day you forget your camera, everything in the world happens for which you could possibly need it? On Monday, I was driving into work and saw a truck fire. Sure, I got a couple pictures, but not the quality I would have with my trusty Sony. These were Blackberry shots. And then, that night at Fire Academy, we were up in the bucket truck a good 85 feet above the city. You could see so damn far and the shots would've been spectacular. Oh well. Shit happens, eh?

Has anybody done any memes out there lately? I can't even remember the last time. Feels like years.

Oh well, time for work.

And if you can find them...

Consider me jazzed (Thanks Cinematical!)

This is the first official photo of the main four cast members from the upcoming The A-Team movie. 


[Click image for viagra-ized version]

From left: Bradley Cooper as Templeton "Faceman" Peck (originally played by Dirk Benedict), Quintin "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus (originally Mr. T), Sharlto Copley as "Howlin' Mad" Murdock (originally Dwight Schultz), and Liam Neeson as "Hannibal" Smith (originally the late, great George Peppard). 

Of course, any remake or "relaunch" of something from the past has cause for alarm. How badly will it deviate from the source material? How bad will the new cast be? There's just so much to worry about.

But I actually think, just based on this photo, that this movie could be fun in a purely popcorn-munching sort of way. No high expectations at all. Just walk into it expecting nothing but shit gettin' blow'd up. Hey, if Liam Neeson kicks even half as much ass as he did in Taken, it will all be worth it.

I do wonder if people will actually die in the movie unlike the TV show. Yeah, that's right, not a single person died in the show. That was one thing for which it was noted... no deaths. Lots of explosions and people flying haphazard like ragdolls through the air, but they all survived.

To be filed under "Things I Never Thought I'd Hear Katie Say."

This morning, she woke up and went into the bathroom to get ready for work. All of a sudden I hear, "OHMIGOD! The toilet seat is cold! If I had balls, they'd be shriveling." 

I love my wife more than she'll ever know.

It all started with a big bang...

This is Snippet Wednesday! This is Snippet Wednesday! Pumpkins scream in the dead of the night.

I was warned about this when starting the Citizen's Fire Academy and clearly they were not full of it. We spent Monday night in the training tower watching how quickly a fire can fill the room with smoke and seeing how dark it gets and the stratification of heat... all that cool stuff. But they told us that one thing we'll notice is that our bodies will pick up on the scent of soot and smoke and that it will effectively ooze out of our pores for days afterward. Last night I came home and showered. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed trying to get the smell out of me and it wouldn't get out. Turns out it did, according to Katie. But my nose couldn't tell. I still smell the smoke. It's ingrained in my sinuses. Yummy.

Did you all happen to catch Wil Wheaton as, well, Wil Wheaton the other night on Big Bang Theory? I knew it was just a matter of time before he finally showed up there. Wil raves about the show to no end. And his turn as the target of Sheldon's ire was pitch perfect. And Wil had some cool stuff to say about the experience on his own blog. It's kinda fun reading Wil's blog when he talks about his work on different shows. His Criminal Minds diary last year was a lot of fun to read.

You know it's true love when your wife helps you celebrate your favorite season by going out and buying you a box of Boo Berry cereal as a surprise. I love you, hon!

Are any of you fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books? I'm interested but a little timid. There's just so damn many of them. Is it an actual series that needs to be read in order or can you pick and choose individual novels as you go? What are your recommendations? I'm asking because I picked up a book some time ago called The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents and am now getting around to reading it. I had no idea when I bought it that it was technically part of the Discworld saga, but it does seem to stand alone pretty well so far. But I thought this might have more to do with the fact that it's classified a young adult book as opposed to the scifi/fantasy that the remainder of them are. So, being a YA book and not an adult novel, I thought maybe he wrote this one intentionally to stand alone and not tie in to the rest so much. So what say you?

The Capture My Chicago photography contest is over both in terms of submissions and voting and there is no word so far on what is going on. There wasn't even an official announcement about it closing. I would seriously like to know what's going on. C'mon CBS! Give us some idea here! This is killing me. Not that I actually think any of my photos were chosen, but I'd at least like a little clue into what's happening. Updates?

I know just, just what you are...

My bank card is living a far more exotic life than I am, by far!

I was at Aldi attempting to purchase about $4.38 worth of Mexican food fixings and my bank card was denied.

I ran it again... denied.

I left the stuff behind and came home to check our account online... I couldn't log in.

I tried to change my password... no go.

So I called the bank and was told they needed to transfer me to the fraud division. Oh shit.

"Well, sir, we've had some questionable charges on your card. Have you been to Italy lately?"

I wish!

"I've got $45.42 at a gas station in [such-and-such town], Italy, and $938.47 at a photo studio in [another such-and-such town], Italy. We caught it when they tried to charge $1,403.27 at a place called Media World, which I think is probably similar to our Best Buy. Looks like they also did a $2 test charge at an Avis Rent-a-Car."

Holy craptards!

"We have completely shut down the use of your bank card and will track any continued attempted uses of the card."

So now I'm bank card less and we have no access to our online account at all since it's tied to my bank debit/credit card number. Katie's card is fine and all our identity information is supposedly secure as well. I'm also awaiting an affidavit in the mail so all this money can be credited back to us legally. And I need to stop by the bank and make sure everything is cool and that none of our checks will be given stop payments as a result. We've sent some in for bills lately and it would suck for them to not work.

This is some scary shit. I've heard of this happening and even know a person or two who has had it happen, but it never really hits home just how serious and freakish and mentally crippling it is until it happens to you.

Obviously someone spoofed my card from an in-person purchase as I never have nor ever plan to use my bank card for online purchases. I don't even link our real bank account to my PayPal account. I opened up a whole separate checking account at a different bank with a balance of a whopping $4 in it for Paypal. I want no online ties to our real bank account whatsoever. But apparently it's still not safe.

Right about now, I think the only fair thing is to give us all the stuff this douchebag bought as well as let us charge an Italian vacation to him. Sounds right, doesn't it?

Oh, and then I'd like to beat him to within an inch of his life. If he is actually a she, still fair game.

Actually this is more than just a bit related to the post above.

Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter, is creating a plug-in device and app that makes it possible to use your iPhone to scan credit cards.

Until my card was spoofed, I would likely have been okay with this sort of technology. But now, after the fact, I see it as making it even easier for someone to scan our information from our card to their phone when we're not looking. Sure they can do it now, but he's creating a device that makes the theft of this information that much simpler and more inexpensive considering the "Cube" costs him $0.40 to produce.

Sometimes technology ain't such a grand thing, is it?

[image courtesy of engadget.com and tuaw.com]

She broke your throne and she cut your hair...

I finished the St. Baldrick's video!

This is actually the quickest I've turned around a video since, well, ever. And I'm kinda proud of it.

No, the edits aren't perfect and there are several areas where I probably could've improved things. But for a guy who only recently started into the heavy editing of videos as opposed to the shoot-and-post mentality I previously held, this is decent if I do say so myself. We're not talking Scorsese-level quality or anything, but enough to keep me excited enough about video editing to keep playing with it. So enjoy! [Facebookers, click through]

The Damn Fool Network: St. Baldrick's Event from Kevin Apgar on Vimeo.

If you're having trouble getting it to play, click the play button and then pause it until the progress bar fills up most or all of the way. Might help. I hope. And the video quality is a bit low because it was shot using a little point-and-shoot digicam. I need to get a Web-ready, Mac friendly HD video recorder. *drools*

For the record, the music is by I Fight Dragons (@ifightdragons). And I gotta thank Brian from the band for being so gracious about letting me use their music (despite not knowing exactly what for).


This'll learn 'im! ;-)

While you're at it and I have you as a captive audience, I've got a couple new photo albums up on Flickr from those field trips I went on with Katie. Don't worry, for the most part I didn't include photos that would identify any of the kids. Not to the point where Avitable's photo waiver would be necessary anyway.

Thank you, Typepad!

Typepad just introduced social media sharing options that show up by default on our posts (look below).

Sure, I could've gone out and nabbed my own code for this and done it myself, but I'm lazy.

And I know you Wordpressers out there are going to say something akin to "well, we've had this for years! So you should switch over." It's not gonna happen. I tried Wordpress when I was redesigning this blog some months ago and hated the experience. Sure, you have all kinds of cool plug-in toys and whatnot. But what you don't have is customer support. You're open source, which, in some cases is great, but in the experience I had with WP, was terrible. I couldn't get my RSS feeds to work and, when I posted on the boards, no one replied at all. Likely still haven't to this day, but I'm not going to bother checking.

So I stick where I have great (and quick) support even if I do have to pay for the service.

The wind in my hair...

When I woke up this morning, one of the first things I did was to reach up and feel my head to make sure that what I thought I did last night I actually did.

Yep, I did.

I'm bald.

Here's some photographic proof (click through, Facebookers). Video is forthcoming. Needs some editing first.

Oh, and I did Bic it this morning for that completely clean-shaven look. Don't have a photo of that yet, though. Sorry.

Yes, I got my wax lion yesterday at Brookfield Zoo.

But he's not red (orange).

He's not deformed (although he is the exact same mold as the one from Wonderfalls).

And he does not talk to me (not yet, anyway; there's still time).


One day I say today we live as a lion...

Need a great gift for a loved one? Try a Snippet Wednesday! They are great for any occasion and are truly one size fits all.

I did have a few requests regarding where I found those variations of the theme song from Psych and I figured it might be easier to just post them here. Might even steal some traffic when people Google both those audio files, we shall see. But I'm posting them here in MP3 format. There are plenty of tips and tricks provided by myself and others as to how to convert them into ringtones in this post and its comments, so knock yourselves out. Let me know if you are able to make them work.

Must. Have. [Brains.] Now.

Zombie Mez-Itz???

God I love ThinkGeek.

I'm going on yet another field trip with Katie's class. Today it's to Brookfield Zoo. I haven't been to the zoo in years and miss it immensely. Of course, my number one goal is to collect all the wax animals just like when I was a kid. 

Bonus points if they have a red wax lion.

More bonus points if it has a slightly smashed head.

Even more still if it talks and only I hear it.

"Find a penny..."

Katie saw this flyer posted at her school. We both found it quite hilarious.


Less than 12 hours and counting...

Yes, Katie will be there to chronicle (photograph) the shaving of my head and I'm sure to hold my hand as well.

Where's the deception...

It cracks me up sometimes just how we prioritize things in our lives.

The other night, after both Katie and I pretty much fell asleep while watching a show off our TiVo, we decided it was time to go to bed.

Did we go like we said we needed to or felt we should?

No. Of course not. Instead, Katie got it in her head that she wanted to find the Psych theme song as a ringtone for her iPhone, more specifically, the Boyz2Men rendition of it from a few weeks ago. Not being available as a purchasable ringtone on iTunes, we did some research and found what seemed to be viable instructions for making custom ringtones for an iPhone 3G. Then we had to find the song in MP3 format. And, perhaps, a few other Psych-related sounds like the Hindi version of the theme from a couple weeks prior to the Boyz2Men intro and Shawn chiming "Boom, boom, boom... muffins" to be used as a text message alert. Then convert them and then try to make them work.

All this in the name of going to sleep.

Of course it still didn't work. iTunes won't recognize the file as any sort of audio file for whatever reason. Stupid iTunes and their stupid ringtone policy.

They all work fine on my Blackberry. No special conversion necessary.

And Katie hates me for it.

Oh yeah, and after all was said and done, we were so wide awake that we watched three more shows off our TiVo. Go fig, eh?

I finally got to play Guitar Hero: World Tour yesterday with the BiL, Scott, for the first time in my life. Working drums, baby! The stupid display models at stores never seem to work. Always out of order.

Now, though, it was mine! Well, to play anyway. Otherwise it belongs to Scott and Becca.

I did okay. Anywhere from 68- 90% once I figured out the timing.

And one helluva calf workout. Holy crap!

A walk-on would be fine...

There is a fatal flaw in the logic of mousedom.

Sure, they're small. They can fit in places you wouldn't ever expect a mouse to be able to fit. They can take advantage of the tiniest of gaps. They're nocturnal and scamper about primarily at times when a majority of humanity is fast asleep. You rarely ever see them until it's too late. 

The flaw is that they shit more than a newborn double dosing Super Colon Blow (tm). They're compact little crap factories. If Hansel and Gretel wanted to find their way home, they should've brought mice along to leave a poop path as opposed to leaving breadcrumbs in their wake.

My mouse has been located due to his (or her) inability to control their rectal output. Yes, I found it behind my fridge through the hole in the wall where the waterline for the icemaker is located. There was a pile of shit on the floor under the hole, a trail leading from there to the side of our countertop, and another pile at the floor where they were scaling the counter. Yes, they were pooping the entire way up. If there was a second mouse in this hunter-gatherer pair, I'd sure hate to be him. "Dude! Will you quit shitting in my face!?!?"

The gaps are now stuffed with steel wool, the plate has been replaced and screwed into the wall, and caulk has been applied to the area between the plate and the recessed valve box.

I win this battle you little shit mongers!

Here's some multimedia for you to enjoy. (Yes, Facebookers, now is the time to click through.)

First, a video. And I have to thank Sizzle for guiding me to this absolutely fantastic visual gem by The Antlers called "Two." It blew my mind. Now I want both this album and a bubble-blowing guitar! How cool would that be?

Second, a series of photos I took while on a hike with my mom through the Springbrook Prairie Preserve in Naperville. Good times, good photo ops, and good exercise.

Whichever way the wind blows...

For this Snippet Wednesday I shall regale you all with snippets about what I've been doing with my week off work. No, I swear I'm not trying to rub in the fact that I'm off and you're not. Really.

Sadly, it hasn't been the reading of books, thus far. I think I'm going to try some more of that later on today. I did, however, finish the book I was "halfway through" last week. But I have been catching up on a huge backlog of magazines that have been piling up around here. I had four Sports Illustrateds and three Rolling Stones that I had either not started or only gotten partially through. Right now I have two SIs and one RS left! Yay me! And, thankfully, I no longer have to look at that freakish picture of Megan Fox on RS from a couple weeks back. That picture disturbs me. And, sorry if it makes me less of a man, but she does nothing for me. Not anymore anyway.

I've been cleaning our bathrooms and doing some straightening, dusting, and vacuuming (hey, I spelt that rite on my fürst tri!). Exotic, eh?

As much as I wish I could say this referred to me listening obsessively to the music of Bob Mould or Sugar or Hüsker Dü, I can't. I'm talking about getting the crown moulding installed above the cabinet in our master bathroom. It's been partially installed for a couple years now and desperately needed to be finished or I think Katie might do something to me that I'd rather not think about while I sleep. It's now installed and the filler is drying so I can get around to painting it.

We discovered this morning, via an abundance of little black turds on the counter top, that we have another mouse. He must be new as of last night or early this morning because that was the only place I could find his crap, literally. So I cleaned and containerized all our food. The little bastard did manage to eat through the bag that contained a brand new batch of naan bread that I bought at Trader Joe's only yesterday. I never even got to enjoy any of it. Yes, traps are set to kill. (In deference to Marie) Eff you, you effin' effer!

I will admit to watching an exorbitant amount of TV on DVD. I finished season three (and, thus, the entire run) of Deadwood. I finished the first disc of Battlestar Galactica season 2.5 and disc two should be here from Netflix tomorrow. I rewatched disc two of Firefly (I love "Our Mrs. Reynolds," great episode). 

Images-2 Images-4 Images

I also wiped our TiVo clean of Mad Men and The Amazing Race. Okay, not every hour can be productive.

I did go jogging on Monday, but I skipped yesterday due to some crappy weather. It rained most of the day and then we had a pretty nasty wind storm into the evening despite the clouds completely clearing up. Strange, strange weather yesterday. Today, though, I am going in for yoga. I know that means driving in to where I work, but my yoga instructor has been out of town for the last couple weeks and my body can feel it. So I decided not to miss this week even if it means wasting some gas. But I have to be there for dodgeball tonight anyway, so why not? And I might try to work out between the two. Not sure what yet, but something.

Tweeting and Booking
I've also been doing my fair share of Tweeting and Facebooking. Not really a whole helluva lot, but enough to keep relatively up to date.

And how has your week been so far?

A fire in the sky...

I started my turn with the Citizens Fire Academy last night.

This is truly going to be a blast. Over the course of nine weeks, we are going to be trained with SCBA gear (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus; yes, very similar to SCUBA, but without the "U"nderwater part), watch fires be lit and fill the room with smoke (a room that we're in as it happens), climb the ladders, carry hoses, bum rush a live fire, and much more.

Best part of it all? They told us that they fully expect no one to completely understand nor believe everything that we are doing so we are allowed to bring cameras and record it all.


Oh, and we also all have totally legitimate Halloween costumes. Last night, I collected my turnout coat and pants and I should be getting boots, gloves, and helmet next week. We were told we can use them for Halloween so long as we promised not to get stuff on them.

Don't worry, I'll get pictures of me all decked out, too. Promise. I need pictures to believe it, too.

I'm about halfway to my fundraising goal for St. Baldrick's. With just slightly more than a week of existence remaining for my partial head of hair, some interesting discoveries have come from this effort that I wanted to discuss.

The first came from my chiropractor. I was telling her about me doing this and how I had wanted to do it for some time, but I could never convince myself to take the psychological leap into allowing myself to lose the rest of my hair. She told me that her fiancee was the same way. Suddenly he discovered that he was losing his hair and it receded quickly. Then, one day, he decided to just shave it all off. Instead of feeling full of regret, he was relieved. He had taken control of his own follicular destiny. I thought about this a little bit and it really makes sense. I guess it's a bit akin to those people who use hair growth formula or toupees, but with the whole defying Mother Nature bit. I'm just accelerating things according to my own terms. I like that.

Second, and most unexpected, is that this whole fundraising thing feels damn good. I'd never done it before for someone other than myself through old Boy Scout fundraisers for summer camp and whatnot. Now I'm raising money for someone other than myself. Someone I don't even know. Several someones, actually. Someones I may never meet. But it's the knowledge that I'm raising funds in an effort to help save their lives so that maybe, just maybe, we will, at the very least, have an expanded chance at meeting.

After all, isn't giving these kids the opportunity to have more of a life all that really matters?

Not to bug you more about this, but if you are able to help, please do so by clicking the button below and then click on my photo. To those of you who have already donated, THANK YOU! You know who you are.