11 posts from November 2009

I'm gonna be the one who gets it right...

I, along with many others, have discovered this cool little survey over at Avitable's digs. Thought I'd give it a shot here instead of in the comments. Hey, why give away a free post in a comment?

Survey Says
Just pick the first word that you think of when you associate yourself with that category. Don't overthink it.

If I was a/an _____, I'd be ______

TV show: Psych
Song: "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by Scissor Sisters
Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
Book: The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
Fictional character: Karl "Helo" Agathon from Battlestar Galactica
City: San Francisco
Verb: capable
Color: blue
Animal: polar bear
Emotion: caring
Article of clothing: jeans
Flavor: spicy
Food: hot dog
Vice: gluttony (gonna agree with Adam on this one)
Plant: knockout roses
Mythological animal: phoenix
Letter: K
Inanimate object: iPod
School Activity: football
Positive attribute: brutal honesty
Negative attribute: brutal honesty

That was fun. More fun than I thought it would be. Go ahead and steal at will.

Yeah, so Black Friday didn't really go as planned.

We did wake up and go to Old Navy for the opening at 3 a.m. We got there at 2:45 and about the only way I can describe it would be to compare it to the opening of a Twilight film... all teen girls and either their reluctant boyfriends or trying-to-be-too-hip moms. Dads stayed home. Smart blokes.

The problem with Old Navy was that all the free games sold out before the store even opened. They had handed out all the tickets by 1 a.m. So I never got my copy of Rock Band: Lego or Rock Band 2 with the free guitar. Bummer. I did get a jacket, though, and an Atlanta Falcons T-shirt (don't hate on me, but one of my fellow NIU grads, Michael Turner, is a Falcons RB stud - gotta support the alma!)

We went home and went back to bed and I never bothered to go to OfficeMax to pick up the video camera and Katie picked up Psych, season 3, from Target on her way to work.

Yeah, so Black Friday? Not so great overall.

What do you get if you gobble down sweets...

*Oink* Remember to eat turkey this Thanksgiving, not ham! *Oink*

He1n1e the Wonder Pig

This Public Service Announcement brought to you by He1n1e the Wonder Pig

Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe we're actually going to do this, but, for the first time in four or five years, Katie and I are going to take part in some Black Friday sales. Oh shoot me now. Here's where and what we're shooting for:

Old Navy - Free copy of Rock Band: Lego with purchase of $20 or more. And you get a free guitar with a purchase of Rock Band 2. I've played a few tracks worth of that game and I enjoy it. So why the hell not? And they do have it for the Wii. Old Navy opens at 3 a.m. Really, shoot me now. I was serious.

Target - Psych, season 3, on DVD for $12.99. This can be done anytime before noon, I believe. And, if Target holds to their style from last season, they'll offer rainchecks if it's sold out.

OfficeMax - Vivitar ViviCam DVR 810 HD Camcorder. This would definitely make video posting easier. And it's only $69.99. I'm kinda tired of using the video functionality on my point-and-shoot camera. I want higher quality video.

We'll see what happens.

Any way the wind blows...

Happy Snippet Wednesday Before Turkey Thursday!

This video goes a long way to proving why I love the Muppets and how, despite being nearly 35 years old, I find them hilarious and oh-so brilliant.

Okay, it's not as new as it was this morning when I first began writing this up. Now it's everywhere. But I'm still posting it. I don't care.

Yep, we graduated this past Sunday from the Citizen's Fire Academy. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself on Monday nights now. Anyway, here are photos from the final two days including auto extrication and the graduation itself. Enjoy! (Facebookers, click through)

I'm thinking the greatest single thing to happen to my music loving has been the Amazon MP3 Store. Now they, like so many others, are getting in on the Black Friday specials. A little early, sure. But still. The sad thing is, I either already have much of what I want from this list of specials or it's been ordered by my local library by my request. I really have too much music. And too much influence over my library.

I know I've been having fun on Twitter at the expense of many New Moon and Twilight fans. I can't help myself. This is my revenge against all who heckled me when I got so geeked (and ultimately disappointed) about the release of the new Star Wars film back in 1999. Yes, Twilighters, I'm equating you to geeks. And you are. Admit it. But anyway, I do want to see the film New Moon despite this heckling. And I think Katie and I are going to see it pretty soon. We kinda have to. About half of Katie's class saw it opening night at midnight and they were in shock she hadn't seen it yet. Due to parent-teacher conferences this week, she's had a reprieve, but we need to see it before next Monday or she may pay with their scorn. Here's hoping tickets are available.

I only wish I had video of the show that Katie and I gave the drivers next to us as we drove to the grocery store tonight. She was singing harmony as I took the role of Susanna Hoffs singing The Bangles' "Eternal Flame." I thought we sounded pretty damn good.

Teach them well...

On Saturday, I was hanging out in a Starbucks reading a book (Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, in case y'all are interested). At the table next to me was a teacher working on her laptop. Every so often, a teenager would wander in, say hi, and sit down to talk to her. Turns out this teacher runs her off-hours study sessions for tests at this Starbucks. Interesting. But I guess in this day and age of rampant garbage lawsuits for inappropriate behavior by teachers, it's good to be in a very publicly visible locale. Anyway...

With one student, the teacher started reviewing his flash cards when she saw one that piqued her interest.

Teacher: "This one is about 9/11?"

Student: "Yes."

Teacher: "But you say on it that Iraq is responsible."

Student: "Yes."

Teacher: "9/11 was perpetrated by Al Q'aida, not Iraq. A terrorist organization, not a country."

Student: "Whatever."

Teacher: "No! There is no 'whatever' here. There is a BIG difference!"

Student: "Okay."

As much as I wanted to go up to the teacher and shake her hand and slap the kid silly, I'm still pretty sure he is only going to take that lesson to heart insofar as answering the question correctly on a test. Otherwise, he's still going to be blissful in his ignorance regarding the truth.

Sometimes I truly worry about the future of our county after hearing things like that.

Katie and I had this conversation the other day during our morning commute.

Katie: "Ahhhh! That's not something I like to see crossing in front of me while I drive at this time of morning."

1987-buick-hearse-2500Me: "What was it?"

Katie: "A Hearse."

Me: "Hell, I don't like seeing one of those cross in front of me ever."

Katie: "But it's like it was looking at me saying 'Good morning!'"

Me: "Is that 'Good morning' or 'Good mourning'?"

Katie: "Oh ugh."

Me: "Yeah, that's me for ya."

Remember me saying that I love having a wife who is perversely twisted? Helps that I'm a good balance of it myself.

Danger on the tracks...

Happy Snippet Wednesday to you.
Happy Snippet Wednesday to you.
Happy Snippet Wednesday, dear reader.
Happy Snippet Wednesday to you.

How sad is it that when typing that, I accidentally keyed "dead reader" at first? That's truly not how I think of you all. Honestly!

Already I'm loving the holiday sales season even if I truly believe it's blasphemy to be thinking about the holiday season this early. I almost violated my own Christmas list by purchasing the complete series of Life on Mars (US) yesterday when I saw it for $17.49 at Best Buy. It's a $40 set. Same original price for season four of The Closer, which I actually did buy for Katie yesterday at Target for $12.99. How do you pass that shit up?

Speaking of holidays, I had flipped on some news broadcast last night and they were reporting that the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas is pushing that their employees be given higher priority on H1N1 vaccine shots. While I laughed at first, it does make perfect sense. They are exposed to a ridiculously high number of children on a daily basis, many of whom are probably sicker than dogs and still go to see Santa anyway because their parents won't deny them this childhood privilege even if they are hacking their lungs out all over the floor. And a lot of the guys playing Santa (the real-bearded ones, anyway) are older and some quite overweight. Yeah, give them the vaccine. Last thing we need is a class-action lawsuit against a Santa who infected a few hundred kids. But I do still laugh at the idea that Santas are unionized.

TranssiberianPoster Trains
The reason I have no idea what channel this newscast was on is because it was whatever channel was left on the TV before switching over to my DVD player last night and watching one of the better thriller movies I've seen in a while, Transsiberian. In a nutshell, it's about a couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) who take a train trip across Siberia to Moscow after completing volunteer work in China. While on board, they meet up with another couple (Kate Mara and Eduardo Noriega) who may or may not be drug mules. Murder, intrigue, and police investigating ensue. It also stars Ben Kingsley as a Russian narcotics detective. Is there any nationality that dude doesn't play? Offhand, I've got German, Jewish, American, British, Indian, Russian... Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised considering its low-budget and low-distribution nature. Very enjoyable. Oh, and it was directed by Brad Anderson, the guy behind the disturbing The Machinist starring Christian Bale in what I consider one of his finest performances.

Just when I think I can have all my snippets related, I throw in one that's not. Well, pretend it is. Let's just say I was reading this before watching Transsiberian, okay? I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Mojo magazine. It's basically another music mag with reviews and interviews and the like, much akin to Rolling Stone but without the political leanings. And, as a bonus, it comes packaged with a CD of music related to the theme of that month's issue. Sure this makes the mag cost $9.99 per issue, but I don't buy it often. This is actually the first issue in a few years and I had to do it because the CD is all electronic music including M83, LCD Soundsystem, Tangerine Dream, OMD, and an exclusive track from Kraftwerk, along with 10 more. Yes! I like electronic music, okay?

Must. Break. Addiction. To. KenKen. Puzzles. But. It's. Too. Much. Fun. Help.

Make it last all night...

Katie has one last field trip to go on as a student teacher. This one is kinda different in that it's a bit pricey. It's likely that, in this economy, not all the kids will be able to attend due to the cost.

However, instead of just leaving them in the cold, the teachers are trying to raise money to allow as many as possible, if not all, of the students to go along. So they've been asking teachers and parents to contribute a little extra if at all possible.

Kind of a cool gesture.

This morning, though, Katie told me about one parent who was digging around at home and discovered that she had gift certificates to the place where the field trip will be happening. They were a few years old, so she called the place up and asked if they were still good. The place said they had no problem honoring them. So she sent the certificates to school with instructions to use them to pay for her daughter and whatever was left to pay for other students.

There was enough money on these certificates to pay for admission for nearly five students!

Y'know, sometimes I just wonder when I'm gonna explode and go full-on batshit cynical on humanity. And then something like this happens and warms my cockles enough to make me think that there are some decent people around. Sure, it cost the parent nothing, but she didn't have to do it, right?

[...and kapgar's heart grew three sizes that day.]

I was talking to Katie on the ride to work this morning and she started laughing hysterically. So I asked her what's up.

Katie: "I have the radio on and they're giving away American Girl dolls and they have Tom Petty's 'American Girl' playing in the background and all I can think of is Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. And now I'm imagining one of those dolls trapped in the pit."

Me: "She puts the lotion on the plastic or else she gets the hose, er, again."

And she kept laughing. Hysterically.

I love my wife. Perfect mix of adorably cute and perversely twisted.

We care a lot...

I need BlogFiber. Something that will make me more regular about posting here. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who would benefit from taking this.

There was a time when, for 14 consecutive months, I posted every single day. Not that I ever want to go back to that again. That was hell. Not that I didn't enjoy the writing or struggle for something to say. I had ideas coming out the proverbial yin-yang. I only wish I'd held onto a few of them for these dry spells.

Oh well. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

Now I'm lucky to post three or four times a week. For those of us who live and die by RSS feeds, that's not really all that big a deal. We simply wait until notification arrives in our aggregator letting us know that a new post is up.

But not everyone "gets" RSS. Sure it's free, but they don't understand how to use it or whatnot. And I can understand that. Not all of us are geeks and I'm not going to hold that against you. These people have blogs like mine bookmarked and just make return visits when they have time in hopes of finding something new to read. And here's little ol' me giving you jack shit for your loyalty.

So I'm going to try to be a little more fair to you and your faithfulness. To that end, I've implemented an e-mail notifier on this blog. Simply enter your e-mail address and you should receive an e-mail when I post something new. Bear in mind, I did try to implement one of these some time ago from a third-party source and it didn't work. Hence why I hadn't done it since. But Typepad's been rolling out a bunch of new features lately and they've all been pretty reliable in their functionality. With this one working in conjunction with FeedBurner, it should work quite nicely. Here's hoping!

All you need to do is visit that little box in the bottom of the right column and sign up. It looks like this...

[this is not the actual box;
you won't be able to type anything in it;
use the one over to the right --> ]

You may encounter a CAPTCHA verification and then a confirmation e-mail, but those are all pretty easy peasey.

See? I do care!

Lots of people have asked that age-old question "if you could meet any one person, alive or dead, who would it be?" on their blogs.

That question is boring. It always winds up being some great world leader or philosopher or thinker or the like. Plllbbbtttt! Yes, that's right, I just blew an e-raspberry at the great people of the world. BO-RING!

I want to ask something a bit different...

If you could sit in a bar and do shots with anybody, who would it be? And let's keep it to people who are alive, okay? And have some fun with it. None of the standard answers.

Me? I want to do shots with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Chad Ochocinco (nee Johnson) of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Coyne  Ochocinco

Why? I'm really not entirely sure. I just get this feeling that it would be a blast, they'd both have great stories to tell, and there would be some fantastic drunken Tweets (Chad does have his own account, too) and videos to post on this blog afterwards.

Plus, you'd need one helluva twisted mind to come up with the stunts that Chad does as well as this video from the Lips.

Ummm, I'm gonna make you link over to the video as it's severely NSFW (as in Not Safe For Work). Don't say I didn't warn you.

Black cat, nine lives, short days, long nights...

Welcome to a vacation-borne Snippet Wednesday. Of course, it's only a vacation day for me, not Katie. How's that work? In Illinois, kids get freakin' Casimir Pulaski Day off, but not Veteran's Day? And I actually do get a real holiday like Veteran's Day off but not some weird, never-heard-of-outside-Illinois-borders holiday? WTF?

I guess I should just shut up and not complain, eh?

Rumors are swirling that Rachel McAdams may be cast in the next Spider-Man film as Felicia Hardy/Black Cat. Rock on! This might actually help make up for that travesty of a third film that has officially ruined the series for me. But I think they'll have to recast Peter Parker/Spider-Man as well now. Rachel is too much woman for Tobey Maguire. Sorry, dude, but it's the truth.

Well, I finally got semi-firm (heh heh) word on when the CaptureMyChicago book will be out and winners announced... December 9! When I first placed the order for the book, it said it would likely ship in mid-November. Aye aye aye! I gotta wait another month? And they won't announce who is in the book until the launch party on the 9th. This is brutal! I wanna know! Stupid launch party.

Okay, sure the teaser trailer for Clash of the Titans looks a little overwrought with CG and more than just a bit fakey. But, damn I think this is gonna be one good ol', popcorn-munching fun fest of a film. BRING ON THE TITANS!!

Sorry it got recentered a little funny. I had to resize to fit the width of my central content column. Well, it was supposed to resize, instead it was cropped. Never had that happen before. If you wanna see it in all its glory, go check out either Geeks of Doom or Cinematical.

On a more serious note, do take a moment to remember those who have served in the Armed Forces. A really great tribute came last year from my buddy LeSombre. Quite moving.

Homosassa Springs 4
Never forget.

Take all the worry out of your mind...

For whatever reason, the night before last, I woke up around 3 a.m. and had trouble really falling back asleep. So, for the next two hours, I had a quick succession of what I refer to as rapid-fire paranoia dreams. These are quick dreams that happen back-to-back in short order and usually represent some sort of personal paranoia about something that is about to happen. For example, a few years ago when I was interviewing for my current job, I would have these dreams about not waking up on time, forgetting my resume, freezing up during the interview, etc.

The night before last, though, I was having my RFPs about that act of waking up. I slept through my alarm, my alarm never went off in the first place, we had no hot water in the shower, the toilet wouldn't flush, we ran out of soap, I had no clean underwear, the bathroom light burned out as I turned it on, etc.

I told Katie about these at some point yesterday. She gets a kick out of my brain's sleep patterns.

Anyway, last night we were getting ready to go to bed and I was putting dishes in the dishwasher when Katie called me upstairs. She pointed into the bathroom and, sure enough, one of the lights in the fixture above the sink burned out. When she turned on the light switch, the bulb popped and fizzled to black just like in my dream.

We both laughed.

Now if only I could dream about finding a million dollars in untraceable bills...

I promised you more fall photos.

I also have more photos from the Fire Academy last night.

We were playing with ladders and hoses.

And not in a kinky way so get your minds out of the gutter.

Here you go. Facebookers, click through.

Time for worky work.

I'm gonna set you free...

Um, yeah, so it's Snippet Wednesday. Sorry, I got nothing more original. I need to make a couple lunches before I head out for work.

While I'm upset that we here in Chicago still never seem to have much of a fall in terms of nice autumn weather, we did get some beautiful leaves for the first time in about two or three years. Lately, the odd times during which we've had rain have made the leaves go from green to brown with no color variations in between. Something worked this year and we got some magnificent colors. Thank God.

Fall colors

Fall colors

I'll upload some more pictures soon.

Talk about death and decay, police in Cleveland have discovered the bodies of 10 victims in or near the house and yard of a suspected serial murderer. The kicker is that people have been complaining about strange odors emanating from his house for years. One person went so far as to describe it as the smell of a dead body. And it took Cleveland cops how long to investigate? There's something severely wrong with this story.

Funny thing about this particular Dilbert strip is that I could see this sort of thing as an outtake in the original Superman. How funny would that have been?


I was totally stoked the other day when I discovered that The Swell Season (featuring Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of the movie Once) had a new album out. Cooler yet was that there was an iTunes code in it for an additional free song. But they had two codes, one for the US store and one for the Canadian store. So, if there are any Canadian fans of The Swell Season, drop me a note in the comments and the code for this song is yours. I'm not sure if it cancels out after I redeem the US code, but it's worth a shot. First come/first served.

Archie is marrying Veronica? Not Betty? Six-part comic arc? WTF? This is so not cool.


Time for lunch making. With a tear in my eye on Betty's behalf.

We don't need no water...

I love not-so-subtle wordplay... I enjoy coming up with creative ways to say things... twisting words to create meanings or thoughts contrary to what was intended...

For example, last night I posted the following message on both Facebook and Twitter...


Sounds pretty twisted, doesn't it? Kinda kinky and sexual, wouldn't you say?

The truth, however, is anything but. See the photo slideshow below to see what I mean (Facebookers, click through).

It was Fire Academy. We were using air tanks to crawl through a lit-up smokehouse crawling around on all fours and attempting to crane our necks upwards to see the fire while also looking down to follow the hose through the building.

I was discussing this at length tonight with a friend. She got a bit of a kick out of it, but wasn't convinced. So I threw this one at her based on our situation at the time I was talking to her.

"Right now, I'm half naked with a woman who is not my wife climbing all over me."

And this statement was 100% true. She died laughing. Mostly at how dirty it sounded. Partially at the fact that I managed to say that with a straight face and so off the cuff.

Turns out I'd managed to turn a simple chiropractic appointment into a tawdry sexual affair.

Oh God, how I love words. I seriously need to be a political spin doctor.

I'm watching V right now. The remake, relaunch, reboot. Whatever you want to call it.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of it all.

It's got promise, I suppose. Note, I use "promise" very loosely. But it was all so rushed. So much crammed into a single hour. Half of what they revealed in this episode could've waited another episode or two.

[episode 1 spoiler below]

And, for me, the most shocking thing was the idea that Morris Chestnut is, effectively, the modern version's embodiment of Robert Englund's Willie from the original series.

Morrischestnut  Robertenglund 

I'll keep watching for now. But I may have to go rent the originals just to remember how cool it was.