The Web 2005-09

He's makin' a list...

I know, I know. Christmas is done... STOP USING CHRISTMAS CAROLS AS POST TITLES!!! I will make a concerted effort. I promise.

Not all of you are Twitter users, I would presume, right? For those of you who are, you know that the most recent gauge of cyber-inclusiveness has nothing to do with your ability to avoid being dealt the Facebook deathcard known as unfriending (I'm still in shock as to how this got "Word of the Year" accolades... whatever). It's all about being added to someone's Twitter List these days.

Since I'm still working on my Top TV Shows and Top Movies lists for this year, I thought I'd spend a day discussing another Top measure that happens to come in the form of Lists: all the Twitter Lists I belong to.

Sure, this is completely me tooting my own horn, I admit. But it sounds like fun.

Currently, I've been "Listed" 19 times by various folks. And I want to point out a few of them real quick.

While I'd like to be able to say that this is as dirty as it could be perceived by gutter-minded individuals such as myself, it sadly is not. She actually runs a Web-based cupcake company in the Chicago suburbs. Bummer.

I have always thought of myself as delightfully perverted. I'm proud knowing that my efforts were noticed by you, @hismuse! Thanks.
I'd really hate to see his wish-dead list. I'm afraid to look and see if there actually is one.

Well, we'll just have to work on that one, won't we?

@neilochka, I would definitely sit there and hold your hand through this ordeal... from the other side of the bars. Feel free to call me. Just don't expect bail money.

While I love being on his cool-mfers list, I think he and I should both create a list called cool-bald-mfers and be the charter members!

This is the ultimate sign of cyber acceptance, IMHO. @avitable is looking pretty damn hot these days and with his increased fitness level, I would assume comes an increased capability level in the sack, right big guy?

Can you tell I'm really reaching for blog fodder right now? I'd make a New Year's Resolution that I will come up with higher quality posts and maybe post more often, but I can't guarantee that the Angel of Inspiration will bind herself to that resolution.

So how was your Christmas this year? Big haul? Small haul?

I'm happy with how it turned out. Several books, some giftcards and cash to buy some new appliances in the kitchen, a copy of Rock Band: Beatles for the Wii (no drumkit, sorry), and, from Katie, a Blackhawks jersey (to be worn at the Blackhawks game for which the two BiLs and the FSiL got us tickets) and a copy of the Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-disc box set, among other things. That's pretty sweet! I can't wait to start watching it. I got Katie a few things including a really pretty garnet necklace. She seemed happy. I guess that's all that counts.

And, in case you're interested, here are some photos from the various Christmas celebrations we attended this year (Facebookers, click through).

But one of my favorite photos of the evening was just a little experimental picture I snapped. Not that it's a true mystery photo like the ones I used to post. Heck it should be easily identifiable. But it's just a different point of view on it. Let me know if you figure out what it is.

Apgar Christmas

Devilman, devilman...

From time to time, I find myself amused by the images that Google News chooses to use to accompany news stories. I know it's probably some complex algorithm that picks the image based on metadata incorporated into the image, blah blah.

If that's the case, explain to me what the hell metadata was embedded into this image to make it algorithmically associated to an article about Microsoft's Bing search engine?

Click image to excite it

I can only guess (and shudder) at what the "5 Turning Points" are based on the image.

I went back into Google News five hours later and found this...

Again, click the image to give it a thrill

Seriously, is Google trying to create a mental image of Microsoft as a bunch of crotch-grabbing child molesters? I knew Windows was evil, but this?

I was on Goodreads last night and I entered a bunch of contests for free books. It had been a while since I entered any, so why not?

One of the books was a comedy about a road trip (I think), another about a woman trying to bring to light in America the problems in Darfur, a third was about a female photojournalist in Vietnam. The fourth I entered -- just for kicks -- is about a woman's voyage of self-discovery... in the world of BDSM.

Guess which one I'm probably gonna win?


I want to ride it where I like...

As I type this, Katie's asleep on the couch. We're supposed to go run some errands and get some stuff done, but we just got back about an hour ago from a 20-mile bike ride up and down the Fox River Trail

We had beautiful weather and it was a gorgeous ride, save for the point where you ride past the sewage treatment plant in Batavia. If you weren't feeling hunger pangs before...

But Katie's now completely wiped. I know she's getting tired on our rides when she starts to lean forward with her forearms on the handlebars instead of her hands. Never a good sign. Thankfully that didn't happen until about mile 18. 

She did take a few pictures. Sadly my PowerShot is in the shop with a busted zoom dial. But Katie took some (one of those times when Facebook readers should click through to view the photos)

Do I wake her up? I know we've got a lot to do, but I'm not suicidal.

I'm so stoked about this little gem I ordered. It's an official Invaded! coffee mug for Avitable's 2009 Halloween party

This thing is truly a work containing both fine craftsmanship from the folks at and the artwork of Dave from Blogography. 

Invaded!   Invaded!

Unlike most coffee mugs, the design is not raised at all. It is so protected by ceramic glaze that there is no way to accidentally damage the logo without destroying the mug. And it's a heavy-duty mug at that. This is my favorite coffee mug second only to the kick-ass Jack Skellington mug that Katie bought me down at Disneyworld last year.

Kudos to Adam, Dave, and Zazzle on a fine product.

And no, I'm not receiving any sort of compensation from Adam, Dave, or Zazzle for this shameless plug other than warm, fuzzy feelings. I can't even go to the party. I'm just going to have to celebrate with my mug.


Help... not just anybody...

Relieffordads I found this ad on Facebook today.

It disturbs me for a few reasons.

One, why is it that only dads can take advantage of this debt-relief program? No moms? No childless guys? What exactly is involved here? Will they be selling their kids into child slavery behind their wives' backs?

Two, I could be wrong, but in that image I see long blonde hair, a pregnant belly, and boobies. How does this image depict dads in debt? Or is it meant to imply that all men are in debt because of women and pregnancy? Are they claiming women are the root of all evil including excessive levels of debt? That's a bold statement.

Three, what exactly is this woman doing in the picture? It would appear she is sitting/standing in the glow of a TV, but otherwise, what is this image depicting? Looks like her hands are doing an Al Bundy with the waistband of her pants. Is there porn involved in this deal?

So many questions...

Once in a while, I love scrolling through the Chicago Tribune's "Mugs in the News" section. You find a great random sampling of life there.

For example, here's a guy who was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery. Well if you were near a dude looking this sullen who was wearing a shirt that says "Most of the people that drive me nuts are in my family" and you didn't treat it a sign of things to come, well, you probably deserved it anyway...


This girl is actually pretty cute and looks happy to be there getting her mugshot taken. Prison fetish, I'd suspect.


I was going to ask why this guy looks so damn happy after being arrested and booked, but I think we all know why, don't we?


I have no words.


And oh so many more!

Where have all the good times gone...

Have you ever had a friend that suddenly, and perhaps even without explanation, ceases to be your friend?

This happened to me back in high school.

Chandlerrossjoey Shortly after I moved to Chicagoland, I met Pete (names have been changed). He and I, along with another guy I'll call John, were all really great friends. There were others who migrated in and out of our group, but the three of us were the nucleus of our insane little institution. Throughout junior high and freshman year of high school, we were practically inseparable.

At the end of freshman year, Pete came up with the insane idea that he and I should try out for the football team. I had my doubts, but went along with it. We went through all the administrative stuff and showed up to two-a-day practices that summer. It wasn't easy, but we tried to power through it anyway.

After the first week ended, Pete quit. He didn't even tell me he was leaving; he just stopped showing up. To top it all off, he stopped talking to me entirely.

To this day, even upon years of reflection, I still couldn't tell you what happened. I thought maybe I had changed as a result of all the new people we had been hanging out with from the football team. But, if that had been the truth, I wouldn't have remained friends with John. The two of us stayed close despite him not even being on the football team at all. He didn't even try out. Yet we were friends and he even became friends with a few of the football players by association. When I asked John one time about it, he had no clue what happened either.

What makes people act this way?

I realized something yesterday when Marie commented on my post about being a lover of all things Beck... my post title yesterday made absolutely no sense in relation to the context of my post. Well, less sense than usual.

I chose "Devil's Haircut" by Beck as my title because I had a snippet on there about how I was going to push for legislation to allow people to shave the heads of women they find sporting the Kate Gosselin hairdo. Tacked onto the resolution would be a caveat allowing the public beating of any man with similar hair. So, in that regard, the post title was perfect.

However, at the last second, I changed my mind and deleted the snippet. Not sure why anymore, but I did. And I did not change the post title.

So, for that, I'm sorry. I usually try to tie in my titles, at least tangentially, to what I'm writing. Didn't quite happen yesterday. Whoops.

Then we go back to school, yeah...

I don't know what made me realize this, but while working out at the gym tonight, I realized something relatively significant about today...

Aside from it being the start of Katie's student teaching, today also marks the 20th anniversary of me starting high school back in 1989.

Holy shit.

I think I'm going to curl up in a corner and cry right now.

Okay, maybe I'll wait until my fantasy football draft is done. Then I'll cry. And if I don't get the players I want, I'll have even more reason to cry.

I seriously can't be the only person who cracked up insanely upon reading this.

If you know code, you should understand this. But it's so incredibly geeky that maybe I am the only one who gets it.

.clowns{float:left;}.jokers{float:right};#me_you{position:fixed;margin:0 auto;width:100%}

Thanks to @MarcDrummond for sharing this little gem with me.

Alright, already, we'll all float on...


Need I say more? Didn't think so. Okay, I will anyway. Go check out my guest post at Secondhand Tryptophan.

Yesterday was Triple Feature Friday for the ol' kapgar. Something I'm pretty sure I've never done before in my life. Yes, three movies in one day. And I stayed awake for all three!

First, after Katie finished her student teaching meetings during the day, she and I went to see (500) Days of Summer. Absolutely brilliant movie. It was so well done and if this doesn't hammer home the name Joseph Gordon-Levitt as one of the better 20 to 30-something actors in Hollywood right now (I think he's 28), nothing will. And Zooey Deschanel? I don't think there's anything I can say that hasn't already been said. She's just fantastic.

After that was The Time Traveler's Wife. Admittedly, I have not read the book yet so I cannot compare from one medium to the other. But Katie just finished the book a couple weeks ago. As someone who has only seen the movie, I enjoyed it. I was never bored nor confused and I enjoyed the interplay between Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. Katie said that there were some key details left out and the ending was very different, but it didn't bother her too terribly. She still cried like a baby at the end and enjoyed it overall. She did tell me, however, that whereas the book's description of time travel kinda confused her, it all made sense when she saw it on screen. The woman sitting next to us completely agreed.

Then, later that night, my buddy Eric invited me to go see District 9 with him. I need to admit something about this movie... before last week, I'd never heard about it at all. No previews, no posters, no nothing. Then I saw a trailer tacked onto G.I. Joe and just thought it looked weird. But I went anyway after Eric gave me a primer on it. I FREAKIN' LOVED IT! Holy crap. I haven't had this much fun at an alien film in years. Probably not truly since Aliens in '86. The documentary style of shooting this film and splicing in the news and archival footage was brilliant. Plus, it was the most perfect integration of live acting and CGI I've ever seen. And the movie was a ton of fun, too. I don't want to say much about the plot of the movie whatsoever because I think my going into it with a complete sense of tabula rasa really helped the experience immensely. Just go see it.

'nuff said.

Sometimes I was drifting on a coffee buzz...

Three weeks.

Three very long weeks.

Three excruciatingly painful, truly untasty weeks.

Mrlick That's how long it's been since I've had coffee.

I was never a huge coffee drinker. I only had coffee one, maybe two, times a week. But on that "one, maybe two, days," I would have about three cups. The first cup would never be enough to sate me.

However, over the course of the last few months, that "one, maybe two days" turned into five days a week. I was as bad as everyone in my office. I would sit there and wait for the coffeemaker to finish brewing a pot just to make sure I got some of it. I was becoming an addict. And it wasn't even particularly good coffee.

I decided it was time to kick the rapidly forming habit. Cold turkey. And I went to water. Straight water.

There are few things as boring to drink in life as water. God it's boring to drink repeatedly. I've even tried hot tea or those drink stir ins. It helps, but that can get a little pricey after a while. The big ol' Nalgene bottle I use requires two packets of stir-in mix.

I guess the one good thing about it all is that I'm sleeping much better at night. Truly.

But I miss my caffeine.

Speaking of coffee, have you seen Boy Obsolete's hand-drawn coffee cups? Total coolness.

I missed my blogiversary. Again. It was back on June 16. How could I miss such an important holiday???

Never again.

After seeing it over on Renagerie, I decided to add my own blogiversary counter. Thanks, Ren.

Now what app can I find to remind me to look at my counter?

Oh, and I gave myself a new banner in belated celebration.

I need you to need me...

Yesterday, in my guestpost at The Dutch Files, I made a promise that if people forgive me for my hackneyed attempt at both guestposting and poetry, that I would make a smarter place. A better place. One that you don't need to feel shame about when visiting and reading.

Bigfatgreek-guestpost How do I follow up on that promise? With another guestpost, of course! This one is over at It's Me... Penelope who happens to be on what is quickly becoming an annual trip to Greece. I'm stowing away next time, dammit.

So, um, forgive me for one more day, 'tay? You'll get the normal Snippet Wednesday tomorrow barring some personal or natural catastrophe. Really!

Sometimes I feel like I don't belong in the world of working professionals.

I see people who are clearly colleagues going out for lunches sometimes and walking to and from their lunch destinations talking and laughing, sharing inside jokes, discussing business deals, whatever. They hang out after work on occasion too. You see them all the time. It's a camaraderie they've all developed. (Please note: I'm not completely antisocial. I have developed a similar camaraderie to a lesser degree with some people, but not to the level that some of these folks clearly have.)

And then there's me. How do I spend my lunch breaks? Well, besides people-watching obviously. I sit somewhere and read a book or, like I did yesterday, listen to Lady Gaga (iTunes link) on my iPod and play Ninja Town on my DS.

I swear I'm such a kid. I'm a 34-year-old kid.

Is that wrong?

Killing me softly...

Just because there isn't much here doesn't mean I'm not up to something. I am! I am! I swear I am!

It's just not... here...

It's actually over at La Casa de DutchBitch where I am guestposting as part of BlogJacking 2009.


And, even if you don't, just pretend you do and make me feel better about it, okay?


I just received the e-mail from Brandon to rejoin the DownWithPants fantasy football league!

Do you know how much I've missed fantasy football? Do you know how much I've missed football, period??

Oh, thank the maker! Football season is nigh!!!

Oh say can you see...

I'm having a lot of trouble wrapping my brain around the idea that not only is tomorrow the U.S. Independence Day, but that we're already halfway through 2009. Just another half to go before we're making contact with the alien races according to bad Roy Scheider sci-fi films.

But the problem is that since the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, a lot of employers are not sure just how to deal with giving days off to employees. I am off work today, the day before the holiday, since I'm an 8-5, Monday thru Friday office rat. Katie, who for now only works Monday thru Friday, but for an employer who is open seven days a week, won't see a day off. Her day off would be tomorrow, but since she doesn't work Saturdays, she gets nada. That sucks. So I'm here at home typing to all of you while she toils away at work.

What to do... what to do...

Wake-up? Check.

Check e-mail? Check.

Catch up on Google Reader? Three-quarters of a check.

Shower? (sniff) Nowhere near a check. Yet. I promise I'll get to work on this one, not just for your sake but my own as well.

I think I might also check out my neighbor's garage sale that started up this morning. I saw him out placing signs last night and, as much as I used to love garage saling (can that actually be a verb?) with my mom as a kid, I haven't been to one in years. And I'm told, with the economy in the shithole state it's in, garage sales are totally en vogue. Maybe I should join the hipness and go a salin'.

Do you all garage sale at all? Any cool finds? My curiosity is piqued.

But first, I will shower, and I will download my free Star Spangled Banner from Amazon's MP3 store. Yep, you read right. In honor of the holiday, the Amazon MP3 store is giving away one free copy of any version of "The Star Spangled Banner" that they have in stock. Just click on the link above and follow the instructions. There are a ton to choose from. Once I hit number 400 in my browsing, I gave up looking. I had no idea that song had been recorded so many times.

Burnsbaseball And, shockingly, as much as I thought I'd go for, say, Jimi Hendrix's classic rendition or one from KISS's Alive performances (Ace was on fi-yah playing that one), I instead nabbed one by Branford Marsalis and Bruce Hornsby that was recorded for Ken Burns' Baseball documentary series. This recording really takes me back to my documentary filmmaking days (well, not that I made one on my own, but I was part of a team that made one in grad school). Not to say I'm a huge Ken Burns fan, but the use of music in Baseball was so fantastic and so memorable that it's pretty akin to how Quentin Tarantino chooses music in his movies. Anytime you hear the song afterward, all you can think of is the scene from the movie where it was featured. Just try to tell me you can listen to "Stuck in the Middle with You" by Stealers Wheel and resist the urge to lean over and nibble on your neighbor's ear.

Yeah, okay, anyway. So head over there and nab your favorite version now. Offer ends July 6.

Nuh uh. No way. Not a chance in Heaven or Hell.

Well, maybe I would. But I would have to do some severe steeling up of my gut first. Holy Christ a mighty! Welcome to the new Sky Deck on the outside of Chicago's Sears Tower (fuck Willis Group Holdings).

Stupid SkyDeckChicago Flickr group didn't enable the Flickr photo sharing option, so I did it myself! But I still followed all their linkback rules. So ha!

Update: I did find some cool swag at the garage sale! Checky check!

Don't cry for me, Argentina...

Just a brief one for you, today. Sorry if you were expecting something grandiose, but c'est la vie.

This exchange happened this morning as Katie and I lay in bed watching Today Show reports on South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford:

Katie: Are you going to leave me and head for Argentina?

Me: No.
       ...Maybe Brazil.

You gotta be pretty secure in your relationship to have a convo like that one. ;-)

I love you, hon. (I fully expect her to smack me when she gets home tonight)

I saw this question linked on the Typepad homepage and thought it was pretty cool. If you want to answer on the page linked below, go for it, but I'd like to hear it in the comments here as well (if they're working today; I've heard of some people having issues). Here's the question:

If you could bring back a canceled TV series, which would you choose?
submitted by The Good Girl Gone Blog


Any of you who have been wanting to see my underwear in action should have been in my backyard this morning.

Sometimes, when I wake up, I don't necessarily get fully dressed right away (a habit I'm sure would be changing when Katie and I have kids). I may walk around in pants and no shirt or just an undershirt or underwear or any number of other potential combinations.

This morning, I went downstairs and sat at the computer in my underwear and undershirt. We've had so much rain and we haven't turned on our air conditioner so it was really muggy downstairs. In order to cool down a bit, I also slid open the backdoor, which is right beside the computer, so I could get some air through the screen door. After several minutes, I heard a weird mechanical chirping sound. So I carefully peel away the full-length curtain we have over the sliding backdoor and realize there's a guy out there marking the lawn for a utility repair. And I'm sitting there in my underwear.

Thankfully he didn't look right away and I was able to cover up... and get dressed. Could've been so much worse.

Last night, I attended my first Tweet Up. For you non Twitterers, this is basically a bunch of Twitter users who get together in real life.

As you know, I've met up with fellow bloggers many times in the past and have loved every single one of the experiences and people. But with bloggers, you know them from these lengthy posts they write for their blogs or from e-mail conversations or whatever other method of communication you use that is sometimes even supplemented by Twitter use.

With Tweet Ups, the people you meet are ones you know only from Twitter. You know them from 140-character-or-less bursts of random information typed and posted for the world to see. And you may not even see all of them because, if you have enough Twitter followers, you won't necessarily go back and read the old Tweets that you may have missed while logged off. Some people do, but I certainly don't. I log in and check for replies or direct messages meant specifically for me and then I read what is available at that moment. So, basically, what I'm saying is that your knowledge of your fellow Twitterer is far more limited than your knowledge of a fellow blogger. So I was nervous. Very nervous.

But it was great! I met about 30 or more Twitterers from the area and we just talked about anything. Jobs, family life, favorite drinks, why we use Twitter, what other social media outlets we use... the gamut. It really was a blast.

I may have to do it again some time soon.

Don't you need to get back in the arms of a good friend...

In a very last-second decision, I caved and bought tickets for a concert this Saturday. It's the annual Naper Days event in Naperville, IL, and the tickets were only $5 a pop with no fees attached to it at all (God bless the peeps who don't go through TicketMaster; there is a special place in Heaven for you).

And who will Katie and I get to see? My boy Matthew Sweet!


Oh I'm stoked! And I find that Katie and I have more fun at these more low-key and low-cost shows than we do at big, overblown concerts anyway.

I found this pretty funny.

For anybody who appreciates either 24 or The Office, you should enjoy it as well.

24 at the office from Twelve Episodes on Vimeo.

It's so hard to say goodbye...

No, I'm not going anywhere. Not yet anyway.

I am, however, bidding a fond adieu to one of the funniest and most creative Web comics around. Yesterday, Tony Dunn announced that he is closing shop over at Tales From Redesignland.


For those of you who have not read it, TFRL was a comic satire of Tony's own travails as a Web developer at a U.S. university. Of course, having been a higher ed Web developer in my own past, I was able to relate very easily to his tales of committee hell and off-the-wall project rationalizations. But, you don't need to have worked in higher ed to relate. Honestly, despite it being very Web based, it held a real-world, everyperson appeal very akin to Dilbert. If you haven't had the privilege of reading TFRL, I highly recommend it. Go over there and start reading now as I'm not sure how long the archives will remain standing.

On a very related note, seeing TFRL die, as Tony says, because of "The only two people in the whole world that I know of who have a problem with it," reminds me of one of my own greatest fears as a blogger who doesn't hide his identity... the vocal and highly offended minority.

I know not everybody is going to agree with what I say here. I don't expect you to. That's why this is my blog, my opinion. And, as I'm wont to say, if you want your own opinion, get your own damn blog. But the Web tends to bring out the worst in some people. It's an unfortunate side effect of the virtual anonymity some people feel they are entitled to as they surf around in the cyberether. And, sometimes, people like you and I wind up paying for it. We may be saying something on our blogs that seems completely innocuous to us, but if even one word is out of place, a troll out there may take offense and wind up letting the wrong people know about it and we either wind up like Tony who has to forego a brilliant Web comic to save his job or we just get Dooce'd or Karl'd outright.

I try to be clean. I try to be as inoffensive as possible. But I also want to be honest. And it's sure as shit not easy to keep all three of those ideals aligned in this day and age.

Tales From Redesignland... you will be missed. Sorely.

Seeing this on my Facebook profile yesterday made me laugh...

Thanks, Stephanie. I needed the laugh.

Where are we runnin'...

First off, a big happy birthday to my mom who celebrates the God-only-knows-what anniversary of her 21st birthday today. I'm sure she'll smack me later for that one.

And on with the show...

This morning at the gym (I took a day off from work), I was running on the treadmill. I kept going and going and told my body it can quit at four miles, but not before. I haven't run any more than three so far, but I had to give it a shot. I wanted to see if I could do it. For one of the few times in the last couple weeks, I hit my stride really early on and just went to town. I knew four miles wasn't going to be a problem. I could just feel it.

At three and three-quarters, my left calf started cramping up. I knew it was because I was probably getting dehydrated. I thought I remembered reading something on Kim's blog about how much hydration you should give your body versus the time you've run, but the details weren't coming back to me just then and I'll be damned if I can find it now. However, seeing as I was closing in on an hour of time overall on the treadmill including warm-up and cool-down walks (20 minutes longer than I'd been on a treadmill to this point) and I hadn't picked up my water bottle at all, this seemed like a pretty logical conclusion.

I powered through the final quarter mile and dropped my speed for a cool-down walk for the final 10 minutes. As I scarfed down the water bottle I had with me, I could feel the cramp abating for the most part. Still there now as I type this, but not nearly as bad. I also now know what to expect when I do this again.

Even with my four miles today, I'm behind on the pace I was at last week. On Sunday, Katie and I ran only a mile as a warm-up for a day with the weights and we had very little time on Monday, so we only got two miles in. Then we took Tuesday off and she worked out solo on Wednesday since I had a softball double header. But I would like to run again tomorrow and Saturday and see if I can improve my overall weekly distance... if I can work out this damn cramp and figure out how to effectively hydrate during my run without stopping. Help? Anyone?

BTW, I just revealed to Katie on the phone that I ran four miles. I think I heard her cursing me under her breath. Might've been a voodoo chant.

Sometimes The Onion's video posts are on fire, and sometimes they're not.

The one that came in via iTunes this morning though, and considering my enjoyment of hockey, is completely EN FUEGO!

I just hope embedding it here at the size that The Onion defaults to doesn't screw with the margins of my page. Oh well. We shall see.

NHL Tries To Woo Fans By Increasing Scoring With Bigger Nets, 3-Point Line

I smoke two joints in the afternoon...

I'm fearing the fact that only three out of 15 of you guessed correctly in my Two Truths and a Lie challenge on Saturday is indicative that I'm more full of shit than I previously thought. So congrats to Becky, Tori, and Stacey for correctly guessing that #2 is the lie.

Here are the backstories, if you're at all inclined.

#1 - TRUTH
Yes, that is my earliest verifiable memory. I say "verifiable" simply because it is the first memory I have in which it cannot be explained away by stories told to me by friends or family members and no photos exist documenting the event. Simply put, I was the only one there so I know it happened. All memories of my first house in New York can be explained by photos I've seen (I can't remember any part of the house that wasn't featured in a photo). Seeing Star Wars? A story my parents told me. Being hoisted on one of those giant public mailboxes by my uncle to watch a parade at the end of my street? In a photo. However, I do remember being in the basement TV room of my house in Lexington shortly after moving in and being surrounded by unpacked boxes. I had nothing to do since my parents were upstairs unpacking, so I did find a box labeled "Kevin's Toys" and, after tearing it open, I found my old BSG Colonial Viper and Cylon Raider ships at the top and started playing with them while watching Sanford & Son. No bunk at all. It was 1980. I'm pretty sure both of those toys are still packed in boxes at my parents' house. I did see them within the last several years.

#2 - LIE
Becky believed this to be false because she thought I changed a single detail. More than just a single detail, though. I did play Little League when I was 10 and 11 and was absolutely horrible at it. However, I was a left or right fielder who saw little to no action whatsoever. Most hits never made it out of the infield and I never had a runner charge me at the plate. In fact (*KNOCK ON WOOD*), I've never broken a bone in my body ever. Twisted ankles, sprained knees, pulled and torn muscles have all happened, but no broken bones. Stacey did make an interesting point about my claim as to never playing again since I do play softball currently and it's pretty damn close to baseball. Good rationale. But if you were to take my statement as it was, then I really didn't ever play baseball again. Honestly. I quit baseball at 11 and never played again.

#3 - TRUTH
Nope. Never smoked a cigarette in my life. Never even taken a drag. Hell, a cigarette has never touched my lips. Both my parents smoked when I was a kid (and, for the record, both quit) and I remember hating the smell so much that actually trying it never occurred to me as a reasonable option. If I hated it then, why would I like it now? As for pot, I've been around it and inhaled secondhand and taken part in controlled burns with local police departments when I was working in college housing, but I've never smoked one. Part of me was always curious, but no one ever actually offered me one when it was available. I had friends tell me they could get me some pot, but they never came through. It wasn't something they had on them at the time so it doesn't count, IMHO. To me, that's like someone saying they can get me a million dollars... until it's in their outstretched arms being handed to me, it doesn't exist. And, therefore, I've never smoked pot.

Oh, and let it be said for all to hear, guess inline with Tori from here on out! According to her comment, she thinks she is one of those people that when she guesses something, the masses should guess opposite if they hope to be correct. I guess that's just not the case anymore, now is it? You go, girl!

Look ma, I'm a Lego Mini-Fig!

My life's ambitions have been realized!

Now if only I could get an actual mini-fig of this. And I seriously want that shirt, too.


I just realized that my life's ambitions are pretty paltry, aren't they?

Tell me the story, tell me the legend...

I've seen it over at Avitable as well as on Renagerie. Maybe it's been elsewhere, too, and I've just forgotten so feel free to leave the links to your own similar posts. But I'm now going to attempt one of my own Two Truths, a Lie, and a Pizza Place. Oh, the pizza place is no longer in the game? Whoops. How about Two Truths and a Lie, then?

Simply put, read the following three statements and tell me which one is bull.

  1. My earliest verifiable memory comes from when I was five years old and we had just moved to Lexington, KY, and I found a box labeled "Kevin's Toys," broke into it and found my old Battlestar Galactica ships, and played with them while watching Sanford & Son on TV. I still swear that show was based on my next-door neighbors.
  2. I have only ever broken one bone in my life. I was playing catcher on my Little League baseball team and the kid running the bases ran into me to avoid being tagged out at home. The ball popped out of my glove on impact and it broke my rib as I fell on top of it. My team was more upset about the fact I dropped the ball than they were concerned about the fact I was writhing in pain. And nothing happened to the kid from the other team as punishment for running me over in LITTLE LEAGUE. His coach congratulated him, in fact. I never played baseball again.
  3. Barring secondhand smoke, I have never once smoked a cigarette or joint my entire life. I never wanted to smoke a cigarette and have never been given the opportunity to try pot. Strange how that works out.

So which is bunk?

I'm not going to use my blog to set fitness goals as Stacey is now so willing to try. Not only do I then have it in writing and know when I fail, but I know you all will call me on it as well. However I will use it to announce personal achievements! Why not, right?

Well, this past week, I ran a total of 10.5 miles over the course of four days. 2 on Monday, 2.5 on Tuesday, and 3 on both Thursday and Friday. And Katie ran an unofficial 5K yesterday at the gym. Woo hoo! We're getting there.

Zo-om-bie, zo-om-bie, zo-om-bie-ee-ee...

I was talking to a neighbor of mine recently and she related a story that happened to her a few weeks back.

She was at an extended family wedding reception with her longtime boyfriend when a table of 20-something guys called her over. They were mostly friends of her daughter and were pretty toasted by this time.

20 somethings: "Hey Mrs. X! Come have a shot with us!"

Mrs. X: "Okay."

Takes shot.

One of the 20 somethings: "By the way, Mrs. X, we named you the MILF of the Year!"

Mrs. X: "Ummm... okay. Thanks!"

Walks back to her boyfriend's side.

Mrs. X: "Those guys just called me the MILF of the Year... What's a MILF?"

And her boyfriend busted out laughing uncontrollably. Upon finally composing himself, he told her what it meant.

Mrs. X: "Should I be offended or honored?"

Not-quite-Mr. X: "I get to go home with you. Be honored. I am."

I love it.

These blogger awards just keep getting weirder and weirder. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not honored to receive them. But I seriously think the creators should be given some sort of complimentary psychiatric evaluation.

ZombiechickenawardNow it's the Zombie Chicken Award, which I received from Sybil Law. It's pretty cool sounding, but, it seems that they now follow up the demand that you pass on the award to others with specific details about how you will pay if you do not. Before, the threat was a bit more passive. Sort of a "do it or else." Now, though, you know what to expect! Zombie Chicken Wrath? Hells no! I'm passing this baby on!

Rules of the Zombie Chicken:
The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the Zombie Chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…

Here's who will pay in my stead.

Hilly of Snackiepoo - I've always loved her blog and I'm sure I've given her awards in the past. Hell I've probably given her every award in the book. And, even though I try to spread out the love a bit, I've gotta do it again considering what's been going on for her lately. She's taking an incredibly brave turn and giving her life a redo of sorts. How can you not admire someone like that? I know I do.

LeSombre - I'm still relatively new to his blog, but I have a lot of fun reading his site. He's got a fantastic sense of humor and loves not only poking fun at others, but receiving the barbs back.

Faiqa of Native Born - The lovely Faiqa bequeathed unto me the You're a Great Buddy award back in February and I'm finally able to return the favor. She is a fantastic writer and one helluva good part-time cohost over on the AvitaBritt Radio Show. I recommend checking her out (the blog, that is).

Ren of Renagerie - Also a relatively new read and a great one, too. Perhaps I will eventually get off my ass and use his own macro photo contests as motivation to get back into my Mystery Photo Contest. I know SJ would love it.

Shiny at Shiny's Takeout - He's the king. Need I say more? I didn't think so. So why do I keep going? I dunno. Must stop. Just. Stop. NOW!

Okay, time for eats!

Hit me baby one more time...

If I receive one more e-mail from somebody in which the entire message is contained within the subject line and there is nothing in the body of the e-mail at all, I'm going to SCREAM BLOODY FREAKIN' HELL!

I don't know why I can't stand that, but I just can't. I hate it. I HATE IT. IHATEIT!

I think the next time I receive one, after I scream, I'm going to send a message back with a three paragraph diatribe all in the subject line. Or maybe I'll just Lorem Ipsum the hell out of them. Fuck 'em.

Okay, soapbox dismounted

Not all of you are going to like this, but our dodgeball team got their shirts last night. A friend of mine who is a graphic designer and screenprinter was helping to design them based on a logo suggestion and team name that all came from our captain.

Yeah, we've been playing together for three seasons now and have never had a team shirt.

We do now. And it's a fun one. If you've got a sense of humor. The girls on our team like it. The shirt, that is.


But hey, there's actually a team in our league called the "Money Shots" and their shirt has a naked Ron Jeremy on it. So, really, which is worse?

Wherever you go, I'll be with you...

Kanecountysheriff I got a little creeped out this morning on the commute to work. I was driving behind one of those armored conversion vans used by the local sheriff's office for prisoner transport. It wasn't the first time I've followed one, but this was different.

Inside the rear door windows, I could see the metal divider walls intended to keep the prisoners away from the exterior doors. In these dividers were one-foot diameter round porthole windows through which I could see all the way to the driver in the front seat.

All of a sudden, I saw a shadow fill the left porthole. As I looked closer and the shadow cleared up a bit through the murky windows, I realized that it was the silhouette of a human head and it was looking at me. I hoped it was just a guard until I saw the glow of a hunter orange jumpsuit around the shoulder and shirt collar. 

He just kept looking at me.

I was disturbed to say the least. And I did everything I could to get the hell out of that lane. I just kept thinking Cyrus the Virus was plotting to get me.

This is a bit of a fun little rant against online service developers who try to dictate how their services are used. More specifically, it's about Twitter and Facebook developers forcing changes on their users because it's not how "they envisioned" their products being used.

To be honest, some of what these developers are railing against does bug me like Autofollow applications on Twitter. However, I'm mixed about this post overall. The writer says that it's not up to the developers to say how their product should be used and, to some degree, I can understand that. Especially if it wasn't made clear upon launch how the product should be used. On the other hand, it was created by these developers, so why can't they determine how it should or should not be used and make changes down the line? It's basically just software versioning, right?

Something like Twitter was such a novel service that people really made of it what they wanted. And the developers of Twitter seemed fine with it so long as their product was gaining exposure. A ton of third-party programmers came up with complementary products and services and the developers at Twitter never bothered to stop them. And yet now, a year or two after their launch, they are coming out and saying that it wasn't how they thought their product should be used. Why now?

Am I just overthinking this?

Every silver lining's got...

And you may be noticing that "touch of grey" here. Yeah, I redesigned the blog... again. It's been a little while and I was getting kinda sick of the M&Ms as much as I love the picture. But, in the spirit of spring cleaning, why not?

I've tried to simplify everything in the world that I possibly could.

  • External links are standardized using something I forced Illustrator to make to my specifications (Illustrator and I are not good friends, but we worked through it this time). So now I can add and delete links easily.
  • Typepad introduced navigation bars... finally. So I have one with links specific to the blog or me.
  • I eliminated much of the kitschy crap in the sidebar that I've been clinging on to for so long. Save for my Hear Me list, which will always be there.
  • I created a graphic for the TUAs so I can stop typing the damn thing in all the time.
  • And I now have a Google search box. The free one because I'm cheap. So you all will have to deal with ads on the results page. Sorry.

But most importantly, I've created a relatively neutral looking site using black and white images in the banner that can easily be swapped as I see fit. Changing color photos was a pain because it requires changing the rest of the color scheme of the blog to fit with the photo. This is going to be so much easier and more fun.

Oh and before you all go running off to Kim screaming, "Ohmigod! Kapgar thiefed your ideas and design elements!" I already showed her. I will admit to you all that I love Kim's design on her blog and a lot of my ideas and thought process was derived from the simplicity and beauty of her site. So, yeah, I was inspired by her design. But it wasn't until I finished my design that I realized just how inspired I must have been. I was feeling like said thief so I e-mailed her with a link to the design to either garner her blessing or face her wrath.

She gave her blessing and said she really liked it. Honestly, she did. I'm not making this up. And I thank her for it because I really got worried that I was either going to have to change it after all that work or stick with it and alienate her as a friend. And I really like this design so you see where this is going. ;-)

I hope you all like it, too. And for any new readers who were just getting accustomed to the M&M header, sorry.

This past weekend, the BiL, Scott, and his lady faire, Becca, hung out with Katie and I. We had dinner and then went to Best Buy to find either a movie or video game to play. We found both but stuck with the latter in the form of Trivial Pursuit on the Wii.

This game is serious fun! I haven't had this much fun playing Trivial Pursuit, well, ever. Some nice animation to the movement of the gamepieces around the board, the controls are smooth, it has a cool little stat tracker that runs along the bottom of the screen like a CNN newscast, and you can now have visual questions unlike the standard board game.

My only complaints are that it doesn't use your Miis as characters and it seems to have a fixation on modern Chinese cinema. Severe fixation.

But, otherwise, it is a great game and was totally worth the $40 we spent on it.

Oh yeah, and Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. I will be hanging out tonight at Claddagh in Geneva. So if you're in the vicinity, stop in for a pint and say hello!


Says they all know her name...

The blogosphere, nay, the world just got a little less interesting... a little less hopeful... a little less bright...

Lisa Kelly, known to many of you as Clusterfook, lost her fight with cancer last night at 11:30 p.m., EST.

While I'm happy she is no longer experiencing the pain that this despicable illness caused her, I am sad for her husband, her children, her friends, and all of us who were given the blessing of sharing in her life even if just in the virtual sense of it all.

Rest in Peace, Lisa. We love you.

Beautiful friend, the end...

I'm not sure how many of you have done design work in some way or another, but, if you have, you've likely been around to see your work undone. And the undoing was not something you were involved in.

If you're a graphic designer, you've seen a logo you've designed replaced by a newer one.

As an architect, maybe a building was torn down or some big piece of your original design was dramatically changed before the final design was approved.

Me? I design Web pages. And I get to watch as a Web site on which I toiled for many, many hours is replaced with a whole new design that I had no part of at all.

This is happening at my old job. Their Web site, every step of which I was the point person for, is being replaced. The year I spent drawing mock ups for approval, fusing elements into a final design, selecting photos, transforming that design into multiple template pages, transferring all the data from the previous design (that I also developed) to the new one... it's all going down the drain. And I'm a bit wistful as a result.

Sure, my design wasn't the greatest. Nor was it the most compliant (by a long shot). Nor was it many things. But what it was is mine. My handiwork is all over that damn site and now it's going to be dead and buried. I can no longer even refer to the site on my resume as what people would find wouldn't be the same site I worked on.

So, damn right I'm sad.

Here's the homepage of the site I developed...


And here's what is replacing it...


Maybe it's the sentimentality speaking, but I prefer my design.

C'est la vie.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I have 120 pages of Eclipse (third book in the Twilight series) left to read and then I'm taking another break before tackling the fourth. I've been struggling my way through the third book for a couple months now. I thought for certain I would finish it before going to New Hampshire, but it didn't happen.

Now, though, I have motivation. Or I hope it works out to be motivation. You see, the latest from the greatest is now out and I'm dying to read it...


Woo hoo!

And I will try to fix you...

Birthday-cupcake A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Katie! Woo hoo! I love you, hon.

And now the revelation that she's at home sick for it. In fact, she's been sick all weekend. I swear it's a bit of a curse for us lately, those blasted holidays. I was sick last Easter, she and I traded off over Christmas, and now she's sick for Valentine's Day and her birthday. I think I'm next in the queue and it appears as though Easter is the next viable holiday that can be illness ridden. Oh yay! Can't wait.

So, um, yeah, it was a pretty uneventful weekend. Katie was too tired and sore to go anywhere so we stayed in. But she slept a lot of the weekend so I watched some TV and movies, cleaned within reason (nothing noisy that would wake her up), and I fixed a few things online.

For one, I weeded through my Twitter following list and eliminated about 20 people I was following. There were several groups and whatnot that I had followed that I feel just weren't worth following because I never really paid much attention to their Tweets. So what's the purpose, right?

I also ditched my MyBlogLog profile and services box as I discovered that FriendFeed offers many more services in their repertoire to which I can link including three that I had to list outside the MBL box because, despite my suggestions, they never added them as services (Plurk, Vimeo and Goodreads). And I can eliminate the profile information to make it just a box of service links. So I've got that going.

Lastly, I finally fixed up my blogroll. It's a static page on my blog now instead of being the pop-out box with the Blogrolling list. It's been nearly half a year since Blogrolling went down and I'm sick of waiting. I found a half dozen broken links and another half dozen links to dead blogs. Plus there were several I wanted to add that are newer finds. So I played and now I think it's all good. If you happen to notice any screwed-up links in there, let me know. Typepad did some funky things to my HTML so some may still not be good or some may have gone kablooie. The two caveats I have are that if you have announced you are leaving the blogosphere (or you already have) or you have not posted in calendar year 2009 yet, I did not post a link.

Love letters in the sand...

I know today is Self-Love Day, but before I detail why I love myself, I want to make quick mention of the other holiday that shares this date...

Happy Valentine's Day!

To all of you, to your friends, to your families, to all my friends and family members. But, most importantly, to Katie. I love you, hon.

And I guess the reason why I started this way was because it does work itself in nicely with Self-Love Day. For me, a lot of the things I love about myself revolve around Katie. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true.

Selflove2009altI love my life. It's not perfect in any way, shape or form, but I love it because Katie is in it with me and she loves me as much as I love her. I'm not an easy person to live with. Hell, there are times I've wanted to break up with myself. But Katie has shown an infinite amount of patience with me, which has, in turn, helped me improve my own ability to be patient with others.

Before you laugh or cry foul in my comments because, like you, I have also read some of my ranting posts expressing hatred with others and their stupidity, do take note of one thing... just because I feel I have patience doesn't mean that everyone out there deserves to be a recipient of said patience. I will select those I feel deserve my being patient with them.

I also love my willingness to try new things. There are very few things that I am completely unwilling to try at least once. Life is too short to be closed minded about new experiences. I want to live life as much as I can and so much as our bank account will allow us to (okay, so there is one restricting factor).

And, finally, I love that I'm a sap. I love being romantic when I can. I love public displays of affection, within reason. I love that I watch romantic comedies and enjoy them and that two of my favorite movies of all time are Sleepless in Seattle and Notting Hill. Does this make me less of a man? I'd argue no.

I'd better stop now or I'm going to have nothing left for the Fourth Annual Self-Love Day.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): As you know, this day now also has a bit of a somber side to it for me being a graduate of Northern Illinois University and this being the first anniversary of the campus shootings that took the lives of five innocent students.

The university is holding some memorial services today as well as an art exhibit and wreath presentations. Katie and I were going to attend, but she's pretty sick right now and we're going to stay in.

So I'd just like to take a moment to remember those five students who lost their lives one year ago today... Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero; Julianna Gehant, 32, of Mendota; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream; and Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester.

[Taken by me one year ago. Hey, Chicagoist picked up on this photo today.]

Whenever this world is cruel to me...

So I received a rather interesting award the other day from our fair Faiqa at Native Born. It's called the "You're a Great Buddy" Award.

Now, with a name that seemingly innocuous, you'd think, "Wow! That's cool! Faiqa likes me. She really, really likes me!"

But then there's the image that goes with the award...


There are so many interpretations of this image that I really don't know that I want to go there. Am I the bombed-out one on the ground? And, if so, are they my friends helping me up or is one the "great buddy" helping the other to dispose of me?

And then there's some discussion between LeSombre and NYC Watchdog regarding how yeti and sasquatch disposal is a requirement when being awarded this "honor."

So you'll understand my concern over this so-called "award." Is it truly a good thing or just an excuse to pile shit on you and say that it's now your responsibility to take care of it and, if you don't, clearly you're not as great a buddy as they originally thought?

Well, I suppose I can just accept it and feign ignorance when Faiqa asks for a favor. Or I can just stop responding to e-mails, Tweets, Facebook notifications, Plurks, text messages, nudges, comments, etc., entirely (I've noticed there are far too many non-phone ways to get in touch with me).

But the good thing is, according to the rules, I am supposed to give this out to ten other "shovel (wo)men" who I feel are also Great Buddies. Actually, since I'm on the topic, here are all the rules in their entirety:

  1. Put the logo on your blog.
  2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
  3. Award up to ten other blogs.
  4. Add links to those blogs on yours.
  5. Leave a message for your awardees on their blogs.
    Because nobody likes leaving notifications in the age of RSS feeds, right?

I'm going to give this award to 10 other bloggers and warn them that if I receive any odd "buddy" requests from Faiqa, they're being pawned off on them. I will, however, deal directly and personally with any lime Jell-o requests she might make, so don't even ask.

So here, in no particular order, is my list of 10 Great Buddies!

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Tonight's the night, baby!


Buried in my shit...

Okay, Comcast, you're really starting to piss me off.

Not your cable services so much. The quality's been fine and we've had little to no downtime on our service. Sure your pricing could use some help. I'm hoping this digital conversion will make that better because, ideally, we'll no longer need to pay extra for HD content since that will be the rule as opposed to the exception.

No, my problem is with your HD DVR. Oh it frustrates me so. And I think our two-year-long courtship may soon come to an end if we can wrangle a deal to our benefit.

You see, until we got our plasma TV and HD broadcasting, we were devoted TiVo users. However, HD broadcasting takes up four times as much space as regular programming on a TiVo and, since the HD TiVo was about $500 at the time, we settled for the Comcast variant. Small monthly fee and we don't have to buy it outright. Sounded ideal.

But the box is SLOW to react, difficult to program, catches all copies of a show even when I set it to "New Episodes Only," shuts off whenever it damn well feels like it, doesn't have a trash bin from which we can recover deleted programming, and doesn't have that cool few-second rewind that TiVo does after fastforwarding through a commercial break.

But the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back? It has begun to spontaneously delete programs off the box that we haven't yet watched. Last night, we got home and were going to watch the second part of The Last Templar (stop laughing) from Monday night, only to discover that it, along with the first four episodes of the second season of Damages, were all gone. There were others, too, but we can't remember what they were. And, to boot, there were five copies of the exact same episode of The Closer on there. AGAIN, we set that program to only catch new shows and this was one we had already recorded and watched and deleted. To make things even weirder, those four episodes were marked with times like 86, 32, 79, and 91 minutes even though the episode was only 60 minutes.

Tivo What gives, Comcast? Why is your product so inferior?

Well, guess what? We have an old TiVo that is due for service at Best Buy before the warranty expires (just found the paperwork) and, if we can make it happen, we hope to be able to swap it out and pay a little extra to upgrade to the HD TiVo that is now $200 less, hella more reliable, and will give us back our cute little TV dude. We miss him. Can he ever forgive our betrayal?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Well hell, Shiny does my blog better than I do.

He's calling it Plagiarism Week '09. I'm calling it a tryout. And he wins. My blog is yours, Shiny. Enjoy!

(bet he didn't see that one comin'.)

Working class hero...

I think one of my favorite things about smart phones as opposed to standard cell phones is actually one of the most basic features of them... the ability to store all kinds of information about your contacts and have it right there at your fingertips.

I love having people's names, phone numbers, addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, Web site addresses, etc., all right there.

But even better than this is when you don't actually know some of these details for people. For example, I have contact information for some of you, my fair readers, from having contacted you in the past for meet ups or just random chats. Or maybe I've mailed you something at one point in time or another. Whatever the case may be, I have some random tidbits about some of you on my phone.

And, since I don't necessarily have all the information I need to fill out your profiles on my BlackBerry, I get creative. Shall we check out a few examples?

Everybody's blog buddy ("blogdy"? "bluddy"?) Dave at Blogography is in there. I have a bunch of his personal information because, y'know, I'm in the first circle of Dave friend-dom. We have, after all, shared a Depeche Mode concert together. However, even though he's told me who he works for, I'll be damned if I can remember. So I have his employer listed as "Davetopia" and his job is officially "Monkey Trainer," although we all know there is no training Bad Monkey.

Adam (happy belated birthday, BTW) over at Avitable is another one I've met up with. Therefore, I have his phone number and the like. I also know what he does for a living and that he owns his company, but, again, I'll be damned if I can remember the name of it. So he's listed as "Owner & Miss Britt's Sugar Daddy" at "Avitable, Inc." Seems to work for me.

Our fair Hilly... now why the hell do I have her home address? Was it from my stalker days? Perhaps. Well anyway. She's in my phone as the "Queen" of the "People's Republic of Blogistan." It's true and we all hail her on a daily basis.

Karl at Secondhand Tryptophan is simply listed as "Paid Blogger... Bastard" whose paychecks are signed by "Famecrawler." Livin' the dream, man. Livin' the dream. 'nuff said.

I also just added details to Marty at Banal Leakage. He's now "Genius Amongst Mere Mortals" at "Renaissance Men, LLC." You'll see why below in the TUA.

But I need your help on some. I have a few other names you might recognize on my phone that need creative companies and job titles. Snark is welcome. Care to help? Here's the list:

  • Nilsa at SoMi
  • MochaMomma (yes, she's listed under her real name; Katie might start to wonder if she scrolled through my address book and saw "MochaMomma," don't you think?)
  • Tori at Radioactive Tori
  • Sizzle of Sizzle Says

Anybody else want to see themselves listed? Let me know.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I've been doing some research on what there is to do in Nashua, NH, when I'm there next week. Yeah, it's not so hypothetical as I let on. But I was waiting to make sure everything was booked. And now it is.

Well, there are places to shop and the downtown is said to be a really nice, quaint sort of downtown shopping district. Some places look kinda interesting and I might have to check them out. For example, there is a homebrew beer supply store. Maybe they offer lessons. Plus there is a camera supply shop and I also saw something about a comic shop.

But the shocker of it all is that I will be a mere hour or so from the Atlantic Ocean and just a little further than that from Maine, home of Maine Lobster (or so one might assume), and Nashua has only one seafood place that I could find listed on their tourism Web site. 

There are more seafood restaurants in pathetically landlocked Geneva, IL! In equally landlocked Naperville, IL, I can throw a stone in any direction and I'm pretty sure I'd hit a place that serves seafood.

What gives?

I guess it's a good thing I now have Gmail video chatting set up on both Katie's and my laptops. Because I'm sure I will be spending a lot of time talking to her. So long as I have a reliable WiFi connection. And I have Marty of Banal Leakage to thank for helping me set it all up. It works flawlessly and I get the feeling we'll be using it more often than we should.

But I just don't want to go all the way out to Nashua, N.H., and spend my free time in a shopping mall. If Nashua is anything like a lot of the small towns in Illinois, a lot of the little mom-n-pop shops may close by the time I get out of training.

I ain't fakin', I ain't fakin' it...

On my Twitter account, I received two follow notices from people I didn't know. The first one was @FlashMobUK and I didn't think much about it. Then I received one from @nyflash and I started to become curious because of their naming similarities. What the heck is "Flash Mob"? I'd never heard of one.
So, like any good Webhead, I wikipedia'd it.
Basically, a flash mob is a large group of people that converge on a public place and do something that has no purpose being done there whatsoever. One of the more popular acts is a giant public pillow fight.

Holy crap! This sounds so dang cool! I want a Chicago Flash Mob! I think it'd be a blast to do something like a pillow fight or a spontaneous dance party or a lie-in on a rug in a store or clapping for no reason. Sure, it sounds stupid and pointless, but damn fun! Not the malicious stuff like a denial of service attack, of course. But the stuff that does no real harm and maybe makes people laugh or stare in wonderment.
I dunno about the breakdancing at the Sears Tower idea posited on I think it would have to be something that almost everyone in a mob is capable of actually doing. I would hurt somebody. You've never seen me dance and you'll NEVER see me breakdance. You don't know the pain I could inflict. I'd be a human death spiral.

But I kinda like the idea of having a bunch of people converge on the flagship Apple Store in downtown Chicago. Have one person with a radio and video camera go up to the landing on the stairs and start playing the Ting Tings "Shut Up and Let Me Go" while everyone else breaks into an iPod commercial-reminiscent dance routine. That could be cool.
Anyone up for starting a Flash Mob in their city? What would you do?

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Remember the other day when I mentioned the trouble I was having with that Andrew Bird CD download on iTunes? Well, it was finally resolved. The iTunes Store CSR who was helping me, Jamie (credit where credit's due), told me to just go ahead and order it via the Complete My Album function on the album's page and he'd take care of making sure I got everything I was supposed to receive. Then I got another e-mail from him apologizing for the inconvenience and thanking me for my patience.

Then he said he was refunding me the cost of the album for my troubles.

He didn't have to do that. Not at all. I'm just happy to have received timely help from a big company. Very timely help at that. But he insisted.

So, in a world where we tend to point out failures like they're going out of style (myself included), I'd like to instead dish out an EPIC WIN to Jamie and the crew at the iTunes Store. You all rock!


Never gonna give you up...

BarackObamaThe day is here and, despite my cynicism, I must admit that I am trying to be hopeful. I am willing myself to actually believe in a politician for once in my life and be open to new ideas.

I think my biggest reason for wanting to believe in President Obama is because so much of the rest of the world, outside the borders of the U.S., also believes in him. It's been a long time since the global community has had faith in us as a country, a helluva long time, and I hope it continues. I hope our relationship with the rest of the world improves. It needs to. Desperately.

To be honest, it's been a long time since I've had faith in us as a country. My faith needs to improve. Desperately. But I'm trying. I really am. And I hope this new administration is a step in the right direction.

Congratulations, President Obama. Welcome to the Oval Office.

Oh, and sorry if the title gave you an Astley-sized earworm.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Okay, not totally. It is all Obama related. But, all the cool kids are doing it, so I wanted to as well.

All my friends, got broken hearts...

Friends are an important thing; in some cases, the most important thing. And there are those moments when friends are absolutely necessary. Friends can be that support structure you need when times get really tough.

Lisa-225x300 I have a friend who needs that support structure right now as her life has just taken a very difficult turn. Many of you already know her. Her name is Lisa from over at Clusterfook. As you may also know, she's been battling cancer for many years and has watched it leave her body only to return again later. Last year, she began treatments yet again as the cancer made a third unwelcome appearance in her life.

The problem is that the treatments aren't working and her condition is rapidly deteriorating. Instead of continuing to go through the horrific pain that chemo is known to cause, she's opted for hospice care at home for her remaining time amongst us. She's made the brave and unenviable decision to spend the rest of her life on her terms surrounded by those she loves most, her family and friends, both in her immediate vicinity and online.

Lisa, I know we don't know each other that well. We really only met recently. But know that, in that short time, you've made an impact on my life that I won't soon forget. If you need anything, even just someone to talk to, let me know and I will do my level best to try to help.

As for the rest of you, please go over and drop her a line on her blog if you haven't already.

Stand up, stand up...

Katie and I did it, we signed up at our park district to use the indoor running track at the new workout facility. And, last night, we ran. Well, I guess it was more of a cross training regimen than anything. One lap of walking, two laps of running for about 1.75 miles total. I wanted to die. But, as someone else on the track said, it will get easier and, eventually, pay off. She did not specify how long "eventually" was.

However, one thing bugged me. This new facility where we ran is the second gym that the park district here in Geneva operates. Katie and I have been members at the first facility for about seven years and actually worked there as part-time employees for four. The old facility was very loose about the rules. People who were not members were allowed to use the locker rooms to change for classes that were being held in rooms other than the workout room. People going to baseball/softball games outside could go in there, too, to change and whatnot. We would even loan daily locks so people could lock up their belongings.

This new facility, however, has decided to crack the whip. Nobody, I repeat nobody, but paying members of the workout facility can use the locker rooms. Katie and I paid for the track, which is part of the workout facility, and even we don't qualify for locker room use.

I suppose I can understand not letting us use the lockers, but how about letting us changing in the damn locker room? We had to use bathrooms that have a single stall toilet to change and we had to put our stuff on those baby diaper-changing tables. Then we either had to leave our stuff out in the open along the side of the track or take it back to our cars.

It is freakin' cold outside and there is no way anybody, even for that short a distance, is going to leave all their belongings in their cars to come traipsing in through the sub-zero weather to workout. So, effectively, we have to leave all our crap alongside the track where anybody can pick through it while we're on the other side. Of course, there are plenty of signs everywhere declaring that the park district is not responsible for lost or "mistakenly taken" items.

The kicker of it all is that the old facility has not changed their rules at all to match up with the new facility.

Complete and utter BS.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I was involved in a PR-related Webinar the other day and was following along through the PDF of the presenter's slides (the online interface wasn't working for whatever reason). It was on about page 14 that I discovered the secret to truly powerful Webinars... a half-naked picture of Kendra Wilkinson of The Girls Next Door and Playboy fame. I kid you not. The slide showed her laying down topless on the beach.


Not everything was 100% visible, as you can see, but there was enough to, er, titillate the audience... pique our interest, as it were... make the viewers rise to attention...

Okay, I'll stop.

Yes, there was a point behind the use of the photo. And it was a point well made, lemme tell ya.

Now if only I could remember what it was.

Where do we go now...


Last night, Katie asked me why I didn't post on you yesterday. I said I didn't have anything to say. Then I thought about it for a quick second and realized, holy hell, I hadn't said anything at all since Thursday. That's nearly a week of nonblogging and with no wifi-less vacation to blame for it, either. You could try to blame the dog. I've been walking her every morning when I usually spend time with you.

I guess I really can't explain or justify where I've been. I just haven't been, well, writing much at all. Not that I've been completely incommunicado, though.

I was on Twitter a lot more than in past weeks. I Tweeted the heck out of the Steelers/Chargers game. That was fun.

I've been on Facebook a lot more, too. I'm not talking high school/college kid levels of attendance, but still.

I finally offloaded a bunch more photos from my camera into iPhoto and put some of them on my Flickr account.

I've also been trying to figure out things on my Blackberry Bold. It's a fun phone and I'm really trying to make it work even without the MediaNet account (so far, so good).

I also discovered my latest addiction, Ninja Town on the DS. Holy crap is that game addictively fun. And those little ninja bastards are cute as hell, too.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not going anywhere, I've just been distracted. The somber mood I reported last week is gone, but it's been replaced by a need to keep severely busy. I do love you,, and that's why I've taken this time to write to you. To let you know I do care and to celebrate DeLurking Day by delurking on you, my own blog.

And even that happened a couple days late.

How sad am I?

Your pathetic Blogmaster,


No time for losers...

Wow, it is getting truly wicked out now. Visibility from the window outside my office is maybe 1000 feet. Beyond that, all whiteness. It's almost like I'm coming close to living out my own Jose Saramago nightmare.

It's times like these that I feel I should have an overnight bag ready to go for work just in case I get stuck here. I can't imagine what it would be like to be stuck at work overnight due to weather that is unplanned. Sure, I've pulled overnight shifts, but they were known ahead of time and I was able to plan accordingly. But this? This is nuts. And I really don't want to be stuck. Not now. Two days until Christmas, for Christmas' sake!

Oh please may the roads be plowed before I have to leave.

Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): Do I look?

Do I dare to actually look and see how it all played out? Oh hell, I guess I'd better...



I WON! I WON! I never win fantasy sports! I've been known to play upwards of three leagues in a single sport at one time and never placed higher than second or third. In the three years I've played in Brandon's DOWN WITH PANTS league, I placed seventh and 11th... pitiful. This, though, is awesome!

Okay, enough tooting of my own horn. Now I get to go ball up in a corner and cry that the season is over and I have to wait another eight months for the next season to begin.

But, before I go, can someone please tell me what the hell RW's avatar is? Looks like a booger or Slimer from Ghostbusters. I know I've seen it before or maybe it just reminds me a bit of the smiley from the cover of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.