So, I took a week off of work. And, I’m actually doing more work than I would normally. It’s just a different sort of work.
I haven’t gone anywhere, I’m not going anywhere, nor do I really want to travel anywhere special for my vacation. I’m at home. Taking it easy. I like it this way. Usually, however, I relax on the easy chair, watch way too much television, and play way too much Ps3. This week has been an anomaly.
It’s fix-the-place-up week at my house. We’ve had a new set of garage doors installed. The rotten carcass of our old doors crumbled in the hands of the contractors as they piled the wood in a nice mangle of rot in my front yard. Yes, it was time to say good by to two-hundred pound doors that hadn’t worked in over two years. Now we have a nice set of metal doors that raise and lower under their own power. And no, the bottom of the left one no longer has a whole that the neighborhood cats like to sneak through when it’s raining.
This morning, my Dad came over and we began priming and painting the wood that surrounds the new garage doors. This wood was no stranger to the rot that attacked and murdered my former garage doors, and parts of it were swiftly amputated and replace with new prosthetic (still wood) parts. These parts need painting. Well, the whole house needs painting, but I’ll leave that for another non-Vacation. This task of painting will consume the better part of today and perhaps a small bit of tomorrow morning. We’ll see. It all depends on how fast paint dries. Rather than watch it dry, I’ve decided to regale you guys with my story. Sorry if it bores you to tears.
Tomorrow, my wife and I will finish organizing the mess that is the internal workings of my garage. Up until recently, this garage was filled to the brim with debris and leavings of another weekend/vacation task of a bathroom renovation. Now it’s just filled with crap we’ve accumulated over the past nine years and desperately need to throw out/organize. What fun is in store. Woohoo…
Anyway, I’ve said all this to say, I haven’t had much time to blah. I wanted to, but oh well. It’s funny how when I’m working at my paid job, I have more time to blah than when I’m at home. Go figure.
I expect to be able to get a Multiple Movie Mayhem published this weekend. We’ll see.
Have a good week,
As most of you know, I’m a big Sony fanboy. I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m proud of it. I cry it out from the mountaintops.
This week, Sony has done something, with the help of Sprint, that I’m super excited about. They’ve given away a game. Yes, a downloadable game is free this week on the Playstation Network.
Check out the giveaway here: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2009/05/14/playstation-store-update-85/
Having not had time to play it yet, I don’t know how good Rag Doll Kung Fu is, or whether or not I’ll play it more than once, but I think this is a big deal. First of all, the Playstation Network is completely free to use. No monthly fees, no cost to the user at all. Unlike that other system’s online service, Ps3 users get to browse and enjoy online connectivity for free. We can pay for any of the premium content we want, or we can simply get the free demos and themes and go about our online experience without paying a dime.
If you have a Ps3, and haven’t paid for this game previously, please check it out now. It’s going away soon. You’d be remiss to skip out on free while it lasts.
I’m going to happily continue being a Sony fanboy.
Netflix has forever changed the way America rents their movies. No longer do we have to drive to the video store hoping the movie we are looking for is available. No longer do we have to spend hours at the video store searching for a backup plan once we discover that the store has ordered 300 copies of Scary Movie 12, but only 5 copies of the one we really wanted to watch. Now the movies come to us.
(If you still go to the video store, my condolences and a slap on the back of the head for not joining in on the best way to rent movies.)
Simply set up a queue of movies you want to watch and Netflix will ship them out as soon as they have them available. Free shipping, free returns, no more late fees (no “restocking fees” either). This is great! Even if you don’t want to go with Netflix, there are alternatives. Blockbuster Video has gotten into the act with their version of an online rental program, and still more are getting with the program.
Now, this new realm of entertainment possibility has given us a couple of new issues when it comes to movie rentals.
The Availability Factor
If you get your money’s worth out of Netflix (watch and return within a night or two), you get relegated to a list of main users that get less priority when it comes to limited availability movie rentals. You will get the most rented movies later than someone who rents only a few a month. This practice, called “throttling” by Netflix foes is an inconvenience to the major users, but makes sense on a corporate level. Keep the lesser users happily spending their money, while the major users will keep renting no matter what, since they’re obviously getting their money’s worth. As a major user, I don’t really like “throttling” but I understand it from a business standpoint.
The “Why Did I Put That Movie in My Queue” Factor.
Occasionally, I will get a movie mailed to me that I have no recollection why or when I added it to my queue. Sometimes, the movie’s quite good and I’m glad I gave it a chance. Sometimes the movie’s quite awful and I kick myself for going willy-nilly on the Netflix pages, adding crap I never really wanted to watch. And, let me tell you, there are some stinkers out there. Just the other day, a movie was shipped to me and I honestly had to take a second and go, “huh?” Now that I’ve watched the trailers again, I think it might be good. I’ll watch it and let you know as soon as I can. I think of it as a movie roulette wheel. You never know what you might get.
The Time Factor
How in the world do you manage your time to watch all of these movies and make it worth the money you spend? I currently pay $20.99/month with the 3-out at a time plan and blu-ray privileges. The movies usually take a day to get to me from the shipping station, and a day to get back once I’ve watched them. I’ve figured out that I usually watch about 13 of these discs every month. Sometimes less, sometimes more. After tax, that’s about $1.75 per disc. That’s actually a good deal. But, it’s also a lot of time spent watching movies. If I toned it down and rented only 7 or 8 movies per month, the cost gets closer and closer to $3 per disc. It slowly creeps towards the rip-off level as you progress to watching less. I can’t sit idly by while a disc sits on the table unwatched. It irks me. I know the cost, and I want to get the most of it, but I also know I need to limit my couch potato habits.
Saving the World from Over-priced Rentals
Netflix and other internet rental systems have been around for awhile now. They are only growing. I think the end is nigh for the rental store. Why bother going to a place with ridiculously high rental fees and limited stock? Why not go where you can pick what you want, and pay a fraction of the cost? It only takes a willingness to put up with a few new inconveniences.
I’m a book reader. An avid book reader. If I’m not starting, halfway through, or finishing a book at any given moment, I don’t feel complete. Also, at any given moment, I am reading three or four books in various formats.
I own an Amazon Kindle (which I will probably review at a later date), a somewhat impressive collection of hardbacks and paperbacks, and I will also devour any electronic format I can get my grubby little e-fingers on.
On my current reading list, a hardback copy of Blasphemy from Douglas Preston rests along with a Kindle version of Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston, a short story collection entitled Nocturnes by John Connelly, and Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island.
Now, how in the world do I have time to read all of that?
Quite frankly, I don’t. But there are short cuts out there that are allowing readers like me to get into more and more books that ever possible before. The short story collection by Connelly is easy to explain. I read a story and then put the book down for a bit. No need to keep reading and reading and reading. The stories are short! Right now, The Mysterious Island is my key to reading beyond my limit.
A new (circa 2007) place on the internet exists to give readers who cannot afford to give up much time to reading a method for reading the books they’ve always want to read. Dailylit.com will send you an email each day containing a small fraction of a story. Over time (and it can take a good deal time) you will find yourself finally getting through the stories you’ve just never had time to read. If the fragment is too short, you can adjust the settings to allow for longer segments. If you have more time than you thought, you can always click the link at the bottom of the email to have a new segment emailed to you within minutes.
Most of the stories on Daily Lit are the public domain classics the likes of which you were forced to read in high school. Take The Mysterious Island for example. Jules Verne wrote this sci-fi classic in 1874 and based it on a group of men trying to escape the ravages of the Civil War in a hot air balloon. This might not be on the top of your list of to-read books, but Verne has always been influential in my reading life. You can of course, choose from other classics. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, and Pride and Prejudiceby Jane Austen are just a sampling of the works available.
Recently, I’ve begun to notice a string of newer works becoming available through this site. For instance, I recently just finished 1632 by Eric Flint. Published in 2000, Flint’s work explores what might happen if a modern Virginia township was ripped from our time and plopped smack dab in the middle of 17th century Germany. Cory Doctorow, a committed public domain author, has also allowed Daily Lit to spread his work around the internet community one email at a time. While these modern novels are free to read, there are other modern works on the Daily Lit site that require a small monetary commitment. These are the only fees associated with the site. The classics are all free. How can you resist free?
We need to talk. This addiction of yours is harmful. You need to think twice about continuing it.
You think about it all the time. You wake up, and there it is. You drive to work as it sits on your shoulder, reminding you of how you feel when you’re using. Then, at work, you keep thinking about it. It’s interrupting your ability to perform to the best of your abilities. Worse yet, your boss is starting to notice. You take longer and longer breaks. You come back from lunch, distracted and aloof. Then the work day ends. You drive home, hopelessly distracted by the thoughts of it. Then, at dinner, after your wife or significant other has slaved over a hot stove for the last hour or so, you sit silent, allowing the addiction to tap persistently at your psyche. Your wife begins to think you’ve stopped loving her. Why don’t you communicate anymore? Why has living with you become such a chore? Even at church on weekends, you zone out, the pastor’s words drifting listlessly in one ear and out of the other.
It’s time you faced facts, admitted you are addicted, and started the hard road to recovery.
I’m talking about Twitterholism. Tweet-addicts. Tweet-hounds. You get the picture.
Recently, rumors of John Mayer’s breakup with Jennifer Aniston made the news. Now, I for one could care less about the love lives of stars and the troubles they go through. But, this one is interesting on a different angle than most. This one has a geek side.
Apparently, Mayer’s addiction to twitter took on epic proportions as he began to stop calling her, returning her emails, or the like. When she caught up to him, he would excuse his behavior by saying he was busy with work. Come on, John. What are you thinking? You’ll take Twitter over Jennifer Aniston?
I’m thinking this ranks high on the list of boneheaded things that could cause a breakup. I’ll mention Hugh Grant’s idiocy, just because his faux pas with the (quite nasty) hooker is epic in scope as well.
I’m as addicted to Twitter as the next guy, but there are limits to my need for a simple tweet. My wife, my lovely and beautiful wife, comes first. There is no amount of need for twitter that would replace her. I’m astounded that Mayer couldn’t curb his desire for this cool new technology for long enough to spend time with his girlfriend. It boggles the senses.
So, if you can’t do without. If you find yourself tweeting during dinner, during church, during work, during… well… any one of many inappropriate moments, please get help. If your friendships suffer because you cannot stay away from your tweets, get help. Just know that the first step to recovery is admitting you’re an addict. The road is hard, and long, but it’s so worth it.
Read about the Aniston/Mayer story here: http://bit.ly/yr3tN
I discovered something new tonight. Michelob wheat beer multi-pack. OK, so a multi-pack is not new but a tasting guide included with the beer talking about the different beers and their flavor characteristics is new. One of the coolest things is there is a web link included that allows you to participate in a tasting session with the brewmaster. How cool is that, you can taste all the different beers while the brewmaster explains about them. The included card rates each beer on four different characteristics: color, malt, hops, and body. That being said let me give my review of the four included beers.
First, Shock-Top is a Belgian Style Wheat Ale, medium to light in color, Tow-Row Wheat Malt, and mild hop flavor. It’s described as “medium-bodied with a smooth, citrus mouthfeel”. My personal review is 3.5 out of 7. It’s a decent Belgian-Style Wheat Ale. Not nearly as good as Bluemoon though, which to me is the beer to beat in this class.
Second is DunkleWeisse. A medium dark to Dark in color, Two-Row malt which is caramel in flavor, and mild hop flavor. It’s described as “medium-bodied with a complex clove and banana finish”. I give it a 6 out of 7 with an asterix. This beer has a strong clove aftertaste, which is not a bad thing in certain situations. This is the perfect beer to drink during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The mix of the rich caramel malt and clove makes it scream of winter holidays. It would be great with a rich holiday dinner.
Next is Honey Wheat an American-Style Honey Wheat Ale. Light in color, Two-Row malt, and mild hop flavor. Described as “medium-bodied with silky smooth mouthfeel and a citrus-honey finish”. I give this a 3.5 out of 7. This is a great beer if you like sweet springtime light beer. I don’t. It’s a bit of a harsh rating but this is my review and I don’t like honey beer.
Last is Hop Hound a medium colored, caramel malt, and medium hop flavor beer. Described as “medium-bodied with a subtle sweetness and hint of citrus”. I give this beer a 5 out of 7. This one really took me by surprise. I thought by the name this beer would have a strong hop flavor but it doesn’t. Not a great beer. It was much too sweet for me.
Overall I’m not a big fan of any of these beers on their own, except for DunkleWeisse during Thanksgiving. My rating of this multi-flavor pack is 6.5 out of 7 not so much because of taste as because of the interactive tasting session with the brewmaster. This is a great educational piece for anyone interested in learning more about beer and what flavors make a good beer. I highly recommend getting some fellow beer enthusiasts together and going through this tasting session together. What better entertainment than spending a few hours with friends trying out some new beer and learning a bit more about everyones favorite beverage. The more you know the better it tastes.
Let’s get away from all this tech talk and get to something outdoorsy. Let’s talk about sports.
Spring means flowers, new life, beautiful scenery, that nasty pollen green that covers the surface of everything, and BASEBALL!
Now, with the return of baseball from a long winter’s sleep, I am getting ready for another season of ups and downs. Every year the Oakland A’s, the team I’ve rooted for since the late eighties, make big changes. They routinely auction off parts of their promising pitching staff to the highest bidder. Their potential gold glove winning infield gallops off to greener ($$$) pastures. And the A’s fan base gets stuck rooting for a brand new field of promising rookies. Promising is fine, but they’re rookies nonetheless.
Take last year for instance. Most of our returning stars were injured or struggling. The base paths were littered with rookies who, while having performed brilliantly in AAA, weren’t proven enough to last a whole season. In the first half, they looked as if they might just make it, but then that pesky second half rolled around. The A’s finished a good third in the division.
This year comes with new hope. A new look comes to my lovable team. Over the winter, we’ve acquired many new faces. This one comes with talent and age. Matt Holliday comes in from the Rockies. Jason Giambi returns from the Yankees. Nomar Garciaparra comes in for a year, along with Orlando Cabrera. No longer is the team sloughing off the talent. Now it’s all about acquisitions.
Is this my Oakland Athletics? Have I gone a bit crazy? Do they really want to contend this year? Is our rebuilding finally done, after five long years? I couldn’t be more pleased by the direction this team has turned. We still have a long way to go. It’s still spring, and the 162 game marathon is still ahead of us. We’ve been plagued by the injury bug for millennia a long time, and a new roster full of veterans doesn’t mean that injury bug has left us. It just means we can finally set the bar of hope just a little bit higher this season.
The beauty of spring is this: We don’t know what’s going to happen starting in April. All I can hope for is an epic season for the A’s and epic seasons of fail by certain teams going by the names: Angels, Yankees, and (sorry Bryan) Red Sox. For those Ranger’s fans… keep your chin up. I don’t see your fortune changing anytime soon. But, hey, if the Cardinals can make it to the Super Bowl, the Rangers can make it to the post season… just don’t hold your breath on that one.
A recent trend on some shopping websites has got me addicted. It’s an unusual ploy, but, as marketing goes, incredibly effective.
First, let me introduce you to a couple of e-businesses with a very unique marketing scheme. If you haven’t heard of these sites, check them out!
This site has a daily sale. It’s a single item for sale, every day. You can’t shop around for options, you can’t know what’s coming the next day. It is simply just the one item. Shipping’s a cheap five dollars. They do have interesting stuff for sale, and they do have the not so interesting, but the deals you can find here are usually worth the daily trip to the site.
If you look further into the site, you’ll see the sister sites occupying the web. Wine.woot.com sells a wine based item every week. Shirt.woot.com sells a t-shirt every day. And if you venture further, you’ll discover Sellout.woot.com sponsored by Yahoo shopping. Each of these sites offers similar marketing schemes as the original Woot.
This site offers various distractions to keep you occupied, including a woot-like single item at a time sale. They do rotate the items faster than Woot, once one sells out, or reaches its time limit, they put up a new product. Most of the items up for sale on this site are of the board game variety, and you’ll be quickly introduced to a vast new world of unique board games.
There are more sites like these out there, but as space limits, I’ll get into the point of this blah.
Woot, Shirt Woot, and Tanga all offer Random sales. Periodically, they will put up for sale mystery items at a considerable discount. Pay the low fee and in a few days Randomness comes to your door. Woot calls their offering Random Crap, Tanga’s is Tanga Trash. Each of these comes with a little bit of risk. You may get something great. Woot is rumored to include the occasional HD TV or computer into their Bag’s of Crap. Shirt Woot will give you one of the shirts lying around the warehouse, some of which are really worth owning. Tanga makes no promises, but Settlers of Catan is one of the coveted trash items.
But, with great reward comes great risk. Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)! The common items received in these wonderful packages of random goodness is exactly what their names imply. Woot can deliver to you, for lack of a better word, crap. Shirt Woot can provide, and did for me, this wonderfully atrocious design: http://tinyurl.com/4o6maq. Tanga can drop a big steaming load of trash on your doorstep. For instance, I recently acquired one of Tanga’s odiferous offerings, hoping against hope for some small jewel within its cardboard confines. I received one copy of Royal Masquerade (http://tinyurl.com/dxdsos), one copy of Daytona Challenge, opened and slightly gnarly in appearance (http://tinyurl.com/d29dra), one smashed set of Pokemon cards (http://tinyurl.com/ddcs8x), and one strange handheld golf game (http://tinyurl.com/dxpk5b). Let it be said, this is truly trash.
But the social dynamic these sites offer is incredibly interesting. Random Crap on Woot consistently sells out within seconds. It has even been known to crash the Woot servers on occasion. Tanga Trash does sell quickly as well. Why do we as consumers risk or hard earned cash to get just a chance of a good deal? Is it worth the risk? I must say that Shirt Woot’s Random Shirt sales have been more rewarding than any of Tanga or Woot’s offerings, but there is always risk. By and large, the intrinsic value to these sales is more endorphin based than anything you get out of the purchase. It’s the same reason Lottery sales are so good. It’s the same reason McDonald’s continues their Monopoly-based game every year.
We need to have risk. The mere act of risk triggers something internal that gives us something we don’t get in our day to day lives. Call it adrenaline, call it fantasy, we all dream of a better life. The chance that we can come out on top, however slim that chance may be, is something that will continue to drive us to these sales, something that will continue to tax Woot’s servers on a regular basis.
Well after hours and hours of editing, here is the first of MANY video casts for your viewing pleasure!
Please remember this is a work in progress, I know the opening credits are horrible, and if you know anyone out there that can help us out with them drop us a line either email or twitter. see our About us page.
Well… I have finally made it here. As Nick posted earlier on the site, I’ve been pissing around keeping everyone waiting long enough. (Well he didn’t really say that exactly, but that’s how I choose to take it.) The wait is over! I’m here writing a post. Now what to write about? How about me. Let me start off by saying I do not claim to be a writer or a linguist of any kind. My spelling is horrible, I type with three fingers, and I can’t remember names to save my life. I drank the Apple Kool-Aid (according to @gromit1025) and I’m a big Ubuntu fan. Serious is not something I would call myself. Most of what I say (especially on Twitter) is sarcastic. Sometimes this gets me into trouble. Example: I wrote that I was disappointed because hurricane Ike didn’t really entertain me as much as I thought it should. Meaning that if the hype from the media was to be believed we should have all been swept out into the ocean and eaten by rabid sharks. Apparently the sarcasm didn’t quite translate through the 140 character limited text I posted on Twitter. Quite a few people actually believed I wanted the misfortune and possible death of others to entertain me. This is of course exactly what our media wanted which is why I wrote the post in the first place.
Moving on, I’m a commercial photographer working out here in East Texas and no I won’t shoot your wedding. I went into COMMERCIAL photography for a reason. I don’t really like people (well, I don’t like photographing them any way). Actually I take that back, I enjoy photographing people but I hate the whole standard portrait thing. Standing in front of some drab background hoping that somehow the photographer will make you look like some kind of model. People, with the exception of a few, are basically normal looking. Getting all dressed up to look like someone other than yourself for a photo just seems wrong somehow. We look like who we are…embrace it. When I photograph people I like to see the real person. I often will accentuate their weirdness and flaws. After all our imperfections make us who we are. I have shot a series of self portraits that follow this thinking. The entire idea behind the series was to show me and my personality. There is very little retouching done to any of the images (just removed some dust spots). None of the images are intended to be taken seriously. Each image is making fun of either myself or someone else that I know. Hopefully the images will make you laugh or at least smile or at the very least not make you angry.
I think that’s probably enough information about me for now. I’m a pretty boring person so I need to save some info for later.