Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reacting to competitors

One of the things that frustrates me is when there are two competing services that are striving for every ounce of customer real estate they can get their hands on who think they operate in a vacuum.

A good example:  There are MANY online backup services out there.  There is,,, etc..  When I first heard about Carbonite, I thought it would be great.  So, I signed up for their trial (I almost didn't, which is scary) and tried to backup My Music.  Carbonite couldn't find it, or at least, I couldn't select it.  I did some research and found out that Carbonite does not allow you to backup an external hard drive.  

What?  Really?

So, if I had a 2 TB hard drive that was inside my computer, Carbonite would back it up.  But not if it is a 250GB hard drive that is connected via USB.  Starting to see the flaw in the logic?

So anyway, I checked with and sure enough, they do backup pretty much everything on the whole entire computer, including external hard drives.  They got my money, and my thanks.  But back to my original point: This was about 6 months ago. Carbonite still does not backup external hard drives.  Which is crazy to me.

On a side note, you should definitely sign up for at least one of these services.  I just spent 6 hours getting all of my mother-in-law's files off of her laptop after Windows crapped out on her.  If she had Mozy, it wouldn't have been an issue.

Point number two in the whole "competitor" game:  Why does Google continue to only offer 2 GB of storage for Picasa Web Albums?  Windows Live offers 25 GB now.  Flickr is unlimited storage.  Why are they so slow to respond?  Recently, iPhoto was given a really neat feature, which picks faces out of your photos and automatically tags them so you  know who is in each photo.  Now, Picasa does this, but only online.  I want it locally, because I can't upload all of my photos because I only get 2GB, so I am constantly having to remove pictures from my online album to make room for more.  So, I am paitiently waiting for Picasa/Google to respond with some new features that will please me.

Oh yeah, I am getting all of that for free, so I have a right to complain, right?  Right?

Required Viewing for all budding rockstars.

Especially if you are a drummer:

From Out of Nowhere by Faith No More (From SNL)

Daily Grind...

  • I hope that when I get older, I don't cling to email like old people cling to mailing letters.  I hope that I am able to move with the trends of communication.
  • I am still waiting for my mom to get on Facebook.
  • I did that "25 things..." deal on Facebook that has been making the rounds.  Oddly enough, there were some things that I wouldn't say there that I would say here.  Hmmm...
  • For example, I said that I don't believe that God has buckets of things up in heaven that he doles out to people.  It isn't like he has a fanny pack full of patience that he just gives to people.  It kind of frustrates me when people ask God for things like patience or knowledge.  I believe God gave us the tools to deal with those kind of things ourselves.  If you don't have the patience to handle something on your own, you need to figure out how to get it.  God isn't going to FedEx it to you.
  • On the other hand, I completely respect that one has the right to believe whatever one wants.  I will not argue opinions with people.
  • I saw the movie "Reservation Road" last night with Joaquin Phoenix.  A pretty straightforward movie without a lot of twists.  A very sad tale about a father who loses his son in a hit and run accident and the man that hit him.  All I could think about during this movie is how depressing it must have been for them to make this movie.  There was nothing happy about the story at all.
  • The Mavericks are the yo-yoiest team in the history of ever right now.
  • How, oh how, can our government not do something about Wall Street people still collecting bonuses?  How can this continue??
  • I just emailed my representative. I will let you know what he says.
  • Believe it or not, he has gotten back with me every time I have emailed him (twice before).
  • Thanks for reading my blog.  I really appreciate every single one of you that takes the time to read the stuff that comes out of my head.  I especially love those of you that comment and challenge me to come up with compelling content (which I don't know if I have done yet, but I am not gonna quit!).


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This is news?

Actually reported on Channel 11 this morning:

Be careful while walking on the ice.  Baylor Medical Center is reporting a half dozen ice related injuries.

Whoa...6 injuries?  Wouldn't that qualify as a slow morning at most Dallas hospitals?

You gotta love local news.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Daily Grind...

  • Does anyone else find Peter's fights with the chicken (Family Guy) to be annoying and overly long?
  • My sister is having her baby today.  And it freaking storms ice.  Wonderful.  I can either be stuck at the hospital all night or not go see my nephew on the day he is born.
  • People get so worked up about ice storms.  It is a no win situation for an employer.  We can either close early and send everyone home without pay or make people stay through their shift.  If they go home early and nothing happens, everyone complains that we made a big deal out of nothing.  If they don't go home early and it does ice over, we are insensitive to their needs and should have known that it was going to ice.  Sigh...
  • Well, we are closing for the day at 4.  Let's hope the ice stays away so we can all get to work tomorrow. My kids will hate me for saying that.
  • If you have two hours to kill and want to get pissed off at yourself:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Daily Grind...

  • I use ellipses too much...
  • After posting that I am a grammar Nazi, it brought a lot of people out of the woodwork who were more than happy to point out some of my grammatical mistakes.  Thank you.
  • I have realized though, that I am not so much a grammar Nazi, but more of a spelling Nazi.  I try really, really hard to make sure that everything is spelled correctly.  I promise you, if you found a misspelled word on this blog, it is probably a result of a typo.
  • That was not an invitation to scan the entire blog for a misspelled word, but if you are like me, you probably will do it anyway.  Just make sure to comment so I can feel sorry for myself for a week or so.
  • I hope some government scanning program doesn't flag me for using the word Nazi so often.
  • Note to Mark Cuban:  Trade while the value is high.  You know this.
  • Someone called Blake Beaven cocky this weekend.  Someone came to his defense.  You tell me if this is cocky:  He has an Escalade with a suede interior and the license plate is "KEMUP15".  He hasn't thrown a single pitch in the majors yet.  Cocky?
  • My wife wants to stay at home and not work.  It can't happen until I make some more money, which can't happen until our economy gets going again.  It is going to be a while, honey.
  • Make sure you tell your kids that you love them. Often.
  • Teachers:  Is there ANY way one can teach without a bachelor's degree?
  • I got mad at my son's basketball coach last week.  At halftime, we were down by 25 points.  We had only scored three points.  Guess what he did at halftime? Told the boys to shoot layups while he yukked it up with the refs.
  • The refs were bad too.  I used to referee when I was younger, and I tried a lot harder than these two knuckleheads.
  • What I love about personal blogs:  So very rarely do we get insight into how people think, but stream-of-consciousness blogs give us that.  We don't know the people who blog on a personal level (usually) but it gives us such a fantastic viewpoint into the human mind and how truly random it is.

I recommend checking out Wembley Stadium (never been, want to see it) when you're in London, England

Boston Legal's Ass:
Why Daddy bought a Wii

Boston Legal's Ass: Why Daddy bought a Wii

Watch the Wii video. If you don't laugh, you aren't human.


Euless Trinity quarterback Denarius McGhee commits | High Schools |

Euless Trinity quarterback Denarius McGhee commits | High Schools |

McGhee is going to Montana State, which begs the question:

There's a Montana State?

Go Trojans!

This guy's record as a starting QB was 28-2.  I have always wondered if coaches recognize the intangibles that a player can bring.  What if I wasn't that great as a player, but for some reason, the teams that I played on managed to win 93% of the games that we played in, as long as I was on the team.  Would that make a difference?  Probably not...

Move over, Hooters: New restaurants moving in on the market | Arlington |

Move over, Hooters: New restaurants moving in on the market | Arlington |

Bedford is getting a Hooters competitor called Twin Peaks.  It is going where the Ruby Tuesday used to be, and the waitresses are wearing flannel tops tied off below the cleavage.

I just don't think you can out-hooter Hooters.  Plus, my wife will never let me go to try it out for you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009



   Killer Death Rods

I was behind this truck yesterday on my way home from work.  The truck had lots of long, metal rods on the top.  Apparently, they do sidewalks and such, and the rods are used to brace the cement.

But the rods were unsecured.  They had NOTHING holding them down.  All I could think of was some kind of Final Destination death where all of the rods flew off the the truck, smashed through my front windshield, killing me instantly by piercing my heart and lungs.

Needless to say, I passed the guy quickly and distanced myself.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The news about former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain spending more than a million bucks to decorate his office was not surprising.  The amount of blatant disregard for money of a lot of these CEOs is disgusting.  Of prominence in the stories is the news that he hired celebrity designer Michael Smith to do his office at a cost of $80,000. The stories go to great lenghts to let us know that the same Michael Smith is somehow able to do the ENTIRE White House for Barack Obama for $100,000.

My question:

Why the FUCK is Barack Obama spending one PENNY on decorating the White House???  NOW is the time to set the example that there will be NO WASTEFUL SPENDING, and it starts at the VERY VERY TOP!!

Get rid of all of this crap that is plaguing our economy.  At the very root of all of our problems is the very fact that we even have people who can call themselves "celebrity designers".  Come on, Barack.  Set an example.  Take some of your $250,000 salary that you make, send someone to Pier One, and keep it under $1000.  Show some restraint, and maybe the rest of the government will follow suit.

Daily Grind...

  • Trust me.  There is nothing worse than being a closet grammar Nazi.  I pick out every little mistake anyone makes, but never want to say anything to them for fear of pissing them off.
  • Lost was pretty good last night.  I wonder if when JJ Abrams sat down and started writing the first season, if he had any idea that this season would start with someone explaining that the island moves through time.
  • I also wonder if he knew that he would have Cheech Marin play a prominent role in the season premiere.
  • I am debating whether or not to take my wife to see Nickelback in April when they come to town. We have caught them the last two times they have come through, and I just don't know if the show will be that much different than before.
  • On the other hand, Seether will be opening for them.  I might go just for that, and Nickelback would be the treat at the end.
  • If you have read my post on Benjamin Button, you know that I thouroughly enjoyed the film.  There is a bit of a backlash about how the movie is very similar to Forrest Gump.  I won't lie; I thought the same thing as I was watching it.   There are some striking similarities between the two films, but I don't think it detracts from the movie at all.
  • Took the Explosive Family to CiCi's Pizza last night.  We always love to go.  Son loves the pasta, Daughter loves the salad, and Wife loves the cheese bread.  Strike that...she lives for the cheese bread.  I always leave there wondering one thing, though:  How do they get their employees to act like that on a regular basis?  They are always very cheerful, and very, very helpful.  You can't force that on people forever. 
  • I remember the time before, the whole staff had a coordinated dance and song every time someone mentioned the BBQ Chicken Pizza.  It startled you at first, but after you heard it three or four times, you got used to it.  But I asked myself the same question: How do they get them to do this??
  • The two worst words in the English language: Standing Meeting
  • Explosive Dog got out of the house this morning.  Exactly what I wanted to spend 15 minutes of my morning doing, is chasing a puppy around our neighborhood.
  • Apparently, there is a daytime curfew in the HEB area.  I didn't know that.
  • The Mavs lost by 34 points last night after leading by 6 in the first half.  How do you have a 40 point swing like that?
  • Super sweet shortcut:  In IE, Firefox, or Chrome, hit F6 to put your cursor in the address bar. It will highlight all of the text for you.  Type the website you want to go to without the www. or the .com.  For example, if you want to go to, just type amazon.  Then hit Ctrl-Enter. This will put the www and the .com in for you.  9 keystrokes and you are at a different website, and you never touched your mouse.  To recap:
  • F6 amazon control-enter
  • Works with any website ending in .com
  • By the way, if you notice a word misspelled or bad grammar, I am one of those people who wants you to tell me, so feel free to point it out.  Try not to get too technical, though..I can handle corrections on big mistakes, but don't tell me that I dangled a participle or ended my sentence with a preposition or somesuch.  This is a blog, not Mr. Hand's class.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bridgeporters and Eulessites

I think I like the way the Bridgeport/Decatur faction has blogged lately.  Does that area have the largest ratio of bloggers per capita?  I think so, because everyone there seems to have a blog.

I think I would like to start focusing more on where I live, the HEB area.  That stands for Hurst/Euless/Bedford, for those of you from Wise County.  I kid, I kid!  You know I love all of you guys, otherwise, I wouldn't follow your blogs.

I will see what kind of things I can dreg up visavis the Euless area.  I might not have as many grainy iPhone photos as Barry, but let me see what I can come up with.

Apparently it is now illegal to use a cell phone in active school zones in Hurst.

There is a building in Euless at the corner of Pipeline and Industrial that looks like it is about to be torn down. There has been a demolition trailer out front for the past few days. Does anyone know why they are tearing it down, or know of a way to find out?  I am interested, as this building has been there forever, and it is old, unkept, and in need of a major facelift.  Can anyone help?

View Larger Map

Daily Grind...

  • Blah Blah Blah Inaguration Thoughts Blah Blah
  • No, seriously...I thought it went well.  I especially liked the fumble on the oath.  I liked the way that Barack paused.  He seemed to have a look on his face that said, "Seriously?  You are going to eff this moment up for me?  I don't think so."
  • Fringe last night was really good. I am glad that shows are starting back up. I can't believe Lost starts again tonight.  I am kind of excited.
  • Speaking of shows, I don't think that I have ever bailed on a show as quickly and violently as I did with Heroes.  That show just stopped being interesting, and fast.
  • If you haven't tried Xobni yet and you use Outlook, you should give it a look. It is pretty cool.  I have invites if you can't get in, just drop me a line.
  • I am seriously disturbed at how little people seem to value their jobs.  Not everyone, but some people are so cavalier about coming to work and staying at work.
  • There are certain songs that when I sing them in my head, they run into other songs.  For example, I heard Beyonce singing "At Last" for the Obama's dance, and whenever I sing that song in my head, it becomes "Midnight Train to Georgia".
  • I want to rent "Left 4 Dead" for the 360. 
  • I saw a preview of a special NatGeo is doing on Air Force One.  I don't know if Barack is doing it because of the cameras, but he really seems to care about everyone that surrounds him.  I like the line, "Oh yeah, I want the fries too." (Thanks to BON for tipping me off on the video)

  • President-Elect Obama's First Flight on Air Force One from Minjae Ormes on Vimeo.
  • Two Month Review - (I like to review music after I have listened to it alot) - Death Magnetic by Metallica- Compared to St. Anger, this album is quite good.  After listening to a lot of it, I notice that there are really only 3-4 GOOD songs on there.  Everything else just seemed like they were just throwing riffs into a blender and joining them together somehow.  "All Nightmare Long" is easily my favorite track on the album, followed by "The Day That Never Comes" and "The Unforgiven III".  "All Nightmare Long" all by itself is better than their last two albums, so good on you, Rick Rubin, for bringing out some long lost ability in tallica.
  • If you can find a Mexican restaurant that has words misspelled on their menu or their sign, that is usually a pretty good indication that the food will be good.  This is my observation.

  • From Drop Box
    This photo is from Lupe's in Bedford.  Really good food, and they bring you bean dip with your chips and salsa, which is probably the best part. Service has always been a little spotty, but it is the food that really matters.  Just don't go there on a Friday night when Trinity is playing at home.  They are right across the street from Pennington Field, and it is impossible to find a place to park.
  • If you haven't listened to "I Will Possess Your Heart" by Death Cab for Cutie, give it a listen.  I don't think you will be disappointed, but be warned: The first 5 minutes of the song are instrumental.  I thought something was wrong the first time I heard the non-radio version, but apparently they did it on purpose.

Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart
Found at

Monday, January 19, 2009

Daily Grind...

  • The hit that Willis McGahee took last night in the AFC championship reminded me of when he blew out his knee his senior year in Miami.  I was going to post a picture of that hit, but I changed my mind when I almost threw up after seeing it.
  • Why does everyone in the world have the day off today except me and my wife?
  • I overthink grammar to the point where I tend to get it wrong because I overcorrect.
  • I always feel bad for people who need overtime at work, but can't get it.  It puts me in a position that I don't like to be in.
  • I spend more time trying to avoid confrontation than I do anything else.
  • SiliconeAlley cusses too much.  But I secretly wish that I could cuss that much and get away with it.
  • Cussing has always confused me.  Why is it okay to say, "I crapped my pants" but not "I shit my pants"?  Are crap and shit really that different?
  • My daughter came home from school one day saying that the computer games they have at school are gay.  When did the word gay replace stupid?
  • I hope Atreyu's next album is as good as their last one.  A lot of people are pissed because they changed their sound for this last album, but I for one loved the change and became a big fan.
  • The pilot of that flight that landed in the Hudson must have huge brass cojones, but what I am most impressed with is how humble he is being about it.
  • If you don't use Google Reader, what is wrong with you?
  • I really wish Google would get on the stick and increase the amount of storage allowed for Picasa.  Windows Live went up to 25 GB!!!!  All I am asking for is just a bit more so I don't have to stress about which pictures to share.  And I don't want Flickr.  So don't suggest it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Daily Grind...

  • No doubt by now you have seen/heard a million stories about the airplane that landed in the Hudson river yesterday, plus the iPhone pics that accompany it.  Really neat story, and kudos to the pilot for doing a tremendous job keeping the people on the plane calm.
  • Every time a news story like this hits (plane crash, earthquake, etc.), the Web 2.0 sites piss themselves declaring that Twitter will replace everything as the place where news breaks.  Twitter had it first!  Blah blah blah...They always fail to mention that unless you are following that person, you are going to get the news from somewhere else.  You can't follow everyone on Twitter.
  • Today's cello lesson was very, very productive. My daughter is doing well.
  • In the Suzuki method of teaching music, they use language instead of notes.  So, instead of playing four eighth-notes, followed by two quarter notes, you play a "Mississippi Stop-Stop".  Try tapping it is a pretty neat way to get them to learn music without the beating of trying to read music right off the bat.
  • I might have messed up the correct notes in that has been a while since I studied real music.
  • My favorite part about American Idol is that it really gives some talented people a chance to do something with their talent.  There are way too many talented singers out there relegated to singing karaoke every Friday night because they can't get in to see someone who could make a difference in their life.
  • I got a new camera today!  Sony Cybershot W-120.  Battery is charging right now.
  • I wanted a camera that could fit in my pocket and I could take it with me everywhere I go.  Prepare for a lot more pictures.
  • I have a lot more pictures on my hard drive than most.  I think I am pushing 80,000 pics right now.  I was an early adopter of the digital camera, so I have quite a few from back in the day.
  • Sometimes I miss pictures on film, but I do not miss the beating of getting them developed.
  • I used to work in a photo lab.  Back then, it was very manual process.  Now, any knucklehead can load the film in and get prints out in an hour.  It takes no skill whatsoever.  I sound like an old man!
  • Get off my lawn!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Daily Grind

  • The other day, The Hardline kept a guy on hold for over two hours.  Then they took his call, and he got really indignant with them.  The guy claims that he has been listening for 15 years, and then claimed he couldn't believe they would keep him on hold.  If he had listened for that long, he would have known that the Hard Line does stuff like that.
  • This week's SNL was pretty darn good.  I think that a lot of the criticism that SNL has gotten over the past year has been a bit unfair, but I understand it.  The thing that makes one show better than the other is the host.  Neil Patrick Harris looked so comfortable doing the show, and that is what made it good.
  • The worst SNL ever was when Steve Forbes hosted.  If you can watch it, do it just to see how bad it is.
  • Banks are already asking for more bailout money.  Sigh...
  • I really need Geeding at BON to stop putting the Upgrade song in his posts.  How will it ever end if he doesn't stop?
  • I woke up this morning about 4.  Went in and out of sleep for the next three hours.  That sucks.
  • I always secretly wish that Liberally Lean would use a picture of my wife as the hottie he puts on his random observations, because, well, she is.
  • Do a search on Flickr or Picasa for "hot wife".  Most guys who think that their wife is hot are usually a little off base.  But, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so kudos to them.  I am probably in this position, but I know my wife is a hottie.
  • I have been playing Scrabble with a complete stranger on Facebook. I like it. I like the leisurely pace of playing a game over the course of a few weeks.
  • Lost starts back up next week.  The enhanced final episode from last season is on tonight. I need to watch that to get caught up.
  • I need to find a way to get my DirecTV receiver connected to the internet so I can schedule stuff to record from work.  That is neat.
  • We ordered a MagicJack last week.  Not bad. Not great, but not terrible.  Especially for $20 a year.
  • Blogging is the new black.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

YouTube - Confrontation - How I Met Your Mother

YouTube - Confrontation - How I Met Your Mother

Thanks to for this one.

Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris talk about one of thier quirky on set rituals.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Metaphor

Let's suppose for a minute that you have a pretty good job.  You like what you do, and you are paid enough to keep your family happy.  Not enough to feel spoiled, but your family rarely has to worry about money.  

One day, your boss says to you, "I am giving you a promotion, and a 30% increase in salary".  You know that you aren't quite qualified for the position, but you accept anyway, because your boss knows what he is talking about and you certainly won't turn down the raise.  You go home and tell your family that all of your worries are over, and immediately go to a nice restaurant to celebrate.

Your next step is to order that DirecTV package that you always wanted.  Your wife gets that gym membership that she couldn't afford before, but now it fits well within the budget.  You get that Netflix membership that wasn't fiscally available.  You enroll your kids into the piano and dance classes that you always wanted them to take.

Things are going well at your job.  Sure, you are in a little over your head, but that doesn't stop you. After all, it isn't your fault that you got promoted.  Your boss isn't around much, and people don't say anything bad to your face, but whispers are starting to be heard about your performance.

Meanwhile, you think you deserve that new car lease that you have always wanted, so you pick out your low end Lexus and it's monthly payment.  You can still afford it, but money isn't as available as it used to be.  All of your kids now have cell phones and text plans, but they need them so you can communicate with them after soccer practice and dance class.

Your boss calls you into his office one day, and tells you that things are going just fine.  In fact, through no fault of your own, revenue is up!  So, you get another raise.  Not a huge one, but enough for you to join that cigar smoking club you have been eyeing for some time now.  Your kids can bump up to the unlimited text plan, and your wife gets that Blackberry Pearl she has wanted for some time.  You buy that plasma screen you have wanted, but you have to use the credit card because you don't have the cash to pay for it right away.

All of the sudden, one day your CEO announces that the company isn't doing as well as it once was and there will be layoffs.  You start to freak out because you know you have been living above your means for some time, but maybe it won't affect you.  Then, one day, your boss calls you into his office.  You aren't losing your job, but you are being returned to the position that you originally held, at your original pay.  How can you survive?  You have cell phone bills, DirecTV bills, car leases, all kinds of expenses now that you cannot afford!!  So you are faced with the harsh reality of getting your expenses back in line with your current pay.  Somehow, you always knew that you shouldn't have been making the money you were, but it was hard to stay true to your original pay.  So, you go to your brother.  He makes lots of money, so he is able to float you a loan to keep all of your stuff.  6 months later, you haven't made any extra money, so you ask him again.  He tells you that this is the last one, but things have got to change.  So, he comes into your house, cancels the DirecTV, takes your cell phones to the bare bones plan, and makes you quit the cigar club.  Your wife no longer can go to the gym, and your kids are going to have to learn to play piano themselves.  You feel shame, because you let your expenses get out of control, but you realize that this is what you have to do.  Your pay corrected itself, and you always knew it would happen.

This is my "metaphor" for what is happening to the economy right now.  I am by no means an economist, but in my humble opinion, America outspent itself.   Tons of small businesses started because Americans had more money than they knew what to do with, with a lot of them based on the premise that people will spend the extra money that they have.  And you know what?  They did.  Then the mortgage crisis hit, and everyone freaked out and put their money away, causing these non-essential businesses to close, and it starts a vicious cycle.

The US Economy just had to correct itself. What I see now is not a recession.  It is a correction.  People are finally realizing that they can't spend more than they earn (at least most of them are).  Hopefully, this trend will continue and the market will fix itself, but something had to give.  We couldn't keep doing this forever.

How I Read Your Magazine

Last night on How I Met Your Mother, Marshall (Jason Seigel) had a problem that I think many, many people share.  He stops by his friend's apartment on a daily basis to "read a magazine".  While they never say it, reading a magazine is a euphamism for pooping at work.

I can't speak for everyone, but I know that this issue is something that is deeply seated in my childhood, and while watching this episode, I was reminded of many things in my childhood that have brought about the feelings from my history with reading magazines.

When I was a kid at elementary school, I shared a one bathroom house with my mom, my dad, a brother and two sisters.  Bathroom time was at a premium, so there wasn't a lot of time to camp.  And I am a camper.  20 mins on average to read a magazine.  So, I would go at school during lunch or during class.  One day, while enjoying myself, the teacher released all of the class to go to the restroom when I had already been there for 10 minutes or so.  The entire class of boys came in the bathroom and immediately started giggling, snickering, and pointing that someone was in there "reading".  They had to know, so they peeked between the slats of the stall and saw that it was me, subjecting me to the embarassment of a lifetime.  Needless to say, this stuck with me for the rest of my life.

So, reading a magazine is something that I try very hard to keep to myself.  That is tough to do at work, especially for a camper like myself.  I like to have something to read.  For years, this was tough to do.  If you walked through your office with a magazine in hand, everyone KNEW what you were going to do.  So, I would go through intricate routines.  I would wear a jacket, and tuck the magazine into the waist of my pants underneath the jacket.  I would roll the magazine up and put in in my back pocket.  I would search a building for the most out of the way bathroom that I could find...just like Marshall in How I Met Your Mother.  This episode really hit home with me.

Now, I don't have that problem.  How, you ask?  I have the most wonderful invention of the 2000's.  The iPhone.  This wonderful device allows me to walk into the bathroom at work with pride, with my head held high.  I can check my email, read Google Reader, and play all sorts of games.  I can take my sweet time, and it is wonderful.  I am pretty sure that wasn't exactly what Steve Jobs had in mind when he created the Jesus phone, but I am certainly the benefactor of his design genius.

I still prefer to read the magazine at home, but if nature calls and I have to read at work, I can feel confident that no one knows what is going on. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Doogie Nickelback...

I love Neil Patrick Harris.  Well, love as in the way a person loves an actor, not in the way a man loves another man.

A few posts ago, I mentioned Nickelback and got them.  Nickelback is one of those lightning rod bands that very few people have a vanilla attitude towards.  Most people either love them or hate the everloving snot out of them.  Personally, they are one of my favorite bands, which, as a musician, puts me in a vast minority.  Most musicians hate Nickelback. They are percieved as sell outs, or formulaic, or, dare I say, cheesy.  Well, I agree with all of this.

Nickelback to me has a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" vibe to them.  On the one hand, they are very, very adept at writing the arena rock ballad (Photograph, If Everyone Cared).  On the other hand, (and this is the side that most people don't see), they are pure metal heads who write intensively creative, hard and fast songs that don't disappoint.  If you don't have any Nickelback albums and only hear the songs that are on the radio, then this post is for you.

Never Again- This was the first taste of Rockelback that I heard. I remember turning to the sound guy at the club we were playing at and asking, "Who is This??".  When he said Nickelback, I was floored. This was the same band that I heard on the radio?  I went in search of other songs that sounded like this.

Figured You Out - This was one of the songs that I found. This is my wife's favorite. She loves how taboo the song is, and how raunchy it gets.  Listen to the big, fat distorted guitars and how the band just goes nuts.  Great example of how Nickelback can rock out.

Side of a Bullet- Song written about Dimebag Darrell, former guitarist of Pantera.  This song pretty much proves that Nickelback knows how to lay down a serious hard rock track.

Flat on the floor - My last example that this band knows how to rock.

Now, please don't get me wrong (I hope you have read this far to get the whole side of the story).  Nickelback is the king of cheesy arena rock.  They make Journey look somewhat tame in how cheesy their songs can be.  But, if you look at every Nickelback album, you will notice that the songs are usually split down the middle.

I imagine that Chad Kroeger (vocalist, songwriter) knows that his money comes from the cheesy rock, but he is also a metalhead at heart.  So, he writes certain songs for a paycheck, and then he writes songs that he loves for the other half.  I bet if given the choice, he would pick the heavier songs to play.  I have seen them twice in concert, and both times, they have absolutley blown the roof off of the place.  Once, they played "Sad but True" by Metallica, and it was amazing.  Both times I have seen them play, they have covered "Cowboys from Hell" and just nailed it.  These guys know how to rock.  But they also know what side of the bread is buttered, if you know what I mean.

Benjamin Button

My wife and I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button over the weekend.  I didn't have a ton of expecatations going into the movie, save that a few people have said that it was really good, and that the movie was really long (2hrs 46 mins).  We got to the theater, found our seats, and sat down.

What transpired over the next three hours was the most breathtaking, stupendous piece of filmmaking I have ever seen.  This movie was phenomenal.  I want to be careful with the superlatives, because I don't want to lose the passion of this film in words that get thrown around way too much, but it is hard to describe how this movie touched me without them.

Benjamin Button is a man who was born old and gets younger as he ages.  Simply put, that was enough to get me to the theater.  Eric Roth's screenplay takes this premise from an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story and spins it into a beautiful story that not only chronicles the man's life, but also his love life.  From the moment the screen showed the WB logo (creatively made completely out of buttons), I was transfixed.  I teared up several times during this movie, just because of the story and how happy the character was in spite of his "condition".

All of this pales in compairson to the performace of one Bradley Pitt.  Once I left the theater, I was actually almost mad that this person could exist.  Widely considered as one of the best looking men on the planet, Pitt carries this responsibility well.  Throw in the fact that the guy can act circles around 95% of the acting community, and you start to get upset that one person could do all of this so easily.  His performance was brilliant.  Breathtaking.  So good that I might go find some of his older movies and watch them.  He wouldn't have had to say a word in this film, because his eyes told the whole story.

I imlore you to go see this movie as soon as you possibly can.  If you have pre-teen children or teenagers, take them along.  If they get any message from this movie, it would have been worth it.  David Fincher's direction is superb, interjecting subtle and not-so-subtle humor here and there to keep the story from getting to emotionally heavy.  As my wife and I were leaving the theater, neither of us would speak for fear of bursting into tears.  It was really that great.

On a side note, we watched the Golden Globes last night, and Benjamin Button was up for several awards.  It didn't win any (that I saw) because apparently, Slumdog Millionaire is the greatest movie ever made.  I don't say that with any sarcasm, because if it beat out BB for the awards, it has to be.  So, my wife and I are intending to go see that ASAP, becasue it looks pretty darn good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Good Morning!


Rangers Opening Day 2008 vs. Orioles 105

  • Watching the MLB network is like reliving my childhood all over again. This is truly a great station. Hopefully they will be able to maintain all of this great programming for a long time. Lord knows they have enough history to keep us entertained for a long, long time.
  • We played Monopoly last night.  I got the new set for Christmas this year, and it is great.  They have debit cards now instead of money, and it makes the game go much, much faster.  We have completed three whole games of Monopoly (the only games in my life that I have seen completed) and I actually won the game last night.
  • I never realized this about Monopoly, but once you get to a certain point, it is all about your luck with the dice.  Skill can get you there, but lady luck needs to be on your side at the end.
  • I have been on a sports biography kick lately.  I read “My Prison Without Bars” by Pete Rose, and I am almost finished with “Love Me Hate Me” by Jeff Pearlman, which is about Barry Bonds.
  • I feel different about Pete Rose after reading his book.  Yeah, he is a schmuck, but it is his pure passion and competitiveness that made him who he is, which I have to respect a little bit.
  • On the other hand, Barry Bonds is an over-privileged douche who thinks he is God’s gift to everything.  I have zero respect for that man or anything that he accomplished.  Even if he did it the right way, I still think he deserves every bit of venom spewed at him.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Daily Grind

  • Yes!  I found the bullets for posting!
  • 30 Rock was really on last night.  Very, very sharp.  I also love how they will throw a joke in there that not a lot of people will get, but when those people do get it, it is damn funny.
  • For example, Jack hired a housekeeper (Selma Hayek) to watch his mother, and her way of getting people to do what she wants is to speak in authoritative, quick Spanish.  So she started doing that to Jack, and halfway through he asks, "Is that the subjunctive?", which wouldn't mean anything to most people unless you have been through pretty intensive Spanish classes.  I laughed so hard I had to pause the Tivo for a minute.
  • Another thing I picked up from 30 Rock:  Apparently the word "biopic" is pronounced bye-oh-pic and not bye-ah-pic.  I had always thought it was pronounced the other way around.
  • I am so glad that I don't work at a newspaper.
  • Saw a review of Nickelback's Dark Horse on the Observer today. It said that the best song on the album was "This Afternoon".  Good song, but not the best. But I will say that it is the catchiest. You will be humming that all day long after hearing it one time.
  • Do yourself a favor, and check out The Letter Eleven.  Written by a guy I went to high school with..Read his post about the lollipop and I dare you not to laugh.
  • The National Championship game last night was kind of a snooze fest.  The Fiesta Bowl was a much better game.
  • I am glad that I do not root for any college in particular.  College football is the one sport that I can watch with true objectivity and just enjoy it for the sport's sake.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Daily Grind

  • Had me some Taco Bueno last night. Good stuff. The salsa bar was sans jalapenos last night, though. Personally, I never eat the stuff...but my wife was pretty upset. But, they came through and put out some pico and jalapenos, and the Hoekstra family was happy again.
  • I want to live in my house forever. Not because I love it (I do), but because I want my kids to always be able to come back to the house they grew up in and have those memories for the rest of their lives.
  • I think I am going to move this blog over to Blogger. It just connects better with the online world that I am in. If you have an objection, tell me now or forever hold your interweb comments.
  • I have a very annoying habit. I pluck the hairs from my face constantly. It is my tic. If I find a hair sticking out and I can't get it, I will pick at it all day until I come home from work. Then I make my wife get it with tweezers. Is that too much?
  • We made a budget decision last night. Instead of us limiting how much we go out to eat (my wife loves Mexican food), we decided that we would spend no more than $20 on any meal out, save for special occasions. I think it might work.
  • I have reached a twitter standstill. I haven't posted there in weeks. I just find it hard to believe that people want to know what I am doing every moment of my life.
  • Yet here I sit, blogging to no one. Hmm....
  • I always have so many thoughts that I want to put here, but I am really concerned about what people will think, because most of these thoughts are incredibly un-PC or somewhat disgusting. I will try to think of an example.
  • I always considered keeping a totally different blog just for those thoughts. Maybe I will do that...But how do you promote it without people knowing who you are?
  • I think I will give up Tumblr. It doesn't work well with Chrome, and that is slowly becoming my preferred browser. If they could just figure out a way to get me my Google Bookmarks, I would switch. Today.
  • If you use Outlook, I can save you a ton of time every day: Hit Ctrl-N to open a new email. Type the name of the person you are looking for and hit enter. Tab down to the subject and type it in. Tab to the body and type your message. Hit Alt-S to send it. There, you just send an email without touching your mouse. If you send a lot of email in a day, that will save you a ton of time and you will be more productive.
  • Oh yeah, if you aren't in email, use Alt-Tab to get to Outlook. You may never use your mouse again!