Friday, May 30, 2008

Young Hillary Clinton

What was Hillary like as a little girl? Now we know.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It could have been worse

I couldn't figure out why the balls weren't shooting out of the top of Jake's new toy. It took me a second to notice the watch my dad got me when I graduated college clogging the tube.

Then it dawned on me: that orange part at the top could just as easily have been a toilet bowl. You get my drift.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

George Lucas screws up yet another franchise [SPOILERS]

Originally, George Lucas wanted to call the movie Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars. That alone should give you a feeling for the quality of this movie's screenplay. Still skeptical? Here are some of the more memorable scenes from the film:
  • Shia Labeouf swinging through the jungle with a legion of monkeys
  • Everyone surviving a trip over three consecutive, 100+ foot Amazonian waterfalls
  • Aliens from another dimension
  • A nuclear explosion
Even with the expectation that since this was Indiana Jones that things were going to be above and beyond (how many times can a 60 year-old guy get punched in the face?), the movie was gag-inducing at parts. Too many parts. Sure, there were some good scenes (granted, I can't think of any of them at the moment) and Harrison Ford does a pretty good job, but overall the movie didn't bring anything new to the table and was over-the-top hokey.

If you're an Indy fan, you'll probably see the movie anyway. If you're hesitant and don't care about seeing it on the big screen, wait for it to come to DVD.

Image courtesy of here.

I'm a frickin' hero

Some birds built a nest in a drain pipe over our patio and a baby bird fell out of it. I think it probably had a jerk older brother or something who pushed it, but that's pure speculation on my part.

It looked so helpless sitting there alone chirping on our patio that I couldn't just step on it - I had to return it to its home. So I donned some gloves (it had talons, you know), stood on a chair and nudged it back into the drainpipe from which it came.

The bird looked a lot like the one pictured above, except without the nest.

Panasonic Toughbook banner ad

Nothing says "tough", "rugged" and "original" like sheep.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I saw the new Indiana Jones movie

The Powers That Be at work were kind enough to take everyone to go see it today. I'll hold off publishing my full review until tomorrow when my wife and in-laws see it. But in the meantime, I'll just mention that I give it 2.5 stars out of 4, and the half a star extra is only because it's an Indiana Jones movie.

I spoke. And Twitter listened.

Yep. That's the kind of power I wield on these interwebs. Just earlier this week I said, "Twitter, you gotta at the very least stop leaving people in the dark." So what did they do? They opened a Twitter account.

Yes, you can now follow Twitter on Twitter.

This is brilliant because now they can let all their users know when something is wrong simply by using their own service!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It arrived. Twice.

I now have TWO softcover, ruled, pocket-sized Moleskine notebooks! My friend Erin delivered one she brought up from the BYU Bookstore in Provo on Sunday (thanks again!), and the one I ordered of Amazon finally showed up at work.

Lesson learned: if I'm going to order a notebook online, make sure I have plenty of space left in my previous notebook and order it early.

The horribly ironic thing is that I haven't even done so much as an inaugural scribble yet. It's weird. Getting a new Molie is a little intimidating. I'm not sure why, but I feel like I need to be very careful not to screw it up. So I'm excited to get them (0bviously), but once I do I feel like I have to have something worthy to write in them before I can do so.

I'm pretty sure none of this is healthy.

I once heard of a farmer who bought a brand new, beautiful truck. The first thing he did after he signed the papers was walk out and key the side of it. The salesman was obviously shocked and then the farmer explained how now he wouldn't worry about it getting dinged up while working on the farm. He could go out and use it for what it was intended and wouldn't think twice about it getting bumped, scratched, dented or dinged.

I need to key my Molie.

Maybe I furiously scribble on the first page until the pen starts leaking. Maybe I write some profound quote. Maybe I tear the first page out all together, sort of an overly dramatic Dead Poets Society gesture.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

A letter from the IRS

My wife and I got this letter from the IRS informing us that our economic stimulus check should be arriving by the 16th. Odd thing is, the letter is dated the 19th and we still don't have our money.

What does one do in a situation like this? Fortunately, there's a helpful subhead in the letter which reads, What You Need To Do. Allow me to quote directly from the letter:

"You do not need to do anything."

Let me make sure I understand: The IRS mailed us a letter telling us we should have our money when they knew we didn't. I'm certain they're aware that we don't have our money as they're the ones who are sending the money to us.

In addition, we aren't supposed to do anything.


So...what's the point of the letter? And why didn't they just mail us the check?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Non-news news of the day: Twitter is down

"Something is technically wrong" is the understatement of the year. It's ridiculous. As Michael Arrington said, if Twitter could keep the site live for 24 consecutive hours that would be news.

It's interesting. I'm reading Getting Real, the e-book from 37Signals (the guys who made Ruby on Rails on which Twitter is built). In it they're quite adamant about launching your product/site quickly and with minimal features - worry about scalability later. The whole time I've been reading it I've had the thought, "Oh yeah? What about Twitter?" rolling around in the back of my head.

I'm the first to admit I know zero about building web apps (I consider myself a consumer geek, not a back-end geek). But I do know that from a user standpoint, if your product crashes this frequently with no explanation as to why or when it will be back up, something's gotta change.

I don't know if the problem lies with Rails' inability to scale or Twitter's. But Twitter needs to figure it out and it certainly seems like they've had enough time to do so.

The Notebook (not the movie)

Here's a history of the ordering process for the notebook I ordered a week ago:

I'm in Utah and ordered the notebook from some podunk bookstore in South Carolina via Amazon.

It shipped from Oregon.

It sat in Union City, California for four days.

It then flew from California (over Utah) to Denver, Colorado where it has been "processed".

I charted the information/physical trail and it looks something like this:

It appears to me that they're trying to avoid directly sending me the product I ordered.

A nitpicky error in the season finale of The Office

When Michael reluctantly gives Toby his watch during the exit interview, Toby says he'll set the watch for Costa Rica time. From what I can tell, Costa Rica is in the same timezone as Scranton.

*sigh* I'm a nerd.

UPDATE: check the comments for the subsequent drama that has unfolded since I posted this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"But the ads made it look so cool!"

I'm doing a little research for a commercial we're shooting on Thursday that involves a bunch of sci-fi nerds standing in a line waiting for the premier of their new movie. (Although the commercial has nothing to do with sci-fi nor movies.)

As I tweaked the script, I remembered the red guards from the original Star Wars Trilogy (I think they were first seen in Empire Strikes Back). Wanting to learn a little more about them, I jumped on Wikipedia. From the 'pedia:

[Imperial Royal Guardsman] are the best and most loyal of the Imperial stormtroopers, solely responsible to Palpatine.... A mere 4% of all trainees would survive the rigors that awaited them to become Royal Guards; during a year-long training program, recruits sparred against each other continuously perfecting their combat skills. ...In their final test, each fought his training partner to the death...

Seriously impressive, right? And then there's this guy who's in charge of guarding the Palpatine's 10-speed:

The Emporer can be such a jerk sometimes.

Image courtesy of here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Does ANYONE in Utah have this Moleskine?? - UPDATED X3

It's driving me nuts! I've called every bookstore I can think of and NOBODY has these notebooks in. I ordered one from an Amazon retailer on Sunday and, from what I can tell from the tracking info, it's been sitting in California since Tuesday.

I'm looking for the pocket sized, ruled, soft cover Moleskine notebook.

Do you have one? Do you know where I can get my hands on one ASAP? Drop me a line and if I can in fact get one, I'll buy you a snow cone.

UPDATE: Barnes & Noble said they had one at their Gateway location:

Except when I called, they don't really have it in stock. *sigh* And I went and got my hopes up.

UPDATE 2: BYU Bookstore has copies in. My good friend Laura is going to mail me one on Monday...unless someone else is going down sooner.

UPDATE 3: My good friend, faithful reader and distant relative, Erin, is coming to Salt Lake tonight from Provo and will be bringing me the long awaited notebook.
Photo courtesy of here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Android is gonna rock

Come the end of the year, Android (Google's mobile phone platform) could be a fine replacement for the ol' iPhone. Seriously. Check out some of the apps those smart folks over at MIT have already come up with:

Loco is a mobile social network built on top an Android phone’s contact manager, so anyone in your contacts is already your friend, so to speak. You’ll be able to view and track where your friends are located using Google Maps and real-time geolocation.
So, in essence, you can check out the scene at a few places before you commit to going all the way across town.

Locale is a dynamic settings manager. You set up different settings for your phone based on time and location. So when you’re at home, you can automatically have all your calls forwarded to your home phone line. When you’re at work, you can have your phone set to silent mode and have your phone’s background screen set to a constantly updating work chart.

GeoLife is basically your to-do list on top of Google Maps. When you get within a certain range of something you need to pick up, it alerts you.

It also works as a traditional to-do list for things that aren’t location-based. The team that put this together is also working on a route-creation system wherein you could pick a few important items from your list and then have a route plotted out for you to follow that day.

And that's just three of the seven apps reviewed at TechCrunch. No, I don't think paying an extra $20 a month for data is worth it for the iPhone. (Yeah, that could change when the iPhone SDK comes out.) But I'd be willing to shell out the extra cash to get access to those kinds of programs.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Liveblogging my TRAX ride

This is my experience riding the train home last night. I wrote most of it as the events were happening, so it's a little choppy. Enjoy.

You gotta be kidding me. I don't leave work until almost 7:00 on a Friday. To make things worse, most people are walking to the Jazz game. Without knowing it, they're rubbing it in my face: "Ha! You're just getting off work? We've already been home, had dinner and come back and are now going to an NBA playoff game. Sucker."

I board the train. Some woman/girl/chick is yelling into her Bluetooth headset. I believe she's talking to her mother. "If I had, like, fifty bucks, I would have had Amber run down here." Something about frozen coffee. I'm not the only one who's annoyed. People keep glaring back at her. Of course, she could move to the back of the train where there aren't any other passengers. No. That would be considerate.

"When was the last time I was out late? Besides that night with Jodie, I haven't been out late since Charles was in my life."

I could list a few reasons why Charles may have left.

As I consider whether or not I should inform her (in an equally loud voice) that I'm blogging her conversation, the unbelievable happens: Two middle-aged women wearing "Hillary Clinton" stickers and carrying a Hillary Clinton yard sign get on the train. They begin talking to the man next to me:

"Are you a republican?"

Oh no. #$&% no. They're going to start a political conversation about Hillary. I check under my seat for a revolver, lead pipe, candlestick - something from Clue that I can use to end my misery. Maybe I can use the rope and hang myself on the bar with the little hand lassos. Nothing. The brilliant Hillary supporters don't sit down before the train starts moving and get thrown back a couple of steps. I take some smug satisfaction in this.

One of them sits down across from me. I wonder if I should engage her in conversation. I'm extremely curious as to whether or not she really thinks Hillary still has a shot, which is to say I'm wondering if she's delusional.

Charles' Ex is now off the phone.

Wait. She's back on the phone. She's going to get off at 4500 South. Great. That's after my stop.

Now MY phone rings. It's my sister in-law. I answer, and in a voice louder than I should have used, "I'M ON THE TRAIN. SEND ME A TEXT MESSAGE." I hang up.

The Talker gets up and walks past me! I think she may be getting off! No such luck. She stays standing directly behind my seat. "Let's stay on the phone until we find each other." Yeah, that's a brilliant idea. I exchange a knowing look with the Hillary Clinton supporter. Unspoken words were exchanged: this girl is a moron.

Yes, I had a bit of a moment with Ms. Hillary Clinton supporter.

I continue writing this. "Oh yeah! I absolutely love riding TRAX." Ms. Clinton supporter and I look at each other again and this time we start laughing. Out loud. I look around the train. Some people are looking back at me. Are they amused? Are they wondering what I'm laughing at? I think they're in on the joke as one guy has actually taken OFF his headphones to pay attention to the situation.

My stop snuck up on me. Unprepared, I quickly close the laptop and gather my things. As I stand to leave with my armful of stuff, under her breath Ms. Clinton Supporter says, "Lucky you." I grin at her. It turns out Charles' Ex was exiting the train as well, so there was nothing left to say. As I exited the train I thought perhaps I should have told Ms. Clinton Supporter to check for a full recap of tonight's events, but considering how die-hard a (soon to be disappointed) supporter she was, I don't think she would have appreciated my aforementioned comments.

What started out as a potentially depressing train ride turned out to be quite entertaining and humorous...and the entertainment and humor came from the most unlikely places.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Yesterday I said "bastard" in a client presentation

I did. Seriously. We were presenting collateral ideas to a client that happens to be an educational institution. I was trying to say "bachelor's and master's degrees" and instead I stumbled over the first two words and said "bastard degree".

My brain went kind of cloudy. I don't think I've ever said "bastard" before in my life and now I'd just said it in front of a client. What to do?? I could clearly hear the voice of my father in-law in my head: take it a step further. But how? Bastard isn't a normal part of my vocabulary. It didn't even "slip out." I just mumbled the perfect combination of words to result in me cussing. I honestly don't remember exactly what I said, but it was something to the effect of, "Did I just say 'bastard'?" Everyone agreed that I did and I went on reading the copy.

Later in the meeting there was another opportunity for me to slip "bastard" into the conversation while poking a bit of fun at myself, which I did.

I've now said used "bastard" seven times in this post. I think that oughtta do it for the next 28 years or so.

Photo courtesy of here.

30 Rock sucked last night

I want to apologize to everyone I've ever told to watch 30 Rock. If you watched last night's episode because of my urgings, I'm sincerely sorry.

It blew.

It wasn't nearly as funny as usual (except the part where the new CEO had the Hot Wheels car in her mouth), a lot of the jokes used sex as a crutch instead of being genuinely funny and the ending was atrocious: it felt like they ran out of time and what they squeezed in didn't make any sense.

I didn't even save it on our TiVo.

Please don't think less of me world. I swear the show isn't normally like that! It's usually funny and subtly hilarious and witty. I know I've passionately extolled the show in the past (numerous times on Twitter) but...but...I'm sorry.

Does this seem harsh? Perhaps. But when you tell people you love something and then they check it out and it turns out to be a steaming bag of poo, people may think you like steaming bags of poo. So let me be perfectly clear: I don't like poo, steaming or not. Bags are fine, poo is not.

UPDATE: I didn't realize it was the season finale! *groan* When does Chuck come back...?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

See? I told you I was alive.

OK. So here's the story: work. Actually, I'm not sure why the *&%# I haven't been writing as much lately. Work has definitely been more insane than usual. And by "usual" I mean "than it was last October." Yes, work has been taking its toll and my brain has been mush. And Brain Mush is not conducive to writing.

Honestly, Call of Duty 4 has been my "decompression" activity lately. Yes, sniping terrorists not only is good for world peace but it's much more mindless than writing. Also, writing isn't a spectator sport - to really dig into something I need to shut out everything else and focus. However, my wife will watch me play COD4 and be a second set of eyes which has me promoted to rank of First Lieutenant II. I now have a sweet new assault rife with a red dot scope. Thank you honey!

I'm also getting old and fat, which means getting to the gym is much more important which means getting up early which means getting to bed early which means less blogging. Curse my love handles!! Curse them!

OK. Lunch break is over. Back to the grindstone.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Iron Man v. Batman

I know, I know... but it's funny.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I love the world

For some reason this commercial for Discovery Channel made me smile. Something about the line, "I love the giant squids" is funny to me. And, yes, one of these days I'm going to post something other than a video with a short commentary. I've been busy, OK?