Archive for January, 2008

It’s back!

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Lost is back — finally! It hasn’t been on since March or April — I’m glad I watched the rerun last night to refresh my memory; they’re also doing a pre-show tonight, catching everybody up on each of the characters, and the island itself.

If you’re still confused, you can go to Lostpedia, and tie together all the loose conspiracy threads.

By the way, people on TV are saying that last season was the best ever, and that the second season was a slump.

I disagree strongly.

The second season was the Bunker Season. It added a whole new dimension to the show. Plus, it had two of the best opening scenes — both of them musical scenes — of the whole series, maybe of all time. The season opener started with what looked like an 80s flashback, and had the Mamas and Papas song “Make Your Own Kind of Music” — but it turned out to be present day, AND on the island, AND our first glimpse of both the bunker and of Desmond.

Good TV.

Then, later in the season, an episode started with a dream sequence of Hurley in the food locker, using the obscure 60s ska song “Good Conversation” as a soundtrack.

The show has been slacking off ever since then, but it’s still one of the best things on TV.

I’m so excited about the show being back that I even took one of those stupid quizzes.

And here’s my stupid results:

Which Lost Character Are You?

That’s right: I’m the female fertility doctor.

Stupid quiz.

I was shooting for Locke, or at least Hurley or Desmond.

Anyway, enough of this chit-chat let’s go watch the show!

(And no, I didn’t forget that I still need to update you about the Jeopardy thing and the other project.)

Can’t Blog — Gaming!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Specifically, this game:

Tried out for Jeopardy, Baby, Woo-oo-oo-oo-ooo!

Yes, I’ve been trying to catch the show every day while I’m “between opportunities”, and now they’re having an online tryout, and I’ve been so good at playing it when I watch that, by Gosh, I’m trying out.

Of course, the odds I’ll actually make it on air are approximately slim-divided-by-ridiculous, even if I don’t totally pooch the test, which I will, but hey, ya gotta try if you’re lucky enough to have the spare time.

After the test, I’ll try to let you know about something else I’m going to attempt now that I have the time (hint: Yay-Kim already knows!).

And it’ll be just my luck that I’ll ace the Jeopardy test and start the new project, then I’ll get a new job tomorrow.

Dang transferrable job skills …

Voice from the Past

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I was updating my resume last night and trying to get up to date information on the credit union I worked at in Lubbock, but there was nothing about it on the Internet, so I emailed another credit union whose location was near a branch office I knew about.

It turns out that the one I emailed is the one I worked for, after many moves and mergers and name changes. In fact, the Executive Vice President started out as a receptionist when I was working there!

So here’s my shout-out to Kristi! I’ll try to find some embarassing Christmas party pictures and post them here!

Slide Show Test

Monday, January 28th, 2008

I was checking out some old posts today from my site logs, and ran across a reference I made a couple of years ago to a slideshow making site called Slide.com, and I realized I had never done anything with it.

I decided that I can use this thing to make effortless T-shirt slideshows for my sidebar, but first I’ll test it on something I’ve already got ready: The Plainview Cattle Drive photos.

Pretty cool, huh? Yes, I can think of lots of uses for this …

Sunday night, quickly …

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Okay, I haven’t posted all weekend, I’ve been cooking. A LOT. Like blackened chicken tonight, and chili last night. I also started brownies tonight (no, not that kind of brownies, grow up), but my wife, who doesn’t even eat sugary things any more, supermanded my kitchen authority and insisted on cooking them herself, since, she argued, that it needed to be done right.

And who am I to argue?

At least I got brownies out of the deal.

I’ve also been listening to more of last year’s entries at the RPM Challenge; I’m particularly intrigued by a band called Bee Sting Proof Suit. Their recordings are very rough, but also very suited to late nights with the headphones on. They’re sort of like Sigur Ros, but less glacial.

Speaking of Sigur Ros, our Newcastle pal ILuvNUFC has rounded up some excellent S.R. music videos, so go check ‘em out.

He also found some excellent games, one of which I hereby challenge The Spook to, he being trained in drafting/mechanical drawing from way back: Dupligon, a game where you’re shown a geometric figure, then have to draw it from memory.

But my original point here tonight, from which I have sorely digressed, is that I’ve been busy this weekend micro-crafting my resume for a job that sounds really cool, for a change: Working in a small office – a NON-CORPORATE environment! — sysopping the LAN and webmastering the website. I want it so bad I can taste it.

But then we shall just see, shan’t we?

Yes.

We shan.

Smoke on the …. what??

Friday, January 25th, 2008

This is for The Spook, his favorite song (slightly different version):

I don’t care if it is Chinese, the tune still takes me back to that college-age Happy Place.

Good times …

But yes, I know you like the original better, so here ya go:

Fake-Flashback Flashback

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Over the past couple of years I’ve neglected to visit the blogs on my old blogrolls — mainly because I couldn’t port those rolls over to my new blog, due to a billing glitch at Blogroll.com when I was setting up here — so lately I’ve been slowly catching up and re-linking to the blogs I can that haven’t shut down.

Tonight I revisited Information Nation, and found this article about the so-disturbing-it’s-almost-cool 1968 movie Skiddo, Otto Preminger’s attempt to connect with those young hippies by making a film where Vaudeville-era stars (Groucho Marx, Jackie Gleason, and the three top Batman villains of the time) are smoking pot and dropping acid.

And yes, it’s as horrifyingly stupid as it sounds — even worse than Shatner singing “Rocket Man”.

Check out the trailer for yourself:

And if you’re really brave, you can go on over to Information Nation and watch the whole movie in ten-minute segments.

Enjoy!

Musical Flashback

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

A couple of days ago I heard that the album “Person Pitch” by Panda Bear was one of the best albums of the year, so I look it up and tonight I listened to it … and darned if it’s not some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time. It’s like late-era Beach Boys except everybody doesn’t sound like they’ve had their brains liquified by LSD. It’s like The Mammas and the Papas except that it’s GOOD.

In other words, it sounds like something from my youth — from when I was too young to rock, but I new the world was changing around us all.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to it yourself. Here’s the best song, in my opinion, entitled “Bros”:

And this video is only 10 minutes long — the actual song on the album goes on for 12 and a half minutes!

It’s like just one guy (as opposed to a whole band), and all the music is heavily layered, to the point of sounding like classic Phil Spector (and by “classic”, I mean before he was going around shooting people allegedly), plus with all sorts of random stuff like owl hoots and a woman sobbing — I think …

Anyway, listen to it for yourself … preferably with headphones … and preferably twenty or thirty times at each sitting. After chugging several sugar-free Red Bulls and a few Benadryls.

It’ll change your life, seriously.

Scooped

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Hey Vickie, you probably could have scooped me on this.

I took my wife’s shoes to the local shoe repair shop last week to have a new heel put on, and when I was there today picking them up, I heard the Spanish radio, blasting from the back room, and suddenly, within the torrent of Spanish that was too fast for me to translate, I heard the words “Heath Ledger”.

My first thought was, “He wasn’t nominated, was he?”, thinking I was hearing an Oscar report. (The Oscar noms came out this morning, for those of you reading this days or months later.) I couldn’t even remember anything he’d been in recently that was eligible, so I figured it was just celebrity gossip, or a drug arrest.

Then the cobbler (do they still call shoe-fixers that? It sounds so buggy-whip, so coal-oil-lamp to say “cobbler”) came out and said that the shoes weren’t ready yet (they were due last Saturday), but he could have them ready in five minutes. That knocked all thoughts of Hollywood actors and their frivolous doings out of my cold-addled brain.

Did I mention that it barely got above freezing today?

No. No, I did not.

Anyway: Since “ready in five minutes” usually turns to ten which evolves into 15, I killed time by going next door to Dollar General to find a cheap cheese slicer to replace our old one for which the wooden handle suddenly went kablooey (it’s a technical term) a couple of weeks ago; there was no suitable replacement at that establishment, it turned out.

Then I went to the nearby CVS to get the wife her sugar-free chocolate (I had a 2-for-1 coupon for Russell Stover’s! Woo-hoo!), then went back and retrieved the shoes, then back to the house to do some stuff before she got home.

Unfortunately, none of that “stuff” included watching the news on TV, or scanning Internet headlines.

When my wife came home, the first thing she said was, “They found Heath Ledger dead!”

I said, “Huh?”, even though I heard her, and my mind flashed back to the Spanish new chatter at La Casa del Zapatas, and, after she repeated her news, I said “Aha.”

Which, like “Huh”, is also a palindrome.

You’re welcome.

Anyway2: She said, “They think it might have been drug-related,” and I said, “I’m shocked — SHOCKED”, and she said “Yeah, right.”

I was going to re-post the video of Ledger’s disturbing portrait of The Joker in the new Dark Knight trailer that I posted a month ago … except that I never actually posted it. I realized that it was still in my Drafts folder.

D’oh.

Anyway, what I was going to say a month ago was that we went to see “I Am Legend” without knowing that we would be treated to the world premiere of that Batman preview.

Bonus!

Anyway, here it is. Even if you’ve already seen it, watch it again today, just to reacquant yourself with what we’ve lost:

A Group of 4 Related Things, Follow the Chain

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

1. First of all, I need to give a shout to Mindy, a recruiter who’s putting me in for a proposal coordinator/technical writer position. Hi Mindy!

It’s an unusual feeling to be touted by a headhunter, as opposed to doing it myself. It’s not unlike feeling like a product being hawked on an informercial. “Don’t answer yet — you’ll also get an extra refill kit at no extra charge!”

It’s not a bad feeling; there’s worse things to be than a Bedazzler.

2. Next: Because of the above-mentioned potential-employment transaction, I needed to scan in some of my old writing samples. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: That this Dostoevsky-grade prose should be able to stand on its on as a portfolio representative of my brilliance.

This client, however, is apparently more discriminating, so I had to get off my sweatpants-clad rump and get my scanner working again.

The trick was that I had to restring some USB cable to bypass a non-functioning hub, which required the finding of a longer cable and some tricky behind-the-massively-oversized-computer-hutch maneuvering, some of which involved a straightened coathanger and some twist-ties.

I’ve said before that one thing they never tell you when you’re preparing for computer technician certification is how much time said technician will spend rolling around on the floor under the furniture.

If I got a merit badge for this, the symbol would be a dust-bunny and a flashlight.

Anyway, the re-hooking worked, as if sometimes does, and I was able to scan my newspaper articles.

3. I was also able to scan other things I’ve been meaning to scan as well, such as this logo that I designed for Comics On Tap. I figured I need to get a lot of my memorabilia from that time (we were at our zenith 10 years ago) scanned into the computer and backed up on disc, before I lose track of all the bits and pieces.

Those times were the glory days, if indeed I ever had glory days. We were kissed up to by the local comedy community, since we represented one of the most open places in Dallas to get stage time, always a rare commodity for comics in their first few years.

And we were the first comedy venue in Dallas to ever have a website. Not even the Improv had a site before we did, which is pretty bizarre when you think about it.

As for the logo, we were about to give up and see if we could barter with some low-level graphic design professional, but I decided to give it one last shot — and this one worked. It might not look like much now, but it was pretty impressive back before every horror movie and soft drink marketing campaign used the same font. Again, few comedy clubs in Dallas had the design presence that we had.

Anyway, I’ll be scanning in more of our marketing materials in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.

4. Finally, speaking of those days, my wife’s 2003 Honda Accord that she bought a few months ago still had the original battery, and it was starting to sputter on recent cold mornings, so I went to Walmart today and got a new battery.

What does that have to do with our old comedy group?

Have patience and you shall learn.

It seems that the geniuses at Honda began requiring a code to activate their car stereos — so as to theoretically make it harder for a stereo thief to operate the unit after stealing it.

Unfortunately for the legitimate owners, you have to have the stereo’s ID number and call the dealership to get the activation code.

And for some older models, that means taking out the unit to get the number, then reinstalling it, a process that could cost $100 to have it done right.

It’s also a process which wouldn’t bother thieves, since they would already have the unit out of the car.

Anyway, I called my old Comics on Tap partner Bill (aha! the link!), who is now a high-muckity-muck at Lute Riley Honda where my wife bought the car, and he walked me through the process of getting the ID number, and promptly looked up our code so we could the radio turned back on.

Thanks much, Bill!