Archive: March, 2007

Stealth: Steaming pile of shit

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 30, 2007, 9:14 PM | comments: 4

The nice thing about Netflix is that you can get movies you wouldn't pay to rent locally, let alone buy. So I figured, what the hell, I'll get Stealth even though it got terrible reviews. I mean, Jamie Foxx is the shit, and Jessica Biel is crazy attractive.

The first scene sets the precedent for being bad. The three pilots are flying around at the speed of sound low over ground. It's followed by a silly briefing with a captain, then a bar scene. And of course the dudes go with sluts, because Biel isn't hot enough? Please. And her character name is Kara, pronounced "car-uh." Who does that?

Then you have the robot movie shit you've seen before. The advocate, the skeptic, the goofy computer genius. Machine becomes self-aware. You lose a member of the team. I mean, for fuck's sake, is there anything original about this?


The Big Lebowski: The Fucking Short Version

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 30, 2007, 12:02 PM | comments: 1

I'm sure you've seen it before, but it still makes me laugh every time...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RqtgfjkB6Pg


Looking very forward to Grindhouse

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 29, 2007, 1:38 PM | comments: 2

If you're a big movie fan, then you know that Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have made a movie called Grindhouse. It's basically two hour-long movies with fake trailers in between. It's a tribute to the old school practice of showing shitty B-movies back to back. By shitty I mean in terms of quality and use of gratuitous violence and boobies. Can't say I know anything about the genre, but those cats are such huge movie fans that they've even seen everything that ever sucked.

I like Tarantino even if he may have peaked with Pulp Fiction. I like Rodriguez because he applies sweet style even to his movies that would be average otherwise (didn't see Spy Kids, so I won't go there). The truth is though, that even if their movies aren't great in terms of plot, they're great in that they exhibit so much passion. It really comes through in ways that are hard to describe.

The other important thing it does for me though is to consider a genre that is so whacked out that, for a screenwriter anyway, you can do something creative that's not based on your own life. Pure fiction is a hard thing for me to even think about writing, but meaningless sex and violence? I could handle that.

So a week from Friday, I expect to see it, or at least see it that weekend. One of the blogs I read said the movie is like food that's bad for you. You know it's bad, but it's delicious anyway.


Why make films?

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 28, 2007, 11:32 PM | comments: 1

I got a question tonight on eHarmony that totally stumped me. Given the amount I've talked about it out loud, you'd think I would have had an instant answer.

"Why do you want to make a film?"

The truth is, I can only make some generalizations about what appeals to me in terms of a film's components... writing, directing, the techie stuff, etc.

Now the kind of film I'd like to make, that's easy. I'm pretty sure I've written before about my coming-of-age obsession. That's probably the very thing that keeps me from doing it to, because I'll base it on my life and think it's boring. I'm not sure I have the creativity to do something totally off the wall like the forthcoming Tarantino/Rodrgiuez Grindhouse.

Ultimately, the answer I gave was that I want to tell a story that makes people feel some level of emotional intensity the way countless movies have for me. That's no easy task.


You don't know Jeff

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 28, 2007, 10:13 PM | comments: 0

I know this shouldn't annoy me... but it does.

Let me get something straight for people reading this. Because you read my blog doesn't mean you know Jeff Putz. This is not an unfiltered peek into my life. I write about whatever strikes me at the time, or whatever is on my mind. Some days it's deep observations on the meaning of life, some days it's about some funny shit on YouTube.

But what you're getting is about 1/3 of the experience. No responsible person, aside from someone with a serious case of uber-narcissism or complete lack of self-love, would post everything that's on their mind. You'll never hear about my sex life or the most intimate details of my relationships. You'll never hear about the things that I fear most. You'll never hear me talk about the hardest struggles in my life.

You don't know about the other 85,000 seconds in a day between blog posts. You don't know what's important to me or how I'm contributing to the world, my friends or my own life.

So if you spend any time at all thinking about who I am or drawing some conclusions or judgments about me, stop wasting your time. This is not high school. You don't know Jeff.

I've tried to be objective and think, "Do I draw up random shit about other people I only know in some online way?" Hell no I don't. I can barely figure myself out some days, why would I waste time thinking about others? People I encounter on a frequent basis in real life, people I sincerely care about, that's obviously a different story. I'm fiercely loyal and caring to those people, and I look out for them almost to a fault, and at my own expense. But for everyone else? Not a chance. I don't have the bandwidth for it.

I don't care if you think it's materialistic to talk about my business or my hot tub. I don't care if you think it's vain to talk about my weight loss. I don't care if you think my gadget obsession is pointless. The truth is, I talk about the same shit I did a year or two ago, only without the volleyball part since I'm not doing it this year. I write about what I feel like writing about. These are the parts of my life I'm willing to share. The rest you don't know.

You don't know Jeff.


Great big monitors

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 28, 2007, 2:04 PM | comments: 7

We got big 20", 1600x1200 monitors today at work.

That is all.


Good and bad young celebrities

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 8:48 PM | comments: 0

Joss Stone was on Craig Ferguson last night, as an interview and a performer. Let me first mention that I didn't realize she's only 19, and now I feel a little dirty. Anyway, I was amazed that even though she's been singing since she was 14, she still retains a lot of youthful enthusiasm while seemingly taking it all in stride.

Compare this to someone like Britney, who has always interviewed like a bit of a clueless idiot. What causes that difference among young celebrities? Why do some manage to keep it together while others have total melt downs?

I'm sure part of it has to do with the context of their career. Britney is product, and frankly always has been since her Mouse Club days. Then it was be cute and sing, now it's be slutty, sing and dance. Joss on the other hand has always been about the music and she's far more talented. If she's accused of being attractive, I think it comes from her personality and her confidence performing.

I suppose it has something to do with parenting as well. God knows enough celebrities have been totally fucked up by their parents. I can't even imagine having to try and support a child like that and try to keep them "normal" while in the spotlight.


Budgeting for capital expenditures

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 2:38 PM | comments: 0

I was thinking last week if there were any capital expenditures that the business would need. I don't need to buy computers this year, and I'm mostly good with video equipment as well.

I can see needing some software this year, which coincides with the launch of Adobe's new CS3 products. They released the pricing today for those products, and all things considered, they aren't that expensive. The full package with absolutely everything is $2,500. The production bundle is about $800 less, and has Flash and Photoshop, the two most important to me, plus After Effects, which I've always loved. It's a pretty exciting release overall for Adobe, and it'll work on Intel Macs. Whoohoo!

There's some rumor that Apple will release a new Final Cut Pro, but I don't see a lot of need for that this year at least. So all things considered, if I spend less than $3k on cap ex this year, I'll be a very happy guy. If a couple of ad deals come through, I might actually make some money this year.


A fucked up sham marriage dream

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 1:05 PM | comments: 3

I had a dream that Kara introduced me to some girl who wanted to marry me. She was of some non-white ethnicity, and for the purpose of the story it doesn't matter which. I said why not, and as soon as the wedding was done, she said we'd never have sex and she was just using me to become a citizen of the United States.

It gets better though. She was building some giant palace/water park using some of my money. Instead of slaves running around, I think they were more like tourists. It was really bizarre.

So then I threatened to sue her and get her parents deported, and somehow that was the end of it and I was free of the whole affair.

How very weird.


Color your pubes

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 12:41 PM | comments: 0

Yep, assuming you aren't shaving your stuff, you can now make the carpet match the curtains:

http://www.bettybeauty.com/

And according to this article, the pink outsells the other colors seven to one.


Zen, exercise, gadgets, dating

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 26, 2007, 11:10 PM | comments: 3

Despite the ups and downs of the weather, I'm feeling surprisingly well centered. There is this whole combination of things that are contributing.

First off, little pieces of technology here and there have made things a little more interesting. The Apple TV has brought music to the living room in a way that makes everything about being downstairs more functional. I like working on the laptop more, I can hear it outside, I can bop around while making dinner. It's all good. I also got one of those Harmony remotes to eliminate the five I had. I got an inexpensive BlueTooth mouse for my laptop that's sweet too.

Two weeks back on the diet and I'm at my pound-a-week pace. I need to get that up a notch, starting with exercise. I'm getting back into DDR, and I'm thinking about really getting into biking again. A lot of guys at work are talking about doing lunch rides this summer, so I might be down with that. I've been to the bike shop, I've been on a bike I really like too. I'm making the deal with myself that every minute in the hot tub has to be offset by minutes of exercise.

Dating hasn't been great. I've been on about one date per week, with nothing really clicking just yet. I'm just being patient because there isn't much else I can do. I'm kick ass, I just need to find someone similarly kick ass. I just don't much care for the work involved in trying to meet people.

Speaking of Zen, I think I've finally got the chemical thing for the hot tub figured out. The right amounts of shock once a week, the right amount of bromine in the feeder and such. I tested it today and everything is dead on where it should be. I could see the bottom of it clearly in the moon light tonight.

I feel pretty good.


Color inspiration

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 26, 2007, 2:45 PM | comments: 3

As I've started to make a sincere effort to work on CB4, I'm starting to think a little about color schemes. I've played around with kuler for inspiration, but nothing is jumping out at me just yet.

Granted, it should be pretty easy to change it up and skin it. The problem is that design and function tend to clash too much, and I don't want to deal with that struggle. People might call Ta-da Lists visually uninteresting, but it sure does do what it does extremely well. God knows I don't want to create yet another site with a big gradient header and some stupid coaster porn in the background.

I still struggle with the image I want to convey. Sure, I want it to be a fun site for enthusiasts, but I can't ignore the fact that industry types are all over it.

I need a vacation. I'm taking one soon.


Shout out to new parents!

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 26, 2007, 1:02 AM | comments: 1

I need to make a shout out to Mike and Artemisa, who are going to be parents! If I did my math right, I think it'll be August or September. Congratulations!

I hope this doesn't interfere with our annual closing weekend trip! ;)


Life depends way too much on the weather

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 26, 2007, 12:36 AM | comments: 1

You know, I always hate it when people make small talk about the weather. It's so not genuine and nobody cares about the responses. But the annoying and sick truth to it all is that the weather has enormous impact on the way you feel, especially here in a seasonal climate.

The weather today was fan-fucking-tastic, and flirted with 70. To sit on the edge of that hot tub with the sun beating down on my shoulders was so awesome it's hard to describe.

So inspired was I by the sun that I managed to actually write some code for the next version of CoasterBuzz. Sure it's an indoor activity, but with the windows open and such, it was very refreshing. A few Tracy Bonham tracks on the stereo, and life was feeling quite good.

The rest of the week is supposed to be about the same, though it'll rain Monday and Tuesday. Then the weekend brings 40's again. This is all quite normal for Northeast Ohio, but I know the dread will come. That bothers me because I really feel like this could be the week where I do wonderful things in terms of the CB4 project.


I <3 Joss Stone

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 23, 2007, 11:04 PM | comments: 7

The new album is pretty sweet, and not just because she's naked and painted all over it. It's a little more pop than soul compared to the last album, but damn can the girl sing.


An end to the industrial era

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 23, 2007, 3:20 PM | comments: 7

I think I've just about had it. After having my industrial for a year and a half, I think I may take it out. It's not getting any better, it's always gross, and I don't want my ear to get any more deformed than it already is.

It's a sad time. I did it in recognition of my initial weight loss, and my closest friends thought it was "kick ass." Sigh.


So many photos, and so many changes

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 22, 2007, 11:24 PM | comments: 1

Among other things, the Apple TV also syncs photos, just like an iPod. So all of a sudden, I realized there were more than 4,000 photos in my living room going back to 2003.

It's crazy to see how different things are now. Not different bad necessarily, just different. So many photos of Stephanie, Luna, great trips, former lovers (OK, just one, I'm no slut), parties, volleyball teams... I can't believe just how rich my life has been with experiences in these four years. It's pretty crazy.

I also noticed that even though I'm not content with my weight at the moment, I'm still a hell of a lot thinner than I was in '03. That's a bonus.

I can't even imagine what I'll capture in the next 4,000 photos...


Apple TV first impressions

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 22, 2007, 6:53 PM | comments: 0

Apple TV started shipping this week, and the Apple stores apparently got them in the last day or so. Keeping good on my promise, I ran right out and bought one.

With all of the chatter about the thing by bloggers and journalists and such, I think that it keeps getting lost that the device is essentially a wireless iPod that hooks up to your TV and stereo, instead of its own screen and headphones. There is much punditry about what it will or should be, but it is what it is.

And it's exactly what I wanted too, because it allows me to just turn on the stereo and start playing shit the way I would on my iPod. That it does video is pretty cool, but I'm not sure I need that just yet, unless iTunes starts shipping movies and TV shows in 720p.

It has a couple of screen savers, which can naturally use your photos, but one of the built-in ones does a constant floating display of various album covers. I know now that I have a lot of shit on there I may never listen to from the 90's. It also sneaks in thumbnails of video clips too. I happen to have one of the video I shot in Orlando last March. To my shock, a giant picture of recently pool-drenched Kara and Julie went floating up across my 37" screen.

Is it worth it? Well, to me it is because it elegantly does what I need. In terms of value, it not only functions a lot like an iPod, but costs about the same too. The interesting thing going forward is what Apple will do with it, and if they'll start offering 720p video downloads on iTunes.


Natalia the Russian spammer

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 22, 2007, 3:40 PM | comments: 3

As is the case with most people, I have several secondary e-mail accounts I use for signing up for stuff. The more I think about it, the more I think that actually I don't need to do this anymore since Google's spam filtering is so good, but it's hard to say if that will last.

Anyway, on my Gmail account, somehow I got onto a mailing list of what I assume is an imaginary girl named Natalia in Russia. "She" sends me pictures all of the time to show me how pretty she is, and "she" professes her love in every message. What I'm waiting for is some request to send her a plane ticket or help her with immigration or something.

I marked it as spam, and I'm surprised at how often I see those messages in the spam folder. It's just weird how "she" hasn't asked for anything yet. Will some sad sap actually fall for this kind of thing? All I can think of is Borat's wife on the other end. :)


Web flash back: Here and Now.net

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 22, 2007, 11:41 AM | comments: 0

While it's barely a memory for most people, I remember in the late 90's being fascinated with a little Web site called HereAndNow.net. It was a bunch of college kids living together in a house near Oberlin College, wire up with streaming Web cameras. At the time, this was fairly groundbreaking stuff. It didn't look all that bad either. (Old Salon article here.)

I'll be the first to admit that there was a certain voyeuristic and creepy tendency about the whole thing, but I looked at it like The Real World without editing. Reality TV had not yet caught on at that point beyond TRR, and things like YouTube weren't even remotely on the radar. This thing was way ahead of its time.

The "cast" also kept online journals in conjunction with the site, which was long before anyone uttered the word "blog" out loud. The combination caused you to really care about the "characters" on the site in a way that nothing else could at the time.

These days the site is just some spam ad site, which is such a shame. I wonder what happened to the guy who started it, and his housemates.


Dinner with Gretchen

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 22, 2007, 12:38 AM | comments: 0

I had dinner tonight with my friend Gretchen. Her and her husband Ken were both freshman at Ashland when I was a senior. I haven't done a good job keeping in touch with them, even though they live in the next town, but an idea for a video project I'm working on made me think of her.

Gretchen worked in TV as a reporter, and just as I did with radio, started working in the "real world" before graduating. I knew from the day I met her that she had a bright future, because she was just so naturally good at what she did. Of course, she also knew that the rat race sucked, and that the high-stress/low-pay environment wasn't good for the soul. Eventually she dropped out of it and pursued an academic career. Ken got into various administrative sports positions after school too, and is a high school A.D. now.

What I respect about them is that they had pretty good plans, were well positioned to be "successful" in their field, but both made the decision after awhile to try something else. I can identify with this because I went through the same thing, instead of allowing myself to get beat up doing something that wasn't fun anymore. They too have found a balance when it comes to career, happiness and income.

The strangest irony is that Gretchen is back teaching at Ashland, wrapping up her PhD at Kent. She too saw how the R/TV department had turned into little more than a shitty trade school when we were there, and she has the right head on her shoulders to hopefully influence it into the place it should be. For the first time since I graduated, I feel like the place is headed in the right direction.

We were talking tonight about how strange it was that very little turned out the way we expected. She was dating someone else from R/TV when she graduated, and expected they'd get married and make beautiful TV together. I remember even thinking at their wedding about how odd it was that all of a sudden she was marrying Ken instead. And after many hard decisions, both eventually went on to do other things in their career.

And you know what? Despite the "plan" essentially being null and void, they're two of the most well-adjusted people I know. I envy them for figuring it out faster than I did, that's for sure.

So in addition to doing a video project together, we also talked about how cool it would be to do an alumni radio reunion. I gotta tell you, I get all tingly at the idea of Jeff Jones returning to air a decade after getting out of that retched business and tearing it up.

Anyway, I love hearing about her story, and by extension appreciate my own that much more. We've done so much in the course of a decade, and it's totally OK that the bullshit they fed us in high school about careers and such was in fact a steaming pile of crap. Our experiences have frankly been far more exciting anyway!


Mini fluorescent lights

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 1:03 AM | comments: 4

OK, this could be the most mundane fucking thing I've ever written.

Being a bit of a tree hugger, I've been buying those little fluorescent lights. They cost more, but they last a hell of a lot longer and use a quarter of the power to make the same light.

Truth be told, I just got tired of replacing light bulbs, especially on the outside and where I often have one on, like the living room or over the stove. I swear that one of the pair of lights at my front door is always burned out. Well not anymore, because this time they went within three days of each other and I put the mini's in there.

My initial objection to those was that the color temperature was all fucked up and, well, fluorescent. As it turns out though, they seem to be about the same as normal bulbs.

And I did the math, and I'll use less electricity, which means lightening my portion of the power burden, and just barely break even in terms of paying for the bulb. (Like I'm worried about power consumption given recent purchases.)


Positive loss

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 4:47 PM | comments: 7

I started back on Weight Watchers Online last week, because the only way I can keep at it is by plugging numbers into a Web site (because I'm a nerd). I'm down two pounds in the first week, which is about what I expected. Not drinking soda at work easily scores me the first half-pound a week.

I realized in November that I had fallen off the horse a bit. It was a strange realization that all of a sudden I was ten pounds over my goal weight from the year before, and I could feel it, and sort of see it. That ten pounds has a pretty dramatic impact on my appearance, at least to me.

So this time around, I'd like to go even further. I'd like to go anywhere from ten to 20 pounds beyond my original goal weight if my body will allow it. It's hard to say what's "normal" for me, because I was about 180 in high school, and if you look at the photos, I was really scrawny looking. I apparently have high bone density or something, and I know the muscle mass in my legs still hasn't gone away (21" vertical leap, thanks).

I'd like to try and push off those other eight pounds by the end of April, which is totally possible if I push myself. I'm trying to work out a rewards system in my head involving hot tub time (which is not by accident the place I stand to gain the most in terms of my appearance).


Another Blue Man show

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 19, 2007, 11:51 PM | comments: 2

The Dayton show put us the closest we've been to the stage, and it was good to get one last shot in before the tour ends. God knows when they'll do it again.

Overall, they've made a lot of improvements to the show to keep it flowing. Even the longest break in the action, where they order the rock concert manual, has been spiced up a bit. That's the good.

The bad is simply that it lacks Tracy Bonham. The new girl does OK on "Up To The Roof," but she doesn't have the pipes for "I Feel Love" unfortunately. And since she doesn't play the violin, "Baba O'Riley" just doesn't have the impact it did before.

Those aren't deal breakers, just minor disappointments. We did find it rather sad that they changed the graphics in front of Exhibit 13 to spell out the fact that it's about 9/11. How fucking sad is it that people are that dense? (Watch the video at that link, and it should be apparent by the time you've watched half of it to get it.) I remember seeing on the tour journal about how they were surprised people didn't get it.

Anyway, my hope is that they consider recording new music, with vocals. It's time to move beyond The Complex. I also think it's time to think about integrating some of the vocal music into the stage shows, because it really brings the performance to the next level.


Megastar again!

posted by Jeff | Sunday, March 18, 2007, 10:06 PM | comments: 4


Turning the weather corner

posted by Jeff | Saturday, March 17, 2007, 2:42 PM | comments: 2

The snow we got here the last few days, while minor, was a real buzz kill after we exceeded 70 last week. But today, the sun is shining and heating things up, to the point where my heat hasn't kicked on and I can see dry wood on the deck. I'm not ashamed to say I did a little sun bathing in the tub, and the sun felt better than the water.

I think we're about to turn that corner. We'll see 60's again this week. Amusement parks, bike rides and general outdoorsey stuff isn't far away.

Congratulations fellow northern types... we've just about made it through another winter.


Best auto dealer ad ever

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 16, 2007, 1:53 PM | comments: 2

Turn your speakers down if you don't want to offend people near you...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sZuN0xXWLc


Stars and 44 jets

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 16, 2007, 1:28 AM | comments: 6

While the air was 30 degrees, the water was just shy of 100. The lights were set to blue, while 44 jets massaged every muscle in my body. And above, just stars.

I can't wait to share moments like that.


Unexpectedly saved a few bucks for a change

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 15, 2007, 2:50 PM | comments: 2

It's funny how when you have a string of crappy things happen that you just start to expect it. I guess it makes it that much better when they turn out not crappy at all.

The purchase regret on the hot tub didn't take long to set in, and I came up with at least a hundred different reasons why something wasn't going to go right. Either the electric line was going to not work, or they'd drop the tub, or the delivery guys wouldn't be able to get it on the deck, or whatever.

So imagine my surprise when the electrician was able to use an existing line originally meant for an electric stove. That meant no running new conduit, paying for giant wire, or anything like that. In a rare moment for Pulte, the builder, they actually did something overkill and used wire that could handle up to 60 amps. So a new disconnect box, small hole, and there it was. I saved on the order of $250.

So it's now filled with water, and it's a balmy 46 degrees, with the temperature rising pretty quickly now that it's full. I might get my first spin before bed.

I am happy.


First thunderstorm

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 15, 2007, 12:18 AM | comments: 4

We're having our first thunderstorm of the year.

It's awesome.


The strange Mac vs. Windows holy war

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 2:10 PM | comments: 0

A new OS X version was rolled out yesterday, which includes a number of security fixes. This has of course prompted the usual rash of "your OS suX0rz!!11" comments on Digg and various other places.

Before I get to my observations, let me just say that I really like Macs and OS X in particular. I switched a year ago and I've generally enjoyed using a computer more than I used to. Everything is more simple, and the OS rarely gets in the way of things I want to do (like get photos off my camera, find a network printer, connect to mysterious Wi-Fi spots, etc.). The greatest thing about OS X is that you hardly notice it. Oh, and I do love the hardware too. It's pretty and functional.

Then I go to work and deal with the constant disk churning I can't explain, reboots every couple of days, etc. I tend to wonder why it is my Web server just runs and runs, but I suppose that makes sense since all it has to do is run the same half-dozen processes all day. A personal computer has a lot more to do, opening and closing stuff.

The security update in OS X 10.4.9 covers a lot of really obscure stuff, much of it requiring you to have access to the computer. There are a few items I'd say would concern me, namely the disk image stuff and GIF previewing, but most of it wouldn't even be on the radar of things that I'd worry about.

But for a moment, let's talk about what "security" is. To me, being secure means nothing is going to happen to me. If I'm locked in my downtown apartment, I feel pretty secure. If I'm locked in my farm house in the middle of nowhere, I'm even more secure because there are a lot fewer things that can harm me. Critics will argue that part of the reason OS X has no viruses or spyware is because it's used by a small (although growing 30% year-over-year) share of the market. I don't deny that, but by my definition, that still makes me more secure.

Generally speaking, I feel that OS X is less vulnerable because you need to take deliberate action to install something. Nothing goes without my password. And it's not annoying like the "confirm or deny" feature of Vista that is inevitably going to get shut off. It's more annoying than "training" Zone Alarm back in the day when you first install it.

Where I think Windows really got it wrong was that Microsoft never had the nuts to just start over, because of compatibility concerns. Having used OS 9 back in the day, it had a good interface but the mess of "extensions" and other crap made it a dog too. Starting over did wonders for the new operating system. Vista is still trying to nurse ancient software that most people will never use. I don't know if all that bulk is what makes Windows crawl at times, but I'm sure it doesn't help. I know that compatibility is certainly a concern you can't ignore, but when I look at how relatively lightweight the .NET Framework is, and how you can write software against it, the Win32 world seems like a huge wasteland of bloat.

People are nuts for the Mac because it mostly delivers on the promises made by Steve's version of reality. It's certainly not perfect, but in the last year, the only thing I can remember encountering that frustrated me was that the wired LAN wouldn't take priority when I shut off the wireless. I can rattle off two or three things about Windows in just the last week that have annoyed me.

I don't know what makes an OS "better" than another, but for my money, it all has to do with how little I notice it.


Feeling clear, focused

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 12:45 AM | comments: 3

I've suddenly managed to land in a place where I haven't been lately: generally at peace with the world.

I think Luna's passing, horrible as that was, set a process into motion inside my head about life, death and feeling out your place in the world. It also removed a great stress in my life. Though I miss that cat dearly, I'm reclaiming my house and it's good to know she's not suffering.

I've gone out with at least ten different women in the last two months. While one was a complete disaster, and most of the others went nowhere, the experience has really allowed me to understand what it is that I need. That clarity makes me feel a lot better about the fact that I've only really met one person I can see myself with.

My little coding projects have largely been put on the back burner, for now. I want more than anything to crank out a new CoasterBuzz, but all I've been doing is making myself feel shitty for not feeling up to it. I've let that go. I'll get to it as the motivation strikes me.

The hot tub thing really forced me to look at where life has taken me the last couple of years. All of that guilt I was feeling comes from the fact that I have been doing nothing but trying to support and provide for others at my own expense. I love to give, but there comes a point where you start to empty out your soul if no one is feeding it back to you. I'm standing up and saying I deserve to give myself something for a change.

Physically, I've been leaning on gallons of soda and burritos to make me feel better, only to realize they've made me feel worse. I got back on "the plan" this week, counting points, getting exercise, and even after two days I feel so much better. I need to hang on to that. The ten pounds of difference I can reach quickly makes a world of difference in how I look and feel.

I'm working hard to make it fun to be me again.


What have I done?

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 7:00 PM | comments: 10


The Apple iRack

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 1:58 PM | comments: 2

Good fun...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuEDwcfJPSk


Stardust implosion

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 10:14 AM | comments: 1

Only in Vegas is the implosion of a building an attraction itself (check the video link in the body of the story):

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/13/lasvegas.hotel.implosion.ap/index.html

Very impressive! Weird how they gutted the building down to its frame.


The hot tub dilemma

posted by Jeff | Sunday, March 11, 2007, 1:20 AM | comments: 10

After my post about the summer luau, several Fishers suggested that I should really have a hot tub. To be quite honest, I haven't thought about buying one in years. I remember Stephanie and I looked at them shortly after we moved into the house, but never acted on it (good thing too since I got laid-off later that year).

I could certainly afford one these days, but I have all these dirty and negative feelings about the idea of having one. First, as Cath said, it's a "babe magnet." Seeing as how I'm currently looking, I don't want the lure of such a device interfering with who I am to a woman. I want potential dates to like me for me.

Related to that, it seems like such a sleazy bachelor thing to have. I'm not saying that couples and married people don't have them. I guess I've just heard too many stories of nasty things going on in them, and for some reason I associate them with that.

Then there's the issue of it being totally self-indulgent. While I do like to buy nice stuff that I'll use (like furniture and computers), this is an object that no human being needs ever. It's a total luxury item. I could spend that money on any of a hundred different things more worthy, or give some of it to charity.

Listen to me... what the hell would make me feel guilty like that? I guess I have more issues than I thought! My first thought if I get one isn't that I'll treasure that first dip in there, but rather that I'll have to give extra money to the Red Cross this year to cancel out the guilt.

I suppose that if I was sitting in one right this moment, I wouldn't have having any of these thoughts.


Tattoos and piercings

posted by Jeff | Sunday, March 11, 2007, 1:08 AM | comments: 8

Given the conversations I've had tonight, and recent experiences, I need to get a few things out on "paper" before I turn in tonight and "spring ahead" the clocks.

I remember when I first met Stephanie that she was one of the few people I knew at the time who had a tattoo. Actually, the first person I knew well was Nikki B., one of my radio/TV friends in college. She got I think a rose on her hip near her privates. I remember her showing it to me in the college radio station (which was about the closest I'd ever seen to real privates at the time). I had a lot of opinions about who had tattoos back then, most of them not really that good. Piercing was still a couple of years away in terms of more mainstream exposure.

Anyway, as time went on, Steph got the second one on her big toe, and Suicide Girls showed me skin art the likes of which I'd never seen. (Interesting side note, apparently SG is considered a "sell-out" medium among "tattoo enthusiasts," though I'd love for someone to tell the 50% female membership that.) I don't know if I'd consider it a totally mainstream phenomenon, but even a lot of my former kids have something they weren't born with now.

It was never much for me, even when I accepted it as something I really liked. The truth is, I could never commit to anything myself because my feeling is that anything permanently added to me has to be something incredibly relevant to me, at least at the time. And maybe that's what bothers me, that I can't think of anything that describes my life right now.

Cath was telling me last weekend how she found her future tattoo in the veterinarian symbol (it will make a sweet tattoo). A new friend has several that coincide with her life. Another friend has one that acts as a tribute to her father and brother. I don't have anything that I can feel I can draw from like that.

Piercing at least gave me an outlet at one point. My first too are still healthy and remind me all of the time to strive to live better. My industrial is kinda gross still, and I'm not sure if I should just give up on it or let it go. I'd like to pierce other things, but I keep having the bullshit feeling that I worry what other people might think, which is so not me.

The body modification thing is a really spiritual thing that I get more than ever, and yet am not committal enough to get involved in. It's a little frustrating because I feel like it would help me give my life definition, or at least a snapshot of what it is today. I gotta stop watching Miami Ink.


I do the best I can

posted by Jeff | Saturday, March 10, 2007, 11:57 PM | comments: 1

I've had a lot of deep relationship talk, e-mail, IM's, whatever in the last week. It has really caused me to look hard at my past relationships. Being self-aware requires a lot of self-examination, and I want to know what I can do better.

I won't get into what the failures or breakdowns have been, but what I've come to realize is that in most cases, I did the best I could at the time, given my own development. I get a lot of peace from that realization, because it frees me from any toxicity involved with a break-up.

That's hard stuff, because I've been accused of doing a lot of things wrong, or being inadequate in some way, and there are times when that has been true. There was a time where I always wanted to be right about everything too, which made it harder. But in the last year or two, I've mellowed out a lot, and instead of life's big picture becoming more complex, it has actually become more simple for me. I know it's very "Four Agreements" to say it, but you do the best you can, and hope to God that your best is enough for your partner.

I still look back at every relationship for its good points, not the bad. I still try to learn from the negatives, but I choose not to dwell on them. Sometimes you find that the issues weren't about you at all. You've just gotta find that balance where you do what you can without selling yourself out.


No pool table for me, for now

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 9, 2007, 9:34 PM | comments: 3

Last weekend I went on a date where I shot some pool at a pool hall, and I really enjoyed it. In fact, I've always liked pool, since I was a little kid and could barely see over the top of it.

After that date, I had one of those, "Holy shit, I'm an adult and I can buy one of these," moments. So at lunch and after work, I checked out a couple of stores.

It's amazing that you can buy tables that cost like eight grand. Expensive, but they're absolutely beautiful pieces of furniture. While I would never spend that much, I can appreciate the quality that you're looking at. Really looking hard at what's available, you can get a nice Brunswick table with leather pockets for around $1,500 or less. That seems reasonable to me.

My downstairs room is currently filled only with a bookshelf and the Jurassic Park machine, as I asked Stephanie to take the red furniture with her to Colorado (I think it would only keep fading in that bright sunlit room). When I got home I measured it out to scale on paper, then measured a piece of paper with the table and the minimum space around it.

Unfortunately, that room is about a foot too small length wise at each end for full-length cues (and if you know the room, believe it or not the "lengthwise" is the closet to kitchen direction). It's about two inches too short at each end for 48" cues, which might be workable.

In any case, I'm not gonna make any impulse buys on this. I'll let it marinate for awhile. Those dollars might be better spent on something more constructive, like a bike.


Thinking about the 2007 Luau

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 9, 2007, 2:04 PM | comments: 6

I half-assed my summer party last year, and didn't do it at all the year before. I'm already thinking about it for this year though, and I can't even tell you how excited I am to do it.

We were talking about summer parties at work, and someone suggested getting a rental hot tub. Yes, they have such a thing, and they show up with it on a trailer and that's that! That would certainly be a fun and tropical addition to the luau. Better start getting sexy if I decide to do that.


Unusual celebrity linkage: Schuyler Fisk

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 8, 2007, 9:53 PM | comments: 1

Listening to the Last Kiss soundtrack, there's this great acoustic duet between two people I didn't know named Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk. Make that, sort of thought the girl name sounded familiar.

Googling about, I found Sissy Spacek was the weirdo who came up with the fucked up spelling of her name (her mom). Then it turned out she's an actress. She was the redhead in Orange County ("Oh! Puppy!") She's touring with the Radin cat, and dating him, and she's supposed to be coming out with an album this year.

Why is this blog-worthy? Because I've listened to that song dozens of times in the car, and I though, "This chick can really sing, so who the fuck is she?" Turns out I "knew" her all along.

Just some random shit to think about.


Getting corporate

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 11:41 PM | comments: 7

The content is the same old nearly meaningless crap, but Jenna delivered my site template for my "corporate" site yesterday. She has a good eye for color. I like the new logo too.


The radio dream, with a twist

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 11:01 PM | comments: 1

I don't even know when I first blogged about my radio failure dream (I'm guessing this might have been it), but I had it again last night... only with a positive outcome.

This time I was confident in what I was doing, there was no dead air, and I confidently nailed every talk-over. For reasons I can't explain, the calls were CD101, the alternative station in Columbus.

I probably spend too much time trying to find meaning in my dreams, but it's a relief to have this one after having variations on the other one for many years. This one implies that I have certain things under control, or at least that I feel that I do. It must be a pretty deep feeling, because given the last couple of weeks, on the surface I feel anything but in control.


Road head

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, March 7, 2007, 5:10 PM | comments: 4


Anti-virus scam

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 2:28 PM | comments: 7

Anti-virus software is a $4 billion a year industry. Can you believe that? That's a lot of cash.

About a year ago, I was annoyed since my McAfee subscription was about to run out. I remember a day when the software makers didn't charge for updates after a year. But now, you can't avoid it. I was reminded of this because I sold my Dell laptop to a new friend, and she's annoyed that it costs so much to keep it protected.

I say "reminded" because I have a Mac now. I'm one year virus free because Macs don't have virus issues.

Yet another reason I'm glad that I switched.


Finished design work

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 10:42 AM | comments: 0

Through non-conventional means, I met a designer who lives in rural Ohio, and I really dig her work. I hired her to do icons for the next version of POP Forums, and they were pretty sweet.

So I hired her again to do a logo and design for my "corporate" Web site. I don't really need it, exactly, as much as I wanted to do something that simply wasn't me. So we agreed on a fair price for the work, and she cranked it out.

I'm happy with the result. I hope to post the new design soon. As much as I think I know what I like, design is not my strong point. It's good to get someone else in there to do something cool and different. Hopefully I can use her for some other things I have in mind.


Idle time is bad

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 5, 2007, 11:04 PM | comments: 7

I miss Luna. I don't think I would as much if it weren't for the fact that Cosmo is acting strange. She has a routine in the last day or so where she walks around the house, presumably to every room, then ends up in the downstairs room and cries as loud as she can. When I call her, she comes and lies down next to me or stares at me. She definitely knows.

And that makes it harder for me too, because I can't stop reliving those last fifteen minutes I had with her. I know it was the right thing, but I'm having such a hard time processing it. I try to engage myself in other things, but I end up just sitting idle, and that's bad.

I know it'll get better, I'm just not fond of the in-the-mean-time. I'm living so much in my head right now, and it's no fun at all. Too much going on up there!


The weirdest fucking weekend

posted by Jeff | Sunday, March 4, 2007, 11:37 PM | comments: 1

I've gotta tell you, this has been one of the weirdest weekends I've had in a very long time.

Saturday afternoon was just horrible. As much as I tried to prepare myself for Luna's passing, it was traumatizing when it was actually done. I've been replaying those fifteen minutes in my head over and over again. I think it will take awhile before I can adjust and make my most common memories about her better moments.

Cosmo knows she's gone. The irony is that she acted indifferent about her for the last five years. But now, she won't leave my side. I know part of it is just that she feels my pain, because she's always been one to "watch" me when I'm down. But she seems almost in a panicked state, like something just isn't right. I know how she feels, because it was weird to come home and be greeted by only one cat.

I'm thankful that Catherine was here to help me through this. I'll be honest though, that I worried she'd make the situation even more emotional for me because, well, we've been broken up for two months and haven't really seen each other much since. I thought it might be weird, but it wasn't, and that in itself is weird. We really can be friends, and it's OK. We just can't be "those" friends. My gift and my curse is that I can't harbor anger or resentment toward the former romantic partners in my life.

Cath was all about seeing the Cavs Saturday night, and I'm glad she got me out of the house. The Luna thing would've been even more intense I think if I sat around wallowing in my misery. And hey, they actually won for a change.

It was good to see Cosmo the dog, too. As much as I wanted to not like that snorty, farty, ugly dog, I can't get enough of her.

Today I went to Erie, PA for a date. Yeah, I know, that's pretty fucking weird. Let me just tell you that the online dating thing thus far has been a pretty horrible experience. Lots of crazy people and liars.

A couple of weekends ago, eHarmony had a free trial weekend. They already roped me in the week before, as they had a three-months-for-one deal around Valentine's Day. So this nice woman Tricia did the whole "guided communication" dance with me, and she sent a message saying she was on the trial, so we started to chat and e-mail outside of the system. Then came phone calls, and I figured she was someone I wanted to meet.

I had a good time. We had Japanese food, and shot some pool. She's very sweet, and I don't feel like she has any deal-breaking hidden secrets. It'll be interesting to see where this one goes.

Speaking of strange dates, or not, I met an interior decorator last Thursday. I originally met her online too, but she declined interest because I looked too much like her ex. Well, we did some talking anyway, and she's helping me with my flooring replacement. Now that Luna is gone, I can realistically replace my carpeting and such. I'm thinking about doing bamboo for my living room. We'll see.

Strange, strange weekend...


Cavs halftime

posted by Jeff | Saturday, March 3, 2007, 8:59 PM | comments: 0


Luna (2002-2007)

posted by Jeff | Saturday, March 3, 2007, 1:34 PM | comments: 9

Luna passed away peacefully here at home this afternoon, surrounded by me, her sister, Catherine and Dr. Julie.

About five years ago, Stephanie's mom dropped by the house with this nervous, tiny little kitten that needed a home. As much as I didn't think I wanted another cat, I remember thinking that we could have as many as we wanted now that we had a house and not an apartment. So with some reluctance, we kept her. I was unemployed at the time, and it was nice to have the little fur ball to distract me.

Of course, Cosmo didn't much care for her, because she was used to running the joint. For the first few months, we confined her to the upstairs. We kept her in the spare bedroom at night, and she would cry and cry, either because she didn't want to be alone, or she just didn't want to be confined. I remember there were some nights where we were about ready to give her back.

She also started pee where she wasn't supposed to, and this was something she did periodically right up until the end. At first it was like full bladder dumps, but it got to be more markings than anything. She quickly ruined the one downstairs room's carpet.

In her first year, she started to have vomiting spells that lasted six hours or so. She would make this horrible howling sound and then let it go. It was absolutely heartbreaking to hear it. We took her to a lot of vets to try and figure it out, but no treatment seemed to work.

Generally through her life, she had spells where it was better and worse. I remember during the summer of 2005, which was a very tough time with the separation, Luna went as long as a month without throwing up. It gave me a lot of hope that she was finally growing out of it.

The last few months, after new treatments and drug cocktails, the frequency and duration of her episodes increased. She was sick last Sunday night up through Thursday, and barely kept any food down. I always said that if she was suffering more than the was well, I had to take care of her. Despite being a little more perky today, I knew it was time.

Despite all of the carpet destruction (after all, the builder used cheap crap that was wearing quickly anyway), she was a good cat. When she was feeling well, she'd get nutty and worm around the floor on her back. It was the only time her nervousness and hyperactivity was funny.

She really loved Steph when she was here. In her earlier years, it was a nightly ritual for her to jump up on the bed and start kneading right on her neck. Eventually Steph figured out the ideal position to allow this and not have it hurt, and Luna would bitch until she got it right.

Luna would do the same thing with me, when she didn't feel good, between my arm and my body when I was lying down. She was really affectionate when she wasn't feeling well, which was a strange irony for me. When it comes down to it, that was her way of telling me that she needed me to make it better.

Of course I'll always remember her, and she had a pretty good life, even if it only lasted five years. The sadness I'm feeling right now is pretty intense, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. My temporary misery though is better than years of it. I would've felt bad if I came home from work one day to find she died alone. I'll miss her.


What does it take to recognize self worth?

posted by Jeff | Friday, March 2, 2007, 12:33 AM | comments: 1

I had not one, or two, but three conversations tonight with various people who are scared of life's uncertainties. In every case, the feelings are rooted in the notion that what they say or do isn't of any value. (Related: Fear, change and risk.)

Let me make something very clear up front... I'm not particularly happy right now with some aspects of my life, and my self-esteem is not at a high point. So when I offer advice like this or make observations, it's not out of some superiority complex, I just think I'm better able to keep some level of perspective.

Everyone has different reasons for doubting themselves or dismissing the value of their thoughts and feelings. There are the basic things like, "What will people think?" or, "What do I know?" Then there are the more deeply rooted things that come from parental influence, romantic relationships, and to a lesser degree, shitty job situations. When those external influences build up over time, a person gets to this ugly place they actually believe the bullshit that has been imposed upon them, that they really don't have anything meaningful to contribute or feel.

It's hard work getting around that. I was lucky enough to have an awesome therapist who bypassed the "how does that make you feel" nonsense and got to the meat of the "you need to start believing in the value of your feelings." It takes practice, and at every corner, you need to catch yourself feeling bad or scared or whatever, and realize:

"These are my feelings, and they are real and legitimate. No other person, or society, can take these feelings away or invalidate them."

Once you have that realization, and stick to it, you need to do the harder thing and start getting the people out of your life who violate that premise. They exist as lovers, bosses, friends and sometimes just overall environments. It's never easy, but it's quite liberating to be out of those kinds of toxic relationships.


Cooking with gas!

posted by Jeff | Thursday, March 1, 2007, 5:33 PM | comments: 2