Archive: November, 2005

A good anti-weed ad

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 8:45 PM | comments: 1

I'm easily amused, it's true, but I thought this anti-pot smoking ad was kinda funny (choose "Flat"):

It's kinda funny because it really is a caricature of chronic weed smokers that I've known.

Alias no more

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 8:28 PM | comments: 1

I learned today that Alias is in its last season. Jennifer Garner is out. It's a shame, because it was finally getting interesting with the new characters. I guess it's just 24 now for my spy action TV.

Sherrod Brown for Senate

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 5:42 PM | comments: 1

Well, I was hoping he'd run for governor of Ohio, but as it turns out he wants to run for the U.S. Senate instead of the house. He's got my vote. I've met him several times. Smart guy, very much into serving the people that elect him.

Alanis == hot

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 12:39 AM | comments: 1

Wow... Alanis was just on Leno doing a cover of Seal's "Crazy." My God is she hot. I've always had a kind of subdued thing for her (and most female musicians that I like), but she is without question getting more attractive with age. Ryan Reynolds is a lucky guy!

Why are people so unreliable?

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 12:37 AM | comments: 1

OK, if you know me and consider me a good friend, please don't read into this and think it's about you.

I was talking with a friend tonight about how unreliable people are. In a general sense, you might apply that statement to people you work with or go to school with. But even among the people that you consider your friends, it's remarkable how things can change and suddenly they'll leave you hanging or aren't interested in maintaining the friendship. That happened recently with me and someone I really thought was my friend, and I'm really hurt by that.

Despite what my Internet persona may suggest, I'm the kind of person that would bail a friend out of jail at 4 a.m. I'm very loyal to my friends, in a way that I'm not to my own family. I value these relationships. It sucks when other people don't value them as much as you do.

Amazon pricing is screwed up

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 11:31 PM | comments: 0

I looked up 24 Season 4 on Amazon last week, and there was a link to buy it together with Season 3 for $10 off, the total coming to just under $70 for both (or $35 each, which is a steal). Since I made that order, Season 3 went up $17 in price. Not that I have to pay that extra amount, but it's weird how that happens.

Can't vote for this guy

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 10:56 PM | comments: 1

Wow, I just saw an ad for Jim Petro, who is running for Ohio governor. I'm shocked. The ad starts with him talking about his faith, with pictures of a Bible, then goes on to say he's pro-life, and finishes by saying (or rather implying) that gay marriage is wrong. Wow.

First of all, I give him credit for having the balls to come out and say what he believes. I think that shows a lot of character. However, starting your campaign and creating its foundation on the idea that you want to push your ideologies regarding personal liberties is absolutely insane. State government is a mess, and this is your coming out party? No thanks.

Sigh. We are in dire need of someone better. I was hoping my congressman was going to run.

Search for Xbox 360

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 29, 2005, 1:50 PM | comments: 0

How fast can you whip something up with ASP.NET? Pretty fast.

I don't know if anyone will actually go to the site, but it took me all of two hours to do and $8 for the domain name, so it's worth a shot. If I generate that much in AdSense, I broke even. :)

Bush borrowed more than all presidents combined

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 28, 2005, 10:09 PM | comments: 3

This is pretty staggering. According to this editorial in The San Fran Chronicle, Bush and Congress have borrowed more money than all previous presidents combined.

So much for the small government Republicans. How the hell can we make it another three years with this guy in office?

Opening, then closing the windows

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 28, 2005, 9:19 PM | comments: 4

As much as I bitch about Ohio weather, I had the windows open today. It's amazing what a little fresh air does to boost your spirits and make you productive.

Of course, Ohio giveth, and Ohio taketh away. It's getting really cold now. :)

Lara Flynn Boyle blown away

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 28, 2005, 9:10 PM | comments: 0

I caught the "last week" tease on NBC's Las Vegas, showing Lara Flynn Boyle getting blown off the roof of the hotel. That's pretty hilarious, almost too funny to be real, because she's so nasty and anorexic.

Walsh pussies

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 26, 2005, 9:25 PM | comments: 1

Wax on, wax off

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 25, 2005, 10:39 AM | comments: 0

Tax hybrids? You've got to be kidding

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 25, 2005, 10:30 AM | comments: 2

A report from the feds suggests taxing hybrids because they use less gas, and therefore, pay less fuel tax.

This has to be the single most stupid thing I've ever heard in my life. Why the hell would you undermine the one trend that will in the long term reduce oil consumption? Wouldn't it make more sense to stick it to the people buying giant 8-cylinder vehicles they use to take the kids to soccer practice?

The stupidity in some people never ceases to amaze me.

Playing with HDTV

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 11:58 PM | comments: 18

I upgraded to the new version of Beyond TV because it supports HD. I got an over-the-air tuner too, the point being that I can at least record more than one thing at once (since the networks schedule like the two shows I want to watch at the same time).

Of course, I don't actually have an HD monitor, so I'm not really watching in HD unless I transfer the files to my desktop. I was disappointed that my NBC affiliate's signal is too weak to get with the little indoor antenna. I looked them up and they're only transmitting at 7kw, which is weak. I had a hard time at first getting good signal strength because I couldn't find a good piece of RG-6 with good connectors.

It's kind of neat to see that TV is finally starting to transition to HD in a more sincere fashion. There still isn't a ton of HD content, but the networks are at least doing their prime time stuff.

No 360 love, just freaks

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 9:13 AM | comments: 5

I figured what the hell, I'll go to Best Buy when it opens this morning to see what the demand is like for the Xbox 360. There were known quantities on the Internet, so I figured if I showed up and there were fewer than 50 people, maybe I'll get lucky. At worst, I would brave rush hour traffic for no reason.

I got as far as the parking lot and saw a tent city. You've got to be kidding me. Do these people have lives? What makes you camp out in 36 degree freezing rain? I've done less for concert tickets. I did less in college trying to hook up with chicks even.

Oh well, like I said, the only thing I really lost was a buck in gas and a little time. I can't imagine having waited for hours to buy a game console, not when I might be able to walk up and buy one next week.


posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 7:11 AM | comments: 3

Insane podcast numbers

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 21, 2005, 11:00 PM | comments: 0

Wow, I guess if you really line up good content for your podcast, there is a ton of interest in no time. This week's episode already did more downloads in a day than last week's in eight days. That's crazy.

I never thought I'd be having as much fun with it as I am (especially considering I don't make any money on it). It seemed like such a dumb idea at the time, or at least until I started listening to other podcasts. My former program director from ages ago (Y-105, Mansfield's Shit Music Station!) actually offered to voice-over the opener and closer for me for free, which is pretty badass.

Now if I could just pay attention to something that might make me some money... my next site.

Xbox 360, chicks, party, desert

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 21, 2005, 10:51 AM | comments: 0

See, even girls play games. I'm so bummed I didn't get picked for that drawing!

Check out this video from the launch.

More podcast fun

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 21, 2005, 2:23 AM | comments: 0

We had a good time recording CoasterBuzz Podcast #10 tonight. We ended up going an entire hour because there were so many news stories, and we had all six of us in this time. Our special guest was Will Koch from Holiday World again, and he revealed the new element added to The Voyage.

Oh, and of course we have good bonus material. :)

Another tryout finished

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 20, 2005, 8:07 PM | comments: 0

Had tryouts today. I was a little disappointed with the turnout this year, but the flip side of that is that I didn't have to waste time looking at kids who had no chance of making the team.

I think I've got a really good core group of six or so, but my bench might not be as strong as I was hoping for. There are some challenges there in terms of developing skills, but I've had a lot less to work with before so I'm not particularly worried.

We begin in January! My ninth team... I can't believe I've been doing it for so long.

Above average

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 20, 2005, 12:32 PM | comments: 0

Whoo hoo! I'm above average! ;) Waaaaay above average!

Washington is stupid

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 20, 2005, 12:31 PM | comments: 6

The headlines out of Washington are ridiculous lately, especially when Bush opens his mouth. Our involvement in Iraq is pissing off everyone here and around the world, and Dubya isn't making things better.

Let's get this straight... everyone supports the troops. Why would anyone not? These people risk their lives in a very scary job in a very scary place. You might disagree with the war, but that doesn't mean that you don't support the people fighting it. For that matter, it doesn't make you any less patriotic either. People are sick of seeing their kids die for a cause that has no clear point or justification. Seems to me that wanting them to come home is more support than anything.

It's the rhetoric about "winning" and "sending a message to the enemy" that I don't get. How exactly do you win a war when there is no one to surrender? We got the brutal dictator, we established a democratic government, now let's get the hell out. Bring our kids home.

Disturbing trend in ad revenue

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 19, 2005, 6:01 PM | comments: 1

I was just looking at revenue and traffic figures for CoasterBuzz over the last year, and they're kind of disturbing. Traffic is up around 15% year-over-year, but revenue is actually taking a slight hit. The overall cost-per-thousand rate is declining. October was the worst month I've had in like two years. Club memberships are relatively flat.

That's not good news. I'm sure that part of it is that I can't find a good balance of ad providers. They all kind of suck right now. The challenge is figuring out which one has a good fill rate and eCPM, and then who they should default to, and probably who defaults from them in turn. It's not fun.

I wish I could simply use the Google AdSense ads that so many other people use, but I can't do that and make the same kind of income yet, especially with the current site layout. That and there aren't a lot of relevant ads for this market.

Cisco buys Scientific-Atlanta

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 19, 2005, 4:08 PM | comments: 0

Wow, I can't say I saw this one coming. The thing is, it makes perfect sense. Cisco bought Scientific-Atlanta.

If you don't work in TV, or more specifically, cable TV (as in with cable system operators), you probably haven't heard of Scientific-Atlanta. For decades, they've more or less owned the business of making equipment that transmits cable signals. Chances are pretty good that their equipment is likely at the other end of the cable from you sending out at least the analog signals. I don't know if they have the same dominance these days in the digital world.

Cisco is of course the company that makes a ridiculous percentage of the routers on the Internet. They bought Linksys a year or two ago to push into homes, and now they're going to the other place where bits go in and out of your house... your cable. That's a brilliant strategy for them because they instantly have a customer base that includes cable companies.

I am the emperor of three thrones

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 19, 2005, 3:37 PM | comments: 1

I replaced the seats on all three of the toilets in my house. The old ones were too porous and and couldn't be cleaned. I'm not just talking about splash-back (gross, I know!), but I kid you not when I tell you that one of them actually was stained from the cleaner itself! The seats barely got four years of use.

So I went to Home Depot, where I saw the seats I already had. Like everything else the builder used, they were the cheapest seats they had, ringing in at $4.95 each. Me, I splurged for the $9.49 seats. :)

This kind of mundane shit used to bore the hell out of me and I never wanted anything to do with it, but for some reason I'm starting to take a little pride in my house. Now if I just had around $5k to replace all of the crappy carpet, and a tall ladder to paint the living room, life would be grand!

Vacuuming the lawn

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 19, 2005, 12:53 PM | comments: 1

Oh my God... my psycho anal neighbor is vacuuming her lawn.

Yes, this is the idiot that used to wash off her driveway daily before they had a lawn. Freak!

Winter blah blah blah already

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 18, 2005, 6:06 PM | comments: 1

Wow, it's not even Thanksgiving and already the seasonal affective disorder is kicking my ass.

For example, I was at Best Buy today with a 10% coupon, and I nearly walked out with an HDTV. Yeah, as if that's some kind of decision you just make. And I don't mean some little 27", I'm talking about a 60" Sony. My debt situation is very, very stressing, and yet I entertained that idea. That's screwed up.

Then to aggravate the situation today, I wanted to go see one of my kids play in her all-star game, but couldn't because I didn't get home in time enough to get out there. Who schedules these things at 6pm?

All I want to do is sit in front of the fireplace and watch TV. It's extraordinarily pathetic, and allowing myself to be that way makes me feel even worse. I'm seriously annoyed.

This is going to be a long winter...

Volleyball rule changes

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 17, 2005, 1:14 PM | comments: 1

I just got a summary of the rule changes that USA Volleyball (and presumably FIVB) have for the year. The highlight? A player is not called for a net violation unless they're involved in playing the ball or it interferes with play. That means if a blocker transitioning off the net happens to tag it, it doesn't matter! That's a good rule. It doesn't happen often, but it's a good common sense rule.

On the flip side, a player can't reach over the net to pull a ball back. This really only applies to over-passed palls that the setter tries to save, and honestly this is a rare thing as well for most setters. Although my tall setter from my high school season this year could actually do that successfully, but I don't know if she'll be setting in the J.O. season.

Thoughts about podcasting

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 17, 2005, 1:38 AM | comments: 1

The Podcast Expo recently ended and there has been a flurry of news and hype following the event. As a phenomenon it has exploded in almost no time, and now everyone is running around trying to figure out how to make money being involved with it. It's kind of hilarious because it reminds me of 1999!

It's kind of hard to find the substance that came out of that conference though. It's remarkable how everyone is so busy patting each other on the back for getting content out into the world around the traditional systems (or masturbating their egos over how great that is). Then there are people seeing dollar signs not connected to anything.

Two keynotes were noteworthy though. Jason Calacanis, who recently sold Weblogs to AOL, and made a lot of money doing so (not to mention generated seven-figure revenue from Google AdSense), basically told everyone they're being kind of stupid about blogging and podcasting. I respect that because anyone who can bank that much money and still say people have unrealistic expectations is firmly planted on the ground. He said there's potential, yes, but not to get greedy, and pull a build-and-flip.

Leo Laporte of This Week in Tech and TechTV fame also spoke, and he seemed to be more against the commercialization of the medium in general. Easy for him to say when he has "real" radio and TV gigs to feed his family. That's why some of his former TechTV co-workers weren't there, I suspect (Kevin Rose from Revision3 and Patrick Norton from Ziff-Davis' Digital Life TV). Those guys have day jobs where they're trying to figure out how to make a living on this stuff.

I thought podcasting was kind of silly until I started driving some heavy miles for coaching and my last contract job. Suddenly it all made perfect sense. Because the radio bug never really left me, naturally I had to give it a shot and do the CoasterBuzz Podcast. At least for now, it's not about money, fame or downloads, but I'm starting to understand that it has benefits that go far beyond any traditional metrics of success.

What does it do for me? Well, obviously it makes me happy, because I get to geek-out with other coaster geeks for a half-hour every week. I'm starting to remember a little what it was like when I did this stuff every day (nine years ago). The difference is now that I don't have to worry about Clear Channel buying my employer and firing everyone!

The unintended benefit of doing the podcast is that it helps build brand recognition for CoasterBuzz. That relationship works out for both our visitors (who are, in a way, customers) as well as the people we write about every day. Relationships are important in this industry because it's just too small. I'm not interested in challenging the credibility of 20-somethings with hobby sites, I'm interested in challenging the mainstream media, the print guys who I feel are becoming largely obsolete. I want their money and their audience. No idea how I'm going to get it, but that's certainly on my mind.

Of course, in a bigger picture sense, I'm actually more interested in doing something with more broad appeal. The coaster enthusiast market is relatively tiny, and the amusement industry audience is even smaller. I don't see a lot of opportunity for growth there, and I'm OK with that. We'll see what my next experiment leads to.

I have seen the future of imaging

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 16, 2005, 4:02 PM | comments: 0

Panasonic sent me a sales DVD for the forthcoming HVX200 video camera. Oh my God. They included an HD version of the video as Windows Media on the DVD. Oh my God. Can you imagine creating something that looks like film using equipment that's costs a few grand? That's what this thing does. I'm in awe.

Of course, it does standard definition too. The recording media, solid state P2 cards, are a little expensive, but it's amazing.

I must have it.

Designer's block

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 15, 2005, 4:24 PM | comments: 0

I'm building a new site, and I'm crazy for doing so because it's in a huge market with established players. Anyway, I'm trying to put something together that doesn't suck visually. That's a problem because, well, I suck at designing sites!

Speaking of which, they announced Brass Ring Awards at IAAPA today, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay won the best site in the big-ass-park category. I've really loved that design since they launched it (the Williamsburg site is similar). Hey, it's even a .NET site, so you know they're clever. ;) Seriously though, there are some fun things in there, and I've always loved the animation at the top.

Winter nights suck

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 14, 2005, 6:30 PM | comments: 0

This darkness by 5:30 thing is really pissing me off this year. It might not bother me if I could open the window and feel a nice 69 degree breeze, but that's obviously not happening.

It's like every night, I feel like I missed something.

BBQ Sauce

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 14, 2005, 12:14 AM | comments: 0

One last thought this evening... I always loved the barbecue sauce at Outback Steakhouse. Our waitress last night said it was Cattlemen's. They have three flavors.. Of course, if I was serious, I could buy lots of it.

Short bursts of productivity

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 14, 2005, 12:10 AM | comments: 0

While I've been a slacker for, um, well, about six weeks, it's rewarding to have little bursts of productivity. I knocked out the podcast in almost no time this week, in part because I only had to make one edit. We're really getting into a nice groove with these.

The 15's tryouts tonight went pretty well. I had to watch the setters, and it was pretty easy to pick them out. Provided they sign with our club, we'll have no problem getting two good, competitive teams. I just hope I get a decent number of choices for 18's.

I'm going to bed early for a change. I'm trying to get on a schedule where I see more daylight, so as to help with the seasonal affective disorder.

I like it hot

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 13, 2005, 7:55 PM | comments: 0

I took a chance and got the hot salsa on my Chipotle burrito today. It was really fucking hot, but really fucking good.

Xbox 360 already in stores?

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 12, 2005, 11:44 PM | comments: 4

So I went to Best Buy today and nearly bought an Xbox 360 controller, since it will work with my PC as well (hey, it's good for MAME). I ended up not buy it because I want the wireless version.

But I was talking to the blue shirt stooge, and he said that they're planning to open early on launch day and hand out tickets to people in line. He also said, though I don't know if I believe him, that they're actually already in the building but no one beyond the receiving and general manager knew how many they had. Interesting.

So many ideas... so hard to manifest

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 12, 2005, 12:54 PM | comments: 0

You ever have something you wanted to do, full of ideas, but can't manifest those thoughts into something tangible? I'm having that problem right now.

Cheese, glorious cheese!

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 11, 2005, 9:10 PM | comments: 0

Does anyone remember those TV spots?

Yeah, I decided to make a little snack, some cheese quesadillas. They were gross! Too much cheese. Lots of cheese makes me fart.

Although that's kind of fun. Farting still makes me giggle.

Getting sucked into Ajax

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 11, 2005, 4:33 PM | comments: 2

I actually bought a book at Borders today, something I never do anymore. Computer books in particular are rare purchases for me because there are few that I need or want to learn from.

If you've used Gmail, you've used a Web app that uses Ajax. Ajax stands for asynchronous JavaScript and XML, which really just has to do with a method of having your Web page exchange data with a server without refreshing the entire page. These technologies have been around for a long time, it's just that they're finally be used together in really interesting ways. There's quite a bandwagon behind this stuff, much of it hype. Yes, browser-based apps are all the rage, and have been around for a long time, but there are now design patterns you can clearly identify and other people have made mistakes for you.

Ajax in Action looks at the state of the combined technologies and how they relate, then goes right into the patterns that make it work. It even covers security issues and various frameworks out there. The examples are pretty solid too, especially the type-ahead suggest (auto complete) example. Neat stuff. The single most useful thing I've read so far is an appendix about JavaScript for OO code monkeys. I read that first, and it sure clears up a lot of things about JavaScript I didn't realize.

Do I have use for any of this? Well, I can think of a couple of instances where it may be useful to me. I guess the reason that I'm drawn to it is just that it's something new.

No Sleep Tonight!

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 11, 2005, 12:58 AM | comments: 1

I got you, I got you on my mind
And it's time to make you see (what I want)
So I'll just make this a little more obvious
Cuz I get what I want, and I want you to get with me!

Don't think you know,
How far I'm gonna go

You can't stop this, feeling!
You can't run away, baby I'm whats on your mind
You can't stop this, feeling!
There's no escape,
No sleep tonight,
You won't get, no sleep tonight

You want me, you want me all the time
And you don't need nothing else
But you seem to be a little oblivious
So I'll show you the way if you think that you need some help

Tell me, baby
Are you coming, with me

You can't stop this, feeling!
You can't run away, baby I'm whats on your mind
You can't stop this, feeling!
There's no escape,
No sleep tonight,
You won't get, no sleep tonight

No sleep tonight,
No sleep tonight,

Boy you won't be sleeping
No sleep tonight
Do I have to spell it out in black and white
Boy you won't be sleeping
No sleep tonight
Do I have to spell it out in black and white

Oh oh oh oh oh!
No sleep tonight
Oh oh oh oh oh!
No sleep tonight
Oh oh oh oh oh!
No sleep tonight
Oh oh oh oh oh!

You can't stop this, feeling!
You can't run away, baby I'm whats on your mind
You can't stop this, feeling!
There's no escape,
No sleep tonight,
You won't get, no sleep tonight

- "No Sleep Tonight" The Faders

First day with the final Visual Studio 2005

posted by Jeff | Friday, November 11, 2005, 12:39 AM | comments: 0

I finally have Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 installed here on my local machine following the MSDN subscription stuff, and it's hard to believe after all of this time with alphas and betas that the new world has finally arrived. It's a good day!

I've managed to write a couple hundred lines of code today, and even test code using the new stuff (I have the VSTD version). I'm digging it. I mean, I knew what it was going to be anyway, but I'm pleased at how well it all seems to be working. The goofy little bugs I had been dealing with the last 18+ months are obviously gone.

I've got a project I'm trying to knock out in the next week or so, but I'm not being a good code monkey and executing the way I should. I'm hoping for some bout of inspiration to push me here. Maybe if I won that Xbox 360 invite. ;) I mean shit, I'm all about the Microsoft stuff. Hook me up!

I want to go to the desert!

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 10, 2005, 11:57 PM | comments: 1

Microsoft is throwing a launch party for 3,000 people for the Xbox 360 out in the Mojave Desert somewhere. I got e-mail today inviting me to sign-up to try and win tickets. How crazy would that be? It's in less than two weeks. It'll all go down really, really fast.

The expense of going is irrelevant. If I win tickets, I will go. The drinks are free, and it's really fucking hot during the day. :) I hear though that you have to be careful with electronic shit because of the dust, so I guess I can't bring my big camera.

Wait, I need to win first. Crossing my fingers. :)

Age musings

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 10, 2005, 11:55 PM | comments: 1

A friend of mine IM'd me today telling me she was going to be 25 this Saturday, and that it will be the last birthday she's going to have.

You know, I never really dreaded getting older, but I admit it was kind of scary to turn 30. When I woke up the next day (with a hangover after the best birthday party ever), I realized, bah, it's just a number.

Age is more a state of mind than anything. I mean, I have friends that seem 40 to me, but I have friends actually over 40, even with kids, that are like 20-somethings. You are what you want to be, and as you get physically older, the number becomes less and less relevant.

For example, in retrospect, it seems weird that my mom and step-dad are 20 years apart. Back then, and even today, it doesn't really matter. A friend over 40 with kids and a great job gets like a kid around roller coasters. Heck, I got my first three piercings over 30. So what does age really have to do with anything?

I was wondering when it didn't matter anymore. I think it was somewhere around the time I got to college. You're not a kid anymore, but you're not in the "real world," but regardless, what you do is up to you. From that point on, it's a life-long process of learning, making mistakes and processing the world around you to figure out how you'll deal with the next thing.

Sure, eventually you're going to die. It's as natural as birth, and there isn't much you can do about it. Might as well do what you gotta do in the mean time. The world's one exciting fucking place!

New music scores

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 10, 2005, 5:59 PM | comments: 1

I picked up two albums on iTunes last night. Both are winners.

The first is the Veronica Mars soundtrack. It has some serious winners on it, including the theme song, "We Used to Be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols. Right on. There's a great track from the Soul Coughing singer, a song from Ivy (the band that sings the awesome "Edge of The Ocean") and this great song from someone called 46bliss.

The best track on there though is by this girl band called The Faders called "No Sleep Tonight." It seriously kicks ass. I looked them up and they have an album out in the UK, but it's not on iTunes. They're barely out of high school. I admit I was drawn to them when they appeared on the TV show, but it's just one of those songs that makes you want to get out of your chair and jump around. God knows I need more of those this time of year.

The other album I got was from Imogen Heap, a female artist also from the UK. She's kind of like Depeche Mode meets PJ Harvey with a splash of Supreme Beings of Leisures and anything a little more upbeat like Dido. (Hey, I have to compare to what I know!) Serious winner there. The album has been crawling up the iTunes album chart for awhile, so I decided to take a chance. Score.

Speaking of iTunes, I'm annoyed that the dreaded "error 2122" is still there because they've not released a fix. I can't burn CD's since version 6 came out, and you can't go back to an earlier version once you've bought music with 6. Bastards.

Chris Sawyer sues Atari. My hero.

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 10, 2005, 1:12 PM | comments: 0

Ever since the first RollerCoaster Tycoon demo came out back in 1998 I think it was, I was floored that there could be such a fun game developed by just one guy. That guy, Chris Sawyer, is now suing Atari for screwing him out of his due royalties. Good for him.

A UK paper reports that Sawyer should have scored around $30 million for the games, the first two of which were developed solely by him, with a few others creating sounds and graphics for him. The third game, a complete piece of shit, was developed by Frontier and essentially licensed.

The software development industry, and especially the gaming industry, is filled with gigantic budgets and teams that involve often hundreds of people. The fact that this guy made an irresistible game more or less on his own is remarkable. The fact that he got rich doing it is also amazing. This is the kind of success story that never happens. Stuff is just too complex these days.

I interviewed Sawyer ages ago, and I thought it was remarkable how intense he was about making a game that doesn't suck, and is just outright fun. Those simple goals are often totally lost these days.

Beaten down by 14-year-olds

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 9, 2005, 9:11 PM | comments: 2

They needed another team to play some of the kids trying out tonight, so they asked a bunch of us coaches to play. My God, these 14-year-olds get bigger every year, and some of them play like high schoolers. Unreal. They seriously wore me out!

Or maybe I'm already getting out of shape. :)

Not feeling like myself

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 9, 2005, 1:34 PM | comments: 0

I know I've blogged about this feeling before, but I really don't feel like myself right now. I have this nagging, angry feeling that I can't dismiss, and I can't identify the cause of it. I hate feeling like this.

I'm trying very hard to think about what would make me angry, but honestly, nothing is coming to mind. I'm really annoyed.

The server issues I was just having certainly didn't help...

MSDN is slooooooooow

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 8, 2005, 9:00 PM | comments: 0

Since I never got a "welcome e-mail" from MSDN, I began relentlessly pinging the form for a subscriber number lookup on Sunday. Finally, this morning, it worked and I got my number. I started downloading Visual Studio. Twelve hours ago. Still only two-thirds the way there. Getting 35k/second.

That's pathetic. How does a company the size of Microsoft offer a very high-end and premium download service and not have the bandwidth to support it. I keep seeing people in various forums and blogs post excuses, but there is no excuse. People are paying big money for this stuff.

What a disappointment.

Ridiculously talented 13-year-olds

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 8, 2005, 8:54 PM | comments: 0

Our club had 13's tryouts today. Every year, I get a little more scared at just how good these kids are getting. I remember when I started doing this that I struggled through the younger tryouts from boredom. Now I'm seeing kids not even in high school that could play second-string on most varsity teams.

For all of the worry I had last night about the state of volleyball in Ohio, perhaps I overreacted. I think we're in good shape.

Giggity giggity

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 8, 2005, 1:20 AM | comments: 2

Giggity giggity. Giggity goo. Stay tuned.

Aaaaaaall riiiiiight.

November 29, the Family Guy fun continues.

Let's give Microsoft a lot of credit for a change

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 7, 2005, 11:40 PM | comments: 0

As Joe mentioned, Microsoft is giving away the express versions of Visual Studio free for one year. If you get it before November 6, 2006, it's yours. Nice.

I think this introduces a whole new group of people to the power of this development environment. It's still Visual Studio at the core, and that's an amazing tool.

I don't really have anything against the open source world, but the people that blindly treat it like a religion and discount Microsoft stuff because it's Microsoft don't get it. I don't mind paying for products that radically make my life easier as a developer. Considering what my time is worth (and therefore what my clients' time is worth), the cost of this stuff is a drop in the bucket.

It's finally over... and other musings about volleyball

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 7, 2005, 10:50 PM | comments: 2

We had our fall sports banquet today, and it's all officially over. I no longer have to think about high school volleyball.

I resigned from the position. There were two primary reasons, the first being that it's just too much of a time commitment, especially for the money (it breaks down to less than minimum wage, and I typically bill ten times minimum wage for work... you do the math). As I'm trying to change my business from a hobby to a bona fide source of income, I just need more time.

The second reason is of course the ridiculous parents. There were only a few, but it just creates too much of a negative environment, especially when they can't even speak to you directly like an adult. Heck, they even backstabbed each other constantly, saying how so-and-so's kid was a liability or sucked or whatever. For years I've coached in the J.O. environment, where there's a great sense of family and collaboration. I value the ongoing relationships with these families and kids more than any of the medals, trophies or T-shirts. That's really what it's about. These are people that I have over for barbecue and they in turn have me over for family functions. I only had that with a few parents this year, and that's unfortunate.

I guess what's most disappointing is that it's not the kids that are a problem. Yeah, you'll always have attitude problems, self-esteem issues and melt-downs, but you deal with those and the kids always come out stronger. That's really the saving grace I think of the time I spent coaching this team. Every kid ended in a much better place than where they started, some of them drastically so. Most of them are smart, wonderful human beings, and it really was a privilege to be able to coach them. I was also lucky to have a very supportive administration.

Some of my friends who coach J.O. thought I was crazy to coach high school again, but I figured maybe things would be different in a private school. I think I was wrong. Now I see why so few coaches do both. High school is just a different world, and one that requires a certain tolerance that I don't have.

High school volleyball in Ohio is becoming so irrelevant, and it doesn't have to be that way. There are basically two things that hold back volleyball here. The first is the OHSAA. Their rules to "protect" kids only deny them the chance to participate in a way that can lead to a higher level of competition that allows them the exposure kids in every other state already get. A kid can't play for the same coach in high school and J.O., which means that teams are almost always changing. There's also a limit to three kids from a school on the same J.O. team. That's not good because college scouts don't screw around with high school. Why bother when they can go to a national qualifier and see hundreds, even a thousand kids in one place? It's harder to get them noticed when you play against teams that are essentially their high school teams from other states and play well together.

The other problem is in the public schools, where teacher contracts give dibs on coaching jobs to teachers. That's a real problem because there aren't enough teachers qualified to do the job. I'm a strong teacher advocate, but you need a degree and certificate to teach, yet you need no qualification to coach. How screwed up is that? I doubt very much that many high school coaches have a USAV IMPACT certification, let alone CAP I or CAP II. The kids get screwed with inferior people.

Oh well. I did have fun and I'm sure that I'll talk to a lot of those kids and their parents for a long time to come.

My new iPod

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 7, 2005, 1:06 PM | comments: 3

Yeah, I couldn't resist. My first iPod arrived almost two years ago to the day, and it has served me extremely well. There's actually nothing wrong with it, and I'm sure it has years of service left. But I couldn't resist the new gadget... it's amazing.

Part of the allure was that it plays video, and I'm a video dork. I can pull stuff off of my DVR and recompress it to iPod size and watch it anywhere. Will I ever do this? I don't know, but I like the idea that I can. It gets me thinking differently about content.

I'm really amazed at how it handles photos. It just loads those bad boys up and you scroll through them rapid fire. How neat is that?

I actually paid $100 less for this one than my first iPod. My third generation 20 gig was $400, while this new 30 gig was $300. Of course, they do cut a few corners too. You don't get a dock, a charger or a belt clip case (though the little leatheresque pouch is nice). I can't believe how thin this one is either.

Please bring your balls tonight

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 7, 2005, 11:14 AM | comments: 1

I got an e-mail message from my volleyball club director today with no text, just the subject, "Please bring your balls tonight."

Did she even look at that before she sent it?

Finally, a podcast I'm happy with

posted by Jeff | Monday, November 7, 2005, 2:29 AM | comments: 0

I'm really happy with the podcast we recorded tonight. We really did a nice job of playing off of each other, disagreeing, and generally sounding like we know what the hell we're talking about. I also had a spectacular rant that I can be proud of. I'm finally starting to minimize my verbal crutches too. I guess radio is more like riding a bike than I thought.

It was technically a little better too. The audio quality was pretty good and the levels were consistent. I was actually using the pots on that expensive mixer I bought!

If only I could've posted the outtake that I really wanted to post. ;)

Family Guy is back

posted by Jeff | Sunday, November 6, 2005, 9:26 PM | comments: 4

Tonight's episode of Family Guy was one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen. Peter starts a TV network so he can run stuff that gets ordinarily censored. Hilarity ensues. The single funniest thing for me was a show called the "Side Boob Hour," featuring shots from TV shows that showed the side of women's boobs. The reason that's funny is because in college we totally used to point it out, and called it "soob." Good times. It's funny that something stupid and obscure from your college years makes it into a TV show.

I'm glad there's still a place for dick and fart jokes on TV. Finding it funny (when it's clever) isn't being immature, it's not taking life too seriously.

The funny thing about cats

posted by Jeff | Saturday, November 5, 2005, 2:32 PM | comments: 2

I've had six cats in my life, starting with Rusty when I was born, up through Luna, one of the two I have now. As they both start to get into winter lazy hibernation mode, always crashing on me or near me, I started to think a little about the social activities of cats.

They can be real bastards at times. Luna barfs on the carpet and cries for no apparent reason, Cosmo spontaneously bites my ankles. I've been known to freak out and chase them around when they do something that irritates me. Likewise, I'm sure they get annoyed with me, briefly, when I don't feed them when they'd like or I yell at them for something.

At the end of the day though, the cats love you unconditionally, and you love them back. There are no strings attached to the relationship. They do something for you, you do something for them, and you really don't expect anything in return. You're able to overlook each other's issues and just enjoy each others' company and love.

We sure could learn a lot from our cats.

Alias fun

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 3, 2005, 11:04 PM | comments: 0

The funny thing about watching a season of a TV show on DVD is that I tend to get addicted pretty quick, to the extent that I watch an entire season in like four or five days (though not consecutive, neccesarily). Such was the case of Alias.

But the good thing is that I could then watch the new episodes from this season. The first interesting thing is that they've worked Jennifer Garner's pregnancy into the plot, and it actually makes sense. Well done. They've also added some new characarers, which the show sorely needed. First up is a new agent named Rachel, who is super cute. In the story she's essentially where Sydeny was years before, discovering she worked for a rogue agency and not the actual CIA. They've also added a male agent whose real name is Balthazar, which is a bad ass name, and he looks a little like a young Charlie Sheen. He's funny in the show.

The thing is, I hope that J.J. Abrams is taking a more active role in the show, because in season 4 he seemed to spend so much time on Lost that Alias was neglected. Season 4 didn't get even remotely interesting until the last seven or eight episodes, oddly enough the episodes I never saw via broadcast.

So I think that the show has been saved after seeing a really crappy first half of season 4. I hope that this season keeps up.

52 Sydney Bristows

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 3, 2005, 4:46 PM | comments: 0

Watching the Alias Season 4 DVD's. I totally forgot about the opener. It has 52 shots of Jennifer Garner in 52 different disguises, and she's cute in every one of them.

Best TV show opener ever.

MSDN'd and all is well

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 3, 2005, 4:22 PM | comments: 0

My MSDN Subscription came today, and after all the freaking out, it turns out that they didn't even ask for proof of a prior product, and even if they had, technically I did have a qualifying product for the upgrade. So I got the older "Enterprise" version for $1,400, which is already upgraded to the newer "Team System for Software Developers" version, normally going for about $5,000.

If you aren't in the loop, MSDN stands for Microsoft Developer Network, and when you subscribe, you get most of their products, depending on the level of your subscription. Under the old system, you could get Universal, which got you almost everything, and Enterprise, which still got you nearly everything. For the Enterprise version, it only costs a few hundred dollars more than the old Visual Studio by itself, so it made sense for people to just buy the whole subscription, and as a result get the various versions of Windows, server products, Office, etc.

Under the new system, with the new Visual Studio, you can still get about the same thing for the same price, but you don't get the newer testing tools and such with the "Team Edition." That subscription costs $5k. The thing is, those are all tools that I have a lot of use for, and not having them would annoy me. So this little "in" that they're doing saves me the money in the long run.

So despite my freak-out yesterday, all is well. I just have to wait a few days to get my subscriber number and I can then download the products. I can't wait to get my hands on the final bits.

More stupidity

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 3, 2005, 12:20 AM | comments: 1

I just got e-mail indicating my MSDN subscription shipped. The really cool part? It's the upgrade version, which I can't use. Swell. Am I paying attention to anything?

November is going really f'ing fabulous so far.

Angry! Stupid! Asshole!

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 11:38 PM | comments: 3

I picked up about $91 in groceries tonight and I'm angry at my stupidity.

First off, I didn't have the woman scan my card, or she didn't ask, so I didn't get discounts or credit for money off gas. Then, I left my huge package of TP under the cart, and even took the cart back into the store. I knew I would do it as soon as the cashier put it there. It's not even the fact that I pissed away $5 (or that I can't wipe my ass). It's the fact that I was so stupid. Like I can't let it go and process it to move on.


Silly Squirts

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 10:46 PM | comments: 2

Chasing geckos

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 10:21 PM | comments: 0

I talked to my mom tonight. She moved to Florida. She said the dog loves to chase geckos around. That's funny.

Quicken Loans Arena: Stupid

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 5:34 PM | comments: 1

The Cavs start their season today, and they no longer play in Gund Arena. It's now called Quicken Loans Arena. It even has a stupid nickname on the news already: "The Q." Sounds like somewhere to stand in line.

Sadly, Cleveland is no longer vanity corporate sponsor free. We had Cleveland Browns Stadium, Jacobs Field and Gund Arena.

I'm so weak when it comes to food

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 11:41 AM | comments: 0

I went to the bank this morning to deposit a check, and before I even left the driveway, I was thinking about how badly I wanted to stop at Wendy's for a spicy chicken combo.

As I was pulling away from the ATM, I realized that my mind was being completely irrational and I thought of an alternative I could make at home for lunch. Close call.

October was a bad month for dieting. While I haven't gained any weight back, I haven't lost any either. I could be more sexy by now, but I was too weak to really stick to it. I had two weekend amusement park trips (both accompanied by mass quantities of beer), lots of stress eating, the end of volleyball (and therefore meaningful exercise) and did I mention stress eating? Last night I made a big ass cheese quesadilla around midnight and I wasn't even hungry.

I've gotta get back on the horse. I'm so much healthier than I was just five months ago, but I know I can do better. None of my clothes fit, which is a pain, but I still think I can do better. It's certainly easier now than it would be ten years from now.

Opportunity, sadness and courage

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 2, 2005, 1:54 AM | comments: 0

I have so much opportunity in my life. I only hope I have the courage to overcome the sadness in my life that prevents me from realizing some of those opportunities. I hope I can keep smiling.

It's great when the good guys win

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 1, 2005, 7:40 PM | comments: 2

Listening to This Week in Tech, they mentioned that the guys at Revision3 scored $2.8 million in funding (story here).

Kevin Rose and the other guys (including other former TechTV guys) involved with the company started, a "social news, networking and bookmarking site" a few months ago, and it has grown to epic proportions. They've managed to attract the attention of investors.

I am really happy to hear this, because I think they're good guys that create great content. Had Comcast not killed TechTV with G4, they'd all be big TV stars. The irony is that the death of TechTV has spawned this meaningful IPTV content. When good people get screwed, but benefit in the end, you feel like there's justice in the world.

I admit I'm a little jealous, but I'm also excited at the amazing possibilities that the Internet and technology continue to provide.

Star Wars is complete

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 1, 2005, 2:07 AM | comments: 2

Today is the day... Episode III is released on DVD. Now you can watch the whole thing, start to finish.