Archive: May, 2005

Birthday party stripper

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 31, 2005, 2:02 PM | comments: 1

You've probably heard about the stripper hired by a mom for her kid's 16th birthday. I think that's hilarious in some ways. Aside from obviously questionable parenting, should it really be against the law?

I mean, this is not something I would advocate, but I would think that it falls in the same realm as giving your kid alcohol. I would think that it's up to the parent. Parents certainly do more stupid things than that.

Extreme Makeover Home Edition

posted by Jeff | Sunday, May 29, 2005, 10:04 PM | comments: 6

Tonight's episode: Widow and three daughters lose house to massive fire. Team with a hundred workers builds them new house in a week. They also build a bed and breakfast in the upstairs, something the mom and her late husband always wanted to have. Then the contractor donated $71k for the girls' college fund. If you didn't cry a little seeing this, you aren't human.

Yes... you can make good TV, get ratings, and still do something good in the world.

Catching up: Garbage, Hilton Head, Star Wars, volleyball, phone

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 26, 2005, 7:13 PM | comments: 2

I don't know why I can't let some things out of my head without blogging about them. Anyway, a bunch of stuff to get out that I've neglected.

First off, we saw Garbage a couple of weeks ago. That's the fifth time we've seen them, and as expected, they delivered. The stage presence of the band, and especially Shirley Manson, is staggering, and the crowd was so into them. They played some interesting arrangements of older songs, but only one song from Beautiful Garbage, and perhaps only a couple from Version 2.0. They only played for about an hour and 20, less than previous times. Good show though, and nice to see them again.

Stephanie and I went to Hilton Head a couple of weekends ago for a kind of break from the world vacation. I haven't been there since I was like 13, so I more or less have never been there. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza deep in the Shipyard Plantation. It's one of the few places that has direct beach access, and being the hotel snobs we are, I had to spend the money for a 4-diamond place. It was a fairly nice place, but unfortunately our room overlooked the air conditioners of the restaurants and ballrooms. Still, nice pool area, fairly good service. The wait staff in the bar is mostly British.

If you've never been there, the island is weird. Due to strict zoning, signs have to be small and wood, and every tree that can possibly be spared, is. Everything is lush, green and tropical. Then the "plantations" are like gated communities that are even more secluded. While the island is very busy with tourists, it's a little easier to bare inside the plantations. Still, maybe a little too people-thick for Steph's liking I think.

One of the highlights of the trip was dinner at a little Thai place that Steph happened to spot from the road. My eating habits blow, but I was damn determined to try something new. I did that with this really good spicy dish. My eyes watered like crazy but I loved it. Steph had something tofu based. Really worth every penny.

We went to see Star Wars last weekend. Yep, lived up to all of the hype. It was dark, answered the questions, great adventure. I have to admit that in the final scene with Luke's aunt and uncle standing in the sunset on Tatooine, the classic theme swelling, I shed a tear. Hell, I get emotional just thinking about it. It was awesome.

Last weekend, volleyball ended. Talk about another emotional thing. I got a lot closer to these kids than I expected, and they all got a lot better than I originally expected. Finished the season with a higher rank point average than ever before, and made it into gold in every last standard tournament. I can't complain about that. I'm going to miss these kids so much.

And finally, Steph and I changed our wireless phone service to Verizon. Steph really needed it... her phone was just getting so old and unreliable (four years?). Sprint service wasn't bad, per se, but the text messaging was awkward. My phone was only two years old, and I feel like it's kind of a waste, but I'm really interested in text messaging and moblogging. I'm trying to figure out now how to add that functionality here.

If you've read this far, you must be a good friend or someone with too much time on your hands. :)

A great Fox show gone the way of most good Fox shows

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 26, 2005, 12:26 AM | comments: 1

I finished watching all 13 episodes of Wonderfalls tonight. I have to say it was one of the best shows that nobody watched ever made. Like a lot of the really good Fox shows over the years, this one aired only four times. If I was a screen writer (and who knows, maybe I am), I would tend to agree with the statement of the creators in the special features. As they put it, it's great that at least they were able to create the show and share it with people on DVD.

And I'm grateful because the show overall had a pretty strong impact on me. The show plays a lot on fate, purpose in life, relationships and happiness. Personally, I took several things away from it.

First off, there's a recurring theme that you need to listen to your heart to a certain extent no matter what everyone (or little stuffed animals) are telling you. I relate to that because I spent a lot of time listening to people on career advice, not realizing until fairly recently that in my heart I just wanted to do my own thing. Listening to your heart, and knowing when to question it, is a hard thing to do.

Then there's the thing about accepting what and who you are, and coming to peace with that. A lot of what Jaye, the main character, had to deal with, was that she was at heart a good person that helped a lot of people, and didn't want to accept that for whatever reason, presumably one of perceived weakness.

And of course, there's the theme through the entire story arc where when you meet someone special, or even someone that doesn't seem that special at the time, it's worth it to go for it and work it out. That's so my life... it just took me a few tries before I actually went for it.

All in all, a great show, clever premise, worth getting. Pick it up if you get a chance.

Human interaction

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, May 25, 2005, 6:09 PM | comments: 2

"I mean, human interaction is scary. And it's unpredictable and you have to interact with other, well, humans. And that's always messy."

-Jaye, Wonderfalls #9

Laptop follow up

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 24, 2005, 11:51 PM | comments: 2

I got the replacement part for my laptop power connector today. I managed to get it soldered into place, but it was a struggle because the board is all melted from the short. Kinda scary. It's a little fragile, and I worry about how long it's going to hold.

Anyway, I just happened to find a Dell coupon for $750 off any laptop over $1,500. I was really reluctant, and I have a ton of purchase regret already (even though it won't arrive for two weeks), but I got exactly what I wanted for $756. That's not horrible, even though I'd rather not spend anything. Still, the thing is my life line for work. Cost of being a contractor I guess.

D3 college coaching

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 24, 2005, 10:41 PM | comments: 0

I applied for a volleyball coaching job at a certain local D3 university. It's only a part-time job, technically, but I can't think of anything else that I would rather do on a part-time basis. I got a letter from the school today indicating they'd start interviewing next week.

Getting that job would be a pretty huge big deal for me. While I've spent the last year or two trying to not define myself by the work I do, I have to admit that this would be something that gives me a little more purpose. I'm really looking for a new challenge with regards to coaching, a chance to push to a new level of competition.

I'm also being considered for a high school job, but honestly I'm not that excited about it.

I'm a sick bastard

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 24, 2005, 4:56 PM | comments: 0

I mean literally not well. Cough, phlegm, runny nose, fever, shivering, sweating, etc. This is the first time I've been sick like this in about two and a half years or so (Christmas 2002). I had such a good record going.

PKI Italian Job Stunt Track media day

posted by Jeff | Monday, May 23, 2005, 1:59 AM | comments: 0

[I posted this to CoasterBuzz Thursday... sorry for the late copy.]

Against my better judgment after checking the weather, I decided to make the trip to PKI for the media event. They sent me a remote control Mini, so it was the least I could do!

As is becoming habit for movie-themed rides, the park was shipping guests from the gate to the ride via limo. No, the bars weren't stocked. Approaching the ride, I was actually surprised at how much bigger it looks in real life. I honestly didn't have any expectations one way or another, so I was anxious to see what the ride was like.

There were three skydivers to begin the festivities. Two of the stunt drivers from the movie were there. There were some explosions from the new hydro seeded area, Jeff Siebert crawled out of a Mini, and finally people queued.

I sat in the second row. The launch is a very short stretch of track, and it accelerates much as you would expect a real car too, so it's not too intense. The helix into the parking garage was, however, more intense than I expected, and it's weird how it doesn't really feel like it slows down until the last 180 degrees or so.

The dive into the L.A. drainage system with the police cars is neat, but you go through it so quickly. The quick turn and the series of drops are neat, surprisingly with little pops of air all over the place. The drop through the subway stairs I don't quite get, because it's not entirely enclosed, and the stair step effect isn't there either.

Then it's up to the helicopter scene (with another pop of air). It's a neat break in the action. The sound here is not adequate. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be coming from the car or the scenery, but it needs to be louder.

The tunnel is cool, and I'm not entirely sure where it went. Sitting in the first car, I saw the reflection of the other two cars' headlights in the rear-view mirror. That was neat.

Finally there's the burst out of the billboard and into the water, and the sprayers were active. Good times.

When pulling back into the station, it was the first time I heard anything from the onboard speakers. The quality was terrible and if there was anything during the rest of the ride, I never heard it. I think that's something that really needs to be tweaked.

My overall impression? I love the ride. It's one of the only rides I can think of that I suspect will appeal to a huge range of people, from young kids to senior citizens. This is the perfect ride for a park looking to attract a diverse demographic. Well done.

A very nice catered lunch was served, and that's when the sky opened up with fury I've yet to see this year. A guy with radar on his phone showed it wasn't going to end any time soon, so I decided to buy a T-shirt and split.

On my way out, there was a track set up in the parking lot, where some serious drivers were time trialing in real Mini's. Wow. Those things corner on a dime at high speed even in the rain! I was in awe. I want one.

Anyway, great ride, and I'm excited for BeastBuzz. What a good time, and all smiles coming off the ride!

Busted laptop

posted by Jeff | Sunday, May 22, 2005, 3:08 PM | comments: 1

My HP laptop has had a problem with maintaining a good power supply connection since I got it in 2003, requiring you to sometimes jiggle the cord at the laptop to get it to maintain power. Finally, yesterday, it stopped working entirely.

I downloaded the service manual and took it apart, and I was horrified to see that the power connector on the motherboard was entirely broken off now, and that it apparently was being held in place with a small piece of electrical tape! Yeah, it was shipped to me from Taiwan with a piece of electrical tape securing a broken power connector on the motherboard.

Even more scary is all of the scoring from what I assume was a frequent short. I think I'm lucky the thing never caught fire.

I'm seriously pissed off about this, especially seeing as how I need the thing for my job. There's no point in me trying to put the thing back together, and I can't solder the connector back on. I can try to find a replacement, but I doubt I can find one that will fit the motherboard exactly.

Needless to say, I sent a very strongly worded message to HP about this. In the mean time, I have to figure out what the hell I'm going to do, because I can't stop working over this.

On risk and fear

posted by Jeff | Sunday, May 22, 2005, 2:39 AM | comments: 0

I met a guy at a party tonight that went to school for film and has been freelancing here and there. This summer he's going to go away to NYC to hopefully work, but at the very least just "see the world" and go with it.

I can't even begin to tell you how lame I felt. Here's a guy that was throwing caution to the wind and just living life. My thought at the time was, wow, he's taking a pretty serious risk. I wish I could do something like that.

Now that I've had time to process it though, I realize that it's not really that great of a risk. By definition, risk is the chance you take that you could lose something of a particular value. Let's face it, when you do something like that in your early twenties, there really aren't that many serious risks. You probably don't have a mortgage, big car payments, spouses, babies, a college fund to start, etc. You can own the risk without causing potential harm to others.

When I put it in those terms, obviously someone in my shoes has a lot more risk. To be fair, I took on a lot of risk last year by quitting my day job, and that risk has cost me dearly in various ways (financially and emotionally), but I did take that chance. Stephanie did something similar in that she totally changed academic programs. So far that's working out for her as well. We indeed have taken some chances.

So then if it's not that I don't take risks, what is it about the guy's story that makes me feel so lame? I think it's more the acceptance (or denial) of fear. When you're right out of college, you don't really have a lot of fear. You tend to feel indestructible. As you get older, I don't think taking chances is so much a problem as fear is.

Fear is a powerful motivator. At the most basic level, it helps keep animals alive. Self-preservation comes from fear of so many things, whether they be emotional, health-related, physical or financial. Fear is not a bad thing, and as you progress through life it keeps you from doing ultra-stupid things. I guess that's just being mature.

So in the end, I think that perhaps what made me feel lame was that I allow fear to dictate my behaviour more than I'd like. I'm not sure if that's true really, but I think it's an area I need to explore. Fear helps balance you out, yes, but too much could certainly cripple you. Too little could cause you (or others) harm. I need to find where that healthy balance is supposed to be, and allow it to change over time. Taking risks in and of itself is not the hard part, it's identifying, managing and reacting to fear.

Whew! Now that I've thought that trough, I don't feel so lame anymore. :) I do feel that there are a lot of things that scare me, but my gut reaction is that in most (or some) of those cases, it's healthy fear. Self-preservation. Still, it's a part of me I need to really contemplate.

And by the way, watching college kids interact in a party setting is fascinating.

One last volleyball photo

posted by Jeff | Saturday, May 21, 2005, 7:52 PM | comments: 0

Sadly, I've coached my last match with my 2005 team. I'm going to miss these girls!

Free wireless access at hotel

posted by Jeff | Friday, May 20, 2005, 4:09 PM | comments: 4

Finally... a hotel that offers free wireless Internet access. Both Amerisuites in the Columbus area offer it. And they're inexpensive and clean on top of that.

Now you can download porn on someone else's dime!

The death of our phone

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 17, 2005, 4:23 PM | comments: 4

After having 330-273-1336 in service for about nine years, today I killed the number and replaced it with Internet phone service. Fuck you, Verizon!

I don't live in an area where I could transfer the number, but given that 95% of those who call us are telemarketers, who cares. I was paying about $80 a month for the line itself, unlimited long distance, voice mail, caller ID, etc. Now I pay $25 for all of that to Vonage.

It took about five minutes to sign-up online, ten minutes to configure the new router I bought ($80 after rebate, and it includes 802.11g to replace by 'b), and that was that. I made my first IP-based call shortly thereafter. I disconnected the lines from the box on the house, and now the entire house is wired. Done. 911 configuration took about three hours, but it's active now as well.

I just got off the phone talking to a friend for about ten minutes. I can't tell the difference. I can't believe I waited this long. If you want to sign-up, let me know, and I'll give you a referral. I can get two months of free service, so I would appreciate it. :)

Difficult times

posted by Jeff | Monday, May 16, 2005, 11:26 PM | comments: 3

I haven't blogged much lately because of various reasons, not the least of which is that I'm having a very difficult, life changing crisis right now. It's not something I'm comfortable sharing with the world in detail, but suffice it to say that the way I see the world has been altered permanently and drastically.

When these kinds of events occur in your life, you try to remove yourself from the situation and try to look at it objectively, which is of course nearly impossible. You tell yourself things will work out, that time will make things easier, etc., but you can never be sure.

There is in fact one more way to view a difficult situation, and that is quite simply to realize that things are difficult, you aren't equipped to deal with it, you can't control it. That's not fun, but a little hope and faith make things a little easier. There's always something to look forward to, and at times that helps. You have to keep your cup half full.

The cutest girl ever

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, May 11, 2005, 12:49 AM | comments: 5

Stephanie got a haircut and went back to black...

Cutest girl ever.

Piercing preferences

posted by Jeff | Monday, May 9, 2005, 8:25 PM | comments: 5

Stephanie has been thinking about getting her lip pierced for a long time, and is now considering it for sure. That's hot.

How do you feel about piercings (on girls)? Obviously my longest fascination has been nose (nostril) piercings, for obvious reasons. Most any girl can pull that off and automatically seems more attractive. Rings are hot, but screws are understated and cute. Septum piercings are pretty cool, but it depends on the girl. Not everyone looks right with that.

The eyebrow I've never been a huge fan of, but again it depends on the person. Other various face piercings it just depends. The Monroe looks good on certain girls, but I can't stand the thing between the eyes. Various ear things of course are all good, though plugs beyond a certain gauge aren't really that attractive.

But that lip thing... rings especially, are hot. I wish I could explain it.

I'm glad I'm married to someone pierced, because I'm too much of a pussy (and look too much like a banker) to get anything done myself.

Queer Eye Girl hits stride

posted by Jeff | Monday, May 9, 2005, 12:07 AM | comments: 0

Nothing on in the 10pm block of TV tonight, so I caught an episode of Queer Eye for The Straight Girl, and it really has hit its stride.

The show was about a dorky little Jewish girl with big glasses, pig tails and overalls, preparing to celebrate her first anniversary with her husband. Naturally the task was to make her sexy and get her to break out of her safety zone. The whole coming out thing happens and you have to fight back the tears of joy. The whole thing is so formulaic, but fuck, that's good TV.

Missing video

posted by Jeff | Sunday, May 8, 2005, 5:58 PM | comments: 3

After the media event at Cedar Point Friday, and being around a lot of reporters and video equipment, I have to say that I'm really missing television again.

The worst thing is that I really want a nice video camera. Part of that is just me needing to buy something right now to fill other voids in my life, but maybe if I actually had the gear I'd start really getting serious about writing another screen play and start shooting a film. The ideas are swimming around in my head.

I already have one of the best editing solutions (Avid), and I have to admit that a lot of the fun is the post production. Still, I've been talking about this for more than a year and I haven't done shit with it.

The rig that Classic Video did at CP was really very cool, by the way. They did a three-camera shoot that allowed them to do live drops on the ride. One wireless camera on the ride, one on the roof of the games area, and one on the exit ramp. It was really impressive to see it in action.

Fucking Wal-Mart

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 5, 2005, 10:33 PM | comments: 2

Our vacuum cleaner doesn't suck. I mean literally, it's not sucking. Being bagless, it has a bunch of filters. The big exhaust filter on the back looked OK, but the ones for the cyclonic container and the other internal one were a mess.

I went to three stores before I found replacements, the only one coming through being Wal-Mart, unfortunately. I swear, every Wal-Mart is a dump, crowded, and there are never enough cashiers. Between that and their bullying business tactics and accounting for fully 1/4 of all Chinese imports, I hate them. I don't have a problem with fair trade, I have a problem with their bullshit "made in America" claim.

And did I mention every store is a dump?

Snoop Dogg is the real thing

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, May 4, 2005, 1:41 AM | comments: 2

I saw Snoop Dogg on Letterman tonight. He really is the shizzle. He was talking about coaching pee-wee football, and how it's a big deal to him. He said two things I can totally relate to. First he says he surrounds himself with smarter people to learn from. Second, he says music, movies, everything, comes second when he's coaching.

I have so much respect for a guy that famous that can stay that grounded. Granted, he does outfit the team and wears a Tom Landry hat, but still.

American Idol predictions

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 3, 2005, 10:05 PM | comments: 6

I was bored tonight and watched American Idol for the first time since they were telling people to get lost in various cities. I think it's a no-brainer.

Either the blonde or the scruffy guy are going to win. She's cute, has the country-pop-AC sound with broad appeal, he's just the anti-Idol and is easily the most interesting male to ever be on the show. Hard to say which way it will go. I think it depends on the make up of the audience. If it's primarily female, I can see the guy getting an edge, but it's hard to say.

A sad reminder of something that didn't work out

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, May 3, 2005, 1:04 AM | comments: 0

People who have known me six or more years know that I worked for about three years creating a new cable access facility for the nearby city of Medina and the school district. It was perfect for me because, given my varied broadcast background, allowed me to really cover everything from engineering to production to air talent. When I was hired there was nothing... not a single camera.

I left that job for several reasons. The first was that I had to answer to politicians, and sadly they had their best interests in mind, not the community's. The second was money, specifically that they didn't want to pay me what my contemporaries locally and nationally were making. When one of the asshole committee members told me I was working in this area as a choice (with references to his "poor" teacher salary), that was the last straw. It didn't help that so-called "professional educators" refused to acknowledge me as a professional. The high school principal actually said she considered me "one of the kids" in a discussion about why I didn't have time available for her pet projects.

I loved that job though, because I was able to be creative and improve the community by communicating things they might not otherwise see. I never played into the small town/big fish bullshit, but people knew me and they appreciated what I did. It was a good feeling to see you're having a positive influence on people, however small.

Anyway, one of the things we talked about, in conjunction with my counterparts in the adjacent cities, was putting court cases on TV. For one thing, it was good TV, well before the realty craze got out of hand. I did a reality doc on life in the crowded high school that was really huge, so I knew we were on to something that would both entertain and inform.

The committee members shot it down. Why? Because of differing political views they had with the elected judges. Of course, they had no problem being on TV themselves in city council and school board meetings, but no judge. Fucking assholes.

A lot has happened in the six years since I left, the most obvious thing being that they were able to move into a new facility in the new high school.

Wouldn't you know it, today on one of the local broadcast stations, a fairly lengthy package about the popularity of the cablecast court cases, now showing.

As the story aired, and I got to see the new facility, I couldn't help but almost feel my eyes start to get puffy. I put so much thought and planning into that place, and never got to see it exist because of those asshole politicians.

I know I left under my own power, and despite years of working shitty jobs, I'm finally in a position to really work on my own terms. That said, that job was such a wonderful and exciting thing to be a part of. I try not to measure my own self-worth by my professional life anymore, but when you do excel at something and you have a measurable effect on people, it's hard to deny that's a good feeling.

I suppose the thing that bothers me is that there was something with great potential that, through no fault of your own, was kind of ruined. I see so many things in life like that, even stupid TV shows that get cancelled.

The story, and video package:

Wonderfalls #4

posted by Jeff | Sunday, May 1, 2005, 12:23 AM | comments: 0

"One bad day and everything changes."

"Bring her back to him."
-Wound-up Penguin

"Don't you ever think about this life
And how strange it all can seem?
Only way to find the answers out
Is to wake up from its golden dream."
-Theme song, Andy Partridge

It's crazy, bizarre, and scary as hell when 45 minutes of television can tell you so much about your life.