Archive: September, 2005

Hey, bartender!

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 30, 2005, 12:02 PM | comments: 0

Wow... for all of the times I could have used this!

A better day, some time away

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 30, 2005, 2:08 AM | comments: 0

Our match today went pretty well, despite a loss. It went five games and we lost the tie-breaker 13-15, but what a difference in attitudes. The kids really embraced the pressure of the situation, and except for a lull toward the middle of the match, they really stayed positive. I was proud of them. Even my "pouty" kids smiled in the end. Well done.

That said, I have a break from it all this weekend. Long before I officially agreed to coach, I had arranged the CoasterBuzz Club event at Holiday World, so that's where I'll be. We're even planning to record the podcast there. I feel bad about missing a couple of matches on Saturday, but I know Liz will do fine in my place.

Hopefully I'll return emotionally recharged to get us through the last few weeks of the season. Just in time for the J.O. season to start! (Which is far less stressful, actually.)

My foot, the pillow

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 29, 2005, 11:39 PM | comments: 1

DVR failure

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 28, 2005, 12:54 AM | comments: 0

My DVR crashed Sunday. It missed recording whatever it was that it was supposed to record. Perfect end to a perfect day!

Worst day of coaching ever

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 10:06 PM | comments: 2

I had one of those days today why I wonder why I even do this.

Yesterday I had a parent telling me I needed to baby her kid more. Today I had one that wrote a letter saying the girls weren't disciplined (i.e., I should yell more) and that I don't care about what I'm doing.

In our match today, my little Division IV school plays a big Division I school. In the fourth game we're down two games to one, but it's coming down to the wire. We're losing 23-24 when my middle blasts one at the blocker and it flies out of bounds. Girls cheer, the ref gives the other team the point for the game and the match. I completely flipped out. I mean, I scared myself. Hopefully I scared the official because he deserved it. This was the most fundamental call I've ever seen. The girls on the other team saw it, even admitted it, and this moron would not take it back. He saw the whole thing as the reverse, as if they were hitting and we were blocking.

So outside we went, girls are crying, I'm probably bright red, and the ref is still inside descended on by the line judges, the other coach, the athletic director... everyone but me and my kids. My kids are upset. I had never been that upset. It was absolutely horrible.

The kids cleared out, as did the gym. I just sat down and lost it for a minute. I've never been that upset ever. I let out a few tears and then the A.D. came in and did a good job of chilling me out and offering perspective.

I kept asking myself why I even bother. Then I realized... all of this peripheral bullshit has absolutely nothing to do with the kids. They're still eight awesome kids. It's just so hard when you have a day like this because in the middle of all that, you don't have much of a support system. If the A.D. wasn't there, I don't know, I might have really had to think about why I do this.

But I'll be at practice tomorrow, and we'll move on.

The once ultimate gaming machine

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 1:12 AM | comments: 2

They linked to this on TWiT. Can you imagine a $4,500 computer with a 300 MHz Pentium II being called "ultimate" today? Enjoy the TechTV flashback with Kate and Leo.

My server needs a defrag!

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 26, 2005, 1:45 PM | comments: 6

All of my sites are slowing to a crawl the last few days. I finally figured out why...

First CoasterBuzz Podcast "in the can"

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 26, 2005, 1:41 AM | comments: 1

The first audio news show for CoasterBuzz is done...

I'm amazed at how fast one can put something like this together. I decided I wanted to do this on Tuesday, and like that, I've got it done. It's so much easier to produce traditional media than it is to build a Web site. Sure, the equipment is more expensive, but the product is "real" in much less time. It's kind of a buzz to be doing it again!

The content itself isn't bad. It needs a lot of polish on my part, because I'm seriously out of practice in being an on-air personality. I haven't done audio production in like six years either, so I'm rusty all over. We chatted about the show afterward and I think we'll be able to clean it up and make it smoother next time.

I am pleased with the quality. Yeah, it was money I don't have, but buying the gear to do it right was certainly worth it. Perhaps I can nail down a sponsor and pay for that in the long run.

Podcast recording setup

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 24, 2005, 11:38 PM | comments: 0

I tested my podcast recording setup tonight, and it all appears to work. I'll test and restest tomorrow before we actually record tomorrow night.

In the picture below, the laptop is acting as my Skype phone where I can conference in four people. The phone with the phone interface sits in the middle so I can also pull someone in that way (which is actually by way of Vonage, so it's all IP-based). The tricky part, and the reason for the mixer, is that I needed to do mix-minus via the aux sends to both the laptop (to hear my mic and the phone) and to the phone (to hear my mic and the Skype laptop) so everyone could hear each other without feeding back. As expected, it works like a champ and sounds great. It's so kick ass to own my very own Mackie mixer after being out of the broadcast biz for so many years!

I have no idea how or if this will ever make money, and at the moment I don't even care. I'm just really excited to be doing it. More Monday...

My college girls

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 24, 2005, 5:38 PM | comments: 0

First Halloweekend of the year at CP

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 24, 2005, 1:02 AM | comments: 1

I have to admit that I'm not as much of a coaster geek as I used to be, but Stephanie and I have a long-standing tradition now of going to as many Halloweekends at Cedar Point as we can. Tonight was the first one of the year.

All we rode was Iron Dragon and maXair, and that was fine. It's all about the atmosphere and junk food. And it's OK to endulge a little... I mean we look great and we've both lost weight this year. :)

Weather was perfect too. Cool enough to be jacket weather, no significant humidity, and just generally comfortable. Right on.

My baby...


Da skull...

I'm going to podcast

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 21, 2005, 1:59 PM | comments: 3

After watching the latest episode of Systm about how to setup a podcast, my broadcast geek came out and said, "Yep, I need to do that." So I ordered some equipment that should arrive on Friday.

I need to do this. It seems like every day I'm thinking about the old radio days, or video, and I don't do anything about it. I've been out of that business now for for six years looking at it from the outside. That's stupid. The whole reason I got into Internet stuff in the first place is because I saw it as yet another great popular medium with a much lower cost of entry.

Audio is a lot less expensive to get into, especially since with video I don't think it makes sense to get deep into acquisition equipment with HD becoming attainable before the end of the year. So I ordered a mixer and a phone interface, and I'm going to do a podcast with some people Skype'd in. Stay tuned.

Content is cheaper, but it still isn't free!

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 21, 2005, 12:41 AM | comments: 1

I've been watching with great interest the podcasts and IPTV projects of the various TechTV alumni. These folks are reaching hundreds of thousands of people every week without a traditional broadcast network, and that's incredibly awesome.

But the Revision3 guys, Kevin Rose and company, are real TV people doing nice stuff (though would it kill them to do better lighting?). I remember awhile back Kevin mentioned they were going to buy wireless mics and a Panasoic DVX100a, so they're starting with good equipment and it shows compared to all of the crap out there. This stuff isn't cheap.

So with the release of Rev3's latest episode of Systm, they decided to delay general release of the show and give paid subscribers first dibs. I think that's totally reasonable, yet the kids are bitching up a storm about it.

Get over it, folks. Just because they enjoy creating content doesn't mean they shouldn't be compensated for it, especially since they're real media people with an eye on doing it right. Having a small staff will make it possible to greatly reduce cost, especially with a much cheaper distribution medium like the Internet, but the cost still isn't free. Someone has to buy equipment and bandwidth, and have something left over to pay the folks that actually produce this stuff, because you can't do that and have a day job.

The Internet has bred this gimme gimme sense of entitlement and it drives me nuts. You better believe CoasterBuzz has pop-ups and ads, because I'm not going to spend thousands of dollars every year of my own money to run the site. It's just not going to happen. That's why I have the $20/year club with that site, which removes the ads. I'd rather have 500 paying members and 500 visits a day than 10,000 visitors a day that pay nothing.

If the Internet has failed us in any particular way, it's that the cost of entry is so low that anyone can put something online. Unless you go to an established traditional media outlet's Web site, you can't tell by looking who is the real deal and who is full of crap. The good stuff still costs money to produce, and whether it's advertising or subscriptions, one way or another that revenue has to be generated or it's going to go away. People need to accept that.

I personally pay about $100 a year for various online content, which is a lot less than the $40/month I pay for the DirecTV I barely watch anymore. Get perspective... this online stuff you pay for is a good deal.

Mentally exhausting day

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 20, 2005, 1:30 AM | comments: 0

Today was one of those days where it felt like nothing was going to go right. And for the most part, nothing went right. Yeah, I know, I need to keep perspective, but it just seemed like one thing after another. I don't think people were really out to piss me off, but I just never had a chance to stop and recharge.

My kids won their game today, so that was nice. Not a difficult team at all, but they stayed in charge, and that was awesome. I'm so proud of the progress these kids are making.

MSDN subscription: To buy or not to buy

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 19, 2005, 2:48 PM | comments: 2

Yeah, that's quite the question. The forthcoming release of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 brings with it a change in the MSDN subscription program.

Right now you can get a Universal subscription for about $2,400 which more or less will get you everything that Microsoft currently makes. When the new version is out, there are essentially two higher levels above Universal (which will be called Visual Studio Professional Premium or some such nonsense). The next highest level includes one of the Team System skus, either for architects, developers or testers, because some moron at Microsoft seems to think that these are actually discreet roles in every organization. That'll cost around $5,500. If you want all three versions, plus the Team System server product, that'll cost you more than $10k. No thanks.

I do want Windows Vista and Office 12 when they come out, but the truth is that I can get that with the Pro-Premium version when it comes out. They're saying $2,500, but I suspect it will be less at retail. The Team System tools aren't worth it all split up like that, so they won't get my money for that. If I buy the Universal subscription today, I get upgraded to one of the $5,500 versions at no cost, so I guess I might as well.

Microsoft has really taken one step forward and two steps back this time around, and it's annoying. They're making the cost of entry into their platform inexpensive even for the hobbyists with sub-$100 development environments (the Express line), yet they're pricing the good tools ridiculously high, and fragmenting the features all over the place. Stupid. On one hand they see the money in selling server licenses so they'll get you in cheap, but then bend you over if you really want to get the most from the platform. I still say that the cost of software isn't a big deal compared to the cost of labor, but they still don't get that independent developers like me are the ones pushing clients to use Microsoft in the first place. It makes our jobs that much harder when open-sores people are screaming "free! free! free!" to the same people I'm trying to sell.

I bought a subscription shortly after being laid-off back in 2001, and it changed my life. This time around, I'm not so sure I need to take that leap, because now I know how to be profitable, and the only thing I need (as opposed to want) is Visual Studio.

Weight relief

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 19, 2005, 12:43 PM | comments: 0

Since I've been dieting, my weigh-in day is Monday. After 16 pounds from June to August, I got a bit stagnant. Then the last two weeks, I actually appeared to have gained back 10! I was also suffering from weird fall allergies, which I can't remember having since I was a kid. Now that I'm past that, I can only assume that the two were connected, because this week I'm back to my low point (also surprising since I did a lot of comfort eating the last two weeks).

I don't understand why I waited so long to get serious and change my eating habits. I guess I spent so much time thinking that "overweight" wasn't as bad as "fat" that there was no sense of urgency. Then a traumatic life event made me realize that I had to take better care of myself. I'm happy with the results so far.

In fact, it's strange to say that for the first time in my life, I generally feel good about my physical self. That's a new experience for me. I don't get winded (not often) in practice, I don't have intestinal trauma ever, my vertical leap continues to grow, I certainly look thinner... it's weird!

I've still got a long way to go, especially in terms of eating. In that respect, I think I know someone that could be a good coach. ;)

Thinking a lot about photography and video lately

posted by Jeff | Monday, September 19, 2005, 11:35 AM | comments: 0

I'm a photo and video geek. I have been since high school. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I always loved the act of creating an image and the gadgets used to capture them.

In the photography realm, I've wanted a good zoom lens for years. The one I particularly want is Canon's 70-200mm f/2.8L, which is crazy sharp and works great in dark high school gyms where there isn't a lot of light. It costs about $1,100. I thought a lot about the image stabilization version, which costs about $500 more, but I can't see needing that extra feature.

The other thing that caught my eye recently is the forthcoming Canon 5D, which is a significant upgrade from my 10D. Aside from the fact that it's a 12.8 megapixel sensor, the big selling point on this one is that it's a full 35mm frame that captures the image. The 10D (and 20D) have a "field of view crop," which is common in digital SLR's. Basically it means that only a portion of the image that the lens sees is actually captured because the sensor is smaller than the 35mm surface normally projected on film. The 10D has a x1.6 FOV crop, which means it's like taking your 200mm zoom and making it 320mm. In reality, it's just eliminating a portion of the image. This isn't so bad when you're zoomed in, but it sucks for wide angles, where 28mm essentially becomes 45mm. So with nice lenses, you're kind of wasting what they see. The downside of the 5D is its cost though... the body is going to sell for around $3,200.

On the video side of things, it's an exciting time. HD is getting closer and closer to being the real thing in the hands of consumers. The trick is the acquisition format, which right now for the pro-sumer market is HDV. It captures certain HD formats on standard DV tape. The bad part about that is that it's compressed like crazy. Editing it doesn't yield terrible results (at least not on Final Cut, but we're still waiting for the HDV codec from Avid), but it does concern me. There are also attainable cameras, but none of them do the holy grail of HD... progressive scan 1080. That's what I'm holding out for.

Panasonic has a camera called the HVX200, due out by the end of the year. This little guy does variable framerate and 1080p, more or less capturing the kind of video used in HD movies like Star Wars using $100k cameras. That's amazing. The trick is that this camera uses P2 cards for acquisition. You can literally pop them out of the camera and slide them into your laptop and start editing. Or you can connect to a laptop and record there. This camera is going to cost probably around $5,500, not counting the P2 cards. That's insane, yes, but if you know what you're doing, you can record a video of quality very near to that of a feature film. That's awesome.

Of course, my hobbies require me to be rich, and I'm not, so unfortunately I don't think I'll be getting any of this gear anytime soon. Maybe the camera lens. Maybe not.

G4 exec fired? I sure hope so

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 18, 2005, 11:33 PM | comments: 1

Kevin Rose says that the word on the street is that G4's chief exec got canned. We can only hope that's the case, because that idiot managed to kill off a giant audience. Although, quite by accident, I guess we can credit him with all of the great podcasts and IPTV that has come around from the TechTV alumni. How ironic.

I guess when Kevin Rose was released from his contract at G4, there was nothing in there that kept him from trashing the network. I guess even the lawyers at G4 are stupid.

An iTunes party mix

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 18, 2005, 8:26 PM | comments: 1

I just fired up the party mix on iTunes and I got these gems...

"Bad Medicine" - Bon Jovi
"I Sit On Acid (Remix)" - Lords of Acid
"What Would Brian Boitano Do" - South Park Soundtrack
"Professor Booty" - Beastie Boys
"Star Wars Main Title" - Episode I Soundtrack
"Dumb" - Nirvana
"Blue Monday" - New Order
"Loser" - Cracker
"Head Like a Hole" - Nine Inch Nails
"Thank U" - Alanis Morissette
"Up To The Roof" - Blue Man Group with Tracy Bonham
"Music" - Madonna
"Hungry Like A Wolf" - Duran Duran
"Even Flow" - Pearl Jam
"Fuck Off" - Kid Rock
"Don't Dream It's Over" - Crowded House
"Love In An Elevator" - Aerosmith
"Tongue Tied" - Jesus Jones
"The Real Thing" - Gwen Stefani
"Speedballin'" - Outkast (Tomb Raider Soundtrack)
"Finest Worksong (Mutual Drum Horn Mix)" - R.E.M.

That's some weird shit together all at once.

Obligation-free weekend

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 16, 2005, 10:23 PM | comments: 0

Well this feels weird. I have nothing that I absolute have to do this weekend. I mean, yeah, my various projects, but nothing is "scheduled" at all.

Our volleyball tri-match was rescheduled because the other school screwed up, so I won't see the kids. (Oddly enough I think I'm going to see my former middle play with her high school team in the morning.)

What I think I'm going to do is try to work on my next Web site as much as I can. I saw some stuff this week related to the subject that gets me pretty excited about it. Whether or not I actually will do the work I don't know, but I have good intentions.

If I just want to do nothing, it'll probably be DVD's and napping, but hey, people need that now and then too. :)

...And now it's not

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 16, 2005, 2:31 PM | comments: 0

Last night I mentioned how it was fun to be me. Today it's not, and I can't put my finger on what exactly the problem is. I'm angry about something. If I knew what it was I'd process it and move on, but I can't.

Mood swings suck!

It was fun

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 16, 2005, 1:34 AM | comments: 1

It was actually really fun to be me today.

Bonus action on my book

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 15, 2005, 10:16 PM | comments: 1

With the poor marketing and positioning of my book, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to live with the idea that it's never going to meet the sales target I hoped for. That's a real bummer. I should have retained the copyright. Now I know better.

But the little bonus is that a third-party is going to publish a chapter as part of an e-book, and I'm getting a nice one-time cut from that.

I guess it could have been worse though. The first version of the cover text was absolutely horrible and would have likely turned off every person that picked it up off of the shelf. They didn't put something on the cover about .NET v2 because they were worried about RTM delays, yet they (and every other publisher) seemed to be pushing v2 titles.

Anyway, if you're reading this, and you're still trying to "get" .NET and come from a script background, Maximizing ASP.NET is for you. Most of the feedback I've had from people in that audience has been very positive.

A solid win

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 15, 2005, 9:36 PM | comments: 0

My kids had a solid win today against a crappy team. They really played up to their potential, and I had kids playing in all kinds of goofy places they weren't used to. It was a lot of fun.

I'm hoping that this is a turning point for them in terms of attitude. I swear that some days they act like they're trying to cure cancer, which is a bit too serious. We're about one-third of the way through the season and we have lots of work to do.

My mobile iPod experience

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 15, 2005, 12:51 AM | comments: 0

As soon as Joe mentioned it was released, I ordered the new Griffin iTrip FM transmitter for my iPod. I also picked up their Power Pod.

First of all, my car, an inexpensive 2004 Corolla, has a 12v power connector inside the center arm rest. I also discovered that it has a recessed lip so that cables can come out of the arm rest without getting squashed. Good thinking, Toyota. So I plugged in the power supply there. Stephanie bought me an iGrip sticky thing to put on the dash, so I just plop the thing up there with the iTrip in it. It's so iDeal. ;)

Anyway, getting it to work well was not without its quirks. There really isn't any empty spectrum in Cleveland, not even in the non-commercial band. So to really get a clear signal, I had to remove the antenna off my car (it unscrews). Not a big deal, since I never listen to broadcast radio anyway. That allowed the iTrip to get a signal into the radio without a lot of interference.

Getting good quality wasn't instant. First off, the transmitter takes a minute or two to warm up. It's like my college radio days where you turned on the tube to warm it up ten or fifteen minutes before you started to broadcast. Lots of noise until it really starts to go at full strength.

The other trick is getting the volume to a good spot. Even though the directions say the unit will compensate, I found that it's really sensitive to over-modulation. It also doesn't put out quite the volume that broadcast does. Setting the volume to about two-thirds works.

Finally, you have to set the iPod's EQ to the treble boost setting. That makes it totally adequate. There's still a little FM noise, but you can only hear it during silence maybe stopped at a light. There's too much noise in the car to worry much about it. It wouldn't be good for home use, but it works great in the car.

Hobbies, shmobbies

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 1:49 AM | comments: 1

I had a discussion today about hobbies, and more to the point that I should have more. I'm not so sure.

Obviously if you read my nonsense on here, you know that I am in a constant struggle to figure out how the things I do help define me and my purpose in life. One thing that I've come to believe is that there doesn't have to be a dividing line between "work" and "fun." These two entities I think can and should be part of the same family.

I spend a fair amount of time behind the keyboard. Probably about half of that time is spent doing actual productive "work," whether it's for me or for a contract job. When it's stuff for me, I really enjoy it, and I don't see it as work at all. I don't see myself as needing something else to distract me from it. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's kind of a solitary activity.

Other stuff I do includes a lot of reading, mostly online since that's just more efficient than magazines and such, but I love to read about the tech industry in particular. I like the normal boring stuff as well, like watching movies and listening to music. I can listen to music with my eyes closed for hours. It can be borderline spiritual for me.

Coaching volleyball is a huge part of my life, certainly, and aside from dealing with my own "issues" it's also the most emotionally challenging thing I do. But I love it so much. Even though I bitch about how some days the kids just don't get it the way I want them to, it's worth every second. The relationships you build with the kids are not relationships you can really come by easily any other way. And for the first time in years, I enjoy coaching with another coach.

The things I like to do are very much lifestyle-oriented. I got into broadcast junk because it was fun, and it was always a kind of lifestyle. Coaching is a lifestyle because it's time consuming and requires a lot of you emotionally. Even coding is a lifestyle to a certain extent, because you constantly have to learn and evolve as technology does. But the upside of this lifestyle stuff is that there are some things that I really get off doing that I'm really fucking good at. That makes me happy.

So do I need other hobbies? Well, I don't know that I do. I'm pretty happy right now for the most part, money issues aside. I mean, I assume people take up hobbies because they make them happy, or maybe need the distraction from other things. Others may seek out hobbies as a means of self-discovery, which I totally get. But I kinda like the things I do.

Now, it is important to make the distinction that there's a difference between not going out and trying new things on your own and not doing them with friends, relatives or your spouse. I know for sure that's something that I've failed miserably in with Stephanie. It took years before I went out tent camping with her, and that was lame of me (especially since I loved it). Ditto for going to Medieval Times and the local medieval fair (again, because I loved it). I can be such a stubborn asshole sometimes. That's something I hope I have a chance to work on.

I do want to get back in touch with some things I do for fun though, like photography in particular. I miss video too. Stupid expensive hobbies!

Money makes you crazy

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 14, 2005, 1:09 AM | comments: 0

I had one of my brief money-induced freak-outs today. It's like credit card statements and bills all come at exactly the same time.

Ugh. I'm so tired of having this feeling. I mean, I feel a little trapped because the alternative is doing work I don't care about at the moment and making oodles of cash. I get recruiter calls several times a week, so certainly there are opportunities. But going from one thing you don't really want to do to another isn't exactly fun.

There is another alternative, and that's going out and doing new things that are wholly my own. I can't really make a living from my Web sites as of today, but I can make about one half to two-thirds of a living. Duh, if I branch out I can continue to build that figure.

Then I was talking today with the athletic director at my school about how high school Web sites suck (including my school's). They could be better, and serve higher, more useful functions for both marketing and communication with existing students. I've been talking a long time about how there are some really obvious pieces of Web-based software they could use. I need to explore that since I have an obvious "in" there.

But in the short term, there's just that debt looming there. I've got the total finance charge down under $50 a month through creative balance transfers, but that runs out in the spring. It bothers the shit out of me.

Yeah, I could suck it up and be a grown up and do shit I don't like, but I've met so many miserable bastards in that boat that it's no alternative. I'd rather worry about money than be someone that lets their soul be sucked away one third of their waking hours doing something they don't care about.

Letting myself be non-productive

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 11, 2005, 11:33 PM | comments: 2

For all of the bitching and moaning I've been doing, I finally decided this evening to just let it go and surf the Internet for, uh, well, whatever. I ate a pizza, I went to the post office (the stamp machine said it got pleasure out of servicing me), stripped naked in front of the fan, and napped through Star Wars. I'll leave it to you to figure out what order I did these things in.

And after all of the angst about not really doing much of anything that would make me happier, richer or generally less irritable, I feel... good.

Our therapist says that eventually your emotional batteries get depleted and you need to recharge. The problem is that it's hard to maintain general happiness on low batteries. I guess that means you have to watch the battery bar and not have to plug in at the last minute.

"Therapist" always looks like "the rapist" at first. That's funny.

Totally unrelated, my ear itches like a son-of-a-bitch today. That's probably what I get for playing with it. It doesn't really hurt anymore so I feel like I can mess with it, even though I know better. After almost four months I never touch my other piercings, but I'm always f'ing with this one. The big Latin guy that did it would likely lecture me.

The anti-diet

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 11, 2005, 5:44 PM | comments: 4

I'm no Superman

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 10, 2005, 10:48 PM | comments: 0

"I know what I've been told
You gotta work to feed the soul
But I can't do this all on my own
No I know I'm no Superman
I'm no Superman"

"Superman" (the "Scrubs" theme) - Lazlo Bane

More whines and cries

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 10, 2005, 8:20 PM | comments: 0

Well, Stephanie doesn't get to be the only crybaby today. I want to be one as well.

In addition to her issue that suX0rz teh big one!!111, I had one of those days with volleyball. One kid quit, or at least said she's quitting even though I said I don't want her to. Then we lost to this really horrible team today, dropping a big lead, as usual. It's one thing to lose to a tough team when you played well, but against one that sucks? That isn't fun at all.

I love my kids to death. I'm not kidding when I say they're what gets me up in the morning (or keep me up at night). When the season is over, I'm going to miss them. That said, I can't figure out where all the heart for playing has gone since I first saw it in them. I used to think they would be an average team that made up for a lack of skill with heart, but they're going the other way, with great skills and no heart. That's every J.O. team I've ever had!

Then in my little world, with the business, I'm not making the kind of progress on my own projects that I would like, because I have the time management skills of someone with ADD and OCD at the same time. I can't stay focused to save my life, and I'm making myself miserable.

Oh, and my diet has pretty much been out the window this week. I've been eating crap on top of crap. I'm going to undo the weight loss at this rate. I need to get back on the horse. Just because I've been at it for more than three months and successful, isn't an excuse to be stupid about it now.

Sigh. I need to get my head out of my ass.

Why are lawn people so overweight?

posted by Jeff | Friday, September 9, 2005, 2:11 PM | comments: 1

The guys that cut the grass in the common areas of our subdivision are out and about. The guys that do my lawn are also out there right now. Here's an interesting question... why are they all overweight bubbas? I mean, I realize that they've got riding mowers, but when they're not riding they're carrying around trimmers and such.

News Corp. buys IGN... wow

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 8, 2005, 8:53 PM | comments: 0

The Internet content business has been an interesting one to watch, because not many companies survived. C-Net and IGN are the only real pure-players I can think of. IGN was an interesting one because it grew out of some relatively independent gaming sites.

News Corp. bought them today for $650 million. All I can say is wow. I remember when they were nothing.

Now if only I could grow my content sites into that kind of empire and cash out!

One of those days

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 7, 2005, 9:50 PM | comments: 0

Liz and I had "one of those days" today in practice. Our quest for culture change is one that hits snags now and then, and today we had snags.

Her team has girls who are hardcore, girls who want to learn but are easily frustrated, and a few that we just don't know. My team has some kids that talk a good game but don't have actions that match the talk. That leads to some really frustrated coaches.

That's still the toughest thing about coaching, that when you have a bad day, you don't really have anyone to pick you up, other than each other. We don't even think that our expectations are set all that high. Certainly a lot of high schools are a lot more nuts than we are.

Ugh... just one of those days. Gotta keep reminding ourselves that 95% of the time it's fun!

The principal's dog

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 4:14 PM | comments: 0

Four college volleyball players

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 4, 2005, 10:38 PM | comments: 1

A comment by one of my volleyball kids this weekend made me think a little about what my motivation is for coaching. Obviously most people wouldn't do it just out of the goodness of their heart, so you have to get something out of it to do it.

We've all seen coaches that are in it so they can feel like they're in control of something in their lives, or compensating for a poor athletic experience as a child, or whatever. I'm pretty sure it's not any of those things for me. But then when I saw one of my former volleyball mom's, it hit me. Four of the kids, half, of my 2004 J.O. team played in their first college matches this weekend.

All four of these kids are playing at D-3 schools, are insanely smart, and came from absolutely horrible high school programs. I certainly can't take credit for whatever God-given talent they had, but I had the opportunity to challenge them and make them better. Now they make me proud as college players. That makes me smile. Another isn't playing in college, but she went to Cornell. I had nothing to do with that, but it's pretty cool!

When you don't get the biggest kids in the area on your J.O. team, you have a real uphill battle in this region, but none of my teams, even the short ones, have ever embarrassed themselves. That 2004 team placed 19 out of 29 in the region, and we had a lot of ups and downs, but they were such a fun group, and worked really hard. It all paid off, and I'm so proud of them.

So why do I coach? Four reasons, off the top of my head, are named Caity, Katie, Megan and Rachel.

U2 is still the bomb

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 4, 2005, 2:19 AM | comments: 0

The repeat of SNL with U2 was on today. Made me realize that I don't own any particular CD with "I Will Follow." I might have to pick that up on iTunes.

I'll be the first to admit that not every song and album by U2 has been gee-whiz, but their body of work is so extensive at this point, and covers so much time, that they really are one of the greatest rock bands in history.

I still get chills when I hear the Rattle And Hum version of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" with the gospel choir. "Desire" still kicks ass. "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "I Will Follow," "Where The Streets Have No Name," "Pride" are also earlier favorites.

Then the "modern" era of U2, starting with Achtung Baby, has produced a lot of great songs. "The Fly" and "Mysterious Ways" remind me of my start in radio, "Zooropa" and "Numb" got me out of a funk in college, "Discotheque" was my first long-term job, "Beautiful Day" was the bliss of 2000, and now "Vertigo" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" are part of the iPod era.

I think the thing that draws me to the band more than anything is the guitar work by The Edge. He very much defines the U2 sound with a style that sounds like several guitars. I imagine that if I knew how to play guitar, I think I'd want to sound like him.

Industrial healing

posted by Jeff | Sunday, September 4, 2005, 12:27 AM | comments: 2

I noticed today that my industrial piercing is really comfortable today. The swelling is back down and it's moving pretty freely. It's surprisingly not crusty today either. I think I finally found the right balance for the cleaning regimen. The piercer is right, too much cleaning is worse than no cleaning because it dries it out.

And I like how it looks. That was unintended really. As with my first piercings, it was for me to mark an important time in my life, but it does look kind of badass. It's subtle yet hardcore. It still surprises me when I go to wash my hands and I look up and see it there.

CoasterBuzz Club raises cash for Red Cross

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 3, 2005, 11:08 PM | comments: 1

On Thursday I posted an announcement on CoasterBuzz that we'd donate any club memberships made through Saturday to the Red Cross for the Katrina relief efforts. The community came through with about $600 in memberships, and I'm rolling all of that into the donation. Well done!

Dogma (special edition) and The Perfect Score

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 3, 2005, 9:43 PM | comments: 0

I finally got the special edition of Dogma and I watched the commentary. The commentary was actually kind of boring, but the notes from Kevin Smith between the deleted scenes was actually good stuff. The first cut of the movie was apparently more than three hours. A lot of the cut stuff was dialog rich, and while it was good dialog, it was too much, too preachy. Interesting stuff. Smith's cute wife is in there too.

The Perfect Score was just a light, fun movie, but being a big Scarlett Johansson fan, I had to have it, especially when she's a punk chick! She's adorable. Ever since Lost In Translation, I've been convinced that she's going to be a big deal. She was good in this summer's The Island as well.

And jeers to Amazon and their free shipping. Free shipping just means, "We'll hold the order a few days before we ship."

Gas bargain

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 3, 2005, 5:18 PM | comments: 2

Just a little sick

posted by Jeff | Saturday, September 3, 2005, 1:40 AM | comments: 0

Wow, you know I thought I was suffering from a sudden allergy problem, but the truth is that I'm actually a little sick. A little snotty, a little feverish, a little achy. It's not shutting me down, but it is making me insanely tired. I was a real drag at practice today and I hate that.

Tomorrow morning I have to coach JV as well because Liz had tickets for an OSU-Miami game in Columbus before she got hired (no biggie since she has to cover me for the Holiday World event). That means I should really not be sitting here typing this and I should be in bed. But I'll be there bright and early at 10!

The timing really sucks, because I'm really in the zone this week. I'm making stuff happen and everything just seems so, I don't know, positive! My emotional batteries are charged and things are generally good. I keep smiling and try to shake off the sickness, but it's starting to catch up with me.

I'll just have to drink my orange juice and deal. There is much to do!

It's OK to lose

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 1, 2005, 11:43 PM | comments: 0

We had our first home game tonight, and unfortunately we lost. It went four games, and really we lost it on an 8-point run from behind that we gave to the other team in the second game. I think if we wouldn't have let that slip we would've probably won the match.

That said, it was still not a big deal to lose. The team was really able to identify their weaknesses on their own. One of the kids' J.O. coach was there, and I think he summed it up best: Clearly they are talented and just need time to get up to speed on a new system. I think that's a fair assessment.

I'm trying to undo years of culture that seems to run rampant in high school volleyball. The first part of that is a culture of fear, where anything less than perfect is considered failure. That's nonsense. We all have to fall down a lot before we learn to walk, and this is no different. I define success as being better than you were yesterday. That's all you can really ask of yourself.

The second thing is that many high school coaches refuse to challenge kids. They go the safe route with everything in part because it may lead to a higher degree of success as defined above. That's silly too. I make certain kids jump serve when there's pressure, and require that they run the harder plays. The worst that can happen is that they make a mistake. Who cares? If you can't learn to take risks and challenge yourself, you get tentative and safe in the face of an aggressive opponent. That'll get you killed!

So as I said, that one point run in game two is what really hurt us the most, and it's easy to pin that on poor serve receive. They're resilient, and they'll get it.

On a personal note, it's interesting how losing here doesn't really bother me that much. I guess it's because in J.O. ball you can have an entire day of losing. One match is, well, who cares? We play again in two days, we'll get it done then!

The thrill of the dotcom boom and bust

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 1, 2005, 2:23 AM | comments: 0

I finally picked up and watched it today. I had seen the last 30 minutes or so on cable last year, and it was fascinating to me, because I really got the Internet portion of my career started during the Internet boom and bust.

In all fairness, the company the subjects tried to build,, a company that was to facilitate transactions between municipalities and their constituents, was a really outstanding idea that was executed poorly. At least in the parts documented in the film, they didn't go nuts with the typical excess known for dotcom startups in Silicon Valley. I do think though that burning through more than $50 million in cash in a year was the sign of true mismanagement and really stupid VC's. So much of what they developed could be produced by a small team for a tiny fraction of the amount of cash they spent.

Those were really exciting times for me as well, when I was working at Penton Media. The company was run by morons, chief among them CEO Tom Kemp. That idiot was ready to buy anything with ".com" in the name. Yet when us Internet people started pushing the idea of a Web-based CRM package around the company, a goldmine for the company's many B2B clients, everyone poo-poo'd it. That's why is now worth $2 billion and Penton was delisted and is worthless.

Despite the catastrophic failure, it seemed like there was limitless potential for the Web. I still think that potential exists, it's just that now you have to use a little common sense and not go pissing away millions of dollars without a real business plan. As wireless broadband becomes a reality in particular, the idea of hosted apps is really appealing.

I started an Internet business in 1999 on credit cards. It's not quite enough to live off of, and there's still too much credit card debt, but I do have something to show for years of work. If I were more focused on money, I'm sure I'd have the real business plan that could help me reach my million-dollar retirement goal.

Anyway, there's a lot of opportunity out there. I need to spend more time looking for it instead of waiting for it to fall in my lap.

Hurricane damage very sad

posted by Jeff | Thursday, September 1, 2005, 2:01 AM | comments: 1

I just can't get over the destruction in the south. It's staggering. And what's really wild is that so far people don't seem to be stepping up the way they did for the tsunami disaster earlier this year, and this one is in our back yard.

I tell my volleyball kids that you can't worry too much about what you can't control, but I don't always follow my own advice. Disasters always bring out a morbid and sad fascination in me that I can't explain. At least this time around I've not even turned on the TV.

And the question I keep asking is why the hell was New Orleans ever settled and developed the way it was? It doesn't make any sense to me. This disaster was totally inevitable. It was going to happen someday no matter what. I guess that's what I find so frustrating about it.

I really can't afford it right now, but I think I'm going to scrounge up some cash to give to the Red Cross again. There's not much else I can do, but it is something.