Saturday, May 28, 2005

The benefits of taking your own advice...

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time...

Friday, May 27, 2005

In the news...

**Isn't it strange how life sometimes imitates art?

Recently life imitated art again. In a almost scary case of deja vu, one Australian woman was charged in Bali for drug smuggling, claiming it was planted by baggage handlers.

I'm claiming deja vu because this was almost the same exact storyline to Brokedown Palace. Now maybe I'm just naive and this sort of thing happens all the time over there, but this is the first I've heard about it. Maybe it was just a slow news day.

**In other news, I'm a little embarrassed that my fellow Delawareans tied KENTUCKY and MISSISSIPPI in a test of driver's knowledge. I now make it my personal responsibility to educate everyone. Lesson 1: Contrary to popular belief, red means stop.

**Under the category of "Only in my world...", A woman in Indiana claims she took her eyes off her son for a second and the next thing she knew, he had climbed up inside a crane machine game at a local Wal-Mart. I refer to this story as being in my world because the game machine that she crawled up into is owned by my step-father's company. Upon hearing the news he was quoted as saying "oh shit, that's one of ours."

I was talking with him about it and he informed me that the child was very lucky that he did not get electrocuted. Apparently there's a setting on those machines that allow the vendor to adjust the voltage, hence allowing the claw to grasp stronger or weaker. He also informed me that there's no way in hell the child climbed up there in "two seconds".

I think mom wasn't paying attention for a little bit longer than that...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Lost for words...


Tonight was the network television's equivalent of "Just Bring It". The big four networks sit down for a winner takes all poker game of ratings with each wearing their best poker faces.

NBC decided not to play and folded early by airing that same old Law & Order crap that's been airing since I was like 12. How many spinoffs are we at now?

CBS decided to bluff with a weak hand and pit a made for TV movie about Amber Frey up against the rock solid hands dealt to Fox and ABC.

Fox's smash hit American Idol spared no expense, packing in 2 solid hours of cheap celebrity cameos and season flashbacks when in reality, all you needed to do was watch the last five minutes to see Carrie "Independence Day" Underwood win the title. It's 15:01 honey, your fame minutes are up. Go stand in line behind all the other Idol superstars if you can find them. Check the unemployment line. (or Paula Abdul's house)

Meanwhile, I watched LOST. I've been a fan of LOST since day 1. (Mainly due to Evangeline Lilly and Emilie de Ravin, but that's not the point) I have been a faithful fan since the very moment this series aired, never missing a day. Come on, this show has a HOBBIT and a washed up Party of Five actor! It has to be good.

All I asked for in a season finally was to find out WHAT'S IN THAT DAMN HATCH! So many things were running through my mind. What if it's some fatal disease? What if it's weapons? It could have been anything. And the two hours that led up to it, which was time much better spent than Idol, kept me on the edge of my seat right up to the last minute.

The cast members blew open the hatch, and at that moment I said out loud to myself. "I'm going to be pissed if it's just a stairway leading down."

...and BINGO was his name-o! Enter one dark, dirty, ladder leading down in to the darkness.


But if you're curious about those crazy numbers 4815162342 that seem to haunt everyone check out this article.

And so life goes on...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Eye in the sky...

So for my birthday present to myself this year, I pondered over several "toys" that I wanted. I knew it was coming from Best Buy. It always does. I'm just that kind of nerd. I really do need adult supervision in that store.

So in all my infinite wisdom, I thought to myself, self, you're going to be traveling quite a bit for this job, you should get something you can use anywhere. And so I did. Allow me to introduce my new traveling buddy; the XM Satellite Radio Receiver, MyFi.

Because let's face it, commercial radio just plain sucks. I can't stand listening to the same crap over and over and over. I used to have an MP3 player in the car but even that got old after a while. With MyFi I have the ability to 1) use the receiver as a "walkman" as you can see in the picture, 2) use it in car (any car) with all the included components:

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or 3) use it in the house or office. So really, one could potentially listen to uninterrupted, commercial-free, non-repetitive music 24 hours a day. All for $12.95 a month. That's like 41 cents a day.

In only the 24 hours I've had so far, I've heard songs that I haven't heard in YEARS! I get 150 channels of music, sports, comedy, talk (right and left), weather, traffic, and news. I can even listen to the Discovery Channel if I want to. (And I'll be able to listen to my Lions lose every game this year!)

And the best part? I can record. If I'm listening and hear a song that I want, with the touch of a button, it is saved to the internal memory. The MyFi can store up to 5 hours of music internally. You can also set the MyFi up to download and save 5 hours of music on a schedule. For example the next time I fly, I'll set it to record for 5 hours the previous night. On the plane, where they frown on transmitting devices, I can fall back on the recorded music! Everybody wins!

I am one very satisfied customer and my only complaint is that I didn't sign up years ago. So if you're thinking about XM or Sirius, my advice is to go for it.

It passes time like nothing else on earth... (no pun intended)

On this day in history...

1430- Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians and subsequently sold to the English.

1785- In a letter, Benjamin Franklin describes his latest invention; bifocal eyeglasses.

1788- South Carolina became the 8th state in the United States.

1827 - The first nursery school in the United States was established in New York City.

1933 -Joan Collins was born.

1934 -Bonnie And Clyde shot to death.

1949 -Federal Republic of Germany is established.

1958 - Drew Carey was born.

1966 - The Beatles' "Paperback Writer" b/w "Rain" single was released.

1971 - Iron Butterfly broke up.

1977- I was born.

1979 -Tom Petty filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

1985 - Thomas Patrick Cavanagh is sentenced to life in prison for attempting to sell stealth bomber secrets to the Soviet Union.

1995 - Official announcement of the Java programming language.

2003 - Mountain climbing: 25-year-old Nepalese Sherpa, Pemba Dorjie Sherpa, makes world's fastest ever ascent of Mount Everest, in 12 hours 45 minutes.

Friday, May 20, 2005

And you thought I was kidding...

By popular request, (ok, one person in the last post) I have decided to share with you, my faithful readers, my stash of hotel loot.

DISCLAIMER: I did not STEAL any of this. It has accumulated over time each time I say somewhere.

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"Hotel loot" as I shall refer to it, varies in quality. Naturally, the more expensive the hotel, the nicer the loot gets. Shower caps. Shoe polish kits. I even stayed one place where they gave you FULL bottles of that fancy herbal essence shampoo (not pictured). I wish they give me something that I actually use. Like contact solution, or toothpaste.

So my question to you guys is: Is this wrong? Am I weird? I mean, you never know when you might need some personal hygiene products right? What about house guests? Does anyone else do this? Or am I just a freak? (And NO, I do NOT take the extra toilet paper, tissues, or steal towels.)

However you should see my collection of instant coffee...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

On the road again...

Well here I am. Out of town again.

I feel like Edward Norton's character in Fight Club. Me and all my "single-serving friends".

It's a weird feeling I get every time I travel. I check in , walk into my room, and drop my luggage. The very next thing I do is survey the room to make sure all the little single-serving freebees are there. You know, the little bottles of shampoo and free packets of coffee. I never use them, but I do take them with me when I leave. I'm paying for them, you're damn straight I'm leaving with them. I store them in my guest bathroom at home in case the visitors that I never have need to use them. I've got quite the collection. I should open a spa.

Another thing I do is check behind all the objects on the wall. No, don't worry, I'm not some paranoid wacko that thinks there are hidden cameras. I am hoping to one day find a "Secret Wall Tattoo". Take a look at that site. I'll bet you look the next time you stay in a hotel.

The view out of my room window is of Jaguar dealership. I wonder if they'd notice if I "swapped" them for a Chevy Blazer?

Friday, May 13, 2005

Cool: literally.

Hey, just in case you missed it, Wendy's is giving away free frostys this weekend to its loyal customers for sticking by them in the "chili-a-la-finger" incident. No purchase necessary. But I always feel cheap, so I order something small like fries to justify my free items. Go get one!

Mmmmm... Frosty...


Wendy's lied to me! I stopped in today to get my free frosty and I ordered a salad too. (Like I said, I feel bad.) As you can see on my receipt, right there in black and white, 1 small frosty - 99 cents. Now that's bullshit. Ha-ha. I mentioned the story about free frostys and they had NO CLUE what I was talking about. In fact, their tone made me feel like a criminal trying to get free food. Wait... Anyway, they're damn lucky this is under my $1 cutoff where I go after people.

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You win this round Wendy's. But I'll have my revenge...


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yo quiero Taco Bell...

I love Mexican food. Let me rephrase that. I love decent Mexican food.

I used to frequent a local Mexican restaurant with former co-workers 2-3 times a week. In fact, I think I single-handedly put the owner's kids through college. Not working with that crowd anymore, hence not eating there daily, I got a REALLY strong craving for Mexican food the other day. It was the kind of craving that overrides everything else in your life and manifests itself as a mission.

Being just me, I didn't want to go sit down in the normal restaurant we eat at, so I settled for the next best thing: Taco Bell (which is right next door to the good restaurant coincidentally). I was off. A man with a mission. And like Sally Struthers reaching for a twinkie, nothing was going to stop me.

As I approached Taco Bell I noticed that the sign appeared to be damaged, with only the lower part of the sign remaining. The part that read "Drive Thru" was the only part left. I have posted a photo to help illustrate:

Upon further examination I noticed the parking lot was empty and ALL of the buildings signs have been removed. It was at this point I began to panic. Where was my taco fix going end? I drove by slowly, surveying the site like a hitman. What kind of town do I live in where TACO BELL can't even stay afloat?!?! It costs them like 3 cents per taco to make!

But alas, there was a glimmer of hope. I spotted cars in the drive thru. And yes my friends, they were ordering. Maybe it was a remodel? Maybe a new look? So I pulled on up to the speakerbox.

I took a glance at the menu and noticed that most of the same items were still up but the Taco Bell logos have been removed. Hmm. I order, cautiously, and wait for a response.

"What?" blares from the speaker.

I repeat my order TWO more times and pull around to the window.

My spy instincts force me to glare into the window to gather as much intel as possible on the situation. The employees (all two of them) are wearing bright yellow shirts with the words Taco Del _____ (I couldn't see the third) embroidered on them. My drink was dispensing into a styrofoam cup and the bag she handed me had no markings on it whatsoever.

It was at this moment that I realized my Taco Bell had perished.

The receipt she handed me read Taco del Casa. TACO OF THE HOUSE?!?!! No! No. No.

Now I'm not one that checks the contents of their order before leaving the drive thru. I usually just toss it in the seat next to me. Sure I've been burned a few times, but "danger" is my middle name.

So I get home and reach my hand in the bag and pull out the first of my 6 tacos. To my surprise, it's wrapped in ALUMINUM FOIL like some cheap wings. All 6 of them were. I unwrapped it and got my next surprise.

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You can see from that image that the "taco guts" only fill up about 1/3 of the taco shell. THAT'S NOT A TACO! That's a corn chip with a piece of lettuce! And the picture I posted is of the fullest taco of the 6. Sad. Just sad.

So heed my warning. If you're ever in Dover, DE, and itchin' for Mexican, The Taco of the House isn't what you want to scratch that itch. Ever.

Me too dog. Me too.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I see trees of green, red roses too...

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I've had a few people ask me how I like my new job, so I thought I take a moment and blog a little about it. I'm not going to get into too much detail due to the nature of the worker/client confidentiality thing.

If I had to sum up the new experience with one word, it would be "relief". I feared that jumping out into the private sector, would be a shock to my system. I thought that it was going to be a whole new world of "in your face" work that would swallow me up like quicksand. I feared that it was going to be too much to handle too soon.

As it turns out, I couldn't ask for a better position to be in. Until our office opens up on June 1st in Newark, DE, I'm working from home. And as nerdy as I am, I have a full suite of tech toys to make my every work day sail by with ease.

Take now for instance. It's 72 degrees out and I'm sitting out on my patio, a cool breeze blowing, and I'm listening to the birds chirp. The annoying college kids have gone home. All while doing work of course. I'm checking my emails, typing up documents, and participating in conference calls all from the serenity of my lounge chair. Feet up and drinkin' a coke. It's even so nice out that Cujo isn't barking constantly. And that my friends, is a straight up miracle.

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My workload varies right now. It's certainly a different kind of work than I used to do. I'm used to being a hands-on GIS analyst. There was no problem I couldn't solve. I was the "go-to" guy. Now I just do more of a knowledge transfer type of thing. I help those in need of GIS work to either learn it, or give them the tools to make their jobs easier through it. Without detailing projects I can say that I've got my hands in a few things, but I've been directed to enjoy the "downtime" because the deluge of work will begin very shortly.

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And that is advice that I'm taking to heart. *Cheers*

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Yeah, that's about right...

After posting about pop vs. soda the other day, I saw this on Becky's Blog and thought I'd try it. I'm just glad it didn't tell me I speak Spanglish...

Your Linguistic Profile:

80% General American English

15% Yankee

5% Dixie

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

Friday, May 06, 2005

Reality "Bytes"

So ends another week of reality TV.

And my no-life having ass watched every bit of it. Let's get started...

"You shall not make for yourself an idol..." Commandment #4, Standard American Edition of the Bible

I normally don't post about reality shows, with the exception of a few times, but I thought this week was cause for celebration. America's favorite thug, Scott Savol was FINALLY given the boot from American Idol. (there is a God). Scott's fanbase now has the luxury of putting their voting muscle behind one of 4 remaining contestants. My guess is they support the other criminal.

However, if I were Emperor of the World, and someday I shall be, Carrie would be my wife take the whole shebang. Vegas scorekeepers listen up. The finishing order is as follows: 1. Carrie, 2. Vonzel, 3. Bo, 4. Anthony.

Place your bets.

"We're doing 60 Minutes because we're too old for "Survivor" and "Star Search." - Bill Clinton

After last weeks demise of local favorite Survivor, Stephenie, I was a little bummed out. Who was I going to stare at root for now? Well this weeks show rejuvinated me.

I don't really dislike anyone who's left, which is odd, I normally have a person to direct my hatred toward. However, I was a bit perturbed that Gregg and Jen (who does not look 32 btw)were in power and it didn't look like anyone could stop them. Enter Caryn.

As they said on the show last night Caryn deserves an Academy Award. In an effort to shift power, three castaways aligned and devised one of the best covert plots I've ever seen on Survivor. A plot in which Caryn was tasked with acting like she knew she was going home. And she played the part like a veteran actor. Bravo Caryn. Bravo.

As a result of Caryn's portrayal of Ms. TakeMyBallAndGoHome, the Gregg and Jen alliance was busted completely flooring each of them.

You see, that is what I love about reality shows. When someone gets double-crossed. You just can't fake the shock that the two of those guys had last night. In my book, it ranks right up there with Johnny Fairplay's dead grandmother.

Well, that's all you get for now. Hopefully Ryan Seacrest won't sue me when I say...

Delawarean out!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Movie time, with Del

For my most recent viewing adventure, I decided on the newly released National Treasure.



The very original plot sends a treasure-seeking adventurer, Nicolas Cage, and his sidekick in search of "the largest treasure ever". By piecing together clues they find along the way, they make their way closer and closer to the prize. Along the way they team up with a pretty young blonde girl played by Diane Kruger, who played Helen in the recent movie Troy, and they even manage to drag the adventurer's father, Jon Voight, into the quest.

Hmm... That is a great new idea for a movie! I'm sure people won't remember that they saw it 14 years ago... (with better actors)


The story has our hero believing that an invisible treasure map is drawn on the back of the Declaration of Independence. The only problem is you can't just waltz up to the D.o.I. and flip it over. So naturally, the smartest thing to do is STEAL IT! It is during this process that Cage, who is gimmickly named "Ben Franklin" Gates (gimmie a break), meets up with the head of the National Archives, Kruger. Now don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed watching hot little Diane Kruger strut around, but you can't tell me that a 28 year-old is going to be the HEAD OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES! That spot is clearly held for a 65+ man who is the pal of some Senator. But I'll let that slide. Let's move on to my next complaint.

So Cage is determined to steal the Declaration and manages to do so very easily making the US Government security guards look like the Keystone Cops. Nice try. I don't buy it. But whatever makes the movie go right? Then he rolls it up like a dorm room poster and carries it around in a blueprint tube while he's running, jumping, diving, falling and fighting. At one point he even knocks a guy out with it. When the Declaration's not in the tube, someone's got it rolled up and stuffed in their coat like a newspaper. I'm really surprised that Cage never shoved it down his pants so the "witty screenwriters" could say "Is that a Declaration in your pants or are you just happy to see me?"

Now, I will give credit where credit is due. National Treasure manages to draw you in because it was filmed at the actual places many of us have been to personally. For example, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Washington D.C., etc... It was cool to see the movie's action scenes taking place on the same sidewalks I have walked down before. It added a sense of relationship to the film. And being a bit of a history nerd myself, I enjoyed the settings. Special effects where flawless and I wouldn't have even picked them out if I didn't watch the DVD bonus features.

All in all, this was a good movie, less the plot idea. I think they could have done a bit more with it, but it was entertaining. I never lost interest, and I don't think I would have even without Kruger being cast. As I said earlier, the thing that saves this movie is the proximity to "home" that it takes place in rather than some parched desert. I was pleasantly surprised for a PG movie. I give it 2/3 out of a full box of popcorn.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Shiny, happy people...

I had to go to Philadelphia today. We have an office there. It's on the top floor of the building with a nice little view of Love Park, where I ate lunch and people-watched.

People-watching is underrated by the way.

I envy those people. The fast-paced life. It amazes me how two cities can be less than 100 miles from each other, yet be completely opposite.

A part of me wants to move to a big city. That part of me that enjoys not having to drive anywhere or being able to satisfy my urge for a weird food at 3am and not only have it available, but not have to go and get it. The lights. The energy. Not seeing the same people on my commute every day. (You'd be amazed how many times I've seen certain strangers in what used to be my 4 mile commute.)

Of course, the other part of me that doesn't enjoy being mugged, smelling urine as I walk down the street or looking over my shoulder every five seconds because the shady guy behind me is violating my personal space as I walk, is happy here in Delaware...