Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas cards. I have grown to hate them! But not because of the season, or what they represent, but because of the shear amount of time I put in to the blasted things this year!

If you're one of the lucky few that received a Christmas card from me this season, you may have noticed that the message was printed on the card instead of written. Now I must admit, I find the note typed on paper and placed in the card rather impersonal, so I figured I'd actually print the message in the card itself. For multiple reasons actually. One, it is now a legible note. Two, I can type way faster than I can write. Three, I can say actually what I want to say and then make sure I didn't spell anything wrong or screw up the grammar. And four, I just thought it would be a neat thing to try with my new OpenOffice 3.0 Suite on my Linux OS. However you're wondering why I didn't sign the thing, well read on my friend.

A few weeks I went out the local Hallmark at the Logan Valley Mall to buy my Christmas cards. Later the next week I measured the cards for width and height and built a nice little template in Writer (comparable to Word for you Microsoft junkies) and started typing away. I had ten letters typed out in about 1.5 hours, which by writing would have taken probably about 2.0 hours, but they would have had way more errors in them. So my next job was to print them all out. I stuck the card in the printer, clicked the print button and watched the card get sucked into the printer like a wet noodle in the mouth of a child. Suddenly I got the message on my printer that read, "PAPER TOO SMALL." I tried it again. Same message. Now I had printed out items much smaller than this before. So I stuck in a full letter size paper and clicked print again. It worked flawlessly. Like the stupid stubborn-head I can be, I stuffed the card back in the printer and hit print again. Again, to my surprise (why I was surprised is still a mystery) the printer told me, "PAPER TOO SMALL." Now keep in mind, when I'm in Linux and printing, typically my printer locks up every print attempt and I have to reboot it and wait two minutes for the darn thing to load up.

So my next step was to make my Writer template a little smaller. I took off half an inch from the template, stuck my card back in, and got the same result. I stuck the letter size paper in, and it printed. So I took off another half inch, and clicked print. Suddenly ink started to flow! Oh the excitement I felt! For I only wasted another hour getting to this point. But wouldn't you know it, when the card was ejected, the printer had inserted an extra inch of margin forcing my note into the crease of the card. The words, "why I outta" came to mind along with a mental image of my fist shaking feverishly at the laughing printer. I stuck in another letter sized paper. It printed, but with the extra inch of margin. Now at this point I should have just accepted my losses, printed the notes on regular paper, cut them out, and stuck them in the card. But no, I was determined! I decided the night was spent and was determined to print the blasted cards the next evening.

Now it's the next night. I decided I'd attack this thing form a different side. I logged into my Google Docs account and attempted to print a card from there. I spent about an hour just trying to figure out how to design something 4.5" x 10.25" in size. Ultimately I gave up on that angle. My faith in Linux was gone. I booted into my Microsoft Windows Vista environment where my printer never locks up! And since my original files were in OpenOffice format I had to download and install OpenOffice 3.0 for my Windows environment or else, well there was no else, I am too cheap to pay for Microsoft Office. So I installed the app, opened my file, clicked print, and guess what the printer told me. "PAPER TOO SMALL."Oooh I was hot! But still, I was determined.

I opened my print settings and and suddenly realized how absent minded I was. Of course the paper was too small! The printer was set for a paper letter size! So I set out to change the paper size to the proper setting. Wouldn't you know it, I could not for the life of me figure out how to set up a custom paper size. I'm a frickin ' Computer Engineer for crying out loud! I could build a computer from integrated circuits (a pretty slow and basic one at that, but still) if I so chose to! So I searched thru what seemed like 100+ paper sizes and found one that was closest to my card. With mental fingers crossed, I opened the document, inserted the card in the printer, clicked print, selected the close-matching paper size and clicked print once again. The printer started. And finally, 5+ hours (accumulated time) after I started my Christmas card writing, I was printing text on the cards! The text still wasn't where I wanted it position-wise, but I was willing to accept that.

Now as if things couldn't get worse, they do. Usually I print addresses on sticky labels and then stick those on the envelopes. Can you tell? I REALLY despise writing things by hand. It is so inefficient.Anywho , I spent some time updating addresses and whatnot and got my template prepared for printing. Now my label template in done in Word on my laptop which I know will not fail me thanks to years of doing this. However, I had to get this right on the first print because I only had one sheet of labels left. If I screwed up, I was hand writing addresses or going to the store to buy new labels (even less efficient). So I set my my addresses up in an order of most efficiency and saved label space and clicked print. I watched the labels get sucked into the printer when suddenly I realized, I needed to print JUST page 4, not all of the pages! Suddenly the words, "Son of a . . . " came to mind with a mental image of me shooting myself in the head. I watched shamefully as the label page was tossed out of the printed filled with the incorrect addresses as expected. Then, glass-eyed I watched as the remaining 3 pages (that were not label paper) were tossed out with the final page having my addresses on them. Again I was defeated.

So once again I shamefully took my cards out when I got home that evening and started handwriting all the addresses on the envelopes. I joylessly stuffed the cards in their envelopes, licked the disgusting glue and piled them in the center of the table. It was my stack of shame. I failed my Christmas card efficiency process. But if only this was the end of my story.

Earlier today I was recapping this story in it's entirety to a colleague at work when suddenly, mid-story, I realized that in my frustration and disappointment when addressing my envelopes I completely and utterly forgot to sign the cards. But it was too late. The cards were in the mailbox with the flag up, over 40 miles away. Truly, shamefully, opprobriously a failed life moment. I could barely finish my story to my colleague I was so distraught and disgraced at this realization.

So to those of you who received a typed, unsigned Christmas card from me, I apologize. If you'd like, you can write "return to sender," on the envelope, place it back in the mail and I will sign it, put new postage on it and resend it. Or, if you'd prefer you can just sign it in my place. Again I truly apologize for this Christmas card catastrophe and hope that you won't hold it against me. For those of you that read this and didn't get a Christmas card from me, well consider yourself fortunate and have a merry Christmas anyway.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It’s been made obvious to us that Christmas is just around the corner thanks to Christmas at Rockefeller on NBC, Christmas TV specials, tons of holiday shopping sales, cold weather and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show special. Also noteworthy is all the Christmas music on the radio (both FM and satellite alike) right now. Some stations are already playing all Christmas music, all the time, which is just a little extreme if you ask me. I did find a great FM station the other day when I was in Pittsburgh that was playing a 50/50 mix; one song from today, one Christmas song; repeat until Dec 26th. I thought that was a great idea. Not overdoing it, yet still being able to appreciate the season.

But I’m rambling here. We all know the best Christmas music EVER is from our own homemade, custom Christmas Mix CDs. Some people prefer the good old traditional stuff (i.e. Perry Como, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, etc) while others like more contemporary tunes and artists. Myself being a more contemporary Christmas listener, I decided to put together a Christmas mix list that I thought was so extraordinary it deserved to be posted for all the world to see. Of course all the world doesn’t read this blog, so it will most likely only be known to you select few that have no life and read the crap that I type. You know this is the most awesome mix ever! Don't be a hata (pronounced h8-ah). Feel free to copy my mix to your own CD, but make sure to give credit where credit is due . . .

Captain Jimmy’s Christmas Mix CD 2008

Track 1 - Bryan Adams - Christmas Time
Track 2 - Carrie Underwood - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Track 3 - Celine Dion - The Christmas Song
Track 4 - Dave Matthews Band - A Christmas Song
Track 5 - Faith Hill - Where Are You Christmas
Track 6 - Jars Of Clay - Little Drummer Boy
Track 7 - Jimmy Eat World - Last Christmas
Track 8 - Jose Feliciano - Feliz Navidad
Track 9 - Josh Groban - O Holy Night
Track 10 - Kelly Clarkson - My Grown Up Christmas List
Track 11 - KT Tunstall - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Track 12 - Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
Track 13 - MercyMe - Silent Night
Track 14 - Neil Diamond - You Make It Feel Like Christmas
Track 15 - NewSong - Christmas Shoes
Track 16 - Sarah McLachlan - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Track 17 - Third Day - O' Come All Ye Faithful
Track 18 - Trans Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24
Track 19 - Whitney Houston - Do You Hear What I Hear

Thursday, December 04, 2008

If you’re not a modern computer programmer or would prefer not to be totally confused, then you may want to skip this post. But recently I’ve had a wild thought about what we as physical, and spiritual beings actually are, and in order to explain it, I need to use a little programming knowledge (and a diagram might come in handy too, but I doubt I'll have time for that).

Not too many people would disagree with the statement that we as beings have physical (bodies) and metaphysical (minds and/or souls) entities. To simplify the example I’ll assume the mind and soul are one and the same, but by no means should you limit the thought process to that.

First, let’s talk a little about Object Orientation or OO as it is abbreviated. This of course is a programming term where we model our programming code after real world objects. Our objects have properties, methods, constructors, etc, that define what the object actually is, and how it will act within itself and with other objects. Now when we create an instance of an object, we assign that instance a variable and create some room in memory for the object to be housed. Of course the memory can be allocated well before the creation of the variable if so chosen. When we access the object we access it thru the variable assigned to it. Where things get a little confusing is in understanding that the variable itself is not the object, but just a “pointer”, or reference to the object. The actual object resides in memory and cannot be accessed (safely anyway) without the reference variable. Now when things get even more complicated is when we want to make a copy of the object. We can’t just make a new variable and assign it to the same object. If we did that we would just be making a new reference to the exact same object, not a new object. The object would now have two variables accessing it. To make a second object that is the same as the first, we would have to first create a new instance of the object with a new reference, and then assign it all the same properties as the first.

Let's put this is 5th grader talk. I have a ball (the object) that I clear out room for and place on the floor (in memory). The ball has numerous properties, such as temperature, density, color, material, etc. The ball also has actions (methods) it can do such as deflate, bounce, etc. Now since I am a 5th grader and in a pen so I don't damage the rest of the house, I can only play with the ball (that is outside my pen) using a stick (the reference variable). I can't interact with the ball in any other way but with the stick. If I want a second ball just like the first, I can't just make a copy of the stick. If I do, all I get is two sticks that interact with the exact same ball. However, if I want a copy of the ball, I need to create a brand new ball, and then copy the properties of the first ball to the second. I then need to make the second stick to interact with the second ball.

So what the flip does this have to do with our physical and metaphysical selves? Well, let’s pretend for a minute that all minds since the dawn of time reside in a single repository out in some unseeable dimension. Think of it as a godly hash table if you will. These minds have properties such as personalities, thoughts, and feelings (which in themselves would be their own objects), but also constructors that are used to create the mind, as well as methods that let them interact with other minds. When the minds are created, they are assigned a body, or reference if you will. And we can interact with other minds safely thru our bodies.

Now comes the fun part; understanding how this can work. Let’s look at identical twins. Indeed they look like the same person, but truly their minds are different. They are copies of each other. However, we’ve all heard stories about twins liking the same things, thinking the same thoughts, even sensing each other's pain! What if their bodies weren’t pointing to different minds, but to the same one? One mind, two bodies. One object, two references. Now of course we know this isn’t the case because the twin’s bodies can act independently of each other, but if the properties of the mind were made up of other objects, such as thoughts, feelings, pain, experiences, why couldn’t there be references to those properties, and not new ones? Think of it in our ball analogy. A property of the ball is mass. Mass is indeed it's own object made up of all kinds of fun still like the base unit for mass. Let call that a kilogram. If for whatever reason wesuddenly define a kilogram to be something other than what it is today, we would want the ball's mass to follow suit. The ball's mass wouldn't still be the old mass, but would be the newly defined mass automatically. Hence, the ball's mass is a reference to mass, and not a copy of it.

If the world does indeed exist in this fashion, it makes perfect sense. Let’s take a look at love. People say than when we love another, we take that person with us wherever we go (not in the physical sense of course). They become a part of us in a sense. What if love creates references to the other minds or parts of minds? This would explain why we can know what the other person is thinking, or feeling without having to ask. It truly is a direct connection. Psychics may be gaining access to this mind repository in an unsafe manner, or hacking into it. This is how they would know what they know (assuming they aren’t just darn good observers) without actually interacting with anyone.

I could probably write a book on this whole matter, but I’ll leave you with one more thought. In programming when we are done with our variables, or references that access the objects, we destroy them. However, the object itself doesn’t get destroyed until the Garbage Collector comes around and re-allocates the memory, at which time the object is completely disposed of. When programming, we typically don’t control the Garbage Collector; it does what it does, when it needs to do it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Boy it's a pretty exciting day isn't it? I compare the feeling I have right now to that which I have on Christmas Eve. My anxiety can hardly be contained thanks to the surprises that awaits just a few hours away. Why am I feeling this way? Well it's election day obviously and here's my analogy for it all. It's like you've just gotten out of Contestant's Row on The Price is Right and Bob Barker (yeah I know the current host is Drew Carry but let's face it, we all liked Bob better [sorry Drew]) is staring you right in the eye with his goofy little pervert smile. You also know the last two contestants got somewhat crappy prizes (a hot tub and a pair of watches respectfully), so you absolutely know the next words out of Bob's mouth are, "And you could win that!" And then Ron Roddy screams, "A NEW CAR!!" There's nothing left to do but jump up and down like 6 foot tall man playing Slam Ball screaming you lungs out. No matter who the victor is, come tomorrow morning our country will be facing one heck of an exciting and brand spankin' road ahead. How can you not be excited?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Recently I've been pondering the mysteries of our universe (which explains my blogging absence as of late) and while I haven't solved any of these mysteries I definitely have put some thought into them.

The first mystery is why, oh why, has the idea of the automobile not changed in the last 100 years? I'll give it to Ford. He had one HECK of an idea. And in the beginning of the automotive era, there were some really huge advancements and improvements. But let's face it. The last 30 years have been pretty lame when it comes to what we putts around in on our way to The Workplace. Sure the hybrid was a novel idea, but the overall vehicle concept remained the same. Check it out automotive engineers. Our world has changed a great deal since the 1950s! I think it's time to redesign the automobile from the ground, er road, up. Do you need some ideas you jolly little money collecting chair warmers? It's a good thing I'm chalk full of them (I don't really have any idea what that phrase means, but everyone seems to use it).

The first is why the 2-slash-3 pedal system? If you ask me, the engineers of the sky got it right. Let's devise a throttle system instead of one pedal brake, one gas and possibly one clutch pedal. That's so inefficient and slow-reacting. One lever is all you need, whether it works with the foot or the hand (or even possibly with weight shift?), one direction speeds you up, the other slows you down. And let's make the throttle a "smart" throttle. When you set the speed for 50 mph, it accelerates properly and easily maintains your speed. None of this cruise setting garbage that doesn't really work when going up or down hills. If my foot can maintain a more consistent velocity, then so can a computer.

And seriously? Internal combustion engines? Could we use a more inefficient mechanical system? Here's a novel concept. DC drives and motors. Ever hear of 'em?

And why this two-passenger-up-front thing. If you're any kind of sci-fi freak then you've seen countless TV shows and movies that depict the bridge of futuristic spacecrafts containing three passenger chairs. One for the pilot, one for the navigator and one for the weapons specialist (which believe me would come in quite handy some days). Come on now. If alien and futuristic spaceships clearly see the need for such a setup, then why would automobiles be any different? Of course don't forget the pilot chair is always just a little more in front of the other two passenger chairs.

Now let's talk safety systems. The headlights for example have got to go. You're going to sit there in your comfy little chair and tell me that the dual, corner mounted headlight scheme that was cooked up back when we discovered darkness cannot be improved upon? What about one long, halogen stile front light? Or countless ultra-bright LEDs. Maybe even laser scanners that illuminate everything within a 100 foot radius of the vehicle.

Look people, here is my general gripe. We have clearly lost the will and the desire to come up with creative, and brand spankin' new ideas. We have locked ourselves in a room with well defined walls and decided that we can only improve upon old ideas. I call that stupid, idiotic and unmotivated. Let's break down the walls and look at the world from a completely new point of view. We've all seen video footage of people attempting to fly off of bridges in their homemade flying machines, way back when the world lacked colors other than gray. And who can forget the amazing story of the invention of the light bulb? Why can't we do that kind of stuff again?

So it's time to stop trying and actually DO something. Let's get inventive again. Let's forget about what we have now, and look at what we could create tomorrow. Well, that's one mystery pondered, another 314 to go.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It’s October 15, Blog Action Day. I figured that meant I better get on the blogging ball and write a post that concerns absolutely nothing whatsoever. Funny, you’re still going to read this anyway.

I switched to a different operating system lately. Linux Ubuntu. Am I happy with it? Most definitely! It’s free, all software for it is free (and legal) and I can still play my iPod on it. Sure I’ve got to Google everything to figure how to use it, but once you get the basics down, it’s still time consuming. But it’s free!

The presidential election is just 21 days away. That is 210 TV ads too far away. Although with Obama being up by more than 14% in the polls, this election is all but over. Unfortunately the ads are not.

I don’t even know who else I’m electing in the upcoming election. Our local elections have been so overshadowed by the presidential election; we have absolutely no clue who is running for local office and what they’ll do. I look for the local election results around the country to be completely random.

Who am I kidding? I’m still going to use Microsoft Windows. Just not as much. And I did make the switch to Vista. And yes, I confirmed that I wanted to switch, many, many times over.

October means autumn. Autumn means leaves change color and fall. Falling leaves mean clogged cutters. Clogged gutters mean a sore back and cold hands.

[Insert ad for presidential election here]

How much money have you lost in the stock market these days? Apparently not enough. I watch earnings from my 401K and an IRA disappear on a daily basis. And what am I doing about it? Wondering what I am going to do about it. At least gas prices are lower and Britain is able to come up with a plan to fix their economy. Luckily the U.S. is a country of followers and not leaders.

I started to watch Heros on NBC. Of course I have only watched the first episode of the first season, but I am already hooked and I think I am the English version of the Japanese dude that can bend the space-time continuum by acting really constipated. I bet you haven’t even noticed how much time you’ve wasted reading this ridiculous blog post. Too bad for you.

I’m also now using the stream-movie feature in my Netflix account. I have two words, LENGEND-DARY! It is so awesome, I want to take it home, make out with it, and then wear it like an old, worn-out shirt. Oh momma!

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's funny the things you remember from when you were a child. Now I know some of my readers might imply that I myself am still a child, but frankly I've been hating my birthday since I turned twenty so really I consider my childhood days long gone. Especially since I have aches and pains like they're going out of style these days. By hey, I've digressed. Let's talk funny childhood memories.

Some might consider my family life a little bizarre; parents living hours apart yet still "together." It seemed normal to me growing up however. But I remember weird, random things like what I watched on TV when my sister and I would go to visit my dad. Stuff like a Disney firework special broadcast from Disney World or bits of a TV show that would preview small sections of all the Saturday Morning Cartoons, on Friday night (which I think is a genius idea). But what prompts all of these seemingly random and pointless memories? More randomness. A song on the radio from the 80's that I remember two guys singing in that Disney special. Or a clip from Everyone Loves Raymond because Marie played an ever-so-small role on that one cartoon preview show.

All this has made me think, "Why do we remember some of the stuff we remember?" Clearly I haven't locked away all my childhood memories as my dad is quick to point out how much of a pain I could be when I was a little tike and I don't seem to recall those moments at all. Clearly I am alluding to the time I "forced" my family to attend the early church service at The Barley Church. That doesn't even sound like me! I hate getting up early! Yet my dad and uncle still remind me of that time on a quite normal, and obnoxious basis. And while they still don't believe me, I don't remember that ever happening. Why? It obviously affected my family enough for them to attempt to remind me about it over and over and over again. Why does it not exist in my world of remembered consciousness?

Sometimes it concerns me because I think of what I am doing right now that I may or may not remember in the future. I want to remember everything I ever do like it's recorded in my head on super hi-def brain matter. The good and the bad. There is so much to learn from all our experiences. Even those ones that seem like long ago "funny" childhood memories. The thing that is so great about the memories we do keep is that they are multidimensional. Not only do we remember what we see and hear, but we remember what we smell, and feel and even think. It's those extra emotions and thoughts that we remember that seem to make those funny, random memories meaningful and worthy of being remembered.

So take it all in. Capture the world not only through your eyes and ears, but through all your senses, through all that you can feel and experience. Maybe in another twenty years I'll think back to some random time when I was 27 and I spent one weekend with a group of friends sometime, somewhere . . . It'll be a good memory. They always are.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In case you haven't noticed, the 2008 presidential election is quickly approaching. In this corner (picture me pointing to my right with a silver microphone hanging from the ceiling) is John McCain, the "original maverick" (does anybody really even know what that means?) who just made the vice presidential choice of his life! He is a 72 year old, prisoner of war / cancer survivor. And in this corner (now of course I am pointing to my left, microphone still in hand) is Barack Obama, the first African American presidential candidate and according to his campaign speech, the only real hope for change. He's a frail man at best but eager to get himself on the same level as his supporters.

So what is a person to do? Well I'll tell you. Basically now all you have to do is watch as these two knuckleheads duke it out in verbally horrific television ads. Frankly I feel as though these elections have gotten quite out of hand. Is it really even about being a person elected by the people, for the people anymore? Or is it more about just winning? Looking at McCain it seems to be about winning. In one swift and completely unforeseen motion McCain gathered women of all ages and without warning got them to join his team without hesitation (I say team because really the way elections work is the person with the most voting team members wins). It was pure strategy and an amazing one at that.

But that appears to be what elections are these days; strategic movements to stun your opponent and to get people to join your team. Is that what they should be? I don't really think so. Shouldn't elections be the candidates voicing whom they are, what they plan to do and how they plan to do it? Of course we'd have to assume here that we live in a fact-and-truth-telling society. We know that isn't accurate because it takes Candidate #2 to point out Candidate #1's misleadings and vice versa.

Perhaps there in lies the problem (pun intended). We've become a society so consumed with winning, how we get to the end is unimportant anymore. We have TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother where the better lier you are, the more likely you are to win. We teach kids with movies like Election that it is better to destroy your opponent than to promote yourself.

So over time we have come to this; campaigns that are run strategically more like a game than like the election for our nation's leader. Even more so we end up with lives that revolve more around winning than actually living. Don't get me wrong, I like to win just as much as the next guy, but frankly I'd rather live honestly and in the moment. It's not about winning, but about making this life better for yourself and others.

So how will you vote come this November? Are you voting to be a winner or are you voting because you actually care to make a difference?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I was a little disappointed with the Olympic Closing Ceremony the other night. Why? Because frankly they weren't even close to the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony. Sure it had some cool effects, like the guys climbing up and down the Memory Tower like ants up a tree. I guess what I was really disappointed in was the NBC coverage. Sure they showed Jackie Chan like a fool and some Chinese S Club 7 wannabes, but they didn't really talk to the Athletes. The Closing Ceremony is one of the worlds biggest parties! I just enjoy watching all the athletes have a good time celebrating each other's victories and hardships. Sure I envy them. Who doesn't want to be involved in such a spectacle, but it's neat to just sit back and watch people from around the world celebrate together and enjoy each other. It's such a rare things these days to see. Heck you can hardly see two people from the same city get along in different cars on the highway.

So my couple weeks of great sport watching is over until 2012. I think in four years I'll be taking two weeks off just to watch the games. I had to DVR most of the events while I was at work and sleeping (meaning I taped them while I slept, and while I worked, not while I was slept at work, give me a little more credit than that), which actually turned out quite nice. I could skip commercials and watch only the events I wanted to. My only grips were Bob Costa giving me the outcomes before I was able to watch my recorded events (not his fault though, he didn't know I taped them [I think]) and the fact that commercials would cut out part of my volleyball match. At one time it was 12-8, they cut to commercial and when you got back it was 12-14! What the flip happened?! I don't know?! I was watching a commercial.

All in all it was a satisfying Olympics. Sure the Chinese beat the USA in Olympic golds, but that's okay. As I've stated before, the games aren't really about winning. Sort of like Life really. It's not really about winning, but more about how you play, your determination and will to persevere against all odds. Even with the games of the 29th Olympiad over, there is still much to take from them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Miss me? Probably not. In fact if my popularity is anywhere remotely close to Big Brother then you didn't even know I was gone. Well your time of wonder as to where I went is over. To be anti-dramatic, I didn't go anywhere. I was just too lazy to blog. But things have changed. There is stuff to blog about these days! Like what you ask? Oh you silly silly people. The Olympics that's what!

I've been waiting for 8.8.08 since 02.26.06 (the end of the 2006 Winter Olympics). I live for the Olympics! So what are we looking at this year? A domination of swimming gold medals by Michael Phelps? A first-time, 2 gold medal achievement by volleyball greats Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh? Perhaps even a USA basketball revival by the Redeem Team.

No matter what the outcome of the games, the principle of The Games is always clear. A pursuit of sport with the purpose of peace and unity of all nations on the planet. For the next two weeks Beijing, China will be the center of our universe. During times of great unrest and conflict across this globe our differences will be forgotten for the single purpose of competing in sport. To be the best with our body in the world and for that to stand for the next four years.

Every country has its problems. China is no exception to that. But perhaps hosting the Olympic Games is China's way of stating they are ready to be included with the rest of the people on this world. They are ready to make a stand and begin to find solutions to issues such as government corruption and the violence at Darfur. Right now, in China all that is is sport. It will be up to China after The Games are over to take the next step.

There is something to learn from everything that happens in our lives. Maybe even from the creed of the Olympic Games.
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unfortunately, I live about 10 miles from these people. Am I ashamed? I try to pretend I don't even know where Claysburg, PA is. Luckily Claysburg is NOT part of The Cove.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Super Awesomeness That Is . . .In case you’re not an internet junkie, let me just inform you that the latest version of Firefox (version 3) was released this past Tuesday. Of course I had to download the application the hour it came out (10AM PST). And yes I did pledge my download beforehand. But in any event, Firefox 3 has indeed been worth the wait! Some of my new favorite features are the improved tab saving feature, the improved surfing speeds and the awesome support for new add-ons.

Add-ons! The outstanding feature that slaps Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in the face and stomps the crap out of it while it pukes and vomits all over its dining room floor. What browser could possibly compete?! That being said I figured I’d clue you in to some of the awesomeness that is Firefox Add-ons. If you don’t have Firefox, don’t sweat it. It’s free! And so are these add-ons. So download them now and make your internet browsing experience sweeter than an ice cream sundae on Tuesday!

Better Gmail 2 – Made by LifeHacker.com, and adored by Gmail users worldwide. If you thought Google Mail made you wet your undies a little before, you’ll be completely soaked by the time you change your Gmail skin. Google Labs has wised up a little and actually uses this add-on to build some of its features directly into the site.

Forecast Fox – Shows you the weather, radar, and extended forecast for your zip code built in to the browser itself. The best part is you can pretty much stick these icons wherever the heck you want! The only thing better would be if the forecast came from WeatherUnderground.com.

Gmail Notifier – Sick of checking your Gmail account every 5 minutes to see if you have any new emails? Well stop that! Let this add-on check it for you, however often you want. Then you can delete your shortcut to Gmail because when you click on the icon, you’ll go straight to your inbox. There’s even a popup preview as soon as the email comes in.

IE Tab – It really irritates me that we design our web applications at The Workplace for Internet Explorer browsers only. We’re so sufficient on Microsoft that you can’t even have a login ID that doesn’t start with the letters MS (okay, that is a stretch of the truth, but you get the gist). So with this bad boy I can tell what websites I want Firefox to open up in an embedded IE browser. I get the HTML rendering of IE, but the look and excellence of Mozilla. To all those websites designed with IE in mind, SCREW YOU!

PicLens – Oh my holy apple pie! If this graphic intensive add-on doesn’t get your mouth drooling, then you’re blind or lack salivation glands. What this puppy does is nothing short of spectacular! Visit a webpage that supports PicLens, such as Google Images, Picasa, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and much, much more and be completely bedazzled by how you can view the photos and videos there. By clicking the PicLens icon you are whisked away to a three dimensional world of photo searching, viewing, and wonder! PicLens even has a default search menu where you can search thru everything from sports videos, to TV shows and movies, to news pictures and broadcasts! You’ll be stuck just viewing stuff for hours! Endless hours!

Greasemonkey – For the advanced internet surfer and programmer, this add-on lets you customize code after a webpage has loaded. Don’t like how Facebook draws and displays its tables? With Greasmonkey you tell it what websites you want it to work on, what code you want to change, and presto! Before the page is rendered, the HTML is changed every time! Only you can dream up what you’re options on webpages could be! Make sure you know JavaScript before tackling this bad boy.

So how do you get all this stuff? It’s so simple you’ll wish you never asked. Just head on over to http://www.mozilla.com and download your very own copy of Firefox 3. Once you install it, head back over to the same Mozilla page, click on the Add-ons menu, and go to town! Some other awesome add-ons you’ll want to check out are FoxyTunes, DownloadThemAll, BlueOrganizer, and Delicious Bookmarks. Oh and don’t forget about the themes for Firefox. Make it look like whatever the heck you want! Someone let me know when the Campbell Brown theme comes out!

Friday, June 13, 2008

While driving home from volleyball the other night my friend Brad and I came up with a great idea for GPS navigational systems. Now I've had my Garmin Nuvi since Christmas of '07 and I am totally in love with it (in a nonsexual way of course). I can find places to eat when away from home, but more importantly I can can find my way home when I'm away from home. When I first started using my Garmin I used the Australian Female Karen to get me around. She did a good job but I'd venture off course so often (because the roads around me are so remote) she just annoyed the CRAP out of me by saying "Recalculating" in her little British accent so many times. So I switched to the American Female, Jill. I like Jill. While she still says "recalculating" just as often, it doesn't quite have the same -turn-around-right-now-you-f'in-idiot sound to it. I like that.

Anywho, I have ventured off course. The great idea. Why not make nav units with celebrity voices?! These are some of the options Brad and I came up, but feel free to post your ideas. Maybe Garmin will get the hint.

Sean Connery - "You missed the turn. You're going the wrong way!"
Robert Goulet - First of all he sing all the directions to you and then end with, "GOULET!"
Harry Carey - "Hey! If the road up ahead were barbecue spare ribs, would you eat it? I know I would! I'd wash it down with a cold Budweiser."
Bill Clinton - "I would not . . . turn . . . down this next road. Miss Lewinsky Lane.
Kim Jong-il - "Make a reft turn on Arec Barwin Rane."

And my two personal favorites . . .
Yoda - "Make this turn you will. Yes yes. [Goofy Yoda giggle]
Darth Vader - "Turn right here, or give yourself to the Dark Side." Of course the unit would constantly be breathing heavy all the time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I started riding my bike to The Workplace today. And I'm not talking about a motorbike either. It's a pedal bike. It's light, weighing in at less than 20 pounds I'm sure. It's a distance of 11.5 miles from my house to The Workplace, which currently takes 50 minutes to accomplish. That's 11.5 miles early in the morning, then another 11.5 miles in the late afternoon when it's 95 degrees. Why partake in the trek? It's simple really. Rising gas prices. I calculated at the current cost of fuel, and my motor-vehicle's fuel efficiency I'd be saving about $15 a week by riding
4 days a week. It's not a whole heck of a lot, but that number will only go up as gas prices continue to break records on a now daily basis. We're in the beginning of a new era. The days of inexpensive fossil fuels are over. The trend is slowly going to become what new, reusable energies can we "manufacture?" Also, how we can save on energy costs is going to peak some interest. While in most cases we can't generate our own energy (unless we can afford personal wind turbines or solar panels) there are numerous things we can do to save energy and be greener. I've compiled a list of some easy, and very affordable things you can do to save on your energy usage costs. He's back and greener than ever! It's Captain Jimmy's Top 10 Ways to be Green (Don't Listen to Kermit, it is Easy)!

10. Ride a bike. Even a motorcycle is going to use less gas that your honkin' SUV or your compact car. Especially in the bigger cities, you'd be amazed at how many places you can get to in a 10 mile radius by riding a bike. In some cases, it might even be faster.

9. Switch to energy saving light bulbs. Okay, so you can't get them in three-way but 3 watts vs. 60 watts should make that a no contest. You'll see instant savings!

8. Stop getting paper delivered to your house. Paper being newspapers, magazines, pay stubs. You can get your news online these days, even your local news. All those junk magazines (Victoria Secret, Cosmo and Nintendo Power excluded) you trash anyway and some magazines now offer their publications in PDF format. Just don't be an idiot and print the stuff out. And if you have direct deposit at work, try requesting to not have a paper pay stub anymore. Every little bit counts.

7. Carpool with friends. To work, social gatherings, just stop driving solo so gosh darn much!

6. Unplug or power down your stuff! All your stuff, especially big honkin' electronics, guzzle up your electricity even when they aren't "turned on." Get power strips and shut 'em down. Your PS3 is pulling 10 times as much power as your LCD HDTV. Even your phone charger plug is waisting electricity when plugged into the wall and not your phone.

5. Do more that uses less. Read a book instead of watching TV. Go play sports outside instead of Tiger Woods PGA on your XBox.

4. Turn off the lights when leaving a room. No sense in lighting up rooms when there is no one there to enjoy it. You could even invest in motion sensor lighting that completely takes the effort out of the equation.

3. Stop going out to eat so darn much. Get some extra food at the grocery store and cook up some nice meals at home. On the grill perhaps. That's my new thing. I made some kick a** grilled broccoli the other day. And who doesn't love a good grilled steak? Stupid vegetarians that's who!

2. Do more during the light hours. Wake up a few hours earlier and get more done when the sun is out. This way, once night comes, you won't need any extra electric lighting.

1. Drink from your faucet! I could go to some fancy pants statistic website and find out how much plastic waste is produced a year thanks to bottled water, but instead I'll just make you ponder. If your water tastes bad, get yourself a filter. In the long run, you're going to save tons of cash. People carry around giant coffee cups and mugs, why not carry a stainless steel water mug instead?

Now I know what you're thinking. "That top 10 was stupid and so are you Captain Jimmy!" First of all, never call The Captain stupid unless you want to be poisoned while you sleep. Secondly, no doubt some of the stuff listed could be argued, like the energy it takes to power your PC to read the news vs. no power for newspaper reading. But basically it you'd just get your head out of the polluted clouds, all it takes is a little conscious effort and caring. Which unfortunately is something most people don't do anymore.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Slap me thrice and call me Slacker! I know I skipped the whole month of May with my extremely talented blogging skills, but let’s face it; I can’t just do what the rest of the world wants me to do. Unless of course I’m getting paid for it, then I don’t mind as much (unless of course it tramples on my moral beliefs which I seriously doubt blogging would do).

So what the crap has been going on the past month? Here’s the quick lo-down. Early in the month I got my hair cut then headed on down to MD for a friend’s party. It was great! We drank; I played Guitar Hero, what could be better? I then went to Rehoboth Beach to play in a volleyball tournament where I completely crapped out (I’ve been seriously considering early retirement), but hey, I got hit on in a bar by a dude. Nice to know if I stopped attracting women (ha! Like that will ever happen) I won’t fair too badly with the other team. Not that I'm planning on switching teams by the way. Then it was off to Buffalo, NY for a few days to work. The weather was nice at least. I had a couple birthdays to celebrate then. Following that, I chilled with my old neighbors (old as in used-to-be neighbors, not old as in old people old) and then rang in Memorial Day with the fam. I closed the month with another hair cut and another friend’s party in MD where I once again drank and played Guitar Hero. Again, it was great!

That my friends was my month of May. Hardly anything to gloat about, but it was probably more fun than say a root canal or child birth. Oh I also had a few thoughts this month as well. Consider this a bonus to this entry! I know, you can wipe that drool off your face now.
  • How do one armed folk wash their hand?
  • My Garmin GPS (aka Jill) currently knows when the sun is setting. Will she still be accurate come the year 9424?
  • Also, if I went back in time to when GPS satellites were first launched would Jill still work? If so I’d impress the crap out of people!
  • If the Brits are currently paying more than $8.50 a gallon for fuel, then why would any oil conglomerate think Americans couldn’t afford that?
  • Not only can you not drive well when you’re having sex in the car in front of me, but it’s very distracting to me as well.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

For the last couple of months I have been in the process of purchasing a very, very nice digital SLR camera; a Canon EOS 40D to be exact. I spent a lot of time back in January getting pieces of the camera from different websites to save some money. A memory card here, a lens and filters there, a case somewhere else. And it was really panning out. I saved a fortune on my 16 gig memory card and I even swung a deal on my lens with the online dealer nearly throwing in three filters for free. Finally everything came in the mail except one thing: the camera body itself. I purchased the body from some obscure online camera retailer basically because it was dirt cheap. The camera body is the same no matter where you get it, so I figured I might as well pay bottom dollar for it right? Well, maybe not.

The retailer sent me an email stating that my item had been placed on backorder, but didn’t say for how long. Now I was getting one kick-a** deal so I didn’t really care how long it was going to be on backorder. When saving over $1000 you have some patients. I ended up calling the company however to get an estimate on when my item would be in stock (never mind the fact that the website said the item was already in stock). I was told 4 to 6 weeks. That was no problem. I could wait.

Well guess what? That time went by and then some. Then one day, Stupid Me forgot to get my check card out of the ATM one day so I had to cancel it. Now the retailer wasn’t going to charge my credit card until the item was shipped. However, since it had been over two months since I ordered my camera, I didn’t really care about updating that company with my new card information. They were done, despite the amazing price. So I conducted a new search to once again find the camera body at an inexpensive price avoiding any online camera retailers that had a webpage like the first company I encountered (which was ShopCartUSA.com in case you were thinking about buying from there) and believe me there was a number of them. Finally I decided to go with the retailer that supplied me my lens and filters. Re-enter 1WayPhoto.com. I called the company this time thinking maybe I could haggle them down in price again. They were having none of that and frankly didn’t even care I would go somewhere else to buy the camera. But they were the next cheapest so a few days later I placed my order online with them. I wasn’t totally shocked to get an email stating that item was on backorder (again despite the fact their website said it was in stock). However they did give me a 3-4 week backorder time frame. Again I figured I’d wait it out.

Well, today, five weeks later, I still have no camera body. I decided enough was enough. I called up 1WayPhoto and canceled my order. Not a single question asked. All I said was I wanted to cancel an order, gave them my order number, and they were more than happy to do it without question. Not a second later I received an email confirming my cancellation and apologizing, stating that item was just too darn popular (or something like that). That is crap straight from Hillary Clinton’s butt!

So with my ego defeated I started searching online once again. This time however I had enough of these silly waiting games. I hit up the websites I knew would deliver: Newegg.com, Amazon.com and the major electronics retailers! After a few minutes of searching and comparing prices, Amazon.com had won. With my income tax rebate check nearly spent, I am now one happy camper. I even ordered next day delivery so with any luck tomorrow I will be the proud owner of a fully functional Canon EOS 40D SLR camera!

Moral of the story is sometimes it’s just better to stick with the people you know will deliver and pay a little extra for it. It’s what my dad has been telling me for years and why there will be service people out to our house today to fix our microwave that broke last night. Second moral of the story is sometimes Dad can be right. As long as he’s not hassling me about getting LASIK!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Curious about what kinds of things I contemplate throughout the day? Read on my friend!

You know how when you’re typing and you hold down a key, that character repeats quickly? An example of this would be holding down the backspace key to delete those last few words you typed. Ever wonder at what point does holding down a key become more efficient than hitting a key as fast as you can? Well I have.

After a few experiments I found I can quickly press the same key about 20 times in 3 seconds. That calculates to 6 2/3 presses per second, or a key press every .15 seconds. Not too shabby in my opinion. Now, I have my keyboard repeat rate set for Frickin’ Fast which “types” about 20 characters per seconds if I hold down a key, or a key press every .05 seconds. Yeah that puts my finger to shame, but the repeat delay is set for one tick shy of Short as Dani Devito which after several minutes of testing I calculated to be roughly a 1/2 second delay. This means that my keyboard does not repeat a key press like a mofo until half a second has passed with a key held down.

With all this data I came to the conclusion that if I need to type more than four of the same character in a row, theoretically it would be quicker to hold that character key down. Of course this is the real world and not Theoreticalville so holding down a key for ¾ of a second is going to be pretty cumbersome and will likely take up more time because I’d be forced to use more keys in order to fix the inaccuracy I’d get with holding down a key to get five characters out of it. But such is life I suppose.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It’s time for an American Idol update. Season 8 so far has not disappointed! In fact I think I’m buying in to this whole Season-8-has-the-most-talented-singers-ever bit. It’s been a while, but it’s long overdue, so be prepared to read Captain Jimmy’s American Idol Season 8 Top Idols!

Jason Castro – I’m not thrilled about the dreads, okay I think they are sort of disgusting, but I do like Jason’ style of singing. He’s laid back, chill and usually doesn’t repulse me when he sings. His version of Another Hallelujah was tremendous however; the young hippie can’t last much longer.

Kristy Lee Cook – For the past few weeks now Kristy has eluded the bottom three. This was my pick from the very beginning to win. I still think she has a great voice, but she fails to choose good songs to sing. That one song in the final 12 was horrendous! You know which one I mean! And she could tone down the eye glitter too. I find it quite distracting.

Syesha Mercado – Syesha is no doubt one of the best singers on Idol this season. So far she has rocked out Whitney and Fantasia! I think she’s still holding back too. The only reason she keeps ending up in the bottom three is because she isn’t popular and I haven’t quite figured out why yet. I think she’s quite likable. And how can you not love the female fro??

Carly Smithson – Awesome tats, awesome voice, bad taste in clothing. Simon was correct, but he should have voiced it a little more kindly. I think if Carly sang Bonnie Tyler songs all the time she could win it, unfortunately the show isn’t called Sing like Bonnie Tyler Hour. It should however be called Watch More Commercials than American Idol Time.

David Archuleta – Am I the only person that doesn’t want to adopt this guy? With a younger fan base than Sanjia, Archuleta will no doubt reach the final three. I’m still waiting for him to sing some John Mayer because I know he sing the crap out of those songs. He can’t sing songs that have a fast beat or rock very well. Let’s hope Dad keeps his grubby little fingers out of Archuleta’s song book for the rest of the season.

David Cook – Am I the only person that finds it extremely unlikely that two contestants in the final 7 have the same last name? Apparently so. Let’s face it, this man has the confidence and voice to make the final episode this season. No song is too hard, no song too rough for Cook. His rendition of Billie Jean was as Randy would say, “Yo that was HOT DAWG!”

Brook White – Who could forget the girl that said she never saw a R-rated movie? By far the most professional contestant and most humble. If she can keep from boring her fans a second time it will be a Brook-Cook finally, with the winner being selected by the gosh-awful song that wins that crappy song writers competition. No matter what outcome, I’ll be buying her album. She may make it over to the dark side yet . . .

Thursday, April 03, 2008

With April Fools Day just a few days past, I thought I'd point out some of the awesome April Fools pranks I experienced. Okay, so it was really only two pranks and they both involved the Internet giant Google, but you're going to hear about them anyway.

So I've got a little thing called Gmail Notifier running on my Windows desktop. Basically all it does is inform me of when I get an email, sort of like Outlook does, but since Gmail is Internet based, much less frequently. So Tuesday morning I was notified I had mail. I cheerfully double-clicked the taskbar icon to bring me directly into my inbox. I don't even recall who emailed me, but what I did notice was a new red-linked feature of Gmail. It was labeled, "NEW! Custom Time Changer!" Or something like that. I clicked the link and started to read about how Gmail could now let you change the time of the email sent on past emails in recipient's inboxes. That's quite the feature, even with Google's e-flux capacitor. Numerous testimonials followed claiming no more tardiness and first-come-first-serve turn-around victories that had already ended. I had to smile and chuckle upon reading these as it was at that moment that I realized Google spent some time on something so little, yet so customer satisfying.

Later that day I went in to check my GCal (Google Calendar) and once again I was greeted by a little red-linked message at the top right of my page that read, "NEW! Wake Up Notifier!" or something like that. This time slightly wiser I clicked the link and was entertained by what read to be GCals latest feature: the ability to get your tired a** out of bed! Your first alarm would be a text, followed by more annoying phone calls, and if it came to it, water in your face and industrial molten steel spills on your bed. That ought to get you moving in the morning! And all this via a simple Internet Calendar.

Look, Google makes great products, no doubt. But sometimes it's the little things that can really sell something. Maybe it's the service, or an extreme attention to detail. Sometimes however, it can just be something as simple as making you smile. And if companies can satisfy me by making me smile, just think how I feel about the people in my life that make me smile . . .

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Have you ever thought about how much trust we put into people? I don't mean your best friend, or parents or co-workers (although you actually may not trust those people), but how must trust you put in total strangers? People you have never met, know absolutely nothing about, and would never strike up a conversation with have been given your life in the palm of their hand every day. Think about this next time you're on your way to work. How many cars do you pass on that 25.1 minutes journey? With each car you pass, you are putting complete 100% trust in that driver that they will not plow head-on, right into you, killing you both instantly. I know that's a bit dark and graphic for this blog, but frankly it's true. When you go to the grocery store, you're trusting that the producers of the food you eat didn't poison it. When you open a package purchased from an online retailer you're counting on that package not exploding in your face.

Now I know what you're thinking, there are laws that keep all that from happening. Crazy people aren't allowed to drive, food is tested before it hits the stores and your packages are scanned at the post office. But again, you are trusting that all those people do their job to keep you safe. In fact, it could be argued that your existence this very second is solely due to the absolute trust you unknowingly give to the rest of the world during 99% of your day.

Luckily, the majority of us remain unaware of that trust we give (unless of course you are a paranoid schizophrenic). Why then is it sometimes so hard to place trust in another person knowingly when it doesn't even involve a human life? Just another action to chalk up to that thing we call, "Human Behavior."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Me and Texting Champ MorganThis just in! Here's a picture of me and the national texting champion! I've been trying for months to get her picture with me. You can read more about the texting champion here. Thanks Morgan! (and tell Lindsay to hold the camera steadier next time!)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Well I took the old ski racks off my car today. I figured yesterday was going to be my last ski day this year. The snow was pretty crappy up at The Knob yesterday too. I mean, there were hardly any people there which was nice, but there also were giant puddles in the middle of slopes, only one lift open and despite the week of warm temperatures, there were still icy spots. Considering I purchased this year's season pass at the end of last year for a discounted $300, and that I made it to The Knob five times I figure I spent a whopping $60 per ski trip. Taking into account that my average visit was roughly 4 hours I would have done better not getting the season pass this year.

So now I need to figure out if I should buy a pass for next year at the same cost of $300. Taking history into account next year's winter looks mighty grim. However, taking my luck into consideration if I don't buy a pass we're gonna get dumped on next winter. So clearly you can see my dilemma. I could solve this whole issue by simply moving to Utah. Unfortunately there are no Sheetz in Utah . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My favorite movie of all time in the eyes of a three year old! "The siney guy always worries." I can't get enough!

Star Wars According to a 3 Year Old

Thursday, March 06, 2008

So I've been reading up on the concept of Leap Year since we are experiencing one this very year and just had our Leap Day a few days ago. Of course we've all been taught in grade school that an Earth year is in reality 365.25 days, which is why every four years we add an extra day to our calendar. That way over time, our seasons don't get all out of whack. And for just about everyone alive and able to read this post right now, that rule will suffice just fine until we die.

However, what we aren't taught (at least I wasn't anyway) is that a standard Earth year is in reality 365.2425 days. Doing the math we can quickly deduce that our little add-a-day-every-4-years trick will truck the world ahead a few days after just a few hundred years, reeking havoc for our grandkids' grandkids' grandkids' whom would no longer be able to experience the Winter solstice on December 21 (assuming of course that the Maya calendar that predicts the end of the world on December 21, 2012 is incorrect). So to prevent this cataclysmic catastrophe the powers-that-be devised a sneaky little way to make that work. It gets a little complicated so try to keep up.

We in fact do not simply add a day every four years. Instead the logic goes a little something like this. If the year is evenly divisible by 400, then there will be a Leap Day that year. For example, 1600, 2000, 2400, 2800 are all years that have a Leap Day. If however the year is evenly divisible by 100, but NOT evenly divisible by 400, then there will be no Leap Day. Par exemple, 1800, 1900, 2100, and 2200 are all years that have NO Leap Day. Finally if the year is evenly divisible by 4, but is NOT evenly divisible by 100 UNLESS it is evenly divisible by 400, then there will be a Leap Day. Just like this year, or 2012, or 1980 or 1600. Here is how the math all works out. 365 days a year, plus one day out of every four years, minus one day out of every 100 years, plus one day out of every 400 years. 365 + 1/4 - 1/100 + 1/400 = 365.2425 days a year. Pretty clever considering I would just increase the time of a second by a fraction amount so that a year would be exactly 365 days. This however would eventually result in a completely night time, 12 o' clock "high" noon. Resulting in further changes by me in minutes, hours and days.

But like I said, unless I plan on living until I'm 120 (which I am not unless I look like I do now my entire life) a Leap Day every four years for my entire life should do fine. If we really want to get technical, a year is actually 365.242374 days long anyway, and increasing. Luckily the unpredictability of that increase should be close enought to keep on track with the above algorithm for millennia to come.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The countdown is on to the election of a new president. Unless you've been sitting around picking your nose for two months straight you should know that the Republican nominee has been clinched by John McCain, however the Democratic nominee is still as up the air as the stratosphere as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama do battle in any state that has yet to have its Primary. This pretty much leave us with three (possibly four since I hear my buddy Ralph Nader has once again entered the race) possible candidates for the presidency of the United States. Here are my thoughts on each of those candidates.

John McCain - I've got to admire the guy. His face is shaped like an upside down light bulb but he could really care less. I'd be pulling some type of mandible liposuction or something like that on myself. Another good thing about McCain is that he already looks really old. This would save him that transition from middle-age to really old that all presidents seem to go thru during their term in office. Just look at Bill Clinton. His hair went from brown in gray in less than 4 years flat! Now he's as white as a ghost!

Hillary Clinton - Speaking of the Clintons, Hillary has a long road ahead of her. She failed to plan ahead during Super Tuesday and wound up out of money like a drunk Las Vegas gambler. She lost her commanding lead in the Primaries due to poor planning. If she's going to run the country like that she better be thinking about firing those sorry planning suckers and picking up some real thinkers. I will give her this, she can turn on the tear factory when she needs to. A good trait to have especially when the country turns on your a**. No one wants to see a male president cry.

Barack Obama - Let me clear the air first, the man is not a Muslim. Take it from me, I've read up on him. Unfortunately for Obama, 20 years of aging during a 4 year office term would cause him to look like a gray-haired skeleton. Or Ghandi. This could pose a problem when reading books about giant red dogs or foxes in socks to small children. Frankly I think that a skeleton president would scare the crap out of other countries so maybe they'd leave us the heck alone.

Ralph Nader - Oh Ralphie. What is there to say about you? You're as persistent as that flippin' raccoon that tries to tear thru the eight layers of trash bags my dad packs the trash in each week. I must admit, electing such a president couldn't really be a bad thing. Unless of course he is really insistent that other countries have WMDs. During his rule, the trees would make a comeback however. Possibly to the point that our president in 2012 would be a tree since trees and vegetation would outnumber humans a whopping 314,159 to 1. What am I saying? They probably already do. Does anyone take a census on trees anyway? Sounds like a job for droopie-eyed Nader.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

So did you happen to catch the Super Bowl just a few nights ago? First of all, we made just about the best chili EVER! In a ginormous pot that will last for weeks (the chili will last that long, not the pot). And the chocolate fountain we had going, oh that was amazing! The chocolate overflow-ith! Then the cherry on top was the fact that beyond all expectations, beyond all conceivable hope the New England Patriots lost! In their pursuit for the perfect season, one of the greatest teams in football history could not clinch the final game of the year, the most important game of the year, the Super Bowl. Not only have the Patriots become the Yankees of football (which Boston Nation seems to be oblivious too), but they have also become the worst losers I have ever witnessed. I'll give Brady credit, he took the loss like a man, and like the quarterback with mediocre skills that he is.Belichick however, well lets just say I've seen 5 year old kids act more mature after losing an intense game of Simon Says. In fact, T.O. might have pouted less.

So why are Patriot fans in complete shock about the loss. My insight is as follows. For years I have known that there really aren't too many great quarterbacks in football. What makes a quarterback "great" in most people's eyes (and by most people I am referring mostly to female Patriot fans) is the fact that they have amazing offensive lines that allow Mr. Quarterback to have all the time in the world to throw a ball. Give a man 15 seconds and he'll find any open receiver. Sure he needs to make a good throw, but seriously, these guys are getting paid millions of dollars so they better be able to make accurate throws to begin with. Now take away that impenetrable line and you end up with a series of unfortunate events like the ones that happen to the Steelers every other week, or like the ones that happened to New England just a few days ago. You end up with your average, mediocre quarterback. Pats fans have been praising Brady for so long because they thought he was the reason for the Patriots success, when in reality it wasn't just him at all. It was with the help of the offensive line. Same thing happened to the Colts weeks ago. You break the line, the quarterback has less options. So wise up here people. Stop worshiping your average quarterback with vanilla good looks and accept the fact that your team, in fact was NOT the best team to ever play the sport. I mean seriously, they lost to Eli Manning for crying out loud!

Note: Any attack made to me regarding Ben Roethlisberger and/or the Pittsburgh Steelers shall be disregarded based on the fact that:
1. This entry had nothing to do with Big Ben or the Stillers, and
2. Never will I acknowledge that Roethlisberger or the Stillers is/are the best quarterback/team in the sport. Heck I'll even admit the Patriots (and the Giants for that matter) were a much better team than theSteelers this season.
So suck on those nails and swallow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In case you were curious about my thoughts on the recent football games, keep on reading!

Lets start with Seattle vs. Green Bay. While I've never really been a huge Brett Favre fan (mostly because he's working towards his third retirement and his name is not pronounced like it is spelled) it was nice to see him win his latest playoff game. Seriously the man has all but sucked the last couple years. With his new skill of NOT chucking the ball up in the air like it was a free t-shirt at a baseball game, and his young spunky team, Green Bay seems all but unstoppable. After Grant's two fumbles the Packers rarely made a mistake. But seriously, when was the last time you saw 2 inches of snow on a football field and didn't enjoy watching the game being played there?

Next up was Jacksonville vs. New England. It's no secret I greatly despise Tom Brady and his team of video taping cheaters. However it was also a no-brainer who was going to win before the game even started. I must admit though, in the first half the Jags gave the Pats a run for their money, but by the second half Brady was done screwing around. He ended the evening with some crap-tastic 24/26 completions or something. While I'll admit, Brady is currently one of the best quarterbacks playing, that doesn't mean I have to like him. Nor do I give him all the credit. He's got one heck of a collection of linebackers and an amazing arsenal of receivers and running backs. I attribute liking the New England Patriots to liking the New York Yankees. Yeah take that you stupid little Boston Nation people! At least your basketball team still stinks!

Sunday proved to be hard on not only Indianapolis, but also the victor of that game, San Diego, as well. I'll admit, I thought Indy had it in the bag well before the game even started. There's not a single person around (that is sane) that would disagree with the statement that Payton Manning is one heck of a quarterback! I figured that with the return of Marvin Harrison (even if only for a decoy) and a healthy line the Colts would be on fire. Sadly this was not so. Rivers' ego was just too big for the Colts in the final game in RCA Stadium. The game was extremely physical. With the loss of Rivers, L.T., and countless others, the Chargers are now left with a second string team to take on New England this weekend. One good thing is I doubt this marks the end of Manning's TV career. Yeah, I feel ya.

The last game of the weekend was indeed a shocker. Who would have guessed that Dallas would suck it up so hard that they could scratch a diamond? Shortly before the game I was having a phone conversation with Andy in which he stated that relying on Eli Manning to have another kick-a** game was like relying on January to bring cold weather. Well, in fact Eli did have a great game and January did finally get cold! Do I think Romo lost it for the Cowboys? Of course not. His hooglabah with Jessica Simpson had nothing to do with the team's loss. It was indeed a team effort. The icing on the cake may have been T.O. balling like a little girl who lost her doll. Here's an idea, suck it up and play sports like a professional (and stop picking on his quarterback [That's just me making fun of the Cowboys (and T.O.). I don't actually care for them, or their quarterback])!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another January, another stretch of ridiculously warm temperatures. I'm starting to get tired of people claiming, "This is warmest January they remember!" Guess what? It was the same temperature last year, and the year before that and possibly even the year before that. Every year in January I get royally jacked because the weather is too warm for me to go snowboarding. This typically wouldn't bother me if I didn't buy a season pass for the current year at the end of the previous year. It's hard to drag yourself up to the mountain when there are 3 slopes open and the temperature is 66 degrees. But I might as well get used to it. I'm convinced that the days of large snows in Pennsylvania are over. With the increased rate of melting ice in the polar ice caps in addition to more and more man-made pollutants being released into the atmosphere, It's my belief that PA will eventually become an ideal temperature zone, sort of like San Diego, at least in the winter anyway. It'll still have hot summers, but even those seem to be on the decline. Overall I doubt too many people that aren't two-plankers or knuckle-draggers would mind the steady migration to a more temperate climate, but for the balance to remain, there needs to be other places that are more severely affected by global warming. Perhaps colder, crop destroying winters in the south, or maybe excruciating, life threatening heat near the equator. In my own opinion, I'd prefer to stick with the weather patterns of yesteryear where PA winters were cold and snowy, and the Earth functioned properly.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

There are some pretty neat technological ideas going on here in 2008. I think by the end of the year you'll be pretty impressed at what is being manufactured these days. Just to give you a hint at what's in the works, and what's to come, here are some of my favorite tech-stuff.

The days of Digital Rights Management (DRM) are over! It took some time, but the consumer finally won out (for once). ITunes and Amazon to name a few have been offering DRM-free music for quite some time now (at an increased rate of course), but the last major music supplier to go DRM-free, Sony, did so today. What does this mean for you? Well you don't have to worry about the songs you download not working on all your music gear anymore. If you download from iTunes, you can play that song on any device, and any computer. If you download from Amazon or NBC, play it anywhere. What a concept right? This gives companies new freedom at what they can offer you. Not to mention it gives you the ability to easily share that music you download legally with your buddies. This hasn't really been a hassle if you've been downloading music and videos illegally for the past few years, but who would have guessed less governmental control was what consumers wanted? Oh right, consumers (For safety sake, I don't condone illegal music downloading)!

Another cool thing making its way into 2008 is the new open standard for cable communications. While currently the FCC is not to thrilled about this (why, I have no idea) cable companies such as Comcast are eager to jump on board. This standard has actually been in the works since 1997! What does this mean for you? A whole bunch of new gadgets that's what! No longer will your DVR be specific to your cable company. TVs will now be able to have DVRs built into them and who knows what other fancy-pants interactive devices companies like Panasonic and LG will come up with. Panasonic hopes to have out a little portable DVR player by the end of this year. This would be a device you plug into your cable outlet, select what shows you want to record, record the shows, unplug the device and take it on the go with a little built-in 8.5" LCD screen. All without having to deal with that pesky cable service (of course you'll need video broadcast thru a cable company for this to work, it just doesn't matter which one).

Finally be prepared for some ├╝ber-fast PCs to be making their way to dealers by the end of this year. Intel has been hard at work with multi-core processors (even more than the current 2 or 4 you can get now) and new-style transistors so they can cram even more processing power into the same chip, and have it work without as much heat dissipation. While these new processors will no doubt be costly, they will drive the price of current processors down. This is good for me because I always buy year old processors. No point in spending all that money for something that will be of date in a few months. There has also been some breakthroughs in flash storage capacities so expect giant sized wee little storage cards in the next couple years too. One really cool one has a built-in Wi-Fi so once you take your pictures, you're computer starts to download it wirelessly. Seriously doesn't that kick a** or what?