Thursday, September 27, 2007

Learning to shift

Well, I did it. It was not the fiscally responsible decision, but I've got no family and nothing to do with my life, so here it is:



I had some trouble shifting yesterday. I'm not good at first gear.

Did much better this morning. I stalled once pulling out of my neighborhood on the way to Reveille Club, and then I stalled once on my way to work sitting in stop-and-go traffic on the 610/I-10 interchange, but that was more because I was playing with the clutch and trying different things. I used to ride the clutch like crazy in stop-and-go on the motorcycle -- just letting it pull me forward a little and then pressing it back in. I guess I shouldn't do that in this car. I guess I should wait for space to let it all the way out when I pull up instead of just riding the friction point a few yards at a time.

The car rides like a dream. The only downside is that you're so low you can't see traffic lights and signs around SUVs and tractor trailors. Big cars pretty much block all view of what's ahead. I can't remember having that problem in the Mustang, but maybe I did and just don't remember.

I'm going to turn on the mpg monitor this afternoon because I've already burned over a quarter tank since filling up yesterday. I'm guessing that my shifting and choice of gears isn't too efficient yet. It's supposed to get 18-25, which is better than the Escape, but to burn that much gas that fast I think I'm getting more like 10-15. Then again, I haven't exactly been taking it slow when the opportunity allows me to open up the throttle.

I keep finding all these interesting little features. For instance, there's rollbars hidden in the rear deck that only deploy if the car senses itself hit a certain angle or lose all contact with the road. There's also sensors in the rear bumper that measure the distance to objects behind you. When you get within a certain number of inches, it sounds a tone, and as you get closer, the tone changes. The windows also crack themselves when you open the door and then roll back up when you shut the door like the Mercedes do. The stock radio has a detachable face, but that really doesn't matter because if you disconnect and reconnect the radio, it won't work without a 4-digit pin number. I'm trying to track that down because it didn't seem to be listed anywhere in my manuals. I may switch that deck out for a bluetooth-enabled deck with an input for my iPhone though. I just have to figure out how and where I'm going to mount the iPhone, so I can still read the Google Maps display, but so that it doesn't cause all that phone interference with my speakers.

The hardtop has a rear window defroster and speakers built into it. It just pops on, and all the electrical is connected through the rear posts that secure it to the car. It has heated seats although I doubt I'll ever need that in Houston.

I emptied the Escape last night, but now I've got to scrub it down. Did you know Target doesn't carry those "For Sale" signs anymore? What the hell is that? All stores used to carry a bevy of pre-printed black and orange signs that ranged from For Sale to Beware of Dog. Now you can't find them anywhere. Surely Wal-Mart still has them -- I hope. I may just have to print my own signs.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I kind of miss the bird

I kind of miss the bird. The bird’s mess is still all over the kitchen table and floor because for some reason it took joy in constantly flipping bird seed out of its bowl and all over the kitchen, so that’s a good reminder of why I let the bird go, but I still kind of miss it. It brought a little life into a now very empty house. It feels really cold and quiet without the bird. At least it does until I let the dog in. The dog is having problems of her own though.

As Emily was moving her stuff out, she came across some old chew treats we’d bought for the dog months ago, but forgotten about. Well, I started giving the dog chew treats the past couple of nights. She has the WORST gas I’ve ever smelled. I don’t know how a stench so horrid could come out of a dog so small. It’s terrible. Plus she’s being really needy because Emily isn’t there anymore, so she’s always trying to climb on top of me, but she’s constantly ripping ass so bad it makes my eyes water. At least she has stopped waiting by the door and getting up at night to look for Emily, but hopefully in a couple more weeks she’ll finally forget about her altogether and calm back down. I don’t know how many more nights I can deal with a dog that just constantly freaks out unless she’s laying on my face.

As if the dog farts weren’t bad enough, her poo smells just as bad if not worse, and I hit a landmine this morning when I took her out. It took me half the drive to work to figure out where the smell was coming from. I was really starting to wonder if I had somehow unknowingly crapped myself because the reak of poo was just overwhelming. By the time I got to work, I had finally located it on my shoe, so I stopped off in the bathroom to scrub it down. I managed to get most of it off, but there wasn’t really anything in there to scrub with or to get the nooks and crannies. Unfortunately if I raise that foot to cross my legs or something, the stench still comes wafting up. If I wasn’t so broke from buying that iPhone, I’d just throw these shoes away. I’m broke though, and I have a meeting this afternoon anyway. It would look rather strange to show up to an executive meeting in socks. But then again, is it worse to show up wearing socks or to show up smelling like poo?!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I bought the millionth iPhone

The $200 price drop finally tempted me into buying an iPhone on Saturday, and then this morning Apple announced that the 1 millionth iPhone had been sold. Yeah, that was me. I got 1,000,000.

Let me tell you, this thing is sweet. I'm still getting used to typing on the touch screen. It can be a bit tricky, and you definitely can't text while driving because you have to look at the screen to know where the keys are. However, the screen works absolutely great. I thought you had to have a WiFi connection to get your e-mail, use Google maps, and surf the web. I was wrong. Everything on the phone is fully functional whether you've got a WiFi connection or not. It's totally sweet.

To make my weekend even better, Led Zeppelin announced a reunion tour. Yeah, I'm jammin' Zep on my iPhone. Life is perfect.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Clean Slate

A clean slate – that’s what I’m calling it.

It sounds way more positive than “starting over.” I’m doing all I can to see the positive in all of this. I mean, there are definitely some positive things. Before this relationship, I was bound and determined never to get too involved, much less married again. If you can stay “easy come-easy go,” it never hurts too much when they do inevitably go. That view has definitely changed. I finally realized that unless I do put it all on the line, they will always go.

Maybe it was just the right time in my life or maybe I just finally met someone wonderful enough that I actually didn’t want them to go. Whatever it was, I can honestly say this was the first time in my life that I actually put my whole self out on there on the line and lived for the other person more than myself. I wish I’d been able to do it earlier in the relationship, but at least I still got there.

This was also the first relationship I’ve ever had where I was able to forgive mistakes and continue to love the beautiful but imperfect person inside. That was a big step for me. In the past if I felt wronged, that person would end up begrudged for life, and I would most likely never speak to them again. I finally realized that I’m far from perfect myself, and I worked really hard to forgive. Sometimes it was extremely hard, and I think maybe I was too forgiving when I should have put my foot down. I guess I was just overcompensating trying to make up for my past track record and worried that I just wasn’t trying hard enough.

It’s amazing how fast people can change though. There’s nothing that hurts quite as much as returning an engagement ring. One day you’ve got plans – then next day, clean slate.

I knew the clean slate was coming though as I saw her start pushing me away weeks ago. I’m not happy it did happen, but it’s almost a sense of relief that I don’t have to worry it might happen anymore. It’s kind of like ripping the band-aid off the wound instead of just sitting there and peeling it slowly. I really did all I could to keep her from successfully pushing me away, but when someone that stubborn makes up her mind about something, there’s no changing it. You can’t work out problems in a relationship no matter how loving and forgiving you are if the other person has already decided that they just don’t want it to work.

I’m trying hard not to fall into my usual pit of despair, but it hasn’t been an easy day. As usual I can’t eat or sleep. My stomach already sucks when I’m not upset, so it really sucks when I am upset. During our previous break-ups it would be 2 or 3 days after Emily and I had reconciled before my stomach would finally relax enough that I could eat again, so this may end up being quite a fast. That’s not really a good thing since I’m already kind of scrawny to start with.

The worst though was this morning. I had laid awake all night before drifting off sometime around 5 a.m. Then the alarm went off at 6, and the dog had snuggled up against my back. I thought it was Em. I hit snooze and rolled over to throw my arms around her only to realize it was just the dog, and then I suffered the unmerciful shock back to reality as I remembered that she was gone.

I was excited that I finally ordered cable for the house this week. They’re installing it tomorrow, but I just realized that Jace owns the TV in my living room, and Emily owns the one in my bedroom. I think I’m going to have to do some TV shopping before the weekend is over if I actually want to use the cable. That’s ok though. I guess it finally gives me an excuse to get a flat screen, and it will actually be kind of nice to buy something for myself for the first time in months.

I’m not real sure what to do with all this time on my hands. I used to work on the Mustang when I was stressed, but I sold the Mustang back in April when I was trying to pay down my debt and get my priorities straight in an effort to create a successful relationship. Working on cars somehow just numbs my mind to everything except the nuts and bolts. If I was changing out the heads or tuning a carburetor, there was nothing on my mind except the work at hand. Music is a great pastime, but it tends to amplify my emotions, and right now I just need to get them shut off. I’m kind of scared to pick up the guitar.

Whatever the case, I’m sure this weekend will involve drinking heavily. I wonder if I can finish the huge bottle of Crown from Mexico before Emily comes to get it.

To all the people I’ve ignored and blown off over the past 8 months, I sincerely apologize. I really just wanted to make sure I gave my all to this relationship, but I was wrong to sacrifice my friendships to do so. Next beer is on me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Thoughts on love

I’ve been thinking about love a lot lately. I’ve been trying to figure out what it is, whether or not I’m really feeling it, and why it can be so hard.

In the dictionary, “love” is defined as:

1.
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.

2.
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

3.
sexual passion or desire.

There’s of course, many other definitions, but they tend to gravitate towards the use of the word “love” as a nick-name or term of endearment or the term as a verb for lovemaking, etc.

I agree with the first two definitions, but I think the third definition applies more to the word “lust” than “love” – although it can definitely be a part of “love.” I think definitions one and three combined do well to create a literary definition of love between a man and a woman on paper. However, despite that seemingly short definition, love is nowhere near that simple.

In February 2006, National Geographic ran a big article called “Love: The Chemical Reaction.” In it, they proved that the initial euphoria and feeling of falling in love with someone was created by the release of certain chemicals in the brain. However, usually within the first year a couple was together, the brain ceased to release these chemicals. As you would expect, the passion died. Some couples stayed together and moved into more of a friendship relationship while some split up and looked for new partners, which would once again result in the release of these chemicals.

I have friends that run from relationship to relationship always needing something new and fresh to stay excited running at the earliest sign of trouble. I have friends that stay in seemingly miserable relationships that from an outsider’s standpoint they should have run from a long time ago. What makes a person stay or leave? Is it purely chemical? Is it some sort of emotional commitment/abandonment issues? Is it maturity? Is it simply a fear of dying old and alone?

With 6 billion people in the world, how do you meet just one that you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with? It seems impossible, yet people do it every day.

Both sets of my grandparents made it past the 50-year mark. My parents are headed towards 30. Yet, the first time around I couldn’t even make it 2 years. Most people date their high school sweat hearts longer than that.

Some say that when you meet Mr./Mrs. Right, it just works. In my experience that’s true – for about a month. Then the emotional scars, conflicting schedules, and daily stresses start taking a toll, and the work to make it work begins. I’ve talked to all my successfully married friends, and none of them deny some seriously rough times in their first two or three years of marriage. Looking at my parents’ marriage, I know that the rough times extend far beyond the first few years. People change. They grow, they find new interests, they get frustrated, they get hurt. Quiz a person on their beliefs, goals and dreams today and check in with them in five years. I think would be incredibly rare to find someone with the same answers because with each new experience, you’re never quite the same person you were before.

I’ve heard from an incredibly wise old man that over the course of a marriage, you’ll fall in and out of love many, many times. If that’s true, which I’m pretty sure it is, a lot of work must go into keeping those relationships alive. But how do you decide whether or not a relationship is worth the work?

I know some people might put in the work because they feel it’s their duty in the eyes of God. Some people might put in the work for the sake of their children. Some people might put in the work because it’s all they know, and the idea of leaving their comfort zone is far scarier than riding out a storm.

I don’t have kids, I’m not married, and I’m not afraid to be alone. What incentive do I ever have to make things work with someone instead of running for that next chemical rush? I mean, you have to admit, there’s nothing quite as incredible as a first kiss. Why not trade a lifetime of work for a blissful string of first kisses?

I’ll tell you why. Because I tried this, and it’s lonely. It’s empty. Yes, there’s a heady rush of excitement every time you’re with somebody new, but there’s no substance there. And that lack of substance eventually leaves you more damaged and lonely than when you began.

I don’t have all the answers, but I know that when I see a beautiful sunset, when I hear a funny joke, when I really like a new song, when I feel bad and need someone to talk to, there’s only one girl that comes into my mind that I would most like to share those things with. There’s one girl that despite no matter how mad I am at her, I still have a longing in me to make her smile. There’s one girl that I’m actually happy to share a tiny twin bed with in a hot cabin whereas with any other person I would have insisted on just sleeping on one of the other empty twin beds. There’s one girl who can say something as corny as “Hay look” when we pass a hay field and can make me giggle for 15 minutes. There’s one girl, that despite not wanting to believe it, is every bit as dorky and clumsy as me.

When it comes to anything worth sharing with somebody else, there’s one girl that comes to my mind. And THAT is why I work for it.

So as I was floating down the river this weekend staring up at the big blue Texas sky and pondering all these thoughts, I came up with my own definition.

True Love: Being dedicated enough to swallow your pride, face your fears, and actually put out the effort to make a relationship worth having actually work.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Elton John is pissing me off

So, Elton John said this about the Internet and blogging:

“The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff. Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn’t bode well for long-term artistic vision. It’s just a means to an end. We’re talking about things that are going to change the world and change the way people listen to music and that’s not going to happen with people blogging on the internet. I mean, get out there - communicate. Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet. Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging. I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span. There’s too much technology available. I’m sure, as far as music goes, it would be much more interesting than it is today. I don’t have a mobile phone or an iPod or anything. I am such a Luddite when it comes to making music. All I can do is write at the piano. In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic. Now you’re lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality. And there are more albums released each week now than there were then.”

Wrong. Just because you're not face-to-face doesn't mean you're not communicating. Struggling musicians can't afford studio time -- our computers are the only way we have to get our music out there. Perhaps the reason all the records in the early 70s seemed better was that only the established groups with the backing of major labels and professional producers could get a record out.

But what's your excuse Elton? If you're such an anti-technical luddite why do your records suck so terribly bad these days compared to the 70s?

I swear I've seen this hypocrite in an iPod/phone commercial where he's walking around with headphones on embracing technology. I just can't remember what the commercial was for.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bionic Hands

Last night I was laying in bed and my thumb was hurting from my mechanical bull incident. So then I was thinking about robots. Then I was thinking about robotic thumbs. Then I realized not only how to design the perfect artificial hand, but I also came up with a completely new solution to the current problem facing robotic hand developers regarding the lack of sensory feedback and therefore being unable to control how tightly robotic hands grip things. What's even more ridiculous is that aside from the metal skeleton of the hand itself and the processor to control the hand, I think all the parts I would need to construct this hand could be bought off the shelf.

I know I come up with some really stupid/crazy ideas, but I think this one could actually work. I just don't know if I have the level of skill needed to craft a working model.

I guess we'll find out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What's new

There’s just so much going on today, I don’t know where to start.

First off, the Weekly World News, which was never really “news” to begin with will now no longer be weekly or … worldly? It’s dead. After a 28-year run on supermarket checkout shelves, the last issue is slated for August 3.

I’ve only purchased two issues of the Weekly World News, which upon close inspection I found contains disclaimers that all the stories wherewithin are fictional and for entertainment purposes only. However, I’ve been entertained by countless headlines featuring devils, aliens, terrorist, presidents and batboy. I’ll miss the weirdness, and I kind of mourn the fact that now all I’ll have to read while waiting to pay for my groceries are headlines of celebrity scandal.

Now for something else weird but wonderful, they’re making The Big Lebowski action figures. Hilarious. http://techdigest.tv/2007/07/its_not_quite_a.html

On the technological frontier, it’s an exciting day. A company called Kameraflage just released its new technology that allows you to print pictures or messages on t-shirts, billboards or whatever medium that are invisible to the naked eye by can be seen through a digital camera. It has something to do with the range of visible light to the human eye versus a silicon chip, but it’s just cool. I can’t wait to get my t-shirt with the secret message that says, “Take a picture, it’ll last longer.” Then again, it could be really annoying if advertisers start putting invisible logos and messages all over tourist attractions, so that the Eiffel Tower still looks beautiful until you take a picture and realize there’s a huge tampon advertisement on the side of it. Supposedly they’re also going to use this technology to start watermarking films to stop bootleggers from taping them. I’m guessing it’s just going to send the bootlegging industry back to analog cameras or they’ll find some new way to turn that light-sensitivity range off in digitals. Check it out here: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/more-than-meets-the-eye/kameraflage-images-only-visible-through-a-digital-camera-282689.php

So along with that new technology, Fujifilm just announced its new series of digital cameras will be out in September. I just bought the 8mp F40fd last month, but they’ve announced a 12mp F50fd, which apparently has an even better face recognition system, red-eye removal in camera, and true image stabilization. They also have a ridiculous 14x zoom 8mp camera with face detection and image stabilization. And by ridiculous, I mean ridiculously AWESOME! I probably can’t justify purchasing either one of these babies, but they’re both only going to run about $300, so you know I’ll probably rationalize it somehow.

Also on the technological frontier it’s been announced you can still buy an 08 Tesla Roadster for about $90k or you can now pre-order a Moller flying car for about the same price. The electric roadster goes 0 – 60 mph in 4 seconds, but is confined to roadway. The Moller flying car floats at 10’ and has a max speed of 50mph, but only has a capacity of 250 lbs. Sounds like the Tesla will still be better for picking up chicks – unless you like them really skinny. Of course, you could just buy a regular Lotus for $50k, which looks like a Tesla and spend that extra $40k on gasoline, hookers and blow.

On the music front, Martin released a special edition guitar detailing the history of flight with a big astronaut inlaid on the headstock and satellites on the bridge. The on the back there’s a shuttle and a bunch of various planes. It’s really dorky, but I want it.

Not much going on at home. I went country dancing Saturday night and got bucked off the mechanical bull which resulted in re-injuring the thumb and tendons of my left hand that I tore up in my motorcycle wreck a couple years ago. The swelling in my thumb has gone down a little since Saturday, but it still won’t bend all the way down and hurts like hell to put any weight or pressure on it. Kind of a pisser since I had just cleaned and restrung all my guitars Saturday afternoon. Doesn’t look like I’ll be playing anywhere anytime soon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Em's Birthday


Em's Birthday
Originally uploaded by ffacker
Well, we made it through Em's big 21st birthday celebration. It started with dinner at Benihanas with her family and a few friends. Then we went on to Sam's Boat, and we had planned to stop by BLVD, but as it was a Tuesday night, it was closed. We spent the rest of the night at Swig, and I think Emily ended up appropriately inebriated for a 21st birthday celebration, but not enough to get sick, which is good.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Trailer Hitch Bass


Trailer Hitch Bass
Originally uploaded by ffacker
I saw this on the way to work. It's an electronic bass that flops back and forth when the brakes are applied. Hilarious but a bit distracting in traffic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fuji F40fd review

Got my new camera. It's a little thinner and sleeker than the old F10. My first concern was the battery life. The F10 was rated at 500 shots, the F40 is only rated at 300. I shot with it all day Friday. Then I filled the memory card shooting the John Mayer concert with it Saturday. Then I shot 74 pics at Em's sister's 3rd birthday party on Sunday. Sunday night battery was still indicating full charge. I don't think battery life is going to be a problem at all.

The face detection software works fairly well. In a group of 6 people it detected three faces, but that was enough to keep everybody in focus. It's especially useful for setting the timer and running into the shot because it refocuses on your face once you're in the shot.

The various scene modes work well. I used the "beach" mode for some bright pool shots on Sunday and it kept the reflections off the water from washing everything out. Hopefully it will work just as well with reflections off sand.

I've put the camera into the underwater housing and tested that indeed all the controls are still functional through various levers and buttons. However, I still haven't given it a submersion test. It's kind of scary to just submerge your brand new electronics. The housing is going to be a definite plus just for the beach though because the sand gets in everything. I'll finally feel comfortable carrying a camera around. The only downside to the underwater housing is that there's limitations to when you can open it back up. If you have it in salt water you're supposed to soak it in freshwater for 30 minutes to dissolve all the salt off of the hinges before opening it again.

I'm really happy with the performance of the camera, and I'm really happy that Fuji finally let me use an SD card since every other device I own uses these cards. However, what's up with the specialized cords? On the F10, you couldn't plug it directly into the computer. You had to have the little Fuji break-out box to then plug a USB cord and charger into the camera. With the F10 there's no break-out box, but it's not a standard fitting USB cord. You're also not supposed to charge the battery in the camera. I really liked just plugging the camera in, so it was charging while transferring pictures, etc. Why doesn't Fuji use a standard USB cord?!!!

Other than that, great camera. I highly recommend it.

Seein' through the fog

I got contacts on Friday. I was so sick of my glasses because they were always smudged and falling down my nose when I was out getting sweaty. I also wanted to be able to see clearly when I go snorkeling on vacation. I should have walked away when they told me at the optometrist that for my prescription it was $61 for a fitting and test pair instead of the earlier quoted $40. I should have walked away when the optometrist told me that with my astigmatism these contacts are not going to correct as well as glasses. I should have walked away when I couldn't get the damn things into my eyes. But I didn't.

I wore them part of the day Friday before they got too annoying. Then I made it all day in them Saturday, but extended exposure to all the body sprays, candles, lotions and perfumes in Victoria Secret at The Woodlands Mall caused me to blink one out when my eyes started watering. I had to spend 10 minutes in the Men's Room putting it back in. Then we went to the John Mayer concert and while I was happy not to be wearing glasses, I couldn't really focus on the stage.

I never even bothered putting them in on Sunday. Monday I tried to put them in before work, but didn't get up early enough for the battle, so I gave up to make it to work on time.

I got them in this morning, but driving in them sucks. I have glasses because I can't read the street signs far away. I can't read the signs with contacts either -- I might as well just be driving without them in. Computer screens are a strain without my glasses too. They're still a strain with contacts. Plus, I think I got an eyelash under my right contact this morning because it's been bugging me all day.

I have an appointment on Saturday to decide if I should order more contacts or forget the whole idea. Two months ago I almost ordered prescription sunglasses, but I held off thinking if I just got contacts I could wear my cheap $6 sunglasses and still see. I haven't completely made up my mind, but I think I'm throwing out the contacts and going with the glasses.

So much for not looking like a dork.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Underwater Photography

I’m so excited. With the already frequent beach and lake trips this summer and the highly anticipated trip to the Mayan Riviera now just 64 days away, I started thinking about a better way to take pictures. We’ve been taking my Fuji F10 point-and-shoot camera to the beach, but I always leave it in the car because I’m so worried about it getting wet or getting full of sand. A cool feature of the Fuji Finepix cameras is that Fuji actually manufactures waterproof polycarbonate housings for them. It’s just that in the past they were pretty expensive. I bought my first digital in 2001. It was a Fuji Finepix f4700 2.3 mp camera, and I paid $800 for it. It also took those big SmartMedia memory cards. They had a max capacity of 128 mb, but I could only afford a 16 mb card. These days you could buy a freaking digital SLR for $800 and 16 mb would only hold about two pictures.

A few years later I bought a Fuji Finepix f601z. It was a 3.2 mp camera that retailed for around $350. I always wanted the underwater housing for that thing, but it was like another $350. I never got it. I thought I was cool as hell though because the f601z had a USB docking base that let it work as a webcam. Then I had a Motorola flip phone with a modem attachment, so that I could connect the camera and phone to my notebook and dial in at 56k and make a very, very crappy video phone call. The picture was there, but at 56k it didn’t really move much. Oh, and it also cost a lot to use those cell phone minutes. In retrospect it really wasn’t that awesome at all – especially now with the way aircards work.

Eventually that camera got destroyed during a drunken melee at a Halloween party, and I got the Fuji Finepix F10, a 6mp camera that retailed for $300, which I have now. Fuji, of course, manufactures an underwater housing for the F10. So I started thinking, why not finally get an underwater housing? But then I started thinking, why spend $150 to accessorize a camera that’s already two years old. I mean, I have the F10, but they’re already up to the F40.

So I did a little checking. Fuji makes an underwater housing for the F40! Buy.com actually had the 8 mp F40 for $225. They also had the underwater housing for $60!!!

Yeah, you know I bought it. I ended up getting both the camera and the housing for less than the F10 is still retailing for new. Plus, the F40 is the first Fuji camera to use SD cards instead of their proprietary XD format. SD cards are really cheap. I got a 2 GB for $17 a couple months ago, and I’ve got several around the house. I’m so excited. You know I’m taking it to the beach/lake/river as soon as it gets here. If not then you know there’s going to at least be underwater bathtub/toilet pics showing up on my page. Ever wondered what that dookie looks like UNDER the water?!!! Me neither! That’s gross. I’m not sticking my brand new camera in a toilet.

My F10 is for sale if anybody wants it -- $150 obo. It’s in like-new condition with a 1 GB XD card and all the original packaging and wires. Check out the stats at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf10zoom/

Cappuccino Uprising

We just got new cappuccino and coffee machines in the kitchens of our building at work. They’re fancy. They have little one-serving pod-packed filters that go into these little gun-looking things that then slide into the machine and make you a cup of coffee. The cappuccino machine also has a milk frother that powers up when you swing the arm out, and then powers back down when you swing it back.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any milk. And it takes a long time to use the thing. And it’s a mess.

Everybody’s mad that they replaced our cappuccino robots. Before this new Starbucks system got put in we had these little machines with buttons on the front. You just pressed coffee, tea or cappuccino, and it popped open a little tray, you inserted the appropriate coffee pack, and then it spit out your coffee. Yes, the cappuccinos were made with powdered milk, but it was fast and easy. There was no mess and no clean up. The trash from your packet got dumped into an internal bin that had to be emptied once a week.

This new setup has all sorts of sprinkles and mini-marshmallows and graham cracker toppings to go on your cappuccino, but people are pretty mad because there’s no milk to froth anyway, so nobody can make a cappuccino.

I have a feeling the robots will be back next week.

Never Drive-Through a Subway

Never drive-through a Subway. I’ve been on my health kick and a budget to save up for vacation, so I bought all this tuna and whatnot to eat for the week – 69 cents a meal, you can’t beat that. However, if you can’t get your ass out of bed in time to make lunch before you leave for work, you still have to go find something for lunch.

I was on my way to Wendy’s because they’ve got the $1.19 side salads and $.99 chicken nuggets. It keeps the lunch under $2.50, and it’s relatively healthy. However, I pass a Subway on my way to Wendy’s and as I passed it I thought, man, a sandwich would be really good right now. Then I noticed they had a drive-through window, which is really rare for Subways, so that tempted me to pull in thinking I’d get a 6” sub with 6 grams of fat or less. I didn’t. I ended up with a foot-long Italian BMT and cookies. So much for willpower. But that’s not even my point. My point is that Subway drive-throughs suck. I figured I’d just tell the guy what kind of sub I wanted and to give it “the works” and he’d prepare it for me. Wrong. The “sandwich artists” keep you at the speaker the entire time they’re making the sandwich. This defeats the purpose of a drive-through window. It took forever. The line started wrapping around the building twice. This guy is like, “Do you want it toasted?” I’m like, “sure.” So he goes, “Hold on, I’ll go toast it.” So I sit at the speaker three minutes waiting for him to come back. Then we have to go over all toppings and options. It was dumb – and slow. VERY slow! I should have gone in.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The DSL is fixed … probably!

I went to Home Depot last night and bought 45’ of Cat5 cable, a new wall outlet and some clear caulk. Instead of running the new telephone line up into the attic and then back down through a wall, I used indoor/outdoor line and ran it from the box along the cable line that runs across the eaves of the house and then down through the brick into the wall of my room. Then I replaced the cable outlet face plate with a plate that has both a cable outlet and a phone outlet. I re-caulked the hole in the house, and the job was done. I hate the fact that cable companies run lines outside the house like that, but it sure made things easier to do that instead of crawling through the attic and running wires back down the walls. Because of the insulation in my walls, the last time I ran a wire down a wall I actually had to cut a hole at the top of the wall to get to the wire and then feed it down to the outlet hole. Then I had to patch and repaint the top hole – pain in the ass.

So I think the DSL is now fixed. It was immediately working after I finished the wiring last night, and it was still on this morning, so hopefully that thorn in my side is gone.

As I was wiring up the outlets last night I was thinking to myself how lucky I am that my dad taught me to do that kind of stuff. I’ll never be a homebuilder, but I can run electric, cable and phone lines. I’ll never be a mechanic, but I can diagnose and fix a car. They’re sure good skills to have. I need to do something nice for Father’s Day this weekend. The question is what. You can’t really just buy my dad something because he never asks for anything, and when he needs something he usually gets it. Last year I got him a tent because we were about to go camping and he and my mom were going to use this old blue backpacking tent that had a history of massively leaking in the rain and then filling up with water like a swimming pool. It worked out great because I surprised him with the new tent, and then it poured the entire trip, so it saved my parents from getting soaked. However, this year I have no idea what to get him. I better figure it out soon though – like today!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mr. Wizard Died

Mr. Wizard died. That’s kind of sad. I hadn’t thought about Mr. Wizard in a long, long time, but I used to watch him all the time as a kid. I recreated many of his experiments in our kitchen growing up.

In other sad news, the last two white rhinos in Zambia were shot by poachers yesterday. One died and her horn had been removed, but the male lived. The greed and lack of conservation that would motivate someone to shoot the last two animals of any species amazes me. I guess some people will do anything for money, and in third-world countries where options are limited it’s easy for me to judge and hard to actually put myself in the shoes of someone who would do this. There are other white rhinos in South Africa, so at least the species is not extinct, but still, this is terrible. Rhinos don’t do well when their mates die. I remember when one of the rhinos at the Houston Zoo died a couple years a go. The remaining rhino was so depressed and just kept roaming the pen looking for her. Of course, the Houston Zoo rhinos were kind of like big dogs. I don’t know if wild zoological park rhinos would behave the same – although I’d be sad if my mate died no matter where I was living.

My DSL service is continuing to drive me crazy. It’s been intermittently on and off for almost two months now. Some days are better than others, but the pattern seems to be that the DSL will connect in the evenings between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., but after 10 p.m. it starts kicking on and off, and at some point during the night it kicks off altogether and stays off. Then it’s never on in the mornings. I’m on my third help ticket and my second DSL modem. Another repairman was supposed to come to the house this morning, but, just like the first time, the guy was supposed to be there between 8 a.m. and noon and didn’t show until after 2 p.m. All he could figure is that because the line splits to three different outlets in the house there are echoes and fluctuations down the various lines causing errors. His solution is that I run a separate single line straight from the outside box into the house for just the DSL modem. I’m not real thrilled about that solution because it means I have to go buy a roll of telephone line and crawl up in the attic to rewire everything. In the meantime, his bill for telling me that he THINKS this is the problem was $60. That $60 is now on top of the $60 the first tech charged when he guessed that my old DSL modem was bad and replaced it – which obviously wasn’t the issue. I’m also not really sure why have three lines is suddenly an issue either because I’ve had the phones and DSL set up that way for two years, and there was never a problem until two months ago. AT&T billing finally credited me for a month of service because of the problem, but then they tried to sell me satellite TV. And while I actually think I do want to order satellite from them because it’s about half the price of cable, there’s no way I’m placing an order until all this DSL crap is cleared up and it works correctly. I’ve decided if it’s not completely fixed by next week, I’m just cancelling everything and ordering Roadrunner. Roadrunner is a lot more expensive, but if it works all the time, then it’s obviously worth it. So if you need me tonight, I’ll be in the attic.

I went home for lunch today because of the DSL situation, and when I get there what do I find? While waiting at the house for the technician, which was a thoughtful act in itself, Emily had cleaned both my bedroom and the kitchen. How did I ever find such a wonderful girl and what does she possibly see in me? Tuesday will be 5 months that we’ve been together, and while there have been a couple bumps in the road along the way, I have never been so in love or so happy.

By the way, 5 months is no small accomplishment for me. The longest relationship I’ve ever had was 3 years. Other than that there was an 11-month stint in high school. Other than that there’s … well, there’s 5 months! Obviously I still have a lot to learn about relationships, but Sunday is my grandparents’ 58th wedding anniversary, so I hope to make it that far someday.

Of course, the most exciting news is that I finally booked vacation in August. Since I joined the working world seven years ago I’ve only taken 1 trip that could even be considered a vacation. I’ve had to burn vacation time, but I just piddled around the house or went to visit my parents. Not this year. This year we’re going to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico and staying along the Mayan Riviera. I cannot wait. August can’t get here fast enough. I’ve never been to a resort like this or been on this kind of vacation, so I don’t know what all to expect, but I do know that it’s right on the ocean, it looks like paradise, and I’m going with my favorite person in the world, so I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful.

I got this flyer in the mail from Tomball Ford yesterday. It said they were paying original MSRP on 1999 – 2005 Ford trade-ins if you bought a 2007 Ford. Then in smaller print it said that there was a mileage deduction of 10 cents – 55 cents depending on model. Well, MSRP on my Escape was around $23k I think, I’m not sure since I bought it used, but there’s 75k miles on it. So if it’s 10 cents a mile, that’s $7500 under MSRP. I thought, hell, that definitely beats current Kelly Blue Book value, why not go trade up. So I call the place to ask them about it. They were like, oh, well your model would have a 30 cent deduction per mile. Well, .30 x 75,000 = $22,500. Original MSRP of $23,000 - $22,500 = $500. What a freaking scam?!!! So of course the salesman is like, oh, yeah, that doesn’t work out in your favor, but bring the car in and we’ll see how close we can get to paying it off and getting you into a new vehicle. I was like, no thanks assholes.

Well, it’s off to Home Depot to buy phone wire. Hopefully I won’t fall through the ceiling.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Punk rock bears!

To keep from needlessly euthanizing bears in Alaska, the parks department has decided to attempt to dye the bears different colors for identification. That way they can track which bears are being sighted in various areas.

But what if the bears decide they like their new dye jobs? What if bears with highlights and frosted tips really start pulling down the mates? Will they start visiting the beauty shop every two weeks to keep their hair styles up to date? What if they start getting manicures, but starve to death because they don't want to mess up their nails?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,274257,00.html

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Your pre-written break-up excuse

This is to save all women I date in the future the hassle of coming up with their own original, poorly-phrased break up excuse. It's always the same excuse anyway, why not practice it ahead of time, so it flows nice and smooth.

I'm just not getting the emotional fulfillment I need from you, and I feel like you put up walls between us that you refuse to take down. I haven't been happy for a long time, and I know you've danced in circles and bent over backwards trying to make me happy since we discussed this before, but I just don't think I can find true happiness with you. Maybe I need to learn to be happy by myself before I'll be able to find happiness with someone else. You're so wonderful, and I love you, I'm just not in love with you. I don't want to hurt you, and that's why I need to stop hurting both you and myself by ending this relationship.

You may need to modify that line about not being happy for a long time if we've only been dating a short period of time, but any way you want to use it, it's much classier than just disappearing and never speaking to me again although when it comes down to ending the relationship, that method is just as effective.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Can this POSSIBLY be true?

Supposedly a ring of con-artists were selling sheep to Japanese people telling them they were poodles. I don't know if I buy it. Then again, if you've never seen a sheep or a poodle, maybe they would be hard to tell apart -- except for things like hooves vs paws and baaahs vs barks.

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=46730&in_page_id=34

Scientists model mouse brain!!!!!!!

This is seriously awesome. Researchers working with one of IBM's supercomputers were able to model a mouse brain and run it at 1/10 speed. Unfortunately our modern hardware still falls short of the computational capacity of a brain, so I guess we have to start small and start slow. However, this opens up a huge new door into both artifical intelligence and understanding the brain. The next question is, once a brain has been modeled, how do you program it? What is a computer mouse brain capable of doing? If you speed it up, will it just be faster or will be it smarter?

Check out more details here: http://www.openthefuture.com/2007/04/the_early_signs_of_the_long_to.html

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Very few things actually excite me

But, the discovery of Gliese 581 has my imagination running wild. A planet with 5 times the mass of Earth orbiting a red sun with conditions that might even be more hospitable to life than Earth itself -- that's the kind of stuff you only hear in the movies. And speaking of movies, there's a little superhero you all might know who came from a planet with a red sun.

Obviously, I don't think this planet is full of supermen, but I do wish there was a way to travel the 20 light years to the constellation Libra to see just what is on this planet. New creatures, new foods, new diseases, new cures -- who knows?

So 20 light years is roughly equivalent to 1.17 x 10^14 miles. As much as I want to go, I'm thinking that's farther than I'll ever make it in my lifetime.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Things computers can do in movies

I came across this on Boing Boing where it was linked from another blog. It's pretty right on.

http://theprogrammingblog.com/jokes/things-computers-can-do-in-movies/


1. Word processors never display a cursor.
2. You never have to use the space-bar when typing long sentences.
3. Movie characters never make typing mistakes.
4. All monitors display inch-high letters.
5. High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA or some such governmental institution, will have easy to understand graphical interfaces.
6. Those that don’t have graphical interfaces will have incredibly powerful text-based command shells that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain English.
7. Note: Command line interfaces will give you access to any information you want by simply typing, “ACCESS THE SECRET FILES” on any near-by keyboard.
8. You can also infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply typing “UPLOAD VIRUS”. (See “Fortress”.)
9. All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villain’s desktop computer even if it’s turned off.
10. Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or the screen changes. Some computers also slow down the output on the screen so that it doesn’t go faster than you can read. (Really advanced computers will also emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer.)
11. All computer panels operate on thousands of volts and have explosive devices underneath their surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright flash of light, a puff of smoke, a shower of sparks and an explosion that causes you to jump backwards.
12. People typing on a computer can safely turn it off without saving the data.
13. A hacker is always able to break into the most sensitive computer in the world by guessing the secret password in two tries.
14. You may bypass “PERMISSION DENIED” message by using the “OVERRIDE” function. (See “Demolition Man”.)
15. Computers only take 2 seconds to boot up instead of the average minutes for desktop PCs and 30 minutes or more for larger systems that can run 24 hours, 365 days a year without a reset.
16. Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds. Movie modems usually appear to transmit data at the speed of two gigabytes per second.
17. When the power plant/missile site/main computer overheats, all control panels will explode shortly before the entire building will.
18. If you display a file on the screen and someone deletes the file, it also disappears from the screen (See “Clear and Present Danger”).
19. If a disk contains encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password when you insert it.
20. Computers can interface with any other computer regardless of the manufacturer or galaxy where it originated. (See “Independence Day”.)
21. Computer disks will work on any computer has a floppy drive and all software is usable on any platforms.
22. The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it will have (See “Aliens”.)
23. Note: You must be highly trained to operate high-tech computers because the buttons have no labels except for the “SELF-DESTRUCT” button.
24. Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional active animation, photo-realistic graphics capabilities.
25. Laptops always have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and performance similar to a CRAY Supercomputer.
26. Whenever a character looks at a monitor, the image is so bright that it projects itself onto their face. (See “Alien” or “2001″)
27. Searches on the internet will always return what you are looking for no matter how vague your keywords are. (See “Mission Impossible”, Tom Cruise searches with keywords like “file” and “computer” and 3 results are returned.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

A pictorial history of television

Television has always been one of my favorite things. I would have to rate it as one of my top 5 if not my favorite technology. This slideshow of TV models from 1928 to the present boggles my mind. We've come from a giant cabinet with an itty-bitty screen to a giant screen with no cabinet at all.

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/hollywood/multimedia/2007/04/gallery_tvhistory?slide=1&slideView=1

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lego Haircut


Lego Haircut
Originally uploaded by ffacker.
Sometimes when I go too long without getting a haircut, it ends up looking like one of those Lego dos that just pop on. Except I think Lego man's hair actually looks a little better.

How come they never made Lego mohawks?

Monday, April 02, 2007

steampunk

Steampunk

I just learned a new term – Steampunk. Steampunk describes a genre of literature or design based on a Victorian-esque society where steam is still the major power source, but with technologies like computers, time machines, ray guns, etc. that didn’t actually exist in the late 1800 – early 1900s. Jules Verne has retroactively become one of the first steampunk authors, but since he lived in that time period I’d say what he was writing at the time was purely sci-fi. If he was to write it now in modern times, but base his stories in that time, THEN it would be steampunk.

The really cool thing about steampunk though is it’s inspiring some really cool design work. Boingboing.net had several entries recently on computers that have been retrofitted with classic looking framework, keyboards, etc. to look steampunk.

Check it out:
http://steampunkworkshop.com/index.shtml and http://www.boingboing.net/2006/10/12/beautiful_steampunk_.html and http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/08/steampunk_casemod_wi.html

I was amazed at those projects as the modded, keyboard, computer case and laptop are all functional, but then there’s steampunk art just for the sake of art, and these ray guns are definitely fun to look at.

http://www.tfaw.com/Profile/Weta-Originals-Rayguns-Goliathon-83-Infinity-Beam-Projector___262249

I guess I'm a bit behind.

I’m sorry I haven’t kept up with the blogging lately. Life has been busy as I’m trying to clear the clutter of the last 10 years and get my life in order.

My 1966 Mustang has been sitting in the garage for almost a year, and the entire time I’ve had the intention of selling it, but I just haven’t had the time or money to address some mechanical issues that were causing overheating and if you drove it somewhere, it wouldn’t start back up, etc. Issues like that make for a hard sale – especially if you’re hoping to get a decent price for it. I spent a couple weeks out in the garage every night and after modifying the radiator, a thorough flushing, a new thermostat, a new battery, a new starter solenoid and a new starter, the car is finally running strong and reliably. I picked up a new windshield wiper switch on Friday, so once I get that installed everything in the car should be working, and hopefully it will roll out of my garage into the loving arms of a new owner. I just get really sad when I actually post it for sale, and it was almost a relief that the last two times I posted it that it either wouldn’t start or that the person who looked at it wasn’t interested. No excuses this time though. I’m going to have to say goodbye.

Last week Necrophobia finally had its premiere here in Houston at the River Oaks Theatre where it was unveiled that the name has now been changed to Domain of the Damned. I get the feeling that the studios decided Necrophobia just sounded too much like Necrophilia. Four years in the making, this will be another one of my indie roles that go straight to video. It seems the director changed themes and ideas halfway through the process, so there’s all this Tarantino-wannabe rockabilly horror stuff that seems to be patched in completely after the fact. The dream sequences make no sense and don’t mesh with the rest of the movie. The important intro of the characters is non-existent. The director tried to just jump into the plot and build the characters as he went – it doesn’t work out so well. There’s also a huge inherent flaw in the plot. This guy has an ancient Egyptian medallion that wards off the grim reaper, so that nobody within its vicinity can die. The guy then puts all these undead people in a haunted house as an attraction. They then escape and start killing everyone – except technically the people they’re killing can’t die. The heroes also then start killing the zombies – except they shouldn’t be dying either. Every once in a while a zombie gets chopped up and his head or hands or whatever will be shown as still being alive, but why aren’t regular people who die still alive? And how come some of the zombies do die when they’re shot? It’s really contradictory. I also think the director has never participated in an actual radio station remote broadcast because his team of disc jockeys that show up for a remote and then murder and get murdered just makes zero sense. I understand how it fits into the plot, I just don’t get what they’re doing wandering through the haunted house with their wireless radios on, etc. It doesn’t work that way. Those things won’t even transmit more than maybe 25 yards from the van. I can’t tell if they’re supposed to be broadcasting their trip through the haunted house live or what, but if they are they never acknowledge that it’s what they’re doing and that’s not how radio works, so I just don’t get it. It really convoluted the plot. But for all that, I am on screen 3 or 4 times for about 30 seconds total. I’m a pretty good looking zombie, and I die at least twice. I’m only really recognizable in one profile shot though – no matter how much latex and fake blood you have on me, there’s no mistaking my nose.

So along with the work on the car and attending movie premieres I’ve been doing a lot of home improvement. I’ve dedicated myself to actually having a healthy, green lawn this year, so I’ve been out every weekend, mowing, edging, pulling weeds, filling in holes – all that stuff. However, after purchasing several bags of dirt weekend before last I realized that I don’t actually own a shovel. That was a problem. I also realized I don’t own a saw, and I can’t find the hammer. I may have to invest in these items soon.

So that’s what’s been going on with me. What’s been going on with you?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why I hate shopping at Guitar Center

As yesterday was President's Day, most stores were having some sort of sale. When I got home from work last night I found a flyer in the mail from Guitar Center featuring a coupon for a free pair of guitar strings or drum sticks, and showing a keyboard stand for only $9.99.

Well, I had no desire to leave the house again after fighting traffic for an hour on my way home, but I can always use guitar strings or drumsticks, and keyboard stands usually start at $39, and the keyboard I purchased at Christmas using Best Buy gift cards had been sitting on a TV tray in my bedroom for two months. I decided to get off my ass and go get one.

The nearest Guitar Center to me is about 20 minutes away. It's not exactly "around the corner." I just wanted to make a quick trip out there, buy the keyboard stand, and come home in time to watch 24. Unfortunately, nothing about Guitar Center is quick.

So I get there, and it's packed with people milling around, looking at intruments, and making a lot of noise. That's normal. I walk through the keyboard section, and I can't find the $9.99 stands. The pro-audio section is all backed up, so I walk over to the guitar counter because I need to get my free strings anyway, so I wait 15 minutes while he helps two other people. Then it's finally my turn. I ask, do you have this keyboard stand? The guy pulls it up on the computer and says, yeah, we have some in stock, you'll have to go ask pro-audio about it. I'm like, you can't just go in the back and get me one, so I can check out and be on my way?!!! But no. So I redeem my coupon for guitar strings, and go through the check-out process with the guitar guy to get those. Then I walk back over to pro-audio and stand in line another 25 minutes before I get helped by someone. Then it takes him another 15 minutes to go in the back and find the stand. Then it's in the computer for $39, not their $9 sale price, so he has to figure out how to change that, and the computer where he's checking me out can't do that, so we have to go back to this other computer and wait on another cashier to finish, so this guy can ring my stuff up.

I didn't get home until almost 8:20. The whole ordeal took WAY too long. The problem with musicians is that they're flaky and can't make up their mind. Plus, they love to browse, but they never really have any money to buy. The guy in front of me had four different items he'd printed off the internet that he wanted to see, so the pro-audio guy helping him had to find each of the items and show them to him. Then they either didn't have the item in stock or the guy didn't want it. That took forever.

Then, as if flaky, musician customers aren't bad enough, the guys that work there are flaky musicians too. That just creates more disorder and disarray. My suggestion is that they have designated cashiers who do nothing, but man the cash registers, so that people who actually know what they want can come in, get what they want, and leave. Meanwhile, keep all your salespeople on the floor milling around and helping all the customers with questions or who just want to play around on 15 different guitars and amplifiers. Of course, most customers will likely gravitate to the cashiers to ask questions because it's not like you would be able to tell who the salespeople milling around on the floor from the customers milling around on the floor.

Personally, I'll just avoid Guitar Center as much as possible.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy V-Day everyone. Hope you all have a fun, romantic day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Perfect Valentine's Day GIft!


The Perfect Valentine's Day GIft!
Originally uploaded by ffacker.
For those of you who have been struggling to find the right Valentine's Day present, your problem may be solved!

Monday, February 05, 2007

My birthday in Paris


paris02
Originally uploaded by ffacker.
Well, I just got back from our communications workshop at the Paris office. I feel very communicated.

I've now been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and taken the stairs back down. I've taken a cruise along the Seine. I've walked Champs Elysees. I've seen the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. I've smoked a Cuban cigar. I've eaten snails.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Oh well, so much for Vista

Looks like I won't be rushing out for a Vista machine after all. The office ended up getting me a new Dell notebook last week, so I'd have it in time for the Paris trip. 1.86 Ghz Duo Core with 1 GB RAM -- not too shabby.

I'm heading out tomorrow night, and I'll be in Paris Wednesday through Sunday. Too bad I never got around to actually learning any French.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Vista Anticipation

Windows Vista finally launches on Tuesday, and I hate to say it, but I’m actually excited. I’ve already decided I want a new duo-core machine with Vista Premium, which I think will be new equivalent to XP Media Center Edition. With all the traveling I’ve been doing the need to have a machine available with Photoshop, InDesign, Powerpoint and Mobile Broadband has become very apparent. Plus, it currently takes 10 minutes to import a 3-minute video clip, and then 30 minutes to compress and save the clip to a new file on my home machine – talk about a time-consuming process. My 3GHz work machine is able to import the clips in about 30 seconds and compress and save the files in about 2 minutes.

However, the question remains, do I upgrade now with a standard DVD burner or do I wait a few more months for Blu-Ray or HD DVD drives to come down in price? We’re already shooting all our films in HD, but have to drop the resolution to standard DVD to play them. It would be nice to be able to just burn them in their High-Def format. Then again, who knows which company is going to win this format war. If BetaMax and MiniDiscs are any indication, Blue-Ray may not be around long. Then again, maybe it’s possible that Sony has finally learned something from their mistakes.

There’s actually a Vista Release Party at 10 p.m., January 29 at the CompUSA on Westheimer, but I don’t think I’m actually nerdy and excited enough to attend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Necrophobia finished and set to premiere in March

The ambitious Texas-lensed chiller NECROPHOBIA will premiere Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at the River Oaks Theatre (2009 West Gray), and director Stacey Davidson informs, “It will feature special appearances by the stars of the film, myself and executive producer Leo D. Wheeler. The audience will also be treated to a few surprises before the movie! Admission is just $5, but we are asking people to arrive early because seating is limited to 500. An after-party will be held at Cecil’s Tavern at 600 West Gray, just down the street.“

NECROPHOBIA is about a hitchhiker who takes a job at a roadside haunted-house attraction called Screamworld, where he discovers that terrible things are lurking in the basement. You can get further updates by keeping your eye on the movie’s official website and MySpace page.

Another fan incident!


Another fan incident!
Originally uploaded by ffacker.
So I'm just unpacking groceries, minding my own business when I hear this CRASH and the sound of glass shattering. I know I'm alone in the house, so I go walking room to room to see if somebody just broke a window or if a shelf fell down or what in the world the noise was. When I got to the music room I found this. The globe from the ceiling fan vibrated loose, fell off and shattered. Why do ceiling fans hate me?

Idiocracy

I watched Mike Judge's newest movie Idiocracy last night. If you're not familiar with Mike Judge he's the guy that created Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill, the SNL Milton cartoons and the movie Office Space.

The premise of the movie is that due to advances in technology, natural selection is no longer a factor in human evolution. The strongest and smartest no longer have any sort of advantage when it comes to breeding and are completely outbred by trailer park trash. Therefore over the course of 500 years, human society actually devolves to the absolute lowest common denomintator. Meanwhile, Luke Wilson, whose character is completely average in every way in 2005, is frozen in a military experiment gone wrong and wakes up in 2505 as the smartest man in the world.

I found the whole thing entertaining, especially the fact that the President of the United States in 2505 was the 5-time Smackdown Champion and that one of the cabinet members was a 12-year-old who had won a contest -- his prize being appointed a cabinet member.

Of course Judge's depiction of the ridiculously stupid future is more of a commentary on civilization today as we do have action heroes holding gubernatorial positions, the correct use of the English language has all but vanished, and the raving success of his Beavis & Butthead cartoon could easily be parralleled to the fictitious future hit television show Ow, My Balls.

Is it vulgar? Yes. Is it stupid? Yes. Are there huge holes in the plot regarding how people evolve to become so incredibly dumb and incompetent that they can't grow crops, yet they still have technologically advanced machines, homes, cars, etc.? Yes. Is it worth the rental? Absolutely.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fighting illness and tempting fate in the new year

I'm sick again. I had a sinus infection over my entire Christmas vacation. Now I've got freaking strep throat on my three-day weekend. What's up with that? Anyway, I went back to the doctor this morning for more antibiotics. Hopefully this will all be cleared up before I head out to California next week.

So far so good in 2007. I wore a new white dress shirt on Wednesday. AND I had lunch at Prince's Hamburgers with Kyle. AND I got the King's Favorite, which is a chili-cheese burger. Yes, I tempted fate by ordering a chili-cheese burger while wearing a white dress shirt. This is the same chili-cheeseburger that I ate the afternoon before my wedding in 2004, which not only got all over my shirt, but also gave me HORRENDOUS gas that threatened the very sanctity of the matrimonial ceremony. (It took a last-minute overdose of Gas-X to save the day, and thankfully TLC left all the gassy scenes out of the final cut of A Wedding Story.)

Did I end up with chili and cheese all over my new white dress shirt? NO. Did I end up with gas? NO! Do you know why? Because 2007 is my year!

Well, it's my year after this freaking strep throat is done. Strep kind of puts a damper on little things like singing, swallowing, making out with hot women, etc.

I just watched Little Miss Sunshine while doing my laundry -- funny movie. Next up is You, Me and Dupree. I think I'm going to pick up some McDonalds first though. Some people eat chicken soup when they feel bad, but McDonalds is my comfort food. Supersize me when I've got the flu.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I saw a UFO during rush hour

I was driving home from work today on Beltway 8, and as I went through the Jersey Village area I saw a red light in the sky out of the corner of my eye to the west. I glanced over to take another look thinking it was a plane, but it wasn't a blinking red light. It was a solid red light surrounding a whitish orb. At first I thought it was just sitting stationary in the sky, but then I realized it was slowly moving down. I watched it for a good 3 or 4 seconds before it dissapeared below the rooflines. It looked kind of like a shooting star or something. It was probably a firework of some sort, but usually they don't stay lit up that long or drift down that slow. Whatever it was, it was cool to see even though I almost had a wreck because I was watching it.