So Yeah…

Been an interesting couple of months. Been to a few more hockey games – season is almost over 🙁 – and did change jobs. Made a trip to Texas, visited Baltimore as well for the first time. Kind of neat seeing where our national anthem was written. Still nothing from the old, lost friends… but whatever. Reconnected with a few other old friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. Impromptu New Years Eve party was a f’ing blast.

Baltimore pictures (NYE – you do NOT want to see… I left my camera unattended)

Baltimore 2011

Yeah, I know, talking abotu NYE 3 months later.

Even managed to hit two new disc golf courses in the last week or two. My normal course is under water!

In geocaching news – I got Treeboy started and man has he started. In ~ 3 months he managed to find more than I have in years, he’s even hidden a few. And you should really watch for some of his coming hide – in a word, devious. My mother and nephew started texting me the other day (yes, my mother ‘texts’ – a long way from not being able to set the time on the VCR) asking is I had any idea where a cache could be hidden 1,000 miles away from me. I think I helped, but she won’t tell me. She thinks it’ll be more fun for me to find it on my own…. a thinly veiled ploy to get me to come visit.

In movie news, I’ll just catch up here: my 4+ star ratings for the last couple of months: The Pacific, Despicable Me, Easy A (+++) How to Train Your Dragon, Winters Bone.

So work news: I changed jobs in the beginning of January. It’s…. interesting. I’m not entirely sure I love it. I’m not going to hate it, but it’s not my dream job. It’s home-based… which sounds good, but there’s many problems with that. Here’s a good summary – The Oatmeal: Working from Home
There is some loss of social interaction. The normal BS around the water-cooler, going to lunch with ‘the guys,’ and dealing with people on a day to day basis. I saw all that coming – no big deal. The fortune saved in gas, not having a daily commute, rolling out of bed at 7:55am (or later) and having the flexibility to go take care of things during the day have all been huge benefits. Ok, the bump in pay might have helped. Many people have said “I don’t have the discipline to work from home” – the one thing I didn’t see coming was having to have the discipline to NOT work from home. You’re so plugged in, it’s so easy to sit down and start working at 11 at night just because it’s there. It’ll be interesting in the coming months to see how I adapt – this is all very new for me. For those who know me, this is something of a career change. I’m working for a company you probably know… it’s just… different. I’m not doing the techy day to day stuff any more.

Should still be an exciting couple of months. Maybe I’ll update more than once a quarter in the coming months 😀

No Thank You

I saw a trailer this morning on tv for a ‘new’ movie coming out – Let Me In – and before it gets to the title I’m thinking “I’ve seen this… it was a really good movie.” But then there were a few of the trademark (hollywood) horror-film strobe-cut edits thrown in. You know the ones: a convenient lightning bolt or passing car illuminates something scary for a second then the camera cuts away. And it’s not out yet.

Turns out I have seen this movie, but I saw the original. It was called Let the Right One In
Why can’t Hollywood come up with an idea of their own? Let the Right One In was a fantastic movie, why remake it? And it’s only 2 years old!!

They’ve already proven they can’t be trusted. (I know, you’re thinking “that last one wasn’t a remake!” but yes it was)

I haven’t even seen this summer’s Karate Kid or A-Team yet. I’m almost afraid I’ll cry if I do. Come up with something original!

Bad news kids, remakes/reboots (I hate that term) are already in the works for Highlander, Planet of the Apes, (again?!?) and even The Wizard of Oz. Is nothing sacred?

Turn Signal THEN Brake

FYI – Paranormal Activity = creepy movie!  Movies don’t scare me, this one at least weirded me out a little.

So I think I fixed my freezing pipe problem finally.  No pictures yet, I’ll get to that later.  In the meantime, what do you think?  I might keep it this way…

Odd…. the upload isn’t working any more.  Fixed it…. the Amazon Word Press plugin broke it.


Blockbuster vs Netflix

So I’m doing this again.

I’ve been a Blockbuster Online member pretty much since they launched… late 2004 I think.  I tried Netflix at the same time – they both offered free two week trials.  I started with Blockbuster because they gave me 2 coupons a month that I could use in the store for movies or games.  I’ve stayed with them because of that and the in-store exchanges of movie.  I rarely use either of those features of the plan, but when I do I’m really glad I have that ability.  I don’t think new customers can even get the coupons anymore (or if they do, they aren’t good for games) but if they ever take it away from me, I will switch to Netflix in a heartbeat.

Netflix mailed me a ‘Hey, come back, try us again!” flyer a few weeks ago.  Right about the same time they announced that they could stream your ‘Watch Instantly” queue to a PS3.  I called to ask if I could get a streaming disc for my trial (you need to have their disc in the PS3 for all this to work) and they said no problem.  I signed back up, and they actually still had all my account info from from back when.

So far their shipping speeds are faster than Blockbuster.  It’ll be interesting to see what their turn-around times are.  One of my complaints about Blockbuster lately has been how long it takes them to ship one after the get one back from you.  One time it was almost 5 days – they had all 3 that I sent back and had yet to send another out.  Every time I asked about, they’d blame it on some system bug and send me a coupon for a free rental or something.  I think last time they actually just sent me a ‘rental bonus’ – so basically I had 4 out at a time, the bonus one didn’t count against my plan.  That’s better I guess.  I don’t like going to the store, I like things just showing up in the mail :D  Blockbuster is also horrible at having enough Blu-Ray stock.  This is not an exaggeration:  The first 12 titles in my queue right now are on some kind of wait.  Two “Long Wait”, two “Very Long”, the rest are “Short”.  I have 7 titles in my Netflix queue, including the 4 that are Long/Very Long from Blockbuster, and they’re all available now. Netflix’s site is faster, cleaner, and I think more personalized.

We’ll see what happens.  Their plans are about the same price once you factor in Netflix’s extra charge for Blu-ray access (which I think is stupid) so it’s going to come down to store vs. streaming.  I really want to love Netflix – if they started letting me get games in the mail too, I’d instantly be theirs.  Or course, as soon as they do that, Blockbuster probably buys Gamefly and competes.

Sons of Anarchy

I seriously just killed the entire first season of Sons of Anarchy in less than a week.  Partly because it’s a pretty good show, partly because there’s nothing else on my DVR, and partly because I’m flat broke and can’t go do anything else 😀 is seriously pissing me off.  I’m about to go to Netflix (or nothing)  My queue has been screwy for a month now – first they weren’t sending anything, then they sent two movies twice (one of which never showed up) and now it looks like they aren’t processing anything again.  And now I can’t do anything about it because I get an “Internal Server Error 500” when I try to edit my queue.  If I didn’t still get the 2 coupons a month good for a movie or a game, I would have canceled a long time ago.  As soon as they take that away, I will.  Besides, Netflix offers free streaming (have to pay BB for it) and I can stream to my PS3.

My kitchen remodel woes continue…. six months later.  The Blanco Cascade Super Single sink that I had put in now leaks.  From the little bit of looking around I’ve done, it’s happened before.  I thought these things were supposed to be tough as granite.  There’s a crack across the back that goes all the way through.  If I try to fill the sink with more than an inch of water it leaks.  These are not cheap sinks, they shouldn’t fail after 6 months.  They do offer a limited lifetime warranty… but they don’t cover labor.  They guys who originally put it in want $150 to swap them, and that’s if they don’t have to move the counters to do it.  And I don’t think they do the plumbing (which I can do, that’s no big deal) they only take the old sink out and put the new sink in.  Sigh.  To really cap everything off, the replacement sink showed up a few days ago… and it’s the wrong color.  They even asked for pictures of the existing sink, and still got it wrong.  The kitchen is really the only part of the whole thing that I hired someone to do parts of, and those parts have really been screwed up.

Ok… back to looking for a good hosted VMWare solution for DR.

Are You Kidding Me?!

Are you serious with this garbage?!  You put Pacino and De Niro in the same movie… the same police drama movie… and this is what you end up with?  Are you kidding?!  I don’t turn movies off, but I almost did on this one.  They weren’t even trying – they stuck two big names on the marquee and figured people would buy it.  If a movie is bad, for me it’s normally the story.  Here it was the acting.  I’m not sure if you blame the director in this case or not… I just don’t know… I just know it was a waste of time.  Pacino was probably even worse in 88 Minutes, but that story was just stupid too.  C’mon guys, if you aren’t even going to try, just hang it up.


As a funny ha-ha:  I was writing this while waiting to talk to someone at Barracuda support(I’m not so impressed with their web site firewall so far) and I was trying to Google “imdb righteous kill” to put the link up there.  The finally came back to the chat window and it took focus.  I didn’t notice because it was on my other monitor.  So I sent them “b righteous kill”  :D  I’m sure Nadia has a good story to tell her coworkers now.  Or I’m getting the cops called on me.  Or maybe I’ll get really, really good fear-inspired technical support.  Awesome.

Going down to Hollywood…

… they’re gonna make a movie from the things they find crawlin ’round my brain.

A few weeks ago I was thanked for being normal. I went to get my haircut after work at the walk-in place that had the shortest line. Actually, this place had no line. Did the normal chit-chat stuff you do when someone’s cutting your hair and at one point she said “I just want to thank you for being normal” I guess the weather, moon cycle, or that it was around the first of the month brought out all the crazies that day and she had enough. People complaining about having to wait, the ‘call ahead’ list controversy, and the “you messed up my hair I’m not paying for this!” tirades took her to a point where she was ready to lock the door and go home. My favorite tidbit was the lady who wanted a perm, she tried to talk her out of it, lady insisted so she did it. Ended up looking like a poodle, stormed off, was going to call corporate, etc etc. Crazy poodle lady’s daughter asked if they were hiring….
“How old are you?”
“Do you have your license?”
“No but my sister has her permit!”
“No, I mean you license to do hair”

She spent probably more time on my hair than she needed to.  Was ok though, I was the only one left in the place.  My favorite part of the whole experience was when I was leaving… I’m not even sure how it came up, but she mentioned she spoke Klingon and said something to me in it.  It may have been an insult or she may have told me how good I looked.  I’d like to think she just said “Thanks for being normal” again… in Klingon.

My ADD is about to kick in, so hang on…
Speaking of licenses – I know a guy that got a DUI and lost his. Yes, drinking and driving is bad, I’m pretty sure we agree on that. However, this particular guy ended up losing his license for a year and consequently lost his job. He did not drive for a living, but the DUI was unprofessional conduct. His job might have been a little more difficult without a license, but not impossible. Still, pretty much ruined his life. Had he been a president/COO of an investment company here in town, he could have gotten out of it completely. I’m probably not legally allowed to name names, but the president/COO of the company I used to work for got pulled over and taken in for DUI. At the end of it, he paid like a $250 fine and walked away. I’m sure his lawyer made a pretty penny on it. It just annoys me that people like him get the breaks that people like the guy I know actually need. COO has enough money, he could hire a driver for a year. I also never understand how celebrities get caught drinking and driving or trying to buy drugs or something goofy like that. You have an ass-ton of money – hire someone. But anyway… “A hungry Negro steals a chicken, he goes to jail. A rich businessman steals bonds, he goes to Congress. I think that’s wrong.” Pretty decent movie there – The Great Debaters. In Bruges was the other decent I saw lately. Actually, it really had me right up until the last 15 minutes or so. Like so many other movies/stories, it started off really strong and just fall apart at the end. Deus ex machina abounds.

I told you my ADD was kicking in…

Nothing spectacular on the entertainment side of things… The Mist was a good Stephen King flick. Charlie Wilson’s War was excellent as was Lars and the Real Girl. Good number of 4-star ratings in the last month or two, but nothing higher. Juno was worth watching. The Orphanage was good but a little long and there was subtitle reading involved. Can’t really do suspense/horror movie where I have to read subtitles… ruins it a little. I guess I never realized the number of movies I’ve seen staring Philip Seymour Hoffman until I just now looked 😀 He was in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, which I enjoyed. I just clicked over to IMDB and found all the other movies he’s been in and I didn’t realize it. I knew he was in Capote… duh… but some of the others surprised me.

Hmmm… yeah… going to end this one abruptly today. Stay tuned for home improvement pictures. I have about a billion of those here somewhere.

The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year.

The title really has nothing to do with the contents… just something to consider:  alternative fuels usually have alternative consequences.

What a week… busy, hectic, jam-packed with all sorts of stuff. Work was busy, had something going on every night through the week, sometimes work even spilled over into and screwed personal stuff up a little. Even put in a few hours on Sunday. Not bad though… as long as it only happens once every six months or so, I’m good 😀 I did discover that I can virtualize a system with ~ 15GB drive in about 30 minutes. On the downside, the weekend blew – 30 degrees and rainy. Was anxious to try out my new toy but the weather wasn’t going to let that happen.  I did watch a few movies / play some games though… and I haven’t done that in awhile.  Unfortunately, nothing really stood out.

Gone Baby Gone – I’ll give Ben some credit for his first time directing he did pretty good.  Casey wasn’t too shabby in the lead here either.  It was a good story – when you thought you knew what was going on, it changed.  One of those movies that seems to have 3 or 4 endings.  Not bad, but not great.  Actually haven’t seen a good movie in a long time.  I had high hopes for No Country for Old Men but was sorely disappointed.  I’ve been catching up on all the Harry Potter movies since they all just came out on Blu Ray.  I knew I’d never really get into the books, so I thought I’d at least watch the movies and see what all the hullabaloo was about.  They’re ok I guess… entertaining at least, but I never would have actually read through all the books.  In the past couple of months, the only movies in my rental history that have made it past 3.5 stars (out of 5) have been Run Lola, Run and The Kingdom.  They both squeaked out a 4 for either being different or for lots of explosions.

In more disappointing news, Assassins Creed wasn’t nearly as cool as I was hoping.  The game play was innovative, the story seemed to be decent, and the controls were tight.  The whole thing just got repetitive really fast though.  And slow.  Entirely too much talking in the game, and you can’t skip it.  And what’s with the walking around in the future so much.  I have to walk (you can’t even run) to my ‘bedroom’ to make the storyline continue?!  Meh.  The missions are decent, there’s just not enough variety – save a citizen, pickpocket (which is impossible), climb up all the lookouts, and sit on a bench and eavesdrop.  Everyone once in awhile run and hide from the guards.  I just thought it was supposed to be this epic game… but I was bored with it inside 3 hours.

Oh well… that’s it for now.

Blockbuster + Blu-ray = Crap

Does Blockbuster still do the “In stock or it’s free” thing at their stores?  I’ve been a Blockbuster Online member pretty much since they started the service.  I went through the growing pains with them.  It was actually fun sometimes to see what distribution center my movie was going to be returned to – it changed with almost every movie it seemed.  Then they became a little more popular and movies weren’t as readily available… that was ok though, because I still got the in-store coupons.

But now I’m getting frustrated.

First they keep jacking up the price.  Usually not by a lot, but I think when I started it was like $12/month now it’s $20.  I guess I can’t really complain … I can still exchange movies in the store as often as I’d like and I get two coupons every month for a free movie or game rental.  All the new customers don’t get them at all I think.  But the trigger for this outburst is their Blu-ray support.  I was excited when they announced they were going to be exclusively Blu-ray.  Besides helping to end the format war, I hoped this meant they would have better stock.  Nope.  The top 15 movies in my queue are all Blu-ray and every single one is “Long Wait” or “Very Long Wait” … I might go complain.  They’ll just send me an extra coupon for this month (which I hardly use the two I get anyway)  They do seem to listen to their customers though.  A few weeks ago I sent a suggestion to let me choose a default format (as it is now you have to click on the movie, then click on all editions, then find the blu-ray version if it exists) they wrote back and said “Great idea!”  I just noticed it in the FAQ section that it will be a feature ‘soon’ … guess I wasn’t the only one!

So yeah … all that just to complain and show my impatience 😀