Saturday, January 29, 2005

I'm in the (Canadian) money...

So, it's always been a habit of mine to hold onto non-standard US currency and all international currency for safekeeping. It's something I picked up from my mother. She has pre-1965 quarters, wheat pennies, two dollar bills. I also got into the habit when my dad became a vending manager. He'd always bring home foreign coins that people tried to use in the soda and candy machines. Most of the coins are from Pacific Rim countries, but there were also a surprising number of European coins (now worthless, thanks to the Euro).

In the last few years, I've been collecting the 50 State Quarters. But my luck has been a little dry lately; I haven't found many 2003 or 2004 quarters. I've also got one of those plastic camera film containers (you know, the black ones with the gray lids) full of Canadian change. I counted it up and found that I had $2.29 CAD (Canadian Dollars). I was interested in how much this was in US Dollars. I went to the Yahoo! Currency Converter and found out that I had about $1.85 (as of 1/28/05 at 6 pm ET ).

I had no idea that a Canadian dollar would get me 81 American cents. I thought the Looney was only worth 60-66 cents.

I have no plans to spend my well-earned Canadian wealth.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Not many things anger me...

OK, that's a big lie. Many things anger me. But this isn't about me.

You hear the horror stories. People doing some of the most disgusting, disturbing, sadist things. You don't believe them. You can't picture someone actually doing it. But it's true. And when you see it, you snap. You want to do something. Probably something violent, or righteous, or violent.

Well, a situation like that happened when I was out last night. As we've been doing for the last few weeks, I went out to the pool hall with my friends to hang out. There were these girls there. I didn't know who they were, but my friends Chuck and Lyn did. Anyway, one of them was pregnant. Now, if I was pregnant, I would not be spending time in a smoke-filled environment. Especially if the person I was there with was smoking. Nor would I want the mother of my child to sit in bar breathing that crap. Well, this pregnant woman was also smoking.

Why oh why? If she wasn't a woman, I'd punch her in the face. Yes, that might make me a horrible person. But maybe you didn't understand me. A pregnant woman was smoking.

There's no better reason to stop smoking. You have a developing human being inside you. You're responsible its health. You might as well shoot the damn thing in the head. It isn't even born, and you're condemning it to a life of pain and suffering.

I just wanted to scream. I've rarely been so angry in my life.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Flight delayed

That post about my goals will be delayed a few more days. I've been sick recently. Not fun. Expect to see it Friday, at the earliest.

Until then... I dunno. Learn the capitals of all 50 states.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

As seen on TV

During the weekends, I'll channel surf to find something good (although I rarely do). But I will stop to watch infomercials and other people trying to sell me stuff. I see these products and say to myself, "It looks pretty good, but I wonder how well it really works." Like the GT Express Grill 101 or Chef Tony's Smart Ware. What I'd really like to do is buy these products, test them out, and blog about them. I'd setup a series of experiments to test the products' claims. I'd look at the suggested retail price and compare it to the actual amount I spent on it. I'd determine how frequently I'd use the product and the value I would get from it. Rate it. If I like it, suggest it and link to it, so I can make some money off of the sales my blog generates.

Unfortunately, my expenses involved in such an endeavor would far outweigh any revenue I'd create. These products aren't cheap, and neither is paying to register a domain.

But I still think it would be, at the very least, an exciting adventure.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The holy grail

I sure hope someone makes an external DVD +/- RW drive, with an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) capability, and it's Windows, Mac, and Linux compatible. That would be cool.

If you do make one, I'll give you $100 for it. No more, but less, if possible.

Friday, January 21, 2005

What more do you want?

I'm finding it a little tough to write lately. I have things I want to write about. I know what to write. I'm just not patient enough to do it. There are other things I want to do. The last couple of days, "sitting and writing in my blog" has not been high on my priority list.

And that's pretty much every single project I have. My programming, FAQs, Diablo II characters, baseball cards. I get started, all excited at first. I hit a wall, try to put it down for a while. Come back later and find it hard to pick it back up again. Get distracted by a bunch of stuff, move on, forget about it. Think of it much later and see it as a lot of work to start up again.

Unrelated note: the word "blog" is considered a misspelled word by the spell check incorporated into utility for writing my blog posts. How does that happen? I thought the guys at Google were smart. S-M-R-T. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Appetizers for the main course

I wish more bands would release "Greatest Hits" (GH) compilations.

Let's look at this problem from another angle. Assume bands are restaurants, and their albums are appetizers. "Greatest Hits" would be the appetizer samplers.

You walk into a restaurant, you generally have an idea of what kind of cuisine they offer. The type of atmosphere inside. What you're going to order. After your visit there, you have an idea of what you do like and what you don't like about it. Restaurants who have lost their liquor licenses are like CD's with "Clean" versions. OK, but still not as good as it can be. Some restaurants are unique. Some are overhyped, overexposed carbon copies with no style and no good taste. If someone says, "Hey, let's go out to eat at this place," I know how I will respond.

So, there are a lot of bands I like. But I'm not too familiar with the their menus. I know they have some good stuff. But I don't know about the rest. And I'm not willing to spend the money to see if I like a dish. I'd rather spend roughly the same amount on a little of everything. That's what a "Greatest Hits" is; a few songs from every album. And the very best ones.

There are about 10 or 15 bands I want to release a "Greatest Hits"...

  • 3 Doors Down: I like 3 songs off of both of their albums. Third one comes out 2/8. I'll probably have to wait 5 years for the GH.

  • Bush: Most of the songs I like are on "Sixteen Stone". I also like "Swallowed" and "The Chemicals Between Us". They might not have enough hits for a GH. I'll probably also have to wait another 5 years for this one.

  • Dixie Chicks: Most of their good songs are on "Fly", their second album. Again, probably not enough for a GH. However, the decision to even BUY this one hinges on the version of "Landslide" they use. The Sheryl Crow Remix is a better version of their cover. If the GH lacked this song, I'd buy "Fly" and go with iTunes for the rest of the songs I like.

  • Fuel: Their good songs are pretty spread out. Only 1 or 2 per each of their 3 albums. I also own two of their songs. Might have to wait 10 years for this. (Ed. Note: Fuel released a GH album on 12/6/05. And I will buy the next time I'm at Best Buy. - 12/11/05)

  • Staind: Wow. Very good band. They can crank out a deep, hard-rockin' ballad. Maybe after their next album, they'll have a GH. Again, the 5 year wait is in effect. (Ed. Note: Staind released a quasi-GH album on 11/14/06. Since it does not include "How About You" or a studio version of "Outside", I will not be picking up this album. - 2/25/07)

  • AC/DC and Metallica: Both bands and heavy metal/hard rock bands. Both have extensive discographies of nearly 20 CD's. Both have many good songs I've heard on the radio. But I'm hesitant to go through all their albums to track down which songs I like. It would be a very time consuming task. I could ask my friends Vern and John for some help. A GH album from both of these bands would just make my life a whole lot easier.

  • Alanis Morissette: Tough call on this one. Quite a few good songs on "Jagged Little Pill". Then only "Thank U" on "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie". I already have "Hands Clean" from "Under Rug Swept". And there are a few good cuts from "So-Called Chaos". In the end, I'd buy it. But I do wonder if the GH would have some of her early stuff, from her career as a pop singer, before she went all "Fuck You!" (Ed. Note: Alanis released a GH album on 11/15/05 entitled "the collection". I purchased it on 6/25/06. - 2/25/07)

  • Good Charlotte: Along the same lines as Fuel. This one really hinges on a single song though. "The Click", the theme song to the short-lived MTV cartoon "Undergrads". This song was on their self-titled debut. If the GH has it, I'll buy it. If not, I'll resort to buying their first two albums to get the good songs. (Ed. Note: I bought the self-titled album on 6/25/06 and "The Young and the Hopeless" on 7/5/06. - 2/25/07)

  • Kid Rock: He's getting close. About 2-3 good songs per each of his 4 albums. If he doesn't release a GH for his next album, the NEXT one after that should be a GH, IMO.

  • Linkin Park: I hope they don't leave out the original version of "Numb". But with only 5 songs (6 including the Linkin Park/Jay-Z "Numb/Encore" remix) from 2 albums, it's going to be about 10 years for before any GH album from these guys. (Ed. Note: Bought "Hybrid Theory" and "Meteora" after the first of this year. I still want the "Numb/Encore" remix, but that could be picked up on iTunes. - 2/25/07)

  • Limp Bizkit: Although Fred Durst claims in his blog/the band's web site that he won't do it, I can't see him not doing it. I count enough songs for them to do one right now. Unfortunately, I don't see all 12 of them making it. Let's just wait and see what happens on this one. (Ed. Note: limpbizkit released a GH album a few weeks ago. And I bought it. - 11/24/05)

  • Lisa Loeb: I'm buying this one for only three songs. Every song is on a different album.

  • Dave Matthews Band: My problem with DMB is simple. 20 albums. 17 are live. 3 are studio. How the hell am I supposed to go through, find the studio albums, then find the songs I like? I won't. They should make it easy for me (Ed. Note: Please see my blog post from 11/9/06 for my comments on the recently released DMB GH. - 2/25/07).

I've got more to say about Greatest Hits albums. But I'm saving that for another day. This took me nearly a week to write.

Anyone looking for my entry about my 2005 goals will have to wait until next week, at the earliest.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Moving on to level 2

Now that my friend Travis is reading my blog and linking to it, I have to take my game to the next level. I have all this pressure to keep my performance at a higher level. If my content is not good enough, he's going to stop reading.

It was much easier when I didn't know if anyone was reading. I didn't have anyone to disappoint. No one to impress. No reason to continue. But welcome to level 2, baby.

Bring on the Grue!!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Where there's smoke...

My friends Dave, Chuck, Lyn, and Michelle smoke. And they like going to places where they can smoke. Bars, the pool hall, their own apartments.

And I go there too. I don't like the smoke. I can't stand it. Mostly because all my clothes reak of it at the end of the night.

It's like this. My friends come with the "smoking feature". Windows comes with "security holes and patches features". I may not like these "features," but I can put up with them. They don't bother me enough to switch to something else.

And really, I don't have very many options. I could choose to not hang out with them, but I would be missing out on spending time with mutual friends such as Dave, Tyler, Cory, and Travis. I could tell them not to smoke, but I'm sure they've heard that argument from 10,000 other people, and nothing I say could convince them at this point. I could go hang out with my friends from college, but most of them have moved away and/or I hate them very much. So, if I chose to not hang out with the smokers anymore, I'd be sitting at home nearly every night, either in front of the TV or the computer, with no one around.

That wouldn't be good for me. Just deciding to be a hermit so I wouldn't have to be around it. Not that the secondhand smoke IS good for me either.

So, I choose to hang out with my friends who smoke. They're pretty cool people, and I like them very much. I just don't like it when they smoke.

Sunday, January 9, 2005

The self-reflection-inducing Quoteboard

This one goes out to Travis...

OK, Travis is like the only other person I know that is a Weezer fan. So, on Friday night, I checked out the Official Weezer Message Board. The buzz on the board was about the first single of Weezer's yet unnamed 5th album. The song "Beverly Hills" is scheduled to start receiving airplay some time in March. The posters on that board speculated that the album will be released sometime around May.

Well, Saturday night, I get this thought. "I should tell Travis. He'd be interested to know that." So I visit his website in an attempt to find some way to contact him. His main site consists of a bunch of links to the blogs of his closest friends. But there's no good place for random visitors or regular friends (me) to post stuff. After hunting for a few minutes, I click on the Quoteboard.

At the time I was reading it, I thought that it was some of the funniest stuff I've read on the internet. Like the comment by his girlfriend Nicole about a Frozen Banana kit. I was in awe of the high caliber of the quotes that were on the Quoteboard.

After reading the entire thing, I wondered how I could get on the Quoteboard. Then I realized that I probably never have, and maybe never will, say anything good enough to put me up there. It's like trying to get into a professional sports hall of fame. Only the best of the best.

My sense of humor is, well, peculiar, to say the least. My problem is that I try to make obscure and arcane (note: I looked that word up in the dictionary to ensure I was using it properly) references to things I've seen on TV and movies (mostly Simpsons). Usually, I'm the only one who knows what the hell I'm talking about. So when someone actually bothers to listen to me (or just happens to hear me), they look at me like "huh?". And that's when they're being polite.

You're either funny or you're not. IMO, it's not really something you can learn. Comedy is mostly timing and observation. I'm pretty oblivious to what's going on around me half the time, and when I do think of something funny to say, it's usually 3 hours later when no one is around. And if they are, they're all "Dude, that was like 3 hours ago!"

Side tangent: I've been waiting for a few months to use a comeback or comment that I've been working on for a few months. Of course, I have to wait for someone to ask me, "How long did it take you to come up with that one?" or "How long have you been waiting to use that one?". Only then can I answer with an exact count of months, days, and hours.

I've always tried humor as a way to get people's attention. I want people to like me. Sad but true. I usually stick to sarcastic comments or self-deprivation to get laughs. I excel at getting people to laugh AT me, but I want them to laugh WITH me. Now, I have been told that I have a good sense of humor. And there are some people I can get to laugh on a consistent basis. But my comedic routine is nowhere near the high level of quality needed to get on the Travis Kroh Quoteboard.

I could spend the rest of my life (or at least the amount of time between now and a point in the future where it may become impractical to continue being friends with Travis) trying to come up with something that would appear on the Quoteboard. If I did, that would be pretty pathetic. Trying desperately to win the approval of a single human being. Like not having Travis post one of my funny comments would make my life incomplete. Like I'm trying to get him to like me.

But he already does. Travis has many friends. Some closer than others (and we're all like that). He's going to spend time with people I don't know or associate with. And we do hang out occasionally. I wish more often, 'cuz I think he's a really cool guy. He has many entertaining stories and anecdotes. I'm interested to hear about his feelings of the things he's interested in. (Does that make sense?) He knows Linux. I want to know Linux. He's a damn good coder. I wish I was as good as he was; I'd love to get some pointers from him someday. He likes Dave Matthews Band. And we both like Weezer.

I may never get on the Quoteboard. I shouldn't let that bother me. I should just be glad that he considers me a friend. And I am.

Monday, January 3, 2005

Pre-blog random thoughts

I plan to blog every Monday night from now on. I wonder how long that will last...

Until then, enjoy these random thoughts. You could see it as a precursor to this blog. Next week: my goals for the new year.

How does Queen Elizabeth II fill out the "Name" portion of a form? Is her first name "Elizabeth", or is it "Queen"? What about a last name? Does she have one? Or does she just use "II" or "the II"? And what about where her occupation? Does she write "Queen of England", or just "Queen", or maybe some verbose title? Does anyone out there know?

Breast implants are like magic tricks. When you see a really good magic trick, you're amazed by how it was done. But when you learn how the magician does it, it just doesn't seem as special. When you see a nice pair of breasts, you're awed by their great shape and size. However, once you learn that they are not natural, they just don't seem as great.

I think I may have decided what to do with the rest of my life. That's right. Eccentric millionaire. I want to pay 70,000 people to fill a football stadium and cheer as I lead my team from a 23-0 deficit to a last-second victory. And other cool stuff. Like buying the Dallas Stars, watch them win a Stanley Cup, and skate with it over my head for hours. Taking batting practice with Torii Hunter, Corey Koskie, Harmon Killebrew, and many other current and former Twins. Building something big and pointless. That would be cool.

What does an aetheist say when you sneeze?

If loose lips sink ships, my sister could send the entire U.S. Navy fleet to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean in less than a second.

The great thing about Iron Chef is how they much such a production out of it. Chairman Kaga's elegant costumes. The orchestra producing the Final Fantasy-esque music. The play-by-play announcing. The rich, detailed storyline.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Cleanin' out my closet

I had these sitting in my draft box for a few weeks. I thought I should post them and get them out of the way.

I plan to update my blog on a weekly basis. And I'm working on some web site stuff too. Stay tuned...

Why does Superman fly the way he does? You know, horizontal with his arms out in front of him. Why not in a sitting position? Or the Heisman Trophy? What about the backstroke? If I was him, I'd fly in all kinds of crazy positions. And don't give me this aerodynamic crap. He's faster than a speeding bullet. Drag force don't got nothin' on the Man of Steel.

House M.D.: Good show, but on at the same time as Scrubs.

=w= Just that. Pretty self-explanitory.

So, AOL is offering virus protection software to their "members". And spam-blocking. I believe those of us in the IT industry call it the UNINSTALL feature.

Great Mario Kart items:

Feather (SMK): Wicked air, massive shortcuts, avoids items, fun to jump outside the course boundaries and get rescued by Likatu.
Poison Mushroom (SMK): Shrink yourself down to size, then get another to get back to normal-size.
Ghost (SMK, MK64): Thieving, especially in two-player mode and using those items against your victim.
Gold Mushroom (MK64): Boost as many times as possible; time duration not limited by a number of uses.
Triple Green Shells (MK64): Great shield. Protect yourself from the debris on the road, or clean it up yourself.
Triple Red Shells (MK64): Better than greens. Can juggle target if fired with the right timing.
Lightning (SMK, MK64): Flatten the little guys! Lets you catch up in a hurry.

Notice a pattern? Nothing from the Gamecube version, Mario Kart Double Dash (MKDD). The best items were in the SNES and N64 versions, Super Mario Kart (SMK) and Mario Kart 64 (MK64).
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