Sunday, August 10, 2008

Where Are These Coming From?

I don't know about you, but I've always been a fan of the Muppets.  That said, I've been loving the fact that these videos keep popping up on YouTube.   Here are two of my favorites:


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

On Why Design Just Might Drive You Crazy

STOP...and take a look!  ;-)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Phantom Agony orchestration, keyboards, a little Cookie Monster, soaring choir vocals, a beautiful mezzo-soprano, metal guitars. Life is good. :-)

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Movie Quotes...I Have A Theory

Sometimes, when my mind is on overload, I really enjoy the fact that driving lets me pause and get some good thinking done. Often, I come up with my best ideas in this way (and huzzah to Jott for allowing me to capture these so easily). Today, however, my mind was so blotto (translate: fried, frazzled, ready to blow), that I was just daydreaming. And on the way home from taking my son to drum practice, I hit upon this amazing, and most likely completely correct (;-) theory.

The question at hand: "Why do guys always quote movie lines?". Now except in strange instances, this is purely a guys' domain. Usually, but not always, it drives the girls crazy. Not a good crazy, mind you (like when I do my Antonio Banderas impression), but crazy, crazy. But I think I know why we do this. This skill, like many of our lovable traits, hearkens back to our hunter roots. Early man needed to be a proficient hunter in order to survive, and one aspect of this proficiency was the ability to mimic animal sounds. Sometimes it was the lusty moans of a mate. Other times it was the cry of an injured animal meant to lure the hunter's prey. In any case, a skilled hunter was well-versed in the ways of mimicry. This adaptation, long encoded into our DNA through natural selection and survival of the fittest, still manifests itself today in modern man. And that, my friends, is why guys quote movies.

Ah...that's some good thinking for the day. :-)

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This came in the mail today...

...and made Chris a very happy boy! :-)

If you are a fan, you *NEED* to buy this!!!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

General Geekery

Interface Matters...Geek Style*Warning...this Friday post isn't about user interface design, Lotus Notes, Lotusphere or any of that stuff. Nope. There's more of that to come, but for now this post is just about being a geek. If you don't care or don't want to know more, stop reading now. You've been warned! :-)

It seems to me that now more than ever it is the golden age of geeks. Everywhere you look, so called "normals" are getting into technology, especially the latest gadgets and gizmos, home theater gear and video games. Heck...they're even going to superhero films. I never thought I'd see the day. While waiting to take a horse-drawn carriage ride over the Christmas break, I saw a very attractive girl wearing a shirt that exclaimed..."Geeks are hot". That's when I knew we made it.

It really is cool to be a geek. There are so many flavors of geeks too. It's not just the stereotypical image of the computer guy. No...there are music geeks, video game geeks, cooking geeks. The list goes on and on. Since I happily acknowledge my geekdom and recognize that being a geek has been central to who I am and how I've been successful in life, I just wanted to take a few minutes and share some things I'm currently geeking out about. This post is more for future posterity than anything, but if you are interested, please keep reading. I'd especially love to hear about the geek things you love. Post it on your blog or in the comments.

Looking back, I know I've always been a geek. Besides the fact that I walk funny (this bouncing step thing that is brother does it too, even though his twin does not. Didn't make school easy), I've always been really fascinated by typical geek stuff. In my earliest memories, I was always reading comic books. Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Spiderman...everything I could get my hands on. I was fortunate to have a grandfather who loved to spoil me, so I always had a great supply from the local convenience store. I used to spend a lot of weekends staying at my grandparents and I most looked forward to the Friday night ritual of eating Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips and then watching Star Trek reruns and Space: 1999! Star Wars came out when I was seven and boy was that a life defining moment for a kid of that age. From that point on, I was a major Star Wars geek and at one time had collected every one of the Topps Star Wars trading cards. I still love Star Wars and comic books to this day, although at $3.00 a pop, the comic collecting thing is on hold indefinitely!

In junior high and high school, I certainly became something of a music and hi-fi geek. I can name where and when I bought most of the CD/albums in my collection. They were that important to me. I loved gathering as much data on each band as I could and tracking down hard to find items, a task that wasn't easy in the pre-internet days. I also geek out going to live shows and to date have logged over 16,000 miles traveling to shows, the longest being a trip to Gothenburg to watch one of my favorite bands, Evergrey, perform for their first DVD.

I was also a gamer geek. Although I loved video games, role-playing, war gaming and board games were the ones I enjoyed best. In high school, we had a regular AD&D group. I liked the DMing aspect of the game. Something about all the tables, charts and facts to keep track of, coupled with the story-telling aspect, was right up my alley. Magic: The Gathering came out when I was in college, so I really didn't have much time to get into that game. I have played a bit though, and I really enjoyed it. incessant babbling gets me this far and I still haven't talked about the few things I started this post about! If you haven't unsubscribed from my blog yet, then feel free to keep reading. :-)

The whole thing that inspired this geek introspection in the first place is my new license plate. I purchased a new car recently and decided to go for some vanity plates. I went through many iterations, cleverly trying variations on some Lotus products (Quickr would have been cool, actually), names of bands I like, Star Wars and sci-fi themes, etc. In the end, I couldn't find one particular plate that I really loved.

As I was sitting there one night reading some blog feeds, it hit me. I'm a geek and a dad and those are really the two major things that define me. And, really...if you're going to have vanity plates, they might as well speak to who you are. Thus, a shiny new Geekdad plate now adorns my car! Of course, since I'm a geekdad, it had to be somewhat leet-ish :-)

Geekdad License Plate

Another thing that brought back some good geek memories are the various games the kids got for Christmas. Sure they received some cool video games for the Wii, but in my opinion the best thing we opened was a game called Heroscape.

Heroscape: The Battle For All Time is a miniature wargaming system manufactured by Hasbro. As I said, I always loved wargaming, but I never really gave Heroscape much of a look in the store since I figured such a game for the mass market would be watered down and boring. Boy was I wrong. This is a really great game! First of all, the build quality of the figures is pretty fantastic. Although they are plastic and not metal, the detail is excellent and they are fully painted. One of the unique features of the game is the set of tiles that make up the gaming battlefield. These hex tiles are made of plastic and slide together and stack on one another to create a 3-D battlemap. Just opening up the box was an impressive experience and my son and I had a lot of fun looking at the various figures included in the box. But the real test of a great game is whether the rules actually provide for a fun, immersive experience. This is where Heroscape really impressed me. The game has both Basic and Advanced rules. The Basic rules are really simple, taking up only 2 pages or so. The game is advertised for ages 8 and up, but I think kids even younger could grasp the general mechanics. We jumped right to the Advanced rules and started playing. It took only about 15 minutes to setup the first scenario and start a game. Although we had to refer back to the rules a few times, the beauty of the Heroscape system is that the Advanced rules are easy to learn but provide for many cool options such as flying, ranged weapons, etc. The game designers really hit a home run, because with the out of the box rules, you have all the fun of other wargames without getting mired down in complex details. They are also so well crafted that I can see creative house rules being added without disrupting the spirit of the game. The only unfortunate part of getting Heroscape is that I actually have a job and bills and all that boring real life stuff, so we didn't get to play nearly as much as we would have liked. Oh yeah...I almost forgot one of the other cool aspects of Heroscape. Unlike many other miniatures games, the "booster" figures aren't limited or scarce in any way, so the game is much more affordable. Plus, you don't really need to buy any additions, as you get plenty of figures and land in the basic set. Bottom line: Cool game, two thumbs up!

Heroscape Rocks

Finally, a geek plan a couple years in the making is finally coming to fruition. I have a small home theater in my basement and I occasionally host movie marathons for some of my friends. We get together and watch a series of movies, have some food and just enjoy hanging out together. After the final Lord of the Rings movie came out on DVD, I knew it was time for a LoTR marathon. The problem with this, if you are familiar with the movies, is that they clock in at over 12 hours total if you watch the extended editions. Yikes! This is obviously not a marathon for the weak willed, and I knew we had to make it special beyond just watching the movies. Thus, I decided on actually serving all of the Hobbit meals during the marathon. We'll start at 8 AM with First Breakfast, and throughout the day have Second Breakfast, Elevensies, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner and Supper. We haven't finalized the menu yet, but it will be simple stuff like eggs, stew, etc. I'm sure some ale will be involved as well. ;-) When all is said and done, we should finish right around midnight!

I've had to put this off last year and the year before due to the fact that there's always too much going on, but this year I am going to really try and make it happen. My birthday is in the beginning of February, so I'm shooting for that first weekend. If we make it out alive, I'll make sure to post the highlights here. How about you guys...anyone done all three Special Editions in one sitting?

Here's the invitation I sent out. There's still some seats available if you want to come to Cleveland...we'd love to have you. It's lovely here in February - really.

Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon

Yep...Looking back and looking forward, I think it's a great time to be a geek.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Cleveland Get Together For Ed Brill

My friends at Berbee put together a very nice reception this evening at Shula's in honor of Ed's visit to Cleveland. Noticeably absent from the event was Ed Brill, but we still had a great time! :-) Ed was stuck in an airport, but we were getting frequent updates thanks to his colleague Sara Koeth. In the end, it was unfortunate that he couldn't make it. Since Ed was noticeably absent, also noticeably absent was talk of Notes 8, Quickr, Connections or all the other good stuff. Instead, topics of conversation included (but were certainly not limited to):

-High School Musical 2
-5 Card vs 6 Card Euchre ( got vicious! ;-)
-Spoiled kids
-Dream Theater
-Strip Go Fish (and why no one ever wants to play with me)
-An as yet unheard of musical which will be BIG BIG BIG! :-D

The Cleveland Blogging Contingent was out in force. Bloggers in attendance included Gregg Eldred, Ben Langhinrichs, Phil Randolph, Rory Wohl and yours truly.

It was great company and great conversation all the way around. Say what you will about Cleveland (although it really is a beautiful place), but we've got some of the nicest people you'll ever meet!

Thanks again to the folks at Berbee for inviting us. Have a safe trip back home, Ed...Maybe we'll see ya next time.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Top 5 - Side 1 Track 1 - My Personal List

Off topic but fun...

Being a huge music fan, I have to profess my enjoyment of High Fidelity, not so much for all of the relationship stuff, but for the music store scenes and discussion of music in general, especially any scene with Jack Black in it! ;-) Well, Nathan was watching this movie the other day and started a new meme based on the movie, your top 5 side 1 track 1 tunes of all time. John Head tagged me, so here's my list:

6:00 -- Dream Theater's Awake (Amazing drum acrobatics from Mike Portnoy kick off this album in a dramatic way. One of my favorite DT tracks.)

Hungry Freaks, Daddy -- The Mothers of Invention's Freak Out (Frank Zappa's debut to the world...couldn't leave this out, since it represents the beginnings of an incredible musical legacy. I'd like to imagine that had I been alive at this time, I would be picking this up on vinyl from the record store and running home to throw it on the turntable! ;-)

Used -- Pain of Salvation's The Perfect Element, Part I (This is such an emotionally draining release. A concept album about two people (Him and Her) that have been abused in life, physically and sexually and their experiences as their lives become intertwined. It explores the various facets of a person who is deeply damaged. The opening tune is so visceral, it pulls you in and won't let you go.)

Aces High -- Iron Maiden's Powerslave (Love the subject matter...about the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940...and the bombastic Iron Maiden sound here.)

Of Sin & Shadows -- Symphony X's The Divine Wings of Tragedy (My introduction to the band...never been the same since.)

How about yours?


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Can You Read This?

I have to thank my mother-in-law for this post (thanks, Joyce! :-) It's very cool. Let me know how you make out. I'd be especially interested to see if people with English as a second language have a much harder time with this than native speakers.

fiyuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Cna yuo raed tihs ? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg . The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae . The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mn id deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe . Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Funny IM "Away" Message

I'm just throwing this out there since it's funny and I haven't seen it anywhere before. Thus, I claim it as my own work. Of course, I apologize if you are offended...but it's still funny! :-)

"I'm not spanking the monkey...I'm just giving him a stern warning!"

I've gotten more than a few LOLs from that one!

P.S. If you are offended, it just means you have a dirty mind.


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