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July 2009
 
 
 
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Wed, Jul. 1st, 2009 01:10 am

If your mother ever comes over for dinner and makes some yummy homemade applesauce in your favorite glass pot and manages to create an unholy and unbreakable bond between your pot and some burnt sugar... here is what you do:

DO NOT bother to soak said pot in searing hot water.
DO NOT bother to scrub with your most heavy-duty of scrubby sponges.
Neither of those things will work.

DO grab your trusty box of Baking Soda and dump a bunch on the sugar.
DO add just a wee dribble of water to make it a little pasty.
DO use your fingers to rub said "paste" onto the evil confection for upwards of 45 minutes straight.

When finished, the pure white Baking Soda will have turned brown from absorbing the sinfully tenacious treat little by little... sacrificing itself to set your pot free.

Also, your fingers will be really smooth!

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Thu, Jun. 18th, 2009 03:34 pm

...NOT because of the "CD of the month" thing or the ridiculous shipping & handling fees. Actually, BMG Music Service is going away and being replaced by Yourmusic.com. You pay $6.99 per month and get a CD every month and you can buy as many additional CDs as you want for $6.99 each with NO shipping & handling fees. Since I was a BMG Music Service member, I qualify for a special deal to join Your Music without having to pay the monthly fee. Sounds like not too bad a deal, right? WRONG, and here's why.

The following quote can be found on the "Learn More" page of yourmusic.com:
"No matter what type of music you're looking for, you're guaranteed to find it at yourmusic.com."

Of the 26 artists I have listed on my Facebook profile under "Favorite Music", there are exactly ZERO albums available on yourmusic.com from the following:
The Pixies
They Might Be Giants
Bjork
Peter Gabriel
Moby
Tori Amos
Tom Waits
Damien Rice
Frank Black
New Order
Erasure
Philip Glass
Randy Newman
The Bobs
Freezepop
Front 242
Symbion Project

And many of those who were represented were done so poorly. For example, the only The Cure albums they have are the 2 most recent.

I understand not having some of the more obscure stuff (symbion project) or even some moderately obscure stuff (Frank Black), but not having ANY music from Bjork, Tori Amos, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, etc.? These are HUGE names in music.

Ugh.

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Fri, Mar. 27th, 2009 01:00 am

I find it amusing that even though I'm listed as the "Primary Borrower" on our home mortgage (Jim is the "Co-borrower"), every single piece of junk mail we now get as a result of having just purchased a home is addressed to Jim.

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Wed, Jan. 7th, 2009 12:45 am

I love my TV. It was our first big purchase as a married couple and we had been planning on it for a long time. It was kind of our wedding present to ourselves. We knew we wanted to go high-def (this was in 2004 when it was still kinda new), and I knew I wanted the best picture quality I could find.

I never liked plasma TVs with their muddy images and crappy viewing angles. I'm such a quality snob that the picture itself means more than size, and at the time, the hands-down best image you could get was with a tube TV. So we got the newest and largest tube HDTV Sony had -- a 34" monster weighing in at over 200 pounds. To give some perspective on the market at the time, it was one of (if not) the first televisions ever equipped with an HDMI hook-up. It has served us well, and over the years when typical home televisions have gotten larger and larger, I've still been happy with my baby and its gorgeous image.

But in the past year... I have finally seen flat-panel technology come to market whose image quality is just as gorgeous, or even better than the tube. And they come in huge sizes! And the have great viewing angles! And they don't weigh over 200 freakin' pounds!

I've been looking at them for a year now and I keep saying to myself, "By the time I'm really ready for a new TV, the technology will be even better and they'll be a fraction of the price," but I'm really starting to feel that itch to trade-up. I have the beautiful fantasies of watching movies with gorgeous blacks and bright, vibrant colors on a huge screen in the comfort of my livingroom.

Perhaps it's good that the only TV's that meet my high standards are still ridiculously expensive. Perhaps I can stave off this itch for another couple years and, yes, perhaps then the technology will be even better and it will cost even less.

... sigh.

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Sat, Jan. 3rd, 2009 03:19 pm

As many of you know, watching movies is probably my favorite hobby. At one point in my life, I thought I'd make this hobby a living (the whole going to film school thing), but that didn't happen (by choice), so now it's just a hobby I can appreciate even more. It wasn't a bad year for me for watching movies, but it wasn't great either. Either way, it's all summed up here after the cut. It should be noted that my year in review is for movies that I watched in 2008, rather than movies that were released in 2008.

A Year In MoviesCollapse )

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Thu, Jan. 1st, 2009 02:01 am

Midnight on New Year's Eve and what was I doing? Sitting on my couch watching Man On Wire, which I just got from Netflix. Jim and Damien asleep upstairs.

I've never minded not having a party to go to... but doing NOTHING at all is a little depressing. There have been many years past when Jim and I stayed home on New Year's Eve. We wouldn't make a big deal out of it, but we'd at least go to the store the day before and stock up on whatever junk food we wanted to "celebrate" for the evening. This year he had to go to bed early, though, since he's getting up at 4am to open the coffee shop. What a drag. Who's going to be up at 5am on New Year's Day wanting coffee anyway? Then again, if you're up at 5am on New Year's Day, chances are you're really going to need the coffee, I suppose.

I can't believe we're moving in 3 weeks. I really hasn't sunken in yet. I haven't even thought about packing, and the house is a mess. Ug. I don't need to be thinking about that right now.

Current Mood: blah blah

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Mon, Dec. 29th, 2008 11:11 pm

Today was kind of a slow day at work. Many had returned from vacationing, but many were still gone and, due to the holidays, there weren't any major deadlines that needed to be reached five minutes ago. So a good-sized group of us decided to go out to lunch. We went to Mitchell's Original on Clybourn, a pretty basic diner-type restaurant with Greek influence. It serves breakfast and lunch foods whenever you want. It's not great, but it's not at all bad.

By the time I was supposed to place my order (which took a while, though this wasn't a bad thing), I had no idea what I wanted because I had spent the entire time amusing myself by the menu. Here are some highlights:

- The "Just Picked Omelette" -- I really should get myself an omelette tree. I think I might actually eat breakfast if I had one.

- The "Pizza-Cado Omelette", the "Bac-O-Cado Burger", and the "Breast-A-Cado" (a turkey sandwich) -- Not only do I find the need to title anything with Avocado in such a manner hilarious, but I am also highly amused that each incarnation is concatenated in a different way.

- "Don't forget that you can order any sandwich 'Hollywood Style!'" -- So what does this special style of sandwich mean? -- "Hollywood Style sandwiches are served with lettuce, tomato, and mayo." -- ... uh... huh.

- "Glorified Bacon & Eggs" -- this is the actual menu item name, not just what I called it.

- "Fresh, Light, and Beautiful Salads" -- Steve-o said he would please like to know which salads were fresh, which were light, and which were beautiful.

- Tuna Melt Deluxe, made with "our freshest tuna salad" -- ... as opposed to the normal tuna melt with gets the not-so-fresh tuna salad? Which menu item gets the day-old tuna salad?

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Sat, Nov. 22nd, 2008 07:19 pm

... strike that. Reverse it.

We found out last Wednesday that our landlord has decided that he wants to put our house up for sale when our lease is up. This is despite the fact that when we signed the lease 8 months ago, he said that he "definitely wouldn't be selling it for at LEAST two years." Don't ask me why he would want to sell right now, as there is no way he's going to come close to making back the money he spent on the place when he bought it last December.

So our lease is up on March 1st, and the last thing we want to do is move right now... especially in the middle of winter... but we don't have much of a choice. What we want to do even less is to move into another rental and then have to move again in another year.

Soooooooooo, we're looking to buy a house. It's both exciting and it sucks. We'd be in a much MUCH better position to buy in 6 months to a year from now, which is why we wanted to stay where we are for another year and then buy. On the other hand, now is a GREAT time to buy for first-time buyers (i.e. For people who don't have to sell their current house first). It turns out that since the real estate market is so bad that we can actually afford to buy a place in Park Ridge, which is where we really want to be. Most people speculate that the market will go down even further in the next year (I keep hearing it will drop another 10%) and that's another reason it kinda sucks that we have to buy now. But again, on the other hand, when real estate finally does turn back around (and it will eventually), I think we'll get priced out of Park Ridge pretty quickly, so in some ways it's good we're being "forced" into buying right now when we know we can buy here.

Anyway. We already found a place we really like and will probably make an offer on this week, but we're going out tomorrow with an agent to look at a whole slew of other options before we commit.

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Sun, Nov. 2nd, 2008 09:22 pm

So after living in the dark ages for way too long, I've finally decided to try online bill pay from my checking account instead of physically writing out checks and mailing them. Just so we're clear, I didn't hold out so long because of any fear regarding its safety. It's just that I've had a bill-paying system that's worked for me for years and changing that just makes me paranoid that something will get screwed up and something won't get paid.

I must say that it is rather convenient. Now I have no idea what I'll do with all my stamps!

Current Mood: pleased pleased

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Tue, Oct. 21st, 2008 03:28 pm

After roughly a year of procrastinating about learning ActionScript 3.0 due to other projects always being on fire and... well... procrastination, it is finally my prime directive at work to learn the sucker. All projects going forward will be using the new version of our in-house authoring tool, which is built to use a brand-spankin' new version of our proprietary engine which uses AS3!

I've been reading about AS3 for a few days now, but just today I got around to how working with XML is handled. Pardon me while I completely nerd out for a minute here and say that working with XML in ActionScript 3.0 is freaking awesome!!!

It's so easy and intuitive and simple that I actually cannot wait until the next project comes along where I have to pull in a large amount of XML data. I used to hate it -- the way ActionScript 2.0 handled XML was cumbersome, ugly, and more trial and error than anything to get up and running. It required buckets and buckets of code to parse all the information out of an XML file and into a workable format. But not anymore -- the need to parse is completely gone. You can just take any old XML object and easily pluck the information you need right out of it with no fuss.

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Current Mood: excited excited

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