Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne Needs More Crescendo and Legato

This is probably one of my all-time favorite songs. It brings back a lot of good memories, and that's what we do on New Years, right? (yes Mr. Critic, it does sound very similar to GSYBE!'s song 'Storm' from the first side of Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven)

Cheers and Happy New Years folks,


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Welcome Home...

It didn't take me long to learn that I was back home for the holidays when my lady and I came across this behemoth and elusive horned creature. I was driving along when my Nugget said "Look honey! Over there! We're definitely back in Ohio". These monstrosities are very rare, and native to Ohio, sort of like the buckeye tree. We approached it with caution as we pulled toward it in a Krogers parking lot located just barely outside of Columbus Ohio. The giant seemed to have been sleeping when I shut off the engine of my vehicle, and snapped this photo. Luckily, this was taken with a camera on my cell phone. It was convenient that I happened to have my phone because I fear that if I had taken the shot with a regular camera, the flash would've caused the beast to awaken, and trample the both of us to death for sure. Notice that this creature has already been tagged by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (a daring maneuver on their part as these beasts are not very approachable, perhaps it was sleeping at the tagging as well). This unique experience helped me cap a very pleasing holiday with my friends and family.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Good Heavens, What's This I See?!

As a late entry, I've added another item to my Christmas list. It is the Tony Little bobble head figurine. Tony Little is the man who invented 'the gazelle'. I will not explain the contraption. I feel sorry for anyone who buys an exercise machine from a man with a ponytail. The fact that this bobble head is ridiculous is exactly why I need it. I think that there needs to be someone who judges if a person is notable and credible enough to have the honor of being bobble headed. Where are the proper banquets and induction ceremonies for this? The fact that he is selling a bobble head of himself on his own website must prove what a bad ass he really is. I've decided that I want to start a collection of bobble head figurines that have no reason or place to be bobble headed. Heres the link to this awesome and absurd item.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Winter Walking

Since the snow fell in the middle of last week, I have been sent to the grocery twice. It may seem like this is the beginning of a very shoddy story, but shoddines is what I do. My first trip was the morning after the snow hit, and none of the roads were cleared, and all the sidewalks and trees were still covered as well. The snow was very deep, and would apparently take the road cleaning crews a day to reasonably clear things. I bundled up with my scarf, and peacoat, and headed out into the morning with my new iPod (my x-mas present from my nugget). I looked around, and the sky had all cleared up, and everything was heavily blanketed in white. I saw only two people the entire time, one of which was walking his dog, and the other was struggling to clean their vehicle off. I flipped through my albums until I found Nick Drakes 'Family Tree', and hit play. Something very magical happened as I began walking towards Broadway and Halsted on Grace (or Waveland I forget) to the store. There were no cars out, it was sunny, and everything was beautifully snow covered. I think the stripped down simplicity of Nick's songs really fit the things I was seeing around me. His original finger picking technique, along with his hauntingly soft voice made the bare bones melodies perfect for my walk. There were a couple piano tunes slipped in there that were accompanied by a womans voice that I'm going to assume was Nick's mother, who was also a musician. It was just strange how well the music went with the environment. Everything seemed empty or hollow, and I don't mean that in a 'depressing way', but more like a 'new and unexplored land' kind of way. It was the light with the whiteness of the snow which made a normally bustling Chicago seem tame for a second. My second unique experience happened at night. Not everyone had cleared the sidewalks off yet, but the streets were cleared off. Andrea sent me to the store once again, and just like before, I threw on my coat, and grabbed my iPod and flipped through my albums and selected Andrew Birds 'Weather Systems'. It's the only A. Bird album that I'm not familiar with and felt obligated to give it a listen. Its sound began to meld with the environment just like the Nick Drake album. Only this time, it was a winter night thing. I was particularly drawn to the songs 'I' and 'Action Adventure' because they seemed to inadvertantly capture the aura of the cold and snowy sidewalks of my northside neighborhood. The city lights reflecting off the snow, the lack of people on the street, and the atmospheric and stringy A. Bird songs were the reasons for my vibe during my walk. I can't really explain because I don't have the vocabulary and I don't even know if words can do the vibe justice, but those two albums seem to be perfect soundtracks for winter. It just depends on which time of day you listen to them. Just like most of the music that I listen to, I can hear whichever song, and it takes me to a place in time. I'm sure these two albums will now remind me of walking amongst the brownstones on Chicago's snow covered side streets.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Great Apple vs. PC Debate

This, and all the similar commercials have started causing great debates in our household. A few months ago, prior to Mr. Pessimistics new found knowledge of PCs he was convinced we should switch everything over to Apple. We priced Mac Books for me, IMacs for him, and the Ipod, IPhone and so forth. We were going to take the plunge, rid ourselves of the hard to use PC, and upgrade to the wonderfully easy Apple.

But then, suddenly, Mr. Pessimistic changed his mind, claiming Apple is stupid because Macs and such cannot be upgraded, where as PCs can. There really should be no argument, since honestly, I don't care either way, a computer is a computer. The annoying part, however, is that Mr. Pessimistic gets so upset about these commercials, and then launches into a rant about the superiority of the PC and, well, I cant help but mention the fact that a few months ago this was not the case.


First off, in my defense, let me state that our debates on this matter are in good fun. My beef with Apple is they claim to be something they're not. It's all an advertising thing. The whole problem is the 'Mac vs. PC' idea. It's dumb. The Mac has a central processing unit, I/O devices and utilizes an operating system (it can run Vista even). If I asked you what kind of thing posseses these components, you would say "a computer". My point is that Mac is a PC, so why claim to be something else? If I had an Xbox rigged with a connection, a browser, and a Linux OS, I wouldn't claim that it wasn't a computer. Page 78 of Decembers issue of PCWorld was the theme behind Apples latest commercial. The Apple Macbook Pro came in first place for 17 inch notebooks. I'm going to compare it to a woman winning the mens PGA, and claiming that shes different because shes a woman. She may have different components, but she's still a golfer. So what?

What Apple fails to mention in their commercial is that in the same issue of PCWorld they were called-out for releasing 4GB iPhones for $500 and in less than two months later discontinuing the model, and offering a larger 8GB iPhone for $400. They didn't even offer a reimbursement/rebate, coupon, gift card or anything for those people who basically got ripped off. This is from an article in the Consumer Watch section on page 53. *Same Issue*

I will not dispute that Apple makes awesome graphical user interface peripheral devices, but when it comes to computers... ooops, I'm sorry, a Mac... they are just as normal as all other computers (I mean Mac again) It's all about what you intend to do with your computer (Mac?). If you want to game, use a pc, if you want to edit photos and videos, the Mac dominates. Now when a pc starts to get old, one can upgrade with a new video card, sound card, and boost memory which IS the beauty of standard pc's. Apple seems to make fun of this. They just assume that a Mac owner will what? . . throw out their Mac and buy a new one when it starts to get old? Are we to assume that a Mac made in nineteen ninety-seven is up to par with a pc made for 2008? Hmmm. That doesn't seem to make logical sense to me. I know I couldn't afford to buy a brand new computer every four years. It's much easier and cheaper to upgrade. Now if Apple is claiming that they don't need to be upgraded, they are full of crap. Electronics of all varieties are obsolete a month after they are sold. I don't know if Apple tries to make their customers think that some software updates are going to magically heal their dying and aging hardware devices and components within their pc's (uhmm, Mac?) It doesn't work that way. Things start to go bad within electronics, and Apple isn't using some mysterious unknown electrical components within their products. People who buy pc's have an ability to learn from them. The school I attend is technology based, and I am in a program that deals with electronics and computers. I see many people building computers, but I see none building with Apple components. It's not because they're dumb, it is because they want an interchangle, moldable system. It's like a car enthusiast who works on his own V8 musclecar as opposed to some kid who puts some rims and a spoiler on his parents Honda Civic. Whos the real enthusiast of the two?

Ughhkkk, A., why do you have to do this to me.


See what I mean? Debate. Lengthy ranting. Every time.


Oh god, don't get A. started on Dells tech support. She spent a fair amount of time on the phone with those folks.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Holiday Must-Have #2: Let It Snow

I love snow. I love the way it softly falls to the ground, and creates a bright, white blanket over everything. I love the sight of the city, or the country covered in snow in the background, and large flakes falling in the foreground. I love it. That is, until, someone steps in it, leaving footprints; people drive in it, creating slushy roadways; and it starts to melt, causing it to mix with mud and turn brown. And, not to mention, actually being outside in it. If you know me at all, you know I do not enjoy being cold, and therefore do not enjoy activities which require coldness. I do not like ice skating, hockey, sledding, skiing, etc. I hate snow with a passion, people have a hard time driving ( even though we live in the mid-west, and it's inevitable every year), it becomes nothing but muddy, cold, slush that I have to walk through. I hate it.

However, snow is an integral part of the Holidays. You simply cannot enjoy a "White Christmas" with out it. If it would only snow once I am inside my family's home, on Christmas Eve, accumulate throughout the day of Christmas, then completely melt away to nothing by the time I am ready to leave the following day, it would be perfect. But perfect is not the world we live in.

Even though I hate it, Holiday Must-Have #2 is snow.

So, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Well.. I had better take back those matching snowmobiles I got us then.. Oh well..

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Holiday Must-Haves #1: The Rat Pack

Two days after Thanksgiving, I was ready for the onslaught of Holiday cheer. I was ready for the tree, with all the trimmings, the shopping and the lights. I was looking forward to choosing perfect gifts for my friends and family. I couldn't help but anticipate the 25 days of Christmas specials shown on ABC Family. Bring on the White Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Mr. Pessimistic, however, was completely against the tree idea. He didnt even want to put it up this year, as it would take up so much of our precious space. That was, until, I came home one day to find the tree up and the lights applied, with Frank Sinatra swooning, " Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in the backgorund.

Apparently, the one true motivator for Holiday Cheer is Christmas with The Rat Pack.

Just listening to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin belt out classic Christmas tunes, like "White Christmas", "Silver Bells", and our personal favorite "Baby It's Cold Outside" will put any scrooge in the spirit, or at least it worked on Mr. Pessimistic. All he had to do was listen to our favorite Christmas CD and he was on board for the tree, the lights and even the shopping.

This CD is the first Holiday Must-Have. The season just can't start until you hear it.
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