Archives for category: rambling

So I’ve been doing some wordpress work for some freelance clients recently and it seems likethe last year some cool stuff has happened with WordPress. This move to wordpress 3.0 seems very worth it. I’m just looking forward to more themes to be developed to take advantage of it.

Just found this wu wei theme that I like visually, but it it going to take sometime to adapt it to really work for me… we’ll see if I do that as I still don’t feel any huge compuslion to blog.

Who knows.

I guess now that it is the holidays, I have seen a spike in traffic of people finding this site searching for information about “sabering/beheading/cutting off the top of” a champagne bottle.  Over 20 people in the last 30 days.  Apparently my post from last spring, beheading a champagne bottle has been a hit with Google… fun.

Photo of St. Louis

I’m sure I’ll write or twitter more about this trip, but for now, a few “worthy” photos have made it up to flickr, so go check them out.

Arguably the most recognizable athlete worldwide.  An amazing footballing talent.  Star midfielder and captain for his international team.  Superstar of Manchester United – the reigning title holder of both the EPL and Champions League and the most valuable sports brand in the world.

If I was writing this 6 years ago, everyone would know I was speaking of superstar David Beckham, right before he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid and is now playing for LA Galaxy.  

An eerily similar script is unfolding before our eyes today, with Cristiano Ronaldo, the new Beckham.  Yes, Ronaldo is flirting with the idea of following in Beck’s footsteps even more by moving to Real Madrid.  If you are interested in this, plenty of sports writers are discussing it, check one of them out.  To be honest, I couldn’t care less.  That’s right, I really don’t care.  

What I do care about regarding this situation is the comments that have been made by FIFA head Sepp Blatter.  Blatter said that Ronaldo should be free to pursue a transfer to Real Madrid rather than be kept to the contract that he signed 18 months ago.  Fine that is all well and good.  However the “Mad Blatter” had to continue talking, and in those remarks, he went on to compare poor Ronaldo’s situation to “modern slavery”.  

Yes, slavery.

When asked about Blatter’s comments regarding slavery Ronaldo, the portugese international said, “I agree with the statements of [Blatter] … What he said is correct.  You know what I said, what I want and what I would like.  Now I have to wait and see what happens.”

Wow. Ronaldo who just signed a 5 year contract a mere 18 months ago feels treated like a slave.  A contract that pays him a mere $238,000 per week.  Yes, I said per week, as in there are 52 of them a year.

To compare this spoiled brat to a slave is an insult to slaves.  Ronaldo makes more money than he and his friends and his family could even think of spending.  He lives like a king in a great country.  He works out and plays a sport he loves 40 weeks of the year, and gets 12 weeks of vacation.  

If he doesn’t like it, he can quit, and go into another line of work (unlike slaves).  Now there isn’t another line of work that can offer him the limelight that his ego craves or a ludacris salary like that… so if he is complaining that the team that is paying him so much has requested that he not play for a rival team, that doesn’t seem like it is asking too much.  

Grow up Cristiano.  What little respect I had for you (off the field) has all officially eroded away.  I hope Man U “puts you out to pasture” by trading you to Real Madrid and you rot in the Spanish sun like so many others have.  

During the off-season for the EPL, news of player signings tend to dominate the headlines and tide the fans over until the games start again.  Sadly, Everton made the news this week for a tragic reason.  Joseph Yobo, one of Everton’s starting defenders, recently confirmed that his brother has been kidnapped in his home  country of Nigeria.

Authorities are assuming that this will be like many other kidnapping cases in the impoverished region, wait for the ransom, pay it, and he will be returned.  It is hard to imagine that there are cultures where this is commonplace and where it is almost an accepted practice.  So sad.

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this as it is far more personal than I usually choose to share in this public forum, but it has just been on my heart, and I wanted to share with the few that read this little blog…

A couple days ago I got a letter from Jackline (a child I sponsor in Kenya through an amazing organization called Compassion International). The letter was fantastic and heartwarming, but when I got to this line I just stopped and thanked God for my ability to help her.  

“Thank you for the christmas gift [...] I purchased a mattress.  Thank you for your support to my life.”

If anyone has ever thought about sponsoring a child, I strongly recommend it.  I’ve spent some money over the last 12 months:  An iPod Touch, a new iMac, a wii … but by far the best money I’ve spent was on Jackline and I’m thrilled that for the financial cost of a wii and a couple games I can provide the finances for a marked improvement in the quality of life for a child in need.  It is humbling that an extra $20 at Christmas buys her a mattress, a luxury I completely take for granted (in fact I have one in my house that sits unused in a guest bedroom).    

I live a very blessed life, and I thank God for my letters from Jackline as she helps keep me grounded.  I also had to smile as she closed the letter with:

“Many people are now planting their crops during this rainy season.  Are you planing your crops?”

What easy lives we live…

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a curious exercise. In layman’s terms, SEO is the set of best practices that you should follow to get information to register (and rank higher) with search engines, most importantly, with Google. I applied some of my learnings on SEO for the November 11th post Tim Cahill’s World-Class Goal (Everton at Chelsea) and the results have been a little surprising…

According to Google Analytics, over the last 4 weeks, nearly 60% of the traffic to this site came from people searching for tim cahill’s goal chelsea (ranked #1 in google), or tim cahill everton goal chelsea (ranked #3) or some other variation of those words. Kind of cool, I hope everyone finding this site looking for that post finds the post helpful and chooses to stick around. I’m happy just to have you peeking in…

And on a very strange note, Google also seems to think that I am an expert on “spagnostics” as I am the #1 ranked item for that search term as well… I’m not really sure what to make of that fact though.

Liverpool visited Everton this week. Since both teams are in the same city, the match is refered to as a “derby” (pronounced “darby”). This is the longest standing derby in English football and the heat of the match can be intense.

Sadly a good match of football was heavily marred by the ref making decidedly lopsided calls in favor of Liverpool. Hibbert’s foul on Gerrard looked like a shoulder to shoulder hit, right on the line of the box, but I can see the ref calling that a PK and a yellow. Interestingly enough, you can see the ref pull out the yellow card, and then Gerrard talks him into the red (and Everton goes down to 10). Unreal.

Dirk Kuyt’s PK was good and the game is tied. Dirk then should have been escorted off with a red for his “leg-breaking” tackle (both legs cleats up) against Neville, however after a long talk with the ref, the ref is once again talked into only giving Dirk a yellow. Game should be tied up 1-1 and 10 v 10, but sadly, that is not the case.

In injury time, Neville hands a sure goal off the line and is quite justifiably given a red card for that. Dirk (who shouldn’t be on the field anymore) puts away another PK and the reds go up 2-1.

Even down to 9 men, Everton still managed to push the ball up and Lescott was pulled down on a fantastic scoring opportunity right in front of goal (second time in the game he had been man-handled, but this was the worst). Amazingly enough, not only was there no red card, no PK, there wasn’t even a foul called.

While I know I am biased, check out the video highlights yourself and see what you think… (this video was cut and uploaded by a Liverpool fan and pulled from “redsreview” so don’t claim biased editing or anything.

Relevant Magazine has an article worth checking out.  Jason Boyett wrote 9 things to know before you hit 30, and there seems to be a lot of wisdom (aka – “advanced common sense”) in it.  I’m doing ok on most, but could be doing a lot better on some of the others.  Looks like I’ve got about 14 months to work on these…

I stumbled upon this article by Brian Kim titled “Top 5 things every extrovert should know about introverts“.  I have no idea about Brian Kim’s credentials, but this article hit the nail on the head from my (admittedly introverted) perspective.  Worth taking a few minutes to read if you want to understand the workings of our sometimes quirky social behavior.

While on this subject, I found an interesting read from USA today a year ago.  “Not all successful CEOs are extroverts” discusses the introvert and extrovert division and how it relates to our business leaders.  While Steve Jobs is on the extroverted end, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and many others find themselves on the introverted side.  

Mark this day. Science seems to have found a way to “burn” sea water. If they can turn this into a viable engine, this could be the answer so many have been craving. We may be able to run cars and other combustable engines off of sea water, the most plentiful resource on the planet. Cross your fingers that this proves to be as promising as it looks right now.

Wow, I didn’t realize I had 3 soccer (football for the europeans) related posts in a row.  I’ll try to be a little more balanced in the future.  Its just that time of the year and I’m a bit excited about all that is going on, especially in the Premier League (EPL) right now.

A day after tying Blackburn in a hard fought game, Everton Football Club (my favorite team) have gotten some bad and potentially devastating news. Early in the preseason we lost forward James Vaughan to a dislocated shoulder. Shortly thereafter, we lost our center midfielder/Australian international Tim Cahill to a foot injury. These two injuries effectively decimated our depth in offensive positions. The speculation over the last 2 weeks has been that Everton was going to buy 2 new players to help with this, Middlesbrough striker Yakubu and Benfica’s Manuel Fernandes. Yakubu is a proven striker in the EPL so the Toffees (Everton’s nickname) were understandably excited, however Fernandes was the one we were most excited about.

Fernandes was on load with Everton for a few months last year and he was special. He was a playmaker, seemed to like the team, and really understand what the manager expects from his club. He made things happen on the field, and was a young and upcoming star. The thought of a midfield with Arteta, Cahill, and Fernandes serving up strikers AJ and Yakubu had most Everton fans salivating.

Well today we all came crashing back to earth. After passing his physical and having all matters of the contract agreed upon (but not signed), transfer fees set, even being the personal guest of the Everton owner at the Blackburn game, Fernandes has decided to do an about face, and sign with Valencia (in the Spanish league). This move came out of nowhere and has stunned all involved.

To make matters worse, Yakubu’s transfer bid is also looking tenuous as he cannot secure a work permit now to “work” for another team in the EPL. There is a rule for foreign players that they cannot play for an EPL team unless they have played in 70% of their country’s international games over the last 2 years. Yakubu, a Nigerian star, has fallen out of favor with the coach of the Nigerian national team, so while he has been a star in the EPL for 5 years, due to a technicality and a political matter, that transfer may be crushed as well. Everton is appealing the work permit issue for Yakubu and should have a final answer on Wednesday.

And the transfer window is closing fast (all teams need to be set by August 30), and won’t open again until January I think. I hope David Moyes can figure something out…

Looks like we won’t be seeing Manuel Fernandes doing this again this season.

Scared of the “sky is falling” attitude regarding the US economy especially in regards to real estate foreclosures?  While there is a real problem, Richmond is actually fairing better than most expected.  In fact, according to the article, we are actually the city doing the best right now.  Pleasantly surprising news.

Wow.  I can’t imagine how excited this photographer was when he snapped this shot

SAJ (aka my day job) has recently started a blog (when we are ready for traffic, I’ll post on here again).  So I don’t screw with the production site, I may be testing out things over here, so if you show up one day and it has completely changed, don’t worry, I’m just screwin’ around.

I saw the new Bourne movie over the weekend and I loved it.  But this is not really about the movie, as much as it is the ad campaign… How interesting is it that they put a 15ft x 50ft billboard saying “Bourne comes home” on the side of Matt Damon’s NYC apartment building (where he literally “comes home” every day).  While I’m sure he probably is used to it, how surreal would it be to come home to a 10x life-sized version of you every day.

I kid you not… Mark your calendars for Sunday, August 5 – AMC is showing a Chevy Chase marathon!

This happy new year message from mono is very cool. (hint, click on the facial features to see others)

Um, holy cow. This music video is amazing. An animated value study built using colored dice to create a really nice pixelated effect.

While I’m not exactly a fan of Steve Jobs, I can’t deny that he has been an influential part of two companies that put out some good products – Apple and PIXAR. Lifted is another “short” from PIXAR that has won some awards, I thought it was really cute.

* sidenote – never heard of this “jumpcut.com” site before, but it seems to be yahoo’s competitor to youtube. It is certainly prettier than YouTube (and less cluttered with ads) – but as history tells us, the best product is not necessarily going to win the battle (Virb > MySpace, BetaMax > VHS, OS X > Vista, etc…)

Sadly, Man vs. Wild (aka “one of the greatest shows on tv”) is hasn’t been entirely honest with us.  Bear Grylls (the host) is still one awesome dude (while some of this may be overly dramatic, you can’t fake a lot of the stuff he did).  Even knowing that his crew would leave him for the night and go to a motel isn’t a big deal… but hearing that on two occassions he may have enjoyed the luxury of a motel bed saddened me.  Honestly, if you can’t trust tv, who can you trust?

Adding to my shame, my parents called shenanigans on this show well before I was willing to believe it.

The classic 80′s movie Short Circuit superstar robot “Johnny 5″ is going to be auctioned off for a mere 6 figures in August… Just don’t try to “disassemble.”

We had a lot of family in town this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my aunt and uncle. While much of my family lives in the area, there is one uncle in particular (Rick) who lives in New Hampshire that we don’t get to see as often as we like.

For those of you who don’t know him, check out this clip I saw on the Daily show that reminds me of him. Who knew that Rick and Brian Williams of NBC news are twins separated at birth – personality, sense of humor, mannerisms, and even looks (Brian is probably a tad more attractive, but Rick can certainly hold his own…)

Two Sidenotes:
- I would watch the ‘Nightly News’ if Brian Williams would show an ounce of his real personality instead of his boring “anchor” personality
- Nice to see someone be able to take it and dish it back out with Jon Stewart. He obviously likes/respects Brian a lot more than the Crossfire guys (this clip was the death knell for the now cancelled Crossfire).

In case you haven’t heard, David Beckham had his debut with the LA Galaxy last night in an exhibition game against Chelsea of the EPL. For the first time in a long time, a US soccer story led Sportscenter … pretty cool.

Of more interest to me however was another EPL vs. MLS game last night played under a lot less fanfare – Everton vs. Real Salt Lake. Everton is my favorite EPL team, so I was very curious how they did.

Knowing that Sportscenter wouldn’t cover it, I went straight to ESPN.com. And I found a match report. Yeah, a match report of Real Salt Lake vs. “Chelsea”. Unreal… why report on a game if you can’t even get something as basic as the teams right.

On a side note, looks like Everton didn’t do too hot, so I am glad I didn’t see it.

Andy Rutledge has done a great job verbalizing many of my thoughts about CNN’s redesign.  I can definitely get behind his term “Quiet Structure.”

The misfits.The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

- Apple Computer

I hate politics.  I am a conservative but NOT a republican.  While I don’t think he stands a chance to get out of the primaries, Mike Huckabee has caught my attention.  He isn’t the typical republican puppet – I am hearing “new” ideas from him vs the same old drivel from the rest.  From the little I know (heard a few interviews and read through his site), I like the thought of our country in his hands…

This just about made me cry. Our friends over at “Will it blend” have taken on the latest pop culture icon, the iPhone.

Introverted INtuitive Feeling Judging – yeah, I can see how I would be pegged as such:

  • Rarest personality type; estimated 2% of population
  • private
  • sensitive
  • quiet leaders
  • great depth of personality – intricately and deeply woven, mysterious, and highly complex, sometimes puzzling even themselves
  • introverted
  • sometimes seen by others as cold and hard on the outside
  • may find it easier to express their deepest feelings and sentiments non-verbally or in writing
  • abhor evil or injustice, especially that directed towards the innocent or helpless
  • are sometimes looked upon by others as naive, mostly due to our idealism
  • aren’t terribly career-minded
  • love quotes/quotations and are often “philosophers” or “theologists”
  • give advice, though usually more subtly than most other Directors.
  • “Mute withdrawal is a major INFJ defense.”
  • abstract in communicating
  • live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities – part of an unusually rich inner life
  • artistic (and natural affinity for art), creative, and easily inspired
  • very independent
  • orderly view towards the world but within themself arranged in a chaotic, complex way only they could understand

INFJs value their integrity a great deal. They have high expectations of themselves and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. They do this through total trust of their intuition.

INFJs are proud of their authenticity, respectful of their benevolence, confident of their empathy.

They are activists there for the cause, not for the power, fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless, and put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done.

An INFJ is often hard to get to know. They are selective about their friends, but such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words… They hunger for deep and meaningful relationships, provide spiritual intimacy for their mates, and can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious “soul mates.” In such relationships, they strive for mutuality, don’t believe in compromising their ideals, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.

It can be difficult for an INFJ to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings to others. They tend to be secretive by holding back and protecting part of themselves, thus creating hidden sides to their personality. They are choosy of what and when to share things and tend to only truly do so with those they trust.

Strong empathic abilities, an unusually strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others while pointing out human potentials

They are often leaders who go unnoticed, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes. When working with others, they are very sensitive to conflict and cannot tolerate it very well. They will prevent/avoid it at all costs.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

Thanks INFJ.org for the info…

So for those of you who know me, think it fits? 

Interesting side note – other INFJs: Dostoevsky, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Oprah, Jimmy Carter and Billy Crystal.

One of the things I would like to do before I die is see a tornado (and hopefully even get a good shot or two of it).  I have always loved weather, especially thunderstorms.  The power and beauty are both so amazing in a good storm.

Mike, the guy behind extremeinstability.com (his flickr page) lives on the edge, but I think I would really enjoy that for a couple weeks …

Here are some interesting photos of macbook pro’s (or powerbooks) that have been laser engraved. I think the homage to Magritte is my favorite.

Mix together some hitchhikers, pan-handling, photography, blogging, life-casting, lot’s o’ gasoline, gps tracking, and a helmet mounted camera and you end up with this unique way to spend a summer – summerrideshare.com

This guy is offering to pick anyone up and drop them off where ever they want (looks like he is in atlanta right now), as payment, they need to pay for half the gas and share their stories with him.  He is even documenting every purchase he is making and others can “support” him by picking up the tab for anything he does (through paypal).
What a great way to spend a summer.  I wish I had thought of this while I was in college – I would have done it in a second.  Talk about some memories …

My copywriter and I celebrated a truly unexpected victory this afternoon as one of our recent SAJ polls (designed as a fun poll with no real value) actually got picked up by the associated press today and has filtered down to the Houston Chronicle, Forbes, and a few others!

Sidenote – I still think we should have listed Jon Heder’s job as “egg gatherer” instead of “farmhand” – he would have won in a landslide then.

As many of you know, I am a soccer (football) fan.  I love it.  Alexi Lalas (the former USA defender better known for his red hair and goatee than anything he did on the field) has suggested that the MLS is everybit as good as the EPL.  I hope this is just a PR move to highlight the fact that David Beckham is making his way over here (finally), but it is a truly remarkable statement.  Hopefully the MLS will consider the backlash (and laughter) this will get internationally.

Consider the guantlet laid and hopefully MLS is ready to backup such a statement.  So far this season I haven’t seen anything that resembled the level of play in the EPL, but you better believe a whole lot of people around the world are going to be tuning in over the next few weeks to see if Lalas was an idiot (or a PR genius) as well as just watching what Beckham can do… should be fun.

While most of you don’t know my college friend James, he recently had a kid and has decided to start blogging about it, from his kid’s point of view.  It is hysterical – it is a strange amalgam of his sense of humor mixed with Stewie from family guy… good stuff.

This will likely blow it away.  Adobe is going to put Photoshop online!!!  That will save me some $ if it is any good.

For the less geeky who check this blog, Google has gained a bit of a following due to the fact that they play an April Fools joke on the internet every year.  This year’s TiSP is pretty impressive.

My personal favorite was a couple years ago when they realized that people were looking for the joke, they announced GMail on april fools, and no one believed them thinking it was just another joke…

I stumbled upon this drawing and it illustrated a big part of my concept of success.

Just made my first Wikipedia edit

Looks like someone outside Portland is promoting a better browser by whatever means he can …

Here is an extensive presentation on form design and usability.  While most around here will have no interest in this presentation, my friends over at my old job may want to check this out.  I still haven’t made it all the way through it, but around slide 15 it gets pretty practical…

Anyone have a joost account that wants to invite me?  I’d love to peek in on the beta here and see how things are going.

When you can’t seem to find just the right words to express your love for your mum, let Mr. T do it for you!  Sadly I didn’t find this in time for Mother’s Day…

We have some upcoming TV spots for those who may want to keep an eye out for them…

Comedy Central – 16th @7:15AM and 12:23PM

ESPN2 -  15th @ 7:37AM and 12:21PM, the 16th @2:25AM, and the 17th @12:42PM

During this week, we are also advertising on BET, FX, TBS, TNT, and USA, but I’m not going to type out all those spots … pretty cool!

This year I became a BIG English Premier League (aka “EPL” – the top professional football/soccer league in England). To make it fun, I gave myself 2 weeks to familiarize myself with the clubs, then I had to adopt a club as my own. Just as everyone here hates the Yankees, I decided I just couldn’t choose either Manchester United or Chelsea. In fact, choosing any of the “Big 4″ seemed less interesting to me than choosing a team that would really have to “earn it”. You see, the big 4 (ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool) are always at the top of the EPL, they spend more on their teams than anyone else, and have many of the all stars from around the world on their rosters. Except when they play each other, those 4 are almost always the favored team in every match they enter.

As someone who loves rooting for the underdog, this didn’t seem as much fun for me, so I knew I ruled them out. For various reasons, I weeded out some other clubs, and then chose the one I “liked” the most out of the rest – which lead me to Everton FC.

Everton’s arch rivals are crosstown foes Liverpool and when I say “crosstown”, literally, the stadiums are a few hundred yards apart (or meters since it is in England)!

efc_lfc.jpg
So today was the last day of the season and Everton gave me a fun ride – some ups and downs, some tough injuries, hard loses, and wonderful wins. They finished in 5th place this year. While most of the time people don’t cheer for 5th place, it was a better finish than most predicted, and left Everton with the title of “Best of the Rest” (since the Big 4 predictably finished in the top 4) and earned a spot in the UEFA Champions League.

Good job boys, I look forward to next year.

In an example of the internet directly affecting real life – this is just a guy who just desperately wants attention

For those of you who are not aware, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is an internet joke used to test limits of free speech and freedom of religion.   While no one believes it is actually TRUE, many athiests and agnostics have adopted its use to counter any point – typically pushing to an absurd proportion.  Unlike traditional faiths that believe their view is truth and thus would like to convince others of the truth – the pastafarians  simply try to convince all parties that ALL beliefs (theirs included) are ridiculous.

  • Beer Kegs
  • Driving ranges
  • Ropes Courses
  • Flip Cup games
  • Volleyball
  • Inflatable Boxing
  • Miniature Golf
  • Football
  • Batting cages
  • Cookouts

They are all things we got to partake in on company time and on the company’s dime in the last week.  Not too shabby.

For those of you in the field, take a couple minutes and take this survey from ALA. i-took-the-2007-survey.gif

My youth minister introduced me to this message given by the late S.M. Lockridge back when I was in high school. The background music could have been mixed better (too loud at times) but the original message still rings loud and clear. (here is the sermon text in case you would like to read it)

6jtgjlyu

Pete, my college roommate, is the most gifted musician I have ever met. He helped shape many aspects of my life, not the least of which was helping develop and refine my taste and appreciation of music. Having previously turned me on to such gems as Supertramp, Brahms, Galactic, Rush, Peter Gabriel, and Spock’s Beard – when he talks, I listen, and am generally very glad I did. However, when he recently told me that his favorite musician for a while now has been Sarah Groves, I was stunned.

You see, Sarah Groves is the kind of music that is played on contemporary Christian radio. As someone who LOVES rock music (far more than I could ever hope to) I thought Pete shared my distain for anything that has the label “contemporary Christian” on it. Thankfully, Pete doesn’t let labels get in the way of his appreciation of music, and helped me open my eyes. Sarah Groves’ music is remarkable. She has an angelic voice, honest and vulnerable lyrics, and chord progressions and grooves uncharacteristic in the world of contemporary Christian “music”. Check out her new album Add to the Beauty.

The other band I have very recently fallen in love with is Future of Forestry. A relatively new rock band whose sound is more melodic than grunge, many of their songs have an the epic emotionally building sound – similar to Explosions in the Sky or Sigor Ros. Check out Twilight.

You heliskiied. You bungee jumped. You ran with the bulls and swam with sharks. When skydiving lost its thrill, you picked up basejumping … but it still wasn’t enough. For you my friend, you need to check out “Speed Gliding” (combining heliskiing with basejumping and kitesurfing).

(Keep watching for the part where the “slope” just drops off into an enourmous cliff – insane!)

A friend and I have been toying around with the idea of customizing wordpress (which powers chriswho) to turn it into a custom CMS that we could then turn around and use for freelance purposes. This weekend I came across Silverstripe though, and I’m wondering if we really need to do all that work – this could be what we are looking for. Has anyone ever heard of this (or anything like it) and have any recommendations or words of warning? I think I may try silverstripe out pretty soon. And being open source, we could still customize it as we want … If anyone has thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them.

Oh, and on the freelance side of things, sidejobtrack could be pretty cool.

I would like to thank Don Imus for his idiotic comments and the mainstream media for their enthusiastic dead-horse beating … if it weren’t for them, I may have forgotten to let you all know that I have just recently joined my first “professional association” – the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (or NAPP).

That’s right ladies and gents, I’m unionized, so watch out! Well it isn’t a union, it is an organization dedicated to training its community about the my favorite program, Adobe Photoshop.  Now that I am finally in a job where design work is a primary responsibility of mine (and not a little side project), I figured it was time to get serious about staying up to date on the latest with the program, as well as the thousands of tips and tricks from other users (and magazine subscriptions, etc).

I attended a training seminar put on by NAPP this week and it was EXCELLENT (and only $99!!!).   I am very excited about taking my understanding of this tool to the next level.

This is an interesting video commentary on my professional field – a great overview, as well as an intriguing commentary on what this means for our culture/future.

Maybe I’m just too private or old fashioned, but things like this make me think about topics like microformats… I’m a firm believer in seperating content from presentation, however I (right now) have no interest in making it easier for machines to index any sort of personal info about me or anyone else … if the machines are going to take over, I’m not going to make it any easier for them.

(I honestly have no fear of SkyNet happening …)

My cousin just received the honor of being the athlete of the month for his college. He is a great tennis player, and it is cool to see him grab some honors like this. Congrats Robbie!

There is a debate every year about the 2 post season college basketball tournaments, the NCAA and the NIT. The NCAA selects the best (and all the automatic bids), and then the NIT gets to take it’s pick of the “best of the rest”. A second rate tourney… minimal TV coverage, and rarely any of the really good teams. The best the NIT hopes for is a big name program to have a bad year, bad enough that the NCAA’s won’t want them, and then the NIT can have them (like Syracuse this year).

Anyway, if the NIT ever hopes to be seen as legit, they may want to treat their champions better. The West VirginIa Mountaineers won the title, and were given these wonderful t-shirts to celebrate in. Anyone notice anything funny about the shirts? Way to go N_T.

West Virgina, huh?

Grace, humility, service, and forgiveness lived out in a way we seldom hear.  Thank you Jonnes.

“You’re not measuring my daily hours, so why are you measuring the number of days I work?”

Netflix has a unique vacation policy … no policy. They pay you to get your work done, not attendence. According to this article, it is not uncommon for employees to “leave for three, four, even five weeks at a time and never clock in or out.” Many companies that hire “creatives” are experimenting with unusual benefits that can promote loyalty from their workforce. When it comes down to it, many of these extra freedom benefits are really the employer treating the employee like an adult.

This reminds me of a company that I interviewed with that had a refrigerated keg in the breakroom. Anyone was welcome to partake anytime they wanted (they even asked me if I wanted one during the interview). If someone is “more creative” with a beer or two, then this company was happy to oblige (and even foot the bill).

However, if you were to partake of one too many beers or vacations and your work quality or quantity were to slip, you would not be employed there much longer. It is all about the work product, not the number of hours/days that you were chained to your desk. I can dig it.

My college roommate and dear friend Pete made it up from Florida with his wife and new kiddo for the weekend. It was encouraging to see them again. The whole “work/family/life” has gotten in the way of us having much meaningful contact these last few years, so it was nice to remedy that.

It was refreshing that even after years apart once we were together again, everything was all good. The inside jokes all came storming back. His lovely wife even mentioned how fun it was for her to see us together again; she was seeing a “side” of his personality that she hadn’t seen in a long time. (Granted that “side” is more irreverent and sarcastic than a healthy marriage should endure, so I predict it will lie dormant until we meet again…)

And that got me thinking because a different side of me was coming out too. Well not really different, just a side that hadn’t really seen the light of day in a long time. A carefree, funny, irreverent, and confident personality than has been unintentionally suppressed, in favor of a blah and low-key “so-called” personality of someone trying to fly under everyone’s radar.

When you are with people who know you, love you, and accept you, you can experience a great freedom. I wasn’t trying to impress him, I wasn’t worried about whether or not he liked me, I wasn’t being judged. I was able to just be me… and I liked it.

And I believe 4 posts in one day is plenty… time to shut this down for the day.

The preproduced digital shorts are the only REALLY funny things coming out of SNL these days and this one with Peyton Manning is classic.

The announcer of this Giant Slalom downhill race stepped up to the plate with some TOP NOTCH commentary about this unexpected event. I still can’t decide which impromptu one-liner is my favorite:

  • Oh the gate to the groin play
  • You could hear it and if you’re a man you could feel it
  • Oh Frenchman, Oh Messieurs
  • Wow, the boys took a beating on that one
  • That guy needs a hug

Sidenote – So you can hear the sound the skis make on the snow, they wire the whole slope for sound. In this case that lets you hear some great audio of the skier’s pain. God bless the internets.

For someone like me who believes in man’s inherit depravity, not innocence, movies like the “Saw” franchise are very disturbing. Yes, the graphic violence is hard to take, but with this franchise in particular, something else was far more bothersome … unlike other movies that use violence as a way to “futher” the plot, Saw is less about the actual violent act as it is the shear terror of the victim leading up to the act.

Despite the “R” rating, kids are the ones that enjoy these sorts of movies. And we already have a winner for the first kids to copycat this film. “Thankfully” it was just a prank, but even the prank terrorized this poor woman enough to cause a stroke. Ironically, this happened in Nashville … the capitol of the bible belt.

My current employer just launched its new and improved design, so go check out the new look…

I had some say in the design and a lot of work in the implementation. It is a lot bolder, and IMO a lot more intuitive, especially on the employer side. While you are there, check out the new bios page … I work with some pretty cool (and impressive) people (and the designs on that page are all mine).

No one has ever described me as nomadic. I don’t have any longing to travel extensively. However, this video of Matt “dancing” all over the world made me smile. Watch the whole thing… I am very impressed with how extensive it is. I am also impressed that he ended up landing a sponsorship from Stride chewing gum.

For more info about Matt, check out www.wherethehellismatt.com. I bet you he made a lot of people smile.

For those of you who didn’t know, I have a new job as a web designer for a company whose presence on the web is integral to the business. To help give you an idea of the traffic volume of oursite, check out how “we” compare to some of the big boys like ESPN.com and progressive.com.

Over the last year, our volume grew 57%, epsn’s grew 31%, and progressive’s shrank 9%! We are definately doing something right. Pretty cool…

(Sadly chriswho doesn’t even register yet, oh well…)

Something the “real” news outlets aren’t talking about…

Thursday night, the tiny European country of Liechtenstein was invaded by the one neighbor they never thought they had to fear… Switzerland. I kid you not, a company of armed Swiss soldiers “invaded” Liechtenstein!

Sure, it was an accident. They got lost in the dark. They weren’t carrying ammo. No one in Liechtenstein even noticed! The details take most of the fun out of this story.

On a sidenote, it is interesting to note how “free” some countries borders apparently are. Can you imagine the firestorm the media would have if a regimen of Mexican soldiers carrying weapons made it a mile or two into Texas?

Letterman has “Will it Float?

Brainiac has “Will it bounce?” which is decidedly the worst part of this fantastic Brittish show. For any science loving pyromaniacs out there, here’s a clip if you haven’t seen it.

But I have to say, my favorite of these “Will it” type bits has to be “Will it blend?“… It is the perfect site for anyone who has ever wondered what would happen if tape measurers, glowsticks, magnets, and other household items were thrown into a blender.

There are lots of tutorials online claiming to “teach” people how to make rounded corners using CSS… This is the only one I have found that teaches you how to create the ever elusive “square corner“.  For those of you who know CSS, this will be a valuable read, for the rest of you, this is the sort of pain that web designers go through to make the internet beautiful for you…

Once I figured out the poor navigation, I realized this site has some wonderfully artistic photos of “Unexpected and Neglected Architecture.” I love this concept for a series and think there is something heartbreaking yet remarkably gorgeous about the way that time, weather, gravity, and neglect have altered these once proud structures.

While the music is unimpressive, this is a must watch video for any Karate Kid (or 80’s pop culture) fan.

Today I met Mason CHRISTOPHER Quinby. Yes – “Christopher” as in named after me!

The honor that my best friend named his firstborn child after me is one that I cannot (and will not) begin to be capable of describing. He was born last night; he and his mom are doing great. Today I met the little fuzzhead and got a couple pictures that turned out well enough to share with others – with his adoring daddy and a close up.

I am enough of a geek to think this is a big deal, but I got credited by Joshua Blankenship on the front page of his blog today (re: Point Break LIVE)! Joshua oozes creativity (remarkable visual designer, musician, writer, etc.) and someone who has been influencing me for over a year now. I’ve been “blogging” for a grand total of 6 weeks so to have already been mentioned by someone of his caliber is pretty cool. But enough with the gushing…

And while on a normal day, making Joshua Blankenship’s blog would be a highlight, but today something far more meaningful and important happened

So what do you think? Was the inventor of “PetSpa”:

  • A – a cat lover who was tired of the battle wounds from trying to wash his/her cat
  • B – a cat hater who simply LOVES teasing the silly felines and figured why not make some cash at the same time

The music this is set to definately adds that special something that bumps this from “funny” up to “classic!”

PS – Feel free to check out this video for some more funny cat moments

speedtest.net results

yeah, internet at work is s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g. It is bad when you would be better off with a 48.8kbps modem!

We all knew it was only a matter of time until I took the plunge and bought an HDTV. It is sweet, and I feel like I got an acceptably good deal, so I am happy and ready to do the Superbowl in style this year!

Ok, Point Break was not a good movie. The plot was far fetched, almost entirely outdoors (usually surfing or skydiving), and the main character “Johnny Utah” was portrayed by Hollywood’s most unintentionally amusing actor, Keanu Reeves.

Yup, sounds like the perfect mix for a broadway hit! The part that I love most about this, is that instead of training an actor for the role, they RANDOMLY PICK SOMEONE FROM THE AUDIENCE everynight, then he (or she!) is guided through the performace using cue cards!

The director explains, “Keanu Reeves roles demand a special kind of acting. Essentially, in every scene, you have to look like you’ve just been dropped into a room and you have no idea what’s going on.”

Yup, that pretty much sums it up nicely. I bet that play is hysterical.

The news is public so I figured I would share it here as well …

I am leaving my current job for a new one that I am extrememly excited about. Now that the hard part is over (breaking the news to my boss and my team), I can look to the future and begin preparing myself for all that lies ahead.

As a rule, I will NOT write about work here, but I figured this would be an adequate exception since it deals far more with changes to my life than “work”.

Ok, I know I’m a nerd, but I can’t help it.  I am looking forward to the new Transformers movie.  It looks like it will have some serious action and impressive CGI effects… Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are in the trailer, as well as some mean looking Decepticons, but I’d be lying if I were to even pretend to remember any other names (I’m a nerd, but there are limits, even for me).

Bumblebee looks to be a Chevy of some sort (product placement at its best) and not the yellow bug I remember – but he looks pretty cool, so I’m willing to give it a fair shot!

I recently picked up an old book of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons and rediscovered how impressive Bill Watterson’s imagination is.  15-20 years after they were written, they remain relevant and surprisingly witty.  Well, Richmond finally is getting its first taste of winter weather, and that gives me a timely excuse to write about my favorite subplot of Calvin and Hobbes…

“Snowart” or the creative snowmen sculptures or scenes Calvin would build in the snow perfectly illustrate Calvin’s imaginative (and twisted) mind.  I was going to scan in a few and post them here until I realized that someone else has already taken the time to create a snowart gallery, so go and enjoy the fullness of Calvin’s snowart.

I couldn’t believe my eyes as I read this article about the “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” of Saudi Arabia. According to the article, a man was trying to trademark the name of a business he wanted to create that had the English word “explorer” in it. This came into question because the “x” in explorer too closely resembled a “cross”, a symbol of the pagans and infidels.

His request was denied.  Instead of appealing, he “invited the commission to expand its edict to the “plus” sign in mathematics and accounting, in order “to prevent filthy Christian conspiracies from infiltrating our thoughts, our beliefs, and our feelings.”

Maybe I should drop the “C” from my name because it is so similar to the “crescent” shape that is identifiable with the Islamic faith. This is crazy.

And so many of my friends wonder why I am such a firm supporter of the separation of church and state.

UPDATE – after getting home, I decided to see if I could do some research to see if The Sun was making this up or not.  While I can’t find anything corroborating this story, the first story I found about this Saudi  “Commision” was even more shocking (to me) and it was reported on by the BBC, so it is legit.

There seems to be a slight misconception of my earlier post (from both Patrick and others who have talked to me about it) so I figured I will try to clarify…

For the record, I am not predicting doom and gloom for Apple as a company or even disagreeing with their apparent change of focus. In fact I think they are likely ahead of the curve here.

If any “doom and gloom” is likely, it actually is for “traditional computing” as an industry. I don’t know what will replace traditional computing, but I doubt that in 10 years laptops and desktops as we know and use them today will be in high demand from consumers (either due to saturated markets and/or technological advancements that eliminate the need for a traditional computer).

At that time, Apple Inc. will be stay in good shape because it will have other diversified revenue streams (music, communication, who knows what else).

Apple Inc. has taken the lead as technology’s innovators and unless someone else challenges their role as such, they will be able to steer the future of technological advancement. The only potential challenger’s I can come up with are Microsoft (known more for profit and production than innovation and vision) and Google which certainly has the innovation, but appears to have partnered WITH Apple instead of challenging them (yet).

Yup, it’s official, 24 has replaced LOST as the tv show I refuse to miss. LOST had a good run in the top spot, but I think I am done with it. FOX tempted the American public to watch 4 hours of 24 this Sunday and Monday, and well, they hooked me.

While I will miss the mysticism and curious details of LOST (like the numbers, Santa Rosa, and cameos of other characters in flashbacks), 24 serves up the good old-fashioned, terrorist-thwarting, action-packed entertainment that proves satisfying indeed.

Everyone who is checking this out knows that I am a big NFL fan. Sadly my team has been out of the race for a long time, so like most other sporting fans, I temporarily adopted “secondary” teams for the playoffs. Last week, there were “things that I liked” about 4 of the 8 remaining teams: San Diego, Eagles, Colts, and Saints.

Sadly, only the Saints and Colts remain. Since they are in different divisions, there is a 25% chance that BOTH will make it to the Superbowl, and then I will be happy no matter who wins. Conversly, there is an equal chance that both will lose this next round, and then the Superbowl will be Patriots and Bears (in which case I will watch the game rooting only for great commercials). And of course, there is a 50% chance that only one of the teams I am rooting for will make it.

So you see, deducing the “likelihood” that one of the teams I am rooting for is a lot like Punnett squares for genetics. If I was a bio teacher I would explain recessive traits using playoff teams right now… now that is science I could get behind.

A few years ago, immediately following the MacWorld keynote (announcing improvements to iTunes, the iPod, and a few other peripherals), I got in an interesting discussion with my coworkers about what was specifically NOT said, and it has been on my mind ever since.

We had just watched the first MacWorld that didn’t involve a “computer” announcement of some sort. No new models, no spec bumps, no price drops … nothing. That wasn’t like Apple. Was their commitment to computers waning in favor of more profitable or exciting fields like the music industry?

A year or so following that, they had a blockbuster computer announcement. They were moving from the PowerPC architecture to Intel. Say what?! They were actually giving up their hardware monopoly? Why?

This year, we witnessed another memorable MacWorld announcing the iPhone which could prove every bit as revolutionary as the iPod. Once again though, no new computers, no spec bumps, no price drops. But there was a significant computer related announcement, did you happen to catch it?

After all the hype and excitement, in the “garbage time” of the presentation, Steve Jobs managed to throw in what could prove to be a monumental announcement, yet it is the one announcement that is getting the least coverage. Apple Computer is no more. They have removed the “Computer” from their name and they are now just “Apple, Inc.”

I am not trying to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, just someone who has been witnessing a strategic shift of Apple’s corporate focus from computers into software, media (sales, distribution, and consumption), and now even communication (cellphones).

Apple Computer’s fortunes turned almost entirely due to the iPod and iTunes. They have a disruptive technology on their hands that was bringing in an ENORMOUS new revenue stream, and getting the company back in the headlines and public eye. Traditional computer sales have become a margin business and Apple can’t (or won’t) compete with Dell and others on price. With that in mind, I think Apple has shifted its focus away from traditional computing to these other more profitable channels or ones in which they have (or can create) significant competitive advantages for themselves.

It makes sound business sense to me, but I wonder how far Apple, Inc. will go and how their fanatically loyal legion of consumers take the news if Apple decides one day to stop making “computers” as we think of them today (desktops and laptops).

I was just looking through some old files of mine and came across a project/game I built back in college using Director 7.

Unlike that “other” Duck Hunt, my duck doesn’t “fly” in predicatable straight lines. Nope, this dude appears to “teleport” to random spots on the screen making the hunt that much more difficult. (FYI – it can be loud, so play with headphones or sound down low if you are in the office.) And don’t forget to reload…

It is simple but fun, so why not check it out?

The graphics and UI are feeble, but the functionality is all there. I built some pretty fun projects in that class, too bad I lost almost all of it with a computer crash later in college.

It looks like the iPhone is on its way, and it appears to be an impressive (revolutionary?) product. Looking forward to getting my hands on this to give it a test drive. Too bad it is only for Cingular customers for the next couple years. By the time Verizon gets it, hopefully there will be a pricedrop as well as some competition, so that could bode well.

It looks like I will have a new roommate soon. He is an old friend and we had lost touch over the last few years, but he is looking to come back to Richmond, and I am more than willing to help that happen. He is a great guy and has an “easy going” personality that I think will make him a great “housemate” (its not like we are actually sharing rooms).

While he will not be bringing a huge Plasma HDTV like my last roommate, I am really looking forward to his arrival.

I know, I know. What kind of “web professional” could I possibly be if I don’t even have a blog?

Well I finally drank the Kool-Aid and have spent a few hours this weekend mucking around with WordPress, and you know what? This stuff is actually pretty cool. I finally took the bait, and I am in, hook, line, and sinker…
Now I am not going to make any wild predictions about how often I will post. Writing is neither a strength nor a passion of mine, but I think part of that is that I just never do it. This gives me an outlet to “remedy” that whenever I so choose.

So check back soon, glad to have you around.