Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bitten by the Upgrade Bug

I'm using a new version of Microsoft Internet Explorer now - Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2. It's only available for Windows XP, and it looked for a minute like it was going to completely screw my computer. Fortunately, it didn't - even though until Microsoft released the official beta today I was using a leaked pre-beta version on the internet. I knew it was a dicey move. It's not the smartest thing to download random crap from sites that you don't know, especially .exe files, as you could be downloading something that blows your computer up. Nevertheless, I'm always on the lookout for something that is the newest and best thing, even at the expense of all the music and photos on my hard drive. In the stock market, this would be called borrowing on the margins, and my lust for the latest and greatest software and technology should be soothed by something - anything - to prevent me from doing permanent damage.
As far as how IE7 is so far, I love it. It has a couple of problems (noticibly the WYSIWYG editor here at Blogger doesn't work right), but the plusses far outweigh the minuses. It's got tabbed browsing, groups, print-right technology (meaning that no matter what the website looks like, when you print it won't jump off the side of the page), and a nifty multi-tab view that lets you see all the pages you currently have up. Once the bugs are worked out, this will be sweet. It's much better than my previous browser of choice, Maxthon. I tried Mozilla Firefox, but I don't see what the hype is. It's certainly not the best.

On a related internet-type note, I should have shorted Google. I have been saying for months (in person, not on this blog, so I don't have any evidence per se that I actually did it) that Google was overvalued and due for a fall, and finally I am right. Of course, it's still above where it was when I said that, but that's beside the point. Even bad armchair day traders can be right every now and again. In the end, I saw a stock of a company that I really like that was just too high. I don't see how Google was worth $400/share. It'll probably rebound, but at that valuation there is just too many expectations built into the price. Everyone was expecting it to keep making more and more money - and it did, but not enough to prevent it from dropping nearly 20% today. I'll bet a lot of shirts were traded for suspenders and barrels when investors heard that news.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Dogs and Cats Living Together...Mass Hysteria

I was going to blog about Oprah today, but I was listening to 101.9 The End this morning when this story came up, and it was too strange to pass up. Apparently we have come one step closer to the end of the world because we now have animals who are historic enemies living together in apparent harmony. The fate of the hampster was clear when the Japanese zoo named it Gohan. For the uninitiated, gohan is the Japanese word for rice (it's also short for dinner). It would be akin to me naming it T-Bone and Baked Potato. Nevertheless, in something that nobody expected, we will probably be having the first cross-species marriage ever here in just a bit (except for that tiger and lion that created the Liger). Oh, there's also Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson, but that's another story all together.

In something completely unrelated to this transspecies menage a deux, one of the guys I work with sent me to this video. While I know that it's possibly unfairly stereotypical, it's also exactly what these people who take Dungeons and Dragons too far end up like. When you have 11 minutes to spare, run, don't walk, to this link!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Future of Shaving

This is one of the most exciting weeks I've seen in years. The RAZOR OF THE FUTURE is here! I am among those who don't see how 4 blades can be better than 3 or that 5 can be better than 4, but after getting a free Gillette Fusion through the mail, I think that there's actually something to the hype. It is actually a better shave. I don't know if 6 would be better than 5 or if 10 would be better than either of them, but I do know that 5 is the best there is right now.
Speaking of the Fusion, I highly recommend this article from The Onion (complete with salty language). It's funny in part because of the wording, but it's also funny because it's true. I also recommend getting yourself a 5 bladed razor, because the last thing you want to do is be the last guy on earth to have one. I know that Smith's (part of the Kroeger family) has them for free if you buy the Fusion shaving gel or some blades, so if you get it, get it there. If you're Derek, I suppose the best you can do is to have it imported or hope that Matsuyoshi Kiyoshi gets it soon.

Coming up later this week: Oprah gets bizay and limbo in limbo.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Prodigious Output

I looked back on this week and realized that I actually have made 6 posts so far. That's far above my usual output, which is more along the lines of 0-1 posts a week. Well then. This isn't a promise, but it's hopefully something like a New Year's Resolution. I may be able to keep it up, but I have a history of not being so good at writing stuff on the internet or otherwise, what with work and family and all. Nevertheless, as a congratulations to myself, I'm giving me a refreshing bottle of Stephen Colbert's Scorn for Heroes.

Friday, January 27, 2006

American Bonehead

Ah John Kerry. Is there another politician out there who has more of a tin ear? The nation's most authoritative bastion of liberal thinking, The New York Times, has even hopped on the anti-Kerry bandwagon. For a man who campaigned as The Common Man's Common Man, he doesn't sound all that common. He's out at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, cavorting with Warren Buffett, Bono (moving in between there and Sundance Film Festival), the Sauds, George Soros, and other assorted elite business movers and shakers. While there, he couldn't help flogging a dead horse by calling up other Senators during his jet-setting to see if they'll help him filibuster Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

Let's face it, Alito will be on the supreme court. This is a moot point, as there are already 60 Senators who won't vote to filibuster. That means that Kerry is pandering to his percieved constituency. Of course, he forgot to notice that he doesn't matter anymore. He's going to try and run in 2008 for the Presidency again, but it's not a good tactic to use "I Lost Before, and I Can Do It Again!" as your campaign slogan. Even the Angry Left is angry at him for his latest move. Not only are they doing it, but his friends in the Senate are eviscerating him too. From the Times article:

"No one can complain on this matter that there hasn't been sufficient time to
talk about Judge Alito, pro and con," Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. "I
hope that this matter will be resolved without too much more talking."
And on Friday, Senator Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat and member of the Judiciary Committee who voted against Mr. Alito there, said he would not support a filibuster and doubted one would happen.

I'm sorry Mr. Kerry. Maybe you just got Punk'd? The fact is that you used your best shot for the presidency to go up against George W. Bush, and you lost. Not only did you lose, but you lost in a particularly bad fashion. Bush was a beatable, weak candidate for an incumbent, and all you could do was look on as your initial lead got beat down by your own verbal gaffes. President Bush makes verbal mistakes, but they're on the order of "nu-kyew-ler" as opposed to "I voted for it, before I voted against it" There are much better candidates out there, and the horse to beat at this point is Hillary Clinton, the power behind the throne (as opposed to the power under the desk) during Bill's presidency.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Following is Not a Business Strategy...at Least Not a Good One

Before I get started, I thought I'd mention the new look for those of you who are design blind, or maybe regular blind and you have my posts read to you because you just can't live without your occasional dose of...whatever you'd call this. I completely hosed things up yesterday as I was trying to add some new things to my sidebar, and by the time all was said and done, I had changed the look of the blog completely. Part of this was jealosy over the new look that Mike and Logan have on their blogs, and part of it was the messed up old template, and part of it was wanting it to look different from other blogs, to some degree. It still has posts and links and things like that, but it also has a soothing blue motif going on. Since you can clearly see what I'm talking about, that's all I have to say about that.

On a completely different subject, I haven't blogged about how one of the execs here is an idiot for quite some time now. I figure that he's due his quarterly (or so) mention. He's not in the office much, which is certainly a blessing sent from heaven. He's busy pursuing other business opportunities or sleeping or "working from the Home Office" (code for "I'm taking the day off but I'm not going to dip into my paid time off because I'm a moron") or doing something else. Frankly, it's been a blessed time around here since he has been less involved. We've been able to get things done without all the meddling from him. I think that some of the meddling is because he doesn't know the first thing about actually working in our industry. Heck, he's lucky if he can run a business that doesn't do things with the government. Anyway, he has been gone pursuing other things, and all the crap that was bogging us down suddenly went away. Middle managers were empowered to make decisions, there wasn't all the undercutting and usurping of authority, and life in general was pretty darn good. Well, just like all good horror movie villains, he's back. I don't know what prompted the renewed interest in the company, all I can do is curse it.
Now that he's back, we've turned into a bunch of Johnny Comelatelies again. Instead of making good, quick decisions, we have an endless back-and-forth in meetings that always ends with him not budging from his position that we need to be just like the competition, for one reason or another.
For those who are wondering what the crest at the left has to do with anything, it's one that Forro and I created to show this particular exec's personal creed. You can decide what these pieces mean.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Sad End for Mr. Miyagi

For all those who didn't know, Mr Miyagi has caught his last fly. Daniel-san will have to train with Cobra kai now because Pat Morita died a month or so ago. Then, on top of that news, I got an e-mail from Deseret Book on the latest in what I consider a very undistinguished group of Mormon Cinema films, i.e. movies that are made for a very niche market and have no playability outside of Utah and parts of Arizona, Idaho, and California.

That's not what's disturbing. (I would consider The Home Teachers far more disturbing) What was disturbing was the stars of the film. Credited at the top are Pat Morita, and Lauren Holly. These are real actors! This isn't a humorous cameo from Steve Young or Gordon Jump. This isn't even a starring role by resident Utah curmudgeon Wilford Brimley. This is an actual actor and an actual actress lowering themselves to the cinematic equivalent of a Cinemax soft-core porn movie. They are literally selling themselves out for a paycheck.

Pat Morita may have had a good excuse - his death was due to raging alcoholism. Maybe his agent called one day and he was plastered and the conversation was something like this:

Pat's agent: Pat, I have a great opportunity for you. It's a movie about the Pinewood Derby done by a couple of filmmakers who don't know anything about good movies.

Pat: What? Karate Kid V: Daniel's Return?! I'll take it!

Lauren Holly, on the other hand, has no excuse. She was Jim Carrey's wife for a time, she has lots of work, and there are 2.5 million internet sites that say something about her, according to Google. Maybe she was blackmailed, or in a moment of weakness, was nostalgic about filming Dumb & Dumber in Utah, so she decided to go back.

What's next? Val Kilmer playing Joseph Smith in a Richard Dutcher movie?

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Press Loves Brokeback Mountain

The Wall Street Journal sends an e-mail blog of sorts to whomever wants to subscribe called Best of the Web, and one of the regular features of BOTW is making fun of newspaper headlines. The purveyor of the blog, James Taranto, must be less deviant than I am, because I immediately thought of the gay connotations in the following entries:

"Seahawks Ride Defense Into Super Bowl"--headline, Associated Press, Jan. 23
"Seattle Rides Hasselback, Alexander"--headline, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 23
"Seahawks Ride MVP to First Super Bowl"--headline, Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.), Jan. 23
"Seahawks Ride Momentum to Second Straight Win"--headline, Seahawks Online, undated
"Steelers Ride Broncos to SBXL"--headline, Edmonton (Alberta) Sun, Jan. 23
"Steelers Ride Big Ben, Turnovers to Super Bowl"--headline, MSNBC.com, Jan. 23

The other possible meaning could be a'la Alarcon - i.e., the ultimate insult you can give to somebody, to ride them or their things.

BTW Wessman, I'm riding your city!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Monster Ballads!

Remember Monster Ballads? The definitive collection of 80s-era hair bands is back - in Platinum form! I was watching the Colbert Report with my wife the past few nights, and normally I use my TiVo to skip past the usual ads - Enzyte, Girls Gone Wild, some random dating thing, and Fitness Made Easy, with fitness celebrity John Basedow. However, these nights were different. For the first time in recent memory (probably since the Super Bowl last year), I didn't skip past the ads. Why? Because it was advertising Monster Ballads: Platinum Edition. A quick glance at Amazon's playlists for Monster Ballads and Monster Ballads 2 shows that there is some crossover here among the usual suspects: Bad English, Cinderella, Europe, Scorpions, White Lion, and Saigon Kick have entries using the same songs as in the previous collections, but this has more. Yes, it has the definitive Monster Ballad of all time (with forgiveness to my wife, who strongly believes that When I See You Smile is the definitive Monster Ballad), Every Rose Has Its Thorn. The shocking thing was that it wasn't on the original Monster Ballads CD. Every self-respecting hair band afficionado has that on their Monster Ballads iPod playlist. I strongly recommend that each and every one of you go to this link and watch the commercial. It's good enough that I actually have a Colbert Report saved on my TiVo just for this commercial. Watch it, hear it, love it.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Palmer for President!

While I am a fan of President Bush, I have to say that I would vote for Dennis Haysbert if he ran for President. While some may know him better as Pedro Cerrano or that guy from Heat who got shot by the police in the bank robbery scene, he rallied a whole nation behind him as President David Palmer in 24. I think it would be a great stride ahead for him to actually run for president now. He could be a Republocrat or maybe just a Republican or Democrat. Of course, Haysbert looks like Palmer, but can he govern like Palmer, or at least seem like he does? If so, he has the 2008 election all tied up...of course, it would help if he changed his name to "David Palmer," but that wouldn't make or break my vote.
Barring that, I don't know how I'll get my Palmer fix. I still have my prior seasons of 24 on DVD, but now that he's a member of The Unit, I think we won't be seeing much of him anymore. On a related note, if you aren't watching 24 yet, I'd jump on that bandwagon as fast as you can, if you can stand being addicted to one more TV show. I haven't met anybody yet who can stop their 24 habit once they start. It's like some really good Columbian blow - you just start out with a little bit of it, then suddenly you're Tony Montana, killing people and nuzzling through it like some kind of porcine biped.