Archive for December, 2004

A few more random tidbits from L.A.

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As I mentioned, we had a blast. Everyone ruled. One person I failed to mention was Will’s friend Shelby who was also totally cool. I could easily see him as a friend.
I didn’t see one single famous person while I was there. I feel gypped! Next visit I’ll have to actually do the shameless tourist act.
Our plane landed early which was nice because we wanted to make it home in time to get our packages from the office and beat rush hour. Since we had arrived twenty minutes early though, the gate was not yet free so we had to wait around for about 15 minutes until the plane could pull up to the gate. By the time we got our bags and caught the shuttle to where our truck was parked it was now about 5:00. It would most likely take 45 minutes to get home and the office closes at 5:30.
As we drove along, I found it a bit hot and turned on the A/C. After a few minutes I noticed that it really wasn’t cooling at all. We also started hearing a very weird noise and smelling something that did not seem at all right. We saw a little smoke from under the hood, too. I immediately pulled over and turned the car off. I popped the hood and thought that maybe a belt had broken or something. That would explain the noise, and possibly the smell if it was rubbing somewhere, and could also explain the A/C not working if it was the belt to the compressor or something like that. Under the hood everything looked fine. I turned the car back on to see if I could hear the noise or see anything going wonky, but all seemed alright for the moment. I wondered if maybe the A/C compressor had burned out or something.
We got back on the road, kept the A/C off and after just a few minutes we detected something amiss again. This time I noticed that the temperature gage was pegged on the “hot” side. Doh! We pulled over again and seeing a gas station just down the road, Jess set off to procure a bottle of coolant for the radiator. By the time she got back the engine had cooled sufficiently to investigate and sure enough, my radiator was bone dry. We have no idea how or why this happened, but giving it a big drink of coolant seems to have saved the day. Since then I keep checking for leaks and such but all looks good.
There can be only one explanation: The Chupaveh�culo. While my vehicle sat helpless for 6 days the Chupaveh�culo skulked the airport parking lot under cover of night, drinking the fluids from the various vehicles there. It’s really the only logical explanation.

Say Goodbye to Hollywood

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We are back form our big L.A.adventure and I’m not sure where to start. Let’s start with the most important thing: the people.
While we had many gracious offers for places to stay, we ended up with Will and Annika. There is not enough that can be said about these two wonderful people. I spent the most time with them, so I will probably ramble the most about them. Also since I’m damn tired, I may not get to everyone so apologies ahead of time.

First time meetings

Will is one of the most intelligent, charismatic, multi-talented and all around likable people you could ever meet. I had always sensed that he felt like a kindred spirit and that was definitely the case. He was like a long lost brother to me. With his looks and personality, he could easily be a successful actor in my opinion and has an amazing voice which can morph into myriad impressions and characters. He’s one of those people who would just disgust you if you could just get past liking him so much. He graciously put up with my many inquiries into his cool and enviable job without showing any annoyance. As I told him, he isn’t cool because he has a cool job, he deserves a cool job because he is so cool. I love seeing people get their “karmic payoff” and such. I hat seeing jerks, and others who just don’t seem to deserve anything fall into great jobs, pretty girlfriends, or whatever. With Will, I find great satisfaction that the universe has seen fit to throw some pretty cool stuff his way. Just like the satisfaction I felt when my friend Andy finally got a great job after many years of toiling and struggling. I could easily go on for days about Will and everyone else I met, so I’ll move along for now.
Annika is the perfect foil for Will. It is so easy to see why these two are married. All the qualities I mentioned for Will, easily apply to Annika as well. She sound like Joan Cusack, and looks a bit like her, too. Intelligence and wit abound. Both her and Will seem like the kind of people who are too cool to be your friends. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t act that way, but that’s what you’ll be feeling. They’re out of your league, man. They, however, make you feel like you’re their best friend in the world. These two are as good as people get. Not seeing these two on such a regular basis is going to really be difficult.
SoupyKatherine was everything I knew she would be. Her blog does her justice. In person she is every bit as fun, intelligent, cool, and funny as you would expect. Meeting her was a long time coming and I couldn’t be more glad that it finally came.
Rian/tinkcat was so incredibly funny and cool. Always smiling and making everyone else smile, she is a total hoot to hang out with.
Jen/coiledsoul was also so cool. I never really knew much of her online since I’m not on the board much any more, but I’m really glad I met her.
Mark and Megan get mine and Jess’ vote for Most Disgustingly Hot couple. They’re both good looking an in good shape and all that. They were also super cool and had the big gatherings at their place. It was really great to actually get to know them better.
Mike, a.k.a. Monte Cristo was a totally cool guy, and not just a tasty sandwich. We had a great time talking about the virtues of Greg The Bunny and other movies and shows. I hope to get to spend more time getting to know him in the future.
Allison, a.k.a. Costello Girl was so much fun and so easy to talk to. She made you feel comfortable as if she’d known you for ages. Her husband Grant seemed like a really nice guy too. He kept me company in the living room while everyone else got drunk playing drinking games in the other room.
Rich, a.k.a. Big Evil seemed very friendly and fun to talk to and I wish I’d had more time to talk to him too.
Jamie Marie! Finally I meet the person responsible for the website where I met my wife. She was absolutely fabulous. Had a blast getting to know her better and seeing her a couple of nights.
Xia could be a quiet guy, but also a pleasure to get to know and talk to. He reminded me a whole lot of another friend of mine.
Probably many more. If I left you out or didn’t ramble at length, it’s not because you didn’t make an impression. I’m just tired and can’t always think of extended paragraphs.
Re-meetings
Caz, was as pretty and sweet as ever and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with her. She is so much fun and nd so warm and cuddly. Her presence ups the happiness level in a room exponentially. If you were in a video game and needed to cheer your minions up you would place a Caz in the room.
Sharon is always an absolute blast to be with. I was glad she made it over with the UK contingent so we got to see her again!
It was also good to meet Andy a second time. Great guy, and good taste in gifts. 😉
Cassy Lee is always a pleasure to spend time with. I’ll always find it amusing that I first met her at a party in Scotland.
Min was as cute as ever, and I love her voice. It was nice to get to know her even more on our second meeting. She is so much fun and quite funny.
I’m really regretting naming names now as I will inevitably forget someone and then exclaim “DOH!” very loudly. Everyone was so great to meet, and leaving L.A. was really hard because of them all. I already miss all my new friends and hope it’s not several more years before I see them again. If I somehow blanked and didn’t mention you by name, let me assure you that it has no bearing on my opinion of you. Everyone was so much fun and I throughly enjoyed meeting/seeing you all. I only wish I’d had more time to spend with each one of you. I also apologize for not getting to say goodbye to some of you since we were all just way to wiped out to go anywhere on our last night.
My strange dichotomy with L.A has only grown more complex. I want to live in L.A. for so many reasons, and yet I don’t want to live in L.A. for so many others. Who knows? Someday the right opportunity may come along and you’ll all have to deal with us on a much more frequent basis! Mwua ha ha ha ha! I’m off to bed. I’m becoming increasingly sore from our horseback riding adventure.

L.A. Baby!

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We arrived in L.A safe and sound and have been enjoying the hell out of Annika and Will’s company. They are without doubt two of the coolest human beings (or otherwise) in the universe. I feel like coming to L.A. is sort of like my own “pilgramage to Mecca”. I can feel a certain energy and buzz here, and there is undoubtedly a part of me that will not want to leave. However as I fully expected, there is the other part of me that loves Austin and also acknowledges the not so keen aspects of L.A. I’m not ready to up to move out to old Cali yet (if ever) but there is a sort of cosmic pull that tempts me, mostly since this is where the vast majority of my career choices lie.
Gotta go! Katherine and Min are here now. On a cool side not, you can go out on the balcony here and see the “Hollywood” sign. Although that’s probably true for much of L.A. since it’s on a big friggin’ hill overlooking the city.

I think I’m a Winamp convert

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I use to be a die hard Musicmatch Pro (yes I actually paid for it) fan. It had the best features, media library, and user customization that I had found. I think it has been dethroned.
Since Jess has an iPod and I will very soon have an iPod (yay X-mas!), that got me thinking. To sync with your iPod you usually have to use iTunes which comes with it. All in all, iTunes is ok and has some cool features, but there was more about it that I didn’t like than what I did. I found myself still using Musicmatch to rip, and alternating between MM and iTunes for playing and messing about. The problem with this setup is that when you rip a new CD you have to update both MM and iTunes if you want to keep your libraries up to date. MM used to have an iPod plugin, but due to some dispute with Apple, MM support told me it was no longer available.
Enter Winamp. I went researching the web to see if I could find a single solution. I used to use Winamp long ago when it was about the only mp3 player around. It’s come a long way. I found that it had almost all the features I liked about each of the other programs, and was highly customizable to your own likings. Most importantly, it has a plugin for the iPod.
One of my biggest concerns in a player is flexibility with how I rip my CDs. This is where iTunes failed horribly. When it rips, it creates an artist folder under which it puts an album folder under which it puts the tracks. If you don’t like that system, then too damn bad. iTunes has spoken and you will live with it peon! MM was much more flexible, though I still had to do a little folder editing in the end. Winamp seems completely customizable to allow you to name your directories/tracks in whatever fashion you choose.
My one bitch is that you really need to purchase the Pro version for $14.95 to unlock what I consider necessary features (such as being able to rip to mp3 at all as opposed to AAC), while with MM, the pro version just adds some nice perks (like ripping faster) but isn’t quite so restrictive in it’s free incarnation. I do think Winamp is worth the purchase. Of course some people are known to get the “pro” version without paying for it, though I would not condone this behavior, of course.[/disclaimer]
I’m still in the initial discovery stage with Winamp, but I think I’ve just found my one media player to rule them all. There are tons of other players out there, but these two are pretty much the kings of the hill, I think, and the only ones which I really have experience with. We’ll see if Winamp holds my attention as I use it from now on.

[peter gabriel] Hi there! [/peter gabriel]

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So yeah, I suck at updating lately. It’s been a whirlwind life, I tells ya!
My new job is everything I knew it would be. Absolutely love going in every day. We have been trying to play EQII (we still plan on playing CoH too), keep up with TiVo and Netflix, wash clothes, eat, sleep, work, shop, socialize, etc. It just seems like I never have any time at all any more.
We got almost all of our X-mas shopping done in one night of online shopping, so that rocks.
I’m still working on completing our CD (not going to happen by the end of the year as I’d hoped), and we’re kicking into busy band month. I need to learn two new songs by this weekend. Doh!
I think I’ve taken the plunge and ditched Outlook in favor of Thunderbird. It can sync with my Palm if I use an extension, and it’s much improved in its 1.0 state from when I tried it back at 0.3. I’ll miss the calender in Outlook but I can just use the palm desktop calender (with the extra effort of opening up a nother program).
I’m jonesing to build a new computer and drooling heavily over the Treo 650. Must have it.
And of course we are determined to get a Toyota Prius. That’s it for now! Off to get Jess and run around some more!

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BLAH!