February 28, 2003

Dave Barry's Blog

Stumbled onto Dave Barry's Blog. Very funny stuff here - both the things he writes and the links he provides. I could spend hours reading through this thing.

I'll visit daily
Learned this morning that others have noticed, and are frustrated, with Mr. Is-Is' micro-management techniques. The guy has come out of the block in 2003 with some sort of chip on his shoulder. He's usually sucking up to management as it is, but his activities over the first 9 weeks of the year indicate that he's striving to earn some little golden trinket of immeasurable pettiness from Upper Management through his work.

He's really getting to be a pain in the ass.
Back in the office after 2 days at home with Heather. She pulled a muscle in her back pretty serverly and I needed to stay home to help. She's in a lot of pain and I'm beat tired. Emma and Ian are happy as clams.

Got a new computer at work on Tuesday - so this is my first day of really using it. The company is upgrading everyone to Win2000. That's CV - wild and crazy, and always cutting edge with technology. I'll be back later, got a ton of work to do right now. Just wanted to get the w.blogger application up and running again so that I could post right from my desktop without having to go through a web browser.

February 21, 2003

Yahoo! News - Hasselhoff Injured in Motorcycle Crash

Thank god nothing happened to his Adonis-like face. Nothing would have devastated the country more than not having the perfectly chised features of David Hasselhoff to fawn over.

He did suffer some lower back fractures, which will probably keep him off the dance floor. But lets be honest, dancing was never David's strong point. It was his beautiful features, impish charm and singing voice which kept us riveted to the former "Knight Rider" star's every move.

Fortunately for all of us (and especially the citizens of Germany), his vocal cords were spared any damage. David will rise and sing again!

Heal quickly Mr. Hasselhoff! The prayers and well-wishes of the world are with you.
Brendan's Ideas to Improve the World:

IDEA # 102: The Slow Lane

We should set up slow lanes on sidewalks for all the lazy asses shuffling through life and their walk down the street. I'm sorry you had 12 too many Egg McMuffins this morning, but does that mean you have to waddle your way down the middle of a busy sidewalk effectively backing up foot traffic for an entire city block?

The slow lane would be laid out closest to the street and available for those walkers who can't move at a reasonable gait. It could be used by tourists, the homeless, the disabled, cell-phone talkers, groups of high schoolers, and the listless fools who find a way to ascribe the term "lazy" to everything they do.

Get out of my way cause I know where I'm going and am not interested in being part of your little sidewalk train.

February 20, 2003

Oh - got the service canceled. 30 minutes on the phone. The "senior" Customer Service rep made a half-hearted effort to get me to try another service at $9.95 a month with unlimited blah, blah, blah - whatever, shut your trap loser. I ain't listening.

Signed up with Access4cheap. We're only paying $9.95 a month for unlimited access.

After Earthlink made us start calling a different phone number to get our network connection, we went from consistent 50k connections for as long as we wanted to be online to consistently dropping a connection after a minute or two. The only way we could keep a connection for more than 5 minutes was to go to the slower v.34 compression and only get connection speeds of 28.8K or 31K - neither of those are worth $21.95 a month. Especially when for the first 3 months we were with Earthlink we enjoyed stable 50K connections.

So we'll see how Access4cheap goes. They have number of access numbers in Aurora and Naperville. I'm hoping one of them is close enough to keep the integrity of our connection (and thus 50K speeds). If not, then 9.95 for 28.8K or 32K isn't going to hurt as much.

We'll see. I'll set things up tonight.
Just talked to Jennifer (after she greeted me by clearing her throat). She took some info from me and then kindly pushed me over to the "Cancelation Department" where I expect them to try and get me to not cancel.

24 minutes and counting on this call
Been on hold with Earthlink's Customer Service phone number for . . . 20 minutes now. All this so I can cancel their service. What a crock of shit.
I read a story this morning that the FBI was investigating the theft of 8 million credit card numbers. Apparently the numbers were stolen from a credit card processing company that handles transactions for VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. According to the company, none of the numbers had been used fraudulently.

This all comes suspiciously close to my own experience with credit card number theft. A little over 2 weeks ago some loser went on a half-hearted shopping spree with nothing more than my AMEX Blue number. Besides sizable charges at T-Mobile and J&R Music, these social rejects put down $60 at Dad's Hats and some goofy shoe store.

Luckily AMEX called me because they suspected fraudulent activity and everything's been cleared up.

Was my number one of the ones stolen? Highly unlikely because in cases of massive theft like the 8 million, the thieves usually don't use the numbers to buy stuff. They use the numbers as a hostage and try to extort money from the companies.

Still, though, it made me think.

February 18, 2003

Mr. Is-Is is driving me nuts. I never actually seen someone micro-manage without actually telling everyone what to do. Mr. Is-Is drags down every project / issue / discussion by spending so much time analysing and talking about the topic that usually people just give in to his wishes. Plus, because he is inserting himself into almost everything - this has the net result of micro-managing all the work.

I've got to find something that is more fun to work on.

February 17, 2003

Received my bonus last week and it was a nice one. Most of the money is going into Heather's IRA and College 529 plans for Ian and Emma. However is a little left over. Enough in fact for me to treat myself.

So last Saturday morning Ian and I made our montly trip to Best Buy. This time it was for the last piece in our home electronics puzzle: Home Theater receiver and Surround Speaker package.

We picked up a Sony package that included the receiver and speakers. 600 watts, active powered subwoofer. Nothing too fancy, but a highly recommended and well reviewed system none-the-less.

Got it almost entirely set up on Saturday. Still need some longer speaker wire before I can get the surround speakers in position and haven't figured out exactly were to put the front speakers. Plus, decided to wait on firing up the subwoofer. Emma's crawling about and while Ian would listen when we tell him to stay away, Emma won't be so coachable for another year and a half. Oh well. Have missed it a bit b/c the subwoofer handles all the bass line so even just listen to regular music leaves the sound a bit flatter than I would like. But I'll get there eventually.

February 13, 2003

I'm loving this new application. Writing and updating is a snap. Now I just gotta find something similar for the Mac so I can update from home quickly.
Been spending some time in the basement going through the comic collection weeding out the stuff I don't want to hang on to. Trying to decide if I want to make another try at selling stuff on eBay or if I should just take it into Graham Cracker Comics and see what they'll give me for the whole lot.

My eBay sales in the past have run pretty hot and cold. I usually make a little money, but not without doing a lot of leg work. I'm thinking the digital camera might help out my auctions, but not sure I want to go through all the effort.

Any way. I was going through all the comics and came across a 4 issue mini-series from DC Comics that I bought back in '97. Genesis was written by John Bryne and penciled by an artist whose work I usually enjoy, Ron Wagner. When I found the four issues in my collection I remember not being too impressed by the series and recall a lot of negative reviews and reader feedback. So of course I decided to read it again.

OH MY GOD! What a waste of 88 pages. I can't believe this dreck actually saw the light of day. Wagner's art is good. He's a fine, capable artist who has strong storytelling skills. Unfortunately I can't say the same for Bryne. Too much exposition and silly dialogue. Felt like I was reading a comic from the late 70s or early 80s, not late 90s. Really quite sad.

The worst part - the series literally says at the end that previous 87 pages are now meaningless. That while things appeared to change, the castrophic final events set everything back to how things were before the story occured. Essentially: Bryne created a huge force that could have destroyed the universe (and at the very least remove the superpowers from all the heroes in the DC Universe). Set things up so that these events actually happened. Then pulled out a little surprise ending that nullified the threat and all previous events.

It was just so cheap.

I was thinking of including this in the lot of comics that I was going to try and sell to the comic shop, but now I think I'll just take these comics out into the garage and set them on fire. This way I can make sure no one ever has the opportunity to see this comic again.

I need to cleanse my brain. Maybe I re-read the first four issues of The Authority soon.
Listening to Elvis 30 #1 Hits. Got the album for Christmas from my sister. Its easily the best album I received last year for a gift. I can't listen to it enough. Elvis' music is timeless. He's the shiznits.

February 12, 2003

I'm trying out a new little application that will allow me to post to my blog here without having to login into the www.blogger.com website.

Hope it works.

February 11, 2003

This job sucks.

Note to co-workers: We're just selling advertisments for apartments. We're not working to cure cancer or defeat the Nazis. So everyone just take it down a notch and put things back in perspective.

If you don't, I'm going to personally kick all of your asses.

Have a nice day.

February 10, 2003

Been catching up on some good comic book reading recently.

Finished Power of Shazam!, a graphic novel retelling the orgin of Captain Marvel. It was written and beautifully painted by Jerry Ordway. The book is about 100 pages long and a moderate read. Ordway does a wonderful job at writing the Big Red Cheese for the modern level, but maintaining a pulp-fiction feel of the 1930's. Its a really well done superhero comic.

Gotham Central by Brubaker and Lark is shaping up nicely in its third issue. The story is compelling and complex, while the art enhances the story - fully integrating itself as another device by which the story is told. This isn't just illustration of a script. Lark makes the characters real - brings out their emotions and thoughts - adding to the already well developed script from Brubaker.

Issue #13 of Queen and Country starts out a little weak from what I've come to expect. That might partially be due to the fact that the first 4, maybe 5, pages are written entirely in French. What's going on is fairly clear (more clear in certain parts than others), but a translation might help a bit. The story also doesn't grab me as MI5 material quite yet, but if the "next month" teaser is any indication, things should get decidedly more complex in 30 days. The art is very good. Again, like Gotham Central, complementing and extending the story, not just illustrating it.

I've also uncovered a fun little independent call Invincible Ed by Ryan Woodward. Randy Lander of The Fourth Rail (website) made me aware of the title and I bought the first to issues directly from the creator. Published by Summertime Comics (website), this comic is about a regular high-school kid named Ed who is granted superpowers by an alien race as Earth's last hope for salvation. Of course things don't go as planned and the superpower is splited between Ed and cocky football jock / bully (obviously a setup for a future super-adversary of Ed). The story is simple, but the characters are fun and enjoyable to read. The art is what really shines in this comic. While I can't remember Woodward's resume exactly, I'm pretty sure he worked on a number of big-time animtated films. The result is a comic that looks absolutely gorgeous. His characters designs are fantastic, while his pacing and scene composition is nearly flawless. Great comic which is suitable for any age reader.

February 07, 2003

Yahoo! News - Sick days may hurt

Won't they don't talk about in this article is why people are taking so many sick days. I really don't think its because these people are sick. Its an act of rebellion against the companies they work for.

What, most people get 10, maybe 15 paid vacation days a year. Plus probably 10 paid holidays. That still leaves about 230 working days a year.

I don't know about you, but I don't live to work. I work to live.

Maybe if American corporation adopted some of the policies of European companies, where they understand that a person cannot work constantly and should be given plenty of time to recharge their mental batteries, then you'd see fewer unexpected absences.

February 06, 2003

Yahoo! News - Men Who Don't Shave Have Less Sex, More Strokes

Yahoo! News - Anger Expression Can Be Healthy, for Some Men

I, Brendan McKillip, pledge to shave every day and yell at people more.

Let the good time begin.

February 03, 2003

Do you ever become painfully aware that the only person experiencing the world in they way you are experiencing it, is you? That the reality that you take for granted only exists for you. The internal monologues, or soundtracks, or dialogues that bounce inside your head while you walk down the street, or eat, or have sex are only happening for you. That your thoughts, reactions, emotions and experiences, though similar to others, only occur in that particular, unique way for you and no one else. Everyone else in the entire world is having a totally different experience of the world – developing a totally different sense of reality?

I’m probably not explaining this correctly. But I’m not really sure how to explain it exactly. Its like you come to this realization that you are only a consciousness inside of a shell - a man inside of a suit of armor. Looking out at the world, but not really part of it. It’s a detached sort of feeling.

Well, I have moments like that. A lot. I usually find it un-nerving, because ultimately I realize that this reality - this version of understanding of the world - will end when I die. That the consciousness will cease to be aware, but the husk (the suit armor) will continue to exist without anything/one looking out from inside of it. Which, obviously, leads me to contemplate and face my mortality.

It’s always a downer.

One of those moments grabbed me hard while going down the elevator to buy some Hostess cupcakes this afternoon. Makes walking through public places a real trip.

Nothing like gettin' all existential over processed chocolate cupcakes.