Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beavis and Butt-Head Return

          After fourteen years, Beavis and Butt-Head are back.  Tomorrow Thursday October 27, at 10:00 PM , Beavis and Butt-Head return to MTV.  I can not believe it after all this time.  Yes they will still rock the AC/DC & Metallica  T-shirts.  And they still have not "Scored".  From what I understand they will not even reference all the time that has passed. Van Toffler (President of MTV) asked Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butt-Head), if he was interested in bringing the show back.  Toffler claims he was up late one night watching MTV, and realized today's culture was missing Beavis and Butt-Head, and their critiques.  Judge announced the show's return at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.  When asked why he was bringing the show back, Judge replied " I felt like TV was getting too smart".  Beavis and Butt-Head will still be commenting on music video's, but not as many as before.  One reason is MTV hardly plays music video's anymore.  So you can bet that, the boys will be taking on Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, today's pop culture, and many of today's MTV reality shows.  Oh, and don't forget Snooki.  Another reason is licensing.  Licensing became an issue a decade ago, when Sony attempted to release Beavis and Butt-Head on DVD in 2006.  Producers only had secure broadcast rights.  Most of the episodes had to be edited, and the majority of video's had to be cut out.  Many of the old characters will still be on the show, such as the hippie teacher.  As you can tell from the sneak preview, Beavis's alter ego "The Great Cornholio" make his triumphant return.  So Thursday night curl up on the couch around 10:00, and prepare to get stupified once again.

Launch of Unthink

        Yesterday Tuesday October, 25, brave start-up company Unthink, launched its social networking site, to the first round of beta testers.  Unthink is the self proclaimed "anti-Facebook".  One of the motto's of Unthink, is "We are not another social network, we are a social revolution".  The Tampa-based company has received 2.5 million, in funding from DouglasBay Capitol.  Unthink's core marketing campaign is to take out Facebook, or at least distinguish itself from the other social network site's.  This sounds like prison rules 101.  First day out, find the biggest, baddest guy and take him out.  Then you will get respect from the other inmates, or so the story goes.  Unthink claim their user's (referred to as Unthinkers), are not users, but owners.  On Facebook, all your activity, likes, post, and data is collected and sold to advertisers.  The advertisers then fill your pages will ads relevant to your demographic.  Unthink has a feature named "iEndorse".  This feature allows the user/owner to pick the brands/ads of their choosing, to sponsor their page.  So basically if you have an affliction for a certain brand of clothing or product, you choose that brand to run ads on your page.  You can opt out of this feature.  If you choose to have no ads, Unthink will charge $2 per year for service.  There have been many social networking start-ups, with the goal to take out, or at least compete with Facebook.  None of which, have succeeded.  It will be interesting to see how Unthink fares in this battle  

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Rum Diary

     The Rum Diary is scheduled to be in theaters this Friday, October, 28.  The film is an adaptation of the novel "The Rum Diary", by Hunter S. Thompson.  The novel involves a tangled love story, of jealousy, and violent alcoholic lust.  The film stars Johnny Depp.  You may recall another movie starring Johnny Depp, that was an adaptation of a novel by, Hunter S. Thompson.  In 1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was released, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke, and Benicio Del Toro as Dr. Gonzo.  While this film did not do very well at the box office, it is revered as a cult classic.  This is one of my absolute favorite movies.  So when I heard of this new film, starring Depp, from another of Hunter S Thompson's novels, I knew I must share it.  The Rum Diary novel was not published until 1998 (probably due to the success of Fear and Loathing), but was written in the early 1960's.  This novel was actually written before Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  Some are calling The Rum Diary a prequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but it is not.  The film was directed by Bruce Robinson, director of The Killing Fields.  The film takes place in Puerto Rico in the 1950's.  In this film Johnny Depp play's the role of Paul Kemp, a boozed up journalist who moves from New York to work for a local newspaper in Puerto Rico.  Giovanni Ribisi also stars in this film.  He plays Moberg, star journalist and, alcoholic of the newspaper.  Depp's characters constant drunkenness, does not even compare to Ribisi's character.  Although this movie does not have all the drug addled charades, of Fear and Loathing, there are plenty of hilarious hijinks that will ensue.   This should prove to be another great movie.  I think it will easily become another cult favorite. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

BlizzCon 2011

  BlizzCon 2011 kicked off Friday October, 21.  BlizzCon is an annual convention held at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.  BlizzCon started back in 2005.  They skipped 2006, but returned in 2007.  BlizzCon has been held every year since.  BlizzCon is organized by Blizzard Entertainment.  Blizzard Entertainment created World of WarCraft, StarCraft, and Diablo.  The convention is for all of the fans to get together, for previews of upcoming game releases, and expansions.  This years headliner Foo Fighter's rocked the house to close the event.  Dave Grohl no newbie to BlizzCon, actually played drums for Tenacious D, who headlined last years event.  The major announcement this year was World of WarCraft: Mist of Pandaria.  Mist of Pandaria is an expansion for the massive online multiplayer role-playing game.  Also the most anticipated, and highly revered part of the convention is the costume contest.  These fans work very hard, and probably all year on these elaborate costumes.  These fans are widely referred to as Cosplayers.  I can not even begin to fathom, the endless hours, effort, and money, put into creating these works of art.  This year first place went to Avery Faith from Los Angeles, California.  Her entry was from the StarCraft II game.  The character was titled "Terran Adjutant".  This earned her a standing ovation, as she collected her title as first place, and her prize of 3,000 dollars.  This character was a female robot, which words can not even begin to describe the intricate detail, involved in this costume.  I have posted the pictures below, and a few of my favorite female cosplayers from this years event.  This year was great from what I have seen, and look forward to seeing what next years BlizzCon brings.

                                         1st Place Winner - Terran Adjutant                        

North Carolina Vehicle Safety & Emission's Inspection

         The other day I noticed my tags were past inspection.  Trying to do the right thing, and to avoid a ticket, I went to a local service station to get my truck inspected.  If your car is newer than 1996, and your county requires it, then in addition to the yearly vehicle safety inspection, they hook up your vehicle to a computer and run an emission's inspection. In North Carolina the emission's inspection is on a county by county basis.  Meaning some counties require emission's inspection while others do not.  There is a county that is twenty minutes away from where I live.  This county does not require emission's inspection.  So basically if I lived twenty minutes down the road, I would not be required to endure this additional test, and additional fee's.  This seems irrational to me, but I do not make up the rules.  I first arrived around 12:00 pm.  The mechanic told me he was busy, and request I come back in thirty minutes.  I was already off of work, so I ran a few errands.  I came back 45 minutes later, only to sit and watch him work on someone else's car.  After being there for fifteen minutes, he said "it's gonna be a few minutes".  Twenty minutes later he pulled my truck around back where they perform inspections.  Lights, brakes, horn, and turn signals.  Check, check, check, and check.  Then he did something I have never seen done.  He jacked up the front end and started wiggling the tires.  He shook them front to back, and side to side.  I asked him what he was doing, since I had never seen this before.  He said he was checking the bearings, and to see if there was any play in the steering.  I have had my vehicle inspected every year since I was sixteen.  Well over fifteen years.  This was the first time ever seeing this.  Then he proceeds to tell me there is to much play in the steering, and he will not pass my inspection.  Then he said I need four new tires.  In my opinion, I could drive on these tires at least six more months.  Already knowing he will not pass my truck, he then proceeds with the emissions test.  "Well no emission's or computer problems", he says.  I asked him what was wrong with the steering.  He said there was to much play, and I must have it repaired before he will pass it.  I asked him what part needs replacing.  He said "the main linkage".  I asked him three times before I left the name of the part.  Every time, the same reply "the main linkage".  I also asked him how much it would be to let him fix it.  He stated $70 for the part, and $130 to put it on.  I was flabbergasted.  Then he handed me a piece of paper that said North Carolina Vehicle Inspection - FAILED.   "That will be $27".  I wanted to punch this asshole in his face.  I paid him and left.  On the way home I thinking, $200 to fix the steering.  $200 for some used tires.  This is going to cost me at least $500 to fix my truck, get a passed inspection, and get my tags for one more year.  This would take me at least three weeks to be able to come up with $500 extra dollars.  Meanwhile I would be driving illegally, hoping not to get a ticket.  Once I got home, I checked the truck out.  I determined what part was a little loose.  I would not say it was loose enough to be dangerous at all.  I got on a auto parts store website to price the replacement.  To my surprise there is NO part named the "Main Linkage".  After tracking down the schematics, to my truck.  I realized the part was named the idler arm.  To my elation, I found a replacement part for $10.99.  I replaced it today, and will be heading in the morning to get some used tires.  I will go and get my truck inspected again tomorrow, but I will never go back to that dumb asses shop. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Beta Testing

        Over the years I have beta tested, several games, and a few products.  All of which were for little or no compensation.  The appeal of beta testing, is getting to try something new and exciting, before anyone else.  This does not mean it will be fun.  In actuality, most of the time the thing being tested does not work properly.  This can have a lasting negative effect on the product at hand.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.  Some of the required testing was very time consuming, while some of the game testing was just fun.  I have been working as a contract estimator, for a large flooring company, for the last three years.  Shortly after I started with this company, I somehow became the resident computer tech.  Basically during one of our quarterly meetings, I showed a few of the other guys, some tricks/shortcuts on the computer system we use.  Ever since that day anytime someone has a question, or needs technical support, they call me.  This is by no means a part of my job.  I do not mind helping people, but when you have the "boss man" directing other employee's to call me whenever they need assistance, this can become quite frustrating.  Since they realized I know my way around a computer, the company has asked me to do beta testing, every time we have new software developed.  I will say that the company I work for, does try to stay on the cutting edge of new technology. Beta testing, is not always a difficult task.  However, there is usually a lot of paperwork and emails involved with each program/application.  This is my least favorite part.  I actually am testing a new online application for one of the main client database programs we use.  Basically in the past I have tested out new software or applications, and then taught my boss and other employee's how to use them.  Not so much beta testing, but rather tech support.  I usually just had communication with my boss directly, then to employee's.  With this new project,  it started same as before having only communication with my boss on the project.  By the second day,  I had found so many bugs and glitches in the system, that I now have direct line communication with the developers. In addition to the developers, I am having communications with the guys who maintain our network, the guys who wrote our other programs, and a second development team.  I have never been educated in the field of computer technologies, but it takes no genius to make sure the application works before you try to beta test it.  The first run began about two months ago.  My boss called me and asked if I minded beta testing this new application.  I remorsefully said yes.  Three weeks behind schedule the software was finally ready.  Within two minutes I had found that one, the application was not working.  Secondly I found about three glitches, and at least five different crucial pieces of data needed missing. For this application to be efficient and beneficial in comparison to what we are currently using, they must include all the key data needed.  After sending the developers a five page email about the changes they needed to make, my boss sent me an email stating, we are not using this application anymore until changes have been made.  Two weeks later I am testing again.  Right away I noticed, they took my advice on several of the key elements needed to make this efficient.  But, they did not change the other ten recommendations I gave.  To my dismay the application still does not work.  The developers are blaming it on the network BES settings.  I forgot to mention this is a PC and mobile application. Our "IT" guys are blaming it on the shitty code.  I do not know how to right code, script, or anything in that realm.  I respect anyone who has taken the time to learn it.  All I know is that these guys are really smart, but they have no common sense.  I wrote another five page email and sent it to my boss, and everyone else involved.  This time I gave step by step instruction, of what we need this program to do.  I also made note that if this development team can not produce the functionality that we need from this application, then we as a company are stepping backwards.  Within two minutes I received an email from my boss that we are no longer using this application, until further notice. Next time they call me and ask to test something for them, I hope that I will say no.  However, I like to be in on the front lines of the new software, so I will probably say yes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Exotic Animal Massacre in Zanesville, Ohio

    Tragedy struck the town of Zanesville, Ohio, Tuesday October 18th.  The owner of Muskingum County Animal Farm, Terry Thompson opened the cages to 56 of his rare animals, then committed suicide, by shooting himself.  Amongst the animals released were Tigers, Lions, Bears, Mountain Lions, Wolves, Monkeys, and a Baboon.  The animals roamed through and around the town of Zanesville, Ohio. The police lead a massacre of these exotic animals.  Of the 56 animals that were freed, police slaughtered 49.  One of the most disturbing pieces of information I found, was that around thirty of these animals were massacred right on the grounds of the farm, many of which were trying to get back into their cages. This is a horrible tragedy, that should have been handled differently. The massacre included 18 rare and endangered Bengal Tigers.  Conservationists say there are only around 3200 Bengal Tigers left in the whole world, half of which live in zoo's.  Also among the 49 animals that were massacred was 17 Lions, 6 Black Bears, 2 Grizzly Bears, 3 Mountain Lions, 2 Wolves, and a Baboon.  A Macaque Monkey is still missing, and believed to be infected with the  Herpes B virus. In humans this form of the virus can lead to severe brain infections.  Schools were closed, and motorist were warned of the situation by road signs.  As if this story couldn't get any crazier, several people were arrested for attempting to steal the carcass of a lion.  The only good news from this story is that 6 animals were still in there cages.  These animals consist of a Grizzly Bear, 3 Leopards, and 2 Monkeys.  These remaining six will be moved to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  This will be facilitated by animal advocate Jack Hanna.  Hanna is the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  Owner of the farm Terry Thompson had recently got out of prison, after serving one year, for federal weapons charges.  Thompson had also been convicted of animal cruelty, and animals at large in 2005.  There needs to be new legislation to prevent people like this from working with this caliber of animals.  Ohio is among ten states that have the weakest restrictions on exotic animal ownership.  This makes Ohio a cesspool, for exotic animal traders.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hydroponic How To

    A friend of mine is a local organic farmer.  He grows an assortment of Lettuce's, Chives, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Herbs, and other organic vegetation.  He has a pretty large operation. He distributes to the local farmer's markets, "High End" restaurants, and a large organic distributor.  I have seen his operation double in size over the last year, due to the fact that people are trying to eat healthier.  Now that people are finding out about all of the chemicals, and hidden processes used in the food industry, a larger number people are going for the local organically grown vegetables.  Organically grown vegetables have about ten times the amount of vitamins as most of the vegatables you buy at the super market.  The organic food industry is the way of the past, and it will be the way of the future.  His YouTube user name is atmjph1369 .  I have encouraged him to make some organic video's.  In this video he teaches you how to seed and do seedling selection of hydroponic lettuce in a  Rockwool  growing medium. This is his first video.  Hopefully there will be more to come.  I like the fact that he is actually doing something to better society.  His operation is very impressive, and is fully organic.  The system he uses to heat and cool is even organic.  I do not want to divulge too much information about his operation, for one it is not my place, and secondly the majority of his setup is very ingenuitive.  I would hate for anyone to steal his original idea's.  Hopefully we will see more of his operation in the future.  For now give his video a chance.  Subscribe or like it on YouTube. 

Ubisoft's Rocksmith

          Yesterday game developer Ubisoft released Rocksmith.  Much like Guitar Hero or Rock Bank, this game alleges to teach the player to play actual guitar.  What is different about this game, is that you can play any real electric or acoustic guitar, with a 1/4 inch output jack.  The game was released for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC.  The game will come with a cable the has 1/4 inch input jack to usb, that can easily plug into any of the three platforms.  I have read that a lot of people who actually played the game, learned how to play a few of the songs.  This is ingenious.  You can sit down and play a game that will teach you a physical skill.  You can take this skill on with you for the rest of your life.  The game comes with an allstar line-up of songs.  Alternative rock bands like The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Nirvana, Sound Garden, and Stone Temple Pilots.  Also classic rock bands like Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Animals.  It aslo has obscure cult classic bands like The Cure, The Pixies, Radiohead, and David Bowie.  So you can see that this game runs the gamut of great songs to learn, from many different genres.  The game is set to have fifty track in all.  The only negative thing I have heard about the game is that, there is definitely a noticeable amount of lag during game play.  The only other downside to getting this game is, if you don't already own any of the three platforms, this will cost a fortune.  Though in today's day and age, almost everyone has a PC or Laptop, so this will not be an issue for the majority of consumer's interested in this game.  If you are a beginner guitar player, or have always wanted to learn how to play.  I recommend you buy this game.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Take the money out of Politics

        I came across this video on YouTube, created by user Paul4Pres2012 .  I feel obligated to spread the word.  I have had the same intellectual conversations with my friends,  I'm sure you have all had with yours, about how corrupt the politicians are.  About; how the "system is broken", the lobbyist run Washington, and Corporate Greed has taken over America.  The guy in this video is Dylan Ratigan.  He has a show on MSNBC, weekdays at 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time.  Dylan "Get's It". In this video he gives a heated explanation of what is wrong with our government.  I have been saying this for years.  The video's creator brings out such a great point.  This should be our number one goal in government reform.  This should be the one goal that the "Occupy Wall Street" movement demands.  This is the first time in many years, and in my lifetime, that citizens in America have protested in such large numbers.  They say that our Constitution gives the power to the people.  Well it is time to take the power back.  They need to force Congress to pass new laws the gets the money out of politics.  They need to make Lobbying a federal crime.  We can never fix what is wrong with our country or economy, unless we get the money out of politics.  This is a message that should cross party lines.  The lawmakers must put into place new laws and agencies to enforce, investigate, and prosecute these crimes against our country.  It is my opinion that  if you are an elected government official,  choosen to represent a large group of your people's (constituents) ideals, you should be held under the utmost scrutiny.  Take a plumber for example.  If a plumber runs a pipe under you house.  A government inspector must come out and inspect your work.   However, when a politician decides to vote on a bill or law, there are no government inspectors in place to inspect how said politician came to his or her decision.  I feel that if a politician ran under the platform that he or she would vote a certain way, then is given any form of money, perks, or financial gain.  Then the politician votes against what he promised in his or her campaign, this should be considered deceitful and unlawful.  There needs to be full transparency on all monetary transactions, having any correlation with any elected government official.  I can not understand the way congress is going right now, without any bi-partisan legislation.  These politicians who will not let any laws or reform pass, just so either side of the party can not get credit for it, should be considered as traitors.  In my opinion, if you are purposely standing in the way of progress and the rebuilding of our country, you should be charged with treason.  That goes for all publicly elected officials, corporations who do majority of their business in America, and people behind the scenes who hide all the underhanded dealings in the government.  So "Occupy Wall Street" I reach out to you, and beg that you make this your one common goal.  To get the money out of politics.  Please watch this video.  I hope it makes you think.  I also encourage you to spread the word, or get involved at any level.  Now is the time when so many people are uniting, to get real change.

New Family Tradition

       So my family has started a new tradition.  Every year when it is time to pick out the Halloween jack-o-lantern, my whole family dresses up in full costume, and heads to a local pumpkin patch.  It's sort of embarrassing, because it is always two or three weeks before Halloween.  No one else is dressed up.  Every once in a while there will be a small child in costume, but we are usually the only one's.  You should see the looks and finger pointing that goes on. This all started about eight years ago when my first daughter was two months old.  We carried her to the pumpkin patch dressed like a lady bug to take pictures sitting in the pumpkins.  My wife thought it would be cute.  Every year thereafter we went back and took her in costume.  When my second daughter came we continued the tradition, sticking them down by the pumpkins and getting a few pictures.  About four years ago, my wife started dressing up with the kids when we went.  Until this point it was not really embarrassing.  Every once in a while we would run into other people who's children were in costume, but never adults.  One thing you must know about my wife, she loves to dress up.  Halloween is her favorite holiday.  So who am I to crush her spirit.  Almost every year we went to the same small, family owned pumpkin patch. There was never really a large crowd.  Last year one of her friends took their kid to a huge pumpkin patch, hayride, corn maze, and petting zoo farm.  So, guess where we were going?  If you guessed there, then you were right.  There were hundreds and possibly thousands of people.  Of course my family were the only one's in costume.  My wife did not care though, that is what I love about her.  I have always  not really cared about what people think of me, but something about this was embarrassing to me.  So we spent at least two hours there and of course everywhere we went, we were the center of attention.  No matter how it made me feel, they had a ball and that is all that really matters to me.  So this year my son is about five weeks old.  My wife said she was going to the pumpkin patch.  She had went out and bought him a little devil costume.  She actually gave me the option not to go this year, because she knows I do not really get as excited about it as they do.  I guess the fact that she did not force me to go this year, actually made me want to go.  Human behavior really astonishes me, especially mine.  So we packed up the car, and went to the local patch.  My family was dressed in costume.  We let the kids run around and play in the pumpkins.  We put little man down in a group of pumpkins, as we have always done with all three children.  My wife told me she had brought my devil mask, in case I wanted to join in.  At first I was hesitant, but she said "you don't have to wear it you are just as scary lookin without it".  She was right.  I can be a pretty scary looking dude.  I decided to put the mask on and join in the fun.  We let the kids try to pick out a pumpkin and of course they wanted the biggest one they could fine.  I bought it and we went on our way.  I know now that this will be a family tradition for many years to come in our family.  Hopefully even passed down to my grand kids.  So feel free to take our tradition and make it your own.  If anyone has any similar stories or weird family traditions, I would love to hear about it.