Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Extended Weekend

No, the bed doesn't mean that I have been sleeping away the last week. It has been rather active. I'll explain the bed as we go.

Yes, on Saturday we recorded the show and celebrated my birthday. It went a lot better than I thought it would. I have to say that I hadn't been as nervous about an episode of the show since we launched it in December 2006. We got a call early on from a new listener and then it seems Kerry worked out a plan to have her mother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece call in during the show. Very cool and humbling. Later we went to dinner with Lloyd and Teri at Maggiano's had a freakin' amazing dinner. (We need to go back there again.) We also tried to coax Teri into a little karaoke after a little wine... I still think she sang along a little.

On Sunday, we went to dinner with my side of the family at my mother's house. Steak, chicken, potatoes, pumpkin pie... gotta love that. My nieces, nephew and cousins sang a few songs and "Happy Birthday" on a make-shift stage and it was all really sweet.

Kerry and I went to Best Buy on Monday to pick up a 160GB iPod. She now has the 60GB and David has his Nano. One per person, per computer... it's kinda like a technological addiction but everyone is covered. We then went to dinner at Fiamma Trattoria at the MGM Grand Hotel. Again, an amazing dinner and I fell in love with the seafood risotto (lobster, scallops and shrimp.)

Tuesday, Kerry and I went to see The Dark Knight, hung out at the house and then went to Boulder City to stay at Milo's Inn. We stayed in the Beaujolais room which was incredible (in the photo above.) We took a nap, walked down to Toto's Mexican Restaurant and back. Picked up two bottles of wine at Milo's Cellar. We spent the rest of the night finishing off those bottles and soaking in the hot tub. We are thinking of going back each year to celebrate our honeymoon. (Well worth clicking on their link attached to the photo as well as the one with the photos in this paragraph.)

The following morning, we had breakfast, lounged in bed and then checked out of the room. We returned to town (after a brief stop at my grandmother and grandfather's house to look at their computer) and relaxed the rest of the day until Kerry went back to karate.

Anyhow... I'm off to the shower before heading to work and wanted to just say that I had an amazing week and hope that you get a chance to step back and pamper yourself for a change. And I can't thank my wife enough for all that went into this extended weekend.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Open Phones

Today is the last really busy day for the week. Busy because it is time to start writing the newsletter. I'm off to start that now. Then there is the show tomorrow followed by 4 days off. But, I wanted to put an invitation out to you.

As you know, I have a tendency to create weekly obligations that -- for me -- can feel confining over time. Now they are appropriately lumped right next to each other (Friday and Saturday.) When starting Talking 80s Music, I really didn't think it would fall on my birthday and if it did, it wouldn't happen this quickly. So tomorrow, it does and the episode will be a very open format. We may even try to set a record for how many calls we can take during the course of the show.

So, if you would like to use some of those free weekend cell phone minutes, you can call into our switchboard anytime after noon (PST) at (724) 444-7444. Enter Call ID 11757 and 1 (for guest) when prompted. By hitting *8, it will put your call in cue and you can hear what's going on until we get to you. Usually, we cover news until 12:30pm, so the best time to call would be anytime between then and 1pm. You could always just say hi, ask me a question or call me names. Ok, I gotta get back to work.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scraping Pooh Off The Window

Yes, I think Teri is going to cry when she sees this. You see, the wife has swapped her Camry with my mother-in-law for her Tucson. It does give us two Tucsons in the household and gives us a choice for our trips (hilly inclines... 6-cylinder, flat area... 4-cylinder.) There are noticeable power drops when taking the 4-cylinder Tucson to L.A. despite the fuel savings. Anyhow, we had to clean up the car yesterday before presenting it to her mom. That included the removal of Winnie The Pooh.

Kerry and Teri are fans of the character (and have rhyming names that screw me up when I am tired.) Taking a razor to her car window was fun but I don't think the Pooh on her ankle will come off so easily. I wouldn't want that to happen either as you don't go into a marriage to give someone a makeover or smash their idols (pant-less or not.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MS vs ZA vs My Patience

So many things that I can post about but right now, the easiest to talk about are computer issues. (Gotta thank Lora for letting me vent the other day.) You see, all these programs running on your computer have to know their place. Microsoft overstepped during a recent update... you know, the kind that force your computer to reboot in the middle of the night. Anyhow, the update killed the Internet connection for anyone using the Zone Alarm firewall.

Amazing how dependent one becomes on needing the Internet to research, troubleshoot and inform when it comes to computer issues. To put it more succinctly, it's like needing hands to put gloves on your hands. Thankfully, I was running Comodo firewall on the main computer leaving that one error-free.

Thankfully, it was so widespread that it got plenty of coverage and a fix was readied quite quickly. But it does make you think more about your software. Did several Zone Alarm users lose trust in the company during this episode and decide to change to another firewall product? If so, it would be quite sad that an outside company's update can hurt a competitor (as Microsoft has implemented a firewall in Vista.) I'm sure a conspiracy theorist out there has already figured that it is a plan to knock off one company at a time.

Interesting enough, the two computers we have running at home that use Zone Alarm have had mixed results. One took the remedy provided at the site quite easily while the other... wouldn't initiate it. I'm working on that second computer now (running a thorough analysis of the files on it) and hope to have it better than normal soon. It has also forced me to look into a new WYSIWYG Web design program (the one I use normally is on the messed up machine.) I'll explain more about that one shortly.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Shifting Days, Audio Steams and Pretty Lights

So the move to Friday started today. I just didn't give myself enough time to properly prepare (I usually spend the day before taking care of little stuff.) Thankfully, I took today off of work, allowing me a few more hours to catch up. The show tomorrow will just have more news than normal.

I need to figure out the best way to interact with guests while reciting the news. Usually, I'll throw a quick shout out or reply to the chat room as I'm running through the script. I'm going to try to break it up a bit more and use a marker to remember where I was and take a few more calls. We'll see what happens. Usually, I only take them at the end of the show due to technical issues. (The recorder I use on my side -- which is generally cleaner -- utilizes the audio provided from Skype from the call. But the in-bound audio stream and out-bound audio stream get an abnormal time-shift when the recording process finishes. Essentially, it comes out all fudged up making the clean audio useless.) I'm testing a new beta version of Skype this week that may fix the issue just prior to the July 26th episode. [crossing fingers]

Otherwise, I'm beat. Did have a fun time watching the kids Kerry's side of the family light fireworks. It just takes me back. Also the smell of burnt powder reminded me of the 'big wheel' fireworks that you were supposed to nail into a wood fence or tree. (That sounds pretty safe doesn't it... nailing something that is on fire to wood.) Yet, whenever we did it... the thing would shoot right off that nail and into some random pile of leaves. (Probably wasn't safe there either.) Good memories.