Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rock Star: Martin's Closet: Episode 1

Usually, you don't want to start a series with bad news. 4 of our 12 contestants were disqualified for doping (we've never seen such thick threads) while 1 opted out of the contest. This leaves us with 7 contestants and a shorter season. Let's see who we have (click on each photo for a better view):

Contestant 1 is from China (57% linen 43% rayon) and has probably been worn more than any of the others (usually over t-shirts.)

Contestant 2 is from India (100% cotton) and might have been worn once or twice but I you'd think that I'd remember.

Contestant 3 here is from Myanmar (which I have no idea where the hell that is but it's 100% cotton) but I'm pretty sure that it was washed once. It just may have been after pulling all the tags off of it.

Contestant 4 is from Pakistan (100% cotton Chaps/Ralph Lauren.) Never worn but I'm sure care was taken in making it. I think that I'd be afraid to get it dirty.

Contestant 5 is from India (100% cotton.) I think that I used it for the top of a Halloween murder victim one year but it might look alright under a t-shirt someday, I guess.

Contestant 6 is another Indian entry (55% cotton 45% rayon.) I think that I tried it on once but with the lack of a collar, I don't see a shirt working under it.

Lastly, we have our Seoul Korean entry (85% acrylic 15% polyester.) I think it would have gone well with parachute pants. There is a zipper where that black stripe goes across. Wide enough to hold a pencil or two, I assume. Someone must have thought me scholarly.

All votes you send via the comments section will be for the removal of a contestant. Voted off contestants will be announced at the end of the commentary period. In the event of a tie or lack of commentary votes, I reserve the right to make a final decision (no, I haven't pre-selected a winner.)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Life Update - 092706

Things have gotten rather busy around here. I have to put a lot of the responsibility for this burst of production on the class that I've been taking. I did think that ALS 101 was going to be about learning how to handle taking notes, how to study effectively and how to take a tests. Now, I'm not so sure. The most important thing that I've started doing is writing down everything that I want to get done each day on an index card. This allows me to keep in mind my goals for the day, add to my goals and mark off any progress that I've made. I'm getting quite a bit more done now. I figure the pack of 500 index cards might help me get through the year.

After 3 years, I've finally joined the text messaging generation. Do I plan to do much of it, not really. I gave up my cheapie little Samsung for this Sanyo Katana (pictured here.) Why would I do that? Being able to see who is calling, the ability to check NFL scores and hear clearer are big reasons. The Bluetooth earphone is nice but taking some time to adjust to. Looks slightly cooler too.

After that Tivo vs. DirecTV post, I took some time to think about things and yesterday ordered DirecTV's HD DVR Plus. I think it's because of Bones, Lost, Jericho and the Biggest Loser airing at the same freaking time. Jericho may bite the dust but I will have to watch the first episode that I recorded already prior to make a decision. What this will allow me to do is: not miss a UFC fight, not have to choose between most shows (bedroom Tivo catches one while living room DVR catches 2 more) and lets me hold onto HD shows to watch at a later date. They'll be showing up on Friday morning to set things up... meaning that I'll miss the second episode of Jericho in the meantime.

Forced myself to sleep early last night and if I can keep this going, I'll be very very happy. I do accept that I'm an information junkie. I check the same Web sites 3 to 4 times a day to make sure that I know 'right now' everything that's available to be known. I shouldn't do this before I sleep. Clearing off the Tivo, sure. But, it takes longer to wind your brain down after you stimulate it with information. Hoping to create an habitual 2am bedtime.

On Saturday, I went to the Mike Agassi 'No Quit' National Junior Tennis Tournament. I figured that I need to start appearing at these events and saw some amazing players (this little 9 year-old girl just floored me with how well she hit her 2-handed forehand and 2-handed backhand.) It did remind me of playing these events when I was younger and what reminded me more was having my brother Matt there with me. He brought Mia out and I held her for awhile to give him a breather. I need more mornings like that.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

So Vain

Everyone has done it. You've typed in your name in Google to see what pops up about you. It's called a vanity search. Nothing is wrong with it. Without doing it myself, I wouldn't have known that there is a composer named Martin Hennessy. There is a different twist on it that I'd like you to try. Just for kicks, I'd like you to go to Google and type in your first name with the word 'is' behind it enclosed in quotation marks.

As an example, the first listing in my search for "Martin is" came up in the summary as: Howard said Martin is preparing a response to the accusations.

I didn't even know that I was in that much trouble. What did yours say?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I've love my experience with DirecTV so far. The worries of losing video signal to birds, trees or weather never became an issue. I do see some problems in the future.

I love my Tivo. I don't think anything has changed the way I look at entertainment more. I also love my high-definition signal. But it seems that Tivo and DirecTV don't plan to get along anymore. Sure, they have had squabbles in the past but they have worked well together too. Yet, there is a battle starting over the HD personal video recorder market. Essentially, both companies per their agreement will continue to work together for the next few years with no new product on the horizon. Meanwhile, DirecTV has launched new satellites for high-definition programming... that will not work with previous high-definition receivers or even the DirecTV HD Tivo (as the satellite carrier will change over from MP2 video codec to MP4.) This means that viewers that want to get the new programming (which includes many HD local and new HD DirecTV channels) will have to ditch the expensive ($999 in some places) DirecTV HD Tivo they purchased over the last year and pay for the new DirecTV HD DVR. This also bends over the customers (much like myself) who paid $400 or so for an HD receiver to get DirecTV HD channels. Sure, this may be a great way to make everyone buy only a product from the satellite company but it also looks like I'll have to consider putting my receiver on eBay and going back to cable. I haven't made any decisions and patience may be my only option. I'm going to have to wait things out with what I have until Tivo creates a new HD box that works with the new satellite video codec or switch to cable and purchase the new Tivo3.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Assignment 1-2

As part of my ALS course that I'm taking, I had an assignment in which I took the Jung Typology Test. Essentially, I'm an ENFJ and am described as:

ENFJs are the benevolent 'pedagogues' of humanity. They have tremendous charisma by which many are drawn into their nurturant tutelage and/or grand schemes. Many ENFJs have tremendous power to manipulate others with their phenomenal interpersonal skills and unique salesmanship. But it's usually not meant as manipulation -- ENFJs generally believe in their dreams, and see themselves as helpers and enablers, which they usually are.

ENFJs are global learners. They see the big picture. The ENFJs focus is expansive. Some can juggle an amazing number of responsibilities or projects simultaneously. Many ENFJs have tremendous entrepreneurial ability.

ENFJs are, by definition, Js, with whom we associate organization and decisiveness. But they don't resemble the SJs or even the NTJs in organization of the environment nor occasional recalcitrance. ENFJs are organized in the arena of interpersonal affairs. Their offices may or may not be cluttered, but their conclusions (reached through feelings) about people and motives are drawn much more quickly and are more resilient than those of their NFP counterparts.

ENFJs know and appreciate people. Like most NFs, (and Feelers in general), they are apt to neglect themselves and their own needs for the needs of others. They have thinner psychological boundaries than most, and are at risk for being hurt or even abused by less sensitive people. ENFJs often take on more of the burdens of others than they can bear.

I was actually kind of floored that a simple Yes and No questionaire with no Maybe's could feel more accurate than anything I've taken before. Feel like taking a 72 question test and letting me know how you did?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not My Rock Star

Been very busy but just wanted to get something up here. Please, please... Supernova please do not pick Lukas as your singer tonight. I have it in my mind that I will not buy anything from the band if this is going to be their lead singer. My main reason: I can't understand a word out of his mouth during specific vocal styles. His singing with the band was the best example of this. I know some people that don't want him to win because they don't like how he looks. Why am I so worried? Several weeks back, a report surfaced that the band had pre-chose Lukas Rossi to be their singer in... the same way that J.D. Fortune was chosen. Essentially, they also said that they were cookie-cutter images created to get fan response. I dismissed this entirely until a last week when a separate source claimed something similar (without smearing J.D.) If proven right, I know how disgusted I'll feel about it but I would watch another series. I just won't be buying an album.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Freedom Walk 2006

I had a great night out last night. We went to Buca di Peppo last night with Lloyd and Teri for Kerry's birthday. Had lots of food burned some of it off this morning at the Freedom Walk. Essentially, Las Vegas' mayor Oscar Goodman and city councilman Larry Brown sponsored a walk at a northwest Las Vegas park in memory of the lives lost as well as the police and firefighters that responded to the events on 9/11. It wasn't a long walk but I'm pretty tired. I feel like I actually participated in something worthwhile. Talked to Oscar before and Larry after the walk while receiving some nifty items (the shirt and wristband pictured above.)

It is pretty odd thinking about the fact that it will be 5 years since then. I was actually called into work on my day off due to a major convention coming into the hotel. As we stood around waiting for the guests to arrive, I went into the break room to watch the news. About 15 minutes into the news, they broke away for a "special report" showing the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I stood there stunned. I yelled for the other guys (about 40 on staff that day) to come see what was going on. Then the second plane hit.

As stunned as we were, it took awhile for it to sink in that those guests coming for the convention weren't going to arrive. Flights canceled nationwide and people were trying to find any way to leave the city that they could. Our hotel sent people home as there wasn't any business and later cut the staff over 30%. Most of these co-workers lost their jobs for quite awhile and had to consider other means to support their families during this time. I was rather lucky. I was around #16 in seniority so they only changed my shift a little. Yet, I still remember taking up a collection for several of the other guys and even joining some that offered to cut back to 30 hours a week so no one would have to lose their job. Not everyone felt that way.

Las Vegas recovered rather quickly but it did wake me up to how vulnerable our city was. Confidence in travel safety and the economy do control our leisure dollar. In no way did this overshadow the lives lost in the air and in New York. It's sad to see that many of those responding to the call of such an emergency still suffering from lung ailments. But, I worry that someone will in retrospect say that it was the wrong decision to send recovery teams in there to save lives at the expense of their own. Thank you for putting your lives on the line for people you may not have even known. 5 years really isn't that long is it?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Moving On

Growing up in Las Vegas, we've always had our celebrities. Many were performers who relocated to be close to the Las Vegas Strip where they had performance contracts. But, there are only two sports figures that are destined to be remembered decades from now. Future hall of fame baseball pitcher Greg Maddux is one. Tennis great Andre Agassi is another. I'm going to focus on Andre for a moment.

Andre's four-set loss on Sunday in the U.S. Open will have ripple effects throughout Las Vegas. I felt it myself. Growing up around tennis and playing in the local junior tennis tournaments does seem like a lifetime ago. Watching Agassi on the court saying a tearful goodbye brought a lot of the past back. You see, Andre was always playing in the age bracket just above mine. When I was in the 12's, he was in the 14's. I never played him but watched many of his early battles with the Entzel brothers and several of our other top juniors. I did get to play with him for awhile but that was when we were on the same basketball team. He was our deep threat hitting almost all of his 3-point shots. Even in a second sport, he was a competitor.

So as I look back on Andre's career from flashy colored shirts, jean shorts, long hair, bandana and yes the ever-popular shoes, I think about how he has changed the face of the sport. Tennis gets greater coverage due to the early media focus on the young-upstart Andre and was slowly able to bring an understanding of the skill and commitment it takes to be a great player. I think about how easy it was for me to put down the tennis racquet years ago and how much harder it will be for a man who has dedicated over 2 decades to being and beating the best in the sport. Thank you, Andre. And welcome to the next chapter of your life.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thoughts On 7 Habits

As you've noticed, I took some time and added an area to keep track of what I'm reading. Currently, I'm in the middle of Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this as it's helped me focus on several different areas of my life. Ideas like being proactive, noticing a paradigm shift and living my life with the end in mind have really hit home (yes, and I'm still in the first half.) It looks like this will be a book that I'll revisit often.

One of the best things about the book are the examples that bring to light some of these habits. One example was: Close your eyes and imagine your funeral. Imagine who would be speaking (family, friends, co-workers and church members) and what would they say about you. How you live your life now will be reflected in how you are remembered and what you leave behind. Another example has to do with paradigm shift and the photo on the left. How old do you think the lady is? Feel free to post that answer in your comments.