Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A sustainable, and useful mash-up!

I love the idea of mash-ups.  Taking multiple good ideas or sources of information to combine them into a new idea or source which is great is a personal quest of most people in my demographic.  Unfortunately, the success rate of mash-ups that actually increase the quality of the resulting idea seems to be rare.  To make things even worse, most mash-ups don’t get fully vetted until the development effort has already been fully spent.

 

However, I found one that is a real diamond in the rough.  (Even if I can’t use it, since I don’t live in Los Angeles).  Take a look at Find LA Food Trucks!  This ingenious site mashes the following:

  • Roach Coach
  • Location Updates and Menu Changes/Specials (via Twitter)
  • Web convergence
  • Consumer Reviews (via Twitter)

Damn I am a little jealous of the Angelenos!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Economic Blow…

I saw this a few days ago, and had to take a picture.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw another old standby for lunch suffer at the hands of this economy.  (Okay, maybe my statement is a bit of an overreaction.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

2009 Capitals Convention

This past weekend the Washington Capitals held their first Caps Convention.  This was a lively event that drew not only current and former Washington Capitals, but also the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.  I haven’t heard of an event quite like this one before in any sport since fans had to purchase tickets to attend (due to the capacity limitation of 5000 guest in the venue).

Several panel discussions were held for those in attendance to observe.  These included:
  • Capital’s Young Guns (Meet the rookie Capitals)
  • You Make The Call (Do you think you can make the call that a ref missed in real time?)
  • Droppin’ The Gloves (Players discuss memorable hockey fights)
  • State of the NHL (NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly gives a compelling overview of the league)
  • Behind the Bench (Caps assistance coaches discuss how and what they do during game time)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

APD Fail!

As most of my friends can attest, fail blog is one of my favorite blogs.  Earlier today, I had one of those wonderful moments when I saw something that I recognized in an entry.  The Albuquerque Police Department apparently had cruiser rear-end another cruiser.  And a luck would have it, someone happened to be driving by and took a picture of the cars before they were pulled apart.

From the looks of the picture, no one seemed to be seriously hurt & that is the only reason that I laughed when I saw this.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Library of Congress’ National Book Festival

Today we decided to check out an event on the national mall that we heard about in passing.  Every year the Library of Congress sponsors an event called the National Book Festival which takes place in Washington, DC.  I saw this event in an email about local events and one name caught my attention – Paula Deen.  We both absolutely love her, and she was listed as an attending author since she just finished another book.

 

So, we headed into the city to join what we thought would be a few thousand people to celebrate several authors.  As we travelled the Metro to the Smithsonian stop, it became clear to both of us, that we drastically underestimated the size of the crowd.  When we arrived at the Smithsonian stop and travelled up the escalator to the mall, we saw what may have been close to 100,000 other visitors.

On the mall, we saw several tents that were dedicated to various literary genres, and within each, selected authors were appearing and reading from their works.  We also saw a few tents with literary themes inside of them, like “authors from all 50 states” and “electronic books & how to access them”.

John GrishamAfter we got to the event, we had the chance to see and meet several authors like James Patterson and Ken Burns.  However, one of the kindest at the event was John Grisham.  He was scheduled to sign books for 45 minutes, but because the fan turnout was so immense he signed books for more than 2 hours before leaving to make room for other authors.  I don’t know why, but I was surprised by his humble nature as he signed for more than twice the time he was scheduled for.

 

Later in the afternoon, we overheard a few other attendees asking an event staffer if there were any rules about what Paula Deen would sign.  The staffer replied that Paula would only be signing her most recent book.  Many of her fans who came to the event were disappointed in this news as they brought their favorite copies of other books.

 

Barbie and I were fortunate to be able to be part of the party that welcomed Paula and her husband Michael to their tent to begin signing.  Barbie and I must have had the biggest smiles on our faces, because when Paula said “Hey Y’all” to us we just giggled.  Hearing that phrase as it was said to us, was the coolest thing we had experienced in a while.  Totally awesome!

Paula Deen

As soon as Paula got settled into her seat, someone told her that people have been told that she would only sign her most recent book.  Paula’s response was one of disbelief and disappointment.  She said “why would anyone think that.  I will sign anything that my fans and supporters will let me.”  How could anyone not absolutely love this woman!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Glee! Seriously, Glee?

When I was growing up, I was not a performer by any measure.  I think I was like most kids in high school…I wanted to fit in with most of my peers, but I still wanted to maintain some sense of individuality.  In hind sight, I guess it was a fine line to walk…trying to be just different enough to set myself apart, but no so different as to alienate myself from the rest of the population.

 

You may be wondering what this has to do with Glee.  Well, the short answer is absolutely nothing…which is why it is so weird that I like that show.  Seriously, I feel like I don’t identify with any of the main characters on the show and yet I am addicted to watching it.  Maybe it’s the careful weaving of music from Journey that has me sucked into every single one of the story lines so far.

 

If you haven’t seen this show yet, I suggest taking a look at it.  So far, I have seen 4 episodes so far and they have addressed issues like teen pregnancy, high school homosexuality, under-age drinking, mid-life crises, and many more.  What is really cool, is that even with all of that content crammed into 4 episodes it is still a very smooth forming and running show.  None of the stories seem rushed or incomplete.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What’s In A Mascot, Anyway?

Now that we are officially three weeks into the 2009 college football season, I have to compile a list of the funniest mascots I have seen and/or heard of thus far.  Some of these are old favorites, while others are new.  Enjoy the mascots below:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I Just Can’t Leave Well Enough Alone

For the fourth time in just as many weeks I have updated the theme on our blog.  And, just as with each update in the past, I am happy with this one.  It incorporates several cosmetic and functional elements that Barbie and I have both been looking for.  The list of specifics is below:

  • Calendar-like date stamping of posts
  • Clean separation of posts
  • Two-column format with primary content on the left
  • Clean integration into editing tools like Live Writer
  • A background set that we feel represents us (this is definitely the case after our trip to Jade Mountain)!

So, here we are again.  Although I feel confident in this iteration, I do suspect that somewhere in the blog-o-sphere there is a betting pool being assembled for how long this template will remain.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Varlamov’s 2009-2010 Mask

One of the most enjoyable forms of self expressions in my opinion is the paint and designs on NHL Goalie Masks.  Earlier today, the video below was published on the Washington Capitals web site.  It is a look at Simeon Varlamov’s new mask design for the upcoming season.

What is worth noting, for anyone who isn’t aware, is that Simeon Varlamov played most of last season for the Hersey Bears (the Capitals AHL affiliate).  When he was called up to join the Capitals near the season’s end, his helmet was half Hershey Bears colors and half Washington Capitals colors.

This season it looks like Varly is still going with the split design, but since it doesn’t look like he will he stepping back down to play for the Bears his mask is a blend of his native Russian symbolism as well as notable American monuments and iconic symbols.  Looks pretty cool to me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know…?

  • The Washington Capitals (NHL) spend more on player payroll than the Washington Nationals (MLB) and the Baltimore Orioles (MLB)?
  • The sport of Lacrosse was played by Native American Indians to prepare for war?
  • That the term “really got your goat” was from horse racing? A goat was placed in a stall with a race horse to provide companionship. The goat calmed down the horse in the stall so “getting your goat” was what an enemy did to upset you and your horse. Who knew?
  • Americans still spend $2 billion per year on candles?
  • The most common first name in the world is Muhammad?
  • Karate was invented in India?
  • The first hockey puck was frozen cow dung?
  • Basketball was invented by a Canadian?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Another Guilty Pleasure

Almost a year ago we heard about a reality TV show from our friend Antoan.  He listened to Barbie and I go on and on about shows like Big Brother and Rock of Love before telling us about his personal favorite show: Bully Beatdown.

I think I like this show because it is a violent revenge story in every episode.  The weekly plot doesn’t deviate from the simple recipe below:

  • Bullied victim asks for the host “Mayhem” for help getting a bully to leave them alone.
  • “Mayhem” approaches the Bully (in an aggressive manner) and asks if they would like to fight someone else with the chance of earning $10,000 if they win.
  • Bully inevitably agrees to fight a professional MMA fighter.
  • The fight consists of 2 three-minute rounds each worth $5,000.
    • The first round is submission based.  Each time the bully taps out, $1,000 moves from the Bully’s winnings to the victim of their bullying.
    • The second round is strike based.  If the Bully get’s knocked-out, quits or if the referee call the fight, all $5,000 move to the victim of their bullying.
  • Aside from the general revenge that takes place during the fight, what really makes the show funny is the trash talking that “Mayhem” does during while the bully tries to focus on their professional opponent.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dogs Can Be Adorable!

Several people seem to have taken issue with the “Cat’s Can Be Weird” post I made a couple days ago.  In response to all of them, I present the video below.  As I mentioned in the afore mentioned post, I am a dog person and as such I find this video kind of weird, but also adorable.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sometimes a waste of time is a beautiful thing…

I heard about this through some co-workers in Mountain View earlier this week.  They (and I) thought it was fabulous.  I was ecstatic to not only find a picture on the web, but a video with a slideshow of the construction to boot!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cats Can Be Weird!

I think that all people fall into one of two categories.  There are cat people and there are dog people.  Everyone sits one one end or the other on this scale.  Even people who have both animals always end up siding with one over the other.

I grew-up as a cat person, and I now know that I am a dog person.  I am not sure what made that change happen for me, but as is the case with many things in life, I don’t need to understand it – just accept it and move on.

As a dog person, I see the occasional video of a cat doing something funny, and I can enjoy it and laugh at it like most people.  But the clip below is just strange.  I am sure that most people laughed, or smiled when they saw this, but I just think it’s weird and kind creepy.

Code Part Deux!

Well, yesterday’s celebration was a bit pre mature.  However, in the words of Eddie Izzard, today’s is “Very Mature!  Mature!  Mature!”  :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

XML and HTML are my friends!

That’s right, you seen an exclamation point at the end of the title of this post.  The last time I updated the theme on our blog it took me almost a week of fiddling with it before I was ready to stop playing with the code.  Seriously, it was more than 20 hours of playing with XML code and images before I settled on it.  I am very happy to say that this time I was done in less than 4 hours (even with the distractions of Hell’s Kitchen and Big Brother on in the background).

I know that there are web designers who can make changes like this in less than 30 minutes, but I am still very proud of myself for my measure of improvement.  Particularly because I don’t have any true training in XML.  The closest thing I have to that was a few hours at our friend Megan’s house while she helped me with some Adobe Illustrator issues and basic XML methodologies.

Big ups to me!  :-)