Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why I don't pay for "premium" movie channels on satellite/cable

Because I've been such a great DirecTV customer, they have given me three months of Showtime for free. Now, I don't mind watching movies for free but going through my menu/guide on my DirecTV shows me why I refuse to pay for these "premium" channels.

HBO
  • Chinatown (1974)
  • McHale's Navy (1997)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)
CINEMAX
  • Men in Black II (2002)
STARZ
  • Daddy Day Care (2003)
ENCORE
  • The Great Outdoors (1988)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
  • Boyz N the Hood (1991)
  • Fair Game (1995)
  • The Sandlot (1993)
SHOWTIME
  • The Rock (1996)
  • Transsiberian (2008)
I think you get the point. These are the list of shows on the different channels of each "premium" channel at the exact time I was browsing.

Why would I want to pay $20, $10 or even $5 to watch movies that (1) I've probably already seen or (2) have no want to see in the first place when they came out 2-10 years or more ago!?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I see is BOOBS


This image is from the Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation.

I guess it should be/could be a serious thing if a nuclear detonation actually happened but all I see is BOOBS!


That's all I got to say about that!
 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alienware M11x -- What I've learned so far

So far the Alienware M11x has been pretty easy to set up and play with. I've installed just about all the programs I need and/or want without a hitch. The M11x doesn't come with a CD/DVD drive but luckily I already had an ISO of Office 2007. I don't have a copy of Office 2010 yet and I don't think I'll get one anytime soon so 2007 will have to do for now.

I'm temporarily using the McAfee suite that came with it but I will not be renewing or extending the license. There's no way I'm paying for virus protection when I have a few options for free such as AVG Free or MS Forefront. I will install one of these soon but I just didn't want to take the time right now to uninstall McAfee and install the others because I wanted to get tinkering with this machine.

A few things that I've noticed so far is:
  • The keyboard is a little bigger than my Samsung N110. The layout is somewhat better too because the arrows keys do not include other functions like my N110. That's a benefit for me as I like to use the arrow keys as well as the functions that are typically doubled upon them in smaller keyboards.
  • The screen is bigger and better. It still doesn't have the resolution I like or even near it but what can you do on a laptop. My big ASUS doesn't have the resolution. They are seemingly all 1366 by 768 pixels or somewhere in that vicinity. That goes with the quality of the graphics card and I can deal with it. I'm just used to being able to see more on my desktop monitor(s).
  • The touch pad is a little too far to the left of the keyboard. I have noticed that my left thumb tends to graze the left side of the touch pad just enough to make the mouse move or jump around when I don't want it to. I'm sure I can "fix" this by using a USB mouse and turning off the touch pad.
  • The temperature seems to get a little hot on the bottom of the machine. I'm not playing any games or setting it on my lap. It is just sitting on my desk which is solid, flat wood. It's not overbearing hot. It's just hotter than I'd expect from sitting on a flat, wood surface. I'm sure there is some setting I could mess with but remember, I've just taking it out, set it up and loaded some necessary software on it. I haven't delved into the intricacies of the M11x...yet.
  • The back-lighting is pretty cool. The wife even commented on it (along with the entire machine she thinks it's "really neat."). Again, I haven't changed the colors or anything yet so it is just the blue setting. Back-lighted keyboard is definitely a plus in the cool cosmetic factor.
  • Sound has been decent so far. Again, not a huge test run yet but I did watch a YouTube clip and the sound seemed good. YouTube isn't that great for testing because the clips' audio is sometimes too high or too low so it wouldn't be a good test if this was the case. I'll run some of my MP3s on it and see how it goes since I know they are all pretty much at the same decibel level.
  • The facial recognition hasn't worked yet. It initially captured my mug during initial set up but I don't think it got a good capture of it. Every time it tries to verify my mug at this time it fails. Sometimes it has been the very poor lighting in my office/bedroom but I did try it once in what I thought was brighter lighting. I'll re-initialize and see how it goes after but in theory it seems/looks like a cool toy/feature.
I guess that's about it for now. It's a pretty cool little machine so far and I can't wait to tinker with it some more on a higher level like CD/DVD ripping and some photo imaging/manipulating.

I'm still trying to make sure I have all my add-ons for Firefox and Chrome to match all my other machines so one of these days I'll be able to just waste time on it. Until then...

Apparently Santana was the bomb in the 60s and 70s

Just a quick rant...

I was in the mood to listen to some 50s/60s rock and roll through Winamp. I "searched" through their web browser in SHOUTcast's server. I put in 50s and I got some songs I wanted to hear but a lot I didn't.

I then saw some other channels listed for 50s, 50s-60s, 60s, 60s-70s, 60s-70s-80s...you get the picture. I tried a few and they sucked. Then I found one that was named "181.FM - Classic Hits --- Home of The 60's and 70's" and thought it could be a good one.

It was...at first. The moment I got connected it had a couple of decent songs. Then a Santana song came on...completely instrumental and too damn long! I was like, "Did my channel change?" It did not change.

Finally, the song was over after like six minutes and another decent song played. About three songs later, another Santana song played. It wasn't as long or as boring. A few more songs by the likes of Rod Stewart, Beatles, Elton John and others. Then another Santana song. Five songs later, another Santana song. I'm so done with Santana unless it's "Santana feat. Michelle Branch" or "Santana feat. Rob Thomas." You get where I'm coming from.

I think you have to be in the right mood for continuous Santana, somewhat high, or maybe Mexican/Puerto Rican.

So, I know that this is just someone's stream of music so it's not like a huge radio station or something but there has got to be a better way to randomize your Santana collection into your broadcast.

I'm still listening to it to give it a fighting chance. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alienware M11x -- just a quick unboxing

I got my Christmas present (one of them anyway) from my wife and kids yesterday. I ordered it. It was a good-priced deal. Dell had a deal on an Alienware M11x. It's not the newest version with the i5 or i7 processor because I didn't want to spend that kind of money on a new laptop since I already have a "power" laptop in my ASUS that I wrote about some time ago, circa 2009. I still have that big beauty but that's slightly the problem: it's BIG! It's what I wanted, a desktop replacement, but sometimes it's not that convenient for everyday travel between home, work and school. I also purchased a netbook the same time as my ASUS. It was a Samsung N110. I still have it too.

The issue comes with the in-between of those two machines. The ASUS is big but great on speed and funtionality. The Samsung is small and has fairly decent functionality but it lacks speed and keyboard-sized comfort.

Enter Alienware M11x. I've seen this in the news since it's come out. It was way too expensive at its introduction for poor little me. I got an email a week or so ago about it being on sale. I'm sure because the i3/i5 versions had been introduced and those are way too expensive for poor little me. They have greater speed and functionality but they just aren't what I am looking for right now.

Anyway, the Alienware was $799 on Dell's website (same as at Best Buy). The price with coupon codes thru Gizmodo and LogicBuy knocked it downto $549. I first ask, "How can you not think of and end up buying this at a $250 discount?" So, I jumped in, slightly hesitantly. Not because I was unsure of the deal...I figured I could eBay it if I had to. I was hesitant because asking the wife to get another computer would be a tough sell especially since I just bought our two kids Sony laptops (another VERY good deal on those sleek powerhouses!).

So, to make a longer story short. I got the Alienware M11x in the "mail" yesterday. That's about an 11-day turnaround from date of order to being left on my door step. And that's what FedEx actually did. They left it on my door step. WTF? I can't believe they didn't have to have it signed for or at least shipped it in a "disguised" box. It wasn't obviously marked as Alienware but it wasn't hard to discern that it was a laptop. Besides, neighborhood thieves don't look to see what the box contains...they take the box and look at the contents later hoping they did well.

Just a quick list of the specs:
  • Cosmic Black
  • Overclockable Intel Core2 Duo SU7300 1.3GHz (3MB Cache, 800MHz FSB)
  • 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz (upgraded from standard 2GB)
  • 11.6-inch WideHD 1366x768 (720p) WLED
  • 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M
  • 250GB SATAII 7,200RPM

Also, following are a few of the simple unboxing pictures. Hopefully, I'll follow up with a sort of review of the Alienware M11x once I have the time and experience with it to properly share. Don't hold your breath because I haven't "reviewed" many products that I have talked about getting in the past. Maybe I'll remedy that by using the M11x.

   

   

   

   

   

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jere Lehtinen retires from the NHL

Jere Lehtinen is a class act. He will always be one of my favorite Dallas Stars players.

What secured my thought in knowing he is such a great person and player is when he said,
"I choose to focus on all the great times I had playing over the past 15 seasons, understanding that I am very fortunate to have played all those years with one organization. The memories I have playing in Dallas will never be forgotten and I will always be proud of the fact that I finished my career where I started it."
That's something that many athletes of any sport like Mike Modano going to Detroit and Emmitt Smith going to Arizona cannot say. I get they want to play and feel they can play but in reality it never works out like that. Instead of going out as the champions they are(were) they gave it up for the money (in my opinion).

Anyway, I'll miss seeing Lehtinen (as I already have this season) on the Stars but what a classy way to bow out of a sport he loves.

Link to story here while it lasts.

(pictured courtesy of SI.com)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Email humor 12/09/2010

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Consider Yourself Randomized!

Shawn and Gus bobblehead

Saw this over at the USA Network Store.

I love Pysch. I've been TiVo-ing and watching it since the beginning. It stirs a lot of memories for me. I love the references to 80s music and times. Shawn and Gus must be close outside of the show because you can't fake that kind of bond no matter how good of an actor you may be.

I used to have a very good best friend like that. In fact, I had two. I miss that connection. It's fun to have someone to share wavelengths with.

Now, I share that with my wife. She's a pretty happening babe. It's not exactly like having a "dude" but she makes a great substitution as a "dudette." The only problem is that I occasionally have to filter what I say or share with her compared to a dude. Otherwise, she'd probably call 911 on me because she would know the "full extent of the power of the dark side" or just how demented my thoughts can be. Only a fellow dude could understand that but not just any dude. It has to be the long-time-best-friend dude.

Reeling back in from Randomland...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Who should you ignore?

Whether it's a comment on a blog post or an article in the paper/on the web, how can you quickly decipher which people to ignore completely if you care to acknowledge them at all?

Today just happened to be a day where I was reading a few articles/posts with comments and I noticed something: America (and maybe somewhat abroad) is full of non-spelling idiots!

First of all, I don't profess to know how to spell every word. If I don't use them, I usually don't know how to spell them or if I use them verbally, I can always hit F7 while in MS Word or do a search for it on the WWW.

Second, these misspellings aren't hard to spell words, big words, or words with hidden consonants or vowels.

Third, I'm not saying people don't make random mistakes like typing an 'I' before an 'E' or any inadvertent swapping or omission of letters. I'm talking just a general misunderstanding of what word to correctly use and then correctly spelling it.

So, one of the most common misspelled words I have found in comments is:
  • definately instead of definitely
  • loose instead lose
  • chose instead choose
  • there instead of their
There are more but I can't remember them all at this time. The worst violators are the ones that brag about being educated and/or even a teacher of some sort and then they type definately — That's when I sarcastically think, "Yeah, I'm glad you are teaching someone's kid smarty pants."

Anyway, that's all I got to say about that...for now.

Pete Sampras was robbed

Not on the tennis court from a bad call but from a public storage facility.

From TENNIS.com:
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Tennis star Pete Sampras says most of his trophies and other memorabilia were stolen from a West Los Angeles public storage facility.

Click here for actual article while it lasts.
I'm sorry but I would think that with the money Pete Sampras has made from a phenomenal tennis career (supplemented by his wife, Bridgette's 'acting' gigs) he would be able to find storage on his land in his own house for his memorabilia.

I have a lot of shit and even I wouldn't trust it in a public storage location much less I wouldn't pay to store the shit.

However, I would invest in building or buying a public storage facility because those apparently make good money. I say this because the sheer amount of those businesses I can find around Dallas AND those I've seen built in the middle of nowhere on I55 through Missouri. All the land a lot of people have through the "country area" of Missouri and yet they will put shit in public storage. It's just amazing to me what people will waste their money on instead of just purging.

Anyway...I feel bad for "Pistol Pete" but if these items were important enough to keep, they should have been kept on his immediate premises.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Fuel City Tacos


A coworker and I happened to pass Fuel City on our way to a sporting goods store to check out what kind of guns and ammo they have.

I've heard of the tacos at Fuel City being a pretty good deal. The tacos are like $1.49 each. I opted for the beef fajita tacos. So did the coworker.

I'd have to say they were pretty good. Comparable if not somewhat better than Rusty Taco. They weren't super special or anything. The beef fajita had meat, onions and a little parsley. I'd compare it to the brisket taco at Rusty Taco.

I guess they are pretty much equal in their different ways. The main difference is I got two Fuel City tacos for exactly $3.00. I did have to purchase a 20 oz. Diet Dr Pepper from Fuel City but $1.49 + tax was minimal.

Overall, I'd return for more Fuel City tacos if I'm in the area. Most of the time I'm just driving by the place while on I30 or I35.

Anyway...that's about all I have to say about that.

Email humor 12/03/2010



Wednesday, December 01, 2010

HP Scots vs. Mequite Poteet Pirates football game

Saturday, November 27, 2010 the family and I entered the home of the Dallas Cowboys. This is where the Highland Park Scots (or here) played the Mesquite Poteet Pirates in a 3rd round high school football playoff game.

First of all, let me say that I really didn't care who won the game. I live closer to HP than I do Mesquite so it would have been nice if the nearer-vicinity team won but I'll live and move on since they didn't.

The main reason we attended was to enter and somewhat experience the Cowboys Stadium for less than $100 for six people to enjoy (I took two neighbor kids and paid for them even though their parents gave them money). The tickets were $12 per person and parking was $10 for spots within the stadium lot. So, $82 to start the process. There are nose-bleed-brain-crushing-from-atmospheric-pressure seats that are near that cost during a regular Cowboys game.

We got to sit in seats just about anywhere near the field. The very lower level had seats from 1 row to 20 rows or so back from the field wall. The next level was the suites and then the seats above the suites. There was no need for any levels higher than that. It would have been cool to take a non-scheduled tour of the upper areas but I got good enough of the experience from my above-the-suites seat. We chose that area so we could still see the GIGANTIC JUMBOTRON! That screen is way, effing huge! At times, we forgot there was a game on the field because we'd be watching the screen like it was TV at home. There's nothing like HD acne when the cameras would pan the band, cheerleaders, and other teenage fans. How embarrassing that could be for some.

I must say that the concessions is a big money maker just like in any sporting venue but Cowboys Stadium takes it to extreme. The wife and I were very thirsty for a soda and some snacks. She wanted popcorn, peanuts and a diet soda. I go to the many concession areas and they didn't have anything else enticing for me to eat...not to mention the price for a burger was like $10 and my thought is I can get a meal for two for that amount at some fast food joint! I found this "cart" selling popcorn. The popcorn was $5.50 for a small (which was actually an adequate size for the two of us) and I got a bag of Skittles for $3.50. Off to find the drinks. I wasn't paying like $8-$10 for a collector's cup—which was made of cheap, thin plastic—so I opted for the 20oz bottle beign held in a rollable ice tub. Luckily, Dr Pepper and Pepsi are sold because we wanted Diet Dr Pepper. I asked the lady vendor for two bottles of Diet Dr Pepper and she said, "That'll be $10." I was like, "Are you shitting me?" She giggled. I paid because I was dying for a carbonated beverage. I walked back to our seats. The popcorn wasn't that great. It had sat inside the popcorn-making cart for too long I guess because it wasn't the freshest or hottest. I ate as much as I could because I wasn't wasting $5.50 and it was in front of me. Suckass food #1! The $5 20oz was good. Hit the spot. I nursed it like a beer at a nudie bar! I also ate the Skittles and they were good. A guy selling peanuts finally came around. I bought a bag for $5. It seems they are in a vacuum pack and are not HOT ROASTED but just roasted. We ate the peanuts, some of them anyway, for the same reason I did the popcorn. Suckass food #2!

I was going to comment about the game but I think I'll leave it to the real writes of the various local newspapers in the area.

I was going to comment about the Stadium and other stuff there but you'll just have to experience for yourself some day...on the cheap is my recommendation. It's a huge, phenomenal place but I can't see blowing that kind of money more than once a year...if once in a year at all.

Just a quick explanation of the following photos from left to right. (1) View from our parking spot, (2) One side of the big glass sliding doors from the sidewalk around the Stadium, (3) The jumbotron, (4) The upper-level Ford and Dr Pepper "pavilions," (5) Shot of the field from our seats, (6) The upper-level Miller Lite and Pepsi "pavilions."