Friday, April 28, 2006

Freindly reminder sponsored by the KGB

Just a friendly reminder to all you bloggers blogging from/in/over/through or about Kansas to submit your post for Monday's Kansas Guild of Bloggers Blog Carnival. Deadline is 3 p.m. Central on Sunday, April 30.

The weekly round-up of Kansas bloggers will be posted here on Monday, so submit your articles/blog posts via the submit link or send me an email via my email address.

And don't forget, one lucky blogger will be named Honorary KGB Blogger of the Week.

Also, here are some other friendly reminders from the KGB:
  • Fire isn't a toy, never play with matches
  • Not all mushrooms are edible, check with an expert before eating fungus you find on your basement carpet
  • Make sure your kids are wearing brightly colored clothing before sending them out to play in the streets
  • Never invest venture capital in a limited partnership without first studying a business plan and detailed prospectus with a clear and reasonable ROI projection.
Good luck, and stay safe out there. See you Monday.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Google a clue

I saw this on my Google homepage the other day and thought it was a pretty interesting way to promote the new Da Vinci Code movie (as if it needs more promotion).

The idea is a sort of cyber-scavenger hunt, where Google leads you to an online puzzle, you solve it, then you get access to a website that gives you a clue to get you to the next puzzle.

I've done the first few puzzles, which gave me a chance to use my cipherin' skills. But they really aren't that difficult. And it occurs to me that it makes sense to dumb down the puzzles if you're trying to get as many people as possible to participate. Especially stooopid people like me.

Anyway, just thought I'd pass along this chance to win fabulous prizes and waste loads of time online.

Update: Of course Steve at MicroPersuasion already posted this. Evidently it will only be live for a couple of weeks.

Update 2: If you're having trouble, this guy is blogging hints and answers for each of the puzzles. So far, I've completed the first 11. Like I said, colossal time waster.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cold shot

I grabbed a seat in the comfy chair at Starbucks after retrieving my daily double espresso.

There was a big fellow sitting in the neighboring comfy chair listening, I presume, to voicemail message on his mobile phone. When he was finished, he gave a squint-eyed looked at my demitasse.

"What are you drinkin," he asked

"Dopio espresso."

"That's what I thought," he replied. "Don't see many people order that drink. Now you need to drink it like the Italians do, all in one gulp."

That led to a conversation about Italy and our travels there. Turns out the roundish, baldish, oldish guy's parents were from Napoli and he still has a brother living there.

I was enjoying the conversation, reminiscing and comparing travel notes, when the signore gave another squint-eyed look, this time at the young Starbucks employee who was sweeping the floor nearby. The dustpan he was using was making a small but noticeable racket.

"Hey. Excuse me," the Signore said. No response from the sweeping .

"Hey! Buddy! Why don't you go work somewhere else so we can talk here," said the Signore.

The barrista shot him a cold-cup-of-coffee stare, but then tried to laugh off the insult. "I know," he said. "I'll be done in a minute."

"No. Go and finish up somewhere else and then come back" was the reply.

"I'm sorry sir. I'm just doing my job. If I go somewhere else it will just disturb them. I'm working my way through the store."

"But I don't see why you can't give us a minute to finish talking," the Signore said.

"I'm sorry sir. This is my job. You can talk to my manager if you want," said the barrista.

He moved on with his sweeping and was soon in another part of the coffee shop. Signore and I continued to talk for a few more minutes before I finished my dopio and he needed to leave. But I have to admit, my estimation of him had fallen a few notches and the conversation wasn't as enjoyable.

You can really tell a lot about someone by the way they treat people in the service industry.

Before I left, I made sure to go talk to the barrista and slip him an extra buck. Not a ton of money, but then money wasn't the point. I just wanted the guy to know that some of us believe in being decent to each other.

UPDATE: Here's the rest of the story...

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Gone fishing

Sunday was such a beautiful day that my supermodel wife and I decided to take our 3-year-old daughter to the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park.

I know Overland Park is a maze of cul-de-sacs and strip malls and some people think it has more McMansions than minorities, but the Deanna Rose Farmstead is a true gem of the metro area.

Every time we go there, I'm amazed that they don't charge admission. So even those local bloggers who continually grouse about how Johnson County is a leech on Jackson County's cultural dollars can't complain about this.

Last Sunday, we took our daughter to the fishing pond at the farm. For a couple of weeks, she has been asking me to take her fishing. The pond at Deanna Rose is so well stocked with little fish, that it takes literally a few seconds to get a bite and only a minute or two to actually hook a fish.

I call it "short attention span fishing," and it's perfect for kids and impatient adults like me.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

YouTube Tuesday: Titanic Tetris

The janitors in this building have way too much time on their hands, but they also have a flair for good performance art.

This video has been titled "The World's Second Largest Tetris Game." Sorry, I couldn't find a video of the largest.

Actually, I'm pretty sure this was done with Photoshop or some other editing program, but it's still a pretty cool idea.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Memo to Johnson County Water District #1

RE: Billing correction

Dear sirs,

This memo is to inform you of a billing error that our accounting department has discovered and the corrective measures our organization has undertaken.

It turns out that our residence is actually not part of Johnson County, or Kansas or even the United States. Our residence is, in fact located in a third-world country with no hot or cold running water.

We haven't yet isolated which third-world country we are part of, but we have ruled out places like Baghdad and Mexico City, as these places both have reliable running water. We are currently working under the assumption that we are part of deepest Africa or perhaps the steppes of Outer Mongolia.

Though we haven't been able to work out the exact details of this strange phenomenon, our current theory is that there is some kind of quantum glitch in the fabric of time-space that has caused our residence to be accessible only via Johnson County roads and highways even though its not located in Johnson County.

We became aware of this issue when we discovered that we had no hot or cold running water, despite paying taxes to Johnson County Water District No. 1. Because of the ongoing nature of this problem, the obvious conclusion is that we are not in Johnson County Water District No. 1.

Because we are not within the service limits of Johnson County Water District No. 1, on a go-forward basis, we will no longer be sending our regular tax payment. I'm sure you understand our position.

If at some point in the future this quantum fluke corrects itself and we begin to receive reliable hot and cold running water service, we will resume tax payments to whichever taxing body is deemed appropriate.

The Management

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Kansas Guild of Bloggers Carnival

Thanks to all who submitted blog articles through the KGB Carnival Submit Link. We'll do it all again next week, so submit your articles/blog posts via the submit link or send me an email via my email address.

Here's this week's round-up.Well, that's the round-up for this week. Did I miss something? If so, send me a link and I'll add it in. And again, don't forget to submit your posts for next week. You can't win if you don't enter.

Also, don't forget to add your pin to the KGB Frappr Map in the right-hand column. It's fun and easy to do.


PS- Sorry it took so long to post. Blogger has been having server issues again (Grrrr!).

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Holl's Lens #1

Matt the Architect came through with more pics of the controversial Steven Holl-designed addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Previously, I posted some aerial photos of the project, as well as some interior shots I got during a private tour (yes, I am that special).

I really like the sunset picture. Thanks for the new pics, Matt.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The KGB is calling

Holy shnikees, it has been a crazy busy week, and there are a number of topics I've wanted to post on but just haven't had the time.

But I did want to put out the call once again to bloggers who live in Kansas, who once lived in Kansas, who have a relative in Kansas, who have driven through or flown over Kansas, or who have simply blogged about Kansas to get your submission in to the Kansas Guild of Bloggers Blog Carnival by 3 p.m. on Sunday.

I'll post this weekly round-up of Kansas bloggers on Monday, so submit your articles/blog posts via the submit link or send me an email via my email address.

This week, one lucky blogger will be chosen as Honorary Kansas Blogger of the Week, so tune in Monday to find out who the lucky blogger is.

See you soon, and keep blogging.

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Highs and Lowes

The new Lowes store on the north end of Roe Avenue is having its grand opening this week, and I couldn't be more stoked.

Before this store opened, the nearest Lowes was in O-freakin'-lathe, a half-hour drive from my house. Of course there was the Home Depot store in Merriam, a mere 10-minute drive, but this new Lowes is only about 5 minutes away. Ain't capitalism great?

This is a good example of redevelopment gone right. The new Lowes sits on the location of what used to be a post-apocalyptic wasteland that formerly had a grimy grocery store and a bunch of vacant building.

Here's a picture:

But with the opening of the new Lowes and the spectacular Price Chopper food market, the area is thriving. Many smaller stores are opening alongside it.

My only beef is that they couldn't find a way to redevelop this area without adding in a couple of giant parking lots.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

YouTube Tuesday: MatrixPong

This week's edition of YouTube Tuesday is dedicated to local blogger Xavier Onasis, whose promising sports career was cut tragically short due to a career-ending injury.

The X-Man left the following comment on a previous post.
"Remind me to tell you sometime about the time I sprained my ankle...PLAYING PING PONG!!!!

Very physical sport, ping pong!"
Well, X-Man, we're waiting to hear the story. You probably just needed a little help from your friends, much like the players in this week's video.

This one has been around the web for a while, but I think its such a clever idea that it deserves another post. So here it is, Matrix PingPong.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Kansas Guild of Bloggers Roundup #6

This is my first time hosting the Kansas Guild of Bloggers Blog Carnival, so go easy on me.

Here's a round-up of what Kansas area bloggers are saying this week.Okay, that's what I've come up with this time. Drop me an email or comment if I missed something and I'll get it added. And don't forget to submit your blog article to the next edition of the kgb using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Wall Art

It was a little too quiet on the screened-in porch.

Since today was such a nice day, we had the door open to the screen-in porch on the south side of our house. While my Supermodel Wife and I finished cleaning up after diner, our three-year-old daughter had wandered out onto the porch with our Jack Russell Terrier. Just to hang out I suppose. There's nothing they can really do except watch the neighborhood.

But that was at least 10 minutes ago, and it's just been too quiet for too long. That can only mean mischief is afoot.

So my Supermodel Wife goes out to see what's what. As she looked around the door, she saw our daughter crouched intently just beside the doorway. My Supermodel Wife's reaction was quiet but powerful.

the words "You are in so much trouble," said in a quiet and urgent tone, proved to be more effective than screaming and shouting ever were. Our daughter, without being told, took herself to her room and closed her door for the impending time-out.

I go over to investigate. And this is what I found, drawn on the side of the house:

It's one of the most difficult jobs of parenting. Having to keep a straight face and take disciplinary measures in the face of something so cute. I mean, how can I get mad at such fine art. It's like trying to yell at the Mona Lisa.

And I don't want to send a message that might squelch her creativity and stunt what could be a budding art career. After all, I can see how the white aluminum siding would be an irresistible canvass to someone with so much talent.

But, we had to be strong. Our three-year-old has lost her crayon privileges temporarily.

At least she still has play dough. So perhaps we'll just channel that creativity into sculpture. Look for a Pieta to be carved out of our granite counter top in the next few months.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Look for the silver lining

It's been quite a busy day and I didn't have time to post this morning, but I did want to put up a quick response to this post by Rusty, who complains about "bedroom loud" neighbors.

Rusty, I think you're looking at this as a problem and not an opportunity.

Opportunity #1: You can't knock on the door and ask them to fuck quieter, but you could knock on the door (when the neighbor is alone) and ask her if she "needs any help." Could end up in a nice convenient score for you. Just sayin'.

Opportunity #2: Call me crazy, but I see a podcast happening here: "Rusty's Neighbors Get Laid." You know there are lots of degenerates out there like me who would really dig something like that. Again, just sayin'.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Troost story

This morning I went to work with an inch-long gash in my face.

It extends from just below the corner of my right eye, up and to the left across the bridge of my nose, and ends between my eyes. It was put there yesterday by the ring of the jerk off who punched me as he tried to take my wallet while I gassed up my car in east Kansas City.

I like to think I gave as good as I got. After delivering some well-timed Tony Soprano-style punches, I held the guy with the help of some bystanders until the cops showed up. And I kept my wallet.

That's what I'm telling people. Of course the entire story is a complete fabrication, except the part about the inch-long gash. That really happened.

It's just that the true story is too embarrassing to use in everyday conversation. Nevertheless, I'll relate it here, since that's what blogs are for.

A few months ago I installed one of those fold down attic ladders in our garage to make it easier to access the storage in the attic.

The layout of our house is such that you must go through the garage to get to the basement. So after finishing dinner last night I head down to the basement to get some tools to fix a problem we were having with a door handle (different story).

Anyway, unbeknownst to me (but beknownst to the studio audience), my Supermodel Wife had lowered the aforementioned attic ladder. Not all the way though. She hadn't actually unfolded the lower part of the ladder; she had just pulled the hinged part down. So there was a nice sharp edge of plywood at right about my eye level.

All this happened at about 7 p.m., as the setting sun was shining through the west window of our garage, its glare obscuring the view.

The last thing I remember thinking before I walked Jack Tripper-like into the pulled down ladder was "Why is this pull-string hanging down so low?" SLAM!!!

Of course I was hellapissed at the time. I spouted few choice invectives and blamed my Supermodel Wife for lowering the ladder to decapitation level.

The truth is I was mostly mad at myself for being so stupid and clumsy. And honestly, I still am, which is why I need to come up with a better story, like the mugging described above.

I'm also toying with the idea that the injury is the result of an amateur boxing match (I could be a contender).

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

YouTube Tuesday: Whazzuup!

The "Whazzuup!" Budweiser commercial was huge a few years ago, and it spawned a slew of "consumer generated" remakes even before the days of YouTube and omnipresent broadband connections.

I remember one of my favorite versions had Batman, Superman and some of the other superfriends greeting each other over their Superfriends Communicators.

So this week's installment of YouTube Tuesday keeps with the nostalgia theme with this version of the "Whazzup!" commercial. It's hellacute, and it gets extra style points for exploiting children.

True. True.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Photochopping Phelps

Generally whenever someone starts talking/writing about Fred Phelps, my first response is to not listen and not participate.

The anti-human Phelps, who graciously attended my college graduation ceremony, seeks only attention. So, by not granting him any mental resources at all, I figure I'm denying him what he most desires. Literally, I think if we ignore him long enough, he'll just go away.

Having said that, I couldn't resist the challenge issued by JD to do a Photoshop mashup of Phelps at a recent rally. So, here are my entries.

My first thought was to chose something obvious...

Then, I got to thinking about what Phelps thinks about current pop culture...

And of course, this is a great place for the classic "Protesting with Stupid" treatment...

There you go JD. I hope my Photoshop kung-fu is worthy.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Return of the KGB

It's been a while since we've heard from "them," and you can call me unpatriotic, but I think it's time to bring back the KGB.

This not-so-secret organization has been on hiatus several weeks now. I'm referring of course to the Kansas Guild of Bloggers. The idea (and the clever name) comes from Lyn Perry at Bloging Out Loud.

For some inexplicable (or maybe just unexplained) reason, Lyn has taken a break from organizing the regular KGB Blog Carnival. So, that’s where the rest of us (from Kansas) come in. Let’s keep the weekly roundup of Kansas blog posts going. I’m volunteering to host this week.

Here’s how it works: You submit a blog post to be included in a digest of Kansas-related posts that I'll put up next Monday (April 17). You can send me a link via email of comment to this blog post, but the best way is to submit the post to the Blog Carnival that Lyn set up.

There's even one of those groovy blog-style icons:

So your first assignment as a KGB operative is to submit a blog link to the carnival by 16:00 Kansas Time (that's 4 p.m.) on Sunday, April 15. That's Easter Sunday, so don't wait until the last minute, ya damn slackers!

Your second assignment is to forward a link to this post to any bloggers that you know of in Kansas. Also if you know of any expatriot KGB operatives (bloggers from Kansas who currently live in a foreign country like Italy, Spain, or Texas), make sure they know about this effort as well. We're depending on you to make this thing work.

Your third assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to join the KGB frappr map. You can see it all the way down at the right-hand column of this blog. Keep going, all the way at the bottom. See it? Good. Just click it and follow the instructions to add yourself. This is optional, but it's fun, so just do it.

Okay, you have your orders. Just think of all the traffic you'll get by participating. Don't make me beg. Honestly, that's something you really don't want to see.

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Friday, April 07, 2006

Been there

I came across this cute little Google Maps hack the other day that shows the states I've visited. So now that you know where I've been, you can see where I have yet to travel. If you live in one of the gray states, drop me a line and I'll stop by soon (you don't mind me crashing on your couch do you?)

Click here create your own visited states map. There's also one for showing the countries you have visited.

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Wrapping it up with Amelie

Well, another Thursday has come and gone, which makes today Friday, which means it's time to play the Amelie Game. I hope you've been keeping track of you're weekly likes and dislikes, because I have.

Here they are:
Likes:Okay, now it's your turn. Leave your likes and dislikes for the week in the comments. And remember, not leaving a comment makes Baby Jesus cry*.

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*I'm referring of course to Jesus Hernandez, the two-month-old son of the couple who moved into the house down the street recently. Welcome to the neighborhood, Hernandezes

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Holy CrApple!

Apple computers announced today that they will distribute software that will allow you to install Windows on new Macintosh computers.

As a long-time Macintosh and MacOS fan, I'm blown away by this announcement. It just seems so superfluous. I mean, the whole point of buying a Mac is so that you don't have to use that gawd-awful Windoze OS.

Installing Windoze on a Mac is like putting rancid mayonnaise on a perfectly cooked fillet mignon, or spending $80 on a bottle of Brunello, then mixing it with 7-Up. Would you buy a Ferrari then paint a Confederate flag on the roof, install a horn that plays Dixie and call it the General Lee?

I'm trying to think of other things that might be comparable. Being invited to Osama Bin Ladden's nephew's bar mitzva, maybe?

It just doesn't seem right, somehow.

Surely these are the end times.

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Sponsored by the Costanza for Congress campaign

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Butt out

To the female driver of the purple Chevy Impala LS with the Missouri license plate number 175 WGP driving north on Roe Blvd at about 5:15 p.m. on Monday -- I HATE YOUR BUTT!

I try to live by good libertarian values. You leave me alone, I leave you alone. Live and let live, that's what I always say. That's why, when counties and cities consider complete smoking bans, I always say "Whoa! That's a little harsh."

I try to defend the rights of people to kill themselves by whatever means they choose, so long as those means don't include killing (or otherwise harming) anyone else (particularly me).

But dammit Female Missouri Smoker, you make it really hard when you throw your cigarette butt out your car window right in front of me!

As a militant extremist environmentalist, one of my biggest pet peeves is people who litter. And believe me, smokers are among the worst. I can stop at any intersection in the metro area and find a boat load of cigarette butts lying in the street and gutters.

Now, I don't object to people smoking in their cars (as long as I'm not in the car with them), but put your butts out in the ash-tray, ashhole! Hell, I enjoy my drug of choice in the car all the time, but I don't throw used coffee cups out my window.

I've considered getting one of those LED message marquees installed in my car so I could send a message to smokers who throw their butts out the window. But since I'm not technical enough to figure that out, and since it would just be a distraction and probably cause and accident anyway, I've opted for this blog post.

So if you know the Female Missouri Smoker with a purple Chevy Impala LS with license plate number 175 WGP, or if you are that person and your reading, here's a message:
If you're going to come to Kansas, keep your dirty butt in your car!
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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

YouTube Tuesday: Clerks II

Kevin Smith's Clerks came out the year I graduated from college. The low-budget film (made for under 30 grand) was the first of a series of movies by Smith that were all set in the same universe of New Jersey.

Now, 12 years later, Smith shows us what happened in the lives of loser clerks Dante and Randall in Clerks II.

As with Seinfeld, Peal Jam, Napster (the original) and irrational exuberance, I have warm spot in my heart for Dante and Randall, which means I'll probably go see this movie for the sentimental value alone.

And, chances are I'll be disappointed. You can never go back again (unless you're VH1).

Anyway, here's the trailer from YouTube.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Let 'em eat gâteau

So the French are protesting again (big surprise) and it looks like the government might be about to surrender (another big surprise) to demands by lazy students to mandate low productivity in the French economy.

As you might have heard, French President Jacques Chirac signed a law that makes it easier for French business to fire slackers if they don't shape up.

France has one of Europe's highest youth unemployment rates. More than 20% of French 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed - double the national average of 9.6%.

Obviously, a business (particularly a small business) isn't too keen to hire someone if there's no way to fire them when they just sit around all day not bathing and writing blog entries.

This is a good object lesson for those stateside who have put European Socialism up on a pedestal. The kind of Nanny State (or should I say Au Pair State) that France has become has bred a bunch of spoiled brats who see job security as an entitlement, a one way street where their employer owes them a job regardless of their (lack of) work performance and personal hygiene.

Ironically, if the French youth burning cars in protest of the employment measures would put the same energy into their jobs, they probably wouldn't have to worry about being fired in the first place.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

K...S...U... WILDCATS!

It's Sunday, so this is old news by now, but I just wanted to note that there is still a major college in Kansas where they play championship basketball.

It's not Wichita, for the Cinderella Shockers alas were eliminated in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

And, of course it's not Lawrence, unless you count an annual self-wetting to a better B school (this year it happened to be Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tourney).

Yes, the city I'm talking about is Manhattan, the Little Apple, where the Lady Wildcats showed last Friday night that they have the biggest basket balls in the state. Even though their Y-chromosomed counterparts failed to make it past the first round of the conference tournament, the ladies showed true testicular fortitude in downing Marquette in the WNIT championship game.

I know those of the Crimson and Blue persuasion will try to belittle the achievement, saying it's better to lose in the first round of the NCAA than to win the NIT championship. But I attribute that to bitterness and sour grapes, two great taste that go great in Lawrence.

So big congrats to the 'Cats for representing not only the Purple, but also Kansas. Here's a special tribute to you:


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