You Want The Best, You Got The Best…

Heh, it’s nice to know that the e-mails I get from readers are all the things I’m not doing on the website. Where’s the Nip/Tuck recaps? How come you haven’t reviewed The Rundown or School of Rock yet?

Well blog fans, this weekend I didn’t get to do any of those things because Michelle & I were in San Antonio watching Aerosmith & KISS in concert. CAN YOU SAY THE MOST AWESOME F#CKIN’ SHOW EVER?!?!???!

The last time I saw Aerosmith & KISS was in Detroit, I think it was `96 or `97. I had the pleasure of catching KISS kick off a reunion tour at Tiger Stadium and I took my best bud Ron to see Aerosmith at The Palace in Auburn Hills. Individually the energy of those performances was amazing and when the opportunity came around to see both bands in one night… well… yours truly is thankful for having so many American Express Rewards points. At $135 a ticket, I was happy that I didn’t have to make any morally questionable decisions on how to raise the cash.

<off topic> – All the concerts attended this year have been due to the outstanding AMEX points program. If you only get yourself one credit card, make sure you get the AMEX. Might not be accepted everywhere, but the credit protection & rewards can’t be beat.</off topic>

San Antonio has become our concert city of choice, specifically outdoor concerts. There is an outdoor venue in Dallas, but it has outlived its usefulness in my opinion. The sound quality, size and seating of the amphitheater in San Antonio can’t be beat. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house and Michelle & I have been fortunate enough to get tickets in the front row of the 200 or 300 sections. Oops, I’m rambling off topic again.

All I can tell you is both bands kicked some serious ass. After seeing them in a large arena setting, this was so much cooler. The energy was contagious, the crowd on their feet all night and there was no doubt why these guys are the best at what they do. Because I wanted to share the moment, I tagged off some pictures which are available here. Not my best work, but you try and take covert photos without getting your equipment confiscated. I managed to record some video too, but dammit all if my mini Olympus camera doesn’t record sound. If I get requests to see that footage I’ll post one or two files later on.

Alright, that’s your lunchtime update. Go check out the concert pics and feel free to leave a comment or two. If you have a large monitor I recommend viewing the pics at the larger size.

Personal Ad Dictionary

Today I bring you the first ever tag team blog entry. Like a bad wrestling partner I didn’t give Rob the head’s up before jumping into the ring, but I figured when somebody else has a good topic for a post that’s one less thing for me to come up with. In keeping with Rob’s Personal Ad theme I thought it best to elaborate on the proper terminology used, e.g. SWM “Single White Male” or SWF “Single White Female”. There are many such acronyms today, but an even greater truth is the “hidden” meaning behind common phrases used in everyday language. The following items can be used as a reference when placing your own personal ad:

What Women REALLY Mean
40-ish…. 48.
Adventurer…. has had more partners than you ever will.
Athletic…. flat chested.
Average Looking…. ugly.
Beautiful…. pathological liar.
Contagious Smile…. don’t mind the herpes.
Educated…. college drop out.
Emotionally Secure…. medicated.
Feminist…. militant ball buster.
Free Spirit…. stoner chick.
Friendship First…. trying to live down reputation as town slut.
Fun…. annoying in a Gigli kinda way.
Gentle…. comatose.
Good Listener…. borderline autistic.
New Age…. all body hair, all the time.
Old-fashioned…. lights out, missionary position only.
Open-minded…. desperate.
Passionate…. loud.
Outgoing…. loud in bed.
Poet…. depressive schizophrenic.
Professional…. Class A bitch you can’t afford..
Redhead…. shops the Clairol section.
Reubenesque…. grossly fat.
Romantic…. looks better by candlelight.
Voluptuous…. very fat.
Weight proportion to height…. GINORMOUS.
Wants soul mate…. one step away from stalking.
Widow…. nagged first husband to death.
Young at heart…. toothless crone.

What Men REALLY Mean
40-ish…. 52 and looking for 25 year old.
Athletic…. sits on the couch and watches ESPN.
Average looking…. unusual hair growth on ears, nose, and back.
Educated…. will always treat you like the idiot you are.
Free spirit…. would love a threesome with you & your sister.
Friendship First…. as long as friendship includes nudity & a hand job.
Fun…. good with a remote and a six pack.
Good looking…. arrogant.
Honest…. pathological liar.
Huggable…. overweight, more body hair than a bear.
Likes to cuddle…. insecure, overly dependent, mama’s boy.
Mature…. until you get to know him.
Open-minded…. wants to sleep with your sister, but she’s not interested.
Physically fit…. I spend a lot of time in front of the mirror admiring myself.
Poet…. has written on bathroom stalls.
Spiritual…. once went to church with his grandmother on Easter Sunday.
Stable…. occasional stalker, never arrested.
Thoughtful…. says “please” when demanding a beer.

Finally I leave you with a sample ad to give you some ideas:

WM, 33, 5’7“ 180lbs., brown eyes, black hair, likes fast women (of age & conscious), stiff drinks.
Occupation: blogger, rock star, filmaker, tattoos, likes cats.
This thoughtful gentleman is looking for that spiritual connection. Friendship first with an open-minded individual would entertain this free-spirited poet who despite being average looking appreciates the intimacy of an honest relationship. Sun-dipped, sand-toned, Barbie-cut, silicon based life-forms must provide proof of liability insurance. Druggies, self-abusers, psych students need not apply.

Pop-ups, Viruses, The Internet, Oh My!

Although, I’ve changed careers and moved from a computer/network consulting role to teaching I still carry the label amongst family & friends as the “computer guy”. Never has that been more true than these past few months. With the advent of the MS-Blaster worm, Gator pop-ups, spyware, adware and the multitude of annoyances the average computer user endures, I’m surprised I haven’t found a way to exploit Joe Somebody with my vast knowledge and make tons `o cash. I could have easily invented the trick e-card.

I kid, I kid… I wouldn’t want to get caught violating my parole.

All I’m sayin’ is that it amazes me that anyone in this day & age doesn’t have at least an intermediate level of computer knowledge. Consumers are told to buy anti-virus software, personal firewalls and now spyware removal tools, but it’s like handing someone a firearm without a gun safety course.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of things the average consumer should consider when using computers and the Internet:

AOL is not the Internet. Sure AOL capitalized on consumers by signing up millions with free CDs, but they also did little to prepare those people for using the Internet. The only thing useful about AOL these days is their instant messenger. If I hear one more AOL user say “Why don’t you fix your web page so it works with AOL” it’s a 10 a day postal rampage for this blogger.

Mr. Perry will tell you take those training wheels off and start surfing like the rest of us.

I know, I know, ignorance is bliss. You’re the one that put together Timmy’s bicycle with only 8 spare screws and the constant 12:00AM flashing on your VCR is some sort of personal affirmation, but confusing the CD-ROM tray for a coffee cup holder only makes you look stupid.

When the tech support person you called asks to speak with your two year old to fix the computer there’s a problem. When you ask your secretary to print off your e-mail messages because you don’t know how to open Outlook there’s a problem. When an ex-lover tricks you into installing spyware on your computer because you just couldn’t be bothered learning “the computer thing” don’t come crying to me.

If you’re on the Internet then you best invest in the following software applications. I’m a savvy computer user who was the victim of identity theft, what makes you think you’re luck will hold out?

  • Anti-Virus – A virus that flashes an annoying message once a month you might be able to live with, one that deletes important files from your hard drive is a different story. Get the latest version of Norton or McAfee products to make sure your e-mail and web surfing stay clean.
  • Firewall – First generation cable modems lacked the bandwidth to support all the users in one area. Back in the day, it was a simple matter for me to disconnect other subscribers and keep the bandwidth to myself. If those people had bothered to use a firewall it would have made the task more difficult. ZoneAlarm or Black Ice do the job and will protect you from mischievous folks like me.
  • SpyWare Removal – Companies like Gator Corp provide consumers with free downloadable utilities like the “Weatherscope” or “Precision Time”. These folks are the unwilling recipients of adware which tracks their web surfing habits and sends demographic data back to the marketing firm. If your computer is running REALLY slow when connected to the Internet or you seem to have 10x as many pop-ups then you remember you probably have adware installed on your computer. Spychecker has a list of freeware products or you can go with the highly rated SpyCop.

After buying all the software I recommended be sure you constantly watch for software updates. Lucky for you most updates are available via the Internet and some applications (like Norton anti-virus) can be automatically set to update themselves.

If you are using Windows XP utilize the automatic update feature. You can also check for updates to other Microsoft products (Outlook, Outlook Express & Internet Explorer) at

NOTE – Microsoft will never send you an update file via e-mail. In fact most companies will direct you to a secure website to download patches & updates.

Before double-clicking on that nude picture of Anna Kournikova or Jennifer Lopez ask yourself “Do I know who sent this to me?” or “Is Mom the type of person who normally e-mails me this kind of attachment?” Just because you know the person who sent the message doesn’t mean it was not an automated virus worm. Remember, a quick reply to an e-mail or even a phone call to verify a valid file attachment will alleviate any confusion. What’s a file attachment you say? This is why you should follow Step #2. Generally speaking picture files (ending in .GIF or .JPG) are okay, but anything ending in .VBS .EXE .COM .SCR should be suspect.

MICROSOFT TIP – Most e-mail viruses are launched when you open the attachment, but newer viruses can run automatically using exploits found in Outlook & Outlook Express. Not only can viruses send themselves to everyone in your address book, but now they have the ability to randomly pick a name and place it in the “TO:” field. Imagine Fred calling Bob upset about the virus he actually received from you. To minimize your risk turn off the “Preview Pane” & “Auto Preview” features for e-mail (found under View) and stop using Microsoft Word as your e-mail editor (found under Tools –> Options).

As in the case of “SULFNBK.EXE” “Spunkball” or “Bud Frogs Screensaver“ the purpose of the HOAX was two-fold. First people deleted valid files by mistake and then mail servers were overloaded once people started forwarding the warning message. If you do receive information regarding a potential virus or other newsworthy items you can check to see if that information is true at the following websites: – This site contains information about real viruses AND hoaxes. – This site lists many urban legends, Internet spread rumors, etc.

E-MAIL TIP – Before you simply forward an e-mail message be sure to clean all the previous mail headers. Nobody needs to be bothered scrolling down a page reading other e-mail addresses and “>” symbols only to find a paragraph that’s four sentences. My advice, if you’re sending e-mail to a bunch of people who don’t know each other personally use the “BCC:” field (blind carbon copy). You’ll keep your friends & coworkers from being added to numerous spam lists and avoid the one person who’ll use their names to get a jump start with Amway.

The BCC: field is turned off by default in Outlook & Outlook Express. If you create a new message and select “VIEW” from the menu bar, there should be an option to view all headers. This will show you the BCC: field.

SPAM PREVENTION TIP – Have you ever received a spam message and it contained a removal link?

DO NOT use that link (or the e-mail address provided) to remove yourself from the spammer’s list. Thanks to a loophole in the Anti-Spam legislation when you submit the remove request not only have you told the spammer your e-mail address is valid he’ll simply delete you from “List A” and automatically subscribe you to “List B”.

My advice, learn how to setup rules in your e-mail program. Most programs (including Outlook) let you setup spam filters so you can delete the offending e-mails without ever reading them. Be sure NOT to setup a blind filter that says “Delete messages where my name is not in the ’TO:’ field”; you might just have a friend who’s smart enough to send messages using Blind Carbon Copy.

Did I ramble on enough for ya?

Now I know some people say “I just don’t get computers, this is all too hard for me” and hey that might be true. But I’m of the opinion that you can choose to stay unaware and hope that “it never happens to me” or you can take a moment to educate yourself with these simple steps.

Me? I can always use the bandwidth. *chuckle*

Look at me! I can be funny!

Look at me! I can be funny! See, head in alligator’s mouth, that’s funny! Cmon now...Hmmm… it figures the day Rob takes a moment to tell people how super-groovy-cool my website is I’d welcome them with such a serious entry. Well folks, I hope you took the time to look around. I know I did just a minute ago and damn, I think some navigation cleanup is in order.

Overall the weekend went well, although I’m dead tired today. Michelle & I zipped out after work Friday as planned and we arrived at my cousin Wally’s house just before 3am Saturday morning. We probably would have made better time, but we counted almost 20 highway patrol cars (11 stopped speedsters), four highway accidents including a gas tanker that was on fire off the highway. (Yes, you can all scream at me for not stopping to take pictures, that would have been so blogworthy)

On Saturday if Michelle & I weren’t speaking to someone we were eating. Made small talk with my cousin Wally and his wife Baby, ate. Gabbed with my sister Lesli and her girlfriend Steph, ate. Went and picked up my parents at my Aunt Caring’s house, loaded food in the car to take back to Wally’s house, ate. Then we made the trip to visit my Aunt Maggie and the sisters made sure she ate.

I’m not prepared to talk about the visit at length just yet, but it was a good afternoon.

After visiting with my Aunt Maggie we drove across town to see her daughters and grandchildren. We crashed a birthday party and it was amazing to see the changes in my cousins after so many years. My cousin Maya, now with three daughters, I hadn’t seen since I sang at her wedding 15+ years ago. My cousin Amy stopped by with her kids and she’s a grandmother!

And then we ate. I swear every time I turned around on Saturday somebody was handing me food. I’m not complaining, between the crab legs, barbecue, gumbo, crawfish, spicy dogs and birthday cakes, it was all I could do to down some beignets & coffee before we did any drinking that evening. (Beignets are fried squares of pastry generously topped with powdered sugar, yummy must have treats when visiting)

Lesli, Steph, Michelle & I ended up at the French Quarter that evening to get a taste of the New Orleans night life. We didn’t make too much of a ruckus as the thought of driving 9+ hours hungover quickly came to mind after a few shots of Jaeger.

Everyone took off the next morning. My parents got an early start at 6am, while Lesli & Steph headed to the airport about 8am. Michelle & I made another trip to see my Aunt Maggie and Maya & the girls caught us in the room. I snapped off a couple of quick pictures (which I couldn’t do Saturday) and then we headed back to Dallas.

To get a better look at that crazy gator photo checkout the album from the weekend..

My life sponsored by Namco…

We can’t escape it, Corporate America has taken hold of the people and it will not release its grasp until it has converted the masses. Converted into what you say? Hell if I know, I just anticipate needing a corporate sponsor for my wedding and endorsements if Michelle & I have kids in the future.

It seems the Direct Marketing industry struck a blow to the FTC’s Do Not Call list which was supposed to go into effect October 1st. The list (found at would allow citizens to opt out of the thousands of telemarketer calls made on a daily basis around the country. By registering on the list you would be allowed to file charges/complaints/etc against any marketer that bothered you once the list was in effect.

Thanks to intervention by the U.S. Court in Oklahoma City the list will not be activated on schedule.

I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but the only calls I receive on a landline are telemarketer calls. An average of 35 a day, I shit you not – 35 A DAY. Say what you want about having Caller ID, the point is at least once every 15 minutes my home phone rings. And after I get home from work, guaranteed there will be an answering machine full of “Hello… hello?” *click* or dialtones in five minute increments. I finally unplugged my home phone because it was too much of a hassle.

It’s an interesting dichotomy as advertisers & consumers need each other. I’m just of the opinion that in the interest of making the almighty dollar society at this point is becoming way too commercialized for my tastes. I understand the need to have billboards placed prominently throughout an arena, but does it really drive up sales by calling the stadium Bank One Ballpark? Is it really such a big deal to say “You’re watching the Rose Bowl sponsored in part by Taco Bell” as opposed to “Welcome to the Taco Bell Rose Bowl Championship”. Blech… every time I hear that or something similar I want to throw up. Public venues are essentially corporate franchises named or renamed. Hell, goto and I’d be willing to bet you’ll see Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in multiple cities.

What’s in a name?

Apparently millions of dollars in ad revenue.

Maybe it’s the force fed approach that gets to me. The fact that it’s intrusive and companies are allowed to hoard demographic data as they see fit. I personally don’t want my time wasted with telemarketer calls. Especially on my cell phone. Uhm… excuse me, but now you expect me to pay for the minutes used while I tell you to stop calling me? I’m sure folks around the country (except during the Superbowl) step away from the TV when a commercial comes on and even more will embrace Tivo or other cable options because there’s less advertising. Don’t tell me I have to watch your commercials, I don’t have to watch and I don’t have to buy.

Take note Corporate America, the average consumer is inundated with your marketing crap via phone, fax, e-mail, snail-mail, TV, etc., on a daily basis. It’s starting to feel like The Truman Show so for the love of God maybe you can turn it down just a notch.

UPDATE 2:12PMNice to see I’m not the only one pissed off by this.