Happiness. Short-term, stupid, self-interest.

Duke Nukem Forever resurfaces – PC News at GameSpot

Duke Nukem Forever resurfaces – PC News at GameSpot

Bet they are waiting for Christmas….


January 31, 2007 Posted by | Gaming | 1 Comment

Home Renovation – The Idea

lr_sm.jpgSo the kitchen was fixed, but a trade-off of the ranch design in general is the lack of isolation. While it is convenient to get from one end of the house to the other, easy to clean, easy to do laundry; it is also tough to “get away” if you want to. Since the kitchen has become that focal point, it also becomes very noisy. (water running, music on, chatting on the phone, etc) The bonus room is a great get away, but it also serves best as a guest bedroom and home office – that works and I don’t want to change that.

The family and living room are basically in line with the hallway to the bedrooms and kitchen and sound carries down the other way as well, to the sleeping children or competing conversations. We also can’t seem to find an arrangement of either of these rooms that hosts guests well, with enough seating, and yet is cozy for just a small family for the better part of the time. And none of these rooms seem to have the ambiance that makes you just want to be in there. The TV by the fire is coziest we have, but it requires making a fire and TV viewing is only good for 2 or 3 people. Also, storage is lacking and speaker placement for home theater sound is less than ideal.

The home theater is important to me. Why? Well, basically, there is no way for a movie theater to compete with a nice home theater. You get to pause the movie, drink an alcoholic beverage, get as cozy as you like and pay a fraction of the cost. You can also play video games, board games, card games… whatever.

So what we really wanted was a great room that was off on its own and by our design…. and, we already had something to give us a head start… (to be continued)

January 30, 2007 Posted by | Home Improvement | 1 Comment

Take Notice Hollywood – Record Labels Rethink DRM

Record labels rethink digital rights management at Midem – International Herald Tribune

Hollywood (and you sole-source service providers): Please understand that there is more money to be made by making your products available to the masses when it simply just works, much like how you profitted from VHS tapes.  Your larger audience is upstanding customers who pay good money and don’t have a clue how to pirate digital media. Please… please, let me give you my money and let me decide how and where I watch or listen to your product!

January 22, 2007 Posted by | Movies, Music, Tech | Leave a comment

Cat Stories

In loving memory of Mistoff, June 1991 – January 19, 2007 

It was the summer of 1991. Two kittens, stranded on the roadside next to their mother who lay dead after being hit by a car, are saved by a sweet bunch of college girls living in an apartment nearby. These two kittens were freakishly frightened of everything, and I don’t blame them. They hid under the bed or couch only to come out for food, and only when no one was in the room. It was near impossible to pick them up and hold them, but when you managed to do so; they were small enough to fit in one hand. A black one in one hand, a black/grey/white mix in the other; twin brother and sister.

katie-mistoff.jpgNo Pets Allowed. That is what it said in my friends’ lease agreement; but not in mine. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be a pet owner right out of college, but I have always loved cats. It didn’t take much urging from my girlfriend, whom I planned on marrying someday, to convince me to take them in. So I did.

In hindsight, it didn’t really take much time to get these two critters to come around and become the most loving and friendly cats you could ever know. I spent a lot of time playing and hanging out with them. My favorite way to relax was to lay on the couch to watch TV and setup a parking lot of cats on top of me. The devil and the cherub; Mr. Mistoffelees and Angel.

That is just the first “cat story” I have come to know first hand that I love to retell. I have dozens, if not a hundred, of cat stories. I recently came to realize that my 9 year daughter has known them for more than half of their lives. Mistoff, or Stoffy, as he became to be known, really took to my daughter, especially after I trained the cats to stop sleeping with my wife and I. (that’s a cat story right there) So, of course, Mistoff found a welcoming and warm bed with my daughter and they have become inseparable. Mistoff actually follows her to the bathroom in the morning, and back again to get dressed.

I started retelling my cat stories to my kids when they were very young, and it has become an absolute favorite of theirs. It is amazing that these cat stories hold their attention so well. The kids will actually stop what they are doing, sit and get comfy, look up at me with bright wide eyes and then say, “Ok, Dad, tell us a cat story!”angel-002.jpg

I love telling them and it shows. I get very excited and animated when I tell them. As for the material… well, they are cats… they make that easy for me.

If you have ever owned a cat, you must know of the phenomenon where you will hear a noise, often like a “crash”, in the other room, but upon inspection you find that absolutely nothing is out of place. Once in a while, you might see a cat walking out of the room as if taking a leisurely walk in a park and regarding you as if you don’t even exist.


Laying on the couch, watching TV… no, not this time; I’m not fooled. I know very well that if I get up off my comfy couch to see what happened in my apartment bedroom that I would find nothing except two cats sleeping on my bed. I am going to finish watching my show.

… I’m not going to get up…

FINE! I couldn’t take ignoring a loud strange noise anymore. But, I promise you, I won’t be surprised.

I was wrong. There, sitting on the window sill in my bedroom was Mistoff. When I walked in, he turned with a jerk to stare at me with the biggest eyes I had ever seen. Then he jerked back and looked down, and out, the window. That’s when I noticed the window screen was missing. I stood frozen in the doorway. He looked back up at me, then back down out the window. Up at me… down out the window.

murphy-angel-bed-002.jpgIt finally struck me that Angel wasn’t there. I rushed over to grab him before he fell out. With my heart pounding, I looked out the window expecting the worst. But there she was, 3 stories below. Sitting there, not moving, but sitting. And sitting on the window screen. I had to go out the front of my apartment and run around the entire building, the whole way hoping that she was still there. She was, and she was scared, but otherwise she seemed fine. Not knowing feline first aid, I carefully picked her up, watching to see if she was in any pain. The only thing I could find wrong was a scrape on her chin.

So what happened? Is it true cats always land on their feet; and is it also true that they know how to form a parachute with their bodies? I imagine that what truly happened was an insect flew onto the screen that Angel just couldn’t resist. Whether she was just climbing up the screen to get it, or launching herself from the floor, I will never know. But I picture her surfing the screen the whole way down. She obviously had the right instincts, whatever they were.

We called ahead to the vet and off we went; there is no way she can just be fine after that. In the car, in the face of near panic concern, my fiance and I got to joking about what might have happened and what Mistoff was doing. Was he looking at me like that because he was in utter shock and was trying to tell me his sister fell out the window? Or, was he looking at me like, “I swear, I didn’t push her, she did this all by herself!”

At the vet, the doc walks into the very crowded waiting room and asks in a very loud voice, “Is this the cat that fell 3 stories out a window?” The whole room *gasps*. Ugh. “…yes…” I was somewhat embarrassed, like I could let this happen. People all came over to check her out and were amazed. The doc diagnosed her with… you guess it, a scrape on her chin.

We said Angel just lost the first of her nine lives and that she only had eight left… who would have known it turns out that she has, like, 20, and counting??? (But I tell ya, it makes for a string hilarious cat stories; much funnier, and less scary than this one)

Of course, the first thing the cats did when we got back was to go back to the window sill again. After rigging the screen in the best I could, I told Angel to leave the bugs alone and save the screen surfing for someone else*. But, as I looked over at Mistoff, I could almost see a miniature devil apparition floating above him, jeering him on… ‘come on, let’s go push her out again!’

mistoff-in-baby-stroller.jpgThere are so many more stories, the leash story, the refrigerator story, the fish tank story, Stoffy’s patio screen surfing story*, the Macy’s bag story… hundreds I tell you. I have told them over and over to the point that my daughter has written cat adventure stories based on my tales.

One time I came across Mistoff sitting in the hallway staring into the spare bedroom. He was probably around 2 years old at the time. I decided to stop and see what he might be looking at, but I wasn’t sure because the door was only open about 5 inches wide.

He then stood up and walked slowly towards the door and gently started to poke his head into the room. (what could possibly be in there?) But as soon as his whiskers touched the door and the jam, he backed right up to his sitting position.

OK, now I’m really curious, but you can’t get this kind of entertainment on the Internet. (at least not in 1993) Then he started that cat running start, about to pounce, balancing bob, thing. (if you’re not a cat owner, they slowly start to balance back and forth on their hind legs like a tennis player about to receive a serve) He must be going after something…! I’m fixed with excitement!

He then leaps forward, but not to pounce into the room; rather, he leaped forward, tucked his head and did a forward roll, flopping not so gently onto his back and then popped back up on all fours in the bedroom in a tense, ready to run position. He checked left… he checked right… then, he just relaxed and strolled into the room like nothing happened. 

pets-005.jpgIt was like something out of Monty Python. Congratulations, Mistoff! You have mastered “Getting Through an Open Door.”

I have been the most fortunate person in world to have these two cats, and I know it. Truly.

So many stories, together, make up wonderful, vivid memories. Ask me sometime, and I would be happy to tell you one.

January 20, 2007 Posted by | Family, Life in general | 4 Comments

Privately, Hollywood admits DRM isnt about piracy

Privately, Hollywood admits DRM isnt about piracy

*GASP* I’m shocked!

No I’m not… but it seems to be politically incorrect to accuse the movie industry of any wrong doing these days. As a matter of fact, somehow, they have been able to spin it in the media that technology and service providers are to blame. People believe that it is your cable companies fault that they are now preventing the function of a DVR/PVR from fast forwarding through commercials. Well, it’s not. It is the owner of the IP… it is NBC who needs you to watch commercials… it is the NFL that is preventing you from seeing Thursday night games… it is Hollywood that is preventing you from recording in high definition to play back at a later time – because they all are greedy!

DRM has really become a problem for me to the point where I can’t even view the media I properly “have rights to” because, of course, I don’t own it despite that I paid good green money for it.

Check out this article which really throws a wrench into my plans for my home theater system, Vista unable to convert CableCard media, but read carefully… in the end it is the MPAA who has lobbied the government to create laws under the premise of protection from piracy with their true intentions to control how you view media in order to optimize their profits.

So, don’t talk to me about piracy and protecting the intellectual property of Hollywood; talk to me about how to crack the code within the law and within my rights.

January 16, 2007 Posted by | Life in general, Movies, Pet Peeves, Tech | Leave a comment

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories – Making the World a Better Place, One Evil Mad Scientist at a Time

Science is cool… I especially like the science with food. This is one of my favorite blogs that doesn’t just spit out references to other news stories; rather, they talk and show some cool stuff…  stuff you might even want to try at home with the kids.

14. Flying MallowPepperoni basil garlic pizza

January 10, 2007 Posted by | Family, Food & Drink | 1 Comment

The Pain is Over ’til Next Season

The Cowboys had proven they were just a mediocre team half-way through the season when they lost their second game against the Redskins. It showed that the Cowboys can, and will, take perfectly good games and hand them to the other team. The season was a roller-coaster of emotions for fans, players and coaches; most of which were dam painful. Last night, the Cowboys put a fork in themselves to end it.

The pain is over, but I expect to see myself rolling on the floor in agony again next year.

I will resist commenting on the refereeing more than this run on sentence, but there was much pain in the many little things that the home’rs got in their favor (will they ever call an offensive pass interference against the home team, or was it too loud? false starts?); of course, I’ve seen much worse.

Now I’ve got the Patriots and Giants (and maybe even the Jets) to root for through the rest of the playoffs. I hope they provide some pain relief.

January 7, 2007 Posted by | Sports | 1 Comment

Rush — NEP News

NEP News – An excellent read by Neil. They should be in the final mixing this month.

I was watching some Linkin Park on DVD the other day that I got for Christmas and they really sounded pretty crappy compared to their studio stuff. In prep for Guitar Hero II, I popped in YYZ from Rush in Rio for some fretting inspiration. I considered the talent of each band briefly and, for the record, there is no comparison.

January 4, 2007 Posted by | Music | Leave a comment

What This Guy’s Playin – Jan ’07

Jan 2007 – Happy New Year!!!

Video Games

    Now Playing

  • Guitar Hero II – Talk to my agent; and move over Alex Lifeson.
  • TrackMania – Inspired by a successful WinterFest virtual Party, I’m hoping to have 10 new tracks by the end of Janurary for WinterFest II
  • GameCube – I’m “helping” the kids play Donkey Konga, Lego Star Wars II, Paper Mario. Lego Star Wars is well done!
    On the Horizon

  • Oblivion – Add this to the list of games I want to try and will never get time to play.


    Now Playing

  • Soccer is back on starting next Monday!

On the Horizon

  • Skiing anyone? oh wait… there is NO SNOW!

On the Big Screen

    Now Playing

  • Firefly was great – so sad to see the end. We are going to re-watch Serenity. I have a list of action movies to catch up on including Star Wars Episode III, Superman Return, Mission Impossible III, Pirates otC II
    On the Horizon

  • Battlestar Galatica, now is a short wait in Netflix.
  • Good Eats – I received a bunch of episodes on DVD for Christmas.

Music & Radio

    Now Playing

  • Red
  • Linkin Park
    On the Horizon

  • Rush’s new album – should be in final mixing this month.

Life should be fun… GO PLAY!
What are you playing?

January 3, 2007 Posted by | Gaming, Life in general, Movies, Music, Sports, TV | Leave a comment

TVs darkness leads to light –Times Union

TVs darkness leads to light –Times Union – Albany NY


Even this Dallas Cowboys fan would have loved to watch a historical Tiki Barber performance. Thanks NFL… now we all lose.

Why do I blame the NFL? Because the reason Time Warner can’t come to an agreement is because the NFL wants premium channel dollars for Time Warner to offer the channel in the standard lineup. The NFL is throwing it weight around and unfortunately I see Time Warner folding and subsequently the customer will pay the higher cost and be the biggest loser.

January 2, 2007 Posted by | Life in general, Sports, TV | Leave a comment