Thursday, December 18, 2008

Goodbye, Paycheck... was nice knowing you. No, I'm not getting fired (and no, it's not because I called in gay.) My problem going forward isn't going to be with receiving a paycheck--it's going to be with keeping it. You see, yesterday, I went to a meeting of my fellow network admins from the various departments at work, and one my colleagues had a cool site to show everyone--a techie site called DealExtreme, and more specifically, their "gadgets under $2 section". It's like iTunes--I start out just after one or two things, but the more I look, the more I want, greedy bastard that I am. Who wouldn't want a double-LED keychain flashlight shaped like a pig? Or a butane lighter shaped like a cigarette? The cigar snobs would FREAK if they saw me light a cigar with that! A 2-in-1 laser pointer and LED flashlight? Two ways to blind people! An iPod cable for $2 and change? I paid over $20 the last time I needed one! And the best part--all of these little toys ship for free. No "$10 shipping on a $5 purchase" nonsense here. So thanks a lot for showing me this site, Steve...maybe I'll come move in with you when my mortgage payment is spent on yet another shipment of cheapo gadgets.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

3 Sixes

I've been tagged--challenged by Squidly to post the 6th photo from the 6th page of my Flickr stream. So here it is--an action shot of a Rangers game I was at nearly a year ago.

Action around the net

According to the way the game works, I'm supposed to tag six more bloggers to do the same, but like Squidly, I don't know that many, and the ones I do know don't use Flickr. Nonetheless, if you guys ever get it, I tag the Brooklyn Blowhard and the Outhouse Times-Picayune to post some pictures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No, Wait, I'm Here

I have to make a post today--I wouldn't want anyone to think I called in sick. I'd've been at work today if I'd contracted a case of the Ebola virus. I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea. Heck, even the indicted soon-to-be-ex-governor of Illinois made sure to bail himself out of jail and get his ass into the office.

Not that I have anything against the gays. As far as I'm concerned, whatever anyone wants to do behind closed doors is their own business. As long as you don't hit my nose, you just go ahead and swing your arms in big, giant windmills. But Prop 8 is a different story entirely. That was a referendum--perhaps the purest form of democracy there is in this country; the ultimate in majority rule. And in this case, the majority decided they didn't want gay marriage, by a 6% margin--in a state the size of California, that's a lot of people! This protest is all about using the courts and/or legislature to overrule the direct, stated will of the majority of the people. And no matter what the issue, that's just un-American.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Party Like It's 1999 (or 1993)

I had a longer drive than usual to my family's Thanksgiving dinner this past weekend, due to the fact that my parents are now happy retirees living in Tioga County, PA rather than Berks County, PA. Fortunately, I had good company for the ride--new albums by bands I used to listen to growing up: Guns 'N Roses, AC/DC, and Metallica. The latter two were and still are two of my favorite bands ever (Metallica's godawful "St. Anger" notwithstanding), and although I wouldn't count G'n'R in the "favorite" category, I usually don't turn the radio off when their songs come on. The results--well, they were pretty much as I thought they'd be before giving them a listen.

Best Overall Album: Metallica - Death Magnetic
Wow, these guys are back in a big, big way. Following the aforementioned piece of crap St. Anger with this is reminiscent of the New York Football Giants winning the Super Bowl last year after losing their first two games in embarassing fashion. This album has a retro thrash-metal feel, getting back to the long, epic songs Metallica was famous for in the '80s. There's even an instrumental composition--they haven't had one of those since "...And Justice For All" (not counting "Ecstasy of Gold" on "S&M"). Even the song I expected to suck (The Unforgiven III--songs don't need sequels, and they definitely don't need second sequels) didn't.

Best Songs: AC/DC - Black Ice
This one was exactly what I expected: fifteen new AC/DC songs with the same great sound this band has always had. You could take any one of these tracks, tack it onto the end of a copy of Back in Black, hand it to a non-AC/DC fan, and they wouldn't know it didn't belong. Great car songs that will be staying on my iPod for a long time to come.

Most Improved: Guns 'N Roses - Chinese Democracy
This group really shouldn't be called Guns 'N Roses anymore--more like "Axl and Friends", since he's the only member left. That aside, there were a lot of songs here that I really dug. Certainly not good enough to justify 15 years of production, but not bad. A very "modern" sound compared to a lot of early G'n'R stuff that hasn't aged particularly well. (Can anyone make it through a complete listening of "Patience" without changing the dial or hitting fast-forward? Didn't think so.)

These are all worth a listen, but ranking them is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. For me, I'll stick with the new Metallica, but would recommend any of these people like me who were fans of these bands in the '80s and '90s.