Hurricane John

Life in the land of Hurricanes

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The bloody sock
First I must say that what Curt Schilling has done this postseason is absolutely courageous. He's obviously playing through a ton of pain and has performed outstanding and is very much responsible for the Red Sox and their current position. Unfortunately some fire has come with the issue of his bloody sock. This is a made for tv story. Not only is the bloody sock a red sox, but there has been question of whether it is genuine or just a prop stunt (unfortunately I can't find the news story but I heard about it on ESPN). Frankly I'm surprised and hurt that someone would suggest something like that. Schilling has already acomplished most any pitchers goal save the Cy Young and has too much to lose in Boston to pull a stunt like that. Now I did hear the argument that the blood stain on the sock looks the same at the end of the game as it did at the beginning. Now here's my theory on that. Schilling is really superstitious. Now I don't have archival photos to turn to, but my guess is that the blood on the sock is genuine and that he has been wearign the same sock since game 6 against the Yankees. I know that sounds gross but that's what ballpalyers do. I'm guessing that some of that stain is old and that he no longer has the leaky stitches. He probably even has some sort of gauze between the sock and suture but the truth is the man was hurt and he hasn't lost a game with his old lucky bloody sock.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Ashlee Simpson is a hack
Did anybody catch SNL this last week? No? Well I'm not surprised. It's not quite the same as it used to be but it can still have it's moments with the politcal fury going on, especially their parodies of the debates. Anyway this last week Ashlee Simpson was the musical guest, or for better description, pretty girl with a microphone. She was caught commiting the act that all of us are sure that every pop artist commits. She was lip synching to a background vocal track. They completely played the wrong song and the whole bit was cut. Those on the west coast probably noticed something weird but didn't here the vocals. This is because NBC edited it for the reairing but here on the eastcoast I saw it all of it's horrible glory. The whole thing can be downloaded here. I think the worst part is rather than fess up she blamed the band. The only mistake they made was actually playing their instruments. Don't blame the band when you can't sing. Apparently she was using the vocal help as a one time thing because acid reflux disease gave her a raspy voice, come on. And whether or not it was the drummer or the SNL audio crew that screwed up, it was a complete disaster that shouldn't happen with professional singers, with talent, performing live.

I just hate pop singers. I've never really been a fan of solo artists, or more explicitly those who don't play and write their own songs. Only those who are really great singers deserve to be recorded. A true test to their abilities is how they perform live without the help studio magic. Clearly Ashlee Simpson has nothing to offer, this can also be likely said about her sister and everyone knows Britney can't sing. Hell, the American Idol singers have leaps and bounds more talent. Just stick to the acceptable acting Ashlee and ditch the musical career and that hideous black hair (that's another current trend that I just don't get).

Sunday, October 24, 2004

This is basically my favorite file extension as of lately. It's a lot more reliable than normal file sharing methods and can often be a whole lot faster. I use it only to download television shows. Anyone who knows me knows that I love TV and try to watch a lot of the pop culture but I always had trouble trying to watch everything. I'm not always home and some things are all on at the same time, especially Thursdays. I could never find anything on Kazaa and there were never enough peers. With BitTorrent there's always somebody, at least for the new stuff. There are also sites for movies and songs but I'm just sticking to TV shows.

With all this downloading I needed to make lots of space on my hardrive and clear memory. This is mainly the reason I've been absent from my computer so much. I can't really download and do anything else at the same time. I've purchased some memory to fix that. I've also bought a ton of CD's to burn all my programs but most importantly I needed to find a video media player that was reliable and functional. Without further ado, I present to you a brief review of some of the media players I know of.

Windows Media Player
The first step is to ditch Windows Media Player. It sucks. Please tell me how to uninstall it (I really haven't taken the effort to figure out how). It has a lot of baggage without much functionality.

Now I use WinAmp for my music but I haven't had much luck with video. I know the newer versions have been vastly improved but there are still better options.

Now this is more of an image viewer. It can play video files but it definitely has very little functionality. Even Windows Media Player has better usability. But it is fast and has other uses. The link above gives a nice little review and shows what it's all about. It also has little to know functionality in fullscreen mode.

This player is also for Linux and may have even been made first for it. It's very good and can play almost any video without the need for excess codecs. This can be nice and avoid having to find, download, and install enough codecs to play your entire library (although I have an easy fix to that problem). The interface is simple and self explanatory. But the easiest media player is...

Media Player Classic
Now this will probably look very familiar to old computer users. In fact, a lot of the info may be old news to you guys, but this is what the old Windows player looked like. Very simple and uncluttered. It doesn't look fancy but it gets the job done. The shear size of it is small and it has most of the same keystrokes that you're used to including alt+enter for full screen and a menu the pops up at the bottom. It also has a good scroll bar for skipping around in the file but can have trouble catching back up to the audio track. And I have had few other troubles with slow down which seems to be common with most players.

This is my new player of choice. It is simple to use but does look very flashy (not the biggest fan) but it has an assortment of skins to use, and I'm sure people are always coming up with better ones. This isn't the only similarity to WinAmp. All the key strokes are by default the same. "X" is start, "C" is pause, "V" is stop, it's the complete package. If you don't like that, you can change the feature to a different key stroke or mouse gesture. It's fully customizable. The player itself consists of a video window and a separate player. With a simple punch of "F" on the keyboard it jumps to full screen. The player will pop up at the bottom of the screen even in fullscreen mode, which isn't necessary with the customizable key strokes but makes things easy. But by far my favorite feature is the desktop mode. Not the best for those running a lot of programs and hogging memory, but it makes the video run as your desktop wallpaper. Very cool for multitasking or instant messinging.

So the choice is up to you but I would only use the last two listed. As I said before, to get all the greatest in high-res videos for small file space you'll need all the correct codecs. These can all be reached at one location, K-Lite Mega Codec Pack. Not only did it come packed with every codec I needed, it was also bundled with Media Player Classic and BSPlayer so they must be the best. It looks like they may have updated it so it may not include everything that was in my version. So please share any comments or suggestions or other options for the best in viewing pleasure.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I speak Haiku
I can get really bored in my class, sometimes. One class in particular. Mostly becasue today he spent one hour talking about a homework question we had just turned in that I had already spent an hour on beforehand trying to understand. Needless to say I really know that question now. Anyway often when I get bored and stop paying attention I pass a few notes to my friends. Basically I write something and they read and give me an answer. Today I decided to be a little creative and wrote only in Haiku. It took my friend until the sixth one to finally realize what I was doing. I understand that the first two aren't conventional even though the sylables are right, I'm pretty sure the others are quite obvious.

The BBQ was very good
I had the rib basket
So much food

Almost a full rack
small cup o' beans
two slices of garlic toast

Then the class started to really drag

Late five o'clock start
Suffer till Moharam ends
I'm very hungry

Then my friend asked, "Are we still having Indian?"

Yes Indian food
We share tandoori chicken
and it is spicy

This is just homework
I finished it, turned it in
Let's just please move on

I can speak Haiku
Sometimes hard, other times not
I must be so bored

I do have good news
I checked my watch and it says
a quarter to six

I admit, not my best work.

On a side note: Go Cardinals and let the curse live on.
My First Fog
Well, kind of. I have of course seen fog before and woken up to it but never realling where I live. There's not really enough moisture in the air in Tempe or Tucson to create a fog. I think I've seen it only once but I get a feeling that it could happen here a bit more often. But now I'm being told by some locals that it isn't common. Oh well, I guess it's best to wake up and not think the world is on fire.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

My Weekend
As I sat in today's class with a pounding headache I realized how my blog kind of sucks, no updates and an unchanged template. You may notice some changes to this blog over the course of this week; or perhaps not. It all depends on whether I take the time to find a new template. One this new is my little Firefox link. I said it before and I repeat, download it and use it as your browser, it is so much better. I'm also very proud of my little rotating images. My first Java script although I had a little help. To remedy the lack of posts, I began brainstorming new posts in class and rather than bombard everyone with all of them now I should have several posts over the course of the week. Expect some rants, I have emotions to vent.

My weekend was pretty good. Troy's sister arrived safely and after picking her up at the airport late Friday night we got together to watch some Scrubs. Scrubs is the best sitcom on right now and I'm proud to say I have Troy hooked. He hasn't seen any of the earlier seasons so we started at the beginning with the pilot. Saturday we went back to the beach but this time Pete and Laura joined us. We went back to Playa Linda and then back to Dixie Crossroads for dinner. I got the 4 dozen shrimp special. That actually is a lot of shrimp but I could eat more. I have an old professor that dared me to match his record of 5 dozen. Well I wasn't going to order more so the girls helped me out. They couldn't eat all of their fried shrimp so I put away another dozen and a half. In your face Nofziger. At the end of that night we played a rousing game of Settlers. And then Sunday we all got together again for a porkchop dinner and Settlers but Laura wasn't up for it so we watched more Scrubs. I'm telling you it's great and I can't get enough. Tuesday nights, check your listing.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Good things to come, hopefully
One of my favorite board game to play with friends is Settlers of Catan. It's a strategy game that is cleverly disguised so that anyone can find it interesting and fun. It's not just for the hardcore gamers. Now Settlers of Catan will go online. Unfortunately it will be all Microsofted but could still be a lot of fun so check it out.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A day at the beach
Last night my mother arrived and I picked her up at the aiport around 11:30. Man the Orlando airport can be confusing. Anyway, I decided it would be a lot of fun to go to the beach. So around noon today we took off east and headed towards Cape Canaveral and the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge. I also invited Troy along so it was a fun little crew on a little adventure. We first went to the visitor center to get a map and the info guy there told us that the manatees were hanging around and pointed out a wellknown lookout area. So we headed out there and I got to see some of the cows of the sea up close and only 5 feet away. It's always more fun to see an animal in the wild and I'm still waiting on my first gator. Then we decided to go ahead and check out the beach.

Now I thought i would have to pay to get into the refuge, but apparently you only have to pay if you go to the beach. I thought i was told that it wasn't much more for an annual pass but it jumped from 5 to 35 dollars so I nixed that idea. The beach was pretty nice. Not really much beach or sand but not too popular so it was nice and peaceful. Not the kind of beach for babe watchin. When we first arrived everyone was running from the beach because it began to storm and the wind and rain was cold and stung like needles. Thankfully it didn't last long so we stuck it out in the car and then went to the surf. The water was extremely warm. Bath water, or at least in the 80s. Felt really nice and there were a lot of big waves. Not great for surfing although many tried. I think if you were really good there were enough waves to keep you excited. I'm thinking about investing in a little boogie board or something to ride the waves. I don't think a short board is quite for me at this point. What's really funny is that although we went to the beach my mom didn't bring her suit. I guess she thought it would be too cold, but man it was funny to see her mope about the water being warm and that she wishes she brought her suit. Silly mother. I'd post pictures but my mom didn't bring here USB cable for her camera. Really silly mother. Well Troy's sister is coming to town next weekend so maybe we can get back out to the beach or try out another one; it was so much fun.
Tucson Eat Yourself
Man I love that festival. It's actually known as Tucson Meet Yourself and I highly recommend anyone in the Tucson area to check it out either today or tomorrow. I woke up this morning just thinking, "Gee I think that festival is today," and sure enough it is. I went to it a couple of years ago and unfortunately vacation plans prevented me from attending last year. Now my sister and I call it Tucson Eat yourself because there is a ton of food. The point of the festival is to expand cultural knowledge and get to know the world. All of the cultural groups and clubs set up booths and perform to expand awareness. But what happens is that every booth cooks up something great and then sells the food for a low price. We're talking way better than fair food. And if you go late Sunday just before they shutdown, they begin slashing prices left and right. When I went I had Indian samosas, lots of meats on stick including chicken, beef, pork, meatball, and lamb. There was also plenty of dessert including mouth watering baklava. I'm making my mouth water right now. So all go check it out and eat to your hearts content.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Nature's reprieve
Things have been pretty calm lately, or at least in reference to weather. It looks as though the natural disaster focus has now taken to the other side of the country. St. Helens has gotten angry again and is about to blow her top and in a good way. I remember learning about the last time the mountain erupted. I was back in grade school and it was interesting that a mountain could 'become' a volcano. How after many years it never went dormant and was always active. Now it looks as though Mt. St. Helens will remain a little more active than in the past and while hopefully not the case, may erupt with more frequency. Well I am thankful that focus has turned elsewhere but unfortunately I feel for the thousands that will likely lose homes from ensuing lava and ash. Kind of makes me want to watch Dante's Peak and Volcano.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fun with a cloud hanging overhead
I've actually had a lot of fun these past two days and gotten a lot done considering I have two huge tests Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday was Friday, which is an off day for me, no classes. Unfortunately for some odd reason, I woke up early and was unable to sleep in. So I made a yummy breakfast and watched a movie. Then I went to the pool to catch some rays and swim some laps. Then I went to CREOL to study and get some questions answered but of course the professors were unavailable. At around six I went down to the rec to play some volleyball. It's always a lot of fun but I hate getting all full of sand. I can never get it out of my car. Then I got a call from Troy and I went over to his place to meet up with Pete and Laura, cook up a burger and then we watched Eternal Sunshine. I'm not quite sure they enjoyed it as much as I did but I'm still glad I purchased it. I got home around 11:30 and went straight to bed...

And didn't wake up till 11:30. Perfect, the sleep-in I wanted and just what my body needed. Went swimming again this morning and it was a great day for sun. Just a bit of clouds to shade you once in awhile but still plenty of sun. Unfortunately no girls out at the pool today and then a bunch of little kids came to the pool and took away the serene silence. I then had plans to do some hardcore studying but once again got a call from Troy. They were going to the place, Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and of course said I was interested. I love hot wings. The sauces were good but the wings could have been a bit meatier. Afterwards we all had a craving for some Ben & Jerry's ice cream so we went across the street to the mall. Now I was really looking forward for some Dilbert ice cream which I had heard was coming back but apparently it was just a ruse so I settled for Oatmeal Cookie Crunch. Very tasty and I had never had cinnamon ice cream before but it was a bit rich. And completely on another whim we decided to see a movie. Laura wasn't quite up for The Forgotten so we decided upon Napoleon Dynamite which was still playing. I thought is was great and I hadn't laughed that hard in so long. It was everything an independent film should be. I don't think it was quite what the others were expecting and therefore didn't enjoy as much as me. I'm still seeing a lot of movies, this being better than some of the others and hopefully I'll get to writing about them some time. Anyway I've had plenty of fun and I love hanging out with my new friends but I should probably be studying. I guess Sunday is my day for that. I mean what else is that day important for?

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