Archive for November, 2008

That other set of links used in prior blog posts

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

We recognize that the increased rate of posts in the month of November has resulted in some links to quality sites being buried in the archives. As a result, we are reposting here those links we have referenced in this blog to date (they are listed in the order they were first posted.)

  • www.thatotherblog.com – (not us, someone who already had a claim to a domain name we wanted: we don’t know anything about them)
  • DarkUFO’s Lost Mysteries – (an awesome reference site for the TV show LOST)
  • Jay and Jack’s Lost Podcast – (very entertaining podcast, primarily about LOST but occasionally other stuff too )
  • WWWF Grudge Match – (the archives of a site which answered those nagging questions like “who would win a fight: Webster or Arnold Drummond?” The link in the original post was mistyped: it is fixed here. Ugh, fixed again December 10 – now it works! Go visit the site – it was worth the wait.)
  • Book of Ratings – (The archives of Lore Sjoberg’s incredible site, currently replaced by http://slumbering.lungfish.com. Assorted specific archives were referenced.)
  • Mile High Comics – (a comic book distributor we used to use back in the mid ’80s)
  • The DC Universe – (The encyclopedia of DC’s comic book characters. The entry for the “Silver Age” Flash character was referenced.)
  • The Marvel Directory – (The encyclopedia of Marvel’s comic book characters. Entries for the Juggernaut, crossroads, and the Beyonder were referenced.)
  • Dominic Cianciolo – (The website for film and video game director, Dominic Cianciolo – a friend from when one of our contributors lived in Michigan.)
  • Our 2008 NCAA Mens BBall Bracket – (Our “sheet of integrity,” so to speak.)
  • American Cancer Society – (Two friends of the site were fundraising for the American Cancer Society: this is the ACS main page. We had links for both Amy Cook and Jessica Allison’s donation pages, but they are no longer active.)
  • 1986 Houston Astros. – (The Baseball Reference . com entry about our favorite baseball team of all-time.)
  • 1986 National League Championship Series Wikipedia Entry – (Just what it says.)
  • Matt Trudell’s Website – (The website of artist, track star, and all around good guy – Matt Trudell.)
  • Scott Copperman’s West Milford Articles – (A collection of articles about Guest Contributor – Scott Copperman’s time in West Milford.)
  • The Junior Rotisserie Fantasy Football League – (A fantasy football league for kids. The league commissioner has a blog and a link to that blog was included in the entry.)
  • Simply Syndicated – (A collection of very clever podcasts and forum discussions.)
  • WWdN: In Exile – (Wil Wheaton’s blog.)
  • TechSupportRich – (Richard Smith’s blog.)
  • Download a Dragonite – (News about how Toys R Us was giving away free downloads of a Pokemon character for their Diamond and Pearl games.)
  • WQHS – (The University of Pennsylvania’s student run radio station.)
  • NTSB findings – (A link to the NTSB’s findings about the crash of AA 587 in November 2001. A link to a newspaper article was also provided.)
  • The Alphabits Online Project 2004 – (Description of and results of an multi-classroom investigation of the letters which make up a box of Alpha Bits cereal.)
  • Mark Rosenfelder’s Facts from his bookshelf – (A guy took one interesting fact from every book on his bookshelf, and made this list. We like the one about the French taught in schools.)
  • B101 – (The first radio station in Southern New Jersey to broadcast Christmas carols this year.)
  • Airplay – (A play while you watch online gaming network that makes television truly “interactive.”)
  • The Weather Underground – (That Other Page’s preferred weather service online.)
  • The Wilton Village Market – (What if Guest Contributor – Scott Copperman had accepted their offer to forsake graduate school and become Bob Lengyel’s assistant manager back in 1992? Imagine how different the world might be.)
  • Public-domain-photos.com – (One of our contributors made use of a photo from this site.)

We also have a set of links on our blogroll.

Back in the day, the blogroll also included:

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. If any of the links were of particular interest to you, please let us know. And be sure to go back and read the earlier entries of our blog, if you haven’t already.

That other thing I would have done with Joe

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

My friend, Joe De Felice, and I used to do all kinds of random stuff.  One of our favorite things to do was to people watch and try to guess people’s names.

It was a great litmus test of potential friends or girlfriends too, because even without knowing the person’s real identity… there were right and wrong answers.

Consider this picture below (obtained from http://www.public-domain-photos.com):
Singing Boy from http://www.public-domain-photos.com

Now, I have no idea what the real names of the people in the picture are or what their story is; however, if Joe or I were to ask you what you think the people’s names were and to provide some backstory… we don’t want to hear “the boy’s name is ‘Mike’ and the lady’s name is ‘Susan,’ and I dunno, I guess he’s singing and she’s playing piano.”

We would be looking for something more along the lines of the boy’s name is “Nathaniel,” and the woman at the piano is “Helen.” With a story like “Nathaniel’s parents are big fans of American Idol and they are grooming Nathaniel to be a contestant once he turns 16. Here we see him singing “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, at a local talent show. Helen is the pianist hired by the talent show producers to accompany all the singers, and she isn’t a big fan of Nathaniel. She finds Nathaniel to be pretenious and is actually hoping that the kid who can the balance a rake on his chin while hula hooping two hoops will win.”

Okay, so maybe that’s not the best example, but we used to sit on the bus or walk through town or work at the Village Market and create fantastic anecdotes about what were probably a very ordinary group of people. [Note to self, but write about the VM in a future blog]

So anyway while at Simply Syndicated last night, I found this post by “Jakob” (any edits to language are my own):

The other day I was walking behind a guy talking on his cell phone. His side of the conversation was:

You did what?… you left your shirt and belt there?!… how did you manage that?… oh it was after that?… right… I guess you wanted to get out of there as fast as you could?… oh, you had to go to church… that makes sense…”

My curiosity was piqued to say the least. Mandi and I were coming up with variations on the other half of the conversation. Good times. “

And in the days since his original post, people have been taking turns filling in the blanks

a:
b: You did what?
a:
b: You left your shirt and belt there?
a:
b: How did you manage that?
a:
b: Oh, it was after that?
a:
b: Right.
a:
b: I guess you wanted to get out of there as fast as your could?
a:
b: Oh, you had to go to church?
a:
b: That makes sense.

For example: (by GAB)

a: I shaved all the fur off your cat’s tail.
b: You did what?’
a: You heard me. I did it over at mom’s place -  fur everywhere! Ever since then, I’ve been driving around topless and holding my pants up.
b: You left your shirt and belt there?
a: Didn’t have a choice. Little furball ripped the shirt to shreds, but I tied her down.
b: How did you manage that?
a: The belt. It’s still rigged to the faucet on the bathtub in mom’s bathroom. I didn’t want to leave it, you know, but since mom had just kicked dad out of the house…
b: Oh, it was after that?
a: Yeah. She told you then. I got there when she was leaving to meet an attorney or something. So, I got in with Barbarella while she was home and I realized later when I put Barbarella back in the car that mom had changed the locks on me, too. I still had the old key.
b: Right.
a: Didn’t seem right to leave all the fur in her bathroom, so I tried to get in through the back but I somehow managed to set off the alarm system.
b: I guess you wanted to get out of there as fast as your could?
a: Wouldn’t you? Plus, I was already late getting over to St. Japeth of the Waves.
b: Oh, you had to go to church?
a: Of course. Barbarella is going to be the female opossum in the children’s play about Noah and the Ark. Dress rehearsal started at 3 p.m.
b: That makes sense.

It’s silly, I know, but when I found the post, I immediately thought of Joe and (to quote Jakob) the “good times.”

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other Black Friday denial – pt 2

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

One hockey practice and a 9-0 scrimmage win (including a goal by Jay) later, I’m back to finish my story about my Black Friday experience.

Let’s see, when I left off last, I had just described the crew in front of me.  It was a good 15 minutes or so that I was the back of the line, and I started to wonder if I was missing something.  I counted and recounted the group in front. The cacklers were boasting that “all four of us are here for the laptop and those people in front are too, so I don’t think you [the couple] are going to get one” and declaring over and over about how if they’re not one of the first 10 people in line, they pack up and go home.  Funny, but they weren’t in the first 10 today…. and I was wishing they would shut up or go home.

Maybe it was some sort of twisted mind game that middle aged shoppers play?  I don’t know, but between the cold and their senseless chatter – they were starting to get in my head and psych me out.  I knew the ad said “minimum of 5 per store” and it was unlikely there would be many more than 20 machines available.  I started picturing how the laptops might’ve been configured on a palette for shipping… I determined that I might be able to get one, but I’d be one of the last to do so.  I wondered if I should consider bailing out and going to Walmart for the same laptop at $80 more, or Best Buy…. no, I was going to stay here and ride it out.

Irritated by the noise from up front, I put on my headphones and began to watch “Ultimate Avengers” on Jay’s Zune. I’ll go into my review of that movie at a later time, but about 20 minutes in I heard a muffled voice that seemed to be asking me a question.  I looked up and saw that there were now three people behind me in line.  The pair immediately behind me were a mother/daughter team from Vineland who were asking me what time I’d arrived.

We chatted for a while, and I found them a refreshingly normal foil to the nut-jobs in front of me.  They were there for the laptop as well, and had that same sense of “not gonna get it” that I did.  We discussed the alternate stores… the mother swore she’d never go to Best Buy after having witnessed a fight there years ago. She added that the people at Circuit City “are so rude.” And her other daughter was in line at WalMart. I told her about the same laptop being available there for slightly more, and her eyes lit up…. “Let me call Lisa and see if maybe she can get me one as a back up” she said.

Lisa was #3 in line at Walmart!  And she had a friend with her…but they saw no evidence of a laptop special at Walmart.

“It’s there.  I know it’s Walmart because of the crazy price… it’s like $448 or something weird that ends in an 8.” I told her.  “It’s toward the back of the circular.”

“Nope, she says it’s not there.” was the response.  On that note, I was done talking to these people about it.  I’d offered to help, they said I was wrong. I’ll move along.  But then I heard the mom continue, “are you sure? He seems like he knows what he’s talking about, ask if anyone has a different circular…. no, it’s definitely not Target, he says it ends in an 8.”

I appreciated her belief in me, and so I added that I thought I’d seen an updated circular in the paper today.

“448?  Yeah, that’s the one… yeah… they have it? Okay, great… get me one unless I call and tell you otherwise, and get one for Lizbeth too.” And then she turned to me “thank you so much, that takes a lot of pressure off us.”

I appreciated that.  And it was such a different tone than the noise I’d been listening to for the prior half hour.  We went on to exhange Wii hunting stories from last year and I shared my own #3 in a pre-dawn line story from when I had to line up at 4:30 in the morning to sign the kids up for swimming lessons last spring. They were friendly but not smothering… and after a while they started to talk amongst themselves more about the cold and Lisa’s luck at Walmart (she’d arrived at 11:30).

You know, there’s no real guide on etiquette for waiting in line.  How much should you talk to the people?  What favors are appropriate to ask? Can you ask someone to watch your spot while you go the bathroom? What about running to your car for gloves? Should you allow them to go get coffee? Should they offer you some? Where’s the boundary of what is appropriate and what is not?  After all, you are technically in competition with these people.

I… because I didn’t despise these women the way I did the cacklers, would have been generous…. but they were behind me, so I didn’t really have much to offer. I extended any courtesy I could to the couple in front of me, but they didn’t want anything.

So I kind of went with the flow…. I tried not to eavesdrop, but if the conversation seemed directed at me, I contributed. I didn’t have any blankets or anything to share, but I would have.

The next time I looked at my watch it was 1:42 AM. I sent a text message and photo to my brother’s cell phone, which prompted a brief flurry of texts back and forth, and I did eventually return to the Avengers movie.

Around 2 AM a local policeman who was assigned to the parking lot rode by and chatted with the people in line. He said there had already been trouble in the other stripmalls in town… Best Buy had been the scene of at least one fight, and things were getting testy somewhere else (I forget where). The majority of the line, now almost 30 people long, started asking for coffee and making those overdone “you’re a public servant, aren’t you? Well, I’m the public.” comments.  Understandably, he smiled and drove on.

At about 2:30, spouses started coming by and delivering blankets and coffee to the people in line. I hadn’t really told anyone I was going to go out and wait, so no one was thinking of bringing me hot chocolate at that hour – and to call and make a request would wake someone up, so I just toughed it out.  The cold seemed to be getting much worse, so I tried to move around a lot… but I wasn’t dressed for this. I had on the same sweater and khaki pants I’d worn to dinner. My dress shoes did little to warm my feet, and I was now shivering almost full time. I remembered that I had gloves in the car, so I went to get them…. but the cold was definitely getting to me.

I marveled at how the boy from the couple in front of me and the guy three people back could sleep. It would certainly help, as time seemed to be crawling, but there was no way I would fall asleep out there. First of all, I don’t sleep much these days anyway, but on top of that, I wasn’t comfortable enough (mentally) to let my guard down and just crash for a while.

People began to talk about the number system other stores used and speculate that Office Depot might match the habit of Best Buy, et al, and give out numbers at around 3 AM.  No such luck.  3:00 came and went with little more than a visit from the police officer.

By this time, Toys R Us had a legitimate line – it wrapped around the side of the building. I don’t know what those people were lining up for. I personally thought the Toys R Us deals were mediocre at best. Regardless, the sight of mothers with toddlers and/or infants getting into line at 3 AM generated a bunch of judgements comments from many faultless people in the Office Depot line.

Sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 each of the women behind me (daughter first, and then mother) drove to the Walmart line to chat with sister/daughter Lisa and use the port-a-potty at their line. [I know you don't need to know that, but I'm setting something up.]  They came back and each told me how much better they’d felt after going to the bathroom, and how long the Walmart line was, and how they had 7 port-a-potties, and how great it was to have warm coffee from Mc Donalds in them, and did they mention how great it felt that they got to go the bathroom? Of course, now I had to go. But I wasn’t going to ask them to watch my spot while I drove to Walmart.  Plus, I was freezing… almost convulsing as I shivered.  It was brutal.  I was afraid that if I went in my car I’d seriously consider just going home.

By now, the line at Office Depot had about 60 people in it. I felt fairly sure I was not going to get a laptop, and I was really, really cold. I was at that point where I’d been waiting too long to justify just packing it in, and I was close enough to the front that I MIGHT have gotten a laptop.  I started chatting again (I had been off and on all night) with the mom/daughter… they were having the same sense of doubt.  They asked if I wanted Lisa to get me a laptop at Walmart, but I thanked them and explained that I had put myself under a strict “no concession purchases” rule.  There was a reason I had gone here instead of Walmart, and I understood that the whole goal of the laptop offer was to get me into the store and make me justify going with a less desirable alternative.

The mom, sensing I was starting to break, suggested I walk over to Mc Donalds and get a coffee. I don’t drink coffee, but maybe hot chocolate… but more importantly, I needed to go the bathroom.  I wasn’t going to be able to wait 2 more hours shivering like I was.  I asked if it was only the drive-thru or the whole place.  Whole place? I took her up on holding my spot, and I jogged over.

The Mc Donalds in that strip mall is fairly small, and it does not sell hot chocolate. (Really?) But it was empty, the heat was on, and they had a bathroom. I returned to line at about 4:05 warmed and reenergized for the remaining two hours.

By 4:450 AM, the first Office Depot employees arrived. To the dismay of the people in line, they moved very leisurely and did not offer any information or assign numbers to the line outside. The people in line strained to catch a glimpse of any significant activity within the store, but nothing was seen.

At 5:00 the Toys R Us line started moving…. from two directions. It seems that a group of ethically challenged shoppers had been loitering in the parking lot and converged on the door from multiple directions at the first sign of movement. The yelling got the police involved, and it eventually got sorted out, but it had that crash at a race track kind of excitement to it.

During the next ten minutes cell phones began to ring with updates from people at other stores: Walmart had simply opened the doors and let everyone in at once – no numbers, no priority.  This put the mother/daughter behind me in a state of panic as “Lisa” was understandably going to get her own things first and then would go to electronics… which had no organized line, she relayed. It was an anxious 15 minutes as the mom waited for news… “they got one… and would let us know if they could get another…” .

Meanwhile, back in Office Depot, I found myself the tallest person in line, and I noticed the employees were wheeling U-boats with various Black Friday specials items on them to the front of the store.  One at a time, they unloaded the contents…. monitors, cameras,… pretty much 6 or 7 of each…. and then finally… some laptops…. 8 Toshiba, and 17 Hewlett Packard laptops.

I knew then that I wasn’t getting one, but how could I leave? I began to rationalize that they might have more in back or up high…. but I knew that there were two different HP laptop models for sale that morning so at best, there were 9 of the laptops I was seeking. I shared what I’d seen with the mother/daughter duo, who had just received news that a second Walmart laptop had been obtained. They offered once more to try and get me one, but I politely declined… and then…

I noticed I was now #23 in line.  Let me recount… No, now I was 27.  Really?  Wait, 30?  A whole group of people had emerged from cars and were now filling the line in front of me. Despite having the laptops from Walmart, mother/daughter duo started making a lot of noise as did the rest of the people behind them. The line at Office Depot was now nearly 100 people long and extended around the side of the building. Those of us in the first 20 places were holding out hope that the 1 per household policy would allow us to still get a laptop – and now this was being quickly put into jeopardy.

There was a lot of under the breath muttering, and then finally the mother behind me went to get a cop.  Long story short, most of the newcomers fled at the policeman’s arrival, some others I could identify as having been among those shuttling back and forth all night, while still more claimed to be family not interested in buying only there to pay or support emotionally (?). The bottom line is I was back to #21, maybe lower…. depending on how that whole family thing played out.

The policeman visited the Office Depot employees and explained the concerns. They told him “we have done this the last three years without incident. We have a plan and a system in place, tell them all not to worry.”  Well, people were worried, and tired, and irritated, and just wanted to know if they were going to get a machine or not.

Another 20 minutes went by with tempers starting to flare among the people in line, both among each other and at the Office Depot workers who seemed in no hurry to address the crowd. I, personally, was resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be getting a laptop, but I couldn’t justify leaving when I was so close to the door and so close to the 6 AM opening time.

Finally, at 5:53 AM, the staff came out… they declared that they would only honor a 1 per family policy…. and they went through the line one at a time asking your name and what you wanted to buy.  I watched as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… 8…. and 9…. people (actually 9 of the first 15 people in line) “bought” the laptop I wanted. Then the clerk got to the lady just ahead of the cacklers…. the woman asked the employee something, and then angrily yelled “If you want a laptop, they’re all gone… go home” as she stormed out of line.

The cacklers each had to ask “you don’t have any more of that laptop?” be told no, and then ask if they could get a raincheck… no.  EVERY ONE of them said the same thing… one after the other.

If there is one good thing about that night, it’s that they were denied as well.  Actually, I shouldn’t say that…. I was pleased to have been able to help the people behind me…. but sad for the young couple before me, and of course myself.

I didn’t really need the laptop, I just thought…. I’m going to be up until 4AM anyway, and it’s a good deal.  It was fun (in a way), and I would do it again for the right item.  But, I do think Office Depot could’ve handled it all differently.

They were that busy on Wednesday before closing, that they couldn’t have gotten everything set up ahead of time? They couldn’t have posted an item count on the door or enacted some sort of numbering/information system earlier than 5:50 AM?

So, that’s the short version.  I know it reads long, but remember this over 5 hours of information.  I got home at around 6:15, and fell asleep for about 4 hours.  I woke up aching from having been “clenched” in a shiver for so long. I was a little cranky (I regret that), but it was from being tired and uncomfortable – not from having been denied the laptop.

I will probably run in later today and get the shredder and thumb drive I would have gotten that day if they’d had the laptop. As far as buying a new computer, I’ll watch the cyber monday deals and I expect I’ll find something else out there before I REALLY need one.

That’s another chapter in my oh-so-exciting life.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other Black Friday denial – pt 1

Friday, November 28th, 2008

All right… now, here’s the situation… (my parents went away on a week’s vacation… ha ha ha … um… no…)

I DID go out and wait in line for a Black Friday deal. However.  I was denied…. DENIED!

It was both fun and awful at the same time.

I had reviewed the circulars for the many stores in my area, and ultimately decided that I would do the whole “wait in line” thing if I found the right deal. I was tempted by some of the computer deals, but tech savvy enough to know what I did and did not really want.

I ultimately narrowed the list down to the HP G50 – 112r at Office Depot, a Toshiba laptop at Best Buy, or another HP (essentially the same as the Office Depot machine only a little more RAM and HD space).  Hahaha, can you guess, which one I picked?

the Office Depot laptop I did not get

Yes, I thought this was the best value of the day – and a thorough search online showed many people agreed with me. I was able to get the specs and read enough reviews both of this PC and of the deal itself that I decided I would be a Black Friday line-up person.

I’d been planning the whole adventure in the back of my mind since Wednesday, but by 11 PM Thursday I was still relatively unprepared: I hadn’t charged Jay’s Zune or Nintendo DS, and most importantly I still hadn’t done my online research or finalized a product choice.  [The Cardinals were playing the Eagles on TV, and Jay and I were playing "pick the play" online while watching the game - we came in first in our group and 31st out of over 800 overall by the way.] When the game ended and Jay went to bed, I rushed around and got myself ready.

So, then it was midnight… and I was basically just stalling while Jay’s Zune charged. I wasn’t really sure what time would be best to go out and wait. On the one hand, I don’t think I’ve ever been in Office Depot at a time when the number of customers was greater than the up to 5 employees working. The Office Depot near me is part of a two store “strip mall” – with Toys R US – within the same poorly designed shopping complex as Walmart, McDonalds, a grocery store, and IHOP, and a few other random places.  It’s not that it’s an awful location – but by comparison Best Buy is in a large open strip mall with Target, Dicks, Babies R Us, Staples, Kohls, etc… that place would be packed.  This store, with it’s relatively late 6AM open time and isolated location would be the ONLY stop for people who waited in line there.  So I thought, perhaps I could wait a bit.

But then I thought about what I’d read on the internet: this was the consensus “best deal” on a laptop of the Black Friday shopping specials.  And I live in a suburb of Atlantic City, NJ – with this being the only Office Depot within a 40 minute radius. And, while I personally tought Toys R Us had nothing impressive in their Black Friday deals, it might be that a family would be at Toys R Us anyway and decide “we might as well get in line for the laptop too.”

So, I decided I’d take a ride over (it’s less than 3 miles from my house) and see… maybe I could put a chir down or something.  I quickly grabbed Jay’s electronics, put on a jacket and baseball hat, grabbed a folding chair, and zipped over.

At 12:35 AM, there were 18 people in line.

How many do you count?

It was 28 degrees, what were these people thinking? (www.wunderground.com says it got as cold as 22 before sunrise). Meh, I knew what they were doing… they were doing what they had to do to get a good deal on a lap top.  All right… I could do it too. I got my folding chair and “toys” and got in line.

I took a moment to survey the group of 18 people in front of me. I say “18″ but the count proved to be fluid.  The first 6 people were actually a collection of 12 who kept shuttling in and out of cars.  No one really said anything, and I just kept counting my position… it was a low as 15 and as high as 20… I could live with that (rookie comment, I know).  But, I kept an eye on what was going on… and I was okay with it.

Positions 7-12 were occupied by what looked like two families.  I was hopeful that the “one per household” rule would be enforced, but I counted them as 6 individuals anyway.

#13, 14, 15, and 16… ugh… the cacklers.  I realize I’m not really in a position to sit and judge anyone these days, but I had to bite my tongue so many times.  The catty, cocky, judgmental, gossipy, ignorant “noise” coming from these four women made me consider getting out of line more than a dozen times.  Oh my god… I just sat and bit my tongue – spoke to them only when spoken to – hid my complete disdain for them (really, I did… honest.I was good).

Positions 17 and 18 were held by a young couple (boyfriend and girlfriend?).  They were definitely not dressed for the weather – they were wearing jeans and a hoodie each.  The guy was there for the same laptop I was, and the young lady was there keeping him company.  They were getting far too much advice from the cacklers (go get a sweater, go sit in the car, he should be giving you his hoodie, don’t you keeep a blanket in the car, go get some coffee, nag nag nag nag nag… gaaaaaaaaaaaah!)  They showed incredible restraint, although being on the opposite side of them than “the cacklers” I caught the many eye rolls and mouthed “shut up!”s the young couple exchanged.

So this sets the stage… I’ll post what happened during the next six hours when I get back from Jay’s hockey practice.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other blogroll tweak

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Oops. Somewhere in the past few months, the blogroll links got messed up. I probably should update from WordPress 2.1.3 to the more current editions – ya think? I fixed the links, added one, and I’ll have to keep a closer eye on them all.

It’s funny… I must narrate to myself a dozen, read-worthy blog entries each day. When I’m driving, when I’m walking, in the shower (tee-hee), whatever… they’re actually coherent, relevant, Wil Wheaton-quality narratives. But when I log in later, I never seem to follow through on them.  I mean, look at my post about Coll’s uncle’s plane crash: geez, that took me two years to actually get online.

So why is that?  I think part of it is a sense that maybe it’s not as interesting as I think it might be. Part of it is I am a little guarded about how much information I want to put out there online – I don’t want to put something that will embarrass my kids or family or be easily twisted out of context. And yet, at the risk of seeming not-humble-enough, I think some of it would be pretty good.  I’ll have to reevaluate my self-censorship and see if I can’t maybe get a few more things past the editor’s desk in my brain.

It’s 5:58 PM here in New Jersey. I’m stuffed from a good Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m just sitting here checking some websites and updating my fantasy football lineups before watching the Cardinals/Eagles game. All things considered, it’s been a good day. I hope everyone else had a good day as well.

I’m trying to decide whether to go be a Black Friday shopper and wait in line to buy a new laptop.  The question is WHERE and WHEN to go.  I’m trying to decide between Office Depot (likely the smallest line), Best Buy (likely the longest line), or somewhere else.  I’ll have to read over the advertisements again.  Last year I did an early morning camp out for a Wii (I was #117 and they had 120 Wii units available), and I’ve waited in line for 3 hours to sign my kids up for swim lessons (I was #3 out of over 250 in line).  This could be fun…. I’ll take Jay’s Zune, watch Spiderman 3 or some old Godzilla movies or maybe some Justice League cartoons… I just have  feeling I’m going to end up being at the wrong store.  Hmmm…..

All right, well , I guess I should go research this all.  Again, I hope you all had a great holiday. Watch for some higher quality blog posts in the near future.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other “turkey day”

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

“Dad?”
“Yeah, Jackie?”
“I wanted to tell you that, in school, I sometimes hear people call Thanksgiving ‘Turkey Day.’”

Happy Thanksgiving, readers.

I have many many things to be thankful for.  I’m not going to list them all here… but I will say that I value the big and the little things that make my life so full and meaningful. I really do.

At the moment, though, I’m going to go up to bed so that I can make the most of what should be a very good day with family tomorrow (today).

Look for Jay and I on Airplay tomorrow during the football games (JayandDad), especially during the Cardinals/Eagles game, and have a happy holiday weekend.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other distracting echo

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

For a couple of weeks now, an acquaintance in Great Britain and I have been doing some foundation work for an across the Atlantic podcast. Part of this preparation was the exploration and cost analysis of various methods, the eventual downloading of Skype and Call Burner, and the playing around with those same programs.

The 5 hour time difference has been an obstacle to getting a test run going so far, so this afternoon I decided to see what I could do with my son, Jay.  Jay was home sick from school today, so we had plenty of time to get it all hooked up. We normally share a single microphone in a tripod, but I figured we’d use usb headset mics like I’ll use on Skype.  This was an adventure and a half, but a fun one.

So first, came the epiphany that you can’t really use two usb microphones plugged into one PC.  I should have known that, and as I read the reasons why online I gave myself a virtual kick. I used to be one of the more tech savvy people you’d meet.  However, time and circumstances have me simply more knowledgable than your average joe these days… I can follow most explanations and problem solve a lot of things.  But, I’m falling behind.  Anyway, I thought I could… I should have known I couldn’t.

So, I quickly set up a second Skype account on my laptop and had Jay sitting next to me plugged into the laptop as I called him from my desktop.  Not exactly New Jersey to London, but for all I know the signals going between our computers may very well have travelled the world to get from one PC to the machine 2 feet away.

After some minor tweaking (and Jay figuring out how to call me… which he did several times during the “tweaking” process) we were able to communicate via Skype.

So, the plan was to do a Mystery Science Theater 3000 type thing.  Now that we were on different PC’s, Jay couldn’t hear the sound from mine (simple fix?  I’ll have to look into it.) So we decided to go to the mythbusters website and simultaneously watch an episode and comment.  I did manage to get it all synched nicely, but the episode was a bit of a clunker.  We wanted to see a full episode and instead we got… “here’s a myth, it’s busted… here’s another myth, it’s sort of true… ,” no actual testing.

And that’s when we realized, Call Burner showed the phrase “Not Recording.”  Ooops.  Let’s see what happens when we click “Record’ (again?  didn’t we click it before?).  Wow… sound meters come to life, the clock starts moving… yep, we just missed 15 minutes of “quality content.”  Ha, well.. luckily we didn’t lose much, and Jay was still interested.

However, I wasn’t going to risk losing him completely and test the sound quality, so we went on and recorded 5 minutes or so.  Mainly about www.airplay.com, but casual conversation in general.  Jay’s got a real charm… if he ends up wanting to do this more seriously one day, he could be a very popular web personality.

Anyway, so we wrapped it up, and it was time to check the audio.  Typically Jay’s volume vacilates a lot during the recording (he fidgets and moves closer and farther from the mic, plus he gets louder when he’s excited), and we had some of that here – but less than usual with the mic fixed 2 inches from his face. What we did have was a dramatic difference in signal strength.  Jay’s mic had a slight hum and seemed to be picking me up, as my voice echos in the recording.

Again, for a former deejay, I’m not nearly as knowledgeable about how to mix audio as I wish I was.  And I just don’t have the time to invest in learning right now, but I think I’m going to soon because I’m fairly sure I could’ve made some edits and improved the quality.  It’s not awful, espcially for a Jay and Dad podcast, but I’ve got some work to do before I can make a ready for prime time quality podcast with Skype.

Let me qualify that I do fully understand and agree that using a mixer and non-usb mics would be much easier. In fact, that’s where my skill set leads me…. that’s what I’m familiar with.  But I’m looking to go budget here, so for now… I’m going to try to make Skype work. Luckily there are many excellent resources available to help me figure this all out. And then if it is the right thing to do, I’ll make the investment in the “proper” hardware.

So Jay and Dad’s Podcast episode 004 is going up later tonight, with a slight echo, and like I said to Jay a few minutes ago – it may not be perfect, but we’ll learn from it and the next one will be that much better.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other awww moment

Monday, November 24th, 2008

My 8-year-old son spent 45 minutes tonight writing my wife and I a letter telling us how much he loves us.

I don’t know why, and it doesn’t really matter. What I do know is that I’m very lucky.

Jay’s an amazing boy. He’s bright, funny, incredibly caring, and one of the most sincere and genuine people you will ever meet. I find myself torn between wanting to cling to every day with him and anxiously anticipating what lies in his future.

Whether its listening to him play Dark Blue on the piano, playing video games together on the Wii, making our podcasts, watching the Charger games, riding bikes to Five Below, sharing a comic book, or just hanging out – he makes me smile 1000 times a day, and I appreciate every chance I get to spend time with him.

Like I said, I’m very lucky.  And one of the coolest things is that he thinks he’s lucky too.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other long three-letter word

Monday, November 24th, 2008

According to Kevin Mabley, “ham” is the longest three-letter word in the English language.

This statement was made to us more than 20 years ago with the following explanation: if you pronounce each letter as with its common duration and do not exaggerate the sounds, “ham” is the most drawn out of the three-letter words.

We recognize that there are other candidates, among them: “now,” “hum,” “fez,” “his,” “has,” and “oil.” However, back in the late 80′s, Mr. Mabley made a compelling case for “ham” being the longest – so much so that it has stuck with us all this time.

In the absence of a strong argument in favor of one of the other words, we must agree with Kevin and endorse “ham” as the longest of the three-letter words.

If you wish to voice your support for one of the words above or some other three-letter word, please do leave us a comment or send an email to thatotheremail at thatotherpage.com. We’ll carefully consider any relevant feedback we receive.

That other game to play while watching TV

Monday, November 24th, 2008

We experimented with Airplay today, while watching NFL football.  It was free, fun, and something we wholeheartedly recommend.

Check it out before the next time you watch  pro or college football, the NBA, baseball, Deal or No Deal, Jeopardy, or  Big Brother.