Monday, January 30, 2006

No Regrets

When I first bought my iPod, I had this sinking feeling I'd be regretting that decision. But after learning that the Zen Vision:M is partnered with Microsoft's PlayForSure MP3 system, I was glad I didn't buy it. I hear it can be a real pain the arse.

Besides, there's lots of cool accessories for the iPod:

I picked up this Boynq iCube at Target today for a mere $15 on clearance. I almost bought it a few days earlier at regular price: $39! I'm glad I waited! It's a charger/speaker system that works with just about any iPod. And I like it. BTW, the music playing (see display) is a ripped copy of my Depeche Mode X1 and X2 box set. Don't worry; you don't have it ;) It's that rare.

Other happenings: We went to Disneyland on Saturday and man, what an experience that was. Anthony was about as crabby as he could be for the first hour. In fact, we actually left after an hour--he was that bad. But after eating dinner, we bundled him up pertty good and he was ready to head back.

He enjoyed the Enchanted Tiki Room, as did Ann. I'm sure it was a sentimental moment for her because she grandmother used to sing the Tiki Room song with her when Ann was little. That, and "Look for the Union Label" (you young'ans better go look that up).

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And being that this is Disneyland's 50th anniversary, they've really gone all out to let you know:

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You can't swing a cat in that place without hitting something that reads "50" on it. We didn't buy any souvenirs since there is a Disney's Character Warehouse outlet store near work. They get all the old stuff that the park couldn't move and sell it all at incredibly cheap prices. A quick trip during lunch is as good as going to Disneyland for gifts--only a lot cheaper. Just one of the advangates to living out here in SoCal.

Another thing they have done is decorate some of the attractions in gold. Here I am sitting in a gold teacup:

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Here's Ann and the kid in a gold Dumbo:

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Another cool thing they've done was create photomosaics from pictures submitted by guests from their trips to Disneyland over the years:

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Speaking of trips from years ago, I still have this shirt (but can't find my Captain EO light-up LED visor):

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All in all, a memorable trip. And being we're from SoCal, our ticket is good for a future visit to California Adventure, Disneyland's red-headed stepchild! Can't complain too much, I guess!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Lied...

Remember me saying that the Creative Zen Vision:M was going to be my next MP3 player? Well, I lied.

I went to Fry's Electronics today in the hopes that they would have the Zen Vision:M. They are carrying it, but it was currently out of stock. After contemplating about waiting another week or so, and considering the video flexibility of it vs. how many videos I might actually put on it, the iPod won.

I'm currently taking a break from the transferring which is not going well. I am not pleased at having to use iTunes to export from my other MP3 player, or that drag-and-dropping onto it is not allowed (I accidentally lost the video for Depeche Mode's "Precious" while deleting files from it). But I just downloaded some software that will hopefully do the trick.

As it stands now, I like my new toy. Amazingly small for 30GB. The transferring continues...

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Hell With It...

Okay, you've probably alread noticed that my "Free iPod banner" is now gone. And there's a good reason for it.

Turns out I completed 2 offers through that so-called rewards program and never got the proper credit for them. Not like I ever expected to, but still.

Anyway, since my Archos AV140 is still non-functional and my backup MP3 player's hard drive is beginning to make crunching sounds, I decided to invest in a brand new one. It'll actually be my birthday present--it's on Valentine's Day--as it has not been released just yet.

I'm talking about this:

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Creative Labs' Zen Vision:M. After searching into the wee hours of the morning for weeks on end, this was my choice. Sure, I could have an iPod for $30 less, but this one seemed to appeal to me better. It also has a longer battery life and plays a larger variety of video files. I'm actually thinking about the Skittle-green one shown here, but any color would do.

So I didn't get my free iPod. But after reading the rave reviews the Zen Vision:M received, I'm glad I waited before I invested too much time into that "free" scam. Our taxes are done; our credit cards now paid off. Time to do a little splurging!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Thomas Project, Day 3

Major progress!

While watching yet another Thomas DVD, Anthony decided to take a nap on the bean bag. In fact, he's still asleep on there as I type! This gave me the perfect opportunity to put a dent in the project.

A coat of Gesso was applied on the whole thing:

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It may not look like much now, but this is just a base coat. Once it dries I can begin applying the colors. Then it will begin to take shape.

Other things that have kept me busy:

Customizing my new cell phone, which included creating and downloading some wallpaper images. I also downloaded the Mario Bros. theme ringtone. You have no idea how long I've been wanting that.

Here's one of the images I generated for the front screen:

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Note that I am neither dirty or a white boy. If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand. For those of you who watch ATHF and like my little creation, feel free to snag it and use it for your phone, avatar, etc.

Oh, and we went to Portillo's in Buena Park yesterday. My God, those are great hot dogs. Documentation provided by the LG VX8100 cam-phone:

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Anthony was asleep while Ann and I ate, but he woke up on the way home:

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That's all for now. Back to downloading more albums!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


My life's been full of interesting decisions lately. I'm not talking life-or-death decisions, just in general.

For example, we went to get new cell phones the other day. While I could have opted for something that simply made calls, Ann applied some logic to the situation: "If you're going to have it for a couple of years, you might as well get something good."

And so we did. We ended up with the LG VX8100. It's got so much crap on it that I don't know what to do half the time. I didn't really need a camera on my phone but I have one now. Here's a shot from the L.A. Auto Show (Saab convertable; image made lo-res for posting goodness):

It's not the sharpest but c''s my friggin' phone! It also has a Mini SD slot to store photos and videos shot with it. Oh, and you can play MP3s on it. Pretty amazing stuff.

Speaking of MP3s, I've also bee contemplating what to do with my old Archos AV140. I like the 40GB of storage and being able to record TV shows onto it, so I'm not really willing to give that up for something that has a smaller storage capacity, does not record, and costs considerably more. Granted, it was me that tried to charge it by using a universal adapter which I believe fried something inside it (it no longer accepts a charge). Repairing it through Archos will cost about $80, which could be put towards something else.

But I like my old MP3 player! And being that there are so many out there, I don't want to have to shop all over again. So there's a good chance I'll send it to the factory and have it refurbished. Just can't see spending more for something that does less.

Oh, and we're choosing on where to go for our vacation sometime in May. There's a chance we could go to Hawaii for dirt cheap but I'm not planning on it. So far, and once again, Las Vegas is the likely destination.

Who knows where we'll end up.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lou Rawls: 1933-2006

Granted, most of us only knew Lou Rawls for his 1976 smash hit "You'll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine)" which propelled him to the top of the charts and even garnered him a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performace. It's one of those songs that everybody knows, even my 23-year-old co-worker (I played the song in memory of Rawls loudly in my office upon hearing of his passing).

But to place him in the One Hit Wonder catagory would be wrong on so many levels. Rawls was a consummate entertainer who lent his velvety smooth voice to cartoons, played a bit part in Baywatch Nights, and hosted the United Negro College Fund's annual "Parade of Stars" (now known as "An Evening of Stars") telethon. Through his efforts, millions of dollars were raised for the organization. And hell, even Frank Sinatra praised him for for having "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." That's something.

The irony of Rawls' passing is that the 2006 telethon--it was recorded in November 2005--has already begun to air in certain markets across the U.S.--the same day as his death. So even though he has passed on, the world will still get one last glimpse of the Natural Man this weekend, doing what he loved. And I'm sure it'll be a bittersweet moment for his fans.

I received media RSVP information back in October about attending the event taping. I thought long and hard about it but being that it was during the week, I opted not to go. But I could have gone to the show and had backstage access. I could have rubbed shoulders with the man himself. Damn.

The 2007 telethon won't be the same without his amazing voice and presence. RIP, Mr. Rawls. You will be missed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And While I'm Here...

I want to give a shout-out to If you've got bulk quantities of digital images to be printed, this truly is the way to go.

I placed an order of nearly 250 prints on December 29, 2005, and received them today. Not bad considering the holiday rush that they may have dealt with. The total was around $29. Prints (4x6) are 12 cents each, and shipping is 99 cents flat for no matter how many prints you have.

The only problem I've had has been with uploading. It can take a long time, but if you've waited long enough to have hundreds of digital images printed, it's worth the time and price.

The quality is comparable to your standard digital photo lab, so I don't think you'll be disappointed. And since they are digital, you won't have to worry about damaged negatives or receiving someone else's prints--although I'd wager that the latter may happen at some point. I worked in photo labs most of my life, so trust me on that one.

Give them a try. I did, and I like it!

What's With That Banner?

You like? I made it myself with Ulead GIF Animator. I may not know Flash, but I can make an animated GIF file in my sleep.

At any rate, why did I do this? Simple. My MP3 player took a dump, so now I need a new one. Will this little referral thing work? I dunno. That's why I'm giving it a try.

I signed up via Freepay and am hoping it works. And sure, I'm skeptical. But let's give it a try, huh?

The easiest one to do is the AOL MusicNow offer. Sign up for a 7-day trial, wander around for a bit, then cancel the order. That's all I did. Now whether that will qualify me for the iPod or not remains to be seen. As of this post, I'm still not qualified, but it can take up to 15 days to do so.

So if you consider helping out yer pal Dave here, do one thing: when you sign up for an offer, make sure to use the same email address that you registered with the Freepay site. Otherwise, you may not get credit for the offer. Also, I'd recommend using a "junk email" account for your sign-in and offers. You will get stuff sent to you--a lot of stuff--and I don't want people yellling at me for that. You've been warned!

I'm willing to give it a shot. But I get the feeling that with tax season right around the corner, I will be buying an iPod before I get a free one. But what have we got to lose, right?

So there's my pitch. I won't speak of it again unless I get my free iPod. And if I do, I'll post pictures.