Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fart Sandwich got Youtubed!

My friend, aka Fart Sandwich on XBox live, is currently in contention in the Lumines competition. He normally sites at 1st place in the weekly rankings, but this week they are doing a contest where 1st place gets a 42" plasma tv. As luck would have it, he is currently riding 3rd place, with 2 unbelievable scores above him. He did beat his person best last night by 4 points, but that still leaves him 15 points or so down on the current 1st place person. The whole game only lasts 60 seconds, but it is lightning fast.

Unknown to him, someone posted one of his previous 1st place games on Youtube a month or so ago. Apparently he is LEGENDARY in the Lumines circle.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

blogging from the toilet

I have had my new Blackberry Pearl for about a week now and I am really starting to get the hang of it. I am getting better at shuretype and typing long sentences is starting to come naturally.

I just spent a few minutes looking on amazon through the phone's browser. It was pretty easy to search for what I was looking for but unfortunately they did not have the exact item. So I will have to open the laptop to find it.

I am now done on the toilet, I guess I will post this and get off the pot!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Got my first BlackBerry

Got my first BlackBerry Pearl on Friday. Don't quite have it fully working yet, as I have to wait for the work email server to get upgraded. But in the meantime I guess I will have to Accessorize! Including a 1gb MicroSD Card, some Screen Guards, and a Case

Monday, November 13, 2006

Goodbye Bell's - How we loved thee

It is a sad day in Chicago and all of Illinois really. Bell's Brewery, after a falling out between the brewery and distributors, is pulling out of the Illinois market. I have often chosen a fine Bell's draft over many macro-brews simply because they taste good and I enjoy drinking them. Oberon, one of the most beloved summer choices, will now just be a faint memory. The choices expected to fill the void, Two Brothers, Three Floyds and Dogfish Head are decent alternatives, but nothing really compared to Bell's. I guess my next favorite would be Three Floyds, then Dogfish. I don't really care for Two brothers, as I think most of their beers taste too "homebrewed" and they generally lack character.

The real tragedy is the state of distributorship's in Illinois and the laws that enable their monopolistic ways. The laws are anti-competitive and need serious attention. People should be allowed to sell their products to whomever they wish.

Here's to Bell's. May your return to Chicago be just a sip away. Salud!

Monday, October 30, 2006

A big fuck you to Cnn.com's videos

I have a big problem with Cnn.com's streaming news videos. They always play a 15-30 second commercial before the news clip, which is annoying itself. Honestly I don't want to be forced to watch a stupid commercial for a 1.5 minute long news clip.
Though the commercial itself is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that often the commercial loads and plays fine, then when you get to the video, it craps out, fails to load, is jerky or otherwise doesn't play. This is unacceptable. In fact I have decided right now that I will no longer visit cnn.com. They suck in general. Their news coverage is always sensationalistic and they takeup way too much space on their site with entertainment news. I don't give a fuck what katie holmes is doing, but i do kind of care about wars, economics etc...
I will take the bbc news over cnn anyday!

1st time with Critical Mass

I rode with Critical Mass for the first time on Friday. I joined Fred, as he has gone several times and is much more hardcore of a biker than I. I thought of this first time as an experiment more than anything else. I might do it again, but this time was just to see what it was all about.

The wikipedia article on critical mass is good and fairly accurate from my knowledge of the event.

I was once stopped by the mass, (2-3 years ago) while in a cab going someplace. The mass had entered the polish triangle area (division/ashland/milwaukee) and had decided to ride around the triangle. We were 2 cars back from the edge of the intersection and Alyssa decided to jump out of the cab and go talk/yell at somebody and find out wtf they were doing. The guy that she talked to was obviously not a spokesman for the group and his answer is basically bikes are trafic too. I was somewhat amused by the situation, though I guess i would be slightly pissed off if I was held up while going somewhere important. Then again the point made in the wikipedia article about motorists causing most traffic jams is probably the greater truth.

So I rode with the group on Friday. There was probably around 1500 people i would guess, though i often over estimate...but i tried sampling sections and then estimating...1500 is probably a good guess. About 2/3 had some kind of halloween costume on, which was kinda fun. Generally throughout the route I observed the following:

-The majority of the participants are good willed and pretty much just there to participate. They shout things like "happy friday" or "happy halloween" to people in cars, bars/restaurants, on the sidewalk, etc...

-There are a handful of jerks throughout the group, who think everyone in the LP neighborhoods are stupid rich fucks etc...

-A good bit of drinking goes on.

-A handful of riders have some form of music playing, ranging from a handcarried boombox, to a full stero system with a large woofer on a bike trailer.

-A lot of people in cars are more or less content to wait the extra 5-10 minutes while the group passes. Most bus drivers (and other city workers) are in full support of the group, honking their horn in celebration and waving as the mass passes.

-There were a handful of bike cops present for a majority of the ride. They were slightly dickish, but generally attempted to prevent scuffles between the bikers and motorists.

-Occassionally, someone, usually a woman or young lady, will roll down their window to yell and scream at the bikers...this usually only serves to make more bikers stop and surround the car until a majority of the mass passes...the both the bikers and driver are left to go on their way.

-There was one major incident, which basically caused the entire mass to surround a single car. I was about 20 feet away from this car when i saw this blonde chick jump out of the passenger side of a car and confront/attack a girl who was "corking". I stayed right at the front of that car for most of the duration of the incident...pretty much because i couldn't move my bike through the mass that was surrounding the car. Eventually the blonde chick pushed the corker away which caused the corker girl to push back, which caused the dodge neon guy to get out of the car. Once the guy got out of the car, he started randomly going off on people...throwing punches, though i didnt see any land. Anyway it went on for a while and I would assume the mass eventually passed through as they got tired of watching the guy be an asshole....
The incident was documented in these flickr photos:
http://flickr.com/photos/jessipervola/281704229/in/photostream/
http://flickr.com/photos/jessipervola/281704254/in/photostream/

-Overall impression: A big party on bikes that happens to frustrate a few drivers for a few minutes. Eh, you got time....slow down, relax, wait for the group to pass and then go on your way.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Crazy Ray Lamontagne

You probably heard the anthem of the summer of 2006, Crazy, by Gnarls Barkley (Cee-Lo/Danger Mouse). British musician Ray LaMontagne recorded a much better version.

Courtesy of Village Indian you can download the MP3 of Crazy

I also scooped up Ray's album Till The Sun Turns Black

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The last 8 years in 155 words

Lets see, last 8 years recap:

-Attended and graduated from UIUC with a degree in Theatre Lighting +/- lots of beer and general shenanigans.

-Worked on probably 25-30 or so shows during college.

-Worked professionally in Chicago on about 6 shows with 2 different companies.

-Met Alyssa in 2000 and married in 05 (she is now in her 2nd year at University of Chicago studying Diabetes)

-Met a guy who started a company, I was his first employee, I still work for him. 6+ years

-Moved to Chicago in 2002, moved in with Alyssa in 2003, and we just bought a place in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood a few weeks ago.

-Traveled to Australia, Costa Rica, California twice, Vegas twice, Colorado twice, Kansas, Philly, all around the Midwest.

-Went skydiving 7 times (it got expensive and i more or less stopped)

-Got into website design and consult with a handful of companies now on that.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Air travel and your luggage

Bruce Schnider writes about a way to better ensure your luggage is not lost during air travel. He says to simply pack a starter pistol along with your luggage, declare it, show it and then tsa/airline will better hold on to your bag so as to not LOSE a GUN. I think this is a fantastic idea, people always say, i have flown tons of times and they never lose my bag. etc etc...well the fact is that bags are lost all the time by everyone.

lets count my experiences and those of my immediate family and friends.

1) Lost my bag on a weekend trip to Vegas, delivered to my hotel room around 2am.

2) Sister lost her bag while traveling to italy with my family.

3) Grandma also lost her bag on the same trip, cept on the return flight.

4) While living down at school, a neighbor returned from a school break and apparently had lost his bag. Sometime late at night a courrier, having driven several hours from Chicago, knocks on our door and asks to leave this heavy-ass bag with us, as our neighbor is not currently at home. Ummm sure?

5) I will bet $20, $50 or $100 that at least 50% of the people in my office will have a similar story or related experience. This is wayyyyyy too much lost luggage and just a terrible way to do business for the airlines.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Things learned while buying a condo

I recently bought a condo and I have completed moving. I have learned a few things through the process.

*Clothing inside the washer does not mean that the washer works. Remove clothes and test.

*Always look behind furniture during inspection.

*Aim high when asking for credits for repairs, painting, etc...

*Retention of a good lawyer is awesome.

*Movers want to be tipped, but it is hard to tip them if they break something.

*Empire Carpet (588-2300) is a decent place to get carpet, but probably not the cheapest.

More to come if I think of any.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Jansport To The Rescue

Jansport doesn't make the nicest or best quality backpacks in the world, but at least they stand by their lifetime guarantee. They promise to repair or replace any pack or part of a bag or pack that has failed before the bag had generally worn out from use.

Well I had a backpack that I got back in highschool - probably around 1994 or 1995. It served me well for a few years but eventually the zipper got stuck a few too many times and eventually would not stay zipped. So I kicked the bag under my bed for a few years, and moved it around a few times mixed in with other various bags and packs. Then finally I was going to throw it out in conjunction with my current move, but I decided to investigate Jansport's guarantee which I had heard about. Their website says to send it in to an address where they will repair or replace it for free if they deem it to be broken to their standards. I concluded that the bag was still in fairly good condition except for the zipper and that it would be worth $1 of company postage to see if I could get a working bag or perhaps even a brand new bag. (I was really hoping for a brand new bag.)

So I sent it off and about 3 weeks or so later I got it back int he mail, they replaced the zipper...and the bag is back in working order. So Jansport makes good on its promise, and I might consider buying another Jansport backpack or luggage if I am so inclined again in the future.


(I was really hoping they would send me a new bag or like a certificate for a new one or something as i don't particularly like the one I had. The main zipper goes all they way down about 80% of each side making it somewhat difficult to get something out without spilling the entire contents of the bag. Oh well)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

buba69 8 out of 10 on google

Google is showing 8 out of 10 of the top results to be my own for searches for buba69. Good news I guess in that someone is not parading around the internet as me. Though this does not bode well for any of the places I that I try to use buba69 anonymously.

Monday, August 14, 2006

F U Joe Liberman

What the fuck happened to this guy. Joe Liberman saying his oppents call for phased withdraw from Iraq gives the edge to the terrorists!!!!! WTF? I thought you were a democrat Joe. I thought you were generally against the war? Yes i know that since we are there we have to ensure stability, but that doesnt mean that pulling out gives the terrorists the win. This is going to make it very hard for you Joe, siding with Cheney is never the right thing to do.

Get your Messerschmitt T-shirt!




Buy My t-shirt!

I created this t-shirt on zazzle.com. Zazzle is a website where you can design custom t-shirts. You can even take your designs and let other people purchase them. If someone buys your design, they pay you a small amount. They also have an affiliate program so you can get paid even more.

I found this logo while running through pages on wikipedia and I thought that this logo would make a good t-shirt. It turned out ok, but I think if i were to do it again I would take the logo and re-do it in photoshop or something. Clean up the hard edges and then take some kind to noise filter to it to make it look "fake" old.

Buy My t-shirt!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Liquids, gels, etc...banned on airplanes

God fucking damnit. Just when it couldn't get any worse for air travel, some fucking asstards decided to blow up water bottles filled with alcohol or something... and because of a handful of terrorist assholes, the rest of the world, the millions of people who fly every day, will have to deal with an even more unpleasant experience. Flying already sucks...so what if you can get across the entire country in 6 hours...I am not willing to pay a dime more than it actually costs. Now the airlines, TSA and all the rest of the assholes inbetween are totally free to lose my luggage and I am totally fucked...totally. I can't bring toothpaste, contact solution, a bottle of water, diet pepsi, probably even spreadable cheese...all of this will probably now be banned forever!!

I refuse to believe that inconveniencing everyone in the name of security or with the goal of screening out a handful of terrorists is WRONG. I would rather drink my diet pepsi on the plane, the one that I brought with me in a bottle, instead of drinking a small can of diet coke or whatever crap they happen to have left over. If some asshole wants to blow me up, well go ahead and blow.

WE CANNOT LIVE IN FEAR!!! Why should we fear them? Why can't we just go on about our business. If we ignore them, pay no attention to them, stop fighting them on all fronts, then they will have nothing to fight against....then perhaps they will just go home.

Gifts from abroad

A few years back Alyssa found a website called Novica. It is sponsored by National Geographic and is a great place to find one of a kind gifts. The company finds artists from around the world, usually those that could not get exposure on their own, and sells their artwork through the website. You see who the artist is and often the artwork listed on the site is one of a kind...AND most of the money goes directly to the artist instead of middlemen as the products are shipped directly from the artist. It is really a neat idea.

Alyssa bought me a necklace from the site a while back, and also bought something for her sister or mother or something.

from the site
"In association with National Geographic, Novica today serves as an online arts agent for more than 1,700 artists in countries around the world. Visitors to the Novica Web site can read about the artists, explore their cultures, view photographs of their work and select from more than 8,500 handcrafted works. Novica arts and technology teams (staffing Novica offices in El Salvador, Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Thailand, Venezuela and Zimbabwe) interview each artist, photograph their artwork, post the interviews and photographs online, and handle all packing and shipping on behalf of the artist. International couriers deliver the artwork directly to customers, eliminating numerous middlemen and transferring the savings to creator and customer alike."

Read more

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Follow up to original ideas

It would seem that at least several people liked the shirt design that I came up with. I would suspect that much of the reason they liked it was due to the good illustration, by Holly Gindlesperger The original idea is shown first The final version is second.

Customer service calling me!

Just got off the phone with American Express. Some lady calling me, the administrator of our corporate account, to ask how our "Amex Experience" is going (paraphrasing). I told her that we are getting along just fine, with one exception. As the administrator of the account I have no power to actually pay the bill. If i call and say I am me, then they refuse to let me make a payment, even though I can verify every single bit of information associated with the account or any of the cardholders. So I tell them that I will just call back and say I am one of the cardholders and then make the payment. They don't seem to care, so that I what I proceed to do. Granted I have not done this process in several months, wishing not to waste anymore of my time than is needed. I tell the lady all of this and she tells me that she shakes her head at these types of things.

Hopefully she will call me back to say she has resolved the issue...but I doubt it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Google maps, a setp backwards

Google updated their pictures of downtown Chicago sometime in the last few days. The previous versions were more than a few years old, lacking the 'improvements' to Solider Field, the area on the corner of Wacker and LSD was a golf course, Millenium Park was under major construction etc...

So now they have newer pictures, taken Fall of 2005 or so I would suspect judging from the progress on the Trump Tower site, lack of boats in the harbor, sand humps on the beaches...

Google maps used to have a pretty good view of the new condo as it was a shot from the southeast, instead of the current southwest view. You could clearly see our balcony and our whole side of the building, now...nothing. Perhaps google will come out with some kind of mapping revision thingy where you can see how places looked every few years...yeah that would be cool. (btw, original thought of the day...).

One of the biggest problems with this update is that the images are of a somewhat lower quality, perhaps taken with a different satalite than the previous pictures. Which is unfortunate because they sacrificed quality for the more up to date pictures.

Also the old apartment has lost its good southern shot favoring a more northern view. Naperville was not updated and there is still no closer images of Freeport.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Original Ideas

I have had very few original ideas in recent months, but lately things have just been coming to me. I am now on a streak of...two. Two original thoughts in as many weeks.

1) A t-shirt design for a trade show. Idea just popped into my head, didn't see it anywhere or try very hard to come up with the idea. Just needed an idea and I thought of one.

2) An idea for a certain type of insurance/add-on service. This one is also original. In the never ending quest to get people to pay for things they will never need or receive this insurance idea really takes the cake. Too bad we will never be able to get the people who could really benefit from the insurance, the fucktards, to signup. We would only get people to signup who have a very low chance of ever needing the service.

More ideas as they come...but breath should not be held...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Google Ranking, Me = Success!!111!!!

So my quest to unseat the dude who was always listed above me on google searches for my name is a total success. Through a combination of cross-linking to my own personal websites (my main site, my lighting portfolio, this blog, etc), work press releases and main page, theatre events and web pages, I was able to get searches for my name - IN ALL VARIATIONS - to the top several places on google. So now if you search for any of the following you get links to me or to my sites:

Matthew Arata
Matt Arata
"Matt Arata"
"Matthew Arata"

Searches for just Arata come up with a lot of other crap that is not me, but I guess that is too much to hope for.

Two other arata's are currently near the top, which people may mistake as being me, but they are not. I will have to do some additional work to have more sites that I control link back to my stuff.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Intellectual Property Run Amok

Thanks to Larry Lessig for his link to Clara Jeffrey's article on the abuses of intellectual property:

VENICE INTRODUCED the patent concept in 1474. Infringers were fined 100 ducats.

IN 1982, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti told Congress that “the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman home alone.”

A DAY AFTER Senator Orrin Hatch said “destroying their machines” might be the only way to stop illegal downloaders, unlicensed software was discovered on his website.

BILL GATES had the 11-million-image Bettmann Archive buried 220 feet underground. Archivists can access only the 2% that was first digitized.

AMONG THE 16,000 people thus far sued for sharing music files was a 65-year-old woman who, though she didn’t own downloading software, was accused of sharing 2,000 songs, including Trick Daddy’s “I’m a Thug.” She was sued for up to $150,000 per song.

MICROSOFT UK held a contest for the best film on “intellectual property theft”; finalists had to sign away “all intellectual property rights” on “terms acceptable to Microsoft.”

ONLY ABOUT 5% of patents end up having any real commercial value.

IN 2002, Valenti described Hollywood’s antipiracy campaign as “our own terrorist war.”

THE CLASSIC civil rights documentary Eyes on the Prize can’t be aired or sold because much of its archival footage is copyrighted.

TO PREVENT PIRACY of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a Montreal cineplex monitored audiences with metal detectors and night-vision goggles and checked popcornfor video cameras.

U.S. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is valued at $5.5 trillion, equal to 47% of our GDP and greater than the GDP of any other nation but China.

BY PASSING the memorial Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, Congress added 20 years to copyrights. “I Got You Babe” now won’t enter the public domain until 2061.

NINETY-ONE pending trademarks bear Donald Trump’s name, including “Donald J. Trump the Fragrance” and “Trump’s Golden Lager.” He failed to trademark the phrase “You're fired.”

NEARLY 20% of the 23,688 known human genes are patented in the United States. Private companies hold 63% of those patents.

HUEY NEWTON’S widow is trademarking the phrase “Burn, Baby, Burn” for use as a BBQ sauce slogan.

IN THE LATEST ROUND of a 13-year battle over the title “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach, Calif., filed for a trademark last year. A state senator from Santa Cruz retorted, “You can’t trademark a state of mind” and proposed a Senate resolution declaring his city to be the real Surf City.

GEORGE FOREMAN has earned $113 million by lending his name to a grill.

LAST YEAR Mister Softee spent $170,000 to track down and sue 45 competitors for copying its blue-and-white trucks and playing its copyrighted jingle.

“SENSORY TRADEMARKS” include a duck quacking (AFLAC), a lion roaring (MGM), yodelling (Yahoo!), giggling (Pillsbury), and a “pre-programmed rotating sequence of a plurality of high intensity columns of light projected into the sky to locate a source at the base thereof” (Ballantyne of Omaha).

FOR INCLUDING a 60-second piece of silence on their album, the Planets were threatened with a lawsuit by the estate of composer John Cage, which said they’d ripped off his silent work 4’33”. The Planets countered that the estate failed to specify which 60 of the 273 seconds in Cage’s piece had been pilfered.

A FRENCH DIRECTOR had to pay $1,300 after a character in his film whistled the communist anthem, “The Internationale,” without permission.

AFTER INTEL was sued for libel for calling someone a “patent extortionist,” one of its lawyers coined the term “patent troll.”

THE WORLD WRESTLING Federation changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment after the World Wildlife Fund sued over the rights to “WWF.”

HOOTERS SUED a competitor for stealing its “trade dress,” i.e., the packaging of its waitresses.

THE PUBLISHER of Super Hero Happy Hour removed “Super” from the comic book title after Marvel and DC Comics stated they own the phrase “super heroes and variations thereof.”

42% OF ALL VIDEO files shared online are pornographic. No porn-sharing cases have yet been tried in the U.S.

LAST YEAR Disney and other media companies sued two small L.A. shops for selling $15 piƱatas of Winnie the Pooh, The Incredibles, and Nemo.

THE ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame sued several journalists for naming their website “The Jewish Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” They renamed it Jewsrock.org.

AFTER ROSA PARKS sued OutKast for using her name as a song title, the group and their label settled by paying for a Parks tribute CD and TV special.

PATENT LAWSUITS have more than doubled since 1992.

RENTAMARK.COM makes money by claiming ownership of 10,000 phrases, including “chutzpah,” “casual Fridays,” “.com,” “fraud investigation,” and “big breasts.”

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.’s estate charges academic authors $50 for each sentence of the “I Have a Dream” speech that they reprint.

THE VILLAGE PEOPLE refused to let their songs be used for a documentary called Gay Sex in the ’70s because they want to be thought of as “mainstream.”

Thursday, March 16, 2006

i thought i was going to be jack sparrow

At least I didn't score as Laura Croft...

You scored as William Wallace. The great Scottish warrior William Wallace led his people against their English oppressors in a campaign that won independence for Scotland and immortalized him in the hearts of his countrymen. With his warrior's heart, tactician's mind, and poet's soul, Wallace was a brilliant leader. He just wanted to live a simple life on his farm, but he gave it up to help his country in its time of need.



William Wallace


75%

Maximus


58%

Captain Jack Sparrow


58%

Batman, the Dark Knight


58%

Indiana Jones


50%

James Bond, Agent 007


50%

Lara Croft


46%

El Zorro


46%

The Amazing Spider-Man


46%

The Terminator


42%

Neo, the "One"


38%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0

Sunday, February 26, 2006

...as heard the other day...

...
T-dog: one of these days K-dog
T-dog: (work) is going to degenerate into poeple in their offices popping pills and binge drinking
all before noon
T-dog: and A-dog will be fucking one of our female employees on the conference room table, against her will.
K-dog: waving his gun around
T-dog: and i'll be all for it, because he'll have worked that out of his system...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cubs Tickets - recap

Single game tickets for the Cubs 2006 season went on sale today at 10AM. By 1pm 6 games were sold out including the White Sox series (of course) and a majority of Cardinals games.

By 345pm there were a total of 21 games sold out including:
Cubs vs. Cardinals 4/7/2006, Cubs vs. Cardinals 4/8/2006,
Cubs vs. Cardinals 4/9/2006, Cubs vs. Braves 5/27/2006,
Cubs vs. Braves 5/28/2006, Cubs vs Tigers 6/17/2006,
Cubs vs. Tigers 6/18/2006, Cubs vs. White Sox 6/30/2006,
Cubs vs. White Sox 7/1/2006 , Cubs vs. White Sox 7/2/2006,
Cubs vs. Mets 7/14/2006, Cubs vs. Mets 7/15/2006
Cubs vs. Cardinals 7/27/2006, Cubs vs. Cardinals 7/28/2006,
Cubs vs. Cardinals 7/29/2006, Cubs vs. Cardinals 7/30/2006,
Cubs vs. Pirates 8/5/2006, Cubs vs. Cardinals 8/18/2006
Cubs vs. Cardinals 8/19/2006, Cubs vs. Cardinals 8/20/2006,
Cubs vs. Giants 9/2/2006

This is of course totally absurd. The only way you can get face value Cubs tickets to any decent games is to get them within the first few hours they go on sale. Even the games that I DID get tickets for were not all that great of games, nor were the seats that great, but they were night a weekend games, which will be mostly sold out by later tonight, except for single seats, and who want's to go to a baseball game by themselves?

OK - the only decent series this season is the White Sox series of course. That being said, there are several games that sold out quickly and I have no idea why:

Cubs vs Tigers 6/17/2006 and 6/18/06 - OK so they have Mags and Kenny Rogers, but that is not really enough to make a team. They finished 4th of 5 in their division with a 71-91 record. Is the fact that it is the first weekend series in June the only reason why it sold out already? plz...

Ok so pretty much all the weekend games are going to sell out on the first day for the reason that they are simply weekend cubs games, and I guess a weekend cubs game is both popular for the general public (take your kids to the game and all) and also popular with the ticket brokers - for probably the same reason.

conclusion - The situation has got ridiculous - but I still blew my wad on tickets today in spite of the ridiculousness.

UPDATE: as of 3/1/06 30 games are sold out. Almost 40% of their 81 total home games in less than a week. Old man Wrigley is rolling in his grave.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dilbert advertising...really?


This advertisment popped up when i was viewing dilbert cartoons

Considering dilbert is mostly targeted to business/computer geek type people, I have to ask a question. Is this type of advertising really the best kind to appear on dilbert's website? I mean do intelligent people really buy this shit?

Friday, February 10, 2006

fun with random AOL IM sessions

Occassionally people mistake my screename for someone they know. Apparently I am not the only one who gets these. They start to have random conversations with me. Usually I respond as if I know the person for a while until I figure out that they are random and probably are trying to talk to someone else. Then the fun begins.

Occassionally I have had streaks of random people lasting several days, a whole group of people (usually one person and their teeny bopper friends). I manage to convince one of them that I might be the person they are trying to talk to and they tell their friends.

Eventually I get tired of the charade and let them in on my joke - and sometimes after telling them flat out that I am not the person they think I am, they still don't belive me. Then the fun begins again where I really try to fuck with them in earnest. This went a little to far one time when I started saying things like "wanna cyber?", "send me naked pics" or other historically awesome internet pickup lines. Then some 14 year old girl's mom pulled my email address from my profile and threatened to call the police on me. I responded by demanding that her daughter stop IMing me, stop thinking that I was one of her BFFs even after I told her I was not, and stop emailing me before I get my friends at AOL to cancel their account. Trust me, I say, I have more friends at AOL than you. To some extent that is probably true, I am probably only 1-2 hops away from an AOL sysadmin that could easily make her account disappear.

Though not the best one by far, this is an example of a typical IM conversation with me from a random person that does not know me, comented where appropriate:

SunnyHun6910: who is this?
SunnyHun6910: ???
myscreenname: you first
SunnyHun6910: i asked u first
myscreenname: yeah well i didnt IM you first, so you can tell me who you are, then I will answer who I am. Or if not I will block you and go back to what I was doing
>>>you would think this would stop the conversation>>>
SunnyHun6910: i am betsy
myscreenname: i only know one betsy - what high school did you go to?
>>>I did know a Betsy in HS, but there was like 1 in a billion chance of this actually being her>>>
SunnyHun6910: how old r u?
myscreenname: how old are you?
SunnyHun6910: grrrrrr
SunnyHun6910: bye
myscreenname: np
>>>short for no problem - again thought the conversation would end with her giving up here>>>
SunnyHun6910: what is np?
SunnyHun6910: wait do u live in ct?
myscreenname: what is grrrrr
>>>another appropriate response I thought
SunnyHun6910: idk
>>>no idea what IDK is, perhaps 'I don't know'?>>>
myscreenname: no - but I bet you do
>>>no i dont live in CT, guessing that betsy does>>>
SunnyHun6910: ugh.... no i live in outer space duh!
SunnyHun6910: well uuh....... yea
SunnyHun6910: just tell me how old u r
myscreenname: whats with all these questions?
>>>started to get bored>>>
SunnyHun6910: otgnw'DS
SunnyHun6910: nfm
>>>random character time??>>>
myscreenname: pqrst lmnop
SunnyHun6910: jdsf jfdsjfkjfds what the ; jksafjksfjdsa;f
myscreenname: huh - you dont say
SunnyHun6910: ok u must be like old cuz u have an aparment number and everything
>>>she must have found my address somewhere, aim profile?>>>
myscreenname: how old do you have to be to have an apartment?
SunnyHun6910: over 18
myscreenname: really? i never knew that - i think i know some people that have an apartment that are under 18
>>>any pop star under the age of 18 im sure has an apartment/house/condo>>>
SunnyHun6910: just tell me how old u r
myscreenname: you first
myscreenname: and does it really matter how old i am?
SunnyHun6910: yea....
myscreenname: i dont think so
SunnyHun6910: BUH BYE FAT ASS!
>>>wait salvage the conversation, this is just starting to get fun>>>
myscreenname: do you have an apartment?
myscreenname: how do you know how much I weigh?
>>>classic>>>
*** Error while sending IM: This user is currently not logged on
>>>damn>>>

Monday, February 06, 2006

More search engine work

In my never ending quest to fix my search engine ranking, I have added more links to my mattarata.com page. Hopefully this cross linking will improve my place to beat out the guy who has been listed above me forever.

My thinking is that, especially with the Server Central page which is highly cross linked with a lot of hosting type search engines, that somehow the relevancy factor will get kicked up a little on my 'Matthew Arata'.

UPDATE: These changes finally worked. I succeeded in kicking off the guy who was listed above me. The simple linking on the main mattarata.com page probably did the trick. Making relevant things cross link back to themselves is apparently what google likes, though only if it is legit content, which all of my stuff happens to be.

The 50 beer/wing challange

After reading the post from Jason Mulgrew about his 50 beer/wing challange, basically a personal mission for him to consume 50 beers or wings within an 8 hour period, I was inspired and posed the same challenge to my friends.

They accepted. We held the challenge yesterday during the superbowl, starting at around noon and ending by the time the game ended. We had 6 contestants of which 4 finished all within the given time period.

#5 got to 32wings, 8 beers and #6 quit at 30wings 7 beers (a 7th competed remotely and got to 30 wings and 9.5 beers)

The toughest competitors in our group finished early - within 4-5 hours - sticking to the 45wings 5 beers method. Another of our group went down the wrong path with the 35 wings 15 beers. He both finished and was finished. I personally hit the 41 wings 9 beers mark and took the entire 8 hours to finish.

Anyway - here is the event recap
http://www.711green.com/~steve/moo/wingbeer/ohyeah.html

chicago card - snafu

I got an email from the CTA saying that there were not enough funds in my account to debit my monthly pass. How absured! I manage my company's transit benefit program and I know for a fact that this month's deposit went through just fine. So I check into the situation and realized that it started using my monthly pass money for pass back swipes, then there was not enough $$ to debit the monthly pass, so I had to update my credit card on file, then it charged me $9 and gave me my monthly pass.

So note for next time, if you go up to the quincy platform intending to take the purple line home, after the purple line stops running, and then go back down and up the other side to hit the brown line, it charges you for a pass-back...which it shouldnt...there should be like a manual switch or something on the chicago card where you can tell the station that you are the same person you were before just going the other way.

Stupid CTA and their shitty quincy el stops.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Face of Muhammed - Drawings of Muhammed

Face of Muhammed - Drawings of Muhammed - link to blog created specifically for hosting the images. However I have pasted them below incase, for some reason, the existing blog goes down. These are the images that have caused the entire muslim world to go ape-ahit.

My copies are here: mattarata.com/muhammed

UPDATE:
A very extensive account of all the dipications of muhammed from through out history
http://info2us.dk/muhammed/

Sunday, January 29, 2006

RIP Couch

After 2 posts to craigslist, 25 responses, and an afternoon of back and forth emails, the couch is finally out of my apartment.

sometimes i feel this way

from postsecret
then i go get a cup of coffee

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Went to the Red Ivy on 1/14 to watch some basketball/football with mooman/wife/pooters. Red Ivy is a new bar/lounge establishment on Clark st by Wrigley field. Interesting place and a different kind of take on the typical bar/pub in the area. They have decent food choices and the interior is well laid-out.

So that day the "Bacardi Girls" were there giving away free swag. I got a t-shirt and a tiny nerf football. The football went in the trash and the t-shirt will be added to my rotation. There were hardley any people in the bar at the time, and the girls obviously wanted to get rid of the swag and get out so everyone in the bar got some stuff.

Went to the same bar on 1/21 while I was killing time waiting for Poohbear to get done eating dinner. And what do ya know this time "Heineken Girls" were there giving away free Heineken swag. The t-shirt I got this time was somewhat nicer quality than the Bacardi shirt, with its embroidered logo and everything.

So - two trips to the bar and two t-shirts. Fuck shopping, i should just drink beer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

diversion gone wrong

Some coworkers and I went to happy hour yesterday. I stayed an for an appropriate length of time, but when the booze starts flowing it is apparently hard for others to quit. I left after 2 beers, a shot of jager and some dang qasadillas. They left a short while later, only to walk down the street to another bar, one that is apparently a little cheaper and somewhat less stuffy.

While at the bar they decide that they need to start chatting up a few girls on the other end of the bar. Problem - the girls are already getting chatted up by a guy, who just happens to be wearing a pink shirt. Not that there is anything inherantly wrong with pink shirts. It was decided that one of the group would create a 'diversion.' So the diverter goes up to the guy and says "Hey! That is an 'awesome' pink shirt!" "What?" asks the guy. Repeating "That is an awesome pink shirt!" my co-worker says. (apparently this was not the type of distraction the guys were looking for.) So within a minute or two a big meathead friend of the pink shirt guy comes over to the group. And tries to start shit - a defense was mounted but someone apparently intervened and talked the guy down.

Well I guess the diversion worked, as some of the group swooped in to the girls and started the chat up. Though apparently to no good end as everyone ended up the night drunk/tired and at home alone....or so reported to the rest.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Scott McClellan and George Bush can die

The White House's comment in response to the filing of a lawsuit by the ACLU
on behalf of several journalists, authors, scholars and organizations against the National Security Agency over its "no-warrant wiretapping program" was ridiculous. Scott McClellan basically said "If you are not a terrorist, then you have nothing to worry about." "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about."

Well I say Fuck You Scott McClellan and Fuck You George W Bush!

If they are not obtaining warrants for the wire-taps, then they have no need to gather evidence to see if the person they suspect is a terrorist or not. They have free reign to operate simply by 'suspecting' that a person is a terrorist. What if they are wrong? What if there is a mix up? What if they spy on me because they 'suspect' I might be a terrorist. I am not a terrorist. At least I am pretty sure I am not. But George Bush could think that I might be one, and order a wire-tap on me. Free speech gives me the right to say what I want, to whomever I wish without the government listening in. If they had to present evidence to a court that I was a terrorist, then they would obviously not be able to wire-tap me and ohs no that would make it much harder to wrongfully convict me or hold me in a jail without a trial because I am an enemy combatant!!!

I got a plan. Lets call George Bush and Scott McCellan terrorists. They look kinda funny, so maybe they are actually terrorists. (lets also say that I am a spy - this whole blog thing would kinda elude to my spy status, but those fuckers wouldn't know the difference anyway). So as a spy I order a no-warrant on Bush and McCellan's phones. I decide that they use the word 'Terrah' instead of terror enough times that they just might be terrorists. Nevermind they are on TV or in the media an average of once a day. So now these terrorists have to be rounded up and shipped off to a camp somewhere so that we can interrogate them to see if they have any friends. I suspect they have lots of friends, so we will probably have to hold them for a really long time. And of course we wont let them have a trial or anything, because they are probably planning on attacking America and that would qualify them as enemy combatants. So they will be locked away forever and we can have Dick Cheny as President - who will hopefully have another heart attack in the next few days...

Lessig Presents arguments for Google Print (google Book Search)

Though his article is mostly about his experiments in trying to set his recorded lecture to his slides, I found his argument contained in the video to be most fascinating. I am also helping him seed the video overnight tonight.

Basically he says that Google print should be allowed in the same way that thumbnails for image searches are allowed according to a previous decision. For example google image search takes the image, modifies it so that it is not the original and not accepted as the original. Same as with google print that they are modifying the original book by pulling excerpts which cannot be accepted as the original - making a comparison to quoting or referencing someone else in your own published book. He also argues that because copyright law is so flawed and because there is no mechanism to secure rights for 75% of published literature currently in existence, there has to be a way to easily obtain that literature.

I would very much like to hear more of Lessig's arguments.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Chief - in summary

This article by George Will pretty much sums up the general feelings of most chief supporters. Why the NCAA is out to get the Chief is beyond me. Apparently if the Peoria tribe simply says "The Chief can stay" then he will be allowed to stay. But the Peoria tribe doesn't give two shits about the petty squabbeling of a big ten university vs the NCAA. Doesn't the NCAA have better things to do? Like concentrate your efforts on Marcus Vick.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Home depot, ups

The Home Depot parking lot looks much different at 9am than it does at 6pm. At 9am the lot is filled with non-descript white vans with tool/ladder racks on the top, etc... Inside are contractors stocking up on supplies for the days work.

At 6pm the parking lot is filled with mostly SUVs. These are the yuppies that are running to get parts etc... for their home DIY projects (DIY = Do It Yourself - also a term which I mostly despise).

conclusion of this observation = none

--------------------------------------------------

UPS has a neat feature on their website (old skoolers would access the feature over the phone). This feature is not new as it has probably been around 8-10 years at least. Basically you tell them when your package is ready to be picked up and then they come and get it from your house or office or wherever. Depending on what type of account you have, the service is either free or costs between $2 and $4 per package. All of the major private delivery services (Fedex, DHL) have this ability though it is best serviced through UPS. It is really cool that you can do this. I wish the USPS could do this. In fact I wish the USPS could do a lot of things that it either doesn't currently do or does sucky.

The major beef I have with the UPS "Schedule a pickup" service is their timeframe option. You tell them when the package will be ready and when is the latest time during the day in which they can pick it up. I find that drivers either ignore these fields or simply think they don't matter. Often times I schedule a pickup for a time later in the day, to make certain UPS comes, yet also to give me time to get my package ready. The driver usually comes to get the package either way before the scheduled time or sometime after the time I say that we close. Why even have the option if the drivers are never going to abide by it?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

benny - funky buddah - understanding

I finally figured out why Benny was always wanting us to go up to Chicago to Funky Buddah. It was because Benny is a hardcore party guy. He has partied a lot in his life and been around a lot. So one time he went up to chicago and someone took him to the Funky Buddah Lounge. It was probably the only 'club' he ever went to in Chicago, so it was there that he suggested we go, all of us in the class. Too bad we were all mostly underage at the time.

It would have been fun though, to go out and party with Benny. I psudo partied with him at his house, but he was very much under control at that time. I know he can party. I heard a story of when he went on a canoe trip with some people in Arkansas and brought along martini making supplies. MARTINIS!!! Most people just bring some beer or something in a cooler. Bought he brought martini mixing supplies...then started to ask around to see if anyone had an ice...

BENNY!!!!...i get it now....lets go party!!!