Stuff Steve Likes

A blog which more or less exactly fails to please the eye

The Chicago Code Looks Promising

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Monday night was the premiere of “The Chicago Code.” It was much better than I thought it was going to be. The best part is that it feels like it might have some staying power. On the rare occasion that one of the major broadcast networks puts out a show that I like no one else seems to like it. For example, it looks like “Fringe” is about to ride off into that sunset known as cancellation. It’s already been moved to Friday night TV land purgatory. I think “The Chicago Code” will be around for a least a few seasons. In any case, I’m looking forward to the second episode.

The Chicago Code – Season 1 : Ep. 1

Written by Steve

February 10th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Posted in TV

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Getting Clean Carpets with the Groceries

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rent_rugdoctor_mpack_oxy

Have you ever passed those Rug Doctor machines in your local grocery store? They are carpet cleaning machines for rent. I have walked passed those machines countless times and never really gave them a second though until my wife suggested we rent one to clean our kids’ playroom. I was skeptical. How could a carpet shampooer you rent at the grocery store do a good job? This seemed like a waste of money to me. However, I was proven wrong.

I am happy to report that the Rug Doctor did an admirable job at cleaning our basement carpet. We rented the machine for an entire day, but we only needed a few hours to clean the room. I was amazed at how much dirt the Rug Doctor was able to pull out of the carpet. One disadvantage that I can think of was that you needed to empty the wastewater quite often. I could only do three passes across the room before I was out of cleaning solution and needed to clean out to discharge tank.

So, the next time you are walking out of your grocery store, think about picking up some clean carpets as well. Buy some carpet shampoo, rent a Rug Doctor, and enjoy clean carpets!

Written by Steve

November 23rd, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Product Reviews

Galco’s Soda Pop Stop

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There’s a small store in L.A. that specializes entirely in soda pop. The owner of Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, John Nese, is my hero. He is knowledgeable and a champion of the little guy. He often won’t carry Coke or Pepsi products because his low volumes can’t compete with nearby large chain stores which can offer his customers a better price. Instead, he carries brands from small and micro manufacturers from around the world. Nese says he doesn’t work, but gets to play all day long. His passion is rare and enviable. Check out this YouTube clip about John and his Soda Pop Stop.

Written by Steve

November 4th, 2009 at 9:51 am

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You’re Doing It Wrong

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¡Yo Quiero Trabajo!

¡Yo Quiero Trabajo!

Yes, the economy sucks. Yes, the job market is fairing even worse than the economy at the moment. Yes, being creative and thinking outside the box will give you an advantage over the rest of the folks competing for jobs. However, there is still a right way and a wrong way to go about securing gainful employment. For example, there was a man from Haverstraw, NY who we’ll call Bobby Joe. Bobby Joe was unemployed and facing a negative cash flow situation. He needed a job and he need a quick buck or two.

Last Monday, Bobby Joe’s money problems got to the point where he decided that robbing the local Haverstraw Taco Bell was his only way out. During the robbery it struck Bobby Joe that that very moment would be a great time to ask for an application. “I don’t want to have to come all the way back out here,” Bobby Joe must have thought to himself. Bobby should be given credit for trying to maximize the use of his time. Unfortunately, the story did not end up in Bobby Joe’s favor. The cash register was empty and the manager denied his request for an application. This cloud does have a silver lining; Bobby Joe hasn’t been caught after his attempted armed-robbery. Keep fighting the good fight, Bobby. Keep fight the good fight.

Linky

Written by Steve

November 3rd, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Whitehouse.gov moves to Drupal

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I like the decision that the White House is making to move its web site to Drupal, an open source content management system. However, not everyone is happy with the move. Chris Wilson over at Slate wrote a piece last week where he gave five reasons why the switch to Drupal will “… [end] badly.”

  • Drupal knows best.Chris complains that it’s not easy for content authors to add their own javascript. Drupal is right to make this difficult without sufficient privileges. Authors should be able to add and format text and add pictures. Anything beyond those tasks should be completed by an administrator.
  • Drupal is impenetrable.I guess the big gripe here is that setting up and administering Drupal can be difficult and that if you’re endeavoring to be a Drupal administrator that the support community expects you to have some base level of knowledge before asking for help. That’s probably true. Fortunately, there are lots of people that the White House can hire that know what they are doing. I’ve only used Drupal in the most superficial of ways, but I have had great luck in getting help when I needed it. If you’re a newb and you ask newb questions, you should expect to be treated like a newb. Be proactive and do more than a cursory search if you have a problem or questions. Chances are fairly good that someone has already provided a solution.
  • Drupal hates change.Wilson says that Drupal hates change which I read as Drupal rarely (never?) comes out with upgrades or security patches, but then he provides links to two sites that had a difficult upgrade experience. Perhaps, Willson is really suggesting that Drupal loves to make upgrades difficult? I can’t really speak to the difficulty of doing a Drupal upgrade having never attempted one myself. However, from what I understand the core modules that are part of Drupal’s default package are upgradeable with relative ease. Upgrades can become problematic when sites are running incompatible community modules. This is more of a problem with the community modules and less of problem with Drupal core. Either way, Chris’s point misses the mark.
  • Drupal is disorganized.I haven’t found it to be disorganized. Perhaps, it’s not organized the way someone might expect it to be organized?
  • Drupal is righteous.Wilson’s final point is that open source participants and supporters regard the open source movement as a kind of religion. There probably are a goodly number of people who will reject a commercial product outright simply because it is commercial and who will support another product just because it is open source. Whenever someone comes to me with an IT support issue I automatically assume that it’s an operator issue. That might sound bad, but I’m generally right. The problem, more often than not, is a result of incorrect usage of software or some other piece of technology.
  • I think the White House’s experiment with open source software will end up as a success. To assume that the road will be completely smooth is probably overly optimistic, but even a commercial path wouldn’t be without bumps. In the end, They will get where they want to go.

Written by Steve

November 2nd, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Don’t Think Too Hard About FlashForward

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I caught the first couple of episodes of FlashForward over the weekend. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. High production value and for the most part good acting were the hallmarks of the first two episodes. The acting was decent except for one of the child actors, Lennon Wynn who plays the daughter of the show’s main character. She really was pretty bad. Anyway, wikipedia was kind enough to provide a plot synopsis for FlashForward.

A mysterious global event causes everyone on the planet to simultaneously lose consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, during which people see what appear to be visions of their lives approximately six months in the future – a global “consciousness shift”. A number of people have seen newspapers, calendars or clocks in their visions, and it is established that every vision occurs on April 29, 2010 at the exact same time, adjusting for local time zones. It is also established that the visions were shared; if one person was with another in their vision, the other person also reports the same events in their vision. The event results in deaths from accidents and leaves the survivors wondering whether what they saw will really happen.

Unfortunately, in the middle of the first episode I made the mistake of thinking about the show and things started to go down hill. The premise of the show centers on the fact that everyone on earth passes out at exactly the same time and has 2 minute 17 second window into the same point in the future. Obviously, this event would have a profound influence on human civilization. O.K., I’m still cool with everything so far. What bothers me is that everyone’s vision of the future showed April 29, 2010 has just another day, not as a day with global, multi-cultural significance. In their visions of the future, no one thought to themselves “yes, this is what my vision of the future showed me what now would look like.” There were no banners welcoming what should have been an extremely important day for humanity.

I was also annoyed by the fact that the title of the show is one word. The show is loosely base on Robert J. Sawyer’s 1999 book called FlashForward. I guess I’ll have to take up any title complaints with Mr. Sawyer.

I think I’ll be able to look passed what I consider to be a major plot hole. Perhaps, the writers have considered this point and will address it in some future episode. FlashForward is entertaining and worth watching. You should check it out.

Written by Steve

October 6th, 2009 at 7:33 am

Posted in TV

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Upside Down Floating Baby

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I was browsing the interwebs when I stumbled across this picture of an upside down floating baby. I don’t know if the baby is real. It looks like he is and the article where this pic came from suggests that too. The few times that my wife and I took our kids swimming when they were that age all they did was thrash about. I think this kid is the Buddha re-incarnate.

Daily Mail has a bunch of underwater photos from Pinewood Studios. The gigantic underwater stage owned by Pinewood Studios is located in the United Kingdom. The tank holds more than 315,000 gallons of water which is heated to a pleasant 90° F. This studio is notable because it has Europe’s only permanently filled underwater-based filming stage. The facility has been used to film portions of movies like Bourne Ultimatum, The Boat that Rocked, Atonement, Casino Royale, and Elizabeth. It is also used to film television commercials and music videos. Celebrities like Keira Knightley, Sharon Stone, Matt Lucas, and Myleene Klass have all taken the plunge and shot scenes for various recent projects. If you click over to Daily Mail (linked above) you can save several pictures of Keira from Atonement and a commercial for the charity Fresh20.

An Upside Down Floating Baby

Written by Steve

September 1st, 2009 at 12:45 pm

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Dislike Parks and Recreation Slightly Less

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For the second week in a row Parks and Recreation started out really slow and more importantly really unfunny. If it had been an hour long episode, I would have quit watching toward the middle of the show. And that would have been my loss because the second half was much better than the first half.

The first half of the second episode features Lessie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, and the rest of the ad hoc Subcommittee on Pit Beautification canvassing Pawnee, IN to promote and drive attendance to a public forum to discuss turning the abandoned lot into a park. The show’s writers and actors intentionally made the canvassing effort awkward and clumsy, but for me the attempt missed the mark. I don’t think I even cracked a smile.

The canvassing failed miserably. The residents in support of the park couldn’t be persuaded to attend the forum. In the end the only people that came to the forum were those that strongly opposed the creation of a park and folks that wanted to air non-park related grievances which sets up the next scene.

Lessie faced a hostile crowd and the threat of a vote to kill the park project loomed large. Ultimately Lessie saved the day by filibustering her own meeting to avoid a vote. She even went as far has to predict a future where the citizens of Pawnee would blink their emotions to one another instead of verbally communicating.

Update:Parks and Recreation is starting to hit its stride. The first two episode of this new show were fairly weak, but the third and fourth episodes were pretty funny. I guess it’s time to start the cancellation death watch now that I’m enjoying the show. I don’t know enough about ratings to predict whether Parks will be renewed for another season, but last weeks numbers were 3.4/6.

Written by Steve

April 20th, 2009 at 8:54 am

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Parks and Recreation Review

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I just caught NBC’s latest attempt to get out of the ratings basement, Parks and Recreation. Half-way through the first episode, I had formed my initial opinion on the show; Parks is an unfunny version of The Office. By the end of that first episode, my initial opinion was replacement with my current opinion of the show; Parks is a mostly unfunny version of The Office. I think I chuckled once when Tom, a character with Indian or Middle Eastern ancestry, describes himself as a redneck.

Parks and Recreation takes place in the fictional town of Pawnee, IN. Amy Poehler plays the character of Michael Scott Leslie Knope, Pawnee’s Parks and Recreation Deputy Director. Rashida Jones plays Ann Perkins, a nurse who’s boyfriend broke both of his legs after falling into an abandoned construction site.

Written by Steve

April 13th, 2009 at 10:12 am

Grout Cleaning

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According to google analytics, this internet bastion of infotainment has had 18 visits from 17 visitors. I’m not writing to complain about ridiculously low number of visitors to Stuff Steve Likes. I don’t have many visitors for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, I have diligently avoided writing about stuff that I like with the exception of a couple of posts last year regarding the tv show So You Think You Can Dance. However, and most unfortunately, I stopped liking So You Think You Can Dance shortly after publishing my second post on the subject. Yes, there were problems with the show itself, but those problems did not influence my overall opinion. What indelibly altered my relationship with the aforementioned reality tv series on Fox was the difficulty that I had and apparently still have in correctly typing its absurdly long name. Typing it is awkward and stupid and I swear to you that I will never type it again. Of course, if this post suddenly vaults me to the search engines results page for a frequently searched term, I just might reconsider.

Secondly, I have done nothing to promote this site. If you use yahoo’s site explorer tool, you’ll see that I have exactly zero external links pointing to my site. Fun stuff. For the time being, I’m not going to do anything to promote Stuff Steve Likes. I might try increasing my post frequency and the length of my posts to see if I start ranking for the odd long tail keyword.

I noticed that the grout in my shower is getting a bit dingy. Dingy doesn’t look like it’s spelled correctly, right? It is. I just looked it up. Anyway, my shower could stand a good round of grout cleaning.

Written by Steve

March 26th, 2009 at 11:07 am