Stuff Steve Likes

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

Executive Desk

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By nature I’m entrepreneurial. I’m always looking for the opportunity in any given situation. Unfortunately, I also had a large hangup over failure. My issue with failure probably started with my very first business venture.

When I was in 5th grade the cool recess sport was kickball. For the uninitiated, kickball is similar to baseball. It is generally played on a softball or baseball diamond, but instead of a baseball, you play with a 10 – 16 inch inflated rubber ball. And instead of swinging a bat, you kick the ball after the pitcher rolls it to you. I never played little league baseball, but several of my friends did and I always found myself being vaguely jealous of their personal baseball cards. Then one day it hit me. I should make and sell personal kickball cards. Baseball cards go hand in hand with baseball. Obviously, the popularity of kickball demonstrated a market for kickball cards. Immediately after I came up with the idea, I had visions of being a celebrated kickball card tycoon running my empire behind a large executive desk.

I didn’t have any equipment or capital resources so I needed partners. One of my friends had a camera and agreed to do portraits. Another friend had a miniature safe that could fit in his school desk. This meant we could start taking orders and our customers knew their money was secure until they received their product. The idea was a hit. Everyone in my class filled out an order form and gave my partners and me their money. I should have handled the success better.

I suspect the long line of students that had formed in front of my order processing station piqued the interest of the school’s faculty. My nosy teacher interviewed some of my peers and I was caught. Apparently, I wasn’t allowed to sell anything on school property. Not only was this a lesson in having a business fail, it was also I lesson in hypocrisy because companies came in and sold stuff to students all the time. Seriously, Scholastic hawked their wares on a bi-monthly basis. Anyway, I got in trouble and I had to endure the embarrassment of giving all the money back. I was devastated. Well, until I started selling my Western Civ homework in high school. This time I kept the operation on the DL.

Written by Steve

March 18th, 2009 at 8:37 am

Posted in Personal

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Breakfast Nook

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There is an extension to my kitchen in the shape of a regular hexagon that I guess some people call a breakfast nook. I should be more precise. In fact, the extension is only half of a regular hexagon. We have a round table with four chairs in this area where we eat 99.9% of our meals. It’s pretty much perfect for my little family. The kitchen is on the eastern side of the house. Consequently, we got plenty of sunlight in the morning. Some times too much light. My designated seat is the one that faces in a south-easterly direction. If we eat breakfast between the hours of 8:00AM and 10:00AM, the sun is poking me in the eye for the entire meal. I’m thinking about trading spots with the two-year old. She won’t mind, and if she does, I’ll distract her with some bits of paper.

Written by Steve

March 5th, 2009 at 9:14 am

Posted in Personal

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Friendster’s Revenge

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So I should not clicked on that Friendster email from last week. And I definitely should not have allowed gmail to download DarJen’s picture because now I’m getting two or three pieces of spam from Friendster daily. “Just flag Friendster emails as spam by default,” you say. But what if my long lost friend from first grade, Travis, tried to get a hold of me using Friendster? If Friendster email automatically got dumped into my spam folder, Travis would remain lost forever or until he got motivated and found me on Facebook. The point still stands. “And what point is that,” you ask.

The point is this. I am adept at ignoring this blog. I could be delighting the world with my rapier-like whit or prognosticating about tomorrow’s woes or good times with remarkable accuracy. Instead, I spend my free time watching artistic wonders like Smallville. “Again, what is your point,” you implore. I used to view myself as someone with something to say about everything. Unfortunately, I have very little to say about most things. And when you’re expected to say something about anything at all and you can’t, you start forcing the issue. Like writing about spam and now writing about the consequences of writing about spam, which is that you tend to get more spam, either because of some direct indicator sent by you and received by the spammers that you’re a spam reader or that God enjoys reading about your localized interaction with spam.

I still haven’t gotten to my point yet, but I’m close or at least closer. Because I’m expected to have something to say about anything and, in reality, have nothing to same about most things, I’m pleased to announce a new feature on this heretofore featureless blog. On semi-quasi irregular basis I will be pointing out a random website. What makes a website qualified to mentioned here? Almost nothing. At least one person must find it informative and/or entertaining and since the creators of these websites generally fall under that category, virtually all websites out there will qualify. Of course, any page written by a robot will be automatically disqualified by my web page recommendation robot. I won’t even have to trouble myself to go to that web page before I recommend it to you, dear reader.

The first random web page that I’m mentioning on this site is Shiny Glass over at wordpress.com. The site is relatively new, but already informative. For example, I learned that a company called Blenko Glass is going out of business because it lost a legal battle with one of its suppliers. Too bad for Blenko that its supplier doesn’t follow my golden rule of customer service, which is I try to lose almost all of my legal battles that I have with any of my customers.

Written by Steve

February 17th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Posted in The Web

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Band Name Generator

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I’m very pleased to announce my new Band Name Generator page. Some of my favorites so far have been Malformed Stepchild and The Dreamboats. I think Malformed Stepchild would be a great name for a barbershop quartet. Or maybe The Dreamboats would be better. Which ever. Enjoy.

Update:So it turns out there are already a bunch of web pages out there that do this sort of thing. Perhaps I should have asked Google before I traveled down this ultimately futile path. My offering, at least, has the best picture. Long live my new band Agar!!

Written by Steve

February 5th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Posted in My Stuff

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Friendster Spam

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Dara / Jen captured in an identity crisis

Dara / Jen captured in an identity crisis

So my social networking is starting to pay off. It’s about time really. This morning I was very excited to receive a new Friendster message from Dara. I personally don’t know any one name Dara. I could only assume that Dara found my Friendster profile and she’s really into short, married dudes and absolutely had to send me a message. I am happily married, but it never hurts to have the ego stroked occasionally. So I opened the message.

Right away I noticed that something was amiss. The message is from Dara, but the picture is labeled as Jen. What could this mean? What could this mean? Then it hit me. Jen is actually very shy and/or has concerns about her privacy. She uses the persona of Dara to live the internet life that she wishes so could live if she wasn’t stricken by her debilitating condition. Jen, it’s okay. You don’t have to hide any more. We all love you. Call me.

Written by Steve

February 4th, 2009 at 11:23 am

Posted in Tech,The Web

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iPhone Alarm

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For the most part the iPhone 3G with 2.1 software is very cool.  Like the rest of the software the alarm clock function is very cool… for the most part.  It’s super easy to add a new alarm.  You have a bunch of alarm sounds by default and if the default sounds fail to tickle your fancy, you can use any ring tone that you have as a custom alarm sound.  Ehow.com claims that you have “full access to your iTunes library.”  It’s not obvious to me how you set an iTune song as an alarm sound.  Damn you ehow.com.

Anyway, I said that the alarm function was mostly cool.  I’ve been using the alarm for about a week now and in that time I’ve expected the alarm to sound about 22 times.  In actuality, the alarm has only gone off 17 times.  Obviously, this is an unacceptably low success rate.  The alarm that fails the most often is the alarm that is supposed to wake me up.  I think this suggests the iPhone itself is not waking out of standby properly.

A cursory Google search revealed that not many people are having this problem.  Does your iPhone’s alarm fail to go off if it has been inactive for several hours?

Written by Steve

October 5th, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Tech

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Tonight’s Bottom Three

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Group photo of contestants

The first two couples, Kherington & Twitch and Courtney & Gev did a fine job last night. So did the last two couples, Chelsie & Mark and Katee & Joshua. With strong performances coming from those four, I will not be surprised to see any of the remaining couples dancing for their lives tonight.

Comfort & Chris and Chelsea & Thayne will definitely be dancing for their lives tonight. Who will be the third couple dancing for their lives tonight? That’s a bit trickier. I’m going to guess Kourtni & Matt* based on the weird choreography courtesy of Sonya, the mohawk lady.

*Matt and his ninja mask will haunt me for the rest of my life. Thanks, Fox.

Written by Steve

June 26th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Posted in TV

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Gordon Ramsey is Tricky

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So last night Chef Ramsey got me when he announced who was getting the boot from Hell’s Kitchen.  For a second I thought Corey was going home.  Jen, you will not be missed, at least not by me.

Written by Steve

June 18th, 2008 at 7:58 am

Posted in TV

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So You Think You Can Dance – D.C. Auditions

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So you can dance, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t have the personality to go along with it.

I was very disappointed with the So You Think You Can Dance judges tonight.  The kid from Juilliard clearly was very talented.  One of the reasons that this show is one of the only reality tv shows that I watch is because of the focus on talent.  Yes, the American Idol winner is not necessarily the contestant with best voice.  To be an Idol you need to have a good voice and be a showman/showwoman.  You need “star power”; an intangible “It” factor.  SYTYCD is not American Idol and shouldn’t be.

Mr. Juilliard should have gone straight through to Vegas based solely on the strength of his solo audition.  Having to learn the choreography was beneath him.  Come on.  Juilliard.  In three years.  Again, I am so disappointed.

Written by Steve

May 29th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Posted in TV

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So You Think You Can Dance

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A contestant from So You Think You Can DanceSeason four of So You Think You Can Dance just started.  This is the first season that I started watching the show from the beginning.  I completely missed the first two seasons, but then my sister-in-law got me hooked last summer after about a third of the episodes had already aired.

For the most part I shy away from reality TV shows.  I find most of them to be overly contrived.  It seems like reality TV show producers beat the bushes to find “ratings grabbing” contestants with quirky personalities and no talent instead of normal folks with decent ability.  Most importantly, reality TV can be mind numbing to the point where drool trickles out of the corner of your mouth if you watch any given episode of any given show beyond the opening credits.

Last season of So You Think You Can Dance was fun to watch because it didn’t have any of the problems of most reality TV shows. There was no celebrity gimmick like some shows use. Instead of being an I.Q. siphon, I actually learned about different dance styles because of the variety of dances the contestants performed and because of judges’ generally insightful performance critiques. I don’t know anything about dancing, but I still found the show to be very entertaining.

When I started watching the show, the pool of contestants were genuinely talented dancers and for the most part the weakest remaining dancer was booted off the show leaving an increasingly talented group of contestants every week.  Finally, the contestants are selected by audition which means the producers can’t pick applicants because of some stereotypical personality trait highlighted in a homemade video.

I have high hopes for season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance based on season 3.

Genre: Reality TV

Premise: From the official website:

The summer hit SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, hosted by Cat Deeley, keeps viewers moving to a different beat as dancers skilled in everything from the ‘street’ styles of Hip-Hop, Krumping and Popping to Ballroom’s Salsa, Quickstep and Jive compete to be named the nation’s favorite.

Airing: Mondays at 8:00PM?? Thursdays at 8:00PM??

Written by Steve

May 24th, 2008 at 10:00 am

Posted in TV

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