It’s Almost Here

It’s almost here! Tomorrow morning we are heading off to Wyoming for the eclipse. I’ve been planning this trip for at least five years. I was originally just going to drive down to Kansas for a day, but hotels booked up so fast. I should probably start getting mine booked for the next one in seven years. Luckily my Wife’s cousin lives in Wyoming right in the path. We are going to go hang with them for the weekend and watch the eclipse together on Monday. Then we are going to spend the rest of the week at the Tetons and Yellowstone.

It should be a fun week experiencing the beauty of a solar eclipse and the beauty of our national parks. It will be nice to mostly get away from the internet and the ugliness of our current political climate. I think my brain and heart need a vacation from all the hate.

Maybe I’ll tweet, maybe I’ll instagram. I don’t know. I tend to live in the moment when I’m on vacation and ignore social media. I am hoping to find some Pok√©mon Go players in Yellowstone to help take down some raids, but we’ll see.

Cloud Backups

I have data on every cloud storage site you can imagine, but to use any of them to back up ALL my data is just too damn expensive.

I had everything on OneDrive and was paying for an Office 365 account back with it came with unlimited data. Then they quit the unlimited data plan, so I canceled my subscription. Then Amazon offered an unlimited plan option, so I uploaded everything there. After they quit their unlimited data plan I gave up finding an online backup for my data. I’ve been taking hard drives to work for my off site backup. While cheaper, it’s kind of a pain in the ass.

A couple weeks ago SpiderOak opened up an unlimited plan for $150 a year, but signups were limited to a couple weeks. I’ve always been a fan of SpiderOak because of their security. $150 is only $12.50 a month. That’s a pretty good deal for unlimited storage, so I signed up. Hopefully they don’t change their mind on the unlimited storage.

Back when I first uploaded all my data to OneDrive it took me six month. Now with faster internet and more data, it’s probably only going to take me four weeks to get everything up to SpiderOak. Faster internet is so great.

SpiderOak also has a nice iOS app. It’ll be my new Dropbox once my backups are done. It’s just a nice piece of mind knowing all my backups are encrypted and safe online.

Newest co-worker

This past weekend was my first working with my newest co-worker. I blogged about her when she was first hired. I was a little shocked they hired a woman, but also super proud. She was totally qualified, and has been great. I’m so glad my bosses didn’t judge her because she is a woman, and an obviously gay woman at that.

It was fun working with her this past weekend. Is it weird that I have more in common with her than I do any of my other co-workers? She is a gay woman, half my age, but super cool. We like similar music. We have been to some of the same concerts. She is also an introvert, and I guess when two introverts get together they talk like crazy. Who knew?

Albums From My Teen Years #18

The final of my favorite albums from my teen years is Weezer’s Blue Album. I remember seeing the video for “Undone – The Sweater Song” on 120 Minutes one night and instantly fell in love with Weezer. The next day I picked up the album and was a fan for life. Pinkerton is probably my favorite Weezer album, but I was 21 when it came out, so it didn’t qualify for this list. I’ve seen Weezer in concert more than any other band that isn’t Motion City Soundtrack. Weezer are definitely one of my top five favorite bands.

It’s been fun going back and listening to some of my favorite albums every week these posts.

Albums From My Teen Years #17

Punk in Drublic was the first album that I learned about online. If I remember right, I learned about NOFX and a bunch of other punk bands reading music usenet newsgroups on AOL. Back in 1994 there were very few ISPs in our little town. AOL was about it, and they didn’t have the web yet. It was mostly just email, usenet, and AOL chat rooms. fun times.

I discovered so many bands on the usenet those days. I would make lists in hopes to find them at Best Buy. It was always a hit or miss if they had them or not. NOFX is by far my favorite from those days, and still love them to this day.

Things 3 is My Favorite To-Do Manager

I’ve tried every to-do manager out there until three years ago when I tried Things. Things works perfect for me, and I haven’t had to look elsewhere for to-do management. I now live in things. Everything I need to do gets out of my head and into Things. From there it gets scheduled and done. I don’t have to be be constantly thinking of what needs to be done. Everything gets out of my head, but never forgotten about. Everybody works differently, and not all to-do managers work for everybody. It’s glorious when you find one that works though.

Things 3 was recently released. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to upgrade or not. Things 2 was working so well for me. Well, today I but the bullet and bought Things 3 since it’s on sale until May 26th. I’m so glad I did. The new version is much nicer looking. It also now can see your calendar events, and you can add items with Siri. The one downside of Things is the price, but it’s so worth it if it’s the type of to-do manager you need.

Albums From My Teen Years #16

Pavement’s first album, Slanted and Enchanted, is often thought of as their best album. I love all of their albums, but Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was the first I heard. It holds a special place in my heart. I remember seeing the “Cut Your Hair” video in college and instantly fell in love with Pavement. Their third album, Wowee Zowee is probably my favorite, but I was 20 when it was released so it’s disqualified from this list.

Albums From My Teen Years #15

It was a toss-up for what Letters to Cleo album to put on this list. I love Aurora Gory Alice and Wholesale Meats and Fish pretty equally, but Aurora Gory Alice is the album that made Letters to Cleo a household name. Letters to Cleo are one of my all time favorites from the 90s. I’m bummed I’ve never had a chance to see them live. It’s great that the band is back together making music again, maybe someday I’ll get to see them.

Albums From My Teen Years #14

Most people probably don’t know who Frente! is. They are an Australian band that have been together on and off since the early 90s. They basically only have two studio albums, and I really fell in love with Marvin the Album in college in 1993. I’m listening to it now for the first time in probably 15 years, and it’s still great. I wish I knew how to describe it better, but you know what, you have the internet. You can go listen yourself.

Albums From My Teen Years #13

I was a little late at discovering the Pixies. I actually became of fan of Frank Black first, and then went back and listened to the Pixies. Teenager of the Year is the first Frank Black album I discovered. I just love this album. So many quirky, catchy songs. It’s probably one of the most underrated 90s albums.

Albums From My Teen Years #12

I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins with the Gish sometime in high school after seeing the video for “Rhinoceros”. While I liked the album, I didn’t love it. Siamese Dream came out the summer after my senior year. From the beginning riff of “Cherub Rock”, I new the Smashing Pumpkins were going to be huge. I love the beginning lyrics of “Cherub Rock”, “Freak out,And give in, Doesn’t matter what you believe in, Stay cool, And be somebody’s fool this year”. The album only gets better from there. Billy Corgan driving around the ice cream truck in the “Today” video is one of the memories from my freshman years of college. “Disarm” got so much air play, I kind of got sick of it. This album probably makes it into my top 10 favorite albums of all time list.

I’m the Real Slim Shady

Middle schooler me wanted to be a rapper. I was really into the Beastie Boys, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, and Run DMC. I wrote a couple of rap song, and my rap name was M&M. I spelt it a little different than Eminem, but it was essentially the same. Like Marshall Mathers, my initials are also MM, plus it’s my favorite candy. My brother and I recorded the couple songs I wrote onto a cassette tape using his little Casio keyboard as the only musical instrument to make some noise that we called music. I made artwork and everything for our album titled Too Much Hype. It would be cool to hear how awful it was, but I sure it’s in a landfill somewhere. But anyhow, I am the original slim shady.*

*after writing that I looked up Eminem and he is actually older than me. We were probably both rapping as M&M at the same time, so I guess I’m not the original M&M, I’m just the M&M that sucked.

Do people still pirate software?

Today I was thinking, I don’t have any pirated or cracked software on any of my computers. Back when I was a poor college student, I pirated or cracked everything. You name it, I could get it for free. I was the go to guy for free software among my group of friends. It was almost a game. Most of the software I didn’t even use, I just wanted it for free. Nowadays I am so out of the loop, I’m not even sure where to go for it.

Ok, I just went to one of my favorite sites for cracks, astalavista.box.sk, and it looks like it still works. It’s crazy that it’s still around, it’s probably been 20 years since I last used it.

I don’t think people use the amount of software now that they did back then. You can do so much with just a web browser these days, and operating systems are so much more advanced too. About the only piece of software I pay for now is Photoshop. At $10 a month for Photoshop and Lightroom it seems like a great deal. Over time it’s probably not that great of deal, but I don’t really notice it and there isn’t really a comparable free alternate. Everything else I use is either free or low cost, but honestly, I don’t use that much software these days.

Albums From My Teen Years #11

I love Frosting on the Beater, but I always seem to forget about The Posies. I have a few other Posies albums, but haven’t really given them much of a listen. I’m not really sure how this album made this list, but then when I think about it, there was a period in 1993 when I listened the hell out of this album in my dorm room. I think it’s a highly underrated album. You’ve probably never even heard of it in fact, but it’s great.

Albums From My Teen Years #10

I picked up Exile In Guyville on a whim. I saw Kurt Loder talk about her in a piece for MTV News. Nobody that I knew was really listening to women fronted groups, but I loved them. From Juliana Hatfield Three, Veruca Salt, That Dog, The Breeders, Poe, Jennifer Trynin, Letters to Cleo… I could go on for ever. Loved them all. I had a feeling I would like Liz Phair, and boy did I.

Soon after I got the album they started to play the “Never Said” video on MTV. I don’t know if they ever played it on the radio in our area. Our radio stations always sucked. I honestly don’t really know how big this album went nationally. In my little bubble it was one of the best albums of the year.

Liz is apparently working on new material to be released this year. I can’t wait, and I hope she tours. I saw her once at First Ave, and she is great. It would be great to see her again.

Albums From My Teen Years #9

I mentioned Juliana Hatfield back when I was talking about The Lemonheads. I’m a huge fan of her. Become What You Are wasn’t her first solo album, but it her first as Juliana Hatfield Three. My college roommate first bought this album. I wanted it too, but I just listened to his copy that first fall. We both loved the album and Juliana in general. Once Christmas break came around I had to go buy my own copy. I couldn’t go a couple weeks without hearing my Juliana. It’s crazy to think to back to the times before you can hear music online. You had to own the album, or you couldn’t hear it. Now I can watch the “My Sister” video, and listen to the album whenever I want. They are just a couple clicks away.

Missing Green Day

I should be on the road right now to see Green Day. I was late to the ball and didn’t get tickets right away. Only nosebleeds were left, so I didn’t buy them. I’m kicking myself now. Although, I could get tickets from Stubhub right now. It’s so tempting. Green Day is probably the best band I have ever seen live. It’s amazing how many great songs they have. Most 90s bands now are either broken up, or they are making crap music. Green Day’s newest album is one of their best. Having such a vast catalog is also a bad thing. They just don’t have time to play much of their older stuff, plus people probably don’t know it as well. I don’t know when they last played “Christie Road” live. So even though they are great, I’m always leaving sad that they didn’t play a handful of my favorites.

So instead of seeing Green Day again, I’m just going to hang out at home and get a few projects done and enjoy the nice spring day outside. It’s always great when it finally gets nice enough to enjoy some time outside. I may be a great indoorsman, but I do like the outdoors in the spring.

We Have A Tivo Again

On Tuesday I cancelled our DirecTV service. It’s crazy to think we have been a customer for thirteen years. We originally switched to DirecTV because we hated Cableone, and DirecTV had Tivos. DirecTV Tivos have been gone a long time now and we’ve been dealing with their shit DVR, while watching our monthly bill going up ever year. It’s stupid that you have to threaten to cancel ever year to keep your bill down. Fuck that. I’m not playing that game. This year our bill creeped over the $130 mark. Now that we have another cable provider, Midco, I thought I would look into them. They’ve been a great internet provider so far.

So now I’m paying around $130 for cable AND internet. I’m pretty much saving the $65 that I was paying for internet. And guess what? They have Tivos! We finally have and awesome DVR again. So we basically switched to DirecTV to get a Tivo and left DirecTV to get a Tivo again.

I wish cable and satellite providers cared about their customers and offered better DVRs like Tivos. The user interface is so much better. I guess they’ll feel the pain soon enough as fewer people subscribe, and more people cut the cord. If I lived alone I would have cut the cord years ago. I never watch TV. All the alternatives are getting better. Someday soon we will cut the cord, just not quite yet.

Albums From My Teen Years #8

New Miserable Experience was a great album. “Hey Jealousy” was basically an anthem song for 1993. I still remember listening to this album on the way to my first party with a bunch of coworkers. I had a crush on a certain coworker, so I was totally going to the party that night at her apartment after she invited me. One of the first person I met at the party was her big buff boyfriend who could kick my ass with his pinkie finger. It was still a fun night. It was my first time hanging out with a bunch of coworkers. It was a little weird getting drunk with my boss, but everyone was cool. After the party, I probably shouldn’t have driven home, but my dorm room was just a few blocks away, so I drove home continuing listening to New Miserable Experience. It’s weird how certain songs, or album bring back certain memories. I listened to this album a ton in 1993, but all the memories are from that party.