Scared Stiff Pinball – Cameron Silver

My company has had a pinball machine in its offices for about a decade. It’s a really great machine called “Scared Stiff“. The theme is based around the character “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark”. As with most pinball machines, you can’t really get them anymore. Shame that they’re becoming such a rare thing.
Anyways, since we’ve had this machine for so long I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and know the machine’s “shtick” pretty well. Back in the day I was conversing with one of the designers, a guy by the name of “Cameron Silver”. Cameron was a fan of my company’s work, and had asked me for a logo for my company, he was going to send over a custom rom with our logo in it, and some requests I had. Again, when you play the same pinball machine a lot, the jokes and whatnot got somewhat old, so he put in some skips and aborts for us. It was quite cool what he did.
Then Williams stopped making pinball machines, and Cameron told me that he no longer had access to those materials. D’oh! The machine is still cool, but we lost the custom work.
Anyway, I’m writing this entry as a sort of “message in a bottle”. Cameron, if you’re out there and happen to see this, please give me a shout. I’ve long since lost Cameron’s email, and I’m banking on the fact that he might have a Google news alert for himself, and would see this thing – Lord knows he wouldn’t come to this blog for any other reason. :)
Anyways, if you are a pinball collector, look into this one, it’s a rather fun machine – so I think.

Being Tired

You ever get so tired that your eyes hurt, and your body is aching, and your mind says “Look fool, go to sleep”, as your brain registers that it’s 2:30AM?
But you’re not in the least tired? That’s where I am now. I should be asleep, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. I paid the mortgage, wrote a little for my Texas Rangers site, and sat here listening to the rainstorm outside, and the flipping dogs next door barking their fool heads off – stupid neighbors.
Gah – what’s wrong with me? I get a “full” 8 hours of sleep once, maybe twice a month. I tend to average around 5hrs a night, and I’m normally good with that. But getting to sleep can be an issue.
Unless it’s 7:45PM, and I’m in the post dinner coma, and pass out on the sofa. That’s easy.

My Candy Heart


Your Candy Heart Says “Get Real”


You’re a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don’t lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine’s Day date: is all about the person you’re seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and “greeting card” holidays

Why you’re hot: you don’t just play hard to get – you are hard to get

A Major Site Overhaul

As you can see by reading this, I’ve had a major overhaul to my blog. While I was happy with the old look I had, there recently was a contest by Six Apart (the people who make the blog software) for folks to make new design layouts for the software. This contest is over, and they posted the winners. I looked about 7 or 8 of them, and considered several, but decided to settle with one called “The Late Show“.
This theme was the overall grand prize winner in the contest, but that is not why I chose it. I picked this one because of two things.

  • It was one of the few “dark” themes I liked that weren’t too “busy”
  • It used 100% of the screen

For some reason, blog software designers love to leave lots of dead empty space on either side of what they’re doing. I can never understand that. That wasted space just screams for content or for some other usage. That is the primary reason I chose Late Show over the others. A couple of the others that I almost went with were “Top Secret“, “Curves in Red“, “Parchment” , and “Road to October“. Road to October wasn’t a serious candidate (too thin), but it was Baseball themed, so I wanted to point it out.
It’s slightly modified, the Popcorn bag from the original has been replaced with a cup of coffee that has spilled over. Thought about a regular cup of coffee, but that’s been done, a spilt one is somewhat more interesting. Plus the CD subsection of the blog has it’s own custom graphic up there, one of compact discs, as that’s what that section is all about. Thanks to RedSplat for all the help in getting that done. I owe you – again.
I did drop one thing from the blog when I did this. My old links page. I never updated it, most of them are out of date anyway, and I just didn’t feel like messing with it. So it’s gone.
But this new style is here, and is one I’m pretty happy with. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment, eh? Thanks. :)

The Art of Motion

I don’t normally watch net videos, most are pretty stupid and aren’t worth my time, but this one was pretty entertaining…

My iPod Mess

It seems that no matter what I do, my iPod earbuds always end up looking like this. Anyone have any decent ideas on how to stop this from happening? Do I need to get something else other than the earbuds, which sometimes have a hard time staying in my ears anyway (and sound fairly flat, too)?

My iPod Tangle

Real UPS Tracking

As I sit here waiting for UPS to show up with my packages (all three of which are marked as “out for delivery”), I think this..
Why can’t we have real tracking information? Their existing tracking information should be able to tell which truck a package is in. Slap a GPS machine in each UPS truck. Relay that information to their system real time, and let me see on Google Maps exactly where that package is at any one time.
This technology already exists – make it happen, UPS!

The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!

Steve Martin joke aside, two days ago, we got a bunch of new phone books delivered to the house. That’s no big deal, I’ve been seeing phone books at the house for as long as I can remember (and even one disasterous time Lynn and I delivered them, too!). Anyway, I left them there because I knew tonight was a recycling night, so I’d sort them out tonight and put the old ones out for the City of Garland to take away with all the other recycling we put out there.
So after dinner tonight I went into the coat closet, and started to drag out the phone books that were in there. Much to my horror I discovered we had THIRTEEN phone books in there! Now some of them are my fault, as they’re old, but even still there’s way too many. To make matters worse, the bags I brought in from the front porch had duplicates! It was the AT&T Yellow Pages (used to be SBC Pages), and it’s companion “mini” book. But I got two copies of each. Exact same thing – so I got four new phone books! Here’s what I got new tonight, you can see the new January 2006 AT&T Yellow Pages with it’s mini version sitting on top of the main one:

phonebooks1.jpg

OK, I can let that go, someone dropped off an extra copy, but given how many I already have it just made the discard pile larger. Speaking of the discard pile, here’s an inventory of what phone books I had after putting them all together.
Area Wide Directory:
2002-2003 Edition
2005-2006 Edition
Verizon:
Greater Dallas: April 2005
Garland – Mesquite: 2002-2003
Garland – Mesquite: Sep 2005
SBC:
Mesquite – Seagoville: May 2005
Greater Dallas: Jan 2005
Greater Dallas Mini: Jan 2005
Greater Dallas Residence White: Jun 2004
Greater Dallas Business White: Jun 2004
Richardson – Garland – Plano – Jun 2004
Mesquite – Rockwall – Terrell – May 2004
East Regional – May 2002
AT&T:
Greater Dallas – Jan 2006 x2
Greater Dallas Mini – Jan 2006 x2
Why do we need so many local editions? The regular “Greater Dallas” one is pretty darn huge to begin with. They might as well have one mega edition with all the silly little local ones incorporated in there, and split it from like A-L and M-Z. They could also make more money on cover ads, which I’m sure are a big deal to them. Granted, a few of these are my own fault for letting sit around (2002?), but even without those old ones, there’s too many “current” editions. Here’s my discard pile (L-R: Verizon, Area Wide, SBC):

phonebooks2.jpg

That’s a huge pile of phone books. All of the ones in the picture above are now sitting in the recycle bin out in our back yard, so the City of Garland truck will pick it up tomorrow morning when it comes down my alley. Out of all that stuff, this is all I am keeping (the one down front):

phonebooks3.jpg

After talking to my wife, we never use the white pages books, we never use any of the non SBC (now AT&T again, but that’s a rant for another blog entry) books, so I decided to keep just the main Greater Dallas one from AT&T, but not the mini, which appears to be the same thing except in smaller print. So three of the four books dropped off on our doorstep two days ago are already out in the bin.
I also contacted Verizon’s Superpages and Area Wide and asked how you can stop them from sending books. Anyone know of a good way to stop phone companies from sending you books? There doesn’t seem to be a way to do that that I can find.
What a waste.
BTW, a special thanks goes out to my wife for getting me to do this. I was sitting there in the foyer sorting the books and complaining about all of them. So I hear from the other room “I smell a blog entry”, to which I replied “Good idea, there hasn’t been any rants on my blog lately – it’s been too happy”. However, I think the real reason she said that was to get me to stop complaining and move the rant to the blog instead of in her ear. :)

New Blog look is online

Last Thursday a new version of this blog software was released. I won’t bore you with the details of what’s new, as most of it isn’t of any interest to you, the reader. What is important is that I’ve decided to take this time to revamp the look of my blog. The backend code that generates all this has changed a lot, and while the old version would still work, I wanted to take this opportunity to start fresh with the code that generates all this, so I can move forward with new features.
Hence my change. I had the “corkboard” look for some time now, and for awhile I’ve grown irritated at the fact that the actual blog entries are hard to read. I’ve made a few changes to the paper graphics over time and changed the fonts, but the actual entry texts remain hard to read, I think. I also felt that the overall look of it was a bit too “busy”. I wanted something simpler.
I chose this design. If you were visiting my blog reguarly, you will notice that this is significantly simpler than the old version. I also like the colors – I think they’re pleasing on the eye. The darker theme works for me, I think the red header is nice and striking, and overall is plain, dark, and good.
Some of the sub pages are still going to have the old corkboard look. I have to change them manually, and some of them are a little more difficult than others. I thought about waiting till everything was done, but I decided to go with this new look now. All the actual “blog entries” have the new look, it’s some of the things that are in the “Other Stuff” menu on the right hand column. Some of those still have the corkboard.
To finish up, I couldn’t actually bear to totally delete the corkboard code, so I still have a secondary index page if you really want to see that still. But I hope you like this one. I do.