Author: Jason

Falling Off The Wagon

It doesn’t really matter how regularly I write for this blog, other than my own stupid pride. It’s a competition with myself. So whenever I lapse in my blogging routine, I feel guilty that I’m not holding up my end of the bargain.

The bargain with myself.

I know, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

One day skipping the routine, and it becomes harder to go back to it the next day. Then another day passes. Next thing I know, it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve written anything.

It’s not like I’ve been super-busy, out late every night. Sure, there have been days in the last couple of weeks where I’d work late, or April and I had somewhere to be in the evening, or family was visiting. Let’s face it, though, there’s time in the day. There are moments to steal to jot down a few thoughts, something reasonably coherent. It’s not like I’m on a deadline with an editor, and I have to fill a certain word count or column length. This ain’t the New York Times.

July has 31 days, and I posted 30 times. That’s pretty good. I can certainly live with that. But here we are, August 13th, and this is only the 2nd post of the month for me. That needs to change. There’s still time left in August to approach 31 posts for the month, which keeps me on track (for the month) with the Post A Day challenge.

I’m back on it now.

First Casualty of Concert and Culture Schedule

April and I had a whole bunch of stage shows to attend starting this summer, be they rock concerts, theater musicals, or stand-up comedians. I previously wrote about the Eddie Izzard concert and Avenue Q. We still have a number of other shows coming up in August through October:

  • Blues Traveler
  • Daniel Tosh
  • Fly By Night
  • Foo Fighters

Unfortunately, we lost one of our concerts for September, when
Kings of Leon canceled the reset of their summer tour. Too bad, I really wanted to see that show…

The First Avenger

We went this afternoon to see Captain America: The First Avenger, which I mentioned earlier this month that I was anxious to see.  Cap did not disappoint me, which is the way it should be.  Captain America should never disappoint you!  I was pleasantly surprised that Chris Evans brought a little bit of depth to the character, and I really enjoyed Stanley Tucci’s time on screen.  Hugo Weaving made for a great Red Skull, too bad we won’t be seeing more of him.  I also appreciated bringing The Howling Commandos into the story — any excuse to get Dum-Dum Dugan on screen is worth it.  I even caught myself singing “The Star-Spangled Man With A Plan” as we were walking through the parking lot afterwards.

The gripe is, as always, that the 3-D experience wasn’t worth the extra money.  It never is, especially with non-animated film.  There was one action sequence where Cap throws his shield, and the ricochet comes right at the audience; I’ll admit that I flinched at that moment, it was so fast.

Since it’s a Marvel movie, you have to stay through the end of the credits.  Afterwards, you’ll wish it was already May 2012.

FAQ – Engagement

As reported yesterday, April and I are now engaged 🙂  Since then, we’ve been drowning in congratulatory wishes from family and friends, for which we’re extremely grateful.  It’s a little overwhelming, and it’s had me a little verklempt, the amount of people who care about us — you sometimes forget just how many awesome people there are in your life and how many friendships you build up over the years!

I thought it might be a good idea to answer some of the frequently asked questions we’ve been getting over the past 24+ hours.  All of these are from my perspective… if April wants to chime in with her perspective, she has her own blog for that 😉

Q: Was she surprised?

A: She knew it was coming sooner or later, because we’ve talked about it at length, many times over.  She wouldn’t have moved her life to California if she didn’t know it was coming!  And she suspected that the moment of truth was getting very, very close.  But I caught her totally off guard when I actually popped the question.

Q: So how did you pop the question?

A: Long answer to a short question… I’ve had the ring since mid-June, and I had always targeted July 30th (today) as the specific day that’d I’d ask her.  July 30th has a special significance — it was one year ago today that we first said “I love you” to each other.  Romantic that I am, I thought there’d be no better day to propose.  Originally, I’d wanted to surprise her with a weekend getaway, and as I was making arrangements in secret for it, April RSVP’d to another event for this evening.  Plans foiled!  I couldn’t tell her “No, we can’t go to that” without revealing why I had other plans for us.

So, I still had it in my head that I’d propose on July 30th, but had to think of some other opportunity to do the deed.  And I was struggling with that.  Every time I would try to come up with a plan, I got anxious.  Not because I was nervous about proposing, but because I was scared to death of screwing it up!  I was definitely over-thinking things.  The more I would over-think things, the more anxious I would get.

Thursday night, we both had different plans.  I had dinner with my parents, who were in on the secret, and they asked me, “So when are you going to… you know?”  I said, “I’m still planning on Saturday.”  At that point, Saturday was still the date I wanted to do it, but there was no plan at the ready.

When both of us got home after our respective dinners Thursday night, as the night got later, we were in our bedroom, chatting away about this and that, being a little mushy and cutesy… the usual.  It was about 11:00pm, and we were both pretty tired — it was definitely time to go to sleep. But when April stepped into the bathroom to get ready for bed, I was struck with the thought, “Why not just ask her now?”

And that’s what I did.  I snuck the ring under her pillow, and when she got into bed, I started telling her how much I loved her, and she mumbled back, “I love you too, and I’m sleepy.”  She started to move to turn off the bedside lamp, but I held her back and asked, “Do you want to know how much I love you?”  I pulled the ring out from under her pillow and showed it to her. Then I asked if she would marry me.  And by now you know her answer 🙂

Q: Didn’t get down on one knee?

A: Nope, that would’ve been awkward to do when I was already lying down!

Q: For the ring, did you go to Jared?

A:  No, I did not go to Jared!  The ring was a custom design at a local jeweler, with a diamond that was my great-grandmother’s.

Q: Have you set a date?

A:  No, not yet.  We’re talking about it, and we expect to make a decision fairly quickly.  We want to get the ‘when’ and the ‘where’ locked in early.

Q: Have you registered anywhere?

A: No, not yet. Does that mean you want to get us presents???

Happy News To Share

Last night, I asked April a question. She answered in the affirmative 🙂

The Most Hated Team In America?

My beloved New England Patriots made quite a bit of NFL news today, reportedly making two separate trades to acquire DT Albert Haynesworth and WR Chad Ochocinco.  Both players are big names for their on the field production throughout their careers.  Both players come with baggage, perceived (Ochocinco) or real (Haynesworth).  Both trades are reportedly for future draft picks, not likely to be high-valued picks.  Both players’ careers in New England will be classic boom-or-bust options.

For Haynesworth, he’s been a dominating force on the defensive line for most of his career, this last year in Washington notwithstanding.  His tenure with the Redskins was a disaster, no doubt about it.  However, he’s still young enough that he should have plenty of gas left in the tank.  I think he can be disruptive in getting into the backfield to pressure opposing quarterbacks, by playing next to a classic middle-of-the-line DT like Vince Wilfork.  Haynesworth will play more of the hybrid DT/DE role that the Patriots haven’t had since trading away Richard Seymour.  Play Haynesworth in that role, and I suspect he’ll be motivated to return to a Pro Bowl level and put the Washington disaster behind him.

As far as Ochocinco goes, I’ve always thought his antics to be fun and harmless.  He’s not a malcontent, he doesn’t get in trouble off-the-field.  His production won’t be what it used to be, and he’ll still get shut down by CBs like Darelle Revis.  Otherwise, he should give Tom Brady yet another weapon to use against defenses.  Don’t forget that the Patriots were putting up huge scores last year — without a top-flight wide receiver on the outside.  Ochocinco will keep defenses honest and spread the field, opening up more room for Wes Welker.  As if Tom Brady needed more help.

When it comes to the Patriots, either you love them or you hate them.  Success (and that whole Spygate business) over the past decade has turned everyone outside of the fan base against the Pats.  When they won their first Super Bowl, they were the underdog and the darlings of the NFL — a team-first group of players, unheralded overachievers.  Since then, sentiment has turned.  Now when you add two polarizing players like Haynesworth and Ochocinco, you could practically hear the outcry of anti-Patriots sentiment coming from the Internet, even if you were offline.

I’m okay with that.  I’m okay that my team is going to be the villain.  Bring it on.  Go Pats!

Update:  Sure enough, after I post this, I see that Mark Schlereth agrees with me about Haynesworth being the new Richard Seymour for New England.

The Brain Is A Muscle

The brain is a muscle.  Like any other muscle, the brain must be exercised regularly in order to be able to function properly.

Specifically, the parts of the brain that store your technical skills must be exercised regularly.  I remember this every time I go months between doing anything related to setting up web pages, writing simple PHP code, configuring databases, etc.  My technical skills are suffering from atrophy at the moment.  Really a sad state of affairs.

Want: BookBook for iPhone

I see my next gadget purchase, and it’s name is BookBook for iPhone.  The short description from the Twelve South site:

BookBook for iPhone is a wallet and iPhone case rolled into one pocket-sized, vintage book. Open this beautifully designed leather book and you will see a wallet on the left and a slot for your iPhone 4 on the right. Trade your wallet for this handsome little book and you’ll have one less thing in your pocket or purse when you walk out the door. And, as long as you remember your phone, you’ll never forget your wallet again.

April uses a similar iPhone/wallet case from Michael Kors, but that’s, uhm, a little flashy for my tastes.  I can’t really see myself carrying around a gold designer clutch.

However, I can see myself using the BookBook for iPhone.  It would require cleaning out my wallet and carrying around less cards and cash, which is not a bad thing.

If only it were my birthday coming up… I don’t think I can wait 6 months to have someone buy it for me as a gift!

See the BookBook for iPhone in action:

Originally seen on Mashable.

Do It (Tomorrow) — My New Favorite App

I think my new favorite application is going to be Do It (Tomorrow), from Adylitica.  It’s ultra-simple task management, with a snazzy interface.  You’re only putting in your tasks for today, and then you have the ability to postpone them to the next day.  It’s available as a web application at http://tomorrow.do, and there’s a paid version for the iPhone/iPad (only $1.99!) that allows you to sync with the web app.  Free versions of the app are also available for iPhone (without sync) and Android.

I’ve been on the lookout for something like this, with the following features:

  1. Super-simple to add tasks
  2. Sync between a web interface or a Mac thick client, and iPhone and iPad
  3. Re-order task list
  4. Postpone tasks manually
  5. Automatically roll over incomplete tasks to the next day
  6. Give me a way to search for completed tasks by date range

I’ve tried a number of solutions, never really found one that felt right for me — either too many bells and whistles, or a clunky interface, or missing a web interface or a mobile app. In just a few minutes with Do It (Tomorrow), it looks like they cover the first four features on my wish list.  I’ll know tomorrow if they handle #5 on the list.  Doesn’t look like #6 is possible at this point.  But for a measly $1.99, to get the first four features?  Gimme!

The design of the web application is really beautiful, too, see below with my tasks for tomorrow blurred out so you don’t have to read what I’m doing for work tomorrow.  It looks like a Moleskine notebook, and the font is a simple handwriting font.  They even add the obligatory coffee stain image!

It Sucks To Be Me

The Cast of Avenue Q, San Jose Stage Company

No, not really… life is pretty good for yours truly these days 🙂

That’s the title to one of the songs from the musical Avenue Q, which me and April went to see last night in their penultimate performance at The Stage in San Jose.

I really didn’t know anything about Avenue Q before last night — I knew it was a musical, that it had puppets but was NOT for children.  Other than that, eyes wide open.

I wish I’d have known how much fun it was going to be.  I would have gone to see it earlier in their run in San Jose, and that would have allowed me to recommend it for everyone to see.  As it is, I can tell you this:  Go see this show when it comes to your city.

If a stage show has musical numbers with titles like:

  • What Do You Do With A B.A. In English?
  • It Sucks To Be Me
  • If You Were Gay
  • Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist
  • The Internet Is For Porn
  • I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today
  • My Girlfriend, Who Lives In Canada
  • And, my favorite… You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You Want (When You’re Makin’ Love)

You have to see it.

Great job by the San Jose cast, with special kudos to Rinabeth Apostol for getting the sounds right in the song “The More You Ruv Someone”, to Robert Brewer for going falsetto as Bad Idea Bear 2 and then going down several octaves to voice Trekkie Monster, and Monique Hafen for really belting it out when she finally gets to sing solo as Lucy The Slut.