Blog Archive for September 2005

This Jesus Thing... It's Packaged Right

White Rock Smoothie PhotoWhy the heck are smoothies so expensive?

I swear, you can buy the most expensive meal deal at Taco Bell or McDonalds and still be cheaper than a medium-sized smoothie. Just because we want something modestly healthy means we have to pay more than any human should be asked to pay for sustenance.

Today I was at the Mall and I could have gotten a 22 oz. pop at the Holiday Station(less) Store for probably under a buck. But I went upstairs to the Tropicana Smoothie place and paid $6.17 for a 22 oz. smoothie. Maybe I'll just go back to pop.

The only smoothie that's worth its weight in gold is the White Rock smoothie. In all my travels, I've not found a smoothie that tastes as good.


It's Good To Know That You Fail Sometimes

Most of my post titles are lyric quotes from a song. Leave a comment and try to guess what song I was thinking of/listening to when I wrote this post. is not living up to my lofty expectations. Right now I need two things, and I can't find exactly what I'm looking for at the mecca of everything. (At least, not through their own store, their affiliate stores have it all.)

The first item is an alarm clock. Years ago my parents gave me one with a very big LCD display that let me read the time from almost across the room (or, for most anybody else, across the street). Last year it stopped working. I was borrowing one from the family I used to live with, but I've left their place and didn't think it a good idea to steal theirs. And since I don't exactly wake up to the little alarm on my watch, I need something better by my bed. And heck, a big display would be nice.

The second item is a Nalgene water bottle. Our new place is big, and unless I'm carrying around a water bottle I'm not gonna stay well hydrated. Their new OTG bottles look cool, but nobody at has them. partner stores have most of the other styles, but not usually in what I think are cool color or style combinations.

Sure, I could buy each one from a different online retailer and get what I want, but if I do that it costs much more to ship individually and I get less points on my Visa. And the partners each ship (and charge shipping) seapartely too.

Or, alternatively, I could head out to Wal-Mart or Target. Bets are they don't have Nalgene water bottles. And if they have alarm clocks, the chance they'll have one I like is pretty darn slim. I've been trying to look around at the stores in The Mall too since I can walk through there during my lunch break, but so far I've not found anything promising.

So maybe I'll get a crappy product that will do it. Or maybe I'll pay top dollar. I dunno. I'm one of those who tends to believe a quality product at a high price is more worth it, so I probably will end up paying top dollar.

Ohh, and apparently my mom is afraid to post comments on here. ;-)


I Know Ohio, The Back Roads

Sufjan Stevens PhotoEver heard of this man? His name is Sufjan Stevens. If he's not on your musical radar, it seems he soon will be.

Sufjan Stevens first entered my radar when we did Most Spun 2004 at A couple guest contributors for the feature mentioned Sufjan, and since these people are music industry professionals I respect highly, I knew I needed to check it out.

Then, of course, the folks at Paste Magazine have been hyping Sufjan as one of the best artists out there. So, to check it out, I picked up his Seven Swans album. Stevens is definitely well within the genre of folk, and at first it seemed a bit bland for even folk music. But after a couple listens, it started growing on me.

The biggest thing that Stevens is getting press for is his amazing work on his 50 States projects. A couple years ago he released Michigan, an album entirely about his home state. This year he released Illinois, an ode to the nearby state and Chicago.

I've found that his 50 States albums seem to bring a more diverse musicality and some amazing lyricism to Sufjan Stevens' repetoire. This man obviously does his homework. He incorporates man historical facts and stories of the state of Illinois into his latest project. It's also fun to think about driving through those cities the songs are named for and listening to them. And there's plenty of brief musical interludes where the track titles are longer than the tracks.

50 States are going to take a long time to do. Good thing he's young. Maybe hs can just count Over The Rhine's Ohio in the 50 albums.

Anyways, Sufjan Steven has been blowing up. I haven't seen his discs in Best Buy or Target yet, but he was featured in Relevant Magazine, on tons of websites, and even on MTV, I think. Like I said, if you haven't heard about him yet, you'll probably see him on the next soundtrack album for "The O.C.".

Speaking of TV, it's insane that my siblings and all the other stupid teens watch those trashy prime-time soap operas. I mean, seriously, the only good shows are "Seinfeld", "The Simpsons", "Hogan's Heroes", and "The Red Green Show". Ohh, most of the shows on TechTV in 2001.


He's The Man Of The Hour

Sometimes I wish I had a TV. (Oh wait, there'a TV sitting in this room. - OK, so I don't really want one.) If I had one, the only thing I'd really watch is all those cool commercials. Not that all of them are cool, but some of them are just plain ingenious.

These new ones are for the new Starbucks Doubleshot drinks available in stores. Apparently it energizes you for the workday. So check out the ads of Hank and Glen going to work and getting a jump start to their day. It's hilarious.


Keep Dancin' 'Til the Break of Dawn

So, you want to know what life in the very center of the University of Minnesota campus is like? Check out my roomate TJ's new poem, Funnel Rises. It's a great reflection on the party atmosphere in the area.


My First Live Post

This is the first time I have done "live blogging." I'm at the TCPHP meeting and there's been a couple things that have come up in the last hour of talking about goo programming practices and such.

The big thing I heard about was Allie's mention of Xdebug. The biggest thing it does is replace PHP's basic error handler and include a more informative error system that includes a stack trace. Check out the nice screens. I think I'll have to install this on my development machine.


I Ain't Too Soft To Say It, Even If DJs Don't Play It

So, I was answering the phone at work. I took the person's name and company, and then I forwarded her to someobdy who had all the answers.

Apparently she claimed that I have a "good voice for radio." I think that's cool to know, especially since I'm thinking more and more about podcasting. Of course, the person on the phone only works at an auto glass company, so I dunno how she knows that I have a radio voice.


We Are Peculiar People

Hey look! My posts are all on Google Blog Search!

I wonder if crappy blog technologies like Xanga are on there yet. Probably not. (And no offense to my technologically-inclined friends who are on Xanga.)


So Small

Well, this time I'm spending a couple minutes to introduce you to the iPod nano. And, like the subject of this post says, this thing is tiny. (I was trying to start a trend of all subjects being song lyrics, but I couldn't think of a good one for this post.)

iPod nanos next to a pencilSo what's so cool about it? Well, besides being small, it basically has all the features of my more expensive and much bigger iPod. It's only got a lot less space. You can store your photos, listen to podcasts, and play games. Plus, exclusive to the nano (at least for now) is a stopwatch, multiple clocks for different time zones, and a screen lock that keeps others out of your music and settings.

How did it get so small? Well, the iPod nano uses flash-based memory (like on your USB keydrives) instead of a hard drive. This is only now an option for Apple because, a year or two ago, flash memory of the size of 2GB or 4GB was way too expensive it was even feasible to put it on a chip. Plus, they've perfected almost everything about it these days, so they can make it really small.

The fun thing about keeping up with the technology geek community is the things they do with their nanos just seconds after they get them out of the package. First, somebody in Japan took it apart before hardly anyone in America had one. Then Systm took it apart and recorded the process on video. And now, Ars Technica included a stress test with their review of the nano. Let's just say that if you drop it out of a speeding car a couple times then run it over a couple times, you should still be able to hear your music. (Oh, and you probably won't need the Best Buy extended warranty for it with those kind of specs.)


You Can Be Yourself If You're Willin'

John Reuben PhotoDude, The Boy Vs. The Cynic is amazing! I've been listening to this album a lot recently,and it's brilliant.

Before this album, when people asked me who John Reuben was (I have a T-shirt), I'd say, "A silly Christian rapper." But no more. Mr. Zappin has always had a side of him that, on the surface, seemed to be a cynic. But I think he has a lot more wisdom in these cynical comments than we think. In this album, he challenges the so-called wisdoms on the modern church, today's political system (What? Reuben's not Republican?), and, of course, some of the music industry.

But what does it sound like musically? Sure, there's a bit of rap in there, but there's a whole lot more than that. There's a lot of guitars. There's some songs that could make it on the dancefloor, most notably "So Glad," which reminds me of something from the 80s.

If you haven't heard it yet, check it out. And if it sounds intriguing and you write for, tell me you want it.