Archive for the Mike category


Week Links

Mike No Comment

The Colbert links are all over the place thanks to his book release and his Presidential Bid.

Watch – On Larry King, this link is to the Larry King iTunes podcast. CNN doesn’t seem to have any direct links to their podcasts.

Read – From the New York Times Op-Ed page. He wrote Maureen Dowd’s column for her.

I’ve very excited for his run in South Carolina. Anyone who thinks this is a joke that will make a mockery of the primary process has not been paying attention to the primary process. Right now his focus is getting the signatures to get on the Democratic ballot. The $25,000 to get on the Republican ballot is going to be more difficult. Why does it cost so much to get on the ballot? Shouldn’t the chance to run for office be open to anyone? I thought signatures were fairly standard, or having to go and fill out a form and pay a processing fee, but one a little more realistic. The next step needs to be voter registration. At the very least a ton of people who have never voted before will register and go to the polls. A decent showing could spawn a write-in campaign across the country. In the end, two things are accomplished: more people are registered to vote and people take notice that the whole process is actually a joke. Who knows, maybe by defending his right to be in the race he can get some of the other candidates to defend their words and be honest.

During taping of Conan one night this week an alarm went off. Conan rolled with it and they wound up keeping it in the show. It continued when the next guest, Paget Brewseter, came out.

I’ve been concerned that Conan might not be able to be successful on The Tonight Show when he takes over. I think he’s great, but, to me, The Tonight Show is an entirely different audience. An audience that enjoys Jay Leno, which I cannot understand how that’s possible. After seeing how he played this I realize how truly great he can be and that he can work with any situation. That will make him successful in the new time slot. I’m just hoping he doesn’t change too much and keep the consistent boredom that is the current Tonight Show.

More Goods
Best Dilbert Blogs that I read this week. They may be a little older, I had some catching up to do.
Indoor Recreation – Just for his idea for the Ping Pong Palace.
Some People – Sometimes, you just want to kill someone for no particular reason.

North American Vexillological Association – Flags, flags, and more flags. The kind of site that you think is dumb, and then a few hours go by and you are still looking at it.

The videos follow …



Bandwagon Jumping

Mike No Comment

I’m keeping this as Bandwagon Jumping until I find a better name. After thinking about it, the name doesn’t really make sense. The idea it to start the bandwagon, not jump on it. Bandwagon Starting isn’t all that great a name. So until I figure something out, or hear a good suggestion, here are my weekly look at what I’m liking, and what I’m not.


Basic Instructions – I heard about this one from The Dilbert Blog. It was good when I first started reading it, but the last few have been great. Check out this and this. Video Highlights – They show all the goals and great saves. Sometimes even some hits. The stream is 700k, meaning excellent quality and it uses Flash so I haven’t had a problem viewing it anywhere. There is also the option to embed the clip. One problem, controversial plays are skipped. The Flyers-Canucks clip from this week did not show the Boulerice hit that led to his 25 game suspension. I guess that sort of thing requires some voiceover and all the highlights just use the game announcers.

Versus College Football – Last week Stanford beat #1 USC. This week Oregon State beat #2 Cal. I have no idea if the actual coverage is any good, I only watch the last few minutes and at that point you don’t really notice the announcers. I don’t get Versus in HD, but that’s more of a Verizon issue. I’m hoping the Penn State/Ohio State game in two weeks can somehow be covered by Versus.

Angels & Airwaves – My Only Fear – I’m excited for the new A&A album, I-Empire. It comes out on November 6th. I’ve heard some of the songs and My Only Fear hooked me instantly. Don’t be surprised if this album makes the Bandwagon in a month.

Paramore – I’ve like both their albums so far. The reason they are here now is how impressed I am at their live performances. For example, this acoustic version of Misery Business. This week they were on Conan and were amazing doing the normal version of the song.

Dollyrots – Because I’m Awesome – Sirius Hits One is slowly picking up that this song is good. First I like the full of herself attitude of the song. Also, I usually like songs where two people have a conversation in part of it. For example … Guy: I always tell you how smart you are. Girl: It’s cause my brain is really supersized. There are a couple of those type of exchanges in the song.

Natasha Bedingfield – Love Like This – If I like Unwritten and I like this, do I need to get the album? I haven’t heard any other songs.


Finger Eleven – Paralyzer – I was on board with this song early on, then it started spreading. Now its one of the most requested songs on Sirius Hits One. This song just didn’t stand up to being overplayed. Few songs do.

Reaper – I actually like this show. It just didn’t do enough to keep me coming back for more. It isn’t serialized enough. I could watch the first few episodes on their own or in any order and it wouldn’t have made any difference. Its entirely possible that they will figure something out and I’ll be getting these DVDs in a year. For now, I’ve got too many shows that I’m watching every week and something needs to go. I can’t keep up this pace. This is one is the first difficult cut. If you see that its on and you’ve got nothing else to do, you should definitely check it out, you’ll enjoy it.


Week Links

Mike No Comment

These got me talking …

Legality of some Pa. marriages is questioned
This one caught my eye because I know some people who were ordained by the Universal Life Church. I was even there when it happened. We had some time to kill after Fitness Walking. Yes, I got credit for walking. We were sitting in the computer lab and two of my friends decided to get ordained. It required them to fill out a form. It was all very official looking and by official looking I mean it was a web site with a form. I decided against it on the grounds that I could make my own certificate, if I really wanted one, and I felt thing signing up would get me involved in the subsequent legal proceedings that were likely to be associated with this organization. There was one wedding performed. While I’m not sure how much the bride and groom talk anymore, I don’t believe there was ever a divorce. I guess now they can rest easy that they can pretend the whole thing never happened.

Comcast holds the line on Big Ten
I’ve talked about this a few times. While I love the idea of having more Big Ten coverage and a chance to watch some Penn State sports besides football and basketball, I’ve been on Comcast’s side the whole time. Two things in this article stand out to me. First, something I’ve been curious about it how much money is actually on the line. According to this if Comcast puts the channel on expanded basic, BTN gets $60 million a year and if it puts it on the Sports Teir, BTN only gets $2.5 million. The article states that the Sports Teir has only 4% penetration. However, those Sports Teir numbers are going to grow. NFL Network is now on the Sports Teir but NFL games don’t start on the channel until Thanksgiving. Also, have some confidence in the drawing power of your channel. The BTN will draw even more subscribers. Getting some money has to be better than nothing at all, especially when you don’t have to do anything extra, the channel is already broadcasting. The second point in the article is even more important and something I hadn’t thought of before. Every major sport has (or will have in baseball’s case) a channel. The Big Ten is the second conference I know of to have a channel (I haven’t been upset that I don’t receive The Mountain West’s channel, which I believe Comcast has a part of). Pretty soon the other major conferences will follow suit. Then it’s going cost a bunch to pay for all of these channels. There won’t be any need for the ESPN PPV packages for college football and basketball. Everyone will be paying those prices and more because all those games will be part of the channels. While I’m an alum of a Big Ten school I want to see games from all the other conferences just as badly. I already subscribe to Verizon’s sports package so that I can see Pac10 and Big 12 games that Fox College Sports shows. I’m an odd case. There are lots of people that don’t care about sports at all, these are people I refer to as ‘people I’d rather not associated with,’ who don’t need to be paying for a bunch of channels they are never going to watch.

TV Related

Table Cloth Challenge
Someone explain to me why there isn’t a Japanese Game Show channel. At least GSN should have a Japanese block which would wind up being so popular it would need its own channel.

Creed Thoughts
Creed from The Office has a blog. I usually don’t even bother reading ‘in character’ blogs. However with Creed I had to make an exception.

Late Night Subdivision

Colbert on Fresh Air
Stephen Colbert has been everywhere promoting his book. I really liked this interview. Its about 45 minutes long so it gets a lot more in-depth than any of the others. He also talks a lot about the character he plays on the show.

Jimmy Kimmel Does Product Testing on Kids
I miss being able to watch Kimmel every day.

It’s official: Conan moving to L.A.
Sure, the show will probably be exactly the same. It definitely won’t be better. So why move?

Fox Considers Joe Buck for Late-Night Show
I can only support this if it means that he won’t be covering sports any more. Who am I kidding? There is already a Tim McCarver show and I still have to listen to him.

Sports Things

Giants Linebacker Injures His Ear
Lesson: Don’t stick a cotton swab in your ear in a crowded locker room.

An Error-Plagued Game, but From the Broadcast Booth
I’ve thought TBS has done a great job covering the playoffs. Although broadcasting a signal already puts them in a tie with Fox and ESPN. I would like to see more of these types of articles, besides in blogs, calling out announcing mistakes.

Fun Stuff

Exploits of a Mom
If you are a fan of SQL injection comics, then this is for you.

Top 40 Demotivational Posters
People in my job love these things. The mocking variety, just like these. My favorite out of this group has to be the Free Candy van.


NCAA Football 08

Mike, Video Games No Comment

Where have I been this week? NCAA Football 08 came out on Tuesday for Xbox 360. I picked it up at Best Buy during my New Music Tuesday trip. For those interested, during my NMT trip I picked up Yellowcard and The Rocket Summer. I highly recommend both of them.

I did not have last year’s NCAA game. I had NCAA 06 for PS2. Last year I went with Madden when I bought my 360. So I apologize in advance if some of my favorite new features were actually new last year.

The graphics are so smooth. The only times the frame-rate seems to drop is when a on-screen graphic is attempting to be displayed. The on-screen graphics are quite large and bright. They also do a poor job indicating if the stats being displayed are for the game or season. What matters is the actual game action, and that is pretty much perfect.


The Format, Free Album Download

Mike, Music No Comment

Get it at The Format’s site. To celebrate the 1 Year Anniversary of the release of Dog Problems the album is being offered for free. Well, you do have to give an email address that signs you up for their newsletter, they say you can opt out. I had been looking to get this album but at Best Buy it was about $14, way more than I’m willing to spend on any CD. I took advantage of this offer yesterday. I’d heard two of the tracks on Sirius over the past few months and love them both: The Compromise and She Doesn’t Get It. The tracks are mp3s encoded at 256k VBR. Very solid and very cool of The Format. The download is free until July 16th, so get over there.


New Tuesday

Entertainment, Mike No Comment

Animaniacs Volume 3 and Pinky & the Brain Volume 3 – Animaniacs is my favorite cartoon ever. It was the show I would watch every day when I got home from school. Pinky & the Brain were so good they got their own spin-off. I still think of them all together as one big ball of greatness. A few years ago Toon Disney (I’m pretty sure that was the channel) started showing Animaniacs at 6pm. I caught a few shows and it was as great as I remembered. A lot of the shows I loved when I was younger are horrible to watch now. Saved By the Bell and Alf come to mind first. Animaniacs stands up to time unbelievably well. Freakazoid!, my 2nd favorite cartoon ever, might actually be better. Its been a few years since I’ve seen Freakazoid! In college we were able to track down the show online and it was fantastic. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the first two volumes of these shows, but I might have to grab at least one volume this week.
Reno 911: Miami – I have yet to watch the show. The movie trailer looked funny so I will be checking out the movie. If I like it, then I will start getting the seasons on DVD. If you think I will like it, you can try and persuade me to move it up in the Netflix queue.

Some albums I will be checking out, not necessarily buying but a lot of them have free streams this week.
Lifehouse – Who We Are
Straylight Run – The Needles The Space – I listened to this one and its very slow, which is too be expected. I heard the new single, Soon We’ll be Living in the Future, on Sirius and really like it. With Straylight Run I find that there are handful of songs that I love but the rest of the album I don’t care for.
The Junior Varsity – Cinematographic

SimCity DS – If I was in a position to play my DS a lot this would be a perfect game. I have loved every SimCity game.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition – I didn’t play this one on GameCube but it got such high praise. This version sounding even better, plus its only $30.


American Express Commerical

Commercials, Mike No Comment

Another new commercial that I’m hooked on. This time its just a single one, not a whole campaign. I’m just trying to branch out in my commercial coverage. I sure do talk about them a lot for someone who spends a lot of energy trying to avoid them.

I’m talking about the new American Express one. There are a bunch of stars in it: Shawn White, Ellen Degeneres, Andre Agassi, Sheryl Crow, and Norah Jones. None of them matter. I would be just as big a fan of the commercial if none of them were in it. Its all about Martin Scorsese.

The stars are saying what causes they are interested in supported. Some random guy walks into the shot. Scorsese flips out. Who is this guy? Why is he in the scene? What is this lake he is talking about? He’s brilliant. Why isn’t he doing more acting instead of directing. I think he should do both.

I got to thinking that I think watching Scorsese direct his films might actually be more entertaining than his films. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy his films. The Departed was excellent. I think I’d have even more enjoyment though if the camera was behind him directing the entire movie. I’d get all of The Departed with some Scorsese flip outs in between. Awesome, right. Plus, you’d get all the actors in The Departed possibly fighting back. Or just taking whatever he thew at them. I’d be curious to see the on set dynamic.

The commercial can be seen if you (more…)


Summer Music: Now

Mike, Music No Comment

In the mood of summer music I’ve purchased a bunch of new CDs. So far two of them stand out, I will have a little something to say about them. The others are great but haven’t separated themselves from the crowd yet. I’m curious in a few years when I look at this list how many of them will still be around. Its very possible that all of these bands are at the top of my favorites at that time.

I categorize these as Popemo. They aren’t really pop-punk. Somewhere along the way this stuff transformed so far away from whatever punk roots they all sprouted from that there isn’t much in common anymore. I also don’t think of them as pure pop, just that the sound is very popular right now. A lot of people refer to it as emo. I don’t like that comparison. When I think Emo, I think The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, and Dashboard Confessional. One other new album I bought was from Secondhand Serenade. The lead singer sounds almost exactly like Chris Carraba in some of the songs. I didn’t include them on this list because they don’t fit with the Popemo theme.

As for how I say Popemo … I don’t put a hyphen in the middle there. I go with pop-eh-mo, said very quickly. If I knew how to do that phoenic type spelling with all the accents, I would.

The top of the rotation right now. The album starts out reminding me of The Ataris and then throws a Cindi Lauper cover in there.
Pick: Maybe Misery

The Higher
Currently right behind Quietdrive in the pecking order.
Pick: Darkpop

Boys Like Girls
Pick: Heels Over Head

Permanent Me
Pick: Until You Leave

The Summer Obsession
Pick: Down For Whatever

The Rocket Summer
Very disappointed I missed out on this one. The most recent album is from 2005. The new album comes out in July. One guy plays all the instruments on the album. The whole thing is amazingly fun. He’s on a major label now and has a single out for the new album. I think you’ll be hearing from him.
Pick: Brat Pack (Possibly the catchiest song ever.)


New Tuesday

Entertainment, Mike No Comment

New releases for June 12, 2007.

Paramore – Riot! – I enjoyed their last album and gave the stream of the new album a listen. I enjoyed it as well. However, it won’t make the purchase list this week. There is too much on the list for the next few weeks.
Cauterize – Disguises – I’ve always liked their sound. Take a listen on their MySpace.
Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur – Covers of John Lennon songs. I’m curious to hear the cover by Mick Fleetwood and Jack’s Mannequin.

Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (Wii) – I haven’t played the DS version, I assume its nearly identical to Brain Age. How will this translate to the Wii?
Tenchu Z (Xbox 360) – Any game description that starts with ‘Become the ultimate ninja assasain’ has my instant attention. I checked Game Rankings and so far two reviews gave it an average of 87%. I need a little more than that but things look good so far.

Nothing very exciting this week.
Ghost Rider – I had no desire.
Breach – I don’t even remember it coming out.
Office Seasons 1&2 – Not really new, just selling them together. I think I saw you get a free ticket to Evan Almighty with it. If you don’t have these seasons yet then buy them with or without the free ticket.


This Week on TV

Mike, TV No Comment

Hopefully the highlight of the week will be the return of Last Comic Standing. Sadly, I fear that it won’t be. Still, with the College World Series starting up I should be able to survive.


NBA Finals
Game 3 @ Cleveland: Tuesday (9, ABC)
Game 4 @ Cleveland: Thursday (9, ABC)
Game 5 @ Cleveland: Sunday (9, ABC, if necessary)

Men’s College World Series
Starts Friday at 2pm on ESPN2. Continues until June 24 or 25 on ESPN and ESPN2.

US Open – Golf
June 14-17 on ESPN/NBC. Taking place at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, PA.

See the rest of the week in tv … (more…)


Summer Music: The College Years

Mike, Music No Comment

Last time I covered the early days of my pop-punk experience. This time around I’ll take a look at the bands I got into toward the end of my college career. During college I was introduced to tons of bands. The ones that follow have released a full length since and survived my constantly changing rotation this long. Once again I included a pick that is a solid example of why each of the bands is great for summer.

Almost two years after hearing Fall Out Boy and instatntly knowing they were going to be huge, I heard Cartel and felt the same way. That was just after hearing their EP. When I got their full length, I knew I was right, it was nearly perfect. They got some play but didn’t really get popular. Besides of course in my CD players where it was at the top of the rotation for a few months. Now they are in the bubble on MTV recording their new record. I watched the premiere on MTV and it was unwatchable. Its MTV’s fault that its terrible. They barely covered anything about the actual band. They just asked them dumb questions about going into the bubble and for some reason thought talking to the crowd would be interesting. I’m glad they are getting the exposure and I hope the new album is great.
Pick: Burn This City

Hit the Lights
Hit the Lights was my third pick after Fall Out Boy and Cartel, these things seem to come every two years. I put their sound near Simple Plan but their lyrics have just enough evil in them to make me like them so much.
Pick: Loose Lips Sink Ships

I could have gone to see them for free during my sophomore year. I wound up not going and thus did not realize what I was missing out on until my senior year. Action was the album that hooked me. 37 Everywhere came out last year. Another fun, incredibly catchy album. I have no idea why these guys aren’t huge. They have what it takes.
Pick: Not Afraid

All Time Low
This band doesn’t date back to college. However they fit better in with this group than my final installment. So far I just have an EP from them. I’ll give them time apparently they haven’t been out of high school for a year yet. They are just as good as the other bands on this list they just haven’t proven it over time yet. I need a least a full length.
Pick: Break Out! Break Out!

Next time, a look at my pile of recent purchases. They all fall under a genre I like to call Popemo.