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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Vacation Time!

Published June 28, 2010 - 15 Comments

Geeze, it seems like I’ve been on vacation A LOT lately!  And no.. I’m not complaining!  Trust me!  I get 4 weeks of vacation which, because I work 12 hour shifts, doesn’t really equal 4 Mon-Fri weeks worth of vacation.  Instead of 40 hours to cover a Mon-Fri shift, it takes 48 hours for me to cover my standard 2 days, 2 nights off.  But that’s ok, because when I take off a shift, I am away from the office for 12 days, compared to someone who is off for 9.  I think that it’s a great trade-off! 

I’d love to be able to spread my vacation around a little more, but I am last man on the totem pole when it comes to selecting time off, so I’m basically stuck with what I get.  I am extremely lucky that the guys on my team even allow me to take vacation during a time when the ground is not covered with snow!  They could pretty well shut me out completely, but choose to leave me a little bit in the late spring/early summer period.  And that’s right now!  After this, I’m done until 2011.

This vacation will be much different than any of the others.  This time I’m going to have my kids for the entire duration.  That should be a shock for everyone involved!  Today is actually the first day of their summer vacation, so I’m hoping that it will be a few days before the “I’m boooooooreeed” starts!  I’ve talked to a few different people for ideas on keeping the little rugrats busy.  Much of it will come down to weather, of course, but I’ve got a few things lined up. 

I hope to have some good memories (and plenty of blog fodder) from the next 12 days!  ♥

Oh, and if anyone has any great ideas, I’m open to them!  It’s either that, or I ship them out as rottweiler caregivers.

Facebook… U Suck!

Published June 27, 2010 - 3 Comments

I can’t say that my impression of Facebook has changed very much in the weeks following my account creation.  I find navigating the security settings to be an exercise in anger management.  I used to consider myself a bit of an expert when it comes to user interface navigation.  Not anymore!  Facebook has bested me more than once… to the point that I had to actually ask someone for help before I decided to call it a day and delete my account!  But I think that I have it sufficiently locked down now. 

So last night I decided to add some pictures.  Honestly, it isn’t so much for anyone else, as it is for me.  I’m always leery of losing pictures due to hardware failures, and lost backups.  I know that there are a chunk of pictures of the kids that are gone forever, and I don’t ever want to see that happen again.  So an online storage option probably isn’t a bad idea.  I had considered Flickr, but I would have to create an account there, and figured that I have this shiny new Facebook account now… might as well use it.

Some people continue to send me messages from within Facebook.  I hope that it’s nothing urgent because it’s probably the last place that I am going to check for correspondence.  Better to send a smoke signal or carrier pigeon.

And I just love all the “You might know THIS person” notifications that I get…  Umm…  no, I don’t know that person.  Thanks though.

Just wait until I try Farmville!

50 Cent – Get Up!

Published June 27, 2010 - 0 Comments

This is another of those songs that I probably would not have ever heard of, had I not been going through a Top 100 countdown once upon a time.  I give each song about 10 seconds to impress me, or get deleted.  That’s probably longer than most people spend reading this blog before they decide to go elsewhere.

My music interests are pretty diverse, but 50 Cent is not an artist that had made it onto my playlist.. until Get Up!  As soon as I heard it, I felt my inner gangsta rising to the surface.  Oh yeah… a real bad ass… Hehe..  but seriously, I love the back beat.. and those lyrics..  walking around the house singing  “I have the savoir faire!” bobbing my head up and down like an idiot.

It took me awhile, but I finally got around to purchasing the ringtone for my iPhone.  It’s not my primary one… no, I have it saved for a select individual, and it makes me laugh when he calls because his very professional picture suddenly appears on my screen, followed by 50 Cent belting out that lyric that I love so much…. I have the savoir faire!  Those two images clash incredibly.  But I do have it set as my alarm in the morning!  The speaker on the iPhone is actually pretty good, and I love waking up to the sweet soothing sounds of Get Up!  In the future, I’ll have a large flat screen built into my wall, and it will automatically come on with this or some other suitable video…  But until then, this will just have to do!

It must be true… I DO have the savoir faire!  🙂

Stupid Crow

Published June 24, 2010 - 7 Comments

Is there a “bad luck omen” that goes with killing a crow?  I sure hope not, or I’m in big trouble…

Driving to work this morning, traveling down the road at my usual 90 km/hr, and I can see two large crows in the distance, standing on the road.  Crows are supposed to be smart birds, so I wasn’t really too worried about them as they both took to flight.  But… while one crow flew away, the other one decided to fly down the road, away from me… but still very much in the way.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  It didn’t take me long to close the gap.  I’m not sure how fast crows can fly, but it definitely isn’t 90km/hr.   The bird hit dead centre in my windshield and bounced up over the car, with a very solid *thump*.  I’m quite amazed that it didn’t crack the glass.

And no, there really wasn’t much of an opportunity to avoid him.  When he’s moving with traffic, instead of across the road…   He was a stupid crow.

It’s Baaaaaaack.. So You Think You Can Dance – Season 7

Published June 22, 2010 - 0 Comments

I can hear the groans from here.  I can feel the eyes rolling.  Oops.. just lost another loyal reader… it’s ok, try as you may… you’ll be back!  You know who you are…

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted to the blog about SYTYCD.  First they were on their break for a few months.  Then when they did start back up, I’d been downloading them, but not watching them as quickly as I have in the past.  Other things just took priority, and that’s probably not a bad thing.  I have things that need to get done.  Can’t sit in front of the TV on my days off.  Life doesn’t stop.

I finally got caught up this morning, so it’s time to write my thoughts while they’re still fresh in my mind.  This season is quite a bit different than previous seasons.  Instead of a Top 20, they had been advertising a Top 10 (eventually “surprising” us with 11, rather than 10) and having this season’s dancers dance along side non-competing “All Stars”, who returned from past seasons.  I’m still sorting how out I feel about the new format.  Yes, the All Stars are amazing, and it’s nice to see them back.  And yes, it probably makes the 11 new ones even more interesting to watch.  And let’s be honest… most seasons, no one ever remembers the first few people who get cut anyway. They start with 20, and get rid of 2 each week.  Guaranteed later on when there’s a group number that requires all 20, you’re usually asking yourself who some of those people are because you’ve been concentrating on the remaining 10 or so anyway.  So this changes that a little.

This week we had 3 girls in the bottom three… that takes some getting used to.  I’m used to seeing 1 guy and 1 girl go home, but since there are only 11 of them, they can’t do that.  In previous seasons, I’m generally more impressed with the girls than I am the guys… this season might be different.  The guys appear to be stronger contenders than the girls… but it’s still early.  There is a girl who reminds me very much of someone who I think may still read here… it’s almost a little freaky for my poor little brain to see her on the screen, but I’ll work through it. I’m secretly crossing my fingers that the girl in SYTYCD goes all the way.

Sorry to see Alexie go home.  Poor girl auditioned for 4 seasons before she finally made it onto the show, and then she was the first one cut!  Something tells me, though, that she’ll be just fine.

Waiting for the next episode!

Father’s Day

Published June 21, 2010 - 2 Comments

Yesterday was Father’s Day.  Between working until 7am, sleeping for a few hours, and then going to see my Dad and my kids, there wasn’t much time left over to blog.  (Yeah, I did manage to squeeze out one about 123LinkIt, but even that was rushed)

I think that Father’s Day gets a bit of a bum rap (is that even how you spell that?  Looks kinda silly) compared to Mother’s Day sometimes.  It just doesn’t seem to have the same zing and pizazz that Mother’s Day has.  Hell, even where I work, you get an additional financial incentive for working on Mother’s Day (regardless of your sex and/or parental status)… what do you get for Father’s Day?  Nadda.  Try to figure that one out!

But that’s ok.  There are more important things than money.  (Seriously, yes there are.)  My kids surprised me with cards that they had made at school.  They were really well done.  My son’s was the typical boy-themed card.  Thanking me for the super-soakers I had bought them.. ice cream.. wrestling.. playing ball and watching TV.  My daughter’s was a little different…

Awww.. how well does she know me?  Meatballs, pop, black hat (I honestly thought it was blue until she wrote that.  So I asked someone.. apparently it’s black!), music videos, So You Think You Can Dance… and sleeping?  Hey now!  It’s not my fault that the kids won’t sleep in  past 6:30am on a Saturday!

Hope that all the Fathers out there had a great day yesterday!

A Second Chance for 123LinkIt.com

Published June 20, 2010 - 1 Comment

It’s ironic.  Just yesterday I tweeted about second chances.  “Second chances are rare, and should not be squandered.”  I was referring to something completely different in my life, but today I received a surprise request for a second chance of a different kind.

Yesterday’s post regarding my frustration with the WordPress affiliate marketing plugin called 123LinkIt apparently got noticed by someone at the company.  Imagine my surprise when I checked the blog today and found 2 comments awaiting approval from Yasmine, the founder of 123LinkIt.  Imagine how even MORE surprised I was when Yasmine  identified a post that she considered a good candidate for the 123Linkit software, and asked me to try it again.  This wasn’t simply a canned response.  She had obviously read through the post, and even offered a few suggestions.

Well, I’m suitably impressed with the proactive response from 123LinkIt, and will grant Yasmine, and her team, a second chance… while I attempt to get the plugin working properly on this blog.  As I said in my comment response, dealing with 123LinkIt feels very much like a grass roots effort, and not something from a faceless corporation.  I sincerely hope that they will continue to maintain that direct interface with their users as they move forward and continue to grow.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress, and hopefully you will start to see the occasional sponsored affiliate link scattered throughout WhatAboutStephen.com.

Giving Up on 123LinkIt.com

Published June 19, 2010 - 6 Comments

It seemed like a fantastic little plugin for WordPress.  Install the 123Linkit plugin, create an account at 123linkit.com, configure your API keys on the blog, write your post, and click the Add Affiliate button at the bottom of the post.  Supposedly the program would scan your blog post for relevant keywords and generate a list of advertisers with embedded links directly into your post.  If someone clicked on the link, you would receive a small amount.  123Linkit would act as a middleman between the blogger and the affiliate programs.  Sounded wonderful in theory, but I have not been able to get a single affiliate link to appear anywhere on the blog.  I’ve tried and tried.  I don’t get an error.  I just get nothing!  If I write a post that doesn’t have appropriate keywords, it will tell me that it found no relevant keywords.  That part works.  But I have written a few posts specifically for 123Linkit, using keywords that I get from their website… and nothing.  No error.  Just nothing happens.  Maybe it was a time delayed thing?  Nope.  Just nothing appears.

So I’m done playing with this.  I’ll look at something else instead.

[edited:  Things got much better after this.  Please read all the related posts, or try 123Linkit for yourself!]

Mika – Happy Ending

Published June 19, 2010 - 0 Comments

Sorry, (Jan)… it’s been a little while since I’ve posted a music video, and this is one that I should have posted long before now. It seems to “fit” one scenario or another.  Take your pick.  And who doesn’t love creepy little stuffed toys with moving faces?

This is an example of a song that I heard during a performance of So You Think You Can Dance last year and jotted it down on a scrap piece of paper so I could find it later. Yeah, the video looks drug-induced. I still can’t figure out if it’s supposed to be a happy song or a sad one. The lyrics sound (to me) like it should be a sad one, yet he’s smiling in the video. And instead of “No Happy Ending” the title is “Happy Ending”.. so I don’t really get it. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

This is the way you left me,
I’m not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No Happy Ending.
This is the way that we love,
Like it’s forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.

The Mid-Year in Music Review – Top 25 Songs Jan-Jun 10

Published June 18, 2010 - 2 Comments

I got away from looking at my Top 25 on a monthly basis, but we’re pretty much at the exact midway point of 2010, and I was curious what the Top 25 would look like. Wow… I definitely see a theme there! Gee, I wonder which playlist has been in heavy rotation?! (Answer: Thinking)

There are so many great songs being released for the summer, but I don’t think that they’ll be able to put a dent in this list. Soooo… I am going to wipe the playcount clean on all songs, and start it over. I’m hoping that the top 25 looks considerably different at the end of the next 6 months. But it’ll still be interesting for me to look back at this snapshot in time.

From most popular, working downward:

Barenaked Ladies – You Run Away
Marianas Trench – Good to You
Leona Lewis – I Got You
Marianas Trench – Beside You
The Script – Breakeven
Girlicious – Over You
Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
Alicia Keys – Doesn’t Mean Anything
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Your Guardian Angel
Roxette – Never is a Long Time
K’naan – Wavin’ Flag
k.d. lang – Hallelujah
Air Supply – All Out of Love
Laurell – Can’t Stop Falling
Ke$ha – Blah Blah Blah
The Mission District – Just Don’t Feel the Same
Hedley – Perfect
Def Leppard – Long Long Way to Go
The Jeff Healy Band – I Tried
Savage Garden – Crash & Burn
Katy Perry – Waking up in Vegas
Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting
Jonas Brothers – When You Look Me in The Eyes
Def Leppard – When Love and Hate Collide
Boys Like Girls – Two is Better Than One

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