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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Movie Time! Margin Call

Published April 29, 2012 - 0 Comments

It’s funny.. when I went searching for a picture to include with this post, I ended up taking it from a website whose author clearly did not like this movie one bit.  I glanced at some of what he had written, and I’m not entirely sure that we watched the same movie, but everyone has their own opinion.

One of my co-workers recently watched Margin Call, and suggested that I might like it. It’s not the fastest paced movie out there, but there’s a reason for that… it’s about a fictitious trading company that discovers its holdings are worthless, and begins the sell-off that sends the market crashing.  Although no specific year is mentioned, it’s obviously based on the 2008 mortgage collapse.

There are some well known names in this movie, including Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, and Jeremy Irons as the ruthless CEO whose motto for success is “Be first.  Be smarter.  Or cheat.”.  As a complete aside, Jeremy Irons has a great little moment where he picks up a small toy lion and smirks before setting it back down on the desk… Lion King, anyone?!  I loved it!

I don’t know how much of this story is factual and how much is creative license… but it’s not hard to imagine these events at any of the financial giants caught in the collapse that ruined so many ordinary lives.  This is the story of the men and women who saw it coming, and scrambled to make sure they were on the right side of it… to hell with everyone else.

Aventures in CPAP – part 2

Published April 29, 2012 - 9 Comments

I'm Sexy and I Know It

I never believed that I could actually sleep with something stuck to my face like this… but it’s really not as difficult as you would think.  Yup!  That’s me, posing before I tried to fall asleep the first night.

When you first put it on, it feels tight (notice my chubby cheeks getting pushed up) and as soon as you press the power button the pressure changes and it actually feels like it’s sucking air OUT rather than pushing it IN… I’ve been using it for a week now, and it still gives me that tiny little panic attack because you can’t breathe for a second.

People ask what it is that the mask actually does.  Well, it’s hooked up to the CPAP machine, which pushes a steady stream of air through the hose, ensuring that my air passage does not close while I’m asleep.  Next week I will take the machine back to the respiratory therapist to let her analyze the logs, and make any necessary adjustments.  This is a trial unit, and if I decide to order one, it will cost $2000.  Yes, that’s right..  $2000.  Thankfully Blue Cross covers 80% of that.  It’s still a pretty big chunk of change.

The big question is.. IS IT WORKING?  I still think that it’s still too early to tell.  I don’t have anyone to tell me whether or not I am still gasping for breath in my sleep, so I can’t answer it from that perspective.  Now whether I truly feel rested when I wake… It’s hard for me to say for sure.  It’s not like I have a normal sleep pattern to begin with, and I know that contributes to some of my sluggishness.  But I’m working on it!

Well At Least it Ain’t Snow…

Published April 24, 2012 - 2 Comments

Day 3 of water plummeting non-stop from the sky.  I’m not getting worried.. yet.  That sweet little stream running through my backyard is beginning to look like raging rapids though.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see some white-water rafters go screaming through there.

I have a couple of days off before I have to go back to work.  If it doesn’t stop soon, I’m thinking of buying one of these:

 

Failing that, I suppose that there is always another option…

 

 

Yeah… that’s what I thought!

Adventures in CPAP – part 1

Published April 21, 2012 - 3 Comments

I think it was about 2 years ago that I first wrote about being tested for sleep apnea.  The test results confirmed what we already suspected – my sleep was being interrupted by periods of no breathing.  I’m told that this is a bad thing.  It causes problems in a few areas:

  • It doesn’t allow me to stay in a full REM sleep, which leaves me less rested than I should be considering the amount of time I’ve been asleep.
  • It places a strain on my heart, which only adds to my high blood pressure.
  • Apparently it’s scary as hell to see me gasping for air while I sleep, but I wouldn’t know.

So the test clearly showed that I have sleep apnea.  Then what?  Well… there are basically 3 options:

  • Lose weight.  My obstruction is caused by excess fatty tissue in my throat.  Lose the fatty tissue, the obstruction goes away.  Sound simple enough.
  • Wear a CPAP mask while I sleep.  CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and the basic idea is that air is continually pushed through the mask, forcing my airway to remain open as I sleep.
  • Surgery.  Same principle as losing weight.. excess fatty tissue is the cause.  Cut it out, and voila!  No more apnea!

Of the three solutions, losing weight seemed the most sensible.  I told my doctor that I was not interested in wearing the Darth Vader mask, and surgery really is a last case scenario.  That left losing weight, something that would have a positive effect on a few of my ever-growing health concerns.

That was 2 years ago.  I think I’m probably exactly the same weight now as I was then.  Which probably explains why my sleep apnea is just as bad today as it was then.  So when the Dr suggested that I call the company who had done the testing 2 years ago and see about getting the CPAP device, I really didn’t have much to say except “OK…”

It was time to make the call…

 

D I V O R C E

Published April 21, 2012 - 4 Comments

I woke up yesterday morning to find an email from my ex.  I can say “ex” now because apparently the judge has finally signed off on the divorce application.  The first thing I did was log into Facebook and change my status from separated to divorced.  Yeah me.

We’re still waiting for the papers to be delivered, but the lawyer assures us that everything is finalized.  It’s done.  Finis.  End of story.

It’s time to move forward.

Tupac Live in 2012… Freaky…

Published April 17, 2012 - 4 Comments

I’ll get this out of the way right up front… I’m not much of a Tupac fan, although I do have 2 songs in my iTunes library that I listen to from time to time.  But when I saw the headline in the news saying “Tupac Live at Coachella” I could not resist reading the article to find out what the hell was going on.  Tupac’s been dead for almost 16 years…

Hologram?

Um… OK… I’ve seen CNN attempt something like that before… but it didn’t look all that great.  So I clicked the YouTube video link…  Wow…

It’s quite freaky to see someone who is dead performing on stage… especially when Snoop Dogg is on stage with him… It looks pretty damn real to me.  It’s just… eerie…

If you’re not familiar with Tupac’s lyrics… they’re not for everyone… take my word on this one, Mum… you’ll want to skip this.

Somebody That I Used to Know

Published April 13, 2012 - 4 Comments

So I’m driving home from work last week, listening to the Top 7 at 7pm, and a song comes on that I’ve never heard before.  I immediately asked out loud “What is THAT?”.  It didn’t sound like anything else I’ve heard on the radio.  It sounded weird.  I didn’t like it at all.  I quickly changed the channel to something else.

The next day I heard it again.  I don’t remember if I let it play fully or not, but I wasn’t really all that impressed with it.

Then I sat down to watch Glee.  Toward the end of what had been a very disappointing episode I heard the unique beginning of the song that I had previously turned off.  As I sat there and watched the performers do the song, something clicked inside of me… I suddenly “got” the song… It was just as if someone had flicked on a light switch or something.  I went to my computer and bought both version of the song, and I’ve been hooked ever since!  I don’t really know which one I prefer… they’re both equally awesome in my opinion.   It IS completely different than anything else on the radio, and that uniqueness really elevates it to another level.  It doesn’t hurt that the meaning behind the song is one that I can easily identify with!  I wish that I had heard this song when it was first released, because it would have made a perfect theme song.

But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough

And that’s the thing… this is not a new song.  When I went looking for information on it, I was shocked to see that it was released in July of 2011!  It’s already been number one in Europe and Australia.  When I went to find the video on YouTube it had over 155 million views!  For whatever reason it has taken awhile to get picked up over here, but I’m really glad that it did.  I feel like I’m that last person on the planet to discover the song.  It’s a very unusual feeling for me!  🙂

Take a look at the original video… it’s a little odd… very artsy…  I love it!

And here’s the Glee version.. at least until Fox makes them take it down, like they have with every other video that I’ve linked to in my Glee posts.  It wouldn’t bother me so much except that they don’t even make the videos available to purchase…  Anyway.. the premise of Glee’s version is that the two brothers have drifted apart, and they don’t really know each other anymore.

Hanging With Friends: Missions

Published April 9, 2012 - 0 Comments

What did I say wrong??

I have to say of all the Zynga games so far, Hanging With Friends is still my favourite by far.  Maybe it’s the challenge of finding the perfect word.  Maybe it’s the rivalry that forms after playing a few games with a total stranger (or your Mother!).  Maybe it’s the look on your opponent’s face as they plunge into lava after exhausting their final failed guess.  Yes, it’s probably the look.  But whatever the reason, I still find Hanging With Friends as enjoyable now as I did when it first launched last summer.

To Zynga’s credit, they have been able to maintain the players’ interest by periodically implementing little bonuses.  Hardly a holiday season goes by without some new character or balloon design being added to the game.  These new additions remain available in the coin store for a limited amount of time, and then disappear… but once you’ve bought them, they’re yours to use forever.

Zynga took these bonuses a step further by introducing Missions to the game.  You can work on a maximum of three Missions at a time, starting off with very simple tasks, and progressing in difficulty and time consumption.  Having difficulty with a particular Mission, or simply not interested in completing it, but would still like to see the next level?  You can skip a Mission but it’s gonna cost you!  Coin.  Be prepared to hand it over if you’re looking to take the easy road through the Missions.

As you progress through the various levels you will be rewarded with more coin, or an item that is unavailable in the coin store.  Consider it a bit of a status symbol to have balloons that your opponents do not.

I do.

On a related note, I have noticed a real lack of resources and strategies for Hanging With Friends.  Sure you can find an article here or there, but nothing comprehensive.  I’ve decided to take it upon myself to change that!  I am getting close to unveiling my ultimate Hanging With Friends membership site, and offering people the chance now to sign up for instant notification when this goes live.  A few quick notes about the membership site:

  • This is a paid subscription site, and as such a small ($3-5) monthly fee will be charged, but the content will be awesome.  I promise you that!
  • This is not a random word generator site.  Those are for lame players.  I don’t use them, and I won’t promote their use.
  • Your gameplay will improve tenfold.  I guarantee it.  If you’re not playing at a higher level after implementing my proven strategies, contact me for an immediate full refund.  I’m only happy when you’re happy.
  •  You are signing up to be notified when the membership site launches.  This is not a commitment from you to join, only that you are interested in learning more when the time comes.
  • Your email address is sacred, and will not be shared with anyone.  Its sole purpose is to notify you of this launch, and will not be used for anything else.

 

Thank you for your interest!

 

We respect your email privacy

Email Marketing by AWeber

 

Find Duplicate Files on your Mac With Gemini: The Duplicate Finder from MacPaw

Published April 8, 2012 - 2 Comments

I knew that I had duplicates.  I save things all the time, and then I make backups.. and backups of those backups!  I have external hard drives with backups.  I have a wireless NAS drive with backsups.  I have a SugarSync account that does automatic online backups.  Then of course there’s my Dropbox. So there’s no shortage of backups.  The problem is that those backups are not organized in any logical way, so they’re really more useless than anything.  I probably couldn’t find what I was looking for if I needed to, yet my backups continue to get larger every time, simply be virtue of backing up what’s already been backed up.  It’s insane.  So yeah.. I knew that I had duplicate files within those backups.  I just didn’t know HOW BAD it really was… until I bought a neat little program from the Mac App Store called Gemini: The Duplicate Finder by MacPaw.

If you’re a Windows user… well.. I’m sorry… but this isn’t for you.  Do yourself a favour, and throw your Windows machine in the garbage.  Then go buy a Mac.  You will thank me later.  I promise.

Gemini: The Duplicate Finder is $7.99; it’s not expensive, but it’s also outside the range of “Bah.. It’s only a buck.. I’ll try it, what’s the worst that can happen?  I waste a whole dollar…”.  And quite honestly, I think that too many of the $0.99 Apps flooding the Mac App Store are crap, so I’m willing to spend a little more for something that does the job I’m looking for, and does it well.  Reading through the reviews I quickly noticed one thing… most people who purchased Gemini loved it!  There were a couple of people who said that it did not work at all, and that kind of worried me, but there’s always someone out there who runs into problem.  It doesn’t matter what it is.

I am pleased to tell you that (so far) I am one of the very happy users of Gemini: The Duplicate Finder!  As I started the post with… I knew that I had duplicates.  I just didn’t know HOW MANY…  Well so far I have scanned a 250 GB external harddrive and discovered 61 GB worth of duplicate files!  I have some MP3s backed up SEVEN TIMES!  I think that every music video I’ve ever purchased is duplicated 2 or 4 times… and this is just ONE hard drive… I can’t wait until I scan the 1.5 TB NAS.  That’ll be scary.

Of course finding the duplicates is only the beginning.  If you don’t do anything with them, then what’s the point of even looking for them?  Gemini: The Duplicate Finder makes it very simple to delete the duplicate files, while at the same time providing checkpoints to ensure that you don’t inadvertently wipe out more than you intended to.

I am going to play with it some more, and you can be sure to see a complete review in the near future.

 

Hop! Hop!

Published April 7, 2012 - 0 Comments

It’s Easter weekend. In my house Easter is all about a magical bunny rabbit who leaves chocolate eggs and other candy in baskets for children.  Sounds kinda crazy, doesn’t it?  Yeah, you’re right.  The “other” Easter story sounds much more plausible.

Psst… that’s what we in the industry call “sarcasm”.

It’s a pretty slow blogging day.  Can ya tell?