2/28/2005

Fast Food Justin

I just started reading the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Really, I've only read the foreword. I have a feeling that this book might just change me for the better. I've looked at fast food as something inevitable, something that Americans can't get around, something that I can't get around.

I feel that it's easy to see the fast food industry as an incredible accomplishment born from the Post World War II world that wanted suburbs, cars, heart disease, fast food, and diabetes, all in no particular order.

Personally, the name of this blog says it all: The Suburbs are Killing Us. I don't necessarily believe that the fast food restaurants are really the ones to blame. I blame myself for contributing. I think most people should feel guilty about watching American Idol and contributing to its success. I should feel more guilty for contributing to the success of Survivor.

I'm Sick, Volume II

I'm feeling slightly off today, like this could possibly be flu that I'm experiencing. I think it's close to that possibility. I think it's more than close. I don't feel good, and I hope it is not the flu.

I've decided to add a PayPal button the sidebar to allow site donations. I'd love any donations that you think I deserve. The truth is, I make enough money to support this site. But, with your help, I can make this site better and put more money into maintaining it (including more improved web hosting, increased domain support, live music blog email addresses, etc.). At that point, I could only speculate that it could be overwhelming to maintain a successful blog while working full time. Unless of course you can blog from work (which no one really should be doing unless they expect to lose their job), in which case you would be able to constantly publish while affectionately brown-nosing those above you.

I'll be napping, working, and maybe blogging sporadically today and hopefully not tomorrow.

I-PASS You-PASS

For all those poor unfortunate souls living in Chicago right now, please just get an I-PASS and ease all of our woes. The idea that someone in Chicago is willing to pay DOUBLE for all tolls just so that they don't have to order something over the phone or the internet is depressing. Sure, the I-PASS transponder requires a $10 deposit.

Recently, G-Rod imposed the double tolls in Chicago for any vehicle not sporting an I-PASS. Tell me now; would it ever be worth it to pay double for something when you don't have to?

2/27/2005

My Pathetic Taxes Have Been Completed

I just finished my tax return for 2004. So lame. I hate doing taxes. They remind me of how screwed up our organized government is sometimes. Not that it isn't something we already expect out of our government?

Have you done your taxes yet? I'll do anyones for them for $20.
Do it!

Survivor Palau: Episode 2 Review

** Updated **

Last night after getting home from vacation, Katie and I turned on our Tivo'd copy of episode two from Survivor Palau. So far, this show has proven to keep to its word by continually serving the same format. I think that after this season, we're bound to see a change in format or else people are going to get bored. By people, I mean "not me".

I thought of the idea right now that I should start reviewing the Survivor episodes this season as I watch them. I briefly touched on it before, and maybe it really doesn't need to be reviewed, but I still think it would be fun.

Here's the summary for CBS themselves...

NO ROOM FOR THE WEAK: ULONG OUSTS ASHLEE
Having to suffer through their second consecutive Tribal Council, the Ulong tribe banded together to vote out a member who appeared to have lost her will. Tired and depleted, Ashlee Ashby, the 22-year-old student from Easley, South Carolina, refused to eat or join her tribe in celebrating the welcome addition of fire to camp. Ashlee's quiet detachment worried her Ulong tribemates into casting the six votes that eliminated her from SURVIVOR: PALAU. After watching her torch snuffed out, Ashlee simply admitted, "I think they all sensed that I was ready to go home."


Really, this was no surprise to those of watching the episode. Once they caught their first set of fish (as Ulong won the reward challenge garnering flint and an underwater mask, snorkel and fishing spear), Ashlee didn't actually want to eat. "No...I'm not hungry" were her words, basically telling everyone clearly and concisely "I feel like shit and I'm not going to be any use to you in the near future". I guess it's easy to critique from the outside, but this was just not well played on her part. Believe me, I wouldn't last ten seconds on any Survivor season.

Hopefully I've got some more of these reviews left in me to write once the season starts getting REALLY good.

Update: Here's some roundup for you...

Survivor Frenzy: Episode 2 Part I, Episode 2 Part II

Charlie loves Scott

Charlie loves Randi


Our new best friend, Charlie Chompers.

She's totally heady...

Today, we get our cat back...


Our cat, Lucas.

It's been nice not having him wake us up every three hours at night. It will be equally nice to get him back today, though.

The Daily Show on Bloggers

Jon Steward and Stephen Colbert from The Daily Show discuss the impact of bloggers on today's media.

Thanks The Big Ticket for this awesome video link.

I love most everything they do on The Daily Show nowadays. I do remember thinking how bad it was going to get once Craig Kilborn left, but it was instantly better. Plus, they've finally found a format that works for Jon Stewart. He's always been funny, but every show he was on never seemed to work out right...

Lights over the Midwest


This was quite a cool looking shot if you ask me.

Kudos to Katie for picking out one sweet digital camera.

2/26/2005

To-Do List, Volume I

This probably isn't really necessary, but I've got a couple items on my to-do list that sprung from my latest little vacation. I loved my time there, and it allowed me to think about a lot of things that were "gnawing at my craw", whatever the hell that means.

  • Keep a journal; This may sound slightly mushy, but it was some of the best advice I've gotten in a while.
  • Keep blogging; This has already started helping. Just check out how cool MtF is now.
  • Update my Summer 2005 show calendar; there are just too many shows right now that look hot. Hopefully I'll have some good experiences to share on the live music blog.
  • (more items once they come to my Theraflu influenced brain)


My florida vacation allowed me to clear a lot out of my head and focus on more things that are important in life, such as sunlight and ocean breezes. Naples is clearly a nice place to live, except for all the extremely bleeding-heart conservatives that seem to run the town (and the news for that matter). Maybe Naples isn't such a good place to live. Any town where I see more than one bumper sticker exclaiming "Viva Bush!" is not my kind of place...

I'm Sick, Volume I

While my friends are not preparing for a raucous night of karaoke at the local bar affectionately known as RVP (Roscoe Village Pub, Chicago, IL), I'm sitting at home ready to sip super hot Theraflu and read a book to fall asleep.

It started with a headache. Then, my throat hurt for about twelve minutes. Then, my sinuses went haywire. I'm definitely not happy about it, and I believe that I will still feel like shit tomorrow morning. Hopefully, it can clear up in time for another bonus birthday celebration for my wife tomorrow.

Being sick sucks, blows, whatever you want to call it. I know we've all been there...

Comments for Attention, Not Participation

When reading other, more popular blogs for my inspiration, links, and more inspiration, I can't help but notice why some of them disable comments or do not allow comments across the board. Obviously due to the overwhelming amount of comment spam associated with Movable Type, Blogger has it's advantages (along with using Haloscan) in the way their comments are validated.

I see it on Dooce. I see it on Eschaton. It seems to me that to a certain degree, blogging is about participation, in turn allowing more people to link to your blog and posts through comments and trackbacks to fellow bloggers. But, it's sad to think that some actually do it blindly. I've seen myself many times pinging blogs that might not have a completely direct link to something I just wrote. Is that wrong?

I think it is wrong when people are just commenting just to see their name on a blog. True participation should respond to what the blogger has written, postulized, hypothesized, analyzed, verbalized, etc.

Doesn't my blog look cool?

I've just finished some minor site modifications; I think the result is very pleasant and just right for the time being. I'll add some more later once I figure out how to hack Blogger a little bit more.

I've added the links on the sidebar. I was possibly thinking about adding another sidebar to host my pictures, etc. Plus, I think my personal blog needs a little more content, wouldn't you say?

I'm fully planning on adding an about page right now. That's just a given on any blog. Plus, I'll be adding whatever I can to the live music blog. It's been a while since I've gotten to spend some serious time on them.

Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer

I just finished yet another amazing Jon Krakauer book. I really love the way this guy writes. He's an expert on the subject, so it makes his nonfiction that much more moving...(if that even makes sense)

Me doing a book review doesn't make sense.
Me fail English? That's unpossible.

See what I mean. The truth is that I'm not a huge reader. And I love reading Jon Krakauer books. I believe that he really lives two lives; he's a double personality in certain ways. On the one hand, he's dedicated a lot of his life to climbing the world's tallest and most dangerous mountains. And on the other hand, he writes about his adventures and those companions or legends that he associates himself with seriously introspection (edit: is that word?), always leaving it up the reader to decide whether or not these people are nuts or just slightly maniacal.

I'd like to see what he writes next, if anything at all...

2/25/2005

Book Purchases-a-Plenty

While my vacation was scheduled to be over today anyways, the rain in Naples, FL came earlier than the forecasts anticipated. For once, I wish the meteorologists were super wrong and not only slightly wrong all the time. It started raining here overnight; no one expected the rain until late afternoon, so our sunblocked sun soaking was cut completely short.

To pass our remaining hours in southern Florida, we stopped by Borders to pick up some goodies for the plain ride home. The plain trip is only two hours, and I'm almost done with Eiger Dreams by Jon Krakauer. "Time for more books!"

I picked up the March issue of Wired, featuring enough tech talk to easily go over my head. But, the first issue I've ever picked up of Wired proved to be pretty good, so I think I'm going to get a full subscription to this bad boy. Also, I picked up the following books (in no particular order)...


Let's hope I actually read them and don't leave them on my small bookshelf collecting dust. The only thing with reading for me is that is usually makes me drowsy. In college, I had to start only studying in the morning or early afternoon. The second I had a full belly from dinner and I cracked open my accounting textbooks, I was yawning much more than basic human productivy laws allow.

2/19/2005


I'm leaving for Naples, FL today. I'm hugely excited. I can't wait to leave this crappy Chicago weather behind.


I hope to see a lot more of this while I'm there as well. Last time I went we practically swam with the dolphins. By practically swam I mean that we watched them from the pier. But, it was still amazing for me.


This is where I'll be tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll keep this blog updated and going while on vacation. More people need to read about me.

2/17/2005


I didn't think this was real. If you don't believe me, try it yourself. "Axe Black Tony Blair...He gotta whole nutha set of intelligence..." -- Black Bush

2/16/2005

Daily Linx

2/15/2005


:: Herbert Wiser Band :: 1/29/05 :: Red Barn, Peoria, IL ::

2/14/2005

Daily Linx

Google's switch to answers.com was driven by user experience | kottke.org
It is truly a better experience for the users and I am always thoroughly impressed with Google.

Alan Keyes' daughter is a lesbian! He kicked her out of the house!
What a maniac...

2/13/2005


Clappin'!

2/12/2005


The bathroom urinal at the Mutiny in Chicago, IL.

Daily Linx

Man peed way out of avalanche [via OWL]
This just seems unreal.

Lifehacker
This is another cool blog by the ever famous blog empire Gawker Media. I just learned of another one of their newer blogs, Gridskipper. Keep churning them out! Notable post: Note to self: try ATnotes

The Grand Experiment | Michael Buffington [via a.whole]
This is hugely interesting to me. I have to wonder if this works or not. If true, blogging is going to be the next junk mail form of mass marketing, etc. etc.

Blogliners
Daily affirmations for blogging enthusiastics.

Go Fug Yourself
Fugly is the new Pretty

Marge Simpson at the bus stop


It appears that Dove's latest marketing campaign to use cartoon characters is just brilliant. It hits home with me. Hell, if I think Marge Simpson with Dove hair products is sexy at 2:30 a.m., I think anyone could...

Consider me hugely insecure...

When you learn that someone is an accountant, don't you immediately think that they are a nerd?
Come on, you can be honest.

I have to say that while I might think I'm cool sometimes, I am an accountant.

My name is Justin, and I'm an accountant.
Hi, Justin!

Goodbye Herbert Wiser Band

Last night was the second and last time playing a gig with the Herbert Wiser Band. While fun while it lasted, they were in need of a drummer willing to put in full time effort. For me, that's just not possible right now. I digress.

I need to start looking for an apartment. I need to start getting more organized. I need to update my cymbals on my drumkit. I need to get Katie a Valentine's Day gift. I need to get some work done. I need to clean the house. I need to do my laundry.

I seriously remember about four or five years ago how little responsbility I had. The truth is, I always felt that I had this huge amount of responsibility on my shoulders. All self inflicted responsbility, mind you. I wonder if I really don't have any responsibilities now, but I'm just putting undue pressure on myself. It seems to happen a lot. That's something I see all the time; Americans putting pressure on themselves when the world and the situation don't warrant it. Take your typical, yuppie commuters as examples. Most of them feel pressure to look like every other yuppie that used to be cool. They feel pressure from their bosses to read the Wall Street Journal. I don't ever want to put that kind of lame pressure on myself, even though I know I do. So why do I do the things that I do, oh why oh why...

Keyboard Closeup


P1000002, originally uploaded by justinpward.

Check out the detail my new digital camera can pick up. This is sweet.

2/04/2005

Official Chicago winter Parking space placeholder