3/29/2005

Laughing While Trying to Not Throw Up on the Keyboard

Best Week Ever Blog: we have a winner

I just laughed out loud to this blog post. Very hilarious. Well written, my friend.

Weird Spiderwebs on a Nuclear Cooling Tower

3/28/2005

Summer is Coming


I still love this picture. Katie took it. It was at Woodhaven Lakes in Illinois. Booya!

Elsie the Dog


Dog Blog!

Justin Can Change

So, this week I'm on a terror. I woke up this weekend too many times to stress that should have never been there in the first place. I'm planning to rid my life of those things that cause me stress. For one, I need to be more organized. A lot more organized. It's a huge problem I have.

I'm thinking that there are so many ways for me to start getting healthy. Man, I used to exercise all the time. It's hard for me to enjoy it right now. That's how you know it's bad. Exercise is an enjoyable experience, but only if you're in good enough shape to not sweat your ass off after walking a mile and a half. We're not even talking about jogging...

I'm going to have to get used to walking again very soon. Walking I enjoy very much. It's a very, calming peaceful activity. It forces you to think. It makes you consider your surroundings and your environment in a very slow, calming, peaceful way. I like that. It makes me feel special.

Surprising to only myself, I really have enjoyed writing and maintaining a blog over the past year. My one year anniversary of Melody To Funkytown has already passed, and shit, I never even honored it. Damnit!

Point of the story is, I'm trying to better myself and stuff.

3/26/2005

Geico Loves Making Me Laugh

Last night, my friends, family, and I all laughed our asses off while discussing Geico TV commercials. If I'm correct, none of us are Geico customers. Why, you ask, do we sit around discussing TV commercials?

I'm asking myself that same question. That was something I never expected to think was so funny. That is the kind of job where Geico has accomplished exactly as they set out to do; make people laugh and make people feel good about Geico. Their commercials are so good that it overshadows every bad thing I've heard about them. Believe me, I've heard some bad things about them that would make me not want to be their customer. But, the commercials somehow make it better for me. For all of us. For all of you.

I want to become a marketer. That way, I can impact people without them knowing I'm impacting them. That sounds awesome...

3/25/2005

I'm a Know-it-All

Yes, it's true.

I've determined that I'm a huge know-it-all, however, I don't think I'm that overbearing. Although, maybe I just think I know this even though I'm wrong.

I should get headed to work now. I'm going to start pretending like I don't know anything. That should help.

3/23/2005

Piazza Bella My Ass


Last night, Katie and I had a nice little dinner at Piazza Bella in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. We've been there a couple times before, and we have been pleasantly content after each prior visit. It really is a charming place. It's the kind of small italian restaurant where you're sitting too close to your neighbors.

Unfortunately, last night's dinner sucked. I didn't want to believe it during the meal, as I'm working on becoming a more positive person. But, Katie convinced me of it. It sucked. There was nothing we could do. There was no way we could have made it better. Even if we both had good attitudes during dinner (more to follow on why we didn't), it wouldn't have changed the things that made the dinner sucky.

First off, the waiter did not know what Lambrusco was. Do you know what Lambrusco is? If you don't, that's okay. If you're a waiter at an Italian restaurant, it's not okay. It's a nice and sweet red wine. It's tasty. It's something that tastes good with lasagna.

The bread and olive oil appetizer was quite nice with my Heineken. It really wouldn't make sense, but they didn't have a good selection of beer at all. I couldn't understand that. Why wouldn't a restaurant have a better selection of beer? They had, like Amstel Lite, Heineken, and not much else that would be worth purchasing. After Katie and I had ordered a Heineken, and after the waiter had brought us both our Heinekens, the waiter shows up with a bottle of wine in his hand...
Actually, we have a bottle of Lambrusco. We only sell this by the bottle, though. So, it's $25 if you want it.

Uhm, what an asshole. It gets better.

So, my lasagna comes old cold. It had a piece of melted cheese on top that wasn't completely melted. It was obvious. Katie's lasagna (yes, we got the same dish) came out just slightly warmer than mine, or Katie's tolerance for lack of food temperature was simply much higher than mine. I sent my dish back.
Can you please warm this up for me?

Katie got silent. She wasn't as talkative. Was it the fact that she was eating lasagna and I wasn't at that moment? No. Apparently, the woman sitting next to us decided that she wanted to start staring at Katie. I hardly noticed, but I wasn't really paying attention. I was actually trying to keep the conversation going, all the while Katie looking to see if some weirdo was staring at her. That really is a creepy feeling.

So, my lasagna comes out and the waiter sets it in front of me from slightly over my right shoulder. It's visibly hotter than its first appearance, and I'm still detecting the waiter in my peripheral vision. I look to Katie only to see her slightly perplexed as well. I actually had to tell the waiter that I'm sure it was hotter now. He was waiting there to see if I was going to burn my mouth off. Why would I just take a humongous bite while my plate is steaming and just got out of the oven?

It really was silly. This was just not a great experience. I'm sure I'll go there again, but it won't be for a long time. Stupid, uptight, Roscoe Village restaurant.

3/21/2005

WGN Weather Weblog Gives Me Happiness

WGN Weather Weblog

I love the WGN Weather Weblog. Blog. It's awesome.

Today, I took a walk home from the Paulina Brown Line el with the hopes of slowly working off my winter weight. I can say that I started to feel my fill of easterly winds today, and I'm easily bummed to see that mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures are expected for much of the week ahead. I hope it's really Tom that writes it, and some intern of his. That'd be tight.

Charlie Chompers Up-Close and Personal


I like to lick people.

Chicago Public Transportation Sucks

Well, there's the rant, as simple and as straight-forward as it needs to be.

Seriously, I think the public transporation in Chicago needs some help and some work, and it shouldn't be the government that steps in to take care of it. We need some private competition here to help out the commuters. I know it's hugely wishful to think like this, so I'll stop the rant right there.

7:00 a.m. on a Monday Morning

Yep, it's that time of the week again. When I was in high school and college, I swear I thought working full-time would always be easier than working and attending school. I always thought that I was switching gears too much. Half a day at school, half a day at work. Three hours at work, two classes, then homework. It always felt like it was a lot of keep straight, but it wasn't overly difficult.
Working full-time must be easier than attending college full-time.

Here's some words of wisdom from someone who graduated high school and college a semester earlier than expected (thereby, finishing school one year earlier than I needed to), working full-time is not easier. Even though you might be doing what you love, when you have to sit in a room and do the same thing for eight hours, you're going to find it difficult sometimes.

What's funny, lately, I haven't found my job to be the most difficult part. It's the concept of work. It's hard for me. Maybe it's hard for everyone, but it sure as shit doesn't seem like it knowing some of the people I know. It's the Office Space mentality that I so embrace. "Human beings weren't meant to be on the other end of a computer screen in a cubicle for 2,080 hours a year." That's a lot of time. Now, do I know the answer to the follow-up question? No, I'm not sure what human beings were originally meant to do. That's the subject of some churchy blog somewhere.

I'm just glad I remember things like this. It seems that all they tought me in college was that I should retire as soon as possible by saving as much money as possible for as many years as possible. Seriously, many different professors told me that. Do you think they were trying to instill a solid work ethic into us? At the time, all they were trying to tell us was...
Quit working as soon as you can. There's more to life, and I wish I could have experienced what I thought I might have been able to do when I was young.

It seems as though I'm writing negatively. Am I never going to be happy working for the man? Is my self-inflicted problem with authority really causing me to doubt the concept of work?
Everyone has to work, Justin. Don't think you're that special.

There's a lot of ins, lot of outs, what-have-yous that are currently swimming around in ol' Duder's head right now.

3/20/2005

The Run-Your-First-5K Lifehack

Dude, I'm totally doing this starting tomorrow. I need to get in shape pronto. Seriously, I'm fat.

I'm downloading some Michael Franti and Spearhead. Maybe, just maybe, I'll listen to this tomorrow when I'm...
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.

I think I can do it. In fact, I'm psyched. I think I need to just get off my lazy ass and make things happen.
I'm giving myself a pep talk.

"DO IT! ! !

Justin's Weekend Roundup

This weekend was great. Friday night, I ate nachos at Qdoba with Katie. If you don't know how good Qdoba is, I'm sorry to hear. It's probably one of the best fast food places in the country. Yes, I know it is technically owned by the same corporation as Jack in the Box. But, I swear it tastes good. They make these ooowy-goowy nachos that just naturally melt in your mouth, as well as your stomach. In the good way, of course. They make you feel fat after you're done eating them. Yes, they're that good. Then, because it was about to rain in Chicago, we came back to our place and relaxed. Even though most people in Chicago go out to party on the weekends, I find that people are scary in the city. There's too many of them. And, a lot of them are looking for their next hookup. I blogged a couple times. Katie crocheted a scarf. It was sweet.

Saturday was interesting, because we actually had to get up and leave the house by noon. I don't think I've made it out before noon on a weekend all winter. Chicago does it to me. I get addicted to sitting on my ass. Seriously, I get used to it.

My landlord is currently selling my apartment right out from under me. The condo association here decided that they didn't like us because we were renting, so they added a bylaw after we were already moved in that limited the amount of time that you can rent for. Idiots.

I blogged on and off all day. Saturday night lead to a game of Asshole, which proved problematic for me. I was again drinking Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale, and I was pleasantly lulled into a drunken stupor well before I felt it was my time. The funny thing is, the small party that was dispersed at the same time (shortly thereafter) I decided it was time to call it a night. The walk home was cold, The Big Lewbowski has about ten minutes left on it, and cheesy garlic bread tastes good at midnight. Yes, midnight. I'm that crazy.

This morning, I practiced with two-thirds of The Shift, one very sweet up-and-coming Chicago band. We're starting a side project, and so far it's sounding very promising. There's almost too much potential at the moment, so our tangents are less directed than they should be. But, in time, we'll see exactly where it should be headed musically. So far, we're all very pleased with the results.

It's 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, and I'm about to begin reading about how to put on my own podcast. Also, I'm going to finish Fast Food Nation by Eric Schossler. Also, I'm going to start studying for the CPA exam.
Yeah right.

Yahoo acquires Flickr (Ludicorp)!

Yahoo actually does acquire Flickr | FlickrBlog

Maybe this was only just rumored before? That's what I thought.

I hope that Flickr stays cool, and I hope that SBC Yahoo! will be cool and give me a Flickr Pro account as part of their photo hosting service. I'm not going to hold my breath on that one.

Podcast Rules

Does anyone know of a good resource for podcasting that explains what music I can use, etc.? I'm looking to start my own, and I'm curious as to what I need to know to get the bands to okay my usage. I know that I could use their live shows, which are freely distributed. But, technically, I'm still rebroadcasting this music, so doesn't it mean that I have to pay them something?

Just wondering.

I'm going to get to Google on this. I'm sure Adam Curry knows. I'll ask him.

Can I Really Change the World?

When you're growing up, they teach you this. In any school, they teach you self-esteem. At the time, you really think that you could possibly grow up to change the world.
Can I change the entire world?

The answer is usually no. Unfortunate, but true. The reason for this is simple. You have to be locked in and ready to change the world when you're ten years old. That way, you can plan the right college, family, organization, extra-curricular activities, etc. that will allow you to do so.

Other that that, everyone is SOL!.

It's early on a Sunday...

and I'm about to take a walk to Kitsch'n on Roscoe for my breakfast. Man, this place has some good eats.

Tell me again why I decided to get up early to play my drums? Early? Drums? Am I stupid?

Update: I just ate breakfast, and now I'm waiting for the call.
Time to ride. The eagle has landed.

I think it's ready to jam now.

3/19/2005

I'm going to start my own podcast.

So, taking my inspiration from my fellow bloggers, I'm thinking about starting a podcast. I just read a great article on the subject in the latest Wired, and I've learned that it's extremely easy to actually make one.

I'll post more soon once I have an idea and I'm ready for launching it. I think the best thing for me to do would be to launch a new live music blog site design along with a podcast at the same time. Man, that'd be sick. I'm going to do something that I normally wouldn't expect to do either. I'm going to plan this. I'm going to write it down. I'm going to make a list of the templates that need to be updated, and update them all at the same time. Man, this is going to be sick.

Watch me for the changes, and try and keep up...

Blogger Issues

I just learned that there is a Blogger status feed where you can check to see what Google is doing about all the Blogger issues that have been encountered lately. Here's the linkage (thanks Blogger Buzz).

That's a start, I guess.

Come on, Blogger! Advance! Rapidly! Yes, they implement nice changes and it's happening slowly but surely, but I'm looking for an entire system redesign. They have to remain competitive with Movable Type and their recent acquisition of Live Journal. Do it!

3/18/2005

Jose Canseco is not My Hero

Unfortunately, after he admits that he used steroids, after he sells
out all his old friends and collegues, he is just not my hero anymore.
In fact, I think he's lame.

3/16/2005

Google Ad Links aren't my Favorite

So, I just tested out the new Ad Links feature released by Google as part of their Adsense product. I have to say that I'm not impressed. See Exhibit A below.



Cool. Options. Google is good at anticipating their users' needs. I can even customize the look of the ads similar to how it's always been.



Here's where the problem comes for me. When you click on one of these links, it just seemingly goes to a page that Google does not feel like customizing to meet the needs of my blog readers.



Along with bringing the color customization to the page of links, I'd like to see would have the clicked links open in a new window. Can you accomplish that by CSS?

All in all, I like the idea behind this, but they should be calling it Ad Links beta. I think that they need to add some more functionality to this, and it's looking like a good start.

3/15/2005

eBlogging via Gmail

This is crazy that this is actually possible.

Expect more of this in the near future, as I like blogging.

The Flab Police are Coming

The flab I've developed from the Chicago winter (among other things) needs to be gone. The sooner the better. I'm not sure the exact strategy that I'm going to take on this one. Other than half-assed exercising and half-assed dieting, I'm not sure what else to do.

Situps? Pushups? Chinups? Sit-and-reach? Are these the exercises that I can take with me throughout life, or was elementary school always wrong when they tried to teach us exercise? If so, I'm bringing back "Kick Soccer Baseball".

Can I get a Hell Yes?

Coffee tastes Goooooood

I'm now addicted to coffee. It tastes so good, and it wakes me up in the morning. I don't want to stop.

Truth is, I should and will stop soon. I always go through coffee phases in my life where I enjoy coffee, get too comfortable with its effect, and then I let it go. And then I come back to it. It's a lovely, vicious cycle.

Time to get ready to move soon. I need to hire a moving company. There's no way I'm not. The last time I moved, I carried many things myself, and my back spasmed like crazy the next day. I need to start lifting weights now to prepare. That sucks.

3/14/2005

Join the Open Source Revolution

My last vacation to Naples, FL allowed me to start reading Wired magazine. I've never gotten into it before, although I've read their blogs and definitely decided it was time to start reading it. The cover story was about Firefox, the internet browser that has started to chip away at Microsoft Internet Explorer's marketshare. If you don't know that, you've been living in an internet cave.

Today, I gladly explained to a coworker that I was aware of a tool that allowed you to print anything you wanted from a computer into a PDF document. "It's free," I said. "You can print anything from you PC directly to a PDF document." I was so proud of myself. I did give her a disclaimer before I gave her the vital piece of information. "Now, I'm telling you to install this software. I have no authority to do that, so don't hold me accountable for anything." I'm sure that made a good hell of a difference, you betcha!

Open source software is definitely what the internet was made for, and I love participating in the using of things that are free. It's really a win-win situation. Developers get to code and make cool stuff--"geek out" as some would call it. People like me that don't like to pay for software when we don't have are able to download and use free, awesome software. Like I said. Win-Win.

If you haven't already, please download Firefox. You're stupid if you don't.

Some of my other favorites include (but are certainly not limited to):
PDFCreator
Gaim
AWStats

3/13/2005

Who Blogs?

A lot of blogs that I've been reading lately really suggest that a lot of questions need to be answered now that blogs are getting traditional media attention. My favorite was Dave Pell's blog on Who is a Blogger?--how many lines you could actually draw to determine who makes up this so-called "Blogger" group is definitely staggering.

Thanks to Michael Moore, I now know that this guy is a blogger. Someone actually "blogging" in the physical world that we all know and love about the lies and greed of the Bush administration. FREEWAYBLOGGER.com. This is awesome.

Rosie O'Donnell is now a blogger. This is just funny to me. Although, why should I ever think this is funny? I should think it's funny that someone who has recently gotten completely fed up with their industry and their stature within the industry should want to write about it without anyone editing their content? Well, the answer is no, I shouldn't.

The scary part shown on her blog is how many comments are so hateful and disgusting; do these people have nothing better to do than try and hurt Rosie O'Donnell. Once Adored at Blogspot. That's just hugely depressing, and it shows how fame can really change a person's life and their outlook. Here's the NY Times article on the subject.

I mean, come on people! She was sort of funny in A League of Their Own. Let's not completely chastise her for it's lackluster performance at the box office.

Me and Charlie


Charlie Chompers is cute.

3/12/2005

Blogging While Working Somewhere

I keep seeing articles on blogging and the effect it can have for the blogger's careers; I have to say that it has definitely been on my mind. I work with some top executives that just would maybe be curious. I'd like to just set the record completely straight.
The views expressed on Melody to Funkytown represent the opinions, thoughts, links, and interests of Justin Ward only. The views found on this site do not ever represent the opinion, views, or thoughts of my employers, friends, acquaintances, enemies, or family. Please don't ever think that I'm trying to spread an agenda that is anything but my own and only my own.

Actually, I hope that blogging can someday be good for my career. I'd love to get my employer to think about the power of blogging in today's society; they really do think that it's going to replace email at some point (that's definitely to a certain extent).

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale is the Best Beer Ever

Last night, we got together with some friends and picked up some Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale. In case you didn't know, this beer is 9.6% alcohol by volume. Needless to say, two of these was plenty for me. We had quite a good time, watched most of the Umphrey's McGee Live at Skyline Stage DVD. We walked home in some super cold weather, and I ended up sleeping a lot less than I would have wanted. I just got up from my afternoon nap, and I'm waiting for my ride to a Thai restaurant on Montrose. I'm starving...

The Original Survivor, Richard Hatch, is an Idiot

Richard Hatch and his idiotnessIt's been reported that Richard Hatch did not know what he was doing when he mistakenly forgot to report his prize money earned from winning the first season of Survivor.
Let me take this one, CBS. I can explain this to Hatch in small, easy-to-understand words.

I really don't feel like going into a lot of detail here, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
Dear Richard,
You are stupid. You earned a million dollars (and some) on national television and did not think twice about how this might legally affect you. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that you are an idiot.

Let me know if you have any questions.
--Justin Ward

Well, now that we have that out of the way, how about that Suvivor: Palau? I think it's just starting to get good...[edit: I always think that. I'm completely biased towards Survivor. I usually think they can do wrong.]

P.S. Don't actually try and visit Survivor.com to get the official show's website, as it is a shameless ploy to cover the episodes and get some traffic that is really just not intended for them. I love this part though...
No, we're not CBS. This is not the TV show. But we are getting a lot of hits. We registered this domain name more than 5 years ago to promote a client's software company, Survivor Software...

JustinWard.org Points Back to MelodyToFunkytown.com

This is just an FYI for anyone that maybe upon my personal domain name. I've set up a redirect so that if you try and get to JustinWard.org, it'll shoot you write here to MelodytoFunkytown.com. Right now, I'm focusing all my blogging efforts on my personal blog, Melody to Funktyown, and my music blog, Live Music Blog. Keep on coming back for the updates.

I've gotten so interested in blogging over the past year that I've done numerous versions of the same site, all while experimenting with registering domains. The truth is, I've yet to totally figure out what the difference between these blogs should be. Maybe, just maybe, I could create a plan, diorama, model, forecast, analysis, mock-up--anything that would actually document what I want or what I'm trying to want--that would allow me to see my schizophrenic blogging the way others see it.

The truth is that lately I've been extremely lax on actually planning anything. I should be writing this stuff down, like, in a notebook somewhere. I used to plan EVERYTHING. I'm the kind of person that knows what I'm going to eat for dinner by the time I'm drinking my morning coffee. Scratch that. I USED to be the kind of person that knows what I'm going to eat for dinner by the time I'm drinking my morning coffee. Not anymore, my friends. The days of your friend, Planner McPlanny, are over.

What I've yet to figure out, though, is whether or not this is working for me. Only time and my lack of planning will tell...

Support from Readers = Love

For me, it's been hugely interesting to see how Jason Kottke has handled his recent transition from full-time employee to full-time blogger. His transition has been covered everywhere lately, and it's starting to really look like he's going to be able to make this happen. Here's the evidence: his ever growing list of "micropatrons".

While I disagree that putting advertisements on a blog unnecessarily brings in a potentially unwelcome third party, I believe that Kottke handled his transition and asked for support in the only way that he could have. I don't think advertisements would have even worked on his site, because he really doesn't write about anything in particular. In fact, it's been proven somewhat that to make Google Adsense work effectively, you need to actually write on a topic and that topic alone. So far, my Google ads on the sidebar have made no sense whatsoever. They are simply there, offering up jamband tickets and/or blog startups that really have nothing to do with what I'm trying to write about. The funnier truth is that, like many bloggers, this blog lacks the focus necessary to create coherent thoughts most blog readers and advertisement content bots enjoy.

I'm pretty positive that Jason Kottke has already accomplished what he guessed he could, and congratulations to him for following the path less-traveled.

3/08/2005

Call me wrong, or egocentric, or whatever

Lately, I've been struggling with my own nature. The nature that makes up my genes. The nature that has been controlling my body lately. The nature that I feel I cannot resist.

So, let's bring up the nature vs. nuture argument. Most of my personality, I always thought, was the creation of my own. Based on my lack of proper and constant supervision when I was younger (granted, I wasn't orphaned or anything, but both parents worked all the time), I felt as though I had to learn a lot of life lessons myself.

But, I seem to have developed one personality trait very indicative of my father. I always noticed this growing up. I have a problem in that I seem to think I know everything. Seriously, I'm a huge know-it-all. So far, it hasn't really got me into too much trouble. Other than the fact that I probably piss off a lot of my friends with my know-it-all attitude, I'm trying to get away from it. I'm trying to alter my personality for the better...
Hopefully, it works.

Me on Naples Beach


I can honestly say that the Chicago weather is enough to make me move permanenly to Florida. Although, Florida does have hurricanes and old people. Other warm parts of this country do not.

I'm confused as to why I need sunlight to make me happy, yet sunlight frys my skin so easily and horribly.

My cat, Lucas, is in the hamper.


Lucas being born from our hamper.

3/05/2005

My cat, Lucas, is in the crock pot.


Who? Me?

3/03/2005

Kickball at SXSW

Anil Dash has put up a site dedicated to the annual SXSW kickball game to start the festival. If I was going to the festival there, I'd definitely consider attending this event. Read on for the link...

KICK! 2005

3/01/2005

Wayne's World Reference



No stairway?! Denied!