Thursday, November 26, 2009

Random Thoughts (from the burbs)

I'm sitting here in the rented house of my brother and sister. It is a mess. Toilets don't flush, beer bottles fill nearly every inch of elevated surface area, and it appears that the battery gnome has made his rounds (I can't find a single remote control that works).

But I'm back in Bartlett. I just spent about three hours hanging out with some of the best friends anyone could ever have, whom I do not see or even talk to nearly enough anymore. It was nice, really nice.

I told myself I would take full advantage of my time off work (a mere three days, so every moment counts). Thus far I have stuck to my word. It was not at all how I expected to spend my Black Wednesday; it was actually much better than I expected. And as I type this, only one of the four inhabitants of this dwelling (my sister) have returned from their nights of mayhem. So, who knows what will come of the rest of the evening (early morning).

Tomorrow of course, is obligatory family time, which I'm actually looking forward to. Afterward however, I might get another chance to hang out with my friends. Maybe go see a movie or just chill. Rock!

Friday, I'm in love...
With the Turkey Tourney. It should be a real blast this year, as always. I get to see so many of the people I love. Unfortunately I might have a run in with the ex (and possibly her new boy). I really don't mind, though my sister has vowed to ban her from attending. I have such a great sister, lol.

Anyhow, this post was what was promised: random thoughts. Maybe I'll have something more organized to post later. Until then...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I really hate bad advertising/Apple/AT&T

Not something I usually write about, but nonetheless, something that really honks me off, bad advertising. This can be print, internet, radio or television. Whether it is misleading, false, pompous, cliche or just plain stupid, it's all over the place and it bugs the hell out of me.

For instance, the new AT&T TV ad campaign featuring Luke Wilson. He's standing in front of an easel with a checklist on it. It's got two columns (AT&T and Verizon) and a list of features including Speed, Smartphones, Talk and Surf and Apps. Wilson talks a bit about each feature: AT&T has the nation's fastest 3g network, it has the most popular smartphones, it's the only network where you can talk and surf the web at the same time and it has over 100,000 apps. After checking all of the boxes in the AT&T column, he goes on to check one in the Verizon column and says "[the network] that starts with a V." (Ha.) At the end there is also a website posted: which redirects to, which is essentially a web version of the commercial sans Luke Wilson.

This commercial is an obvious rebuttal to Verizon's "got a map for that" ad, which was actually kind of clever. On the redirected web page, AT&T seems to take a jab at the Droid as well, stating all the things AT&T does/has and that Verizon does not.

Now, I have no problem with competitive advertising. If I'm going to point fingers I might as well point one at Verizon, who started it, with their Droid and "map for that" ads. However both Verizon ads were clear, accurate and truthful.

At&T might have the fastest 3g network. I don't know, I don't even know or care to look up what 3g stands for. I do know that it's almost always on my phone (a Droid from Verizon) in the top right corner, next to a signal strength icon that is almost always half full or better. (The 3g icon is replaced by a wifi icon when I enter a hotspot.) Now, living in a densely populated area, this is no surprise to me. But should I take a trip up to the suburbs, I pass through a lot of cornfields. And cornfields mean less population density, which, on AT&T means no 3g service, but on Verizon means I'm covered.

I have friends and colleagues who own iphones and have to turn the 3g off most of the time because they can't get service and the device constantly searching for service drains the battery. I also know a couple of people who have gone from the iphone to the Droid and love the coverage they now have with Verizon. (They also happen to like the Droid a whole lot better than the iphone.)

So, even if we assume that AT&T has the fastest 3g coverage, the fact is their coverage sucks in comparison to Verizon's.

AT&T's second claim, having the most popular smartphones, is such a loaded statement. First off, "the most popular" doesn't mean shit. Was the most popular kid in school the smartest? No. Was the most popular choice for President in 2002 and 2004 the right choice. No. Was the most popular Beatle the most talented? No. But, I'll give it to AT&T, they do have the most popular smartphones: the Apple iPhone 3G and the Apple iPhone 3GS. Oh, and the refurbished versions. After that AT&T has a couple of Blackberrys that are even worth looking at and then a bunch of crappy Nokia's and whatnot. Just check out their site and you'll see what I mean. I've been hating on Apple for years, and while the ipod, the iphone and the ipod touch have all impressed me, I have always thought that they overrated. So, suck it Apple.

So while the whole popularity thing got me goin', it was the next statement that really pissed me off: AT&T is the only network that lets you talk and surf the web at the same time. WHO DOES THAT!?!?! Seriously, I'm all for multitasking but it is nearly impossible for most humans to talk on the phone (and have any idea what the other person is saying) while surfing the web, let alone on a cell phone! And I suppose you would have to be on speakerphone for this feature to work anyhow. I work at a grocery store where I see people on their cell phones all day long everyday, and not once have I seen someone googling, facebooking, tweeting or wiki-ing anything while chatting with their friend or family member. It's hard enough for them to point to the donut they want while on the damn phone. Small, stupid victory AT&T. I award you -1 points.

But here is your chance to make up some points, AT&T. You have over 100,000 apps - ten times that of the Android OS. But from what I understand these apps can only be used on phones manufactured by Apple. Well, Android is running on more than ten times more phones than Apple offers. And as an Android user, I have searched the Marketplace plenty of times and seen many, MANY repeated apps. So I went online and searched for iphone apps and saw basically the same thing. Hundreds of apps for farts, jokes and bible verses. Not one single thing caught my eye and made me think wow, I wish Android offer an app like that. So, really you could have a million more apps than me, and if there are no new, unique ones, I could care less.

So, there's my rant. I really had to do this. I'm sick of bad advertising, REALLY tired of AT&T and like previously stated, I've always hated Apple. And this was fun.

Hopefully in the future I can critique some more ad campaigns. In the meantime, what are some commercials or advertisements that get you steamed?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Tourney: A Brief History, part 1

Finally, finally, we have the details in place for the 6th Annual Turkey Tourney. It feels really good.

In case you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, the Turkey Tourney is an annual event that started back in 2004. I was living with my best pal, Ryan Peters or "kid" as we endearingly referred to each other. We had a two bedroom apartment in Lisle, IL with a 19" TV and a Nintendo 64 with a handful of games, the best of them: Mario Kart 64.

We played nearly everyday; after school and work, there was nothing like coming home to "the R&R" and unwinding with a couple of dozen races on the N64. He was always DK and I was always Bowser. Our favorite track, Bowser's Castle, backwards.

Peters dominated. Of the few thousand races we probably played, he easily won 90% of them. But with every loss, the competition became more intense. I'm sure he got more of a kick out of it than I did.

Anyhow, seeing as that we were two of the oldest of our group of friends and pretty much the only to have an apartment, we were the hosts of frequent parties. At said parties, Mario Kart quickly became the standby for entertainment (in between dance parties and impromptu singalongs). One thing led to another and by November, just three short months after the establishment of the R&R, we thought up the idea of the Turkey Tourney.

Everyone would be back from school for Thanksgiving break. No one had work or any other obligations other than eating turkey, hanging out with family and watching football the next day. It made perfect sense. Let's get everyone together and place some Mario Kart!

We drew up some handmade invites, headed to Kinko's to make copies and drove mailbox to mailbox informing our friends of our get together...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hiatus ended

It has recently dawned on me that, no matter how well things are going in my life, I always seem to have something that weighs heavy on my mind, heart and soul nearly every waking moment. Often it is not just one thing, but many. But never is it nothing. Cliche as it may be, it's always something. It's like I have this internal to do list that never goes away. Just when I think I can check off that last item, something else comes up.

Just had to get that off my chest. Details to follow. Maybe. But as brief as this entry was, it feels really good to blog again.