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My name is Bean and this is my blog. Hence the name. If you have comments or questions, just leave them in the comments area.
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Archive for February 2007
Interview: Larry Feathers
Posted February 28, 2007 at 11:27:18 AM by Bean in the Interviews category
Larry Feathers is my cousin, Jeff. He agreed to be number two in the Beanblog Interview Series.
Q: Before I start, should I call you Jeff or Larry, and would you like to preface this interview with anything?

A: You can call me Jeff or Larry - I have no preference. I think you're smart for not setting the "interesting bar" too high at the beginning.

Q: Great! To keep things as complicated as possible, I'll refer to you as both Jeff AND Larry throughout the Interview. Now, here's a question to get started: Where did the name "Larry Feathers" come from?

A: When I was in high school and college, a group of my friends used to spend a lot of time playing video games. Some games allowed us to create our own players. All of us kids would end up being turned into video game characters, and we'd normally make up several imaginary characters as well. Made up characters included Oscar Tissue, Lew Crayons, Elge and Elge's Elge, and Principal Don Feathers. We were pretty cool.

I work for the government. One of my favorite times to work for the government is when we have new job announcements. I like new job announcements because it's fun to submit phoney resumes. Once we were hiring an editor, and I thought it would be good to send in the most poorly written resume ever (irony). The fake editor applicant was called Ronald Feathers (unbeknownst to government officials, Ronald Feathers was the fake second cousin of Principal Don Feathers).

Once when I was in New Albany, Brad told me about this lady who lives on Grant Line Road and who always has a yard sale (And it's true because I've been up there probably three times since the story I'm about to tell, and that woman is still having a yard sale). We decided to go shopping at the yard sale because Brad was shopping for apartment decorations. The woman had this really terrible black felt clown picture on display in her yard, and Brad offered to buy it. Problem was that the picture wasn't for sale. Instead, the woman had it in her yard on account of God speaks to her through the black felt clown picture. We asked why she would put something on display if it isn't for sale, and she told us that her plan was to attract us to her yard sale so she could show us her rose bush. Turns out God also speaks to her through the rose bush. I told her that I thought she was full of it. She asked me to go inside her house with her. I told her I was too scared. It was at this point that she made the following totally unexpected announcement to all: "I AM COVERED IN FEATHERS!" I asked her what in the world she was talking about. She replied that she is truly covered in feathers.

So I guess you could say that feathers have been a very important part of my life. When I started my blog, I knew that I had to be a Feathers. All that was left was to choose a first name, and that's a really easy decision with a name like "Larry" out there.

Therefore, Larry Feathers.

I found this picture of a genuine Larry Feathers on Google Images. Those are some kinda pants! It might be fun to make up a name for his friend. Wayne McJunkinstonton?

Q: Larry, you live in Texas where it's hot, right?. What's the hottest day you can remember?

A: Yes, it can get quite hot in Texas. The problem isn't so much the heat on a given day, but the fact that the heat is relentless. It'll get to be 100 degrees and stay that way for a month.

Two really hot times come to mind. First was the heat wave of 1980. I believe 1980 was our first summer in Texas, and over 1,200 people died from heat that summer (though I'm not sure all of those deaths were in Texas). When you're a kid you don't so much mind the heat as when you become a fat adult. I guess I remember that heat wave more for the marketing campaign that accompanied it than for the actual effect of the heat on my person. There was a whole industry that sprung up around the slogan "I survived the Texas heat wave." Pretty catchy! Most of the "Heat Wave" S was sold at a really hot place called Trader's Village. Trader's Village is a place where various peddlers come to sell lots of crummy crap to mostly poor people. Trader's Village is in a city called Grand Prairie. Grand Prairie is called Grand Prairie because it is literally a grand prairie. Now it's a grand prairie with a bunch of houses - one of which belongs to Karen and Rex Ollis. Anyway, that was evidently a very hot summer.

The other hot time that comes to mind was this past summer. The local golf course offered a deal where you could play all the golf you wanted for a month in exchange for $75. I bought it, played three times, and ended up getting heat exhaustion and making a lot of throw up. I'd probably let any of your readers kick me in the nuts once a week for the rest of my life if I could be guaranteed of never throwing up again. I'd also be willing to have constant diarrhea in exchange for not having to throw up anymore.

Anyway, last summer was the only time I've ever had heat exhaustion. So that stands out as memorable heat.

Q: I remember listening to They Might Be Giants in a car with you back in 1990 when they came out with Flood. Do you still listen to TMBG?

A: Yes, I currently have "Flood" and "Severe Tire Damage" on my iPod. I also have a children's CD + DVD they made a couple years ago. Some of it is weird, but most of it is good. In about 1988, Brad came down for a couple weeks one summer. Now this is going to sound really gay, but it seems like all we did was lay around on a waterbed with my friend Brandon listening to They Might Be Giants "Don't Let's Start" mini-cd while Brandon passed lots of the most disgusting goulash-inspired gas in the history of ever. I love memories.

Q: That's gold, Jeff, GOLD! You should check out TMBG's newer album titled "The Spine". What are some of your favorite sites to visit on the wide wide world of web?

A: First and foremost, I like going to your blog and the blogs of other people I know. Other than that, some of my favorite WWW sites include:
  • www.gordonkeith.com (Though sometimes a bit raunchy, this site contains links to some pretty funny stuff.)
  • www.seatguru.com (This site rates the pros and cons of each seat on all models of commercial aircraft. As a relatively frequent flyer, this site is important to me.)
  • www.newbergreport.com (This site discusses current events in the world of the Texas Rangers baseball club and its minor league system.)
  • www.youtube.com
  • www.belleandsebastian.com (This is the site of my favorite band, Belle & Sebastian.)
Q: Have you ever seen a ghost, an alien, or Bigfoot?

A: I have never seen a ghost, but I believe in them. I have never seen an alien, but I'm sure they exist. I have never seen Bigfoot. I think Bigfoot is make believe.

Q: Finally, the question that is burning holes in beanblog readers brains: When will you make your triumphant return to blogging?

A: Hopefully that glorious day will occur sooner than later. I've decided to start using the train more often (at the behest of Honorary Dr. Al Gore). Usually blogworthy things happen on the train (e.g., yesterday - by using reasoning - I broke up what was about to turn into a fist fight between black people and white people on the ride home), and I'll make sure to start writing about them as they do. And at the same time I'll be changing my carbon footprint (which is evidently a good thing even though I don't really have any idea what I'm talking about).

Thanks for letting me do this. I rather enjoy writing about me.
Mexico: Pictures
Posted February 26, 2007 at 09:55:04 AM by Bean in the Vacation category
We finally got our Mexico pics online. Have a look see!
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Chilifest & More!
Posted February 19, 2007 at 04:38:11 PM by Bean in the Parties category
Come one come all to Chilifest 2007: Now With 200% More Stuff!
(See my wif's blog for more details!
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Interview: My Dad
Posted February 19, 2007 at 09:15:08 AM by Bean in the Interviews category
In an attempt to keep fresh content on my blog, I've decided to conduct a few interviews with interesting people. They are short, relatively shallow, and conducted via email, one question at a time. I've got a few in the works, so expect more in the coming weeks. I decided to start off with someone I was sure would cooperate: my dad, Martin Schy.
Q: You fish a lot, and usually do pretty well. What, in your opinion, is the single most important thing to consider when trying to land a large mouth bass?

A: The most important to consider when trying to land a large mouth bass would be to keep heavy tension on your line so as to not let the line go slack, but not too much to break the line. The tension should be applied with the curvature of the rod not allowing the fish to pull directly against the reel.

Q: Great! Any tips on getting that fish on the line in the first place? Next question: Which president, having served in office during your life, has been your favorite?

A: Ronald Reagan because he proved that conservative principles worked.

Q: I had a feeling that would be your response. Now the counter-point: which president has been your least favorite?

A: Jimmy Carter because he facilitated the fall of the shah of Iran which resulted in the return of the Islamic Fundamentalists, failed to defend our embassy in Iran, failed to rescue the hostages in Iran and is basically given us the terrorist state of Iran that we know today. In addition, his domestic policies resulted in the worst recession we had in the second half of the 20th century and the highest rate of inflation that we've ever had. He currently travels the world cozying up to Communist dictators, left-winged despots and continues to badmouth America all over the world to this day.

Q: What is is the best vacation you have ever taken?

A: Our best vacation was when we flew our own plane to Alaska and back. We flew over the Great Plains of North and South Dakota and we saw civilization below us diminish into the wilderness as we approached the Canadian border in North Dakota. Then we saw the wilderness turn into homes and farms at the southern edge of Saskatchewan. We crossed the Great Plains of Central Canada with millions of acres of granola and wheat fields and hundreds of oil wells below us. Then we came into view of the Canadian Rockies to the west and the great wilderness of northern Alberta to the east. We then entered the snow capped Canadian Rockies, entered the Yukon territories and landed at White Horse. All along the way, the Canadian people were extremely friendly and helpful. We flew over the beautiful turquoise lakes of the Canadian Rockies and crossed into Alaska. We flew to central Alaska near Anchorage and stayed a few days with friends who owned a beautiful log cabin in the mountains. Then we flew to Mt. McKinley and skirted the edges of glaciers coming from it, landed and went on a Denali Park bus tour. We flew onto Fairbanks and points north of Fairbanks to say that we had been close to the Arctic Circle. In Fairbanks, we had near 24 hours of daylight and took a sternwheeler ride on the Yukon River. When we left Fairbanks, we flew over North Pole, Alaska back through the Canadian Rockies and the full length of the Alaska Highway back to the lower 48. It was a "dream of a lifetime" vacation.

Q: Sounds like a fantastic trip! I won't ask what the worst vacation was, cause I think I know (Disney World, circa mid 1980's) Okay, last one: If you could speak one sentence and know that everyone in the world would heard it, what would it be?

A: Get the hell out of my way, I'm coming through!
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Mexico: Days 5, 6 and 7
Posted February 16, 2007 at 04:57:45 PM by Bean in the Vacation category
Buenos Notches! (Spanish for "Bean likes nachos")

It's easy to loose track of the days when the booze is free. Day 5 started off with hydratherapy and massages for each of us. Afterwards, we headed to the lagoon and drank our share of frozen sunflowers. I honestly can't remember what we did after that.

Day 6 was also a bit of a blur as we spent the whole time at the swim-up bar enjoying the hot, hot sun. The staff tries to get people involved in activities throughout the day in and around the pool area. Around 1pm they announced that they would be having "Mexican Superbowl", which was just like a carnival game football toss. Stef was the first person, and only girl, to make it to the finals (out of 35 people only 4 made it to the final round). She was narrowly beaten out by a guy from Michigan in the last round. Afterward chatting it up with some Iowans and Michigan folks, we found that we could pour our own beers and avoid the line at the bar. Access like that made for another unintended early night.

Today is day 7 and the most productive thing we've done (other than eat, drink and talk with other vacationers) is write this blog. It's been a mostly cloudy, breezy day (80 degrees) which has given us a welcome break from the sun and intense heat.

We'll be home tomorrow night. We'll do a recap/picture blog next week.

Adios amigos!
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Mexico: Day 4
Posted February 14, 2007 at 06:20:10 PM by Bean in the Vacation category
Room service delivered our breakfast at the buttcrack of dawn. We had to eat early and catch a shuttle to our one and only planned excursion of the trip: Selvactia. A "luxury" van (air condiftioned) took us, along with 6-7 other tourists up to the Cancun area and then down a 20-mile, desolate, very remote, and very very bumpy road. The ride was not great, but the adventure that awaited us was definately worth it.

After meeting our guides, we harnessed up and climbed a rickety steel ladder up into an even ricketier steel treehouse. Everything was suspended by steel cables wrapped around big Mexican jungle trees. One by one, we clipped onto the cables and zipped away to the next tree. It was a blast, and once I got over my initial safety concerns, I was able to actually look around and enjoy myself. I did manage to get one good shot of stef coming in to landing #7 or 8, which I will post when we get home. We did a total of 11 ziplines over about a 1 mile course. When we were done, we deharnessed and biked a mile or so to a cenote. We swam in this beautiful, clear, cool, DEEP freshwater sinkhole for about a half hour and there was nothing I would have rather done in the 95 degree heat. There were cliffs to jump off from, ziplines to drop from; I did both. The highest cliff required 35 feet of trecherous climbing and put a lot of trust into the guide that helped me to the top. Though if I would have slipped, I don't think he could have done anything about since he only weighed a buck ten. It was definately not OSHA approved. We swam for about 30 minutes, then headed back for a light lunch, then back into the van for the trip back to the resort.

We got in around 3pm and headed straight for the bar to get caught up on drinks. We found a nice spot next to the lagoon and fed and snorkled with the fishes. Then it was back to the room so I could smoke my Cuban cigar on the balcony (StevieP are you jealous?). Around 8:30pm we headed to the steakhouse, La Mendaca, for dinner. I got the NY Steak and Stef got the grilled seafood platter. Mine was woot woot and Stef had a few pieces of seafood we were unable to identify. She also noticed that the "seafood soup" had large octopus chunks in it. Not zesty.

We toured the various nightclubs and bars, sampling drinks along the way. We ended up staying up to 1am which allowed for a hangover (the first of the trip) the next morning. All in all a very fun day. And tomorrow, we get massages!

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Mexico: Day 3
Posted February 13, 2007 at 08:56:49 PM by Bean in the Vacation category
We woke up to downpour, but checked to tubes and found that it was supposed to clear up by noon. We hit up the buffet for breakfast, then went to the hydrotherapy pool (indoor) to wait out the rain. Around 11am the clouds broke and we made our way to the lagoon, snorkled with some fiches and drank 5 million pesos worth of liquor. We met up with some trip advisor folks for a lunch buffet and another million pesos of alcohol. With a total of 6 million pesos in drinks, an early night ensued. Room service and Real Sex 31 on HBO rounded out the night. Tomorrow morning: zipline and cenote.
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Mexico: Day 2
Posted February 12, 2007 at 09:51:07 AM by Bean in the Vacation category
Day 2 was ripe with margaritas and cervesa. We ate an early breakfast and headed to the pool at about 8:30. We secured two prime seats and baked in the sun until 10 when the swim-up bar opened. We met a few cool people at the pool, and I showed off my perfect form in a righteous game of water volleyball. I scored the winning point. We did not leave the pool/bar area until 4, when we headed back to take a nap before our evening meal. Dinner was saltimbocca and lasagna at the resort's Italian restaurant. Rough day!
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Mexico: Day 1
Posted February 11, 2007 at 08:12:35 AM by Bean in the Vacation category
As loyal beanblog readers may or may not know, Stef and I will be on vacation in Mexico this week. We are at our hotel now, Aventura Spa Palace in Tulum (just south of Cancun), and it's pretty sweet. It's the first time either of us have been at an all inclusive resort. BUT! getting here was definately not pretty sweet.

Our anticipated schedule was to leave at 5:30Aam catch our 7:10 flight to Dallas, connect to our Cancun flight in Dallas at 9:30, land in Cancun at noon and catch a bus to Tulum so that we could be at the pool by 2, sipping on margarita #1. We were aiming for MT:2pm (Margarita Time 2pm). This did not happen.

Instead, our first flight was delayed by 1 hour due to low tire pressure (wtf?) pushing us to MT:3pm. This caused us to miss our connection in Dallas and have to catch a later flight, making it MT:4pm. When we got to Cancun, we arrived sans luggage, and the time we wasted waiting for it pushed us all the way to MT:4:30pm. For some reason, our names were not on the bus passenger list, so we had to fill out some forms and whatnot. MT:5pm. The bus ride was longer than anticipated, and our driver even got lost (seriously), but we did get to the resort around 5pm. MT was close. We were handed off from desk clerk to another desk clerk, then to a bell boy, our "representative" Tere, and finally another bellboy who finally showed us how to get to our room. Since we didnt have to unpack (no luggage), we headed right back out to the bar and finally, FINALLY got those margaritas at about 6 o'clock in the PM.

Did I mention that no leg of our journey had meal service?

Anyway, we are here now and it's all better. I forgot to bring my camera cable, so no pics until we get back. Stay tuned for day 2.
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Wii+Orb
Posted February 08, 2007 at 05:17:37 PM by Bean in the Obsessions category
Orb.com rocks. Specifically, mycast.orb.com (Orb 2.0) rocks. If you are like me, you probably have a lot of digital media stored on your home PC. Orb lets you easily access that media from any internet capable device. It's in the realm of SlingBox (ala m1blog) but has some major differences: SlingBox is a non-free hardware device that basically broadcasts your TV (or any standard "TV input") over the internet (or to any local device), whereas Orb is a FREE software product that does the same for your PC-based digital media. Orb now even encodes live streams, which allows you to use a tuner card to encode and broadcast live TV. And if you are listening or watching on the same LAN as your main PC (i.e. in your home), the stream speed is only limited by your LAN (not your internet link). I have only tested my Wii with Wireless G, which is the highest wi-fi it supports. Nintendo offers a $30 USB2.0->Ethernet adapter (and confirmed 3rd party knockoffs) that are supposed to be faster than G, but I have not tried them yet. There are definitely limitations (Wii plays via Flash, Opera has a browser bar that you cannot hide), but Wii+Orb really does impress me "out of the box".

Orb is easy to use (multiple web-based GUI interfaces), secure, and allows you to create "favorites" and "playlists" as well as invite others to share your media. Note that this doesn't "share" like BitTorrent, but with live streams. I think Orb, along with other services like it, is going to change the way we view the Internet.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, there are lots of websites popping up that are designed for the Wii. Wii, when on the "Internet Channel" is basically a set top box with a point and click cursor, so it fits very well into the HTML world. There's a huge market for inexpensive set top boxes (with mouse-like remotes?) and internet tablets RIGHT NOW, and the first manufactures to come out with them are gonna reap some profit, bigtim.

Also: here's a streaming audio site with a killer Wii interface: finetune.com/wii

Before I got a chance to post this blog entry, Fooie emailed me and told me all about his xbox media center setup, and his current WinMCE setup. I wish I had an XBOX back when this shit was starting. So, this is not really a "new" thing, and I'll admit that I am a newbie in the area, but it sure seems like sharing/streaming/broadcasting/etc over IP is going to obsolete every other type of data transmission that there is. We wont need phones or cable, just volts and some ninnernet techmology! Stuff a battery in the mix and look ma, no hands. All types of data/media/communication in any form on any device that tunes in to the tubes!

Please discuss your home media setup, if you have one. I currently have s-video + rca-audio running to my TV on Video2. No DVR or anything though.
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Lost: Not in Portland (S03EP07)
Posted February 08, 2007 at 08:44:29 AM by Bean in the Lost category
Lost kicked off the second half of season 3 last night. It started with a 1-hour recap episode. Honestly, how many recap episodes can one show have? It seems like they do at least 2 or 3 per season. Anyway, I guess I cant complain, cause I still watch em.

Escape
At the end of the first half mini-season, Jack agreed to do teh surgery on Ben, but held him captive on the OR table and arranged for Kate and Sawyer to escape. He ratted out Juliet and caused all kinds of ruckus within the others. Eventually, it seems, Ben offered to let Julie go home if she kept him and Jack alive, so to do so, she helped Kate and Sawyer (and Carl) escape from Alcatraz and head back to the main island. Juliet had to pop a cp in xxx to do so.

Alex and Carl
Rewind: Alex helped Kate and Sawyer evade capture, and in return, they helped her rescue her boyfriend Carl. Carl was in some kind of a brainwashing room. There was loud techno-type music, lighted glasses to keep him awake, and a plethora of crazy images and sayings projected onto the wall in front of him.

Juliet's Back Story
We also learn that Juliet has only been on the island for about 3 years, and was apparently brought there by Hanso/Dharma iun a very forceful fashion. She was doing secret fertility experiments on her sister, but they weren't very secretive - not only did her ex-husband find out, but so did Hanso. It's my opinion that Hanso not only had her ex-husband run over by a bus, but also may have had something to do with her sister becoming prego (fake-out?). Yep, looks like the pregnancy test is a Widmore Labs (a known Hanso cohort) brand, just like Sun's on the island.

Anyway, all in all not a bad episode. I am definitely re-STOKED for 15 more eps of Lost, no breaks, no repeats!
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Ninnernets Wii
Posted February 02, 2007 at 08:55:37 AM by Bean in the Obsessions category
So I finally got around to telling my Wii to connect to my wireless home network, and the ninnernets at large. The first thing I did once connected was check out the Forecast Channel and News Channel. They are both very well put together, intuitive, easy to use, and informative. Rikey! Next thing was the Shop Channel, where I bought 2000 Wii Points ($20) and prompty downloaded Super Mario Brothers, Contra III, and Opera (web browser). It's pretty sweet, all 3 of the downloads are now "Channels" on my main Wii menu. The games are classic and true to the originals - and what's nice is that you can play them from the couch due to the fact that the Wii Remote is wireless. Last night, between episodes of Earl, The Office, Scrubs, and 30 Rock, I flipped over to the Wii to continue my ongoing SMB game (got a bazillion extra lives on world 3-1, dontcha know!).

And then I tried the browser. It did not blow me away, because it's just that: a web browser. But the more I looked around, the more stuff I found like WiiCade (Wii-compatible online games), WiiHear (streaming radio and other random stuff), and MiiBoard (all kinds of stuff). There are a growing number of sites designed specifically for the Wii. WiiSites has a decent directory of Wii-friendly websites. The version of Opera that you can run on the Wii has most of the functionality that Opera9 does, including Flash7 and full multimedia support. Online games? Check. Videos? Check. Music? Check. I am currently looking into Orb, which may or may not be similare to SlingBox, and which may allow me to stream all of my music, pictures, tv shows, and movies from my desktop wirelessly to my Wii. This will beat the hell out of my current setup, which is a really long s-video cable. If Orb doesn't work out, I may look into writing my own little media server using some off the shelf flash players. Probably gonna have to upgrade to wireless G though. EEE!

Update: Okay, so I played with orb.com and a few other Wii portals and whatnot, and I am absolutely impressed with how well it all works. So impressed, in fact, that it deserves it's own blog. Stay tuned...
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