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National indie bookstore day

April 27, 2018 Leave a comment

coolstuffTake note tomorrow is Indie Bookstore Day (April 28, 2018) – click here for info. Despite the fact that “they” have deemed bookstores a dying breed … I completely disagree.

I do believe that hands are being changed from the Wally World sized mega libraries, back to where books belong … with the indie dealers that love them, and know them. I don’t care who you are, but the experience of buying something from someone that actually uses the product, or in this case, has read it …. makes a big difference.

I like going into my indie bookstore, where the shop keep (yes, I watch to much British TV) might have a bit of a intellectual “attitude” because they actually read their books on something other than a pad or phone (which means they actually comprehended the book too). I like the fact that they can hold a conversation with me on an author, a subject, or an issue – and have a clue.  Try that at Goliath Books!

We have a great indie store near where I live called The Penguin Bookshop. Great selection, and it sort of reminds me of Black Books – except the people at Penguin are actually sober.

If it’s in stock tomorrow I will be buying Alan Alda’s new book on communicating.  Check it out here.

If you aren’t buying books, buy one tomorrow (or maybe today) …. start a habit!

-SWB

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Waiting for my coffee

April 27, 2018 Leave a comment
cr-first-day-pic

“Coffee Shop” (c) Lawrence A Capozzolo

Waiting for my coffee,
i haven’t ordered it, but they should know.

Listening for anyone,
nobody has taken my order.

Maybe they don’t like me,
but I don’t seem that bad.

Not sure what the issue is,
i still don’t have my coffee.

No respect anymore,
it’s just easier to ignore.

The sun is shining in the window on my head,
hopefully it won’t turn red.

Someone noticed me!
“if you aren’t going to order something get the **** out!”.

Maybe I should have stayed in bed,
doesn’t anyone read minds anymore?!?!?!?

-SWB

Another in our bad poetry series … enjoy, or not.

BTW … the shot is the actually coffee shop I write in mostly – Crazy Mocha.  Excellent people and service – so check it out if you are in Sewickley, PA. Tell them that Screaming Weasel sent you. It won’t get you free coffee or a better price … but it will get you a very strange look.

Review: Lost In Space 2018

April 26, 2018 Leave a comment
250px-Lost_in_Space_2018_series_Logo

(c) Netflix / from IMDB

Wait …. where is Joey? Remember Joey from Friends … he played Don West in the last Lost In Space movie (1998).

I want Joey back.

Actually I think Netflix should have done “Friends In Space” as a Friends reunion project.

OK … I’ll stop. I know I’m irritating the scifi geeks.

On to what everyone else now doing in the blog-o-sphere … reviewing “Lost In Space” …

So far I’ll rate it a 3.5 out of 5. I like the show, and the new modern scifi feel – but I grew up with the original show, so I miss a little quirkiness of it – and thought Netflix would have attempted to insert a little of that with Dr. Smith. I think they tried to do that with Parker Posey’s character, but honestly I think that Parker was not the right casting. Like other’s reviewing the series, my first take is that her character as played does not fit in the gist of the current series. She’s just out-of-place …. and not out of place like Dr. Smith was in the old series … but, to a point where if her character left nobody would probably care nor notice. Nothing against Parker … just not the right fit.

Overall I think Netflix did a nice job of taking the basis of the series and updating it with a modern flare that actually seems possible in the near future (not within my lifetime, but in fifty years or so).

I’m getting older so besides the Dr. Smith thing being noticed (probably much due to sentimental remembrances of the character), a few niceties were noticed:

  1. I could watch with my family without constantly being tensed up and ready to cover my children’s eyes  due to the politically correct sex scene inserted every 15 minutes or so specifically to attract all lifestyles to view the show (or at least to not offend them), adding no value to the show.  This even with it being TV14.
  2. There is a balance in the characters. As a man, I don’t mind see strong women characters in a show or movie … but when it gets to the point where a series has been turned around to only have strong women characters (unless appropriate – documentaries and such) and the men are depicted to the point where they are only “stupid pitiful entities” (that might be a quote from Star Trek – I’d have to check) that’s also a form of discrimination, and slightly offensive. Lost In Space did a great job of not doing this with their character development – Kudos. This is a very nice representation of everyone being seen as strong in a group … when it is time for them to be so.
  3. The Robot wasn’t presented as a glorified microcontroller … he was present as a true friend to Will Robinson … who sometimes gets  pushed to the side and needs that friend.

The show also does a great job of presenting everyone as one big family. A little dysfunctional, but family. They all realize that if they don’t work together (you even see it in the acting with the Dr. Smith and Don West characters) they will not be around much longer, and humanity will have found no new place to live.

The almost immediate twist of Maureen Robinson noticing the black hole while floating on the edge of space doing recon was reminiscent of “Lost”. That very “Lost” feeling of “oh … wait, we crash landed on a planet we may be able to survive on” … and then the realization that it’s going to all end in a few weeks if they don’t get off the planet. That “I’m safe now …. but wait for it …. I’m actually still screwed again” feeling. Although I can see this being used multiple times in the series, I honestly hope they don’t beat it to death. It took some serious writing skill to innovate that in “Lost” when nobody knew it as a writing method … but now people know about it and can feel it out, so hopefully the writers will take that into account.

All-in-all the design of the spacecraft, the presentation of the cast and story by them, and the very decent acting makes this delightful to watch.

My rating again: 3.5 out of 5.
My Wife’s rating {{snore}} … but that’s another story.

Enjoy the show … pass the popcorn, please.

-SWB

Tying down progress

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment
zoorope_small0418

“Tying me down” (c) Lawrence A Capozzolo

Did you every find yourself typing down progress – your own, I mean?

This doesn’t mean getting married, or getting a pet, or buying a car, etc. It means putting yourself in a position where growth isn’t possible because opportunity has been eliminated.

How do I mean eliminating opportunity? Well, several ways – one for instance is taking that minimum wage job right after college to pay for the student loads and then never being able to get days off for job interviews. Another is would be over scheduling your education where you can never get time off to work an internship, or network. I’m sure you can think of a ton of things in your head.

This seems to be because many have lost basic skills such as time management. I see so many people who has over-scheduled lives as children doing the same thing as adults. It’s very interesting seeing people come in late for appointments, not because they ran into traffic, or had an expected personal issue come up … but, because they were never taught to do something as simple as accounting for a forty-five minute drive time between a doctors appointment and a lunch meeting, etc.

Doesn’t seem like much, right?

Not really … good time management gets stress out of your life, along with possibly getting you that new job, promotion, or extra quality time with family.

Time management can be key to making you feel like you have a life – and thoroughly remove the necessity for buzz phrases like “work life balance”.

Here are a few cool links about time management:

Now …. for a really bad poem about time:

Time
… I thought it was all mine.
Time
… It never made me a dime.
Time
… All it does is make me whine.
Time
… it’s totally blown my mind.

and so on, and so on ……

hmmm … maybe that’s a really bad song.

well, leave it up to a tech guy to mess up a bad poem into a bad song.

-SWB

Woohooooo! The flowers are back!

April 25, 2018 Leave a comment

SWBBlahBlahGolly gee, I’m excited!

Because of flowers?!?!?!?

Well, sort of … not all flowers, I guess.

A special kind of flower – but rare? No.

Does it have odd colors? A Unique design?? Nope.

What’s so special?

It’s most popular in Spring in PA.

Well ….. what???

orange cone

Official PA State Flower

Yeah …. that flower.

Welcome to Pennsylvania Spring and safety orange.

-SWB

…. as my dog would say – “grooooooaaannnn”

Furballs N Things

April 19, 2018 Leave a comment

petunia_small_framedYep … We’re suckers.

We? (My Wife, Step-Kid, and Myself … and yes, I know that’s grammatically incorrect).

Some time last October (2017), we decided to adopt a friend for our rescue who was then about 9 1/2 years old. With all of us now out working (yes, my teen has a job), even with Dad in our house now – Brandy needed a friend.

Well, great …. Brandy got a friend. Wooohoooo! Yep, didn’t know what we were getting into.

Trouble dog? Nope – love’s everyone (as long as her food bowl is safe) – especially if you give her snuggles.

Doesn’t like the new home? Nope …. works out great for her (as you can see in the pic).

So what’s the issue? …

Fur …….. lots ……. of ……… fur.

So far we’ve had a Basenji/Lab mix and a Beagle/Boxer mix.

Basenji/Lab … occasional shedding.

Beagle/Boxer … it happens, but you don’t really notice it.

Golden/Something mix …… holy ****!!!!! …… basically to date we’ve needed to be rescued by the fire department at least twice due to the overnight shedding build up.

In the middle of the night I hear my wife “….. no air ….. all fur ….. can’t breath …. help ………. gasp”

So, what should we do?

We’ve has the following ideas:

  1. Place her in a bag covering everything but her head so the can breath and permanently attached it to a vacuum cleaner, continually vaccing up the fur.
  2. Spray all of her fur (less her face) in a concentrated Aquanet coating (heck …. it worked for the big hair ladies in the 80s).
  3. Old fashioned Nair treatment (it’s been working for humans since the 40’s).

……. Note: for all of the pet lovers that will freak out about the statements about (please exclude yourself if you are a normal pet lover) … no, we are going to take any action on any of the ideas above. Our cat has advised us that the alternative resolution to our problem is for her to train us on how to hack up hairballs (and to buy an industrial vac).

… Groan

-SWB

Thinking Inside The Box

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

thinkinsidetheboxYou read it right … “think inside the box”.

It’s the new buzz phrase around the water cooler (or Redbull dispenser – whichever you have).

Confused? Yes – Good. I don’t have throw my coffee cup away yet.

Here is a little bit the chew on. We’ve been thinking so hard “outside the box” since the latter 80s that, well, “thinking outside the box” is now THE BOX.

The idea behind “thinking outside the box” is doing things differently than everyone else, or truly failing differently than everyone else has been years before you to discover newer, better ways to do the things you do (hmmm … that sounds like a tag line for a really bad millennial commercial). Just to be specific … a really bad millennial commercial is one of those ones where you reach the end, and if there isn’t a company brand floating all over the screen you basically end up thinking “WFT????????????????????? (not WTF … see, now THAT’s being different – we think outside the box here at SWB on a regular basis).”

Considering I work in two ever changing tech fields (Information Technology and Sound Engineering), thinking differently with a good baseline of a solid box to sit new advances on is critical. It’s the only way solid advances are made – along with a little bit of user beta testing and QA processes. Oops, sorry, too many corporate words in that sentence … get over it, and don’t judge me (this is a free country and I’m allowed to enjoy my stereotype).

Want an example? (you guessed it, I’m going to pick on the millennial kiddies again):

Well, whether you like it or not here it is: The big news item on millennials is them living in shared housing. Guess what?  That’s hippie communal living ….. from the 60s. Yep, the newbies couldn’t think of anything but what was already done. If there a difference between the two groups?  Yes – the millennials, even though living in a shared enviro are still materialistic entitled nerds trying to look like they are helping the world by living in a shared environment (filled with many things created with manufacturing processes that are massively toxic). The hippies actually lived together to try and help each other live off the land and share resources, in theory bettering the world (then they discovered mini vans and some of them became hot soccer moms, so that ideal went south). Basically the hippies in today’s world became the box. The millennials are the box too, they just built one that was translucent so they could be in denial about being in it (ya know – if you can’t see it, it’s not there).  BTW …. lots of corporate people do that too.

To get a grip on things – thinking outside the box became the inside of the box and the only way to actually think outside of the box was to get back in the box thus avoiding the outside of the box standard issue thinking that was actually inside the box and in reality only a facsimile of the outside of the box which is limiting your ability to create and innovate inside the box while trying to claw your way out. Simple.

{{place confused dog head tilt here}}

This is not insanity … hang in there, we just bought a new bag of treats and we’ll give you one once you “get it”.

The latest big deal is gamification. See we’re already doing it here at SWB … you get a “treat” if you “get it”. Goal!!!

Keep in mind this doesn’t mean we have to “get it”, just as long as you do. We’ll have no idea what you are actually “getting”, but what the heck, we’re too old to care.

Gamification …. for those not familiar, it’s basically setting a goal and leaving a trail of chocolate chip cookies to it. For those that may have issues getting to their goals because they may be allergic to the chocolate, or the nut particles that may have ended up in the cookies … they can always get a second mortgage on their house to purchase an EpiPen from Mylan helping them get back on track.

Granted, with all of the millennials around me, I was starting to feel left out … so I ordered myself two boxes of trophies from Oriental Trading to make up for all the ones my teachers, coaches, and parents never handed out to me {sniff!}. I want gamification too … hopefully today’s trophy will be a Pez dispenser filled with cola flavored candies.

So, do you get it? … I know you’ve chewed a bit (and we do realize that might be your own tongue you are chewing … you might want to realize that too) … which means you have to be close to “getting it”. Remember, we have fresh treats.

Got it?

It’s all a game of making your outside the box thinking last long enough to allow you to make a difference before someone defines you as “the box”.

… or you can just grab a coffee, go fishing, and allow someone else to stroke out over it.

-SWB

  • Reality shows were initially created to give you a peak into someone else’s real life freeing you from the typically scripted shows with tons of writers … now the reality shows are massively scripted with more writers than a sitcom of the same length. Reality shows are now hated and have become a box that’s worse that the previous box.
  • A great film maker named George Romero was best known for creating an entirely new film experience – zombie movies. The Walking Dead did an excellent job of thinking outside the box and improving on George’s innovation in an actual TV series … then everyone copied and created endless amounts of copy cat zombie movies … enough to induce vomiting by 1 in 5 people on a daily basis. Overkill made an even thicker box that may never be broken out of.
  • IBM created and innovation called the “PC” by thinking way outside the box of their room sized behemoths that even large corporations struggled to afford. Others thought even further outside of the box making those “PCs” the mainstay of data centers, but drove that into a level of overkill that convinced IBM to go back to their old “in the box” creation “the mainframe”.  Guess what you are on most of the time when you use “the cloud”? BTW … the cloud is an innovation that’s been around since about the latter 80s.