Category Archives: Having Fun

I have a fever and the only cure is more World Cup

I have a confession to make; every couple of years I get hard core World Cup fever. I go from casual football (soccer to most Americans) fan that usually just keeps flipping the channel when regular soccer is on TV to an avid fan during the World Cup. I don’t care if it is women’s World Cup or men’s World Cup; I watch. I am not even a football/soccer player really. I did play some recreational football/soccer from time to time growing up so I know the rules, but I never really played as an adult. This year (Women’s 2011 World Cup) I have taken it one step further and am following several of the US soccer players on twitter, which has been enjoyable. Here are some of those players:

Hope Solo:

Christie Rampone:

Alex Morgan:

Alex Krieger:

Megan Rapinoe:

Heather O’Reilly:

Tobin Heath:

Carli Lloyd:

Lauren Cheney:

Abby Wambach:

Of course your other option is to follow the official hash tage for the US during their World Cup run which is #USWNT

Protests in Wisconsin

This weekend I had a chance to do something that I really felt was important. I went to Wisconsin State Workers Unions vs Scott Walker protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol. I am going to immediately state that this post will not be used to politically sway anyone; I understand what both sides are arguing and I don’t feel like turning this into a political blog. Besides, I am married into a family of educators, yet have always worked for companies that have depended on Republican leaders such as Scott Walker to succeed in business.

Anyways the goal of this post was more to share some of the great resources that I have regularly used to monitor the protests. First off, pictures are one of the great ways to see what is going on. A good friend of mine, Matt Apps is a fantastic photographer.  Click either of the following pictures to view his Protest gallery:

Another key source for protest updates has been Twitter. The primary source of updates on Twitter has been using the hashtag #WiUnion. One of the best sources to see the global impact over Twitter has been TrendsMap. TrendsMap lets you see what is trending at this very moment on Twitter. Visiting the #WiUnion hashtag on TrendsMap shows where all the mentions are occurring and shows a running list of all tweets:

Lastly I wanted to close with following video, which appeared this weekend on Vimeo and really portrays the emotion and feeling of the event very well!

Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest from Matt Wisniewski on Vimeo.

Getting free stuff at CES

So of all the stuff I had heard about CES, one that was stated by a number of folks was that the free shwag that is given out can be really decent. Now I didn’t go for this reason, but for the right stuff I am willing to stand in a line if I have to.

Honestly while walking the floor there was not much in terms of free stuff. There were pens and lanyards and a few other one-off type items (a tee-shirt, a cheesy skull candy necklace, etc.) , but I really didn’t see much in terms of nerd stuff (sd cards, flash drives, etc.). However what I did participate in were a number of social media contests.

One such contest led to me receiving a Logitech Revue (GoogleTV) unit. The Logitech contest was managed through Twitter (I have followed @logitech ever since) and all of my running around CES like gadget-obsessed maniacs with my friends Terrence and Ryan paid off big time! We were lucky, all three of us received a Logitech Revue (we were number 94, 95, and 96 out of the 100 given away).

Another such contest I participated in was the FourSquare CES 2011 Badge content, which outlined the following information right on the badge notes:

Welcome to the world’s largest tech show! Now head on over to Experience CEA in the Grand Lobby and show your badge to score some cool prizes (while supplies last).

When I showed my badge I got exactly what I was expecting, a real badge (in the form of a CES pin). I know it sounds a bit dorky, but it was fun to go through the “treasure hunt of sorts” and get a gimmicky little reward. In addition to the badge/pin showing your FourSquare badge at the CEA booth also qualified you to for a grand prize sponsored by none other then Sonos and FourSquare. Now this is the type of prize thing where you drop in your business card and they draw a name once all is done. I dropped my card in dozens of “grand prize” buckets over the course of CES (and honestly in hundreds of “win a prize” buckets over my life), but haven’t ever actually won anything. In fact I have always kind of thought they were rigged methods for mass-mailing collection lists. Yet, late last week I received an email from Sonos, Foursquare and CEA announcing that I won their Sonos grand prize pack (so I guess I can no longer say I never win those prize drawings).

Radiator Replacement

Have no fear, this may be the only car related post you’ll ever see from me, as I am likely the last person you should ever take car advise from. Anyways this weekend I had the pleasure of replacing Marcia’s radiator in her 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan. I actually owe the most credit to my friend Aaron who lent his expertise and garage to do the replacement. I am not really all that much of a car guy, so Aaron did most of the actual work.

A few weeks ago Marcia had taken her van into the shop for a quick oil change and asked that they take a look at her leaky Radiator while it was in. They told her that it needed to be replaced and quoted her $600. I chatted with Aaron about the replacement and he recommend that we do it ourselves on a Saturday. A quick look at Rock Auto and I had a brand new radiator fully shipped for $120!

Before we got started Aaron did a little research online and found this great radiator fluid replacement article This was important because it told us how much coolant would be needed after we got the new radiator on. While doing some research we were also afforded some time to let everything cool down (if you are doing this yourself, don’t forget to let the engine cool down before working on the radiator!).

After letting it cool we drained the coolant out of the old radiator.

Then we started the process of removing all of the bolts, screws and general stuff related to the old radator. The AC unit was attached to the radiator so we had to disconnect that. It was also to our advantage to remove the fans since they were adding a lot of bulk and generally getting in the way. Once we got the radiator out we uncovered an unexpected issue with the condenser barely hanging on by the one pipe that hooked it up to the AC. Aaron suggested some JB Weld and a wire clamp setup to get everything safely and securely reattached to the support posts. You can see in the picture how nicely that worked out.

With the radiator out you can see how crappy it looked compared to the new one in the background.

Aaron really deserves the credit as he did the majority of the work, so I figured I would show at least one picture that gave the credit where it was deserved. Here he is reattaching these little push pin thingies to the splash guard under the bumper.

With that we were pretty much done. We let it run for a while and let all of the air bubbles out of the radiator and engine.

Since replacing the radiator it has been running great!

Music is the rhythm of life

If you have ever checked out my blog in the past you would likely have noticed that music plays a major role in my life. I have so many various music ventures that I thought it would be cool to highlight each one of them in one place. Shamelessly I would recommend you check out all the different varieties of musical offerings I have.
  • First is my solo music stuff. This is published in the my music section of my site. Most of this music is Electronica in nature. Almost all of it was produced using Reason 4 (and Reason 2.5 and 3 before that).
  • Second is my hip hop music. I started a group with my Brother-in-law and some of his family members called The MOB Crew. We also go by the name Midwest Millionaires some times to mix it up. Just a warning most of the music here is loaded with vulgarity.
  • Third is my CCMixter music. CCMixter is a collaborative music site where people can upload samples, a capellas and remixes. It has been an awesome community to work with and has really helped challenge me as a musician.
  • Last but not least by any means is a jam band I have played with called Braille Music. Playing with this incredible group has helped me learn to be better at live improvisation and has opened my eyes to some of my musical abilities.
Sure there is a chance that nothing listed here will suit you, however I hope you enjoy the fruits of one of my favorite hobbies.

Improving your bowling scores

I have had this post sitting around for a while and just never posted it. Here are 4 tips that could help every new bowler

For those who don’t know I am a pretty avid bowler. I used to suck pretty bad, but I can hold my own now. I hold an average that is right around 185, but when I was in more competitive leagues I have held 200+ averages. I mainly bowl for fun now, even the leagues I have been in recently have had a significantly more fun-based focus. Still I sympathize with folks who are newer to bowling and with that I have these tips for any newer bowler looking to add a few more points to their score.

1. Shoes – Buy your own pair! There are really decent shoes available at the sub $30 starter level. Plus if you bowl with any frequency your investment will usually pay off in no time (versus renting). One of the key things to being a good bowler is to develop consistency and wearing the same thing on your feet every time you bowl is a good starting point. Here are a few good options for shoes:

2. Starting Position – Consistency is key when you are just beginning. You should be standing in the exact same position on your first ball every time. Try to make this a habit early. Additionally you should pick out your line when you bowl.  You may notice that there are a bunch of dots and arrows all over the place. The reason they are there is so that you can establish a line and “read” how your ball is rolling as it relates to those lines. The more consistent your throw the more those dots and arrows will help you improve your score.

3. Control Your Wrist – So I am sure you have seen those wrist guards that like half the people in any league seem to be wearing. They wear those so that they can keep their wrists straight. It is very common for bowlers to cock their wrist into a 90 degree angle when holding a ball, this will result in an inconsistent throw because you’ll have less control over your release points. I have always been told you should throw as if you are going to shake someones hand (thumb up and wrist straight).

4. 10-pin Spares – Alright every right handed bowler I know hates this pin (same goes for the 7-pin for left handed bowlers) at one point in their bowling career. The only pointer I want to share here is the best way to attack this pin is by establishing a starting point on the opposite side of the lane (i.e. the left side for a 10-pin or right side for 7-pin). This will give you the best possible angle at the 10 pin and also gives the least chance to end up in the gutter.

*Disclaimer* I am not a pro, I don’t provide lessons, the above tips are purely based on information I wish I would have had when I first started bowling in a league.