Archive Page 2

Don’t Shop Tired or Always Keep Your Receipt

times Two
To think I almost posted this to Tumblr…though due to the slightly ranting nature of it, it didn’t seem to be a professional post…but I digress.

I have a new car. Her name is Kelly. Being a British car and having a British license plate holder on the front, I thought that I ought to accessorize, so I went online and researched the pricing for said plate. I ordered one with the engraving “BOWTIENICK” one late July night (the 14th for the record) and promptly fell asleep.

As I had planned to do this for a few days prior, when I awoke the next morning, I could not remember if I’d actually gone through with it or just dreamt it. To the computer I went! By jove! There was no record of the transaction in either my inbox or my deleted messages! And my debit card had not been charged! I must’ve dreamt it!

Fast forward a day or two. Slightly leery, I decided to wait for an e-mail shipping confirmation or for the charge to go through on my debit card. None.
“Hmmm,” I said to myself. “I must have only dreamed that I bought that plate. I shall now purchase one.”

And purchase it I did. A week or so later, it arrived on my doorstep and I installed it. Done and done.

But wait! Fast forward to today: I received a package in the mail in a shape that was not one fitting the description of anything I’d recently bought. What was in it, you may ask yourself…yep. It was the first plate, dated July 14 (Jiminy Cricket they took their sweet ass time!).

So, my lesson, good friend, is always print the receipt page. And don’t buy anything while you’re tired or otherwise distracted. I’ve wound up winning some odd things on eBay that way.

Tumblr: Bow Ties

A daily web log of my bow tie collection, worn successively for the next forty-or-so odd days: Clicky here

A Positive Rage

What is a web log for if not to occasionally complain and rant about things that get under your skin? While such pedantry has no place on a professional blog, I believe this subject breaches protocol in an apropos fashion becoming of my online persona.

I recently saw the Hold Steady in concert with my good friend Christi. I know I’ve probably mentioned it before, but it was likely the single most exhilarating concert I’ve ever experienced. The energy and love emanating from the band on stage was unsurpassed by anyone I’ve ever seen perform. It certainly didn’t hurt that they were my favourite band to begin with.

To prepare myself, before the show, I listened to nothing but their music for two weeks prior. As I learned from seeing Ben Folds live, I sometimes will not know a song they perform. Though well versed in the catalogue of Ben, he played some unfamiliar ones that, while still enjoyable to witness, were not as fully experienced as the ones I knew by heart.

So, in those preceding weeks, I did some research. Despite it’s often bad rap, wikipedia is a great compendium of information regarding bands and their releases. Through it, I discovered that the Australian version of Boys and Girls in America had four bonus tracks and the European version of Stay Positive had three. As I already owned the American release of Boys and Girls in America, I set about locating my missing tracks via various means. Said tracks were fairly easily located.

The Stay Positive bonuses, however, were slightly more elusive. The copies I was able to find were poorly ripped and had many glitches reminiscent of mp3s from the late nineties. As I did not own Stay Positive legitimately, I promptly ordered the UK version used from amazon.com. Though cheaper than new, it was still a good eight or nine dollars more than the American version. I was quite happy with my purchase, seeing it both as a worthwhile investment in a good band and a guarantee of the unadulterated tracks. For a while, I was content.

Fast forward to last night. Or rather, a few days ago. Last night is really the climax of the story. I was browsing the hold steady dot com and found their twitter link. As they do not post prolifically, I though following them would not bloat my twitter feed and so I did just that. Some promos were tweeted about their upcoming DVD/cd. These I largely ignored as I try to make a point a) not to buy live albums and b) not to waste time watching videos online.

On a side note, the reason I do not generally buy live albums is this: archive dot org is a great source of live recordings. It also highlights what sucks about live recordings: shoddy recording by a fan will not get one the full effect of the live performance. Also, if you weren’t at the concert in question, at least for me, you don’t get the feeling of reliving the experience, so this point is kind of in the same vein as my first. Still, the site is a great way to get a feel for an artist you may have not heard yet or even heard of and offers a legal way to sample their music.

Likewise, the hold steady live compendium is a great source for all things live by Craig Finn and company. The quality is what you’d expect, but if that’s what you’re looking for, it won’t disappoint.

My general distaste for recorded live music aside, I did not ignore a tweet regarding a stream of one of their new tracks off the album. The track was so excellent that I utilized a certain firefox plugin to allow me to encode the stream as an mp3 to take with me until the album arrived. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that that song alone convinced me to order A Positive Rage.

Amazon shipped the two disc set very promptly and I ripped it then stuck the disc in my car stereo and have been listening to it since. It’s great! I can’t speak for the DVD just yet but will update when I can give an opinion.

Last night, as I mentioned earlier, was the moment of truth. I put the cd in and ran the program to get my free bonus tracks. As these programs usually are, all it contained was a link. This link required my e-mail address. Soon, I was e-mailed a link to download the songs. Excitement!

The one track was the one I loved, 40Bucks, now owned legitimately (something I hope someday to say of all my music). The second, a new track called Spectres was one which I’d never heard. The remaining three, however, were the very tracks I bought the UK Stay Positive for: Ask For Addedall, Cheyenne Sunrise and Two Handed Handshake !!!

A Positive Rage boiled through my veins!

Truly, the previous statement was only aimed to be hyperbole. Also, I wasn’t particularly angry, per se. It just kind of sucked. I suppose had I waited and done my research, I’d’ve known what the bonus tracks were. That, however would’ve required buying Positive Rage before Stay Positive, which isn’t something that would have happened. Regardless, for a live album, A Positive Rage is quite well recorded; ’tis a far cry from those found at the compendium. Plus, the pleasure of the new song and the the legal version of my favourite song was well worth the money.

The moral is this: patience is a virtue and will pay off in the end. Also, don’t steal music. Thank you.

My Tuxedo is Sad

Symphonic

Went to the symphony this weekend. Slightly more money than I thought, but dammit if it wasn’t a great excuse to break out my newest tuxedo.

I had to steal this photo from Mary for a few reasons:

  1. I neglected to bring my SD card with me today
  2. I haven’t uploaded the pictures from said card anywhere
  3. I wanted to post this at work and not later
  4. I am at work right now

The reason I never pulled the photos from this evening off my camera is two-fold: I meant to do it that night, but the power was out so I couldn’t use my desktop. I forgot to the next day.

I was excited about the symphony because they would have beer and I had a great excuse to break out this tuxedo I had yet not worn.

I hadn’t worn this newest one because for another list of reasons:

  1. It was purchased on Ebay but afterward I never had anything formal enough to warrant wearing it
  2. It is stylistically more classic than my pinstriped, notch-lapelled first tudexo (it features peak lapels and a double vent – my vent of choice)
  3. Said first tuxedo got more wear due to said non-classicality and the risk of damage being negligible
  4. Last time I tried it on, the pants were smaller than I remember them being

When deciding what to wear for the evening, this tux was pulled from the bowels of my closet. I went to try on the pants and realized that they did not go on all the way. The culprit: a safety-pinned note (holding the legs together thus making them impossible to separate) telling me to get the pants taken out. I pulled the note off and found that the pants fit perfectly again! I was ecstatic; my period of non-drinking has actually had an effect on my waist size in a positive way!

So I wore the tux and we had a great time at the symphony, making steak and pasta afterward and watching the Rocker (a veritable who’s who of television celebrities, I must add). ‘Twas raining when I left and visibility had decreased. It took a while to realize that the decreased visibility was also due to all the power being out within a mile radius of my house. It’s truly eerie to drive home in pitch darkness (I turned off my headlights for a moment to feel the full effect – it was neat). Arriving home, I parked in the muddiest spot, not realizing it was the muddiest spot due to the darkness like pitch that enveloped the night. Stepping out of my car, I must’ve hit a mud puddle or something. This morning, whilst brushing the dog hair off it, I discovered the interior of the pant legs caked with mud.

I’ve worn it once since my last  dry cleaning, and it’s a mess again.

It is a sad day for tuxedo wearers everywhere. Or maybe just for moi.

Mea Culpa

boom

As several bishops have been known to issue dispensations on carnivorous abstinence when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during Lent, I feel it is my duty to toss back a pint of the brown stuff in honour of our Irish brethren, though I’ve given to alcohol abstinence these forty days. (not on the Sabbath though–I’m only human!)

EST it is now officially midnight. I crack the can and pour myself a tall glass of the delicious beverage. Good things come to those who wait (the commercial tells us so), so I patiently allow the beer to settle before taking my first sip.

Heavenly. The Irish sure know what they’re doing.

That gets me thinking; they’ve got whisky too! I pour myself a shot. Excellent. Isn’t there a cream based liqueur as well? Sure, Irish Cream! Another shot. This is turning into one hell of a Saint Patrick’s Day!

. . .

Alright, so the above was just a dramatization of how this evening could’ve played out. In truth, I have sampled all three beverages, just not tonight. Having done so, I can assure you that my reaction to their delicate and complex flavours was accurately represented.

Still, one cannot accurately speak of the festivities of this “green before the green movement” holiday without making mention of the one drink that you knew had to be coming: the Irish Car Bomb.

A combination of the three drinks, the ICB – as I will henceforth abbreviate it – is a variation of the old boilermaker “cocktail” (I use quotation marks because a shot with a beer chaser isn’t really a cocktail per se). Wikipedia says a lot of things I will not rehash; I will however say this: I do not like ICBs.

Guinness was the first beer I truly loved. I don’t know if it was the fact that I like to hate things the masses like (light beer) or if my advanced coffee-loving palate could handle the bold flavours and dark undertones of this famed brew. Regardless, until I discovered micro-brewed stouts, this was my favourite.

Whisky, on the other hand, took quite a few years to warm up to. Jameson was the first alcohol I snuck from the parent’s liquor cabinet. It was, however, inherited from their parent’s liquor cabinet, and not in the freshest state. It wasn’t until Kelly introduced me to Bushmill’s that I realized whisky could be drunk without gagging. I’ve since graduated to Scotch, but a fifth of one of the Irish whiskys is always in my stash.

Everyone likes Irish Cream. I think.

However, contrary to what one barista/bartender may write, not everyone likes ICBs. I am one of those people.

Again, I’m not exactly sure what it is. Maybe it is the curdling of the Irish Cream in the concoction. Maybe it is the fact that you have to chug it, something I loathe doing. Maybe it is the bastardisation of three very delicious single alcoholic beverages. Or it could be, again, the fact that so many people like them and that so many of them are douches. Sorry kids; Dude-bros, Kerplowskis, New Haircut Kids, less than squiriferous chaps, whatever they’re called now, they’ll never cease to enjoy their light beer and ICBs.

For the sake of research, I made an ICB just before writing this. It was an unpleasant experience. I can handle shots, despite their sole purpose being to get you as drunk as possible as quick as possible. But ICBs seem to take that to another level of ridiculous. Plus the fact that if I want to order a pint on March 18, it is almost guaranteed the Guinness is gone.

Still, I raise the remains of my pint to you. (you didn’t think I’d use the whole thing on that bloody car bomb, did you?)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Sláinte!

As of Late

Someone once told me, and it was likely a professor, that you should never apologize for your work before you present it to your audience. Bearing that in mind, I apologize not for the work in question, but rather for the [Live]Journalistic nature of it. If you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t written anything in a while. This is my excuse piece.

I’ve been busy. Quite busy, in fact. Two jobs have never posed such a time suck as they have this past week or so. (satellite television, too, is quite the time suck, but that will come later) There was a time when I had 20 hours a week at both SVSU and Crumbs as well as taking 12 or so credits. Furthermore, two summers ago I pulled 40 hours a week at SVSU and 20 or so at Crumbs. So I can’t really say I cannot handle having a lot on my plate. I don’t know what happened this time.

Actually, I know what happened, I just don’t know why it affected me so on this occasion. What happened was an instance of the old adage: “When it rains, it pours.” Truly, this is something that happens far too frequently in life, making this barrage of stressful occurrences even more so. Be it having three prospective dates when you are in a committed relationship, or two jobs wanting forty hours from you in the same calendar week. Obviously, the latter is along the lines of what i had to deal with.

Between my two jobs–barista/shift supervisor at Crumbs Gourmet Cookie Café and design/marketing intern at Wolverine Bank–not a whole lot is usually demanded of me in terms of my time. A good forty hours a week is actually hard to come by even combined. However, when the bank has several new product lines and three home shows that they need them rolled out before, it can be expected that half the staff of Crumbs (mostly college students) will be going on spring break–that’s a variant of Murphy’s Law, no? This situation demands 40+ hours of time from those at Crumbs not taking a spring break (read: “Me”) and a good twenty hours from the bank (up from my usual five).

Throw the sporadic social bouts with friends, the occasional dogsitting in Hemlock (a 30 minute drive from work) and my need for sleep to function and we’re left with little time for blogging.

I have, however, partaken in a few enjoyable yet brief side projects. They both involve liquor.

First, a few friends and I went to TGI Friday’s and enjoyed our first mojito, Friday’s “Ultimate Mojito.” It was heavenly. We decided to try to make our own, a rather futile affair indeed. I was not discouraged, though, and, taking my previous experience with infused liquors (jalapeño vodka and mint bourbon) to mind, I soaked the remained of our fresh mint in the rum.

The mint turned what was originally white rum into this colour

The mint turned what was originally white rum into this colour

It didn’t really improve our mojitos (we still need practice, and maybe to measure ingredients next time) but it was fun and made some tasty rum.

I mentioned the dogsitting I occasionally take on. I watch the dog and the house, this time it was from Friday until Monday. Their wifi and cell towers in the rural neighborhood are non-existent so I am forced to watch Satellite television day and night. I don’t complain. Still, that is SUCH a time suck. With so many channels, I may not be watching something I love, but damn it I’m loving the options I’ve got. Still, this visit to their house left me with a little more motivation: friends might actually make the drive out to the boondocks to visit! I must be a good host. So, I did what any other good host with a little time on his hands would do: Infused Vodka. this time, I used a commonly known recipe that Trent sent me and made Skittles Vodka.

Separated the Skittles, then Infused the Vodka. Taste the Rainbow..

Separated the Skittles, then Infused the Vodka. Taste the Rainbow..

It was easy, and it turned out delicious. Next time, I think I will either make a fifth of each colour or try some other candy. Somewhere I read Smarties work…

The long and short of it is, that’s what I’ve been up to, and I hope I wasn’t missed was missed. I like being liked.

On New Toys

So I’m sitting on my bed with a little bit of a sore back and eye strain. Tinkering with tiny toys will cause that to happen to one. The tiny toy in question? The MSI Wind U120.

msi-wind1

Obsessed with the diminutive size and monumental power of Drew and Brianna’s laptops compared to my own (they own a new EEE PC and Acer Aspire One, respectively. My laptop: a five-year-old Toshiba Satellite). Sure, ol’ Euripides and I had been through a lot. He was not only my first computer, he was the last to be named something ridiculous. I went through several total system and hard drive fails–the last occurring at a critical point in the semester, prompting me to purchase my 24” iMac–installed extra ram and even a wireless card when the technology became ubiquitous (at the time of purchase, i didn’t think I would ever need to be “unwired”).

I only had the idea to get a new computer sitting in the back of my head. For the better part of this calendar year actually. I had my toshiba for 5 years now, I knew it would eventually need replacing. Still, it continued to work and did everything I needed it to, so why splurge?

It wasn’t until I started weighing the pros and cons and doing my research that I discovered it would be beneficial:

  • My little sister, Tessa, often bogarts the family computer
  • It is tax season
  • My dad uses Turbo Tax
  • Fighting would ensue
  • I could give Tessa my old computer to prevent said fighting

That was the selfless justification. Selfishly, I’d been reading and watching videos, reading tutorials, and came to learn that iit would be fairly easy to install OS X on one of these netbooks. So I thought to myself, I enjoy tinkering and I enjoy a challenge. As a fun side project, I could try to make this little thing work perfectly. Couple that with excessive hours at work (meaning extra money that could go towards bills–no fun) and you have the formula for a new laptop.

So, after an anal retentive chart, I decided what to buy and came out with a $350 Wind with a 160GB HDD and 1 GB of RAM; this is 4 times the hard disk space my 5 year old laptop contained as well as 4 times as much RAM! For half the price! ZOMG!

I obsessively refreshed UPS.com yesterday whilst at work and rushed home at 5 p.m. to unbox (it arrived at 1:46)

Aside: had to move from my bed to my desk. Sitting typing at that angle was more than uncomfortable. It hurt.


After the exciting unbox, I set about the install. I did most of the grunt work in the week prior, while deciding exactly which computer I wanted and the experts’ opinions on the best way to get OS X on the machine.

Anybody read about this procedure before? There’s stuff all over the internet. At this point in the tutorial, however, they’ll usually say something like this:

Don’t steal. Piracy is wrong. Even though you’re using a modified version of OS X, you should buy a retail copy; support the hard workers and software engineers at Apple, Inc.

So, there, I said it too. And bought it.

oskdisc1

So please don’t hate me!

Like I said, I did all the grunt work in the weeks immediately preceding the procedure. The night prior to the arrival of my babay, I took an hour and a half and installed the iso to my 8GB flash drive so I wouldn’t have to use an external USB DVD drive. Following a video tutorial almost to the letter, my install took just under 20 minutes. I must say, I was quite surprised. I guess that dvd spin speeds still aren’t up to match usb 2.0.

Anywho, I’ve got it up and running now, with minor caveats:

Photobooth doesn’t work.

Does anyone actually use this anymore anyway? It was cool when everyone first started getting macs and had never used a webcam before, but after the first month of having it on my iMac, it got really old. I mean, I’m narcissistic, but not that much.

Sound has a temporary malfunction.

It worked off the bat with a clean install, so I suspect I’ll figure it out eventually; I do enjoy me some trouble shooting. Hell, that’s half the reason I got this machine!

Headphone jack doesn’t work, nor does mic input.

On the other hand, I never used my old laptop for listening to music; that is for which I have 2 iPods, a discman, a home stereo, an iPhone and my iMac. I’ll live.

Size comparison. Nice.

So here he is. I’ve dubbed him Tadhg after an Irish chap I met. Not only does he have the most badass name, but pronounced (with an Irish accent, of course) it sounds like “tyke” which, informally on this side of the pond, is a small child. One only has to look at this photo to see from whence that was derived.




Hello; my name is Nicolaus E. Witchger. I am a graphic designer from Saginaw, MI best known for wearing bow ties and drinking single-malt scotch, dark beer, and espresso.

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