Jul 31, 2012

Electronic Mail

I've had dozens of email accounts over the years. Mostly different ones through work as the company I worked for was sold several times and our name kept changing. And I've tried maybe a dozen different personal email services. I still have 5-6, I think. But as of right now I only use two on a regular basis.

My first personal email account is the one I still use for my semi-anonymous internet presence. And it was one of the only ways most of us could get an email account back in the early 90's. America Online. Yup...I still have and use my original AOL account. It's referenced in the profile of this here blog, in fact. It's such a stupid address too. BabyBurke at AOL dot com. Why BabyBurke? Well, I was reading a book by Andrew Vachss at the time I was signing up for AOL, and the main character was named Burke. Just Burke. No first name. But AOL wouldn't let me just use Burke since it was in use already, so I had to expand it a bit.

I didn't know about alpha-numeric naming conventions back then, so I went back to the book and the only other name he was ever given was back at the orphanage when he was born. Baby Boy Burke. Too long for AOL back then. So it was shortened to BabyBurke. Even though my name is neither Burke nor Baby. Whatever. It suits it's purpose. It keeps me semi-anonymous (except for those lucky few I let into the inner circle) on Twitter, Blogger, fantasy baseball sites, etc..., and it lets others on the internet make fun of me for still having an AOL account. Fuck it. It was my first personal email address, and it ain't going anywhere soon.

The other "personal" email account I use is Yahoo! Another site/address that most people think is as outdated as AOL. But I've been using this as my daily email account for about 16 years now. And, since I work for myself now, I also use it for work. Mostly because it is my name and it houses my extensive contact list which was created and maintained there. I know it's incredibly easy to import those contacts elsewhere, but honestly I've never had an issue with Yahoo! Mail in the past, so why mess with a good thing.

Until today, that is. I guess Microsoft purchased Yahoo! a while back (I'm guessing here...I don't really follow tech news like that). And today was supposed to be the rollout of the new design. But it hasn't worked out very well for them yet. First I starting receiving messages on my phone that my Yahoo! Mail couldn't be accessed. Then I checked on my laptop and there was a new T&S agreement for the new site. Except that T&S agreement was stuck in an infinite loop or something. Just kept asking for you to agree over and over and over. When they finally "fixed" it, they basically had scrapped the new design and went back to the previous one. I'm sure they will fix it for real at some point later today. Maybe overnight, eh kids?

The outage only lasted about 45 minutes, and I was having lunch at the time so it was no big loss. And I'm not really considering switching platforms unless the new design really sucks...always a possibility. I do have a Gmail account, but I don't really use it. Except...hehehe...on my business cards. It just seems more professional than a Yahoo! address, I guess. But functionality-wise? I don't see any real difference.

So here I remain, stubbornly. With a ridiculous AOL account and a slighly-less ridiculous Yahoo! account. They both serve their purpose. Even if it means that some of you might look down your nose at them. So go ahead and form you opinions of me when you receive an email from me with either an AOL or Yahoo extension. Maybe I'm a tech-tard. Maybe I'm rockin' my Members Only jacket and parachute pants and listening to my Walkman. Or maybe it's just a habit that I never bothered changing because it's not that important to me. I really don't care.

Jul 27, 2012

Flip Feed

Lately, I've been ignoring my feed reader on my laptop. I use Google Reader, as many of you do, to keep in touch with all y'all* and for the many, many, many baseball sites I follow. But now I only check in on my feed reader on my PC during small breaks while I'm working. Mostly because I've become addicted to my smaller Android devices. My phone and my Kindle Fire. And I now use those for most of my feed reading fun.

*A very lovely Southern woman with great tig ole bitties once told me that the plural to "y'all" is "all y'all". Makes no sense to me, but I learned a long time ago never to argue with breasts.

At first I was using my web browser on each device to access Google Reader and Twitter. That was dumb. Mostly because the web browsers that come standard on those devices suck. I now have Firefox on my phone, and it's great. Syncs to the Firefox browser on my laptop with shared history and bookmarks. It's wonderful. But the standard Android web browsers? Yeah...they suck. Then I downloaded the apps for Google Reader and Twitter on each device. Much better. The Google Reader app on the Kindle Fire is actually a little better than the one available on my phone. If a mobile feed is available, I can tap a truncated post and it opens up the mobile feed in the same app. Going to the next feed item is as simple as swiping. If I want to open up either the mobile or full feed on a truncated post on my phone, it automatically opens up the browser (now Firefox) to the full post. A tad clunky, and maybe there is a way for me to correct that. I dunno.

But I rarely use those apps anymore either. Now I'm all into Flipboard on my phone. It bills itself as your social magazine, and upon setup it basically is just that. But you can also integrate your feed reader, Twitter and other social media like Facebook and Instagram into it. Instagram is particularly cool on Flipboard. On the regular app, on either Android or iOS, there is no way I've seen to "blow up" the pictures so that you can zoom in on some smaller detail. On Flipboard, you simply tap the picture and it opens up for you to play with as you will. Very cool. The integrated Google Reader shows all feeds truncated initially, but you simply tap it to slide open to the full post. Slide back to the feed stream when you are done. You can also tap on the full post to open it up in your web browser if you so desire. Then hit the back button to go right back to Flipboard. It's all integrated very nicely, in my opinion. I haven't really found anything about Flipboard that I don't like yet, in fact.

I'm still learning about it, and there are a few bugs that still need to be worked out with the Android version. It was initially developed for the iPhone and iPad. I forget which one right now, but on either Twitter or Instagram the reply feature isn't working properly. Again...I could just be doing something wrong. I'm still learning.

Anyone else out there flipping out for Flipboard?

UPDATE: Flipboard was in Beta when I signed up for it on my phone. It wasn't available for the Kindle Fire at that point. I just checked and it is available there as well. Did a quick download, signed in and bam...now I'm all set up there as well. Very cool. 

Jul 25, 2012

Game of ME

With the emphasis on ME!

I've been told, for too fucking long actually, by my buddy Slyde that I would love Game of Thrones. Or, actually, A Song of Fire and Ice. I think the name HBO chose for the series, which is the title of the first book, is actually a better name for the entire series. So I'm not upset that HBO made that decision. Anyway, I started reading the books a couple of months ago. I'm now on the last available book, and I'm a little pissed that I have to wait several years for the remaining two novels.


Last night, I convinced Gia to watch the first episode of the HBO series. Because I love it and I believed that she would also. She didn't disappoint. Or it didn't disappoint. Either way, she loved it. And I'm enjoying it even more the second time around.

We actually watched two episodes, and she is all in. Peter Dinklage is amazing, of course. But so is the rest of the cast. Now we are going to burn through the rest of Season 1 and then burn through Season 2 as soon as it becomes available thru streaming.

So I win again.

As usual. Hehehehehe!

Jul 18, 2012

The One Who Knocks

Not Death, but I could see how fans of Monty Python could make that mistake.

No, I'm talking about everyone's favorite meth cooker/dealer, Walter White. The dude can wear a nose bandage and a porkpie hat like no one's business.  And he's back! Or, more specifically, Breaking Bad is back.

We watched the final season (actually to be split in two half-seasons) premiere last night, and shit got real right away. I can't wait to see how Walter White's transformation from "Mr. Chips to Scarface"* is completed.  This is the first season that I am watching in real time, so I'm a bit bummed that I can just watch all of the remaining episodes in one long mind-fuck of a marathon. But I'll take the awesome one week at a time.

There is a great discussion about the show over on one of the baseball blogs that I read here. Warning...the post and the comments contain many spoilers. So don't click on that if you don't wanna know yet. But basically the author of the post admits to having seen a few scenes of the show here and there, but nothing incredible enough to devout 40+ hours of his life catching up on it. About 2/3 of the way down in the comments section, he gives in to his readers and orders the first season to give it a try. I don't know why he had to order it. Just about everyone has a Netflix subscription nowadays and the first 4 season are available on Instant. But hopefully we have a new convert to the Breaking Bad Church of the Desperate.

I'm thinking about trademarking that church idea.  Donations can be forwarded directly to me.

The video below is mildly spoiler-ish, but oh-so-delicious!  Probably the best scene from the show so far from Season 4.  The 12-seconds of silence at the end as the crippling realization of what her husband has become hits Skyler in the gut is amazing.

*That's show-runner Vince Gilligan's description of Walter White's character arc.

Jul 17, 2012

Don't Wake the Snake!

Thanks to a particularly evil friend of mine, this became the anthem for our recent vacation. Not because any of us were wearing tight pants. Nope...just because it's soooo groovy!

You drinking my sake, kemosabe?

Jul 16, 2012

Vacation Photo Roundup

Was down in Charleston, SC last week with some great friends visiting some great family. We had a blast. We actually ran out of days as we tried to hit all the great food joints we know about down there. Next time for The Tattooed Moose and The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene. Next time.

Here's how the trip went in photo form. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may have already seen a few of these. All photos were taken by me or our friends.

A delicious spread of noshes prepared by our lovely hostess

Layla with a single Hulk hand. HULK HANDS!!!

Donnie drinking the water. Check out that tongue!

A view of the Folly Beach Pier from my barstool

A flight of pineapple tequila at Taco Boy in Folly Beach

Me and my drinking buddy in downtown Chuck

Very cool house down an alley South of Broad

St. Phillips via my wet dog buddy

Yours truly with a water to beat the heat

It was a hair-raising trip

The new courtyard at the Hominy Grill

A canal running through I'On Village in Mt. Pleasant

Live oak with Spanish moss

The duality that is Richard's Bar & Grill

Jul 2, 2012

Not a Drag

Last Tuesday night was the 35th Annual Paper Bag. I've written about it the past few years, so you can read about it here or on the website. But basically, it's a large group of local musicians who get together once a year to put on a ridiculously fun show. My Gia has been a part of it for the past decade or so as one of the singers. This year she blew the doors off of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", jumped in at the last moment to handle the solo on Madonna's "Material Girl" (the theme for the Bag this year was The Money Bag) and did an impromptu rendition of Jimi Hendrix' "Purple Haze" toward the end of the evening. She's a fucking rock star!

The show goes from 10PM until 4AM, but we usually leave after her singing duties are over. Besides the occasional solo, she also sings back-up numerous times during the evening. When the singer of "Material Girl" had to duck out early, we checked the schedule and saw that she wouldn't be hitting the stage until around 3AM. At that point we said "fuck it!" and decided to stay until the bitter end. And we were so glad we did. The last scheduled song of the evening/morning was Zappa's "Dancing Fool", but afterward they spin the wheel for some random tunes to end the show. One of those was the aforementioned "Purple Haze". Lots of fun. 

Then for the very end of the show, the host and founder of the gig invites anyone still remaining up onto the stage for a sing-along. They do that every year, but this is the first time we have stayed until the end. Very, very cool.

We headed across the street for some much needed breakfast and found ourselves battling the morning sun on the way home. Wednesday was a completely lost day as we slept and ate and slept and slept some more. They do suggest you take the next day off, so I was only following orders.

This was my 6th Bag and my favorite one of all. I can't wait for next year!

Our Founder, Guido. You can't see 'em, but there are about 70 musicians on stage to his left.

Gia showering the crowd with love and stars during "Rolling in the Deep".

The Dude and The Stranger? "Got any sasparilla?"

A night for stars.