25 Random Facts About Me

I don’t want this to sound too harsh, but sometimes I get tagged by these Internet memes and it just grates on my nerves until they’re raw.

What I mean to say is, of course, I’m flattered that my friends thought about me enough to actually want to know random facts about me and include me in the meme.  The problem is when I’m tagged with something like this, it lurks in my Inbox with a follow-up flag that waves at me every time I open my email.  “Hey, guy.  Remember, there’s some folks out there that want to know all kinds of random shit about you.  Isn’t it time you ponied up?”  It’s about as annoying as those bouncing icons in the dock that want attention.  “Hey!  You!  Me!  Click me!  Hey!  Hello!”

Anyway, I don’t mean to say anything too harsh to Karen or Tony for tagging me on this one, but sorry, I’m going to combine your efforts.  Karen tagged me for 25 random facts at Facebook and Tony tagged me over the blogosphere for 7.  Not sure why the two memes have such an interesting diversity in numbers but whatever.  I’ll do the larger of the two evils.

Enough whining.  I’m starting with the list already.

  1. When I was 5 years old, I had one of the most terrifying nightmares ever.  I won’t describe it here, but I can still vividly remember the dream and plan to include it in a story someday to “deal with it.”
  2. I have recurring nightmares regarding tornadoes and frequent attempts to escape them.  I believe these usually occur during times of high stress and is somehow linked to the tornadoes of 1974 that struck Huntsville (I was two years old then and likely recorded some activity that still sticks with my psyche).
  3. I think I have far too many interests and hobbies and therefore really never start (or finish) any of them.  This actually bothers me greatly and it probably shouldn’t.
  4. Regardless of my ruthless and cruel sense of humor, I’m actually a sap on some things.  Particularly children.  Since I’ve had children, I get terribly upset when something bad happens to a child in a movie.
  5. I enjoy cold weather the most because it makes hot showers so much more interesting and soothing.
  6. I absolutely, positively cannot stand automobiles.  I can barely tolerate driving them and most certainly cannot stand doing maintenance on them.  I will always pay others to do even the simplest thing to maintain my vehicles.
  7. I am color blind on certain colors.  This is mostly wrapped around red and green but frequently discover that my eyes misidentify other colors as well.  My wife loves to point it out when I screw that up.
  8. It genuinely bothers me that I cannot see without glasses or contacts.  Sometimes it frustrates me so badly that it will instantly irritate me.  I often feel like I’m boxed up inside a container or trapped behind some kind of invisible veil if I dwell on this one too long.  The thought of Lasik or any surgery to my eyes terrifies me so badly that I doubt I’ll ever go through with it.
  9. Sometimes, things bother me too much.  When I was a teenager, I was terrible about dwelling on things and was unable to let stuff go.  These days I actually handle this much better unless it’s something that I believe can change and is worth screaming about.
  10. I think I have an absolutely terrible temper that is sometimes aggravated by severe lack of sleep.
  11. Once when I was a wee lad, I was invited to an Alabama public television show that starred a puppet.  I’m sorry, I don’t recall the name.  Unfortunately, something about the experience made me so sick that I yakked on set and it never aired.
  12. The one time I had chicken pox, the bumps were inside my organs.  Last theory I heard on that one was that my asthma caused the virus to do bizarre shit.  I was hospitalized for a week over that one.
  13. An ailment that struck me when I was little left me with a doctor informing my mother that there was little chance I would ever have children.  Through some miracles performed by a doctor, that turned out to be untrue.  Not long after being cured of this ailment, the doctor was killed in a farming accident.  Today, I have three wonderful, hilarious, fun and loving children with a thick skin and a seriously biting sense of humor.  (Note: this is one of those odd things that still gives me chills when I think about it.  It feels very fate-esque.  Perhaps why I enjoy shows like “Lost” so much).
  14. In general, I seem to relate better to women than men.
  15. My weight bothers me terribly and is the source of much consternation within the recesses of my brain but I often feel very powerless to do much about it.  That’s an ongoing war, let me tell you.
  16. Even though I constantly find out about new things regarding the culture, I find myself identifying with the Chinese more and more often to the point of wondering if I were Chinese in a past life.
  17. I don’t like to guess the endings to movies and people who try to figure that stuff out and talk about it in the middle of the movie should be fucking shot.
  18. People who talk in movies should be fucking shot.
  19. You will never catch any of my children talking in a movie because I taught them right (well, still working on the 4 year old).  They will not be shot.
  20. I barely missed being cast in “Space Camp,” a movie that was shot here in my home town.  It stars Kate Capshaw.  Just a week prior to this film coming to Huntsville for shooting, I was in a Space Camp commercial.  When we wrapped up shooting, the film folks were moving in.
  21. I miss acting terribly.  My acting “career” started at age 13 with a Fantasy Playhouse show.  The last show I did was in 1999 for Theatre Round the Corner.  During this timeframe, I did probably 60-70 shows, including musicals.  I’ve always hoped to get back to this one day when the children are raised and gone, if I’m not dead by then.
  22. I do not write enough.  I wish I could write more.  Sometimes I think writing is the only thing I was ever close to doing well.
  23. I was once fired for utilizing a CEO’s “open door policy” to explain to him that his management style sucked the sweat off of a hog’s balls.  Maybe it was a poor delivery.
  24. I think I’m actually pretty good at my own workflow and task management, but it has taken years and years to get to this point.  It’s rare that I forget an action or fail to hand it off to someone.
  25. I am always attracted to fiercely mean women and I’m not sure why.  Are all women that mean, perhaps?  Who knows.  But the cruel humor helps.
  26. BONUS NUMBER 26!  I’ve lived in this town all of my life and never had a reason to move (36 damn years).  In many ways, it’s because I feel like I cannot escape it and something is holding me here.  Not sure why.  People who are familiar with my writing may recognize this theme.

Alright, so that’s it.  I just started at the beginning and went through whatever popped in my head.  Hope it bored you to tears 🙂

I’m not going to tag anyone with the responsibility of maintaining the meme because I don’t want them to be pissed at me for tasking them with something they may not want to do.  Har!

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Macworld 2009 Thoughts, Impressions, Wrapup

Rather than spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pump out information about Macworld 2009, I thought it would be more appropriate to soak in the entire show and let my brain stew on it a little bit.  I twittered the keynote quite a bit, so that was me trying to play journalist.  For the rest of the week, I intended to take part in the show and ignore the fact that I was collected information to share.

That way, I could let all of the thoughts and information culminate into a wave of thoughts and impressions to share with you while my wife packs for the trip home.  Close your mouth; she likes it that way.  She prefers to be the one that packs and organizes for trips like this and she’s damn good at it.  I asked if I could help and she said no – it was best to stay out of her way.

So, here I sit to write.

The Keynote

I’m not going to bash on the keynote as much as some folks have.  I didn’t come to it with unrealistic expectations.  I knew to expect an update iLife and iWork suite – how the press sites completely missed this clue I’ll never figure out.  The last build of Snow Leopard before the show had all of the iLife apps missing.  How much more of a clue do you need?  I also expected an updated 17″ Macbook Pro.  Steve Jobs had pretty much thrown that secret away with the press event that introduced the unibody Macbooks.  This was an easy one to figure out.

So the keynote was underwhelming to most everyone, but fulfilled my expectations nicely.  I suppose that’s the reward I get for not having outlandish expectations.  I did hope for an updated model of the Apple TV or Mac Mini, but I didn’t have any data to indicate those were in the mix, so I didn’t have my hopes up.

Oh.  And the iTunes announcements were neat.  I’m glad I can use iTunes again without feeling dirty and resorting to Amazon.

Phil Schiller as a speaker was subdued and nervous.  You could hear his voice crackling with pressure.  He knew he wasn’t the front billing and was just hoping for a warm welcome.  He got a warm welcome, but he was nervous nonetheless.  Did this reduce his effectiveness as a speaker?  Perhaps.  I wouldn’t say he delivered a total mess, but it wasn’t a Steve Jobs reality distortion field.

The proclivity to bite his nails caught up with him at the end when he slipped and mentioned “this last Macworld,” when was he meant to say was, “this last Macworld that Apple will be a part of” or something of that nature.  He caught himself – again, you could hear it.  His voice crackled with the “Oh shit”‘s one can expect when you’re not a polished stage presenter.  I’m sure IDG wasn’t thrilled, given the amount of effort they were outputting to pique your interest in next year.

Next Year

So yeah, let’s talk about Macworld 2010, since IDG wants us to remember that Macworld will continue on without Apple next year.  As a matter of fact, IDG is so visibly nervous about interest waning in their show that banners at every corner enticed you to come back next year, even on the first day of the show.  To me, this was the biggest clue that IDG is absolutely terrified.  They should be.  Not just because of Apple’s desire to back away from this show but because the show itself wasn’t all that interesting.  To me, that was the largest death knell.  Everywhere you went you could hear people talking about how this was the last show they will be attending.

I’m jumping ahead here too, but this is relevant.  Five minutes after I arrived back in my hotel room Friday night, I received an email from IDG begging me to go ahead and register for the Expo next year… and if I did, it was free!  Whee!  IDG is terrified folks.

Not to mention the rumors now that Apple wants a booth and presence at CES, which goes against their “we just want to get out of trade shows” press release.  What this tells me is that there was some kind of cost/value dispute over Macworld and Apple ultimately feels like they no longer need to be a specialized entry in the computing world.  They want to play with the big boys now.  They want the computing world to be unified, not split over some terrible operating system preference rift.  Good for them.

Now that IDG has reminded up that there is a Macworld next year, we can move on to the rest of the show.

Powertools and Conference Sessions

I had a platinum pass, so just like every one platinum pass owner I was completely overbooked on sessions.  I sat in on the first session about directory services for the Mac, in particular, the server.  It was a decent session, but the first day managed to cover the topic I was interested in.  I made plans to attend other sessions and do some show floor walking.

Let’s discuss the platinum pass for a moment, since I brought it up.  Why does IDG insist on selling an overpriced pass that completely overbooks you on the conference and sessions?  With this pass you have free an unfettered access to almost any conference topic or session, which is fine… however, if you actually try to attend both powertools sessions and a market symposium, your entire agenda is shot.  You do not even have time to walk the show floor.  That means that eventually you have to skip class just to get out on the floor and see what’s going on with the Expo.  I would think that IDG would give platinum pass goers an extra day or extend the evening Expo hours to give those folks some time to walk the floor.  Maybe someone brought that up in the town hall session.

Anyway, the sessions were interesting.  By far the best talk was Alex Lindsay’s chat on podcasting that lasted most of the day Friday.  (@alexlindsay on Twitter).  For those of you who don’t know who he is – he is one of the founders of Pixel Corps, a guild of filmmakers and new media masterminds.  Alex also works with @leolaporte on the TWiT network producing podcasts like Macbreak and Macbreak Weekly.  His speech was outstanding – but the most valuable part was the fact that he was having an open dialogue with his attendees.  I got lots of information out of that chat and should Alex ever run across this blog for any reason, he should know that this was just awesome.

Outside of that, the conference sessions were ho hum.  There wasn’t much in the way of new information in any of them and the attendance numbers were pretty dull.  The chatter on the floor indicated a dull attitude toward the conference sessions as well, unless you went by the Apple booth.  The Apple booth certainly had garnered a lot of interest with the new iLife and iWork suites.  They had tons of iMacs and Macbooks set up with the new software and one employee at each computer, ready to show you all they had.  Oops, I digress, this section is about the powertools and conference sessions.

As far as feature presentations go, Leo Laporte gave a fantasic speech on the state of new media and why old media is dying.  My coworker went in to the speech completely skeptical, but by the end of the speech he was totally in line with what Leo was talking about.  The turnaround was pretty amazing.  If Leo were here, he’d be happy to see that he converted someone to his point of view.

Hey Leo!

Leo Laporte sat down and geeked out with us over lunch!
Leo Laporte sat down and geeked out with us over lunch!

We kept running into Leo Laporte, oddly enough.  As fans, we instinctively shouted out his name.  At one point, we were sitting at a table and I saw him wander up, looking lost.  He was holding a salad.  I just suddenly shouted, “Hey Leo!”  He spotted us and walked up.  My coworker invited him to sit and eat and to my surprise, he did.  We sat and geeked out with him for about 20 minutes, having some enlightening conversations about Microsoft and Apple.  Leo is a man who gets it.  It’s fun to idolize him because he doesn’t seem to mind much.

We managed to see Leo at least two more times.  Once as we wandered the show floor we spotted him checking out the SMULE booth.  (The Ocarina app is the most incredible application I’ve ever seen, incidentally).  Later in the week, we crossed paths with him in the tunnel connecting north and south Moscone.  I congratulated him on his fantastic speech that morning and he seemed rather appreciative.

Between talking to Leo Laporte and Alex Lindsay, two heroes of mine in the new media space, it was like a dream come true.

iPhone Case World

As far as the show floor went, Apple owned the north hall.  Without their presence next year, Macworld will probably be able to squeeze into a single event hall.  Seriously.  They had a huge contingent of computers and employees there demonstrating iLife and iWork.  Good for them.

A row of iMacs used to demo iWork '09
A row of iMacs used to demo iWork '09


The rest of the show floor was really underwhelming.  Everywhere you looked, some new company was coming out with a new case for iPods or the iPhone.  Srsly.  That was about it.  There were some great show buys that I immediately picked up on – a 30% discount on Omni products, a 10% discount on Delicious Library 2, but by and large there were only two stories on the show floor: iPhone/iPod cases and gadgets and the complete surprise of geotagging suddenly becoming important.

That’s right.  Nikon and Canon were completely thrilled about the geotagging support being added to iPhoto.  Not.  Both booths said everyone was now asking for geotagging support in the cameras because of this but they were completely unprepared.  The Canon booth was even worse about this topic – they were downright combative about the subject.  When we asked if any of their cameras supported geotagging, they said, “Why do you ask?”  We looked at them as though they had turkeys on their heads.  The Canon rep continued, “Just because iPhoto has it?  What makes that useful?”  We still stood there, speechless.  Finally, he seemed to relent a little bit.  “No, seriously, Canon would like to know if you want this and how much you’re willing to pay for it.”  Okie, that’s a decent question, but his delivery could use some work.  So it seems Apple is ahead of the game again – no one is ready to do geotagging as part of the full camera gadget just yet.  Buyer beware.

That about covers the show as I saw it.  We’re packing up to head home, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to another Macworld.  I’ll make an effort for WWDC, but if Apple thinks that CES is the place to go and Macworld isn’t, then I suspect that’s where the flock will go next as well.

IDG blew something.  I’m not sure what it was, but they blew it.  You could feel that evidence everywhere.

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Twittering the Macworld Keynote

For those of you who are interested in the Macworld keynote that will be occurring tomorrow… I have a guaranteed seat to attend and am planning to Twitter the presentation as it occurs.

I said planning. That does not include getting busted by any Apple employees or whatnot.

If you want to follow my Twitter feed for tomorrow morning, my Twitter username is “Vermyndax.” (http://twitter.com/vermyndax)

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