cheap gas?

I know this really doesn’t have too much relevancy, but let’s put the price of gas in perspective. We pay anywhere between $1.50-$2.50 across the nation at any given time. Yet, gasoline is still one of the cheapest liquids available! Just think, if we paid for the same amount of beer as we do gas (and some of us do!), we’d be paying around $9.00/gallon almost every time we fill up!! Man, a gallon of beer is expensive! And good beer is even more expensive… Time to rethink our priorities, eh?

I should write something…

…but just don’t wanna take the time yet. Soon enough.

I’ll be working as much as possible this week and hopefully seeing everyone I can. If you are in Houston, reading this, and wanna get together if I haven’t contacted you already, hit me up!

Thanksgiving was great, and I’m still full. But, I have had my first taste of tex-mex since I’ve been back and it’s been WONDERFUL! YUMMY!

the end of the month

Now I leave for Texas for 2 weeks. And almost a week without any Internet! AAAaaahhh!

… Meh, it’s not the first time.

Eat lots of turkey!
Be back soon…

all for the experience

Well, this month has been almost totally unproductive for me. Last month felt the same. And next month will probably be more of the same. I have already decided to hold off on seeking jobs until the new year. Everything pretty much shuts down here in Hollywood in December so there’s no point in really trying when I’m only going to be around for maybe 10 days if even that. So, in the meantime, while I’m on my vacations, I will be enjoying the free time!

I do have a few web projects to get to, but like everything else I’ve been doing, they have been sitting around for a while. I feel like it’s harder to work myself up mentally to starting them. And, the one project which has been on my mind lately is sitting in limbo while I try to think of the next best idea. It’s so difficult to be original when you’re given so many boundaries, and trying to make sure you’re not a copycat is the other concern. I have an idea of what I should do with this one design, but I just can’t seem to work it out in my head. And, when I sit at the computer to try and put it together, I obviously get easily distracted. Well, maybe this long break will give me the much needed refresh that I could use.

I’ll tell you what I could use is a nice trip to Paris for Christmas! Take in all of the sights, sit at some coffee shops with friends just people watching. That would be great. Or maybe Christmas in New York. I could definitely be up for that! That’s actually a goal of mine, to spend a Christmas season in New York, just for the experience and ambience. I think it would be a great experience and a lot of fun!

But, I am pretty much on my own with all of these ideas. Most of my friends have fou… screw that. I’m not gonna sit here and act like I need pity. I make my own decisions, I choose my own actions. I am fully responsible for my life, and no one else is to be blamed! I’m not that lonely, just sorta alone. It’s no big deal really. Life is great and I am absolutely happy to be here trying everything out! It’s not always easy, but it’s more of an adventure than I could have had back in Texas. And besides, I tried for the longest time to seek regular employment before I moved here and nothing ever seemed to work out. So, since I did move, I plan on making this work out. I am going to give it all I have. And if it doesn’t work out, if I can’t afford this dream anymore, no big deal! Life is too short to worry about that stuff. I’ll just move on to my next agenda, make more dreams and continue my life in another way. In the meantime, it’s all about the entertainment industry, baby!

Reminder of the season: When is the last time you backed up all of your important files on your computer?? Isn’t it about time you do that again?! Don’t say I didn’t warn you in advance!

The PC Christmas Wish List

UPDATE: You can now access this page by typing http://computer.asuh.com into your address bar in your web browser.

Ah.. ‘Tis another season to be jolly. Every year this season blows by with so much potential and thus we live out our joys by shopping for the perfect gift, for others and for ourselves. I might take a stab at posting my Christmas desires at another time, but I thought it would be the perfect time to post a similar, less selfish list. I present to you “Your Personal Computer’s Christmas wish list”.

  1. Firefox – You might or might not have heard or read about all the hype surrounding this amazing web browser for your computer (PC and Mac).this shows the Firefox browser Firefox, invented by the folks at Mozilla, is the hottest thing among the really geeky tech community this year, but is steadily increasing in popularity among the mainstream. In my opinion, this is the future of browsers and I highly recommend you using it (instead of using Internet Explorer). You can attach extensions such as Adblock which can get rid of annoying ads and flash ads. You can add search engines to the search window, such as searching through Amazon, Google, IMDB, eBay, and MANY other sites. Instead of going to the website to search for a product, just use the included search bar in Firefox to perform a quick search directly to the site! And many, many more functionalities that Internet Explorer doesn’t offer yet.

    For more information on essential extensions for Firefox, go visit my Firefox Reloaded writeup.

  2. AVG Antivirus (FREE) – Are you paying money for Antivirus services? Do you even HAVE antivirus software on your computer?? (You better!) Grisoft’s AVG, which is completely free to you, is a powerful and free software package to download and will keep your computer as virus free the same as Norton or McAfee can but for none of the cost!
  3. Spybot – Search and Destroy – In this world of evil programmers, spyware is rapidly becoming the number one threat to Internet users, even if you’re still using the slower dial-up! Dell even reported that spyware issues are becoming the number issue that callers complain about to their customer service! This software is an essential in today’s Internet environment. Make sure you check for new version. This means downloading a new Spybot file, uninstalling your current Spybot and installing a new version. Current version is 1.4.
  4. Adaware – Spybot does a wonderful job, but it’s completely necessary to run more than one program to help keep spyware and adware off of your computer. Adaware is another essential program that you should be running! Make sure you check for new version. This means downloading a new Adaware file, uninstalling your current Adaware and installing a new version. Current version is 1.06.
  5. SpywareBlaster – Again, an absolute must. Same as above. It’s like triple reinforcement to keep your computer clean and usable. Make sure you check for new version. This means downloading a new SpywareBlaster file, uninstalling your current SpywareBlaster and installing a new version. Current version is 3.5.1.
  6. Windows Defender – I just downloaded this recently, and guess what? Even after running Adaware AND Spybot, this program found even MORE adware on my computer! For real! So download it, NOW. You know you want to. Just remember that it’s only compatible on Windows 2000 and XP, not Windows ME or 98. Just remember that you must use Microsoft’s Genuine Advantage License checker (which is a complete hassle and wasteful step) before you can install Defender. Make sure you check for new version. This means downloading a new Defender file, uninstalling your current Defender and installing a new version. Current version is Beta 2.
  7. IE-SPYAD – And yet another way prevent all this crappy adware and spyware from appearing! IE-SPYAD goes into your registry and adds a bunch of sites to the block me list, so that whenever your browser points to a forbidden site, it won’t actually let you go.
  8. HijackThis – Not too long ago, as I explained in a previous post, this software saved me and my friend a lot of grief. What it does is searches your computer in special places for any spyware or malicious software that’s tagging on, usually hidden from Spybot or Adaware, and exposes it for you to take care of it. The absolutely wonderful thing about this software is the website I linked it to has a box where you can copy and paste a log of your scan and it will automatically analyze the results for you to make your own decision about whether something needs to be fixed or not. So, if you’ve run Adaware, Spybot, Spyware Blaster, and Windows Defender and still have some problems, HijackThis will probably be your final solution for stabilization. Either that or just reformat your computer. Make sure you check for new version. This means downloading a new Antispyware file, uninstalling your current Antispyware and installing a new version. Current version is 1.99.1.
  9. Click here for BloglinesBloglines – Do you use Livejournal as well as MySpace? What about Blogger? or another online blogging software out there? I even have my own website.Bloglines has changed my viewing habits for other people’s sites, and I don’t have to spend all my time visiting each homepage anymore. I can just go to Bloglines and see everyone’s new posts and entries all at once. Even if you update it, I know within minutes if it happened!
  10. Azureus – Have you ever heard of BitTorrent? If not, this might not apply to you. If you’re curious, BitTorrent is a new system of filesharing, similar to Napster and Kazaa, but different enough to be original. BitTorrent is likely to be the next biggest target for litigation among the overlords at the RIAA and MPAA. However, it’s probably one of the most innovative software packages out there to find what you need. Azureus is a BitTorrent software that I highly recommend if you want to try out the BitTorrent system.
  11. Trillian – Do you frequently use AOL, Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ for means of communication? I know how involved and annoying it can be to have to download and install every single one of these software files. Trillian is awesome software that allows you to use every single one of these in one file. It’s such a time saver and is free, although you can purchase the Pro version for a minimal fee. I personally don’t use it because I’m sorta picky about a few things (being that I’m a big techie nerd), but I highly recommend it for your usage to save you time!
  12. Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) – Now, I know there’s been a lot of controversy since this service pack was introduced, but I can only speak for my experience. Once I installed a fresh copy of Windows with SP2 preloaded, virtually ALL the troubles I was having before disappeared. Seriously! I could not believe how stable my computer was after having installed this service pack. I mean, we’re talking rock solid because before the installation my PC was pretty fickle. And make sure once you install SP2 that you completely update your computer’s security updates at WindowsUpdate.com.

Most of the software that I have recommended here is either free or very cheap and mostly just for the PC. Sorry to any Mac users out there. There are so much other software that I could highly recommend to other PC users but just don’t wanna spend the time listing them on here. So, feel free to go to this website for everything I mentioned plus MUCH more. I’m not advocating every single piece of software that this website recommends but it at least is a good basis for free alternatives to keep your computer running very smoothly!

As usual, if you have any questions about any of the software that I’ve listed and described, if you see a typo or you think I should add something else not listed, let me know!! I think this Christmas we should all give our PCs some much needed help. This list is just a touch of great software available.

fear

I’ve never really been afraid of heights. Ever since I was a younger kid, I would always climb trees or go up to the top of roofs. I’m usually the kid who would impress the girls by going down a long, dark hall just to prove that it’s safe. If I saw an opportunity to see something differently, say from a different perspective in terms of height, I would probably take it. It’s fun being different, and taking these risks helped set me apart from other chickens.

As an excuse to keep us busy, today at work we moved the fall pads down from the landing onto where Batman and Robin would jump at the theater. These pads are huge, big enough and cushy enough to jump onto from 30 feet in the air. So using a forklift to relocate them on the ground, we had plenty opportunity to take advantage of using them one last time once we set them down.

I was probably 15-20 feet in the air right above the pad. I slowly walked closer the edge of the roof where I could easily mount myself to jump right onto the pad. But I didn’t. In fact, I started to feel a bit of anxiety after staring down for more than a few seconds. Not a huge amount, but enough for my head to reason with my body from making the jump. Knowing that it was probably not a great way to do this for the first time, we moved it to another location that was 10 feet off the ground. It felt a little safer to me and I knew I could do it. So, climbing up to the edge of that 10 foot platform, I stood there for a few seconds just trying to compose myself to jump.

Compose myself?? For what reason? I mean, come on, when I was 10 years old, I would have died for this opportunity! No thinking involved! I would have jumped right away like a bad habit or something. Yet, the anxiety was there, filling me with doubt. I told myself to shut up and just did it. And it was a nice; a little adrenaline rush.

I didn’t jump correctly, however, and almost knocked the wind out of myself after landing. My mind told me the jump would last half a second. But, the fall lasted just a little longer than I anticipated. You’re supposed to exhale on the way down so that you don’t knock all of your breath out. But, it’s like my mind shuts off right after jumping. This same process happens when I’m riding a water slide at a theme park like Schlitterbaun and when it’s a long slide down. I position my body at the top of the slide, bracing myself for a few seconds on the body slide knowing I’ll be safe at the bottom in the pool. Then I lunge forward. Suddenly, I cannot for the life of me take a normal breath of air. My body panics, and if I think about it, I can only gasp for little amounts of air. It’s almost as if I’m suffocating myself! It’s so weird.

We moved the fall pad yet again to some stairs where I could have easily gone to a higher location to jump on it, but I then decided to not jump on it anymore. In fact, the thought of trying to jump on it again from those heights just paralyzed my fun and I didn’t make any further jumps.

This is somewhat alarming to me and almost makes me uncomfortable. When did it happen that I became someone who was afraid to take a little risk like this? Sure, it could have hurt me but I totally understood how to make the jump so that I wouldn’t injure myself. Yet, my mind was paralyzed with anxiety just moments before I would make the jump.

I find this is such a true feeling in much of my life. I’m scared to take certain risks because I’m scared of the outcome, thinking that it’ll only cause emotional harm rather than joy. Moving out here was a huge risk, but I truly saw it as a very calculated risk that I could easily get out of if I decided to. I knew it was a risk worth taking at the time. But, being here as long as I have, I’ve really not made the progress with job hunting that I would have liked. I haven’t taken as many risks as I should have because of my fears. And trying to find a way to crush these fears doesn’t come very easily.

At the same time, I realize that my desires and dreams keep evolving. I don’t necessarily have completely different desires from those that moved me here, but I’ve definitely picked up other hobbies and formed new goals. I have always wanted to try the music thing, knowing that if I could land a position as a music editor for films, I would probably be okay even if I wasn’t always happy about the hours I was working. It would be something that definitely I would be proud of. But I know that I don’t want to be confined 95% of the year doing the same thing in the same place. And I hope that I can somehow find a way to go out there and live life in other places and amongst other people.

I need to somehow find my “anxiety pill” and just take it, figuratively speaking of course. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t risk myself more often to make something happen, because the only thing I have to lose is the fear itself. Fear shouldn’t control my actions.

a movie and books

My mind is blank. I am sitting here trying to think of something to say but I can’t figure anything out. I haven’t done anything for the past three days so it’s not like there’s a lot going on.

The one thing I did do was drive to see a movie called Team America. If you don’t like South Park, you won’t like Team America. I thought the movie was very funny, not the whole movie but certain parts. It’s funny to see how much you can get away with making fun of recognizable people in puppet form.

I think the funniest thing about this movie is how I was watching it. The puppets were talking, speaking many opinions about weapons of mass destruction and terrorists. Half of the movie I was staring at the screen trying to reason with what they were saying. It might have been because these subjects were so personal, but then something funny happens and I forget about the logic.

So, all of this along with a funny theme song (which is inappropriate for almost everyone) I can’t recommend this movie to anyone except people in my generation or those who are fans of South Park.

Before the movie started, I spent a lot of my time in Borders bookstore. I enjoy going to these stores (like Barnes and Nobles) and usually can spend a great amount of time just browsing music and books. I’m sure you can identify. I know there are a lot of great books out there and I should enjoy reading other types, but the very first area which I usually default to is the computer/programming book section. Seriously, I’m still a geek at heart! What I really want to do is buy a bunch of the CSS/XHTML, Photoshop, digitial photography, and other similarly themed books. There is so much that I could learn to utilize in these books to help me with my web design and it’s fascinating. However, I just don’t have enough money to buy them, and even if I bought them, would I read them or just shove them aside like most of my other books?

I think I have nothing else to say. What you should do this weekend? Eat some chocolate. That’s not a suggestion, it’s an order!

my gaming conquest

Zelda - The Wind Waker

It becomes much easier to pick up old, familiar hobbies when you have more free time to enjoy for yourself. It seems my hobbies adapt over the years for many reasons but recently during the past couple of years I have begun to play more video games.

Ever since that glorious Christmas in 1987 when Santa brought us the unfamiliar but quickly lovable Nintendo gaming system, my love for the video game industry grew exponentially every year. Not only was it a past time favorite, it often became an quick obsession. Despite, I did not play video games too seriously until my old friend Dee opened my eyes to his new game called Final Fantasy in 1991. It was then that I realized how much fun the role playing game (RPG) could be. Just a year or two later came the Super Nintendo and then began the REAL obsession and countless hours of gaming with games like Final Fantasy II, Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, Zelda, and others. Up to this point, I mostly started games but never finished them to the end. Interestingly, I don’t even think I have defeated Super Mario Bros. to this day.

During high school, my interests began to shift as I became interested in, well, more interesting subject matters such as my girlfriend. And so, the decline of time I spent in front of the television for gaming purposes began and it lasted many of my collegiate years. It’s not that I was sick of video games, it was a combination of realizing that time was almost always of the essence and my tastes in life naturally shifted.

So, while I was schooling for my last years in Denver I brought the Gamecube up with me after Christmas and ever since then progressively played more and more games. First came the new Metriod (my top 5), then Mario Sunshine, and now I just finished Zelda – The Wind Waker. This game was probably one of the most well rounded games I’ve played in a while. The graphics were overly exceptional for a cartoonish feel, the storyline was very easy to remember and usually captivating, and gameplay was simply addictive. You always wanted to go to the next step and find out what happens next.

So, I defeated Ganon and beat the game. In some since I feel some sense of accomplishment from all of my diligence and longevity dedicated to this game. It’s so much easier to get into gaming when you aren’t around many familiar people and areas; such an easy outlet to distract you from life.

Top 50 video games of all time

home sweet LA

Finally, a 40 hour week! I worked way too much last week but at least my next paycheck is going to rock my world.

I think LA is growing on me. I don’t plan on being here forever, however I hope I can make my stay as pleasant as possible. Finding jobs in the business is still a very slow process and requires a lot of waiting and calling. But, I do have some feelers out there working for me. It’s interesting, though, how much control I am given over my career. I feel like I’m working myself much harder than I ever have in trying to make work happen. Even for that, still, my job prospects just aren’t there. It’s not that I lack talent either, it’s just that I haven’t met the right person or people.

This holiday season is mostly going to be spent in Texas and Colorado. I’m looking forward to both and can’t wait for Thanksgiving to arrive. The negative factor in this is that I’ll only be home for less than 2 weeks in December! That’s definitely not good for jobs and finding work. However, I know that next year is going to start completely different for me. I will pretty much have nothing but time assuming I haven’t found any jobs this year.

So, even though I struggle in a few areas while I live here, I feel that my time to be here in LA is not done yet. I do want to find time to travel and see the state since I’m here (anyone, anyone?), but I do need to make sure that I’m seriously working on helping out my future. I hate having to work so hard at and being so serious about finding work because I love relaxing. However, I know that this isn’t done in vain and things will eventually turn around. The economy is on the upwards, jobs are being created, and people are getting hired.

weekly surprises

I’ve had a few nice, weekly surprises this week that I’ll share.

I’m surprised that the election finished as early as it did and that Kerry decided to concede rather than fight. I’m glad that he took it like a big man and conceded, but if the tables were turned, would Bush have conceded? My gut says Bush would have fought until the final count, just like what Gore did four years ago. But, either way, the popular vote and electoral vote was granted the W.

I’m surprised at how extremely well a software called HijackThis works. Last night I received an unexpected phone call from a really good friend who needed help with her computer. She accidentally, because she didn’t know, executed a program which turned out to be a trojan horse, and funny thing is that it was sent to her by e-mail and from the university to which she pays money for her education. I spent about 4-5 hours on the phone helping her immunize the viruses and send that trojan back into remission. I am not totally certain that it’s 100% gone, but I do know that we got her PC back to a condition which appeared as stable as before she was attacked.

I owe most of this success to AVG antivirus and HijackThis. HijackThis is a program which scans your computer in some special places that programs like spybot and adaware probably don’t. After scanning her computer and deleting files that were acting malicious, she had no more immediate problems. In fact, she has yet to tell me that anything else is wrong! So, go download HijackThis and run it today!

I’m surprised how much fun it can be to use a webcam and microphone with a friend online! We both have the same webcam and I bought a cheap microphone to use to talk to him over the Internet. It has been years since I’ve tried doing this, but amazingly, it’s a ton of fun! As much fun as it was, I’m also surprised that the delay in transmission between the two of us on our microphones really hasn’t changed since high speed Internet was implemented in most universities. That’s too bad because the quality is almost virtually the same as any phone you use. Many years ago there was a cool, free website called dialpad, which I believe now they charge to use their services, that would let you make phone calls over the Internet to any phone in the US. Way ahead of its time and it was increasingly popular among college students for many years.

That’s all for the surprises this week. I hope I receive just a few more good surprises because I love positive surprises!