Saturday, May 31, 2008

Website Recommendation - Hulu

If you are tired of the TV networks deciding when and where you watch their shows, here is a website for you.

Hulu is a site created by NBC Universal and News Corp that brings together streaming television video from all over the web. This includes shows from all the major networks as well as smaller cable networks, sporting events (like hockey!) and even full length movies.

No longer do you have to try to figure out which networks stream which shows, and where to find them on the websites. Hulu brings all of them together in one place. This website is the reason why I want a computer with Internet access dedicated for my living room TV.

For your viewing pleasure, here is one of the videos available on Hulu. Along with full episodes often times they will even have extras normally only found on the DVD. Here is "Let's Go To The Mall" by Robin Sparkles from one of my favorite TV shows How I Met Your Mother. If you don't watch this show here is a little background on this video. One of the main characters, Robin, is originally from Canada and had been very secretive about her past, until one episode where this video comes out and everyone finds out she was a pop star in Canada. There are a bunch of Canadianisms both in speech and reference in this video. See if you can find them all.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fashion and Environment

I'm always looking for things fashionable and environmentally friendly, and sometimes I hit a winning combination (ie. my scooter). I think I've come across another item that might just do the trick.

These are suits made partially from PET bottles. From the picture, the suits look pretty decent, but I am definitely going to feel these out. When I heard about these I was thinking a suit made of polar fleece, but this appears to be fairly legit. I don't wear suits much (or really ever) at my current job, but I always try to look for opportunities where I can suit up. This might just be a great opportunity to get another suit.

(Via BoingBoing & Treehugger)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Making it Human

Seth Godin had a post about "If you want to get noticed, don't be so polished."

I couldn't help think about my post regarding the Slurpee machine at 7-11 with the terribly misspelled sign.

I think Seth has a good point, but I think there is a middle ground that works the best. While the UPS truck has a SAFETY sign hanging from the back, it still looks professional enough to stay on par with the brand, while still being a little more human. Imagine if UPS gave their drivers each a can of orange spray paint and said go ahead and write the word SAFETY on the back of your truck for us. That would probably be very noticeable, but I believe it would tarnish the brand of UPS. It likely just look like some kid tagged the back of the truck.

The middle ground here is to be human enough to be noticed, but make sure to stay within your branding parameters.

A good idea to remember here is that you at least want to look genuine or your efforts are in vain. You've probably seen the Enterprise Rent-a-CarTrucks around town where the car is crossed out and Trucks is written in a font made to look like human writing, but is obviously not.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coming Back to Life

This is a creepy/awesome story where a woman who was technically dead, even to the point where rigor mortis had set in, came back to life!

The craziest part, I'm sure, would be coming back to life with rigor mortis.

(Via BoingBoing)

Rafting Adventures

This morning I am heading up to the mountains for some white water rafting. My friend Sean knows one of the guides at the Kings River Expeditions and it is family and friends day, so Sean invited me along. Great thing is that it is only $35 with no rental fees, which is an awesome deal.

It is my first time going white water rafting, and I'm really excited. Only thing is that it is on the cooler side today in the valley, and I just hope it warms up somewhat.

(Photo courtesy of QuietLucid)

Not sure if I will have pictures of myself rafting because I don't have a waterproof camera, but if I can get my hands on some I'll share them with you. Otherwise look forward to hearing how the whole adventure went.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Travel Documents

While running some errands today I picked up an application for a US Passport as well as had my picture taken for the same purpose.

It is kind of sad though. My goal was to entirely fill up my Canadian Passport that I got in December of 2005. I've done well though with that, having stamps in 9 of 19 available pages. Unfortunately Canadian Passports only last 5 years, and since I'm applying for an American Passport now I don't think I'll be filling the Canadian Passport up anytime soon. Oh well, my new goal is to fill up my new American Passport which should be easier since they are valid for 10 years!

Great Baseball Pitch

I like this pitch.

When I heard it was one of the best pitches ever, I thought it was going to be this pitch though.

I'm wondering if that first pitch could be done on a semi-regular basis like other pitches. Does a batter have enough time to tell if he's actually seeing a ball or should still pay attention to the pitch/follow through? Obviously if you aren't expecting you will get confused like that batter did, but I wonder if you know the pitcher can do that if it would be pretty easy to hit.

And is that in the Rogers Centre (SkyDome) in Toronto?


Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Scooter Fun

While I continue to see more bloggers discussing their new scooters and how awesome they are, I begin to see news stories regarding how popular they are becoming and how fuel efficient they are.

A few things that I have noticed about scooters have also appeared in articles and blog posts.

  • Scooters save me a lot of money in gas and I'm convinced mine will pay for itself in a year or two, especially with gas prices rising.
  • Riding a scooter makes my drive much more of a pleasure than when I drive my car. As well, since my scooter doesn't go much faster than 40mph it tends to make me much more patient (which doesn't happen too often in my car).
  • I am making a statement while driving my scooter. Both from the gas-saving/environmentally friend aspect, but also right now, as I consider myself somewhat of an early adopter, I am different than most (in a good-way of course).
  • Often when I park my scooter in a public place people will approach me with all kinds of questions about costs, gas mileage, top speed. People are always left very intrigued about the possibility of themselves buying a scooter.
What can we take from this from a marketing perspective? If your product is different and useful, or at least perceived different and useful, it will likely create its own buzz. I don't think I've ever seen a TV commercial, newspaper/magazine ad, or live event sponsored by a scooter. Circumstances (like gas prices) are of course helping sales, but marketers need to take advantage of this. One thing that circumstances helping sales is causing is word of mouth. This kind of marketing situation has momentum and I think it will only pick up from here.

I Just Bought Something

I just literally bought something. I don't know what I bought, but I bought it nonetheless.

I purchased something from somethingstore out of the state of New York. The concept is that you pay $10 for every something you buy and you have no idea what you are going to get until it arrives and you open the package. This, I'm assuming, is not unlike's Bag O' Crap where you might get something awesome or something worth next to nothing.

For my something that I bought I'm really hoping that it is awesome, but when I get whatever it is I will post about it and have pictures of the unboxing.

On their main page they show different items that have been sent out to different states and one of the items was a pair of women's jeans. While I wear jeans, I'm not sure I will fit into a pair of women's jeans. We'll see though.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This is how I should Pimp My Scooter

While I've already discussed some ways to pimp a scooter, this seems a little more exciting.

I think the only problem with a jet-powered bicycle or scooter is that it takes the noise level up another whole level.

(Via BoingBoing)

New Way to Read the News

If you have some extra time or you just want to read the news in a different manner I would strongly recommend visiting MSNBC's new project called Spectra.

This is a really interesting way to read your news. It pops with color and it just makes you want to read the news and become more of a learned person.

People often complain that news is way too negative, but it is hard not to have a bright outlook with all the color on the screen.

(Via Josh Spear)

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Pledge Allegiance

It came quite suddenly. I woke up this morning like I do every day. Little did I know that by the time I would get back into bed my citizenship status would be completely different.

As you may know I have been in the middle of my application for U.S. Citizenship. I had submitted my application last summer and earlier this year had my finger prints taken. Today was to be my interview and test(s), which would eventually be followed by my ceremony to be sworn in as a U.S. Citizen. My interview and test(s) went well today, I was mostly worried about the English proficiency test where I had to write a sentence in English on a piece of paper, but I did make it through. At the end of the interview the USCIS Officer told me that I had passed and asked if I needed to go back to work still today. I told him not really because I had gone into work early today. He then asked me if I wanted to get sworn in today and I said "That would be great!".

Sure enough, he gave me an appointment for later on in the afternoon for the ceremony that would make me a citizen. So, as true as I sit here typing this post, I am now a citizen of the United States of America. In fact, I am the first in my family to become a U.S. Citizen. It feels strange that I am no longer an immigrant (because that is what I have been for the past 6 years). As well, because it happened so suddenly I wasn't able to let people know about my ceremony in case they wanted to be there to watch. It is, however, nice to have this process over with and finally have my new citizenship.

(Disclaimer: I still love Canada and always will so do not get the wrong impression here)

It was an overall great day, even though I was startled by a lady bug crawling out of the salad I was eating for lunch, and I almost wrecked my new scooter with the bike lock I forgot was still attached to my back tire when I started driving away.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Video of Police Chasing Men Jumping out of a Van

I like this video.

First, the soundtrack.
Second, the amount of guys in the van.
Third, the police officer is flustered as to how to catch all these guys.

(Via Presurfer)

Stop Motion Video of Graffiti

While I don't necessarily advocate defacing public areas, this video is fascinating with the amount of effort and artistic work put into this stop motion video.

I think the most fascinating parts of this project are a)the size of some of the drawings and b)the total length of the film.

(Via BoingBoing)

Friday, May 16, 2008

No News

Ever wonder what the news would be like if there were no news to report?

Check out these great videos of that exact situation.

What these clips are, of course, are simply the scenes of the news at the end right after the anchors sign-off, and sit in silence where the news theme song usually plays.

I thought they were pretty cool to watch and I wonder exactly how boring that day would have to be that nothing could be reported. (Or maybe it would just be because the reporters were really lazy that day and all decided to take a break.)

(Via BoingBoing)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Terrible Decision by United Airlines

In what seems to be a cost-saving move by United Airlines, they have changed their policy for earning frequent flyer miles.

According to their press release/email today "Beginning July 1, 2008, for flights of less than 500 miles, passengers will earn redeemable miles equal to the actual miles flown."

This differs from their current policy (and the policy of most airlines) that any flights less than 500 miles a minimum of 500 frequent flyer miles will be earned. Especially living in a small city like Fresno, having a minimum of 500 miles with any flight is great because most flights out of Fresno (it seems) are less than 500 miles.

I really hope that other airlines don't follow suit, but I would guess that this would be likely. Hopefully customers vote with their pocketbooks and fly other airlines for these shorter flights, and maybe, just maybe United will reverse their decision.

Smart Car... More Like Safe Car

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) test for the Smart Car was acceptable but not stunning, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently finished up their safety tests on the Smart Car, and there is good news to report.

From the Smart USA Press Release "We are pleased to announce the smart fortwo achieved the highest ratings in front and side crashworthiness." This is good because when I tell people about the car I will be getting and show them a picture they inevitably mention something about it probably not being very safe. Well now I have some evidence to back up my decision!

So all of you who are continually worried about my safety because I try and purchase the smallest vehicles ever, never fear, I will be in good hands.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Vehicle Resale Value

I've been thinking lots about the resale value of vehicles lately. Somewhat spurred by my scooter purchase but also because of gas prices. I have been thinking that the resale value of my scooter should stay somewhat high over the next few years because I really do think that scooters are going to become somewhat popular. This is reassuring to me because if I do move somewhere for my job and my scooter becomes less useful or I do end up needing to sell it (which I hope doesn't happen) I won't be out too much money.

Part of the reason I think this about my scooter is because of rising gas prices. I don't think gas prices will be coming down permanently and the only place they have to go is further up. People moving to scooters because of rising gas prices will mean they will be generally getting away from vehicles that use more gas. RVs and Motorhomes have been at the forefront of this thought for me, but now I'm seeing articles like this from USAToday where even vehicles like SUVs are suffering from dropping resale values.

It's tough because this isn't a zero sum game (disclaimer: I'm not an economist so I could potentially be using this term incorrectly) and like the stock market you can lose your money just because the thing you own doesn't have as much value.

(Via WorldChanging)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Geeks of All Shapes and Sizes

Science fiction doesn't create the only geeks around. Geeks come in all shapes and sizes, and it is likely that everyone has a little bit of a geek in them. What's your geek?

(Via UberReview)

My Smart Car is Coming

I got an email today from the manager of the San Jose Smart Center dealership, and he informed me that my car is now in production in Germany. This is very exciting because this means my car is going to be here (relatively) soon. He mentioned in his email that it will be about 2-3 months before it arrives, but they will keep me updated with any news.

Using my extensive mathematics skills I figured out that 2-3 months translates to somewhere between July 11th and August 11th. This is exciting because the delivery estimator on had originally told me between August and October. I looked again at the delivery estimator and it is now giving me an "Estimated ETA date" of 6/6/08 and 9/4/08. So all I know is that I SHOULD have my new car before Christmas.

And one thing that has me a little worried is the "Estimated ETA Date" because it's an estimate of an estimate, and that doesn't give me any confidence in the date range.

Perfect Pronounciation

When I came to this country I was very intrigued at some of the differences between where I am from and where I now live. One of the especially interesting things that I still pay attention to is the pronunciation of words. In fact, my brother Jonathan and I were talking about one word in particular that we (as Canadians) say differently than people here in central California, asphalt. We say it (or used to say before we were corrected) ashphalt.

Check out this list of the 100 most often mispronounced words and phrases in English.

While I am guilty of saying some of these words incorrectly I think I do pretty well. The list doesn't have asphalt though. The other word I was very surprised that was not on this list was "Internet". I know a lot of people who pronounce it "Innernet" by replacing the "t" with a second "n".

These are just little things that can differentiate one region from another, and while they are not huge variations on the original words, if you hear someone say one of these mispronounced words and you are used to saying and hearing it said properly it will stick out like a sore thumb. I remember when I started college here, while in some sort of orientation class I was talking to the guy beside me and I said "Internet" to him, he stopped and looked at me funny and asked me to repeat the word. He says "Innernet".

(Via Duct Tape Marketing)

One Button to Rule Them All

I came across this video of a guy who did a DIY project that would turn his apartment into a serious party with a push of a button. Watch the video, it's one of the most amazing DIY projects I've seen. So awesome in fact that I am playfully considering making one myself.

His goal was to do the following with his Emergency Party Button.

  • Turn off hallway light
  • Close the blinds
  • Turn on the fog machine
  • Turn off the kitchen light
  • Turn off the poker light
  • Turn off the living room lights
  • Start the mp3 (Haddaway - What is Love)
  • Turn on the blacklights
  • Turn on the laser when the main beat of the song starts
  • Turn on the strobe light when the chorus starts

(Via UberReview)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It's Gonna Be a Thing

I love getting affirmation that I did the right thing, and even when I was just in the idea phase of getting a scooter (the few days it took me to decide) I guessed that scooters are going to be the next big thing. Even the writers of the blogs I'm following are getting scooters.

The dealership told me that in the last three weeks they have sold more scooters than they did all of last year. They didn't pull out the charts, graphs, and actual sales figures, but I definitely see a trend.

It would be such a smart idea right now to open up a scooter shop. The place from where I bought my scooter is actually a motorcycle dealership that has cars, but I think a fully focused scooter store would be that much more successful.

The Smart YouTube

From Seth Godin, TimeTube is a very well organized version of YouTube. Sometimes design and a little more thought can make a huge difference.

While you are there, check out this specific video.

(Via Seth Godin)

The Voices of Media

I really enjoyed this YouTube video of a family comprised of people with the voices that we hear everyday touting movies, vegetable slicers, and cereal.

I often will use my "radio" voice daily because I think I could totally do voice-overs.

Check it out, and you'll see what I mean.

(Via AdFreak)

How Much to Promise and How Much to Deliver

This post by Seth Godin talks about the famous business idea about the ration of promising and delivering.

I learned in some of my marketing classes that the wrong ratios is actually kind of dangerous. Let me explain.

Most of the time, the goal of a business/organization is to get repeat customers. However, for this to happen the customer needs to patronize your business/organization that first time. To appeal to them you promise them something, whether it is an under promise, an over promise, or a truthful promise. With these promises you can either disappoint, excite, or just satisfy the customer. If you under promise, the customer will be excited and want to return the next time. If you over promise, the customer may not want to come back. Most people just think that over promising and under delivering can be bad, but if you under promise and over deliver, the customer will likely expect the same over delivering next time, and the time after that until it gets to unmanageable levels where you can no longer deliver on your promises.

That is why I think it is a good idea to just be truthful to your customers about what you are going to deliver to them. If you have a product or service that will wow your customers then it won't be an issue. This relates to building trust with your customers, it is hard to have that relationship with them if it is based on a lie (either good or bad).

I am going to disagree with Seth Godin here. Instead of "Make big promises; overdeliver" I think the following.

Make big promises; deliver.

I don't think there are any reasons to over deliver if you are making big promises.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Pimp My Scooter

I don't actually have plans for pimping my scooter, but these guys did.

Note: This is actually the Yamaha model that I originally wanted to get (minus the modifications, of course), until I found out that my legs are too long, and that I wouldn't be able to steer because my knees would be in the way.

(Via Engadget)

Rising Gas Prices

One of the most annoying things about rising gas prices is the fact that it becomes harder to land on the exact total cost that you want. When you are trying to get it right on the even dollar, it is much easier to go over by a cent or two when gas prices are higher for the same amount of gas.

I plan on getting a lot more practice at the pump with my scooter. I will be paying much less for gas, but with my 1.2 gallon gas tank, I will be filling up more often. I'll be a pro at using the pump.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Christmas Gift Video

I want to start this post out by apologizing to you. I only share this video with you to help you (try) to understand me a little better.

My friend Tim and I (with whom I jumped in the President's pool) made a Christmas video to give out to our friends our freshman year of college. We thought that it would be more special to everyone than actually getting something tangible and we were poor college students so this seemed like a great idea.

I encourage you (and give you kudos if you actually do) to watch the entire video. It is probably one of the most random videos I've ever shot, and it took less than an hour or two to shoot the entire thing, as you will probably be able to tell.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I wonder if Kmart will ever change their "Mr. Blue Light" to a more environmentally friendly light bulb like a compact fluorescent light.


I visited the California Department of Motor Vehicles today to get my motorcycle permit for my scooter. Here are a few observations.

-I rode my bicycle there and sure enough they don't have a bike racks to lock up a bike. I wonder if this is to encourage the use of motor vehicles?

-Instead of giving numbers (1 through whatever) out they use a system whereby your ticket has a letter (a through h) and then a three digit number. Mine was G006. There did not appear to be a logical reason for the different letters other than making you feel like you were much closer to being called than you were. It seemed like there was no order to the letters being called, but I think people are more likely to pay more attention to the number and therefore they think they are closer to being called.

-I had to go up to various windows 6 times in my visit just to get my motorcycle permit. There must be a more efficient way.

-I really enjoyed the voice calling out the ticket numbers. I think it reminded me of train station voices in Europe.

I am currently having issues with my DSL here at home. I will be able to post more detail about my scooter including more pictures when that gets sorted out.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My New Ride is Here

My scooter was delivered today.

I don't have my motorcycle permit yet (until tomorrow) so I've only been able to drive it around the apartment complex. I did however buy a THICK chain and lock to wrap around back tire to secure the vehicle.

I'm excited to start driving it around Fresno. Expect a detailed post tomorrow or at least later this week.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

(The) Target Wins

Brand New has a post about a tournament of logos created by Fortune magazine. It basically pits a number of corporate logos against each other to decide the best logo. It's an interesting exercise, but they do have some odd pairings. And one has to think the process might be a little flawed if the two finalist logos look so similar, either way it is interesting to see logos fight it out like this. The one thing I don't like necessarily about a tournament style like this is that while the "best team" is theoretically chosen as the winner, you cannot decide the second place and beyond positions based on the results. I'm just really happy (and a little biased) that my company won.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

My New Vehicle

I spent a good part of the day today shopping for my scooter. I found out that the Yamaha Vino is not very big and my height of 6'3" means my knees would be spending a lot of time hanging out with the handlebars, meaning I'm too big for it. It was a little disappointing but it didn't phase me. I ended up going with the Yamaha C3 pictured. When all is said and done I should be driving it by Wednesday.

I'm heading back to the dealership to finalize all the money and paperwork tomorrow. I'll post more details later.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thought of the Day

There are seriously few things better than a remix of a classical song.

I'm not kidding, look it up.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Saving Gas

With oil prices hitting record highs every week, and gasoline prices following suit, I think people are actually starting to drive less, even here in "drive everywhere California". If gas prices keep heading up (and possibly hit $10 a gallon which would be on par with European prices) some major changes are going to have to happen in my driving habits/choices. To do my part, I am considering buying a scooter.

This was mostly brought on with my car being in the shop and having to bike to work.

I've been looking at different models available here in Fresno, and there's actually a wide variety both in style and price. The styles range from modern speed bike looks to Vespas and classic European styling. Prices range from $1800 to $8000. After comparing a number of different models, I think I have decided on the Yamaha Vino Classic.

It has that classic European look, which I like, and it is on the cheaper end of the scale at about $1949.

According to Yamaha and the EPA it gets about 110mpg, which is phenomenal.

I did a little calculation to figure out how much I could save in gas money by driving this to work and back, and makeing errands throughout Fresno, and this is what I have come up with.

The blue line is my current car, and the red line is the car I will hopefully take possession of between August and October. This shows that even with conservative estimates of gas prices, the scooter could pay for itself in 2 years. (This is considering that both the Escort and Smart car are quite fuel efficient, if I had a truck or an SUV I would be saving even more money).

The best part about this is that these scooters are so small and I'm a pretty big guy (at 6'3"), so it should look pretty awesome when I'm cruising around town.