Dexter Withdrawal!

The wife and I have entered a new relationship with television. I became a total snob and only watch download-able content without commercials and she has become addicted to Lost and is waiting patiently for it to start today. She is not as addicted to it was I was at one point following several shows, but she watches more TV than I do now. We now enjoy watching series together though, and its awesome. We finished BattleStar Galactica not too long ago and thanks to our little cousins got into Dexter.

We were at a family function and both of them were jonesing for the season finale of season 4 of Dexter like I do for video game time. So we figured, lets give it a try and started watching it on netflix. I don’t want to spoil much for those that have not discovered this gem, but I had the ice truck killer pegged since the first time he came on screen. The show has everything from dark humor to suspense. Weird thing is that there are tons of blood and guts but Bea seems to only be faced by the flossing during the opening credit. Come to think of it, the opening credits disturb me as well… maybe it is my dislike of big chunks of ham.

Now we have finished up to season 3 either digitally or through rental and season 4 does not come out on DVD until AUGUST!!!! NOOO!!!

I cannot wait to continue watching this show. Its fun to want the “bad” guy to win at every turn. Funny thing is that the show is pretty popular all over the world, but they don’t get it through a paid channel but rather free channels. I watched an interview with the main actor and it was interesting to hear the different reactions from different parts of the world. How in America we are satisfied with the killer getting rid of murderers, but in Europe they are still bothered by the fact that he is a killer.

Moral dilemmas aside, the show is great entertainment and it explores human emotion from a new perspective. I am really not sure how accurate the portrayal of a serial killer can really be since I doubt any of them really lets anyone “in” but it is still interesting to see someone with no conscience. Everyone at one point or another has watched or even enjoyed a good Vampire fiction and in reality they are simply murderers, but when you put a very human face in a monster that has a different kind of make up it makes you wander. Serial killers have made me curious but never fascinated me, there was always something disgusting about them; however the character of Dexter is likable, even endearing.

Now we have to wait to continue the saga, and for the first time since we moved I am considering getting cable again just to watch this show. Yea it is that good.

Snipe Hunting

I was thankfully never actually fooled into going into one of these hunts, mostly because the whole going into the woods at night is just not something that appeals to me. I am more into the whole dark cave thing… but that is a post for another time. The phrase does inspire this post which is about finding the snipe hunting you.

I am paranoid about a lot of things, but it has been something that I tried to work on. I sadly have seem to turn it off at all the wrong times… so instead of turning it off I am now trying to use it to my advantage. So far it has been working pretty good.

The whole paradox gets even a little more convoluted when I go ahead and tell you that I am also a very willing to hand out trust. Yeap, even as paranoid as I can be, I am also very willing to make new friends and meet new people. The thing is that in doing so I let them into my world a little too much.

Since the snipe is a totally made up creature, well partly and for entertainment purposes, lets give it some qualities. A snipe is a person you meet that has a lot of good qualities, or at least want to portray them that way but they are only there as hooks. In relationships we all want positive reinforcement in some level, and some are very willing to give that out but not because they feel it but because they know that is the social norm.

We have been watching Dexter lately, and it is an amazing show that entertains but also shines a light at human behavior. When a serial killer looks at life and human interaction from the outside of the emotional realm, it shines a very scary light into why we do the things we do. In a very similar fashion, Meesha not too long ago observed something similar about smiles.

Good sports commentators are not the ones that perfectly describe how a pass spirals through the air or announce GOOOAAAAAAAAAL! the ones that we like to listen to are the ones that are able to predict the adjustment a team is going to make to win the game, or the one that can predict a play before it happens. They are good at their job because the became experts at recognizing patterns related to specific situations. One of the main reasons I love the book Blink.

It is easy to recognize a bad influence in your life after they have made a mess out of it. The trick is to recognize those snipes before they are even inside the door. I don’t have the key to that just yet, but I am getting better at honing my spidey senses. Take a moment and reflect on what snipes you have around!

Mommy Maria Interviews Logtar

Neil Kramer’s Great Interview Experiment continues and after I interviewed Dufmanno it was my turn to get “questioned.” I enjoyed answering the questions that Mommy Maria posted so lets get into it… (All of her text and questions will be bold)

Before the interview started, Maria had asked me to tell her a little more about myself… since we communicated via gmail and google docks she actually knows me as John instead of Logtar.

Hi John,

Thanks so much for telling me a little bit about yourself to start things off.

1. What would you want the world to know about you? About your blog?

This is an interesting question because I believe that the more you talk about yourself, the more you are actually concealing. About myself I would say that I value family and friends above money and career. About my blog that it is a place for me to express myself, an outlet for my humor, thoughts and rants; however, reading it does not mean you truly get to know me. To get to know me requires actual conversation in my opinion.

2. I really love that you have a section on your blog that talks about your family. Why did you feel the need to do that?

I value family greatly, and I tend to consider my close friends part of what I call my family. I think it is important for people that read me to understand that about me so when reading what I read they have that perspective.

3. What is it like to be married to a fellow, notorious blogger?

Exciting. Even though my wife had been in hiatus for a couple of years only posting sparringly, she has recently started to blog again. My wife and I met through our blogs, and back when I first met her she was someone I admired for her writing and intelligence. Now that we are married I have learned much more about her and admire her for so many other things, but it was good to get to know her through her blog and as a blogger first.

4. I was checking out your Top 100 Must See Films – I agree with many of your picks. What would you say are some of the WORST films you’ve seen?

Oh… so many to list I could probably list 100 again. Recently I have seen a lot of good movies, the biggest let down in recent memory was Spiderman 3. We put made it an event and even had people watching the previous 2 right before going into the theater, then we go and we get a very poorly executed movie. I have seen it again since and have been less critical, but that was still a disappointment. Just last month, 2012 was a movie that could have been awesome but I just could not get into it.

5. Describe the best day of your life, to date.

The best day of my life so far was the day that I met my wife. It was nice to see that the connection we had built online over the years translated so well to real life. The chemistry we had right away still feels the same today and every time I see her I smile.

6. If you could wake up tomorrow and have the perfect life, what would that look like?

Warm, maybe because it is winter right now but I keep on imaging a very open house, waking up to coffee and fresh bread. Walking into a big kitchen with rustic tile work and very earthy colors on the walls. Then a very spacious home office with several computers to work on cool projects during the day. Then lunch outside in a patio surrounded by lots of tropical plants. Afternoon finishing up work, then maybe a movie or a good TV show. Dinner at a good restaurant, then maybe a little dancing. Then stay up late into the night playing video games.

7. I just wrote a post where I list some of my pet peeves. What would you say are some of your ultimate pet peeves?

Well, I have a post saved for some time that is going to list all of them, but I will put some of them here since you asked!

People that think they can read minds. No you have NO idea what I think or how I arrive to that conclusion… ask, talk, converse… find out never assume.
People that expect you to be able to read minds. Again, the art has not been perfected (unless big brother got it working.)
Hurried Drivers. Chicago is full of them, and they seriously will race from light to light.
Small talkers. Small talk is a waste of time, if you don’t care to have an actual conversation don’t say anything at all.
iRude people. If you are in a social situation, put the darn toy away and interact! (This might include me when I get an android, and of course I won’t annoy myself)

8. I read that you and your wife enjoy trying new restaurants. If you could only one food for the rest of your life, what would that be?

One type of food, Asian… one dish, Bandeja Paisa.

9. How do you see your blog changing/growing in the future?

Not sure yet. I think it will change quite a bit once we are more settled in Chicago, or if we do end up having a kid this year. I do want to do more reviews and maybe even another podcast soon. I don’t know if I want to grow it as much as keep the good readers. What I would like to grow is the interaction. I get a lot of comments via e-mail instead of posted here in the comments section. I think conversations amongst my readers are the best content that the site has.

So there you have it, I hope that you guys enjoy the interview as much as I did!

I am NOT hacking your website!

My readers know that I am not a stats whore. My site is popular because I have written about Tommy’s death (when I took an ASL class) and because I was an early fan of the movie the Boondock Saints. That and other popular posts about internet security and passwords have given me the “blessing” of a good google rank… so I should be happy right?

Over the past year I have been posting mostly thoughs and rants, I hardly ever review movies and books like I used to. My only recent attempt at more readers was an interview experiment. I don’t run any memes, I don’t play on technorati or bloggeries anymore. The readers I do have I appreciate greatly. I use Askimet as a spam stopper in wordpress and since I have started using it I have forgotten how much comment spam I do get.

Since I started blogging in 2004 I have received only one piece of hate mail that was rather amusing, and then last week I got another… the subject line read “Ashamed”

I don’t know who you are, nor do I care to know. I think you are despicable and you should be ashamed of yourself. Hacking into to people’s legitimate website and adding all your junk code with links to your blog is loathsome.
If you are even a remotely decent human being you may end up replying to my email. At minimum you should NEVER, EVER hack into people’s websites again. You should say several prayers in attempt to attain forgiveness for the ridiculously selfish nature of your actions. You should post some type of public apology on your blog as well.
In case you haven’t noticed, this is hate mail to you. You should be ashamed.

So… after initially laughing a little at the accusations I thought about it further and since the person asked me to reply I did. I was polite and tried to explain to her that I don’t hack websites, and that a spammer is probably using a badly secure site to test their code. I am not proud of the fact that links (most of them non existent since the domain is the only accurate part of the code they injected) to my website are being maliciously placed on people’s legitimate web code.

I have since received a couple of other e-mails about the matter, so it has happened to other sites. One even smart enough to ask me if I had payed someone for SEO optimization. Which I have not… I don’t make money writing in this website and have no plans on monetizing it so there is no need for that.

In conclusion. If you find some code injected into your website that happens to point to mine…

1) I did not hack your website. I have no intention and if you happen to check your logs, send me any of the offending IPs so I can add them to my block list.

2) Check with your ISP about the security of your network. If someone can modify your webpages, they have access to a lot more.

3) Be careful when paying people to “optimize” your website. Do not give them passwords or access to your files. Package your site and send it to them, revise the code before posting it back to your server.

4) NOTHING is free. If you see some “template” out there for free, don’t trust it. The code might have malicious parts in it. Unless you know what all the files are, do not upload them to your webserver.

5) Pay a reputable web developer to design your website. I would personally not hand the keys to my car to a person that has taken a toaster apart and expect them to know how to take an engine apart and put it back together. There is a HUGE difference between a web designer, a web developer and a WEBMASTER!

A web designer will make your site pretty.
A web developer will make your site do nifty things.
A web master will make sure your site is MANAGED correctly and not vandalized BY HACKERS!

So secure your websites people, or a hacker out there might link back to a blog that does not even know they exist!

Dreading Sunday

I work more hours now than I have in years, and I could not be happier with my job. Sure there are plenty of challenges and things that could be different and make it funner, but overall I feel appreciated and well compensated for what I do. I am very thankful for my job and understand that having a job is a huge blessing. That said, in previous jobs I used to dread Sunday.

I would wake up knowing that the next day I had to go into a place where the mood changed like the weather outside. It certainly did not start that way, and I felt like there were many forces at play to make it the way it was, but I now know that it had a lot to do with my own outlook on things.

Trying to change things that you have no control over, or having the desire to do so can be not just frustrating but enraging. Understanding where your control of the situation ends in a job is the key to overall mental health in the workplace. If you feel like it is not the place for you, and you stay because of environment, benefits, or simply because it is the best paycheck you can get; you have to equip yourself with a clear outlook.

Identify what you do have control over, starting with your mood. Plan your days or week in a way that you dedicate your time in an effective manner to get things done. Have a support system outside of your work that can help you sort things out in your head. It is very easy to fall into the internal perspective of things, and outside people that know you can give you insight into your situation even if they don’t understand exactly what you do.

Make yourself visible. Frustration can sometimes come from not being recognized for what you do. If you are not getting credit for what you do, someone else might be enjoying the fruits of your job.

Have hobbies, read a good book. When things are getting stressful at a workplace, make sure that you spend your time away wisely and in activities that give your brain a rest. Do something that engages your mind and not something that allows you to still think about work after you spent all day working there.

Arrive early. When you dread your job it is very easily to just start getting there just in time. That can create even more stress, so make a habit of getting the early and it will set up your days in the right direction.

If you still feel the same way, don’t wait to look for a job. You should not dread going to work, you might not like it, but the moment it becomes a true negative in your life you will be compromising too much. If you cannot change your outlook, you need to get out because it will affect your health and relationships with others.

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