Stupid White Boy Blabble

Driving in the Left Lane – UPDATED

April 13, 2011
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Oh boy. Few things make me more upset than driving. Whether it’s the slow driver or the person who just cuts you off, nothing makes my blood boil more than driving. Luckily I live in the city where walking and public transportation make my driving almost obsolete. BUT I still have to at times.

Now I hold the belief that speed doesn’t kill. That doesn’t mean I drive 100 mph on the freeway or 50 through a neighborhood. But I believe that bad driving is the main cause. Speed might have been a factor but it isn’t the main cause of crashes. With that said, I don’t mind if people drive slow. Some people prefer it and that’s fine. What I do mind is people who drive slow in the left lane. Lets brush those cobwebs off your brain and look back at what we learned in drivers education. It is indeed a law to continually drive in the left lane. As stated in the Revised Codes of Washington (RCW) under RCW 46.61.100 Section four “It is a traffic infraction to drive continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway when it impedes the flow of other traffic.” And while it might not seem like it is something police enforcement wouldn’t pull you over for, police are indeed cracking down on it.

The problem is, it disrupts the flow of traffic. I admit, I drive about 5-10 mph over the speed limit on the freeway. I get it from my parents who both speed. And I try to always stay in the right lane because I don’t want to be hypocritical. But when I am passing a few cars in the left lane and come up on someone driving at or below the speed limit, that’s when the frustration begins. It is clear that as I am catching up with you, I would like to keep going past you. Yet I am have to hit the brakes and slow down. Then I have to try and get in the right lane (passing in the right lane can be illegal) and pass them. Not only does it slow me down, but it can also disrupt smooth moving traffic in the right lane.

So please, for the sake of my sanity, and for the sake of helping everyone get to their destination more smoothly, stay out of the left lane except to pass. And yes, stereotypes are often true, Washington probably violates this more than anyone. Plus we all love to drive slow. And drink coffee.

UPDATE: An even better video of a police officer enforcing the “don’t sit in the left lane” law

The Washington State Patrol has a good video on left-lane driving:

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Pirate: No Longer One with the Sea

April 12, 2011
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Growing up, a pirate was someone on the open see, eye patch over one eye, probably a peg leg and a parrot that would speak nonsense. They would say things like “ahoy matey” and “booty.” It was entertaining and every boy wanted to grow up to be one.

Now in 2011, pirate means far more. No longer does it mean people with a skull and bones tattoo. Now it’s someone who sits behind a computer and “steals” movies, music and anything else that is downloadable. And I would be willing to bet that most of these people don’t look like pirates of yesteryear. Though a pirate today is viewed in disdain by the public much like those of the past. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) would want you to believe that downloading their media is harming their industry. The profit lost from each illegal download not only hurts the artists but the engineers and other employees who worked on the album.

But what if that wasn’t the case. In fact, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the RIAA’s global partner, claimed in 2009 that only 10 percent of music piracy accounts for a lose of sale. That is a a stark contrast to what the RIAA would want you to believe. And the IFPI is right. Not all illegal downloads would have been a sale. I would even say most wouldn’t have been a sale. Simple thinking says that if something is free, most people will take the free item regardless of want. I admit that I have illegally downloaded music before. I had no intent to go out and buy the CD either (of course this doesn’t mean I should get it for free, but that’s another argument). That CD I illegally downloaded, I only listened to once. It sits on my computer having not been played for a couple of years. So was that a lost of profit from stealing that? Nope, I wouldn’t have paid for it in the first place. And that is the biggest factor that the RIAA doesn’t want you to know.

Additionally, the RIAA says they are combating piracy for the artists. But a recent survey of 4,000 artists show that most don’t think that piracy hurts them financially and that piracy offers them more exposure.

As for the movie industry and the MPAA, their claims are even more ridiculous. In the past 30 years, they have only seen a drop in box office revenue six times. Three of those times, the drop was less than one percent in lost revenue. In 2009, we had the biggest grossing movie ever too. So their claims are getting pretty old. Yes, they claim that the decline in DVD sales is what is really hurting the industry, but when grossed over $21 billion dollars in movie theater ticket sales alone from the past two years, it is clear that piracy isn’t hurting you.

For a moment, lets agree with the MPAA and RIAA that piracy is hurting them. What could they do to make more people interested in actually buying their media?

  • Allow consumers to buy the media in the format they want. iTunes offers their music in 256kbps and most streaming services only offer up to 720p. We all have these great devices that allow us to play music and movies to their full potential, yet we are limited by the quality we are offered. The record companies and movies studios need to work with these services to provide the consumer the best possible experience.
  • Reasonably priced. I remember when iTunes was offering all songs for 99 cents and albums were $10. Now it’s $1.29 a song and albums can be $15. Wasn’t digital distribution supposed to make things cheaper? I was paying $15 for physical CDs back in the day. No way would I want to spend that now when all you are doing is transferring me songs. And I can rent a movie on AppleTV for $5. Could I at least spend $10 and buy the copy? Nope, that’s somewhere around the $15 range. $10 is the magical number for consumers.
  • Same release dates across the globe. We here in the USA have it nice. We get a lot of music and movies first before the rest of the world does. This used to not be a problem because it was harder to find information about what was being released and when. Now with the internet, the whole world knows about upcoming music and movies, well in advance. So instead of only allowing American consumers to buy something, why not let our friends all over the world do the same. Because once someone buys it and illegally uploads it, you can bet the people in countries where the media hasn’t been officially released, will pirate it.

These are just a few things the RIAA and MPAA can do to help combat piracy. But they have to remember that just because someone illegally downloads something, does not mean they lost money on that consumer. The likelihood is that it would have never seen that money anyways.

For more information about all of this, I highly recommend Torrent Freak. They have great information about what piracy really is and the issues that occur.


Legos were my best friend when I was five

March 15, 2011
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Ed. Note: Sorry for the lack of posts. Real world consumed me for the last week or so (not the show, although it’s back on, so that makes me happy)

Think back to when you were a toddler and try to remember what you did for fun. Obviously different generations found different forms of entertainment. But I would be willing to be none of it had to do with sitting in front of a screen most of the time. How times have changed.

A report out yesterday from Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Sesame Workshop says 80 percent of children ages zero to five use the internet on a weekly basis. Television viewing still dominates how children consume media, with most children spending at least three hours in front of the television.

The internet was not an American household staple when I was young but I can’t imagine my parents plopping me in front of a computer screen. Yes, computers, and screens in general, are as much of apart of our lives now as breathing is. But couldn’t parents find something better for their kids to do. I am not one to tell parents how to raise their kids, but just knowing there is endless stuff for kids to do hands on or outdoors, it just seems odd.

Of course the study says on a weekly basis, so I doubt parents are replacing Legos and physical activity for a screen. I can understand doing something fun or educational once in awhile on a computer. Maybe teaching them how to use a computer early will help them with their careers in the future. Who knows?

I can’t imagine just plopping my kids in front of a screen (who am I kidding, I can’t even imagine having kids right now). But I have a feeling that’s what I will be doing. I know one thing for sure, there will be no damn TV screens in my car.


BACON!

March 2, 2011
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You know what is boring and over done? Cooking shows. They all seem to mesh together, from Paula Deen to Giada. But a new comer is in town. And they love bacon.

They are the group known as Epic Meal Time and they don’t make food for the weak of heart (or stomach). No they don’t just make deep friend Twinkies or anything else they can find in their home. No, they make things like Chili Four Loko. What’s in Chili Four Loko you might ask? Lets break it down:

  • 900 calories of beans
  • 1,300 calories of bangers
  • 1,315 calories of ground pork
  • 2,705 calories of bacon
  • 1,000 calories of pepperoni
  • 428 calories of ham
  • 210 calories of back bacon
  • 40 calories of hot peppers
  • 2,546 calories of custom cheese sticks
  • 7,546 calories of fries
  • 2,860 calories of cheese
  • 400 calories of sour cream
  • 600 calories of Four Loko.

Sounds extreme? Not extreme enough. Why not serve it in a bacon troff that equals 18,935 calories? But why stop there? How about a bacon cup, worth 2,705 calories. Why? Because they can. All in all, the meal equals 46,255 calories. Smart.

An absolute cardiologist’s nightmare. But the beauty of this YouTube channel is that it takes a basic format and turns it around to make fun of it, while at the same time being funny and entertaining. Yeah the food can be disgusting (I would probably eat every creation they have made) but the whole concept is to make something so radical you could never imagine seeing it. Plus, the host, Harley Morenstein, has such a great voice (always yelling at food) and perfect one liners (“Dominate species mixing with inferior species in a pot”) that you don’t have to watch it to be entertained.

New episodes come out every Tuesday. All videos can be found at Epic Meal Time’s YouTube channel which was created in September with their first video published in October. They have amassed 37+ million upload views with 350,000+ subscribers. They just launched their own website as well.

Some of my favorite Epic Meal Time videos:

Tequila Taco Night

TurBaconEpic Thanksgiving


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Baseball

February 24, 2011
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Looking over my last few posts, they all seem to have a negative connotation. Doesn’t really fit my humor filled personality. It is too much work to be mad I think. So a lighter, short post today.

Finally the best sporting game is upon us. Baseball. America’s sport. Don’t let anyone tell you football is America’s sport. It is not. Baseball has such deep roots in our history that to call it anything less is disgraceful.

Most people find baseball to be too slow and boring for them. Yet in football only has 11 minutes of actual play throughout a full game. But those who truly understand the game of baseball know that every pitch is something new. That when a new batter comes to the plate, the players in the field shift appropriately to where the batter will most likely hit the ball. There is so much analyst and thought put into baseball and how to defeat your opponent that most people don’t realize.

I can’t wait for a warm summer day to watch baseball. This year I hope the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees (go ahead and boo) do well. There is no doubt the Yankees will, even with a short bullpen. But the Mariners again worry me. Not enough trades and acquisitions this offseason. It will probably be another mediocre year for them, sadly.

World Series prediction: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees. Yankees take it in 6 games.

Opening Day is March 31.


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Higher Quality, but Higher Cost? (UPDATE)

February 22, 2011
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I would say most people would be willing to pay a little more for higher quality made possessions. Look at Blu-Rays. People have been scooping them up despite their higher price tag.

And now Apple rumor mill is turning once again. This time with its focus on iTunes. The rumor is that Apple, and other music download services, might start offering higher quality music. Mashable has an article detailing the story with a quote from Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope-Geffen-A&M record label:

We’ve gone back now at Universal, and we’re changing our pipes to 24 bit. And Apple has been great… We’re working with them and other digital services — download services — to change to 24 bit. And some of their electronic devices are going to be changed as well. So we have a long road ahead of us.

It is great that Apple, and more importantly record labels, might start offering lossless formats of music. If you haven’t noticed, we have been paying basically the same price for music of lower quality from iTunes as opposed to CDs. But therein lies the problem.

UPDATE: Apple specifically wants to use 24-bit audio, the same quality found in recording studios. CDs are compressed to 16-bit. More here.

iTunes came on to the scene in January 2001 and changed the way we purchased music. It was $0.99 a song and $9.99 an album. A total steal for most people when CDs were $15-18 a pop. Plus it was instant, no need to  drive to the store. But what Apple and recorded labels didn’t tell you is that the quality of this music didn’t touch those of CDs. Apple first released songs in 128 kbps. It now releases all music in 256 kbps. Music quality is a very technical and sometimes difficult subject but know that CDs produce a much high quality sound than 256 kbps.

Here is the thing though, most people who download from iTunes, or other download services, don’t care about higher quality. You don’t need a survey or study to know that. Just look at the popularity of these download services. Millions of tracks downloaded. The people who use these services are happy with the convience and selection that is offered. Plus 256 kbps is a respectable quality while maintaining a small file size. Which is another thing with lossless music. The file sizes are huge, almost four times larger than 256 kbps. So not only does that mean more hard drive space but also a longer download time.

On top of all this, you would need a very good stereo system to even hear the difference between lossless and 256 kbps. Your computers speakers certainly wont be able to produce the highs and lows that is associated with lossless formats.

So would an average iTunes user be willing to pay more for higher quality? My guess is that they wouldn’t.


The Future: Tracking Your Kids Every Move

February 18, 2011
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Remember that rush you got when you played hooky from school? You felt like you just committed murder but it felt so good. Everyone did it whether once or enough to get you held back. Well soon kids won’t know what that is like. Goodbye growing up.

The Orange County Register reports around 75 seventh- and eighth-grade California students are just the latest to have a GPS tracker planted on them so they can be tracked by their school. I guess there were successful trials in San Antonio and Baltimore, where attendance of school-skipping-kids increased from 77 percent to 95 percent. The six week program requires each kid to check-in (incorporating social media tactics is fun!) five times throughout the day: when they’re leaving for school; when they arrive at school; at lunchtime; when they’re leaving for school, and again at 8pm. So not only are they monitoring you, you have to remember each day to key in a code at a certain time? Sounds tedious and annoying.

Miller Sylvan, regional director of the company involved with the program, said

We want the students to be interactive with the device and take steps to let us know where they are. That helps teach them the discipline they need to be responsible. It gets them thinking about their schedule.

What schedule do seventh and eighth graders have? Wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, hang out with friends and go to sleep. If you are playing a sport, add that right before “come home.” Tough schedule to remember. And helps teach them to be responsible. What happened to the parenting aspect of that? I feel like that needs to be taught by mom and dad and not some government run device.

I am not saying that kids should skip school. When I am older, I would like these kids to be running my country responsibly. But when does responsibility fall on the shoulders of the kid? Or even the parent? Growing up and making mistakes is all part of learning process. Now we are just letting the government hold our hands. How did humans survive all these years without the hand holding government?

So remember kids, stay in school. The government is watching.


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Millionaires Can’t Avoid DUIs

February 17, 2011
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Drunk driving. It is a huge problem in our country. One that routinely takes the lives of innocent people because other stupid people think they are “OK.” It is sad tragedy.

But thats not what this post is about. This post goes out to all the celebrities and sports stars that get busted for driving under the influence. I don’t know about other people, but it is absolutely baffling that these people, who make millions upon millions of dollars a year, get pulled over for a DUI. It’s not the fact that they get caught but rather that they are driving at all. Let me reiterate, they make millions of dollars a year. And these morons get behind the wheel of car after drinking. Have these people never heard of a taxi? Hell, they could afford a limo or town car! When my friends and I go out, we plan ahead with cabs and we make a fraction of what these mega stars make. If I had millions, I would call up a limo tell them to take me and my friends around town and then safely return everyone home. A limo doesn’t cost more than $200 an hour, chump change when you make millions.

So every time I see an article that looks like “SUPER STAR NAME Busted for DUI,” I feel absolutely no sympathy for them. One, because they have millions and could have taken a different form of transportation and two, because they will get off with a slap on the wrist. Tough life they live.


Voicemails

February 17, 2011
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I hate voicemails. Every time I see that damn red circle with a number in it, hovering over my phone icon, I get annoyed. I would rather someone text, Tweet, Facebook, e-mail or send a pigeon than leave me a voicemail. I don’t know what it is exactly I hate about voicemails. Maybe it is the thought of listening to someone ramble on about pointless stuff as they try to fit everything they wanted to say in the small timeframe they have. Maybe because I am new school and prefer if it is important, someone just sends a text “call me when you have a minute.” That way they aren’t interrupting me and giving me the option of calling when I feel like it.

When I was at college, my mom would call and leave me a voicemail. I wouldn’t listen to them and would instead just return her phone call. Instantly she would ask me, “did you listen to my voicemail?” My response would always be “No, whatever you said in your voicemail would probably involve me calling you back anyways, so why don’t you tell me now instead.” She would get frustrated but still repeat whatever she said in the voicemail. Note: I love my mother very much. I would word my response in a much nicer tone but the end point would be the same.

Gizmodo posted an article posing the question “Is it ever OK to leave a voicemail anymore?” Pretty good read and I would agree with most of the points throughout the article. Yes, if my best friend or family member got engaged, birthed a child or had a death, please call and leave a voicemail if I don’t answer. But if you are calling me to catch up, don’t leave a voicemail. The likelihood of me returning your phone call quickly was just reduced 90%. I will call you back simply by seeing you called, I promise. Voicemails are also acceptable for the working environment. But I would argue an e-mail would net you a quicker response.

So please, next time you call, really think about what you have to say and if it voicemail worthy. It’s probably not.


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I Like Lil Wayne More Than Oreos

February 16, 2011
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The title is true. Lil Wayne is a lyrical genius and he is actually pretty funny. Oreos are delicious but they stick to your teeth and if you don’t have milk they are worthless. But I didn’t think more people liked Lil Wayne than Oreos. The internet has spoken, though, and Lil Wayne set a Guinness World Record for most Facebook ‘likes’ in a 24 hour period. Pretty impressive considering the fact that NabiscoWorld created a whole campaign to generate the most ‘likes’ in a 24 hour period. Lil Wayne just sent out the message “everyone, please “Like” this post. I’m trying to break the Guinness World Record for most “Likes” on a post in 24 hours. Let’s get it!!!” No campaign, no real though, just straight showing that his fans love him and will do anything to get him in the spotlight.

Not only that, but Oreos had a five hour head start on Lil Wayne and Lil Wayne generated five times the number of likes. Yes, Lil Wayne has about 4 million more ‘likes’ on Facebook than Oreos, but not even a million people ‘liked’ either status so I dub that fact null and void.

Now just because Lil Wayne won, doesn’t mean Oreos lost. Yes, for five hours they did hold the Guinness World Record. But all the press and coverage this has generated for Oreos (and Lil Wayne) has put their name out their to thousands, if not millions of people. So a win-win for both parties involved.


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About author

I'm Jeff. I like PR, sports, politics and traveling. Not in that order. Oh and I also like cats and sharks. Go Cougs!

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