February 2012 - Chris Ullrich dot net
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February 2012

Post Hump Day Report and a Bit About ‘Sons of Anarchy’

Yes folks, today is Thursday. Yesterday, as you might be aware, was Wednesday. That day is also know as “hump day” in the parlance of our times.

I’m not sure what this has to do with anything, but I just thought I would point it out. It may be relevant to some of you so that’s just one of the many services I try to provide to my favorite readers. Yes, I’m talking to you.

So, what’s been happening? Well, I’ve been watching a lot of a show called Sons of Anarchy for the past week or so. I had initially started watching it when it premiered a few years ago but as is sometimes the case, things distracted me and I wandered off to be transfixed by some other shiny thing. But now I’m back.

Fortunately, Netflix has my back on this one and has the first three seasons available to watch. I’ve gone through all of them and then resorted to Apple and iTunes for season four, which I’m currently in the middle of.

In case you’re not familiar with the show, it deals with a group of Harley Davidson enthusiasts and mechanics who, mostly through no fault of their own, have misadventures. You see, they’re a club, not a gang and they just want to be left alone to pursue their dream of living outside the mainstream.

Sadly, the law sees it differently and tries to impose the collective will of the self-righteous on our band of likable rouges and anti-heroes. Fortunately, the law turns out to be rather inept and for various reasons is prevented from taking any real punitive action and our favorite club is pretty much free to pursue its version of the American Dream.

The show was created and is principally written by Kurt Sutter. He cut his teeth writing and producing another gritty, anti-hero heavy show called The Shield, one of the best cop shows ever to grace the small screen.

With Sons of Anarchy Sutter is able to take things to a high level and spin his Hamlet-inspired tale in his own, unique fashion. In short, the show is very enjoyable and you quickly come to root for the “bad guys” regardless of any nefarious shit they might do.

That’s one of the cornerstones of good writing and good drama. You are able to take these, by some standards, despicable people and not only make them likable but cause the audience to root for them and hope they succeed.

The Shield had this same quality. Even though Vic Mackey and the strike team were, for lack of a better word, bad you really hoped they would “get away with it” in the end. Sutter obviously learned a lot from The Shield creator Shawn Ryan and he was able to take that knowledge, expand on it, shape it and create a show to be proud of.

This post has somehow turned into a mini-review of Sons of Anarchy, but that wasn’t really my intention. What I really wanted to accomplish here is to make sure that when I find great writing, I let people know about it.

Is Sons of Anarchy a perfect show? No. Does it occasionally veer off into melodrama and borderline soap opera territory? Sure, but rarely.

However, for the most part, it’s a well-written, skillfully produced TV series featuring an excellent cast that includes Charlie Hunnam, Maggie Siff, Ron Perlman, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Ryan Hurst and Katey Sagal and a cool, counter-culture lifestyle based on freedom to do what you want, when you want.

Any really, who doesn’t think about living that life sometimes? I know I do.

Although, maybe with a bit fewer stabbings, shootings, murders and explosions.

Friday Random Update

I’m pleased to tell you my new coffee machine (The amazing Moccamaster) arrived and I’ve had the chance to put it through its paces for that last couple days. The only word I can use to describe it and the coffee produced by it is: sublime.

That’s right, it works like a champ and every time I have some of that exceptional liquid, I’m more convinced I made the right choice. If you have the means, I definitely suggest acquiring one.

Also, as I’ve tried to do as often as I can, I’ve got a couple photos for you today. I’m including one of the new coffee machine in action in my very own kitchen. Yes, that’s not a granite counter top, get over it.

Two I took myself and one I found online and it made me laugh. That’s pretty much the only criteria for photos that I don’t take to go up here on Fridays. They need to make me laugh out loud or otherwise have some other type of emotional response.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you? Here you go:




Happy Valentine’s Day

Today is the day women often make men feel bad because they’ve forgotten it’s Valentine’s Day. However, don’t worry because I don’t know any women like that so you don’t have to be concerned for me. My significant other doesn’t have those kinds of issues.

In fact, for me and mine today is just another Tuesday. However, that doesn’t mean that you guys out there with women who love these types of holidays shouldn’t get them something nice and make a big deal about them. It’s the right thing to do, especially if they care a lot about it.

In fact, if you’re with someone you love today and they love you, go with it. Relationships are hard and if you can find someone who will put up with your shit for days, weeks, months and years, that person deserves your respect and, let’s face it, your gratitude.

Besides, a few bucks for some flowers and maybe a box of candy isn’t all that much, is it? Come on, you can do it.

On another note, I’m still waiting for my Moccamaster to arrive from Portland and my new friends at Clive Coffee. According to the tracking info it should arrive tomorrow (that’s Wednesday). Needless to say, I’m quite excited. Still, I found it necessary to say it, didn’t I?

Anyway, I look forward to long sessions getting to know my Moccamaster and all of its workings. I’m also looking forward to some great coffee.

I may even make one for my significant other. She would probably like that. Sadly, I can’t do it today.

I’ll keep you posted.

Coffee, Macs and More

I love gadgets, tech and toys. As I’ve grown older, that love hasn’t lessened. Although, the quantity of gadgets, tech and toys may have decreased slightly, the quality (and the associated cost) has increased, so there’s that.

That’s just the “circle of life” or something. Anyway, that leads me to recent developments. One of these developments has to do with my search for the perfect way to make coffee at home.

Some of you may be shocked and wonder how I could betray my beloved Starbucks, Coffee Bean or various other establishments I frequent. It’s simple, really, I just want to do it at home so I get used to working at home again. I would also like to save some time where I can too.

On a busy morning, if I have to take the time to stop at Starbucks or wherever on the way somewhere else, it can often take quite a bit of time. So, in the interest of efficiency (and to save a buy or two, let’s face it) I’m going to make coffee at home.

During a previous attempt at this I had purchased one of the Tasimo devices that makes coffee from a capsule. The results were less than stellar. In fact, the coffee kinda sucked.

This time around I’ve done much more research and committed to a much better solution. At least I think it is.

I’ve decided that the only way to make it work at home is to get the best coffee maker you can get. That one, if you ask pretty much anyone who knows anything about it, is The Moccamaster.

That’s a picture of it right there. Nice, huh.


I expect this little beauty to arrive early next week and I will report back on how awesome it is. Yes, I expect it to be awesome.

In other news, I am also trying something else again that I had tried several years ago: going all-laptop and having no desktop Mac.

At this moment, I have two computers. One is a 27″ iMac and the other is my 13″ MacBook Air. I’m am giving the iMac to a worthy person (selling, actually) and will be using the MacBook Air exclusively from this point forward.

However, this choice does present a few problems. The first of which is my iTunes library is way too big to fit on the Air. So, for the moment, it will have to reside on an external drive. Not ideal.

Second, my iMac also served as the media and print server for the house. With it gone, certain people are going to have to go upstairs and connect to the printer via usb if they want to print. Also, not ideal.

So, that means I will most likely have to get some sort of computer to use as a file, media, print server and iTunes repository. That will most likely mean a Mac Mini.

Before you ask, I’m not considering a Windows or other solution at the moment. We’re too invested in Apple tech at home to try to make that work right now. Maybe if I get some more free time I can put together a nice Windows server instead.

For now, it will probably be a Mac Mini running Apple’s Lion Server that will take on those duties at home. Plus I would like to work with Lion Server a bit more so the new Mini serves that purpose as well.

Of course, if I’m going to be using the MacBook Air as my only machine from this time forward, I kinda think it should be the latest model, don’t you? Just go with me here, okay? The one I have know is a 13″ 2.13 Ghz Core 2 Duo with 256 GB SSD.

I feel a newer 13″ MacBook Air i7 would be better for the tasks to come. Plus, I would like to give my previous generation Air to someone I think will like it. Yeah, that’s good reason.

So, lots of changes coming in my tech world. Fortunately, I don’t mind change all that much — especially when it brings newer, shinier toys.

David Lee Roth Interviews Eddie and Alex Van Halen

I can’t remember the first time I heard a Van Halen song or what song it was. It may have been something from Van Halen II like “Bottom’s Up” or “Beautiful Girls” or it could have been from Women and Children First and been a song like “Romeo Delight” or “Everybody Wants Some.”

Whatever song or album it was, it was certainly a log time ago. A simpler time to be sure. A lot has changed since that time. I’ve aged and gotten a bit slower but I think, in some ways, a bit smarter.

Over the years I’ve also tried to stay current with Van Halen and their music. That wasn’t made easy by the fact that their last album, Van Halen III, came out in 1998 and, to be fair, wasn’t really all that great.

It seems things are looking up a bit now with the band’s new album A Different Kind of Truth. It’s out today, I’ve listened to it and so far, I like what I hear. Also, it’s nice to see David Lee Roth back where he belongs.

Speaking of that, I came across this video of Roth interviewing Eddie and Alex Van Halen. It’s pretty interesting and contains info I didn’t know about the band and it’s history.

Also, it makes me worry a bit that Eddie isn’t long for this earth. The years (and the other stuff) have not been kind to him.


[vimeo 36240409 w=500 h=319]

Sunday, Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday

Today is the Big Game. Although, to have to call it that because of some copyright or trademark deal is a bit stupid. So, let’s try that again. Today is The Super Bowl. Let ’em come after me.

This means, of course, people are going to be getting together to watch the game at various parties and such. It also means we’re probably going to get some interesting new commercials today.

I like the commercials during The Super Bowl. In fact, this is pretty much the only time during the year I actually watch commercials. The rest of the time I usually fast forward through them like most other people do. Thank the gods for the DVR, amirite?

So far, I’ve seen a few commercials already that are going to be shown during the game. One of them features Matthew Broderick shilling for Honda and sorta pretending to be his character from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve included it below. I’m not sure how I feel about it but I guess it doesn’t really matter. It’s done. Besides, maybe he needs the money?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhkDdayA4iA?rel=0&w=500&h=281]

For more selections and highlights of commercials shown today as well as those of the past, I’ve been looking at this website. It’s got a lot of good ones and reminds me that at one time, the commercials were very good.

Oh, I’ve also included one other commercial that’s being shown during The Super Bowl. It features Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima. I’m not exactly sure what she’s selling but really, who cares? It works.

You’re welcome.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWrJgFjxlS0?rel=0&w=500&h=281]

Ups and Downs

Well, so much for the great “let’s post my Instagram photos to my blog automagically” experiment. If you’ve been following this site the last couple days, you know it went horribly wrong and resulted in lots of the same thing being posted over and over again.

Not good. Made even more not good by the fact that this site is setup to automatically update my Twitter with new posts and that’s set to automatically post to my Facebook. Not good times a hundred thousand.

So, that meant a lot of extraneous posts and a whole slew of bullshit I needed to deal with today in addition to the ever increasing pile I already have allotted to me. But I’m not unhappy.

However, to read this site or my Twitter or Facebook you might get the impression I’m disgruntled, angry or otherwise unhappy. Not at all.

In fact, I’m not disgruntled, rarely angry and thousands of miles away from unhappy. Just ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. I tend to go the opposite direction of angry and in most cases, I just keep on being happy. I’m not saying I never feel down or sad, I do. Everyone does. Well, most everyone anyway. Probably not sociopaths. But they’re just weird.

Anyway, the truth is for a vast majority of the time I feel happy and I think life is pretty good. It has some ups and downs, sure, but to me that’s what makes it interesting.

Of course, I say this as an educated, white male living well above the poverty line in a city with great weather, great people and with a lot of opportunities for work, fun and to live life to the fullest. Yes, luck may be a factor too.

However, even with a lot of luck you still need to do something with the opportunities presented to you. You can’t just sit back and expect the world to come to you. It doesn’t work that way and at some point, if you’re still waiting, eventually you’re going to be disappointed.

The trick is to get out there and do something before that happens. That’s why I make sure I’m as busy as possible doing a variety of things that a love. I don’t want to look back later at my life and be an old man filled with regret (apologies to Christopher Nolan for cribbing that line).

That’s what helps me stay happy. It might not work for you but hell, it’s worth a try, right?

Let me know how it goes.