30 Second Web Video Ads and Exxon

Missy and I tend to watch quite a few videos on the web, mostly on CNN and MSNBC, but also YouTube and FunnyOrDie. I don’t mind short commercials before watching a video, I understand this is how these companies pay for it. What I don’t like is the new standard, 30-second commercials, just like on TV.

I don’t like watching a 30 second commercial before a 17 second video clip, or being shown the same commercial over and over again between several different clips. It is annoying as hell, and I just end up not watching the video, or the commercial.

Last night I saw the best, total bullshit, commercial I have ever seen. I was trying to view a video from CNN or MSNBC, I forgot which one, and Exxon had a commercial about how they care about the common man, care about our economy, blah blah blah.

Now this would have been funny enough on it’s own, because anyone with half a brain knows that Exxon doesn’t give a shit about anything except profits (people, environment, etc), but the video I was going to watch was about how Exxon just set record profits for the last quarter, over $15 billion!

Gee, thanks Exxon. Our nations economy is in the shitter mostly because of companies just like you, and you have the balls to run an ad claiming otherwise just before a news report about your record profits? Do you really think we are all that stupid?

Aim High Microsoft

I remember a long time ago, when I was employed at Microsoft, we used to joke about what the Windows 95 slogan would be. We debated calling it “The Excess Hard Drive Capacity Reduction Utility” and several other things before deciding on “Windows 95, It Sucks Less”.

So I was amused to see this headline today on MSNBC’s web site, referring to Windows 7, the ultimate successor to Windows Vista. It’s nice to see Microsoft shooting for the moon. It appears that their biggest goal is to make it less annoying to use than Vista. That is a nice goal, don’t get me wrong, but is that really the greatest thing to look forward too? That it will piss you off a little bit less than Vista? Will you pay over $200 to be annoyed less?

How about this Microsoft. When Windows 7 comes out, you send me a free copy, with a nice little note attached apologizing to me for Vista annoying the shit out of me for 4 years. Really, just make Windows 7 Suck Less and all will be good.

I Survived Skydiving! And Loved It!!!

So I can officially scratch this one off the Bucket List. I did it, I actually jumped out of a perfectly good airplane! Actually, that was the airplane’s name, painted right on the side, “Perfectly Good Airplane”.

What a rush! An insane rush, but a rush like I have never had before. I had an absolutely great time this morning at Sky Knights in East Troy, Wisconsin. Everyone there is super nice and very fun people. I was assigned to “Hooche” as my tandem instructor. He is the best!

In addition to just wanting to experience skydiving for the first time, I also wanted to learn how to steer, stall, and generally control the parachute in case I ever needed to bail out of a not-so Perfectly Good Airplane. Hooche said that would not be a problem and he would teach me whatever I wanted to know.

I did not get nervous at all, except right before we jumped. I was on my knees leaning out of the plane, looking down 13,500 feet at Milwaukee below. Only then did something in my brain say “Umm, hello… what the hell are we doing?” That thought only lasted for a second, because I heard Hooche say “1, 2, 3 GO!” Then you are not nervous, no reason to be, you are either going to die in 2 minutes or not 🙂

I had a smile on my face within 10 feet of leaving the plane, as evidenced by the pictures below. What a rush! You don’t actually get the feeling that you are falling, you just feel an incredible amount of wind. The scenery does not change all that fast, so you really don’t get the sensation that you are falling out of the sky like a brick.

The cameraman was only several feet away from us and managed to get some really great pictures. The video will be mailed to me in about 10 days or so, and I cannot wait to see it.

The freefall lasted about a minute, though it did not seem that long. At 5,500 feet Hooche showed me the altimeter on his wrist, which was my queue to pull the ripcord. I waved “bye bye” to the cameraman and pulled the chord, thinking I would soon get a severe jolt.

To my surprise, there was only a slight feeling of slowing down, then slowing down more and more. Finally slowing down rapidly followed by a light jolt as the chute was fully deployed. Then total, I mean total, silence. It was beautiful.

Hooche let me enjoy the moment by not saying anything. Then I said “It’s Quiet” and then he spoke, saying “Now is when you look up to make sure you have a parachute up there”. I did, and we did have a chute, and everything was perfect.

Now is when the lesson began for me. He taught me how to turn left and right, and how to not do it like a girl! My first couple of turns were real shallow but he soon had me making steep turns as we aimed towards a house near the airport. He then let me stall the parachute, as if we were landing, so I feel a lot more comfortable now if I ever needed to use one for real. He then took the controls and landed us safely about 30 feet from where all this started.

I slid in on my butt, real gentle across the ground. Not only did I not get hurt at all on my first skydive, I didn’t even get a grass-stain! It was a beautiful day in Wisconsin, and I am pumped. This was my first skydive, but I can assure you it will not be my last! Sorry family 🙂

A Reason to Like McCain, and Off to SkyDive!

Today is a rare day. Not only because I am going skydiving for the first time, but because I am actually awake at 6AM on a Saturday and did not work all night first! I will be leaving here in about 10 minutes for my drive over to East Troy, WI.

I was checking out CNN.com as I do most days and was reading this page. It talks about the questions and comments John McCain was receiving yesterday in Minnesota and Wisconsin from people angry that Obama is leading in the polls, and that his lead is getting larger.

One person said “I don’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s an Arab.”. Anyone with half a brain knows this is not true, but it was nice to read McCain’s response to her “No ma’am, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man…[a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That’s what this campaign is all about.” So even though I am not a big fan of McCain, I do appreciate his answer and not just laughing off this lie about Obama.

One man at the rally said he was “scared of an Obama presidency.” McCain later told the man he should not fear Obama. “I want to be president of the United States, and I don’t want Obama to be,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States.” Thank you Senator McCain.

Ok, enough about politics, it’s time to go skydiving!

Bucket List Item #1 Off the List Tomorrow at 9AM

Like most people, I have a Bucket List of “10 Things to do Before I Die”. Or in my case, because of most of the things on the list, the bucket list might be called “10 Things Most Likely to Kill Me”. I have already scratched off several of these items:

1) Go Skydiving
2) Learn to SCUBA Dive (Did that in 2004)
3) Learn to Fly Aerobatics (Started that this year)
4) Get my Instrument Pilot Rating (Did that in 2006)
5) Spend Time in the Rocky Mountains
6) Meet a Great Girl and Raise a Wonderful Family (Did/Doing that, twice)
7) Own a Crotch Rocket (Did that, several times)
8) Buy a Boat (Had a couple, they don’t count)
9) Finish Building an Airplane (Started many, never finished)
10) Become Rich Enough to Retire Young

Well it’s finally official. Tomorrow morning at 9AM at Sky Knights in East Troy, WI I will go skydiving for the first time. This is a slightly early 40th birthday present to me. The weather tomorrow is supposed to be near 80 and probably the last time for a long time it will be that warm. Since my birthday is in January, that is FAR from an ideal time to go skydiving in Wisconsin!

Like a lot of first time jumpers, I will be doing a tandem jump. That is where I am hooked up, very securely I presume, to a very experienced jump master. We will climb to 13,500 feet above Milwaukee and jump out of a perfectly good airplane. We will free-fall for about 1 minute to a few thousand feet above the ground, and be under the chute for about 5 more minutes. The entire jump will be videotaped and photographed, and you can bet I will post that online!

I am nervous just writing this blog entry, but excited too. This is something that I have wanted to do for a VERY long time and it will finally happen tomorrow! This has been a “hell week” at work, actually a “hell 3 weeks”, so I really am looking forward to relaxing tonight and getting a good nights sleep before #1 comes off the list!

PS: If you are family (especially Dad), pretend you did not read this until tomorrow when I post the pictures!

Well Since Aunt Deb Asked…

Yes, I did watch most of the Vice-Presidential debate. Like a lot of people I tuned into to view the train wreck that Sarah Palin was likely to create while bringing down John McCain. I was surprised, and occasionally impressed by her. I find it very difficult to agree with her politics, and some of things she has done truly disgust me. But she held her own against Joe Biden, and that is saying something.

I do think Biden won the debate and appears much more intelligent and experienced that Palin. But she did a good job. I was really hoping for a modern day version of the Dan Quayle debate, but it was not to be.