nearest netflix shipping facility

ramblings 1 Comment »

every so often we’d get some korean movies through netflix. unfortunately for us korean movie fans, netflix makes it a bit difficult since there isn’t a specific category designated just for korean movies. and you can’t perform a general search for all DVDs with korean as the primary language either. so there’s no easy way to browse through the latest korean DVDs. most of the time i would have to search for specific titles. but i’m getting a bit off track here. the main reason i’m posting today is to rant about sending back netflix discs to the “nearest shipping facility”.
nearest netflix shipping facility!!
as you can see in the example picture here, all netflix return envelopes are addressed to the nearest netflix shipping facility with the specific shipping center mailing address that the disc originated from printed under it. now normally with mainstream releases your disc is usually from a local distribution center so it’s not a big deal. but for limited releases and foreign movies this isn’t the case. for korean discs, we’ve been getting them from all over- california, seattle, new york etc. so it takes some extra time to receive the discs. and that’s understood. but what i don’t want is to wait those same extra days when i sent the discs back. since the envelopes state “nearest netflix shipping facility” you’d think all DVDs sent back by me would wind up at our local center, right? wrong. for some reason, the post office still sends the DVDs that were from distant shipping centers back to the originating center that’s listed on the envelope.
i’ve been giving the post office the benefit of the doubt but after seeing so many delays in getting my discs checked back in i’m going to stop sending these discs back to the shipping center of origin.

according to the comments posted at hackingnetflix some folks cross out the address and barcode printed on the envelopes so that the post office has no choice but to send them to the local facility. there’s some debate over whether this is a good idea or not. plus i wouldn’t feel right not having an address on there. i was thinking of scanning in the address and barcode of my local shipping center and print out a label whenever the occasion arises. another option that i might consider is doubling up (sending back two discs) in a locally addressed envelope and simply discard the envelopes addressed to a distant location.

i’m sure this sounds a bit petty to some but most netflix users know what i’m talking about. it just burns me up that i have to wait an extra three days for a disc to arrive at a netflix sorting center way out in california when netflix would readily accept the same disc at our local center that’d only take one day. argh!

Home Security

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

home securityrecently there have been a rash of break-ins in and around our neighborhood. learning about these crimes happening so close to home has really made an impression on us. robbery and break-ins are pretty common when it comes to the local evening news but when it happens to your neighbors, the true reality of it all hits you like a ton of bricks. these strange intruders trashing the interior of a home, going through personal items, financial records, and running off with all the family’s treasured things leave their victims feeling violated, vulnerable and helpless. incidents like these remind all of us that we need to take the step necessary to protect our home and our loved ones. the obvious thing to do is to install a Home Security System. there are a variety of different ways to secure a home. from a professional installation of a full monitoring system to a simple wireless home alarm system. technological advances in recent years have now made those nuisance and false alarms we’ve all heard about a thing of the past. security systems can now measure the size and weight of an intruding object so that pets and insects won’t set off the alarm by mistake. another neat option is the addition of video surveillance that is tied into a security system. not only can an intruder be visualized on a remote monitor but can also be recorded for future evidence. security systems have definitely come a long way. they are more user friendly and more advanced than ever before. in the times we’re living in now, a home security system isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity.

when i’m 65!!

music No Comments »

Sir Paul in NYC
it’s hard to believe Paul McCartney is now 65!!! He still rocks out with the best of ‘em. rock on Macca!
Sir Paul still rockin!!
and happy birthday Sir Paul!
I Saw Him Standing There
to celebrate the man’s b-day, here are a couple of rare Macca tracks from the mid-eighties.

Don’t Break the Promises - a nice leftover from his cowriting sessions with Eric Stewart.

I Love This House - this one’s got David Foster all over it. the synths and drum machine make it sound a bit dated. even though the sound reeks of mid-80’s, i still like the song for some odd reason.

Pretty Little Head 7″ remix - a track from one of my all time favorite McCartney albums - Press to Play
see ya next time!

Burn Notice

movies and TV No Comments »

well, it’s summer. most people go by the calendar or the overall temperature or when they notice that their kids aren’t at school anymore. one way i can definitely tell is by the lack of interesting programming on television. once summer hits, it’s basically wall to wall reruns and second tier shows that aren’t that interesting to watch. well, i have some good news for all that feel like i do about the summer television schedule. USA Network’s Burn Notice is scheduled to start June 28th! rejoice everyone for there’s finally going to be something substantial to get hooked into during the summer months. The title of the series refers to “burn notices” that are issued by intelligence agencies like the CIA which discredit or announce the dismissal of one of their agents. the new series follows agent Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) as he tries to piece together the reasons for his sudden termination. Besides Donovan, Burn Notice also features Gabrielle Anwar, Sharon Gless and my personal favorite Bruce Campbell (from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies). the mysterious dismissal storyline and the star power of Campbell and Anwar is enough to get me excited about the show. and since finding out about what’s behind Agent Westen’s firing is the whole point of the show there’s not much to go on at this point. if i had to take a stab at it, here’s my take on the reason behind his burn notice:

while digging deep through some classified databases for a case he was researching for, Agent Michael Westen stumbles upon some sensitive documents that revealed detailed information and all the personnel involved in the CIA-Central America drug trafficking fiasco that took place during the Reagan administration. Agent Westen unknowingly opens up a can of worms and the higher ups in the CIA react quickly and swiftly to sweep the info back under the rug. the folks in his department still remember the thrashing they received during the mid-90’s investigations concerning the matter. Agent Westen’s superiors have no choice but to issue the burn notice to stop the info from going any further.

OK, so i’m not a screenwriter. it doesn’t matter. the series starts June 28th on the USA Network. head on over the show’s website for a sneak peek of the series pilot.

oh! the horror!

kidbits No Comments »

Kidz Bop will be coming to a town near you!

OK parents, you’ve been warned!! now head for the hills, cover your ears and scream to the heavens for some mercy!!

a massive US tour is currently in the works and will soon be poised to torture all living parents and kids alike within hearing distance.

please, can someone explain to me why there’s even a market for this crap?? what kind of tone-deaf parents are allowing their kids to listen to such stuff? how on earth can Kidz Bop be on VOLUME 12 now? it’s essentially out of tune group of kids singing over copycat versions of the original songs. wow, how creative. what has become of our children’s musical tastes??? is BARNEY to blame?? or maybe those awful WIGGLES!

just see for yourself if you dare.

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Federal plus loan

miscellaneous No Comments »

like most parents with little kids, we’re trying to regularly put money aside for the kids’ college funds. at times it’s pretty difficult to do especially when unexpected home or auto repairs occur and take the planned monthly budget for a spin. and seeing the ever rising costs of higher education nowadays, it seems as though parents are fighting a losing battle in terms of saving enough for their children’s education. that’s why it’s good to know that federal plus loans are available to help cover the cost of a college education. a Federal Plus loan is a low interest education loan that allow parents to pay the full cost of their child’s education. that’s right, the full cost which includes - tuition, room and board, books and transportation. A PLUS loan can be a great option for many parents since the loans are offered at very low interest rates. also, unlike scholarships or grants, the PLUS loans aren’t based on need. other benefits include a simple and fast application process and tax deductibility of the loan interest payments. with the flexibility and benefits that are offered with PLUS loans, it’s definitely an option all parents should consider when it comes to funding their children’s education.
to learn more about the Federal plus loan, please visit Financialaid.com.

random ramblings

ramblings No Comments »

allergy testing
we took our middle child to an allergy/asthma specialist yesterday. the poor kid had a rough winter/spring season with persistent coughing and congestion. interesting that most his problems cleared up just in time for this appointment. anyway, they still performed the breathing/lung test and the skin-prick allergy tests. can you believe the total bill for this one visit came up to a little over $600? yes, insurance takes care of the bulk of the cost but still, that doctor’s making a killing for some simple tests.

The Season Premiere of Rescue Me.
eh. a bit underwhelming after all the hype the last few weeks. it’s not a good sign for the rest of the new season. at this point i’m thinking that this coming season will be a bit like last season where the episodes are hit or miss. the season premiere was a *miss* in my book. i guess it’s a bit hard to live up to the first two seasons which were absolutely phenomenal.
Alan Sepinwall sums up the way i feel about the show in his recent blog post: “Rescue Me” has always had a sloppy feel to it, with subplots and running gags coming and going at random, but this episode felt particularly disjointed. The next couple are a little better in this regard (and also funnier), but the show’s gone from one of my must-sees to something I watch because it’s summer and not much is on.

spoofing my domain
i recently started receiving a slew of bounced emails in my inbox. apparently some sp*mmer is using fake email addys with my domain name in their reply-to field for their sp*m. sad to see that there nothing one can do to prevent creeps like this spoofing your domain name for sp*m. it just burns me up. i mean, why my domain? there are millions and millions of domain names to choose from. what on earth possessed this idiot to choose mine? get a life you piece of sh*t sp*mmer!!

Journey without a lead singer
dude. what is up with Journey? they booted Steve Augeri last summer for Jeff Scott Soto. and now Jeff Scott Soto is out! Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon barely had any credibility left without Steve Perry and now booting Augeri and Soto, it seems all is lost. i guess with all their remaining fans in disbelief and the band left with no integrity, all that’s left to do is to go on the reality show ROCK STAR to search for their next lead singer.

currently listening to:
Girl Talk - Warm it Up

Hillsong United: All of the Above

music, reviews No Comments »

in the past, Hillsong United releases were always overshadowed by Darlene Zschech and her crew. Darlene and the main Hillsong worship team would end up selecting the prime cuts off of the Hillsong United CDs and incorporate them into their own release. the casual hillsong listener would normally opt to buy the Darlene Zschech CD over the United CD since the United versions felt like demos to Darlene’s more polished, wall of sound approach. but now with Hillsong United’s new release, All of the Above, the group has stepped out of the shadows and come into their own. one notable change from the previous releases is the fact that the group recorded the album in the studio as opposed to recording in a live setting. this approach seems to have kept the group more focused on the songs and the delivery and not so much on leading a full congregation in worship. the arrangements are still bombastic as ever but with a bit more flair probably due to the extra time spent honing things down in the studio. with songs like Point of Difference and Desperate People, it feels as though these are the definitive versions and that we as listeners won’t have to wait around for Darlene Zschech’s take on these great songs. in fact, the group reverses the United-Zschech tradition by recording their own version (and not to mention much improved) of Found which is off of Hillsong’s Mighty to Save CD. as with most Hillsong releases, we normally have to weed through a lot of filler tunes but on All of the Above, the majority of the songs are strong and can stand on their own. you will find quality songwriting and perfomances through and through. if you’re into Hillsong or contemporary worship recordings, All of the Above is a must for your collection.

Highlights include: Point of Difference, Desperate People, Lead Me to the Cross, Found, Hosanna, Saviour King.

watch Brooke Fraser and Hillsong United performing one of my favorites of the album, Hosanna on youtube.

Hillsong United - All of the Above

1 Point of Difference (Houston) 4:22
2 Break Free (Crocker, Houston, Ligertwood) 4:07
3 Desperate People (Chislett, Houston) 5:29
4 Devotion (Sampson) 5:59
5 Draw Me Closer (Selah) (Interlude) (Ussher) 1:26
6 Lead Me to the Cross (Fraser) 4:18
7 Found (George) 6:02
8 Hosanna (Fraser) 5:30
9 For All Who Are to Come (Selah) (Interlude 2) 3:37
10 Solution (Crocker, Houston) 4:37
11 My Future Decided (Douglass, Houston, Sampson) 4:18
12 Never Let Me Go (Houston) 6:01
13 You (Andrew, Thomas) 5:03
14 Saviour King (Fieldes, Sampson) 12:16

spy sweeper

internet buzz No Comments »

nowadays with access to broadband connections more widespread than ever, it has become even more important to protect yourself from spyware. some users may get confused and believe that having virus protection is enough for their personal computer. but this is simply not so. spyware may seem harmless to some but it can actually do a lot of harm especially when it comes to your personal information. that’s right, your confidential data, personal stats, financial records are all vulnerable to spyware. did you know that file sharing programs like P2P software are likely gateways for spyware infection? even visiting certain websites can make you vulnerable. so what should you do? easy. purchase and install Spy Sweeper. Spy Sweeper is the most award-winning antispyware software available today. it has the most advanced spyware detection system that also effectively blocks and removes even the most toughest spyware programs. don’t just rely on buggy freeware to protect you from intruding spyware. protecting your personal information in this day and age is a high priority and folks should be using the most trusted and highly rated software for the task. download Spy Sweeper and rest easier knowing you’ve got the best protection from spyware around. and be sure to head on over to the website today for a free scan of your computer as well as $10 off the regular price of the software.

Fuzzy cable

miscellaneous No Comments »

OK, the cable guys were back again. this time to replace the main cable line that runs between the street level cable box and the house. we were recently experiencing un-cable like fuzzy TV images at random periods throughout the day so the cable folks suggested putting in a newer cable connection that’s got more bandwidth. and how could i say NO to MORE bandwidth, right? the thing is that the cable they need to replace runs underground… you know, underneath my nicely kept lawn! argh.

oh the things we do to get good TV reception!

anyway, the contractor was at the house today digging up the yard to replace the cable line. he was aware of our in-ground sprinkler system but surprise, surprise, he hit one of the pipes. nice.

so we have to wait around for another contractor to show up to fix the damaged pipe in our yard. he’ll probably end up digging up my lawn even more. wonderful!

but now we’ve got clearer TV images! hooray! at least something was done right today.

Reno 911 The Movie

movies and TV No Comments »

OK folks. I know you all have been waiting for a new laugh out loud comedy for your DVD viewing pleasure. and sadly, there’s been a bit of a drought in this department. but don’t fret b/c the dry spell will be over on the 19th of June. That’s when the hilarious DVD of Reno 911! Miami The Movie gets released!!!

some of you might not have caught it while it was in theaters a while back so nows the time to make up for what you missed and laugh yourselves silly. if you’re not already aware, Reno 911! Miami The Movie is basically a mixture of the TV series COPS and Police Academy with goofy screwball comedy turned up to *11*. the basic premise is about the Reno team winding up in Miami for a police convention. and in a series of unfortunate events, the Reno police force ends up being the only active law enforcers in town. and that’s when the real fun begins. some of the highlights include some great celebrity cameos including appearances by Paul Rudd, David Koechner, Paul “Pee-Wee” Ruebens and Patton Oswalt. in fact, i’ve got a clip of one of my favorite scenes which features David Koechner. it’s when Lt. Dangle encounters the Aspen Sheriff’s department (Koechner) and asks about the status of his application. a bit embarrassing and awkward but its also *too funny*.

so mark your calendars for the 19th of June b/c that’s when you can get your own copy of Reno 911! Miami The Movie and experience laughter like you haven’t in ages.

music links for wednesday

links and stuff, music 1 Comment »

hooray for humpday. you know what that means…. it’s time for some random music links.

one of my all time favorite Mike Oldfield albums is up at Have a Look.

DJ Shooter’s got the Ladies of the Eighties Mix.

I can’t seem to get enough of Nelly Furtado’s Say It Right. It never gets old. check out the Electro Remix version.

Octaner’s got Revolver Deluxe Edition Vol. 2

yes, you know you want it. just admit it and move on - Bananarama Greatest Hits.

..oh, and while you’ve lost all pride, you might as well go ahead and grab some Bon Jovi.

oh and this week’s theme over at Audiography Collaborative Music Blog is: Break Up Songs. love it!

enjoy!

Murder By Numbers

music No Comments »

Win a New York fly-away to see The Police livereading through the songlist of the new police cd, I’m reminded of my junior high days back when i first started taking drum lessons. Stewart Copeland was *the drummer* to copy licks from back then. His use of splash cymbals, reggae rhythms, innovative drum patterns and super speedy drum fills really caught the attention to not only me but millions of other drummers and young musicians alike. I used to listen to the album Synchronicity over and over again repeatedly, day in and day out, studying Stewart’s drum patterns and drum fills. since i was in my early teens and just starting out on drums, the way Stewart played on some of the tracks was mind-boggling to me at the time. yes it was a bit frustrating trying to learn all of the drum hits but more than anything it was all fascinating to me. I loved it. one of the songs that i loved to play along with was Murder By Numbers. The time signature of the song is 6/8 but Stewart’s drum pattern doesn’t seem to be following that time signature. it just blew my mind. the drums were placed up front in the mix and really plays a major role in the song. and once you get past the incredible drum playing, there’s also Andy Summers’ intricate guitar part that is just perfect. i love the guitar chords on this song. the E7#9 - Bbsus2/A - B7#9 - Bb7 chord progression is just pure ear candy. and on top of all that is Sting singing some pretty dark lyrics. interesting to note that people seem to miss the point of the song. the song isn’t necessarily glorifying serial killers. i believe the main point of the song is that even leader of a countries going to war should be accountable for all the lives that are lost. murder is murder even if you’re not the one actually doing the deed. anyway, it’s great to see that the Police are back in action, playing live and promoting the new police cd. the tour is currently making its way through North America and is is receiving lots of press and positive reviews. Sting, Stewart and Andy are even performing Murder By Numbers on this tour!! they’ve revamped the feel and the arrangement a bit on the song. i’m still a bit partial to the original arrangement but check it out for yourself with this short clip of the song up on youtube. it was captured on the first night of the tour up in Vancouver.

from the music vault: The Higher You Climb

music No Comments »

dusted off from depths of my music vault: Max Bacon - The Higher You Climb
Max Bacon

frankly, I can only take the sound of Max Bacon’s voice in small doses. which means this CD doesn’t get a lot of play in my car. with a gifted producer and a high quality studio, his voice may not grate as much but The Higher You Climb is essentially a collection of demos from various periods of Max’s career including work with Geoff Downes, John Young and with GTR. since these are indeed demos, Max’s voice does get a bit annoying. at least to my ears.

I guess the high point of Max’s career came around 1985 when he fronted the Steve Howe/Steve Hackett project GTR. so if you want a great example of what Max Bacon can do (in the hands of a good producer and backed by a major recording budget), go listen to When the Heart Rules the Mind. that was a very well crafted song.

as for this CD, the songs with Geoff Downes (The Higher You Climb and Boys from Diamond City) and GTR (Hungry Warrior and No One Else to Blame) are the only ones worth listening to. the others are just non-descript and tuneless.

Album: The Higher You Climb
Artist: Max Bacon
released: 1995 by Now And Then Records

Tracks:
1. The Higher You Climb (3:32)
2. Boys from Diamond City (5:34)
3. Walk Away (4:04)
4. All Grown Up (4:56)
5. When I was Young (3:53)
6. Hold Him Closer (4:20)
7. Desperate Times (4:06)
8. Love Comes Down (4:05)
9. Hungry Warrior (4:04)
10. No One Else to Blame (4:43)
11. I Know What I Like (4:14)
12. Roundabout (8:41)

Band members:
Max Bacon: vocals
Matt Clifford: keyboards
Geoff Downes: keyboards
Nigel Glockner: drums (3-10)
Scott Gorham: guitar
Steve Hackett: guitar
Steve Howe: guitar
Jonathan Mover: drums (11, 12)
Phil Spalding: bass
Mike Sturgis: drums (1, 2)
John Young: keyboards

the CD is currently out of print so you may have a tough time locating a copy. from what i read, the label was forced to discontinue the production of the CD due to them not having full permission to release some of the songs. if i had to guess, the GTR songs were probably the ones causing the problem.

for those interested, here are two mp3s from the album:

The Higher You Climb - from the RAIN sessions with Geoff Downes

Hungry Warrior - from the NeroTrend sessions with GTR

enjoy.


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