Dec 012010

Top Ten Reasons Wine Sucks

USB Wine

USB Wine

I’m a beer drinker. In fact I am a beer snob. I love beer, but I insist on really good beer. I refuse any variation of Miller, Budwiser, Michelob, etc. The cheapest I go is maybe a Henry Weinhard’s, but I don’t think I have had one of those in ten years. So these are the things that turn me off to wine. For the record, this is a post done more as a joke to all my wine drinking friends than a hatred thing.

Now if you have any wine’s you think would win me over, feel free to list them in the comments. Keep in mind that I like beer. So super sweet doesn’t pass muster. A sour bite doesn’t pass either. It’s the juice concentrate taste I don’t like. So if you think there is a wine I have not tried I am open minded to it. I just think they all taste like bad Grape Juice. I grew out of grape juice about 20 years ago, so I’m not interested.

I also think the hangovers from wine are the worst. If I have to have a hangover, I prefer the ones that good beer or top shelf hard grain alcohol gives. But since I don’t over drink anymore this is a very minor complaint and why it didn’t make the top ten below.

1. Sticking your nose into the glass
Wine smells like grape juice gone bad. So why stick your nose so far into the glass. Maybe a few nose goblins will make it not taste like ass?

2. The swirl
You never see someone doing that to a good beer. Beer comes pre-mixed because it is a better drink. Hell, even James Bond wants his drink “Shaken not stirred.”

3. All the talk about the air and the fragrance
Unless you like the smell of a homeless midget’s taint I don’t get why you people get so excited about that smell. It’s not a damn air freshener. It’s a beverage. Drink it already and STFU!

4. The explanations of the smells
Have you ever really listened to someone trying to explain a “good wine? Does anyone ever sound more full of crap? Does anyone sound like more of a douche?

5. The spitting.
Hey, if I put something in my mouth that tasted that nasty, I’d want to spit it out too!

6. The Attitude
One of the most annoying things about wine is the attitude that wine drinkers are somehow the highest element of society. I’ve never understood that since it tastes like the cheapest way to get drunk available. I’ve always thought of wine as “The Emperors New Beverage”. Meaning that it tastes like crap, but people have been fooled into thinking it makes them smarter if they are seen drinking it. The emperor is naked and wine tastes like crap. You are a retard. So please get on the short bus so we can drive it off a cliff.

7. Children’s Cough Syrup
So many wine’s taste like children’s cough syrup. How can you act so snobby and talk for hours about something that tastes like children’s cough syrup?

8. Jolly Rancher anyone?
Not all wines taste the same. So to pigeon hole all of them as tasting like children’s cough syrup would be unfair. Some of them taste like a Jolly Rancher. Again I wonder why there is such an elitism that goes with wine.

9.The Price
Even the wine drinkers I know find this a little disturbing. Some of them have the money for the really expensive wines and have had them, but find the $10 wines to taste better. So is this another example of “The Emperor’s New Clothes?” Do people talk up the more expensive wines just to make themselves feel and look important to other douche bag wine snobs? Damn you people are pathetic.

10. The descriptions
Ever listen to wine drinkers describe what they are drinking? Am I the only one who just wants to punch them in the face?  There is nothing more annoying than listening to douche bags talk about wine.

Aug 222010

Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel review

Marriott Chef delivering bun

Marriott Chef delivering bun

So another weekend of Gnomedex and another weekend at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel. This may have been the last year of Gnomedex but another tech conference had it’s first year at the exact same conference center. For some reason they thought PII was a good name despite everyone already pronouncing it like Pee. So even though I won’t be going up for Gnomedex next year, I do hope to go up for Seattle Geek week and Pee…er, I mean Pii. So I figured why not review this years stay at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel?

The staff as always was great. I’ve never seen a group of people work so hard to make little ol’ me feel as comfortable as possible. It was nice to see Nicole (I’m starting to learn names, how sad is that?) at the front desk again. She has a pleasant laugh and a relaxing smile. Even though I know she is paid to have that laugh and smile she does it so well I am led to believe there is some sincerity to it. I’m as cynical as it gets, but she seems to actually give a crap and have fun with her job.

The chef made me laugh this year though. Last year Ciabatta buns were all the rage, so I understood why they had one of those nasty things on the burger I ordered. This year however it was a freakin’ pancake! No joke. I was told it was some sort of flat bread, but if it looked like a pancake, smelled like a pancake, and sure as heck tasted like a pancake, I think it is safe to say that was a damn pancake! It reminded me of those images of a rabbit with a pancake on it’s head. “I have no idea what you are saying so here’s a bunny with a pancake on it’s head.” So I felt like the chef was telling me, “I have no idea what you are saying, so here’s a burger with a pancake on it’s head.” To be clear, the burger tasted great otherwise. It would have been better with a real (traditional) bun, but the pancake made me laugh more than anything. It was more goofy and silly than anything that would have ruined the meal. The omelet I had on Sunday morning was way better than the one I had on the Sunday morning last year. Not sure why. Maybe it was cooked more thoroughly? Maybe I ordered different ingredients? Maybe they changed cooks, methods, recipes, equipment, or something else. All I know is that It was pretty packed with awesome.

The maid service was great of course. I think the maids got used to me leaving at 8 am for the conference. So when I slept in until about ten and was still getting stuff ready for check out at 11:00 a very polite and apologetic lady came in to change the bed sheets. If I was forced to find one complaint it would be that they kept moving the program schedule and remote to the tv. Who needs it there? I need it on the nightstand! But if that is the biggest complaint I can think of, that is some awesome work! Let me also say the guys out in front are always jumping on any excuse they can to serve you. It kind of threw a guy like me for a loop to be honest. I’m just not used to that sort of thing. I heard that the hotel was packed all weekend, but yet it just didn’t seem like it. Everything was nice and quiet. Sure there was people, but it still maintained a very relaxing vibe to me. I have heard about hotels that are about half the price just a block or two up the street, but the staff at the Seattle Marriott Waterfront Hotel treat me so well that I am afraid to try anywhere else next year. Now everyone, let me hear you scream, “Pee, Pee, Pee, Pee, Pee!” Oh, right. It’s Pii. Sorry, I keep forgetting.

Aug 102010

R2-D2 Droid: Verizon Why Must You Torture Me!

Droid 2

Droid 2

So more official news is finally coming out about the Droid 2. Anyone who has been paying any attention at all to my social networks is probably sick of me talking about it. I know my wife is. She’s told me as much. So now it is pretty much official that the Droid 2 may be ordered online on Wednesday and may be ordered in store on Thursday of this week. So not only is my waiting over, but I will now be able to have a new phone in time for Gnomedex. So I’m happy right? Oh hell no!

At the same time as they announce that I can get my Droid 2 in time for Gnomedex, they also announce that if I wait just a few weeks more I can get an R2-D2 version of the phone. With me being a major Star Wars nerd from way back before most of you were born, this is pure torture! There is no way I can wait any longer for a new phone, so I am going to get the regular Droid 2. However, I may have to put up with insane amounts of flack from my wife for switching up to the R2D2 version when it comes out just a few weeks later. Would I pay an extra couple hundred dollars to have a Star Wars version of a phone I purchased just weeks prior? Yes, I am THAT pathetic!

Now of course Verizon has a 30 day return policy, but I’m willing to bet they will release the R2D2 Droid 2 just over one month after the regular Droid 2. So either those poor clerks will have to deal with a flood of excited nerds exchanging their phones or they will deal with really pissed off nerds wanting to exchange their phones, but not being able to. Of course one could just wait an extra couple weeks before buying the regular Droid 2, so they fit into that return policy window, but I’m an American and so I’m more impatient than an Apple fanboy waiting for a chance to sniff Steve Jobs boxers.

No worries people. I hear that there will be a Verizon representative at Gnomedex, so I will do my best to get an interview with them. Maybe I can find out a way to get upgraded to the R2D2 phone from the regular Droid 2 without paying a few extra hundred dollars? So to my fellow nerds please keep watching this page for updates next weekend for further updates on this insanity. Before then I should be blogging daily about my adventures trying to get a Droid 2 phone on Thursday morning. Anyone want to go hunting with me?

Aug 232009

Is Gnomedex more like cheese or fine wine?

So nerd camp is over for this year, but why do I get the impression that I got more out of this year than I did last year? A few have said that the conference was better this year, but I think my personal gain in value might have had more to do with this being my second year. Now don’t get me wrong, I had fun last year. Last year was so good that it convinced me I should go this year. But I sincerely feel like this year I got way more value than I did last year. This is despite the schwag not being near as cool (gold water bottle anyone). Heck, there was even a communication error between the company that printed the official Gnomedex shirts and the Gnomedex staff, and they ended up with a massive shortage of shirts for us heavier set geeks. (Chris said that he will take care of us left without a shirt) So way less schwag, and no shirts that fit me, but yet it was better?

Some people that I met in very quick passing last year, ended up being great contacts this year. This has less to do with how the conference is run and more about it just being my second time. So Gnomedex is something that grows in value with each year you come! If it is just ok your first year, it will be great the next, and even better on the third I have been told. So get your tickets now because they are already going quickly!

Another thing that added value for me was when one of the speakers that gave a talk on something I am extremely passionate about. I passionately disagree with one of his points and that opened up a great debate between the two of us. It is not only growing into a mutual respect but also a friendship (despite one person being offended). Maybe not something most Gnomedexers will experience, but it made things better for me. Of course there was also the hotel situation that I already talked about in another post that made things better for me as well.

The final thing that added value to the conference for me was not ending so early on a Saturday night. Last year it was kind of annoying to be somewhat stuck in Seattle with nothing to do. It was so much better to end the conference with this great open bar party. It let us all say goodbye to Gnomedex for the year, increased the chances for face to face interaction (the real value of the conference), let things basically end on a Sunday morning where it’s less stressful to leave Seattle, and just gave the event more proper closure. This way I just added another day of hotel and left more relaxed. Last year my wife had to come pick up my stuff at 8 in the morning, hang out for 10 hours, and then leave the most insane part of Seattle on a Saturday night! This year was way better and I hope the plans are to continue this for Gnomedex 10. Much improved I say, open bar or not.

So what made the conference better for you? Does Gnomedex get better with each visit? My wife knows more about cheese and wine, but I know it got better for me. Now to keep this thing from getting too long, I am going to continue my review of Gnomedex with a second post later. see you all next year?

Get your tickets for Gnomedex 10 NOW! Click here for more info.

Aug 232009

Why Gnomedex attendees should stay at the Marriott instead of Edgewater

So this was my second time going to Gnomedex. Last year I stayed at Edgewater and this year I stayed at Marriott. Most people going to Gnomedex stay at one or the other because they are the two hotels within a 2 minute walk from the Bell Conference Center. Well I now want to strongly recommend that if you are going to Gnomedex (which all my readers should do) that you should just stay at Marriott.

What does Edgewater have going for it? They are a historical hotel where the Beatles took a very famous photo. They are also on the same street as the conference center. Well, those two things also go against the hotel. It was a great hotel back in the 60′s I’m sure. Times have changed and people expect a little bigger room. Those rooms are freakin’ tiny! The rooms at the Marriott are way bigger and more comfortable. The Edgewater being on the same side of the street go against it as well. Sure it’s the same side, but it’s way further (or it at least seemed to me). The street is very easy to cross and it is way quicker to go from Marriott to the conference center. The staff of Marriott have a much better attitude and seem to have a mental condition that makes them way to happy to serve their guests. I have never been treated so well as I was when I stayed at Marriott.

Edgewater seemed desperate. They seem more interested in packing their tiny rooms with things to rack up charges than making their guests comfortable. Both provide a fridge, but the one at Marriott was nice and empty. So I could bring the comforts of home more easy and not be worried about getting charged for something I brought. It’s not about me being cheap, but their are things that I enjoy that a hotel can’t be expected to provide. Having an empty fridge welcome me was a really nice thing I thought. It also made Marriott seem less desperate. Because of that I stayed an extra night and even had my first “room Service” experience. The food was great and even my dinner the night before was good. The night before I wanted to make sure I went to the open bar party with a full stomach. SO I had a burger and fries at the Marriott restaurant. I thought the bun was a little strange. What is so wrong with the traditional bun? Am I too white trash for wanting a traditional bun? The fries however were pure awesome! Too many times restaurants force me to eat these tiny shoestring things. I want nice think fries with the skins still on them dammit! Marriott did it right!

The shower head at Edgewater left me paranoid that I wasn’t getting all the soap out of my hair. I’m not sure if there wasn’t enough holes in the shower head, the holes were not big enough, or whatever else but it sucked. At Marriott the water pressure was better and it made me feel like I was actually getting a good shower. An extra thanks to the valet for helping me with my first big city taxi cab experience. I thought Eddie was going out of his way to help me, but I soon figured out that that is just the Marriott way…at least in the Seattle location. Screw Edgewater if you are going to Gnomedex people. Just stay at Marriott. I know I will. See ya at Gnomedex 10!

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How uncool is cool?

 Gnomedex, rant  Comments Off
Aug 222009

How uncool is cool?

So I feel that someone at Gnomedex got the totally wrong impression of me. They accused me of thinking I was cool because I did not agree with a speaker yesterday. The funny thing is that me and the speaker are very casual about our disagreement. I think she mistook my passion for something totally different. Me and the speaker are just two people that are very passionate about the subject (of doing interviews) and so we disagree passionately. I hope this speaker has as much respect for me as I have of him. How can I not respect someone who is passionate about something I am passionate about? So anyways, one of the questions I could hear (noisy lunch room) was if I thought I was cool. I have to admit that I was thrown and didn’t know how to answer. She totally caught me off guard because it is not something I care to think about. I make jokes about not being cool because I think the whole concept of a person thinking, caring, wondering, or even hoping they are cool is down right retarded. For the record, I don’t think I am cool.

I could totally be wrong, but I think most people have enough uncool moments in life that it keeps them from honestly thinking they are cool. If you think you are cool, I am willing to bet you are the furthest from it. If my memory serves me correctly she was lead to believe I thought I was cool because I mentioned I interview rock and metal bands instead of saying I interviewed people. I’m not clear how those choice of words make her think that, but that’s not the point. I interview people I think are cool, but does that make me cool? I don’t know because I don’t care. I don’t interview bands to be cool. I interview bands because I am passionate about it. I love doing it. It doesn’t make me anymore cool than someone who interviews underwater basket weavers. This is just my passion. It does bother me that someone would think I could be “one of those people.” I hate those kind of people! I shouldn’t let it bother me, but I can’t help it.

Full Disclosure:
Here are some reasons I could never be cool. First off I hate cool. I hate the entire concept. Cool is uncool for the most part. Second, I grew up as one of the reject kids. I have always been an outcast. A loser. A dreamer. A nobody. Now don’t think for a second that I am putting myself down. I take ownership of those tags that people have thrown at me my entire life as a minority might “take back” a racial slur. I have grown to love them because it has come to drive me. It’s the battle cry of the underdog. Third reason I could never be cool is how I make a living. Online music journalism makes dirt for money, so I have to scrub toilets at the local high school. Yes, I am a high school custodian. It’s a union gig and pays better than any tech job I am currently qualified for. It gets great benefits too. Better than most of my higher paid (and educated) friends.

So I will assume that this person that has this horrid impression of me has not done too many interviews themselves. If they had they would know that nothing will humble you more than interviewing “rockstars”. Not sure if this person will read this, but if they do please know that you seem way more offended by my questioning of the speaker than the speaker was. I am a very casual guy and am pretty much the exact opposite of the impression you seem to have. I hope someday we can have a conversation in a place we can hear each other better so that maybe we can clear the air. I’m not a bad guy…really!

Aug 212009

So I just saw a very frustrating speaker at Gnomedex. You know the people that cross the line from confidence and into arrogance? This guy came very close to the line. He was talking about the art of the interview. The one thing that he said that got under my skin is that you should not prepare questions. I even called him on that. He told me I lacked confidence. At this point I think I proved that he lacks listening skills. Which is pretty scary for a person that does a lot of interviews.

Now I have not only done a ton of interviews but I have also of course watched a ton of interviews. Now if you want to make sure you go in depth, you need to do a ton of research and prepare about 20 questions. Why not just be spontaneous like Warren Etheredge thinks you should be? Well because every interview is it’s own creature. I have went through 20 questions just to get the artist to open up. One time I interviewed an artist named Anathema that just kept replying with “Don’t worry about that”. After getting through those 20 questions that proved to him that I had done my research and knew something about his band, he started to open up. If I didn’t have 20 questions I would have has a 30 second interview. Either that or I would have ended up asking him stupid crap like “What’s your favorite Pizza topping?” It was that framework that got the real meat of the interview going. About a month ago I was interviewing Raymond Herrera of Arkaea (ex-Fear Factory) and ended up with some info that shocked me. When doing my research I saw a banner for the energy drink Cocaine on his personal site. So I asked him what he was doing with them and how he hooked up with them. This was one of those prepared questions that Warren Etheredge tells you not to have remember. Well Raymond tells me that he is a co-owner! This ends up with a 20 minute conversation about the company, the name, the controversy the name brings, and how he benefits from it. It was a total “get” that would not have happened without that prepared question.

So was Warren Etheredge totally wrong? No. I think he made some great points in his minutes on stage at Gnomedex 9.0. Anyone who does as many interviews as someone like him or I end up doing, that person is going to know a little about doing interviews. However, he showed his weakness as a listener and interviewer. When doing an interview you have to understand that not only is every subject going to be a different beast, but every person doing interviews is going to be a different as well. We are human and unique within that. You need to prepare for that. Of course you should always do your best to listen to your subject and be able to “Tarzan” questions from what they say. Never zone out or you risk asking about their most comical moment right after they explain how a song off their new cd was about dealing with the death or their mother a few months ago. So listen yes, but prepare as well. Have that framework ready. Maybe Warren Etheredge was never a boyscout, but I was always taught to “be prepared”.