Socializing on the Web

We have all seen or heard of a lot of the web’s big social web sites (Facebook, MySpace, online dating, etc) but the other day when I was in the car listening to the radio – I was a combination of disturbed, somewhat impressed (with the idea that this market was targeted not the actual web site idea), and shocked that someone created a new site for socializing/dating with a whole new hook. A site for setting up “Married Dating & Affairs” (The Ashley Madison Agency) which even guarantees 100% satisfaction. Please note I am personally very against cheating or having an affair. I personally believe if you are unhappy with a relationship – it is best to get out before it gets worse. We have all seen the movies and heard the stories – affairs are nothing but trouble. I know people are always trying to make a buck – but where do you draw the line?

I was disturbed that there is now a place to easily go and seek out someone who is married and wanting an affair – and at the same time, I was also somewhat impressed that someone saw the need/market and built this site around it. Perhaps the people using it will finally be open about it on the “first date” rather than after they lie about their marital status until a few dates in and then open up the can of worms to the person that thinks they are single too.

My initial thought: “Go sanctity of marriage!” Even though I would never use the service and would hope none of the people that I know would – my only hope is that people will at least come clean and promote honesty (even though it is with strangers instead of your “partner”).

Even if you do target an audience successfully for something that is not socially acceptable and illegal, I only would hope you are responsible enough not to throw it in people’s faces with billboard ads for all to see (kids especially) with messages like “Life is short, have an affair”. I was not terribly upset with the company until I saw that advertisement which tends to promote having an affair instead of promoting their web site which is more geared towards people that have already made the choice to have the affair.

What are your thoughts?

Completed: One Life Goal and One 2009 Goal

Every Easter my family went to Myrtle Beach for a week to two weeks and we stayed in my mother’s cousin’s beach house. Alone, that was exciting, but what was mesmerizing was this thing called “cable”. Sure – cable was around when I was younger, but my parents thought channels 2-13 were enough for us. I would love going to Myrtle Beach and then watching this crazy comedian named Gallagher. Ever since I first saw his great Sledge-O-Matic – I decided I had to see him live…and I am finally going to next month. He is coming to the Chicagoland area and I am totally excited to see him in action.

Another goal of mine – has been to finally start releasing some WordPress plugins and I did that earlier this week by releasing SDAC Related Content – a highly configurable, cached plugin that allows you to show related posts by category at the end of your posts or pages that does not make any database changes (perfect for WordPress VIP). I have a few more plugins that will soon be released as well as some themes. I just need time 🙂

Neighbors

I have had some beef with my neighbors in the past. They have weird habits, refuse to shovel a foot of snow on my property, and are generally strange…but I have to say the last week has given me some hope. On Thursday we had to call 911 for Evan (cracked his head on something and got a bouncy ball sized bump on his head that kept growing and growing as we went back and forth on who to call… Within a few minutes of the crew getting to our house, one of our neighbors a few houses down ran up the street to ask if the baby was ok. Another neighbor left us a card, and another neighbor left us a sticky with her phone number and a message.

I was pretty impressed and happy that we had people that actually were concerned. To those people who will never read this…thanks 😉

Favorite Presidential Quotes

Since it is Presidents Day – I thought I would share some of my favorite presidential quotes.

George Washington:

It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.

Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.

Abraham Lincoln:

Perhaps a man’s character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.

Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.

Lyndon Baines Johnson:

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: “President Can’t Swim.”

Any jackass can kick down a barn but it takes a good carpenter to build one.

Wasting Money the Government Way

Here in Illinois we have been hearing about the Rod Blagojevich fiasco for weeks. I have been busy for the last few weeks and have not watched the news or his trial – but I did happen to catch that as soon as he was impeached – IL spent $15,000 to remove signs on our highways that had his name on them (Open Road Tolling–Rod R. Blagojevich Governor). PS – these signs cost $480,000 to create and put up.

I am disgusted with the waste that I continually see government organizations partake in on a daily basis. I remember when I transitioned from working for a higher education/non-profit workplace to working for my own for-profit company. The first few weeks I really saw how much more effective for-profit companies are and have to be (both mine and others that I worked with) compared to the constant flow of tax money into some government/non-profit organizations.

Not that I believe all non-profit and government organizations are extremely wasteful – but the moderate in me – would love to see some of our government and non-profit organizations have to make money before they could spend it. I bet you things would quickly change (and it drives me crazy that it would change…because organizations should spend money carefully and responsibly regardless of their profitability – in my opinion). Responsibility should not be forced…but perhaps it should for some?

Do I agree that most of the organizations have the best interests in mind for Americans? For the most part…yes, but just like with anything – you really do not appreciate what you have until you have worked for/earned it. I can guarantee you that some of the projects that take years to complete would either get outsourced or dropped as they should instead of taking up valuable resources. Ineffective managers/workers would get the boot and every dollar brought in and then spent would be appreciated, counted, and better used. I would love to see this play out because I think a wake up call is needed – especially now since our government is in so much debt, programs are bloated, and general waste is high.

Do I agree that Rod Blagojevich needed to be removed from office – yes (assuming the evidence holds up)…but do I agree with removing the signs and wasting overall almost half a million dollars? No. Please – whoever made this decision…wow. Thanks for wasting more of our money, especially when we could have used that for education, construction, etc.

Give Credit to Single Parents

I have to say – there are not too many days that go by where I think to myself at least once a day “I cannot imagine being a single parent”. I was sick yesterday and all I could do was lay in bed…moving was not a real option. Thankfully – I have A to help out with Evan so as soon as they got home – she kept him busy, fed him, got him ready for bed, and put him to bed, cleaned up, let Colby out, fed the cats, etc. I could not imagine having to do all of this when I was feeling like I was and yet many single moms and dads do it everyday. I give single parents all the credit in the world because their kids’ needs come first – regardless of what they might want to do, how they feel, etc. Being a parent – you see single parents completely different than people that do not have kids…and thinking back to all the people I know that raised their kids in a single parent household – you have my upmost respect.

Call for All PSU Friends to Gather…

I received a long awaited phone call yesterday – from one of my favorite people of all time: Amy G (now Amy M after getting married). We had not spoken for some time – but it was great to catch up. Amy was Amy’s (my Amy) roommate freshman and sophmore year. Not only did we catch up and talk about our great times at Penn State – we decided that it would be great if we could get together again back at Penn State during the Penn State Blue and White game (annual spring scrimmage) on April 25th. I am hopeful that we can start an annual tradition with this.

So far – it will be me and Amy, Amy G, Casey, and I promised at least one Wessner – so hopefully I can pull that off. Parents/friends are welcome. We plan to get some sort of tailgating action together so hopefully we can enjoy some time together while talking about how we cannot believe it has already been ten years. Ken – you will be there, right? 😉

The Story of My Life – Told in the Header

For the last few versions of Jappler.com – I have had images in the header arranged in a way to tell a story.

  • My roots. This picture was taken out of my car on the road my parents live in NY.
  • My home. Old Main on the Penn State campus. I was destined to go to Penn State and it was my #1 goal since I was 3 years old (besides a few months in 7th grade when my #1 goal was to beat Super Mario Brothers) I spent a lot of time sitting on the front steps reading, people watching and hanging out with Amy.
  • Pita. Right after we moved to Chicago – I wanted a kitten and we chose Pita. She is my little helper.
  • Salsa. We figured Pita needed a friend so a year later after getting Pita – we got Salsa. Her name is perfect for her – she is a spitfire.
  • My Apple tattoo. Back in 2000 – I decided it was time to get a tattoo and what better and more meaningful than what changed and formed my life more than anything else?
  • My first trip to Vegas. I finally made it to Vegas in my early 20s and it was unforgettable.
  • September 11, 2001. This changed me – and probably all of us forever.
  • Chicago’s Bean. Millennium Park opens four years late – but is an awesome place!
  • Triscuit. My first dog – Triscuit who was absolutely amazing (and fast).
  • My mecca. Doug and I went to the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta. As a huge Coca Cola fan – this was awesome.
  • My Apple Cube. As an Apple collector – I had to have it (and it looked great next to my B&W!
  • Sears Tower. How could I not have this in my header? I absoltely love the Sears Tower and spending time in it.
  • Golf. I finally started golfing after a few years of not golfing and bought my first set of Ping irons – which I love.
  • My S80. This was Volvo #3 for me – and my absolute dream car. I cannot imagine getting rid of it.
  • Penn State football. After a rocky game at Northwestern that we were at – Penn State not only turned around their season, but their entire program.
  • Evan. My first born son brought a new perspective and endless entertainment into my life.
  • Colby. Colby – Triscuit’s brother found us right after Triscuit died and we feel very fortunate to share our time with him

And so you have it – the history of my life…all in a web site header collage of pictures.

People's Effort Part 2

Last night we got hit with 4 inches or so of snow. Thankfully either the new gas or my dad cleaning the spark plug over the weekend worked…and the snowblower started up like a champ. As I finished up my driveway I noticed the neighbor that left the small strip of snow next to me the last snowfall – was out shoveling.

I glanced over at him and turned the snowblower the opposite way and did the other neighbor’s entire sidewalk. When I finished with that, I looked at Amy and asked her if she thought I should do the neighbor’s sidewalk on the other side (the one I have issues with) and she nodded yes and we then cleared his sidewalk as well. We got a “thank you” after it was finished, but I will not hold my breath for him to clear the foot or so of my sidewalk next time. Not everyone can sink to the levels of others – thank goodness!

People's Effort…

Sometimes I just do not get people’s effort. Some people make an effort to help out the elderly, smile, say hello, or donate to charities – all of these take little effort but go along way. Then – there are the people who seem to go out of their way not to look you in the eye, not acknowledge you, and are generally miserable. Both types of people make some sort of effort – but in opposite ways. While I may not be an optimist all the time – I will say hello to anyone and when given the chance – will help my friends/colleagues, and others when and if they need anything.

This brings me to mention my neighbor…which is driving me crazy. In Chicago we get a decent amount of snow and after growing up with a snowblower as means to clear the snow from the driveway – as soon as we bought our house – I went out and got a snowblower. When I was younger I used to always clear not only my parents’ driveway but also the neighbor’s sidewalks and sometimes driveways as well. It was a courteous thing to do – especially when they only had shovels. So back to my neighbor…in between our houses is about 15 feet of property…12 feet of that is his and three feet (one sidewalk block) is ours. Every time it has snowed in the last 3 years I have cleared our driveway and the sidewalk in front of my house to the neighbor’s driveways on both sides. The neighbors on both sides have shovels and the one neighbor I am annoyed with is older so I make sure he does not have to shovel too much. He also has a fire hydrant in front of his house so I make sure that is always clear of snow. The time it takes me to do this is very small compared to what it would take with a shovel.

Amy's size 7 shoe to show size A few days ago we got 4 inches or so of snow so I went out to clear the driveways and sidewalks and noticed that he had already been out there earlier because the entire sidewalk was clear except for a tiny strip on my property. (See picture with Amy’s size 7 sneaker in there to give you some idea of the stopped short shoveling. Yeah that is right Amy…I used your shoe. I would have used one of mine, but mine were all away in the closet and not sitting out ;)). To me – it took him more effort to stop, take a look at the property line, and then make the decision to stop there than it would have if he would have just did one more shovel scoop. I was/am completely appalled that someone that I have always been nice to and helped out over the last 3 years would make the effort to stop literally 2-3 feet short of clearing a little snow from our sidewalk. Wow. I just do not get people at all. Serenity now!