The Story that Almost Didn’t Get Finished

October 31, 2009

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My latest story, The Cell Window, took six weeks to finish. Key Relationships (the main story from The Fiction of Kosmo Volume 1 – roughly the same length as The Cell Window) took about ten days to complete, so I assumed I was setting aside plenty of time when I began writing a full month in advance of my projected publication date. I never dreamed that I would miss the date by two weeks.  (one of the nice things about being the Editor-in-Chief is that nobody breathes down my neck when I miss a deadline)

So, what happened? I try to avoid uses excuses too often, but I’m making this an “all excuses” edition of The Soap Boxers, just for kicks.

  • I have been fighting off a few different illnesses. In August, I contracted the stomach flu twice. For the month of October, I have been dealing with a sinus infection that just won’t go away. I’m on the second treatment of antibiotics – hopefully this will do the trick. Needless to say, a sick Kosmo is a Kosmo who doesn’t feel like writing.  None of this stuff was particularly severe, but still enough to hamper creativity a bit.
  • In the last month, my two year old daughter had decided that she doesn’t want to go to be at eight o’clock; preferring eight thirty or nine o’clock instead. This effectively cuts my writing time in half, as I often use the 8-10 PM block to write.
  • I really, really wanted to read Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and get a review up quickly.  Alas, that hasn’t happened quite yet, although I am about 70% of the way through the book.
  • My Rockies made the playoffs!  There was important October baseball to watch.  My Rockies have made the playoffs three times in seventeen years – so Rockies playoff games will push a lot of things to the back burner.
  • Issues related to the blog took up some time. Some other writers were also dealing with illnesses and were unable to meet timelines, meaning that I had to write more in order to fill in the gaps. Obviously, I’m not faulting them for this – it was completely beyond their control. There was a sudden unilateral parting of the ways with another writer that caused a gap. I wrote several articles to fill this gap, while also taking the time to line up some new writers to fill this spot.
  • Finally, I backed myself into a bit of a corner. Typically, when I write, I rough out a plot, suggesting several larger scenes. I use these as benchmarks during the writing process. I know that on the way from point A to point Z, I’ll hit D, J, T, and X. Along the way, there will be a lot of “connector” material. I can’t simply skip from high point to high point – there must be a natural flow to the story. I skip around a lot during the writing process. I’ll write point J and then perhaps write the connector material between points X and Z. In the case of The Cell Window, I wrote too many of the main scenes first.  Effectively, I ate all of the dessert first and left myself with a plate of veggies.  This made the second half of the work much harder.  Lesson learned – leave some good parts for later!

So, what does the future hold, as far as fiction?

  • First, I have a rough idea of the story for next quarter.  I’m not waiting until I have a mere month before the deadline this time around!  The working title is If the Walls Could Talk.  I doubt that will be the final title, as I’m not a big fan of it.  Anyway, the story will features stories-within-a-story, as the owner of a B&B reminisces about some of the past guests and their experiences.  The B&B featured in the book will be Buckingham Place.  If this sounds familiar (other than the reference to Buckingham PALACE), it’s because Hayley and Mike in Key Relationships stayed at this B&B.
  • Also, I am finally beginning work on my novel.  Its working title will be Casting Stones.  I AM a big fan of that title, so there is a strong chance the book will retain the title. Casting Stones will be a murder mystery that follow a detective named Brooke as she attempts to catch a serial killer.  I don’t want to share many more details at this point, because most of the details that I have figured out would be huge spoilers and give away a ton of the plot.  Considering the other irons that are currently in the fire, I would be very surprised if I finish Casting Stones in less than two years.  I do NOT plan to make this available on the web – I actually intend to find a publisher.  Obviously, that’s a long shot, but it’s what I’m aiming for.

Member Exclusive: The Cell Window

October 30, 2009

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Note: This story is very different than last quarter’s story, Key Relationships. The Cell Window depicts adult situations and crimes against women. You may find this story a bit disturbing. You have been warned ….

The New Recruit

Duncan made a quick test call to verify that the phone was operational. The phone chirped out a ring tone, and Duncan declared it ready to go.

“Here you go,” he said to the brunette sitting across the table from him. “If you have any questions, please give me a call,” he said handing her his card.

The woman smiled back at Duncan. “Thank you. You have been very helpful.” She grabbed her bags, got up, and left the store.

Duncan’s eyes followed her tall, slender body as it moved away from him. He slid a small notebook out of his pocket and scribbled down the name Dana Zeller and the details of her account. Duncan rated her at about a 9.7 – not perfect, but extremely attractive. Dana was definitely worth a closer look.

Duncan stepped back into the employee room and grabbed a Pepsi. It had been a long day, and he needed a bit of a pick-me-up. The sweet buzz of caffeine helped awaken his senses a bit. Ninety very long minutes later, it was finally quitting time. Duncan usually chatted for a few minutes with Bob, the guy who came in for the evening shift. Today, however, he mumbled a quick greeting and headed for the door.

Home, Sweet Home

Duncan tossed the stack of mail onto the kitchen table. It most mostly junk mail, and he could deal with the bills later. He had more important things to do.

Duncan walked to the master bedroom and stepped inside the walk-in closet. While the closet was large, it was slightly smaller than it had been when the house was built. Duncan pushed aside a hidden panel in the wall, revealing a staircase behind it. He closed the panel behind him and descended the stairs to a secret room in the basement.

How do you like the story so far?

As you know, nearly all of the content on The Soap Boxers is free.  This is one exception.  If you want to know how the story turns out, you can purchase it in our store.  You have three options:

  • The entire story is included in the PDF of The Fiction of Kosmo, Volume 2.  This collection also includes eleven other stories.
  • The story is available in audio format.  The audio book consists of four MP3 files (within a ZIP file) with a total run time of 49 minutes. 
  • The combo pack includes the PDF of The Fiction of Kosmo, Volume 2, as well as the audio version of The Cell Window for a lower total price than buying them separately.  The combo pack consists of one PDF file and four MP3 files within a single ZIP file.

All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

October 29, 2009

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Recently, I have noticed a lot of advertisements for coins on TV and in magazines.  Casual observers should be able to determine that many of these coins will never have any substantial value.  If you really think those Derek Jeter coins (the most hits ever by a Yankee!) are going to fund your retirement plan, you’ve got a few screws loose.  If you’re a Jeter fan and think the coin is pretty, then by all means buy it – but realize that it is a trinket, not an investment.  Items that are marketed as “collector’s items” rarely become items that collectors truly desire.

The deeper problem, though, are the companies that market gold coins by implying that these coins were produced by the US mint.  I saw one with the clever wording “U.S. government issued gold coins”.  Was the coin originally issued by the US mint?  Definitely.  Does the coin contain some small amount of gold?  Most likely.  Was the coin issued by the mint in the golden variety?  No.  The gold was added later, by a private company.  These companies love to use names that blur the line and try to imply that they are affiliated with the government in some way.

Some of the ads claim to sell the coins to you “at cost”.  I’m astounded that a private company would be so generous – they’re not even making a profit!  Or maybe they’re playing a shell game to make the statement true and false at the same time.  Let’s say that I own two companies: Widget Maker and Widget Seller.  Widget Maker incurs $5 in costs and sells widgets to Widget Seller for $50.  Widget Seller then sells the Widgets to you for $50.  Incredibly, the company has sold the widget to you “at cost”.  At the same time, I laugh all the way to the bank.




I laughed at one line in an ad – call today and you will speak with a senior specialist.  This seems a bit odd.  Why wouldn’t you have the junior specialists work with the new clients, and have the highly paid senior specialists work with the customers who want to spend a lot of money with you?  Oh, because you’re using the term to make  as a way to inflate the egos of possible customers – they have the opportunity to work with a senior specialist.

An ad on TV over the weekend really caught my attention.  The ad starts out describing 1877 $50 gold coins that contain 2.5 ounces of gold (worth a pretty penny, with gold going for about a thousand bucks an ounce).  The company is happy to sell you a 24 carat gold clad non-monetary copy for just … not $50, but $20!  What a great deal.  Except that “gold clad” isn’t the same thing as gold, and non-monetary means that it is not legal tender. The 1877 date might make the coin look interesting – but it has no correlation to the actual date the coin was “minted” (most likely 2009).  The Jeter coin might actually be worth more money ten years from now.

My general rule is this – if a company is selling specific “investments” through TV ads or full page print ads, it’s probably not a great investment.  If you want to make some investments, spend some time learning about the markets and/or work with a trusted broker.  If you want to invest in gold, fine – but invest in real gold, not this crap.

Football, Kiosks, and More

October 28, 2009

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Football in Iowa

This past weekend was a great weekend for the two largest state universities in Iowa.  My alma mater, Iowa State University, traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska to face Johnny Goodman’s Huskers.  ISU’s program has fallen on hard times recently – or, more accurately, regressed back to the mean after several strong seasons under former coach Dan McCarney.  We hadn’t won in Lincoln since 1977.  Starting quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson (the conference’s leading rusher going into the weekend) were sidelined by injuries.  Several Cyclone payers were vomiting on the sideline as the result of flu-like symptoms.  

Not surprisingly, the offense sputtered and managed just nine points.  The much-maligned defense made those nine points stand up, holding the Huskers to just a single touchdown.  Nebraska made many journeys in to Iowa State territory, but were repeatedly stopped by an opportunistic defense that force seven fumbles (recovering five) and making three interceptions.

In East Lansing, Michigan, the University of Iowa (my wife’s favorite school) was caught in a defensive struggle with the Michigan State Spartans.  As the game wound down, there was a distinct possibility that the Hawks would also win a game by scoring just nine points.  I wondered if two 1-A school from the same state had ever won games on the same day with some few combined points?  (As a sidenote, Iowa won a game against Penn State by the score of 6-4 a couple of years ago).  

Michigan State executed a beautiful hook and ladder play during its final drive and score a TD to go ahead 13-9 with ninety seconds to go.  Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi lead the team down the field for one last chance at victory.  A Michigan State interception seemed to seal the deal – except that the defender had committed a defensive holding penalty on the receiver.  The drive was still alive.  With fifteen seconds left on the clock, Iowa had a first and goal on the seven yard line.  Three plays later, the Hawks were still on the seven yard line.  Amazing, the three plays had taken just thirteen seconds, leaving two precious seconds remaining.  Stanzi hit QB-turned-receiver Marvin McNutt for a TD to put Iowa up 15-13 with no time left.  By rule, the offensive team must attempt the PAT (because blocked PATs can be returned by the defense for two points).  Iowa “attempted” a two point conversion by having Stanzi take a knee on the attempt.

Mall Kiosks

I was at the mall with my family on Monday night.  As I approach the lotion kiosk that houses the incredibly aggressive sales people, I hear one of them whisper “that’s him” to the female employee, pulling her back toward the kiosk (where they belonged in the first place).  Male employee and I had a bit of a discussion a while back in which I suggested that he not harass people.  I responded to his whisper by saying “Yeah, it’s me – the guy who will file a criminal complaint against you if you harass us again.”  I really don’t like being rude to people (and am very polite 98% of the time, but I have very little tolerance for rudely aggressive sales people.  I have a right to walk through a mall without being pestered.  Hopefully the male employee is telling ALL of their employees to stay away from me.  That’s all I ever asked for in the first place.

Scrap The BCS

October 27, 2009

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We are entering that great time of year when the end all of end all college football arguments just starts to heat up.  That’s right, the BCS talk.

A plethora of one undefeated teams still remain.  A lot of great one loss teams are out there.  The conference match-ups are starting to hit full bore and the host of rivalry weeks are soon to be upon us.

Phooey!

I for one am proposing that we totally re-vamp the BCS program.  What is that you ask?  Johnny you need to get in line with countless of hundreds if not thousands of others that argue the same thing.

Nope, I propose we scrap the whole shooting match and go back to the bowl tie in agreements that each conference used to have pre-BCS. 

Let’s look at the facts.  The BCS is driven by two factors … and no they are not determining who is ultimately the most deserving national champion each year.  Heck most years we can’t even agree who should be playing in the game. 

Factor one is pure and simple greed.  Greed of the NCAA, greed of the sports stations such as ABC/ESPN and CBS who cover the majority of games. ( I am not including FOX in the argument as they only have only covered the BCS games the last few years and frankly their telecasts are painful at best to watch) 

Factor two is the perception that this alignment actually settles something.  That it actually does determine the best and most worthy team at the end of the year.

I miss the by gone days of long ago, before many of you who likely read this blog were even following college football.  In those “olden days” each conference had multiple negotiated terms to send their teams to certain bowl games.  It still works much the same way today for the non-bcs games. 

What this accomplished each and every year was exciting and epic games on New Year’s day.  You didn’t have to “hang around” until January 7th to see if your team was going to win.

The best part of the “old way” was the scenarios were impossible to predict.  Since I am a Husker at Heart … lets take 1982.  When due to a series of upsets earlier in the day, the Clemson Tigers and the Cornhuskers found themselves playing on New Year’s Day night in the Orange Bowl for all the marbles.  This could not have happened today, and it lead for great drama and excitement.  Heck this same scenario played out countless times in the early years of the television bowl era …

Was it so wrong?

The BEST part of college sports is the water cooler talk, the speculation.  The Horned Frogs could beat Florida because of so and so….the ol’ My Dad is Bigger than your dad argument … that is where the true passion and fun of college football exists.

So let’s jump back up the rabbit hole, throw out the man behind the green curtain, and we just get an instant replay and see that the wrong call was made on the field?

Custom Stories

October 26, 2009

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This blog has been live for over a year. In the last 6+ months, I have shared many fiction stories with you – roughly thirty thousand words!  At this point, no reader has been charged even a penny for anything that had been published on the site.  This will continue to be the case, with one small exception. Now, for the first time, I am making my fiction writing services available for hire. Here are the details:

  • I will produce a custom written story, specifically for you. This will not be an ad-lib sort of thing, where I replace a few words and spit out a variant of a base story. These will be completely new stories, built from the ground up.
  • When I hand the story over to you, I also give you the copyright. I promise not to publish the story in any form. You have the rights to use the story in any way you wish – including submitting it for paid publication. I do ask that you do list me as the author, and that you refrain from making material changes to the work (changing names to protect anonymity is fine).
  • The stories will be a minimum of 400 words long. They could be slightly more, depending on my stream of consciousness during the writing process (most likely, I won’t finish a thought at exactly 400 words). There is no additional charge for stories that end up being slightly longer – this would just be a bonus for you.
  • If you desire a bit of a longer story, let me know and we can work out some sort of arrangement. I’ll probably draw the line at about two thousand words – unless you make me an offer I can’t refuse.

So, what sort of story will I write?

  • Stories that provide a caricature of a day in your life.  My story Tina is an example of this.  These stories will paint an extremely exaggerated picture of your life.  I will strive to splash the story with a generous amount of humor.
  • Alternately, I could write a story that places you in a dream job (baseball player?).  This might be a good gift idea for a kid who has dreams of growing up to be an athlete, entertainer, doctor, or lawyer.
  • I can also make you the bad guy/girl in a crime story.
  • Fake news stories.
  • I’ll also try my hand at children’s stories.  Read Ferdinand the Turtle for an idea of how these might turn out.  Perhaps you would like me to write a story about your kid and their favorite stuffed animal.  (Note: I can only do this is the animal is generic or if they are in the public domain.  Writing a story about Nemo, for example, would be a copyright violation).
  • I’m open to suggestions.  Shoot me an idea.  I don’t do poetry, horror, romance, or porn.  I will not include any sort of illustrations, even for the children’s stories.  Honestly, I am one of the worst artists in the history of the world, so you wouldn’t want my illustrations, anyway.

OK, so what will this cost?

  • For the first person who responds,  the price will be FREE!
  • For at least the next ten people, the price will be $5.99.  Bear in mind that I’ll probably spend about an hour on a story – reading the email to get the details, formulating a plot, and doing the actual writing.  I’ll make a maximum of 1.5 cents/word at this rate.  Compare this to the price you pay for a greeting card, which contains a handful of words that weren’t even tailored specifically for you.
  • Beyond the first ten, I’m not sure what the price will be.  I can guarantee that the price won’t go down from the $5.99 price point.  If I can’t make any sales at $5.99 or above, I’ll just scrap the idea.  I honestly have no idea whether this idea will be a complete dud, or if it will generate a solid amount of business.  We’ll give it a whirl.
  • I will require payment up front.  I don’t want to take the time to write a story, and then end up waiting for a payment.  I will accept PayPal.
  • Unfortunately, I can’t do rewrites of stories.  If I spend an hour rewriting a story that originally took an hour to write, my hourly rate has been slashed in half.  Read some of the stories in Fiction Friday to get an idea of the sort of stories I write.  While I’ll make every effort to produce a high quality story for you, there’s a good chance that it won’t match up exactly to what you were expecting, simply because of the limited interaction I have had with you.  I guess if you’re REALLY unhappy, we can sit down and talk about it.

So, what next?

  • If you’re interested, shoot me an email at Kosmo at Kosmo@ObservingCasually.com. In the email specify the type of story you want, as well as details that might be relevant (such as names and physical characteristics of characters).  Note that I won’t make an effort to cram every single feature into a story, but I can highlight the hair color, eyes, etc of some characters.
  • If the story is a caricature of your life, provide information about your job, hobbies, interest, pet peeves, etc.
  • If you need the story by a particular date, let me know.  Bear in mind that I have a full time job, family, and other obligations, so if you need something “tomorrow”, I’ll probably have to decline the request.
  • I do ask for an additional favor as part of the payment for the story – please let three people know about The Soap Boxers.  Think of a few people who might like the site, and send them a link.  (Note: this does NOT mean to spam all 200 people in your contact list).
  • If you like your story, please consider writing a review that I can use in the marketing of my service.

What articles did you miss this weekend?

HSBC Again …

October 25, 2009

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As mentioned earlier, we recently canceled our HSBC card after yet another problem.

Yesterday, we received a letter in the mail discussing these problems.  One passage in particular jumped out at me.  Note: the errors in grammar, usage, and punctuation are those of the original writer.

“… With regard to the fraud alert placed on your account, our records indicate your account had a temporary block placed on April 18, 2009 due to the velocity of transactions made in one day, the time between transactions and the potential for fraud with one of these transactions.  You may have frequented these merchants before, however; systemically the account is reviewed for the above situations.  Please note, HSBC does not receive the name of merchants identified in these transactions …”

If HSBC claims to not receive the names of merchants identified in these transactions, then how exactly did they have this information at their fingertips (the transactions that were successfully processed as well as those that had been declined) when my wife called on her cell phone on the way home from the mall – a short time after the last attempted use of the card?

It would seem that the name and location of merchants would fairly useful when analyzing purchase patterns for potential fraud.  If my card is used in China one moment and Australia the next, I would hope that this would be flagged as suspicious activity.  If my card is used at the same merchants I have frequented for several years, I would hope that this is not flagged as suspicious activity.

Unless I receive further communications from HSBC, I consider this issue to be closed.  It was an interesting ride – equal parts bizarre, annoying, and unpleasant – but it’s over.

Canadian Current Events

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News Items of the Week

Toronto Maple Leafs winless in first seven games, panic ensues

It’s likely no secret that the Leafs are Canada’s most popular hockey team.  They sell out most arenas all over North America, and often times draw louder cheers than the home team.  But it has been a rough few years, no playoffs lately and no championships since 1967.  Well there was hope heading into this season that GM Brian Burke had made the moves necessary to at least get this team back into the playoffs.  Well an 0-6-1 start and last place in the league have raised many issues, and the fans who pay the most expensive prices for seats have ripped the team with jeers in the last few games.  I guess the question is, only 7 games into an 82 game season, should everyone be panicing like this?  I just don’t understand the attention.  If the team was 6-0-1, I am sure everyone would be planning the Stanley Cup parade.  I am a Leafs fan myself as I was born and raised in Ontario, but even I have to say enough already.  Give the team with a few new faces more of a chance to bond, get the top two goalies off the injured reserve, and then you can get upset…it is inevitable.

Tim Horton’s hires support for parking lot

I have gone on in the past about the popularity and craziness surrounding Tim Horton’s here in Canada.  Well a perfect example of this I think comes from a store on Portage Avenue here in Winnipeg this week.  The store there does not have a particularly big parking lot, and during the morning rush this causes some issues for the drive thru, with cars backed onto the curb lane of Portage.  Well to help with this, the restaurant has hired someone to man the parking lot in the mornings.  He helps sort the cars into two lanes, and also directs cars where to park if people want to dare go inside and fight the line.  Hey, don’t get me wrong the breakfast sandwiches definitely outdo McDonald’s, but really this is crazy.

Gary Doer begins job as ambassador to the USA

After ten years as premier of Manitoba for the New Democrat party, Gary Doer unexpectedly announces his resignation a few weeks ago.  The next day, it was announced he would become Canada’s first ever ambassador to the United States.  He began his job this week meeting up with USA’s official ambassador to Canada (what exactly does that guy do anyways?) for a train trip around the province.  Greg Selinger won the party vote and has replaced Doer, and has two more years until the next election to carve a niche for himself.  Doer I think is a good man for this job.  He was often voted as most popular/well-liked premier and politician in Canada, and just has a way with people.  In the last election two years ago, he led the NDPs to an easy win, forming another majority government.  I think he will be missed here, but he is definitely going to represent us well in his future endeavors.

Apple and Microsoft

October 24, 2009

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How Do You Like Them AAPLs?

If you had bought shares of Apple Computer (AAPL) in July of 1997, you would have paid $13 per share.  At the close of the trading day on Thursday, shares of Apple were worth more than $200.  Certainly, having an investment return fifteen times your original outlay twelve years later is a great return – it would be an annual rate of return of 25%!

That’s only a quarter of the story, though.  Apple’s stock has also had two splits (2:1 splits) during the timeframe – meaning that one share in 1997 is the equivalent of 4 shares in 2009.  Your original investment of $13 would actually be worth more than $800 today – a 40% annual rate of return.

Michael Dell, founder of the company that bears his name, when asked what he would do with Apple, once remarked “shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”  Apple’s market capitalization of $180 billion is now roughly six times that of Dell – and also more than that of IBM ($160B) and Cisco ($140B).  In fact, Apple’s market value is even approaching that of longtime rival Microsoft ($250B).

In 1997, Apple was on the brink of disaster.  The product matrix had become quite muddled, and the company appeared rudderless.  In the midst of the chaos, the company turned to co-founder Steve Jobs.

Jobs has co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak (Woz).  Woz was the technical genius, while Jobs was the savvy salesman.  Jobs was forced out in a power struggle with CEO John Sculley in 1985.  Ironically, it was Jobs who had hired Sculley.  (So, what happened to Woz?  He left the company in 1986 and is heavily involved in philanthropy … when he’s not Dancing With the Stars).

When Jobs was booted out of Apple, he didn’t pout about it.  He took some cash and bought an animation studio from George Lucas for $10 million.  He took more cash and founded a technology company  – NeXT.  NeXT’s computers were technologically advanced – and very pricey.  NeXT eventually transitioned into a pure software company.  Apple bought NeXT in 1996 for $429 million.  Apple had been struggling with their next generation operating system, and NeXT’s NeXTSTEP technology served as the foundation for Mac OS X.

Shortly after Apple bought NeXT, the board of directors fired CEO Gil Amelio and hired Jobs as the new CEO.  The rest is history.  Jobs quickly discontinued many projects and supervised a new, more focused future strategy. 

Under the leadership of Jobs, Apple has launched wildly popular products such as the iMac, iPod, and iPhone as well as the cash cow iTunes Music Store.

While Jobs is a highly compensated CEO, it might be hard to find many investors who would complain about the cost of his leadership – clearly, the company has thrived during his tenure, and shareholders have reaped golden rewards.

And whatever happened to the animation studio that Jobs bought from George Lucas?  Disney bought that studio in 2006 for $7.4 worth of Disney stock.

The name of the studio?  Perhaps you’ve heard of it – Pixar.

Microsoft Windows 7

In an effort to confuse anyone who is trying to decode their product naming system, Microsoft launched Windows 7 on Thursday.  Old version, Vista.  New version, 7.  Yep, definitely a natural progression.

I’m also unclear on why this is Windows 7 when I can think of at least nine different versions (1, 2, 3, 95, 98, Millennium, XP, Vista, 7).

The strongest selling point of Windows 7 is that it is not Vista.

In Japan, Microsoft partnered with Burger King and introduced a product to help promote Windows 7.  I know what you’re thinking – a 7 patty Whopper.  You people have crazy imaginations – that would be just nutty.

I mean, yes.  That’s exactly it. A 7 patty, two thousand calorie burger.  And it doesn’t even come with cheese!

Johnny’s Picks

October 23, 2009

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Thanks all for hanging in there with me as I missed last week … Johnny G has more important matters to attend to … like starting a chemo treatments to battle Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

But enough of the bad news, lets concentrate on Football this week.

Last Week:
Straight Up – 15-5 ATS: 14-6
For the Year:
Straight Up – 77-35 ATS: 60-52
Finally a week to get me off and running again.

College:

Minnesota @ Ohio St (-17) Unless they let Pryor run, they won’t cover the 17. OH St 31- MN 24

South Florida @ Pittsburgh (-6.5) I smell an upset here. S FLA – 21- Pitt 17

Iowa State @ Nebraska (-17.5) Cody Green!  The Huskers win big this week and remove the naysayers. Huskers 42- ISU 14

Colorado @ Kansas St (-4.5) – The Buffs are starting to look good.  KSU leads the Big XII North???  Colorado 21- KSU 21

Wake Forest @ Navy – (-2.5) The Match up of wild and crazy misdirection running games. Navy in a close one. Navy 21- Wake 20

Oklahoma (-8) @ Kansas. A biggie for the Jayhawks. They have a good offense but can they stop anyone? OU 35- KU 28

NFL:

San Francisco @ Houston (-3) The Texans have it rolling, and the nniners are seemingly reeling. A big day for Matt Schaub. Hou 35- SF 17

Indianapolis (-14) @ St Louis. The only issue here is will the Colts cover. I am padding my straight up numbers this week. Colts 35- Rams 14

Minnesota @ Pittsburgh (-5.5) A lot of points. I like the Steelers but this is too big of a spread. Steelers 24- Vikings 21

New England (-15) vs Tampa Bay in London! Tally ho … chalk up another one for the hoodie. Pats 42- Bucs 10

Green Bay (-7) @ Cleveland. I have not seen any life from the Browns to make me a believer. Pack 28 – Browns 17

New York Jets (-6) @ Oakland – Commitment to excellence is playing better than the Sanchise. Give me the Raaaaaaaiders…Oak 10 Jets 7

New Orleans (-7) @ Miami – With the Saints have a hangover after last week….No WAY. Saints 35- Miami – 21

Arizona @ New York Giants (-7) Something tells me Kurt Warner will handle the pressure. But can the cards stop the running game of the G Men? Giants 24- Cards 21

Philadelphia (-7)@ Washington – Who is in more disarray? The Skins with coaching woes or the Eagles who got beat at Oakland last week while looking horrible. Eagles 28- Washington 10

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