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R.E.M. Fanclub Closed

My subscription to R.E.M.'s fan club has always been up for renewal around Thanksgiving, which is a dangerous time if you want to get the "Christmas single" package that makes the fan club worth the $10 all alone (or more).

This year I got the package and noticed my renewal date had passed, so I visited the site to renew again. I knew that R.E.M. had essentially disbanded, but thought that they might still send newsletters or something.

Nope.

Sad day.

R.E.M. Fanclub

http://mplayer.pastemagazine.com/issues/week-21/articles#article=/issues/week-21/articles/rem-from-beginning-to-end

iTunes Match Finally Worked

I persevered and finally got iTunes Match to work.

After it uploaded a ton of songs, I created a playlist as suggested here and, over the next day or so, deleted and downloaded higher quality versions of my iTunes songs.

I'll eventually go through and weed out the duplicates. I've seen a few.

Will I renew in a year? I don't think so. Then again, having all of my songs available on my iPhone might just do it. This year it was a no-brainer. Next year, less so.

Couch to 5K App Changed

Recently I noticed that the Couch to 5K app I've been using was updated. The name was changed to "Run 5K" and the week I was in - week 5 - changed.

Thanks for your email. Sorry for any confusion. You're correct that the Couch to 5k name is trademarked by The Active Network, and they decided that other companies could no longer use the name or the training program (yes, the Cool Running program), so we've changed the name of our program and created an improved training program. Please let us know if you have any questions about the program. It's a shorter program - 8 weeks, instead of 9, so if you want to continue on your 9-week plan you can start one week earlier. In your case, start in Week 4 to continue your training.

The URL I mentioned and included in the email? http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml.

Knowledge in Inverse Proportion

"I have discovered, in twenty years of moving around the ball park, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats."

- Bill Veeck, Chicago White Sox owner

Netflix Streaming Embedded

Riddle me this: why doesn't Netflix allow me to embed one of their streaming movies on a web page? For example, suppose I like the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead1. Why can't I embed the movie on a page, recommend it to people, and let people watch it right here if they have a Netflix account?

It would seem to be a good thing for Netflix. People could promote videos they like and Netflix may get some word-of-mouth advertising. Is it because they're worried about the advertisements I could put around the movie, or something? Or maybe the studios care about that kind of stuff?

  1. I do, by the way, very very much. []

WordPress 3.3

Upgraded!

iTunes Match NRFPT

I signed up for iTunes Match earlier today.

Since then, I've downloaded (replaced) exactly one song, and I've spent an hour or so searching the Web for "iTunes Match error 4001" and "iTunes Match error 4010" and so on. I've tried some of the tricks, I've set up a smart playlist, and I'm still just sitting here at Step 1 in the iTunes Match section of iTunes.

iTunes Match is, as they used to say, NRFPT1. That's disappointing. It's the first thing from Apple in a long while that didn't "just work."

iTunes Error

If this doesn't start working by the end of the day on Monday, I'm going to seek a refund.

  1. Not Ready For Prime Time []

Happy Blogiversary

Today marks the start of my tenth year of blogging.

Since this post I've lost a dog and one awesome friend, but gained a daughter, a wife, and two good friends. I've moved twice and purchased one home. I've lost two girlfriends that struck me as potential marriage material but re-gained an old friend that quickly became a marriage of over 6½ years.

I've bought one new car for myself, and two for my wife1. I've gone on what I would call a true vacation exactly once.

  1. When I say "I" here I mean "we", but "we" didn't seem to flow very well. []

Running Break

For the past few weeks, my left calf muscle - right at the bottom of the calf and several inches above my ankle - has felt "off." It's been noticeably sore (but not painful) between runs. After a run it has felt pretty good, but when I've focused on more fore-foot to mid-foot form it's been noticeably goofy.

Today when running 8:00 straight separated by a 5:00 breather, the back of my left knee felt odd. It still feels odd now, eight hours later, and a bit like I hyperextended my knee a little.

I'm not a wimp, but if there's one thing I keep reading it's that people tend to take things too aggressively and push too hard too fast, and that only leads to injuries. I've been good about this so far - and I wouldn't even call this an injury, really - but until I get to know how my body reacts to running a bit better, I'm taking a break as a precaution.

The plan right now is to take ten days off, with ice on the calf and the back of my knee, and repeat the fifth week of C25K. I still plan to do something to keep my cardiovascular system improving - maybe I'll use the recumbent bike at Golf Evolution or something. My legs have never really been tired after I've run (because, let's be honest, I'm not exactly running very far or very fast), but I'm pleased with my cardiovascular improvement.

Which, come to think of it, goes a bit against what I just wrote about being frustrated by a lack of improvement. Early on I remember having a harder time running 2:00 straight than I did today running 8:00 straight. I attributed a lot of that to the cooler air, but that's not it, not entirely.

BTW, if you're on RunKeeper or DailyMile, look up "iacas" and add me as a friend.

New Twitter for iPhone

I agree completely with what @gruber wrote: the new Twitter app (and to a lesser extent, the new Twitter website) flat out stinks.

I guess Tweetbot is the way I'll go for now.

Tabata: Four Minutes of Exercise

Carey sent me this Shape article and though I have no plans to do it, I'll post about it here.

But it's worth it. Doing as little as 4 minutes (or one "Tabata") can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate, and can help you burn more fat (and make you look 200-percent leaner) than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout. That's right—4 minutes of Tabata can get you better fitness gains than an entire hour of running on the treadmill.

The trick to getting all these benefits is the level of intensity. To do a Tabata, an exercise developed in the '70's for Japanese Olympians, all you have to do is pick a cardio activity such as running, jumping rope, or biking and go as hard as you can for 20 seconds. Follow that with 10 seconds of rest and repeat seven more times. And when I say "as hard as you can go," I mean 100-percent maximal intensity. By the end of the 4 minutes you should feel like you're going to die.

This sounds like something that'd be more fun to bet someone else they can't do than to do yourself. 🙂

Sprint’s Commercials about Limiting the iPhone

Sprint has been running commercials lately about their unlimited data plans for the iPhone. The tag line has been something about "bet you don't realize how much data you actually use."

Guess what? I bet most people don't realize how little data they use.

Since I reset my phone on October 14, I've sent 76.4 MB and received 179 MB. That's it. This seems to be consistent with my earlier numbers.

Yes, I'm on wifi a good portion of the day, but so are many people. Unless you're watching Netflix constantly on your phone - and away from wifi - I don't know how likely it is that you're going to surpass 2 GB.

I remember AT&T said that something like 5% of people use more than 1 GB of data per month, but that 5% accounted for 95% of the data used on its network.

Odds are you're not in that 5%. Sprint scare tactics? Don't pay more than you have to, folks. Check your data usage and choose a plan that gives you a comfortable, not an excessive, amount of room.

DIC

I'm going after a new gig, a new job. It's in one of my current fields, and I'd be great at it. The people who know I'm going after it think I'll be great at it.

The holdup? There's someone in that position - in a manner of speaking - already. That person should probably use his talents in other, higher-level types of things. It's not a "grunt work" position, but it's more "grunt work" than glamour, and yet it's the kind of work I really enjoy and at which I really excel.

So, fingers crossed, and I'll know within the first couple of months of 2012.

Loss of Appetite

It may be a coincidence, but since I've started running, my appetite has plummeted. In some ways I think it has to be a coincidence because the farthest I've run and walked in a week is seven or eight miles (outside of normal walking of course).

I feel okay. I'm not dizzy. I'm not sick. I'm not suddenly busier than I have been in the past. I'm sleeping the same amount and just as well.

I'm not drinking more or less Coke Zero (I guess some zero-cal colas can inhibit appetite).

While I used to get hungry at about 4pm, sometimes a bit earlier, nowadays I'm eating a few Oreos during the day and then forcing myself to eat some food at 8 o'clock at night.

If our scale worked, I'd be curious to know what I weigh now.

Platonic

A (straight) man and woman are capable of having a purely platonic relationship.
View Results

Just curious.

My friend Daria said/says that I get along better with women because "I'm a listener and a talker." I tend to think it's because most guys are jerks.

But the jury is still out on me: the sample size for me is too low to draw any valid statistical conclusions.