PLA Book

Around 2002ish I started working on a book for the Phone Losers of America. I’d work on it nonstop for a couple of weeks and then I’d completely forget it existed for a few years. I started up again in 2005, I think, but then I discovered podcasting and started dedicating all of my time to both listening and creating podcasts. But every once in awhile I’d open up the book file and do a little work on it, often switching between it being a 1st person book about PLA shenanigans and it being a 3rd person story not about PLA, but about PLA-type things. If that makes any sense.

This summer I started working heavily on the project and finally decided to give up the 3rd person story thing since I discovered how much I suck at actual story writing. And this time I didn’t quit until it was finally finished. Around September I started receiving proofs of the book, making corrections and continuing to add content. I used a service called CreateSpace to have the book printed, which is an excellent service for people who are too lame to get published for real. They even put your book on Amazon and make it available to order from real book stores.

At the very last minute, I managed to convince Rob T Firefly to write a foreword for the book and to do some illustrating for a couple of the chapters. Also at the very last minute, I switched from Microsoft Word to OpenOffice since I’d just switched to a Mac. Once I figured out that OpenOffice couldn’t do everything I wanted, I switched again to iWork’s Pages.

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that the book is now available. The PLA Book page has details about what can be found in the book and the PLA Store has all the links you need to buy it, in both book and e-book formats. It contains quite a bit of stuff from my homepage, like the eBay pranks, the travels and a few other things. Then it’s got a ton of stuff from the PLA web site, like call forwarding stunts, cordless phones, Dino, Fred Meyer, Boulder News Frenzy and the Richard Cardo investigation, the McDonald’s Sign Prank, Curtis Lee Jones, PLA history and a lot more. So if you’re the type that likes this kind of thing, maybe you should get a copy of it.

Now I need something new to do with my free time. I have all kinds of new projects ready to work on, but so far all I’ve been doing for the past few months is hanging out on conferences for hours at a time and video Skyping a lot.

What’s in Your Fridge?

That’s a response video to one of r0xy’s video. I grabbed a bunch of random objects and stuck them in my fridge, just to confuse viewers. Judging by the comments so far, it worked.

A few days ago I created a weird sign and put it up on the bulletin board at McDonalds. Click here to view a post about it so I don’t have to explain it all in this post. Lisa and I were at that McDonald’s today and noticed that 3 or 4 of the tabs were torn off of it now. Some old man has called me twice about it, wanting to buy the snow plow. I didn’t think people would actually call about it when I made the sign.

A few weeks ago Jessica convinced me to watch a show called How I Met Your Mother. I hate admitting that I like a sitcom, especially when it’s got a cheesy laugh track on it and a lame title like that, but I love this show more than anything. It’s so bizarre and messed up and fun. It frequently has old cast members from the old TV show Freaks and Geeks. (Three that I’ve noticed now, one is a main character.) I’m up to season 3 now, about 4 episodes into it. Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris, is the coolest character ever. If you’ve never seen it, give it a try. I downloaded the entire show from bittorrent, but it’s on Netflix if you want to wait for the discs in the mail.

The PLA Book is coming along great. I’m waiting on my sixth proof of it now. Jammie is doing an awesome job of copy editing for me and Rob T Firefly did a foreword for it and I’m waiting on some illustrations from him. I’m shooting for it to be all finished up by November 1st or so. I’ll be glad when this project is over so I can work on other things. Seems like all I ever do anymore is work on this book.


About a month ago, I was in a used book store looking for a Roger Zelazny book that was impossible to find and I ended up buying a used copy of the Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. It’s the one that has all 5 books in it and looks just like a Bible. Since my HHGTTG collection was incomplete, this would be perfect! I took it home and Payton read the first book in it immediately since he wasn’t currently reading anything. I took the 2 books of HHGTTG off my shelf and threw them in my donation bag for Goodwill. I used to have all 5 books separately, but I lost a few in the move to Oregon and I think I loaned another one out.

So, complete collection right? WRONG! Less than a month later, a SIXTH HHGTTG BOOK is released. The author has been dead for like 7 years now! The fifth book was released way back in 1992ish. The new book is written by the guy that writes Artemis Fowl for some reason. I guess it’s based on stuff they found in DNA’s computer for a 6th book. But dammit.

The Roger Zelazny book I ended up buying on eBay for $15 plus shipping. For a 15-year-old used paperback! If I wanted an unused copy, it would have been $65. No kidding. It turned out to be a pretty good book, though, so thanks for recommending it, John!

I’ve got a stack of 5 books to read still. A Mark Twain that I’d never heard of until last week, a Carl Sagan, that book of crazy letters Angela gave me, and a couple others I can’t remember.

I miss MTV suddenly. That’s the only thing about not having cable that I miss. Watching nonstop music videos in the background all day while I work and do other things. I know it’s awesome that today every music video ever made is on demand on the internet, but it was nice just having them play nonstop videos at me all day. A big portion of them sucked, but there was the occasional gem in there. It’s so tempting to blow $60/month on a cable package, just to get MTV back. But I won’t do that.

I haven’t had regular cable since I left Illinois in 2005 and decided that the internet was so awesome that the kids don’t even need cable anymore. And that’s true. I never watched it much myself, except for the cartoons that the kids were watching and MTV. I think Yahoo streams videos like that somewhere. I should look into that again.

The Rough Guide to eBay

Some stranger emailed me a week or two ago and told me that they’d seen my Ebay feedback featured in some book called The Rough Guide to eBay by Ian Peel, which was published more than 2 years ago. I’d never heard of it, so I looked it up on Amazon and bought a copy for about $3.00 so that I can post it on here and brag about it.

Ebay Book

Ebay Book

I’m given a whole page detailing my Ebay feedback antics, even though they chose to display the most boring of my comments possible. If you’ve never read my Ebay feedback, it’s here:

Night in the Lonesome October

Last week I was chatting with John Sever (you may have heard of him, he’s very famous) and he mentioned a book that he really likes called A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny which is some kind of Jack the Ripper book. Since I haven’t read a book in months now, I decided to give it a try and reserved a copy on the library website, not realizing that I’d actually reserved a copy of the nearly identical titled, Night in the Lonesome October by Richard Laymon.

I picked it up the next day and it lay around my house for a week. Yesterday morning I finally got a chance to start it and I couldn’t put it down. I read it all day yesterday in between activities with the kids and finished it around 1am. Occasionally I would pause and wonder what it had to do with Jack the Ripper. This book was about a guy who went for late-night walks through neighborhoods and began stalking a girl, peeping in windows and going into peoples’ houses. There were bridge trolls, rape, murder, bludgeoning, stabbing, kidnapping, chasing after crazy old ladies on bikes, etc. I thought it was supposed to be Jack the Ripper: The College Years or something. It was a great book, though, and I’m really glad I made the mistake. Thanks for accidentally making me read this, John! Now I need to go pick up the Roger Zelazny version.

Speaking of books, I’m attempting to use Amazon’s Your Media Library to catalog books that I own or like. I’m still not sure I like it, especially since it requires others to log in to view it. Maybe I should just catalog my books/movies/music on my own website.

Yesterday I read that book all day, but we still managed to do a lot of other things. We went Geocaching in the morning and found two geocaches fairly easily. Then we went to the mall to return something at Target and had lunch in the food court. We stopped by the pottery place in downtown and picked up the plates that we painted earlier this week. Here’s what they look like:

painted plates

Emily’s is the one with food drawn on it, Payton’s is a depiction of the video game N+ and mine is supposed to look broken. These plates were crazy-expensive! I was expecting them to cost maybe $8 – $10 and they ended up being $20 each. Quite a bit more pricey than the mismatched plates I currently use, which I got for free from Craigslist. It’s going to hurt if one breaks.

After going back home for a couple hours, we drove back to downtown Albany at 6:30 and attended a free magic show at the Venetian Theater. And man, did we get what we paid for! Actually it was a good, fun show. I guess as an adult I’m bored with magic since I’ve seen every possible trick that can be done about a million times now. After that we came back home and I read my book nonstop until it was finished.

I can’t really think of any other notable things that have happened this week. Last Saturday and Sunday I didn’t have the kids so I spent most of one of those days in downtown Salem, writing on the laptop. Mostly in the Blue Pepper internet cafe and a few hours in the mall food court where I had lunch.

Today we may or may not: find a haunted house to visit, go to Salem to buy Emily curtains for her room, go geocaching, go on a bike ride, or just sit around the house all day staring into various LCD screens.

Harry Potter, HHGTTG, Wal-Mart, Hike

I finished up Harry Potter #7 today. I think I started it on Thursday or Friday. It was easily the best book of the series. I thought it would be boring when I started it. I mean really, after 6 books of wizarding crap can the 7th one really be any different? But yeah, it was great and I couldn’t put it down.

I’ve also listened to 3 “seasons” of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy BBC radio show now. I did a lot of driving around this weekend, so I was able to finish up the 3rd one. It’s great stuff as well.

I ended up at a Wal-Mart and picked up a few phone calls for customers when I heard someone paged to pick up a phone line. It was mostly because I’d been itching to test out this telephone recording device of mine, which resembles a wireless phone earpiece that people wore before everyone had bluetooth. I stupidly messed up the recordings of most of the calls I answered, but here’s one I got:

Yesterday I went on a 4 1/2 hour hike in Corvallis.

Digital Collection Lists

In my quest to rid myself of tangible items, I’ve come across a small problem. I want to be able to easily browse my digital collections. It’d be nice to be able to see the cover art of my movies. Especially when perusing movies from the couch, which is hard to do anyway since everything is in tiny text. I’ve done a little searching on the subject, but I can’t seem to find any software that will let you add cover art pictures and easy browsing to your collection of digital movies. I know Windows Media Player sort of does it, but most of my movies are in mp4 format, which can’t be played on WMP. Any suggestions?

Also, I’ve tried pretty hard to not collect tons of books since I moved here. I think I currently own less than 20 books, since I usually sell them back after I’ve read them. But I’d like to have some kind of catalog of books that I’ve enjoyed, so I don’t forget about the book. You know, if you have a giant book collection, sometimes you’ll come across an old book that you haven’t read in years and you’ll decide to read it again. I need a way to create lists of books, preferably with cover art, that I can browse. Amazon has wish lists, but I don’t want people buying me books on a wish list. They don’t have just a regular list of stuff you like.

I’m thinking I’ll just set up an Amazon Store of my media, even though I’m not too crazy with the way they lay everything out. I already have a store for I guess it would be cool to have the added bonus of receiving a commission if anyone decides to buy anything in my personal store.

About the movies, I’m sure Netflix will come out with a way to make lists of favorites eventually. They already have Top 10 lists that users can make and share. I don’t think it goes much further than that, though. But if anyone has any other suggestions for doing what I think I want to do, other than making an Amazon Store, I’m open to them.

EDIT: I just set up a quick list on Amazon. Click here to see my Amazon store. Right after I made that, though, I discovered that Amazon actually does have a thing called Your Media Library which might do everything I was looking for. I’ve only spent a minute or two looking at it now, and I’m not sure if I like it. I’m going to look it over now, though. I’m still open to any alternative suggestions.

ANOTHER EDIT: I just remembered that after RijilV moved out of my spare apartment in Illinois, I had this insane idea of converting his old apartment into a library. As if I didn’t have enough useless space in my house as it was, I thought that turning every wall of his old living area into a bookshelf was an awesome idea. I came really close to actually beginning this project too, but luckily someone I knew needed a place to live so I rented it out again.

I didn’t even own enough books at the time to fill more than 1/4th of one of the smaller walls. So besides the lost rental income, I would have spent all this money on wood for bookshelves, lowered the value of the house, and then probably spent thousands of dollars after that just buying books to fill up the shelves so it would look cooler. Sure, it would have been a fun project, but I’m so glad I got sidetracked on that idea.

Books I read in 2007

Books I’ve read in 2007: