On Monday I went to watch Spiderman 3, following an evening out at Refresh Seattle, where Lee spoke about how online communities are like parties waiting to happen. Sachi and I had collected free movie passes from a Safeway promotion a few months ago that had to be used in the next month, so we figured it would be nice to catch a current flick while out with friends. The tickets were essentially free, but even that was paying too much. I had seen Spiderman 1 and 2, which were both somewhat cheesy and predictable… what else do you expect from a comic-book character? This third installment brought it to a whole new level… a new low. I’m not giving anything away by revealing that Spiderman wins in the end… of course, he’s the comic hero. But outside of some of the special-effects of spiderman swooping around buildings on his webs, there wasn’t much else to get excited about. In fact, there were whole sections of the movie that were just absurd and made me think they brought in a bunch of 4th grade writers to create the story. One thought that entered my head while leaving the theater was, “this isn’t even Netflix worthy”…. meaning that I wouldn’t want to waste a spot on my queue for this movie that’s more of a drawn out velveeta-ized sequel than anything resembling a new or worthwhile story. Save your money and when it finally comes out on free tv, turn off your tv and go outside and do something productive…. like wash your car. It’ll be 2 hours of your life you’ll be happy to not have wasted watching Spidey 3.
After a few years of playing softball in Seattle, my co-ed team (Bottom of the Fifth) finally has a sponsor. Instead of paying the $80 per season (typically 2-3 seasons during a year), we now have a full sponsor. A friend of ours, Tate, owns a bar/club in Fremont called Nectar. Besides the paying of our league fees, Nectar has also provided us new uniform shirts and there’s even talk about team hats. But best of all, Nectar provides us with a post-game hangout where they serve tasty pizzas. Big thanks goes out to Tate and Nectar for what hopes to be the beginning of great relationship. Check out Nectar if you’re around Fremont and itching for a bite & a drink. FYI, so far our Nectar team is undefeated after our first two games.
It’s amazing how fast junk mail finds you. After moving into my new place in March, it didn’t take more than 7 days for new junk mail with my name on it to show up in my mailbox. I purposefully did not fill out a NCOA (National Change of Address) at the post office… since after working at a credit card company, I know about how databases are updated with NCOA info. NCOA updates are usually considered the most reliable addresses for marketers, so even businesses with small marketing budgets will target NCOA folks. I’m guessing that my name was found by recording my property deed with the county. Either that, or my mortgage/escrow company sold my new address. If you do move, one good thing is getting a bunch of coupons for local businesses…. so if you are planning on buying something from a hardware store, or crate & barrel, or any other housewares store, update your name/address at your local county recorder or NCOA (even changing your middle initial) and you should get a bunch of “welcome to the neighborhood” coupons. At least junk mail comes with coupons… spam email on the other hand is just crap.
I just got back from a great weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. This past weekend was the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby and my first time to the bluegrass state. Each year, a crew of my college friends gets together for a weekend trip to reconnect. This year’s trip to Churchill Downs was our 2007 get together. Thursday night was a typical night out on the town with other rowdy crowds in for the weekend festivities. Our hotel was great in that it offered complimentary mint juleps upon arrival. I’ve seen free cookies or fruit, but booze when checking in was amazing. Friday started with the typical country-style breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. I’m sure those from the south see the C-B as something akin to Denny’s or other simple restaurant chains. Since we were from Philly, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle, the southern breakfast was a real treat. From sweet-tea to cheese-eggs and grits, it surely filled us up for the remainder of the day. We spent the next few hours finding auto repair shops to try and fix Adam’s Saab. One of the vacuum hoses that controlled idling was broken and held on by duct tape. When it would detach, the car would idle at 3,000 RPMs rather than the normal 1,100 RPMs. Not good. We found a few temporary solutions that would enable Adam to drive back to Philly on Sunday. Apparently, Louisville doesn’t have many Saabs on the road, so parts were very hard to come by. We spent the evening in the hotel chillin and playing jenga. We had to take it easy since we wanted to get up early for Derby day.
We arrived at the Univ of Louisville parking lot at 8:30am to begin tailgating. You’d think that with the Derby race at 6pm, we would be the only ones there that early. You’d be wrong. There were RV’s, horseshoe games, tents setup and thousands of folks sharing in our pre-derby celebrations. The morning flew by and we made a bunch of friends, some of who we ran into later on in the throngs of people in the infield. We got to the track at midday and made our first bets on race #3. Surprisingly, a few of us won… not big, but enough to buy a drink or two. The rest of the races were losers, but it still was a grand ol’ time. The queen was supposed to arrive at Churchill downs, but I guess she wasn’t partying in the infield, so we missed her. The race itself was fast, but the whole day was full of debauchery that reminded me of football tailgating with people taking every available square of grass to park their picnic blankets.
Louisville did leave a lasting impression on us. The city knew thousands of people would come and therefore took advantage of the weekend visitors. Prices went through the roof. I understand that hotels can charge rack rate, and race vendors charge $4 for a soda, but regulated rates, such as taxi-cabs, were doubled or tripled during race weekend. A cab to the hotel on Thurs was $24, but returning to the airport on Sunday was $50. We even went into a bar that had a sign that said “$2 shot special ALLDAY EVERYDAY”. After ordering a round of shots, my friend got the bill and because it was Derby weekend, the price was $10 per shot. Without taking down the $2 sign OR putting up a $10 sign, the bar seemed to just make it’s own weekend prices. I think it made the whole city seem greedy and I’d think twice about going back. If the city is trying to make a positive impression on thousands of folks who may be visiting Louisville for the first time, it surely isn’t doing a great job. Don’t get me wrong, I had a superb weekend… but Louisville has a lot to learn when it comes to treating its visitors fairly.