Adding to the family (Say hello to Dodger!)

The last time I had any pets in my life was when I was living in Louisville, KY for a few years. During that time I had Sadie, a white boxer; Wicket a german sheperd/husky mix; and Molly, a mix puppy.. no clue what her breed was. Anyway, Sadie I had for a few months until I gave her to a friend’s family to take care of; Wicket went to another friend that was looking for the same breed.. Molly was unfortunately given away to my ex’s brother’s girlfriend.. without my permission. I had just moved out of the apartment and he agreed to take care of her for a few weeks while I got settled into my place. Unfortunately he ended up giving Molly away instead seeing as though he was the world’s biggest douchebag.

Since 2006 I haven’t had any kind of pets in my life. It’s just been my obsession with pugs growing larger than life. Pugs on my birthday cards, cards to other people, stuffed animal pugs, pug statues, pug jewelry.. If it has a pug on it you can be assured that I either own it or at one point wanted it. Last year while I was in the hospital, my mom decided to agree that I could get a dog although we didn’t have any time frame in mind. I did agree that it would be after I was able to walk.. November came around and I didn’t really think about a dog. February came by and there was a news story on a puppy mill raid that had a bunch of pugs in there. Unfortunately the animals were not being put up for adoption as the judge ruled against it. May came by and I was HOPING that for my birthday I would be surprised with being able to get a dog. I had an inkling of doubt but I fooled myself as I was given a card that had a little PAWS print with a note saying it was time I get a dog!

I looked through all listings for shelters, rescues and stores for a pug. The closest Pug rescue was in northern Illinois and majority of the Pugs were 7-8 years old, half-blind and would require someone with the finances to take care of their major ailments. Looking at rescues in other states were not an option. The Kentuckiana Pug Rescue required that you lived in the area as they did a home check.. they had a large selection of pugs too! When I was able to find pugs in my area, they were mixed breeds–Pug w/chihuahua, Pug w/German Sheperd, Pug w/ Beagle, Pug w/ Greyhound (this was an UGLY mix).. So I made the decision to hold off on a pug. I know, it was a rather shocking decision to everyone as they all felt I should wait.. But I had discussed that it would be best to get a family dog right now and in a few months if I’m able to find a Pug, then he (or she) will be adopted by myself.

Last night we went to our local PAWS last night after I had stalked their dog listings for days. I had narrowed my choice between two dogs: Carmel, a white/tan sheperd/husky mix, and Dodger, a fawn/tan/red sheperd mix. Going there last night was pretty tough as you’ve got a bunch of other dogs there just looking at you with the saddest eyes you could ever imagine. I wanted to take almost all of them home! Seeing Carmel was a bit of a disappointment. She wasn’t interested in me when I approached her–heck I think she pretty much ignored me! As I walked up to Dodger’s spot, he immediately looked at me and begged to me touched, licked my hand and was overall jovial. I spent a few minutes with all of the other dogs but ultimately said I wanted to meet with Carmel and Dodger.

Dodger was first up to meet with my family and I. He immediately went over to all of us and went nuts with face licking, sniffing us, laying on his back for belly rubs and of course licking every nook and cranny on the floor. We then had Carmel come in but she was just not interested in us at all. She wouldn’t come to us to be petted, didn’t want to be touched and was more interested in standing in front of the door than anything. The only time she did give any attention was when the PAWS volunteer gave us some treats to give to her to try to motivate her attitude a bit more.. But she still wasn’t having any of it. I was a bit discerning as I was really hoping to get along with her. This is essentially what made my decision easy.. Dodger was going to be my final choice. I think what really helped was that when my dad went up to his cage, Dodger got on his hind legs and let my Dad ruffle his scruff. My dad has never appeared to be a Dog whisperer of any sorts, so if Dodger can make the ice in my dad’s pet heart melt, then this was obviously going to be the one!

So without further ado, Dodger is now a part of my family! :D.


You can also check out my Flickr set to see a few more pictures of him. Obviously more to come over the months (and years!)

Using TVersity and doing away with cable tv

I’m not sure how I would be able to manage without my 32″ HDTV, Xbox 360 and TVersity. I stream 100% of all TV shows I watch and various other movies. It was a combined reason of not having a cable box in my room and also because I want to watch tv when I want to–not at a set day & time.

TVersity is an application that turns your computer into a media server/hub. I stuck with TVersity because of it having support for my Xbox 360. All I need to do is include a directory on my harddrive with TVersity, refresh it so that it picks up all files and load up my Xbox 360’s “My Videos” and connect to TVersity.

I have been streaming fully now for over a year and don’t have any plans to stop. Sometimes if I’m feeling a little lazy, I’ll rely on Hulu or FanCast but most of the time I prefer to download. Most TV show episodes are released an hour or two after the episode’s initial air time. I frequent warez-bb (and some others) as a lot of the uploaders frequent these websites and keep them updated with their releases. The releases are also awesome quality as I can grab an 720p HDTV version in MKV or I can opt to just grab an HDTV version in AVI. I usually try to grab AVIs so I don’t have to work around the MKV fix since out of the box the Xbox 360 doesn’t support this format.

However, if you are interested in streaming MKVs on the Xbox with TVersity and are using Windows 7, you can use DIVX MKV on Windows 7 which is what I use. You can also read through a thread posted at’s forums. Alternatively, if you have a PS3 and want to stream your media, you can use PS3 Media Server which comes with MKV support right out of the box. Or if you’re using a Mac and want to stream to your 360, you can use Playback. 🙂

Since most of the files go through Rapidshare, I had splurged and bought a premium account. A lot of times the releases will have 4-6 200MB zip/rar files and Rapidshare’s free download does not permit multiple downloads at the same time. It also gives you an annoying time limit for bandwidth usage. It makes sense and truthfully is a fraction of the cost I’d be paying for my Comcast cable tv bill.

Although the one annoying thing after awhile was that most places will not link any of the URLs so I found myself having to copy/paste each URL into the browser.. major pain in the ass! So Steve had suggested I install Greasemonkey and install “Rapidshare Links Checker” userscript. This will turn all Rapidshare URLs into clickable links as well as add an “x” icon for dead links or a “checkmark” for active links. This was such a tremendous help as it seriously does alleviate a few minutes of copy/pasting and only finding out the files were removed.

At one point I needed to download a file that had been split into 26 20MB files.. Not sure why it was split like so but it was.. painful. So I ended up coming across jDownloader, a java app. It allows me to copy Rapidshare URLs (it also supports other upload sites) and the app will automatically detect the URLs and create a group specifically for those files. So if I have 5 URLs for “Friday Night Lights S4 E11” it will create a folder for those specific links. I can then delegate how many connections I want active for the file and specify the download limitations on the files. Once it’s finished downloading it will also extract said files for me so I don’t have to do it myself. Easy peasy baby!

Now while I don’t mind this setup, I’ve actually been contemplating setting up an HTPC instead so that way I’m not relying on two devices but rather just one. It’s not in my budget right now but hopefully in the next few months I’m hoping that I can get started on putting together an HTPC with full BluRay support. I’ve got a NewEgg wishlist setup in case you’re interested in building one yourself or just curious to see what hardware I’ll be using for it. You can also check out Engadget‘s post which features specs to build an HTPC for ~$550 if you’re not keen on the $1,100+ my list comes out to be before taxes and shipping.

So do you download/stream TV shows or do you prefer to catch ’em on TV when it airs by your cable provider?

Work hard, play harder

It took a month longer than I anticipated but I finally finished up my redesign for iCupcake. For the past few months I’ve been a little more obsessed with baking & cupcakes than I usually am. So much so that majority of the blogs I had been reading were baking/cupcake centralized, which of course would lead to bakery websites and cupcakery. It only seemed fitting to bring that atmosphere to my blog–to make it not only something that fits the domain name but also what I enjoy.

Since this is my first post for the New Year, I decided that maybe I would make some goals for myself versus worrying about New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never really made resolutions in the past and I surely never stuck with any. Goals seem more realistic and achievable so figured I’d stick with that.

  • Increase my Xbox gamerscore. I’m sitting at 8405 right now and want to hit 10,000 before February starts. I frequently stick to specific games solely for multiplayer so this will be a nice challenge for me. I’ve got a few games to play right now that I took from Steve’s which include Battlefield: Bad Company, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and a few other games that I just need to get 100% completion for achievements (Modern Warfare 2, COD4, COD:WaW to name a few.) Once I hit 10,000 then I’ll just keep increasing. I’ve got awhile before I can catch up to Steve and his massive 104,000+ gamerscore.
  • Bake more & photograph it. I’ve been stockpiling up numerous recipes for different sweets and treats but have yet to really go through any of them yet. A few weeks ago I purchased a good amount of material for making some cakepops as well as cupcake bites. I have only gotten around to making the cupcake bites so far. So I don’t gain weight or make my little sister fall into a food coma, I also bought supplies to package these up. I plan on letting my mom bring some to work to offer up and hopefully, strike up some business through this. It’s something new and enjoying, so I’m taking advantage of it.
  • Taking longer breaks from the computer & gaming to catch up on all of the books sitting on my shelf. I have about 10+ Dean Koontz books that have not yet been read along with a few other authors. I just haven’t been reading much at all the last year and really do miss laying around with a good book. So I want to read on book a week. This is a very feasible goal because I’m a fast reader. I read through the last Harry Potter book in ~6 hours so books that are 1/3 the size should be no problem.
  • Relaunch an old project of mine so I can add extra monthly income. I started it back in 2007 and made a good amount of money for the three months I had been active with it. Since then I just let it die off. In the year and a half since then, I have definitely lost out on a lot of potential clients and money by abandoning it. Hopefully by mid-February I can have it relaunched to start selling on it again.

So rather then set goals for the entire year I figured I would just do something that would be completed within the next couple of months. Once those goals are done I can either mark them off as “finished” or “upgrade” them to make them more challenging for myself. Nothing is better then earning money, playing videogames and enjoying yourself rather than stressing out.

On a last note, if you spot any 404s, spelling mistakes, or other coding issues definitely let me know. I’ve been staring at this for quite some time so I may have overlooked something very minute. 🙂 Also for those of you using >IE7, I haven’t yet made it “backwards-compatible,” so while it will work fine for you.. I haven’t gotten around to adjusting the rgba to rgb so that it will render the colors for you. I’ll get to it soon.

My perfect Christmas Wishlist

It’s been awhile since I made myself my own little Christmas wishlist but there are a few items I have been lusting over for quite some time. This isn’t my actual Christmas wishlist to anyone but myself. I try to refrain from asking for big ticket items from my parents as I feel that I should pay for them versus making them buy it for me. I think my last big gift from them was back in 2004 when I was surprised with my own desktop versus having to share the family computer.

Drobo S by Data Robotics – $899

I have had my eye on the Drobo S for quite some time now. I regularly backup to an external Seagate backup drive but it’s down to 50GB now, so I’ve started to backup to a Western Digital 500GB SATA drive that I’ve got in one of my bay drives in my desktop. While this is feasible, I prefer to backup to an external device that I can easily upgrade to without having to spend more money. Granted, this is an $800 backup solution but given how invaluable the data is that I’m storing it’s not a concern for me.

The biggest advantage is being able to toss in any SATA drive into the 5-bay network storage. This version also includes eSATA for connectivity so I wouldn’t need to rely on crappy USB 2.0 speeds or fireware (although it still is an option.) No installation required! All I have to do is pop in a drive and I’m done. I don’t need to setup any kind of RAID config, format, screws or anything. The Drobo will do it all for me. My other favorite features are the glowing status lights which when more space is available more blue lights are available, the less space there is the less blue lights you’ll see and when near full they’ll be red. But the best feature is that it is self-healing. If it sees that there is a disk failing, it will automatically start pushing the data to the other remaining disks so you don’t lose that data on a disk crash. Perfect redundancy ftw!

X-Files: The Complete Collectors Edition – $175.99

I have been an X-Files fan since the show first aired back in 1993. I remember being so excited for Friday nights to eat Chinese food and watch the X-Files and be completely creeped out by some of the episodes. Heck, some of them are still pretty creepy when I watch them over 10 years later. I used to own seasons 1-4 to grow my collection of them but unfortunately an old roommate of mine had stolen them. I lucked out with these because I bought them for $75 for all four seasons from a discount I had when working at Best Buy. Since then I’ve yet to replace them or buy physical copies. I have watched them online on streaming websites but it’s not the same. This is probably the only physical form of entertainment that I want to own. I need to have this on display AND so I can watch it at anytime without lag or loss of quality. I love me some Duchovney!

Tilt-Head Stand Mixer – Kitchenaid – $399

Here’s the domestic in me coming out! The stand mixer I used that belonged to my mom bit the dust a few years ago when the neck snapped so if I use it, I have to stand there and hold it. So I usually resort to getting a large tupperware bowl out along with a handheld mixer and use that when I have recipes that require intense mixing. It’s annoying since I have to turn the bowl, hold the mixer and also use a spatula to feed it towards the mixer when it gets spun to the outside of the bowl. I have been dying for a stand mixer for awhile and red happens to be my favorite color. I’m not partial to any stand but this one I loved because you can use attachments with it for putting out pasta, and who knows what other apparatus’ to do whatever you need. Now I don’t need to hold off on a recipe because I don’t have the right tools.

The world’s cutest pug

Anyone that knows me knows I have two obsessions: Pugs and Cupcakes. The biggest being with pugs. When I was in the hospital a lot of my little get well items were pug related like “Pugs and Kisses, Get Well!”, my life-like 2 foot Pug that sits in my room, a Pug statue, a Pug beanie and more. I’ve also got pug thank-you cards I found on Etsy, pug stationary, and pug address labels. I’ve also get a few Pug calendars that I’ve saved so I can frame them into a little wall display for shiggles. A pug is the one thing I have wanted for years now and will always want a pug until I have one. I love the fawn breeds and would prefer a male puggy versus female.

I’ve been partially joking and teasing when I ask Steve to get me a pug for Christmas but in reality I know that’s not going to happen. I drop my parents hints every chance I get; When I see a grocery list laying around I’ll add in “Pug and pug toys” in either of their handwriting to make it look more realistic ;). When I was in the hospital my mom was seemingly serious about getting me a pug around the time I started walking but I’ve yet to even really see any sort of notion that this would happen so I guess this is one present where I’ll have to just settle for trinkets and other oddities in lieu of an actual pug. *sniff*

What’s on your Christmas list?

My site needs a refresh

I haven’t even had this design up for two months and I’ve hated it the day I ended up launching it. Tired of the colors, the huge size of it and the fact that it still isn’t making me want to blog more often. So I’m considering working on a new design for it but yet again I’m not even sure that I want to keep it on I like the domain but I was contemplating moving everything over to (or even trying to get ahold of but not sure if that will happen.) Who knows what will happen because I’ve got a million ideas for some other projects I’m working on so I’ll end up pushing it back.

In other news, in four more days I’ll have been walking for a month. I started off using a walker for a couple weeks and eventually moved to just using a single crutch on my right side. Now I can pretty much walk without it although I did have an issue sprout up on Thanksgiving. My tendons are moving over the knee whenever it bends thus causing it to pop. There isn’t any pain involved but it’s very awkward walking. I’ll find out Thursday at my orthopedic appointment on what I can do to help it.

I also graduated to being able to walk up and down stairs although I’ve yet to accomplish this feat at my house (excluding the patio stairs which are only 5 steps total.) My house stairs are both wooden so it’s a little more difficult to use without the fear of slipping. Otherwise I’ve got not problems at Steve’s house or the movie theaters (which we’ve gone to twice for New Moon & The Blind Side.) Now it’s just a matter of getting more therapy (done by myself) to be able to squat without needing any kind of support and gaining mobility with my hip and knee.