Wednesday, December 31

The Price I Pay

I guess Snow Plows being my only driving company is a small price to pay for the luxury of getting to work at nearly noon…

We have a big product launch at work today that I'm really excited about. That's why I'm just getting home now. Anyways, I'll tell you how it goes some other time.

MVP Master Plus from

Sunday, December 28

Video Game Design Between 1990-2008 and On…

I ran across a cool article which documents the graphical progress of video games over the past twenty years. I rest assured that all of my self-proclaimed geeky friends will find this as riveting as I did.

As you can see by my comment I was surprised that Donkey Kong didn't make the list. I feel that the SNES, and Donkey Kong in particular were huge steps in the graphical expectations for video games, and possibly the last great left-to-right platformer. I also felt like Goldeneye was a bit snubbed. I think this guy is coming from a somewhat biased pc / playstation perspective. Notice the comment above mine who's child was born on the 19th. Rule! Best Birthday in the world.

It's Been a While

"Well, gosh, kind of a lot's happened since then."

For brownie points, name that movie in the comments, but name it with another famous quote from that movie so that subsequent readers can still play.

But seriously, Mindy and I went to Texas to celebrate Christmas, then we came back and went to Dad's to celebrate Christmas, then we had Christmas at her house, and now she is off in Wisconsin celebrating with her Dad. I have had a great time, and I'm so happy that we could are done traveling, but I'm missing Mindy very much.

There's a lot to say about while I was gone, but I think I have had a chance to talk to most of you about it who would care; so you'll have to forgive me for not going over it again here. One thing that is pertinent for this blog is that Mindy and I watched the entire third season of Dexter - the best show on television bar none. This past season starred Jimmy Smits who you would recognize from NYPD Blue fame. He was wonderful alongside Michael C. Hall, and this season was a return to glory that was season one (not as quite as great, but definitely on par).

Speaking of, I was wandering around the interwebs, exploring my somewhat closeted love for typography when I stumbled upon this article from I'm not so glib as to assume that most of you would have any interest in the direct subject matter of the article, which is accurate font replication, but the case study was of a fascinating marketing campaign by Showtime to promote Dexter. It seems that they parodied some of the most popular magazine covers, and they did a great job. I'm posting a few of my favorites here, but I insist that you visit the original source to see the full collection. Pay special attention to the dual storylines wittily presented by the headlines which mimic the tone of the show which make it so great.

In other news, I found a really awesome text-only poster while on that same typologically motivated tear. If you'd like to check out the other 29 read about it here at

Saturday, December 6

A couple recommendations

Two quick recommendations.

22 Practical Uses for Lightsabers

Check this free work from the band Hollus, very cool, and very free.

Friday, December 5

Proposal 8 - The Musical

While I often dislike Funny or Die content, I am forced to agree with AlexTheCritic Proposal 8 - The Musical is hilarious.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

3 Things that are Small

3 things that are small… well one is about as big as you can get, but it's a small change that I'm specifically talking about. How's that for a tease?

One thing that is objectively small and insignificant is this blog. Thank you for reading, but I'm only talking to six people tops; so I'm just being realistic. However, it is its complete lack of importance which makes this anomaly so interesting. Actually, if my blog was huge, this occurrence would not surprise me at all. This occurrence - the fact that someone actually found my blog through the following search phrase "don't let your mouth make promises." Not only that but for that search phrase (including quotations), I hold the TOP TWO LISTINGS in google.

Look at what I beat! Google's own listing. How about that. What's more, that post is only about two weeks old.

Now, for me, this means nothing. But it is a proof of concept, that we can still make a mark on the world and that in some ways the internet is still the wide open. The same sort of thing happened to Chad a while back he was top dog for the search phrase "sa rnr" (San Antonio Rock and Roll marathon) and generated traffic on account of that search term. It's very cool and some special feeling to be tops on google (even for something admittedly stupid).

The second small item, I would say is even more amazing. Watch this video from a story called "It's a Small, Small World" which was featured on ABC World News Tonight. You absolutely will not believe this video.

Now the third small item, is a small change that got sneaked in with the massive redesign to youtube and google reader unveiled today. While you might have your own feelings about the redesign (particularly the youtube one which I dislike excepting the widescreen format), you probably didn't notice that you can now officially log in to youtube using your google account. The ability to link your existing youtube account with your google account just represents one more cog in the wheel of google dominance and convenience for its users.

Thursday, December 4

Easing of Budget Woes

Everyone has budgeting concerns around the holidays. Thankfully, my woes have been eased by Chad as I no longer need to buy him a Christmas present this year. You and he might be wondering, what is it that he could have done to earn such a fate. Oh, I'll tell you. Mindy and I sit down to watch the best show that exists on television - Dexter. If you aren't familiar with Dexter, you should be, so wise up. But here it will have to do to say that it is the most phenomenally addictive show that I have ever watched. More than Lost, more than Fringe. It's amazing… or at least it was UNTIL I WAS WATCHING A BLANK SCREEN BECAUSE HE HAD TO TAPE THE F-ING CLONE WARS!!! Which he already *owns* by the way (almost certainly multiple copies).

Now, I know at this point Chad is just about losing it with laughter because he can see me sitting there watching my pathetically small television that I got free from one of his bosses three years ago, hanging on every word, waiting to see how Dexter Morgan could possibly get out of this one, when the screen fades to the most desperately insulting gray-mauve I've ever seen, and he can see me getting up stomping around the house doing laps around my ludicrously small apartment cursing infuriated that I had been so masterfully denied pleasure. You see, he had earned some wonderful gift this year by in fact taking the time to actually record the entire season for me on DVD and then mailing it to me; however, he masterfully guaranteed himself a full stocking of coal when half way through the first episode the picture vanished leaving me with nothing but questions, naughty words, and an awful attitude.

Upon further consideration, I might additionally drag his stockings through a burr field not too unlike the soccer fields at the old Mattawan Elementary playground. Seriously, you have seen The Clone Wars approaching one billion times. ARRRGGGGGGG! [Wallows in rage and self-pity]

In other news, I did two little banner ads at work today that I am pretty proud of. I like the backgrounds particularly of the buy the whole set one, which is desaturated from the outsides in making an interesting vignette effect, that really makes the blue pop. *Quick note* Just because I am putting some of my work on this blog don't feel like I need compliments on it. I would actually prefer criticism, but they make me happy to look at so I thought I'd share them.

PS. This sale doesn't officially open until tomorrow at ten, but I have left the links in if you would like to purchase the pack (after ten feel free to read Bonnie's post Special sneak peek just for you guys. Ooooooooooo!

Tuesday, December 2

The best picture I've ever taken

This will be a quicky. As you can see from my tweets, Mindy and I spent our long Thanksgiving break looking for reception venues. We went out to the Kalamazoo Country Club, which is our most promising location since the Lawton Community Center. Once again, we forgot to bring the camera to take pictures to show.

Also, at work Bonnie had this great idea to suggest some DIY Christmas crafts using our Swarovski crystals. She put them on ornaments, candle holders, and even Christmas cards to add a unique and tasteful touch.

Anyways, I had to take pictures… It turns out that it's pretty tough to take a good product picture of a glass orb. In fact, they work like tiny convex hospital mirrors and actually show a reflection of the entire room in every shot. It was very frustrating. Fortunately for me, Bonnie had also purchased some frosted finish ornaments which were easier to photograph.

So I took the following picture, and by dumb luck it came out marvelously. I'm not much of a photographer so it was sheer luck that I happened to be reflecting the light properly to achieve this cool shot.


This is slightly photoshopped.

DIY Holiday Ornament

This is the original unaltered shot.

Tuesday, November 25

Structural comment

Notice the Twitter widget on the bottom of the sidebar on my blog here?

Well, I'm not a big fan of twitter, but of course, I have one which can be found at Basically, what it does, for those of you who don't know, is that it provides a short description of what I am doing and when I was doing it. It is a trend called microblogging, and it seems a little stupid to me. But if I have anything that I want to tell everyone that I'm doing, I will probably tweet it. Sometimes they are funny, most of the time they are stupid and boring (you've been warned.) I do like it though because I can text message in my tweets. Which from a purely technological stand point is pretty sweet.

Just fyi.

Hmm… what to write about?

Hmm… nothing comes to mind. Oh wait, Friday.

Well, Mindy and I had just had a fabulous time at the Griffins's game, our second D-Zone game, and we wanted to go hang out with Devan and Ben since we hadn't seen them since they left for their honeymoon (congratualtions yous guys). So we get almost all the way down there, stop for pizza, and we come out and our car won't start. Which is a problem by itself, but a bigger problem since I had just taken my car into the shop that day, and it was done but I couldn't pick it up until after the weekend.

So there we were with a car that wouldn't start, and another car in the shop. Thankfully we have wonderful family already who could help us out, but I wanted to get the car to the shop so I called a tow truck. He got there in no time flat, but he wanted to know what the car was doing. So I hopped in and tried to start it - once, twice, nothing. It doesn't even make a sound, it isn't trying to turn over or anything, just nothing. Then I turn it a third time just for kicks, and it starts right up. I couldn't believe it.

We decided to drive it home and we would just hope that it started today to bring it in. I am happy to report that it did start, and I was able to drive it to my guy who had the 240 ready for me to take home. Unfortunately, God had decided to pelt us with a very beautiful, but very slippery s-ton of snow. So my little car, which runs phenomenally well now, slipped and slid and fishtailed all over the place barely making it up hills (usually completely sideways). I am so thankful to have that car though.

Anyways, Mindy had been making fun of my car ever since Uncle Tim first loaned it to me. Omg, we have to get you another one, that is going to break down. So I promised her I would make fun of her that her car broke down before mine. LOL

Monday, November 24

Don't let your mouth make promises your a** can't cash

Dr. Pepper wants you to get your own free doctor peppper.

Free Dr. Pepper

I guess they were so sure that Axl Rose wouldn't come out with his Guns and Roses Chinese Democracy that they promised every American could have a free Dr. Pepper if it actually came out this year… well, drink up America

Friday, November 21

Google's Strat and Today's Development

I recently had a conversation with Grandpa and Uncle Tim about Google and their strategy, specifically when it comes to internet apps. I won't bore you with the long and slightly manic argument I outlined for them, but suffice to say that I think Google has decided to forsake the old model and build their own. Let's look at free mail servers as an example. Services like Hotmail and Yahoo! mail were big innovators, in the fact that they took email service out of the hands of the ISP and provided free mail service for anyone. They traded you an email account for the right to advertise to you in a captive setting. However, this trade limits inherently limits some of the features that they can provide to their customers. For example, free mail forwarding - if they forwarded my mail that was addressed to my Yahoo! account on to my Gmail account they lose their ability to advertise to me which, in their eyes, leaves them with an empty deal.

This is just one example, but I believe that Google has it's eyes on a bigger prize. Google decided that they will offer not only free online services, but they are going to provide the best, easiest, most powerful, and most compatible service that they can. And best of all, they are going to encourage you to use it however you suits you best. If that means checking your email online so that it can be surrounded by their ads (semantically targeted based on the content of your message) that's great, but if that means you check it using your third party mail client, they are fine with that too. Not only fine with it, but they will provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step tutorial on how to set it up and get the most out of it. Why would they do this. Because what they want more than you seeing their ads, Google wants to become an such an integral part of using the internet that you don't even notice. They want to own your internet experience, and they are not going to even ask you for it. They are setting up a world where it is in our best interest to lay it at their feet, and thank them profusely for the right.

Let's look at what I mean, when I use email, I use Gmail. When I make a schedule, I use Google Calendar, when I read blogs, I use Google Reader, when I want to get an answer, I use Google search, when I want to communicate, I increasingly use Google Talk, when I write a blog, I use Blogspot (a Google product), when I need to watch something, I use Youtube (a Google product), when I organize pictures on my computer, I use Picasa (a Google product), if I view any page on the internet, Google wants me to use Google Chrome as my browser… Believe me, this is VERY limited list, I could easily go on and on. I have deliberately tried to limit this to products that I use every single day. And how did they earn this right? Simple, they offer the best product out there absolutely free.

Maybe this sounds a little ominous, some of you may be saying "My gosh, it's Big Brother, I had no idea." That is not at all what I mean, I am a huge Google fan, and will continue to be, even while honestly believing that they are trying to become so intrinsically fused to our experience of the internet that we don't even think about it any more. Why am I not afraid? Because, I believe that they are giving the industry a huge kick in the pants which is currently and will continue to inspire others to explore competitive advantages in a way that benefits the customers first, not simply their immediate bottom line. Google can be the giant who inspires the man in the boy to step up with his stone and sling and take his best shot.

Wow, I guess I will bore you with the bulk of my argument. Sorry for that, but their strategy is so inspired, I love to tear into it.

Finally here's the reason I was actually inspired to write this blog

Google just did something that I find exceptionally unusual even for them. Not only is my Gmail account fabulous because of it's unprecedented compatibility and ease of use, they just delivered creative and appealing themes for spicing up your gmail service. Today they were blogged about on the Google Blogoscope here, and I'm crediting them because I want to steal their pictures. Note that a few of these themes are actually dynamic meaning that their appearance is conditional, for example, Mindy's favorite, the beach theme is a nighttime scene in our nighttime hours, and bright and beautiful during the day.

If you would like to add one of these great new themes to your Gmail account simply log in and go to settings. There you'll see a themes tab on the right. Pick the one you like and let it rip.

As a post script other Google products that have occurred to me as I finished this blog

Tuesday, November 18

My (Post-) Christmas Wish List

Here's a great article from You absolutely have to read this article, if you are having a rough day... Read this and it will make you hopeful. Simply put this incredibly well-written list enumerates the reasons that I believe that there is hope with Obama steering the ship.

Just absolutely wonderful.

[crosses fingers]

Google Sketchup 7

Google, you had me at hello.

Boy oh boy. Does it seem to anyone else like google and adobe might have more and more in common all the time? John Battelle might - read what he thinks about a possible adobe / google team. That sounds like a winning team to me.

Monday, November 17

Congratualtions Chad!

Subtitle: Pimping 101 (hey I'm a marketer give me a break)

I just wanted to congratulate Chad on his marvelous performance in the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon yesterday. He truly is an inspiration for working hard and following through. Make sure to check out his blog at which doesn't yet have a new post but hopefully will soon.

Also, I'd love for any of you to check out Jackson's newest blog post where he shares his thoughts that were stirred up by the current thread of posts on personal rights and the role of government in serving those rights. (If you have some time also hop over to Dan's blog and Bunkley's blog for some "Big Three" bail-out editorials which are quite tangential to my post but really much more timely and educational, I found both very convincing).

Lastly, feel free to take a look at my post this week on using bookmarks effectively.

Anyways, love you all.

My pick this week is This Ain't Hollywood by Silence is Sexy. Specifically grab the title track, very nice.

Thursday, November 13

Ultra-cool movie posters

Here's a link to a pretty cool list of movie posters. Check them out! In case you didn't want to, I'm going to borrow a few of them here. Man still marketing like this is where it's at Billboards, cover art, movie posters, magazine ads - so brilliant. I'll post one that's any good if I ever make one. Mine so far have been less than magnificent, unlike the following. (Like me, this blogger seems to have a thing for Christian Bale or Batman or both).

The best show on tv.

Pretty good movie - pretty great cast and posters.

One not from the list but almost certainly featured in part one of the author's series.
I can't wait to rock it this hard. Speaking of rocking it hard. Take this electronic band from Spain named Wings of Icaro they have been amazing me all night. Also, named after mythology. You know I'm going to like that. Check them out they publish their music for free with a creative commons license, download it, share it, all free.

Wednesday, November 12

The problem with us

Tonight I read an article by a great friend of Kirk's on his blog at The article, entitled "In Praise of Selfishness," reminds us Americans of the powerful case for capitalism and a limited government. As a citizen with strongly conservative economic views, I really appreciated his voice and wisdom behind his article.

His article got my own ideas stirred up on the topic, so I'm going to try to make some sense of them here (as I partially did in my lengthy comment on his blog which is currently awaiting moderation).

On my trip to New York City with Mindy and Bonnie back and April, we were discussing politics and we had come to talk about Libertarianism and it's most visible proponent, John Stossel. I remember saying that the problem with Libertarians is that we are all giant assholes. I'm not quite sure what it is, but this particular belief set attracts a certain personality of individuals who tend to be very self-assured. Not only do we almost always know what is unequivocally true, we have no qualms in sharing it with you. We also usually can be seen by some as heartless because we often have a quite matter-of-fact attitude towards the hardships, losses, and failures of others.

Now I by no means was apologizing for who I am, but I was acknowledging that our cause is difficult to evangelize because while many (usually most) Americans agree with our points on a cognitive level, and will say so, they are easily turned-off by our delivery of that message as they are likely to see us as arrogant, selfish, bossy, and unfriendly. This is a horrible shame, and a terrible detriment getting any of the policies that I believe will maximize our quality of life. So, in keeping with the personality traits that I addressed above, I wanted to enumerate the biggest issues that we must avoid to further our cause.
  • The single biggest problem crime (which I am ironically committing with this sentence) is our use of untamed generalities. One thing that contributes to our perception of being heartless, is that we often pretend that more homogeneous than it really is. We might say, for example, that welfare programs create a culture of dependency and cripples our society. Of course, we are discussing principle and will usually not defend our stance when applied to every case - unemployment insurance, pre-natal care for underprivileged women, and medicare come immediately to mind. The problem is that this gives us an air of insensitivity and makes it seem like the policies we espouse aren't useful in the real world because we discuss a weird, general imaginary world.
  • A related sin, which is shared by many groups, especially fundamentalists is the tendency to pretend that the world is black and white. We pose questions and answers in a binary format. Either it is on or it's off. It is or it isn't. It's right or it's wrong. For some reason, fundamentalists feel very comfortable in such a framework and actually seek it for it's seeming simplicity. For example, one might say or imply that freedom should not be traded for security. We say freedoms should not be traded, but what we mean is much more delicate. We are sharing our bias as if it were a commandment. This can really distract people because it can set us up to seem hypocritical. We say that we support deregulation but maybe I support trade embargos and my friend supports minimum wage. Most of us are real people who understand that problems are not cookie cutter so neither can the solutions be, but we tend not to project this.
  • The last issue I will cover here is that we frequently downplay the pain and hurt that is a necessary byproduct of our views. We would love to talk about the efficiency provided by an unencumbered job market, but we would rather ignore the pool of unemployment that drives it. We would love to talk about allowing a monster car industry giant to fail as just wages for its own sin, without talking about the enormous price paid by the individuals who have no culpability in that failure but depend on that giant all the same. It is not fair to talk about the benefits of freedom without realistically and honestly addressing the pain that it invariably causes. Full transparency of both benefits and costs is the only way that we can differentiate ourselves from the herd.

Monday, November 10

Family Fun

Today Mindy and I took a day trip to Mattawan to see the fam. We went down to Grandma and Grandpa Hegedus's for a family dinner where I got my hair cut (yes, I know that certain of you readers are very excited by that) and got to see Dad, Stacy, and Sierra's pictures from their missions trip to Jamaica the land of no problems.

After that we stopped by Uncle Tim's to see Grandpa before he took off for Texas. To our great delight and surprise, not only was Grandpa there but so was Sarah and Uncle Tim, so we hung out with them for quite a while (Mindy says I bored them nearly to tears with my ultra-fast rambling tech talk) and then we all played Rock Band on their Wii. So good.

Anyways, I am about ready for bed, but I wanted to say that I just finished my blog for Monday which is scheduled to be published at 10:00AM on the TatStore Blog which I have linked at right on my list of blogs that I'm following. If however you would like to access just my blogs sorted out from the rest you can read them any time at I will probably suggest that blog just about every week if I think it's something that some of you might be interested in. This week, last week, and some indeterminate weeks into the future I am exploring a series on efficient computing. Last week, I covered Cut, Copy, and Paste, and this week is about using tabs in a browser. Feel free to check them out anytime, and leave a comment here there or anywhere or email me at or

I love you all and hope that your weeks get off to a great start, Benn

PS. I would also urge you check out two other blogs from my close friends Jackson and Dan which you can find also at right named Considerations and Hannibal Ad Portas respectively. I have really enjoyed several of the posts on these blogs which explore technology, politics, sports and more.

Saturday, November 8

First night of the D-Zone! wow

Oh boy do I love hockey. Mindy and I attended our first D-Zone game. D-zone is the area where the griffins play defense in the first and third periods. It's in the area of Van Andel where the stage would be if you were catching a concert there, in which case you would probably be smoking pot (which you could now legally argue was for strictly medicinal purposes)… Anyways, this section was sold as a special mini-season ticket package from 97.9 and the FreeBeer and Hotwings morning show. I thought Mindy and I could use a little time to get out and be together doing something we both love. So these kind of just fell into our laps. Another benefit of these friday night games is that for the whole stadium it is dollar beer / dollar hotdog nights, but the perk for us is that we get our own personal vendors that come down to us with the beer and the dogs. I liked the dogs, mindy didn't, but we both agreed that the buns were delicious. I am not kidding you, I think they were fresh baked, they looked like soft deli buns from Arnie's; they were good. I may or may not have had five beers though, and I may or may not have made a total idiot out of myself with FreeBeer, Hotwings, and Producer Joe RIGHT BEHIND US! It was fun. More about that still to come, as I promised Mindy I wouldn't blog past three. Hope you like my new header btw, I think it's pretty cool.

Friday, November 7

Blogging seems to be for quitters

I have embarked on the long and exciting path to quitting this blog. Back in the day, I had my first blog. It was hosted by livejournal, and I quit it. Wow, long time ago. Anyways, when I moved here to Grand Rapids, I felt a great need for connection so I thought I could blog. I threw a few posts up there which were of course about what was important in my life at that moment. My brand new shiny job. Sounds like a great plan right. But when I awoke after just one such blog and checked my email, I was shocked. As it turns out, the Internet is not quite like a real journal, because other people can read it. As I sat there in my pajama pants, I read my google alert email for "TatStore" which alerted me that google had, in the night, crawled my lowly blog to which no real person even yet had a link, and returned it to me as having relevancy to my new company. This would not do, I realized that every time I shoot my mouth off, I could be scuffing the polished finish of the place that pays my checks. So, while I grappled with the ramifications of an increasingly flat world, I let that blog die. But like any chronic quitter, I have begun again. Writing, rambling, complaining, and this shall be my way.
Cliff-hangers to encourage return visits
  • Why "Today, I'm legal"
  • Why "I got the day off"
  • and Why "You'll be green for my glowing red keyboard"