Vanity Fair dissects Sean Parker

When you watch The Social Network (which I suggest you do), Sean Parker will be the crazy guy who’s played by Justin Timberlake. Of course, he’s also the co-founder of Napster and a 30 year-old billionaire, but outside of the tech geek scene he will mostly be known as the guy in the Facebook movie who was played by Justin Timberlake. I’m sure he doesn’t mind that too much.

Anyways, I just read this great interview over on Vanity Fair that lets us all take a sneak peek into what Sean Parker is all about. He actually sounds like he thinks a lot like I do as far as how he’s a super tech geek, but only as far as technology affects people and their social habits. It’s a great read and it gives a very rare look into the life of a guy who has probably affected you much more than you know.

San Francisco public transportation saves the day

Well, I never thought that I would ever be creating long length content on my phone, but I guess there’s a first time for everything, huh?

I had to wait on the cable guy this morning so I’m currently on a bus rolling down to a subway station (BART, which is our closest thing to a real subway in SF), which I will then take to a train (Caltrain, which goes from SF down to San Jose) and I will eventually end up at my office in Burlingame. Yeah, it’s a little bit of a trip.

In total it will take me about an hour to get to my office, which might sound like a long time but considering that it takes 45 minutes to get there by car I would say it’s not that big of a deal.

It will also cost me around $8 to complete the trip (one way), but if I did this every day I could get a monthly pass for BART and Caltrain which would probably cut my cost in half.

Moral of the story is that it’s nice having a good public transportation system, even if I don’t use it every day. Compare this to my Midwestern roots in Indiana and this type of trip would have never been possible.

Having Fun With Craigslist

One of my favorite things to do is write Craigslist postings. This is probably because whenever I post something I feel like I need to make it just a little more ridiculous/entertaining than the other ones I read on there.

For example, here is something that I just posted for a black, leather couch that Stephanie and I are trying to get rid of before we move (yes, we’re moving in to a new place). Click the image below so see a larger version.

5 buttons that we all need to stop pushing so much

Today as I was leaving church I was sitting in my car checking my phone (see #5 below) and there was a tan Tahoe parked right next to me. The weather was amazing, so I had my window rolled down. I wanted to enjoy as much of the 75 degree sun before I made the drive back up to fog city, San Francisco where it’s usually about ten degrees cooler.

As I was getting ready to pull away I heard the doors to the Tahoe unlock as the person who owned it started walking my way. He was still about 100 feet from his truck and even though he probably heard his doors unlock the first time he pushed the button on his key fob he continued to hit it about 15 to 20 more times as he walked closer. After I heard the familiar noise of one door unlocking, then all doors, then one door unlocking, then all doors over and over again it got me thinking about all of the other buttons that we, as humans, push way too many times in our day-to-day lives.

As the guy in the Tahoe drove off I laughed to myself and started coming up with a list of other buttons that fall into this category and here are the five that I came up with. I’m sure that there are more than these five, so please feel free to add your own button pushing tendencies below in the comments.

1. Lock and unlock buttons on your car’s key fob
Just like the Tahoe guy that I described in the example above, we all seem to have some type of addiction or obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to pushing the buttons on our key fobs. I’m just as bad with this as anyone else and I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s the fact that when I hit the lock button on my key fob once, the doors just simply lock (which I can hear nearly every time I push it for the first time). But, when I push the button twice I get a nice, short honk just to let me know that, in fact without a doubt, my doors are locked.

We all love hearing that little honk, don’t we?

But, that’s never good enough. I then need to hit the lock button a few more times just to hear my car honk again and again, over and over. Heck, sometimes I even do a little dance to it (which Stephanie loves). Yeah, it’s that bad.

Of course, pushing the unlock button is sometimes just as bad, although that’s sometimes due to the fact that we have no idea where we parked and are too embarrassed to hit the panic button. So, instead we just keep on pushing unlock hoping to see our car’s lights flashing on and off.

Hey, I know I’m not the only one who does this.

2. All crosswalk buttons
Due to the fact that we don’t even really know whether or not these buttons actually do anything when we press them, we end up pressing them just that many more times. I honestly can’t ever remember one, single time when pushing a crosswalk button ever actually had anything to do with me crossing the street faster, but that never stops me from pushing it about 10 times a second.

I have a theory that these are just there to simply help us pass the time and to give us a feeling that we have some amount of control in the situation. Here in San Francisco they’ve even added a really cool noise every time you push one of these crosswalk buttons, which makes it even more fun to push, but no more helpful.

3. Elevator call and door close buttons
I know that this is actually talking about two different buttons, but since they are both associated with an elevator I felt like they belonged together.

An elevator call button is the thing that you hit incessantly when you’re wanting to go up or down on the elevator. These buttons are extra cool due to the fact that they will light up when you push them and depending on what floor you’re on, there are normally two of them available – one with an arrow up and one with an arrow down. How quickly and how many times you push one of these buttons is often dictated by how much of a hurry you’re in to get to where the elevator is going to take you.

If you’re in no rush you might only press the button a couple of times as you wait patiently for the elevator to arrive. But, if you happen to be in a hurry and depending on how many floors there are in the building, you could easily find yourself pushing the button up to 40 or 50 times. This amount of button pushing is very unhealthy, can be quite embarrassing and will only add unwanted anxiety to the situation.

Just like a crosswalk button, the door close button in an elevator is just another example of something that is made to make us feel like we have control over something when we actually don’t. I don’t care how many times I’ve hit a door close button in a elevator, the doors still close as slow as ever. Will I still hit the door close button the next time I’m in an elevator? Of course. But, that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

4. Preset radio station buttons on your steering wheel
This one comes from personal experience as I’m always pushing these buttons way too many times. You all know what I’m talking about, right?

You usually have 6 preset stations saved on your car’s radio and the easiest, quickest way to flip through them is with the  preset button (or buttons) that are so conveniently built into your steering wheel. You push the preset button until you hear something that you like and if for some reason nothing is sounding good to you, then what do you do? You keep on pushing the preset button hoping that the next time around (which is about 3 seconds later), something that you do like will magically appear on one of the stations. If nothing sounds good the second time around, then you usually repeat this process about 4 or 5 more times (or until you decide to play a CD, MP3 or hit the good ol’ scan button).

One rare, yet exciting situation that you might find yourself in is when you’re flipping through your presets and two of the stations are playing the exact same song at the same exact same time. This usually results in you pushing the preset button even more so that you can hear the same station playing the same song several times over and over again. I like to call this the ‘Double Whammy”.

5. Wake button on our cell phones
I don’t care if you own an iPhone, a Blackberry, a Droid or a Nokia whatever — we all check our cell phones way too much. This has resulted in us all getting into the habit of constantly pressing the wake button on our cell phones, which allows us to see if anything new has happened in the 5 seconds that has gone by it since the last time we checked.

Waiting in line at Starbucks? We push the button. Sitting at a stop light? We push the button. Taking a dump? We definitely push the button.

With so many notifications coming in all the time from Facebook, Twitter, email, texts and apps we have been trained by these phones to constantly check to see whether or not someone has commented on the photo we just uploaded or on the status we just updated. Of all the buttons that we push the most, I’m going to take a guess and say that this is the one that takes the top prize.

This is why I’ve started to learn that sometimes when I push this button I need to hold it down just a little bit longer so that instead of checking my phone, I’m turning it off completely (temporarily, of course).

The best dancer in Las Vegas?

As Stephanie and I were celebrating at Carnaval Court in Vegas after our Wheel of Fortune audition we were lucky enough to get there in time to see this guy dancing. I’m not really sure why we both loved watching him so much, but I remember that Stephanie kept saying ‘This makes me so happy…” over and over again. He does have some sweet moves and when we were chatting with one of the singers of the band he told us that this guy was dancing like this all day long.

I know that if I’m ever having a bad day and need something to give me a laugh, I’ll always be able to watch this video for a guaranteed pick-me-up. Check out the guy getting his groove on below or over here on YouTube.

Thoughts on our awesome Wheel of Fortune audition

Now that it’s been a few days after Stephanie and I jetted out to Vegas for our second round of Wheel of Fortune auditions (the story of how this all got started is over here if you’re interested) I feel like it’s probably about time to let everyone know how it all went. We’ve both been telling everyone about how we did and what we think our chances are of actually getting picked, but for those who haven’t been able to talk to us yet here’s the story of our trip back to Vegas. Any questions, please feel free to post ’em in the comments below and we’ll get you taken care of.

I feel like I should split up the trip into the first two days that we were out in Vegas, so if you’re not interested in anything but how the auditions went, please feel free to scroll on down past these next paragraphs. I promise it won’t hurt our feelings. I’ll post more about day 3 here soon.

Day 1: Getting to Las Vegas
To most people’s surprise, we had to pay for our way back out to Las Vegas for the second round of auditions. This means that we had to pay for our flights, rental car and everything else that comes along with taking off for a couple of days. Thankfully we have an awesome friend, Jess Berlin, who calls Vegas home and who was nice enough to let us stay in her and her hubby’s place.

We ended up getting into Vegas on Monday night around 8pm or so and headed to Jess’ place once we grabbed our rental car and some quick Taco Bell drive-thru (don’t hate on us making a break for the border). Once we made it to her house, Stephanie and I became well acquainted with her dog, Amber. As you can see below, some of us got to know her a little better than others.

The rest of the first night was mostly filled with watching a two-hour episode of the Bachelorette and just hanging out. It was cool to hang with Jess (unfortunately we didn’t get a whole lot of other time to chill with her) and I’m glad Stephanie got to meet her. Of course, I’m also glad that we both were able to meet Amber as well. She’s a super sweet dog.

Day 2: It’s Audition Time, Baby!
The next morning Stephanie and I both got up early so that we could be ready in plenty of time before our audition, which was scheduled for 1:30pm. We didn’t take too long to get ready and surprisingly enough we made it over to the Venetian close to when we were shooting for, which was around noon or so. Once we got to the Venetian we found the room where the auditions were taking place so that we were sure we knew where to go and after that we headed to grab something quick to eat inside of the casino. When we made it to the audition room, here’s the sign that was waiting on us. When we saw this sign I think that it really hit us that we were actually trying out for Wheel of Fortune and that we had a legit chance to make it onto the show. It sent butterflies to my belly, which was actually a great feeling of excitement to have.

After we split a sandwich we made sure that we had everything out of our teeth, gave ourselves a quick look-over in the mirrors that lined the hallways for the Venetian and headed back to the room so that we could get the audition started. When we made it back to the room there were about 40-50 couples waiting out in the hallway, which didn’t really surprise me, but made me a little more nervous nonetheless.

I began to scope out our competition and as we filed our way into the room one couple at a time (they checked for wedding certificates and the email invitations) I noticed a small, upright version of the big wheel, the puzzle board on a projector screen and a handful of people who were there to manage the auditions.

As the audition team handed Stephanie and I each short, yellow “I auditioned for Wheel of Fortune” pencils, we were told to fill out the form that was waiting for us on our seats and then to wait for further instructions. The forms asked us for some basic information (where we’re from, etc.) and for some things that we feel make us unique. We were given a handy Wheel of Fortune thing to write on, which was a nice touch (and made for some great photo ops.

After we filled out our forms, we handed them in to the audition crew and then the real fun began. We were given a quick idea of what to expect out of the day and then we jumped right into the audition, which first consisted of the audition crew calling out each couple one at a time and having them play a turn on a Wheel of Fortune puzzle. Basically how this would work is they would call out a couple’s name, they would both stand up and then they would try to guess the puzzle by guessing letters, spinning the wheel and buying vowels. If they called out a letter that was in the puzzle, then they would keep going and spinning like they would on the actual show. If the couple called out a letter that wasn’t in the puzzle or spun the wheel to Bankrupt or Lose A Turn, then they would sit down and the next couple would be called out and they would do the same thing.

This was actually a lot of fun and lasted about 35-40 minutes or so. We probably went through 15-20 puzzles during that time and we were all clapping non-stop. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but clapping is a big part of Wheel of Fortune and I would bet that Stephanie and I probably clapped more in that one day of auditioning than we have in the entire last year. Seriously.

A funny story about this part of the audition was when they called out a couple who were named “Stephanie and Brian” and that couple (who were sitting right in front of us), along with us, both stood up while clapping like crazy (we were a little more crazy than they were). When the audition crew saw that two couples had stood up they said “We love all of your enthusiasm, but we said Stephanie and BRIAN…”, which at that point we sat down after everyone had a good laugh. Of course, we were the next couple called to stand up, which made it even funnier.

When we were called to stand up we got one letter right, but other than that I didn’t really think that we did that great. In fact, I was really worried after they started calling out couples to stand up for a second time and our names didn’t get called. I freaked out a bit, but Stephanie kept her cool and told me to chill out. She’s cool like that.

After we finished that portion of the auditions we were then given a Wheel of Fortune test that included several puzzles that had random letters missing. They were categorized into specific sections and we were given five minutes to complete as many of the puzzles that we could in that amount of time. I thought that I didn’t do that great (I finished like 7 of the 15 or so puzzles) and man did that five minutes go by fast. Before I knew it the time was up and they were collecting our tests, which gave me a funny feeling in my stomach. After they were all handed in Stephanie and I chatted with the other couples around us to see how they thought they did, which reminded us of my high school days and to my surprise it sounded like I did just as good as most other people, which made me feel a little bit better.

When all of the tests were collected the audition crew told us that they would go grade the tests and talk about which couples they would like to hear more from, which meant that they were going to be telling most of the couples to go home. This took about 15 minutes and while they were out of the room we watched some really funny Wheel of Fortune outtakes and just hung out and waited for them to come back in.

When the audition crew came back into the room they started to announce the 12-15 couples who would stick around for a second, more intense round of auditions. When they were getting ready to announce the names I felt pretty nervous that we wouldn’t get called, but that didn’t last too long as Stephanie and I were the first couple announced, which nearly made my head explode. At that point we got really excited and started to chat quickly about our strategy for the upcoming puzzle rounds that we were going to play.

In this new round of auditions they called up four couples at the same time and had them play a much more real game of Wheel of Fortune, which even included pretending to spin the big wheel. Also, after each set of four couples played 3-4 puzzles they were also asked to tell a little bit about themselves, which added to the pressure a bit. When Stephanie and I played our puzzles we did pretty well, but I think that we really nailed the part where we told them more about us as a couple. We just had fun and told them some of the fun things that we do together (including blogging) and we even made them laugh a couple of times, which was a nice touch. So, although we didn’t solve any of the puzzles, we did show them that we would be a really fun couple to have on the show.

After the second round of auditions was over we were told that unfortunately not all of us can get onto the show, but if they would like us to be part of one of the shootings we would hear from them sometime in the beginning of July. We were hoping that we would of known more before we left the audition, but I guess that it’s never that easy when it comes to choosing who is going to actually make it. Personally, I feel like we did a solid job and that we have a pretty good chance for making it, although I really have no idea. I guess that we’ll just have to wait and find out like everybody else. Just in case we don’t make it, we wanted to make sure that we had a good photo of us and the Wheel of Fortune crew so that we can at least tell everyone about how awesome of an experience it was. They were actually a little hesitant to let me snap a photo with all of them, but as you can see below, I eventually talked ’em into it.

After the audition was over we felt like we needed to go celebrate, which we did at one of my favorite bars in Vegas — Carnaval Court at Harrah’s. One way that Stephanie celebrated was to dance with some complete strangers to Lil’ Wayne.

We also saw some amazing people who were dancing at this place, which I’ll post some video of later. After this we grabbed some dinner, hung out for a while and continued to tell ourselves that we actually have a good chance in making it onto Wheel of Fortune. We stayed for one more day in Vegas, which I’ll have to tell you more about later due to the fact that I’ve already written way too much. Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up soon!

My latest random idea — want to rent an iPad?

Yesterday I went to a tech conference here in San Francisco and to be quite honest it was pretty much the same ‘ol same ‘ol. But, one thing did end up sticking with me after I left the networking/panel/keynote filled fun and that was that the iPad is a KILLER demo device at events like the one I went to. Many people (including me and my co-workers) were not only telling people about what we do at isocket, but we were not able to easily show them what we were doing, too. The iPad allowed us to do this quickly, easily and instantly and it allowed us to interact with interested people on a whole new level.

So, after seeing all of this go down yesterday, I started thinking about how everyone will eventually need to carry an iPad at events (and I think that people at booths will be using them, too). But, most people don’t want to drop $500 or so on a device that they’re only going to use one weekend at a time, which is why I thought that there might be a market for renting them instead. This is why I thought of coming up with an iPad rental service called The iPad Borrower where people who need an iPad for these specific situations can rent them instead of buying.

Right now I am simply gauging interest for the service and if I see that there are as many people out there wanting to rent iPads as I think, then I’ll push the idea farther along. So, I guess only time will tell and I’ll update soon if anything comes of it. If you have any questions or ideas about renting an iPad or how iPad rental would work, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Stephanie as a blonde or a brunette? Place your vote now!

I’m not sure if you noticed this in the post I wrote about our awesome San Francisco photo shoot, but Holly Gauper brought along a sweet wig for Stephanie to throw on and it officially turned her into a brunette for a few hours. When we initially saw the wig the night before none of us thought that it had potential for making its way into any of the photos, but man were we way off…BIG TIME.

Once Stephanie was all decked out in her wedding dress and makeup (which Holly did a fantastic job on) her new brunette wig looked A-MA-ZING! It was crazy just how much of a difference a brown wig can make and as you can see by the photos below it was a great way to give her a whole different look during the shoot.

Now that you’ve seen her as a brunette, give us your vote for the look you like best:

High Five Etiquette

If you know anything about me, you know that one thing that I have an obsession with is the high five (I even wrote something about the history of it). I give them to friends, to strangers and Stephanie and I even give them out while we’re running in the mornings. I’m not sure why, but a high five is just something that puts a smile on people’s faces and makes even the most awkward situation feel ok.

Now that you know my obsession with the high five, it will make much more sense why I thought that all of you should check out this sweet video all about high five etiquette that I found this morning while browsing the interwebs. There are all kinds of situations that I think we can all relate to, so give it a couple minutes of your time when you need a break this morning.

Wedding Deja Vu — A new Hup and Steph project

With all of the free time that Stephanie and I have laying around these days (!!sarcasm alert!!) we’ve decided to start  up another little project called Wedding Deja Vu. Wedding Deja Vu is a new blog that’s going to be all about the things that we’ve learned while planning our wedding, as well as some other things that we’ve learned since. On the blog we describe what we’re doing as Wedding planning tips, ideas and other randomness from a married couple who wants to do it all over again. Planning a wedding isn’t easy and with Wedding Deja Vu we hope that we can use some of our experiences to help other soon-to-be-married couples have a wedding that was even more awesome than ours (which will be tough, but we think we can do it).

To kick off the initial posts on Wedding Deja Vu we’ve been focusing on some of the details that some couples don’t put much emphasis on, but that end up creeping up as their big day gets closer and closer. They’re not the most top-of-mind topics, but they’re ones that all couples who are planning a wedding have to think about eventually.

Here are a few of the topics that we’ve already posted something about (we just started, so bare with us):

It’s definitely a work in process and we haven’t even thought about how we’re going to design it from a look and feel perspective, but we figured that writing good stuff was the most important thing to start with and we can pretty it up a bit later. If you have any thoughts, comments, suggestions or whatever, be sure to let us know in the comments. Also, if you would be interested in writing about some wedding stuff shoot us a note, we’re probably going to be bringing on other writers as time goes on.

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