This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Thursday, September 29, 2005
PVRBlog review of Harmony 880
PVRBlog just posted a review of the Harmony 880 remote that I bought a couple of months ago. Looks like the reviewer has had a very similar (and very positive) experience to mine.

The review is balanced and even includes a couple of things that aren't perfect (yes, there are a couple of things) about the 880.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Saw a trailer for "Waiting..." on TV
I was watching Howard Stern on E! last night when I saw a commercial for my buddy Rob McKittrick's upcoming film "Waiting..." The trailer they are using on TV is different than the one online (and includes some funny lines).

Rob said that he has seen the commercial running on The Daily Show, so it appears that Lions Gate is reaching out to the right audiences with their ads.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Got a new HDTV
I went to Target to pick up some items for the new house over the weekend when I spotted a new clearance shelf in the electronics department.

They had just remodeled the TV section, so they moved some of the floor models that they aren't going to carry anymore out and marked them down.

The first thing I spotted was the 26" widescreen Samsung HDTV that I had been keeping an eye on. They had marked it from $700 to $550 a couple of weeks ago; however, that was still more than I wanted to spend. However, the floor model (which was still in perfect condition) was marked down to $349.

Of course, I snatched it up and headed home. Upon plugging it in, I was pleasantly surprised (OK, I was blown away) to learn that the TV had a built-in HDTV decoder. So I can watch OTA HDTV shows without a separate set-top box (which often run about $200 by themselves). In fact, without an antenna hooked to the TV, I can pick up all of our local OTA stations with the exception of FOX.

So now, I have the new Samsung hooked up in the master bedroom and we gave the older 20" Samsung to Mahlon and Miles for their room.

Everybody (except Amy) was thrilled. For some reason, she thought we should have bought $350 worth of jewelry instead.
We're finally in the house
It seemed like it would never happen; however, we closed on the house Thursday and immediately started the process of moving in.

Of course, the first item in was the 65" TV (I had strategically placed it in the POD last so that it would be the first thing out). In order to help break up the monotony of moving, I went ahead and set up most of the equipment in the manroom, too.

Over the next couple of days, we unloaded both PODs, had a fridge delivered and various services hooked up (cable modem, DirecTV).

Sunday, we finally started to dig out of all of the boxes. we were able to get the dining room set up (furniture in, curtains and pictures hung), the master bedroom mostly set up (bed and dresser reassembled, desk & computer hooked up, new TV hooked up)and most of the stuff in the kitchen put away.

We still have the living room, the master closet and the kids' bedroom's to tackle (as well as clearly out all of the boxes that are currently in the garage). Plus, we've got some stuff still left in storage that we need to retrieve by Friday. It should be fun.

I'll post some photos once I am able to find the camera.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Update on "Waiting..."
In an effort to do my part for my buddy Rob McKittrick, I am posting another reminder to go see "Waiting..." when it is released on October 7th.

According to Rob, commercials have already started to appear on "The Daily Show," so it looks like there is no turning back now.

Also, Rob has created a MySpace page to further the cause of pimping "Waiting..." Stop by and check it out. BTW, he is aware that his MySpace photo makes him look like a "smug prick" (his words).

And, finally, if you want to see Rob's early acting work, check out my short film "Skinflute" here. Wait for the credits to see how Rob really got "Waiting..." made.

Links:
Rob's blog
Rob's My Space page
The official "Waiting.." website
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
We close on the house tomorrow
Tonight is our last night at my mom's place. We are closing on the house tomorrow and we plan on sleeping their tomorrow night.

The next few days should be crazy. I hurt my back last night and I have to unload 2 PODs by Monday. Friday is actually going to be the nuttiest. We have a refrigerator being delivered. We are having a garage door opener installed. We are having a mailbox installed. We are having our cable modem installed. We are having our DirecTV dish and cabling installed.

I should be in traction by early next week... but at least I will have my TiVo to watch while I recover.
Bought a robot vacuum today
Woot! had a great deal on a robotic vacuum, so I decided to buy it. Turns out that the reason for the great deal is kind of interesting. A company called Koolvac basically made a total knockoff of iRobot's Roomba robotic vacuum. Of course, iRobot sued and won. The terms of the settlement dictate that all of the knockoff vacuums must be liquidated and/or pulled from the market in the US by next month.

I'm not sure what that will mean for service (if I need it); however, I'm not going to let that spoil the deal.

I'll post some photos and video once it arrives.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
FFL: sMoRTy71 104, Madmen 81
I was able to pick up my first win this week. Still made a couple of coaching mistakes like leaving Carson Palmer and Santana Moss on the bench, They scored 29 and 27 points respectively. The players I started at the same positions only scored 15 and 17 points. So I could have had 126 total points. I guess it doesn't matter considering I was playing the lowly Chicago Madmen who could only muster 64 points last week.

Next week, I face division leader Lyndon Llamas.
Monday, September 19, 2005
SurplusComputers.com still sucks!
In nearly record time (compared to the 16 days I've been waiting for my order), Surplus Computers issued a refund for my auction. The reason for the delay? They didn't have the item in stock! Who holds an auction for an item they don't have in stock? Oh, that's right -- Surplus Computers does!

It looks like the PayPal investigation was all it took to get the ball rolling (I had just finished my last post about Surplus Computers when I got the e-mail from PayPal)

Now, I'm only out $1.83 (for the PayPal Money Back Guarantee); however, I still don't have the replacement XBOX DVD drive that I need. That sucks.

Once, I confirmed that my money had been refunded, I left the following negative feedback via Ebay:

"Didn't have product in stock! Took 16 days for refund. Deadbeats. AVOID!!!"

I feel better now, but Surplus Computers still sucks.
SurplusComputers.com sucks!
Some times I love Ebay and then, thanks to sellers like Surplus Computers, I hate Ebay.

On September 3rd, I won and paid for an auction for a replacement DVD drive for my XBOX. The seller, Surplus Computers, had a 95%+ positive rating; however, the main complaint they received was for non-responsiveness and failure to deliver.

Based on this feedback, I opted for PayPal's Money Back Guarantee option that added a couple of bucks to the total, hoping I would not have to use it.

Well, thanks to the deadbeats at Surplus Computers, I am having to use it.

To date, I have sent 6 e-mails to them (4 via their "websales@surpluscomputers.com" address which they recommend and 2 through Ebay's private message service). The only messages I have received from them were in response to the 2 Ebay messages. You wanna guess what they said? They said that they wouldn't answer any questions through the Ebay message service and that I should submit all inquiries to "websales@surpluscomputers.com." Brilliant!

Today, after 16 days of waiting for my order, I filed a claim with PayPal to get a refund (which could take 30 days or more) and I called the company to see if I could resolve this over the phone. Here is how the five calls went:

Call 1: Guy answers and forwards me to the Ebay shipping department. Of course, no one answered and their voicemail was full. Nice.

Call 2: A woman, who sounded like one of Marge Simpson's sisters, answered. She said that the person I needed to speak to was with a customer. I told her I would hold. 3 times during the 15-minute wait, she would pop on the line to say they would be right there. They never came. I hung up.

Call 3: Same woman picks up and says only "Hold on" before placing me on hold for another 5 minutes. No one picks up, so I call back again.

Call 4: Phone is picked up. No one answers. The call is transferred to Ebay shipping department (and we know how that ends).

Call 5: Man with heavy accent answers. Agrees to take down my information and have someone call me. 5 hours later, I'm still waiting.

A few minutes ago, I decided to check out the company via the Better Business Bureau. Turns out that they don't have a good record with the BBB (You can read all of the details here). Here is an excerpt:

"Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. Specifically, our records show a pattern of non-response to consumer complaints brought to its attention by the Bureau. Our records show that the company has a pattern of complaints concerning Service & Delivery Issues."

After reading that, I decided to leave a complaint of my own about my experience with Surplus Computers.

In addition, it looks like they are also misusing the Verisign logo (the graphic says "Click to verify," but there is no link on the graphic). I am also submitting that info to Verisign.

And finally, I am repeating the name "Surplus Computers" and other words that describe my experience with them (like "sucks") in this post as often as I can so that this post will get a high ranking on Google.

UPDATE: Check out the Google Blog Search results for "surplus computers."
The house is just about ready
The house is finished
We drove by the house this weekend and it looks like everything is just about finished.

We have a final walk-thru this afternoon to verify all of our fixes. Hopefully they got everything done. If all goes as planned, we will close Thursday at 2PM.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Do I look like a barber?
My co-workers and I went to lunch at Jucy's, a barbeque place that we used to go to every Friday. After 30 consecutive Fridays, we had gotten a bit burned out, so we took a break for a few weeks.

Well, it turns out that our break coincided with the end of the semester at a nearby barber college (which we didn't know was nearby). So the staff of Jucy's assumed that we had graduated the barber college and that we had gone on to our own barber shops.

That, of course, made us all laugh (and feel a little weird). After all, who would go to a balding barber?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
XBOX 360 = November 22nd
According to News.com, MSFT has announced that the XBOX 360 will be released in North America on November 22nd, just as the Christmas shopping season kicks in.

Although I have been really excited about the 360 for several months, I have decided not to pick one up at launch. Why? The games. All of the games that I have been really wanting to buy are already available on the XBOX -- Madden 06, NHL 2K6, Burnout Revenge.

I'm not going to wait until late November to buy games (for $60 a pop) that are available now (for $50 a pop), especially when I would need to shell out $400 for the new console first.

So until there are some great, new games for the 360, I'm not buying.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The White Stripes in Louisville
Amy and I went to see The White Stripes at the Louisville Palace last night. The show was absolutely terrific. In fact, I would put Jack and Meg up against just about any other band that I've seen live. Jack played a bunch of different instruments (electric guitar, piano, marimba, mandolin) while Meg kept time with her sloppy (but cool) drumming style.

The highlights for me were "The Nurse," "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself," "Jolene" and "Little Ghost." You can check out a clip of Jack's marimba work on "The Nurse" below.



I've also included a few shots from the show over at Flickr.
Burnout Revenge is awesome!
I picked up Burnout Revenge yesterday at EB Games. I knew I wouldn't have much time to play it between the home inspection stuff and the White Stripes concert; however, I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it.

While Amy was getting ready for the concert, Mahlon, Miles and I took it for a test drive and it is awesome. It has all of the elements that made Burnout 3 so great (speed, crashing, and more speed), but with some cool improvements (crashbreakers in race mode, traffic attack).

And because I had game saves from Burnout 3 and Madden 06 on my XBOX, I got a couple of cars and levels unlocked including the Madden Van (which I am assuming is available in Crash Mode).

If you want to read a full review of Revenge, check out GameSpot's take. They give the game a 9.1 Superb rating.
Home inspection & walk-thru #1
Yesterday, we had both our home inspection (we hired an independent inspector) and our first walk-thru with our builder.

It was all pretty much good news from the inspector. Only a few minor changes need to be made including moving the drain for the sump pump (which is draining onto our patio). He also performed a radon test which came out normal.

The walk-thru wasn't bad either (other than being 2 hours long). Lots of little problems with the paint and drywall; however, nothing major. All of the fixes will be done by September 20th for our last walk-thru before closing.
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
My QOOP looks like poop
My QOOP looks like poop!I came home today to find my QOOP package that had been delivered by DHL. Upon opening it, I found that, not only was the whole poster kind of bent up, but the top right corner is torn and bent.

For some reason, QOOP is shipping the posters in a flat envelope with a piece of cardboard for reinforcement. Seems like a poster tube would be a better choice to avoid this kind of damage.

I have contacted QOOP (after hunting around for a Contact link) and am awaiting their response. I will post more info about how they resolve the issue.

UPDATE [10:25PM]: Got a response from Bill at QOOP at 7:45PM. He is shipping out a new poster. After looking at the packaging, it definitely looks like DHL mangled it in transit. Thanks, QOOP!
Saturday, September 3, 2005
House is starting to look finished
I stopped by the house again last night and it is really starting to look finished. They have installed all of the electrical outlets and light switches. My A/V installer has finished the speaker wire connections in the family room. And, best of all, almost all of the lighting has been installed.

The only lights that I noticed missing are the foyer chandelier and the lights in the upstairs hall.

Once they get the carpet and range installed, it will look like a house. I guess it should be considering we have our walkthru on 9/13.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.