Happy 15th Anniversary to the love of my life!

On April 21st, 2001 I said “I do” to my best friend and love of my life, Annette Gribble.

Wedding picture.

The start of the journey.

Fifteen years later and we’re still making it work. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve made it this far.

I wish I could come up with something profound to say about marriage after this much time, but the truth is I’m still figuring it out as I go along. All I can say for certain is I love my wife more each day than the day before and I’m grateful she chose me to spend her life with.

Happy 15th Anniversary, sweetheart! Here’s hoping for many more to come!

My wife and I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.

Ten years ago today I married the most wonderful woman I have ever known:

Wedding picture.

The start of the journey.

It wasn’t a huge wedding, just immediate family and a Justice of the Peace, and there wasn’t a huge reception, but it was still one of the greatest days of my life. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing and we came close to smashing on the rocks more than once, but we’ve always managed to work it out and we’re still going strong. No small feat in this day and age.

I had hoped to be in a position to take her away to someplace nice, like Hawaii, but I’ve still not figured out that whole how-to-get-moderately-wealthy thing yet and the funds just weren’t there for it. So instead we’ll be celebrating in our apartment this evening. Anne has been busy putting something special together so it’s not like we aren’t splurging a little for the day. It’s kind of appropriate given our humble start, though I’m hoping to be a little less humble for our 20th.

Anne, I am so happy and proud to be your husband. Here’s to many more great years to come.

Sony kills off the Walkman.

Pic of a Sony Walkman

And another fond childhood memory bites the dust.

Sony just announced the other day that they have ceased production of the cassette tape playing Sony Walkman in Japan. The last shipment was sent out this past April and there will be no more. Well, no more from Sony. Apparently some Chinese company has the rights to keep making them under the Sony name for sale outside of Japan.

It’s hard to believe that these devices are over 30 years old — the first was sold in 1979 — and I can clearly remember how it wasn’t long before everyone was producing portable tape players that were quite similar. I don’t think I ever actually owned a Sony Walkman, but I did own several of the imitators and I burned through more than my fair share of AA batteries listening to tapes until they wore out from overuse. In high school the trading of mix-tapes was a big activity for a lot of kids, myself included.

Of course these days the lowly Walkman has been supplanted by the plethora of MP3 players capable of storing months of music in them as opposed to 60 to 80 minutes. Looking back on it now it seems almost paleolithic in comparison, but even though I’ve not owned one for years it still feels like it wasn’t that long ago.

I suppose it’s a sign that I’m getting old that announcements like this make me feel a bit sad. I felt the same way when Sony announced they were dropping production of Floppy Disks earlier this year as well. Now that I think about it I wasn’t even aware that Sony was still making cassette tape Walkmans so I’m not sure why I should be disappointed to hear that they’ve stopped.

And yet I am. I had a lot of quality time with my imitation Walkman back in the day. Good times when there was less to worry about and more time to get things done.

Yeah, I’m a sentimental fool about some things.

SEB breaks 80,000 comments.

Congrats to Julian who posted comment number 80,0000 in the Obama video clip thread I posted yesterday. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would preside over a site that generated so much discussion. For those of you keeping count, that works out to around 10,000 a comments a year for the eight and a half years SEB has been around.

Your input is what makes running the site worthwhile. I have learned a lot from you folks over the years and have had my points of view and preconceptions challenged in a multitude of beneficial ways. I am grateful that many of you drop by on a regular basis to see what nonsense I’ve written and to offer your comments. Thanks for helping make SEB the wonderful community it is.

Happy 75th Birthday to my Mother.

Technically Momma turns 75 tomorrow, but we’re celebrating a day early because it’s the one day everyone has off and can gather at her place. I can never put into words just how lucky I was to have her for a mother. Especially compared to some of my friend’s mothers or just some of the ones you read about in the newspaper. She taught me well over the years and has always been there to lend an ear when I was troubled, and often times more than that when a car needed fixin’ or an unexpected emergency put us in a bind. She often went without so that us kids had what we needed. She is the reason I do not have a troubled past checkered with various criminal offenses.

So a very happy birthday to my mother, without whom I wouldn’t be here today (quite literally). I hope she has many more yet to come. If you’d like to give her some well wishes you can do so here or on her blog.

“World of Warcraft” breaks 11 million player mark.

The 800 pound gorilla of MMORPGs continues its phenomenal growth with Blizzard announcing today that they’ve broken the 11 million player mark:

IRVINE, Calif. – October 28, 2008 – Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the subscribership for World of Warcraft®, its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), now exceeds 11 million players worldwide. This milestone was reached as the beta test for Wrath of the Lich King®, World of Warcraft’s second expansion, nears completion. Wrath of the Lich King will launch in several regions around the world starting on November 13.

“It’s been very rewarding to see gamers around the world continue to show such strong support for World of Warcraft,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment®. “We remain fully committed to responding to that enthusiasm with a high-quality, constantly evolving game experience.

That’s active subscribers, by the way, which Blizzard goes out of their way to mention:

World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet Game Room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees’ territories are defined along the same rules.

If WoW were a county it would rank in the list of countries by population at 75 out of 221 right between Greece (11,215,000) and Chad (10,781,000). Growth has slowed quite a bit since the first couple of years, but they still anticipate adding another million to the list within a year’s time now that they’ve launched in Russia and Latin America. Gotta admit, that’s mighty impressive.

A Happy 18th Birthday to my daughter Courtney!

Courtney has reached one of the milestones we all look forward to. Today she turns 18 years old and is legally an adult with all the rights and responsibilities (except for drinking alcohol) that come with it. Much as I did when I turned 18, she’s finding it to be a bit anticlimactic.

So drop on by and wish her a happy 18th. Perhaps regale her with stories of your own arrival at said milestone.

We’ve broken 5K posts.

Speaking of blogging milestones, I just noticed that we’ve recently broken the 5,000 entry mark here on SEB. It pales in comparison to some other bloggers (*cough* Dave’s 11,000+ entries *cough*) but it’s still pretty significant as far as I’m concerned. Of course I couldn’t have done it without your help as no small amount of those are guest entries in addition to my own usual semi-lucid ramblings.

So thanks to you for helping to make SEB the paragon of blogging it is today. Or something along those lines.

Happy 25th Birthday to you, Compact Disc!

It seems like only yesterday that the shiny circle of plastic known as the Compact Disc first started showing up in stores, but as of today it’s been 25 years now

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands-(Business Wire)-August 16, 2007 – Exactly 25 years ago tomorrow, on August 17, 1982, Royal Philips Electronics manufactured the world’s first compact disc at a Philips factory in Langenhagen, just outside of Hanover, Germany. The invention of the CD ushered in a technological revolution in the music industry as CDs — with their superior sound quality and scratch free durability — marked the beginning of the shift from analog to digital music technology. The CD became a catalyst for further innovation in digital entertainment, helping pave the way for the launch of DVD and the current introduction of Blu-ray optical media.

The Philips factory in Germany, where the world’s first CD was pressed, belonged to Polygram — the recording company owned by Philips at the time. The first CD to be manufactured at the plant was “The Visitors” by ABBA. By the time CDs were introduced on the market in November 1982, a catalog of around 150 titles — mainly classical music — had been produced. The first CDs and CD players — including Philips’ CD100 — were introduced in Japan in November, followed by a US and European market introduction in March of 1983.

Yep, it’s enough to make you feel old. Just like every time my daughter asks me a question like “what’s a record” and I’m reminded she’s never known a time when there wasn’t CDs. So happy b’day Compact Disc. Try not to get too drunk at the party.