the west wing

i don’t praise a whole lot, because i’m bitter and jaded. just kidding…and you’re an awesome person for reading this! 🙂

i hate most tv shows, especially daytime tv, but i do find myself addicted to some of the cartoon shows like family guy, south park, and frisky dingo. i lose myself in them and i need that. with the exception of documentaries and a few select dramas, the rest is just crap for the empty masses. i especially detest shows that you have to keep watching every day or week to find out what happens next. give me closure, goddammit!

netflix, a dvd rental company, was a brilliant idea and i joined them in their infancy. this is where i discovered, among other brilliant dvd’s, “the west wing” tv series. i remembered aaron sorkin, the director and writer of “the west wing”, from a unique show that had a brief run called “sport’s night”. it was an eclectic show with excellent writing and a unique approach at directing, so when i saw his name on “the west wing” i gave it a whirl.

after watching a few episodes, i thought it was ok but nothing grabbed me. the first episode hit close to home (my pink one), but much immediately followed. since it was the winter of my discontent in seattle, i watched a few more episodes to give it one more chance. i’m glad i did. i’m so glad i did, that i’m going to give a praise that i don’t think i’ve given in over a decade…aaron sorkin is probably the greatest writer and director of the 21st century. the century’s just beginning, but he’s going to be hard to beat.

what a pleasure it was to watch the characters form and find their voices. i can’t help but wonder if others enjoyed watching that transpire as much as i did. then when the story development kicked in, i couldn’t stop watching. i had to make myself stop putting in the next dvd and get some sleep. absolutely brilliant.

then a strange thing happened around season four (or five?). i noticed that the passion had left, the characters became mundane and predictable, and the writing left me empty. i kept watching each episode, waiting for stella to get her groove back, but it never happened. i got up and went to the web to see if others were writing in their blogs about this and found out that sorkin had left and someone else had taken over. that’s how noticeably brilliant his writing and direction were.

he has a new show out, “studio 60”, but i’m not seeing his talent in this one yet. regardless, i strongly encourage anyone reading this to watch “the west wing” (up to when aaron leaves the show, of course 🙂 it’s very rare that i will buy a dvd, but i now own the entire west wing series.

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sweepstakes? wtf?

entering sweepstakes has been a side hobby of mine for about 17 years. no, not that crappy clearing house one, but actual sweepstakes that people can (and do) win. i’ve won so many prizes to date that i couldn’t possibly list them all. trips to disney, shirts, electronics, gift cards, you name it. i wish i had the time to do more of them, as it gives me some weird thrill. sort of like the lottery, where my friends make fun of me. my favorite line was “allen, you crack me up. you genuinely believe that you’re going to win, but then you’re genuinely suprised that you didn’t”. yep.

for the sweepsatakes newbie, let me give you the easy version in case you want to take a crack at it. the cost is very minimal….just the price of an envelope, a 3×5 card, and a stamp and you’re entered! here’s how it works…

every company from pepsi to your local store seems to offer some type of sweepstakes drawing for cash and/or prizes. the cost of these things are not only promotional advertising for them but is also a tax write-off (per se) for all the incurred costs to them for the promo. all the big guys (i’ll continue to use pepsi as an example since everyone’s familiar with them) uses what’s called a “third party judging agency”. this simply means that they pay an outside company to be objective by running the sweepstakes, randomly picking the winners from all entries, and then getting the prizes out to those winners. the logic here is that the sponsoring company keeps the whole thing as objective as possible and their hands aren’t in the proverbial cookie jar.

the law is that in order to offer a sweepstakes, it’s illegal for them to require you to make a purchase of their product to enter (i’ll assume that most of you have heard the term “no purchase necessary” when a sweepstakes commercial hits the tv stations?). so…if there is no purchase necessary, then what’s the alternative to enter the sweepstakes? easy…they want you to jump through a couple of hoops to enter the sweepstakes. about 99% of the time they want you to write your name, address, phone no., and birthdate on a 3×5 card (a pack of 100 is about 60 cents) and mail to them in a stamped envelope. for every sweepstakes, there must be rules and inside of those rules is the alternate entry information on what they want specifically. or….to make it easier just do what i (and almost all other sweepstakesaholics do) and get a subscription to one of the newsletters that gives you the list of sweepstakes and entry instructions in an easy to read/understand format. one of my favorites is the “best sweepstakes newsletter“. the only real rule of thumb is to follow the rules to the letter or your entry is disqualified. nothing difficult, but they are unforgiving from what i understand.

on a side note: even those “peel n’ win” prize pieces that are on cups and fries at mcdonald’s, taco bell, etc. must have “no purchase necessary” instructions. those are usually an address to send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to and get free game pieces mailed back to you.

anyhoo…the entry arrives at the judging agency and then, when it’s time for the drawing, a random entry (or entries) are drawn. if you won something of real value, then they will notify you by certified or registered mail and request that you complete, notarize, and send back their form and affidavit. this doesn’t mean you’ve won yet, until they check you out to make sure you’re not a relative of an employee of that company, etc. if you haven’t broken any rules, they’ll send you your prize (which can take anywhere from days to months to receive). if it’s a smaller prize like i usually win, you’ll never know you won until the prize just shows up on your doorstep one day.

there are more details and caveats but that’s the foundation to get you started. if you decide to give it a try, please remember me if you hit big (and forget me if you suffer from the same addiction as the rest of us 🙂

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i’m gay

there. i’m officially and globally out of the closet.

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something geek

one of my pet projects (yet another thing i have no time for) is my geek-ish blog, called groovy or not.

my intent was to do a video blog (vlog) of stuff i use, own, or test out…but it’s just way too much time to do right, so i devote a bit of time to it when i can.

[UPDATE:] Not enough time for this, so I’m selling the site (if you’re interested).

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a few pics

allen at the porn expo in seattle
at a porn expo in seattle

allen on a segway
riding a segway in seattle

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because it’s all about me

i’ve had this site since around 2000, but have never done anything with it except to play around with testing flash, graphics, cgi, and php scripts, and about anything geek-related. what i discovered is that i just don’t have the time anymore. work is (and remains to be) my first priority.

a part of me thinks it’s narcissistic to do a personal blog. i mean, why would anyone care what i’m doing or thinking? then again…many of the people out there seem to care way too much about what celebrities are doing and, although i’m no celebrity, might want to paparazzi me too (yes, i used that as a verb). for those people, i give this gift of me…in blog form.

for those who need fodder: i turned 41 on 4/4/07. i’m a gay, white, male who lived most of his life in north carolina and then moved to seattle, where i’ve been living for over 10 years now. i’ve owned a porn company for about 11 years and i’m always on the lookout for non-porn ventures, but i just don’t see any real money in non-adult sites…so porn remains my priority 🙂

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just a country boy with a city mind who happens to be gay and likes cats, being a geek, a good joke, and run-on sentences… :)