Kyle Caricature

You've stumbled upon Kyle Eslick dot Com, the online home of Kyle Eslick. I am primarily known for being the founder of Apricot Media, a digital media company that focuses on developing domain names into profitable websites/blogs, affiliate marketing, and doing SEO analysis. Among the websites operated by Apricot Media are WordPress Hacks, Slick Affiliate, and the Gluten Free Media network.


Due to the number of projects I am personally involved with at any given time, it can sometimes be difficult for people to figure out how to reach me. As a result, this website was created to provide a little information about me, as well as to serve as a hub for discussing my personal interests via my personal blog.


Please feel free to look around and let me know if you have any questions. I can be reached via email using my contact form. (Due to the daily amount of e-mail received, please allow 48-72 hours to respond)


In the meantime, if you'd like to read what I'm up to, here are a few of my recent blog posts:



Uproar Festival – September 5, 2014

I began traveling to concerts almost immediately after getting my license at age 16 (Garbage/Smashing Pumpkins in Ames Iowa was my first) and have been lucky enough to go to several in the years since.  Some live performances are magical, which others leave a lot to be desired, but nothing replaces live music in my opinion.

I have identified Seether as my favorite band for awhile now, but that prestigious spot was recently solidified with the July 1st release of their newest album, Isolate and Medicate.  The problem is I missed them at Lazerfest a few years back and they never seem to come to the metro area, so my attempts to see them live has gone unanswered.  Fortunately for me, earlier this year Seether decided to join the Rockstar Uproar Festival which was coming within driving distance, so I grabbed a friend from work and we made arrangements to travel to Bonner Springs (Kansas) to check this off my bucket list.

Here was the scheduled lineup:

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAIN STAGE

Godsmack – 9:25 PM
Seether – 8:05 PM
Skillet – 7:00 PM
Pop Evil – 6:15 PM
These Raven Skies – 5:45 PM

FESTIVAL STAGE

Buckcherry – 4:40 PM
Escape The Fate – 3:50 PM
Within Reason – 3:15 PM
Sons of Revelry – 2:05 PM
Battle Band Winner – 1:35 PM

After months of waiting, September 5, 2014 finally arrived and we got to the festival around 2:00 p.m., just in time to see Sons of Revelry take the stage. Arriving early proved to have its benefits as we were able to get up right by the stage. I wasn’t familiar with Sons of Revelry prior to this trip and was impressed with this independent band. After they finished, we were able to meet the band and get autographs while Within Reason was taking the stage.

Within Reason also proved to be a pleasant surprise.  I had heard of this band before but wasn’t familiar with their catalog.  After they finished their performance they went to their booth where we were able to meet the band, get autographs/pictures, and strike up a quick discussion.  I really enjoyed this discovery as well and even grabbed their latest album at their booth.

While meeting with Within Reason, Escape the Fate (EtF) took the stage.  EtF proved to have a very heavy feel and even included some screamcore songs, which made it feel out of place at this festival.  While the live performance was enjoyable, this didn’t prove to be my type of music.  Fortunately, this was the only band during my festival experience that didn’t really grab me.

About this time is when the drizzle turned into a shower.  With about six and a half hours to go we were soaking wet and Buckcherry took the stage.  This was the first band I was very familiar with prior to arriving and they sounded really great live.  They are probably the most vulgar of the entire festival, but the crowd really seemed to eat them up. Buckcherry closed out the Festival stage and it was on to the main stage.

After about an hour of extremely heavy rain it finally slowed and we found decent seats at the main stage. We were dead center in the third row, with only the standing area/mosh pit area in front of us. These Raven Skies were set to take the stage at 5:45, but for whatever reason that never happened.  This was disappointing as I wasn’t familiar with this group either and looked forward to hearing their stuff.  To date I haven’t heard why they weren’t there, as there was no announcement, but Pop Evil would eventually kick off the main stage about a half hour later.

When Pop Evil took the stage, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I own a couple of their songs which were great, but coming in I wouldn’t have considered them a draw for me. With that said, when we arrived and throughout the earlier afternoon, it was clear there were as many or more Pop Evil shirts as there were Seether and Godsmack shirts so I was very intrigued. When Pop Evil took the stage, the whole feel of the festival changed and these guys put on a great performance. The crowd loved it and these guys skyrocketed into being one of my favorite bands with their performance.  I was really impressed!

Next up was Skillet, a Christian band with a great Rock sound. It has been a few years since their last album, but they rolled through all of the classics you’d expect to hear and it was great.  It was also nice to see a kickass band with an amazing female drummer.

Once Skillet left the stage it was game time and after a brief setup, Seether took the stage. I managed to take both audio and video of most of the performance and it was incredible.  They sounded outstanding live and played most of their greatest hits. If I had a complaint, it was that they only played 9 songs and only one was from their brand new album. I’ve been following their setlists throughout the tour and they had been doing 10 or more at their earlier stops and Driven Under (one of my favorites) was the casualty this particular night.

Once Seether finished, we had a debate on whether or not to stay for Godsmack. Godsmack is a band where I enjoy a few of their songs, but they weren’t a reason for going and we had a 3 hour drive home ahead of us and it was getting late. After a brief discussion, we decided to stay and would end up being glad we did.  These guys put on a fantastic show and managed to mix up their greatest hits and songs off their new album (1000hp) which is something I wish Seether had done.  But Godsmack was the headliner and had a lot more time, so it kind of makes sense.

After a couple of days of reflection, I have to say this was an outstanding show and I came home not just with a great Seether experience, but I now have some new bands I really like. I was already a Skillet fan and am now tracking Pop Evil and Within Reason. I’ll probably keep my eye on Sons of Revelry as well. If you are into Rock/Grunge music, give these bands a try in iTunes or wherever you get your music.  I think you’ll be pleased.

Fantasy Football Fantasy video

Ahhh, the Manning brothers.  They’ve had some incredible accomplishments on the field, but I would argue some of their best accomplishments are actually off the field.  Here is the latest Manning brothers music video in all of its glory:

I hope we have the Mannings in the NFL for years to come, but I think they can certainly pursue a rap career once they’ve decided to hang up their cleats.

Best Standup Comedians of All Time

My wife and I have been huge supporters of standup comedians for well over a decade now, supporting our local Funny Bone comedy club whenever possible and purchasing comedy albums when they are released by comedians.   Over those years we’ve probably found 30-40 comedians which we are big fans of, but a few have risen to the top of the list for me.

Below I decided to share my favorites, ranked by personal preference:

  1. Dave Chappelle
  2. Dave Attell (got to see him live in person and it was incredible!)
  3. Louis CK
  4. Daniel Tosh
  5. Greg Giraldo
  6. Jim Gaffigan
  7. Russell Peters
  8. Whitney Cummings
  9. Willie Barcena
  10. Iliza Schlesinger

Notables that either just missed the list or simply don’t have enough material out there to make the above list:

  • Alonzo Bodden
  • Amy Schumer
  • Aziz Ansari
  • Christian Finnegan
  • John Heffron
  • Kurt Metzger
  • Kyle Cease
  • Lisa Landry
  • Steve Byrne
  • Tommy Johnagin

So that is my list.  What does your list look like?  Any glaring omissions from my list?  Leave a comment below!

Why Facebook Users Should Support Google+

Over the past two weeks as I’ve had a chance to play around with Google+ and really had a great experience.  Who knew Google could do social and do it so well?  Guess they learned from the Buzz/Wave disasters and seem to be on to something this time.

Unfortunately probably the most important ingredient to having a great experience with a social network is the ability to find and connect with the people you want to interact with.  As a result, I’ve spent two weeks now struggling to get friends and family to setup their own Google+ accounts and was met with a surprising amount of resistance.   “Why not just stick with Facebook” they ask?  “Where is the value?”   “Where is my Farmville and other games?”  When I stepped back to look at it from the average person’s perspective I can see their point, why should someone bother setting up a Google+ account?

Why Switch From Facebook to Google+?

First and foremost, I need to point out that you don’t need to “switch” to Google+ unless you want to.  Signing up for Google+ doesn’t do or change anything with your Facebook profile so there really is no down side.   Secondly, Facebook needs competition and Google is one of only a couple of companies (if not the only one) who could seriously compete with Facebook.  Competition brings innovation and their are plenty of examples out there of situations where there wasn’t competition and as a result there wasn’t innovation (Internet Explorer 6 jumps to mind).   Besides, the more successful the initial launch of Google+ is, the more likely Google is to continue to place their valuable engineer resources into improving this product and making it a true competitor to Facebook.

Am I pro Google+ or just anti-Facebook? 

This is something I’ve put a lot of thought into over the past two weeks and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a little bit of both.  I truly love the innovation put into Google+ with the hangouts, circles, and even the sparks feature has some potential.   With that said, I admit to being more scared of where the Internet is heading with the growing dominance of Facebook and I think the internet needs to support a competitor.

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Firefly’s Nathan Fillion on Swamp Ass

To be a credible geek in this day and age possibly the most important rule is that you love the Firefly series (since cancelled but unavailable for instant watch on Netflix). Of course the lead character is played by Nathan Fillion, giving him a lot of influence over geeks around the globe. I have to say I was pleased to see him using that influence to get the world with the following Public Service Announcement:

Good Reads: Social Networking for Book Readers

As social networking has continued to grow in popularity over the past couple years I’ve often found myself conflicted when looking at where the internet was heading. Do I want one social network for everything (ie Facebook) or would it be better to several smaller niche social networks?  Both of course have their advantages but I often found myself leaning towards the Facebook hub having one account and social experience to cover everything. This was mostly due to having an overwhelming number of social websites on the internet leaving me with accounts all over the place. 

The above still seems to be true most of the time, but I have to admit that when I discovered GoodReads.com I realized the true value and potential of smaller niche social experiences.  For those unfamiliar with the service, GoodReads.com is a social website designed for people who like to read. Whether you are looking to find a book recommendation, write a book review, or interact directly with fellow readers and even the authors themselves, Goodreads.com has you covered! 

I have to admit that although I think I still prefer the Facebook approach for the most part, GoodReads.com gives me an experience that Facebook never could and I highly recommend it for anyone that enjoys reading or listening to audiobooks. If you are a GoodReads.com member and would like to be friends, you can find my profile here.

Oh, and while on the subject of books, I recommend buying books through Amazon (either paperback or Kindle ebooks) and Amazon’s audiobook website, Audible.com.  I’ve been using Amazon for my book needs for over a decade and now Audible.com allows me to continue to absorb books while commuting, working out, etc.

Best Fantasy Novels of All Time

Those who know me well know that I’m a bit of a book reader and a huge fan of the Fantasy genre as a whole, which is often referred to as “Sword and Sorcery” books.  In my youth I grew up with the core Dragonlance books and moved to the RA Salvatore’s “Drizzt” books within the Forgotten Realms setting.

I remember these books very fondly, however as I transitioned into adulthood I was left with a strong desire for a more epic tale and have spent the past decade trying out other Fantasy novels. Here are some of my favorite sword and sorcery series:

  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin (7 book series) – Probably my favorite series of all time, although it is hard to say as the series hasn’t yet been completed yet.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erickson (10 book series) – This series starts slow but really picks up in Book 2 and is believed by many to be one of the greatest series of all time. 
  • Farseer Trilogy and Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb (both 3 book series)
  • Prince of Nothing by R Scott Bakker (3 book series)
  • Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (multiple books in this setting but not technically a series)
  • Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks (3 book series)
  • The First Law by Joe Abercrombie (3 book series)
  • Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (3 book series)

I’ve read other stuff as well but those are probably my favorites off the top of my head.  I know several of you also enjoy this genre so I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below!

Update: Great post by NPR covering the best Fantasy/Science Fiction books of all time!

Game of Thrones Makes its HBO Debut

Over the past couple of years the Internet has consumed much of my spare time and as a result I don’t consider myself to be much of a TV watcher these days.  However I must admit that when I discovered my favorite book series of all time, A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, was being made for TV it immediately grabbed my attention.

Over the past month my anticipation has continued to grow until last night when the first episode finally made its debut on HBO.  Here is a trailer:

I have to say I was impressed.  The quality was very good and HBO has devoted a scary amount of money to making everything look authentic.  For those of you that saw it what were your thoughts?

Snoop Dogg’s Dedication to True Blood

This week after enjoying the latest episode of True Blood, Snoop Dogg did his dedication to the show’s main character, Sookie Stackhouse.  If you are a fan and missed it, here is the video titled “Oh Sookie”!

Problems with Apple iPad Applications

Like close to a million others, I was fortunate to be one of those lucky iPad owners on launch day, a device that has changed my life for the better. With that said, however, the transition to the iPad has left me with a lot to be desired, as I suppose you should expect with any first generation device.  Among the biggest of my frustrations is how iPad apps are handled in iTunes and by developers.

Of course in the interest of fairness, this is not specifically a problem with Apple, but instead a problem with how many developers choose to handle their iPad apps.  As an iPhone/iPod Touch owner, I have amassed hundreds of applications over the past 3 years. In the months since the iPad came out, I’ve had to repurchase many of these apps.  That itself isn’t the problem, as I realize that development time and often new graphics are required for the iPad version, but why aren’t all iPad versions universal applications when an iPhone version is available? Because most developers don’t make universal versions of their applications I have to maintain TWO copies in my iTunes and then delete then iPhone version off of my iPad. Making the iPad version universal would solve this problem completely, allowing me to delete the iPhone only version and avoid duplicates on my iPad!!

This problem was present immediately but I had hoped that it would be temporary as developers tried to make a quick buck when the iPad was released. Unfortunately this problem still exists almost three months later and only seems to be getting worse as I struggle to manage applications for two different devices. It would be nice if Apple would mandate or provide an incentive for developers to make universal applications.

Anyone else having similar frustrations with their iPad applications?