Friday, December 31, 2004

Oh god I forgot about First Night

Akron is one of the towns that does First Night - an alcohol free family way to spend New Year's Eve. They just started the fireworks for the kids. Sounds like a war zone.

Been awhile

It has been awhile since last I posted. Between the silly season and my cold/sinus infection I have not felt like doing too much. In fact tonight, the biggest party night of the year, I am home posting on my blog. Lame or what? I'm not much of a party person anyways. So let me catch up on a few things.

The tsunamis

I don't feel there is much that can be said for this. To me there is no way in mere words to capture the huge loss of life from this. 100,000+ dead, and I am sure that number will continue to climb. I lack the words to talk about this.

The PDA is dead. Long live the PDA

I have been reading about how everyone is predicting that the PDA, such as the Pocket PC and Palm devices, will be going away. Most people think that the current functionality will be rolled into either cell phones or iPod like devices. Personally I think they are all nuts, to a point.

Yes, I think we will see many of the base feature roll into both cell phones & MP3 players. It makes some sense to have your address book on your cell phone. For many they maybe able to get by with somewhat limited functionality. Sure, we can combine a cell phone, multi-megapixal camera, PDA, media player (MP3 & video), pager/blueberry type thing into one unit. Is it a good idea though? I don't think so. Here is why:

Form factor - those little thumb keyboards are not for everyone, particularly those of us with fat thumbs. Most multi-use units end up sacrificing some thing. Cell phones with PDA get very fat, or they use a little screen. PDA sized screens are better for viewing videos, and maybe that would make some kind of sense, although for other reasons that is not a good melding. Also, how can I check something on my PDA if it is built into my cell phone while talking on the phone?

Battery Life - Probably the number one reason. Everyone already complains about the battery life of cell phones, PDA, iPods (especially iPods), etc. Is combining these units going to some how make the battery life longer? Is carrying around additional batteries any better than carrying around an extra device?

- The more functions a unit has the bigger the impact on your life if it is lost or broken, and of course the more you have to come up with to replace it.

Upgradability - Will these new devices be able to take on expanded software like a PDA? Remember that every function you move will mean less space for other things like music. Also, what about when the PDA functions on your frankenpod just don't cut it? What about the latest in greatest cellphone? Remember that as devices merge the complexity starts to go up, so the latest and greatest features of any class of devices will have to wait to make it into the frankenpod.

Overall I think that they will keep combining functionality into several devices. For someone who only needs a PDA for simple calander & address book these new frankenpods (I just like the way the word sounds) maybe fine. However for those who either crave the latest and greatest or need to do some heavier lifting with their PDA the separate device route will still be used. Actually I think the biggest problem with the frankenpods is battery life. Until they can get the device to have at least 8 hours of mixed use the frankenpods will be religated to minimal use.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Another snowy day

I spent all of today at home just getting some things wrapped up and get ready to go back to work. It was nice to get some things wrapped up. Most of the week was spent getting ready for Christmas so too many things sat around. I still need to spend some time tonight getting things wrapped up before going to bed so I am going to cut this short.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

I have gotten my overkill of holiday cheer for the last 2 days.

Christmas eve my sister in law has her sisters (and their kids) over for a "take-out pot luck". What is a take out pot luck? Everyone brings over some of their favorite take out food (except my sister in law who has to do barbecue meatballs). Mostly the kids play video games, and the adults talk. My brother and I are the odd men out, but no one seems to care. Gifts are exchanged and then my nieces and nephews are ducted taped to nestled in bed. I usually drop my gifts off that night as well.

Christmas day is spent over at my brother's house. I head over there in the morning so we can open gifts. In addition to my Secret Santa gift I got a shop vac (needed with my new furnace) and a 2 pound summer sausage from Hickory Farms. The sausage has been something of a running joke with my family. I am the only one who likes them, and this time of year my brother usually manages to find some dirt cheap. Now usually it is the smaller ones and I eat about half to 2/3 of it before it turns bad (yes, summer sausage can turn bad). The only time I have finished a summer sausage before it turned green and moldy was when I chopped it up to include in a chef salad for a week.

Pickings may have seemed a bit slim for me this year, but that is ok. I know my brother got slammed with expenses this year and I would rather he spend his money on the kids than me. Plus, frankly, I do not have a lot of room at my house for stuff. I try to be selective on what I let in, even CD & DVD wise anymore. I am going to be going through another round of purging this winter, but even then I may have to dump some CDs and DVDs just because the shelves are getting full. Thing is I pretty much my music & movies are the ones that I really want. There maybe a few I could dump. Maybe an iPod would help.

I also wanted to mention an article in the Denver Post (reprinted in my local paper) about Monster Cable's over zealous pursuit of a trademark. I was disgusted by this. Seems that anyone who is in any way using the term Monster in a business sense is getting sued, even when there is absolutely no way that there would be confusion between Monster Cable and the other company. The biggest WTF I had was Disney getting sued for "Monsters, Inc". I am going to try and put this in as many people's ears as I can because I think these people need to be stopped.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Long overdue update

It has been awhile since I have updated this page. So an update onthe last few days.

First off I want to thank Heather Lokey for my gift in ThinkBlank's Secret Santa. I could not find your blog, so hopefully you are reading this. Just got it today. I'm looking forward to listening to it tomorrow. I have been a fan of Bob River's Twisted Christmas series for awhile now.

On Monday I turned 40. Wildman that I am I spent the night at home reading. Probably a good thing because I am coming down with a cold/sinus infection that has really zapped me. Plus the last couple of days the weather has been crappy. Eight inches of snow has turned into 4 inches of slush covered with 1/4 inch of frozen rain. The cool thing that happened was my screen door handle was frozen, I thought I had it opened, and it caught on the latch and snapped off in my hand. So for the rest of the winter I will not have a handle on my back screen door, which also means the door is going to be flopping around in the wind.

Anyways I just wanted to do a quick update and to post this meme. I found it at Tenth-Muse.
I have some other memes & other interesting things to post in the upcoming days.

The "Too Lazy to Trim the Tree" Meme

Three Names You Go By:
1. Howard
2. Woody
3. Hey you

Three Screennames You Have:
1. Yea, Right
2. Like I would tell you
3. Even if I had any

Three Things You Like About Yourself:
1. My sense of humor
2. My eyes
3. My personality

Three Things You Dislike About Yourself:
1. My shyness
2. My intolerence of stupidity
3. My weight

Three Parts of Your Heritage:
1. German
2. Scottish
3. mmmm... Canadian, eh? (At least that I have proven.)

Three Things That Scare You:
1. Fundamentalists
2. Dogs that I don't know
3. Mmm.... War

Three of Your Everyday Essentials
1. Tea
2. Computer
3. Walking

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. Jeans
2. Sweatshirt
3. Sweatsocks

Three of Your Favorite Bands/Artists (at the moment):
1. Styx
2. Norah Jones
3. Evanescence

Three of Your Favorite Songs at Present:
1. Evanescence - My Immortal
2. Bowling For Soup - 1985
3. Evanescence - Bring Me Back To Life

Three New Things You Want to Try in the Next 12 Months:
1. White water rafting
2. Rollerblading
3. Getting a manicure

Three Things You Want in a Relationship (love is a given):
1. Trust
2. Laughter
3. Respect

Two Truths and a Lie:
1. Charmed is probably my favorite TV show currently
2. I hate coffee
3. I have a huge collection of Beanie Babies

Three Physical Things About the Opposite Sex (or same) That Appeal to You:
1. Eyes
2. Legs
3. Hair

Three Things You Just Can't Do:
1. Pay a lot for clothing
2. Watch most reality TV
3. Stay mad for long

Three of Your Favorite Hobbies:
1. Reading
2. Walking
3. Tai Chi

Three Things You Want to do Really Badly Right Now:
1. Take a hot bath
2. Get a massage
3. Do the dishes

Three Careers You're Considering:
1. Counseler
2. Life counselor
3. Senior peon programmer

Three Places You Want to Go on Vacation:
1. China
2. Egypt
3. Central America

Three Kids Names:
1. Shorty
2. Butt head
3. Hey you

Three Things You Want to Do Before You Die:
1. Walk on all 7 continents
2. See the sunrise on the equinox at Stonehedge
3. Write a book

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Busy! Busy! Busy!

Between my usual schedule and Christmas preparations I have been swamped with stuff to do and not spent enough time here. Hopefully that will all change this week.

I got to watch I Robot today. Now I don't remember the books that well, it has been 20+ years since I have read them, but the story seemed to move pretty well and I like Will Smith in these kinds of roles. He brings just enough humor in to keep things from getting too serious. I liked this considerably better than I liked Unstoppable with Wesley Snipes. It was in the review of Unstoppable that someone pointed out that the era of the action movie star seems to be over. Oh action films are still made, but you can't bank on any one star anymore. The era of people just going to a film because Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone are over. Will Smith or Jet Li might reverse the trend some, but not enough.

Well it is late and I need to get some sleep. Maybe something a little more interesting tomorow.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Real winter weather & podcasting

Winter has finally arrived with a nice coating of lake effect snow. For those of you lucky enough to not live near one of the Great Lakes - Lake Effect snow is what happens when the weather comes over the lake (Erie in my case) picking up additional moisture, that then gets dumped in the form of heavy, wet snow.

I ran across Adam Curry's weblog and I started checking out his podcast. Now even though I don't have an iPod, I have been downloading and playing his podcast. Now I have been following podcasting for all of a week now, but I can already see where there are a number of problems.

1) Podcasting takes too much time. Unless you have a long ride/drive or want to listen to them all day at work you need to carve out a large chunk of time. Although a little better than TV, it is still tough.

2) Adam Curry points out there is no content management right now. If you think of TiVo, it does great content management so you don't have to think about what you have watched/not watched and making sure you have enough hard drive space.

3) Until something can be worked out with the RIAA, the music selection is going to be limited.

4) Given we already have some iPod-style machines that are showing pictures and I think video (if not, it is not far behind), it is not too long until we get the equivilant of public access on cable.

After the initial thrill dies out, much like with CB radio or even pirate radio, we are going to see this go a few things develop:

1) Most people will use podcasting to do remote updates of the traditional blog. I have seen at least 1 person doing this already.

2) Colleges & other schools will use it to help train traditional broadcasters and to keep in contact with colleges. We may even see businesses use this as a way to keep in contact with customers.

3) A few people may keep up with non-RIAA music. I figure there is a growing popularity in releasing music independently, but it is tougher to get advertising.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Into the Christmas hell

I wrapped up a bunch of my Christmas shopping today, which involved going to stores. Overall not too bad, even with going into Toys R Us. Fortunately outside of 2 gifts and some gift cards I am done!!!! Now to get some more Christmas cheer around here by getting some decorations up.

Today has been a crazy day. Between shopping and everything else I have yet to finish the newspaper or my laundry. I hate days like this. In the midst of all of this I did get to see the movie Radio finally. I enjoyed it, although I was busy running all over the place doing this and that so I did not get to fully enjoy it. I did get to sit through the ending though, which I thought was very good. My lights are down here, although a bunch of them are missing. I need to find the last of my lights, and I did dig out a tree that I will bring down tomorrow.

Oh well, I'm just tired and not feeling very chatty tonight. I think I am going wrap up my laundry and go to bed early.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ahhhh.... Snow

Now I am not one of those weirdo skier types with a "let it snow" bumper sticker, but there is just something wrong with us getting into mid-December and not having any real snow. Not that the little dandruff we got today will stick around because the ground has yet to freeze, but at least we have gotten some snowfall.

For whatever reason I got a real late start today. Probably has something to do with getting 4 packages in the mail today, although I did get up rather late and then proceeded to check email and read. Damn - a laptop in bed means not getting up until 10:30. And I was not even surfing for porn ;).

Because of my late start I did not get much done today, although I did get to witness rant #3275: Are Americans getting dumber or lazier?

I ask this question because of the cart coral at the store. Now anyone who has been to a reasonably large store, a la Wal-Mart, has probably seen these. They are these little pens where shoppers and stict their shopping carts. The idea is that it shows the stores care about the customers not getting the car dinged up and allows the stores to hire fewer people since customers are taking care of their own carts. Truth is this fails on both counts since most stores only put the corals up front and those parked 8,000 miles away (or for some people, 3 space away) just leave their carts in the middle of the parking lot. However that is another rant.

Now the concept is simple - line the carts up inside of each other just like they are inside of the store. Most corals are wide enough to accomodate 3 rows of carts, maybe 15 to 20 deep on each row.

However it seems that some people do not get it because when I get there the carts are every which way, usually over flowing into the parking lot. Now maybe some people feel the shopping carts need to be able to roam freely in the coral, much like free range cattle. Hell the best coral I have seen is at the local organic supermarket. I have seen grown adults (children I understand, and any one in a handicap spot I also leave out of this discussion) launch the carts from half way across the driving lane into the coral. Really, would it kill you to walk the extra 24 steps and put the cart in an organized manner? Is that 20 seconds of time THAT important? Are you just stupid? Do you just not care about the traffic hazard you are creating?

Now most days I will take the time to sort out the coral. Takes maybe a minute and the 15 carts that were overflowing fit nicely in 1 row, 2 if I am feeling creative. Nice, neat, and no traffic problems. On those rare occassions when things are already nice and neat it take all of an extra second to walk the cart in and place it in neatly with the other carts.

So, I post the question: Are Americans getting too dumb to be able to handle how to work a cart coral or are we all getting lazy.

Ah well, enough of the ranting. I did get to watch the movie Hero today. I went into it with a bit of a bias because someone in my tai chi class had said that there was too much wire work, although the sword play was still neat. I'm not much of a fan of wire work in martial arts films, however I do respect Jet Li as a martial artist (he actually fights with a style that I have studied in the move The One). If you enjoyed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, you will enjoy this film as well. This was the director's first action film, and from what I understand he is a well respected dramatic director and it shows. The story is well done and the action sequences truly enhance the story instead of a cruddy story being hung on some kick-ass action scenes. It is only 1.5 hours long (roughly) and well worth the watch.

I also got to watch Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story tonight with my brother and his family. Now Ben Stiller is hit or miss with me, however I love Vince Vaughn. At first the premise of the film was stupid to me, but I figured I got the movie for free if I really hated it so I was not loosing much other than 1.5 hours of my life. It was much better than I had thought it was going to be. I don't think I would ruin anything by saying the good guys of Average Joe's Gym win, but there is definately a twist on the Cinderella story that is worth the time. If you are offended by crotches getting hit by big red balls you might want to skip it though - they do go for the cheap laugh unfortunately. But Ben Stiller plays an excellent asshole, Vince Vaughn does good as, well, an average Joe and there are a ton of cameos throughout the film.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Slow, gray day

Yet another slow day, gray day here in NE Ohio. I am in a holding pattern on my work projects, it is wet & yucky outside. At least it is not snowing yet. Plus my Windows Media Player is choking. Maybe someone is accessing my SQL server.

After last week's break down of my car, one of the results of the diagnostic they did was that my brakes needed done. So today I got to take my brother's truck to work. This is a 91 Ford Bronco with the big-ass tires (an industry term) that gets something like 3 gallons to the mile. Ok, it just seems that way. I have a 30 mile one-way drive to work (he has about 3), so it really sucked down the gas. My hope is that the brakes stay to under $400. On the upside he has a great CD player in his car.

Yesterday while looking for my SanDisk Cruzer Mini (if you don't have one of these little memory things, get one. WAY cool & convenient.) I was back in my office looking at the tangle of wires. Now I have not been using my office since I got my laptop over the summer, so when I wander back there I tend to forget just how bad the power is around my computer.

Now I do not consider myself unusual, and I am sure many of us are in the same situation. We all went out and got a six-strip outlet for our computer stuff, yet it seems that I do not have room for all the stuff I need to plug in that is computer related. Oh, did I mention I have 2 six-strip outlets?

Allow me to explain. Now my old computer & monitor (2 plugs) were not too bad, and if I had my laptop back there that would only take 1 of those 2 slots. However it is all the other crap, err computer hardware, that is the problem.

Now, like many others, I have a printer, a Palm (Tungsten T3), a wireless router and cable modem. I also have small Brothers label printer and a Bluetooth master unit for my printer. I have not hooked up the Zip drive to the new machine, so at least I am getting a little relief.

Now my cable modem has the right idea - the transformer is small and is a little bigger than a standard plug. My laptop also has the right idea - there is a short line running between the plug and the transformer so it only takes up 1 spot. Contrast that with my HP 5550 printer. The plug & transformer are all one unit that takes up 4 slots on my one strip. It plugs into 1, blocks 2 others with the transfer and 1 other with the wire. Likewise everything else pretty much takes 2 spots, or at least requires some creative use of the 1 outlet items to get everything to fit in.

Now, realisticly, how much could say 3 foot of electric cord and a plug cost? Let's be generious and say a buck. How many of us would be willing to pay even an extra $3 or $4 for this? I would. Hey, if I am already spending around $100 for a piece of equipment, and extra $3 is not that bad.

Maybe someday we will figure out how to beam power wirelessly. Until then we are stuck with a jumble of wires.

Also, the next person who suggests using a generic power supply for a printer (or whatever) should be hung by his own intestines. Come on - print the name of your company on the damn power supply people!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

It's beginning to look like Christmas, sort of

Today is a gray day. Lots of clouds, bare trees, grass that is more brown than green. Windy, rainy, in a word yuck. It is still staying the 40's here most days, and upper 30's/low 40's at night. Any more that seems to be what Christmas is like around here. Sigh.

Maybe that is why I am having trouble getting into Christmas. No snow. I have not had a Christmas tree in over 10 years because my one cat seems to think it is a neat game to watch me pick up the tree every day when I get home. I caught her one day - she ran from one room over at full speed and launched herself into the tree, which of course even at her "heavy" 8 pounds was enough to knock the whole thing down. You would think after the first time she would have learned the tree would fall down. I only this week broke out my Christmas music, which usually comes to work the week of Thanksgiving. Maybe I am becoming like Scrooge. Things have even been worse since mom passed on a couple of years ago. It just seems like any other day of the year to me anymore, except you have to give a gift.

Well, maybe I can get into the spirit more by getting some decorations up. Plus I need to get out and go shopping over the weekend.

I think my house is killing me. My heart rate has been elevated the last few weeks. Nothing outside of "normal", but not normal for me. I went to the doctor last Friday and he thought it might be some kind of virus. This week I have been tracking it a little closer and it seems to be worse at home. I am wondering if maybe developing some kind of allergy, because I am also getting some extra snot going on as well. I have been good about sweeping and what not of late, so I am not sure what is going on. I may have to do a quick run over with the sweeper daily. I am probably going to make another appointment tomorrow or Friday because things are not really getting much better.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Gotta love Monday

I came in to about 5 times the email that normally would have on a Monday, 2 of which were essentially junk (notification that an upgrade was done on one of the servers). Seems like more stuff keeps getting added to the plate and nothing is coming off. I am starting to get into thrash mode, which always sucks because things only get half done. Hopefully I can get at least 1 thing out of my hair today, maybe even 2.

Anyways I am starting to feel better, although I am not sure about the whole sinus thing. Looks like I may have some allergy thing going on. I'm going to give it to the end of the week and see if things clear up before going back to the doctor.

Yesterday was spent cleaning up the house and just kind of staying home. I am still trying to get into a regular cleaning schedule. I mean the FLYlady only recommend about a half hour to hour a day cleaning. Is that really that much time? Beats trying to do it all over the weekend I think. Every week I get a little better at it.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Feeling better

Well, after 3 nights of minimal sleep I finally feel better. I had to go to the doctor because something was not right. Aside from the lack of sleep I had an elevated heart rate. Nothing serious, but enough to get me to the doctor. He thinks it is a virus and I to see if things get better by Monday. The only thing he did was give me some samples of Benedryl to help with some post nasal drip, which I was not even aware I had. He said my throat looked like it had taken the worse of it, again. I guess it is a good thing I still have my tonsils.

Outside of that most of what I have done the last few days is try to sleep and get my car fixed. $700 later I have a new tire (bubble in the side wall), new water bump & belt, and just about every fluid in my car changed plus a tune up. Got to love when it all hits at once. So for the next few weeks I am going to be doing next to nothing as I try to save the cash to pay for all of this. I still have to go and get the brakes done, which is going to be ugly since the one mechanic said the one break's resevoir is leaking. It has been awhile though so I guess I should not be surprised.

I just finished Something M.Y.T.H. Inc. by Robert Asprin. This is a part of his Myth series of books that follow the myth-adventures (sorry) of Skeeve and his team. This is the last one that he is doing alone, and the last one under his contract so it could end up being the last one ever. I will admit this book seemed a little more forced that the others, but he has been writing these since the late 70's so I think a little slack is in order.

For those who have missed this series, if you like fantasy/adventure books I would recommend picking up one. Not only does it poke some fun at the whole fantasy/adventure genre, it also has fun with modern references. My personal favorite is Don Bruce the fairy godfather who runs the mob on Klahd (a dimension). Don Bruce is not only a real fairy, he also tends to dress in purple suits.

I also just finished watching The Stepford Wives. Not a bad show. It has a great cast and I think is a good update to the original. I never saw the original one, but in this they even include a gay couple. The one big drawback to me was Nicole Kidman in a blonde wig. Sorry, but I hate it when they make her blonde. Note to Hollywood - Leave her a red head. Ok, I have a soft spot for red heads.

Maybe tomorrow I will get into something a little more important. I have had a few little rants floating in the back of my head that I need to scribble down.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Are we sure it is not Friday?

Well, after my late night last night I fell right to sleep, but proceeded to wake up at 3:00 AM and cat nap between then and normal wake up time. This is the second night this has happened in a row. This trend started earlier in the year where I started waking up an hour earlier than usual. Since I don't use an alarm clock it has really become something of a problem. Fortunately I have flextime at work so unless I have a meeting first thing int the morning I am never late. There have been a few other weird symptoms that have popped up of late that is going to mean a trip to the doctor. God I hate it, but something is not quite right.

To make things even more fun, my car started blowing chucks on the way in. One water pump and belt later is should be drivable to my regular garge for a tire checkup (the water pump guys found a bubble inside my one tire) and a trip to the brake guy (dirt cheap labor - it pays to be semi-related). Unfortunately the brake issue means loosing my car for a day. Yuck. I guess I could take a day off since Brian is currently down to 1 vehicle, but I really do need to be at work. Maybe I can take a day off, borrow his car during the day and go to the doctor. Oh happy day.

I have been having trouble concentrating of late (another one of those symptoms) so I have not felt like writing much. I am trying out w.Blogger to see if I like it enough for full-time use.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Gotta love modern technology

Gotta love it - I am able to sit here in bed all wrapped up and still make an entry in the blog.

The main reason I am in bed all wrapped up is the weather has taken a rather nasty turn today. It went from 52 this morning to in the low 30s in the evening. I got home late because tonight was my tai chi class so I did not bother to turn up the furnace. Really I just got in, got my lunch together for tomorrow and pretty much went to bed.

Oh well, I did not have much to say today. Kind of a slow day, although I did want to smack some girls on the track. They were walking 3 wide down the middle of the track. Can you get any dumber?

Monday, November 29, 2004

Finally getting back to normal

Well, Thanksgiving is done. As usual I at too much, but at least I was walking 3 of the 4 days (my gym was closed on Thanksgiving). My average mile is getting closer to 16 minutes than the 17 they have been running. Given before my gym closed to tear it down, I mean finalize the new building, I was doing 15 minute or less miles on the track I am WAY out of shape. I tend to walk considerably slower when I am outside, and I was outside all summer. I also hate to walk in the rain, so anytime it rained I did not walk. Normally I would have been inside on the track on those days. Even with all of this I still have more miles in this year than last year. Typically I take the first few laps slow to warm up and get into a rhythm, but I have been getting shin pain after about half a mile until I complete 2 miles, then everything is ok again. I know that it is a combination of speed and distance that is causing the shin pain, but my last mile is usually faster than either of the first 2 that I do. Weird, I know, but that is me.

I am looking forward to settling into a semi-regular routine for a few weeks. I do need to get out and do some shopping for Christmas. I avoid the stores on the day after Thanksgiving like the plague. I always have trouble with my sister in law, as does my brother, since she never wants anything. We can guess a few things, but a little clue would be helpful. I always coordinate my purchases for my nieces & nephew with my brother so we do not overlap, plus I need to get my brother a list of stuff that I will not be buying between now & Christmas but I would like to get. It is always tough to buy for adults, and my brother does not have the internet so sending him to say my Amazon wish list is useless.

I still have not decided what book to read next. I am thinking I either a book on crystals or First Eagle. Both look interesting, but I am not sure if I want to spend the time on something serious or something for fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

More fun than humans should have

I was up way too late watching videos last night (I got caught up in a disc of Farscape episodes from season 3), but I still managed to wake up at 5. As such I have been doing some mindless surfing of blogs and decided to post something. I am on my way out to get my walk in, plus do my shopping for the week before coming home to get some cleaning done. My dishes have not been done in almost a week. Granted I usually do not generate a lot of dishes during the week, but still it gets a little yucky.

Review: To Ride A Silver Broomstick by Silver Ravenwolf

I know a lot of people who are Wiccan, so I wanted to learn a little more about it. Besides other religions have always fascinated me. So I picked up this book on the recommendation of some people as a good beginners book.

I feel the book was well written. The writing style is aimed at a younger audience and does not get into some of the snobbish language I have found in some metaphysical books. As it may be good for a beginner, if you are only after the basics this is not the book for you. Yes the basics are covered, however the book is aimed at someone who is seriously considering being a Wiccan. Although some insight into the practices is interesting, at almost 300 pages it can get more detailed than what you would want. It took me awhile to get through it, mostly beause I would read some, put it down and read some other books, and then go back to it. I found it interesting because most of what she lumps under magical work I have read about in other metaphysical sources. Same ideas, just different lingo.

So if you are looking for a quick intro to Wicca, look elsewhere or borrow this book and only read the first section and chapters 21 & 22.

Review The Terminal. Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta Jones & Steven Spielberg. How can you go wrong? Well, it does not go too wrong. First off it is a bit of a feel-good film, and I think it was well done. I think, though, that given the situation something would have been done long before this. There needs to be a procedure for this, and even if there was not one I would think that they would have done something to have gotten this man out of JFK airport. Now I will admit that this is based on a true story, however even the man involved has been offered a way out (legally) several times, but has refused. Face it - this is a publicity nightmare for both the airport and the country.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Another day in paradise

Well, we got our first significant snow of the year on the busiest travel day of the year. Yey haw! Glad I was able to hole up early and not have to go out. Of course today most of it is gone since the ground is not frozen.

Thanksgiving was great. I went over to my brother's house to have dinner. I made the dessert, although the peanut butter cream pie did not set this year, plus I get the honor of making the turkey. My sister in law has a thing about raw poultry and pulling out the gunk (to use a technical term) from the bird. I don't particularly like it, but I know when I need to suck it up and just do it. At least this way we are not cleaning puke off of the turkey before we cook it.

Otherwise I spent all of yesterday and most of today watching videos. I have been avoiding doing any real work around my house, or on myself of late. I did cancel my Blockbuster Online account. They were just not turning films around quick enough for me to really get my money's worth. I have just not be happy with them at all, plus Netflix has a shipping center in Cleveland so I get movies quick.

I just came across an article from PC Magazine (sorry, I could not find a link to the article) about "renting" music instead of buying it. As the author pointed out, 100 CDs will cost about $1500. At $10/month ($15/month to download to a player) you can get get a lot more streamed music. I have been giving serious thought to giving it a try, although I do get tired of all these little subscription fees that keep popping up. Maybe I am just getting cheap in my old age, but it just seems like I keep coming up with more and more stuff that needs to have $10-$20/month. Oh well, I guess that is the kind of society we are becoming.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Stuffing & queers & global warming oh my!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it is time for the debate to start - which is better: stuffing or dressing? Aren't they the same thing? Sort of. Stuffing is when you cook it in the bird (stuff it in, stuffing, get it?) and dressing is the same thing but baked in a pan. Personally I'm a dressing man, although I will admit usually we use the "Stove Top" variety from a box. Please, no rotten food projectiles ;).

Last night was the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy's Thanksgiving show. It was the first new Queer Eye in some that I have gotten to see. This is the one reality show that I do watch (ok, Monster House, but is that really a reality show?) regularly. I admit I am not much better than many of the guys they feature on the show. As a single guy living alone it is real easy for me to not clean things for awhile until they get really grungy. On the up side I have started to use conditioner in my hair and wash my face with something other than regular soap. One thing the show has done, I feel, is to break down some barriers for straight guys. We all may not be running out to get manicures & facials, but it is more acceptable. Also it has allowed some of the closet clothes horses that I know to be a little more open about it.

It is almost December and here in Akron they are talking temperatures in the 50s over the weekend. Normally by now we would be well entrenched in the 30s, with occasional peaks into the 40s. I have been having trouble getting comfortable at night because of it - too cool for just a sheet but too warm for the blankets that I have. Time to go digging to see if I have anything lighter. I still have not put the windows in my screen doors yet - which just goes to show you how warm it still is here. Granted I have not had the doors open much.

I was a bit shocked when I got 3 electric bills, all addressed to me, yesterday. WTF!?! Turns out, for some reason, I got the current bill and 2 months previous bills. Weird, but ok. Turns out somewhere along the line I got seriously overbilled and have something like a $200 credit. I know I got a $80 bill in August and a $40 before that, but where in the world did that come from. I am not sure what is going on, but I will enjoy it for now. Fortunately I owned nothing on all 3 bills. Happy dance!! I forgot to check my last gas bill to see where I stand with that. I use a budget payment plan that averages out my natural gas bill all year. Yea I pay $83 in the summer, but then again I pay the same in the winter. I just got a new furnace this year - a nice 90+% efficient unit that replaced a 50+ year old gravity furnace with a serial number of 2 (I shit you not - 2). I normally keep things a little chillier than most people, and if I had a programmable thermostat I would even keep it cooler at night. I am hoping that the extra $1500 was worth it.

BTW has anyone gotten one of those high efficiency furnaces put in? I was shocked by what had to happen. Now I will admit my install was not exactly standard - new wiring (no electric to the old furnace), new gas lines (not current code), new duct work (WAY too big for the new furnace) and of course the size difference was considerable (something like 80,000 BTU to 15,000 BTU). But I was not ready for some of the other stuff they had to do. I expected they had to put in a chimney liner, that is the current code, but my furnace vents out the side of the house, not up the chimney. They had to put in a liner just for my hot water heater (replaced last year). Also there is a drip line to help with accumulated moisture in the furnace (which, of course, runs across the floor of my basement since there is no drain anywhere near my furnace). Oh and they ripped out the incinerator from my grandparents that has not worked in 20+ years. Now all I need is to get the programmable thermostat installed, which looks pretty easy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Track etiquette

Now I hate to sound like Ms Manners here, but I am starting to get really pissed about the track.

The gym (actually community fitness center) was recently rebuilt. Now I love the new building, and the space was really needed. However the new track lends itself to abuse.

Let me explain. In the old place we had 2 tracks, each 1/13 of a mile. Yea, a weird distance. One track was above the swimming pool and the other had raquetball courts in the middle. The new track is above the basketball court (not a problem) and has the cardio theater, fitness circuit & stretching area in the middle. Oh yea and it is also above the swimming area, although this is glassed off.

Now the basketball court has not been a problem while I have been there - no stray balls although you do get the occasional rash of bad language which is not a big deal to me. However the cardio theater/fitness circuit have been a real problem. The track is 4 lanes wide. Two really skinny people can walk side by side, but for most of us we need the whole lane. Traditionally the inside lane is reserved for walkers - been that way on EVERY track I have been on. For some reason people feel that they can just stop in the middle of the track and chat with people in the middle. HELLO!!! It is getting to the point I want to take a cattle prod to moooove these people along.

Worse yet are some of the stupid people tricks I have seen. There are 3 entrances to the track. Two of them are maybe 5 foot wide hallways, and probably closer to 3.5-4 foot. Now there is a huge stretching area that is (currently) unused. So if you are 3 teenage girls do you stretch in one of the little hallways or in the big stretching area? That's right - you stretch in the hallway blocking one of the entrances completely from use.

Ok, here are my rules for using a track. To me they are all common sense, but apparently some people don't have that.

1) Check the direction of the day, if there is one. If not, observe the traffic flow before jumping on the track.

2) Do not stretch on the track. Most indoor tracks have spots off to the side. Try to stay out of the flow as much as possible. Seems obvious, but I have seen many people just stop in a lane and stretch a quad.

3) Do not stop to chat (or for any other reason) on the track. Move off the track, even to tie your shoe.

4) Walkers on the inside, runners on the outside unless otherwise posted.

5) Enter the track with lots of space around you. Try not to cut anyone off.

6) Same goes for passing - check before you jump in another lane. Would you change lanes in your car without looking?

7) Do not walk or run more than 2 wide, and even 2 wide is not acceptable on some tracks. Use logic. One track I was on had a choke point where 3 wide lines dropped to 2 narrow lanes. I have seen people walking 4 wide blocking over half a track. Frankly you deserve to get run down by the sprinters then.

8) Label your water bottle, or have a distinctive bottle. I have seen a dozen bottles lined up at times. Also, if you drink on the track be careful not to spill anything.

9) DO NOT WALK AGAINST TRAFFIC FOR ANY REASON. This is one of the big offenders. Instead of "going with the flow" they walk against traffic. Most places lay out their cardio equipment so that you do not have to walk too far to get to it from either direction. Then again these are probably the same people who complain about walking from the back of the parking lot at the gym.

10) Be courteous. If some one lets you in, say thank you. As in golf, let faster people pass.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Just Another Manic Monday

It is probably not a good thing when you start quoting lyrics in your title, huh? Sunday was spent hanging out around the house cleaning and the like. I did get to the gym to do some walking (about time) but otherwise I pretty much did the house thing. On the upside I have food for the week, clean clothes and a house that is a little cleaner. It never feels like my house ever gets completely cleaned, but as a single guy I tend to have a fairly high tolerance for dirty.

To that end, I have been trying to follow the plans set out by The FLYLady. I still have a long way to go, but then again I am still going through stuff from my move 18 months or so ago and stuff from my mom. I have a feeling eBay and I are going to be come close friends. Of course I have been threatening that for some time. I have probably a dozen or more DVDs and maybe twice as many VHS tapes to get rid of from mom. These are the ones that neither my brother or I wanted. Plus my brother found a cache of Beta tapes that I am going to try and unload. Mostly Disney stuff, but you never know. I also have some ancient computer equipment that I would like to find a good home for. It all works, it is just old stuff that I figure some hobbiest may want. Beats throwing it all on the junk pile. The only problem I have is figuring out how much something weighs. Maybe I'll call the UPS store and see if I can take in some stuff to get it weighed.

Yours truly is finally getting the hang of this web thing. I have only been on for what seems like forever, but then again I just got a high speed hookup fairly recently. I finally started an Amazon Wish List, if you want some further insight into my personality. It is still a work in progress, but then again aren't all wish lists? I will admit this was in response to ThinkBlank's Secret Santa Project which sounded interesting. It is cool sometimes to get a semi-random gift from someone you have only met through the internet.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

A Yucky Saturday

Kind of a yuck day outside. The temperature is dropping and it looks like winter may finally be coming to Ohio. Looks like it is time to get my storm windows in. On the up side I did get to go through some stuff. Just not much going on today to talk about.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A night of contemplation

I did not do anything I had originally planned on doing last night. This was not even because of some crisis that came up.

For whatever reason something at the end of the work day kind of spun me out mentally. This put me in something of an introspective mode. Not a bad thing, but my mind was racing which is not always conducive to introspective. As is typical when this happens I start getting all kinds of info, more than I can really process in anything that resembles coherence, which leaves me stuck on a problem because I cannot process it all.

As is my usual way I tried to do other things to get my conscious mind off of the current topic (in this case, me) and let my subconscious process everything. This has worked for me all my life and it produces great results. Unfortunately it did not work as well as I would have liked, so I still have things pinging around my head, and my morning e-mail check did not help any with this.

I don't want to get into this right now here, because everything is still kind of fragmented and not really making sense. I hope to get with some people this weekend that I can bounce some things off of. Sometimes you just need to talk, and although this space is called Lunatic Ravings this is still too random to be included here.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Another day, another dollar

Well, it sounds better than "same shit, different day". At least last night I got a chance to get some reading in. Wednesdays are usually bad for me because I get home around 7:30/8:00 and start getting ready for bed at 10. Usually I get nothing done the middle but glance through the paper and get everything together for the next day.

Last night was a pretty good night though. I was able to walk on the track without too much shin pain, which is good. I survived tai chi class, although it feels like I caught myself with my staff on the leg on my way out.

I still have not gotten much of a chance to really play around with the template for the blog though. Hell I have not even put a message on my old one to show where I moved to. I am at least getting better at posting, even if there is not much to what I am posting. Hopefully this weekend I can take some time and dig in and get some reading done on what some of the special tags mean here at Blogger. On the upside tonight the Theosophical society will be doing a lecture on Islam. Should be interesting. I am always fascinated by comparitve religion, and frankly Islam is a little vague to me. Sometimes there just seems to be too much to study and not near enough time. Maybe someday I will win the lottery (which I guess means I should play it) and not have to go that pesky job ;).

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tired and The Internet A-Z

I stayed up way to late last night watching The L Word and I am paying the price a little this morning. On the upside I got my car E-checked and I am good for another 2 years. Guess I need to go and get all the routine stuff I was hold off on done now. E-check is the program in Ohio for controling car emissions. It is only every other year, so it is not bad but I do hate the fact that they have to drive my car on rollers and that it costs $19.50.

Another idea I have seen from other bloggers. I went through my favorites from A-Z, justing hitting the key. I skipped any folders that came up first since I tend to use a lot of folders to organize my favorites. Here is my list:

A - A book of Five Rings
B - Best Buy Reward Zone
C - Center For A New American Dream
D - DiaryLand
E - eBay
F - Fantasy Art by Jessica Galbreth
G - Gallery 1 of SpiritStone Trading Co.
H - Home Depot
I - ING Direct
J - Joanne Shenandoah
K - Nothing
L - Lowe's
M- Metagifted
N - Netflix
O - Old Time Candy
P - Peace Breath
Q -
R - Rainbow Embroidery
S - SetiAtHome
T - The Bad Movie Review Site
U - Unconventional Ideas
V - Video ETA
W - Web Events (soon to come off)
X - Nothing
Y - Yahoo Groups
Z - Nothing

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Ok, Now I Am Hooked - 100 Things About Me

I definitely like this place a lot more than Diaryland. I like the control I have over things here. I posted my referral link to Free iPods, and I hope some of you can help out. Feel free to email me (I'm not sure how/if I am notified of referrals) and I will try and help out on any of the free programs you are participating in.

Yesterday was kind of dull, and I was trying to put together an Internet alphabet that I saw on a couple of blogs and I am still working on it. I am still trying to get used to the new track I walk on, and it really zapped my left shin yesterday. Otherwise it was just kind of a dull day.

As another thing I have seen on some blogs, here are 100 things about me. I am looking to make that a permanent part of my blog, along with getting a photo of myself on the web.

100 Things about me

1. Few people actually guess my age, usually being off by as much as 10 years either way.
2. I got my first application to AARP at 35.
3. I like to do genealogy, but do not have the time to really research.
4. I love music, even though I am not a great musician.
5. In high school I played the baritone, having switched from trumpet in junior high school
6. I only marched in one parade in band, playing trumpet to help fill out a full line for a parade in Canada
7. I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio.
8. I currently live the furthest I have ever lived from the hospital I was born in - 1.25 miles.
9. I graduated from the University of Akron with a BS in Computer Science.
10. I minored in Psychology.
11. My first computer class in college actually used punch cards. The students did not have access to a sorter, so if you dropped your program you were screwed.
12. The first computer class I took was when I was a senior in high school, the last semester to boot. We had the first computer lab in the city.
13. I was born in 1964.
14. I was born in the year of the Dragon.
15. I am a Sagittarius sun, Cancer moon and Libra rising.
16. I love Tai chi. I started almost 10 years ago.
17. I am with the same teacher.
18. I am certified to teach Tai Chi, but currently do not actively teach.
19. I have been told I am a good teacher, particularly in Tai Chi.
20. I do not feel I am a good teacher for large groups, but feel better in groups of 2 or 3 or 1 on 1.
21. About the same time I started Tai Chi I started studying the Moon phases and similar astrological cycles. I find it fascinating and eerily accurate.
22. I am a facilitator for the For Purpose, Inc's conference.
23. When my time is done as a facilitator I will be the youngest elder in the community.
24. I currently work as a computer programmer for Intuit.
25. I work for one of their vertical market divisions in Cleveland, OH.
26. Although I studied scientific programming in college, I have written accounting software ever since I left.
27. Professionally I have only worked in BASIC.
28. My favorite movie of all times is The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai.
29. I am a second generation Trekkie. My mom watched it all the time and got me started.
30. Although old enough, I do not remember watching the original series when it was on. I probably did.
31. I also do not remember the Moon landing.
32. I do remember Watergate and the president resigning though.
33. Since I turned 30 I have had an extreme interest in metaphysical, what some call New Age, topics.
34. 30 is the start of a new cycle age-wise BTW.
35. Although I study astrological cycles, I know very little about "real" astrology.
36. I have had a hand held computer since the time of the old 'palm tops'. My first one was a Psion Series 3a out of England.
37. Currently I have a Palm Tungsten T3.
38. I only switched to the Palm style interface at the recommendation of a columnist who felt that it would be beneficial for people to become familiar with the interface.
39. Although I am something of a geek, I only recently got cable and a high-speed Internet hookup.
40. I like arena football. It is the only sport that I will go out of my way to watch.
41. I hate cell phones. I only have one because of my drive to Cleveland every day.
42. I have had the same phone number since I was 6.
43. I own the house I grew up in.
44. When it was time for me to move out after I graduated from college, my mom and brother moved out instead.
45. I have lived alone since.
46. I am single and do not feel the desire to get married right now.
47. I have never been married.
48. I have 1 brother, and a half brother & sister.
49. I am the oldest of all of them.
50. My brother and I sound exactly the same on the phone. His wife has confused us at times.
51. I love to walk. I am an avid volksmarcher, and participate in all local walking programs that are non-charity based.
52. I am not a competitive walker.
53. I got my Eagle in Boy Scouts
54. The Boy Scouts' recent decision to ban gays has me totally pissed off, even though I am not gay.
55. Even with that decision I still incorporate several of their ideals into my beliefs.
56. Although I believe in God (or Goddess, who really knows?) I do not follow the dogma of any given church.
57. I find organized religion unnecessarily restrictive.
58. I have had psychic happenings, and consider myself psychic.
59. I may never do the psychic fair thing though.
60. The first computer I owned was a TI/99 4a with 16 K (yes, K) of memory and a tape recorder to store programs on.
61. I currently have a Compaq Preserio laptop with .5 gig of memory and a 40 gig hard drive.
62. I love to read and never spend enough time doing it in my opinion.
63. I am a fan of science fiction, mysteries & fantasy-adventure for fun.
64. My serious reading is usually metaphysical or new age books.
65. I rarely read anything for work outside of magazine articles.
66. I have 20 boxes of books in my to be read stack.
67. I watch too much TV. Of late the various CSIs & Enterprise have been my favorite.
68. Netflix has been a wonderful thing for me.
69. I tend to get old TV series on Netflix, and documentaries.
70. I do not watch much PBS, Discovery or History channel.
71. I love owning a home, but I hate cleaning it.
72. If I were not so cheap I would probably hire a maid.
73. As a teenager I played Dungeons & Dragons. I still sometimes play BattleTech.
74. I played Magic: The Gathering for a while, but I have other interests I would rather spend my time on.
75. I am a big fan of Star Wars as well as Star Trek.
76. The only 2 series of books that I have not gotten rid of are Harry Potter and The Hitchhiker's series from Douglas Adams.
77. I am a big Dilbert fan as well.
78. When I got my cable Internet connection I also got a wireless router. Now I am trying to get the Bluetooth connection for my printer to work.
79. I now absolutely love the wireless hookup, and wonder why it took me so long to get converted.
80. I now spend too much time watching TV & surfing the Internet.
81. I hate coffee. My grandparents let me drink it as a kid, but eventually I just stopped.
82. I do love tea though, particularly chai.
83. Even though I work as a programmer, I usually only have 1 cup of tea a day for caffeine. Maybe some Pepsi if we are having a company lunch.
84. As for soft drinks, I prefer RC to both Coke & Pepsi.
85. I do not mind doing dishes. I worked in high school as a dishwasher at a fish fry once a week. To this day I still have not owned a dishwasher other than my 2 hands.
86. I enjoy cooking. Everyone loves what I make, although it looks like crap.
87. Presentation is not my strong suit, both cooking and appearance wise.
88. Just about all my clothes match so I do not have to think when I get up in the morning.
89. I rarely use an alarm clock. I get up most days at 5:30, plus or minus 10 minutes.
90. The down side is even on the weekends I at least wake up at 5:30.
91. Growing up I hated seafood.
92. My recent trip to VA Beach got me to try some seafood. I am now experimenting with cooking it.
93. I love spicy food, although not necessarily hot food. There is a difference.
94. I love both ginger & birch beer, even though they are very hard to find.
95. I do not drink, smoke, or do recreational drugs. The running joke with my friends is that I drink 2 beers a year, which has been more than I have had the last few years.
96. I never did mix tapes/CDs until I started blogging.
97. Although I am cheap (I mean frugal), I do not believe in music/movie/etc swapping/pirating. I feel that if I like something enough to pirate it I should be willing to pay for it.
98. I do buy used music & the like. I would probably buy second hand clothes if I were a more normal size.
99. I have 3 TV's, 2 DVD players and 3 VHS units even though I live alone. My laptop also plays DVD's.
100. I would like to get a TiVo, but think the monthly service fee is stupid. Plus I do not need another thing to encourage me to watch TV.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

This & That

Ever have one of those days that started horrible but ended up great? For whatever reason I woke up at 4:30 and could not get back to sleep until about 7 and then sleep until almost 11. This was one day I did not want to sleep in. I had a surprise birthday party that I had to cook something for (which I bailed on and bought something) and another meeting after that. Originally I was not going to go, however I was notified that the local genealogy society was giving me an award for the work I have done over the years and felt I should. Made for a busy day, especially when I got up so late.

I will, eventually, have this up on my sidebar on the blog. I am still a little swamped to play around with HTML.

Currently watch: "The L Word", Season 1 Disc 1. Ok, I have to admit I have always had a small place in my heart for Jennifer Beals ever since "Flashdance". I probably know more lesbians than most straight men (at least in Ohio), which may also explain why I am still single. However I found it interesting enough to at least pick up the first disc on my movie pass. I thought the first 4 episodes (actually 3, the pilot was 2 hours) were pretty good, and I am not just saying that because of all the girl-on-girl action. Frankly I could do with a little less sex and a little more story, which would be my guess is what is going to happen. I don't have Showtime so I will have to wait until the second season comes out on DVD.

Currently Reading: I just finished "The Force" by Stuart Wilde. A short book (72 pages), but a nice, condensed book on some very basic metaphysical concepts. To me it is one of those books you keep around and reread when you start to get down. Also a nice book to keep around to read as a refresher. I have not decided what is next up. I wanted to read a book on crystals, although that has seemed to vanished for now. Maybe something a little more fun.

Currently lisenting to: Jewel "0304". Not a bad album. A lot more pop than her previous albums, which I at least feel is unfortunate. She is trying to do some updated big band sound. I like the more traditional big bad personally, but she did ok. My hope is that this is just a bone for the label and that she will get back to the folk/ballads she is so good at.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Blogs, this & that

I have played around a little with the new blog and I think I like it a lot better than Diaryland, although I am still trying to figure out how to handle things to make them look better. I was been awhile since I worked with native HTML, although I am sure I can pull down the source and edit it in Mozilla if I wanted. Not that I am overly familiar with that editor either, but it must be easier than hand-coding HTML.

Last night I went to a Theosophical Society meeting where the lecture was called "Flash Card Tarot". The basic idea was how to use the tarot in brain storming. The idea was to get away from the classic meanings of the cards and get a little more into what you think the cards mean. It was really cool and got me to want to break out my tarot deck again. I never connected with it because many of the meanings were so negative and/or dark. It seemed like the divination teach in Harry Potter that always saw gloom & doom.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Switching blog location

I am thinking about switching over to Blogger from DiaryLand since it seems to give a few more features and control over the appearance. I guess I will need to play with this a little more before I can see if I really like it or not.