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July 2005

Written By: Gary on July 31, 2005 No Comment

Did you know it was Harry Potter’s birthday today?!?

Here’s a short fan fiction birthday story I found.

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Written By: Gary on July 31, 2005 No Comment

So last night I was wearing one of the new shirts I bought on Friday and it just seemed so small (and it seemed more than ample enough when I tried it on). How could it have shrunk that much?!? Today when I was picking up around the house I saw the tag sitting on the counter, it’s says ‘small’! The one I tried on (and the other one I bought) was a ‘large’. I feel much better now, especially since it turns out that only one of them doesn’t fit and since I didn’t actually shrink it, I can probably exchange it! :)

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Written By: Gary on July 30, 2005 One Comment

Had a great day yesterday. Stopped at the Howell Outlet Mall, got the exact shoes I was looking for and some stuff I wasn’t looking for: shirts, sunglasses and some bowls. Weather was great until we got to EL then it was drizzly on and off :(

Got chinese (I love Charlie Kangs!) and ice cream and long islands and saw some friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Found an Egypt book on the discount rack at Barnes and Noble so I’ll be looking that over. Never did get those chicken wings I wanted though…

Written By: Gary on July 29, 2005 No Comment

I’m off to East Lansing to get Chinese Food, Ice Cream, see the beautiful campus, get happy hour (Wings, Nachos, Long Island Iced Teas) and more Ice Cream. If you’re around we’ll be in P.T. O’Malleys at 4:30 for Happy Hour (Grand River and Abott) feel free to come by and I’ll buy you a drink (or two).

Written By: Gary on July 28, 2005 2 Comments

You don’t hear people mention The Bermuda Triangle much anymore do you? It used to be such a big mystery…

Written By: Gary on July 27, 2005 One Comment

I’ve been thinking about this lately so I thought I’d bring it up again. This short film of the history of the Internet is kind of how personalized information will be presented to you in the future and some of the problems with it. I heard about this while listening to an episode Future Tense.

This is actually a shortened repost of a post I did a while ago, but like I said I’ve been thinking about it lately so I thought you should too…

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Written By: Gary on July 27, 2005 One Comment

So I didn’t hear any news about there being some small debris falling off at the launch yesterday.

NASA said it would know by Sunday whether debris that fell off the space shuttle Discovery’s external fuel tank during this week’s launch damaged the spacecraft as it blasted into orbit. – CNN

They make it sound like it’s not a big deal. And if this wasn’t the first flight in a long while I probably wouldn’t think twice. But I’d really like the flight to go 100% perfect so the program can get moving again.

Understand, I want all flights to go perfect but this flight (and the next few) are extra important.

One of those things I’ve always wanted to see is a Shuttle Launch. The problem is that delays can make a short trip to Florida turn into a several week trip. So I think after they get a few under their belt I might have to take a vacation down that way. Anyone got any tips the the best way to see a launch? Any stories…??

LATER: “according to current data, Discovery is in good shape for a safe return home”. They are grounding future flights until they get more of this figured out…

Written By: Gary on July 26, 2005 No Comment

If I were a piece of food caught in your teeth, would you pick me out? What kind of food would I be? Would I be delicious even after I’d been trapped between your molars since lunch?

Okay so this isn’t a real meme. I stole it from 5ives.com a site that lists all sorts of (generally) humorous lists of “five things” such as: “Five terrible fake LiveJournal memes”.

Written By: Gary on July 26, 2005 One Comment

The Space Shuttle went off as planned today. I was just finishing up at the doctor with two minutes to launch so took a few minutes to watch. It was a beautiful and thrilling thing to watch as always…

I watched until the solid rocket boosters and fuel tank had been disconnected and the ship was traveling over 17,000 mph (that’s almost 5 miles per second) I never get tired of seeing that.

Written By: Gary on July 25, 2005 4 Comments

So I picked up an HD TV cable box today. But I don’t have an HD television. “Why?”, you ask? The better to see it with! My picture for the HD channels are beautiful!!! I feel like I just bought a new TV! My HD cable TV box will work fine on most TVs; probably any TV that will let you hook up a DVD player will hook up to this and give you a much better picture.

HdtvlogoHere’s the thing: it’s got regular “video out” connectors on it (the yellow video or s-video), the same connectors that you use to hook up your DVD player. If you think your DVD picture is better than your regular TV, I’d say you should try this out. I’ve got Comcast in the Detroit area, I just walked in to get the box and came home and hooked it up instead of the old one. It’s only $5 more a month than the regular digital cable box.

How good is the picture do you ask? It almost as good as my DVD player !!! I’m using the s-video connector (the one that looks like the small round keyboard connector for your computer) and I’d say it’s way better than my old digital cable box. I’m sure you’re wondering why and the answer is simple: The television standard that we use has ben in use for over sixty years and that was black and white (color wasn’t tacked on until a dozen years later).

I’ve got ABC, NBC, CBS (although somethings up with it, which is unfortunate since I watch a bit of CBS), 2 PBS, the Discovery Channel, INHD & INHD2 (which carries IMAX programming), TNT, FOX and some other HD channel. If they had USA and SciFi, I’d be all set!

GEEK SPEAK: It would probably be a better picture if I didn’t have it running through my TiVo (but it’s inputs aren’t as high as the outputs of the HD box). The cable box has digital optical audio and coaxial audio outputs (it’s gotta have great sound, but the TiVo can’t handle it). Plus component video outputs. Even geekier: it’s got 3 USB ports, 2 firewire, some kind of smart card slot and it looks like a cable modem built-in. They don’t appear to use the cable modem, I’m wondering what would happen if I called in to activate it as if it was one I purchased.

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Written By: Gary on July 24, 2005 No Comment

I’ve gotten so many search results in the last few days since I posted about the band Blondfire (formerly known as Astaire). Since they hit the iTunes music store I’ve had all sorts of people finding their way to my site. Their new Live Acoustic EP hit #1 on the iTunes Pop Album Chart and #9 on the overall Top Albums Chart – all firsts for an unsigned band! Go check it out, it’s only $3.96 to buy it!

They are going to be in Grand Rapids on August 4th at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (it’s only $8). I’m hoping to go so leave me a comment if you’re going to be there.

Their web site is http://www.blondfire.com/ so go poke around and see what’s happening. You can listen to the new tracks at their MySpace site. And you can still hear some old tracks too.

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Written By: Gary on July 24, 2005 3 Comments

So the SciFi channel started rerunning Firefly and the preview for the Serenity movie (the movie sequel) looks so great I thought I’d try the series again (I think I tried one episode originally and it didn’t take), but I think they (whatever network dropped it) originally ran them out of order. This was part one of the two part pilot (which was never run as the pilot, I’m not even 100% sure it was ever run they actually ran it as the last episode). I really enjoyed it! I think I might pick up the DVD and catch up in higher picture quality and the missing three episodes. And I really don’t need another Friday show; Stargate, Atlantis, Numbers, Monk, and Battlestar Galactica is already more than I watch the rest of the week combined!

Written By: Gary on July 24, 2005 No Comment
  1. Believing:: Dreams

  2. Invasion:: Aliens

  3. Boys:: Girls

  4. Island:: Paradise

  5. Repeatedly::  Annoying

  6. Normal:: Not

  7. Hex:: a-decimal

  8. Tuxedo:: Prom

  9. Virgin:: Records

  10. Cereal:: Toy

From Unconscious Mutterings

Written By: Gary on July 23, 2005 No Comment

GooglemoonlogoHave you seen the interactive maps of the Earth that Google has done? They recently added a new hybrid feature.

More importantly: In commemoration of the Moon landing 36 years ago Google has put together some Interactive Maps of The Moon! It goes best horizontally (with minor vertical options) and don’t zoom in too far, you never know what might happen…

This ties in with their hiring opportunities at their lunar hosting and research center in 2007.

Found at Population Statistic.

Written By: Gary on July 23, 2005 No Comment

So I’ve seen a billboard that says this but I keep forgetting the address (which is pretty simple http://ready.gov/) and I finally remembered it once I got home. It’s a Homeland Security site with Ready Business and Ready Adult sections. It’s got a coming soon for a Ready Kids section which I’m assuming will be up soon since September is National Preparedness Month. It’s got suggestions on supplies and what to keep on hand (easy access to medicines and stuff) and brochures, posters and other things along those lines. It’s not just terrorism-type stuff there’s some natural disaster info too. (I just thought it was time for a PSA).

Later: This site is now a FEMA site and after the marketing of “Ready.gov” they now require the “www” in the address and the other links don’t work now either.

Written By: Gary on July 22, 2005 3 Comments

sky carSo I’m sure we’ve all see the pictures of the flying cars. Don’t need roads, they’ve got VTOL* got over 100 miles per hour, yada, yada, yada… engine

But when can I actually get one of these these things? Or at least get to go for a ride? You can see the red two seater flying car in the photo, it’s a Moller Skycar (designed by Moller International), I saw it at NextFest. It’s pretty much how I imagined it. But before I saw it, I was out side and I saw one of this green engine. You can see it’s a little big for a two seater. At first I was really confused, I thought the cars just looked smaller in the pictures. Can someone tell me what kind of engine this is? Is it for the bus version or is it just an normal everyday huge engine?

So the car was very cool, I still think it will be a while before they are available as cars. I think they might be some form of aircraft at first. Probably with easier licensing since they are supposedly easier to fly. I think of them sort of like a helicopter with an automatic (computerized) transmission, much easier to handle. (I could be way wrong on this).

(I would swear I did a post on this type of flying car in the last year but I can’t find it….)

*VTOL – Vertical Take Off and Landing.

Written By: Gary on July 21, 2005 3 Comments

Megan RyanOne of the last of my painted rocks entries (see some other painted rock posts).

So when I first saw this rock and noticed the way it was written I thought that something happened to Meghan, maybe she died or was in a coma or something, but later when I was looking at the images I didn’t think see it that way so much. But now as I’m writing this post I feel it again. Something about Meghan makes me feel like she’s in the past tense (especially the last sentence), I get the idea that Meghan was never going to see this rock and it made me wonder why? What do you think when you read it?

As you all know I had that sad Avril song running through my head as I was climbing along (and I thought it was sad when she sang it at the concert). But that hasn’t been as all-consuming in my brain lately.

Written By: Gary on July 20, 2005 No Comment

So it’s been 36 years since we landed on the Moon. I still think that is so cool. I really thought we’d be making field trips there by now but unfortunately that isn’t the case. These days I’m just excited/hopeful that we’ll get the shuttle missions going again.

For my birthday last year (or maybe it was Christmas) I got this Apollo 11 Artifact Kit. It’s got all sorts of cool paraphernalia in it (mission patch, moon map, travel voucher, customs declaration, school photos of one of the astronauts kids and other interesting stuff) and a book too. My mother saw it the other day and commented on how much her dad would have liked it, he’s the guy who got me interested in space and science. I don’t know if he ever knew that. I remember him taking me up to the library and getting books when I was little and I remember getting something to do with space at the same time he was (my version had lots more pictures than his did). It’s that first time that I always think of when people ask me about how I got interested in science and technology. I don’t know what was going on that made him interested, maybe a space mission or the anniversary of some launch or maybe just plain old curiosity.

Written By: Gary on July 20, 2005 No Comment

JamesdoohanJames Doohan died today in his home in Washington at the age of 85. We all knew him as Scotty, the chief engineer of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Star Trek. He was the one who always fixed the ship just in time and responded to the communicator call of “Beam me up, Scotty”. His ashes will be launched into space. He did quite a few other different movies and television shows. He always seemed like such a sweet guy on the show and in interviews…

Written By: Gary on July 20, 2005 One Comment

I know we complain about the cost of a gallon of gas, but Al figured out the cost of a gallon of ink for your ink jet printer. Found at The Arizona Log.

FYI – I just got a gallon of gasoline for $2.19 so I’m feeling pretty happy about that!

Written By: Gary on July 19, 2005 No Comment

BlondfireIf you recall I was talking about the band Astaire (that opened for Ivy) last month. They had to stop using the name Astaire and changed it to Blondfire. (Why? The Estate of Fred Astaire complained). The important thing is that they just released a new $3.96 four song EP (only at the iTunes store) it’s got three tracks not on their first EP (only $4.49). I’m liking it so far. It says it’s live but you’d never know it. The track titled “L-L-Love” is on both EPs and the Monster In Law soundtrack (although this version is live).

I found this info in the Free Press: “Because of legal threats from the Fred Astaire estate, the Driscolls are changing their name.” Stupid people and their trademarks… (I’m serious, like people would confuse them with Fred Astaire.)

FYI – It looks like they new web site will be http://www.blondfire.com/

Written By: Gary on July 18, 2005 No Comment

Avril LavigneSo the Avril Lavigne concert was great! She was at the DTE Music Theatre (Pine Knob) and I mangaged to get some great seats (row E). It was one of the better concerts I’ve seen in a while. All the screaming enthusiastic fans reallly help to get you going. I don’t know how tall she is, but she can’t be much over 4’10“ (150 cm) and she’s constantly bopping around all over the stage. She literally skipped around in circles during the parts when she didn’t sing. She played all the songs I wanted and I think she played every other song I knew. She played for over two hours! Some just singing, some guitar, piano and the drums. It was really great.

I don’t have her old stuff except for some live cuts and a few odd singles (from the iTunes store). For the encore she did Smells Like Teen Spirt and Hey Ya! (at least I think that’s what it’s called). My photos aren’t so great but click on the thumbnail for the best one and this is my second best one (the others are worse). She’s much cuter in person than I thought (she usually looks mean), the photos don’t do her justice. If you were there and got some better ones can I get a copy…?

Written By: Gary on July 17, 2005 No Comment

So I kept seeing the name Mary GrandPré with all the Harry Potter stuff and realized she’s the one that does all the art. She has her own website (http://www.marygrandpre.com/) with all sorts of stuff there. Art you’ve seen, what she did for the cover of Time and more. Plus they’ve got a bio for her too.

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Written By: Gary on July 17, 2005 One Comment

AvrillavignetmSo, as you know, I’ve had Avril Lavigne in my head lately. Especially: Fall to Pieces, Sk8er Boi, My Happy Ending and I Always Get What I Want (mostly the first one). So she’s in town (Detroit-ish) tonight Pine Knob (DTE) so I picked up some tix and now she’ll be in my eyes and my ears!

I’m in Row L so my photos wont be very good, so if anyone gets anything better let me know where you post them or send a few my way. Thanks!

Written By: Gary on July 16, 2005 No Comment

Kids reading usnews 072505In the July 25th edition of US News and World Report the cover story is about Harry Potter and reading. On page 50 there is a sidebar on “If kids made summer book lists…” and it has some good choices. My favorites are the Chronicles of Narnia, one of the HitchHiker’s Guide books and The Golden Compass. I want to check out the Time Warp Trio.

So print the list and get some kids some books to read. But don’t forget about the So You Want to Be a Wizard series by Diane Duane (my favorite kids books).

Written By: Gary on July 16, 2005 One Comment

I stumbled on this Saturday Night Live ad spoof with Kelly Ripa and how her shampoo keeps her going all day long. I’m not going to say any more or it gives it all away…

Milk and Cookies has a bunch of different kinds of humorous ads. I found the above promo after I saw someone (can’t remember who) had posted the old SNL Harry Potter skit with Lindsey Lohan and I started digging around to see what was new.

Written By: Gary on July 15, 2005 4 Comments

One of another from my painted rocks series from Evanston, IL. marry me rockThis one was a unique one in that in was a two part rock. One with a question and one with a Yes/No option to complete. It’s a unique way to propose and I’m all for that. It was interesting because the rock looked old.

But take a look at the corner of the first photo, there’s a date and I’d assume it’s the date he asked. Obviously that’s not the case, it’s in the future (at least it was when I wrote this). Why would that be? If Maggie is busy that weekend it’s a no go? It wasn’t on the rock where she was to put her answer. Anyone going to a wedding in two weeks for Maggie?

yes no rockSo this seemed like an interesting story so I googled the ‘net and the closest thing I found was at a prom dedication site. (Very strange.)

LATER: It bothered me that it was word for word when I found it on-line. So I googled it without Maggie’s name and realized it’s the chorus of a George Strait song (I believe written by Danny A. Wells/Dana Hunt Oglesby).

I still want to know about the wedding…

Written By: Gary on July 14, 2005 No Comment

Astronaut garyI can’t tell you how much I wanted to be an Astronaut when I was a kid. When they built and launched the Space Shuttle I thought I’d be able to do it as a passenger but with major setbacks every few years we haven’t gotten there yet. This was a suit that they had at NextFest (see my other NextFest posts). They kept pointing the to the sensors on the front and asking kids about it (the stick way out so you can’t look down in the suit) but the suit was missing the item you’d need to read the sensors so most of the kids weren’t making the connection.

(Hint: The item would be attached to the arm). NASA had a great setup. They had a bunch of stuff for the solar sail (which hadn’t been launched yet) too and the material was so light you didn’t feel it in you hand, I think the static in your body almost repelled it. It had a very SciFi Roswell quality about it…

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Written By: Gary on July 13, 2005 3 Comments

I didn’t even know they were broken. Although I was a little disappointed on the lack of comments recently I just thought it was slow (or I’ve been extra boring).

Tonight, I realized it’s been 3 days with out any comments (and I’ve posted more than usual). So I started poking around. I was changing something on the layout 3 days ago and while it seemed fine when I was done, I guess I broke something. And it broke it for all the posts so you couldn’t even post on the older posts.

So if you’ve commented on something recently, it’s been lost. Sorry. PLEASE feel free to post (or repost) any any post again…

Comments are like caffine, they get a blogger energized. And while I’ve been posting a bit lately, I’ve been missing the buzz…

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Written By: Gary on July 13, 2005 One Comment

So I went to leave the house and I had another flat tire, not a crisis I just wished I had noticed it earlier. It had a nail (maybe it was a screw) in it. I’m thinking that was a new tire from a few weeks ago (I had a flat on a different tire, but they rotated so I think this is a the new one). I didn’t wimp out and call the Auto Club (but isn’t that what I pay them for?).  So much for the productive day I had planned. So now I’m getting fast food and waiting at the shop for the tire to be replaced….

This just ties into the kind of day I had so far:

  • Spilled on my clothes twice (so I changed twice).
  • Knocked a jar of medicine into the toilet (at least it was empty, so into the trash with it).
  • They call me and tell me it’s going to be longer before the auto club gets there so I go back inside and start grilling up some food. Guess who shows up as I start that? Now I’m eating fast food…
  • And they just scrubbed the Shuttle Launch. Very disappointing day so far…

    UPDATE: Shuttle rescheduled for Saturday.

    UPDATE 2: Tire was covered under the road hazard warranty (I love Belle Tire). Plus they fixed a rim leak in another that was running low. Was still a hassle and wasted a bit of time but at least it was free. :)

    Written By: Gary on July 13, 2005 No Comment

    NWU MapSo this is where I was when I did the rock tour (see recent posts). It’s also where I was when I went rollerblading part of the time and where I just liked to relax. You can see in the zoomed in part (you did click on the thumbnail image?) that fuzzy edge near the water along Lake Michigan, it’s all these huge rocks (or big chunks of cement) along the shoreline. It’s probably about 40-60 feet of these along the shoreline to the water (if not more) and many are painted with these some of these sayings on them.

    The right half of the map is Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois the left half is Evanston. They’re north of Chicago maybe 30-40 minutes from the downtown train station via the Metra (sixty if you take the L and have to switch trains). The L is probably just at the left side of the map and downtown Evanston is probably just south of this map. I really like the area I’ve had different friends live there (or near) at various times and it’s just always been comfortable to me.

    Here’s a sketch of the campus so you can see it from a different perspective.

    Written By: Gary on July 13, 2005 4 Comments

    So I ordered some books from Amazon (for my Egypt trip). I think I ordered them on July 3rd and they finally shipped yesterday. The estimated delivery date is August 8th (that’s crazy, right?) so I checked the tracking and while the tracking is still listing August 8th I see they left a town 20 miles away at 9:15 AM so I’m assuming they’ll be here today. It’s just a pretty lousy estimation, they were off by 25 days!!! These days I expect something a little more accurate like: it’ll arrive at 2:17 PM today…

    UPDATE: They showed up at 11:04 AM on Thursday the 14th! They look like good books!

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    Written By: Gary on July 13, 2005 No Comment

    Indextop20050412It’s a big update day for Macintosh users. The new Tiger 10.4.2 update (do Software Update or download it) came out, a new version of FireFox, a new version of StuffIt (get the free expander to uncompress zip, sit and other compressed and encoded files) and it’s free music Tuesday so go get your free iTunes songs (if you don’t see the banner scroll down to the lower right corner).

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    Written By: Gary on July 12, 2005 No Comment

    rock friends timeAnother painted rock from my trip to Illinois (click picture to enlarge). If you haven’t seen them I’ve posted of few of these since the last weekend in June. It was really crazy how much I enjoyed walking along the shore reading these rocks. At least I’ve finally got that darn Avril song out of my head….

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    Written By: Gary on July 11, 2005 No Comment

    Since it’s 7/11 today and the 40th anniversary of the Slurpee, you can get a free 7.11 ounce slurpee!! (Participating 7/11s only, while supplies last, yada, yada).

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    Written By: Gary on July 10, 2005 No Comment

    So if you eat at Burger Kind and super-size your meal to a Large or King size meal you get a Amazon Prize Card that is worth at least $1 at Amazon (it basically redeems as a gift card). If you win it’s worth up to $10,000!!! It’s really a no-brainer if you shop at Amazon since the upgrade is only 50 cents…

    Written By: Gary on July 10, 2005 2 Comments

    I forgot to mention this the other day: After the London bombing I realized that Andi and Neil had moverd over there for the summer so I hopped on over to Finella’s Muse (Andi’s blog) and sure enough she had made a post earlier titled “We are okay!”. What a strange way to check on someone’s safety…

    She’s been posting interesting updates with photos, be sure to scroll down to July 7th and work your way back up…

    The death toll of the bombings seem to have stayed at 49 but there are still 31 people missing. After this amount of time I’d have to unfortunately assume the worst…

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    Written By: Gary on July 10, 2005 No Comment

    TheislandmovieI enjoyed The Island, I liked how the story flowed and fit together; a lot of times in a movie of this type they skip past that whole “plot-thing”. What’s really going on with these characters is akin to finding out the you live in The Matrix. The questions they asked and they way they monitor everyones health and diet were interesting. Now, it was a chase movie so of course those always gets a little unbelievable as they are dodging, jumping, falling etc. A lot gets explained as the movie goes on but there are always a few weird things that don’t get explained (like the weird guns that they use). Ewan and Scarlett played an interesting pair that seem to get a handle on the impossible a little too quickly and Steve Buscemi was great as always (why does he so often play characters with interesting sexual proclivities?). I’ve seen more and more previews give away too much of the movie so if you’ve decided you’re going to see it, then stop watching the previews (opens nationwide on July 22nd).

    On a side note the Arizona scenery was beautiful. And during many of the scenes I kept thinking how much Scarlett Johansson looked liked Jessica Alba.

    Definitely some paid product placement in this movie. I think it would be so much more effective if they just casually showed the product verses pausing the camera on it too long…

    Written By: Gary on July 10, 2005 No Comment

    Spec Trop6 277X187I’m watching CNN talking about the hurricane coverage. Hurricane.Cat4It’s been upgraded to a Class 4 which is 131-155 miles per hour(!), it’s near Pensasola (20mi ESE) and I guess Atlanta is in it’s path (but it looks more like Mobile to me). And these idiots crazy people are out there doing color commentary as these 100 mile per hour winds are knocking them around. The two guys were out there practically doing a talk show…

    CNN is encouraging you to send in your stories, photos or video. Nice live Java animations at the National Weather Service (check out the Loops on the left).

    I’m slightly confused about the class of the hurricane (but maybe it’s changing). CNN’s web site reports it as a Class 4

    “This is going to be a destructive hurricane,” said Ed Rappaport of the National Hurricane Center, which has designated Dennis as a Category 4 storm.

    but now the banner on CNN tv makes it sound like was just upgraded to a class 3 (111-130 mph).

    Written By: Gary on July 8, 2005 2 Comments
    Onesome: PremiumHave you tried any of the fast food empire’s ‘Premium’ sandwiches lately? Was it any good?
    I just tried the new a Sirloin Steakhouse Cheesesteak Sandwich (sliced beef, cheese, onions peppers and some kind of parmesan sauce on a new bun/roll) at Arby’s but they don’t list it on their web site so it must be a trial of some sort. It was delicious and they sell it as a wrap too.
    Twosome: ChickenChicken, beef, fish, tofu… What’s your dietary staple?
    Mostly beef and chicken. If it’s fish it’s generally scrimp (or fast food). The Deluxe Chicken at Burger King is delicious too.
    Threesome: Sandwich Let’s do lunch! Do we head for that fast food place? …or will noon find us over at your favorite deli noshing down?
    Generally at lunch (M-F) is fast food, maybe a Panera (usually if I know I’m working late

    From The Thursday Threesome.

    Written By: Gary on July 7, 2005 No Comment
    1. Who do you owe?
    Just the mortgage company. Probably about $100,000 still. I also owe for some retirement year purchases which will be paid off at the same time it’s time to retire. Actually paying it off will let me retire fiver years early.
    2. Does anyone owe you?
    I don’t think anyone owes mw anything at this time.
    3. How many credit cards to you have?
    Four; I generally just use two, the MasterCard and Kohl’s (Kohl’s gives me good rewards). They all (bills, mortgage and charge card) get paid off automatically every month. This forces me to make sure I have the money in the bank…

    4. Do you care about national debt?
    Yes. But I’ll help them crank it up some more if we can get more money for schools and the poor people who don’t have enough.
    5. Would your friends be surprised if they accidently saw the balance in your checkbook?

    I don’t so. They be surprised on how I organizes it. Different accounts for vacation, technology, yearly bills and future car purchase, etc…

    From Friday Fiver.

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    Written By: Gary on July 7, 2005 No Comment
    Q1: If a credentialed security guard approached you after you made a purchase in a mall department store, and asked or demanded to see what was inside of your backpack, shoulder bag, or some other bag that was large enough to contain stolen items, what would you? Would you comply, no questions asked, or would you automatically say no because you know that you didn’t do anything wrong?
    Not a chance. (Not unless she’s going to frisk me?) There’s no way I’d let them look, they’re wrong and I’m right! If they want to push it then I figure I’m getting a $10,000 gift card out of the deal (since they won’t find anything). Since my common stores are book stores, Target or Best Buy, it’ll be a lot of fun stuff… At some stores sometimes they do look at my bag (everyone’s bag) of what I just purchased and I’ve been tempted to just walk by, but I figure they’re really testing the cashier (and that I’m not in cahoots with them).

    Q2: When you’re driving a car and you find yourself in a position where you have put the car in reverse and back up, which shoulder do you tend to look over as you’re backing up?
    Generally my right but I could go either way. Conditions matter: am I backing down the road a bit or going down an alley?
    Q3: Who was the last person you paid to do something for you and what did they do?
    I paid them to take my order at Arbys and in return they give me a yummy Beef & Cheddar sandwhich. Oh, wait, they weren’t the last, I paid the doctor to give me an allergy shot so they stuck two needles in my arms…
    Q4: How many chairs or seats do you have in your house, and how long have you had the oldest one?
    8 table chairs. 2 outside directors chairs. 3 outside fold up chairs. A 3 person couch and a 2 person love seat. A chair at my desk and wield hanging chair I bought in Costa Rica (two years ago) but never hung from the ceiling.

    From Four For Friday

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    Written By: Gary on July 7, 2005 No Comment

    In case you’ve been in a cave today here are some headlines.

  • London attacks kill dozens as world leaders meet 
  • London Bombers Hunted
  • Bush orders U.S. vigilance after London blasts

    So just three days after I mention we haven’t have to raise the terror alert level and how happy that’s made me. Here we are…

    These attacks bother me more than they used to. Ever since the 9/11 attacks deaths of larger proportions have bothered me more and more (a lot more). As a child I wasn’t generally bothered by disasters. If a plane crashed I understood it was still safer than driving. If there was some disaster a flood or a hurricane I still knew more people than that probably died in traffic accidents (Google-ing finds me about 40,000 per year); it didn’t make it okay, it just helped me to compartmentalize it. I’ve always understood that the TV sensationalized the disasters and basic things like car crashes were old news and not covered and it’s always annoyed me and helped me to not get to stressed about these things; I knew there was so much more that I wasn’t hearing about.

    But since 9/11 it’s hit me more. It was huge, it was on purpose and it was a lot of lives. I was in some state of shock (or something) for a while (weeks) following it. And then the numbers from the Tsunami last year the numbers kept growing and I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never been a big news watcher or current events, as I’ve said a million times, I hate that it’s just generally bad news. But during the Tsunami they kept listing numbers from other disasters so I saw lots of other numbers, big numbers…

    It’s really depressing, in a End Of The World kind of way. People killing each other in such large numbers and it doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere. We’re just being mean except for when large number of people die (natural or not) and then we’re all mushy and we all try to help one another. The helping and the bonding of humanity is amazing sometimes but it really needs to last longer and not need a disaster to make everyone be nice.

    I’m sure these numbers will rise. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who is affected by these attacks and will be ast these next few days go by.

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    Written By: Gary on July 5, 2005 No Comment

    WordPhoto.org appears to have just gone back to a daily format (probably just Monday through Friday). They change the topic everyday and you can upload a photo related to that topic. Pretty simple, eh? Here’s all the photos I’ve submitted are and here is a list of the archived words. PS – Once there’s a new word, you can’t upload an old one any more!

    Written By: Gary on July 5, 2005 2 Comments

    I’m really liking the first season of Lost! I never watched it the first time around and I’m loving it. What’s great is most of these people have nothing to do with one another so the stories don’t have to be related at all! Emilie de Ravin, who played the bad alien in Roswell, is growing on me, I didn’t like her much as Tess but her pregnant character is interesting. And Terry O’Quinn (from Alias, X-files and Millenium) is a great character too, they just revealed his secret in the episode I just watched.

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    Written By: Gary on July 5, 2005 No Comment

    Love RockAnother rock from my walk along Lake Michigan. I liked this one, but the squiggly heart didn’t come out in any of the pictures that were of the whole rock so you don’t really get the full effect. But I like the soda and pop comparison (I generally say soda), generally the only difference (in the U.S.) between soda and pop is a 1,000 miles. :)

    Written By: Gary on July 5, 2005 No Comment

    I slept so poorly last night. I kept waking up and tossing and turning. And I had to get to work on time since everyone else in the technology department is on vacation. After a long weekend, especially with the stormy weather the odds of something acting up are pretty good. Of course everything was fine…

    Then I realized I signed up for the overnight shift for the shelter so there’s not much sleep tonight if I get paged. Ugh…

    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2005 No Comment

    So I don’t want to complain too much and this post has mutated into something way different that what I started with. But I’m the devil’s advocate and every time I sung a praise for today and the country I had a “but” pop up. So read on if you want some rambling related to safety, happiness, taking things for granted and the US. Maybe I’m just bitter that it rained and there weren’t any fireworks tonight…

    So I live in the United States of America. We’ve really got it made here (we really do), I can’t complain too much (but I’m going to whine a little). We’ve got so many freedoms everyone takes it for granted. We have so many freedoms we give the benefit of the doubt to the criminals and while many fall through the cracks it’s still a pretty safe place to be.

    I’m extra happy today because I think this is the one of the few holidays since the fall of 2001 where we haven’t been on high alert or if we are everyone is taking it for granted and it is “old news”. I think we take a lot for granted these days and it’s not good. If we take it for granted how can it make us happy?

    I’m not happy with everything the people in charge do but in general they keep it moving along pretty well (and since I don’t do much about it other than vote so I really shouldn’t complain). It’s generally just the bad or stupid stuff that we hear about all the time. The day to day good stuff gets taken for granted so we don’t hear about it so much (if at all). I pay my taxes and follow the rules and just hope they do significantly more good than bad (and generally they do). Some day I’ll do a “If I were in charge” entry.

    But people aren’t happy enough! Many people have been the past few days, lots of picnics and parties and fireworks (I love fireworks). But if we have it so great why aren’t the people happier in general? Is it the “grass is always greener” syndrome? Or the “I want/deserve more” syndrome? or are they all happier than I think (I really have no hard data on this other than I think people should be happier).

    Occasionally I think wouldn’t it be great to live in ____(insert some country here)____. It’s the good stuff I like when I’m there, I assume they have all the other stuff that I take for granted here. It’s like when you look at a different job and you see the extras it has but what you don’t see is the extra hours, parking/traffic is worse, the insurance isn’t good but it still somehow looks better until you get there.

    I know I’m whining and I know I have it great here and we’re celebrating our independence but I wasn’t here when we were “dependent” so I don’t know what it was like before. And I know we weren’t to nice to each other back then for more than a few years after we got independent, so I’m not sure how much it was valued back then and I’m still not sure how it’s valued now…

    So once we colonize Mars, at what point do they decide they want to be independent and free of the tyranny of us telling them what to do? (and declare their own independence day?)

    Although, I still feel that tug to live in some little town off the ocean in Costa Rica or some flat in London not to far from the tube so I can go downtown whenever I want. But I am still here, mostly because I know this country is a great place to live in.

    (This was really not the direction I was going when I started this post. If all you see is me complaining above, read between the lines, these are issues because this is such a great place to live.)

    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2005 One Comment

    So this is kinda different you can put yourself (and an optional friend) in the trailer for Wedding Crashers. You upload your photo and they superimpose it on Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, Isla Fisher or Christopher Walken. The move the mouth as it talks and everything. You just need a head shot and it crops out the background and everything. Plus you can save/e-mail it to your friends!

    I’m not saying this is War of the Worlds special effects or anything, but it’s entertaining…

    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2005 No Comment

    evanston flowersI found these lovely plants with their lovely reds and purples and greens. The were in a spot either welcoming me to Evanston or Northwestern’s Campus (or maybe the downtown Evanston area). They were just really bright and cheerful so I took a few photos :)

    The photos didn’t come out as well as I’d like but you still get to see them since I liked them. The two that didn’t get thumbnailed are here and here

    Can anyone tell me what these are? (Perennials?)

    Totally off topic: So sometimes when it’s late and I can’t sleep I’ll occasionally take a sleeping pill, I don’t do this too often but my schedule is a little off so I needed to get to sleep. The point of this is that it makes me a little loopy and when I opened the draft of this post this morning this is how it read, “I found these lovely plantsa wwith their lovely reds and purple and green. The were in aspot that made me think they cow accopmplisment and would you survive.” So it has some typing and grammar issues but those last four or five words really confuse me. Fortunately they must have been enough for me to not hit post :)

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    Written By: Gary on July 3, 2005 One Comment

    We sat side by side in the morning light and looked out at the future together.So here’s another painted rock with a quote on it (click image to enlarge) that I saw down by Lake Michigan. As I was walking along all these rocks (which really means jumping precariously from rock to rock) I had the darn Avril song running through my head. It was really kinda sad as I’m reading these rocks with different inspiring and sad messages running through my head. There were some really great ones but they were too faded or just too difficult (lighting/angle/shadows) to get a photograph of.

    It was an experience to see the beautiful peaceful water on one side and also be climbing all over the rocks and then pausing to read some of the writings or to see some of the pictures. And then that darn song which always makes me feel little was running through my head.

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    Written By: Gary on July 3, 2005 2 Comments

    Picture 10This is my name using Egyptian Hieroglyphs (supposedly). Does anyone know if this is really related to anything hieroglyphic? There are no references on the generating page to anything authentic. I’m seriously interested. I’m still thinking Egypt may be my next trip…

    Try your name  

    Stolen from Diane.

    LATER: I see now that these “letters” do have some meaning according to the Hieroglyphic entry in the Wikipedia. Although, even after reading the Wikipedia article, I’m still confused why some letters are stacked and some are side by side (my name doesn’t fit this schema).

    Written By: Gary on July 3, 2005 3 Comments

    So as many of you may know, I value my time. Other than when I’m relaxing I like to be productive. I like the train ’cause I can get stuff done (fun or work). I always have a book so I’m not just waiting (I like reading), so I’m generally a patient waiter since I take the book to the doctor, meeting a friend for lunch, etc.

    So James had this list of the value of time. I really liked these two (but he has more):

  • To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
  • To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
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    Written By: Gary on July 2, 2005 One Comment

    So this is a little disturbing, yet somehow compelling. Grab the doll and drag/throw it (or it’ll seem like much isn’t going on). Even when the screen refresh rate slows down it seems to keep the momentum (literally) going.

    Stolen (title and all) from Rori.

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    Written By: Gary on July 2, 2005 2 Comments

    WaroftheworldsaniWow!!! I was highly entertained. I did walk in with low expectations but still it was non-stop action and the effects were incredible!!! The plot was a little a lot thin: bad weekend Dad trying to outrun the destruction to save and bond with his kids at the same time. You can see the trailers at the Quicktime site. There’s an official web site but it’s way too busy (slow) with flash animations to be of any use.

    As I said the effects were incredible. I can’t think of one complaint about them. Mostly non-stop action. And the aliens were very bad aliens (scary/gory for kids, IMHO). I got really confused with Tom’s character I wasn’t sure if he was supposed to be not so smart, street smart or secretly smart; it wasn’t very consistent at all. I love Dakota Fanning but she didn’t have many lines (past the first 10 minutes, no one had many lines). We sat really close too so it was right there in the action.

    Please note: I said it was great entertainment, had great special effects, lots of action and a weak plot. You decide if this makes it a great movie or not…

    Written By: Gary on July 2, 2005 2 Comments

    And I don’t wanna fall to pieces
    I just want to sit and stare at you
    I don’t want to talk about it
    And I don’t want a conversation
    I just want to cry in front of you

    Fall To Pieces – Avril Lavigne

    So these darn lyrics keep running through my head (they play this part of the song in the iTunes preview so listen if you have it). I don’t know why they keep resonating in my head and my heart lately. I can certainly relate to the feelings in general, but nothing in particular currenlty, which is why I’m confused that they keep coming up. And it’s just this part of the chorus that sticks, until I looked the lyrics up I never even noticed that the next line was “Cuz I’m in Love With you” although it was perfectly clear to me that there was some deep love that was friendship or romance.

    It makes me sad but but in a sort of good way. In the way that crying can be a catharsis and purge out the emotional stuff that made you cry in the first place.

    I just wanted to check the spelling of catharsis and the definitions were interesting. Actually the Catharsis Wikipedia entry is pretty interesting too.

    Did you notice how I jumped from talking about my emotions to the defintion of the word and the history of it? (You did? I thought I might just slip that one by you.)

    This is a great album by the way I think I might be turning into an Avril Fan (now that she’s “not so angry any more”).

    Written By: Gary on July 1, 2005 4 Comments

    free Yahoo 360 gmailSo I’ve still got accounts to give away. Yahoo 360° and 2GB Gmail accounts. Just leave your e-mail in the comments (be sure to tell me which one you want).

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    Written By: Gary on July 1, 2005 3 Comments

    Garysaid logoSo I’ve got the new design up at http://GarySaid.com/. (If you’re viewing this at the old site it doesn’t look new, it’s probably starting to look broken as I move things and directory paths break). I’ll be patching a few things (especially on the sidebars) over the next week. So give me a few days to patch all the cracks (unless you see something really bad).

    Please change you links and blogrolls to this site…

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