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October 2005

Written By: Gary on October 30, 2005 No Comment

So we drove by the $2.08 gas station today several times, but it just wasn’t worth the wait to save a few pennies on gasoline. (If you’re near Dearborn, MI it’s the Sunoco on Greenfield between Ford and Michigan.)

Written By: Gary on October 30, 2005 One Comment

So people were coming over for dinner yesterday and I was cleaning. It wasn’t actually cleaning, the place was clean but I had piles of junk that really didn’t need to out in the open, some were people who aren’t around very often and a few who had never been over so I thought I could make a slightly better impression. I did throw a bit out but mostly I was just moving things from one spot to another (or just tucking them away in the corner). You’d think with a office (mostly a junk room), a real junk room and a shower I could find spots for all this stuff.

Yes, I said a shower. The full shower on the main floor is filed with various gear, boxes, rug shampooer and who knows what else (it’s not like I need more than one shower and then I only have to clean one). I keep the curtain closed so most people don’t notice but once in a while someone asks me for something and a go in the bathroom and come out with it (“it” could be a stereo receiver, a power strip or computer printer).

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Written By: Gary on October 30, 2005 No Comment
1. What’s the last item you mailed?
Last week I mailed a newspaper article to my Mom that mentioned me in it. She still likes to get stuff like that (at least I think she does).
2. Who has made you smile recently?
Last night I played with a friend’s 2 year old for a while and he was a lot of fun.
3. What’s the weather like outside?
Beautiful! Very sunny but still a little cool. I just went for a walk with Heather (who’s in town this weekend).
4. Do you consider youself a good judge of character?
Generally I’m a good judge. If I’m wrong, it doesn’t take long to figure it out.
5. What’s your favorite photograph?
I really like the one I just got of my cousin’s twins a few weeks ago! I’m sure I have all time favorite but none come to mind right now.

From the Friday Fiver.

Written By: Gary on October 29, 2005 No Comment

What are your Top 5 places you’ve never been to, but most want to visit?
In order that I’ll probably do these:

  • Egypt
  • France
  • Australia
  • Antarctica
  • The Moon

    Actually if it were a reasonable option, The Moon would be first. But I’m not sure if that’s going to be an option in my lifetime. When they started the shuttle program I really thought that would be an option when I grew up…

    From Top 5 Friday.

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    Written By: Gary on October 27, 2005 2 Comments

    1And1So I use 1and1 for my web hosting for this site and I really like them. They’ve got $5.99 domain name registration all the time (that’s the best ‘all the time’ price around) and a variety of plans and they really have all sorts of options you can choose from (news on your page, mySQL, SSI, PHP, clipart, some built-in flash, e-mail, ftp, ssh, statistics, photo albums and more). They’ve got plans as low as $2.99 a month and that includes a domain name (lower priced plans don’t have all the features) and 1GB of storage and 150 e-mail accounts.

    My biggest complaint has always been the web interface to manage things was slow, but they just fixed it!!! That’s why you’re getting this pitch, I was just using it and the new interface is much nicer and much faster. And the interface works well with a Mac (at least with Safari on my OSX Tiger machine).

    My other complaint is that you must have them manage your DNS list (you can buy your domain name somewhere else but 1&1 must host it and the sites that goes with it, you can point your mail MX record somewhere else). This probably will not matter to the average user (and probably isn’t understandable either).

    FYI – Movable Type requires Perl (which is not in the $2.99 plan) this means you need at least the $4.99 plan to run it.

    Written By: Gary on October 26, 2005 No Comment

    So I had the day off and got lots done: Saw the Doctor and got 3 different things done while I was there; allergy shot, flu shot and a followup to being sick last week. I think my throat and ears are still pretty scratchy (if not worse) but she says it’s fine (maybe a little fluid). Plus I got the oil changed in my car. Topped the gas of for only $2.29 a gallon!!! Ate lots and relaxed lots, so a pretty good day all in all…

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    Written By: Gary on October 26, 2005 3 Comments

    This weekend, October 30th it’s time to adjust your clocks because of the Daylight Savings Time (DST) again. As always, I’ll express my displeasure with the whole DST thing. My solution – just move it a half hour in-between and leave it alone!! It’s rumored that it’s Ben Franklin’s fault but supposedly that’s not what he was trying to say. Read the WikiPedia entry and you can get a little more background.

    At least it’s “fall back” (at 2am set your clocks for 1am) so I can get some extra sleep out of the deal.

    PS: Don’t forget to send your DST greeting card.

    Written By: Gary on October 26, 2005 3 Comments

    BlogFlux Map (from Google)So I adding this new BlogFlux badge to the page (it’s down in the footer). If does two different things:

  • It generates a map showing the last 25 visitors (which then has a link to list a map with more than that and other stats).
  • Lists the location of the last few visitors (I have this in the sidebar on my main page). It’s neat, it’s free and I’ve got a thing for maps…

    I had no idea I had so many overseas readers that that weren’t spam (when you look at a site’s raw stats it’s just jammed with spam sites).

    If you try this tool keep in mind stats are never perfect. It’s not going to list stats that they don’t know where they are geographically and probably won’t list RSS feeds or any pages that don’t have graphics and/or JavaScript activated and proxies will probably affect it in a few different ways.

    Real numbers are almost certainly higher. And for any service the you depend on for information put the parts you link to at the end of the page so that if their service doesn’t load correctly or fast or something that it doesn’t affect your page loading (you want your “stuff to load first).

    Pointing at the pointers on the map will give you additional information about the source. BlogFlux has some other services too, like: a button maker, a pinger, a directory, page rank checker a few other things you might like…

  • Written By: Gary on October 22, 2005 One Comment

    So this week I’ve had a few weird dreams. I generally don’t recall a lot of dreams but I think with the extra sleep and the trying to get back to sleep (and the medicine) has increased the dreams and/or the recollection.

  • Lots of snow and ice, I actually thought when I woke up that we’ve been having snow.
  • I kept seeing a sheet of photos, like you’d get in elementary school (from picture day), with one of my high school friend’s photo on it, he looks younger so it’s possible it’s his younger brother but since it’s a dream and I think it’s him, I’m assuming it is. The thing is, I didn’t meet him until high school.
  • I saw this big fire truck puzzle on sale and I thought a friend’s son might like it. So in the dream he’s playing with it. Really engaged with it and I think he was talking a lot (it’s hard to get him to talk). I suppose I should see if I can still buy it for him.

    I didn’t have any dreams about the weird, but excellent, movie I saw last week, I’ll review that later (really!) but since it’s all surreal and dream-like I’m surprised.

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    Written By: Gary on October 22, 2005 5 Comments

    What are your Top 5, all-time favorite candy bars?

  • Nestle Milk Chocolate Bar, these are hard to find (kinda like the Nestle’s Crunch but with no crispies).
  • Smarties/Lentilky, chocolate not the sour tarts (a European M & M type candy made by Nestle).
  • Nestle’s White Chocolate Bar (maybe I’ve seen them test released here but generally I get them in when I travel, generally in Europe I think).
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • M & Ms
  • And sometimes I’m really in the mood for a Payday.

    Wow, I didn’t realize I had so many Nestle candy issues, but they’re all hard to find. Obviously, I don’t eat many of these since I don’t travel that far very often.

    From Top 5 Friday via The Daily Meme.

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    Written By: Gary on October 22, 2005 4 Comments

    So I’ve been sick the last few days. Some kind of bronchial bronchitis (or something other -itis thing), the doctor gave me drugs in case it’s viral it’s not viral. Congested, stuffy, fuzzy brain (when a piece of silverware hits a glass it just sounds so loud. I’ve been way bored. Caught way up on television. Men's Health for Dummies Charles B. Inlander, People's Medical Society (U. S.)Obviously I haven’t been doing too much on the blog (or the ‘net in general). I’ve got a half dozen posts from weeks ago (heck, I’ve got posts from six months ago I haven’t finished) so it’s not for lack of topics, just sitting in front of the computer has had no interest for me (so you know I’m sick); my grandma and mother used to offer me home baked chocolate chip cookies to see how sick I really was.

    Today it’s the ears and throat (these are much worse, but the conjestion/breathing seems better), if it’s worse tomorrow I might run up somewhere to see what else they can give me. The annoying thing was is I’ve been taking extra care of myself the week before this. Less soda and junk food. More vitamins, other health stuff and more sleep. So it’s kinda annoying.

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    Written By: Gary on October 17, 2005 One Comment

    So I usually don’t do this, I went a bit out of my way to save money on gasoline. I’ll usually just pay attention so y path takes me by the cheap places but this one place at Evergreen and Schoocraft has been really cheap lately so I drove out of my way to get it. Due to construction it was way out of my way.

    It was two gas stations across the street from each other both with a line, but only $2.33 a gallon! So I got in line waited about five minutes (that’s five minutes longer than normal for me) and I saw my chance. I squeezed through two cars and I got the heck out of there! I’ll hit one of the places without a long line later…

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    Written By: Gary on October 16, 2005 3 Comments

    I say … and you think … ?
    1. On the verge:: of insanity
    2. Tempestuous:: Tornado-ish behavior
    3. Coherent:: Light
    4. Near death:: See Light :)
    5. Illiterate:: Not able to read or write
    6. Why not?:: Why what?
    7. Period:: a way to end a sentence
    8. Long lost:: friend
    9. Torrid:: Affair
    10. Nail:: Hammer

    From Unconscious Mutterings

    Written By: Gary on October 16, 2005 6 Comments

    Vcr tivo tombstoneSo everyone everywhere has been saying the VCR is dead. TiVo sent out an e-mail last week, I’m sure you got it (you do have TiVo don’t you?). It said:

    Did you know…?
    • Many manufacturers have halted production on VCRs forever!
    • 2006 will be the last year for VHS movie releases.

    But here’s the thing, so many people still have VHS tapes, they won’t be going anywhere soon. Who has ditched their cassette players if you still have cassettes? CDs were clearly better and more convenient. But the problem was that you couldn’t record CD (way back when, we could only play CDS, not record) and it’s still pretty hard for many people to make mix CDs. And most people can’t record anything to CD for something casual (off the radio, a recital, etc). The same goes for DVDs.

    So they did a mock funeral in New York and if you brought a VHS tape you could trade it for a TiVo (as long as sign up for at least a year’s worth of service).

    There are a lot of CD and DVD recorders but they’re just not that for the normal consumer yet. Actually, it might be easier for most people to make DVDs of home videos than CDs of home audio. The software is out there for that and it’s semi-easy to use, the TiVo recorders (and I’m sure the competitors) will do that quite easily.

    Once TiVo and the other DVR companies get out there with more DVD recorders I think it’ll really end it. People will still have those old 8 track tapes, I mean VHS tapes, and need to play them but I can see them not making any more.

    95% of my VHS recording was generally TV shows that I taped over later or lent to friends who missed the show. Now I can just save a copy to DVD for me or them but it’s slightly pricier and I generally don’t get the DVD back or I can save a copy to watch at friends or on my laptop. I’ve been renting movies on DVD for years so that’s not an issue. I’m not even sure what the other 5% was: Duplicating home movies/parties/weddings? Taping friends/me/family on TV? Both of those were pretty rare.

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    Written By: Gary on October 15, 2005 One Comment

    Samantha will tell you all you need to know about Dog Condoms. She’s got a funny cartoon too. (That’s all I’ve got to say about the matter).

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    Written By: Gary on October 15, 2005 No Comment

    So I woke up all motivated and thought, ‘Hey! I’m up early enough to go to church“, and since I haven’t woken up early enough in a long time to go, so I thought I would. And then I realized it’s not Sunday :(

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    Written By: Gary on October 14, 2005 4 Comments

    What are your Top 5, all time favorite movies?

  • Flight of the Navigator: An unknown Disney movie. But one of the best.
  • The American President: Aaron Sorkin before Sport’s Night and before The West Wing.
  • The Cutting Edge: D.B. Sweeney as a hockey player who gets an injury. While it stops him from playing hockey, it doesn’t stop him from skating.
  • Ever After – A Cinderella Story: Drew Barrymore as a Cinderella-ish “character”
  • A Christmas Story: Be careful, or you’ll shoot your eye out!!!

    From Top 5 Friday

  • Written By: Gary on October 14, 2005 2 Comments

    Mailblocks, the best e-mail web service out there is now shutting down. I’m very sad at this, they used CAPTCHAs to make sure you weren’t getting spam and they made e-mail managment more than bearable. Mailblocks gave you extra addresses that you could use for when you didn’t want mail filtered and would check your other accounts for you and emulated the outgoing address that you wanted people to see.

    MailBlocks did it right. Think of them as the iPods of MP3 players, or the TiVo of DVRs, they just went the extra miles. I really can’t figure how I’ll manage my mail as well…

    AOL bought them 6-10 months ago and has done nothing with the service. Now they are canceling all accounts (in 30 days). They want you to use AIM Mail which is free but appears to offer none of the main features of MailBlocks!!! I think they might have used the screen interface and that’s it. Yuck!

    I will be asking for my refund. I guess it’s time to check out SpamArrest (here’s an animated demo). I’ve mentioned it before as an alternative to MailBlocks (when AOL stopped accepting accounts)so now it’s time to do it.

    The one nice thing is AIM does is they offer IMAP with the accounts and they are 2GB accounts. But all of the outgoing messages do have an AIM mail footer. So it’s probably a fine account it’s just not MailBlocks.

    Mailblocks offers a pay service ($25 a year I think) and if it works I don’t understand why they con’t keep offering it… So sad…

    Written By: Gary on October 13, 2005 No Comment

    Apple finally did it! (Even though in the past they said they saw no need for it). You can buy videos on-line and play them on your iPod! Available in white or black.black (they make 60GB or 30GB models). I don’t think I’ve had mine for a year yet and I feel like I need a new one! They’ve got content from ABC, Disney (I think it’s $1.99 for ad free shows and videos) and 2000 music videos.

    The new version of iTunes is 6.0 (they just released 5.0 a few weeks ago). Of course it plays music and podcasts and has photos too! I’m assuming you can buy a video without the iPod (I’m not upgrading to 6.0 until I back up my music) but it’s giving me problems while trying to buy with version 5.0, I’m not sure if it’s me or them (they might be overloaded or it might be the version)… UPDATE: It finally let me try this morning, but it responded with an error “you must have iTunes 6.0 to purchase videos” or something like that.

    They also released a new iMac G5 that’s very media-centric. A built-in firewire camera, a remote control and a navigable menu for movies, music and photos! No recording yet on the iMac, but I’m sure it’s in the next model. That’ll be the hook to get you to buy the Intel models in the future…

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    Written By: Gary on October 13, 2005 One Comment

    Speaking of movie previews. This is (possibly) one from the new Superman Returns movie (June 30, 2006). The artwork for the poster looks very ALex Ross-ish to me. This movie preview may be a fan creation but it does appear to be footage from some sample featurettes that have been shown hare and there (here’s a little more background). Since the music appears to be from the 1970s Superman movies, it made me think it might be a fan creation, but lots of movies use different music for the previews (especially a year in advance).

    Things I noticed: he looks a bit like Christopher Reeves. A few scenes have a very feel from the old ’70s movies. Especially on Lois’s rooftop. Rumor has it Lois is dating Lex and has a baby, my guess is the last few seconds of the movie show the baby has some abilities of Clark’s…

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    Written By: Gary on October 12, 2005 One Comment

    Mirror Mask PosterSo I’ve seen the preview trailer for Neil Gaiman’s Mirror Mask a few times now. It’s very surreal and if you have any idea who Dave McKean is you’ll look at the imagery and immediately think “Hey! That’s what it would look like if Dave McKean did the effects for a Neil Gaiman movie!”

    What Neil writes is generally a bit surreal and with Dave McKean doing the effects I’m sure it’ll be amazing, I’m just not sure how it’ll appeal to the general public. I don’t think this is based on anything Neil Gaiman has previously written. He’s done a variety of books and a short stories and graphic novel/comic books. I just finished his latest book, Anansi Boys yesterday, I’ll talk about that sometime…

    I thought it was supposed to open September 30th, but I haven’t seen any sign of it, I guess I should check back at the MirrorMask Web Site. Okay, I’m back and it is out, very limited release and it’s at the “arts” theatre in Royal Oak! And I just called and they’re playing it through next week so I know I’m going sometime this weekend

    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2005 One Comment

    I knew I had a really long day today: a 2-3 hour meeting, 7 short presentations with travel time in between most of them this was about 12 hours and then I’m on call for the shelter that I volunteer at for another 12 hours (until 8 am). I’ve been having problems sleeping lately, so I went to bed early and took a sleeping pill to ensure some sleep, Ambien is my preference (not much side effect). Now obviously a sleeping pill is going to make you out of it a little, but these don’t do that much or at least if they do, they make you forget. Yeah, that’s the side effect, very short term memory loss. I usually have to read the last few pages of the book I was reading again or something like that. It’s not totally gone, it’s kind of a deja vu when I reread the chapter or think really hard about the events. I’m generally in bed when I take something like this, it’s not like I do it before watching TV or taking a road trip (and I try not to blog or e-mail either). Not a crisis and sometimes interesting results. That was the into, here is the story…

    Today when I woke up I found an empty bowl of ice cream next to the bed; this is rare, I normally wouldn’t have it right before bed, let alone in bed. I really don’t remember getting it (I maybe kinda remember walking back into the room with it) but I guess I was pretty fuzzy when I got it because I put the rest of the back in the fridge and not the freezer. I was pretty sad when I went to go get a bowl of cookie dough ice cream this evening and it wasn’t in the freezer. It was an extra good 1/2 gallon too, lots of chunks of dough :(

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    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2005 No Comment



    I always thought he looked pretty creepy!

    And what’s with the subservient chicken?!? (That’s really what it’s called!)

    Written By: Gary on October 10, 2005 One Comment

    Actually, I love the iTunes store. It’s the lack of packaging that I miss. I don’t have anything tangible to look at while I’m listening. I don’t even have anything intangible to read (like a pdf on the screen). I need to see who sings what, and what the lyrics are, but I can’t.

    While iTMS is generally a pretty good deal, the times when I can go to the store and buy a new album for $7.99 (like Liz Phair last week) with all the extras make me wonder why would I want to buy the new album at the iTunes store for $11.99 without the actual disc and case with liner notes?

    Actually, the ITMS did include an extra song but for $4 more. But at least offer me the extra song for a few dollars/ Sometimes I get albums as gifts and I want the extra track, but I’m not buying another copy…

    It’s also slightly annoying to buy a pre-release of the song for 99 cents and then have to pay for it again when I buy the whole album later (at a B & M store or the ITMS store). Yes, this was true of singles (back in the day) but at least you could give the extra single away (and that was free advertising for the artist). But now all you have is another digital copy of the same track. :(

    Otherwise I think the Apple iTunes Music Store is the best thing since sliced bread! And I’ll never give it up!!!

    Did you know they have 2 or 3 free songs you can download each week?!?

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    Written By: Gary on October 8, 2005 3 Comments

    Michigan trip october 2005So I drove 695.9 miles round trip for my travels up north. I’m a really slow traveler though, I stop every so often to shop/look/snack. The 280 mile trip up there took me about 350 miles and 28 hours to do it. Like I said I really like to take my time. You can see on the map (click to enlarge) my zig-zaggedy path (in red on the map). I went Dearborn to Sterling Heights (stopped to say HI to my Mom at work), to Troy (the Apple Store at the Somerset Collection), to Birch Run (the outlet mall) to a hotel near Cadilliac, then to Frankfort (furt?) to bicycle and shop at Gwen Frostic’s then up to Leeland and visit at Jim & Karen’s in Lake Leelanau for a few days. On the way back I went to Traverse City to bike and eat lunch, Mt. Pleasant to have dinner with Dawn and April, East Lansing for Cookie Dough Ice Cream and then back home. Lot’s of other little stops to shop and eat and we ran around a little while I was up there (that might be another post or two).

    The weather was gorgeous the whole time I was there, I rode most of the trip with the top down on my car and it was an excellent ride. Night time was the only time it was too cool without a jacket, so I stopped driving (that’s when I stopped for the night). It was a great week to take a some days off to relax! Then I was at work for a nice short week of just Thursday and Friday (long days, but they went quick).

    Written By: Gary on October 8, 2005 No Comment

    Happy Birthday! Movable Type blogging software turned four today. As many of you know, I use Movable Type for this blog and I think it’s excellent software. I’ve been using it a few months shy of two years and it’s only gotten better and better. If you’ve considered Movable Type you should check it out (it’s free for personal use, but of course this provides no support to you).

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    Written By: Gary on October 8, 2005 No Comment

    So Serenity came out last week, it’s a sequel to a TV show called Firefly that Fox canceled (The big complaint from the fans is they ran the episodes out of order and actually aired the pilot last). Serenity is the name of the ship (Firefly is the make/model of the ship). So on-line cartoonists have been doing some cartoons:

  • This is an older one but it shows a bit of the fan mentality. Many of the fans love the theme song. The artist is a big fan, he even did desktop images.
  • Joy of tech did one for the opening.
  • This Joy of Tech followup is for the extra geeky

    FOLLOW UP: Turns out the “Nice Guy” guys managed to score a few tickets to the premiere and the VIP party after. See the Oct. 1 entry and the few before that.

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    Written By: Gary on October 4, 2005 One Comment

    So I’m up north, over at a neighbor’s who mentioned I could use their WiFi. Actually I’m in their driveway…

    It’s like night and day with the high speed ‘net access. I’ve only been here ten minutes and I’m happy as a clam (whatever that means).

    These guys are going to be my new best friends the next time I’m up here! ;)

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    Written By: Gary on October 4, 2005 2 Comments

    Last night it was cloudy, but tonight the sky was just beautiful. I keep forgetting to look up and see what that red thing (dot/planet) to the east is maybe 45 degrees up (I’m always a bad guestimator on that stuff, but it wasn’t near the horizon).

    There are so many stars. I know that I can see so many more up north but even at home, there are just so many. Why?

    I know that’s not a first for the question but there’s just so many of them. And they are so far away and apart from each other. That’s not even taking the relativistic effects of the grand distances between them all, that’s just another ball of awe (and thoughts). If we ended up with “us” here, regardless of the source (or the odds) there’s just got to be more life out there. Or at least more of something out there.

    Written By: Gary on October 3, 2005 No Comment

    So, as I said, I’m up north. This means I’m using dial-up and it’s on an older computer. I feel like my brain is going to burst waiting for the web to load these pages for me. (No insult intended to those of you on dial-in)

    Checking my mail is slow enough, but uploading the photos was almost enough to pop something in my brain…..

    I am SO spoiled.

    Plus it’s a Windows ME machine, not my normal laptop that’s for sure…

    Written By: Gary on October 3, 2005 3 Comments

    45thparagreen.thumb.jpgSo I’m on vacation and I passed this sign yesterday. I thought it was interesting enough to snap the photo.

    But then today where we stopped at a park to eat lunch I saw this one on a rock which I thought was even cooler! But you know how I am with words on rocks….

    And yes, I do need to look where exactly I was. It’s NorthWestern Michigan (in the Lower Peninsula) NW of Traverse City.

    Written By: Gary on October 2, 2005 2 Comments

    I noticed last night that no one in my BlogRoll list (lower tight) had been updated lately (for 48 hours they should be bold and italic), it was a very short list. But this morning there wasn’t anyone listed as updated (but at least the list is still there). Any one else having this problem?

    LATER: I know Jennifer chimed in (below) to say she was having the same problem. It seems to be okay now as of Monday, October 3, 2005.

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    Written By: Gary on October 1, 2005 No Comment

    B--Biethon2005So it’s that time of year again, a time to share. The time when bloggers (female and male) reveal more than what’s in their hearts and bare more than their soul. This year they are raising money for breast cancer and Hurricane Katrina victim relief (previously I think it was just the former). Covered bloggers (hands, props, food items, bras, etc.) were free to view, but they still hoped you’d donate. You have to donate $50 to get the password for the uncovered bloggers. They’ve raised over $17,000 dollars the previous years, so please check out the fourth annual Boobie-thon, it runs from October 1st until the 8th.

    This is my first post using the scheduled post function of Movable Type. I’m posting this mid-September but wanted to get the info out at the correct time so a few details may not be perfect. (I’m assuming that it all works the same as last year.)

    FYI, the auto post function didn’t work…

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