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October 2006

Written By: Gary on October 29, 2006 No Comment

So I go into church this morning (the extra hour sleep helped!) and sit in my usual area, this is generally on the left since when my neck hurts it’s hard to look to the left so looking to the right is fine, so out of habit I’ve learned to sit on the left (it was fine today).

After I sat down I realized it was nice and bright with the sun shining in the window on the right side so I moved over to the other side so I was in the light. Then as other people sat down they didn’t like the light so they closed the shutters. Now they didn’t even need to move to the left side of the church, they just needed to go up or back a row since the windows were limited. Fortunately, of the half dozen windows, the only one that did not get closed was the one I was by (did I tell you I have mind powers lately?).

But I’ve seen similar behavior in this same church before. On a hot day they had some fans set up (you know, the ones that are atop a pole) and people would sit in front of the fans and then it would be too cool or windy or something for them and they would turn the fans off instead off moving! Thus interrupting the air flow to the rest of us…

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Written By: Gary on October 29, 2006 No Comment


Get a free Schick Quattro Razor. Very little information required (address / birth date) and you have to watch a very quick (interesting) slideshow before you hit submit. Watch the slideshow, it’s customized for you (it’s mildly entertaining).

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Written By: Gary on October 28, 2006 No Comment

Unfortunately the Detroit Tigers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals tonight. Well, unfortunate for Detroit, the St. Louis Fans are probably pretty happy. It’s gotta feel great to win when you’re in your hometown. So that’s a bonus for the fans down there.

I was a little more in the spirit for this (even though I’m not a sports person), changed the blog look and even watched a few innings last night…

Written By: Gary on October 27, 2006 One Comment

So I know I’ve mentioned Adam Curry a few times. I really enjoy his show The Daily Source Code. They’ve got a number where you can leave comments and I’ve put the phone number in my phone a while back. I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment until this week (and I think I’ve left three).

Today I was listening and about 8 minutes in his was finishing this story about him flying a plane today (he flew solo from Belguim to England). At the end of the story I was wondering if everything in aviation was in feet (or maybe meters), his story used feet and he lives in England (although they use miles) but it seemed like there would be an international standard. So I called and left a voice mail as I hung up I thought, “Whenever I have something to say, I’m going to leave an message until he plays one of my comments”. So then I resumed playing the show and not 90 seconds later I hear my voice!!!! It was the comment I had left on Tuesday!!!

It was a really long comment and I’m pretty sure he played the whole thing. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention my blog address in the message, that would have probably picked up some traffic here. But then that’s not why I left the comment but extra traffic is always nice. I’ve been pretty geeked about being on the show all evening…

Here’s a link to the specific episode (and straight to the mp3), I’m about nine minutes in, shortly after the plane flying story at the beginning.

FYI, I got my flu shot but forgot mention that also. Duh!

I’ve been listening more often now that I’ve got my Treo. I’ve got a decent way to to get the podcasts on my Treo, and I can play those through the stereo on my car. It’s actually a notch harder than putting it on my iPod but my iPod doesn’t come into the house every night, the Treo does. Generally if I’ve got my PowerBook I’ve got the Treo with me, so I can do it easily at anytime.

So here’s my question:
Doesn’t the flu vaccine vary based on your location (they mix a different flu cocktail). I swear I’ve heard this before (and while it never made sense to me) I pretty sure it was more than once. I was certain of this when I left the comment but I can’t find anything to back it up. But searching for “flu vaccine” and “location” just tells me where I can get one…

Written By: Gary on October 25, 2006 No Comment

rain delayAs we all know, I’m not a huge fan of sports, normally I’d be hard pressed to know who’s in the World Series. But being from the Detroit area I was curious as to how they were doing tonight. Unfortunately they’ve got rain, much too much rain to play so the game has been delayed. I’m not sure if they might still play tonight or not. Very sad for the sports geeks who had their whole night planned out…

I know how I feel when Apple has a press conference and Steve Jobs doesn’t announce the product I was expecting…

You can tell I’m not into sports that much when I’m wondering how “they are doing” and not how “we are doing”.

Written By: Gary on October 23, 2006 No Comment

So I’ve definitely fallen behind in my 101 in 1001 list (23% of my tasks done and used 32% of my time.). I’ve got more than a few things lined up in the next few months.

  • I’m having the family Christmas at my house this year. This covers two items: 1) Having the Family Christmas and 2) Have the extended family over once a year.
  • If I go to Costa Rica this winter I cover several items: 1) Going back to Costa Rica, 2) A warm winter vacation, 3) Possibly deciding if I want to move there some day.
  • I could also succeed in doing one (or two) more Christmas related items: 1) Greenfield Village or 2) The Hines Drive lights tour.

    So I could start to catch up soon. It’s likely I’ll get five items just from the above list (maybe 7). I’ll likely get more done, but these are very likely to happen by January…

    Can you tell I’m feeling a little behind on the list. I’m not sure why, the purpose is to give more time to do these things. And if you consider most people don’t complete any of their New Year’s resolutions I’ve already got 23% of my list done…

  • Written By: Gary on October 22, 2006 No Comment

    I know I’ve mentioned Audra Kubat before. Every other Sunday Audra and Blair have been playing at the Buzz bar in Detroit doing a thing they call the Bittersweet Cafe.

    It’s pretty quiet this week with the World Series on, pretty much I was the first person here for the music. But since there really isn’t anyone else here she was working on this extended tune up / warm up and it was really nice to listen to and watch as a few other people have walked in. Nice and easy and casual and relaxing.

    So they do this show every few weeks and have a different guest play in the middle every time. They then “pass the hat” and chip in money for the guest and all the money collected goes to the guest (there is no cover to get in).

    (A FEW MINUTES LATER: What’s funny is she just stopped and said how much she likes to have time to play before she actually has to play.)

    Written By: Gary on October 22, 2006 2 Comments

    So I think I’ve removed the side widget that was causing popups. I haven’t gotten many complaints (I think since even the most basic blockers stop it, I’ve never even noticed it with Safari) but it annoyed me that it was there. I don’t think that web link exchange widget (link2blogs.com) was generating much traffic anyways.

    If anyone is still getting me popups, please let me know.

    Written By: Gary on October 22, 2006 2 Comments

    So I’ve seen web sites where they tell you how popular your first or last name is. This is the first on that I’ve seen that tells you how unique your full name is.

    How Many Of Me.com
    howmanyofme.com There are:
    people with my name
    in the U.S.A.

    How many have your name?

    What I don’t like about this is it sticks with the number I’m given today. If their list changes it doesn’t make another calculation query to the list. But how many more can there be like me?!?

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    Written By: Gary on October 22, 2006 One Comment

    VisitormapsampleSo I found a new visitor map widget for my site. This one uses the Google Maps for viewing and exploring. It shows where it thinks you are and if you click it, it shows all the recent visitors. I always like to know where people come from (and maps, I like maps). How close does it show you to where you think you are?!?

    It seems like it just counts each visitor (or IP?) once, so that’s good, it takes about a half day to update the chart but I think your location is always correct.

    The image in this post is “static”. To see the “live” image look in the footer of any page.

    I got this from here. It’s set up as a myspace tool but it looks like it’ll work fine if you just copy the image and the link.

    I originally didn’t think this was working but I guess it just took a few hours to kick in (I had actually removed the post and had to repost it).

    Written By: Gary on October 21, 2006 2 Comments

    The Detroit Tigers made it to the World Series!!!! It’s totally weird that no one knew who it was that we were going to play until less than two days ago. Game one is tonight.

    All I really remember about the last time we made it (in ’84) was watching the news as the fans went nuts (they flipped/burned some cars and other stuff) and the newscasters were talking all very excitedly about the celebration. And I’m thinking that “this isn’t good” and then the national news came on and used the same footage with “Riots” in all the captions and descriptions that they used…

    Written By: Gary on October 19, 2006 No Comment

    I’m sure they thought it would look cool to film their buddy doing this…

    Posted by Jon

    I hope they don’t show the video to the insurance company…

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    Written By: Gary on October 17, 2006 3 Comments

    A new season and it’s still a great show! I’m getting used to the new theme song (actually same lyrics but a different band or mix).

    "Now maybe other people would say they’d never install a tracking device in their significant other’s car. But I think that’s just because they don’t know how."

    — Veronica Mars

    I just love Veronica Mars!

    Written By: Gary on October 15, 2006 One Comment

    So this Tuesday the U.S. Population is supposed to hit 300 Million people. I was looking for some kind of cool counter to put on my page (even just a graphic that changes with each page load). Not having any luck, but I know I’ve seen one before. Here’s the current numbers, looks like only 10,500 to go…

    FYI, if we round the world’s population to Six Billion (6,000,000,000) that means we’re only 1/20th of the world’s population. That’s not very much considering how big we think of ourselves in a global way.

    Remember a few years back I talked about your ecological footprint and how much of the world’s resources you use. I thought I’d bring it up with the 1/20th number in mind and let you take the ecological footprint survey again.

    I found a crappy JavaScript/CSS one but it just looked like it’d eventually become problematic sticking it in the post. Can anyone help me find one? I can find pages with the info (like this) but I wanted to embed it in my page.

    Written By: Gary on October 15, 2006 No Comment

    So a few weeks ago I mentioned we were trying to get a domain name for Melissa. Well we finally settled on YourMelissa.com as the address. Once we got her set up on-line she then immediately titled the site “A Musing Melissa”! Where the hell was that idea when we were picking out a name?!?

    So she’s been talking about life, her kids, being single and figuring out who she is as her kids become adults and she gets used to handling life on her own. She’s been posting and I keep forgetting to send some traffic her way. So go on over to A Musing Melissa and say hello. I’m sure she’d love to get some comments and find some other blogs to read.

    I think I’ve got her all set up to handle gravatars so if you’ve got one she’ll think that’s especially cool to see your icons, which then might motivate her to post comments on other sites (I think she’s just been lurking so far) she still thinks of this as a “parallel universe”.

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    Written By: Gary on October 15, 2006 No Comment

    Virtual pumpkinOkay so it’s time for Halloween and it’s time to carve the virtual pumpkin! It’s pretty easy to do, just make sure when you are cutting a shape you end where you started. The one on the right is the one I made and I liked it until I had to shrink it (then the misshapen eye just got too small).

    So saddle up the kids and let them each pick out their own virtual pumpkin!

    Written By: Gary on October 14, 2006 No Comment

    Freewifi1006So I took a survey and they gave me this code from the results of a survey, but it appears gave the same code to everyone (and it doesn’t require any registration). So really, it’s just free WiFi for me and I’m showing you my coupon (I’m not recommending you actually use it).

    Locations include (but not limited to) Avis, Barnes & Noble, Caribou Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The UPS Store and a lot of airports. Check the web site for more locations. The original (much larger) coupon says it does not include their McDonald’s locations (but I haven’t tried yet).

    I’m at B & N and there is a flyer that says you can get WiFi for as low as $1.99 if you are a Yahoo DSL subscriber, but I couldn’t find any info at their site related to that but I did find this. Seems like a great deal if you have them as your service provider!

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    Written By: Gary on October 13, 2006 No Comment

    So I thought it was going to happen when prices were dropping a few weeks ago but it didn’t happen. Today when I was driving I saw it or $2.05 but it was really windy and I was kind of in a hurry. But later, I had just pulled into the house and the cell rang and Kelly said, “It’s a $1.99 over by your house”. I was really surprised since I had just drove by the station she mentioned and didn’t notice any thing. So I hopped back into the car and saw the slightly closer gas station was also $1.99, they was a little bit busy but I got a pump right away!

    By the way the stations in question are in Dearborn (Michigan) at Schaefer + Maple (just south of Michigan) and another at Schlaff + Michigan (just west of Schaefer).

    In the last two months, gas has dropped about one dollar in our area (and most of that was in the range from 9 weeks to 3 weeks ago) it’s only just started dropping again the last few weeks.

    I know I talk about gasoline prices a bit but it’s one of those recurring costs that you notice. Electric and natural gas, you know when the bill is high but you don’t really know what you’re paying “per gallon”. Plus I get excited when I get a deal :)

    Written By: Gary on October 12, 2006 No Comment

    GooglemapstreoSo they finally released Google Maps for Treo so I can run it on my SPrint Treo 700p. With this application I can pull up Google Maps from an application, not just via the web! This means I can zoom, get directions, see satellite views, get very cool driving directions, find local businesses, see traffic patterns (this is a little hard to decipher) all while dragging the map around with my stylus. Very cool!

    It’s been out for some other handhelds but it never ran on mine. It’s pretty zippy with the Sprint EVDO speed. It’s pretty big, it weighs in at 423k. It seems to do a good job caching the maps, I wonder how it runs on the slower models and slower networks…

    You can down load it directly to your Palm (and other handhelds) from http://www.google.com/gmm

    It’s missing two features:

  • The ability to look an address up from your address book.
  • The ability to add a local business that you find to your address book.
  • It’d be nice if I could look up the longitude and latitude for an address/location. (Just because)

    From the Google Blog.

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    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2006 No Comment

    Lifestraw-2Over 6,000 people die a day (most of them children) from water releated illnesses. These folks have created The LifeStraw, a straw about the size of a small clarinet that can be worn about the neck and weighs about 0.095 Kg (3.3 ounces). It’ll filter 2 liters (half gallon) a day for about a year! And they only cost about $3 each.

    Over a billion people in the world don’t have safe drinking water! (Drinking salt water will reduce the life expectancy in half).

    More info (from the FAQ):

  • LifeStraw® filters bacteria such as Shigella, Salmonella, Enterrococus, Staphylococcus Aureus and E .Coli.
  • First time users may find it difficult to start sucking. This is because a natural brake on the flow of water has been put into the LifeStraw®, as a controlled flow between 100 ml to 150 ml per minute is needed to get the maximum benefit of the bacteria killing effect.
  • It is expected that continuously drinking saline water through the LifeStraw® would reduce effective life to 350 litres.

    I spotted this on the New York Times video feed I get on my TiVo.

  • Written By: Gary on October 11, 2006 No Comment

    I think there’s a Woot Off tonight! “What’s Woot?” you ask? Woot is a deal site that offers one (1) deal a day starting at 1 am EST. Sometimes they last until morning, sometimes they only last a few minutes. Some items are new, some are OEM, some are refurbished. Shipping is $5 whether you buy one item or three.

    A Woot Off is a special day where ones a Woot is sold out, they put another one up a few minutes later. Some items they have very limited amounts so the item doesn’t last very long. And you don’t know how long the sales are going to last (depends on how things sell). Be sure to to check it out…

    FYI – The item everyone wants is the ever elusive BOC (Bag Of Crap) which is a random grab bag of stuff (for a dollar or so). Since shipping is $5 no matter if you buy 1 or 3, get three.

    I’ve never been able to get one of these yet :(

    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2006 No Comment

    So it’s been a while since I’ve been to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency’s (they make up funny lists). So here’s a few good ones:

  • Ikea Product or Lord of the Rings Character?
  • Some of Dan Brown’s Works in Progress.
  • HAL’s Comments While Trapped on a Desert Island, and Your Name Is Dave.
  • Failed NASA Space Programs.

    I’ve pointed out some McSweeney’s highlights in the past…

  • Written By: Gary on October 9, 2006 No Comment

    The TV industry needs to catch up with reality and the Internet (the ‘net is real). They’ve tried a few things like elling shows on iTunes (for $1.99 an episode!) and other sites and free downloads at their websites (really it’s sitting at your computer and watching).

    Here’s the thing, people (not me) can download it faster and cheaper from the ‘net. Oh yeah, it’s higher quality and there isn’t any ads (but illegal). Over at MiniNova they list an approximation of downloaders (there are dozens of sites like this, some are private). Here’s some numbers (and info):

  • 15,000 people are grabbing last nights “Desperate Housewives”. And let’s be clear that’s this particular copy, there are probably dozen’s of others (some ultra high-def and some iPod versions).
  • 5,000 are grabbing “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” which for some reason showed up around dinnertime instead of after the 10 PM (EST) showing.
  • This isn’t counting the people who are going on and off line (“leechers” who take and disconnect without “seeding”). I’m not going to get into a technical discussion on this, but it’s not that hard to set up something to grab your shows automatically every night (and it’s getting easier every day).

    If they supplied these shows with ads they could control what the people are seeing, many people will fast forward but at least the ads are in it. Currently people are using BitTorrent technology and supplying the bandwidth for them. Heck, if the cable companies would provide a seed, it wouldn’t even use up much internet bandwidth (which would be a complaint they’d make), they could get a cut of the money or insert in their own ads!

    I’d rather pay for a higher quality version directly from the studio networks than have to download it illegally. Think about it, what people pay for cable, for channels. I personally would pay (for no ads of course) $15 a year directly to the SciFi channel for shows (I’d probably do the same for USA). That’s got to be way more than the cable company is giving them for me. Maybe a sliding scale makes more sense $5 for one show (for a season) $10 for 3?

    But let’s pretend they give it to me for free with ads. They make a dozen different versions of the show laced with ads. One for sports fans, one for geeks, one for teenagers, etc. I might actually watch the ads! Imagine that, ads targeted for me! Do you think they could charge more for that? A box like the TiVo should just be pulling these down and storing them and pushing them down to whatever device you want to watch them on.

    When this many people are stealing shows that are on broadcast network television there is something wrong with the way the system is set up. They (the networks) are totally missing the ball on this.

  • Written By: Gary on October 6, 2006 No Comment

    I’ve been reading that A Brief History of Time has been made available in the public domain. Here is someone who converted it to several formats (web page, Palm reader, Microsoft reader, Acrobat), not all formats have images.

    Found here at Palm 24/7.

    Written By: Gary on October 6, 2006 2 Comments

    They’re gone!! They lasted about 32 hours on and off (mostly on), I’ve never had anything like that happen before (maybe an hour). Thank you for all of the suggestions, unfortunately not a single cure worked. My solution that always usually works is to get a full glass of water, put your mouth on the far side of the glass and drink from the far side of the rim; this has generally been my fail safe cure all but not this time…

    I really thought I was going to go to some 24 hour clinic last night, it was that bad (some weird burping got mixed into it too). I finally took a variety of stomach medicines (Zantac and Tums) and I really think the Gatorade helped. I was still hiccuping when I went to sleep but I’ve been fine so far this morning. Fortunately they were gone by the time I read Dave’s suggestion from Boing Boing from yesterday’s post (I’m not sure if I was that desperate).

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    Written By: Gary on October 5, 2006 No Comment

     Images PrplribcrpEvery October is Domestic Violence month. That’s why you’re seeing the purple ribbons this month. They say one in four of us are affected some way by it. Every 15 seconds a woman is battered (it’ll probably take you twice that time to read this blog post). October is kind of an everything month (there are only 12 months to share) and breast cancer seems to get a lot of the attention and sometimes DV gets overlooked. (Related news.)

    FirststepFirst Step is a local shelter in Wayne County. Over 14,000 crisis calls, 7,000 nights of shelter and 20,000 hours of counseling are provided almost every year. I’ve volunteered with them, generally I’d be on call a few times a month and get called to hospitals (police stations, etc.) and talk to people and their families after they’ve been assaulted, I’ve also done stuff with the kids (but not much lately) such as day care, field trips, etc. I’ve been neglecting it lately and need to get back over there (but I’m still wearing my ribbon).

    They are always having fund raising events so keep your eyes out for those, it’s a way to donate and have fun at the same time (sometimes it’s a movie night with auctions, shopping at Parisian [you get a discount and they get a cut]). Shelters are always looking for donations, please don’t just think of them around the holidays, they need donations all year round. They always need volunteers to help.

    Written By: Gary on October 5, 2006 10 Comments

    So I’ve had hiccups for almost 24 hours and I’ve tried all sorts of suggestions. None have helped. They’ve stopped occasionally, but not at any of the times I tried any home remedies…

    Starting and stopping seems to be completely random. Any thoughts???

    Things I’ve tried:

  • Drinking from the far side of the glass (this one always works).
  • Exhaling and drinking the water before inhaling.
  • Drinking a big glass though a few hiccups.
  • A big spoonful of sugar.
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    Written By: Gary on October 1, 2006 No Comment

    So Weird Al has a new video for his song called White And Nerdy from his new album Straight Outta Lynwood. If you’re into science, computers and other dorky stuff, I hope you can laugh at yourself when you watch this one

    Written By: Gary on October 1, 2006 No Comment

    Remember when coupons in the newspaper used to be perforated so it was easier to get them off of the page?

    I’m at BK grabbing a bite (the WiFi is down again) and clipping (tearing) a few coupons since I’m on my way to Farmer Jack’s to get some desperately needed groceries and it’s just not going as smooth as could be. Maybe this is why I haven’t been doing coupons so much lately, although the poor selection might have something to do with it.

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