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May 2007

Written By: Gary on May 27, 2007 No Comment

So I’ve certainly been catching up on sleep the last few days, I think I’ve had about 23 hours since Friday evening. This is excellent since I really haven’t been sleeping all that well these days. I haven’t gotten much accomplished this weekend but that’s okay…

What I did get accomplished was that I went out to the cemetery where my grandparents and great-grandparents (Mom’s side) are buried today. I usually get out there a few times a year (sprint/fall) just to clean up and edge where the grass is growing over the stones, but it’s been so crazy lately (life and the weather) I’m getting out much later than usual. It’s been raining/drizzling all day but it pretty much stopped when I got out there so that worked out nice.

I need to take Mom with me some time because I always come up with questions about dates, middle initials or something else about family history that I don’t know the answer to…

Written By: Gary on May 21, 2007 3 Comments

They left you hanging with some new story lines but they completed a story, I really applaud them for that. I’m so sick of the never ending (non) stories.

I was pretty happy with Heroes – Season 1, a tale of life, sacrifice, hope and (of course) saving the world. It’s pretty hard to get a good super-hero show to stick on prime-time, so I can deal with the minuses. What I really liked about it was they ended the story and those that did save the world were really heros. I was surprised at all the death the last few episodes, but at least now you don’t have to worry too much about those story-lines…

And how about those previews!!!! Harry Potter, THe Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer and (did you wait until the very end?) the Bionic Woman! And I’m kinda wondering what extras are going to be on the DVD…

So, possible mysteries for the future: (semi-spoliers below, if you haven’t watched it, don’t read them, although they don’t directly give anything away)

  • When Candice was knocked out, what that what she really looked like?

  • Is Molly cured?
  • Who can see Molly when she looks for them?
  • How does Molly’s power work? Does any atlas work? Does the scale matter?
  • What’s Grandma’s power?
  • Who’s going to look after Molly?
  • How screwed up is Claire’s Mom mind (and where is she)?
  • Does Hiro become his own own (self-fulfilling) hero?
  • How long will Hiro’s new story-line last? (Not too long, I think/hope)
  • Will Syler be back? (I hope not, he was the lamest part)
  • What was/is Charles’ power?
  • When Peter was unconscious was he in the past?
  • Will any of the injured people die? (probably not, IMHO)
  • Written By: Gary on May 19, 2007 3 Comments

    I can’t promise long this offer will last, but I personally have done it before. They really gave me the 15,000 points!

    This gets you $110-$150 in free gift cards (Target, Macy’s, Amazon, Best Buy, Circuit City, Home Depot and many more) after applying for a card from CitiBank (and after making one purchase). Really the only way you get $150 is with a few certain stores, but you can mix and match and probably get $125+ pretty easily from the stores above. I got this offer from SlickDeals.net

    Step 1 – Turn off your pop up blockers (or use Internet Explorer)
    Step 2 – Go to this link
    Step 3 – Click on “Apply Now”
    Step 4 – Follow step 5 very carefully.
    Step 5 – Then close the application window, a popup with a new $150 gift card offer will appear. (If you don’t follow these instructions it’s only for $80-$100 in gift cards).

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    Written By: Gary on May 19, 2007 No Comment

    So I’m at McDonald’s and I want my regular order, a number 3 combo (Quarter Ponder, Fries, Soda); so I order a “number 3, no pickle, no mustard” slow and articulated but as usual they have to ask me again what it is that I want. I don’t understand how they don’t get it the first time, it’s a limited selection of items that I can order even if I slur my voice someone should be able to figure it out, it’s not like I ordered an iPod with a side of onion rings. But that’s actually not my complaint today, she did get it correct and processed that part of the order quickly and accurately.

    So they hand me my order, while the QP box has the “no pickle, No mustard” tag on it there is an excessive amount of mustard on the box which lets me know to check before I bite. Sure enough there’s mustard on it (maybe pickle too). So I sent it back. Minutes later I get another one, with pickle and mustard. So I send it back, it’s easily 5 minutes more until I get a correct sandwich. They did give me fresh fries (the first order was better than delicious) and offer me a pie (but they didn’t have apple so I passed). They handed the final order to me in a togo bag, was that a hint?

    How much money (food and staff time) did they waste trying to make this sandwich correctly? We’re not even factoring in my time wasted and the fact that this is the most expensive McDonald’s around here.

    Written By: Gary on May 17, 2007 5 Comments

    Has anyone ever been to Ravinia (in Highland Park, IL) for a concert?

    I see that Indigo Girls and Brandi Carlile are both performing there in June on the same night. Both for only $20!!!

    I’m not sure exactly how to make that happen on a Monday 300 miles from here, but I think I have to, I’m still kicking myself for missing Brandi in Ann Arbor last week and this is the closest location they’ll be at…

    Written By: Gary on May 16, 2007 One Comment

    It’s been extra cRaZy lately:

  • We’re nearing the end of the school year and it just plain gets hectic around then (even though I work year-round).

  • The superintendent just retired, he’s been in the district 44 years(!!!), so there has been work to wrap up and a variety of celebratory events (admin building, district-wide, just administrators, etc.). He sure knew a lot of people, many whom came back for some of the celebrations.
  • I just starting teaching a class at a local university and getting everything started always takes time (even though I’ve done this same class before); plus I’m trying to do more on-line with this group.
  • Life in general has been a little busier lately from Mother’s day to days off and other things.
  • I think I’ve missed at least an extra day a week at work for some meeting and/or conference every week since before Easter and had to take a few vacation days here and there too so it’s been busy for those reasons too.
  • I’ve got a new boss, which is great(!), but it’s stressful figuring out how they want things (what things I should ask about and what things to just do) there’s no problems, it’s just I figured all that out with the old boss and had a good grip on these things.
  • I’ve been having sleep problems too, but I bet that’s partially due to the above and the crazy weather changes affecting my allergies.

    Hmm… Putting them all in a list I realize there are more work related items than life in general, have to think about that…

    I go have good stuff going on, most (all?) of the busy personal stuff has been good, it’s just been making life busier. I haven’t spent as much “fun” time on the computer as usual, certainly not much time blogging lately, but I think things will calm down soon, but we are still getting into the end of the year crunches at work. That’s all for now, just a life in general update, not too exciting but you know I’m alive…

  • Written By: Gary on May 14, 2007 One Comment

    Year of Meteors Laura VeirsSo I did a quick photo blog from the concert the other day but I’ve been so busy I never said anything else (actually I’ve barely said anything lately). Laura Veirs was excellent! The Magic Stick is such a great small venue, $12 at the door and you can get closer than if you had front row seats at a larger venue. The group talked to us and even asked for some requests. Then they explained their goofy outfits which I’m not even going to try to explain, I’ll look and see if anyone has any good photos somewhere on-line.

    I’m always so happy with the smaller venues, I’ve got to pay more attention to people coming to town to see some people I would haven’t normally gone to see. And it’s really nice when they hang around and autograph their CDs! I bought two and got them both signed…

    “Lake” opened for them and they were pretty good but it just wasn’t the sound that draws me in too much. Kelly Jean Caldwell was a local opener (I’m pretty sure she’s local) for them that I heard was excellent but I showed up late (my niece, Courtney Robb, was playing at a club down the street so I went to see her first) so I’ll have to keep my eye open for her to come back.

    Written By: Gary on May 9, 2007 2 Comments



    Laura Veirs

    Originally uploaded by garylapointe.

    Laura Veirs at an excellent intimate show in Detroit at the Majic Stick. If you’re a fan and you didn’t come, you really missed out…

    Written By: Gary on May 9, 2007 No Comment

    Spider-Man 3 Peter DavidSo I had day off and it was raining so I finally took the time to go see Spider-Man 3. I really enjoyed it! Lots of differences between the movie and comics but these days with alternate universes and different story-lines (such as Spidey having a secret identity in one series and not in another) there are lots of differences from comic to comic too.

    Lots of action and effects; all the sand and the black suit moved around really cool. Unfortunately, sometimes the action was moving so fast it was hard to see what was happening. Gwen Stacy was in this story which was interesting since the ‘falling off the bridge’ sequence from the first movie was originally taken from the comics with Gwen being the fallen. Toby (Peter) just played such a nerd, I don’t remember him being such a dork in the earlier movies.

    What I don’t like about super-hero movies is they make the plots too busy; why have one villain when you can have three? They spend too much time setting things up and then the other half of the movie breaking them down. Not enough time spent with Gwen, Venom and Sandman. And who’s the dorky cute girl across the hall? Does she eventually become a hero or villian?

    While I haven’t read it (yet) the novelization is by Peter David. Peter has written everything (books and comics) from The Hulk to Star Trek to the Little Mermaid so it’s certainly worth checking out.

    Written By: Gary on May 9, 2007 No Comment

    I thought this was funny. I usually ignore these but I clicked this one…

    It was titled Funny Father Daughter Dance “A Wonderful White Wedding”. It takes a minute to get to the good part but it’s definitely different for a wedding.

    On a (completely unrelated) side note Wedding Crashers is a kinda funny candid camera show on Monday Nights. You need to fast forward through the talking parts but the practical jokes are pretty good. If you’ve only seen it this week, try it again this weeks episode was kinda weak…

    Written By: Gary on May 6, 2007 2 Comments

    Skype logoOn Mother’s Day (May 13) you can make unlimited free Calls (from US/Canada Skype) to anywhere in the world!!! Check out the Skype page for more details. Actually, it’s not really unlimited it’s only 200 minutes free, but that’s still a pretty good deal.

    Post edited to not incorrectly refer to “today” as Mother’s Day…

    Offer valid from May 13th 2007, 5:00 am (Eastern Time GMT-5.00) to May 14th 2007 4:59 am (Eastern Time GMT-5.00)

    Written By: Gary on May 6, 2007 No Comment

    So I was in Chicago the other week and while I was there I went to see Wicked. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the story of the Wicked Witch of the West (from The Wizard of Oz) and how her story went before she met Dorothy and company. You find out why she’s green, why the monkeys have wings, why the wizard really decided to go back to kansas with the gang and lots more. The music is good (some songs are really great) the story is excellent, it’s neat how they make the different pieces fall into place. It was kind of like watching a time travel movie and you could see what was going on the past that made the future turn out to be the way that you know it to be. I started the book but couldn’t get through it, the musical was much much better.

    Got really good seats for the matinee on a Sunday, ninth row in the center so you could really see everything. They put a lot of work and details into everything so that really made it enjoyable. I never new the munchkins could dance so well (or they were so sexy cute).

    Like I said, it was really enjoyable so if you think you’d like something like that you probably will. I wish I had watched the Wizard of Oz again to fill in the blanks, I know I was wondering about a few things in the movie while watching the musical so you might to watch the movie again before you see it just to refresh your memory a little bit. Lots of fun!

    Written By: Gary on May 5, 2007 No Comment

    Today is Free Comic Book Day so head on up to your local participating store and get some free comics.

    Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotional effort by the North American comic book industry to help bring new readers into independent comic book store.
    From Wikipedia

    My local store is Green Brain in Dearborm (MI) and they’ve always got lots of freebies and this year they have guest Scott McCloud signing autographs.

    It’s all sorts of comics, don’t just think Archie and Spiderman, scroll down the Green Brain page to see everything they have going on (and how to get more free comics) so stop by and get a few…

    I’m on my way right now…

    Written By: Gary on May 2, 2007 2 Comments

    So I’ve gotten more than a few people hitting my site from search engines from the word “Comcast” and since I just adjusted my plan (again) I thought I’d mention my current Comcast plans and maybe save y’all a few bucks. First I’ll mention that I try to pay attention to recurring costs and utilities especially paying attention to my cable / internet bills since they are more of a luxury that heat or electricity.

    If you don’t care about (possibly) saving money, don’t read the rest of this…Cable TV – I generally just get econo-basic, it’s generally available on most cable systems (I think many cities/townships require a cheap plan in the contract), it’s just generally the first 20-30 channels on the cable system, it’s on $12 (on my system) and usually doesn’t require a cable box (on most systems). I don’t want many more channels than that so it suites me fine. I think the next package up these days is $29.99 so that’s a big jump if I don’t want all those channels anyways. Here’s the thing if you want internet, the prices there quote for internet are $15 more if you don’t have cable so it’s really $3 cheaper to have cable TV with your cable internet.

    Remember, just because one sales person doesn’t know about a service doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If someone can’t help you, call back later and check with them.

    HD TV – So on top of the econo-basic I pay $7 a month for an HD box (it just jumped up from $5), this gets me most of the major networks and a few more channels in HD. Please note, I do not have a HD TV, so I don’t get the full benefit, but it does look like it’s DVD quality (it’s definitely better than digital cable).

    Cable Internet – Every 6 to 12 months I call and complain about the rates ($43 a month 6,000 down/384 up). I mention other offers (competing companies and DSL) and they usually drop my bill about $5-$15 a month for the next 6-12 months. Last time I called they offered me the deluxe service for $30 a month and this was 8,000 down/768 up so I took the offer. It’s normally $53 a month but it was a promotion and this expired this week so I canceled it. I do notice it’s a little slower (I actually think it’s the slower up speed that I’m noticing) but I’m debating if it’s worth $120 a year for the faster speed…

    And don’t forget you can buy your own cable modem and save $3-$5 a month. If signing up for new service (via Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, etc.) you can generally get these for free after rebate so it’s really worth doing…

    Here’s the thing when I called yesterday to change the plan they said they didn’t have any other packages (besides these 6,000 and 8,000) but I just checked my bill to verify these costs for this post and I seen they have a 4,000 (4 meg) plan (the bill was clarifying the names of the new plans starting May 1). FYI, they usually offer a $25 service too that’s 384 down (I think it’s 384 up), that’s not too fast but it’s better than dial-up (and it’s always on).

    UPDATE: Tonight, no one seemed to think the 384 down service still exists, which is very funny since they just renamed it to “Economy”. So I’ve had two people tell me the Performance Lite at 4,000 (4 Meg) is $25 ($24.95 actually) in my area so I switched to it (that would really be some savings from $43 a month). But when they switched me I’m just getting 384 up and down, I’ve had this happen before when they’ve offered plans to me. So, it turns out that he thought that it’s an either the Economy (384 down) or the Performance Lite (4,000 down); both are $25 a month, I will be calling back in a few weeks to double-check that is really the case. But they did give me $5 off a month for the next 12 months for the time it took (about 50 minutes) so that’s something; I’d rather have had 4,000 down for $25 a month…

    So the end result of tonight’s call is that 4,000 down for $24.95 (performance lite from Comcast) is not an option in my area but it might be in yours (or a similar plan from your company). Just test it while you’re on the phone to make sure it’s really that fast before you hang up…

    Written By: Gary on May 2, 2007 No Comment

    So there is a new 26 Things Photographic Scavenger Hunt for May 2007, they only do this every few months so I’m glad to catch it in advance.

    It’s a photo meme-like thing where they list 26 things and you need to take/post photos related to the topics. It’s way open to interpretation and I like the idea of it so take a look and take some photos…

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