Gary Said... http://GarySaid.com The Blog of Gary LaPointe Wed, 10 Jun 2015 03:49:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Doctor Who’s “Missy” is at Two Streams medical Facility?!? http://GarySaid.com/doctor-who-missy-two-streams-amy-pond-the-girl-who-waited/ http://GarySaid.com/doctor-who-missy-two-streams-amy-pond-the-girl-who-waited/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 02:39:29 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8384 This can’t be a coincidence can it?!? “Heaven” is the same place as part of “Two Streams” medical facility?!? “Missy” seems to be collecting people that died because of (or for) The Doctor, but why?

The second question is why here? This is clearly the same place and it’s not like they tried to [...]

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This can’t be a coincidence can it?!? “Heaven” is the same place as part of “Two Streams” medical facility?!? “Missy” seems to be collecting people that died because of (or for) The Doctor, but why?

The second question is why here? This is clearly the same place and it’s not like they tried to disguise it (other than lots of flowers). How weird is that? This is the Two Streams health care facility where Amy Pond was stuck for 30+ years back in season 6 in episode 10 (The Girl Who Waited) and now they’re using it for Missy’s “Heaven”. It could a coincidence and they just thought no one would notice…

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Missy’s “Heaven” from the first episode this season (s08e01)

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Two Streams medical facility with Amy Pond “The Girl Who Waited” (s06e10).

This can’t be a coincidence can it? “Heaven” is the same place as part of “Two Streams” medical facility?!? It’s pretty much the same camera angle (if I dug around more, I could probably find one even closer).

To be clear (just for the DW geeks): this is the time stream where older Amy shouldn’t exist any more (the place itself should still exist) but this image is probably from before younger (normal age) Amy was rescued, we assume the older Amy disappeared when the younger was rescued (re-writing time) but we don’t know for certain; she was captured and if the time being rewritten didn’t erase her then it’s likely she would have been killed with “kindness” (but could have been saved last minute). I’m not saying this has anything to do with Amy (it’s more likely an evil alternate version of Clara!), it’d be a stretch that this could be her evil child that somehow grew up in the facility; not likely, as this was post Melody being born and she couldn’t have more kids, but she was in a medical facility…

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The Flash is on the CW this fall http://GarySaid.com/the-flash-tv-series/ http://GarySaid.com/the-flash-tv-series/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:49:40 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8376 So The Flash is coming to television this fall on The CW. The effects look great and I like the guy who plays him but I think I’m going to dislike the show…

Why do I think I won’t like it? Because of the [...]

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So The Flash is coming to television this fall on The CW. The effects look great and I like the guy who plays him but I think I’m going to dislike the show…

flashposter.jpeg

Why do I think I won’t like it? Because of the same reason I didn’t like (but watched anyways) Smallville. The Flash got his powers because of an explosion at S.T.A.R. labs and I think that’s where we’re going to have all the villains powers come from, forget that these villains already have an origin story, they got them from the explosion. In Smallville, it seemed like most of the villains (or misunderstoods) got their powers from “meteor rock” (Kryptonite) and that got to be annoying to me, but the show lasted many seasons (I didn’t watch all the seasons, I wavered for a while) so maybe that won’t be a problem. It’s not like they need to dumb it down for people, shows like Lost are way more complicated than characters’ origin stories (which aren’t even necessary) and people watched that for more than a few seasons.

On the other hand, this was the premise in Misfits (awesome TV series from the UK) and it never bothered me; the main characters got their powers from the storm and most of the shenanigans/villains that they got involved with were tied to the storm, but those characters didn’t have an already established backstory and with only six episodes per season, they didn’t have much time to establish anything necessary for continuity. Although, it’d be a stretch to say most the “good guys” in Misfits were “heroes”, “not villains” would be a more accurate description.

Regardless, I’ll watch this for more than a few episodes, I like the characters and it’ll be compelling watching TV based on what I loved as a kid!

FYI, The Flash will be on Tuesdays on the CW starting on October 7th, 2014.

Update:
I forgot to mention I liked all the detail in the poster (it’s actually what made me blog this in the first place). Check out all the buildings: On the right is Queen Consolidated (Green Arrow) Star Labs (important in DC universe and The Flash getting his powers + Big Belly Burger (in DC comics [maybe on TV too?]) and on the left is Amertek (Steel from comics worked there) + Kord Industries/Enterprises (Blue Beetle’s company).

I can’t figure out the logo on the tall building on the large building (slightly bigger than Queen Con.) in the back/left and it looks like it says “Star” but we have one of those already, I heard William Sadler will be playing Simon Stagg on this series so maybe it’s a Stagg building (it does look like 5-ish letters)? Anyone know what the Stagg logo looks like?

Also, the graffiti on the sidewalk says “Grodd Lives” (front right by the fire hydrant).

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Baggage fees http://GarySaid.com/baggage-fees-make-me-crazy/ http://GarySaid.com/baggage-fees-make-me-crazy/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 03:53:14 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8357 So I’m checking out flight prices for a trip, baggage fees are always interesting. The flights that I’m looking at allow me to take two 70 pound bags down for free, but only allow me to bring on 50 pounds back for free.

That’s a different carrier on the way back, but it’s all booked [...]

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So I’m checking out flight prices for a trip, baggage fees are always interesting. The flights that I’m looking at allow me to take two 70 pound bags down for free, but only allow me to bring on 50 pounds back for free.

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That’s a different carrier on the way back, but it’s all booked through the same airline. Even if I pay $40 for the second bag, I can still only bring back 100 pounds in my two bags.

I would never need more than 100 pounds, I’m just saying. Maxing out a pound bag on the way down is pretty easy for me, so I might need two on the way back since I only get 50 pounds for the first bag. But booking it that way looks like it’ll save me just over $100 so paying for the second bag certainly works out.

The airlines I was looking at weren’t too bad for luggage costs, but when you look at some airlines (Spirit) they give you no bags, how can you possibly go to another country for two weeks and not take any bags?!?

International flights used to always give me two bags (at least on the airlines I flew) so if I happened to go over the weight of the first bag I’d take a second smaller bag that actually fit in the first bag. I’d separate them to fly, but then combine them at the destination and I’d only roll around one bag. These days I’m taking a lot less books on a trip since I just take my Kindle with me although I still take one paperback to read during takeoff since they don’t like you to have electronics on; I know that rule is changing, but if I don’t know in advance for sure, I still have to be prepared…

Later: The more I think about it, 70 pounds seems to be a lot. Maybe 50 pounds is what used to be normal and I’m actually getting just getting extra in both bags on the way down?

More later: It turns out the two 70 pound bags on the way down were due to those seats being first/business class. I was shopping with points and didn’t really notice that it was that much of point difference.

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Saving money on gasoline http://GarySaid.com/saving-money-on-gasoline/ http://GarySaid.com/saving-money-on-gasoline/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 04:55:00 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8354 So I’m pretty excited about the gas prices! I got it for $2.99 a gallon today!!! The funny thing is that gas only dropped a nickel in price, but it dropped under that $3.00 price that makes it seem so special. I probably only saved 50 cents on the ten gallons that [...]

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So I’m pretty excited about the gas prices! I got it for $2.99 a gallon today!!! The funny thing is that gas only dropped a nickel in price, but it dropped under that $3.00 price that makes it seem so special. I probably only saved 50 cents on the ten gallons that I got.

But a few weeks ago gas dropped about a quarter a gallon, I’d have saved $2.50 on the same amount of gas, but it was nowhere near the same milestone (in my head).

It’s just kind of weird when you think about it. Do you feel the same way? Or are you happier just when it drops in price?

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White House Down: It’s like Die Hard, but at a national monument http://GarySaid.com/white-house-down-review/ http://GarySaid.com/white-house-down-review/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 17:19:23 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8349 White House Down was a fun movie. Jamie Foxx as the president was interesting, most of the time he was pretty serious, but generally more playful than the president is portrayed in the movies (sometimes a little too playful).

Maggie Gyllenhaal was excellent, I always see her [...]

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White House Down was a fun movie. Jamie Foxx as the president was interesting, most of the time he was pretty serious, but generally more playful than the president is portrayed in the movies (sometimes a little too playful).

white-house-down-poster.pngMaggie Gyllenhaal was excellent, I always see her in movies and think she’s great, but I never realize that it’s her. From Donnie Darko to Secretary to Stranger Than Fiction to a Secret Service agent in this movie is a bit of a wide range of characters.

Channing Tatum was the hero, he was there applying to be a Secret Service agent who was pretty much told he didn’t have the right stuff. He took his daughter on a tour after his interview and that’s when the terrorists attacked and they got separated.

Joey King played the daughter and she was amazing!!! At some point The President happens to walk by and she gets him to answer a question for her video blog (sorry, “YouTube Channel”) and se pretty much floors him with her question. She played the voice of the “china girl” in Oz the Great and Powerful and she was great in that too, I remember specifically looking up later to see who did the voice (but I had no idea at the time).

This movie is exactly what you would imaging. It’s Die Hard but at the White House. Too many bullets and missiles for the hero to survive, but they manage to do it (of course!).

I have to say it was way more fun than I expected. Lots of action, some good one-liners, trying to figure out what’s real and what’s misdirection made for a great movie. Also, it was 2:10 long and it sure didn’t seem it, sometimes even amazing movies start seeming long after a while. I enjoyed it but after yesterday’s weird movie review (Upstream Color) it was certainly a welcome relief!

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Upstream Color is the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen! http://GarySaid.com/upstream-color-is-the-weirdest-movie-ever/ http://GarySaid.com/upstream-color-is-the-weirdest-movie-ever/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 00:37:11 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8345 I’m not sure why I watched Upstream Color in the first place, I read a good review, some actor I liked in it or exactly what it was. But once I started watching it, I couldn’t stop. There are some spoilers in here, I say “some” because it’s so strange of [...]

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I’m not sure why I watched Upstream Color in the first place, I read a good review, some actor I liked in it or exactly what it was. But once I started watching it, I couldn’t stop. There are some spoilers in here, I say “some” because it’s so strange of a movie I’m not sure if it’s actually revealing anything…

There is some new street drug and it’s got something to do with some kind of roly-poly bug that’s killing some plants. Plus, this woman, Kris (played by Amy Seimetz) gets kidnapped and manipulated (controlled) into giving away all her money. This is all in the first few minutes. Most of the story is her trying to get her life back, she remembers (mostly) nothing of what happened to her.

upstream-color-tbu.png

Oh wait, I forgot about the pigs, (that’s really important) there’s some stuff transplanted from her that’s injected into some pigs and the guy who did all this watches the pig. Maybe he still watches her too, but it’s hard to tell if he’s watching her or the pig sometimes. Sometimes what your’e watching is what they’re experiencing in their heads and not what they are seeing with their eyes.

Then Kris meets a nice guy who seems like he’s dealt with some trauma in his life so he’s willing to be with her. I can’t write much more without giving everything away. I think I give away less than the synopsis’s do, but some give away too much.

The visuals are very interesting. Shot in a weird way that I liked. The dialog was reminiscent of (what I think of) as David Mamet dialog, except his is usually more overly dramatic and misleading (in a conversational confusing way), this is just as intense but it’s noir misdirecting, it’s just cRaZy.

It’s insane. Completely weird. But I was compelled to see how this was going to get get all wrapped up to make sense, I will say it gets wrapped up, but I’m not sure about the making sense. This wasn’t weird in a “eXistenZ” or “Brazil” kind of way, those movies made complete sense.

I’m sure I’m missing some of the symbolism or at least missing the recreational pharmaceuticals to help me understand everything.

FYI, there was no one in the cast that I remember from anywhere else, the same for producers/directors. But I know the few places I looked the movie up, it also recommended/suggested Moon and Primer, both weird but very interesting and/or excellent movies in my opinion.

It’s available to rent or buy at Amazon, iTunes, etc…

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Galileo is a great FREE mapping app to have on your iPhone or iPad. http://GarySaid.com/galileo-excellent-maps-for-iphone-and-ipad/ http://GarySaid.com/galileo-excellent-maps-for-iphone-and-ipad/#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 22:35:17 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8340 I love this program and it just did a major update so thought it was due for an update on the review I did before, but when I looked I realized I never reviewed this amazing app before, so here we go…

First of all this program should be [...]

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I love this program and it just did a major update so thought it was due for an update on the review I did before, but when I looked I realized I never reviewed this amazing app before, so here we go…

galileo-app.pngFirst of all this program should be thought of as a digital map, the GPS in your iPhone/iPad will find your location and keep the map centered but it doesn’t have directions (just like a paper map doesn’t have directions). What’s really nice about this program you can download maps and they stay on the device so if you’re somewhere with without data (say somewhere on a hike in Costa Rica) you still have your maps with you. Or if you’re traveling internationally and don’t have a data plan you’ve got the maps already, the same goes if you have a plan with a small amount of data, you don’t need to use up all the data.

galileo-maps-IMG_9096.PNGGalileo also has several ways to get maps onto your iPad or iPhone, but the newest way is the fastest and easiest. You just go in to the program, click download maps and pick your states, countries or providences and it downloads them and they are on your device. These downloads are relatively small, Michigan is about 30MB while Costa Rica was about 9MB, but have remarkable zoom levels and are very fast. I wasn’t sure how often they were going to be updating these maps, but when I went to get the screen shot, I see they’ve already updated several of the maps I’ve downloaded (that’s why the screen is downloading that map, it’s an update).

This program is free and the vector downloadable maps are free but the program has many other in app purchases (which I’ll talk about).

I use this a lot when I’m out hiking and biking and traveling. I know where I’m traveling, a question I used to ask all the time is “Where am I?” and people wanted to know where I was going but I’m just walking around taking in the sights and I want to know where I am (I quite often got confusing looks). I want to know where I am and zoom around quickly and not worry about how fast my data is or if I’m roaming somewhere. I get a pretty good signal in Michigan but if I’m in some state/national parks there isn’t always coverage.

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Maps show how fast you’re going, the scale of the map and (optionally) your longitude and latitude.

I like to sightsee / wander around and see what I can find, when I travel I try not to be in a hurry. I went up north to visit my Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen once and when I arrived around 5PM they said “What time did you leave?” and I said “Noon”, which got the reply “You made pretty good time” and then I had to clarify with “Noon, yesterday“! I like to stop and do things, I’d been to different places and going biking and rollerblading and taking pictures and been all over before I got there. It was fun and I saw things that I’d not have seen if I’d had a specific plan.

In Costa Rica, most roads don’t have names and it’s confusing to get around, looking at the map and seeing the icon where you are is incredibly helpful (you need an iPhone or an iPad with the GPS for this to show you where you are).

So my suggestion is download Galileo and grab a few maps of places you frequent so that you’ve always got a nice map in your pocket.

The rest of these features starts to get a little confusing, if the above doesn’t interest you and you don’t care about maps, you should stop reading. If you’d like to be able to download other types of maps and know more, then read on!

This is one of those apps with many 5-star reviews and many 1-star reviews. Although, if you read the 1-star reviews most of them complain about things that if they had read the description they’d know that’s not what the program is supposed to do.

The other thing you can do is choose other map sources: biking, hiking, tourist and it’ll download them, but it remembers the maps until you delete them, so if you want some specific maps you just need to download them and zoom in at different levels and they’ll save and be there for you later (you can set the time limit). Other maps cache this data but purges it when it feels it doesn’t need it any more, you don’t have control over how long the data stays around. That said, I still like pre-downloading them myself (see last item of this review) and installing on the device is my favorite way to go. This next map is a sample of a map that isn’t so much like the “normal” Apple or Google maps.

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Example of a different type of map with altitude/terrain markings.
Good to know if you follow that path you’re going up/down paths over 200 feet in height.

Other (paid features):
Bookmarks – You can leave bookmarks/pins at locations for easy finding later, incredibly useful for marking places that have no other frame of reference. If hiking, you can mark and interesting spot. If someone lives in the middle of nowhere and you want to find it again, leave a pin at that spot.

Breadcrumbs – It will record a trail of where you’ve been. You can look at this later or export the data for other uses later.

Generate off-line maps – Downloading other off-line maps (this is great and it why I got the app in the first place) you can get maps from different sources and build them (on your desktop computer with Mobile Atlas Creator) and put them on the device for later. I downloaded great maps with heights of the hills/mountains for where I hike in Costa Rica, I don’t need to use international data roaming for this since I built them once and they stay on the device.

FYI, the screenshots and map captures are clickable to much larger versions.

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AT&T iPad cellular data plan cost is now HALF the price! http://GarySaid.com/ipad-data-cellular-price-drop-att/ http://GarySaid.com/ipad-data-cellular-price-drop-att/#comments Sat, 19 Oct 2013 18:53:43 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8328 If you’ve got an iPad and you occasionally use the $15 a month cellular data plan option, there is a way you can save a lot of money (and get more data!). The $15 data plan gives you 250MB of data per month, if you go over it either runs out or you have [...]

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If you’ve got an iPad and you occasionally use the $15 a month cellular data plan option, there is a way you can save a lot of money (and get more data!). The $15 data plan gives you 250MB of data per month, if you go over it either runs out or you have to start the next month early. logoatt.jpgAT&T has a new $25 plan that last three months and gives you 1GB (1000MB) of data. That works out to 333MB a month for about $8.33 a month, about a third more data for close to half the price. The other benefit of it is that since it’s spread over three months you could use 600MB one month, 100MB another month and 300MB the other month. It gives you a better chance to utilize more of the data since it doesn’t expire three times after 30 days, it’s once after 90. It also doesn’t auto renew, so after 90 days you need to add that service again; the benefit to you is that after it expires if you don’t use it for a few weeks, those days don’t count against your next 90 day block. This is in the United States, I’m not sure if they’ve adjust prices in any international markets yet.

I think AT&T is doing this to get people to use it more, some people would turn it on for a month and then turn if off for a month, this way they spend $25 instead of $15 and if they don’t use it AT&T makes more and if they do use it more, they might get hooked.

At this point it makes almost no sense to turn the monthly $15 plan on and off a half dozen months throughout the year (that’s $90), for $10 more you could have it on every month of the year and have even more data to use. If you kept the new plan for the whole year it would be $100 for 4GB of data, the old plan would have been $180 for 3GB of dat a (with monthly expiration).

ipadprices.png

This is now cheaper than the cheaper data plans on the iPhone. Right now you pay $20 a month for 300MB of data (some people still have the $15 for 200MB data plan), that’s $60 for 900MB of data. That’s quite a bit of difference!

FYI, if you almost never use the cellular data, but once in a while wish you had it, they also offer a new plan for $5 for one day that gets you 250MB. This is not meant for daily use, but if you’re traveling for the day on train or waiting at airports, it might be worth it. Or even if you activated the data plan once in a while while you were traveling for the weekend, doing the $5 plan could be cheaper for two days ($10 instead of $15) or actually get you more data during that time.

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Curious Praying Mantis Video http://GarySaid.com/curious-praying-mantis/ http://GarySaid.com/curious-praying-mantis/#comments Sat, 05 Oct 2013 02:40:52 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8319 I caught this crawling away from the corner of the garage and it looks like some spiderwebs from the corners and some grass clippings were stuck. Not sure if that was slowing it down or was just super curious.

I was watching it for a while but a lot of the video [...]

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I caught this crawling away from the corner of the garage and it looks like some spiderwebs from the corners and some grass clippings were stuck. Not sure if that was slowing it down or was just super curious.

insect-IMG_8634.JPG

I was watching it for a while but a lot of the video or photos wasn’t in focus so I didn’t use it. Here’s some video I took, actually a few short ones edited together.


What was that noise at 5 seconds in?!?!?

I’m not sure if this insect was hurt or not. I let it crawl up on to a shovel and then carefully carried it outside. I think it just had too much crud stuck to it or it was wondering what I was doing…?

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You can click to enlarge the photos. Please correct me as to the correct name of this insect if I got it wrong.

FYI, I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor which is VERY easy to use. (I uploaded the videos, dragged them in order, trimmed a little off the ends and voila!

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What I love about my Kindle and eBooks http://GarySaid.com/what-i-love-about-my-kindle/ http://GarySaid.com/what-i-love-about-my-kindle/#comments Thu, 08 Aug 2013 00:53:51 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8307 I love my Kindle, ever since I got it, I’ve thought it was great. Do I miss reading real books? Certainly! Does it outweigh the convenience of the way I read eBooks? Not a chance! I’ve always got a few books with me and it still weighs the same.

Can you can think of [...]

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I love my Kindle, ever since I got it, I’ve thought it was great. Do I miss reading real books? Certainly! Does it outweigh the convenience of the way I read eBooks? Not a chance! I’ve always got a few books with me and it still weighs the same.

Can you can think of any great features I left out? Please leave a comment and let everyone know…

kindleimage_.jpgCONVIENENCE: With paper books, I always had one in the car and one in the house. I tried to make them two different kinds of books so that I don’t get confused over similar plots (I’d avoid two mysteries at the same time). With my Kindle, I always keep it in the car (I can charge it with cell phone charger) so when I put the same book on the Kindle (in my car) and on my Kindle app on my iPad (in the house), I’m always on the same page since it keeps them synced. This is great, I’m reading the same book in both places.

I can even put the same book on my Kindle app on my iPhone and it’s on the same page too. I hate reading on my iPhone since the pages are so small, but if I don’t have my Kindle or my iPad, it gives me something to read if I’m stuck somewhere. If it starts raining while I’m out running and I take shelter somewhere, I can still read (or I’m meeting friends and they are late).

BETTER THAN A TABLET FOR OUTSIDE READING: The Kindle is great for outdoors and my iPad is great for indoors. If I want to read outside on the porch I’ll get the Kindle to read outside or grab one of the few paper magazine subscriptions that I still get. The glare that you get outside on the iPad is the same glare you’ll get on the other color tablets (Kindle Fire and Nook HD). Only the black and white eReaders look readily good outside.

YOU CAN TEST DRIVE A BOOK: Most Amazon Kindle books are available with a preview of the first few chapters for free.

I CAN BORROW BOOKS: Some libraries are able to lend you Kindle eBooks (large selection for most Michigan libraries via the state). You can borrow Amazon eBooks from friends who have a Kindle. You can join a free on-line book lending club like lendle.me (please use my referral code TTXLDIO1 if you do and I get a few extra borrows).

SUPER BONUS! I can get books that do not exist in print! Some authors big and small only release some books in eBook format. Usually for the really big authors it’s some super short book (“singles”) and they’re only a few dollars.

MONEY: Prices are another great bonus, some authors (more independent authors sell their eBooks for $4.99 while the paperback might be $9.99. Some authors have been releasing books as eBooks first since they can get to press faster. One of my favorite authors is updating one of my favorite kids/YA series of books so that they are a little more modern, she starting writing these books 30 years ago and things have changed since the time of the Apple II (we now have internet, smartphones, WiFi and text messaging) while at the same time clarifying some plot points and even adding a few scenes and plot enhancements, these are only available as ebooks at this point.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SHOP AT AMAZON.COM FOR YOUR BOOKS: You can buy your books other places and put them on your Kindle yourself. It’s not as convenient, but sometimes it’s a bit (or a lot) cheaper.

marsburning.pngSUPER SALES: Cidney Swanson just released the 4th book in her excellent Saving Mars series (titled Mars Burning) currently only available as an eBook. As a bonus she put the book on sale for 99 cents for the first few days to help get the word out. Where are you going to get a new book for that cheap anywhere? While writing this, I just noticed the first 3 eBooks are also on sale for 99 cents!!! These are not small books, all the printed copies are 350+ pages long. This looks like this ends Aug. 8th, 2013 and will (probably) be $4.99 each after (but you can get the whole set for $3.96 now!). These are on-sale at the same price at the Nook and Kobo stores too! Book 1 is free at the Kobo store. All these bonuses at once are more the exception and not the rule, but it’s a pretty nice thing that happens occasionally.

APPS FOR MY iPAD and iPHONE (and other devices): You do NOT need a Kindle to benefit from the features that I talk about. You can just put the app on your iPad and you can get the cheap books and use books from other vendors and everything. But it’s going to have the glare on the screen if you go outside (the same glare that the Kindle Fire will have outside too).

I KEEP MY ELECTRONICS MANUALS ON HAND: As an added bonus, my Kindle will read PDF documents. So I’ve put the manuals for all my portable devices (cameras, GPS, bluetooth speakers, car stereo, bike rack, etc.) on my Kindle so that I’ve always got them with me (just in case). I rarely use them, but the few times I’ve needed them while on vacation, I already had them with me. The PDF viewing is not as nice as the Kindle eBooks, but it is usable. It generally works very well for portable device manuals that are normally pretty small anyways; a large full page manual would be hard to navigate around on the small screen (but it’s doable if you just need to look something up).

Most of the features I listed above are Kindle specific, other brands may have similar features (or many not.

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Edward J. Kuhn 1923-2013 http://GarySaid.com/edward-j-kuhn-1923-2013/ http://GarySaid.com/edward-j-kuhn-1923-2013/#comments Sat, 20 Jul 2013 02:24:17 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8299 A few days ago, I was wondering some things about the Alaska trip: how long Mr. Kuhn had done it for or if anyone else had ever posted pictures at some point in time, so I went to internet to see what I could find out.

Unfortunately, the first thing I found was Mr. [...]

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A few days ago, I was wondering some things about the Alaska trip: how long Mr. Kuhn had done it for or if anyone else had ever posted pictures at some point in time, so I went to internet to see what I could find out.

Unfortunately, the first thing I found was Mr. Kuhn’s obituary. It seemed an odd thing is that it was just a few weeks ago, right before I started posting every thing about this trip. He passed on June 20th, a week before we left thirty-two years ago.

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I wasn’t even sure how old he was at the time, we were just fifteen, so even thirty years old would be ancient to us. But he was celebrating his 25th year of leading this trip when were on it, so that would make him a bit older, now that I have the dates, he’d have been fifty-seven on our trip. Did I mention that he originally went on this trip with someone else as leader? He retired from the eight years after our trip and it says he did the Alaska trips for over thirty years, so I guess at least five more after us, maybe a few more than that.

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That’s Mr. Kuhn in the back in the blue jacket/shirt.
That’s the fish bake (I think by some mines) in Alaska we went to.

He was this crazy old guy who took us on the adventure of a lifetime. I think about this trip often, I feel that it has a bit to do with the traveler in me. Obviously, I had something of it in me before I left or I’d never have taken this three week trek away from home. Until recently, it was one of the longest trips I’ve ever been on.

Thank you and take care Mr. Kuhn I hope you’re still out there traveling…

In case you know Mr. Kuhn and are wondering why I’m posting his obituary, I went on a trip to Alaska with Mr. Kuhn when I was a kid. I recently found my journal from that trip and scanned my slides and I just spent the last three weeks writing about the whole trip to Alaska. I wrote it up each day and posted information and photos on the same day but exactly thirty-two years later.

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Back to Michigan from Canada, Alaska, Chicago and everywhere in-between. http://GarySaid.com/home-from-alaska/ http://GarySaid.com/home-from-alaska/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2013 21:32:55 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8285 So we got up this morning and boarded a chartered bus from Chicago and back to the Detroit area. It was a long bus ride and we arrived tired and I recall it being really really hot when we arrived (a bank parking lot in Pleasant Ridge, the same spot we left from). [...]

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So we got up this morning and boarded a chartered bus from Chicago and back to the Detroit area. It was a long bus ride and we arrived tired and I recall it being really really hot when we arrived (a bank parking lot in Pleasant Ridge, the same spot we left from). I’m thinking it was kind of hot on the bus, so maybe something was broken(?).

Nothing else exciting, we stopped somewhere for lunch but no photos from today (sorry). I’ll scan those other pictures eventually (the two nice group shots and some black and white photos), hopefully more sooner than later (I did start making room for the scanner). I never found the photos that I took with the 110 camera, I looked all over for them but sadly never found them. I even looked for the pewter bear that I bought as a souvenir in Alaska, but no luck there either…

Since I don’t have any photos from today, here’s a few panoramic photos that I don’t think I posted here (a few might have been posted to Facebook already). I just tried to pick random ones but they’re mostly from Banff National Park and some glaciers in Alaska.

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Mendenhall Glacier.

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Near (in?) Banff National Park.

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In Banff National Park near the Chateau Lake Louise.

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Near Banff National Park.

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Glacier Bay.

It was a great trip and I really enjoyed reliving it while sharing it with you all here.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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Playing in Chicago (and a mini adventure in the middle of nowhere) http://GarySaid.com/chicago-illinois/ http://GarySaid.com/chicago-illinois/#comments Wed, 17 Jul 2013 20:30:27 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8284 So we were pretty bored on the train, it was 40 hours so far and I was pretty stir crazy. We’d stopped at some towns but nothing for more than a few minutes (We stopped in St. Payl / Minneapolis, MN for a short time, but I slept through that). We (the guys) [...]

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So we were pretty bored on the train, it was 40 hours so far and I was pretty stir crazy. We’d stopped at some towns but nothing for more than a few minutes (We stopped in St. Payl / Minneapolis, MN for a short time, but I slept through that). We (the guys) wanted some snacks and something different than what was on the train. The problem was that most of the towns were just a quick stop and there was nothing nearby. So we watched the next few stops and the next stop in the middle of nowhere we saw a little shop (a little farther than across the street) and we ran like cRaZy. We made sure the guy from the train knew where we were going, and we knew they weren’t going to leave a few kids behind, but we didn’t really know for sure(!), so we ran and ran like our lives depended on it (my Mom would have killed me!) and got some drinks/snacks and got back on the train.

Thinking of the train station in Dearborn, there’s nothing there if you were just traveling by, the station is a small building and it’s behind the police station and library, nowhere that you could really get anything. Plus, if the train stops for more than a few minutes, it’s only because it’s early, I don’t think I’ve generally seen it sit there for more than 5 minutes, if that. People get off, people get on and it’s gone (very efficient).

So it was the last day on the train and we were ready to get off the train and glad to arrive in Chicago.

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From my journal:

6 pm – Got into Chicago and took cabs from the train station to the hotel. Mr. Kuhn gave us money and we got food from Burger King. Then we went up the Sears Tower.

We stayed at the Ascot House in Chicago. It was a weird shaped really large room that we ended up with. I’m not sure how many of us were in there, but after running around Chicago we were pretty tired and it probably didn’t matter. This was at 1100 S Michigan Ave, it’s a Best Western across from Grant Park, I really don’t remember the nice park across the street, maybe it wasn’t as nice back then? Maybe we just walked out the wrong way out the side door?

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We ran around all over the area in Chicago, we were pretty unstructured and unsupervised this evening. A few of us hung out and went up to the top of the Sears Tower and checked out the elevated train. I can’t remember if we got on it just for the heck of it or if we took it to get to the Sears Tower, which was kind of far away.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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From Seattle to Chicago on Amtrak http://GarySaid.com/from-seattle-to-chicago-on-amtrak/ http://GarySaid.com/from-seattle-to-chicago-on-amtrak/#comments Tue, 16 Jul 2013 22:08:13 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8283 The first thing we realize is that the tracks in Canada are much much smoother than in the United States. This train is so bumpy it’s not even funny.

We have a small cabin area, kind of like you see in the movies when they can open the door and go in and the beds [...]

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The first thing we realize is that the tracks in Canada are much much smoother than in the United States. This train is so bumpy it’s not even funny.

We have a small cabin area, kind of like you see in the movies when they can open the door and go in and the beds fold down. It’s kind of nicer than the VIA trains, but it’s so small (smaller than movies) we really don’t stay in there, so it doesn’t make much of a difference.

From my journal:

7am – Slept okay. French toast was pretty dull. Found out the menu is the same every day.


8 am – Stopped in Whitefish (Montana?) for 17 minutes, nice little town, had a lot of shops but most were closed.


Rest of day – Stopped in a few more small towns. Read a bit in an empty cabin I found.

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Some more photos from the train ride home. We were pretty bored…

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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Washington outdoors. http://GarySaid.com/washington-state-scenery/ http://GarySaid.com/washington-state-scenery/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 20:55:54 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8280 I got a postcard from Mom! She sent it to the hotel from when she was up north with my Aunt Nola last week! It’s of the Mackinaw Bridge which is huge and connects the upper and lower peninsula’s of Michigan together.

Today we are to explore the nearby [...]

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I got a postcard from Mom! She sent it to the hotel from when she was up north with my Aunt Nola last week! It’s of the Mackinaw Bridge which is huge and connects the upper and lower peninsula’s of Michigan together.

Postcard from Mom

Postcard from Mom

Today we are to explore the nearby trails and “leave to see Steven’s Canyon, Cayuse Pass, Cowlitz River, Box Canyon, Chinook Pass, White River and the missive 5.5 mile long Emmons Glacier”.

From my journal –

9 am – Feel a lot better after all that sleep. We leave here at Noon. Young and Spencer leave today for the rest of the trip.

I was feeling better which is good, like I said yesterday, I thought we’d stayed here for days and days (I thought that mostly because I really remember being sick). I’d mentioned Young and/or Spencer in my journal before (but not here on the web) so I must have spent some time with them and helping out and playing cards. I’m guessing they were a few of the senior women that I have posted a few photos of here and there. I’m sure with feeling sick and homesick I was very jealous of their heading home.

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I think those last from photos are from the Washinton area, anyone who thinks they’re from farther east, let me know and I’ll move them around. Some of yesterday’s photos might actually be from some of the other locations around here, I’m doing my best with these in trying to remember (and space them out for you!).

So later today we’ll board Amtrak train #8 , the Empire Builder on the Superliner for Chicago and start our two day trek back on the trail.

From my journal:

4 pm – Called home from train station. Train is is okay but room is a little small for 3 people. Train has 2 floors, we’re on 2nd. We got one of the bigger rooms, you should see the guys that got one of the smaller rooms.


8pm – Dinner was good, had turkey and more.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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Mt. Rainer National Park http://GarySaid.com/mount-rainier-national-park/ http://GarySaid.com/mount-rainier-national-park/#comments Mon, 15 Jul 2013 00:55:44 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8248 According to the itinerary “Mount Rainer is 14,400 feet and capped with 26 glaciers. Mt. Rainer is the greatest single scenic attrition in the entire Pacific Northwest.”

From my journal:

8 am – Feeling a little better than yesterday.


9 am – Got on the bed to ride to Mt. Rainier.


1:30 pm – By the [...]

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According to the itinerary “Mount Rainer is 14,400 feet and capped with 26 glaciers. Mt. Rainer is the greatest single scenic attrition in the entire Pacific Northwest.”

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From my journal:

8 am – Feeling a little better than yesterday.


9 am – Got on the bed to ride to Mt. Rainier.


1:30 pm – By the time we got back to the hotel I was so sick I thought I was going to die.


8 pm – Slept for a while. Woke up, felt better, ran around outside some more. Went back feeling sick.

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Paradise Inn hotel (built in 1916).

From my memory: This was the year after Mount Saint Helens erupted. I recall going on the bus ride and the guide telling us that if we saw ash-like material along the sides of the road (or other places) that there was a good chance it was from the eruption from last year. I think I skipped dinner and a few of the guys stayed behind and then I was sick more for the rest of the day. I just remember staying back for being sick and then running around for a while. When we ran around outside we had a blast and I don’t know where the energy came from, it was beautiful out, but then I went back to bed and you’d never know I’d been feeling better. I thought I was in the room for days feeling sick, but I think we only spent one night here.

Keep in mind, while I was feeling sick, I’m also feeling homesick (and being sick is making it worse!), it’s been seventeen days since I’ve been gone, this is a record by far (not sure if I’d ever been gone more than a week). So at this point I just want to be home and be sick and have my mom take care of me!

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I think these last few are form near the hotel when we were running around outside. I think it was just Jeff and I (maybe one other kid too).

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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Vancouver to Seattle, Washington. http://GarySaid.com/space-needle-seattle-washington/ http://GarySaid.com/space-needle-seattle-washington/#comments Sat, 13 Jul 2013 18:41:49 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8226 From the itinerary, “Our wonderful cruise ended at 9am as we arrived in Vancouver and hopped on a bus to take us to Seattle. We visited some special exhibits at the Century 21 Center (which I don’t remember) and took a ride up revolving Space Needle in Seattle.” I think just the restaurant [...]

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From the itinerary, “Our wonderful cruise ended at 9am as we arrived in Vancouver and hopped on a bus to take us to Seattle. We visited some special exhibits at the Century 21 Center (which I don’t remember) and took a ride up revolving Space Needle in Seattle.” I think just the restaurant revolves, but maybe we ate there (I can’t remember), I do not think the observation level revolves, I was up it a few years ago and I don’t recall the floor we were on rotating…

From my journal –

1 pm – Finally got to the motel, but one we were off the bus we found out it was the wrong one.

4:30 pm – Went to the World’s Fair grounds which was pretty dull and there wasn’t much going on [probably because the World’s Fair was decades before!]. Went up the tower (Space Needle) and took lots of shots.


Mr. Kuhn left his and Jim’s luggage back at the ship. Jim needs his luggage since it has his pills. [Jim was a guy in a wheelchair on the trip with multiple special needs, he wasn’t a senior and he wasn’t a kid.]


8 pm – Have had a headache and a sore throat but I’m feeling a little better.


9 pm – This Hotel (a Motel 6) isn’t bad for so cheap. It coast 79 cents to get a key that turns on the TV [I don’t remember that at all and I don’t think I ever saw it since]. We did get a “magic fingers” bed massage for 25 cents. No phones in the room, but I guess it does the job.

Jim and Mr. Kuhn must have gotten their luggage later but I didn’t journal that. I think Jim had the same last name as Mr. Kuhn but wasn’t a relative, or something oddly coincidental like that (maybe slightly different last names and they were related?).

Seattle Panorama July 1981

Seattle Panorama July 1981

Space Needle

Seattle Panorama July 1981

Seattle Panorama July 1981

The above are a few different panoramas of the Seattle, Washington skyline. I assume I took all of these from the Space Needle at the old World’s Fair Grounds (the middle one is of the Space Needle from the ground). These were made from scans of the slides I took on the trip and joined together with the AutoStitch Panorama app on my iPhone (although the second one from the bottom looks a tiny goofy in the middle, I wonder if these two pieces really go together). These all enlarge to huge so if you want to see more detail, just click. Obviously, the tall one in the middle is the Space Needle from ground level.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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A day of cruising and relaxation on the ship http://GarySaid.com/a-day-of-cruising-and-relaxation-on-the-cruise/ http://GarySaid.com/a-day-of-cruising-and-relaxation-on-the-cruise/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 23:22:15 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8200 Another day without many activities on the boat. I have no idea why they wouldn’t have had the captain’s dinner or the costume party on one of these slow days.

From my journal:

10 am – I just keep having the same breakfast over and over: Pancakes, sausage, apple juice, milk and corn flakes. [...]

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Another day without many activities on the boat. I have no idea why they wouldn’t have had the captain’s dinner or the costume party on one of these slow days.

From my journal:

10 am – I just keep having the same breakfast over and over: Pancakes, sausage, apple juice, milk and corn flakes. I with they would change the menu for breakfast once in a while.


I do have to get down to do some laundry today, not too much but enough to last the rest of the vacation.


The Sun Princess just went by, it is one of the “Love Boats” (it looks just like the ships on the TV series).


1 pm – Those “Love Boats” really get around, the Island Princess just sailed by too.

So not too exciting. I do remember that we played a bit of cribbage with the seniors (and some other cards), I bet it was on a few of these slow days. Here’s a few assorted photos that I don’t think I posted yet.

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Glacier Bay.

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The ship with some glaciers in the background.

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Near the Mendenhall Glacier.

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Near Juneau, Alaska.

So those were just a few photos from various points of the Alaska part of the trip since I didn’t have anything else for you today.

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I really like this photo with the smooth reflection, but sadly the colors were WAY off so I converted it.

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Another one that I converted to b & w.

The last few slides were ruined, they were at the end of the roll and must not have gotten developed properly. They looked very red/orange-ish, the shades looked mostly okay, so I just converted them to them to black and white and they look much better! That reminds me, I do have some black and white photos that I shot while in Alaska too (I’m not sure what portion of the trip), I really like how they came out, I’ll have to scan them.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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Easy going day as we head back towards Canada down the Alaskan coast http://GarySaid.com/cruise-alaska-to-canada/ http://GarySaid.com/cruise-alaska-to-canada/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 20:04:52 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8183 Today there was really not much to do, which I find odd since there were so many activities all the other other days. We crossed back into Canada at 2 and stopped into Prince Rupert around 6pm. The itinerary says we visited the “Worlds Largest Cold Storage Plant” but I really really [...]

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Today there was really not much to do, which I find odd since there were so many activities all the other other days. We crossed back into Canada at 2 and stopped into Prince Rupert around 6pm. The itinerary says we visited the “Worlds Largest Cold Storage Plant” but I really really don’t remember that (and I’ve got no note of it in my journal). I see from my journal we did go down and visit the engine room and wheel house of the ship.

Okay, so I’ve checked my journal and the photos and I appear to have zero photos from today, which is weird. I’m wondering if something happened to a roll and I have no pictures until the day after tomorrow (or if I’ve mixed something up in the order of photos?). Regardless, as I said yesterday, I have things that did not get posted so I’ll share some of those today.

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A few more shots of the Glacier Bay area for you.

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One of the ranger’s that came on board to talk to us about Glacier Bay.

I forgot to mention the size of the glacier’s yesterday. The Margaree Glacier is a mile wide, 200 feet tall and thirty-five miles long! That’s huge.

Me all dressed up for the Captains Dinner
Me all dressed up for the Captain’s Dinner

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A view off the back of the ship as we pull away from Glacier Bay.

The Man of Steel
Dressed up as Superman for the costume contest. I made this costume!!!

I did win a T-Shirt for this costume, it said “First Mate”! So yesterday was a super busy day: we had Glacier Bay, the Captain’s dinner and a costume party. Why some of these weren’t saved for the next few days, I’m not really sure.

If you’re reading this post out of context, this is me re-journaling a trip to Alaska from when I was a kid. You might want to click the “trip to Alaska” link and go to the bottom and read them in order. I’m posting each entry on the same day that it happened years ago.

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Feedly for my RSS Feed Reading – Review http://GarySaid.com/feedly-rss-feed-reader-review/ http://GarySaid.com/feedly-rss-feed-reader-review/#comments Thu, 11 Jul 2013 03:26:07 +0000 http://GarySaid.com/?p=8170 So Google retired Google Reader on July 1st, I still can’t believe this. They announced it until March but it took me until the last minute to switch, because I really didn’t want to. I did export my data from Google Takeout which you can still do until [...]

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So Google retired Google Reader on July 1st, I still can’t believe this. They announced it until March but it took me until the last minute to switch, because I really didn’t want to. I did export my data from Google Takeout which you can still do until July 15th, so go get your data! But I’m really glad that I tried Feedly in advance because they didn’t even need my exported data, they just sucked it out of Google Reader and I was ready to go.

feedlylogo.jpgFeedly works an awful lot like Google Reader, it stores my items in categories/folders and they make it really easy to navigate from folder to folder. What is REALLY nice about the folders/categories is you can configure the look and it remembers it for just that folder/category. So if that folder has photo blogs or cartoons, I can configure it to show me the whole thing. If it’s just a news folder, I can show all the headlines. Regardless of how you configure it, it remember it the night time you’re in that category.

Here’s the three reading modes:

Feedly Title Text View
Feedly Title Text View.
You would see more text if you window was wider, but I wanted to show the date.

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Feedly Magazine View.
You’d see much more text if your window is wider.

Feedly Cards View
Feedly Cards View.
You’d get three columns of these in full screen and it appears a little larger, I had to shrink it 20% to make it fit my column width.

They actually have a full feed mode (which I wasn’t going to put above), which is how I used it in Google Reader, but I like these other modes much better!

Plus, it’s super fast. I think it’s great. I don’t like that it always starts in the “All” folder, I’d rather it start in my first folder with unread items. The only other suggestion is that if I’m in a folder with a hundred items and I’ve only read halfway down, I’d like a way to mark everything from there and up as read.

It integrates with multiple apps (and they have their own Feedly Reader). Reeder is my favorite iPhone RSS reader (which is temporarily free, so go get Reeder). They haven’t updated the iPad Reeder yet, but the iPhone app is just as good and works great in 2x more.

So I give it two thumbs up. Regardless of what you want to use, you only have five days to get your data out of Google Reader so go do it!

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