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Articles tagged with: Michigan

I live in Michigan, been there all my life, generally in the Detroit or East Lansing areas.

Written By: Gary on August 17, 2008 No Comment

The Tico Times is the english weekly paper from Costa Rica. For the last eight months I’ve been subscribing to the paper edition of The Tico Times. I’ve mentioned my Tico Times delivery issues before, it usually takes a while to get to Michigan but it’s much easier to read on paper than on the screen (they also offer a PDF subscription).

I’ve wanted to see what’s going on in the country when I’m not visiting. I’ve been paying attention to opinion pages, letters to the editor, classifieds and more local ads. Of the five times I’ve been there it’s all been in April or between the end of November and beginning of January (and really only covering half-a-dozen different weeks) so I’ve really only seen a portion of the year while there. So I’ve been paying more attention to the non-tourist type articles; when I’m there traveling I’m generally looking more for what’s going on there at that time.

Written By: Gary on June 7, 2008 2 Comments

StreetcarSo at StreetCar you can rent a car by the hour. They’ve got 500 pickup locations (and I think this is just spots where parked on the side of the street). It’s about 5.95 pounds ($12 an hour) for a Golf (Polo for 3.95) an hour or 49.50 pounds a day (and you get 30 miles of fuel). You must be a member for 50 pounds a year (show your OysterCard and get two memberships for the price of one).

Assuming you don’t have a need for a car very often, this is economical and ecological: you don’t need to pay for a car or insurance or parking, except for the times you need it; it’s such a waste otherwise if you don’t use it often. You don’t need to maintain it or anything like that. If I lived somewhere like London I would only need it a time or two a week (at the most), maybe big shopping trips.

This is very cool IMHO, this is the idea of of Sci-Fi/Future Utopian stories. Every shares a car or bicycles and has great public transportation. This is very unlike Michigan with poor public transportation and everyone owns a car (or two).

Written By: Gary on April 20, 2008 One Comment

Unfortunately, they were closed. But I thought it was a funny name. This location isin East Lansing, Michigan.

They’re on-line at InsomniaCookies.com

 

Insomnia Cookies‘ uploaded by garylapointe

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Written By: Gary on March 30, 2008 2 Comments

Can you suggest some Detroit-area people to follow on Twitter? I’m looking for something that has a local geographic flavor, like Dearborn (or Detroit) Michigan.

I’m always looking for more people to follow, but today I’m soliciting suggestions for the Detroit area just to get a slightly less global feel for this Twittery goodness/chaos. I’ve got a lot of great people that I follow, but I’d love to see some tweets about local restaurants, bars and music.

So send me a message @GaryLaPointe with suggestions or tell someone you know to follow me and I’ll find them or just leave a comment. Thanks!

Written By: Gary on March 15, 2008 One Comment

Alison Sudol was excellent last night. A very small venue at The Shelter, the cancert was sold out but I’d guess there were only about 300 people there, lots of room. No one was back farther than about the equivalent of about 10 rows (no seats, general admission standing only with just a few tables). I’ve seen A Fine Frenzy before and it was a smaller venue so it was great having the small crowd and as a bonus it was a non-smoking show. A Fine Frenzy Alison Sudol March 2008 Detroit

She’s has such a lovely voice and writes her own songs. She’s got this voice that’s kind of a Sarah McLachlan / Tori Amos voice and she’s just incredible. She so beautiful and has this sunning red head, and while it might not be naturally that red, she’s got that anemic porcelain look that so many red heads do, I’m assuming she’s actually a redhead. My camera in my phone takes pretty crappy pictures, but I tried to take a few.

She’s so into when she plays, and every so often she looks at the audience, I feel likes she’s forgotten us and that her manager told her she has to make eye contact every so often and that’s why she looks up. I always think of ‘gracious’ when thinking about her personality, that’s just how I feel when she’s talking to us and that’s how I feel when she talks to you personally. I did get to get to say ‘hi” and get her autograph on a promo poster after the concert. She’s just so nice, even with just a 30-second conversation…

It was a busy night as we had a fund raiser at work at six and the concert doors opened at 6 too (they’re about 25 minutes apart). So we planned to skip the opening act and just see her and depending on the time possibly go back to the auction. When I finally called the concert hall. They said she was going on in 15 minutes!!!!! So I had to find Kelly and Mark get out of there. We made good time, even with having to go a longer route, found free parking right around the corner and when we walked in the music was playing but she hadn’t uttered a word yet!! So it was a great night.

One Cell in the Sea A Fine FrenzyWe never got back to the auction, even though it was only 9:30 when we left, it was just a little too late to head back. So I have no idea what or if I won anything. I probably had my name on about $400 worth of things, but I’m assuming I got over bid on more than a few of them (there was still 30 minutes left of bidding when we took off). I had some train tickets to Chicago, baskets of games, chocolate, theatre tickets, plus I bid on one of my donated items and a few more things. One of the items I donated was for my Cat in the Hat basket which had books/stuff and included a visit from me as the Cat in the Hat (for birthday parties, classroom visits and bachelorette parties), I drove the bidding up to $75 before I left, but if no one bought it I’ve purchased myself. While I love doing it, it’s not worth it to spend a hot summer day outside in the outfit if it’s only giving the school that much money so we’ll see how that went. I also donated a basket of coffee and chocolate covered coffee beans that I picked up the stuff the last time I was in Costa Rica; I’m wondering what that sold for, it’s was only at $17 the last time I looked…

Written By: Gary on January 14, 2008 2 Comments

I know everyone keeps their eyes open for good gas prices and will hit one gas station over another since it’s a few pennies different. I’m sure some people sometimes waste gas by driving a little farther. I know I’m always happy when I can save a few pennies per gallon (I usually fill up on Tuesdays since I’m usually over by some cheap stations). Here’s something to keep in mind, 6 cents more a gallon (if it’s around $3) is only a 2% difference (12 cents more a gallon is only 4%).

Normally, when I eat at McDonald’s I get a number 3 meal (Quarter Pounder – no pickle, no mustard which includes a 20 oz soda and medium fry). At the McDonald’s by work (Plymouth/Beech, Redford, MI) it’s $4.77 (tax included); at the McD’s by my house (Michigan/Greenfield in Dearborn) it’s $5.36 (tax included). That’s a 59 cent difference! That’s 12% more at the more expensive McDonald’s. FYI, both the McD’s I’m referring to have been renovated in the last few years and the cheaper one has a playland.

So keep in mind if your $3 gallon of gas was 12% more at a nearby location it would 36 cents more per gallon! Now it’s not cost effective for me to take the time (and gas) to drive home to save 60 cents, but maybe I should check out the other two nearby McDonald’s to see what they charge. Plus Kelly always refers to the Redoford one as an expensive one (that’s the one I say is cheap).

When they talk about fuel price gouging, maybe we should consider all types of fuel…

Written By: Gary on December 1, 2007 One Comment

So I hear it’s cold back in Michigan! I’m glad I’m getting my money’s worth from this vacation. I had to explain to a local it was freezing and he didn’t get I literally meant freezing until I clarified with “zero degrees Celsius”.

It’s definitely getting cooler on some of the evenings. I was actually chilly down on the beach last night.

I can’t believe it’s Saturday already.

I wandered down to the Ylang Ylang resort to use their internet, they have the best in the area. I”m in a hammock in the dark posting the old stuff and typing this short post. It’s not as comfy as it sounds.

It’s really humid this evening.

I think I’m staying in Montezuma (or at least this peninsula) for the rest of the trip.

Written By: Gary on November 29, 2007 2 Comments

Sunset2007-11-29 18-14-01.Img 7041I don’t even have enough time to cover everything I did today. I mostly ate, slept and wandered all over the place. I also made my plans for tomorrow (which you’ll hear later).

Weather wise, it was an awesome day. Sunny, the humidity was down (or I’m used to it), the sunset was awesome. The weather stunk in Michigan, thus that makes the exchange rate for the money worth even more to me :)

The sunset was awesome, the previous few days were no comparison! This is one of my favorite sunset photos from today.

I’ve also got a second album uploaded (be sure to pick “Set 2″).

Written By: Gary on November 28, 2007 One Comment

So I ran all over today. I went swimming in the pacific and then packed up my backpack and headed north (actually north west I think). Took all sorts of pictures and a little video.

Map Of Costa Rica JacoAte lunch at a nice place on the beach, the name escapes me for now. Some people sat down at a table next to me and it turns out it was a guy from Traverse City, Michigan! What are the odds? He comes down a few times a year to vacation, seems to really like to eat and stay at that place (although they were booked up). I actually started talking to them because they liked the place they stayed at we chatted for a while.

I swam some more and then rented a scooter (moped). It was a bargain at 6 hours for $25 but they closed in 4 hours and I didn’t want to be responsible for it overnight so I gave him $20 for 4 hours. It was a new scooter too, the temporary plates were just a few days old. I buzzed around all over the area, lots of development going on. Riding is nice and cool compared to walking around :)

I’ve decided to stay another day in Jaco. I’ll leave on Friday for somewhere or another…

I can see I got some sun today. Since I was wearing a backpack for a chunk of the day it looks like I was wearing a bikini top. Hopefully, that’ll even out in a few days!

Weather report – It was cloudy on and off all day, but still very bright and very hot (maybe more humid than hot. That was okay except for when it came time for the sun to set, way too many clouds. RIght now as I’m writing this it’s almost cool, but still way humid. High of 82 for tomorrow!

I’ve got some photos up on-line too.

Image courtesy of the CIA World Fact Book.

Written By: Gary on November 28, 2007 2 Comments

BalcondelmareveningI was SO tired yesterday. I think I managed to sleep at least 10 hours, it might have been more, but I’m sure I went to sleep at least that early. I get confused since I wasn’t sure about the time change and all I kept seeing were my Michigan clocks (it is one hour earlier here than the Detroit Michigan area).

I almost missed breakfast but I get down there a few minutes before they were supposed to close. It’s a beautiful morning nice and sunny and I’m heading down to the beach in a few. This is the view from my hotel room yesterday evening before sunset, it’s a little dark but you can see the Pacific ocean is right there and it’s a great location!

Written By: Gary on November 24, 2007 No Comment

So I’ve always liked Skype it’s a great backup for my phone and it’s great for calling home when I’m on vacation. At 2.1 cents per minute, it’s hard to beat the price as long as you’ve got a semi-decent internet connection. Not that I talk a lot when I travel but I always feel like I’m being initiated when trying to figure out long distance calling when in a foreign country. They 2.1 cents is just for calls to the US, other countries have different rates.

Skype - call the world at rock bottom pricesThe goofy* thing is that it’s 2.1 cents to call the US wherever I am, from next door, Egypt or Costa Rica it’s all 2.1 cents! But with the same reasoning it’s 6.4 cents to call Costa Rica, that’s if I’m here in Michigan or down there. Of course if I’m calling someone else’s Skype computer it’s free from anywhere to anywhere.

I just upgraded to the new Mac version, I was 1.1 versions behind. I think the call quality is significantly better and I noticed the touch tones work better, so now I can call my (misplaced) cell phone and listen to my messages.* – It’s not really goofy, it’s what they pay for phone calls at the destination, the Internet probably doesn’t cost Skype any more regardless of where I’m calling from.

Written By: Gary on October 27, 2007 One Comment

The ceiling of the beutiful Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.

If you’d like some other images go to take a look at page 79 at Amazon (you must log in, sorry). And you can see a view of the chandelier from a different angle in 1928. And you can go back and forth around the surrounding pages to see more of the Fox.

I gotta say, my Treo 755p takes some great photos when there is enough light….

Fox Theater‘ uploaded by garylapointe

 

Written By: Gary on October 27, 2007 No Comment

Under the Pink Tori AmosTori Amos is at the Fox Theater in Detroit, Michigan tonight! Row H, a little to the right, just perfect since she generally faces the right more!

There are still decent tickets left…

Written By: Gary on October 13, 2007 No Comment



Touchdown! MSU Homecoming

Originally uploaded by garylapointe

So I drove up to MSU to meet some friends for homecoming and here we are at the game. It’s 7-0 right now…

 


Update: Final Score MSU wins 52-27!!

Written By: Gary on October 13, 2007 No Comment

So I saw this article on ticket scalping (I mean “brokers”) and was thinking that I never see brokers in Michigan like I do in other cities around the country. And it always makes me feel like the brokers are shifty, like you might get bad tickets or something, but then I saw this part of the article

Only five states — Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Rhode Island — limit brokering, according to the National Association of Ticket Brokers. Regulations vary. For example, in Rhode Island, the cap on the amount of the increase is $3, or 10 percent above face value, whichever is greater.

So that makes some sense to me now, you can’t do it in Michigan so if someone is doing it, it is shifty; and it’s legit in other states so it’s not shifty. We’ll, that make more sense to me now, it’s just something outside my normal experience of ticket buying. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m traveling and looking for tickets.

I feel bad for the kids who wanted to see the concert. But I thought $63 was a lot for the tickets before the brokers got them. It’s rare I pay that more than $60 for a concert; it’s only $20 (plus ticketmaster fees) for my concert tomorrow….

Written By: Gary on October 5, 2007 One Comment

So my friend who was in the Train Crash last year tends to have more problems on the train than most people I know. Delays at the start of the trip and at the end so we tease him about it. Today I called him after he left for his parents and the train left about 20 minutes late, no crisis. But, he calls me about an hour later, they’re stopped west of Ann Arbor and they hit someone on the tracks. He didn’t have much in the way of details.

So I just called him for a status and it turns out it was a guy on a bicycle (I’m assuming on the tracks); I guess the conductor said he saw him before they hit him (I’m surprised they gave them that much info). The train was stopped for a while (I’m guess less than 2 hours) while things were checked out; he could see flashlights and cameras going off. The odd thing is they never found the guy, but they found the bicycle.

Update – This mLive Ann Arbor Article says no one was hurt and contradicts a bit of what my friend says that he heard the conductor say. It’s the only article I can find and it was from early last night, so I have no other way to verify info. (This is the right link, their whole site just seems to be having problems right now)

Written By: Gary on September 13, 2007 5 Comments

So the roof on my 7 year old convertible was starting to peel between the back window and the roof (I purchased it about 5 years ago). This seems to be a problem with many of the Sebrings when they start to hit the sever year mark (I should have taken a before picture). I will admit I am rough on the car and drive it through the car wash which probably has more to do with it than the weather although I’m sure Michigan ice buildup has something to do with it too.

I starting asking people who had Sebrings from the 7+ years range and most of the people I asked had replaced the whole roof since that was what was recommended to them!!! I figured, what do I have to lose if I muck it up if replacing it is the only option? After a while of googling around and asking at car places, I finally purchased some Permatex Black Super Weatherstrip Adhesive which was suggested by my oil change guys (about $5 for a tube). It’s great, I’ve survived many major storms, done a road trip or two and gotten the car washed a few times over the last month since I’ve done it and it still looks great. It could be better but that’s my fault, I’m not so good at that stuff, if I had taken better care I’m sure it would be good as knew. If it starts to peel again I’ll just squirt in some more glue, even if it gets messy it’s better than how it looks when peeling.In case you’re interested in my process – I cleaned the window and the cloth part that I needed to affix to the window (the latter still had some some kind of plastic strip which I assume was attached with some kind of heat welding). I then just did a tiny bit of sanding on both parts (the plastic and the glass) to make sure the glue would had something to stick to. I applied a thin strip to both the glass and the plastic keeping them seperate and letting them dry for about 30-45 minutes (I think). Then I applied another thin strip to where the glass already had glue on it and stuck the two sides together. I then taped it down with vertical strips of gaffer tape (think duct tape but more easily removable) and let it sit for 24 hours. I probably could have driven an hour later but I’d wanted to put the roof down (and I wasn’t willing to do that) so I just walked, rode my bike and made someone else drive when I went out that night.

There’s also 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive, but it’s more $$ and Permatex was specifically recommended to me.

Written By: Gary on September 6, 2007 2 Comments

So today my Mom turned sixty today. She thought I was taking her our to dinner tonight but when we got to the restaurant she was surprised that I had about thirty people there! I couldn’t mention it before today, because I don’t know if she reads my blog at all, I know she knows it exists so I didn’t want to take the chance. I made a lot of phone calls, my aunt called a bunch and my cousin took care of the cake so it was all pretty easy to set up.

The people who were got there first put up all the balloons I had dropped off and put some streamers around the outside railing. We had the timing down perfectly, I think just about everyone was already there when we got there. And they were all waiting outside in front so she saw them as we pulled up. It took her a minute to process all the people that were there…

We had lots of family and friends show up. Some drove a ways to get here so that’s always nice. Lots of cards with gift cards and lottery tickets. She’ll get to do some shopping this weekend. A few showed up later and a few had to leave early and it was a great time. She really had a perfect day and she just called me up again a few minutes ago to say that and to thank me again.

My Mom is awesome, she did a pretty great job bringing me up mostly on her own. She had a lot of help from her parents the first six years and baby-sitting help from the other relatives but most of the rest of the time it was her and she did a great job making everything work out.In case you were wondering, we went to Woody’s in Royal Oak, Michigan (they’ve got two inside floors and a large rooftop area). Very casual place great service, everyone seemed happy with the food and drinks. Elizabeth was our beautiful (and efficient) waitress and did a great job. Personally, I was happy with the bill, I thought it was a good value before I even realized they had already tacked the tip on. I’d definitely recommend there for a gathering in the future.

On a completely unrelated note, while I was at the party someone bid last minute on eBay for the bike rack that I was trying to get; it was almost identical to the one that was damaged last week (and barely used). I had just upped the maximum today in case anyone else had bid on it (no one had yet). They must have used some software to bid on it (or they were sitting right there) since it was bid at the last minute :(

Written By: Gary on August 30, 2007 One Comment

This is really more about health costs, not my problems. As far as I know I’m fine, but they’ve been trying to diagnose a minor problem (although I guess I’m not qualified to say it’s “minor”) so don’t worry…

This is the story – I’m finally getting copies of the insurance bills for a big test (had to be unconscious for the test, I think that’s the only reason it was in the hospital) and so far they total up to about $3,300! and I haven’t paid a penny. Please note that this doesn’t even include my initial visit to my doctor and the two visits to the specialist (which all included tests) and each of the visits each included a prescription or two (I’ve probably paid less than $75 for all that). That’s a lot of money, and if I didn’t have insurance I’d be happy to spend money on getting better but so far I don’t think anything has helped (maybe I’m a little better since this started in late April but I might just be getting used to it or maybe I’d just be getting better anyways) and I don’t think the tests dound anything. I’m sure the costs would be a bit less if I were paying for it out my own pocket, but still…I can’t imagine not having great insurance let alone not having insurance at all. We’ve got great unions in Michigan and probably even more so in the Detroit area so that’s always benefitted me (medical and dental benefits). I just can’t imagine not having it. I’ve always been very fortunate with having great health insurance and they very few times I haven’t, I’ve not had to really use it.

I don’t know the solution for health in this country but I think we need to concentrate more of the USofA resources on health. People should be able to count on good health, education and food; I think these items qualify for the whole “life, liberty and happiness” thing (I’ll clarify these points if I ever run for office).

Speaking of insurance for everyone, in Michigan we’ve got a pretty decent Children’s Health Insurance program called MiChild for only $10 a month for your child. You have to be a low income family and I’m not sure what the requirement/formula is but I thought I’d mention it since I was mentioning insurance (I guess it’s only good if you actually qualify). If you have kids and no insurance in Michigan please check out this program and apply for your kids. They have a dental program that can be signed up for too.

I guess I really don’t have much else to say other than I’m very fortunate in this case and very thankful for great insurance (and thankful it’s not a bigger problem). It’s not that I want them to find something wrong, it’s just that if there is something wrong I want them to find it sooner.

I haven’t had the follow-up yet (in a few weeks), so I don’t have a diagnosis yet, but I’m thinking if they found something from the tests or the biopsy they’d have gotten me in sooner (or called me). So I’m assuming they’ll be no diagnosis, I’m guessing they’ll try more drugs and if that doesn’t help, maybe another similar test (yuk!) later…

Disclaimer: I’m sure at some point in the future insurance companies will be googling for pre-existing conditions on the ‘net. So I almost didn’t write this post. For the future googlers, to set the record straight, I confess that my problem is there is a banana growing out of my forehead, so if you are looking to insure me in the future and there is no banana that means I’m cured(!) and there is nothing preexisting…

Written By: Gary on August 25, 2007 No Comment

So I made it to Chicago, even with the traffic reports not helping me any (actually I had two ways to go and choose the one that I hadn’t heard any numbers mentioned so maybe it did help). The weather is awesome right now and looks like it will be great.

SRO_ChicagoOn the way in, I was starving and I headed straight for Standing Room Only to get some ribs. It was the last meal I had the last time in Chicago and they were delicious, so I made it my first meal this time around. Google maps on my phone helped me get here, I sure wish it had GPS to figure out where I am so that when I want directions and I’m don’t have an exact location that it could figure it out for me!

I think I might take a short walk, and then go check in. I’ve got to get this car into the hotel parking so I don’t need to deal with driving/parking any more today, then I’ll see if I can hook up early with some of the people I’m meeting later on. I had planned on being in town hours and hours ago but yesterdays delays resulted in my not getting enough sleep and flooding delays encouraged me to do some shopping in Michigan City before getting too close to Chicago in hopes flooding would die down..

Written By: Gary on August 24, 2007 2 Comments

So I’m on my way to Chicago to see a variety of bloggers (to see who, follow the updates over the next few days) and I stop in Kalamazoo (Michigan) for some gas. After I get off the highway, I’m driving along and the truck in front of me swerves and I see a tire hurtling towards my car. I swerved but it managed to clip my bicycle (which is on the back of the car) and and rip it off the rack and drag the bike for a little bit before I’m able to pull over.

It does turn out there is a Jeep minus a tire that I didn’t notice during my swerving, turns out it was out on a test drive from an auto repair shop. They said to bring them the bill for fixing the bicycle and the rack. They sent me to a local bike repair shop and the end result is they’ve done $90 in repairs and then decided that I should get the bike replaced and it’s 3 hours later and I’m still in K’zoo. Everyone is closed now, and the repair shop is closed for the weekend and I didn’t think to get a home number.

Arrgh!!!! Why do accidents happen on the way to places and not on the way home? Of course it could have been way worse but the point was I’m bringing the bike to Chicago for the purpose of biking. I would have taken the train otherwise, I love the train, the station is a mile from my house and I don’t have to worry about traffic or paying for parking, etc.

On a side note I’m in Bennigan’s right now, who has free WiFi (always a bonus) which I’ll keep in mind for the future, eating their delicious Guinness Glazed Chicken Stir Fry. Yummy food and the ability to access the ‘net always helps!

This was supposed to be a nice relaxing weekend and now I’m pretty cranky and stressed now. And did I mention that that I’m three hours behind schedule now? I’ll be better tomorrow, I’m just venting for now and telling you about the exciting part of my day. Now to decide how much further I should drive tonight…

Written By: Gary on August 24, 2007 No Comment

So I spent some time on Drummond Island (in Michigan just off the east side of the upper peninsula) a few weeks ago. You can see a better perspective of where this is by checking out this map. Note the solid line that zig-zags around it, that’s the Canadian international border. You have to take a ferry (from DeTour on the Michigan Upper Peninsula side) to get over to the island, it was great both times, didn’t have to wait for the next ferry (only once and hour) although we just made the ferry and I had to part at a 45 degree angle to fit! But at least I didn’t have to wait an extra hour. Since there is only one ferry you only have to pay to go there, there ride back is free.

Drummond-DetourI’ve been there before but only when it was very cold. It was beautiful weather the whole time, it was great to bicycle around. The stars were so clear and I had an excellent view of the Perseids Meteor shower.

The internet access was lacking though. They offer hi-speed free wireless at the chamber of commerce but the DSL was down for the whole weekend, , I was starting to get the shakes!!! FYI, the Chamber of Commerce is kind of the Visitor’s Center and is located at “The Four Corners”, everyone knows that’s the intersection with both the blinking red-light and a stop sign :)NorthwoodbarPlus, while I was there I got to hang out at the Northwood which is where everyone hangs out in all the Jill Traynor Mystery books. I had actually started re-reading New America (Book 4) while I was on the island.

So it’s a very relaxed atmosphere there, which is good as long as you want to relax. That’s all that I wanted to do so it was perfect, well, except for the internet being broken that was a problem for me (they did fix it sometime the morning I left) but not so much for most people….

Written By: Gary on February 17, 2007 No Comment

SilentvioletcdI’m heading on over to the Magic Bag in Ferndale (Michigan) to see Silent Violet tonight. It’s a CD release party and Ben Cyllus and Daniel Zott are also playing this evening too (I don’t think I’ve ever heard them before).

So I figure I’ll see a few new bands and buy a new CD and get it autographed!

Written By: Gary on November 18, 2006 One Comment

So I’m eating at the new Olga’s in Allen Park (Michigan) and I just went to plug my laptop into my cell phone to check my e-mail and the WiFi network “Olgas” popped up! And voila, free WiFi! And to think I thought I was afraid I going to get a crappy signal in the not-near-the-window spot where they put me.

FYI, it’s totally dead here and I got a great parking spot. Is there a football game or something on?!?

Written By: Gary on November 17, 2006 No Comment

Millionaire raffleSo Michigan is doing a special lottery. Only 500,000 tickets will be sold! Five $1,000,000 winners will be drawn, Ten $100,000 winners and Seven-hundred-fifty $1,000 winners will be drawn. You have 1 in 100,000 of being a millionaire and 1 in 645 of winning at least $1,000. Half the tickets are sold already!

“The odds of being hit by a car on the way to buy your lottery ticket are higher than that of actually winning”

I think I heard Robin WIlliams say that, but I can’t be sure.

What I don’t like is the tickets are $20. That’s a lot of money for some families. I really wish they’d retool the lottery to have more winners. If the lottery prize is over some huge amount, let’s say 25 million, if the big prize doesn’t win they should keep drawing until they hit a $1,000,000. How cool would that be? A million dollar winner each drawing instead of no winner for weeks and it gets up to some outrageous amount. They should also draw a few more winning numbers and give away a few $50,000 and several hundred $1,000 winners, that would be awesome. It would barely affect the huge prizes and think of all the happy winners.


I was looking for something for the gift exchange at work, usually it’s goofy gifts or a gift certificate, this is something a little different…

Of course I’ll get one for me too!

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 September 26, 2006 One Comment

So it was a great day outside today. I’m up visiting relatives in Lake Leelanau and the weather has been mediocre but today it was just great! I went bike riding with my uncle on some path and then I ran around and went to a winery (Leelanau Cellars) I like.

Then I drove around a bit and got some lunch and ice cream. And then I just drove around and enjoyed the scenery with the top down. It’s been semi-rainy and mostly cloudy since Friday. So it’s been a pleasure today!


Actually, I don’t know any thing about wine (or wineries) and never go but when I find a wine I like I write it down. On my last visit here we stopped by a Leelanau Cellars winery and when we got there I looked at my list it turns out oen of the few names I had written down was actually from that winery. So I liked the bottles from last year so I went back. Unfortunately the one I liked I forgot to write the name down :(

Written By: Gary on September 26, 2006 No Comment

So I’m up north in Michigan at Lake Leelanau / Sutton’s Bay (top left of the Lower Peninsula). I’ve been around here and Traverse city the past few days. I’ve noticed the smaller towns are more often than not to have WiFi you pay for. Lot of free places in Traverse City but I can connect my cell phone to my PowerBook and get pretty good speed (EVDO), but it the rest of the area I’m roaming. I noticed a few were inexpensive to pay for, but I think they’d be better if you were in that town for a week (or the summer) and it’d be great deal. I did notice one of the networks gave me five free minutes, which was enough to sync my mail and check a few web pages.

The big bonus is my Aunt’s brother lives less than a mile away and I can stop by his driveway to sync my mail (getting new mail and sending mail that I composed off-line) and post any blog entries I’ve written off-line with my blog client (Ecto). It’s definitely not hi-tech but I’m surviving….

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Written By: Gary on August 30, 2006 One Comment

So on my quest to save money today I stopped by two insurance agencies to check on my auto and home insurance. I currently have State Farm and they’ve always been good to me, but it was time to check. I was heading over to All State (Allstate?) which a few people have given me recommendations lately but I passed a MEEMIC (supposedly Michigan Educator’s discount insurance) so I popped in, a bit less for the home but a bit more for the car, not worth switching and loosing the multi item discount. So went to Allstate and they wanted a huge amount more for the home (two-and-a-half times more) and a bit more for the car (less than MEEMIC). Allstate said it was my zip code, a portion of it is in Detroit (some of it is a not so great area).

Now the waitress at the bar just told me to try AIG…

Written By: Gary on August 17, 2006 No Comment

So I get the newspaper on the weekend. Not ’cause I want the news, but because I want the ads on the weekend (and maybe for the entertainment). They’re always trying to get me to get the rest of the week too. It’s always tempting, why you ask? Because they offer me the rest of the week for FREE! This offer appears to be for the Detroit News or Detroit Free Press. The last time them mailed me a letter for an offer my buddy dropped from weekly to weekends and called in and they switched him back to weeks for the same price (so I guess you can too). This time they sent me a web sitehttp://newspaperupgrade.com/ (contest code CW) that appears to let you upgrade your weekend account to 7 day for the same price (they say it’s just for a year, but I know they’ve been offering it to me for years). They must really make money from the advertisers to just give it away….


YMMV depending on where you live in the state….

Written By: Gary on July 31, 2006 5 Comments

(Pick the word that is familiar to you or add one of your own)
1. Soda, Soft Drink, Soda Pop or Tonic – Soda
2. Hoagie, Sub, Po Boy, Grinder – Sub
3. Goobers or Peanuts – Peanuts (Goobers are chocolate covered peanuts around here)
4. Candlepin or Ten-Pin bowling – Just Bowling
5. Dungarees or Blue Jeans – Blue Jeans (or just Jeans)


6. Shopping Carriage, Shopping Cart, Buggy – (Shopping) Cart
7. Frappe or Milkshake – (Milk)Shake
8. Jimmies or Sprinkles – Sprinkles
9. Hot Dog or Frankfurter – Hot Dog
10. Relative or Kin – Relative
11. Soda Crackers or Saltines – Saltines
12. Rubbish, Trash or Garbage. – Garbage (sometimes trash)
13. Rotary or Traffic Circle – Traffic Circle (but we don’t really have them here so people don’t call them anything)
14. Barbeque, Grill Out or Cookout – Barbeque/Grill
15. Funnel Cake or Fried Dough – Funnel Cake (Elephant Ears are the same, right?)
16. Flapjacks, pancakes, or griddlecakes – Pancakes
17. Bedroom Suite or Bedroom Suit – Bedroom Suite
18. Bundles, Sacks or Bags (of Groceries) – Bag
19. Front Entrance or Front Stoop – Front Door (Porch)
20. Frying Pan or Skillet – Frying Pan

From Miss. Elaine.

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Written By: Gary on July 5, 2006 No Comment

So my Mom called because she heard (from Chuck) that you could see both the ISS and the Space Shuttle go by tonight and she knows I like stuff like that. So I dug around and found this which tells you when you can see cool stuff like that. Sure enough, I saw the ISS exactly when they said although the shuttle was a minute late. The times do vary slightly from city to city so be sure to look up your town. The shuttle I’m slightly less confident on due to delays, but it was definitely something. Tomorrow, I see they are passing at the exact same time, I’m assuming they’ll be docked! I guess I’ll be able to tell via this tracker tomorrow.

And you can find your city too! Be sure to check out SkyWatch after you look up your city (it’s more detailed and complicated so do the simple one first).

Written By: Gary on June 24, 2006 No Comment



Williams Hall, MSU

Originally uploaded by garylapointe.

So I’m back in East Lansing qgain, wandering around Michigan State University.

This was my old dorm when I was an undergraduate. I loved it here, it was a really small building (about 250 people) and it was a lot more comfortable than those big buildings.

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