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me + myself + i

Stuff about me, myself and I. If this isn’t enough you can find out more ’stuff’ in the meme category! If it’s in the me category, I generally do not put it in the meme category (except for when I do).

Written By: Gary on March 13, 2013 One Comment

Seriously, Google is retiring Google Reader? I feel like they’re trying to get into every corner of the internet and they’re giving this up? I thought they had the market on this, maybe I wrong and there is something better. But many many feed readers (clients) support this program and they’re giving it up…

Am I expressing my disbelief enough? I’m not even sure what I’d chose as an alternative. I think bloglines is still around (wasn’t it supposed to go away?) but do they support third party APIs? I need to do it on the desktop via the web (and/or a client) and I need to also be able to do it on my iPhone and iPad while keeping all the feeds synced so that I’m not rereading them.

retire-reader.png

I gotta tell you, personally, I think this is going to affect me more than if I heard that gmail would be shut down. I can get and set up and support other e-mail accounts, there are standards there, I don’t think there are standards for syncing feeds and unread feed data, is there? It’s not the only service Google is shutting down.

That said: I’m clearly looking for suggestions for a feed reader that I can use on the web and have client software (apps) on my iDevices that will keep them all in sync. To be clear, I need the feeds themselves to sync but then items I read need to be marked as read on all devices. And I’ve got to figure it out before July 1, 2013!

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Written By: Gary on March 7, 2013 2 Comments

Did I ever tell you I used to be a big comic collector? I had at least 12,000+ items (maybe 15,000): comics, sci-fi stuff, movie posters, movie programs, paperback books and more. Those guys in Big Bang Theory hanging out in the comic shop, that’s pretty much how it used to be; on Wednesday’s the new comics were out and on the weekend we might pedal our bicycles to one of the comic shops nearby. But I haven’t really been active in collecting in over 20 years. For a while I still picked up a few titles and the last dozen years I haven’t really read much at all; some Neil Gaiman stuff, a few recommendations (Invincible, Alias), and whatever they had on free comic day.

But there was a lot of talk on-line as the Amazing Spider-Man was reaching issue 700, so I started reading it. Be warned, huge spoilers follow: The short version is that Doctor Octopus was dying and he managed to swap his mind for Peter Parker’s mind (you do know that PP is the secret identity of Spider-Man?) but here’s the problem: before Peter could figure out how to swap back minds, Doc Ock’s body dies and Otto Octavious’s mind is in Peter Parker’s body (in Spider-man’s body). He is the new Spider-man and no one knows it!

I thought this was the dumbest thing ever, it’s not going to be any good and you know in a year or two somehow Peter is going to come back (somehow). This transitioned into a new title, the egotistically titled “Superior Spider-Man“, where Doc Ock decides he’ll “do it”, he would become a superior Spider-Man. I have to tell you, my doubts were banished and I thought this was a excellent story. Actually, I thought it was excellent until they revealed at the very end that Peter’s mind was still in there and I thought “argh! this was great and they ruined it”, but I was wrong again. It’s been five issues now and it has been excellent. Think of all the things you see in a movie (or a comic book) and think “why are they doing that?” and “why don’t they…?”, well this new Spider-Man does many things differently than the old Spider-Man and it’s working.

You need to remember, Spider-Man / Peter Parker is the “With great power comes great responsibility” guy (actually his Uncle Ben taught him that, the hard way), he takes this seriously and has always been “amazing”. But here’s the thing, Doc Ock is not only a “Superior” Spider-Man, in many ways he’s a being a better Peter Parker too. He’s not perfect, but he’s working pretty good on making his Peter a better Peter. It’s interesting the way that he does things, he’s as smart as Peter (maybe more) but it’s really the way he thinks (and that he has to pretend to be Peter) that gives him different insight into the roll.

At some point, I believe, Peter Parker will be back and it will make for some interesting adjustments for him. I don’t think I’m going to say much more about the current story, maybe you’ll want to read it yourself. (If you can’t find the issues at your local shop or find some kid to lend them to you, you can pre-order it from Amazon in The Superior Spider-Man, (Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy) trade paperback.)

The comments of this post are allowed to have spoilers (even more than I’ve revealed above) so if you feel like commenting…

Written By: Gary on May 9, 2012 No Comment

I love learning. I also like talking (sharing) about things that (I hope) other people are interested in. Today xkcd talks about how many people each day learn something that everybody knows.

Ten Thousand

At their site, if you hover your mouse over the comic you always get an extra thought/punchline/jab. Today’s extra was “Saying 'what kind of an idiot doesn't know about the Yellowstone supervolcano' is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.”

xkcd is an excellent comic that talks about life, love, tech, math, science and more. Sometimes it’s just a few frames, sometimes it’s dozens. Sometimes it’s really tall and you have to scroll and once in a while it’s got a little bit of color in it. Sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s serious.

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Written By: Gary on December 7, 2011 One Comment

It’ll probably be a while before my car hits another milestone. 123456 miles Probably 150,000 miles (if I’m lucky!). Actually, I take good care of my car, so it should last a bit longer.

But ss the title says, it’s the simple things, like hitting a milestone on my car mileage that makes me happy. I’ve got all my gadgets and “stuff” that I use in life, but it’s still these kinds of simple things that still put a smile on my face…

P.S. It’d have been more fun if my car had an old analog odometer that actually rolled over!!!

Written By: Gary on October 18, 2011 No Comment

It’s back. What more can I really say other than that? I was hungry, didn’t know what I wanted and then I saw a sign…

mcrib-is-back-2011.jpg

Do I need to say that this is what I ended up getting for dinner??

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Written By: Gary on August 12, 2011 3 Comments

There are many episodes that’s brought a tear or two while watching, I say “are” because re-watching the episode gives the same response. The biggest was probably Vincent and the Doctor, a very emotional episode with The Doctor and Amy dealing with Vincent Van Gogh and some of his issues and fears. Just thinking about it gives me chills… Spoilers follow!

The scene is at the end, with The Doctor is talking to a Museum curator with Vincent listening in:

vincent-museum.gifThe Doctor: I just wondered, between you and me, in 100 words where do you think Van Gogh rates in the history of art?

Dr Black (museum guy): Well… big question, but to me, van Gogh is the finest painter of them all; certainly the most popular great painter of all time: The most beloved; his command of colour; the most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world… no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind that strange wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world’s greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived.

doomsday-cry.pngA few other good tear-jerkers:

  • Turn Left – A few different parts, this is my favorite episode.
  • A Good Man Goes to War – When River Song makes the big reveal to Amy and Rory (every time, and I think I’ve watched this one 17 times now).
  • Doomsday – When Rose and The Doctor get separated forever.
  • Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead - Not the first few times I watched it, but now that things from the future (River’s past) have been revealed it has a lot more significance.
  • The End of Time – David Tennant’s last episode, lots of goodbyes at the end.

But none of those (except the VIncent episode) can really be watched unless you’re a fan already. I’m sure there are more, but these are some of the episodes that I’ve watched a lot, so I’ll limit it to this list.

This is from the 10 day Doctor Who Challenge, which I can’t reference because I have no idea where I found it. I’ve found other 10 day DW and 30 Days, but while similar questions are there, none are identical.

Written By: Gary on August 3, 2011 One Comment

Did you have braces growing up (or as an adult)? Did you hate them or tolerate them? Were you happy with the results when they were taken off?

I had some kind of braces as a kid, but I know we never completed the process but I don’t recall why? (I didn’t care? Money? It helped some?) But as I got older my top front teeth still stuck out a little and I ended up with my front bottom teeth jammed in together, imagine five teeth jammed in the space of four with a few bing sideways to make them fit. It really didn’t look as bad as it sounds.

When I was in my late 20s (or early 30s) I decided to get them worked on again. Braces image Image courtesy of WikipediaWhy I thought about this I have no idea. I had good dental insurance, maybe the dentist suggested it a few times. I’m not really that vain, so I’m mot sure of the motivator, and like I said the bad part wasn’t really that noticeable; I don’t have a toothy smile and the overbite covered the worst of it. But once I started there was no going back…

They pulled out one of the lower front teeth and put on some braces to shift the others around, I’d have to go in every so ofter to get them to tighten them to shift the teeth even more. The first day I absolutely hated them, I remember being in tears, my mouth and lips ware all scraped up, it was stressful and painful. Plus, I was really hungry!. I remember my girlfriend Jennifer making me some soup that night (I’m not 100% sure she was still my girlfriend at the time or not, but she still took care of me), I really don’t recall a whole lot of kissing during the time I had them on. I’d have gone back the next day and had them removed if it wasn’t for the fact I”d had a tooth pulled and there would be a huge gap.

The Braces Cookbook Pamela Waterman, Brenda WatermanIt made me talk funny at first but that got eventually got bette. But shortly after getting them I ended up having a presentation at “The Governor’s Education Summit” (or something like that), I put all sorts of wax on them and some kind of numbing medicine and just talked and ignored the pain (everything was scraping my lips and cheeks). I did fine, but I certainly paid for it for the next few days with extra scrapes and swelling inside my mouth.

Not only did I have to keep going in for adjustments, I kept chewing some of the parts off the braces, so I was constantly going in for repairs. Eventually it just got to the point where I’d call and just say I was on my way and they’d squeeze me in. I really don’t recall how long I had them on, less than a year I think.

Once I got them off, they looked perfect. The bottom eeth had all moved over and had filled in the spot where the tooth had been removed was. But then a day or two later I could see the teeth were shifting around, so I panicked and went back in and he put in a permanent wire retainer across the back of my front teeth. He also said something like “I was afraid something like that might happen” and I was pretty upset about that, why didn’t he just put the wire in the first place?!? The teeth had already shifted and the damage was done, they looked okay, but they had looked perfect. I was pretty annoyed about this.

So the other part is: Since my bottom teeth weren’t jumbled around, it gave my top teeth some room to move around and they look way better too. This was unexpected and they started looking great too. I mentioned it at the dentist and they disagreed with me, that doing my bottom teeth did not fix my top teeth. I had them go did my original molds out of storage (wherever they keep them) and one they saw how much my top teeth had shifted, pretty much all the staff came into my room to see the change.

Speaking of kissing: the retainer is still in there. No one has ever noticed it (or at least they haven’t asked) and when I’ve mentioned something about it, most people don’t even believe I have something in there. And I’ve never had any problems with it, I thought it’d pop off at some time. I’m not even sure if it’s necessary anymore. It’s still a hassle to floss around, but otherwise not too much of an annoyance.

This is from this week’s Friday Question.

Written By: Gary on July 4, 2011 3 Comments

I love fireworks! I hate waiting for them, but I love the show itself! This is a sequence I animated from the show that I saw last night.

If you’re viewing it on a devices that won’t show the animation, it’s probably really boring looking!

This is another U.S. holiday that I’m sure more people forget what it’s for. It’s not the 4th of July, it’s Independence Day, it’s for celebrating our freedom!

Written By: Gary on May 8, 2011 No Comment

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom! My Mom still worries about me and does all that other Mom stuff that she’s supposed to do and I love her for it!

mom-costa-rica-IMG-8107.jpgAs you can see, I did get my Mom to Costa Rica this year! She’s at the top of a overlook in Montezuma. We must have drove and parked nearby because I know I didn’t make her walk up that steep hill to get there (we had walked enough as it was!).

We had problems with flights at both ends of the trip (and a piece of my luggage was lost, I’m so thankful it wasn’t one of hers!).

And to all you other Mom’s out there, just do your best and don’t worry too (so) much. As kids we’re pretty durable and can weather much more than you think we can; and I’m talking both physically, mentally and emotionally. So just be a Mom and love us, model appropriate behavior and odds are that we’ll (mostly) turn out okay!

I’ve got to go! It’s time to get over to Mom’s and make our yearly Bahama Breeze pilgrimage!

Written By: Gary on April 12, 2011 No Comment

Here I sit outside my bed,
Lots of pressure in my head.
SinuCleanse Nasal Wash System, Plastic Neti Pot With Salt Packets SinuCleanse
I really don’t feel so hot,
mostly due to all the snot.

It makes my head hurt so I can’t sleep,
It hurts my head so bad I want to weep.

I use my little netty pot,
But I’m so full, it’s just stops.

SItting up feels the best,
But that doesn’t help me get any rest.
NeilMed Sinus Rinse Regular Kit 1 kit NeilMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc

I use my high pressure netty pot,
and while it works better, I hurt a lot.

I’ve been up to long, that I feel dead,
Now it’s time to try to go back to bed.

FYI, it’s the one shaped like a bottle that I feel is the higher pressure neti-pot, I usually use the plastic gravy boat version.. While I get no payment for mentioning the neti-pots, I am a firm believer and member of the neti-pot cult of South-Eastern Michigan. It’s just my faith isn’t holding up during this time of crisis. Actually, these are Amazon Affiliate links so I do get a commission if you click and buy anything. But that’s really not what prompted my prose at this time of day.

Written By: Gary on April 2, 2011 One Comment

If you don’t know by now, I’m a Macintosh fan as in: “Hi! My name is Gary and I’m a Mac User…”. This is from last week’s Friday Question, but I never got around to it.

I was a PC user before I used Mac and when I say PC, I mean DOS user, not Windows. Actually, I used Windows before that, but I wasn’t really a fan at the time, I think the last machine that I had was a laptop with floppy (no hard drive) that I had a crazy way set up to boot it and put some of Microsoft Works in the RAM drive and then I stuck in disc 2 with the dictionary and room for some documents (or something like that).

Apple MacBook MC516LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop Apple ComputerBut where I was doing work they were Macintosh so I was always converting my word processing files back and forth and couldn’t do any of the HyperCard* stuff at home, so I picked up a used MacPlus with an external hard drive and never looked back. That was probably nineteen years ago..?

Since then, I’ve owned (or work owned) a Mac Classic, IIcx, PowerPC 610, PowerPC 6100, MacBook Duo 280c (with a docking station at home and work) that I eventually converted to a Duo 2300, a monster PowerBook G3 (it was more lugable than a laptop), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first with a DVD burner), iBook 12 inch, PowerBook 12 inch (2 different models), MacBook 13.3 inch and for a few weeks a MacBook Air 10.6 inch (I returned it since it didn’t have enough storage for me (awesome machine though). I could ramble more about models and printers and stuff, but I did this in a Happy Twenty-Fifth Birthday Macintosh! post a few years ago.

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. I’ve never been one to jump on their new things, but I do grow to love them. I waited until the color iPod before getting one. I waited until the third iPhone (the 3Gs) before getting one (and that was after specifically getting a iPod Touch to try out for a few months first since I didn’t really want to switch to AT&T at the time).

My MacBook is my main computer, my desktop is a little old, I think it’s ten years old and while it’s gotten a few processor upgrades, memory and hard drives, it’s more convenient to have everything on my laptop.

But my MacBook is getting a little old too, it’s just over three years old and I’m looking around. I’ll probably upgrade my MacBook this summer, if they come out with a new one (or else I’ll get the MacBook Pro)_, but I’m hoping they’ll do a new education promo with a free iPod touch again.

*Hypercard was one of the most amazing pieces of development software ever! You could learn how to do some pretty incredible programs without learning too much coding.

Written By: Gary on February 28, 2011 One Comment

So I had to show my Mom how to operate my digital SLR for this one. It came out pretty good. This is at the lower falls in Montezuma, Costa Rica.

480-1-AnimationGIF.gif

I thought the colors stayed pretty good for converting this to an animated GIF, if you click the image for a larger version it looks pretty good too. I used GIFQuickMaker, which I got from the MacApp store.

Yeah, I know I’ve shown you high-def video of a similar thing not so long ago (but I’m in Montezuma again, so I’m doing it again), but I’m playing with the photos and animation software so you get it again.

Written By: Gary on February 17, 2011 2 Comments

I got some other traveler I’d been talking with to use my camera to video me jumping in at the upper falls in Montezuma. I’m guessing this is 30 feet(?) up, I worked out the people behind me are about 40 feet up (did some GPS based calculations a few trips ago), so maybe a little higher than 30 feet.


Watch in HD.

The water really hurt my face when I went in the water. I guess my head is tilted a little forward but I’ve jumped from the higher spot (where you can see the people) a few times before and never noticed anything. But then I can see it took me longer to come up than from the higher spot (which makes no sense either).

He tracked me pretty good for a fast as I was going and he’s way zoomed in, here’s some other video of the upper waterfalls in Montezuma.

upper-falls-IMG_1630.JPG
This isn’t the most exciting photo of the upper falls

but you can see the whole falls and the ledge where I jumped from

(the ledge on the right that looks even with the top of waterfall).

Someone else in his group got a picture of me with the SLR, but she never e-mailed it to me, which isn’t a huge surprise, but since I actually got him jumping in on hidef video I thought they’d at least e-mail for that…

Written By: Gary on February 4, 2011 3 Comments

This week’s Friday Question is Which household chores do you like and which do you try to avoid?

Hmmm… Laundry is easy for me, I’ve got my own washer and dryer right off the living room and dining room. So I’m always doing laundry and it’s not much of a nuisance at all. Living alone I’m able to just leave things hanging up down there and wear them again (then start the process again). Every so often I take everything back upstairs and intentionally wear different stuff so people think I have more than the same seven outfits over and over again.

I don’t like cleaning the shower, so I’ve got one of those Scrubbing Bubbles automatic spray machines. It’s not perfect but it definitely helps keep the shower cleaner longer. Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower CleanerStarter Kit Scrubbing BubblesThe refills add up, but it really works and I just noticed the refills at Amazon (with subscribe and save) isn’t priced too bad, considering they’ll deliver to my door (I’ll have to double-check that with store prices); I’ve never done the “subscribe and save” there before (have you?).

And I don’t mind running the dishwasher either, I usually run it twice a week. I’m usually out of frying pans before it’s full. And I can multitask and empty it while cooking or something.

Vacuuming, dusting and scrubbing my floors are my least favorite. I don’t like stirring up the dust, it seems counter-productive, and washing the floors is … Well, who really likes to do that?!?

I’ve got a condo, so shoveling isn’t much of a big deal, just getting a few nooks and crannies that they couldn’t get to around the garage.

What are your likes and dislikes with cleaning?

Written By: Gary on February 2, 2011 No Comment

So I’ll blog about things I get at restaurants or check-in via FaceBook, Foursquare and/or Twitter so some people think I never eat at home. I’ll start with mentioning that I’m a grazer, I eat all day long.

bacon egg cantaloupe orange juice

I always start off with cooking breakfast at home (pictured) although I usually get the cantaloupe that’s orange in the middle. If it’s a workday it’s generally fast food for lunch (Wendy’s or McDonald’s is the closest) but in the summer I’ll usually pack a lunch and eat at a nearby park. But also during the day I’ll eat a banana, trail mix, chips or a small sandwich (most days, probably 2); sometimes that’ll be a candy bar less healthy or a salad (the one I got with my Wendy’s combo but didn’t eat). I love my Sausage McMuffins, so if I’m running early for work or run an errand for work near McDonald’s, I’ll get one of those (that’s in addition to the breakfast I already had). For dinner, sometimes it’s eating out (not fast food) or cooking dinner (steak or pork chops on the grill) or microwaving something. Also, there’s a bowl of cereal after work or in the evening many days.

FYI, feel free to friend me on any of the above social networks. I’m probably most active on Facebook, but I post stuff to the others also…

Written By: Gary on January 17, 2011 3 Comments

This week’s question is What do you use for your alarm clock – an actual alarm clock or your phone (or maybe the sun, your kids, your pet, other)?

Sleep is a complicated issue for me, I like a fan or a white noise machine (fortunately there’s a White Noise app* for that) to help me sleep. whitenoise-app.pngGenerally I sleep with a fan on, that automatically turns itself off about 10 minutes before the alarm clock; if I got enough sleep, sometimes that’s enough to wake me up. Then a few minutes later a bright “natural” light turns itself on. Then the alarms start going off, the alarm clock (with the traffic report), then the phone alarm, then the alarm clock CD player (currently an upbeat Avril song is playing), then the phone again. And my friend Mark will call sometimes to make sure I’m up…

There is (generally) a new Friday Question every Friday.

* The White Noise iPhone app I mentioned is great, it’s got lots of sounds (I like the white noise) and timers (countdown, alarms, etc.). It’s quite possibly the best $2 I’ve spent in the app store.

Written By: Gary on January 11, 2011 No Comment

What do I plan to do this year? I put together this list a few weeks ago and I’ve been tweaking it (and probably will a little more). I’ve blogged a whole lot more. I’ve exercised almost every day some mornings before work (and I’m not a morning person); in the winter that would be my weight bench or hiking / climbing somewhere warm, in the summer bicycling and rollerblading.

So, in no particular order:

  • Take more everyday pictures and actually post them somewhere.
  • Be more positive (I’ve been a bit down in the dumps and need to fix it).
  • Neaten my house. (It’s clean but I just shift the clutter around to clean under it).
  • Do my taxes. (I never do them on time and they always owe me)
  • Exercise more.
  • Take a community education class or two (the city and the local college offers them).
  • Make new additional friends.
  • Blog more.
  • Surround myself with more positive things and people.
  • Make a new 101 in 1001 list. I’ve done this before*, but I haven’t gotten around to a new one (it’s better than resolutions).
  • Migrate this site to a different host (probably Site5).

Other than the migrating this site (which will be a project) most of these are things that I hope to continue past this year.

* And when I say done, I mean started the process. I only got 54 of my 101 things accomplished, but that’s better than most people do on their resolutions, right? Actually, looking at the list I think I’ve done another half-dozen since that time-line expired.

Written By: Gary on January 5, 2011 No Comment

So I picked up a disposable waterproof Kodak camera before my trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been tempted to get a waterproof camera but couldn’t justify the cost.

The weird part was getting it developed. It’s been years since I got film developed. I can’t even remember the last time. When I stood at the counter at Walgreens it was weird, I knew I wanted it on CD but did I want prints? It seemed so foreign to want prints of the photos I hadn’t even seen yet…

But in the end I ordered a set of the prints. And they weren’t as interesting as I’d hoped. It’s hard to stell that the shots I took from the water are six feet deep, they could be ankle deep. And the waves that are crashing down at me, you can barely tell.

The resolution was pretty disappointing at 1545 × 1024 they weren’t very detailed, even for 800 ASA (IMHO). I’m not saying the pictures are bad, they just weren’t any better (visually) than many that I took from shore…

Here’s a few for your viewing pleasure :)

me-11580026.jpg
Me at the upper falls (actually the upper-upper-falls about 15-20 feet high).


sunset-11580018.jpg
Sunset from way up the coast from Montezuma.


me-jumping-11580022.jpg
This a cRaZy one of me jumping in the water.
I’m at the lower falls, it’s probably only about 20 feet (15?).
It looks like I’m hurtling to my doom.

I think the above shot of me jumping is from the same spot as this video of me jumping off the rock. Kodak Zoom ISO 800 Speed, 27 Exposure Single Use Camera KodakSo the camera was $10 (for 27 shots) and I think it was $12 for developing (developing, negatives, and one set of photos) so $22 for an experiment; I’ve certainly spent more for something I’ve never used again. I’m not saying the camera was disappointing in itself, although the pictures were only 1545 × 1024 pixels (but that just might be the Walgreens scanner), I just hoped taking the pictures from different angles in the water would look much more interesting. I’d try it again, but I think I’ll try again with this Snap Sights Waterproof Underwater Reusable Camera with Flash, especially if I was to go snorkeling.

Written By: Gary on December 12, 2010 One Comment

While this is my seventh year blogging, I can’t brag about it too much since this past year I’ve only averaged five posts a month. Just a few years ago I averaged more than one post a day so this is incredibly poor. Since I received over 400 comments in the past year (on new and old posts) so you’d think that would have been a motivator…

It’s strange, I had lots of stuff to talk about since I’ve had a few trips, got a new job, saw lots of concerts, and did bunches of other things. santa-hat-IMG_1263.jpg Plus, I took huge amounts of photos this year, but still I only posted a few. (On the other hand, it’s been a crappy year in a lot of ways and I really try not to whine on the blog too much, so that’s probably had a bit to do with it.)

Also, I’ve been foursquaring and checking in on Facebook more, and while it is slightly maintaining an on-line presence, it’s not really blogging. After I mention something, it seems redundant to blog about it later. I’d like to integrate them a little more, but I’m not really sure how the best way.

Tech blog stuff: I’m still loving WordPress. I’m thinking of moving my site from 1and1 hosting to Site5 hosting; 1and1 seems a little more professional (tech support could be better) but Site5 seems faster and it’s less expensive (but that could just be that this site is more complicated and busy compared to the other things I do on-line at Site5).

Bottom-line: I really enjoy it when I’m blogging and I love the feedback (so help motivate me by providing some) so I’ll try to do better. I resolve for the next year to blog more and post more photos. My goal will be at least five posts a week; yes, I know that’s a lofty goal, but I really do love blogging so let’s see what I can do.

Written By: Gary on November 7, 2010 One Comment

So “What do you think of holiday wish lists – tacky or useful? Do you make one for anyone? For whom if so? What is on your wish list this year?” is this week’s Friday Question.

I’ve always been hard to buy for, so I like the Amazon wish lists. It gives people some idea of what I want. They don’t have to buy off of it, but don’t act you have no idea what to get me when I’ve got a list of items from $10-$1000 :)

This is my wish list: a few books, Blu-Rays, a bike rack, a camera lens and a few other things. Feel free to shop for me *.

There is always concerts and such too, but it’s hard to surprise me with those kinds of things since you need to make sure I’m available (or didn’t already buy tickets). Plus, I’d rather be surprised.

On the other hand, do not tell me what to buy for you or some other family member. You can suggest something, but if I say yes, please don’t tell someone else the same item. Point me to a wish list if you like, but it’s my option. Although I do like it when children tell me what they’d like, especially if they don’t tell anyone else…

* The wish lists also have the option for someone you don’t know to buy you an item and have it shipped to you even if the sender doesn’t know your mailing address. Although, I’ve never received anything that way before.

Written By: Gary on May 5, 2010 No Comment

I remember how excited I was when I managed to get an invite for the service. Back then we actually called it Google gmail (or was it just Google mail?).

myfirstgmail.png

Looks like I gave away about over a hundred invites back when they were “closed” for accounts (maybe more if I deleted some, but if I did, I don’t know why all the others would still be in my sent box). Towards the end, they pretty much had unlimited invites but you still had to know someone to have them send you one.

Little did we know we’d have all the Google applications that now come along with it.

It’s the number one e-mail that I recommend to anyone these days, even though it may not be the address I always use as my return address, it’s generally where the mail gets forwarded to.

PS – I always tell people to not use the e-mail your internet provider (cable or DSL company) gives you for free, you’ll lose that when you want to switch providers. If you use that address for important things you won’t want to switch since you’ll lose that address. That’s why some people are still hanging onto AOL addresses after all these years…

Written By: Gary on April 25, 2010 No Comment

So when I went to the launch of the Space Shuttle a few weeks ago it was pretty strange. The launch was at 6:21am but my parking placard (permit) said to be there by midnight. So there was a lot of time to kill before the launch. I had causeway tickets, but the (shuttle) buses don’t even start running until 3:30 am.

The visitor’s center was crazy place. It’s just like if you went there in the daytime and everything is open: IMAX, gift shop, the “rides”, just about everything (not the bus tours around the space center). Excepts it’s dark and people are sleeping on the lawn and on benches and wherever (made me think of refugees).

Here’s the direct link and it’s also in HD.

It was just an interesting experience to be there for. I’m sure the video doesn’t share the experience properly. I didn’t get any footage of the people on the lawns, if I find some I’ll add them to the post.

Here’s a clip that I shot a minute later on the way to the car; I guess I was pretty excited when I got there, duh?!?

FYI, tickets for STS-132 go on sale in the morning at 8:45a ET on Monday, April 26, 2010. The causeway will be gone a few minutes after 9, I bet the visitor’s center will be gone by 9:30 (I think they’re about $65 and $40 each).

Written By: Gary on December 12, 2009 2 Comments

So it’s been six years since I started blogging. Sometimes I blog a lot and sometimes a little but I come really close to averaging one post a day (actually about 0.995 posts per day). I’ve really been slacking lately, all the vacation days when I’ve written more than a few help pick up the numbers, but I never like it when a week goes by that I haven’t posted. This year I only did a little over 200, so I’ll try and make up for it over the next year, if I could post five different days a week, I think I’d be happier about it…

This post is a bit of a mish-mash of tech details and thoughts of blogging.

I originally started using Movable Type for the blog in 2003, I had my blog in a subdirectory of GaryLaPointe.com and changed subdirectories a few timesand then in 2005 moved it to here at GarySaid.com and left it alone.

If had a tech suggestion for anyone blogging, it’s pick a domain name and stick to it so that you don’t lose readers (and search engine links); choose something vague/generic so if you change what you blog about your web address can stay the same if you want it to. While I call my blog the same name “Gary Said…” I could easily change the title to “Lone Geek Blogging” (or whatever) but still have the same easy to remember address.

I really enjoy blogging, it’s nice to reflect on parts of my life and have to think up semi-coherent paragraphs to describe whatever it is that I’m thinking about. I try to keep most of my blog positive and remember that I don’t blog about everything in my life, so sometimes it’s not always the easiest thing to come up with a topic.

I never knew who would come read and while I’ve met a few people I really have no idea how many people I know (or don’t know) actually read my blog. The one thing I know is that I really enjoy getting feedback from people (even when it’s something short like “I thought the same thing about that”) and it’s extra special getting a link back from someone when they just mention my site or even a specific article (even if it’s just one of my money saving tips). I hope that feeling never goes away!

Since I mentioned comments, here’s some comment info/stats and then I’m going to go (the day is almost over). On average, I actually get about 1.5 comments per post, but in actuality most posts don’t get comments. Of my 3,000+ comments I’d bet that 1,000 go to the same dozen posts over and over again (my bed has 454 comments, hacking iTunes has 91 and another ten have between 30 and 100).

WordPress For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) Lisa Sabin-WilsonI almost forgot: I switched to self-hosted WordPress last December (I played with it for a bit before the switch) and have really enjoyed using it since then. I feel I can do more with WordPress with less work than I did with Movable Type. I’ve mentioned things like this in a few posts: WordPress vs. Movable Type and Things I miss about MT.

FYI – Lisa’s book WordPress For Dummies is a great resource if you want to use WordPress.

Thank you for reading!!!

Written By: Gary on November 17, 2009 One Comment

So a few months ago I installed the A Year Ago Today plug-in it shows a list of posts that I’ve done on this day (date) in the past at the top of my blog. onthisday11152009.pngI’ve liked it a lot, it reminds me of things I’ve done in the past so I generally revisit the posts. Sometimes I barely even remember blogging it. And sometimes it generates new traffic to the posts (most times not).

I think today is the first day that not only has there been a post from each of the year’s that I’ve been blogging but there were exactly two (2) posts from each November 17 for the last five years.

This helps me clean up my blog too: I’ll occasionally fix some links or add some tags and categories or sometimes fix something minor. Some of the categories I use now, didn’t exist when I wrote some of the earlier posts and I use tags the first few years. This results in things getting reposted to Facebook (via WordBook), generally I’ll delete them but sometimes I’ll leave them (if it’s got a photo or isn’t time sensitive). Occasionally, I’ll read a sentence and think “that makes no sense” so I’ll fix it, I try not to do this too much, it’s really about what I was thinking/feeling/doing then, but if it’s not clear it needs fixing…

Written By: Gary on November 1, 2009 3 Comments

So I applied for the job at The Big Trip and the big requirement was a ninety second video to go with it. I just found out about the job yesterday and put this together this video this afternoon.

An applicant will be selected from a pool of an estimated 30,000 worldwide applicants to travel and explore various travel destinations around the United States for a period of 3 months. Their journey will be documented, filmed and aired on thebigtrip.com in mini-episode form (similar to programs depicted on the Travel Channel) for millions of viewers to view each month.

Here’s my video in larger HD quality.

thebigtriplogo.jpgNot only will the applicant we choose get a dream job, they will receive a generous salary of $50,000 USD for their 3 month journey. The traveler will be given a video camera and a MacBook to upload the videos to the internet.

Oh, and they give you an iPhone too!

With a guesstimate of 30,000 applications the odd are low, but you can’t win if you don’t play! And I do love to talk about travel on-line…

LATER: I don’t see that many applications on YouTube (part of the requirement), I’m thinking less than 500, maybe even a lot less than that, but it’s possible people didn’t add any keywords or description. Also, the requirement was to be 60-90 seconds, quite a few are a little longer, many are a lot longer (and a few are too short); I wonder if that being too long will disqualify them? Most of the ones I like are too long, I could have gone longer, as it was I had to trim it to get it to less than 90 seconds…

Written By: Gary on September 11, 2009 One Comment

This weeks Friday Question is: What’s your reaction when you receive a compliment?

If it’s something about me being nice or smart or something like that, I’m never so sure how to respond. A mumbled thanks or something is most likely.

But if it’s a compliment about my cool shoes or something like that. Then I appropriately say thank you and probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know about them.

So it’s a mixed response depending on the kind of compliment.

Written By: Gary on August 28, 2009 No Comment

The Space Shuttle Discovery is on the launch pad right now. This always excites me and still gives me chills when it takes off! You can watch NASA TV live on their site. At this point, they are in a hold and I think they are still supposed to launch in the next hour (11:59 PM EST).

sts-128.pngI’ve always wanted to see a launch, I don’t know why I’ve never made this happen. I was supposed to go a few weeks ago to see this launch (STS-128), but they moved the date so it didn’t work out. I’ve got to make this a priority over the next year before they stop the shuttle launches.

It’s been 25 years since this ship’s maiden voyage, it was August 30th, 1984 when Discovery had it’s first launch! It was the third orbital vehicle in service (OV-103) and is now the oldest running shuttle. Wow!

Once they introduced the shuttle, I always thought they’d have some way to take passengers. I always assumed that’d be airplane type seats in the bay, like envisioned in the 1970’s James Bond movie Moonraker (anybody have an image of this?).

So let’s just plan to catch a shuttle launch in the next year, okay? Anyone have any tips on going to a launch?

Written By: Gary on August 27, 2009 3 Comments

I’ve generally had pretty great health insurance. But I’ve been bothered that so many people have no insurance. This is a simplification of the benefits of socialized health ‘insurance’.

Here’s the direct link to it YouTube.

Here’s the thing: I think that some kind of socialized health will probably personally affect me negatively. I think that companies that offer great insurance will cut back a bit and it’ll cost me more out of pocket either at work or in my taxes (even if they don’t cut back, it’ll cost me in my taxes). But for more people to have better health care I’m willing to lose some of mine.

* Disclaimer: This is my view-point. I’m not very political. I’m (mostly) just sharing this cartoon and titled the post the same as the video. But feel free to offer your 2 cents on the video.

Written By: Gary on August 6, 2009 No Comment

One of the activities at the Detroit Science Center tonight was a rock wall. I’ve never done one of these and I’ve always wanted to try it! They wouldn’t let me wear my sandals, but fortunately I had some other shoes in the car. This was a blast and I’d definitely do it again some time!

rockwall-wave.png
I figured I better wave right away just in case I fell.

rockwall-getagrip.png
This was the point where I yelled down to check that
this was just going to let me gently fall (if I fell).
I was getting a little high and the holds were a little farther apart.

rockwall-neartop.png
At the top there’s a button to press to ring the bell.
Can you see it up where the wire comes out?

rockwall-onthewaydown.png
This is me on the way down.
It was actually a pretty fast/smooth process.


And this is me all the way down, the woman running it says that happens to the “big kids” a lot.

I almost did it again so I could get it all on video to see how it looked. Maybe next time…..

Written By: Gary on August 3, 2009 4 Comments

I’ve been having some odd dreams lately, I wish I’d been writing them down. Since my mind is blank from the ones from a few days ago. They weren’t all as strange as this one but this is the only one I can remember.

In this dream I’m staying with Heather or her father but it wasn’t a place I recognized. I don’t even want to say it was in MIchigan, but where ever I was, Dave (also known as Dave2) from Blogography was in the area and I was hanging around with him.

Dave and I are driving down a divided highway, Heather didn’t come but she’s always busy with stuff so not coming didn’t seem so odd at the time (even though she was passing up a chance to meet Dave), I’m not sure where we’re headed (the Apple store? a blogger meet-up?) but I’m pretty sure we’re not in Atlanta. Then all of a sudden some car is flipping over and I grab the wheel to swerve us out of the way (you’re welcome, Dave) and while we can’t see what’s going on, it’s like traffic is blocked by the authorities ahead of us. But we don’t really see them, so we don’t know what’s up. Dave turns us around and heads down the shoulder back to some country road that we had just passed. But we once we get there we can see traffic is halted down the side roads too.

I get out of the car to see if I can get closer to see what’s up, there were flashers so something is going on. It’s like “they” were there to block off the road before there was even an accident. As I’m cutting across a strip of field to see what’s going on, something clears up and the cars start moving and I lose Dave. Then I’m moving very fast as I’m alternating between busy roads and empty roads as I try to catch back up…

And that’s about it. I’m not sure why it ended, I didn’t feel like I woke up from the dream. Maybe it really happened and “they” wiped my mind after and they just didn’t go back far enough!

I didn’t feel so much chased as I felt in a rush or something like that. Still feel a little anxious as I think about it. Something was going on. Something conspiracy-ish.

But that’s all I have for this story, it’s been running through my head today so I thought I’d share…

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Written By: Gary on July 20, 2009 No Comment

On this day 40 years ago Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. astronaut_Apollo_11.jpg I’m not sure what else needs to be added to that statement: “We landed on the Moon”! How amazing is that?!?

Just for some frame of reference: The Moon is 238,000 miles away (384,000 km), if you were driving 75 miles per hour it would take you 3,100 hours. Keep in mind that’s speeding and you don’t get to pull over for any bathroom breaks or snacks!

Actually it took them more like five days to get there, so just dividing that out, that’s around 2,000 miles per hour (assume it took them a while to speed up and slow down).

When I was a kid, my mother purchased me a two record set of the mission. Lots of audio recordings of the launch and landing. I’m thinking there was some insert with a bunch of photos too. I played that a lot on my record player. I don’t have any idea what year she purchased that, but I’d say I was six or seven(?), and it was amazing to me!

It’s still amazing to me. Whenever I can watch a launch of some kind or another, I always turn on the TV and still get thrills and chills. I get chills just thinking about it as I’m writing this…

Apollo_11_bootprint.jpg
The sad part is we only landed six times and then we stopped.

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia.

Written By: Gary on June 12, 2009 No Comment

Starting tonight (at 9PM Pacific) you can reserve your own Facebook vanity id. This means (hopefully) I’ll be “http://facebook.com/GaryLaPointe ” instead of “http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=736138968“.

You should be able to just go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ to get your name.

As always, you’re welcome to add me as a friend…

SUCCESS! I did manage to get my name (as above). It’s not case sensitive but I like the caps capitalized. And there is no trailing slash (“/”), it causes an error.

Written By: Gary on May 21, 2009 2 Comments

Argh! Haven’t been this frustrated in a very long time…

The last 24 hours:
– I can’t sync my calendar items and address/phone numbers between my computers, MobileMe and iPod Touch.
– My main Windows machine won’t reboot, keeps resetting. Think the hard drive went.
– Accessing/syncing to my AppleTV is goofed up (that’s minor, unrelated and hacked so not an Apple issue)
– My cell phone keeps saying international roaming when I’m at home (it’s Sprint). I’m not that close to the border of Canada/Michigan.

I’ve spend more time with tech support the last 24 hours than the last 24 months. I’ve been escalated multiple times at Apple and not getting any closer. And after all the changes at my end I’m leaning towards it’s going to be a problem at their end so then I’ll have to get everything set back the way I want (a few hours ago, I’d have said 100% sure at their end, but not so sure now). They say this is a new problem and since we’re pushing 4 hours today I’m hoping it’s a unique problem (for their sake).

And I’ve wasted another sunny day :(

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