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June 22, 1970 -
July 18, 2004

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Posts and Ramblings (527 total posts) (325 total comments - 47 with moderated scores)
Posted By Mike on Wed-27-dec-2006 || Title: A great Christmas || (0) comments
Christmas is now over. Whew! It was a great Christmas celebration this year. What made it great was being with the people I love. So a big THANK YOU to everyone that made my new home even more of a home with great memories. Oh yeah, thanks for the gifts, food, and eveything else too :)

I have a ton of December photos (through out December) that will be posted soon on my online photo album.
Posted By Mike on Wed-20-dec-2006 || Title: 5 more days || (0) comments

Five more days till Christmas and Christmas break starts for Aaron and I on the 22nd of December. I thought I had an early start when we got our Chistmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving. I was wrong. But now most of my shopping is done. Christmas cards are out - although some a little on the late side going out. We are going to Maryln and Norm's on the 23rd for an early gift exchange.

Now 2007 is around the corner. Hoping for the best.
Posted By Mike on Tue-19-dec-2006 || Title: Jennifer Daniels || (2 ) comments
I was in the Bone Student Center Last week (Finals week) grabbing a fast Burger King lunch to bring back to my office. While waiting to order and for my food, I listened to a woman sing in the general eating area. She had a decent voice and the acoustical accompaniment sounded nice also. As I walked out, I saw a table where a guy was selling her CDs. Her name was Jennifer Daniels. I had never heard of her. Actually I don't think most people have. She had 3 different CDs for sale. The guy stated that they normally sold them for $15 but was selling them for $10. I thought about it and decided that it was worth the chance for good driving music, so I purchased two of them.

I listened to the first CD named 'Summer Filled Sky'. It has a few really good songs on it like the intro song 'To Live' and farther in, 'The Coat'. The CD overall sounded 'OK', some songs not bad but not great. As I write this, I feel I should give the CD another go around or so.

So next after listening to 'Summer Filled Sky', I stuck in the older CD named 'Dive and Fly' into my car CD player. A few of the songs struck me immediately as very good songs with a professional sound and composing. After listening to the CD several times, I really like it. Well all but one song that I simply just 'don't get'. But I have to say I recommend this CD. Sunday night I got on line after my long trip to Southern Illinois and found out that the CD 'Dive and Fly' did win some independent artist awards after it was released in 2001. I also found out that the CDs actually sell for $16.50 not $15 ;)
Posted By Mike on Fri-15-dec-2006 || Title: In memory || (2 ) comments
May Ivalene Gibson (Whiteside) Aug 13, 1917- Dec 14, 2006
Posted By Mike on Mon-11-dec-2006 || Title: GPL'ed TV || (3 ) comments
I purchased a Sony television this weekend. As I was cleaning up the packaging that the TV came in, a white generic paper fell out on to the floor. So I picked up the paper and to my surprise I see several GPLs (General Public Licenses) and several LGPLs (Lesser GPL). After reading further, apparently my TV runs on the Linux Operating System. Just thought that was really cool ;)
Posted By Mike on Sat-09-dec-2006 || Title: Happy B-day! || (0) comments
Happy Birthday Dad and Aunt Liz! You two young'ins :)
Posted By Mike on Wed-06-dec-2006 || Title: Bad Christmas Toys || (3 ) comments
Looking for some toys for the kids as Christmas presents? Something fun, safe, and educational? I have created a list (Images are links from "Letters from bad santa") of the top 10 really, really bad toys to give as gifts. These toys / gifts are not fun, safe, or educational (or at least not in the way that a 'principled' adult should like):
Toy 1 Toy Tool Kit
Toy 2 My little pony
Toy 3 Candy Land
Toy 4 Easy Bake Oven
Toy 5 Lawn Darts
Toy 6 Toy Cars
Toy 7 Stuffed Animals
Toy 8 Dolls
Toy 9 Clue
Toy 10 Lab kit
Posted By Mike on Sat-02-dec-2006 || Title: Bald on Bush || (0) comments
Here is a little known fact; our President, George W Bush, has a 'thing' for bald men. I don't know why. But I believe the evidence that I present here would support this statement.
Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Exhibit D
Exhibit E
Exhibit F
I have even more photos than these. If you want to see more photos of Bush playing with bald heads let me know. If you have some send them my way. Maybe it is because I'm bald I find this so humorous.
Posted By Mike on Fri-01-dec-2006 || Title: on order || (1 ) comments
Now that the old house is sold, I have invested a good chunk of change on my home networking. First I have a brand new Mac. This is on order through Tech Zone. With the very little I saved by ordering through them, I wish I had bought it through Connecting Point so this post could have been typed in OSX instead. Second I have ordered satellite broadband through HughesNet satellite services. This is incredibly expensive compared to DSL or Cable modem. But with rebates, my installation is a little over $200 dollars compared to the $600 they want after Dec 31. DSL and Cable is normally around $30 a month for the service; Satellite is $60 a month. But living outside of Heyworth, I have no choice. As I type this post at 4am, I realize I should have ordered this stuff sooner. Why am I up at 4am? I have a few hundred trees around me. The trees have about an inch of ice on them. It sounds like shotguns/thunder going off outside.
Posted By Mike on Thu-30-nov-2006 || Title: Need a friend? || (1 ) comments
I had to post this one. You have heard the saying, "Money can not buy friends". Wrong! Yes you can and for a limited time fairly cheep. It looks like some users of popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are so lonely and sorta pathetic as to actually pay real money for friends. Here is the kicker, these friends are not even real! You can apparently choose from a selection of 'models' to leave you customized comments to look like you have friends and are popular on-line. If you need a friend, go visit http://www.fakeyourspace.com/. You can get a friend for only 99 cents a month.
Posted By Mike on Tue-28-nov-2006 || Title: My thought of the day || (3 ) comments
Every tool that benefits man can be used to abuse man. Once the tool is abused, the tool does not become evil or no longer useful. Only man can make the tool a valuable resource or generally harmful by the way it is used.
Posted By Mike on Mon-27-nov-2006 || Title: Brotherhood Tree || (1 ) comments
I would like to post about a really great charity called Brotherhood Tree
I have seen how this project helps people going through hard times. Every year they need people to donate time, money, and wrapped gifts.

Gifts can be dropped off at the following locations:

WJBC Studios
Eastland Mall
Commerce Bank
Chenoa Pharmacy
Denny's Doughnuts & Bakery
Great Harvest Bread Company
The Children's Discovery Museum
Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center

Gifts for the Brotherhood Tree should be wrapped and tagged with the age and gender of the intended recipient...and what's inside. The deadline for gift donations is Wednesday, December 13th.

Money Donations (cash/check/credit cards all accepted) go toward buying food and gifts for needy local families.
Posted By Mike on Sun-26-nov-2006 || Title: No explanation || (3 ) comments
Confusion with Mork's exclamation,
Hope with Raggedy.
Happiness with trust
and not malice from phrase tragedy.
Friendship is tested by events and actions,
not always shown by longevity.
Words mean nothing without sincerity.
Posted By Mike on Thu-23-nov-2006 || Title: Happy Thanksgiving || (0) comments
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Turkey, football, and the day off of work.. yeah! I'm writing this morning to give a couple updates on Aaron.
First, I'm just letting you know that Aaron has a Christmas concert December 12th at 7pm in the school gym. Aaron will be singing "Light a candle", "Wacky Santa", "Silent Night", "Take a Winter Walk with Me".
Second, I have Aaron's school pictures in hand. Here is a scanned photo. No, I was not there to make sure his top button was unbuttoned and that background kinda clashes with his shirt.
Posted By Mike on Sun-19-nov-2006 || Title: Happy Birthday Amy. Middle Aged! || (2 ) comments
Posted By Mike on Fri-17-nov-2006 || Title: Whew! Sold :D || (0) comments
It feels good to have the house sold. I feel this weight lifted. So I will leave you with a couple of Buddhists.
Posted By Mike on Thu-16-nov-2006 || Title: Amy's Birthday Party! || (0) comments
Amy's birthday party will now be at Schooners Sunday November 19th! As in the past, carrot cake will be served after the meal. :)
Posted By Mike on Tue-14-nov-2006 || Title: New Photos || (1 ) comments
I know a few people have been waiting on new photos of me and the kids from this weekend. They are now done. I was slow on the editing. First, here is a photo of me and the kids in front of our house on Sandburg. It was taken for memory sake given that we close on that house Friday. This second photo was taken earlier that day at Sears. Additionally, here is a photo of Paige solo. and a photo of Aaron solo. August and Anne also took a really good photo together.
Posted By Mike on Mon-06-nov-2006 || Title: Dirty politics || (0) comments
Note: I have verified this post is true before posting in on my site (out side of the two URL provided below).

WCityMike writes on /. , "In 53 Congressional campaigns across the country, including the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th, the New Hampshire 2nd, and the Illinois 6th and 8th (and possibly all races), the National Republican Congressional Committee is conducting a $2.1 million campaign to make it appear as if Democrats are spamming callers with telemarketing calls. The NRCC hired Conquest Communications Group to conduct a massive nationwide robocalling campaign with calls specifically scripted to appear as if they're coming from the Democratic candidate - in violation of FCC regulations on such 'robocalls,' which requires the identity of the caller to be stated at the beginning of the message [47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1)]. The call begins with 'Hello. I'm calling with information about,' and then says the name of the Democratic candidate. There is then a pause; if the recipient hangs up here, they will receive repeated calls back with the same message, potentially up to 18 times or more (according to one callee). If the callee doesn't hang up, they hear a smear message from the machine about the Democratic candidate. The NRCC thinks the legality of the calls is, conveniently, a 'complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend.'"

Posted By Mike on Wed-01-nov-2006 || Title: Happy All Saints Day! || (2 ) comments
Did everyone prepare and decorate for All Saints Day!? This is the day when people dump some/most their extra candy in the candy bowl at work.

Last night was a lot of fun for the kids. We hit a few houses in Bloomington and then hit a few houses in Heyworth. I could not keep Paige's sash tied for anything. That photo is what she looked like by the time we got home.

I only served 4 kids at my house last night, but we were gone most of it. I was surprised to see as many kids in my neighborhood as I did. We did leave our pumpkin lit. Looks pretty scary, heh. Halloween ;)
Posted By Mike on Tue-31-oct-2006 || Title: Best geek video || (1 ) comments
White n Nerdy
So much of the geek culture that I have lived in the last 25 years it is not funny :P
OK, it is funny.
Posted By Mike on Tue-31-oct-2006 || Title: Halloween Pumpkin || (2 ) comments
Last night the kids and I finally got around to doing the pumpkin after dinner. Nothing like waiting till the last minute. :) Here is the pumpkin we started with. I helped out a bit, but as you can see here and here -- Aaron, with the help of Paige , did most of the work. With her short arms, Paige had to really dig in while Aaron would hold the pumpkin :) A good chunk of the time was spent separating and sorting the seeds.

The last 3 years, Aaron and I have not done any traditional carvings. So this year we did. Aaron and I picked out a face off the Internet and went with it. Here is a photo of Aaron starting the carving.

Here is a photo of Aaron with the final product.

I took the seeds that Aaron and Paige sorted out and rinsed them well with a strainer. I then mixed the seeds well in a bowl with sugar, salt, and cinnamon. I then baked them on a pizza pan. The seeds turned out not half bad. Smelled better than they tasted, but tasted OK. Halloween.
Posted By Mike on Mon-30-oct-2006 || Title: Halloween early || (0) comments
Anne, the kids, and I went to Miller Park Zoo yesterday to go Trick-Or-Treating. Aaron decided to dress up again as Hairy Potter, Paige as a princess (surprise), and August as a duck. For myself, I went as a Texan. Here are some photos of us sitting on Amy's porch before we left:
Paige, Aaron, and August
Paige, Aaron, and August
Me, Paige, Aaron, and August
Me, Paige, and Aaron
Anne had been dressed up as a baby earlier, but I failed to get a photo :(
Here is a photo of me showing Mom how to work my camera phone. Halloween.
Posted By Mike on Fri-27-oct-2006 || Title: New Browsers || (0) comments
I have given the two new web browsers a test drive; Internet Explorer 7.0 and FireFox 2.0. Over all, the press has given FireFox 2 a score of 64 out of 75 and Internet Explorer 7 a 47 out of 75. But for me, both were impressive. For novice users I highly recommend both browsers for their new security features. As far as RSS features, both browser have different advantages. I'm not going to go into the details. JUST UPGRADE! It is worth it :)
Posted By Mike on Tue-24-oct-2006 || Title: More computer humor || (0) comments
A couple of old Dr Fun stuff I still think is kinda funny:
UNIX humor
coding humor
Posted By Mike on Tue-24-oct-2006 || Title: I love Linux || (0) comments
You can find many geeks on the web showing their enthusiasm for Linux like this average slashdot (/.) reading, Linux loving guy. But then there is the next level, like this guy! Wow. He is my idol - boy does he love Linux. There are also people that use their children to display their passion of Linux. Lastly, here are a couple of kids; most likely paid to like Tux the Linux penguin... enough to hug that penguin.
Posted By Mike on Wed-18-oct-2006 || Title: World of WarCraft || (0) comments
I had to post this. This is far from the first thing written about World of WarCraft (WoW) and how addictive the game is. Nor is it a first on how WoW has the potential to ruin or take over peoples lives if they become hooked. I have talked to several of my friends about this subject many times. So here is the post.
Posted By Mike on Wed-18-oct-2006 || Title: Crossing fingers || (0) comments
Last night an offer was made on my old house (Sandburg Dr). I accepted. :) If all goes well, the closing will be Nov. 20th.
Posted By Mike on Tue-17-oct-2006 || Title: Duck || (2 ) comments
A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of lager and a ham sandwich.
The landlord looks at him and says, "But you're a duck".
"I see your eyes are working", replies the duck.
"And you talk!" exclaims the landlord.
"I see your ears are working", says the duck, "Now can I have my beer and my sandwich please?". "I'm working on the building site across the road", explains the duck.
Then the duck drinks his beer, eats his sandwich and leaves. This continues for 2 weeks. Then one day the circus comes to town. The ringleader of the circus comes into the pub and the landlord says to him, "You're with the circus aren't you?, I know this duck that would be just brilliant in your circus, he talks, drinks beer and everything!".
"Sounds marvelous", says the ringleader, "get him to give me a call".
So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the landlord says, "Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money!".
"Yeah?", says the duck, "Sounds great, where is it?".
"At the circus", says the landlord.
"The circus?", the duck enquires.
"That's right", replies the landlord.
"The circus? That place with the big tent? With all the animals? With the big canvas roof with the hole in the middle", asks the duck.
"That's right!", says the landlord.
The duck looks confused, "What the heck would they want with a plasterer?"
Posted By Mike on Tue-03-oct-2006 || Title: Old house update || (4 ) comments
This post is just a small update. The house has been up for sale for a couple weeks with really no interest in it. Since I last posted about the house in my blog, these changes have occured:
- The cieling has been completed and moding has been put back up.
- A new light fixture has been installed in the family room.
- All the carpets in the house have been cleaned.
- The stair railing painted and secured.
- Lastly, I retiled the front landing.

I'm not sure I like the new tile. Not as much as I thought I would.
Posted By Mike on Mon-02-oct-2006 || Title: Children and fire alarms || (0) comments
I found a really interesting and a little scary study; smoke alarms don't work well for many children but Mom's voice almost always works. The study showed that children in a deep sleep will wake up to recordings of their mother's voice calling them by name and ordering them out of their bedrooms -- even if they slept through the horribly annoying sound a smoke alarm makes.

The study consisted of 24 children ages 6 to 12.

What they found:

23 out of the 24 children awoke to the recorded voice of their mother saying "(Child's first name)! (Child's first name)! Wake up! Get out of bed! Leave the room!"

14 out of the 24 of the children also awoke to the traditional fire alarm.

1 out of the 24 did not wake up to either.

The children who woke up to the voice did so at a median time of 20 seconds, compared with a median time of 3 minutes for those who woke up to the fire alarm's tone. That is considerably faster and I predict a new generation of fire alarms that use voice.
Posted By Mike on Mon-02-oct-2006 || Title: Fungus of the week: golf balls || (0) comments
Mom and Dad have golf ball sized mushrooms all over their yard in Kentucky that look like, well, golf balls on tees.
Posted By Mike on Thu-28-sep-2006 || Title: Brain Food || (4 ) comments
When I was a child, Mrs Poundstone (my elder neighbor across the street), would fix Amy and I chocolate mint ice cream and 7-up float and call it brain food. I never believed it to be so, but have fond memories none-the-less. So today, while driving to work, the radio DJs tell how after years of research they have come to the conclusion there is such a thing as "brain food". Nope, chocolate mint ice cream and 7-up float was not on the list, but here is the list:

Raisins for learning
Raisins are one of the top sources of the mineral boron. Boron is also found in apples and nuts. Boron appears to be an important mineral for the brain in the process of learning and memory.

Eggs and Milk for recalling information
The brain needs these foods not specifically for the common protein they share but for the Choline. Choline is found in Milk, eggs, liver, and soybeans. The study showed very strong evidence that people that had milk and eggs before a test did generally much better than those that did not. I doubt many people want liver for breakfast :)

Coffee and Cookies for focus
Easy one; caffeine and sugar. One cup of coffee (no more) and two cookies have shown to help concentration in the afternoon and recommended before a late afternoon meeting. Warning: having several more cups of coffee has been shown to actually hurt your focus.
Posted By Mike on Wed-27-sep-2006 || Title: Congrats to the Pollitt family || (0) comments
Craig is the proud father of a baby girl named Paige. She was born 6 pm at BroMenn Hospital. I hear she has hair so she is already better off than Craig ;)

Here is a photo.
Posted By Mike on Thu-21-sep-2006 || Title: Not about Anne || (7 ) comments
Last night I told Anne that I was going to post some interesting, enlightening, and admirable dialog about her on my blog today. She firmly, but kindly, asked me not to. Disappointed, I told her I would not post any thing like that about her. Next I pondered for a brief second and asked her if posting pictures of her on my blog would be alright. She begged me not to post any picture. I agreed to that also. So I would like to state that this post is not about Anne :)

Instead this post is about Tish. Yep Tish. Does anyone remember Tish? Tish has been out of my life for 2 years. Tish is the cat that Tracy and I adopted when we lived in Bloomington at Barker St. I gave away Tish and Mandy at the same time. In fact I found an archived post of me asking if anyone wanted Tish and Mandy:

I gave my friend Pam Tish. I have never regretted giving Mandy away, but have had pings of guilt about giving Tish away. Especially when Aaron mentions that he misses Tish. Tish is a rare cat in the fact that she is gentle and well extremely well tempered. Still like any other cat, she believes humans were put on the earth to serve her will. OK, I'm getting a little of topic. Anyway Tish is coming home tonight to our new house. Where Pam is moving she can't have the cats. This will be Tish's fourth house and I'm hoping the transition will be easy for her. I have not told Aaron so that Tish's arrival will be a surprise for him. I hope she makes him happy. I somehow feel having Tish back would make Tracy happy too.
Posted By Mike on Wed-20-sep-2006 || Title: low tech is high || (0) comments
OK, this is pretty cool. I have been under the belief for the last 7 years that music stored in mp3 digital file format is still the "in thing" and that in the last 3 years, the iPod was the device to play them on. But according to a CNET article, the younger generation are turning to 7" vinyl to play their music.

As one anonymous ./er stated, "Sales of 7" singles are apparently through the roof. Bands like the White Stripes are releasing thousands of new singles on the format, and record purchases have risen by over a million units in the last year"

New Musical Express (NME) magazine told CNET: "it's very possible that the CD might become obsolete in an age of download music but the vinyl record will survive," . The article explains how the younger generation of indie customers are drawn to vinyl because "the tactile joy of owning a physical object that represents your attachment to a band is infinitely more enjoyable than entering a credit card number into iTunes.""

My question is where do you find a decent record player?
Posted By Mike on Tue-19-sep-2006 || Title: Playing with dough || (3 ) comments
Aaron waited till the last minute, as usual, to do a school project. Like most that I have posted on this site before, this one had some complexity. But this time he waited till the very last minute. When I read what we had to do, I about panicked.

His project:
On a piece of wood or cardboard no larger than 9" x 18"create a physical feature map of the United States. Place the dough on a piece of cardboard in the shape of the United States. Your physical map must include these physical features.
Mountain Ranges
Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mts., Green Mts., Catskills Mts., White Mts., Adirondack Mts. Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, Great Basin, and Allegheny Mts.
Central Plains, Great Plains, Atlantic Coastal Plains, and Gulf Coastal Plains.
Ozark Plateau and Columbia Plateau
Missouri, Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Rio Grande, Ohio and Columbia

Once you have completed this map, label each physical feature with toothpicks and paper. Have fun and enjoy.

What we used to make enough playdough for this project:
4 cups of Flour
1 tbsp of Alum (preservative)
3 tbsp of Cooking oil (keeps moist)
1/2 cup of Salt
2 pkg unsweetened Kool Aid (for color)
2 1/2 cups of boiling water
Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and water. Stir quickly mixing well. Knead several minutes. Store in airtight container.

I just thought this might be useful to someone who might have an emergency need of playdough.
Posted By Mike on Mon-18-sep-2006 || Title: Condolences to lilo || (0) comments
I just received this sad news.

Christel wrote: "On the 12th September Rob Levin, known to many as Freenode's lilo, was hit by a car while riding his bike. He suffered head injuries and passed away in hospital on the 16th. For more information please visit #freenode-announce"

later Christel wrote: "Hi all, as many of you are asking about where to send your condolences, we have set up condolences@freenode.net - e-mails to that address will be posted to the "Book of Memories" section we are putting up on the website, as well as passed on to Rob's wife. On behalf of freenode staff I would also like to thank you all for reaching out to us today with well wishes and support."
Posted By Mike on Sat-16-sep-2006 || Title: Friday with Bo || (9 ) comments
First let me start by saying I never voted for Bo on American Idol. I did not even want to see him in the final 4. I could not understand why he was so popular and thought he was an over rated singer who received votes because of his image.

Secondly, I thought Bo's first album was a very lame piece of trash.

As a last starting note, Amy is a huge Bo fan. Amy had to beg me to go to this concert. I basically agreed to go because no one else wanted to see Bo that badly. And of course I enjoy our brother sister bonding time. In fact, I got some teasing from several people for even going to this concert.

Amy and I arrived at the The Last Lap about 15-20 minutes before 6 when the doors opened. There was a long line to get in the building. What I saw was a crowd that consisted mainly of 35-45 year old women. I looked at Amy and asked what she had gotten me into. To make it worse, there were younger women hanging out of the hotel window next door heckling the "Bo Bice groupies". The main reason Amy and I arrived so early was to get a table and get something to eat. There was not much choice, frozen store bought pizza ($2.50 type) or hot ham and cheese sandwiches. So we ordered the Pizza. And we waited. and waited. Finally the waitress explains they lost our pizza. They then get us another pizza. It was burnt. Finally we receive a hot pizza that was $7 and I drank my $3 miller lite. Then the entertainment finally started. The band was half torture. 2 hours of mediocre to bad music. So I ordered two more beers. The beer did not make it sound any better. Every one there also smoked and it was so bad my eyes would tear at times. All in all, the first 4 hours were not very good and I would rather have been doing almost anything else.

Then Bo came out to play. When I first saw him my first thought was how scrawny and little he is. He really looked like a big guy to me on American Idol. He led out with his single off his album. It is an OK song. Him and his band performed it well. Then he played a couple cover songs. After that, he played his music that he wrote himself that the record company would not allow. It was awesome. It was a butt kicking rock concert. They played hard and they played very well. I was so pleasantly surprised. Bo and his band knows how to rock. Seriously rock. And it was good stuff. For his encore, the band played a series of southern rock classics. Thanks for taking my suggestion Bo.

In summary, the first 4 hours, C- at best. The last two hours, A+ with Bo and his band. I would put this in my top ten concerts I have gone to. The energy reminded me of Prince and VanHalen concerts of the 80s. Bo is a good singer and a good song writer and has an extremely good band. Bo himself demonstrated that he could do more than sing with taking a couple leads on the guitar and playing the harmonica. In hindsight, we simply should have arrived there at 9:45 for just Bo. As far as Bo, I think the problem is no one will every take him seriously because of American Idol and his first album unless he gets some control of his career. Why do I care? Because now I'm going to be teased for liking Bo's music. :P

Pictures of concert
Posted By Mike on Fri-15-sep-2006 || Title: One last Cubs post || (0) comments
I was going to post about the Cubs at the end of the season. But hey, who am I kidding? The season has been over for the Cubs for a while. This has been an extremely disappointing, and to some surprising, season. The Cubs have great batting talent like Michael Barrett, Aramis Ramirez, Derrik Lee, and Juan Pierre. As of this morning, Aramis Ramirez has 155 hits, 33 home runs, and 100 RBIs! Juan Pierre is leading the National League in hits with 182! The team has 5 regular game players that average greater than a hit a game. Additionally the Cubs have one the best pitchers in baseball, Carlos Zambrano, with 188 strike outs so far, 14 wins, and an ERA of 3.5.

So, why do the Cubs stink so badly with a horrible record (at least they climbed back up to .400) and in last place? Their liability players. The Cubs could have the 5 top defensive and offensive players in base ball and these liability guys would bring down the Cubs. Most of the Cubs' weakness is in their pitching staff. They did have Maddox, who was having a great year, but traded him off mid season. So they went from having two winning pitcher to one.

Here they are, in my opinion, the two worst players offensively and defensively:

Ronny Cedeno - King of strike outs and hitting into double plays to end the inning. A leader in both columns. He chokes when you need him the most. Currently he has a .246 batting average.

Ryan Dempster: A fan's dreaded nightmare. As a closing pitcher, he can bury a game in one inning with the worst pitching. Not pretty numbers for this guy and the Cubs use him as their primary closer.
Posted By Mike on Wed-13-sep-2006 || Title: Bo || (3 ) comments
OK. I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm going to a Bo Bice concert at the Last lap with Amy on Friday. I hope he puts on a good show and does not do many song from his sorta lame album. :P
whisper] Hey Bo. Do what you are good at, Southern Rock [/whisper].
he cool thing is if we get there early enough we can get a table and pizza to eat while we watch the show.
Posted By Mike on Fri-08-sep-2006 || Title: Soap || (3 ) comments
While Anne and I were talking about how complex and crazy my life appears to be (especially the last month), she made the observation that my life is pretty much like a soap opera. She also suggested that considering that my life is so, I should have a name, theme song, and intro for my life. Well, here they are:

Some possible names of my soap:
"Days of my children at Oak Drive"
"All of my data"
"My two houses"

Possible Intro:
"As the deer trips over my fence in my back yard, these are the days of my children at Oak Drive."

I have written my likely theme song also... I need to hook up my midi compatible keyboard to my computer for that though.
Posted By Mike on Fri-01-sep-2006 || Title: Hook up that computer || (0) comments
I normally don't post twice in a day, but this is really cool. Various tests by Hardware.info have shown that your computer can read, write, and display video's far better than the very best stand alone DVD player/writer. This is assuming the computer has a newer ATI and nVidia video card in them. If so, the computer will "Crush High-End DVD Players" in video quality. The tests evaluated and compared the video quality of ATI and nVidia video cards containing Avivo / PureVideo technology with 12 stand alone DVD players. These standalone DVD player's prices ranged from $200 to over $2000. The conclusion? 'There is no need to invest $2000 or more in a high-end DVD player. A PC with a recent graphics card will produce a much better result for a lot less money. When looking at the final scores of the HQV test, both ATI and nVidia graphics cards perform a lot better than any DVD player we have tested. We would go as far as to say to get rid of your DVD player and connect a media centre PC to your LCD television!'"
Posted By Mike on Fri-01-sep-2006 || Title: ReactOS again || (0) comments
I have been fascinatingly watching the Windows compatible ReactOS Operating system for at least 3 years now. I really have never like Windows much, but this project has always held my attention. Recently ReactOS launched a new release of 0.3.0. I downloaded it and ran it. I'm quite impressed. By far this is the most stable and nicest looking version that has come out. Nicer looking than Windows 2000. I have found one interesting bug with the Firefox browser in ReactOS; Pages don't refresh unless the mouse is in motion. In the forum people have complained that you can not download using firefox either. So there are still problems with this OS. But if I had a Windows 95 or ME (the worst modern Windows OS ever) machine, I would consider replacing the OS with ReactOS. Well, I might wait for ReactoOS 0.3.1.... or later :).

I am able to download pictures from my sites just fine using ReactOS and Firefox [shrug], but while rearranging my desktop icons I blue screened.....
Posted By Mike on Mon-28-aug-2006 || Title: Nice weekend break || (0) comments
I went down to Kentucky this last weekend to have a nice weekend break away from a few things that had me stressed out last week. Dad, Anne, and I went to a blues festival at Kentucky Lake. The music was really good and there was a lot of variety. It was really warm though and Anne got a little pink. Anne, I hope you feel better :) It was kinda cool too that you could also enjoy the music by boat . We stayed most of the day and night right till the drunks were ready to leave. :)

Sunday was just relaxation and travel. But before we did leave, August had the chance to pet a horse (Aaron's horse) for the first time.
Posted By Mike on Thu-24-aug-2006 || Title: What a way to start the morning || (0) comments
I'm laying in bed trying to wake up. The radio announcers, Susan and Fazic, inform me that when I was a Freshman/Sophomore student in college in the year 1988, the Freshman in college today were being born. Yep, hearing that makes you want to jump out of bed with a big smile. Made me feel so young!
Posted By Mike on Tue-22-aug-2006 || Title: Back into the swing || (3 ) comments
Yesterday was Aaron's first day of school at Heyworth. He said that he noticed that he was the shortest kid in his class. I explained to him I was really short at his age and then grew all at once. I don't know that made him feel any better. I'm crossing my fingers he does well as the 'new kid'.
As far as the school itself, I like what I have seen. The school looks much newer and bigger than the school he was attending the last few years. Better computers and Internet services also.

Posted By Mike on Sun-20-aug-2006 || Title: Office software || (2 ) comments
Yep, Depending on which version of Microsoft Office you buy, you will spend a good chunk of change. You don't want to spend a lot? Well, you can find a 'discounted' version of Microsoft Office for ONLY $150. By the way, that product ONLY comes with 3 applications; Word, Excel, and Outlook. Not enough? For instance, if you are a student and need other tools like Power Point or a small business owner and need Access, you can Pay over $400 dollars for the 'small business' version of Office. $500 for MS Office Pro. To bad Microsoft does not sell Word by it's self, that is what most people want anyway. Yet there are other office software packages that are fully compatible, as high of quality, much cheaper or even free, by large software companies.

Sun, one of Microsoft's big server rivals, has a sub product called Open Office. This product can be freely downloaded or you can buy CDs/DVDs from on line stores for as little as $7. All software in Open Office is fully compatible with Microsoft and Corel Office. This includes a very powerful word processor, Spread sheet, and presentation software. In addition, Open Office has a great graphic tools, database and much more. If you don't like the Microsoft Windows platform, unlike Microsoft Office, Open Office is *fully* compatible in the Apple OSX, Linux, Sun Solaris environments, not just Windows. Of course Microsoft does not even release software for competitors like Linux and Sun Solaris.

If you are looking just for a great, fully Word compatible, yet free word processor, try Writely. This product is by another one of Microsoft's big rivals, Google. Even better than the fact this product is free, this product will work on any computer that has an Internet connection! Why? Because there is nothing to download, you just need Fire Fox or Internet Explorer! Even on my slow dial up connection at home this applications works really well. In fact, I'm writing this post with Writely now. Want to know something even better about Writely? Check out the Writely save capabilities. Not only can you save in HTML, RTF, Word, and other normal formats, but also in PDF! Super cool in my book. This Application works very well with Firefox, but if you are using Microsoft Windows, even better with Internet Explorer because of additional plugins to the Operating System. Lastly on this word processor, something I think might be popular with people I know is the fact you can 'share' your documents or work on a document with other people over the Internet. But if you simply just want to work on your own documents on your local hard drive [shrug], works great for that also.
Posted By Mike on Fri-18-aug-2006 || Title: Ramirez || (2 ) comments
Somewhere in my childhood, when I was about 10 years old, I came to the conclusion that all great baseball players should have at least 30 home runs a year and at least 100 runs batted in. Today I realize there is a whole lot more to it than this. The no doubt, best batter in Major Leagues last year (Derek Lee) had trouble getting all the RBIs that he deserved. Mainly because of his team mates could not get on base and management could never agree on a batting order. But loosely, I still believe those two marks are significant measuring tools. I don't know that any real baseball expert would agree with me on this, but hey, this is my opinion.
I have been a huge fan of Aramis Ramirez since he became a Cubby in 2003. I felt a little alone in that for a while. Spring of 2004, I had to set out to make my own Cubs Ramirez jersey. Now you can buy them, but that was back then. I was a fan because he was by far one of the best support players. When the Cubs needed a lift for a win, he would be there. Why am I writing this? Well in 2003 and 2004 he surpassed those marks. Last year he made the home run, but not the RBIs. I was pretty disappointed in the Cubs and a litte in him. Was I fair? Nope, not really, but I wanted better than he gave.
Today he sits at 29 home runs and 83 runs batted in after a two run home run in a game they lost. But the good news is that he has a great chance of finishing very strong.
Posted By Mike on Thu-10-aug-2006 || Title: MASE || (0) comments
I have given the MASE project new life. The project had died about the same time Tracy did. Last night I did some coding and released version 0.4. This version has Teleports, better trap logic, better charm logic, better treasure logic, and some new graphics. Don't go to the UHACC CVS server for the new code. I no longer have an account with UHACC and the code is really outdate on that server.
Posted By Mike on Wed-09-aug-2006 || Title: Cool Fungus || (0) comments
Yesterday I took Aaron to register for school. Not quite what I expected, but a pleasant experience. Afterward I spent much of my afternoon mowing and clearing woods to make my yard larger. Slowly but surely I'm winning over nature. While mowing the yard yesterday afternoon, I saw something rather odd in the yard. First I thought it might have been a small branch with a bunch of leaves. When I got closer, I saw that it was a really large and weird mushroom! So I pulled out my camera and took a few shots:
- pic 1
- pic 2
- pic 3
Yeah, the grass was pretty long :P These photos really don't show scale, but this mushroom is larger than a head of lettuce. So being the dork that I am and curious how large it will get, I left it alone and mowed around the fungus.
Posted By Mike on Sun-06-aug-2006 || Title: Status of old house || (0) comments
I get a lot of questions about the status of my old house. Since I have an update, I thought I would post it here.

First, no, the house still is not on the market. When I went on vacation in July I hired some contractors to redo 80% of the ceiling in the basement with all new drywall and replace one panel of drywall in the basement hall. Currently all drywall has been hung but:

- one sheet in the hallway
- one ceiling sheet in the utility room
- the duct work in the utility room
- the duct work in the bathroom

There has been no mudding or sanding of the drywall so all the seems and screws are visible. That also means no painting has been done yet.

Pictures of the new ceiling:
- Family room
- Family room
- Hallway
Posted By Mike on Thu-03-aug-2006 || Title: Stuff || (1 ) comments
It is getting close to a month since I purchased my PDA phone. Today I'm going try to return the phone. The promise given to me was, if I'm not satisfied, I could return the phone. I'm not satisfied with the phone because Microsoft Windows Mobile 5 locks up and Microsoft IE for Windows does not work with two major campus sites that I need. I finally had the campus admit that they are not compatible with Microsoft Mobile IE:

"Mike, You are correct, Windows Mobile's IE (PIE) will not allow you to login to the Webmail and iCampus pages correctly. This is a limitation of the browser...".

So the product simply does not do what I need it to do.

This is not to say that only Microsoft stuff is crap. I loaded Fedora Core 5 on my work station yesterday. In less than 24 hours it has locked up twice. I'm trying to run updates on it and I'm not sure if it is doing anything. :(

On a cool note, I learned something useful this morning. Have a CD that is scratched? After many experiments, it has been determined that the best in house product to save your CD is.....Hair Gel!

Lastly something funny. On the way to daycare this morning, I see three large white birds crossing in front of me. At first I thought it was chickens, but as I slowed down and got close I saw they were guineas. I scream, "guineas!", for the kids benefit of course as we let them pass. Then Aaron says with a smirk, "So Dad, do you know why the guinea cross the road?". It is probably only funny if you were there. :)

I spent my lunch and Cingular. I still have the phone. 1) The other phone choices are much worse. 2) Free OS software came to the rescue. I installed minimo (Mini Mozilla) and it works like a champ with the web pages that did not work with IE. Additionally I installed pocketputty and I can now do work with my phone!

After 3 lock ups and then installing a ton of updates, Fedora Core is a bit more stable now. Later this afternoon though, the machine overheated and shutdown! Can't win.
Posted By Mike on Tue-01-aug-2006 || Title: The Velvet Collar || (0) comments
Once there was a man who fell in love with a beautiful girl. And before the next full moon rose in the sky, they were wed. To please her husband, the young wife wore a different gown each night. Sometimes she was dressed in yellow; other nights she wore red or blue or white. And she always wore a black velvet ribbon around her slender neck. Day and night she wore that ribbon, and it was not long before her husband's curiosity got the better of him. "Why do you always wear that ribbon?" he asked. She smiled a strange smile and said not a word. At last her husband got angry. And one night he shouted at his bride. "Take that ribbon off! I'm tired of looking at it. "You will be sorry if I do," she replied, "so I won't." Every morning at breakfast, the husband ordered his wife to remove the black velvet ribbon from around her neck. Every night at dinner he told her the same thing. But every morning at breakfast and every night at dinner, all his wife would say was, "You'll be sorry if I do. So I won't."

A week had passed. The husband no longer looked into his wife's eyes. He could only stare at that black velvet ribbon around her neck. One night as his wife lay sleeping, he tiptoed to her sewing basket. He took out a pair of scissors. Quickly and quietly, careful not to awaken her, he bent over his wife's bed and .......... SNIP! went the scissors, and the velvet ribbon fell to the floor and........


Off came her head. It rolled over the floor in the moonlight, wailing tearfully: "I...told...you...you'd...be...s-o-r-r-y!"

John Murray 1824
Posted By Mike on Mon-31-jul-2006 || Title: Relationships || (0) comments
Doing a lot of thinking lately. Sunday after a friend stated I needed to do what is best for me about a situation. I thought to myself, "No, I just need to do what is right". I started thinking about stuff going on in the world, stuff with my friends, and what I have been listening to from church. I started thinking why the situation came to where it was. Then I evaluated what was wrong with it all and what was right with it all. What did I come up with? Well, in a nut shell, I truly believe the most important things to any person, no matter how rich or how poor one may be, are relationships. My life reflects this and I believe others do to. This is why there is the saying "money can not buy happiness".

For example, when I was an airman in the AirForce, I was pretty happy. Loved my work, loved going places, but I also had many really close friends. If I had not had these close ties, I don't believe I would have enjoyed the military nearly as much.

For another example, at one time, Tracy and I had no real money. I was working on a Tech Team for just a little over min. wage, and Tracy was a shift manager for McD's. But we had a good relationship with each other and others around us. We were as happy then just as we were after we were when we moved our way up in our careers. Successful careers added value, but without our relationship, we would not have been happy.

Relationships with family, friends, co-workers, spouses, ect... You can measure a person's happiness not by what they own, but quality of the relationships in their life. If you are unhappy, it most likey really has something to do with a relationship. Might be your relationship with your boss at work. Might be with your parents. So what make relationship bad? Thinking about this, I made a list that makes and breaks any type of relationship.

Forgiveness - grudges and anger
Love - hate
humble - pride
trust - distrust
Others first - Yourself first
sharing - selfishness
Everyone is guilty of being on the wrong side of that list at sometime. But it does not mean you must stay there. In fact, when you are on the wrong side, it may mean someone is being hurt, but it always means you are hurting yourself.

My 2 cents of unfocused babbling.
Posted By Mike on Fri-28-jul-2006 || Title: Chicago Cubs Jokes || (3 ) comments
Here are a few kinda funny Chicago Cubs jokes:

What did Jesus say to the Chicago Cubs last time he was on Earth?
Don't do anything till I get back.

What does a gay bear and October have in common?
No Cubs.

What do you call a Chicago Cubs player with a World Series ring?
A thief.

There are some other really funny ones (especially this one about Dusty Baker), but I should not post them [sigh].
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