Sunday, December 17, 2006

What I have been doing lately?

Well I have been splitting my time between work and family mainly. At work I have been working on developing a couple of web base systems to enhance they way we use the web in house. A few months ago I started re-vamping our company's website as I learned PHP with MySQL. Now that I have a better grasp of the coding. Hopefully by spring I'll have that website redone again to modernize how people interact with it. (Web 2.0 and all that jazz) I am also re-working our Intranet to be more useful to our staff and students. My boss and I worked on a contacting system for people to sign up their email or cell phone to receive notifications when school is closed or delayed. It works great, just working the bugs out now, and then we might dump it on Source Forge to others to have. You see our current efforts here.

As for home I have been cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning. I took a bunch of clothes over to a hip consignment shop and they told me they didn't want any of my clothes since they wouldn't sell. Guess I'm too old for Plato's Closet. I ended up dropping the clothes off at the D.A.V. thrift store. I have built my second garden box (out of six) and clean the yard of leaves. If it stays warm next week, I'll build my compost bin out of wooden pallets and try to knock out some more garden boxes. Anyway that is what I have been doing and will be doing until something else comes along and distracts me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wal-Mart took a hit

There are reports (and here) that Wal-Mart sales have dropped 1% in their stores, with expectation that this holiday season will under perform. Other major retailers like Target reported sales to be steady. So it just people not buying at good old Wal-Mart. So it is a small victory for me since I have been boycotting Wal-Mart for the last two years. If you think Wal-Mart helps the local economy then dig around the web. Good starting places are Wal-Mart Movie, NPR story from 2003, Snapper says No to WallyWorld, etc.

"However, if you know that half of the containers flowing into China are empty and nearly all of the containers leaving China are loaded with goods," quoted from here.

Why is America so determine to becoming a nation of consumers instead of producers? We once made things you know, that was a time when we could stand up in the world and voice our opinions and the countries would listen. Now that we are just a customer to the world trying voice our opinion and the world is asking us to leave the store. Companies overseas are putting money into discovering new ideas, products, methods, etc while we continue to buy cheap DVD players and complain why gas cost so much. While Brazil is now totally independent of foreign oil and Iceland soon to follow. Sorry for the rabbit trail.

Go boo Wal-Mart, go Mom & Pop shops.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Grocery Store Experiment

I need to eat better (more fruits & vegetables) and the grocery store is one way that I can help myself do that. I read some info on shopping the grocery store that we should "Shop the perimeter of your typical supermarket and ignore the middle." (Green Living p12) I know when I get to the isle of ingredients and seasoning that I just skip it. My wife helps a lot with buying good meals to prepare, but I want to save more money on food, eat healthier, and not spend a ton time preparing the food. Also this morning on NPR Timothy Jones reported that we waste a lot of food. He said that people typically buy food on Saturday or Sunday and decide they want to eat healthier (sounds like me), so they buy fruits & veggies. During the week they don't take time to prepare those meals and on the next Saturday when they do have time the food has started to spoil. So they just throw it away. He suggested buy groceries on Thursday night instead. But I had a further thought. What if I bought what I needed for breakfast & lunch on the weekends, but every night swing by the store and bought something for dinner. Would that save money? Maybe if something was on sale like meat that is getting near the end of it sale life. If I shopped the perimeter real quick then it would be healthier, but I would have to still prepare the meal when I got home.
So starting next week I'm going to convince my wife to let me try this little experiment on buying food at the store and see what happens.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casino Royale

Well I saw the movie last night at 9:50 p.m. and got home at 1:00 a.m., so I didn't feel like writing the review for Casino Royale. I'll try not to spoil the plot or give away any details in my post.
First off Daniel Craig did a good job playing the role of 007, but I was confused while watching the movie. (More on confusing in a second). I believe the movie is centered around when Bond starts his career as a secret agent, yet the movie is modern day. So I guess the Bond time line over the last thirty years don't exist for this movie plot. You could tell that this Bond is more physical and rough around the edges than the last Bond [Pierce Brosnan], so that makes a little bit of sense on why they axed Mr. Brosnan. In all, the movie wants to take Bond in a new direction that he could not go. I would not be surprise if Hollywood remakes all the Bond movies since their obsession of remakes.

The open action sequence was great, very fast, very OMG did he just do that. Thumbs up for the first 15 minutes. But after that the movie slows down with little bits of excitement. Now the title of the movie is Casino Royale and the major climax for the movie is a poker tournament. So for like 30 minutes they are playing poker with action happening in between the breaks of the game. I guess the producers wanted to cash in on all the craze of poker on TV. You know there are like 10 channels that show Poker Tournaments every day. I typically flip past them, so I was getting really bored during this part of the movie. Of course the winning hand is between good guy and bad guy alone. And both have excellent hands but one is better, neither likely to happen at the same time. Too cliche for me. Then some more action and then a very slow part near the end where you like why are you showing this to me.

Now for the bad, the sexy banter that Bond is known for is absent from the movie, unless they want you to see Bond before he gets all smooth. So this a prequel for the Bond series yet it is modern day. (Sorry for repeating that.) The transition from scene to scene is poorly done. The gadgets are gone and replaced with his fist. He freaking runs everywhere through the movie. Everyone has a cell phone in the movie and answers every 15 minutes, I bet the movie was sponsored from a cell phone company. The last 30 minutes of the movie should have been redone. There were only two girls in the movie, only one was a "Bond" girl.

Now for the good. Action was great, the realism was much better than previous movies. If he got beat up in the movie, he still had the bruises in the next scene. The Bond girl reaction to seeing death was better than "Hey you kill him, want to do it?" mentality from the previous movies is gone.

Over all. If you are a Bond fan, go see it, if you are a movie fan, rent it. That's my report.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Casino Royale Review (preview)

My friend Sam and I are headed off to see Casino Royale tonight, the trailer looked really good (at least for action). I haven't made up my mind about the new Bond guy Daniel Craig. I am not a fanboy for the 007 series, so I can give him a fair shot. But check out the pictures on Wikipedia - James Bond I think that Daniel Craig looks a lot closer to Sean Connery then any of the other actors that played James Bond before. I'm pretty excited to just to see a movie, this is the first movie I've seen since Pirates 2 and nothing before that since January. (Having a kid limits time/money for entertainment.)

So hopefully after it is over and I come home I'll put together a little review, unless I'm bone tired.
Getting tires put on my car at 7:30 a.m. (early for a Saturday)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Really fast eco-car

I saw this article over at TechEBlog about a Lotus that runs on BioFuel, now that is a car I could zip around town all day. The video below is of TopGear reviewing the car. The information at the end of the video is why I'm posting this, nothing new is presented but it was good to have TopGear reconfirm what has been stated before. (A voice not from the wild crazy "save the planet" freaks, as the media views them)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

U.S. pays for condoms overseas?

Last year NPR ran a report on about how some of the AIDS activists around the world were upset about the change of tactics of the United States government, trying to promote abstinence over use of condoms. That story prompted many questions, including: The United States government buys condoms for people in foreign nations? How long has this been going on? Is this program effective to preventing AIDS in those countries? Most of my concern was that U.S. tax payer money was going towards the purchase of condoms that were handed out to people in other countries. That old stereotypical argument was building up inside me. "We have enough problems here in the United States that that money could be used for first." Solve our own problems first before trying to help others. But I know that we will never be a problem free nation and should help out where we can around the world.

Washington Post had an article back in February reporting the cost of this program called President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) which spent $5.2 billion dollars in the through 2004 and 2005.

"About $66 million was spent on the provision of condoms and prevention messages emphasizing their use." $66 million is a lot of money for condoms, if I were to head down to the drug store that would buy me 107 million condoms.

So who is receiving these gifts from the U.S. government? "The vast majority of the money is being spent in 12 African nations and in Guyana, Haiti and Vietnam, although the program is paying for AIDS work in more than 100 other countries, including Russia and India."

Only time will tell if this program of handing out condoms is helping slow the spread of AIDS around the world. In part two of this series I plan to dig deeper and find who is profiting from this project and why.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Running out of things to goof off on.

Well I get an hour for lunch everyday and I typically spend it surfing the web. I have noticed over the last few months that new content has become less abundant. I'll admit I'm a feeder I let others tell me what I should see, so I'm not seeking out new info in uncharted seas of the web. Typically I hit Digg, Slashdot, OSNews, NeoWin, Distrowatch, and a few others. But I seem to cruise all through those sites in about twenty minutes. The content isn't new it seems to be just re-submitted from one to the other. I feel like I'm on a guided tour and someone is showing what they think is important. It's getting old and stale, so I am seeking out new resources that dive deeper into the web.
I have a few things up my sleeve but they are all long shots so I'll start working on them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm old

I turn thirty today around 10:00 am EST. I was planning on taking a day off from work, but I'm sick this week. So there is no point in taking a day off of work to goof off if I'm sick. Might as well sludge through work in hopes of getting everybody else sick. (he-he) Well Scrybe sent me an invite so I have been using it, so far so good, but I am really waiting for part 2 & 3 of the beta to open up before I make up my mind. Oh well hopefully today won't suck too much since I'm here, like no major CF's. Oh well I'm getting old.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not as planned

Well my son is sick, well he has been sick since the weekend and has been getting better. My wife wants me to hang out with him tomorrow so we don't have to take him to the sitter's and get the other kids sick. Now I was planning on taken the 2nd off from work and get some things done. Now I'm taken the 1st off and baby-sitting. So my "get some things done" have changed to I hope I can get something accomplish. I'm good with my son, but one on one after a few hours I run out of things to do to keep him entertained. So tomorrow I can scratch off trying to get new tires for my car. Can't really bargain a price with a 9-month old in my arms, or if I get the price I want I can't sit there and let them swap tires if he starts getting hungry or has a poopy diaper. I can't go running tomorrow (since tonight was Halloween, didn't think I should go tromping around the neighborhood). All I can really do is pick up some new contacts and buy stamps. I guess I could work on November's budget since I'll be at home and he might sleep every once in a while. I just kinda sucks since I had a plan and now that has changed.

Firefox & Add-on's

    FireFox Add-on's That I use
  • Adblock ( - A must have

  • Adblock Filterset.G Updater (

  • Allow Right-Click (0.4)

  • Alt-Text for Links (0.4)

  • BugMeNot (1.3) - Comes in handy every now and then

  • Colorful Tabs (1.4.5) - Pretty colors

  • ColorZilla ( - For Web Developing (stealing colors)

  • Download Manager Tweak (0.7.2)

  • Ext2ABC (0.5) - Noticed it doesn't work with FF2

  • Forecastfox (

  • Gmail Notifier (

  • GooglePreview (2.1)

  • Html Validator ( - For Web Developing

  • IE Tab (

  • McAfee SiteAdvisor (24.0) - Like to see those reports on Warez sites that I visit.

  • Morning Coffee (1.25) - Haven't used it in a while

  • Server Spy (0.1.2) - Strictly for research purposes

  • ShowIP (0.8.05) - Again strictly for research purposes

  • Tab Mix Plus ( - Got to have my global X button

  • TargetAlert ( - Not working in FF2

  • TrackMeNot (0.4.54) - Should uninstall never use

  • Update Notifier (0.1.5)

  • Web Developer (1.0.2) - I like a few of the buttons this adds.

Scrybe & Firefox 2

There's a new service coming to the world, called Scrybe, basically it is an online organizer that supposedly gets the job done where others have failed. It was in private beta for awhile and now it is in an open beta, but I haven't gotten my invite. I'm really excited because right now I use a mix of Outlook Calendar and GMail to organize my day to day operations.

As for other news I have gotten most of my extensions working in the new version of Firefox, always a problem when you want bleeding edge technology. I have 22 of 23 extensions running, and no I didn't do the XPI hack for max version. I let the authors release the version when they think it is up to par. Just need TargetAlert to come out and I'll be a happy camper.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Where have I been?

Well like most things in life I drift from one interest to another. If I wasn't writing a blog I was living a life that was too busy alot time for reflection. My work centered around redesigning the website, you can poke fun of my effort here ( But I have mostly finished that project. I still have to redesign the Intranet for my company, but I need to learn the workings of PHP and how to push/pull in MySQL. Not something I'll figure out in a weekend. My son's site has been making progress but now I realize that I have forgotten my flickr password. Too many passwords and I'm getting too old to be able to remember them all. Well I am going to get up early and run tomorrow and listen to Pray As You Go. Maybe it will help my day progress in a direction that it needs to go. I'm trying to make the right decisions about my day to day life, but it hard when you been lazy for the last fifteen years. I have also decided to combine all my blogs into one and save me some sanity. So the lack-luster getting in shape journal and the baseball card blog will migrate here so I can live more simply. Which is the whole reason I started this whole thing. Everything does come full circle I guess.

Side note download Firefox 2.0 here (I'm assuming you want Windows and an English version) since it has come out.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Entries

So I bidded on this lot of 800 cards off of Ebay. A large assortment of common cards from 1980 up through 1987, and even some unopen* packs. It was really exciting to open a pack of cards from 1984, brought back a whole flood of memories as a kid. It was even more exciting when I decided to try the gum from that pack which was bad back in 1984. I had a little audience here at work as they watched me chew the gum. Well let me tell you, gum that is twenty-two years old should not be chewed. It was a nasty paste of rotten sugar that was held together with dust. But back to the cards, of course I didn't score any major valuable cards, at least not money-wise, I did get a whole bunch of cards that made everyone laugh around the shop.
First is my bad-ass cage fighter from a previous post, Tim Blackwell. Who in this picture is staring down the reporters that say his Batting AVG. was too low. He's my man!

Next I found this gem of a card for Larry Hisle. His jacket makes the card worth a post in itself, but I couldn't come up with enough material about what could be going on during this picture. This card makes him look a little crazy, but I'm sure he a sane man, unless he's wearing that jacket during one of the dog days of August in which it was 100 degrees outside.

Then I saw this next card and forgot that era of bad uniforms. The White Sox had a winner there with those threads. Of course it would get worse before it got better. Maybe I'll dig through my cards and get some type of picture gallery of the teams uniforms through the years. But I looked up the stats for Thad and noticed that in 14 season he never played more than 108 games per year. Wonder what was up with that.

And finally George Foster who was trend setter back in 1984 with his tight trim of a semi-beard. But I did learn that this guy was really good during the late sevenites, voted the MVP in 1977, smack 52 Home Runs that year also. Way to go George.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just Pass the Crossroads

So I spent most of my collecting life sorting my cards alphabetically and made it through the C's with my current collection, when I realize that would be forever tinkering with my cards as I got new cards. I searched briefly around the net and found a few sites that suggested sorting by year then by set instead of my alpha-drive-me-insane-betical order. So I took a row of cards and just started sorting them by year, then by company, I was amazed how fast I was able to sort them that way. Just glancing at the style of the card I know it was a 1988 Fleer or 1984 Topps. So I spent most of the weekend sorting all my cards and currently have them separated. The hardest was the newest cards that have so many inserts or subsets that I'm not sure how to put them in an order.

But now I have to put them in a numerical order which shouldn't take too long of a time and is a whole lot easier than figuring out if Jose Cruz is the same guy as Jose Cruz. But in order to keep track of what cards I have I'm going to need to make a list. I can't see any way around it. I have found a few scattered sites that have checklist that I need so I don't have to type it all in. But I was surprise how few people have posted a check list. Try finding a 1990 UpperDeck checklist, and no it's not on their site either.

I have looked at the software programs out there that help with tracking your cards but most are sorry and written in an era of Windows 95 machines. Most sites I have seen suggest using Beckett's My Collection page, which works okay if you want to keep track of a few important cards, but not your entire collection including all your common cards. So I guess I'll do the spreadsheet thing and then work on something in a database form. (Most distant project, right after I paint my house)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Who would win this fight?

So I was digging through my B's and came across these two guys. Both cards just stood out and I needed to share them with the rest of the world. The first is Tim Blackwell, a catcher for the Cubs (back in 1982), something about him made me do a double take. Looking at his Bio on the back it states that he was 5'11" and 180 lbs, but I can tell you right now that I'm 5'11" and 180 lbs and I don't look like that. This guy is ripped, his uniform is about to explode, and you got to love the Wild West moustache that he is sporting.

Then there Juan Berenguer, the 5'11" 225 lbs pitcher that could make batters cry by looking at them. I mean c'mon look at the guy, I wouldn't want to take an inside fast ball from that guy. I don't think I would even bother him to get an autograph. You can click on their names to get more serious Bio's and stats.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Rookie card dilema not new

2006 marks the year in which a new standard for rookie cards has been issue between the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and Topps/Upper Deck. The new rule states that a player must play in the major league before a card can be issued a rookie card; you can read the official statement here.
I'm in favor of the new rule with the MLBPA which I think is fair to both the players and the collectors. Before the card companies would print "rookie cards" for guys in the minor leagues and some of those guys never made it to the professional level. But right now we are a limbo state with some cards stating rookie cards for guys back in 2004 (which were in the minor leagues) but now starting in the major league has a new official "rookie card", creating multiple year rookie cards for some players. So I have seen some people complaining that it is not a smooth transition from the old system to the new. I agree that it is not a smooth transition, but nothing is smooth when you take a broken system and stop it cold and correct the matter. This mandate needs to be done, and the future of cards will be better for it. But this limbo state is not new, as I was sorting some cards tonight during the Tiger - Angels game I noticed something. Mark McQwire has a multi-year rookie card and I'm not talking about his 1985 Topps Olympic card. Look at the 1987 Donruss card and notice it is his rookie card and then in 1988 Topps rates him as an All-Star Rookie, but Topps already printed him a regular card in 1987. So was Mark McQwire a rookie for two years? I'm glad for the new system.
* Sorry about the poor scans of the cards I stole them from the web.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Why do all the baseball cards for Ichiro Suzuki have his first name listed and not his last? His jersey even only lists his first name, which from what I can find had to be approve by the commissioner. I don't know of any other players that is allow to use their first name only on jerseys and cards, of course I know 2% of the entire knowledge of baseball. I guess his popularity from Japan and everyone calling him Ichiro only just came over with him. In any case it is a bit odd. If you know something, let us know thanks.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

My History with the Cards

In 1986 a new family moved in across the street, they were from either Penn. or New Jersey and their two sons collected baseball cards. I was 10 and hadn't really been interested up to that point. So I guess I went out and bought some Topps 1987 cards and I remember having Wally Joyner in that first pack. (Thought has name sounded silly) I really didn’t watch baseball on TV at the time so I really learn the players by looking at the cards. I started trading cards with kids at school (as much as the teachers would allow), but for the most part I was a typical kid collector. Over the next few years I started going to Baseball Card shows and looking at all the latest and trendy hot cards. I ended up with like six Mark Grace rookie cards. Score and Upper Deck had come out and the market was officially flooded. I remember an old man telling me when I was 14 to try collect the old cards that these new cards which may be selling for $20 now would soon drop off. For what ever reason that tip stuck with me as I tried to collect cards from the seventies. I bought an old 1949 Bowman card for $11 at a shop one time, it was a common, but I know I had something that was really old. As I went through high school and college I stop buying baseball cards, because other things were important like CD’s and posters. It wasn’t until 2003 that I dug my old cards out of my parents house and starting looking through them that I remember how fun it was sorting them and seeing who I had. I soon discover that Mark Grace, Kevin Maas, Ben MacDonald, etc weren’t worth what they use to be. But none the less I enjoyed looking at them. I started buying packs ever now and again when my wife and I would go to Target. I soon discovered that the system of cards that I left was now in ruins. That there were over 80 sets to choose from, but Target only sold 4 or 5. Now that is 2006, some twenty years later, I am collecting once again. I have less than 3 mega boxes full of cards and maybe a handful of valuable cards, but I enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stop this nonsense

Back in 2004 I bought a pack of Topps 2004 Opening Day series and got the top card for Cliff Floyd. Then later on when the normal series from Topps came out I notice that they just reprinted a bunch of cards and sold them as new. Something about the fact that I spent money of two different series and got the same cards rubbed me the wrong way. I felt cheated. They could have put on a different picture, but all they did was change the border to white and removed the "Opening Day" logo.

I hope that for 2007 this is stopped and they just simply remove that series from the shelves. I'll be hesitant next spring when I see that pack for sale.

Couldn't take this card seriously

I got this card from a Bazooka Topps in 2005, (one of the many insets that Topps put out that year) and I almost laugh. It looks so silly as a card, it like they combined the awe factor of putting in a slice of the bat, but then drew cartoons all around it for the little kids. I know the Bazooka theme is cartoons, but someone should have revised that card, just my $0.02 on the matter.

Ron Kittle a guy who was knocking Home Runs out of the park from day one. His first full year as a Major Leaguer he had 35 bombs, follow up with 32 the following year. One the down side he wiffed 287 times in those two years making him not a clutch hitter. The following years were plague by injuries (from what I can read on the web).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Signatures May Differ

Last year I sent a card off to Todd Wellemeyer to get his autograph. After a few months I did receive the card back from him (top card), I was really happy to get something back in the mail. But then I noticed something when comparing this card to another card (bottom card) with his autographs, they look nothing alike. I mean they aren't even close, I know I get lazy with my signature when I'm buying crap at Target and just scribble on the screen. I heard that they say not to sign your real signature when giving an autograph so people can't steal your identity. Maybe Mr. Wellemeyer learn that lesson since signing the first card, or maybe he was feeling lazy one day. Either way I am excited to have an autographed card from him. Good luck with the Royals.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Got access to a scanner

I moved the scanner into my office this afternoon, which means I can now scan cards. It was kinda bought for me because I complained about not having a scanner and we where the Technology Department. So hopefully I'll scan some cards in to share the joy. Anyway I am continuing on my journey of sorting my cards. I came across an old Dusty Baker card (Topps 1987 #565), and at first I was thinking it was him as a manager then I realize that at the time he was still playing 1B-OF position. It kinda made me laugh to think how much has change since I first got that card back in 1987. To me he has always been a manager and to see a card from my era of him as a first basement threw me for a bit.

I've officially sorted up through the B's, but 90% of the C-F are done. Found out that I had a Craig Biggio rookie card in my collection. I don't think it has huge dollar amounts to it, but it is neat to have it without knowing it.

Nothing went as plan

I had a loose plan of getting certain things accomplish today. Though I am always flexible to what pops up, I was a bit frustrated that what I had set out to do didn't get done. A while back we got some NCS machines, and we are having problems with them rebooting and BSOD. I think I have narrowed it down to the motherboard, but I have only determined that on one of out of the six reported bad. So I spent most of the day working on troubleshooting that problem and elimnating non-issues. I was suppose to knock a bunch of tickets for MHES and then install some testing software for a person at the SAO. Oh well tomorrow will come soon enough, I'll just have to push my schedule back on all those other tickets.

Some times I wish that I could push all my events back in Outlook by a day. So that way I wouldn't spend gobbs of time rescheduling my week.

Current Music: Jack Johnson - Curious George soundtrack

Sunday, August 27, 2006

First the bad news

Figure I post the articles that inspired me to start this blog. There has been a lot of articles over the last year that state that baseball card collecting is on the decline. Here what I could find.

So everyone (collectors, card companies, and industry experts) agree that today's baseball cards are a mess. So what is the future for cards? I'm going to find out.

Now the good news.

Press Release from Major League Baseball Player Assocation (MLBPA) on who will making Baseball Cards starting in 2006 (yes I know it is a little late). But it does have insight on where things will be going. Seems like just Topps and Upper Deck are in and Donruss is out. This would be the second time that Donruss has lost its ability to produce cards for MLBPA and release their statement about the decision. Since the 2006 season was first year of this agreement I would imagine that next year will have the issues in full force.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Walk it off

I had to skip a run yesterday. My shins are killing me, it is just over use of my legs. I figure I rest till Sunday and then run again to see if they hurt more.

The results came in for a race. Here. I placed 92nd so you have to scroll down a ways. But hey I achieved my goal for that day, maybe next time I can do better. I also have a photo but I haven't figure out how to get it off the site.

The Gavin Project

Spent the last few nights updating my son's site. But I have it mostly the way I want it. Need to fix the flickr post, but I am awaiting feedback on the forums. Once I get caught up on sleep I 'll throw some more post up.

Current Music: Godsmack [first album] - it really does remind me of Alice in Chains.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Official Race Results

Well on Friday afternoon I decided to run in a 5k race. I figure I give it a try and see where I was physically. So far I hadn't run 3.1 miles at a time so I was a bit nervous about the whole thing. I started near the front and was pass by like seventy people. It was very defeating to be pass by so many on your very first race. Also I had no idea how long it was going to take so I was saving up my energy so I wouldn't stop. In the end I placed 92nd and ran it in 27 minutes. My goal was to run the whole thing without stopping and that is what I did. Next time I'll start in the back so I can pass some people and build some confidence. But really not bad for a first race with only a month of running under my belt.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

3.0 Miles and getting dark

Well I drove the distance that I run and it is only 3.0 miles. Even worse since I know I walk the first 0.4 and the last 0.1. So I'm only running 2.5 miles, which doesn't help me prepare for a 5k run. Also what is really bothers me is the face that it is getting darker now. So I am losing my window to run before dark. Not a good run tonight.

Hell Week (Day Two)

Well I looked at our tickets for people submitting problems they have. We have 114 tickets and it is only Tuesday. So I would say that by next Monday we should be sitting around 230 tickets. I have lot's of teachers that need mini switches for their multiple computers and one data drop per room. The SOL require us to have 1 computer per 5 students so we are packing them in. Just need to update the infrastructure which is not an item that sells well to non-technical people. Oh well only three more days.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Last Night's Run

Ever get that feeling that if you go running, that it will be really bad. I had notions that I was going to throw up, have my shins stick out of my skins, and other wild crazy thoughts. But I went ahead and ran and it was one of the best runs I had. I ran more of the of the loop I did without having to stop as often. I only stop once on the dreaded Sanhill Dr. It got to the point where it didn't hurt any more to keep going, I caught myself smiling that sick twisted smile that one does when they do something insane and enjoy it. I'm really looking forward to running tomorrow night. Last night I ran it in 31 minutes, and I would even guess that my 3.1 distance may be further. I need to drive it to double check the mileage. Oh well guess I should sleep now.

Hell Week (Day One)

Well my boss mention that this week is "Hell Week" (borrowed from the Navy Seals mind ya.), but since this week is the one where the teachers come back and discovered that nothing works right with their computers. I spent all day at Madison Heights Elem. School trying to fight the on-slaught of the waves of chaos. Nothing really stood out about the work I did, but I'm glad it is over. More problems were discovered than resolved, so I'm a bit below the tide, but I feel strong. Tomorrow I head to Temperance Elem. School to do the same, their not as big as MHES but I'm not going to lower my guard.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New skill that I've learn

Spent the last two days with an Active Directory consultant at work, trying to fix some replication errors we had. We knock that out in a few hours so I spent the remainer of the time learning from him about Group Policys. I did break one thing though. Our Helpdesk software written in PHP pulled from AD so once I moved some of the OU's around it cause the HelpDesk to stop working. But I just moved things back and the world was happy. (At least for a moment) But I'm eager to play with Group Policy and setup some restrictions on the kids computers where I work. (He-He...J/K)

Run, Run, Run

Well I have been running pretty consistent the last few weeks. Sunday night, Tuesday night, and Thursday night, each around 3.1 miles. Takes me around 40 minutes to complete the loop. I can see progress when I run, I stop less often and my muscles are sore the next day. I've even consider doing a 5k run coming up in September. I don't think I've tone up any, not sure if I have lost any weight. My face still get beat red while I'm running. Oh well not trying to win any beauty pageants.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pics from Chicago

Blowing up rotten apples is the best way to kill time.

Don't think this is legal anywhere.

Is it blue from the pollution?

One of the many critters I saw at the aquairum.

Mental stress

I have taken on the task of redesigning our website at work. Currently we use the Mambo software to manage all the pages for all the contributers, but it didn't work out the way we planned. So I have been charged with building it up from the ground. Now I know how to make web pages but my skills sit back in 2001 and well, times have changed. I bought a new book and trying to teach myself how to use the new XHTML standard that has been put in place. It is really frusting when the layout could have been done in twenty minutes and it took me two days to do in in CSS. Oh well, I need to learn.

Still Running

Well I have been trying to run every other day except on the weekends. I'm to the point now that my leg muscles are sore the next day, which is great. My knees are a bit sore, but I read a bunch online on how to help that. I even broke down and went to GNC and bought a After Workout recovery aimed at running. It taste like a weird fruit punch with a nasty aftertaste, but I figure anything I get would taste like crap. I am due to run tomorrow night, I will think I'll limit it to just a mile so I can heal up my knees.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day One

Using this blog to record my efforts in getting in better shape. I weigh a bit more than 184 lbs.(Don't have access to a scale at the moment.) and not really active like I use to be. So hopefully I can log some info here and keep me pattern of working out. We'll see.

Back in town

I was on vacation last week up in the Chicago area, glad to live in a smaller town. Traffic wasn't that bad, but it wasn't peachy either. I drove straight through, 13 hours, with the help of a friend talking to me. My car [Toyota Matrix] averaged 38 miles to the gallon, so I was stoked about that. I still can't believe people drive Hummers (for casual driving), just insane. My garden survived but I need to do some picking tonight or tomorrow to keep it nice. The only two things to report is that I starting working on my novel again and I started running again.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Excitement in the front yard

In my front yard I have a sinking spot where a old tree use to be. Last year I dug up most of the rotted tree stump and fill it in with extra dirt. Well my wife wanted me to take care of it. So on Saturday I started digging up hole and found some more rotten wood, even found some termites. So I grab some lighter fluid and set them a blaze. As the hole in the ground was burning, my neighbor came over to chat. He noticed that I was squatting over a bees nest in the ground. Total surprise how I didn't get stung. So I filled their hole up with lighter fluid too and start burning them. I ended up killing twelve bees and fifty termites. I typically don't go killing stuff, but I don't want my house to be torn up with termites.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Fruit of my labor

Well Heidi and I ate salad tonight which the lettuce came from the garden. I was very detail in my inspection of the lettuce, looking for bugs, worms, etc. It is kinda funny since I naturally put more trust in the bag lettuce than the what was grown in my own yard. I'm sure I will be more confident with mine as time goes on. I have had to water my garden since it hasn't rain much around here, think we are eights behind.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Weirdest Picture

So I was searching Google for wallpapers and I came across this picture (NSFW). I can't figure out if it is real or not. So since it is "Happy Satan Day" I figure I post a picture of some weird demon child creature. Also FYI not everybody thinks "Happy Satan Day" was funny since today was 6/6/06. Next year I'll have to come up with some type of happy heaven day on July 7th 2007.
You can recreate my results by going to Google images and search for "1280x1024 wallpaper" with SafeSearch turned off and look on page 2. Or click here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Walking to Recycling Center

So last Saturday I needed to recycle a bunch of stuff and as I was loading it up in my car I noticed that it all fit inside of two bags. It was around 9:00 in the morning and the day was nice, so I decided to walk to the recycling center. Figure I could get some exercise, same some gas, and have a little adventure. It only took me like ten minutes to get there. I saw a wallet on the road, but I didn't touch it. Just wasn't feeling that I should pick it up. On the way back I pass a man that look crazy and homeless. Those are assumptions since I don't know either, but it was odd since he was wearing the exact same shirt and pants from the previous week. Also saw a dead squirrel on my way back, someone must have hit it since I pass by. Made me think of the parts in the bible that tells you not to touch dead animals. In our society (or culture) we drive everywhere so you really don't think of those things. But when you are walking it's different since it takes longer to pass the dead animal. I was only gone twenty minutes, so I'll do that again when I need to recycle.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Hike

Last year my wife and I hiked up Crabtree Falls here in Virginia, this year I went up and did the Henry Lanum trail with my friend Sam. We started out at around 9:00 am and were done right after noon. Trail was 6.2 miles and we did it around three hours, so I think I am starting to get back in hiking shape (somewhat, since I was breathing hard up the trail). It is unfair that Heidi has to stay home with our son as I hike around Virginia. But soon he will be hiking with me all over the place, I hope. I want him to appreciate nature as much as I do and to be able to enjoy it later. I really don't want him growing up addicted to video games that so many of us did as we grew up.

A good example of that is when I was little, if it snowed and we were home from school. Every waken minute was played out in the snow. Now a days kids stay indoors and play video games. Something is wrong there.

I am already starting to plan my next trip, do some ridgeline hiking, solo even. We'll see.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Garden News

My garden is coming up pretty good. I do have moles in my yard and they have discovered my garden. Don't think I can do a whole lot to fight them this season. I talked to my friend and she said that I could laid down chick mess under all the dirt and that should keep them out. So this fall I'll have to work on that for next year. I hope they don't destroy my carrots too bad.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

My weekend

Weekend was great, really good weather. Got up early on Saturday and hike up to Devil's Marble Yard, and was done before anyone else was there. Though my body is tired, I'm ready for the next trip. Of course I don't think I can convince my wife to let me go again next weekend, the weekend after that is Mother's Day. So we'll see. She, her mom, and the baby went to the celtic festival, so it gave me an excuse to slip away.
I thinned out the lettuce a bit, most likely I'll have to thin more but I'm taking baby steps on the garden.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Excited for the weekend

Saturday's weather is looking great for going hiking. My friend Sam has never been to Devil's Marble Yard, so we decided to do a good day hike on Saturday. I dusted off my old climbing shoes just case I get the urge to traverse anything. I haven't bouldered for about seven years, but I have been eyeing boulders in the hills of Amherst while I'm driving all winter long. I need to pick up a small pack since the only backpack I have is huge pack I have for week long trips. I'm excited, hope it doesn't rain.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Difficult outlook on future

It is difficult to find information out on the web that covers the topic of living more simple. Most of the stuff I am finding is the extreme far aspect of the topic. Nothing that really has baby steps from living your life now and what things you can do to be more responsible. The idea did cross my mind to take on the task myself, but I know that is more than I can handle right now. But some of the things I have been doing to help are the following. Conserving gasoline when I drive, by not accelerating as fast as my car can go off the stop light. Recylcing cardboard and plastic bottles, my city doesn't take glass anymore. I'm putting food waste in a compost pile so that my kitchen trash doesn't stink as fast and it doesn't take up so much room in the outside trash can. When my bath soap runs out, I'll switch back to the plain old Irish soap bar instead of the liquid in a bottle. The bar is cheaper and when I'm done I don't have a big bottle for the trash, (think it last longer too). I have also been looking at labels to see if the products I buy are made in the US.
So you can see it isn't much but it is a start.

Struggling to fine resources

It is difficult to find information out on the web that covers the topic of living more simple. Most of the stuff I am finding is the extreme far aspect of the topic. Nothing that really has baby steps from living your life now and what things you can do to be more responsible. The idea did cross my mind to take on the task myself, but I know that is more than I can handle right now. But some of the things I have been doing to help are the following. Conserving gasoline when I drive, by not accelerating as fast as my car can go off the stop light. Recylcing cardboard and plastic bottles, my city doesn't take glass anymore. I'm putting food waste in a compost pile so that my kitchen trash doesn't stink as fast and it doesn't take up so much room in the outside trash can. When my bath soap runs out, I'll switch back to the plain old Irish soap bar instead of the liquid in a bottle. The bar is cheaper and when I'm done I don't have a big bottle for the trash, (think it last longer too). I have also been looking at labels to see if the products I buy are made in the US.
So you can see it isn't much but it is a start.

Struggling to fine resources

It is difficult to find information out on the web that covers the topic of living more simple. Most of the stuff I am finding is the extreme far aspect of the topic. Nothing that really has baby steps from living your life now and what things you can do to be more responsible. The idea did cross my mind to take on the task myself, but I know that is more than I can handle right now. But some of the things I have been doing to help are the following. Conserving gasoline when I drive, by not accelerating as fast as my car can go off the stop light. Recylcing cardboard and plastic bottles, my city doesn't take glass anymore. I'm putting food waste in a compost pile so that my kitchen trash doesn't stink as fast and it doesn't take up so much room in the outside trash can. When my bath soap runs out, I'll switch back to the plain old Irish soap bar instead of the liquid in a bottle. The bar is cheaper and when I'm done I don't have a big bottle for the trash, (think it last longer too). I have also been looking at labels to see if the products I buy are made in the US.
So you can see it isn't much but it is a start.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What I did on this Saturday

Figure I type out what I did today. 9:00 am got out of bed and ate some Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal. Got dress and took out the kitchen trash and baby's diaper trash. 10:00 pull out spare bike to put air in the tires and check gears and brakes. Also put on bike rack and loaded both bikes. 11:00 (ish) pick up friend to go riding for a bit. 12:15 Cleaned bikes and put them up. Ate some lunch (Baked Spagetti leftover and flatbread). 1:00 (ish) showered and hung out with son. 2:00 (ish) ran errands with the family, bought some supplies. 4:00 returned home to allow my wife to feed the baby. 5:00 went out to eat Mexican with family. Picked up a movie on the way back (Jarhead). 6:30 (ish) watched movie. 8:30 (ish) got ready for bed. 9:00 fired up laptop to read news and post some blogs. 11:00 posted this blog and fell asleep...

Garden: Entry 5 (oops)

I noticed yesterday that one row of lettuce is really close to the row of lima beans. Don't think it will like that as they start coming in. So I'm force to take drastic measures, going to have to yank out the row of lettuce. I think I can do that without damaging too much of the lima beans. I need to thin out the other row of lettuce since it is all too thick, too many seeds actually sprouted. Also in my yard I noticed that a lot of the acorns actually sprouted and start growing mini-trees all over my yard. First time that has happen in the fourth spring in my house. Tomorrow I'll be pulling up mini-oak trees for most of the day.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Trucking Along

Well I am continuing to follow along this path of simplicity. Currently things are going good. I went through my closet and pull out enough clothes to fill a box for Goodwill. I think I could fill another box if I try hard enough. I did replenish my closet a little bit, bought four shirts from a store that sells discontinued items. I also pick me up a used banjo, (one of those items of must do before I die list), I'm pretty impress that I have learn so much in two days. My wife picked up some Humus and we ate flat bread and lettuce today for lunch. Tomorrow I visit with family so it will be interesting if any topics come up that deal with a person's responsibility to this world. (Like boycotting Wal-Mart).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Shopping Responsibilty

I attended a panel discussion titled "Wal-Mart: The high cost of low cost" It was very eye opening and confirming for some notions that I already had about the mega store. I'm still digesting a lot of the information, so it is too soon for me even to tell you what I really think. But in short, there are many points for why companies like Wal-Mart really hurt people. Besides the raping of global resources around the world, there is the fact that they don't pay their employees squat so most have to get government assistance. So I have been shopping locally since the money I spend will typically stay in my local economy. Why should I save three dollars to buy a book of Amazon only to have all my money go elsewhere. When I can get the same book (faster) have over half the money stay in my local area. Sorry this post is scattered and I'm not expressing myself accurately.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Garden: Entry 4 - Bugs

Bugs, bugs, bugs. Well I was working in my garden today, actually expanding to another section of 3' by 5', and the gnats were all over me. I had forgotten what it was like to have a swarm of bugs annoy the heck out of me. I also found a bunch little white grub bugs in the dirt, not sure if that is a bad sign of things to come. I did take a shower this morning so maybe they were attracted to that.
My neighbor gave me a few peanuts to grow, looking foward to see if I can eat a little handful of peanuts that I grew myself. Some of my lettuce has started to sprout up, I need to hurry up and plant some more types of lettuce and spinnach, so I can have a good variety of food. I'll plant a few tomatoes maybe this weekend for my wife. I still want to have potatoes, but I haven't really look into doing that.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Garden: Day Two

Well I worked a good chunk of hours last night on my garden. I was able to break up the next three inches of soil pretty easily. I mixed three bags of Organic Miracle Grow and finished the box section next to it. This weekend I'll mix up the dirt more and pull out the smaller roots that I see. Both my neighbors came out and talked to me during my time. It is amazing how working outside draws people around. Instead of the typical playing video games inside and not talking to anyone.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

How this started

It started with finally getting caught driving like a mad man everyday to and from work. I passed an unmark cop in the right lane on the highway one morning going to work. In Virginia that's illegal, but regardless, I had spent the last fifteen years driving irresponsible on a daily basis. My punishment was to lose my license for one month but be allowed to drive to from work during that time. The bad part was that my wife was pregant and due at the end of that month. So my poor choices had affect someone else which finally bothered me. So I drove the speed limit every day, found that it didn't add hardly any more time during my commute. When I got my license back, I continued that safe pattern of driving.

Being a confessing christian, I started to wonder how my actions place me in this world. When I went to defensive driving school for that aggresive driving ticket I got, I found myself looking at life differently. In a class of thirty I was the alone person who volunitary signed up. Everyone else was ordered to come and felt it was the cops fault they got in trouble.* Could any of them look at me and see that I followed Christ in my decisions? I think not. So I started evaluating my life that day (during class of course).

So I started thinking how can I stand for God, and not be of this world. Thought about my life now that I was a father and had someone really dependent upon me. Having a baby really changes everything in your life.

Some how I ended up listening to Vineyard podcast about "How to Live More on Less." Not sure how I grabbed that podcast or even why, I guess just something God wanted me to hear. But the message really spoke to me that day at work. I also came across an article about Benjamin Franklin and his pursuit to being a better person. And later that week someone at our church talked about Stewardship (of the earth). It was just a combo of things that all clicked together for me to wake up and take action.

Recycling was the first thing I started doing again. I stop a while back when the city cut bottles out of the program. Then I started planning to grow a garden in my backyard and learn to eat some green stuff.

*Of the people that spoke out.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Garden: Day One

I decided last weekend to grow a garden, start with some vegetables and herbs. Saw a book online called "Square Foot Gardening", I asked my local bookstore to order it. That should come in this week. But anyway, so on Monday I dug a section in my tiny back yard (0.11 acres) for a garden. Four feet by twelve feet, it doesn't seem big but I got tired pulling grass out of that area. I dug down two inches and now planning on break up the next three inches and mix some organic compost. So on Thursday afternoon hopefully I can out there and finish that step. This weekend I am planning on sowing some seeds indoors. I have one type of carrots, lima beans, two types of lettuce and a bunch of herbs for my wife.

Reasons for this blog

Welcome to my blog. I have considered documenting this adventure I have set myself on to keep record of process. My adventure is too live more simply than I have over the last thirty years. It is not something I am able to do over night and not without mistakes. Hopefully this blog will allow me to reflect on my decisions and actions with a larger global community that might share my thoughts. Hopefully over the next few post I can consolidate a short entry on why I am chosing to do this. Thanks for any interest or insight that you may have.