Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm Not A Computer Expert

I know how to surf the web, send email, use a few computer programs, burn CDs, resize photos and a few other things that may make me seem like I know a lot about computers.

But, other than using a computer, I don't know much about computers. In fact, when my computer gives me the blue screen of death or similar error messages, the only thing I know to do is to shut it down, shake it and then turn it back on.

So, if anyone out there in computerland knows what this means, let me know.

Critter Cam

The back yard was full of critters today.

Squirrels eating bird food...

Birds patiently waiting for the squirrels to get their bellies full...

Squirrels eating squirrel food...

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Fun at CVS...

I never heard of Mitch Hedberg before today, but I like his sense of humor

Mitch Hedberg jokes:

I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, "You're gonna have to move, you're blocking a fire exit." As though if there was a fire, I wasn't gonna run. If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.

I saw a commercial that said, "forget everything you know about slip covers!" So I did. And it was a load off my mind. Then the commercial tried to sell me slip covers, but I didn't know what the heck they were.

I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map, so it won't fall down.

You know when a company wants to use letters in their phone number to be catchy? But often times they use too many letters. "Give us a call down here at 1-800-I-Really-Enjoy-Carpeting." It's too many letters, man. "Hello?" "Hold on, I'm only on 'Enjoy'! How did you know I was calling?"

I like escalators, because an escalator can never break; it can only become stairs. You would never see an "escalator temporarily out of order" sign, just "Escalator temporarily stairs... sorry for the convenience.

I wanna get a job naming kitchen appliances, that seems easy. Refrigerator, toaster, blender... you just say what the thing does, then you add "er". Kitchen Appliance Naming Institute... "What does this thing do?" "It keeps stuff fresh." "Well then that's a fresher! I'm going on break."

I opened up a yogurt, and underneath the lid it said "please try again." Did I opened the yogurt wrong or was Yoplait trying to inspire me? "Come on, don't give up... please try again." A message of inspiration from your friends at Yoplait. Fruit on the bottom, hope on top.

I had a bag of Fritos, they were Texas Grilled Fritos. These Fritos had grill marks on 'em. Reminds me of summer, when we used to fire up the barbeque, and throw down on some Fritos. I can still see my dad with the apron on... "you better flip that Frito dad, you know how I like it."

2 in 1 shampoo... 2 in 1 is a bogus term, because 1 is not big enough to hold 2. That's why 2 was created. If it was 2 in 1, it would be overflowing... the bottle would be all sticky.

I called the hotel operator, she said "how can I direct your call?" Well, you could say "action!" And I will begin to dial. And then when I say goodbye, you could yell "cut!"

I order the club sandwich all the time, but I'm not even a member, man! I don't know how I get away with it.
"I like my sandwiches with three pieces of bread."
"So do I."
"Well let's form a club then."
"Okay, but we need some more stipulations."
"Yes we do. Instead of cutting the sandwich once, let's cut it again."
"Yes, four triangles. And we will position them into a circle. And in the middle we will dump chips."
"Or potato salad."
"Okay. Lemme ask you a question: how do you feel about frilly toothpicks?"
"I'm for 'em!"
"Well this club is formed. Spread the word on menus nationwide!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making The Most Of The Weather Reprieve

The outside temperature was 28 degrees Saturday morning, but the sun came out and it warmed to about 45. That's considered a heat wave this time of year in northern Indiana.

We took full advantage of the break in the weather to take care of a few outside chores.

Bruce carried about a cord of firewood from the woods to the patio and stacked it into the log racks he built.

Then, he hung the Christmas lights on the front of the house.

I planted the tulip bulbs that I had meant to plant about a month ago. And, did some final outdoor and garden cleanup -- washed windows, put away the garden art and hoses, cleaned out the trash cans and emptied the planters.

Bring on the snow... we're ready.

My new favorite website...

Let me Google that for you is the perfect website to look up answers for people too lazy to do it for themselves.

Ever been on a message board and seen someone post a question that they could have easily answered for themselves with a quick Google search? Instead of answering the question for them, head on over to and type in the search query and generate a URL and then send them that URL.

It will help teach them how to find answers online and you'll get the satisfaction of being a "helpful" smart ass.

Here's an example:

Q: How do I start my own blog?

A: Follow this link, it will help you start a blog:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Guitar Hero Battle

After Thanksgiving dinner, I played Guitar Hero with brother Mike and his girls Caitie and Jessica. Look for Jess on a stage near you soon -- she rocks!

Happy Thanksgiving

Not only did we make homemade stuffing (instead of using Stovetop) and homemade gravy (instead of using store-bought gravy in a jar), Bruce cooked one of the turkeys on the Weber grill and deep fried the other turkey. A big thanks to my friend, Cheryl, for the excellent cooking tips!

Here, Spike watches Bruce prepare the grill.

Here's a photo of the turkey, fresh off the grill.

And, here's Bruce carving the fried turkey. It looked very crispy on the outside,
but it was very moist on the inside.

We Are Thankful For Grandma

We were blessed to have Grandma join us for Thanksgiving dinner. I can remember many dinners around her table and she was an incredibly good cook. Now it's nice to have her over to dinner around our table.

Macy's Rick Rolls America

There I was in my kitchen mixing up the yellow stuff for deviled eggs, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade playing on the TV across the room, when all of a sudden I was Rick Rolled.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Whooo Hoooo -- We Won The Lottery

Going through some old papers, we came across a lottery ticket that had never been scratched. Turns out it was a $100 winner. What a great way to start off a long holiday weekend!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'd go broke if my job was flipping houses

I've noticed, in all of the Flip This House episodes, that the key to a successful flip is working fast. That way you get the work done and the house sold before the first mortgage payment is due.

Around our house, home improvement projects move in slow motion. I really don't think it's because we're procrastinators. More likely it's because we're unsure of ourselves when it comes to such things and rather than jumping right in and doing something wrong, we tend to spend a lot of time online researching exactly how to do it right (and checking Fark and updating our Facebook pages...).

Last winter, after watching a few hundred hours worth of home improvement shows on HGTV, I had this idea that it would be nice to epoxy the garage floor and paint the walls. We bought the epoxy kit back in April and finished the first half of the garage floor epoxy project in mid-September.

Then, Bruce decided he wanted to put in a couple extra electrical outlets before we finished the other half of the garage.

We bought the electrical supplies and Bruce even cut out the holes for the outlets. Then, he ran into a big problem. There's a large amount of wood at the bottom of the garage walls, inside the drywall. And, he'll have to drill through that to run wiring down to the power box in the basement.

It took a couple of weeks to find a three-foot-long drill bit. And, now that we've got that, Bruce has been dutifully Googling for tips on how to drill horizontally inside the walls to connect the two outlet boxes.

Not sure if we'll ever get the electrical outlets finished, but we did go ahead and finish the garage floor epoxy last night. Plus, we rehung the dartboard with a new frame around it to protect the newly painted walls.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fun in the Christmas Aisle at Lowe's

We had to go to Lowe's this weekend to pick up a circuit breaker. Not much fun to be had in the electrical aisle so we headed over to Christmasland to check out the holiday kitsch. We were not disappointed.

Guitar Hero Christmas Edition

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

It's snowing yet again here in northern Indiana. This is the 4th snowfall of the season. Total accumulation as of Tuesday was four inches. It did warm up enough on Wednesday that most of the snow had melted and the grass was visible again. But, tonight it started snowing again. It's going to be tough going bringing up the split firewood from the woods to the patio this weekend.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everything Is On Sale... Nobody Is Buying

Seems like I get about 10 emails a day from every major retailer with coupons and incentives to buy their stuff. Well, listen up guys, I don't need anything.

I need to pay my mortgage and utilities and buy food and gas for my van. Other than that, I'm not spending unless it's something I really, really need. And, it's very doubtful that something I really need is on sale at Macys or JCPenney or even Kohls. My next major purchase will be a root canal and I'm even planning that out to coincide with the availability of my insurance benefits.

I really don't have any idea how the US economy is going to improve. It seems we've reached a point where we need to reinvent ourselves and redefine our way of life.

I saw a segment on the news tonight about unemployed RV workers being retrained in the information technology field. That makes sense to me. But, where are all these newly trained IT executives going to work? Many of the large corporations in this area are now out of business.

I'm pretty sure that the Big 3 automakers are in real trouble because they were still geared up to make and sell gas guzzlers to over indulgent consumers, without anticipating that fuel-efficient cars would be needed sooner rather than later.

I don't have any answers... for now I'm just squirreling away my pennies and hoping for a brighter tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So Cute It Will Make Your Head Explode

Enjoy the Shiba Inu Puppy Cam

Free video streaming by Ustream

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Last Package of Cookies

I haven't been keeping up to date on news from the cookie world lately. Apparently the company that makes Archway cookies has filed bankruptcy and has stopped production.

It's been a while since I bought any Archway cookies, but when I saw there were only two packages left on the shelf at the grocery store, I snatched up both of them. One package of Windmills and one package of Coconut Bars.

I cracked open the coconut cookie package today, but I'm reluctant to open the Windmills. Maybe if I save them for a while, I can sell them on eBay as "the last package of Archway Windmill cookies in the world" and make a bundle of money.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All ( Catholic ) Dogs Go to Heaven

A friend emailed me this series of photos documenting a church sign debate between Our Lady of Martyrs Catholic and Cumberland Presbyterian, a fundamentalist church.

I realize this was the product of a creative soul, using the Church Sign Generator, but I still liked it. You'll have to click on the photo to see it large enough to read.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Camera Arrives Today

I finally got my new Canon camera today. The poor FedEx guy was here three times but couldn't leave the camera because nobody was home to sign for it. Yesterday I was only out of the house for an hour (at the dentist) and FedEx came while I was gone. Anticipating that would happen, I left a note for the delivery guy to let him know I was letting him off the hook and he could leave my camera at the FedEx office and that I would make the 30-mile journey to pick it up.

Long... boring... verbose... yea, I know. I've used up all my creative juices preparing for a meeting with Google tomorrow. And, after tomorrow, I'll be starting every conversation with, "I've met with an actual Google employee, and thanks for asking, but no I'm not giving out autographs today." It's hard to explain, but try to imagine meeting with the most important person or company in your line of business and you can see where I'm coming from.

So, back to my camera. I had some photos on my card when the old camera broke so tonight was my first opportunity to transfer them onto my computer. Here's a cute one of Spike helping me hand out candy on Halloween.

And, here's a photo I took of the cup holders in a Saturn car I rented recently. Yes, both Diet Cokes are mine -- 12 ounces isn't enough to get me from South Bend to Chicago.

Anyway, I can't figure out what the Micky Mouse-shaped hole is for. It's too small for a water bottle or a cell phone. Any ideas???


I popped over to and saw they had a live chat feature. I love live chat customer service on the web -- instant satisfaction. So, the nice Saturn customer service rep (Marianne is most likely a made-up name because I'm pretty sure these reps are in India), told me that the mickey mouse-shaped cut out in the cup holder area is actually ....

a change holder!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank a Vet For Your Freedom

Sunday, November 9, 2008

King Size Coke

We have a local television station that plays retro shows like the Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver and during the breaks they play old-time commercials. Today we caught a commercial for king-size Coke. I joked to Bruce that king-size, back in the day, probably meant 16 ounces. A quick Google search proved out my theory.

Wonder what the 24-ounce Diet Coke I'm drinking now would have been called had it existed in the 70s -- giant size?

Looking at the glass Coke bottle took me down memory lane to the Coke machine at my grade school. For 10-cents it dispensed a glass bottle of Coke with a metal bottle cap. The trick was to use the on-machine bottle cap remover and catch the cap before it fell inside the Coke machine. All of the kids had to save up as many Coke caps as possible to cash them in for free ride tickets at Columbian Park during Coke days in the summer.

I was trying to remember the rides at Columbian Park, without much luck.

I do remember there being a giant slide, a merry-go-round and a train among the rides that required a ticket. I'm sure there were more, but I can't recall what they were.

Columbian Park had paddle boats, swings and a curley cue slide, an awesome swimming pool, lions and monkeys. The swimming pool was a huge round cement pool that started out shallow all the way around, with the deep water and diving boards fenced off in the center.

My brother, sister and I would start bugging mom early on summer mornings to take us to the pool. We knew it didn't open until 1pm, but we were very anxious to get there. It cost 25-cents to swim until 5pm. It was the best way a kid could spend a hot summer afternoon.

If you have memories of Columbian Park as a kid of the 60s / 70s, share them with me and help me remember the other rides they had (and the name of that big slide).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Dinner in High Point, NC tonight was wonderful. I'm here in North Carolina meeting with the National Home Furnishings Association and they treated for dinner at the Blue Water Grill.

I had a house salad (see below) and shrimp and scallop dinner. Very tasty and beautifully presented.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We're Screwed

I really have a hard time trying to figure out why so many people are voting for Obama. Well, this news clip solves the mystery. Seems someone spread the word that Obama is going to be making mortgage payments and buying gasoline for all Americans.

I had a brief conversation with a friend over the weekend and, after he told me he was going to vote for Obama, I asked why. He said he thought Obama was going to lookout for the little guy. I told him that I hope he enjoys his $1,000 tax cut when he's on the unemployment line because Obama's Robin Hood economic policies have forced his employer to close their doors.

What ever happened to personal responsibility? Why do so many Americans think that a president can really affect their personal finances?

Monday, November 3, 2008


Driving back from the Chicago office this evening I passed an Indiana State Police car that was parked in the median trying to catch speeders. My backseat passenger (my boss) pointed out the cop and I assured him that I was driving the speed limit so there were no worries. Yes, I was driving in the passing lane, but that was only because the right lane was filled with semi trucks driving at their slower posted speed limit.

A couple of minutes later, I noticed a car right on my bumper. I thought he was being impatient because I was still driving the speed limit while passing all of the semis and he probably wanted to go faster. I told him (although he didn't hear me, I'm sure), "Hang on a second buddy, I'll get over as soon as I can." He wasn't very patient -- he flashed his headlights at me.

At the first opportunity, I moved back over to the right lane and as I did I could see my tailgater suddenly had red flashing lights.

I really couldn't imagine why I was getting pulled over. I know I was going exactly 70 mph.

Turns out I was driving without my headlights.

My excuses were:
1) It was light out when I started driving.
2) Wow, the dash is so lit up, I just assumed my headlights were on.
3) This is a rental car and I thought all new cars had headlights that turn on automatically.

Apparently one or more of these made sense because I was able to drive away with only a warning ticket.

Just before all of this happened, I had made a comment that this would be the time of day to expect to see deer running across the road. My front-seat passenger (a co-worker) said he could shut down his computer if the screen's light was distracting. I assured him that it wasn't a problem, that I could see the road just fine. How in the heck could I see the road so well with no headlights???

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Camera - Part IV

Once again I've broken my camera. This time it's totally not my fault (at least I don't think so). I got my camera out of my purse tonight, to take a photo, and the little screen display told me it had a lens error and that I should restart the camera.

A quick search on Canon's support website told me that it probably happened when the lens tried to extend while it was being blocked (most likely when it was inside my purse).

I called my friends at Canon (I have them on speed dial). And, after a brief exchange of information, they agreed to FedEx a new camera to me.

So, until it arrives, this blog will be pretty dull ;-(

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Marsupials Scare Me... Because They're Fast

Kevin Pollak does a great Christopher Walken.