Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Taco Town

Too funny to not watch. Get it quick before NBC makes YouTube remove it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Liquid Cake Frosting

I enjoy myself a nice tall glass of cream soda from time to time. It's not the kind of pop one can just crack open at any old time--it's best when consumed from a glass, not a can, and preferably after a meal. Perhaps I just enjoy the taste of cold, sparkling vanilla, or perhaps I enjoy that it cannot be quickly quaffed. It's best when sampled a bit at a time over the course of a good movie or internet-surfing session. At any rate, it's delicious stuff and if you haven't had any in a while, you might want to give it a try.

So far my Firefox experience has been a good one, mostly due to another great theme which was recommended to me by some posters on the IGN Mac boards. It's not quite as zippy as Safari, but far more reliable, and far more extendable thanks to myriad plug-ins and whatnot that have been written over the years.

I had a mean case of the hiccups tonight which was cured in about 30 seconds thanks to a technique I read about back in February. I'm not kidding, it seriously worked. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saving Soles

I just finished a book entitled "Rescued," by John Bevere and Mark Andrew Olsen, and I highly recommend it for pretty much everyone. It's kind of an adventure story, but with an amazing spiritual twist near the end. I don't want to give away much, so I won't, but if you're looking for a good book (that is, incidentally, a fairly quick read as well) to pass the time, you should check it out.

While I was finishing the book I took a short break and threw a pair of my old shoes in the laundry. One of my uncles told me about doing this a while back, and I figured I'd try it on a pair of Vans I got about two years ago that had become extremely soiled. They were, most recently, my work shoes for my summer job, which often involved outdoor work as well as floor waxing. So I threw 'em in the wash, along with a couple shirts and a dirty pair of jeans, and they seem to have turned out just fine. One might even say they have been given new life, since I was about to give up on them altogether due to their thoroughly dirty state of existence. I once extended the life of a pair of Vans by several months with the application of several layers of glue where they were wearing out on the bottom. I guess the lesson here has something to do with Vans, or perhaps washing machines. I'm not sure.

This morning I also tried, once again, switching to Firefox as my main browser. I go through this phase every few months, and usually end up going right back to Safari, but perhaps this time it will last a bit longer. I found a cool theme for Firefox which greatly helps too. So we'll see how it goes, but don't be too surprised (not like you would even know, though) if I'm back to Safari by the end of the day. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Stately Faring

Last night we went to see Pirates 3 at the $2 theatre near our house, which was preceded by a visit to a local burger restaurant called Snuffy's. I was thoroughly confused for much of the movie, so I decided to not think about what was actually happening and watch for cool special effects and the like instead. All in all it was a decent movie, and I would enjoy seeing it again now that my wife has explained almost everything I did not understand, but not as good as the first one. It seems as though what began as a fun summer distraction has turned into an overwrought tale of mysticism and betrayal, a story struggling to match Lord of the Rings in terms of epic scope, but ultimately failing due to inherently weaker source material. But hey, it's got pirates and stuff blowing up, so as I said, I'm eager to see it again. :)

It's State Fair time in Minnesota, or, as I heard it described on KTLK, "The Great Minnesota Get-Together." I liked going to the Nebraska state fair when I was a kid, but mostly for the rides. When I outgrew the rides, I guess I stopped being interested in much of what the fair had to offer, and that continues to this day. I mean, the fair is cool and all, but I guess it's just not very interesting to me personally. I like the idea of eating lots of odd fried food concoctions on a stick, but not the idea of, well, going to the fair to do it. I'm not really into agriculture and animals, but I do think it's cool to have stuff of your own to show off. If I grew some prized veggies or whatnot, I'd be proud to show 'em off at the fair. So I guess what I mean is, to those of you who are Getting Together, I'll be elsewhere, but I hope you have a good time. Let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Within Your Means

I recently discovered that my wife and I live rather frugally. Now, I already knew this since, well, I just did. But this list confirms it. Of the 20 suggestions offered, we do roughly 17 of them on a regular basis. I think my favorite item is #8, since we try to go to the dollar theatre by our house as often as possible. Well, not like we're there every night or anything, but every couple weeks we'll hit it up on a Tuesday night when it really is a dollar. Don't get me wrong, though, this is about the most un-classy movie theatre I have ever been in (makes the Joyo look like an AMC), and you really do have to sift through the seats in any given row to find the working ones, but it really is hard to beat the price. We just saw Evan Almighty and Ocean's 13 there, and next week it will probably be the third Pirates of the Caribbean or Waitress (why Waitress? I shan't dignify the question...).

Tonight we helped the guy from Generation Bob (can I use your real name?) move his piano into storage before his year-long furlough in New Zealand. Afterwards we went out for some Dairy Queen which, for those of you who don't live in Minnesota, is one of these people's favorite summer pasttimes. Lemme tell you, they like themselves some summertime up here, and that usually means very long lines at any given ice cream shoppe. But what a most delicious way to pass the time. :) Anyway, thanks for the ice cream, Mr. GB, and best of luck on your trip!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small

Well, the big storm turned out to be about two days of slow rain, which is much better for pretty much everyone who would be affected by rain-type stuff. I like rain no matter how it comes, whether by storm or by drizzle, so it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

Last Sunday we went to Saint Louis for my uncle's funeral. I did not know him very well on a personal basis, but he was a man who fought for every second of his life and never gave an inch. He survived over twenty cancer surgeries and, though he was unable to speak for the last 14 years, continued to be a positive force in his family and at his job throughout all manner of health problems. His faithful wife hardly left his side during the final two months of his life, and has been a model of steadfast character and faithfulness for me and many others. It was wonderful to be with her, her son, and his wife and two children as we mourned their loss and celebrated the new life he how has in Heaven. Through all manner of hardships, Jesus Christ has been a steady rock in a sea of troubles for this family, and often have I looked to them for inspiration and assurance that if we would only trust in the Lord God above, He will see us through to the glorious end.

And oh, how He does. Praise be His name.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Big Storm

Last week it stormed so bad that many trees in our neighborhood were damaged or uprooted altogether. Not the local trees, mind you. I'm talking about the big Corellian trees now. But the storm itself was pretty cool--one of the old-fashioned kind that shows up at night like a party guest and brings a truckload of thunder and lightning. I really enjoy those kind of storms, and have ever since I was a kid. My brothers and I used to run around outside during big honkin' thunderstorms, and ride our bikes around after they left, and build dams in the street to divert the water, and other such things that young boys do for fun. Often my parents would drive us around in their minivan afterwards to look at the swollen ditches and overflowing streets after a monster storm tore through the area. And that's the kind of storm we had last week, and will probably have again today. It's windy and cloudy and chilly, and the weather radar shows a massive blotch of green, yellow, and red heading this way. I'm pretty excited.

Last night we hung out with our friends Jon and Sarah for a while. I actually changed the oil in my car at Sara's house, since her dad is kind enough to let me use his garage when I need to. We also went to eat at Texas Roadhouse, did some shopping at Kohl's (is it just me, or is every single item in that store perpetually on sale?), and then broke in our new bowling shoes during two games at a bowling alley nearby. Good times, all in all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Van Saywhatagain?

Absent my complete inability to offer commentary on such an announcement, I will let Bob Rivers speak in my stead.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

If Picasso Played Video Games

I sat in line for eight hours at a Wal-Mart to buy my Gamecube the day it came out. I played it for many long hours during the past several years. And now it's one of the many chunks of my life that have gone to that great big internet flea market, eBay. I put it up tonight, along with an accessory that you can use to play Gameboy Advance games:


Gameboy Player

I'm hoping for $50 for the 'Cube, and $30 for the Gameboy Player. What then? Who knows. Possibly a new game for my Wii?

And before I sign off for this entry, let us all pause to remember the Great Internet Crash of 2007...

Another One Joins The Crowd

Congratulations to my friends Drew and Casey, who had their first baby last week. I have known Drew since way back in the day, like my sophomore year of high school or something like that, and I know he's going to be one heck of a dad.

My cousin Jessie is in town for a week, and last Friday we went over to her brother's house and had some hamburgers which were followed by a nice pontoon ride on their lake. I don't know why conversation is enhanced by location, but sitting down in a living room will not yield the same results as the same people sitting down on a pontoon. Or in a car. Or in a booth at a gas station. Or walking down the street. I have often gone driving with friends just to chat, when we could sit at home and do the same thing. But it's just not the same.

Last night we had our friends Jon and Sarah over for delicious tacos and a movie. The tacos were homemade, of course, and the movie was The Pursuit of Happyness. Both were very enjoyable, but the real highlight of the night was when Jon suggested downloading the old (original) Nintendo game "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" for my Nintendo Wii. The four of us took turns battling through the sewers and waterways with Don, Mike, Raph, and Leo (their full names would not fit on the screen), and Sarah even beat this one super hard underwater level on her first try. Noice!

And speaking of games, I should give a shout out to my brother's Inside The Console podcast. Go give it a listen because, well, because I said so. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Recalling Genius?

So my wife's laptop battery isn't what it used to be. It holds a charge for about 40 minutes--not nearly long enough to do any reasonable amount of computing. We figured we would be out a cool C-note for a new battery, but just for kicks we took it to the Apple Store near our house. The dude at the help desk (Apple calls them "Mac Geniuses," or I suppose, perhaps properly pluralized, "Mac Genii") took about one-half of one look and happily informed us that her battery was recalled some time ago, and she was entitled to a brand-new one free of charge.

Between that and the Verizon incident, we've had our share of good customer service experiences this week. Drew, are you reading this? I know you would appreciate it. :)

Anyway, we filled out a quick online form and that was about it. Not too shabby, says I.

If any of you are interested in doing crosswords, I highly suggest starting on your local newspaper's Monday puzzle. They are usually easy, and increase in difficulty through Friday, at which point you may want to incinerate your newspaper out of sheer frustration. We bought a book of Monday crosswords a few weeks ago and I can now solve *most* of one by myself, save for one or two letters. It's more fun when solving with another person, though, and my wife and I are often able to get most of a Washington Post crossword done too. Just thought I'd share.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

My wife and I like to send text messages with our cell phones, but Verizon charges a hefty penny for each one sent and received. If I text my wife it costs $.30 ($.15 for me to send, and $.15 for her to receive), and when you multiply that by a couple dozen in a month, things really start to add up. So this afternoon I called up Verizon and asked what they could offer us lest we switch carriers. The lady, Jane, with whom I spoke, was very polite and helpful, and eventually hooked us up with a sweet deal that gives us something like 250 texts a month for $5 per month, where normally that same deal is $10 per month. Not bad, says I! Emboldened with my sword of consumerism, I plan on calling up Comcast in the next few days to see what they can do for us too. $60 per month for internet? Come on... :)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Ex Post Wedding

*whew* It was one heck of a trip, partly because the wedding was so much fun but also because it was such a fast trip all in all. We left Saturday at 9am and got back this afternoon about 3pm. Madison is about four hours from here, give or take, so you do the math. It was totally worth it, though, as the wedding was beautiful and the reception was so darn fun. We consumed massive amounts of soda along with pre- and post-dinner appetizers. In fact, the latter was something I had not experienced at a wedding until now: about two hours after dinner, in the middle of "Ice Ice Baby," I was told that there was a pile of chips and cheese squares in the anteroom along with copious amounts of guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. It wasn't as good as the post-dinner Amigos run at my brother Phil's wedding, but it was close. All food comments aside, though, we both had a wonderful time and wish the new couple all God's blessings on their marraige.

(The following paragraph contains spoilers about 24. Highlight the text to see them)

After we got home we finished the final two episodes from the first season of 24. I am pleased that the show has graduated from its transparent attempts at overtely shocking its audience, from the first few episodes, to building several thoroughly entertaining dramatic conflicts throughout the season and then wrapping them all neatly up at the end. Even down to the final seconds, the show was engaging and quite literally kept me guessing as to how in the world things would actually end up, especially with Nina and her connections to the Drazen's people. While I think the ending scene when Jack's wife died was a rather blatant attempt to resort to that original in-your-face SHOCK value, it did fit the show's tradition of keeping its audience guessing. And, I have to admit, I do eagerly anticipate beginning the second season. :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wisconsin Wedding

In about 20 minutes we're off to Madison for a wedding. Should be a nice bite-sized road trip with lots of good people to see at the ceremony and reception.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Bridge Is Out

Thank you to everyone who called during the past two days to see if we are doing OK (we are, in fact, just fine, and were safely at home during yesterday's evening rush hour). My wife and I appreciate the kind thoughts and words from all of you, and we all continue to pray for the families of those affected by the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge.

I went down to the scene this morning before work to see if I could get some video or photos of the disaster, but was not allowed anywhere near. In fact, the police officers had blocked off nearly all viewpoints from which a person could see the bridge, which was a little frustrating but probably a very good idea in hindsight. They have a job to do, and don't need bystanders like me fouling it up. I was a bit snippy with a police officer who would not let me go on to a walking bridge to get some footage, and I feed very bad for it. He was just doing his job, and I should have been more respectful. Sorry, man.

Good gravy, it's been a busy day. Time to watch the fourth-last episode of season one of 24 and then head to bed. G'night everyone.

Oh, and one more thing. I changed the look of the navigation buttons on Ringsmuth Video. Yeah, it's a small thing, but I do like a good, if not all that significant, site tweaking.