Monday, February 28, 2005

Albino Blacksheep

This one is for your fun and enjoyment, or at least amusement and time diversion. Albino Blacksheep, is a collection site of well-done games, skits, and songs. I've tried a handful and all have been work-safe, with the *notable exception* that you should be working instead of goofing off with this stuff.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The FED discusses Russia's economy

The local office of the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) puts out a bi-monthly bulletin (it's not big enough for me to call it a journal) and I was lucky enough to be given a hard copy. There are two things I found interesting. First, the article discussing Social Security and Medicare comes out with amazing timing, since it's at the same time President Bush is trying to sway the public opinion with his current push to change the system.

The other interesting item was an article discussing the massive improvements made in Russia's economy over the last decade. I think the following table conveys just how far they have come.
Russia Making Progress

Residential space per person
172 sq. ft.
217 sq. ft.
Percentage of housing with:

Running water

Hot water

Central heat
Percentage of people with:

Private-sector jobs

Television sets

VCRs and video cameras


Cell phones

Personal computers

Internet service (at home)

Passenger cars
Russian tourists traveling abroad
1.6 million
4.6 million
Listed domestic companies
As percentage of GDP:

Market capitalization of listed companies

Value of publicly traded stocks

Bank credit to private sector

On a personal level, this table remindeds me complaining is an unjustified personal indulgance. Despite Russia's monumental progress in just one decade, looking their current conditions illustrates how U.S. citizens have so very much more than the vast majority of the world's population. All of which makes me want to ask, "By what standard does anyone in this country have the to complain?"

Sure, we want more. Sure, we need to work on improving injustice wherever we find it. But come on, our cars are better equiped than most of their homes!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Poker Night

Here is a copy of the email I sent out today. If you're in the area, stop by!
Subject: Dealers, put your cards in the air.

Texas Hold’em @ Jeffrey’s House
Saturday, February 26

Starting at: 7PM
Ending whenever you win or loose it all

Well, it’s been too long since we played poker, so I’m happy to invite everyone to another night of fun, THIS SATURDAY.

Well be playing our typical $.50/1.00 limit structure, starting at 7pm. If you show up late, we’ll still let you play

I’ll have appetizers and a few beverages. If you want anything in particular, call ahead or bring it with you.

Editor's note: We had six people and a pretty good game that lasted until midnight. I was down a few bucks, but it was good to play. Thanks to all who came and those who sent regrets. The rest of you are bums and you know who you are. :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This is a job for France

Everyone likes to bash France, and it's hard to disagree with the statement "Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordian," but maybe there is a use for them.

Look, they honored Jerry Lewis with the highest honor a civilian may have, the Legion d'honneur. I think it's time they honored one more of our national treasures; the man we all love and hate to admit it we love. The incomperable William Shatner.

All joking aside, I like the Statue of Liberty, French wines, champagne, and I enjoyed visiting Paris. Despite what people say, everyone was friendly the day I was there.

Harmless Addictions

My mother has suggested that I have an addictive personality. That is, it is likely I will become addicted to some activity and repeat it, over and over again. She says it with some authority; they once bought a new computer largely so she could play Freecell. That was at least 7 or 8 years ago, and I know she was playing the game yesterday.

An old friend does a good job describing how he has survived addiction to a variety of computer games. While my particular poisons are not the same as his, it's a well written post about how we let our play time impact real life.

After you read Adam's post, read Real World Doesn't Use a Joystick by Wired. It's enough to make me glad own long running passion is freecell and backgammon.

That being said, I think I want to try Katamari Damacy.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Future News

I have a new, personalized logo coming soon. Right now it's a great big charcoal sketch. I also have it in .tif and .jpg format, but the files are too large for me to open, and I don't have a program to edit it anyway. *sigh* But I'm getting some help for all of this lined up and it's gonna be great (in a couple weeks).

I also have a new resume coming. I have a draft and I'm pretty happy with it. The generic broadcast letter is okay too. I'll post a link after the edit is complete (later this week).

And I think a new business is coming, based upon last week's trip to CA. I have a couple questions that still need answering, but I put the optomistic odds at 65+% (within the next month).

And because I have rededicated myself to the job search, along with the new resume, I'm confident a new job is just around the corner (following interviews in March and April).

What's your (hoped for) news?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Commenting: New & Improved

Howdy Folks!

My intrepid blog provider, Blogger (nee Google), has upgraded the comments feature. If you want to leave a comment on my page here, it is now much easier. First, the comments show up in a separate pop-up window. Second, and more importantly, you no longer have to register to leave comments with your name.

So, if you would, let's all test this! On average, I get 9 unique visitors a day, so if you have not left a post before, try to leave a comment so (a) I can ensure it's working and (b) I can find out who you are!

CLICK HERE to help me test this. Thanks!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Damn Politicians

I was hoping to avoid political posts for a couple years, but some jerk in the Texas state legislature has inspired (driven?) me to make this post.

Basically, they want to restrict prosecutors from looking at violations by legislators. Isn't that convenient?

I might be dweebish

I don't really think of myself as dweebish, or even overly geeky. I like to think I can converse with true geeks, but that my feet are firmly planted in the world of average folks. This may not be completely true. The clues have been coming on strong lately, like when Kristi says my jokes are just like an engineer's; long, dry, and not very funny even after the explanation. Now I'm really excited about a new Microsoft product, the upcoming Office Small Business Accounting. Have I fallen off the deep end?

Anyway, I like Quicken for our home finances. For small business purposes I like Peachtree a bit more than QuickBooks, even though I have the latter.

But this new accounting platform does a couple things I really like. First it looks and operates like my current Microsoft Office programs. Second, it is suppose to be a bit simpler to use (and shouldn't we do everything we can to make accounting simpler?). Third, it integrates with an upgrade to Microsoft Outlook 2003, something I previously expressed some love for.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Yahoo! Music

My old favorite, and often plugged service, LAUNCHcast has been renamed to Yahoo! Music since the last time I hit their homepage. It still rocks.

And, you really need to keep checking it out, because I know something you don't and it's gonna blow your mind when this goes public. Trust me, this is much(!) bigger than when I told you Barry Manilow was going on tour months before you heard it elsewhere.

Now, if only they would fix the service so it could play via Firefox...

By request, here is the link to Firefox.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


I am home after my trip to California. I had a good time, a very productive meeting on a potential (likely?) business venture, and the chance to see an old friend.

I want to send a big "Thank you" to Lendy and Cammie for their outstanding hospitality in San Jose (they put their guests up in a cozy cottage). Lendy and I have always enjoyed our conversations and it was good to see him and the family. We had enough time to enjoy some good food and the plans for their upcoming whole-house remodel are great. Oh, they also introduced me to the coolest little toy, 20Q , a fun game that even has a website.

Lastly, and by no means least, a huge thanks goes to Jim for helping me with my travel plans. In the end, I was in the air three times based upon four(?) seperate sets of reserverations, issued four boarding passes after being on stand-by for eight planes on seven flights (a couple with mechanical difficulty), and went through five airports so I could go the two cities for four days. Whew! Not only did he help me set everything up, he checked on my progress daily, called me, made modifications, ensured I was scheduled for the right plane at the right airport, et cetera. Thanks Big Jim!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sitting next to Disneyland

Today I write from sunny Anaheim, CA where I'm attending NRB, the annual convention for National Religious Broadcasters. The purpose of my traveling across the country is a business opportunity, but some of the participants were going to be here for the convention and I was given an access pass to the exhibition hall.

My father is also here and I've met a bunch of his friends and acquaintances. They are all very outgoing, so it's been a fun to flip the my internal switch and be "on."

The show itself is nice-very professional-and in years past I would have found some old friends from SpaceCom, but they are no longer uplinking religious radio programs. The evangelists and ministers, along with their support folks, are... interesting.

There is so much I could say, but I'm not sure I can do any of it justice, or that anything I write, whether positive or negative, praise or critique, would come out and still be honest. I am in interloper in a parallel world and I am not sure how to report on my experiences over here.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Old Friends

One of the people I still keep in (loose) contact with from the old gang at Purdue is Emily (Swaim). Back then she was just Em, now she's Mrs. Damson. Kristi & I went to their wedding a couple years ago in Indianapolis and really enjoyed the ceremony and trip.

I thought about this last week because they gave everyone a home-made CD of music. The first track are some nice words from Emily and Mike, and the following is just a great selection of songs. I really need to bring the CD in from Kristi's car so I can listen to it more often.

This week I received a very different message from Emily. Her father passed away on Monday after trouble with his heart.
My dad had been fighting an uphill battle over the last several months. We thought that after he entered the hospital 2 1/2 weeks ago, that we'd be able to get him back into good shape, get him a new heart and get him back home. He fought terribly hard, but ultimately lost the battle yesterday afternoon. His heart was down to only 5% of it working, and it just couldn't keep up.
They started a Memory Page for him, an online 'life story' for those of you familiar with Em.

Our hearts go out to her and her family in this time of grief.

Sunday, February 06, 2005 Your Stuff

If you want to set-up an online store, there are competing opportunities from eBay Stores, Amazon zShops, and Yahoo! Stores.

If you don't want to go the trouble of setting up an online store, everyone knows you can sell items on eBay. It's a pretty simple process and if you have something other people really want, you can get a great price for your stuff. Also, it let's regular folks have the chance to earn a living off the wild-and-wooly internet without opening up a whole storefront (see above). But that being said, it's really just a way to have an online garage sale and I doubt any of my readers actually knows someone regularly making good money from eBay.

I have sold some of our stuff on eBay before and I used to take my books to Half Price Books. But I also got mad when I took my books there, I could take in 30 books and get back $4. I have taken three boxes of business books and been offered $20; it was depressing. And selling books on eBay seemed like a lot of work for just selling a book.

So, after years of seeing the 'Sell Yours Here' button on, I decided to give it a try. Wow! Not only is it super easy to indicate you want to sell something, the shipping is already calculated, the payment method is already handled, the money comes in regularly, and I sell more items quicker than I did on eBay! Honest, this thing really works. Take all of that, add in the fact sells much more than just books, and you've got a winning combination.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Network enhancing tool or just a toy?

I want a good home office set-up. I also don't want to throw away money in large chunks and do not want to spend the time to set-up a linux server.

Anyway, despite vowing not to spend money on my little network, I sometimes peruse the market for the little nitches I want to find. I was really happy to find Axentra's new HomeSeries Net-Box. It combines a bunch of things I want, including a good network based hard-drive, wireless access router, etc. But it also includes lots of bonus goodies, including easy set-up of an email and web server. Now isn't that cool!

The other thing I want is a small printer server allowing me to connect to printers via both parallel and USB.

And a new computer, or course.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Boilermaker Football

It was with a bit of sadness I read that Purdue's football recruiting class Ranks at #28. Which isn't bad when you considering the number of colleges in the country, but I sure would have loved to see a top 10 ranking. At least most of the Big 10 is worse.