New Domain Name

This is a short, admin type message.  I’ve moved my blog.  It’s been on for ages, but I went and registered one of the new domain name extensions for it.   If you are seeing this, it is on its new home:  The content is all the same, just the site URL is different.

For the most part, I view the newer domain extensions as silly, but the .blog one worked for me, so I jumped on it.   If you happen to find any errors, or anything that still refers back to please let me know using the “email me” link at the top.


Waking Up Full of Awesome

There was a time when you were five years old,
and you woke up full of awesome.

You knew you were awesome.

You loved yourself.

You thought you were beautiful, even with missing teeth and messy hair and mismatched socks inside your grubby sneakers.

You loved your body, and the things it could do.

You thought you were strong.

You knew you were smart.

Do you still have it?
The awesome.

Did someone take it from you?
Did you let them?
Did you hand it over, because someone told you weren’t beautiful enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough?
Why the hell would you listen to them?
Did you consider they might be full of shit?

Wouldn’t that be nuts, to tell my little girl below that in another five or ten years she might hate herself because she doesn’t look like a starving and Photoshopped fashion model?
Or even more bizarre, that she should be sexy over smart, beautiful over bold?
Are you freaking kidding me?

Look at her. She is full of awesome.

You were, once. Maybe you still are. Maybe you are in the process of getting it back.

All I know is that if you aren’t waking up feeling like this about yourself, you are really missing out.

NOTE: I did not write this text.  It originally appeared on a blog called “Pigtail Pals”, and was written by “Melissa”.  The picture, however is my own daughter.  :)  Go check out the original here.  The text was reprinted with permission.   Thanks, Melissa – this text was full of awesome!

Getting rid of Stinky Milk

For some reason, as I’ve gotten older, handy household tips like this have drawn my attention.  I posted one myself about two months ago about using old candle wax as an air freshener.  My wife also had a good one about mildly reducing heat by putting a tea kettle over an oven burner after you’ve been using it to reduce the amount of heat (or increase depending on the season) put off into the room.

However, today I’m talking about stinky milk.  This comes into play if your house recycles.  I suppose it could still be useful if you throw out your plastic, but I don’t see it as a big a deal as that.  With four people in the household, including two kids, we go through a decent amount of milk.  Not an obscene amount, but we consume our share.  Anyway, when the gallon jugs are empty, most recyclers will crush the plastic and put it in the recycle bin.  However, living in Texas, and especially in the summer, I’ve found that they end up smelling out in the recycle bin.  That’s generally because there’s always a small trace amount of milk left over in the bottom, and that stuff cooks out in the heat.  It’s not so bad if you had your bins outside, I imagine, but with wind and whatnot, you don’t want your recyclables blowing all over the place, so it’s in the garage.

Some time ago I had this idea which you can see in the picture in this post.  What I do when the milk is empty is I’ll give it a quick rinse with some water from the faucet, and then turn the jug upside down in the sink overnight.  This generally gets everything liquid out of the jug via gravity, and it goes down the drain.  Then the next morning, you crush it up and put it in the recycle bin.  If there’s anything in there at all, it’s a few drops of water, and that will evaporate in two seconds in the summer in a garage in Texas.

I’ve found this helps enormously with the recycle bin not smelling when you get to the end of the two week cycle.  Stupid little hint here, but it seems to work for me!   :)

Saving Money with Candles

I like candles.  Always have.  I have bought them for ages, burned a virtual infinite number of them.  Used to burn them at work too, until some moron I worked with left his burning after he left for the night, so nobody was allowed to burn candles at work.  Grr.. Heck, during my unemployment period, I applied to work at the Yankee Candle store in Garland not too far from me.  You want a good gift idea for me?  Gift certificate to Yankee Candle Store!  :)

Seriously though, I’ve never been a big person to get all handy and save money by doing “Martha Stewart” types of things.  I’m generally a “it’s done?  Throw it out, get another one” kind of person.  But for some reason, what about I’m about to post about has glommed on in a big way with me.  If you like candles, and burn a lot of them, then this will probably be of interest to you.  It will extend the life of your candle purchases, and will save you some bucks if you also tend to buy car fresheners.

Anyway, I was in there a few months back, and got kind of chatty with the woman working there.  There wasn’t much going on, so we chatted about any number of things, but mostly the company and their products.  It was this woman who gave me this great idea I’m passing on.  She pointed out that every candle gets to a point where the wick will just not burn anymore.  They burn out.  By this point, the candle wax is all the way at the bottom of the jar, and most people when the wick gets to this stage just toss the candle in the trash.   What the woman told me to do is this:

Take the candle wax, and get it out of the bottom of the jar.  Cut it into small pieces with a knife, and put the pieces into a Ziplock bag or something similar.  Take the bag, and put it under the seat of your car, but with the lid open.  This will make your car smell like the candle smell.  The woman (correctly) pointed out that just because the wick stopped burning doesn’t mean the candle wax loses its scent.  So I decided to try this once with one of my favorite candle scents (YC’s “Tulips”).  What did I find?   This worked pretty darned well!

It didn’t cost me anything, other than the cost of time to cut up the candle wax into small pieces.  I asked about the lazy way and said something like “What happens if you just take the remaining candle wax and put it in the car in one large piece”?   She said something like (I’m paraphrasing), “That doesn’t work as well, as not as much of the candle wax is “exposed”.  Also, you can’t get the candle wax cicle out of the jar in one piece, it’s too large, it has to be at least broken in half.”

So I did this, and I have to say I’m a big proponent of this idea now.  In fact, as I type this blog post, I was in the middle of cutting up the wax from two more candles that have burnt out at our house.   I’ll include a few pictures below.   A few caveats about all this:

  • Get a big serrated knife.  I tried it once with a smaller butter type knife, and it didn’t work nearly as well.
  • Cutting the candle wax WILL make a mess.  You get a lot of “chunks”, but you get a lot of small wax “mess”, too.  I didn’t put the mess in the bag, just the chunks.
  • I didn’t put the bag under the seat of my car for long.   Tried that once, and the bag fell over, and the candle wax fell out.  I now have it in a compartment in the divider where cup holders are.  If you set it the right way, it doesn’t fall over.  The bag falling over is the biggest reason why I say not to include the “mess” from the last step in the bag, just the “chunks”.  If it falls over, it’s a far larger mess to clean up than if you just have the “chunks” in the bag.
  • As the temperatures have warmed up, I found this works better due to increased heat.  Also, I found the wax melts just slightly out there, and it tends to want to reassemble itself into a single wax thing again, so you occasionally need to break up the wax into smaller pieces (inside the bag, and with the bag closed).

Once you’re done with all this, you can then take the jar the candle was in, and toss it in the recycling bin.  Look at me, I’m being all green!  :)

I really liked this idea, thought I’d share it with others who might find some use out of it!

A Google Fridge

In doing my morning reading, I ran across a blog entry where someone who belonged to the Google Adsense program got a Google fridge for his high level of activity. He’s giving it away to someone who writes an entry that he likes the most about what they would do with the Google Fridge. So I thought I’d take a stab at it – hence this non part of the story intro for those reading my blog. :)
First off, I’ve always thought these little fridges are cool, but have never brought myself to actually buying one. I work at a game company, and the fridge would be a great addition to my gaggle of toys in my office. That’s one thing the fridge wouldn’t be. It wouldn’t be lonely. It would be loved. In fact, it would get more love and attention than that scourge, the weighted companion cube.

When I am here, it would be revered, loved, and given the respect it would deserve. It’s a Google fridge – a special kind of fridge. It’s not just a boring old mini fridge. It’s “cooler thinking”!
It wouldn’t be lonely when I wasn’t here, it would have a ton of toys to be friends with. Look at all the buddies the Google Fridge would get to play with!

So in closing the Google Fridge would be a most welcome addition to my humble abode. It would be loved, cared for, used, and would immediately go to the top of the food chain over that stupid companion cube.
I most CERTAINLY would not toss the fridge into an Aperture Science Emergency intelligence incinerator, that’s for sure.
Spread the love!

George W. Bush’s Resignation Speech

Normally I don’t get into political stuff, because it tends to just be combative – most people can’t discuss these things logically. I’m also not one to just pile on the President because of unpopular things. I thought Dubya made a pretty decent governor, but not a terribly great President. I was sent one of these “Fwd:..” things in email. Normally I delete them, because 999 out of 1,000 of them are stupid and pointless. But for some reason I looked at this one. The tone of this is written from a Dubya supporter. I didn’t vote for him, but again, I won’t just dump on him because of that. The whole reason I’m posting this is that I like the angle this piece takes about the majority of the people in the US are lazy ass slobs who don’t care to look at the “big world picture”, and just want cheap gas and watch garbage like Survivor and American Idol.
So I wanted to pass it on, because I enjoyed the writing, not because of any support of Dubya. I mean he traded away Sammy Sosa, what more do you need? :)

If Bush resigned today, this is what his speech would be…..

Normally, I start these things out by saying “My Fellow Americans.” Not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don’t know who more than half of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and that you’re really not fellow Americans any longer.
I’ll cut right to the chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure you: There’s been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this office.

The reason I’m quitting is simple. I’m fed up with you people. I’m fed up because you have no understanding of what’s really going on in the world. Or of what’s going on in this once-great nation of ours. And the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it out.
Let’s start local. You’ve been sold a bill of goods by politicians and the news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in the tank. And that’s despite record numbers of homeowners, including record numbers of MINORITY homeowners. And while we’re mentioning minorities, I’ll point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time high. Our unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the Clinton administration. I’ve mentioned all those things before, but it doesn’t seem to have sunk in.

Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock market has rebounded to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of you are too damn stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there’s increased demand in other parts of the world, and because a small handful of noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than your economic security.
We face real threats in the world. Don’t give me this “blood for oil” thing. If I were trading blood for oil I would’ve already seized Iraq’s oil fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don’t give me this ‘Bush Lied; People Died’ crap either. If I were the liar you morons take me for, I could’ve easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be ‘discovered.’ Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was faulty.

Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the goods, same as me. Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named ‘Clinton’ established that policy. Bet you didn’t know that, did you?
You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to out spend and out-tech them.

That’s not the case this time. The soldiers of our new enemy don’t care if they survive. In fact, they want to die. That’d be fine, as long as they weren’t also committed to taking as many of you with them as they can. But they are. They want to kill you, and the bastards are all over the globe.
You should be grateful that they haven’t gotten any more of us here in the United States since September 11. But you’re not. That’s because you’ve got no idea how hard a small number of intelligence, military, law enforcement, and homeland security people have worked to make sure of that. When this whole mess started, I warned you that this would be a long and difficult fight. I’m disappointed how many of you people think a long and difficult fight amounts to a single season of ‘Survivor.’

Instead, you’ve grown impatient. You’re incapable of seeing things through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that wars should last a few months, a few years, tops.
Making matters worse, you actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat’s political campaign, well, dang it, you might just as well FedEx a grenade launcher to a Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.

In this day and age, it’s easy enough to find the truth. It’s all over the Internet. It just isn’t on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC News. But even if it were, I doubt you’d be any smarter. Most of you would rather watch American Idol.
I could say more about your expectations that the government will always be there to bail you out, even if you’re too stupid to leave a city that’s below sea level and has a hurricane approaching.

I could say more about your insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes from. But I’ve come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail right over your heads.
So I quit. I’m going back to Crawford. I’ve got an energy-efficient house down there (Al Gore could only dream) and the capability to be fully self-sufficient. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as soon as I’m done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America fall.

Oh, and by the way, Cheney’s quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new President. You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still have a glimmer of hope that there are just enough of you remaining who are smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.
So that’s it. God bless what’s left of America. Some of you know what I mean. The rest of you, piss off., 800, and talking to a real person

As most who have looked for this info know, the 1-800 phone number for has been around for years and years. It’s existence is not listed in the Amazon help area, but if you googled for Amazon 800 number, you could find it.
That number is 1-800-201-7575
I’ve called that for years, I almost NEVER go through email, because if I have a problem, I want some sort of immediate resolution, I don’t want to wait for an email to maybe get responded to in a timely fashion, bounce back with a response, etc, etc.. So I called the 800 number.
Well, I had to do that this morning, got a nice guy on the line, and we spoke about Amazon, ordering, help and all that. Anyway, he told me the phone number above is being phased out, and a better number to call is this one:
He did also tell me that they’ve added phone as an option in the help area recently. I can verify that this works, as I used it this morning to get a hold of this guy.
If you go to any help page, you will see the following button, you can click on it to get to the contact us area.

When you click that, you’ll get an area where you can make a choice as to how to contact Amazon.

Click the tab that says “phone”, and you’ll get a page that looks like this. (You’ll need to click the large image to see what it looks like).

You get to put in a phone number, and it immediately connects both you and an customer service agent. This has the benefit of getting you past all the recordings like “Please press 7, please press 2”. It’s a “direct line”. It actually works pretty well.
But if you want to make a call yourself, they recommend using the 866 number. I had a problem with an order I placed Friday, so I had to call them and deal with it. Found all this new stuff out this morning, which was cool to know.

A New Look

This month brings another new revision. I’ve started moving towards the new 4.0 version of Movable Type, the software that powers this blog/site/fiasco. As such, there’s a lot to be gained from the new back end stuff in the new version, so I decided to start from scratch and redo my templates and themes.
This is actually a hybrid look of two defaults. I was going for as much default as possible, as I’d like to make it easier when they release new versions of the software. The purple comes from a theme they had which was entitled “Cityspace Miami”. However, I took the header image from the “Cityscape Philadelphia” theme, as i’m not from Miami. :)

Take you to the Number Four

Blue's Room

You know how it is when you get songs stuck in your head, and you can’t get rid of them, right? Sometimes you luck out and you get a song you like, and it’s not so bad. Most of the time it’s something you don’t like, and the only way I’ve found to get rid of THOSE is to actually put the song on to get it out of there.
Then there’s a third – where you get something in your head, that makes you sing it out loud. That’s what happened to me this morning. As I have a two year old, we see a fair share of kid’s TV. We don’t let Samantha watch any old thing, there’s only a handful of shows that we let her watch. They are Little Einsteins, Blue’s Clues, and Blue’s Room. Blue’s Room is a “spinoff” (more accurately an evolution) of Blue’s Clues. But, being a kid’s show, they do things that are meant to catch your attention, and there was this one episode where there was a robot that kept saying “Take you to the number four – Take you to the number four”.
That’s what the screenshot is above. For some reason “Take you to the number four – Take you to the number four” is stuck in my head this morning, and I kept saying it over and over again, at one point prompting my kid to say “Daddy is silly!”.

Scared Stiff Pinball – Cameron Silver

My company has had a pinball machine in its offices for about a decade. It’s a really great machine called “Scared Stiff“. The theme is based around the character “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark”. As with most pinball machines, you can’t really get them anymore. Shame that they’re becoming such a rare thing.
Anyways, since we’ve had this machine for so long I’ve gotten pretty good at it, and know the machine’s “shtick” pretty well. Back in the day I was conversing with one of the designers, a guy by the name of “Cameron Silver”. Cameron was a fan of my company’s work, and had asked me for a logo for my company, he was going to send over a custom rom with our logo in it, and some requests I had. Again, when you play the same pinball machine a lot, the jokes and whatnot got somewhat old, so he put in some skips and aborts for us. It was quite cool what he did.
Then Williams stopped making pinball machines, and Cameron told me that he no longer had access to those materials. D’oh! The machine is still cool, but we lost the custom work.
Anyway, I’m writing this entry as a sort of “message in a bottle”. Cameron, if you’re out there and happen to see this, please give me a shout. I’ve long since lost Cameron’s email, and I’m banking on the fact that he might have a Google news alert for himself, and would see this thing – Lord knows he wouldn’t come to this blog for any other reason. :)
Anyways, if you are a pinball collector, look into this one, it’s a rather fun machine – so I think.