Monday, January 31, 2005

Close encounters with nature

On my way home from work today, a hawk swooped out of the trees along I-459, carrying a large snake in his talons. The hawk flew across the road in front of me and released the snake in mid-air so that it landed in the median.

Not that I would have been able to capture the moment while driving, but it's times like this when I wish I'd think to carry the digital camera with me everywhere I go.

Could this have been the hawk I saw?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

At my own expense

Let's face it; I give Misty plenty of opportunity to make fun of me.

We ate mixed-bean soup for dinner one night recently. While studying the 20 oz. bag of 15 different kinds of beans, I came upon this note: "Sort and rinse beans prior to cooking." I was dumbfounded.

"They expect us to sort these?!" I asked Misty. "Why the hell did they mix them together if we just have to sort them out again?!"

When she stopped laughing at me, Misty informed me that sorting beans means something different altogether. Then she called everyone in her family so that they could laugh at my naïveté, too.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Drinking beer could save your life

Man peed way out of avalanche
A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains.


I wonder if the beer's brewer could find a way to work this story into their marketing.

Thanks to Yancey (who doesn't have a blog, but should) for the link.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Got milk?

On the way home last night, we made a quick* stop at Sally's Beauty Supply so Misty could pick up some sort of hair product. Unfortunately, Emily was a little fussier than usual, and she soon tired of playing with Clifford the Big, Red Dog as I waited in the car with her. When Misty returned to find Emily wailing, she assessed the situation: It was not worth making Emily wait any longer, she decreed — we would skip getting milk at the grocery store and just get it tomorrow instead.

Today the weather forecasts are predicting freezing temperatures and sleet overnight and into the weekend for the Birmingham area. Looks like we won't be getting milk tonight, either.

* quick by Misty's standards, not mine

57 Channels (and everything's on)

I'm having a hard time coming to terms with TiVo. Misty got me one for Christmas, and I've been playing with it for the past few weeks. Every time I try to talk about how much I love it, though, I feel like an idiot.

"I can record all the programs I want so that I can watch them on my own schedule, and I can fast-forward through commercials!"

Well, duh. Haven't VCRs been able to do that for the past 20 years?

Of course I haven't owned a VCR for more than a decade, so I'm bound to be a little more excited than the rest. But everyone seems to be raving about TiVo and how great it is. That's why I wanted one — peer pressure.

Despite my insecurities about praising a machine for doing the same thing another machine was already doing, TiVo really is a cool toy.

Nevertheless, it's not really a time saver.

Now that I'm recording TiVoing "The Daily Show," "Arrested Development," "The Apprentice," "The O.C.," "Desperate Housewives," "Home Movies," "Best Week Ever," and "The Real World" (not to mention "Lost" and "The Bachelorette" which I'm not actually watching), I'm bombarded with viewing options.

Before TiVo, I'd simply miss most of the shows I liked. I didn't mind — I can't plan my life around TV. Now that I can plan TV around my life, though, television has taken on a much greater significance. And I can't decide whether that's a good thing or not.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

She'll only come out at night

The subject of Hall & Oats came up at work this morning. I never remember how these conversations form, but that's not important. It just reminded me of a moment from my youth.
[Hall & Oats'] H20 followed in 1982 and it proved more successful than their two previous albums, selling over two million copies and launching their biggest hit single, "Maneater" ...

In 1982 I was 7 years old, and I was terrified of that song.

Never mind "Thriller." I didn't have MTV, so I hadn't seen the video with all the zombies. To me, "Thriller" was just a fun pop song.

But "Maneater" was a different case. I took the lyrics literally. As far as I was concerned, I needed to watch out because she was coming, and she was going to chew me up.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Something about nothing

It has been postulated that I put off blogging lately so as to keep my post about free iPods at the top of the page. That's not the case. I just haven't been in the right frame of mind to get the words going. Regardless, I'll try to rectify the situation.

The same thing happened over at Get on With Your Nightlife. Over the past week, I've gotten the ball rolling again (including a post about the HamBlogger meetup), and hopefully I can keep the momentum going there as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Awaiting the iPod Fairy

OK, I've totally jumped on the get a free whatever bandwagon.

After a bit of reading, it seems that this stuff is indeed legit. So, I've signed up for a few of the offers, and I'm looking for folks who are willing to sign up under me.

It's a pretty simple process:
1. Sign up for one or more free products via the links below.
2. Complete one of the accompanying offers.
3. Convince x number of your friends to do the same thing.
4. Get your free product.

The tricky (but not too tricky) part is step 2. I recommend picking an offer that gives you a free trial for a limited time. That way, you get the credit for signing up for the offer, but you can cancel it before ever getting charged. Pretty much all of the offers will require a credit card number (except for those that are applications for credit cards themselves), but there's no need for you to ever get charged for anything, so long as you pick an offer that touts a free trial run.

Following these links will allow you to begin the process. Even if you don't want to pester your friends to sign up under you so you can get the free prize, you could at least sign up yourself to help me get them.

Free Xbox, PlayStation 2, or Game Cube
(requires 3 people)

3 free Xbox, PlayStation 2, or Game Cube games
(requires 3 people)

Free iPod Shuffle
(requires 3 people)

Free iPod
(requires 5 people)

Free iPod Photo
(requires 10 people)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Collateral Hole

Somehow the topic of Disney's 1979 movie, The Black Hole, came up at work today. In discussing the characters, we realized that the names of the robots, Vincent and Maximillian, match the names of the two main characters in Collateral.

Coincidence? Or is screenwriter Stuart Beattie a closet "Black Hole" fan?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Is the spam a scam? Let's find out.

For months, I've been getting those spam e-mails for: Get a free XBox / iPod / TiVo / etc. I'd heard from a couple people that the deals were supposedly legitimate, but I wasn't convinced.

Then today, I noticed that David's Largehearted Boy blog has a slew of links to such offers. I searched through his archives and it turns out that he's actually received the rewards from a few of them. I don't know David personally, but he's a concrete enough source for me to believe that it's more than just urban legend.

So I took the plunge. I signed up for a free Photo iPod. At worst, I figure I'll get spammed at an e-mail account that I rarely use.

Here's how the deal works:

It's a pyramid scheme. You sign up for the free whatever, sign up for one other offer that they're pushing, then get several other suckers to do the same thing. For this particular offer, I have to find 10 other people willing to participate.

The "one other offer" is the tricky part. Several "fake" offers appear before tthe real offers finally show up at the end. Once you enter your e-mail and home address, you're asked if you'd like to receive related offers. I made sure both boxes were unchecked. Then there were three more offers presented (stuff like refinancing, Publisher's Clearing House, and car quotes) I said no to all of them. Then there was another offer... and another... and another... and another... It went on for a while, and I almost thought I had to select one of them. Nevertheless, I just kept clicking no because I honestly didn't want to participate in any of them.

Eventually, the slew of "fake" offers comes to an end, and you're presented with the real offers, one of which you must sign up for. The real offers were much more reasonable things like credit card applications or the Columbia House DVD club. I picked a two-week free trial in Blockbuster's online rental program (like NetFlix) which I will probably cancel in 13 days.

If you'd like to be one of my 10 suckers and help me get my free Photo iPod, click here. Follow the steps as I've noted above and be sure to keep clicking "no" for the extra garbage. Then you only have to find 10 suckers of your own.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

This kid never gets a break

First Emily gets put in the hospital for RSV. She spends five nights there.

After a few days home recuperating, she goes in for a follow-up, and gets pinned with an ear infection.

Two weeks after the start of the whole incident, she finally returns to day care. She spends one day there, and returns home with a rash. The next day, she's sent home from day care because of said rash. They say it's probably a reaction to her ear infection medicine, but policy dictates that they have to be sure. I take her to the doctor, and she's diagnosed with Coxsackie.

This latest virus won't hurt her, but it's very contagious, so she can't return to day care. Her rash doesn't even look bad — it's just a bunch of little pinprick spots. But can't we have one week when we're not carting Emily to the doctor? The poor kid can't seem to catch a break.

My own woes

Did I mention that I've been sick, too? Through all Emily's mess, I also managed to contract RSV. It won't send an adult to the hospital, though — it just manifests like a cold. But it's been a really bad cold. I've had it for two weeks now, and I just can't seem to get over it.

I've missed a lot of work, and it's starting to worry me. I've called in sick, left early, taken comp time, worked from home... How much of this is my employer going to put up with before it becomes too much of a problem?

The reason for my continued illness is easy to pinpoint. With Emily sick, I haven't had the chance to rest and recuperate. If she can't go to day care, that means I'm at home watching her. That's no small task with her crawling everywhere and pulling up on everything.

Though I'd already been told by three doctors (who saw Emily when she was in the hospital) that there was nothing I could do other than let the RSV run its course, by Monday I'd had enough of being sick. (What follows is not for the faint of heart. I'm warning you now: Skip to the next paragraph.) That morning, I had diarehaa, a new symptom. Until then, the illness had been confined to my head, just like I'd been described. I'd had nothing more than cold symptoms, and I felt run down. Suddenly, though, I was shitting blood. Obviously, that worried me, so I took it upon myself to see my own doctor. I wanted to know whether this was just a reaction to something I ate, or whether the RSV had morphed into something worse.

My doctor didn't make too much of it. He said that the new symptoms were probably a result of my body being run down, and the color was the result something I ate. I had been on a steady diet of cranberry juice for a few days, so it seemed reasonable — and, of course, a more welcome answer than the alternative. He gave me a perscription for some extra-strong cough medicine that he said would help me rest — both by stopping my my coughing and making me drowsy.

So far, the medicine has seemed to work fairly well. I have managed to sleep better, and hopefully that will lead to me feeling decent by tomorrow, when I am determined to return to work.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Carte blanche gone wild

Misty gave me the Star Wars trilogy DVD set for Christmas, along with the Ewok Adventure collection. Watching the original movie, I decided that the changes aren't unbearable. The Jabba the Hutt scene is contained in single chapter, so I can just skip past it and pretend it isn't there. The other unmentionable incident only lasts a second, and at least I know that everyone else hates the change too.