Posted in Uncategorized

one fingered typing.

Today I take a great leap forward. This is the first blog I try writing from the Nook Color tablet as opposed to from the laptop computer.
typing is a lot slower when you use single fingers instead of two hands. I can see how it os necessary for texting, but for full article writing it is a little slow.
So today is also going to be a short blog. A long day ahead. But wanted to make this post.

Posted in Reviews, Social Issues

John Wayne, Swing Out, Sweet Land

A friend shared one of his friends videos on facebook — which was a short clip from this featured video.  So I decided to just share the entire show — even if I haven’t watched it as of the time I am posting it.  A John Wayne special on America.  I don’t have to watch it first to be confident it will be worth it, and fun to boot. So, if you have time for the 80 minutes, enjoy!

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Keep Calm…

Well did Kipling say “The female of the species is more deadly than the male…” An excellent case for not being a sheep, but living as free men and women.

Cedar Writes

This is mirror-posted over at According To Hoyt, and you can read all of it there.

I am a weapon. When the time comes to strike, the tool I happen to use is not the weapon, the squishy gray stuff between my ears is.

In aid of keeping my weapon sharp, I have done various training and thought exercises over the years, and I know that in order to be ready to defend myself and others, I occasionally need to refresh this. Like, as the truism above states, playing a mental game of situational awareness. Locate yourself in the room.

Where is the entrance? The exit? How else could danger come (the windows?) and how can you escape. Standing and doing battle may not be the optimal choice, depending on what is coming at you. But most important, be aware of your surroundings.

Out for a walk? Walk straight…

View original post 220 more words

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Chromebook casting — a Best Buy saga

Saturday afternoon we were out shopping around for computers.  Betsy wanted a light, portable computer that she could write on, check e-mail. Her dream would be the Surface Pro 3, but that was in a price range of $1K or more to get what she wanted.  We could replace her main notebook computer twice with that much money.

So she knew she didn’t want a Surface Pro that bad.  She has been borrowing out daughter’s Acer Chromebook during the days to go out and write, so her fallback was a Chromebook. So that’s what we went shopping for.

We started at Walmart, and found the Acer Chromebook  for $199. Then we went to Best Buy. We found three different Chrome books. Almost the minute we started looking at them we had an associate (or whatever they call their employees ) come over to talk to us and answer our questions. We had four different associates come check on us in less than half an hour that we were looking.  We wavered back and forth between the Acer at $179 at Best Buy, and the $249 Samsung, but finally chose the Acer (we already had one Acer, and the money was cheaper.  At the register I learned that the price was actually $199, with a $20 discount. So Wal-Mart and Best Buy had the same price, but Best Buy was giving the best buy).  So we bought it and brought it home.

Almost immediately we had problems.  The moment Betsy opened up the new Acer, the internet connections of all the computers in the house went inoperative, and the Acer itself didn’t connect very well. Couldn’t really do much. We spent 24 hours. Everytime she opened the lid, the rest of the system shut down. So we took it back for an exchange Sunday afternoon.

The customer service desk was helpful.  They brought over a person from the Geek Squad who asked us questions and we explained what happened.  He basically said that couldn’t happen. The only way would be if the computer somehow worked on a frequency that blocked our wi-fi router, but that such a thing was impossible. Nevertheless, the customer service desk person was very willing to let us exchange our Acer for another similar Acer.

Only problem was they couldn’t find one. Inventory system said there were three in the store, but they couldn’t find any.  The store was going through a lot of reshuffling for sales related to the upcoming tax-free weekend, and apparently there were momentarily misplaced.  After about half an hour they found one, rang up an exchange, and we were on our way home with a new machine.

Which did exactly the same thing.  So Betsy took that one back, and picked up the Samsung, which worked perfectly. No problems with the exchange.

Our best assumption now is that the two Acers themselves might have conflicted with each other.

And we rated the Best Buy Customer service as very good, the best we have had.  Strange things always seem to happen to us, but they handled what we had well, and found a way to get us satisfied. And get us working.

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A Year’s Difference

My niece Sofia returned from her year as an exchange student in Latvia.  We had a party a year ago when we she left, and Saturday we had a party to celebrate her return. At the first party we took pictures with her and our two kids.  Saturday I took a similar set of pictures.  The background and lighting are different, which may skew the comparisons. But I think the boy is a lot taller, relatively. And Sofia has an indefinable difference — something more adult about her demeanor.

Interesting what difference a year makes…






Posted in Social Issues

Price Point

Okay, today’s column is on informal economics. At what price will we decide that a purchase is worth going for? Retailers are doing this all the time. It even gets discussed about the pricing of ebooks. At what price will you not buy the ebook but the hard copy or no book at all?

What brings this to mind? Worlds of Fun last night. We have been swimming at the Oceans of Fun section every night this week after work until it closed at 7 p.m. But on Fridays in July Oceans of Fun closed at 9 p.m. So we planned to go out to swim around 7:30, swim until 9 p.m., and then stay until 10 p.m. to watch the weekend fireworks (every Friday and Saturday in July in honor of July 4th).

So of course I received an e-mail from Worlds of Fun on Friday about their Friday fun, which included $1 hot dogs being sold at the America tent in the Americana section. So that price point made us change our plans. Instead of just walking around and possibly taking a ride or two, we walked over to the America tent and purchased the $1 hot dogs.

So apparently we decided that paying a $1 for a hot dog and bun was worth it, even if we could purchase an 8-pack for $0.99 and an $8 pack of buns for $2.00. So we paid $4 for something that we could pay $2.50 for ourselves.

They also had chips there.  I asked the price — $1 a bag.  We didn’t get those. Apparently $1 is good for a hot dog, but not good for chips. Why? I was thinking I would have paid $1 for 2 bags, but not 1.

The prices included the taxes too. They didn’t want to mess with coins — it was a cash only operation — no credit either.  Good thing we planned to bring cash, just in case. Another economics factor.  How much extra cost would coins have been to keep on hand. A lower price probably made them more money with even bills.


Posted in Reviews

Remakes #2 — Parent Trap

This is one of those remakes where I like both movies. If made to choose, I would rate the Haley Mills original over the Lindsay Lohan remake — but there are sections of the remake that are definitely better done than the original.

Watching the opening credits of the Haley Mills version of The Parent Trap, Betsy noted “that is something they don’t do much anymore — tell the story of the plot in the credits.” It is a really cute stop-motion animation, which gets reprised at the end. Movies don’t take the same sort of efforts with the credits very much anymore. We have more elaborate technology, so we have some more elaborate credits, but that isn’t the same thing as well done.

Besides Haley Mills, the original also starred Maureen O’Hara — and you can’t make a bad movie if she is in it. She just looks good, and has such presence. But what I had forgotten was her singing voice.  The one scene where she is humming “their song” and then starts singing, shows how musical her voice is. Some of that melodiousness comes through her speech too, which is what made her such a great actress.

The newer movie also has a nice opening credits — which is also reprised in the closing credits with some additional plot point wraps. The featuring of the song LOVE as they show scenes of their courtship and wedding on the QE2 12 years before … weaves a lot of plot points that develop throughout the movie.

The two movies start with long scenes of the “twins” at camp. The newer movie has Halley commenting to a couple of other girls “who are you? Lucy and Ethel?” — which is a reference to the I Love Lucy Show. It is a really good show, but almost anachronistic — how many modern people watching the movie would know about Lucille Ball? Probably more than I would think.

The second movie did a better job in the camp scenes of having the situation escalate into a rivalry instead of suddenly being rivals — which is how the first movie feels. Lindsay Lohan is better at handling two distinct accents than Haley Mills was.

Continuing my second movie preferences, I liked Chelsea as housekeeper better than Verbena by a bit. Adding Martin as butler was fine too, but he is more comic relief than an essential character.

Both movies have the one twin demonstrate a skill that she shouldn’t have as the twin she is impersonating. In the first movie it is piano playing.  The remake has her speaking French.  Both work well, but I think the French had a more natural feel to it.

I like the father in the second movie a bit better also.  He is portrayed as more intentional in the decisions he makes, rather than being manipulated by the women around him.

My recommendation: watch both movies; don’t miss out on either one.


Posted in Reviews

Remakes — #1

I thought I would put together a short piece on a movie remake, and maybe sometime soon put together another comparison of another pair of remakes.

Somewhere a few years back we picked up That Darn Cat! on sale on DVD. It was a two-disk set:the 1965 Haley Mills version and the 1997 Christina Ricci version. At the time I really didn’t appreciate the remake — the classic is classic after all — but last night I watched both movies again. The original is still the better by a long shot, but I found more moments to appreciate than I had previously.

The 1965 version also stars Dean Jones of Herbie movie fame as well, with cameos by Ed Wynn and several other good character actors of the period.

In watching both movies, Betsy commented that the original was more believable than the remake — and that the original isn’t really that realistic when you get down to it.  But the way the original deals with the suspensions of realism is more sympathetic to the characters of the world of the movie.  The remake is more slapstick, sarcastic, and mocking of the people in the idyllic town that the main character cannot stand.

My other observation is that the original is longer, by quite a bit, yet feels shorter.

Nathan observed that the remake tried to bring the movie into the modern era of its time by doing things to make the cat and the main characters seem “cool”, which I note has the effect of making the newer movie feel more dated than the original. Somehow the drive-in movie theater of the original has a less dated feel than the ice cream shop and town square with gazebos atmosphere of the town in the remake.

So, overall, I prefer the original of this movie.

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Plethora of Missions

“Offer them food and they will come” was the joking subtitle to Sunday evenings Ice Cream Social and Missions Fair at Avondale United Methodist Church. Besides the ice cream, the key feature of the evening was a presentation and update by Larry and Kristy Schmitz of their ministry at TESOL (The English-speaking School of Lubumbashi) in the Congo.

The food and presentation were good.  What was really astounding, however, was the list of various missions and ministries featured on display boards around the hall. At just one picture apiece, they make up an impressive collage of pictures, see below:

2014-07-20 AUMC Mission Fair


As you scanned the boards, you saw inside and outside the church, near the church and far away. And now as I write, I can even think of more things that could have been represented that weren’t. Again, impressive, and all to the Glory of God.

Posted in Reviews

ToonTown Rewritten Reaches 1000

Today is going to be a short look at Toontown Rewritten. This past weekend they expanded the amount of time everyone could play.  If you got a slot or waited in the playline, when your turn came up you got 6 hours instead of 3 hours of play time on Saturday and Sunday.

For me it was, really, I don’t feel a need to play the game longer than 3 hours. I just need to be able to play some every day or so for an hour or so to keep my character moving along.

During their weekend push, they got a Toontown population that exceeded 1000 — and they said things were running smooth too.

That might have been their perspective.  For me, and for Nathan, it was generally smooth, unless you tried to switch districts, or go through a door, change streets, anything that was a transition of that sort could make you log off and have to log back in.

One time I had to switch districts 5 times to find a building that wasn’t a cog building, so I could turn a task in. And 4 of those times I got logged out and had to sign back in.

I also spent a half hour at the beginning of my time signing in, and being told it couldn’t find the servers. When I finally did get in, it a message from the admins came up that they were taking things down for maintenance in 60 seconds. And it took a good half hour after that before I could sign in again.  So I wouldn’t say things were smooth.

But things were better.  I was able to find people to help me take back a building, and complete that task. So I advanced from Donald’s Dock to Daisy’s Garden.