Monthly Archives: July 2006

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night ShyamalanIf M. Night Shyamalan wanted to really freak people out … he should make a movie with a totally predictable plot.

People would constantly be looking for hidden meaning in each plot point … which won’t be there.

Maybe he should throw in a few red herrings … plot points that are just coincidence.

[tags]Movies, Shyamalan[/tags]

I Hate CostCo

Ok, maybe ‘Hate’ is too strong a word.

Dislike, maybe … prefer to avoid, yeah, that’s pretty close.

Mind you … I don’t hate the generally poor layout of the store, nor do I hate the fact that non-name-brand merchandise is generally garbage … I don’t even dislike the throngs of people who, while pushing a huge cart down the isle, stop (in the middle of the isle) to chat with someone.

What I don’t like about CostCo is the checkout lanes … and the fact that, on any given weekend, there is just not enough of them open.

Today I went into the Schaumburg CostCo to purchase three things. Toilet paper, A copy of Photoshop Elements 4, and maybe a portable dock-able speaker unit for Ginny’s iPod. I found what I was looking for within 10 minutes.

As I was wandering down to the checkout lanes … I realized that I would be there another 30 minutes just standing in line. I also noticed that they had at least FIVE unmanned checkout lanes (that didn’t include the two that were practically buried under junk).

Maybe I’ll stop by tomorrow on my way from work.

[tags]costco, rants, stores, crowds[/tags]

Beat the Heat

In your house, is the upstairs hot while the downstairs pretty cool?

This is the case at our house … but Ginny and I have found a pretty nifty way to help alleviate the problem.

I had a small Vornado fan at my office … but haven’t used it in a while (the new office is much cooler than the old one), so I brought it home. This fan is pretty powerful when set on it’s highest setting. We put the fan at the bottom of the stairs going and pointed it up. When the fan is set on it’s highest setting, it pumps cool air up the stairs which helps to cool the upstairs quite nicely.

It does create a bit of noise … but it’s not too bad. A side benefit is that it helps move air throughout the rooms in general, which can’t hurt at all.

[tags]heat, cool, fan, circulation[/tags]

Canon 30D

I bought a new camera this weekend … a Canon 30D.

As much as I really like my Digital Rebel, the frame rate has been really bothering me … especially when I’m trying to take wildlife photos. I can only get 3 frames per second … with a 4 frame buffer. This means that I can only get a little more than a seconds worth of shots before the camera has to dump it’s buffer to the flash card (which can take a long time).

The Canon 30D can do 5 frames per second with a 20-30 frame buffer (depending on the image quality). Plus, I can take pictures in raw mode and it will write two image files … a RAW file and a JPG. It’s got a great hand feel, and good controls. I really like it.

The picture above is from a photo safari Ginny and I took to the Morton Arboretum this weekend … pretty nice, eh?

Oh yeah, it also has a setting that won’t let me take pictures without a flash card inserted.

[tags]Canon, photos, nature, 30D[/tags]

Net Neutrality

Ok, I don’t watch the Daily Show all that much … but I usually get a good laugh when I do catch it.

I found this clip, however, on the internet that’s pretty darn funny … it corrects some of Ted Steven’s … um … ‘errors’ that he made when describing what the internet is.

Ups Oops

They gave me a new machine at work a few days ago … along with this new machine came a APC 750va UPS.

This is pretty cool, as I’ve been advocating having UPS’s attached to personal workstations for quite some time. I even went to the expense of purchasing my own UPS for my workstation before they got me the new one.

So today we had a power failure in the office … it was then that I found out that you have to pay attention to the outlet on the UPS you plug the computer into. I had inadvertantly plugged my computer into the Surge Protected outlet … not the Surge Protected & Battery backed up outlet.

So, when the power failed … so did my computer … my speakers, on the other hand, stayed powered up without a problem. 🙂


I believe in Duty?

On this morning’s “This I believe” segment of Morning Edition on NPR, they had an essay by 13 year old Ying Ying Yu titled “A Duty to Family, Heritage and Country.

To be honest … I feel very sorry for Ying Ying Yu … she is far to young to be as jaded as she sounds.

From what I read, she considers it her Duty to be a lawyer … while I believe that it’s a fine career to pursue … she should only pursue it if she really wants to be a lawyer. “Duty” is something you MUST do. But a course of study, and career, is something that you should WANT to do.

I think the statement that made me the most sad about Ying Ying Yu’s life is this …

I don’t want any more dreams — dreams are illusions.

Ying Ying … everyone should have dreams … dreams give you something to strive for … even if you know you can’t attain it.

I dream of being a respected nature photographer … but I doubt I ever will be one. That doesn’t stop me from taking lots of nature photos and making them best pictures I can … and learning from every one of them.

[tags]npr, This I believe, dreams, duty[/tags]

Riley after play

I took this picture of Riley this weekend … I was going for the depth of field with Riley in the background, slightly out of focus, and his cat toys in the foreground.

Came out pretty well, I think. I’m need to play around with that stuff a bit more … but I’m getting better at getting the picture I’ve got in my head.

[tags]Cat, toys, depth of field[/tags]

Home Improvements

Oh the joys of home ownership … yes indeedy.

Today I acomplished two major household tasks … one required a lot of work … the other required just a phone call.

The first was fairly involved … at least for me. The toilet in the master bath (such as it is, the bath that is) was leaking underneath the bowl. I figured it was the wax ring, so I replaced it … but that didn’t fix the leak. I’m pretty sure I put the new wax ring on wrong, which caused the new leak.

I got a new item to replace the wax ring … it’s basically a funnel that goes down the drain pipe and sticks to the bottom of the toilet. Seems to be working … although the only way to really tell is wait to see if more water shows up.

This little project only required 4 trips to the home improvement stores (Lowes, Home Depot, and twice to Menards) and took 3 months to complete (yes, we were without a toilet in the master bath for 3 months).

The second major task was calling the sales person from Anderson Windows to tell her that we wanted to go with her proposal.

We’re getting new windows throughout the house … the windows we currently have are all aluminum, which lets a lot of cold through, most of the glass panes have blown seals … so there’s a lot of moisture between the glass, and at least one window’s mechanism is totally shot (we need to use a 2×4 to hold it open).

We got a quote from Pella also … which was significantly higher than Anderson’s … and, although the comments I saw indicated that both Pella and Anderson had quality products, the consensus I saw was that Anderson’s were somewhat better.

We tried to get a quote from Lowes … but it took them almost a month to send someone out to do the measuring … and after waiting a week for them to call me back with estimates, they didn’t even have the measurements available. I was told by someone in their custom installation department that I would be called on Saturday … but didn’t hear from them.

We actually paid $35 for the measurements from Lowes … which I’m going to try and get back, as it took such a long time for them to come back.

Final cost for the Anderson windows is going to be $14K. I think I can get $400 off on taxes ($200 off for the windows, another $200 for the patio door {assuming it counts as an exterior door}). It will probably take 10 years or so to recoup the cost in energy savings, but it will be a good selling point when we go to sell the house (nothing planned in that arena yet).

Luckily we have a fairly sizable amount in the home repair / improvement savings bucket … so the cost won’t kill us.

[tags]Home Improvement, windows, heat, savings, toilet, repairs, taxes[/tags]