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Showing posts from December, 2011

My favorite gadget of 2011: Logitech Portable Speaker S135i

It’s the last day of 2011! Instead of going back through the blog archives and trying to find something exciting out of all of my boring moments, I decided that I would continue the tech theme from yesterday (which was a nice break from my two day magazine rant) and look over all of the stuff I ended up with this year and would pick out the one gadget that was the best value. For me, that is the Logitech Portable Speaker S135i.Here it is, on the bathroom counter. I was listening to WGN in Chicago this morning while getting ready to take on another exciting day.Yes, this speaker would be completely useless without the iPod Touch. But the value it adds is that it turns the iPod Touch into a fully functional and nice sounding internet radio. There are plenty of dedicated internet radios (such as the $150 Squeezebox, also by Logitech) out there and most of them are almost as expensive as the iPod Touch itself. An iPod Touch can do an awful lot so why would I want a dedicated internet radi…

New to Me Gadget: Dell Streak 7

My “new” refurbished Dell Streak 7 arrived today. The Streak 7 is a replacement for my Acer netbook that developed a weird short in the screen. The brightness just starts going up and down by itself any time the netbook is barely touched. Typing could have triggered epileptic seizures. It got so frustrating that I finally just shelved it. I thought my iPod Touch was going to replace my netbook but the screen is just painfully small at times. With my eyes, this is not a good thing. I really went back and forth on this purchase. I had read so many bad reviews that I didn’t know what to expect. People complain about the battery life (3 to 4 hours). My laptop battery barely gets two so this is an improvement. The screen is supposedly too “low resolution”. My eyes are old and tired so I can barely tell the difference. Also, I paid the refurbished price which is way less than an iPad and even cheaper than a Nook Color. All of these things considered, I am very pleased.I do have two complain…

More Magazine Mischief! Orbital Publishing Group sends a renewal invoice look-a-like

Another day, another magazine renewal letter that gets my britches in a bunch.I got a very-bill looking slip in the mail today that someone who doesn’t pay attention might have fallen for. It’s from Orbital Publishing Group in Reno, Nevada. It looks just like an invoice but there is print at the bottom that says NOT A BILL. Can you find those words with just a quick glance? They are hoping that you can’t!They want to charge you $59.95 but you can go to and get a one year renewal for $15. I actually pay less than that each year.What is especially disheartening is that Entertainment Weekly obviously sold my information either directly or indirectly to this company.Here is the back of the slip:My favorite part is “As an agent, we do not necessarily have a direct relationship with the publishers or publications that we offer. With your purchase you authorize us and our suppliers to process and clear your order with the publishers directly or by whatever means available.” I t…

Better Homes and Gardens mag tries to use the environment to guilt us into renewing 8 months early

I have always been annoyed with the newspaper throwing out a weekly “free” version when we don’t subscribe and the local Avon lady sticking a catalog on our mailbox and every mailbox in the neighborhood. It’s littering and it’s a huge waste of paper.Even with all of that, I’ve never had a company try to use “environmental guilt” to force me into buying a product.You’ve got to hand it to the marketing team of Better Homes and Gardens. They want us to renew now (our subscription is good until August 2012) and they urge us to do so by reminding us about the trees that will be cut down for the paper needed to print the renewal reminders. Never mind all of the trees cut down to print their magazine every month (even though their magazine is printed on paper so thin that you could use it as a coffee filter).If we don’t renew, this letter gives me the impression that they will continue to destroy trees and will continue to harass us with reminders.We got our subscription for free. They can a…

The Christmas Tower of Trash

Another Christmas has ended and that means it’s time for one of my favorite traditions – creating the tower of trash. As I explained last year, the city we live in won’t pick up any trash that is not in a city owned trashcan. You either leave a pile of bags or you “make it work’. I choose to make it work by building cardboard walls to turn my can from regular to super.I think we went even higher this year. I took this picture before I added a layer of cardboard on each side and threw one more bag of stinky leftovers on top. The best part is the rain that started about an hour ago and will keep on all night. Happy Holidays to whichever city employee came up with this exciting rule.Christmas went off without a hitch. We’re becoming pros after all of these years of pulling off the family get-togethers. Also, the kids want less and less toys which means less and less annoying packaging to try to break into. I wonder how many people end up at the ER with scissors through there hands becaus…

Christmas Eve 2011

It feels like it took forever for Christmas to actually get here and now I find myself surprised that it is almost here and almost over.The Elf took over the record player yesterday.He made his final appearance of the year watching over all of the gifts that took over the living room.This is what it looks like when you have a house full of people and 5 kids over on Christmas Eve.I went ahead and broke the Santa code by giving Sara her big gift a day early. It was 55 degrees so we had to take advantage of that while we could. If it wasn’t for my brother-in-law being here to assist, I might still be outside trying to put this thing together.It was a good day and I think the kids will be pleased with Santa’s deliveries for tomorrow.Have a very Merry Christmas!

It's a Festivus Miracle!

It’s December 23rd again and that means that today is Festivus. I’ll soon be going to our Festivus dinner and afterwards we’ll have our annual “Airing of Grievances” where I will be letting everyone know how they have disappointed me in the last year. Then, we will move on to the “Feats of Strength” in which someone will have to pin me in a living room wrestling match in order to end Festivus. I’ve moved up a weight class this year so Festivus might go on a bit longer than it usually does.It’s not too late to whip up your own Festivus celebration. Just click here to study up on the Festivus traditions and don’t forget to end dinner by standing up and saying, “I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it!!!”Also, we have another special Christmas tradition this evening – the annual Late Show with David Letterman Christmas show. Not only will Darlene Love be singing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home” but we’ll also hear the retelling of the Lone Range…

Relapse Wednesday and Bad Christmas Songs!

We ended up back at the doctors office last night to get Sara’s positive (again!) strep test. She finished antibiotics on Tuesday and ends up back on antibiotics yesterday. It’s the Christmas gift that just won’t go away! It appears to be very minor so we should all be back to normal and waiting for the next surprise infection soon.Christmas continues to approach and there is no slowing it down. Work is finally slowing down just a little bit and that is a good thing. I thought this would be a quiet week and I was very, very wrong. It’s also pouring down rain here so we continue to be trapped in this odd spring-like weather cycle. The grass continues to grow and the weather is staying fairly warm. It may be Christmas but it feels like March!In the important category of Christmas music news, MSNBC has posted 11 Christmas Songs We Hope Never to Hear Again. I agree with most of them. I don’t see the offense in “Last Christmas” by Wham! We should give mad props to George Michael for writin…

Monday Monday

The pre-Christmas prep is in high gear now. And, all of the people at work are scurrying to fill up my 2012 calendar with conference calls before they head out on vacation. I never take vacation at Christmas. I enjoy all of the peace and quite that occurs when everyone else is off.I de-cluttered the living room today. I had let all kinds of junk creep back in over the last month. Once the Christmas stuff goes up, clutter seems to covertly follow. In the last 4 days I have “reset” the living room and both of the kids rooms and I ended up filling the garbage can to the brim and making an unplanned trip to the thrift store. It feels good to get rid of stuff and I’m trying to not think about the new stuff that will be unwrapped this weekend.We’re at the verge of another two days of pouring rain. We’ve been having a second spring here for the last week or so and the grass is growing out of control. I keep thinking about mowing it but I know that the 10 and 15 degree nights will sneak up on…

Two more elf pics

I’d write about my week and the movies I’ve seen recently and all of the work we’re doing around here to get ready for Christmas but I’m just too lazy to do that tonight. All I’ve got for tonight are these two creepy elf pics.

Zicam Sunday

Birthday Friday morphed into Birthday Party Saturday. We had her party at the movies and we saw “The Muppets”. It was pretty good – it was a nice tribute to the original show that was on television when I was much younger. There were tons of cameos in the movie also.They also showed a new “Toy Story” short before the movie. It was hilarious. The last “Toy Story” movie was such a downer. The new short was just plain funny and makes me hope that there will be another movie. In this one, we meet all sorts of abandoned fast food kids meal toys including T-Bone the Transforming Steak. A short clip is below: It’s worth seeing just for the horrible chicken fast food creations that are shown during the ending credits. There are some crazy people at Pixar.So, we got through most of the day before the world’s worst restaurant experience. We waited FOREVER for food. The place was freezing. My toes were numb when we left. Then, we went to Target at 9PM like nuts. It was at Target that Sara started…

Lindsay’s Birthday

Lindsay is another year older and she ripped through her gifts like a rabid wolverine. Among all of the stuff she got, we finally replaced the karaoke machine that died earlier this year.Karaoke machines are for sale everywhere this year and I blame Glee. The elf and his weird group of friends commandeered the Wii last night so that means no video games tonight. Note that they are all wearing their Wiimote safety straps.

Indigestion, a bad elf, a silly video

I’m getting really tired of random indigestion. It seems like I can’t each much of anything these days without needing an antacid at some point not long afterwards. Some days I want to blame the coffee. Today I visited the Taco Bell at lunch. I used to be able to eat Taco Bell without having to run for the Maalox afterwards. This ‘getting older’ thing really stinks sometimes.I walked into the kitchen to discover another elf made mess this morning. I can honestly say that I have zero involvement in the latest elf crime spree we are seeing here.I’m going to close with a video that I keep bookmarked in case I have an emergency need for laughter.


Here is a short video before I declare incoming snow/ice insanity. Chances are pretty good that the snow and ice will miss us or will not stick but you never really know around here until it actually happens. At this point it’s just too close for comfort. If the kids are out of school tomorrow or even get out early tomorrow and then they are home for two weeks for the holidays….hmmm…it’s really too depressing to consider.I had to deal with AT&T today thanks to my parents switching from DSL to Cable internet. This video pretty well sums up that experience: This is why I dropped AT&T a while back. Unfortunately, I am stuck with them on my work owned cell phone. It is horrible.In other news, our Elf is back and he just gets weirder and weirder each year.

The Monday that I reluctantly invested in two dog prisons

Last night will be remembered as “Poopfest 2011”. Our two dogs decided to throw their own dookie party all over the bedroom. Last night will also be remembered as “The Last Straw” in my war against dog whiz and dog logs.We’ve been fighting this war ever since our newest dog, Devil Sadie, became a member of our home. Alex was always pretty good about going out. Sadie is also trained but will randomly decided to go against her training and then Alex must instinctively mark her territory. This typically happens in our bedroom where they are gated in with us at night. They love to use my home office area as their personal commode. Oddly this only happens every 4 weeks or so. We’ll go through with no accidents at all until all of a sudden the carpet cleaner has to come back out for some action.The dogs have also taken over our bed. They must stay warm and we are huge human pillows that they love to lay on.Enough is enough.I finally invested in two dog prisons. These are where they will now…


Yesterday, one day after the 170+ car accident in my hometown, I had to drive there also. The fog was just plain insane. We had none where I live about 45 miles away. There is nothing smarter to do when driving in fog than to whip out the phone and take some pics.Way out in the distance you can see the fog settled in.Once you were in there, visibility dropped pretty fast.And it just kept getting worse.It was just a bit warmer so there was no ice. The ice was a huge factor in the big pile up. By the evening drive home, things were nice and clear again.I’m not going to go into what my day was like Friday. I had to deal with two utility companies and a bank. That should explain everything you need to know. It was a lesson in frustration. I have less stressful days at work and that’s saying something.The good news is that my anger-induced headache is finally starting to go away.

I write about a lamp and a vacuum because I am sadly domesticated

I recently acquired two pretty good items so I am going to dedicate this entry to sharing my good buys.First, I finally found a decent light for my impromptu home laptop nook which is actually “hiding” in a corner of my living room behind our recliner. It is the V-Light Architect Clamp Lamp. I got it at Office Max for $15.99. For some reason you can buy it at their website here for $1 cheaper but you will pay shipping on top of the tax.It also comes with one of those new Al Gore lightbulbs. These are the only ones we’ll legally be allowed to buy soon. Surprisingly, this one comes right on and is plenty bright. It’s not like the ones in our bathroom where they act like old gym lights warming up.I had to move my home laptop over here since the Christmas tree is now up in my “spot” in the living room. I know it seems silly to have two computers set up in different parts of the house but I try to avoid my work desk at night so I keep my blog and all my stuff on my trusty old Gateway lapto…