Saturday, May 27, 2006

Jump Into the Mower

Other than most likely insects - I just want to warn that that nothing dies in the blog entry, despite what the title suggests.

People always hear my complaining about the size of yard we have for mowing reasons. Normally they ask me how long it takes to mow it with my push mower. I think my answer has always been 4-6 hours. Today - I did the whole thing by myself in one day. With 2 breaks of a few hours the answer is 11 hours. I really need to get a riding mower. Probably without breaks it was about 7.

There's a lot of insects and other debree that fly out of the moving as I mow so I'm kind of used to either:

A. Insects jumping/running/flying out of the way.
B. Leaves, grass, and sometime some insects and other things flying out of the mower. Sometimes the insects are totally fine. Sometimes they are bees coming to get me. (See my first blog posting)

Anyhow, with about 2 hours left in moving, I see something small HOPPING away from the mower. Turns out it was just a baby rabbit. If blogger stops screwing up I'll post a picture of it.
Now I understand survival instict so I'm glad it was hopping away and not, well - coming out of the mower. I clearly didn't want it to die.

I go on with my mowing after it was very far away and all of a sudden I see it hopping towards the running mower and me. Thinking it will just go some other direction - I keep mowing. No such luck.

I stopped the mower just in time for it to be literally within 1 inch of the side of the mower. Maybe it thought the mower was its mother, who knows.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Jewel Kilcher

I get on music kicks from time to time. One artist or another - and then I play it until I'm sick of it. Then I add it to my collection and play it from time to time.

Right now, it is Jewel. Yes, that Jewel. Not any of the stuff from the mid to late 90s though. She just released an album a few months ago(not that I could tell that from the radio here - I'm sure it is being overplayed whereever you are at and I'm just a dork - I don't care) In my opinion, this is actually a GREAT album. I don't care if some of it is very pop - I just think it is good.

0304 - the second newest album was a big departure for Jewel from her older stuff - Intuition and Stand were good in their own rights - but I get the impression that she was trying to go way commercial (or was it supposed to be sarcastic?) based on the videos. I still like the songs, but 2 Become 1 was a much better track off the album. I just couldn't get into the dance type stuff from her as much.

The latest album is "Goodbye Alice In Wonderland". The best tracks on it are the two singles released so far - the title track (Goodbye Alice In Wonderland) and Again and Again. Also listen to Drive to You and Satellite. Heck, I listen to the whole album straight through. I'm not going to let whether the radio is playing this or not ruin this for me. All I'm saying is check out the album. It seems a closer return to what is known as Jewel and to me is just tons better.

On the last track of the album is an interview where she says she has over 500 songs written and when making the last album she just picked from her "collection" and recorded them. Maybe I don't know much about musicians but I'd classify her as a "songwriter" by that!

Anyhow to sum up - I still liked her stuff from the 90s - but in my mind this is her best album yet. And I'm doubting the radio will eat it up.

And once again the free 2 weeks of RealRhapsody is alive again. No CC required, no valid email address needed. And you can hear this album on there.

Like Jewel or the new album? Put it in the comments. Don't like it? I don't care, but also put it in the comments.

Oh, and here the video for Again and Again on youtube. :P

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Myspace Rant

I don't think myspace is a fad necessarily - but I think people need to take a serious look at how readable their profiles are.

I'm not on myspace. Will I ever be? I don't know - I just don't see what the big deal is. It seems like it is all about getting as many "friends" as possible and throwing as much crap on your profile page as possible. If I wanted to list out all of my interests, throw a song in the background, list my top 8 "friends" i've linked to, and allow people to put whatever comments they wanted to on my profile for me and others to read, I'd join myspace. Like I said, I just don't get it.

Back to my biggest issue- the design element. When I first made a couple of webpages back in the mid to late 90s - I'll admit they were hard to read and lacked design. Here is an example that is apparently still up on AOL (ha!). And to think, that was the REDESIGN to make it look cleaner and better. I'll fully admit it is bad.

It is very important when making a webpage to make the text readable - so, I don't know - people can read it. People are new to design tend to put more stuff on the page and care less about how usable it is.

Here's my brother's myspace profile. Jason - is that a Nelly Furtato video on your blog? :)
Anyway - I'm going to give him an A on myspace for keeping the text readable. Black background with white text. An easy ready.

Here's my sister's myspace profile. B for design because of the background image. Still kind of hard to read the text.

But here's my point - these are my examples of good myspace profiles. Many are even harder to read.

And honestly, I don't want to open up a webpage and hear the same song everytime I go to it.

Someone give me a convincing argument to start a myspace profile. I'm not saying I've got the best looking blog out there, but I just don't want to put that much crap on one page.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Last night Wendy and I were driving to go grab some dinner and movie and I pulled over for the first time in North Carolina. Just for the record, I have expired plates in Illinois that I'm taking care of next week.

I apparently was doing 64 in a 50 work zone - although it is the road right by my house and I guarantee there was no one working - it wasn't like I was endangering anyone.

For the first time in my life I was pulled over and got a warning. Every other time I've been penalized within the maximum sentence of the law. I am still amazed.

Looks like Karma finally caught up with me - in a good way.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Expensive IPod Speakers

Expensive IPod Speaker Docks

I was out at Linens and Things yesterday picking up my $14 toaster oven (since I am a deal hunter – I’m not that domestic), I noticed for the 100th time another place selling ipod speakers that most ipods can plug into for upwards of $100. For instance. I really feel that’s highway robbery. So in the spirit of doing it yourself and Make Magazine, here’s my guide to making your own ipod speaker setup. I made mine from existing parts I had, but you can expect to spend no more than $30 with a small subwoofer.

First, you need to start with an ipod.

Now I recommend the 60GB Ipod Video in Black, but any model will work with this setup, even the Nano. I’ll even go so far as saying this will even support whatever apple puts out next. In fact, this is so universal it will work with non apple mp3 players as well. Take that apple.

Next go out and find a set of computer speakers.

I went with an old set from most likely the late 90s. You can tell from all the marks on it that these are definitely not brand new. Keep in mind mp3s were not as popular then, and even though it doesn’t say specifically it is compatible with the ipod, trust me – it still is. Those crazy people at Altec Lansing must have been really thinking ahead when they designed these to work with a product that didn’t even exist yet! :P

Once you have a set of general computer speakers - take a look at the connectors on it. You should have two connectors that are going to be used at this point in time.

First of all the power connector. (You power connector might look slightly different than mine)

You may have seen this power connector on many of your household electronic items.

And the audio connector. Also referred to as a mini stereo plug.

You me be surprised to find that this looks a heck of lot like the headphone connector you use to plug into your ipod already. Hmmmmm.

First, plug the speakers into a wall electrical outlet. If it doesn't fit the plug might be polarized - and you should just turn it around and try again. Don't be a Hero! If you can't figure this part out get some assistance.

Then plug the audio connector from your speakers into the ipod. You should feel it snap easily into place.

Here's a closeup of the audio connector properly installed.

And Voila. You've successfully created your own home speaker system for your ipod or other audio player.

You can trick it out some by adding the kickstand case to have your ipod sit up on it's own. Play some tunes of your own and rock out without paying the big bucks.