Saturday, September 12, 2009

…and you thought we were just messing around


Well, well, well, well and well.

It seems that the woman who teaches my son’s advanced English class has decided that it would be a good exercise for her students to start their own blogs. My boy is in the seventh grade now and I can’t help but think his teacher has a great idea.

Yes, indeed. She views blogging as a great writing exercise and figures there’s some great networking potential there, too. It seems teacher is going to monitor the kids’ blogs so as to check up on their progress and will host a few events through Mr. Linky so the kids can participate in a few things.

I couldn’t be happier. I feel almost vindicated – like all that time I spent typing away on this here blog may be viewed as useful in some quarters.

Besides, I’ve learned enough by now (I hope) to help my son put together a blog that will kick ass. Other students will have those homemade banners and such, of course, but phooey on that. I work with a graphic designer (you can see his handiwork on my banner that he slapped together in about five minutes or take a look at the blog template he designed for our company by clicking here).

I haven’t pestered Dave the Designer about helping me out with my blog template (obviously), but I’d bet he’d be willing to help The Boy design something that will put whatever the other kids come up with to shame.

Furthermore, I can help my kid get some traffic by participating in fun-filled events such as Music Monday, Wordless Wednesday and Tell Me Thursday.

Yes, the lad will simply rule the blogosphere at his school. Hey, I sucked at making those wooden race cars in Cub Scouts and have been a failure at most mechanical projects I’ve tried. However, I can teach that kid a thing or two about blogging.

Before long, the lad will be posting drivel and annoying people just like his old man. That’s a beautiful thing…

Friday, September 11, 2009

My plan to help my girl sell cookies was rejected!

GirlScouts2 For my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday, I put up a photo of a cute little girl who had – apparently – just set fire to a house full of people who refused to place an order for Girl Scouts cookies with her.

There was a point to all of that. Well, there was sort of a point to that, at least.

I’ve got an eight-year-old girl who sells cookies for her Girl Scouts troop every year. The competition is fierce, folks. She generally manages to sell around 300 boxes or so, but that amount pales in comparison to sales totals from some of the other girls.

My daughter holds her own and generates a lot of money for her troop, but there’s always room for improvement. So I came up with a plan. I figured on having young Brenda go from door to door with a sales pitch that people simply can’t resist.

“My daddy says if I don’t sell a lot of cookies this year, I won’t get a Christmas,” she would say through her quivering lips.

My wife rejected my plan immediately. She figures the neighbors will think I’m horrible. She might be right.

However, my daughter would sell the heck out of some cookies, huh?

This entry is part of the soon-to-be-famous Tell Me Thursday event. If you participate in Wordless Wednesday, why not come back the next day and tell us the story behind your entry. It’s dandy fun. Head on over to the Tell Me Thursday site for details!

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”


Yeah, it’s a cheesy title – I know.

Ah, but there’s a point here. Back in the 1980s, there were these commercials featuring a woman who fell and was saved because she pushed a button and alerted someone.

What if that woman would have fallen and – for whatever reason – couldn’t have pushed a button and summoned help? That’s where Brickhouse Alert comes in. Sure, their customers get a Life Alert system which features a button that can be pressed to summon help.

In addition to that Life Alert “big button” system with which were are all familiar, Brickhouse also offers fall detection. If a client falls and can’t push a button, the fall detection system alerts Brickhouse and help is sent.

Want more? They’ve got it. How about a monitored smoke detector, medication reminders, inactivity detector and other hand services? They’ve got it and some other stuff, too.

Now, there’s a very useful application for the latest technology, huh? Check it out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Pirates set a record!

In case no one noticed, the Pittsburgh Pirates now have the longest consecutive losing streak of any team in the MLB, NBA, NFL or NHL.

On Monday, the Pirates earned their 82nd loss of the season in a game against the Cubs. With that loss, the Bucs clinched a dubious honor -- 17 consecutive losing seasons.

They came into the season tied with the Philadelphia Phillies -- a team that managed to lose 16 consecutive seasons from 1933-1949. Pittsburgh hasn't had a winning season since 1992 and seems doomed to consistent failure in the foreseeable future.

How bad is Pittsburgh? Read all about it right here. That article sums it all up better than I ever could. Besides, I'm too tired to give a damn. I've rooted for the Pirates for years and I'm about sick of caring how the team does.

In fact, the rotten Pirates are one of the reasons I don't follow baseball liked I did once upon a time. In fact, the last time I watched a full Pirates game was a few years ago. After hurling a few empty beer cans at the screen and cursing the team for being so clueless and awful, I pretty much quit watching Pittsburgh and haven't paid much attention to baseball since.

I've just about concluded that the way to get a team to turn rotten is to convince me to room for it. I've pulled for the Pirates since about 1977 and look what's happened to them. Around that same time I started rooting for the Denver Broncos and they've been getting worse since John Elway retired a decade ago.

Oh, don't get me started on Denver. They fired Mike Shanahan and alienated quarterback Jay Cutler until he made up his mind to leave. Shanahan was replaced by a punk, nothing kid of a coach named Josh McDaniels and Cutler was traded to Chicago for Kyle Orton -- a loser who is so anonymous that Denver might have been better off pulling a fan out of the stands and making him quarterback.

Denver will suck this year. Count on it. In fact, I'd be stunned if the Broncos did anything but stink up the field over the next few seasons.

As for Basketball, I followed the Bulls quite a bit. The Bulls, of course, ran off Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and haven't done much since then. Even my beloved Arkansas Razorbacks -- once a force to be reckoned with in the 1960s through the 1980s -- have been reduced to a fair-to-middling team since joining the SEC.

Hell, even my beloved Benton Panthers are terrible at football these days.

My wife isn't a huge sports fan. I'm starting to think she's got a point.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

GirlScoutsThis post is part of the famed Wordless Wednesday event. Hit that dandy link to see some other entries or (better yet) add something of your own.

Funniest thing I’ve seen in at least a week


Take a good look at that photo over to the left that was taken by a radar camera in Arizona.

That’s right – that’s a fellow driving a Subaru and wearing a monkey mask. Why? According to this story, the man is Dave VonTesmar and he has racked up 37 tickets in Arizona as cameras have caught him speeding and engaging in various traffic-related shenanigans.

Apparently, he’s been trying to avoid detection by putting on a mask while breaking the law (that ploy hasn’t worked as the police have, obviously, identified him). VonTesmar enjoys variety, seemingly, as he’ll put on a giraffe or gazelle mask from time to time.

Of course, the authorities in Arizona have dubbed him an outlaw and he has somehow evaded the law so far. Some people call him a menace. However, all I can say is, “Go, monkey man. Go!”

Truly, few things could be funnier than frustrated the police by driving around and breaking traffic laws while wearing a mask. They’ve got a few cameras in Pulaski County (home of our state capitol) but none in my beloved town of Benton. I doubt I’d have the guts to do it, but I’d love to drive around with a Bill Clinton mask on and annoy traffic police here in Arkansas.

So, my hat’s off to VonTesmar for having the stones to actually pull such a thing. He’ll be brought to justice eventually, of course, but couldn’t you imagine the judge and prosecutor trying to keep a straight face in that case?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Music Monday – new Ace Frehley!

Yes, the Ace Frehley album, Anomaly, comes out on Sept. 15. You know you’re excited, kids, so here’s a song off the album to tide you over.

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Having too much fun with that Guitar Link…


A few days ago, I wrote all about the joy that is the Behringer Guitar Link.

I’m having more fun than should be allowed with that thing as I’ve been learning how to use it. All you need to use it is a free USB port on your computer and an ASIO compatible soundcard (for best results).

You can hear my pitiful rendition of Moon Over Marin by the Dead Kennedys by scrolling to the end of this post and streaming it.

The best thing about this guitar link is that I paid about $40 and have been finding plenty of free software to model amps and mix tracks on the Internet (I mentioned a lot of that in the post I just referenced). Yes, you can spend a lot of cash using commercial products set up for recording, but how many of us are professionals? My guitar playing stinks and I’m just having fun – the free stuff is more than good enough for me.

For the record, I recorded my guitar and bass parts on the aforementioned song through Kristal Audio Engine. The lead and rhythm guitar parts were recorded through the D.I.G. 2.0 amp modeler from AcmeBarGig VST plug-in and I ran my bass through  FreeAmp3 from Fretted Synth. The mixdown in Kristal was in that weird Ogg Vorbis format so I converted the song to MP3 through Audacity.

While it’s obvious I need a better sound card and learning how to play worth a damn would be nice, I was able to lay down some tracks that sound good enough for me through a bunch of absolutely free programs. That’s great stuff.

Now all I need to do is finish my country song that’s sure to be a big hit one day -- “I’m Wearing a Hawaiian Shirt (But there’s no Luau in my Heart).” Go ahead and laugh but that song will be huge one day. Yes, there will come a day when my song will establish a fad – a bunch of people will be wearing Hawaiian shirts and acting sad. Count on it.

Here’s my awful attempt at covering a Dead Kennedys song. Enjoy!