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ARCHIVES: November 16-23, 2003


November 23, 2003 - Sunday

Thanksgiving Early

My parents are throwing a Thanksgiving dinner today. Since some of the grandchildren will be in the custody of their other parents and gone on the actual day, other family members are going to spend it with other in-laws, and my daughter has to work that day so my parents decided to make a turkey and invite everyone over after church today. It will be fun. (Also, we are throwing in a birthday party for Dad who turns 73 on the 29th of November.) Happy Birthday, Dad!


This reminds me of a Thanksgiving I spent in college. I could not get home (almost 2,000 miles away) and had nowhere in particular to go that day. Those few of us left in town got all kinds of invitations. One guy told me that he had several invitations and brought  me along on his journey. We started early and went to about 4 or 5 homes that day, eating Thanksgiving dinner at each place. Well, we tried to eat it. By the last home, I was so stuffed that I thought I would die. Our host asked if we even liked her cooking. Her food was darn good -- she was a great Greek/Italian cook. I regret eating so much before we got there, but I have never had such a funny Thanksgiving. Each family was so sweet and sincere in inviting us that we did not have the heart to tell them about the other invitations. I still laugh to think about it.



November 22, 2003 - Saturday

Dvorak on Blogging

I read John Dvorak's columns in PC Magazine. I take it all with a grain of salt, but I usually find his ramblings to be interesting - well, much of the time, anyway. In the latest issue, he speaks out about blogging. I don't think he was ever a great fan of blogging. If I remember right, his older articles mentioned something about blogs clogging the Internet.


In his recent article, he says bloggers are transforming into writers being supported by big business. They will then become biased and slanted in their writings to please their employers.


Dvorak also said that other bloggers are getting 12 readers on average, as if that was a bad thing.


I just read a rebuttal to Dvorak which says that it's more important who those readers are. For example, if one reader is Bill Gates, that blog could be a big influence. (But I suspect Bill doesn't read blogs. He  is too busy sending out free money so he can track how many times you pass around an e-mail chain letter.)


I think these writers are missing the picture. We smaller bloggers are happy to have a few readers. I have friends and family who read my blog. It's good enough motivation for me to keeping going although I would not complain if suddenly my ramblings became famous and big publishers were knocking on my door. I don't expect that so I am not disappointed in how my blog is coming along.


Just knowing one person is reading this makes it all worthwhile. Heck, even if nobody was reading this, it would be worthwhile. A good example is when I suddenly had to get a new motherboard, I went back through this blog to get the names of most of the little program discoveries I had made so I could reinstall them. And this is good practice for learning how to use the web and putting up other pages.


Not only that, when I want to remember what happened on a certain date, I can go back through my archives. I've done this several times.


These big writers just don't see it. A blog is worthwhile even if it is not big and famous. A blog does not even have to contain words -- it can be a photo blog like those at TextAmerica.com.


Dead blogs are another thing. Being a genealogist, I am not sure how I feel about them. If they contain useful information, information that could be of value years from now, then keep them up for future reference. Are dead blogs really clogging up the Internet and annoying people that much?


I do get annoyed when I go to a blog listing site and it links to a long-dead page. The answer is to visit sites that ping to find new blogs. Reference sites just for listing blogs and blog webrings should take the blog off if it is not updated in a long time.


I am not upset when Google leads me to a blog. The written opinion of someone on a subject I am researching can be valuable, even if posted long ago. I am thrilled whenever a relative or friend decides to keep a blog, no matter what they write. These are the people I love. It keeps us from becoming strangers.


For me, it is easier to write a blog than to write a direct e-mail note. A blog is uninstrusive. You only have to visit a blog when you want to and you don't feel like you are obligating relatives to read your writings. It's not spam. They come when they want, if they want, and the writings are all here for later perusal.


I think blogging will continue in popularity for now. Probably most blogs will come and go quickly, but essentially it is journal-writing. Journals have great value to society and especially to the descendents of anyone who kept a journal. Putting journals on the web can be essential motivation to keeping up with one. Having at least one reader is an incentive. A journal does not have to have a large readership to be worth the time and trouble.



November 21, 2003 - Friday

Delta Zeta Craft Show at the Civic Center

The crafts shows in the civic center are held about 4 times a year. I enjoy going to them. My favorite crafters do not usually come to this show, but they will be back for the last one in December (NEACA - a different crafting group). My mother and I walked around and enjoyed seeing (and buying) crafts and food samples. I love the many different kinds of chip dips there. One booth, Tastefully Simple,  offered an unusual Cranberry Tangerine Cheese Ball mix. It was heavenly good.


How do they expect Americans to lose weight when there's so much good food like this in the world?



Interview with Opus the Penguin

His new comic appears this Sunday in some papers. One paper in Utah is putting it in the Classifieds because the comic is very large. The paper also did an interview with Opus.


November 20, 2003 - Thursday

Top 10 North Alabama Tourist Attractions

From Jean Brandau's article, the top ten tourist attractions in this area are (in order): the Space and Rocket Center, Botanical Gardens, Unclaimed Baggage Center, Burritt Museum on Monte Sano Mountain, Alabama Constitution Village, Howard Wheeden House, Cathedral Caverns, Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Helen Keller's Birthplace, and the Ava Maria Grotto.


I love the caves -- check out Sequoia Caverns, too.



Dullest Blog in the World is Back - Yay!

I don't know what this says for my life, but I am glad this blog has returned. It's short, to the point, funny and each entry gets almost 200 comments. It stopped in July, but has resumed at last.



Atomic Clocks

I love these clocks! They have a radio signal that checks the time regularly so the clock is always accurate - to the second. I understand why people may want to set a clock ahead and that is fine, but I could never fool myself that way. My husband and I both like our clocks to be exactly right.


The problem is that "Atomic" clocks were ugly, then I saw a picture ad at Walgreens. The clocks are still not as nice as I'd like to see, but the design had improved so I bought one.


I love it!  They do not "tick tock" too loudly. The tips of the hands glow in the dark. I flipped a switch on the back for the time zone and the clock set itself. Not only that, but it handles daylight savings time. I only have to remove it to change the single AA battery. I went back and bought two more clocks.



March of Dimes

My son was born premature and lived only 9 days. I was grateful for every one of those days. While in the hospital, I noticed March of Dimes had donated equipment all over the baby intensive care. I have been fund-raising for them in the past in an effort to say thanks. Right now, they are trying to raise awareness that prematurity accounts for more infant death than any other cause -- and half of those deaths are unexplained.


If you would take a moment and visit their site, it would help. They plan to report the number of clicks to government and other authorities to promote awareness of this problem and to fight premature birth.


March of Dimes



November 19, 2003 - Wednesday

T-Shirt at ThinkGeek.com

Saw this shirt and fell in love. I ordered one for myself. Half the fun of wearing it is that most folks probably won't know what it means.



Electronica at Magnatunes.com

I've had the streaming electronica running today -- very, very good stuff. This is quality music - hope the concept is successful.


I tried playing the stream through iTunes (my default) but iTunes (which is usually easier to work with) was a bit of a pain so I switched to the Windows Media Player -- much easier in this case.



Shareware Music

Here's a nice site mentioned on TechTV: Magnatunes.com. They offer quality shareware music. The nice thing about this is half the money goes to the artist instead of the smaller fraction from big music companies. The site's owner talked about one artist who made new age music and sold 20,000 CDs. The big record company did not pay him a penny for the sales. He sued and got his name freed from their label so he could sell independently.


Truly the artist's take is a drop in the bucket compared to what the major record companies take. Magnatunes is a good way to get music out there. It does not stick the songs with digital rights junk and payment is voluntary. They offer MP3s, but also have perfect, lossless quality versions, too.



It Got Ugly Yesterday

The weather did turn bad briefly yesterday. I heard the tornado sirens and turned on the TV. Several tornadoes were reported, one near my neighborhood. This is the time of year when we get more tornadoes. I looked outside and saw ugly, swirling clouds. Fortunately, as far as I know, there was little damage -- downed trees, lost roof tiles and power outages occurred north of my neighborhood. I am sorry for everyone who had it worse than we did.


Usually we know of storms that bring tornadoes before they get here. Mississippi and other states will get them, first.


I had a moment of concern this morning, though. When I was out walking, I saw a house in our neighborhood with a bright blue tarp on the roof. I hurried home, thinking that, if one house on our street lost roof tiles, the others might have lost some, too. Our home has had more roof replacements than I can remember. Fortunately, the residents were just putting in a sun room and the roof part was unfinished -- whew.



November 18, 2003 - Tuesday

The Weather

Weather predictions are a constant source of laughter with my morning walking friends. Even though predicting weather is better than ever, weather is still unpredictable. Have you ever noticed that the 5th day of a 5-day forecast often turns out differently than originally stated? Of course, the forecast changes as that 5th day becomes the 4th day, 3rd day, etc., but it is not always what was first posted.


We all thought it would be pouring rain last night or this morning. As it turned out, the weather was warm and windy and fairly nice for walking. Our area was under a Flood Watch even though it was not raining.


I suppose it is better to forecast danger and have it not happen than to forecast quiet and be wrong. Supposedly, our city will get stormy weather this afternoon. I will believe this when/if it happens. In the meantime, I am going to check my bread and milk supply.


(P.S. It's a joke here in Alabama, that when the forecasters predict snow or bad weather, everyone runs to the local grocery store and stocks up on bread and milk. It really happens -- the shelves empty out based on even a prediction of 1/2 inch of snow.)


November 17, 2003 - Monday

Small House

I am trying to do everything at once today - laundry, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, grocery shopping, etc. I like  getting all the work done at once so I don't have to worry about it the rest of the week. Fortunately, we live in a small house. It won't take long to do the sweeping and vacuuming part. (My husband has a lot of chores, too. He does the toilet cleaning, trash takeout, yard work and more.)


I wanted a large house once. Years ago, my daughter and I tried to persuade my husband that we needed a larger house. He was not convinced. Now my daughter has moved, freeing up a bedroom. She is no longer contributing to the housework so I have more to do personally. On a busy day like this, I am glad to live in a small house.


I had a funny call from the furniture company. We are getting a new recliner. They called to let me know when they were delivering the chair, then they asked, "Do you have room for the chair?" I was a little surprised at the question and answered, "Of course I do." The guy on the phone sounded a bit embarrassed after that.


I wonder if people order furniture and then do not have a spot for the furniture to be placed by the delivery people. Maybe the delivery folks have to wait on the person while they "make room." It must be a problem if they feel they have to ask that question. Oh well, I have a nice empty room for them, but it's at the end of a narrow hallway. Hope they can get the chair down the hall.



November 16, 2003 - Sunday

Nutritional Labeling Problems

The New York Times reports a problem with nutritional labeling. I am not surprised. I look closely at nutritional labels, being diabetic and generally trying to watch what I eat. (I am not always successful and I eat plenty of junk food, but I want to, at least, be aware of what the food contains.)


My biggest complaint is that 1 serving size is unrealistic. A frozen TV dinner, for example, looks like the right amount for 1 serving, but the labeling lists it as "about 2 & 1/2 servings." I long ago stopped trying to work that out and I calculate the calories per gram then see how many grams the box contains. Sometimes this number varies considerably from what the serving sizes and number of servings suggest. (If you really want to know what the calories are, forget multiplying the serving size, just use the labeling to figure out the calories per gram or ounce, then add it up against the total grams in the container.)


Anyway, I'd like to see a more reasonable serving size listed in the labeling and more calorie sheets in restaurants. People deserve to know exactly what they are getting.



Children & Cats

I like adults, but I love children. My husband teaches a 9 & 10 year old class in church and I teach a 2 & 3 year old group. Yesterday we helped with a children's activity. We had fun playing with the children, cutting out pictures of Jesus to make Christmas ornaments, decorating cookies and more. I was asked to take photos for the bulletin board (something I love to do). It was a very fun morning and I think everyone there enjoyed themselves.


Half the fun was just watching my husband. He loves children and cats. He's the nicest man I know.



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