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ARCHIVES: September 16-23, 2003



September 23, 2003 - Tuesday

Toys for Iraqi Children

This is a good idea found on Medicmom's blog. Chief Wiggles is organizing a drive to buy toys for the children in Iraq. I am going out today and I know I can find some to send.



Where's the Any Key?

Got this from Leoville.com. Now, we have an official HP help document to explain where the any key is located. Thank-goodness - I was losing sleep over this.


The Any Key



Naming the Little White Cat

The other cats are starting to get along better with the young upstart kitten. As for names, I am currently favoring "Snowflake" since he is so small and delicate. My husband came up with "The Abominable Snow Cat" and others have suggested excellent names like "Smooch." In the meantime, I've been calling him "Little White Cat."


He has such a big-eyed innocent look about him and a delicate meow that I know he could get away with murder. Maybe we should name him "OJ."



September 22, 2003 - Monday

Alternate Blog

I was going to restyle this blog. My sister and a couple of friends said they liked it the way it is now. Then my computer fell apart and I had to get a new motherboard -- so the project is on indefinite hold. Here's what it would have looked like, though - vastly different (image compressed slightly so text may look a little blurry).


Possible Future Blog Style



Random Cat Naming Machine

Need an original cat name? This is great! My daughter is still looking for names and has been playing around with this site.


Random Cat Naming Machine



Got a New Cat

My daughter got her new cat, a Chinchilla Silver Persian kitten, about 12 weeks old. He will live with us for a few weeks before he moves into his new home. Being an only child, my daughter has grown up with cats. Life does not seem right without one.


This little kitten is adorable (a description that probably fits every kitten). He is small. I did not realize this breed was so delicate, but then we are used to large, Maine Coone-sized cats. The other Chinchilla Persians in the house were also very small. The owner said they would grow large. I did not believe her until I took a close look at the kitten's big paws. If the same is true for cats as for puppies, then he will do much growing.


He has a pretty meow which he seldom uses and a large purr. He is more of a lap cat than Muddy. The reaction of the other cats is hilarious. Muddy has been hissing at the new cat all morning. He does not try to scratch or hurt, he just hisses. Dandelion could care less. He sniffed the new guy over then left to find a bed to sleep on. Buzzy has not met him, yet, but I expect Buzzy to be scared and hide for a while.


Anyway, we are all kind of on pins and needles, until everyone settles down and starts getting along. After Muddy's hyperactivity and loud chatter, it's different with a quietly playful lap sitter.


He has no name yet. She toyed with calling him Doctor Claw von Friskenstein but scratched that. Right now he is known as "the little white kitten."



September 21, 2003 - Sunday

Hidden Caffeine

A few months ago, I mentioned that Consumer Reports found large amounts of caffeine hidden in foods where it does not have to be listed on the label because the food has some naturally occurring caffeine (and theobromine, a similar stimulant) already in it. If I remember right, they said a half cup of M&Ms was equivalent to a full cup of coffee. Also blamed were Hershey's Kisses and Nestlé's Hot Cocoa. I discovered a new source of concentrated caffeine - Alba Shakes. I had two of them which kept me up all night.


Consumer Reports suggested there was no good reason to add caffeine to chocolate candy except to make the product more addictive. They proved that it does not add taste or any other value. Chocolate is plenty addictive already - its a shame these companies use caffeine in food aimed at children.



Spyware Everywhere

Whenever I go looking for a free piece of clip art, I get hit with over a dozen spyware cookies. I suppose free clipart is a big draw for these kinds of advertisers.


You know what's sad? I have purchased countless disks of art, but its easier to do a Google search, find something online, save it and use it right away than to rifle through a disk catalog, hunt up the CD, insert it, locate the exact piece of art, copy it, take the CD out and put it up.



X1 - Searches Words in E-Mail

This was mentioned on TechTV.com. X1 is a free program that searches through the entire hard drive including text in e-mails. I've been using it - handy for finding an old letter. It has a slightly annoying nag screen advertising a $50 version that searches through Word files, does PDF, etc.



September 20, 2003 - Saturday

Mentioned in the Montgomery Advertiser

Seadoc found the interview I gave to the Montgomery Advertiser (thanks!). I had to chuckle over my multi-page interview being condensed into 2 paragraphs, but many bloggers were interviewed. I even found some new ones from here in Huntsville.



Free URL Forwarding

Also from everything in its place is this service for folks with long urls. TinyUrl is a free service that will forward urls to shorter names. Cute. (But since it is free, I know there's a gimmick somewhere. I have not checked it for spyware or anything like that, yet.) This url goes to one of my sites --> http://tinyurl.com/o1tv.




Got this link from another blog, everything in its place. A site called AnyBrowser.com has advice, site checks, programs, and links for web site authors including a link to show sites at differing resolutions so you can tell how it appears to others -- and also a link checker for any page to make sure all links from it are still valid.



Getting a New Cat ... Sort of

We are getting a kitten! Well, my daughter, having been raised with cats and knowing them well, wants a kitten to take with her in a few weeks to her new place. We plan to pickup the kitten this Wednesday, if all goes well. Since I especially love photographing cats, look for pictures here. The pitter-patter of little feet will be heard around the house again - at least for a few weeks. Muddy has always wanted a playmate. Our two older cats are too quiet for his tastes (although they are affectionate lap-sitters).




I've heard much praise of Mozilla, even someone whose computer skills I respect, saying they like it better than Internet Explorer. I finally installed it (free from Mozilla.org).


First impressions - it loads fast and automatically imported all of my bookmarks. It makes my blog look different, though. The type is not of a consistent size. I am spoiled by SlimBrowser's tabbed browsing. If Mozilla does this, it does not default to it. Tabbed browsing has spoiled me for anything else. I like windows all opening in the same place.


My windows and tables are different. Some objects that are centered are not centered in Mozilla. I suppose Microsoft has so many "Internet Explorer only" tricks built into web design that the page does not always look right in anything else.


Mozilla has a nice popup blocker, though. I need to use it more to reach a final conclusion, but it looks like Flashpeak's SlimBrowser is still the best. It rides on top of Internet Explorer and also blocks popups.



September 19, 2003 - Friday

Female Shortage in Asia

Over 20 years ago, I heard a lecturer in college talk about birth control policies in countries that allow only one child per urban couple. Too many families were killing their female daughters in order to have a male child. It looks like their actions are now backfiring on them because his predictions are coming true. Crime is rising among males who have no hope of marriage.


Female Shortage in Asian Countries




Letters from "Microsoft"

Overnight, one of my e-mail addresses (one not yet on many spammer lists) received a surge of "updates" from Microsoft with the evil attached file. Obviously a new spam/virus angle is that Microsoft is concerned enough to personally send an update. Don't fall for this one. Just go to their site and check for updates on your own.


If using Internet Explorer, click on the word, TOOLS (if you have it), then click on Windows Update and follow the steps. (I am seriously thinking of changing to Mozilla for browsing, though.) Or just go to WindowsUpdate.com.


I see a million of these spam/virus letters in my online customer service job where I have a public company name that gets hit with everything. I lost count of all the MBlast letters I received. <sigh>



September 18, 2003 - Thursday

Posting 10 Commandments Signs All Over the Place

I just had to chuckle. In retaliation for having the 10 Commandments Monument removed, some folks are posting signs wherever they can (like those political campaign signs). Too funny!




Huntsville Alabama's Worst Accident-Prone Intersections

Got this today from Jean Brandau's About.com newsletter. Here's a list of Huntsville's worst traffic accident intersections. Go to the link to see an additional list of the busiest intersections (on page 2) and to get a count of the actual accident reports filed in 2002 for each intersection below.


Starting with the Worst


1. Jordan Lane at University Dr .
2. Jordan Lane at I-565 off ramps
3. Governors Dr. at Memorial Parkway Northbound Access Rd.
4. University Dr. at Pulaski Pike
5. University Dr. at Wynn Dr .
6. Jordan Lane at Sparkman Dr .
7. U.S. 72 East Hwy. at Maysville Rd.
8. University Dr. at Memorial Parkway Southbound Access Rd.
9. Drake Ave. at Whitesburg Dr .
10. Oakwood Ave. at Pulaski Pike
11. Memorial Parkway at Mastin Lake Rd.
12 Memorial Parkway at Weatherly Rd.
13. Sparkman Dr. at I-565 off ramps
14. Research Park Blv. at I-565
15. Governors Dr. at Memorial Parkway Southbound Access Rd.
16. University Dr. at Old Monrovia Rd.
17. Jordan Lane at Holmes Ave.
18. Sparkman Dr. at University Dr .
19. Memorial Parkway at Hobbs Rd.
20. Jordan Lane at Oakwood Ave.



MP3s are NOT the Devil

This was recommend at Leoville.com. It's an excellent article about MP3s and the music industry. The author says the music industry is making an obscene amount of money as music formats change and everyone upgrades from vinyl to cassette to CD and VHS to DVD, thus buying the same stuff over again, not to mention the cost of a CD being so low that the stuff is almost pure profit. An artist has to sign their life away to the recording company who makes a tremendous profit from their work or an actor works for a movie company who does creative accounting to claim the movie made no profit. In other words, its not the artists that are hurting so much as the greed of the companies who own their work.


Laws should be obeyed, but this article puts the whole thing into perspective in the best way I've seen. I've been wondering about a law where sharing one file carries a bigger penalty than hitting someone over the head. For Pete's sake! Something out to be done to give this the right perspective.



Toss Your Cookies This Way

This would be an interesting way to make a living --> Food Tasters Wanted. What a job - instead of the 15 minutes mentioned in this article, sitting around all day tasting new products for companies (with my luck, I'd end up tasting fish-flavored jelly beans or chocolate-covered ants). The article said one company particularly wanted children to taste their new cookie.


Have you ever had cold cereal aimed at children? I was surprised at the lack of taste. Some of it is colorful but bland with no flavor (and then there's good stuff like my favorite, Cocoa Pebbles.) I figure the bland stuff is on purpose to attract the kids that "hate everything."


Okay, so Cocoa Pebbles is my favorite cereal. I end up eating Shredded Wheat or opting for hot oatmeal out of an obligation to eat right. I can dream, though.


Sometimes a person just has to throw all that nutritional stuff out the window and have a good-sized plate of bacon, fried eggs and hot buttered white toast.



Kitten News

(See what happens when I do a Google search for "strange news"? I waste an entire morning reading and disbelieving half the stuff that comes up, but this one made me go "Aw!")


Kittens Rescued from Bumper of Car

September 15, 2003 (Rancho Santa Fe, California) — Kevin Bello thought he heard some strange sounds coming from his Infinity Q-45.

But it wasn't car trouble -- it was cat trouble. Four black-and-white kittens were hidden in the bumper of his car.

Bello figures the car had been driven from Los Angeles to San Diego, and even went through a car wash with the kittens going along for the ride.

Bello had parked his car at LAX for ten days, when his father picked it up Friday night. Bello says he heard the whimpering sound from the bumper after his car was parked his driveway. He took the kittens to an area animal clinic, where the vet says they're doing fine.



Brown Recluse

A few years, a long-time acquaintance died of a brown recluse bite. He was older, stubborn and refused medical care.


Here's a link to a site with a picture of a brown recluse and a series of photos as to what a bite can do if left untreated. Warning - do not scroll down. It gets pretty ugly a ways down the page although my acquaintance's wound never looked exactly like this in the later stages. Most folks, I think, could identify a black widow, but people get confused over a brown recluse versus a simple grass spider (which has a white stripe down its back).


I do not condone letting a bite get this bad and think the person who posed for these photos is a fool or good at faking injuries, but it shows what might happen if the bite is untreated: Brown Recluse Photos. Whether or not the injury pictures are real, the spider is an important one to watch out for. A couple of friends have reported finding them in their homes.



Best Chance of Graduating from High School

... heard this on the radio: the state with the highest percentage of high school students who finish and graduate is North Dakota. The state with the lowest percentage is Florida. Does this mean nice, sunny weather and ocean beaches keep the brain from functioning?


I can see it now - a student saying to the teacher, "An alligator ate my homework."



September 17, 2003 - Wednesday

Good List of the Most Interesting Blogs

When I feel like blog-browsing, I go over to MedicMom's list. I don't know where she gets the time, but she has compiled a quality list of blogs. Today from her site, I launched off to Autopsy Report, Grouchy Old Cripple (which led to a list of Georgia bloggers), Eject! Eject! Eject! and more very good reading. These were popular, some with 21 comments an article. To see the complete list, go to her page and scroll down at the right.


From Autopsy Report's comments, I found a link to closeups of those who jumped from the World Trade Center rather than burn to death. Whew - not for the faint of heart. Although the photos are not TOO close to show detailed facial expressions, they are amazing. It sparked an interesting debate about what we would do in the same circumstances.



Moving on Out

The day is coming. My daughter signed a contract for a place of her own and will be moving out in a few weeks. She's a college graduate, working in her career-- it was time. She will be close -- only two miles down the road -- and close to friends. I am proud that she worked so hard in college and made a good life for herself and is ready to move on.


I get a chuckle from folks who think I should be stricken with sorrow. I've had three people ask me how I felt. I am happy! I am proud that she is progressing and moving on with her life. We plan to stay in touch, of course and likely continue eating out once a week.


She gets her own place to entertain and decorate while I get a spare room to use in the house. I think everyone is happy.



September 16, 2003 - Tuesday

Dog Sign

There are a few signs out on the greenway. One friend is always complaining that people do not obey the signs and keep their dogs leashed or clean up after them. I have to show her this one from Canada.


But what's with "Dog Guardians"...? Is it politically incorrect to "own" a dog these days? (With cats, this issue would never come up since cats obviously own people. In our house, the cat is the boss.)



Fall is Here!

At last! We had a perfect morning. It was 52 outside, over 10 degrees cooler than the day before. I am so tired of the heat. The fresh cool air was energizing. We noticed a new effect on the river. Plumes of white fog rose from the water, especially close to the Green Cove/Bailey Cove bridge.


I can see why fall is the favorite season for many folks (myself included). It's a relief from relentless humidity and heat.


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