is a useful book by Scott Kelby. I've
been using Photoshop for years and this book explained several things that
I never knew existed. At first, I thought the book was only good for
beginners. I was wrong.
Last night while I was reading, my husband
probably got tired of repeatedly hearing, "I wish I had known that years
ago!" For thing, I did not know the file browser itself could do so
much. I've been doing things the hard way. No more!
P.S. Here's a picture I took a few days ago of my
favorite flower, the giant blue morning glory. I was standing in the rain
with an umbrella trying to keep the camera dry. I am delighted that they
are still blooming this late into the year. Usually we have a hard freeze
by now which will have wiped them out, but the fall has been warmer this
My husband pointed out an interesting news article. A spammer
on trial was making up to $750,000 PER MONTH on just getting replies from
1 out of 30,000 people. Whew, this news will likely cause more spamming,
even though the spammer was convicted.
It is interesting to see how children think differently. I was watching
two boys of a similar age playing today. They had a box full of blocks of
different shapes. The lid had three holes of matching shapes (round,
rectangular and square). The idea was to dump the colored objects out of
the box, then put them back in through the correct holes. The objects
would not fit through any hole but one. (It was the old
One boy dumped the objects out in heap, then
counted to see how many of each color he had (and to show us that he could
count and knew his colors). He then carefully picked up each toy and
examined it to see which hole might be the best fit, then tried it until
he got it right. He loves this game and repeated it several times.
Another little boy (who did not observe the
first one), took a turn with this toy. Instead of dumping the blocks out,
he carefully removed each one, stacking them like he was making a
building, then he would pick up a toy and quickly try to fit it into a
hole. If it did not fit, he pounded the toy hard, thinking he could make
it fit with brute force.
I had to chuckle to see how different
approached each puzzle.
Watching the adults was interesting, too.
Remember the classic toy with the donut rings of different sizes and a rod
up the middle of varying thickness? Each ring stacks together. If the
rings are not put in exact order, they will not fit because the rod is
thicker at the bottom and thinner at the top.
One boy was trying to fit the toy together.
If he could not decide which ring to pick first, the adult with him would
point out the correct ring for him to take, thus he built the toy in an
orderly and quick manner. The adult would not let the boy pick the wrong
Later, another adult found the same boy
playing the game. When the boy was looking over the rings, the second
adult did not point out the right one. She let him pick up an incorrect
ring and try it. Sometimes the ring would not slide all the way down to
fit and she would say, "Oh that looks funny! Look, I can wave my hand in
the space here!" and then she and the boy would laugh.
She continued on, letting the boy make
mistakes and watching him correct them himself until he had assembled the
ring toy correctly, then she cheered for him.
It was interesting to see the different ways
adults think. Does one teach a perfectionist philosophy while the other
teaches humor or creativity? Will little things like this foster life-long
attitudes in the children they teach?
I went to the craft show earlier today. I
like walking through the show, seeing what people have made and talking to
the crafters. I bought a couple of Christmas shirts. The festive
atmosphere and music were fun.
We are at or barely past our peak fall color.
Huntsville is beautiful right now. This photo is of, I think, the dogwood
trees downtown near the civic center where the craft show was held.
If you see any of those one-dollar mini
umbrellas at Wal-Mart, don't touch them! I bought two of them to keep in
the cars for sudden rainstorms.
One Saturday, the rain hit. I grabbed my mini
umbrella and, as I opened it, the thing fell to pieces. It would not open
all the way, losing several parts. I was desperate so I shaped the jumbled
mess over my head and ran out into the storm, keeping my hair dry if
My husband took a look at it, thinking perhaps he
could make repairs. After a good examination, he threw the monster into the
For one dollar, I expected shoddy workmanship, but to never even
OPEN?! (I am afraid to touch the other umbrella in the other car. It might
My friend, EyeQ, has posted a
wonderful page full of goodies for those who like to design
personal (and other) websites. She has lot of interesting links and I find myself
using several of her recommendations. You can add your own
Today, my husband was interviewed by the Discovery Channel. They are making a documentary about the Space
Shuttle's return to flight. He said they took about an hour's worth of
film as he discussed the many improvements being made.
They told him not to wear red which did not
come across well with the type of medium they were filming in. I wonder if
they will also run this documentary on their breathtakingly-good
The show will probably not air until after the
shuttle's next launch. I enjoy the Discovery Channel and watch it almost daily.
It will be good to see the Shuttle flying
again next May.
I am proud of my
rocket-scientist husband and the work he does. He truly loves his job.
And, if I can't be an astronaut like I wanted to be in fifth grade, then I
can support the space program in whatever ways possible.
Have you seen the new proposed
Alabama license plate?
Money for it will help restore the Saturn V rocket. Huntsville's nickname
is the Rocket City for our support of the Saturn V development.
Dawn was prettier than usual today. Even the
western sky was lit up in pink. I was glad to have had a camera in my
pocket. This photo was taken with a Minolta DiMage Xt while walking along
Aldridge Creek, facing Green Mountain.
Today was a bad day for being in a car. I saw
several accidents today and heard sirens going down our street more than
usual. One of them was a firetruck. My husband saw yet another accident on
his way home from work.
It's funny when, all of a sudden, every dog
in the neighborhood starts to howl. We have learned what that means -- a
few seconds later, we hear a siren. I guess this is all part of living
near a noisy street.
As I type this, I am listening to
Netscape's Radio holiday
music. They offer 10 different Christmas channels right now (as well as
much more- all free). Christmas music is the best.
The Delphi MyFi is not
really an iPod, although this pocket XM radio may put a dent in Apple's sales.
These were advertised in the Sunday newspaper ads. Alas, they are not out
yet and no date was given for the release, but it must be soon since the
ad is out, right? I wonder if it fits in a pocket. Unfortunately, the battery life is a
measly 5 hours.
My husband pointed out this interesting fact
"The New York Times covers
Wal-Mart's obsession with collecting sales data. Fun fact:
'Wal-Mart has 460 terabytes of data stored on Teradata mainframes,
at its Bentonville headquarters. To put that in perspective, the
Internet has less than half as much data, according to experts.'
That much information results in some interesting data-mining. Did
you know hurricanes increase strawberry Pop Tarts sales 7-fold?"
A visitor came here via an online bookmark
service. I remember hearing about
MyBookmarks.com before so I visited the site. If you can't
create and upload your own web page with your bookmarks, then this service will
do it for you. I can see where it would be handy for travelers. You could
go on the Internet and find your bookmark page, then visit your sites
while away from home.
There's an option to keep the page private or
make it available for public use. I don't see a lot of ads on the page. I
created one very quickly with their utility that imports bookmarks
from most browers -- very nice and no confusing bells and whistles to
So, whoever came to my page from this list.
Thanks! I now have a list of my own bookmarks to use away from home or as
It rained yesterday plus most of last night.
I was talking about it with a friend. We find that we react to days like
this differently. He gets cabin fever and grows bored and unhappy when he
can't go out. I grab a good book, a quilt and a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy
not having to go anywhere. Usually I end up with a cat in my lap for added
warmth. I love walking, but I also love staying home.
Not only that, but I've been listening to
newly-released albums from my two favorite artists -- Trans-Siberian
Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller.
To hear excerpts from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra album, click here and scroll
down the page. To listen to Mannheim Steamroller's new album, click here and also
I worked for a newspaper clipping service in
the late 1970's. Clients would hire us to read newspapers and report back
to them whenever their name (or item of interest) was mentioned. (I was
assigned to Missouri, New Mexico and Minnesota papers. I got acquainted
with every little city in those states.)
Mostly, companies wanted to see if ads they
had paid for were actually getting out in print. Today, the reasons for
monitoring the media are varied. Now, even blogs are being monitored
professionally --> Market Wire News.
I wish I were -- that would mean more visitors - ha!
It's tempting to drop a few names like Paris Hilton, Tara Reid,
Arafat, The OC, Daily Mirror and The Grudge, but that would not be nice.
(Most of those names were top Google searches in recent weeks.)
of coming to this site, I hope anyone who comes here through a keyword
search will click on "Search" at the top of this page and use the search
Information has often scrolled off and been archived by the time a search
engine reports it. Speaking of which, I read a comment about Microsoft's new search engine --
it is not staying as updated as Google does.
This morning in the Eastern sky appeared an unusual vertical alignment of stars and the moon. Jupiter was the highest.
Underneath it was Venus, the Moon and Mars. I was out walking and
watched it as the sky lightened. Dawn came in a blazing pink and orange, a breathlessly beautiful
I took a photo although all I had with me was my trusty
little Minolta DiMage Xt. I decided to play around and move the camera in
a pattern to see what would result.
What I ended up with was this photo of
Jupiter, the Moon and a house light. It kind of reminds me of a candle. If
you click on the photo and click on "<-- Newer Photo," there will be a
few other photos like the one above made with street and house lights.
More events coming up for this year
November 17 - 18 (night):
Leonids meteor shower. First quarter Moon setting about 11 p.m. will
not interfere. Shower radiates from constellation Leo, which rises
in E about midnight. Best time to look between midnight and dawn.
Typical rate 20 meteors per hour, some years much higher.
December 5 - 6 (mornings): Mars 1 1/4 degrees to lower right
of Venus, low in ESE before sunrise.
December 7 (morning): Jupiter 1 1/2 degrees to upper right of
crescent Moon, high in SE before sunrise (occultation for much of
December 9 (morning): Venus 8 degrees to lower left of
crescent Moon, Mars between them, low in ESE before sunrise.
December 13 - 14 (night): Geminids meteor shower. Crescent
Moon setting about 7 p.m. will not interfere. Shower radiates from
Castor in constellation Gemini, which rises in NE around 7 p.m. and
is near zenith in early morning hours. Best time to look between 9
p.m. and dawn. Typical rate 60 meteors per hour.
December 27 - 31 (mornings): Mercury less than 1 1/2 degrees
to the upper left of Venus, very low in ESE before sunrise.
MAGOD, I found Animation VirtualLand
with quality animated letters, dividers, etc. These are ones I'd never
seen before. (P.S. Check the comments for the soup recipe from yesterday.
There's an ever better recipe from Ned.)
I wanted to make a great cream of broccoli
soup so I opened my trusty "Joy of Cooking" and found a recipe. I followed
the recipe and -- phew -- what a disappointment that was! The recipe has
little cream in it and was based more on chicken stock. It was not that
thick, either. We made it edible by throwing in some cheese.
That was the first time that Joy of Cooking
disappointed me. I was discussing this with a friend who said the 1968 or
so edition is much better. I am looking for a recipe that is like a
fresher version of Campbell's Cream of Broccoli.
Meanwhile, the next time I make a "cream of"
soup, I may try Heloise's recipe. Heloise says:
This cream-soup recipe is so easy
to put together and is the base for many different cream soups —
just add your own flavor ingredients, like mushrooms, cooked
chicken, broccoli or any leftovers you have on hand, and you’ll have
a delicious, quick soup. A bonus is that the base is fat-free.
To make one batch, mix together:
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
1 cup nonfat dried milk powder
If you don’t use it right away, store it in an airtight container or
zip bag. To make the soup, put the mixture in a large saucepan and
add 2 cups of cold water. Cook on medium heat and stir constantly
until the mixture thickens. Next, add other ingredients and let the
soup cook a few minutes longer. This will make about 4 to 6
servings, depending on what you add to it. For more great soup
recipes, get a copy of my six-page soup pamphlet, Heloise’s
Spectacular Soups. Just send $4 and a long, stamped (60 cents),
self-addressed envelope to: Heloise/Soup, P.O. Box 795001, San
Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can visit my Web site at
www.Heloise.com and go to the pamphlet section. Hint: For an
interesting cream-soup topping, sprinkle with chopped herbs, add a
dollop of sour cream or sprinkle with a dash of paprika for color.