Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Going through treasures, part 1: foreign airlines

Members of the group I used to work for traveled to some far-flung parts of the globe. I never got to do so (with them), but a few of my sympathetic colleagues brought back little treasures for me.

From the tales that were told (and from a few of my experiences with other non-"western" airlines), I know that the standard of service with these featured airlines isn't quite what you might hope for from an American or European airline.

(Since we returned to the States a little under a year ago, I have been slowly going through treasures to reduce my load. I can't keep everything! And sharing them with you lets them last a little longer before they go to the place where they can never be recovered.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


It's great that spring has finally sprung.

One of our kids was struggling with negative attitudes a few years back. We reminded him to always think of his blood type: b-positive.

That's a great reminder for me of how I need to look at life. Sometimes I think I tend toward complaining in this blog.

As I walked past these cherry blossoms last week, I reflected on how God lavishes amazing smells to remind us of the change of seasons. And how it's for our pleasure that He created those beautiful flowers. That helped me to be a little more positive!

Monday, April 28, 2008


This photo is from a blogger in London: "I saw this today, plastered on a couple of buildings in Finsbury Square. No idea what it's about, but I can imagine this image coming in handy for many presentations. Please help yourselves."

By the way, my personality type is generally not of the unsure variety. Heather likes to ponder decisions before and after. God brought us together because opposites attract. This difference has been a good thing in our lives.

(And I have to say that a lot of the attributes on the poster are kind of negative. Heather has hardly any of those characteristics.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

A dozen??

You know I love to write about the excesses of American culture. I was amused that this luxury SUV has the option of 12 (twelve) cup holders!

That means 5 of the 7 or 8 passengers can all have one hot and one cold drink by their elbows.

For the record, the model shown (the Buick Enclave) also has a navigation system that costs an extra $3,025. That is mind-boggling to me. You can get a cheap after-market GPS for maybe $200 these days.

The very very cheapest you can buy an Enclave for is about $33,000 - before the inevitable factory discounts, even though it's a relatively new model.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Everyone but us (well, almost)

There's a great show on HBO now - John Adams.

As each day passes, more and more great shows exit from network TV and go over to cable. This is particularly sad for me, as we do not subscribe to cable.

It's another item in the getting sidelined for not spending that [amount here] every month category.

I haven't seen the statistics, but I think the number of cable (and sat-tv) subscribers continues to rise. I think the growth curve is flatter than what it was a few years ago, but it must keep on climbing.

We made a choice to spend that money on things like gymnastics lessons for our son Jay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The hilarious things in everyday life

MacDonald's wants you. They probably can't have you (if you're the sort of person who reads this blog).

Anyhow, I was highly amused that one of the benefits is free uniforms. I thought that reflected a great lack of creativity by featuring that particular benefit. I would replace it with "Learn Spanish" - that's a useful skill in the USA, these days.

(I found that on the piece of paper they put on my tray for our dining-in experience.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Yes, today is earth day.

I love how Google commemorates random holidays.

As any reader of my blog knows, I'm pretty much into green. However, I've gotten a little burned out on the completely over-the-top coverage of green-ness in all media outlets of late. So I won't give you any new green idea today.

Update: I ran a few errands on my bicycle. Not a single other bicycle rider was on the roads. Shame.

What were they thinking, part 67

I was driving downtown the other day to meet with the design group that is doing a website for the organization I work for. As I passed through this fancy neighborhood, I saw these two houses, right across the street from each other. One is maybe 1,200 square feet. The other might hit 4,300. One was built in about 1938. The other in maybe 2002. One looks like a house. The other looks like it could be a dental office - or a radiation/chemotherapy dispensary.

I know that the east side of that street might be slated for "scrape" maneuvers (whereby residential construction companies buy a house and tear it down to build a much fancier home on the same lot). But still - let's have a little more architectural sensitivity, folks!

Tech note: if you look closely at my photo, you'll see that the power lines magically break into a blur just above the left corner of the house. That's because the photo is really a panoramic collage, stitched together using Photoshop CS3's Automate > Photomerge command. It's an amazing thing, if you've never tried it. (I was too lazy to make the power lines look natural.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

More Japan

Yes, someday I might visit that crazy country.

Thanks to Jill (without permission). But then, I'm not making any profit out of sharing her lovely set of photos with you.

And here's a great site also featuring lotsa wonderful photos of Japan.

Some perspective

My dear friends Tracy and Jeff have been through a lot. Tracy got a brain tumor and has been operated on. She's doing amazingly well.

Maybe three weeks after the surgery, Jeff wrote this:

"It must be a literal, active effort to 'keep your eyes on Jesus' when it hurts, or it's hard, or you keep losing ground or get beat down by life, health, work, parents, whatever anyone's particular struggles are."

"The Titanic is sinking. I put all my effort into saving my family and other people help me. That is my whole world until I have them essentially safe. Then I look around at all the other people bobbing in the water and know they are struggling, too."

You can read more here. It puts into perspective the little and few problems I face.

Friday, April 18, 2008

See what we miss?

So, it's Friday after quitting time*. I came across these little snacks on the internet.

Don't you wish you lived in Japan? My friends Eric & Sheryl did - but that was maybe ten years ago. They spoke of perfectly good stereo systems being put at the curb (for disposal) - because that style had gone out of fashion.

More on the Smart Car

One thing I forgot to mention about the Smart Car - it runs on premium fuel only. That's crummy, as that puts it at almost the same cost per mile as the Toyota Yaris, which has four seats, (The Smart gets 36 combined mpg, whereas the Yaris gets 32 combined mpg - but runs on regular fuel. So when you compare the prices, they come out about equal. The Yaris wins, in my book.)

Just FYI, the similarly small Chevrolet Aveo gets a relatively bad 26 combined mpg. I have driven that pup, and it feels really cheap, as in cheaply-made.

Another downside is that there is a 6-12 month wait. You have to deposit $99 to put your name on a waiting list. I just can't figure out why the parking lot has 15 or 20 Smarts just sitting, waiting.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm not the only one

If you saw my most recent post on being really green, you'll see that I like to keep using things.

Popular site author Jason Kottke is on that train also.

Why do I blog?

My friend Eddie Arthur tagged me with the question, "Why do you blog?"

The short answer? I want to share my little world with you. I like to give you my views on some things great & small. Maybe I can help you to think differently about something. Or your response can help me think differently.

I enjoy the outlet. It's a chance to express myself to those who are interested. And it's fun to make friends all over the world.

So I tag Barb, The Lone Beader and Marti.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For Mac users only

You may have seen my post about how great Monolingual is. (It's software that removes language support for languages you'll never use on your Mac - like Hungarian.)

There's another tool, DeLocalizer, that somehow does a similar thing. I ran it recently and saved another 333 mb!

My theory is that running these will speed up your Mac a little, too. (Your CPU won't have to index as many files.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fake green vs. real green

In the last three months, the green movement has increased exponentially. I'm not talking about politics. I'm talking about what marketeers want you to buy.

Well, it's not real. MUCH better than buying something new that is "green" is to keep using what you already have. That is exponentially more green. My Simple shoes (at the bottom) are about 13 years old. They still work. I still wear them. (That is - when we're not going somewhere that fashion-consciousness is important.)

Think about it. If you keep using something you already have, you are not feeding some factory somewhere. You are not causing some amount of energy to be spent in manufacturing that new green item.

One exception to this is if you have a really old car that puts out a lot of pollution, then it might be better for the environment (though maybe not your budget) to start fresh.

I don't say this as a prideful thing - I'm just trying to get you to think outside the box.

Finally, one of the most ludicrous stories I have read lately is an ad for a hotel chain that was going green. They threw out all their mattresses to replace them with "green" mattresses that were made with springs recycled from old car springs and (heaven knows) free-range cotton.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And I didn't drive a Maserati

But if you were considering buying one, here are FAQ’s about Maserati Ownership.

Finally drove the Smart Car

Yes, it's true. Saturday, I test drove a Smart Car. I loved it. If I were rich, it would be in my stable.

Negative: not a good transmission. (I agree with Car & Driver magazine on that one.)

If you're lucky enough to have a Smart dealership in your town, go for it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Found, random

We went downtown one day during the kids' spring break, for a family activity. One of the places we visited was the Denver Public Library. (At some point, I will blog about one of the amazing things we saw there.)

Anyhow, someone left this note on a table. I was amused at that little cryptic glimpse into someone else's life.

There's a magazine called "Found" that goes along with this concept. I have never bought the magazine, but they have an interesting website.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sticky snow

This has been a crazy spring for weather. Sunday afternoon, Heather & I went for a bicycle ride, wearing shorts. Today, there is about two inches of snow on the ground and it's still coming down hard.

These spring snows are wet and sticky. Our outdoor thermometer reads 31 degrees F. So the snow is barely frozen. As you can see, it's sticking to the vertical net on the sides of our kids' trampoline.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Tears, My Rewards?

I saw this campaign in the Sunday newspaper, for an eye product. I thought they were reaching a little too far - the tears part is maybe a little too negative for n eye product.

I also thought this could be a life product - you document your sorrows and get rewarded if you present them to God. Then the reward comes in the mail, 90 days later. (At the bottom of the ad, it should say, "".)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy birthday, Chris Brogan!

Today is the birthday of social media networking mayor, extraordinaire, Chris Brogan.

Happy birthday, Chris!

Check out some tributes here.

The long and tortured journey

This box went from Nairobi to London (from Heathrow to Gatwick) to Dallas to Orlando to Denver.

The worst part of the journey was a very pain-filled hour or two in Nairobi at the airport - because we had unthinkingly packed a toy gun in the box. This freaked the customs officials out. They took that opportunity to make life extremely difficult for Ken, a very kind colleague who agreed to carry the box back to the States for us.

This box (and two others) were to have joined us in July 2007. A mix-up happened and they didn't get on that particular plane. Next, a kind group of short-term missionaries were going to carry them back to Denver for us in January. Then Kenya reeled into chaos, after the botched presidential election. So those people didn't go to Kenya.

So we issue a sincere and hearty thanks to Ken, Paul (not me - another Paul) and Mike - each of whom carried one of the boxes for us. Special thanks also go to Josh and Audra, who cared for the boxes in Nairobi, for all that time - and saw that they made it to the right couriers.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Tag, book

Mark Woodward tagged me. What book would I take from our house, if it was burning down? (The Bible is excluded from the possibilities.)

I'd take our Kenya picture book. We assembled it just after we returned from Kenya the first time, in 1994. It's filled with photo prints from our pre-digital era. Heaven knows where the film is. So it's irreplaceable.

So I tag Dave, Shane and Rob. (Rob is taking a break from blogging, so I'd understand if he doesn't do it. But Shane, well, I have been trying to get him to do some blogging for a while now. Maybe this will light the fire under him a little. Dave? He has been taking an extended break... time to get back to blogging.)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Seafood is big in Florida

I thought these bathroom door signs were cute.

I guess you had to be there.

(I'm heading back to home in Colorado very early Saturday morning, before you're awake.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Orlando architecture

This week, I have been in Orlando for a Photoshop expo and training seminar. On our way back to where we* are staying (Wycliffe's apartments - kind of like hotel rooms), we passed by this place. I had to stop to take this, so I could share it with you: an upside-down building! It's some kind of a big video game arcade.

It's just a reflection of how Orlando is kind of like Las Vegas - a place where (many) people come to play.

* ("We" = me and Kirby, a colleague and friend. Heather graciously is keeping the home running in my absence. Thank you Heather!)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More Auto Show Goodness

Mercedes Benz did not hand out brochures at the show. Instead, they had these little plastic cards, whereby interested parties would need to go to their website to request brochures.

Green? Yes. More costly in the long run? Maybe. (They'll have the postage or shipping of each brochure request.) But they will get "free" marketing info from their intended audience.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Yay America!

One of the most thrilling things about going to the Auto show was seeing that America is finally getting something Europe has had for a long time - small delivery vans!

(Yes, I know you're thinking that I'm crazy to get excited about that.)

Europe has had these small vans for literally decades. We get them in 2009. Yay Ford!