Saturday, December 30, 2006

New High Resolution Photo Vault

I will be posting high resolution photos of our adventures to this new Picasa Photo Web. You can download or view as a slideshow. Enjoy!

What Wii Got For Christmas

Nintendo Wii Game Montage

We have had this machine since a week before Christmas and I must say it is fun! The only reason you stop playing is because you are physically exhausted. The console comes with the game Wii Sports and if you never bought another game for it, you would still get your $250 dollars worth. It is almost impossible to play the Wii sitting down as you want to get up and have free movement of your arms. You dodge, twist, lean, flail, and generally look ridiculous to whoever is watching. But you don't care!

The console is small and easy to hook up.

The controllers come in two pieces. Right hand holds the Wii-mote. This is the one everybody is saying ends up stuck in your television screen or your spouses head. I have no idea how these people are doing this! I always put on the wrist strap and have not had a single close call. As a side note: I currently have 2 of the newer, tougher wrist straps coming free from Nintendo.

The left hand holds the Nunchuck. This part is not required for all games and can be unplugged when not in use. These two parts will work in either hand by the way.

Well there you have it. Get up, go out, and get one of these. You won't be sorry.

Rayman Rayving Rabbids For The Wii

My current favorite!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Typo Takes Tourist 13,000 km Out

BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- A 21-year-old German tourist who wanted to visit his girlfriend in the Australian metropolis Sydney landed 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles) away near Sidney, Montana, after mistyping his destination on a flight booking Web site.

Dressed for the Australian summer in T-shirt and shorts, Tobi Gutt left Germany on Saturday for a four-week holiday.

Instead of arriving "down under", Gutt found himself on a different continent and bound for the chilly state of Montana.

"I did wonder but I didn't want to say anything," Gutt told the Bild newspaper. "I thought to myself, you can fly to Australia via the United States."

Gutt's airline ticket routed him via the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, to Billings, Montana. Only as he was about to board a commuter flight to Sidney -- an oil town of about 5,000 people -- did he realize his mistake.

The hapless tourist, who had only a thin jacket to keep out the winter cold, spent three days in Billings airport before he was able to buy a new ticket to Australia with 600 euros in cash that his parents and friends sent over from Germany.

"I didn't notice the mistake as my son is usually good with computers," his mother, Sabine, told Reuters.

You Tell Me!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Diabetes Breakthrough

In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions...

Top 10 Gadgets for the Filthy Rich

Do you travel in private jets? Decorate your foyer with real Renoirs? Use the word "foyer"? Then there's no way you're going to get your gadget fix from anything you can get at Best Buy. You crave the most exclusive, the top of the line, the most unusual, and the most attention-grabbing technology, and price is no object. But there are expensive gadgets, and then there are expensive gadgets. We aren't talking PlayStation 3 expensive — we're talking gear so expensive you'll have your butlers pick them up in your gold-plated helicopter.

Arrowrock From Space!

Well finally you can see where we live from space! This just showed up on Google Earth and the photo must have been taken sometime in May of 2006.

The lot under the "This is us..." wording is currently under construction.

Long Wind Storm

It started yesterday at 2:20pm sounding like something ran into the western side of the house. I got up and did what is now routine: lash down the hot tub lid, bring in the shoes off of the back porch, and even if it is garbage day and they haven't picked up yet, bring in the trash.

The high gust so far has been 32 mph with it blowing pretty steadily at 21 mph. All of this just creates a low background howl that ebbs and flows.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

She's Up... Sorta.

Recovered the data on the primary drive. That means all of my music and photos survived. But, the drive is corrupt as far as booting the system. New 300 GB drive to the rescue! Problem with the Blue Screen of Death seems to have been centered around improper RAM timing. Run with performance RAM and the price is fickle timing issues! So, system is up on virgin XP install, secondary drive contains recovered data from the past, and currently installing everything from drivers to system updates. Still no sound card installed, no modem, no 3rd and 4th hard disks, and the guts to the whole system are hanging out onto the floor. It's not over 'till the beast is buttoned up and stuffed into the cubby hole.

Beginning The Task

At 7:00 pm mountain time I started the task: Rebuilding the computer that has been dead since July 10th 2006; my computer. So far things are not going well. Blue Screen of Death during the XP install cycle, about 20 times now. Different error each time. The only option I have left is a complete tear down of the system to try and isolate the problem. If that does not show me some results, it is time to go shopping for a new motherboard. I am staying calm.

The MegaPenny Project

Visualizing huge numbers can be very difficult. People regularly talk about millions of miles, billions of bytes, or trillions of dollars, yet it's still hard to grasp just how much a "billion" really is. The MegaPenny Project aims to help by taking one small everyday item, the U.S. penny, and building on that to answer the question: "What would a billion (or a trillion) pennies look like?"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Light Snow Is Currently Falling

Statement as of 3:40 PM MST on December 23, 2006

... Snow Advisory remains in effect until 3 am MST Sunday... A Snow Advisory remains in effect until 3 am MST Sunday. Light snow showers this afternoon will give way to a short period of moderate snow early tonight. The Treasure valley will receive1 to 3 inches while the Owyhee Mountains will receive 3 to5 inches. The snow will taper off from the west in the pre-dawnhours Sunday.

A Snow Advisory means that periods of snow will cause primarilytravel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered roads andlimited visibilities... and use caution while driving.

Snow Arrives In Kuna!

Thursday morning and Deb is the first to leave! Both of us switched over to studded snow tires in October in anticipation of winter weather... and here it is.

Deb does not even look back! We both seem to be able to do just fine as long as we stay below 30 miles an hour. This results in being passed quite a bit by the hardened locals but hey, we'll at least get there in one piece.

We are looking at about 3 inches of super powder snow. When the wind blows (and you know it does just about every day) the snow piles up in drifts around rocks, and walls.

The water feature has been shut down due to bad weather. We anticipate this ride starting up again in March!

I got out and shoveled the driveway thrusday night. Yup, I'm pretty sore!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Please Let It Be Whale Vomit!

In this season of strange presents from relatives, Dorothy Ferreira got a doozy the other day from her 82-year-old sister in Waterloo, Iowa. It was ugly. It weighed four pounds. There was no receipt in the box.

Inside she found what looked like a gnarled, funky candle but could actually be a huge hunk of petrified whale vomit worth as much as $18,000.

Mount St. Helens Erupts, Spewing Steam, Ash Into Washington State Sky

Mt. St. Helens awoke Tuesday afternoon with a mild eruption, spewing a plume of steam and ash into the Washington State sky.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

In A Land With No Trees...

Here is the answer to the age old question, "Where do I hang a bird feeder if I don't have any trees?" This fine feeding station is the Wild Birds Unlimited Advanced Pole System. It is kind of like a lego system for feeding birds. We put it up, filled it, and now we wait for some bird to wander by, eat, and then go tell some friends. Until then, I will place a bet in my head as too how it will fair against the next big wind.

Fence = Tumble Weed Catcher

So far we seem to be in the right spot as this bend in the fence 100 yards to the east of us catches most of the tumble weeds otherwise destine for our back yard.

There Goes The Rain!

I am pretty sure we are in some type of rain shadow. This is a common site as we watch what little rain comes through our area, pass us on the right!

Northwest Storm Leaves 1.5M in the Dark

Residents of the Pacific Northwest struggled to stay warm Saturday after the worst windstorm in more than a decade knocked out power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and killed at least six people.

Amazing Finger-Style Guitarist

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Huashan Mountain In Xian, China

Huashan mountain is located some 240 kilometers away from XiÂ’an, approximately a two and half hours drive. It is one of the five sacred mountains in China. Huashan Mountain is well-known for its sheer cliffs and plunging ravines. It is the most dangerous mountain in China for climbers.

Let's Take A Short Stroll In This Chinese National Park!

Note: The padlocks are a Chinese tradition. Lovers will hike up the side of the mountain and write their names on the side of a padlock. They then lock it onto the hand rail chain, this act is followed by throwing the key off of the ledge. This is supposed to symbolize that they will never be separated. Now, if they can just make it down the mountain ALIVE!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Distribution of Families in the US

Map showing distribution of family names in the US in 1840, 1880 and 1920.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bottled Music!

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm?

Stop Motion Music

Can't play the piano or drums? This guy can't either... But her sure can edit video!

How to Make a 3D Paper Snowflake

Weber Flame

Saturday, after a heads up from a friend, Deb and I headed over to 'Ace Hardware.' Turns out this 'Ace' is not doing so well and is having a going out of business sale. We picked up a garden hose and a snow shovel. (Never needed one of those before!) Then I started looking at a big display of fire pits. They had two types LP (liquid propane) and NG (natural gas). Since the house is plumbed for NG both up on the deck and down on the patio I thought it would be nice to get one. After some bone chilling assembly up on the covered deck (31 degrees was the high today) and a trip back to the hardware store for some quick-disconnect fittings we fired it up. Works great and even better, it was half price!

15 Degrees & The Hot Tub

Saturday night, 15 degrees outside, and the inviting thought of laying in the spa and looking at the stars: It all progressed nicely until it was time to get out. My first clue should have been the fact that steam rising out of the tub was freezing onto the side of the lid. My second clue should have been Deb's quick exit, and rapid departure from said steaming tub, with not even a parting glance back. This left me alone, sitting in the tub, splashing hot water onto my ears while I planned my exit strategy. It should have gone smoothly: exit, grab towel, throw over shoulders, quickly swing the lid down and then flip it closed, clip both latches to lock down lid and run inside. I know, you are thinking, it must have been just miserable out there in that kind of cold. Nope, the only issue to be aware of during a nice relaxing spa while the mercury hovers in the teens is, once you get your ears and neck underwater, they better stay underwater unless you plan on defrosting them later with a blow dryer. Oh, there is just one other thing... The final task before running inside requires that I clip two metal carabiners into two metal eyes to secure the lid of the tub. With that being said, I take one wrinkled wet hand and one 15 degree carabiner, press them together and instantly get something like superglue! It was quick! I knew exactly what had happened, but it was too late! I at least had the common sense to not yank my hand away when it happened, but with the lid down my first idea of using the free hand to splash hot water onto the frozen one went straight out the window. I could feel in my hand that the bonding process was just getting started, so yelling for Deb was not an option. I then did all I could do... Started working up a really big mouth full of nice hot spit! Being careful not to touch my lips to the problem I started spitting. At first I thought I might be adding to the ice glue but quickly I could feel the bond weakening. A few more moments and the liberal application of more defrosting agent and I was free! Using the towel as a buffer I completed the latching tasks and ran indoors. By the time I entered the house the warm glow of the tub was a distant memory. I can assure you though, that I will not forget this lesson! Well I must go and dig up my copy of "Christmas Story" as I seem to remember something about a tongue and a frozen pole!

The Christmas Tree Is Up!

This little alcove in the dining room turned out to be the perfect spot for the tree!

Now all it needs are presents!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

'We Feel Fine'

An exploration of human emotion, in six movements.