Saturday, October 31, 2009

Worst Bag of Skittles Ever

Trick-or-treating tonight, the boys picked up a bag of Skittle. That's right, an unopened package containing exactly one, lonely Skittle.

Epic Skittle fail at the factory that day. Shame, really.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Sleepy Little Girl

Anneliese didn't want to go to bed tonight. She thinks: I'll cry until mom gets me and then I'll snuggle and be coy.

Like that would ever work.

Random Thoughts 10/29/09

  • My children are precious. For Halloween (first dress up was last night at church) Brennan was a Star Wars clone trooper, Tanner was a ninja-cat of his own design, Eli was Darth Vader, Graham was a pirate, and Anneliese was a chicken. Oh, the cuteness never ends.
  • Watch Jonathan Ive talk about designing Apple products, like MacBook pros and iPhones. He admits that it is "a little obsessive" but it's still kind of cool.
  • Two long clips from Glenn Beck's Monday show: part 1 and part 2. This monologue is especially good, about the "me generation" and the direction our country is going. If you don't watch Glenn Beck, this would be a good introduction. This is Beck at his best, especially toward the end. I watched this on my DVR Tuesday, rewound it, and watched it again.
  • Do you technically "rewind" on DVRs, YouTube, and iPods? What else do you call backing up the video, the opposite of fast forward?
  • Did you see the Ares I rocket launch by NASA yesterday? It was actually a prototype of the Ares I, but still a really big rocket nevertheless. I'm not sold on the idea that we need to spend the time and money going back to the moon or even to Mars, which is only marginally feasible with little or nothing to gain from it. But the little boy in me loves to see a good rocket launch. And something needs to replace the Space Shuttle, sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Our New Walmart

The new KCK Walmart opened today across from the Legends. Yay!

It's huge!

The layout is totally different too. The pharmacy is in the middle of the store, books in back, and the grocery layout is unconventional. But it's huge and new!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nine Jayhawks Gone Pro

Nice rundown of here of the nine former Jayhawks that are in the NBA. The KU-gone-pro players are:

Darrell Arthur, Memphis Grizzlies
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat
Nick Collison, Oklahoma City Thunder
Drew Gooden, Dallas Mavericks
Kirk Hinrich, Chicago Bulls
Darnell Jackson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Brandon Rush, Indiana Pacers
Julian Wright, New Orleans Hornets

Here's a rundown on NBA uniforms this year, if you're interested.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Thoughts 10/23/09

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
  • I'm sure there is some kind of commentary that should be made about American consumerism or perhaps the potential crazy-good jenga-skills of this Wal-Mart shopper, but in the end I'm just glad this was NOT my wife's cart.
  • God bless those believers out there who can't tolerate anything but a King James Version, but surely this is based on ignorance and misinformation. If one would only read the preface to the King James Version, you'd see that they had the same goals and suffered the same criticisms as modern translators. But for lack of knowing this, sprinkled with a bit of egocentric traditionalism, people think any other translation of the Bible must be from Satan! Including this guy, a North Carolina pastor who is going to burn (non-KJV) Bibles on Halloween. Wow, that's sad.
  • Old fashioned newspapers are dying… fast.
  • Anyone out there upgrade to Windows 7 yet? How's that working for you?
  • Have you ever looked to see if the unemployment rate goes up or down depending which party controls the Senate? I have now
  • The number of Americans who believe in global warming is down to 57% from 77% in 2006. The number who think it is man-made is down to 36%. Way to go, folks! Don't be suckered in my non-scientific scare-mongering! This is going to look flat-Earth-foolish in a few years. Be green for stewardship and conservation reasons; we're not big enough to change the climate. It changes just fine without us.
  • If you don't like post-season baseball umpiring, blame the union?
  • Why can't President Obama just make a decision already? The preceding link links to the brilliant clarity of one Victor Davis Hanson.
  • Here's a picture of the church building this week. I call it WCCC in Autumn.

Good Luck With That

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So Now You Have an iPhone

With App Store closing in on 100,000 apps for your iPhone, how do you know what apps to put on it? Here's a short guide based on my experience.

*requires iPhone 3Gs for certain functions

App Miner - apps go on sale periodically and I've gotten several at reduced prices thanks to this app that tracks the prices of the other apps.
Facebook - excellent app for Facebook users.
Dictionary - from; an excellent resource.
Bible - the best free Bible, by pulling dozens of translations from online. Requires internet access to work, offline translations cost extra.
MyLite - one of several good flashlight apps; don't stumble through the dark without it.
Urbanspoon* - a fun app to show you where to eat out today.
Coupon Sherpa and Yowza!!* - use coupons directly from your phone. I've already saved $30 or $40 by using these apps.
SnapTell* - take a picture of a book, game or DVD and it automatically searches the internet and local stores for the best price.
DirecTV - this is one of my favorite apps, if you have DirecTV. It's super easy to see what's on TV and I have total control of my DVRs from anywhere.
Showtimes and Flixter's Movies - get local show times, upcoming DVDs, watch trailers, and do everything else movie related.
ScoreCenter - ESPN's great, customizable live scores app. Some people like Sportacular.
KC Star and USA Today - two of the best newspaper apps out there and one of them happens to be my local version of Pravda!
Google - Googles search app has voice recognition!
Accuweather, WeatherBug, and the Weather Channel - three great weather apps that I use in concert with each other. Each have their own strengths.

• PAID APPS (watch for these on sale):
Blog Press - ($2.99) This is how I blog on blogger from my phone, including this post. Also, WordPress has a free app for its blogs, but I don't use it.
Grocery Gadget - ($4.99) Especially for families with more than one iPhone. Shannon and I coordinate our shopping with this great app. Whoever is at the store knows exactly what's needed, even as the other one changes or adds to the list from their phone or computer.

• WEB APPS and good mobile websites: ESPN, NFL, Apple, Wikipedia, Fox News, Google Books, and many other mobile compatible websites, each of which I give their own icon.

• GAMES: I rarely pay full price for a game (see App Miner above) but there are a few that show off the power of the 3Gs and basic motion and touch controls of any iPhone or iPod Touch.
Flood-It! - (Free) very addicting, simple and free
Flight Control - (99¢) an iPhone classic
Zen Bound - ($4.99) relaxing and satisfying puzzle game like no other you've ever played.
Sol Free Solitaire - (Free) I like this so much I upgraded to the paid version, Solebon.
Harbor Master - (99¢) Very similar to Flight Control. If you like this you'll like Pirate Bay and any number of other "line drawing" games.
Fieldrunners - ($2.99) Surprisingly addicting
Scrabble - ($4.99) Shannon and play each other over our home Wifi.
Worms - ($4.99) If you already like the classic computer game, this is more of the same.

There are literally thousands of games in the App Store, most of them under $5. I always read reviews first at, Touch Arcade or other websites.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

102,000 Hits

Just another mile-marker post: 102,000 hits passed sometime yesterday. Thanks again to all the friends and family that read this blog.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chiefs' Unis

From the very interesting UniWatch blog.

The Chiefs were in Washington, where the Redskins generally wear white at home, so of course KC wore red. As several readers have pointed out, that kept alive the Chiefs’ streak of wearing red in every game so far this season. They’re home next week, which means red again, and then they have a bye. So their white jerseys won’t make their 2009 debut until, at earliest, Week 9 in Jacksonville. Has this ever happened before?

Well, at least the Chiefs finally have a win, whatever color they wear.

Congrats, Hank

Last night I went to a party for my good friend, Hank. Hank is an Elder at our church and is getting married this week.

Everyone is thrilled for Hank and his bride-to-be, Carol. So when I was invited to join Hank and a few friends/family at the local hibachi place (Stix), I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

So I found myself with a dozen guys around a hibachi in a Japanese restaurant for the first time. Several of the guys ordered salmon and a couple of us ordered steak and chicken but not many of us were interested in anything sushi-related. Personally, I was scared to death that everyone in our group would try something more exotic, i.e. Japanese, and I just didn't think that I had the nerve to try it.

In the end, my plate looked like this: lots of fried rice, vegetables, beef and chicken. It was great (and very similar to what I'd get at bd's Mongolian Barbeque).

The hibachi routine is pretty entertaining. Food, knives, and jokes are flying in all directions -- you've not really had a good time until a Japanese guy hits you in the face with a shrimp from across the room.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Right Foot FAQ

Q. Why are you limping?

A. I sprained my ankle playing volleyball, Tuesday. It's so Kyle's fault.

Q. Are you okay? Do you need crutches? Will they amputate?

A. I'm fine. I've done this before, more than once; I didn't even need crutches this time.

Q. So no big deal, right? Walk it off, you big girl!!

A. It's swollen and terribly bruised. By Friday it was so swollen that my toes hurt, but ice and wraps took care of that. I'm hoping to be back playing volleyball by next Tuesday, but I'm moving pretty gingerly right now. I limp badly first thing in the morning or after long breaks.

Q. So are you suing?

A. Bonner Springs Parks and Recreation? No. Kyle? Definitely.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Random Thoughts 10/16/09

  • The annual church bonfire is tomorrow evening at the Jones'. Call me if you need directions.
  • One foot is NOT like the other. My bad ankle is swollen like nothing I've ever seen. It doesn't hurt as much anymore but it sure is uncomfortably swollen.
  • Al Gore got owned by in a Q&A recently so the event people cut the microphone of the questioner. Nice. Listen carefully: Man-caused Global Warming is a Hoax. It hasn't gotten warmer in 11 years. It has been much warmer (and colder) in past centuries without any SUV's affecting anything in either direction. Don't be foolishly duped by people who just want to run your life for you.
  • Does it ever end? My formerly reliable cordless mouse, a great little Logitech job, is dying. The oft-used left button is shorting out, leading to double and triple clicks for no reason. Grrrrr…
  • I'm silly for solitaire lately. I have to play a game of confidence-boosting (because it's easy) Free Cell or Spiderette every night before I go to bed. On my iPhone I play Solebon, which is a simple and diverse collection of games. Cheap too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Don't Look at my Foot

I said I wasn't going to post a picture of my ankle, but…

File that under "things you can't un-see."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Big Fan of Dyson

We have used Dyson vacuums for over five years now and think they're great. I'm not just pleased with its performance, which is excellent, I'm smitten with how clever the design is. Every part of the machine seems really intuitive and well-designed. In short, they remind me of my Mac computers and iPhone.

Now Dyson has another product which I'd love to see first hand, a fan with no spinning blades. It's called the Dyson Air Multiplier and how geeky-cool is that? A strong stream of air, blasting at you from an empty looking ring.

At our house, we primarily use fans for the white noise they make and I would never pay hundreds of dollars for a fan, but I'd love to see one of these things first hand.

Sprained Ankle

I was playing volleyball last night, went up for a block, caught my foot on the opponent's knee and came down directly on my turned ankle, spraining it badly. Way to go, me!

I actually took some pictures of the ugly, swollen, bruised thing. But after looking at the pics, decided that they were more unpleasant than informative.

Anyway, I stayed home today, unable to drive. And I'm getting around a little bit by hobbling (that's why I'm sure it's not broken, it doesn't hurt at all to bear weight on it). Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be walking a little bit better and driving too.

I've had several sprained ankles, broke an ankle once, and been on crutches half a dozen times. This doesn't seem that bad. I would love to be playing volleyball again as soon as next Tuesday, as we only have four games left.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Good Pair of Shoes

In the past five years or so, I've been wearing Merrell shoes. Merrell makes hiking shoes and boots, primarily, which is what I normally buy. I'm pretty hard on shoes, but these Merrells hold up well for 12-18 months of 6-day-a-week use and then they get demoted to yard work duty.

Some Merrell shoes are waterproof; I've had a pair of gore-tex Merrell shoes that I loved.

Apparently I'm not the only fan. Some soldiers in Afghanistan were photographed wearing these shoes instead of their normal army-issued boots. I don't know what the policy is for that particular unit, but I hope the soldiers enjoy them while it lasts.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Soccer Stadium in KCK

The new Wizards soccer stadium will be just down the street from me, along with the Cerner office building, soccer practice fields and about 8,000 new jobs. That's not a bad thing for our community or for our church.

The soccer stadium seats over 18,000 and will be used for other events, including international exhibition games if KC ever hosts World Cup games. The STAR bonds that have been paying for these Wyandotte County developments are getting paid back about six years ahead of schedule with huge tax revenues. All in all, things are going really well.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm

The President has been given the Nobel Peace Prize.


This is not a joke.

He hasn't even done anything. He was given the award for having good intentions! When I heard the news this morning, my head nearly exploded. On what planet has President Obama actually done anything to promote peace, or even his own agenda, or anything else?!

But the President is so vain and narcissistic that he'll actually accept this! He could refuse it, but no.

Nominations were closed last February 1, so President Obama receives this award for work done in his first two weeks as president, from January 20 to February 1. Can it get any more ridiculous?

I would be completely apoplectic, except that the liberal morons in Oslo have just added President Obama to a list that includes:
  • Adolf Hitler (nominated)
  • Joseph Stalin (nominated)
  • Terrorist Yassar Arafat
  • Al Gore, for his propaganda movie
  • And a long list of negotiators who ultimately failed to prevent or end world wars, major conflicts, and the deaths of thousands.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Birthday Stir Fry

Ah, that's good stuff! Today I ate at bd's Mongolian Barbeque [sic] with Shannon and Gary & Tina. It was a lot of fun and the food was great.

At bd's they actually cook your meal using swords, which is kinda cool. In the picture above, that's my meal on the front right: kung pao chicken, beef, and pork with extra garlic and crushed red pepper over brown rice. And, yes, I pick out most of the veggies after it's cooked.

There's An App for That

I received a belated birthday present last night from my friend, Mike B. – a gift card for the app store. For an iPhone user, that's really cool!

A lot of iPhone apps are only 99¢, but some are $3, $5 or $10, including some great video games and very useful productivity apps. Shannon and I have both of our phones on the same iTunes account, so any app that we buy can be used on both phones.

So what do we buy? Scrabble, Tetris, ToDo, USA Today Crosswords, and Enigmo have all been recommended to me, or maybe just a whole bunch of little one and two dollar apps?

This will be fun; thanks again, Mike!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad

Happy Anniversary to my folks!

They were married, October 7, 1410 BC I think, sometime during the conquest of Canaan by Joshua. They've been married a really long time.

It's pretty amazing that two people could be married as long as they have been in these days. Both sets of my grandparents were married over 50 years and my folks have been married over 40 years. My hope is to be married that long myself (I have over 13 years invested in this red-headed chick I know).

Congratulations, Mom and Dad, you're an inspiration to love and devotion. We love you!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Random Thoughts 10/6/09

  • We played volleyball tonight. Whew, it was rough! We're not that good compared to our competition but I think we had fun, overall. [Jim, you did great tonight, welcome to the team!] The good thing about volleyball is that if you practice, you can really improve over a short period of time.
  • I met one of my brother's high school classmates today. He said, "hey, are you Dustin Altic's brother?" If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that exact question…
  • The disgusting propagandist Michael Moore cleaned Sean Hannity's clock yesterday on Hannity's own show. Moore made better arguments, had better facts, and stuck to his game plan like a pro. Hannity got caught over and over again, I guess from lack of preparation. It was embarrassing because Moore's methods are devious and his arguments are flawed, but Hannity just didn't make the impact that Moore did. Hannity's radio show used to be like this, i.e. shoot from the hip; I don't need to prepare because I'm already sure I'm right. I haven't listened in recent years, but this apparent lack of prep and inability to argue effectively is why I quit listening to Hannity (and Bill O'Reilly's radio show too). In contrast I've listened to Rush Limbaugh faithfully over 18 years.
  • I've never owned a PDA or anykind of handheld computer, but this iPhone I have now is incredible. It's just crazy how powerful it is. My laptop had some issues, but I have most of my data backed up and accessible on my phone! It's great. It was also kind of nice to play several hours of Solitaire while I was sick in bed, without getting out of bed.
  • I've been watching more Glenn Beck lately. He's quirky but I like him. What I especially like: he does a great job of teaching complicated government and economic issues in memerable.
  • Greg Lewis' article about the beta-male is a great read. Good stuff here.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

33 and Counting

Well, I've made it at least as far as Alexander the Great and Jesus.

I turned 33 today and had a really pleasant day. Church was sparsely attended but, other than that, went well. I had a three hour nap, my favorite birthday cake, and a house full of friends over for the evening.

I'm still looking forward to eating at bd's mongolian barbeque this week, probably Thursday. And it will be a very busy week, at that, but it was a good birthday.

101,000 Hits

Another mile-marker post…

We passed 101,000 hits sometime yesterday. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

George Washington Carver would be Proud

I went to the new "Five Guys" restaurant at the Legends with Mike, Kyle, and J today. It was my first time there, and it was pretty good. Great hamburgers, fantastic fries, and peanuts everywhere! There are countless 50-pound bags of peanuts stacked around the store and the fries are cooked in peanut oil.

In fact, the place would be a death trap to someone with peanut allergies. There are even signs not to take peanuts out of the store because of the risk to those who are vulnerable. I'd be afraid to even shake hands with someone who had a peanut allergy after eating at this place. The place is literally wall-to-wall peanuts!

But if you're allergy-free, the food is great. I had a jalapeno cheeseburger (thanks, Mike) and the four of us shared two orders of fries. They give you more french fries than one person could possibly eat. They even have a board stating where today's potatoes came from (Washington state today). As for the peanuts, I don't eat them, but I know a lot of folks who can sit and shell peanuts for as long as the conversation lasts.

Overall, it was affordable and tasty. It's the kind of place I'd take my kids (as long as they don't have peanut allergies!).

Letterman is a Dirty, Old Man

How on earth is this supposedly funny?

David Letterman announced his unethical and immoral behavior on his television show while the audience laughed and applauded. It may be the most disturbing and bothersome thing I've ever seen on TV.

I watched in the 90's but I quit Letterman years ago, as he increasingly became a creepy, angry, old liberal moonbat. Come to find out, Letterman's on-air persona was surprisingly transparent. He is a creepy old man who has sex with his underlings. Ugh.

And he's a horrible hypocrite to boot. How could he joke about Clinton and Lewinski? Or Sarah Palin's daughter? Or John Edwards? Or Mark Sanford?

But for the almost Pavlovian audience, conditioned to laugh at Letterman's every word… it was beyond disturbing.

I stopped laughing a long time ago.

Random Thoughts 10/03/09

  • It's my birthday tomorrow (33rd) and I'm most looking forward to stir-fry at bd's Mongolian Barbeque [sic]. If you sign up for their email list, you get a free meal on your birthday, among other occasional coupons.
  • Congrats to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for getting the 2016 Olympics. The prestige and attention may be great for all of South America. Hopefully, it won't hamstring the city for decades to come. Barcelona went $1.4 billion in the hole, Sydney lost $3.2 billion, Athens lost $9 billion, and Beijing spent some $43 billion for it's now empty sports venues (which are being torn down or turned into malls). London (2012) says it made a mistake bidding for the games. Good luck with 2016, Brazil, because prestige and attention won't pay the bills in the end.
  • "Stargate Universe" may not be the best Stargate, but its the only Stargate we've got. My personal favorite was "Stargate Atlantis."
  • Only one month until KU's first (exhibition) basketball game! But no KU football game today.
  • How in the world was the world not impressed by the most powerful man in the world (President Obama) and the most powerful woman in the world (Oprah) making a personal visit to Copenhagen? Hmmm… how embarrassing.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Random Thoughts 10/1/09

  • It's October!!! Best. Month. Ever. It smells like pumpkin pie and bonfire smoke, feels like dry leaves and fuzzy hoodies, and sounds like a high school football game. Mmmm… October.
  • Michael Bay is giving the world another Transformers movie, a year sooner than expected. We can now watch $200 million special effects cover up plot holes in 2011.
  • I don't usually call them this well, but… in my fantasy football league I drafted rookie backup San Francisco RB Glen Coffee at the end of the draft. Coffee was my super-sleeper. It's week 4 and he is now starting for the next few weeks. It's just too bad that Coffee plays for the 49ers.
  • ABC is not a friend to sci-fi nerds. Like other networks (I'm looking at you FOX), ABC is going to keep it's sci-fi on a very short leash. Anything outside the regular formulas (cop drama, medical drama, lawyer drama) must either be a runaway success or will be immediately pulled. The news is that ABC is already skittish with upcoming series like "V" and next spring's "Day One." Both sci-fi shows are getting four hours to prove their worth, or they are getting canned. It almost makes you not want to watch in the first place.
  • The most beautiful iPhone apps here.
  • The Olympics is a money-pit. I hope Chicago doesn't get it in 2016. Let somebody else lose money like Beijing and London, et al. have hemorrhaged cash (and London hasn't even had theirs yet!). I say let China become the permanent Olympic host until they're at least as bankrupt as we are!
  • Wow the Chiefs are bad. Really bad.
  • Speaking of China… I wonder what Korean War vets think of the Empire State Building being lit up in red and yellow for Communist China's anniversary? Thousands of Americans fought and died to protect the world from the evils of communist China. Now it's celebrated. Wow.