Sunday, July 31, 2005

Looking Up

"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return"
Leonardo da Vinci

Now there's something I haven't done in a while. Man, I miss that.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Missing the Crawl

I has been busy today. Took the kids horseback riding and to Dollywood. Going back to Dollywood tomorrow. I made a new friend today. He's a "bit" camera shy, but doesn't mind "wheny" I horse around with a few bad puns. Meet Rocco.
Free Image Hosting at

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Trying ImageShack

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A nice shot of Chicago @ night from Navy Pier.

Computer Based Learning (CBL)

I had to be exposed to my employer's retarded form of education today. One of the pages I had to read AND listen to read as follows:

"Fire extinguishers are located throughout the facility. You can identify fire extinguishers on the sales floor by poles with red tape around them near the ceiling or a red sign with the words 'FIRE EXTINGUISHER' and an arrow pointing down to the extinguisher. This signifies that the pole has a fire extinguisher." The first photo is just to prove I didn't have to make it up.

The second photo is of one of the True/False questions on the test. It reads: "You can identify fire extinguishers on the salesfloor by looking for poles with yellow and black tape around them near the ceiling."

The sad part: I know someone that missed that question. *sigh*

Help me... Please. My brain is dying in this place.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Inside Chicago

I was just thinking of my June vacation. My wife and I took a trip to Chicago (she had never been). I got a bunch of really good photos, but I was thinking of some of the shots I wasn't supposed to get.

We went to the Museum of Science and Industry and saw the 200 plus bodies that were on display (Body Worlds) - check the link, you won't be sorry. They have this silly no photo rule, for that particular exhibit. Riiiiight...;-)

So I took this little camera that a really cool pal gave to me. It's tiny and holds a metric ass-load of photos. I couldn't get many (due to security), but I'll share what I got.

This guy is a 2 for 1. His skeleton is standing in back and his muscles are standing in front.

Same from behind (you can see the skeleton arm).

This fellow was just sitting at a desk. If you look along his thigh/butt-cheek area, you can see the nerve that gets pinched so often - it's about as big around as a pencil.

Here's what all the blood vessels in your face would look like if you could separate them from the bone, muscle, nerves, and fat.

Like I said, it ain't much, but it's all I got that you can see the target clearly.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Another Day in Eden

Religious Opposites in the workplace. It seems my department has a wide variety, let me give ya a taste.

There's the Department Mgr.: Southern Baptist
Cashier 1: Seventh Day Adventist
Cashier 2: Catholic
Cashier 3: Non-denominational, lives with her mom the converted Jew
Stocker 1: Methodist
Stocker 2: Non-denominational
Stocker 3: Agrees with whoever is speaking
Me: Yes

There are more people than that - I just avoid most of them. You would too.

With the current crew, it's easy to get crap started. So easy it just drains the fun right out of it.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Velvet Ant

Shortly after my last post, I learned what the strange bug was. It's called a velvet ant, but it's actually a wingless, female wasp they preys on other insects, bees, and wasps. It is also known by the names "cow killer" and "mule killer." They say it can hurt a man pretty bad.

I was fishing with my kids when my wife spotted it on the shore. Glad I didn't try to pick it up and use it as bait.

Check these links out:
Velvet Ant

Strange Bug

Can anyone tell me what this is?
It looks like an ant (6 legs and shape).
But I've no idea what it is.
It's about 1.5 to 2 inches long & about an inch wide (including legs).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Outsourcing #@$%

Watching the tube and... The Christian Children's Fund is asking for money to help those poor starving children. Why is it those children are in foreign lands and the CCF is not doing much to help the kids here? (I had this question in my Ethics class a while back.) No matter what anyone says, I'm locked on this one - charity begins at home. So am I wrong on this? I mean, enough of our jobs are being outsourced to other countries, why should we also be sending them more money in the form of charity?
Sure they get bad storms, hurricanes, and ?!#@... Wait a minute. We get a fair amount of bad shit here too. And yeah, America is a wealthy nation. Yeah - a large number of us are fat too. That doesn't mean we don't have people with needs. If you feel the need to donate to someone, donate to the needy in your own country. Take it farther than that, make it the people in your own state, county, city, neighborhood, or whatever.
My wife was talking with one of the mothers of a child that goes to my younger daughter's school. This lady got back from a vacation to India a few months before the end of the school year. While she was there, she became friends with a woman that was looking for work. She wished the woman luck, and headed back home to Tennessee. The woman my wife was talking to worked for TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). Shortly after her return, she was notified that she was no longer needed. Yet, she found out what happened.She kept in touch with her new friend in India over the months. Soon after the woman in TN lost her job, her Indian friend began working on the very same project that the woman in TN was working on previously. TVA - and the state of Tennessee in general - is bad about outsourcing jobs.
(Breathe, breathe, breathe) - (OK)
I had this issue with my Linksys router over the past couple of days. I called tech support - in the Philipines - before calling Johnny - oh. What the Philipino guy couldn't tell me in an hour long conversation, Johnny - oh told me in less than five minutes. I think one of the key factors in the Linksys situation is the fact that we (tech support and I) did not understand each other very well.
So since we send our jobs to them, they should donate that money to their own countries and we should do the same in our country. Granted: we should always help and support our allies.
CCF, you owe your country an apology.
Links of importance to this:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Fall Creek Falls

We took the kids to Fall Creek Falls State Park Saturday. I love that place. Everything about it is nice. And the kids need the exercise.

The short hike from the Betty Dunn Nature Center to the main viewing area always leaves a question in my mind: What the hell is that smell? It reminds me of petroleum.
While everything is nice, that smell is out of place. If you ever take the hike, you'll notice it just before crossing the little bridge over Fall Creek. Also, the rocks and earth under the water are a reddish color.

We continued on to the base of the main waterfall and the kids played at the edge of the pool. I showed off along the way back up - while my family rested, I climbed a rock face (insert crude comment here).

As the kids played at the Cascades, I took photos of them slipping and falling on the slick rocks. Then we rented paddle-boats for an hour and we were off to dinner.

The restaraunt at the Fall Creek Falls Inn has good and bad points. Good: they have good food and they're close. Bad: service sucks and they're overpriced (expected, of course).
Try the catfish, fried squash, and dirt cake. Skip the ribs. Get all you want from your waitress the first time you see her - ask for the bill immediately, as it will be a while before you see her again. Waitress's tip... I had to make myself leave one and it was small. If it would have been a restaraunt in town, we would have went to another or I would have left no tip. (It's not hard to get a good tip from me, but I don't give money to people that don't work).

My wife and I believe we'll keep taking the kids on outings like this. It's hard to find things to do in Knoxville (that we haven't done, that we all enjoy, or that's not too expensive). Movies, malls, and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame... woohoo! What else ya got?

Perhaps fishing next weekend.

ATTN: SUV Pilots

If you own an SUV, please know that it is not a full size pick-up truck, and it does not have the same holding capacity.

I have to load items in to vehicles every day. When someone buys a large item, I have to ask, "Are you driving a truck, or do you have a trailer?" When the response is, "I have a truck," I have learned to watch head and eye movements. For some reason, many SUV and/or van owners like to believe their vehicle has the capability of carrying the same as a pick-up.

Here is a hint:
A) Measure the narrowest point of entry through the opening you wish to use.
B) Measure the widest part of the item you wish to haul.
If B is bigger than A, it will not work.
If you think it will, you should load it your self.
If you cannot figure it out, you should not have a vehicle in the first place.

My in-laws drive SUVs (Suburban & Denali), but they know the limitations of their vehicles.

Please, think responsibly.

Not Exactly a Man of Vision

My family and I went to dinner at Fuddrucker's yesterday, and I was having issues. My glasses were dirty and using my shirt-tail was only making it worse. So I decided to go to the restroom and use soap and water - that always works.

With glasses in hand, I walked in to the restroom and began cleaning. It was a few seconds later that I heard a stall door open and heard a small gasp. The woman looked at me and apologized, "I'm sorry, I didn't notice this was the men's room."
I replied, "No ma'am, I just couldn't see the sign on the door. I'm the one in the wrong place. I apologize."

My wife and kids had watched me walk in to the ladies' room, but none of them bothered to get me out of there. So we all had a good laugh - at my expense.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Clingman's Dome

Friday, my family and I went to Clingman's Dome, Grotto Falls, and Pigeon Forge.
The air was relatively clear, so the view from Clingman's Dome was nice. In case you didn't know: CD is the highest point in TN at 6,624ft above sea level. It is right on the TN/NC state line. A good drive up from Gatlinburg, and a short hike up a paved trail to the top - the kids were tuckered out. But we had a bit more to do.

After a cool drive back to the Gatlinburg area, we went to the Motor Trail. There are several parking areas that make trail access easy for some light hiking and great scenery. We decided to take the kids to Grotto Falls, since it was a shor hike and we knew it was nice. The kids enjoyed walking around and behind the waterfall. They even managed to find a newt friend.

Pigeon Forge is an area I usually would rather leave to tourists, but for the kids... O.K.. Let'em go nuts. They'll sleep better.

A good night of rest and ready for Saturday.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been RE-added to this blog.
I screwed up yesterday and had to fix it today.

That's what I get for playing with it too much. I broke it.
But I'll keep on playing anyway, I'm a man, I can take it.

Monday, July 11, 2005


July 4 Pics. Only 2... wife took camera. I have cool video. Give it a minute after clicking this link, it takes a bit to load.

Sushi, Cell Phones, & Tracking Devices

Johnny-Oh and I had sushi yesterday with one of my co-workers. It was a nice hour of chat that would've been better with a pool table. Maybe next time. A little something odd about a part of our conversation...

I was attempting to explain a bit about this guy that voluntarily had a couple "chips" implanted in his hands. The guy uses one of them as a key to his home, among other things.
Well, it was ineluctible that the conversation turned toward tracking and the whole Big Brother thing. That's where it started to get odd.

We discussed the use of cell phones as tracking devices and how it was unavoidable, yet understandable. As a GIS (Business Concentration) major, I have endured many lectures and read too much about using cell phones for tracking, advertising, and location based services (LBS). So I've had this conversation before, but was less interested in the past (people generally talk too long).

"So..." When I got home, I noticed a news magazine on my recliner. The writers of the news mag are also the creators of some of the software I use. In this quarter's issue, ESRI's ArcNews has an interesting announcement about some new software for businesses to track their cell phones. ESRI has been working with Sprint to make their respective softwares work together. Sprint has a new set-up that allows subscribers to the Location Service find any (Sprint) cell phone in the U.S..

Of course, we all know that cell phone tracking is nothing new. I just thought it odd that our conversation and the article were so closely related, especially on the same day. But then, it could just be that I haven't had intelligent conversation with someone outside of my home in a while.

***Where's my tin-foil hat?***

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fireworks - and Then Some

Yeah. We did the fireworks thing.

Harvey: Pictures coming soon. I haven't put them in my computer yet.

Let me sum up as much as possible in just a few words.

Beer. Burgers. Jail. Ice Cream. Boom! Vroom!

In that order.

It wasn't me.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

July 4th Eve

My brother-in-law came to town, and brought his wife and daughter with him. It's nice to see them - it seems so long between visits sometimes. It won't be too long and they'll be headed back to Georgia.

On their first day up, we went to the fireworks store on Watt Road. We got about $310 worth of pyrotechnics. Or so we thought. As it turns out, they had one of their items marked wrong and charged us for it four times. We didn't figure it out until we went over the receipt well on the second day - that being today.
So we went to the fireworks place and asked for the manager, before we even made it in the door. After we found him, he was super nice, understood the problem and took care of the situation immediately. Where we were overcharged by $80 before, we were compensated and then some. We came out of it with about $110 worth in place of the $80 overcharge. He knows how to take care of customers.

Tomorrow night, we'll be firing off quite an abundance of explosives at about 9:00pm. Here's the trick...We don't really have a place to shoot that many fireworks nearby - we could do it here, but I try to be a nice neighbor (I hate it when my neighbors don't take their neighbors into consideration). So we'll be going to a local industrial park - down one of the roads that goes to nowhere. We've gone there before, so there's little to worry about. Local police typically give a warning and send you on your way. If that happens, we'll come home and piss off the neighbors.

Also, in today's news... I didn't make it to have beer and sushi with my blog-daddy today. Sorry Johnny-Oh! I'll see you next Sunday.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

World Domination via Balloon **UPDATE**

Things aren't going so hot with the not-so-hostile takeover.
Here's what I'm talking about.

The latest update as of today.

Atfer a bit of reprogramming... Fresh breath for everyone!

Friday, July 01, 2005

How Rude!

They interrupted The Price is Right, just to say Sandra Day Oconnor is retiring.
How Rude!

Not being disrespectful. I just don't care.

Now I'll never know if that lady won the car.