Saturday, April 30, 2005

Look! It's the Goodyear Blimp!

Look! It's the Goodyear Blimp! Posted by Hello

Cathy & I went shopping this weekend, and there it was, the Goodyear Blimp.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Malachi is a Nosey Cat

Malachi is a nosey kitty. Here's some proof.

I got the idea to use an animated GIF the other day, and decided to try to incorporate into my Blogger profile. Unfortunately, my animation is 172 KB in size, and Blogger currently limits profile images to 50 KB.

I did try a small animation and it works... so I'll have to resize my profile photo and upload it later. Just for fun, I'm going to post a how-to entry later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Blessed is the man...

I was thinking about what kind of things I assume everybody has or everybody knows. It's amazing what blessings I take for granted on a daily basis.

I wake up in the morning. I get in my car and it tends to start. I go to work and I get my paycheck twice a month. I go home and my cats and dog are happy to see me. I go to sleep at night and my wife is beside me.

Ah... what a blessed man I am! That reminds me of Psalm 34
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who is the man who desires life and loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.

Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Praise the Lord.

What's with the four-letter words on my blog subjects?

OK, not the four-letter words I implied, but you've probably noticed that posts subjects have capital letters indicating what kind of post it is. Here's what they mean:
  • COMP: "computers" -- computer or Internet tips/tricks/cool stuff
  • FREE: "free" -- well, free stuff I think you might be interested in
  • HMMM: "hmmm..." -- random thoughts
  • NEWS: "news" -- that's right, news I find relevant, or will give me an idea what was going on in the world when I look back over old posts
  • Keep Up: "keeping up with the Joneses" -- news specific to us
Miscellaneous stuff will simply have a subject with no indicator. That way, if you just are not interested in my computer tips, or free stuff, you'll be able to ignore them immediately from your newsreader, beefore you even get to the blog.

I sure hope Blogger implements categories soon...

Monday, April 25, 2005

Camping Trip at Lake Casitas

We went camping at Lake Casitas this weekend with the extended family. Sativa just had her birthday, so we were celebrating...We went camping at Lake Casitas this weekend with the extended family. Sativa just had her birthday, so we were celebrating. Our friend Heather agreed to check in on the kitties, and Cathy and I took Oliver with us. Due to Oliver's tendency to get car sick, he rode shotgun both there and back. We made quite a sight: a man driving his dog and chauffeuring his wife. :)

For those who do not know, Adelle is Cathy's aunt, Michael is her son, and Sativa is Michael's newlywed wife. Jenni is Adelle's daughter; Scott is her boyfriend. Pretty much everybody else that came is related to Sativa.

We left Friday at 7 p.m. and arrived after 9 p.m. to set up camp in the dark. Our good friends Mike & Heather allowed us to use their giant tent and their inflatable mattress, so Adelle got to use the smaller tent we brought along. It was pretty cold that night, and the mattress has a slow leak, so we found ourselves huddled together in the middle of the mattress in the morning. Poor Oliver was pretty cold.

Before they she for Florida, Yvonne gave us her collection of patriotic Beanie Bears to pass along to Adelle. She was quite happy to receive them! We also passed along a wedding present to Michael & Sativa. Hmm... maybe we should begin a delivery business.

They other guys decided to go fishing. Since I'm not much of a sportsman, I went on a hike with the ladies to the river. I got a nice shot of the Lake while we were hiking. We quickly tired of our 3-mile hike, and fortunately Robby predicted this and picked us up and drove us the rest of the way in his pickup.

Once we got to the River, Cathy & I attempted to persuade Oliver to venture into the water and behave like a normal, doggedly dog-like dog. You see, Oliver does not want to stick his head out the window when we drive, and he is not interested in the least bit in romping through shallow water. Go figure. I lead Oliver out onto the water, and Cathy coaxed him to go to her. After a little coaching, Oliver did have some canine fun. Everyone else got right into the action, including Sativa's dog, Bullet. We decided to down to the docks from the river and meet the guys as they brought the boat in.

The big barbeque was planned for Saturday night, and we had several hours to kill. We all headed back to camp and played cards for a while. We always bring Cathy's stunt kite along, and she figured we should give it a try. Sativa, Cathy & I went to the picnic site by the docks to catch some stronger winds. Michael brought Brenna and her son Bryce to join us later on, and here's a photo of Cathy attempting to assault Michael with the kite.

Heavy rain was predicted for Saturday night. I saw some ugly clouds move in and got ready to dig a trench. Cathy pointed out that we would be packing up wet gear if we stayed until morning. The plan was to wake up Sunday and head straight home, so we decided to avoid the wet gear and packed up at dusk.

It was a big cookout, and a fun time was had by all. Sativa received a DVD of some 1.5 GB of their wedding photos, numbering 693 individual pictures. We copied those photos to our laptop, and Sativa ran a slideshow of all the photos three times in order to show everybody the wedding.

We left at 10 p.m. and arrived home a little past midnight. The cats greeted us at the door; after my self-inflicted twenty-four feline fast, I did not realize how much I missed my little girls! It was good to be home. Boy did we sleep well that night!

FREE: Cold Stone Ice Cream Cake - 04/25/2005 only

Cold Stone is raising money for Make-A-Wish. They'll be serving free ice cream cake tonight from 5PM to 8PM. Donations are, of course, accepted.

I hope the Hays read this one... the Ben & Jerry's promo did not happen in Hawaii.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Alternatives to Internet Explorer?

It is amazing what we take for granted on a daily basis. A friend emailed me as a reaction to my earlier post, asking about the existence of alternatives to Internet Explorer. I said I would have to blog about that...It is amazing what we take for granted on a daily basis. A friend emailed me as a reaction to my earlier post, asking about the existence of alternatives to Internet Explorer. I said I would have to blog about that.

I just assumed everybody knows that Internet Explorer is not the only choice. I also assume that AOL users know they don't have to use the AOL browser or AOL Messenger once they are online. Everybody knows about Google, the really fast search engine, right?

So, why would you want to switch web browsers? What choices are there besides Internet Explorer?

A little history...
For very little history on the subject, essentially Netscape Navigator was the browser when I first started. Netscape written by the same people who wrote the first browser, Mosaic. Around 1995, Microsoft released Internet Explorer (IE), also based on Mosaic. Netscape was a paid-for program, Internet Explorer was offered for free.

Thus began the browser wars. Microsoft was smart enought to undercut Netscape by getting AOL to use IE for its browser and by giving away similar products to what Netscape was selling.

Microsoft Internet Explorer reached a 97% market share. Netscape was sold to AOL in 1998. Netscape released the code as open-source software and AOL began financing the Mozilla Project, a free, cross-platform Internet software suite, whose components include a web browser, an email client, an HTML editor, and an IRC client.

Current Trends
Microsoft IE remains the most widely-used web browser. The Mozilla Foundation continued the Mozilla Project as a result of AOL divesting itself of the Netscape assets and employees in 2003. Mozilla-based browsers have chipped away steadily at Microsoft Internet Explorer's market share ever since. Mozilla Firefox, the browser component, was released in November of 2004.

Depending on who you ask, IE has about 85% of the market, with Mozilla-based browsers, including Firefox, holding about 12%. Opera, developed independently between 1992 and 1996, holds around 2% of the market since its release in 1996. Opera took web browser design from the ground up, and it supposed to be the best performing browser.

2004 was a bad year for Microsoft. Having such a high market share, Microsoft was naturally the largest target for hackers and people who hate large corporations. A series of exposed security flows in Microsoft IE, coupled with the fact that IE is long overdue for a new release, caused increased interest in alternative browsers and open-source solutions. Firefox was released that the right time and gained nearly 10% of the market in little over a month.

Why Switch?
Pros for switching to Firefox or Opera:
Cons against switching:
  • you learn something new
  • some web sites use only IE's Active-X controls, like
  • Firefox, being open-source, is supported by other users
Should You Switch?
It depends on you, I suppose. If you like to tweak stuff, you’ll like switching. If you spend a lot of time browsing the Internet due to work, you'll like switching. Firefox is faster, in my opinion, so that’s one reason to switch. I like the way FF handles feeds and bookmarks.

For novices, Firefox would be a good upgrade, since it is faster than Internet Explorer and offersa pop-up blocker. But if you feel skitterish... just keep visiting regularly and stick with IE.

For the comfortable or advanced user, Firefox has plug-ins to expand its abilities. My favorite plug-ins are for mouse gestures, ad blocking, and weather reports. Once you get used to mouse gestures, you’ll only use IE when a web page is poorly written and only supports IE. Tabbed browsing and advertisement/image blocking are two other reasons I would switch.

What is tabbed browsing? You know you can open more than one web site at a time, and each goes into a new window. Well, tabbed browsing allows you to open more sites as tabs.

If You Are Not Sure, Just Wait
It is my understanding that IE version 7 is due out in Autumn. It should incorporate the best Firefox features. If you are not sure, and you are using updated anti-virus and anti-spy software, just wait until Autumn and upgrade Internet Explorer. If you want cool features now, give Firefox a twirl.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Free Opera browser license

From TechBargains:
Free Opera License
Opera has a free web browser license sponsored by a German computer magazine. Use c't magazine code: OJD000MN (Thanks anon) Cached page

For those of you who do not know, Opera is supposed to be the best browser on the market. It has a free version supported by advertising, and a paid version that is ad-free.

I still recommend FireFox, but Opera is a great option, with better support (since it is not totally free).

FREE: Ben & Jerry's -- 4/19 only

Free Ben & Jerry's scoop at participating locations until 8 p.m.

Sorry, Jenn. I already checked; there are no locations in Hawaii.

New Pope - Benedict XVI

So, the Catholic church has a new pope. That was much faster than I was expecting...So, the Catholic church has a new pope. That was much faster than I was expecting... Quoting the Associated Press:
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, the Roman Catholic Church's leading hard-liner, was elected pope Tuesday in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Benedict XVI and called himself "a simple, humble worker."
Reuters describes the new pope as an
Arch-conservative... a surprise choice that delighted traditionalist Roman Catholics but stunned moderates hoping for a more liberal papacy.

Ratzinger, 78, the Church's 265th pontiff... is expected to defend Pope John Paul's strict orthodox legacy and reject changes in Catholic doctrine. He is the oldest man to be elected pope for three centuries and the first German pontiff for a millennium.
Many Vatican experts had said Ratzinger, John Paul's tough doctrinal watchdog for 23 years, was too divisive and too old to become pope.
Pope Benedict XVI will be formally installed Sunday, but his papacy began immediately. We'll know more about how his papacy will affect the Roman Catholic Church after he gives his first homily on Wednesday.

Monday, April 18, 2005

If you get an Internal Error on Blogger...

If you get an error trying to read a profile, post a comment, or something like that, try clearing your browser cache first. "How do you do that?," you ask? If you are using Internet Explorer, Microsoft has a how-to article here.

For Firefox users,
  1. Select options from the tools menu.
  2. Select the Privacy tab.
  3. Press the Clear button in the row labeled Cache.
  4. Press the OK button.

Rutabegorz & The Flower Fields

Last Thursday, Cathy wanted to try out something healthy but still a dining experience. We drove some distance to Rutabegorz in Fullerton. It turns out that there are only three locations, and this was the first one. It was started in the 70's as a coffee shop. The food is remarkably like homemade. Cathy and I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. Prices are reasonable, too. I would recommend it if you are anywhere near Fullerton or driving through.

On Saturday, Cathy and I down to Carlsbad and visited The Flower Fields. It was a beautiful day, sunny yet with low UV levels. We walked the fields for about three hours, stopping to the smell the roses in the Miniature Rose Garden, the Ecke Poinsettia display, and we walked the 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Cookie Monster watches what he eats, and so are the Joneses

Here's an interesting article at CNN. Apparently, the Cookie Monster has learned that "a monster does not live by cookies alone." I suppose parent everywhere should be happy... although somehow it seems silly to me.

On a similar note, Cathy has decided that we need a more structured regiment for our daily diet. Stay tuned... I may soon be reporting "cool fact #2" items myself.

Comfortable, Well-Fed, Happy and Well-Liked: the Woes of Luke Chapter Six

We read Luke chapter 6 and I found it quite convicting...So... Cathy and I read the Bible to each other. I suggested we go through Luke, then Acts. We read Acts chapter six the other night, and due to my misplacing of my PDA, I had to find my leather bible, which is a New American Standard Bible. Cathy uses the New International Version as her translation of choice. So, this reading was more interesting than others.

I was reading a section to Cathy, and in the NASB it reads:
24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 "Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.

While I was reading this, I thought to myself, "I'm rich, and I feel comfortable. That can't be good." I also thought, "I am well-fed right now, too." Finally, I thought, "Hm... I laugh often, and many people speak well of me."

It got me thinking, so I read Matthew chapter 5 the next day and found a few differences. Matthew speaks of the poor in spirit, and of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Matthew also has a few other "blessed are you" entries, and no woes. Luke chose to focus on a few blessings and included the contrasting woes.

Luke wrote to Theophilus, whom I assume was fairly well-off. I feel fairly well-off, even though money is tight. This has caused me a great deal of introspection. I am wondering, am I living according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It is not a question I like to ask myself... but I am awfully comfortable... where is the trouble the Jesus promised I would have the grace to bear?

As a curious sidenote, for comparison, the NIV reads:
24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

Pretty similar to the NASB, huh? The difference between the NIV, the NASB and others comes from how they divided the sections.
  • The NASB includes 6:20-44 as one section called The Beatitudes. The woes are in the first paragraph, which includes 6:20-26 and has the blessings and the woes.
  • The NIV has a section entitled Blessings and Woes from 6:17-26. The woes are part of a paragraph from verse 23-26, with an apparenty relation to the blessings of the previous paragraph.
  • The NLT has a separate section entitled Sorrows Foretold from 6:24-26.
  • The Message includes 6:24-42 as one section called Give Away Your Life with the woes displayed poetically as one paragraph in 6:24-25.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Video Blogging & Fun with Google Maps

I'm eventually going to post some video blog entires, and maybe some longer audio blog entires. If you are interested in video blogging, Google has some plans for video uploads.

I'm also every interested in the efforts at Ourmedia by Internet Archive & Creative Commons (along with others). Ourmedia is offering free, permanent storage and a blog of sorts. Warning: this site is still in the early alpha stages of development, so it is not for the feignt of heart.

When people have too much time on their hands, they find Disneyland, Orpah and the Space Needle on Google Maps. For a whole lot more, try the Google Sightseeing blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Recover your lost Blogger posts

My good friends lost a post the other day due to a Blogger "oops." I thought I would share a tip, and offer some hope...
  1. I tend to author my posts in a text program, like wordpad, and post them into a post.
  2. When an error has occurred in the past, I can usually press the "back arrow" button on the top of my web browser and get my text back. I copy the text and try again (see next point).
  3. When I go to publish, I always click on the Edit menu and click "Select All" to select my entire post, and then click on the Edit menu and click "Copy" to back up my text before publishing. If I lose it, I just paste my posts in.
  4. Blogger knows this has been a problem and is working on a "recover post" feature.
Happy Blogging!

Updated 04/14/2005: Google has got the "recover post feature" working now.

Interesting Weekend

Oliver gets a new accessory... a nice shopping trip... Cathy & I spent a relaxing evening withough the benefit of electrical power...Cathy and I went shopping this weekend. We went to several markets geared toward the organic lifestyle, and we went to CostCo, too. We actually had a great time shopping; somehow, I was unusually jolly.

I like to think I have the superpower known as "observe the obvious", as demonstrated by this photo...

When I asked why I would purchase this bar of soap, I was offered a coupon. :-)

The VZs gave Oliver this nifty doggy harness. He loves it, and Cathy prefers the harness due to the ergonomic nature of this form of restraint.

We did not have electrical power from Sunday at nine in the evening until 7:35 Monday morning; all other forms of power in the Jones family, such as cuteness and cerebal clarity, remained constant during this period.

It was a peaceful night. I had previously read a book, "Better Off", which touted the benefits of rejecting artificial and techonolical means of extending our dialy activities, from transportation to daily work and even to light sources. The author advocated allowing the circadian rhythm of day and night to regulate our waking and sleeping, as well as our working and playing.

Cathy went to the store to purchase some conventional collections of wax with a compustible nylon centers in order to shed light upon our (seemingly more so) humble abode. While she was away, I began to realize an enjoyment of darkness; there was a peacefulness to having no lights to hide the moon and the stars. The dog and cats didn't mind it a bit, and human activity seemed subdued. As I basked in the quiet, I relaxed. It was rather romantic and calm-inducing to go about our evening by candlelight. It was also invigorating in a fundamental way to master the element of fire and harness it for illumination.

I slept rather well Sunday evening, and rose early with the sunrise to deal with traffic.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Fanny is TIRED!

Fanny Mae is looking awfully tired!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Check out satellite photo Google Maps!

Now this is cool... now has a new "Satellite" feature.

I already liked the neat overview map they that showed your driving directions from point A to point B, but now you can get a satellite photo view instead of a computer rendered map. That's cool because you can zoom in to your destination and note some landmarks near point B.

I was already considering using Google Maps as my default mapping engine (I am quite fond of MapQuest as well), but now I am truly sold.

For someone else's take (they were also impressed), see this page.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Getting old!!

I'm getting old, I think. Last Wednesday I hurt myself by pulling a muscle in my back. I've been making funny groaning sounds every time I've picked something up or gotten out of a seated position since. Cathy's been patient and understanding, except for one incident.

I found a blond hair in my moustache on Saturday and showed it to Cathy. She had the audacity of claiming it is a gray hair instead! Suddenly it all came together, and I felt like I got my wake-up call: "you're getting old, Lee" says the message.

I love my job, by the way. It isn't my dream of full-time ministry, but hopefully that will come in the next several years. I'm patient, I'm preparing and I'm waiting.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A blesssed weekend of friends, food & felines

RV trouble for friends... Cathy making progress with depression... the cats are settling in... Lee feels insignificant, and blessed...We checked with our friends, the Van Zwienens, and they are partially arrived in Texas. They had a little RV trouble, so I'm now fairly confident that our Florida trip will be late in May.

Cathy and I had the pleasure of dining with our friends this Sunday after church. A combination of St. John's Wart and a short sleep cycle due to daylight saving time (that's right, no "s") caused Cathy to have a short but sleepless night. She was quiet; I slept through her insomnia.

Cathy is dealing with fatigue and depressing thoughts via excercise, supplements and (together now) devotions with me. We're reading the Gospel of Luke to each other. It's neat how you come across new discoveries reading to each other.

Our "kids" are doing great! Malachi is behaving more like herself now. Oddly enough, Zechariah has started playing with Fanny Mae! This is absolutely amazing, since Zachy-Pooh always kept to herself prior to her surgery. She is truly recovered now! Cathy pointed out that we have a cat for every room. Zachy-Pooh prefers the living room, Malachi likes the office, and Fanny lounges on the bed. I feel very blessed. Considering that our combined lives are still an insignificant speck in the history of the world, let alone the universe, I feel truly blessed.

Speaking of feeling small and insignificant... I get introspective and look to the stars when I start feeling small. Here's a beautiful photo of the blue marble we spin around on from NASA's Visible Earth site.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Daylight Saving Time this weekend

It's time to "Spring forward, Fall back"

During Daylight Saving Time, clocks are turned forward an hour, effectively moving an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Remember to change your clocks forward on April 3rd at 2 A.M. local time.

In other words, set your clocks one hour faster when you go to bed on Saturday. Otherwise, you'll be late to the service this Sunday.

Many fire departments encourage people to change the battery in the smoke detector when they change their clocks, because it can be so easy to forget otherwise.

Daylight Saving Time, for the U.S. and its territories, is NOT observed in Hawaii.

Cats, Remodeling and Devotionals

One of our cats, Malachi, has gotten really skitterish these last few days. I think something scared her while she was in the living room, because now she won't hang out in that room. She'll only ride on my shoulder through there. I managed to coax her out of the bedrooms when I got home, but she only hung out in the kitchen until some noise sent her running back to the bedrooms. Just a few minutes ago I got her to sit near me in the living room, but another cat rustled a paper bag and sent Malachi running for the bedrooms again.

I am usually quite content with my life; I suppose even now I am, except that I am a little stressed out. The remodeling is still far from complete; we don't have counters (and won't for at least six weeks), we don't have a kitchen sink (doing dishes in the tub), we don't have a shower (we take baths since the bathroom walls are incomplete)... argh!

It usually doesn't bother me. As long as my loved ones are safe and happy, I tend to be quite happy, myself. But I am becoming more convinced that Cathy cannot bear to stay employed one minute longer than necessary, and I cannot change that right now, or even for a couple more years. If she survives the two years, then maybe we can move to Georgia or something, and Cathy can quit working outside the home.

As a matter of fact, one day this week I work up singing a little ditty:
(to the tune of Down in the Valley)
I love my kitties
I love my wife
I love my doggie
I love my life

These are my kitties
This is my wife
This is my doggie
I love my life

Cathy and I started reading the Bible to each other in an effort to draw closer to each other and by drawing closer to God. Neither one of us like the pre-formatted devotionals, so this seems like the best idea. I wonder what other couples do for their quiet times if they don't want to follow a devotional?