Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fanny on the RV dashboard

Here's a photo of Fanny on the dashboard of the RV. She sure is comfy...
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Losing weight

Cathy restarted the Atkins diet and got me on-board 09/14/08. I started out weighing 268.5(!), then 261, and now 257.5. So far I've lost 11 pounds. Given that my goal is to be within 10 pounds of my high-school-weight (back when I was actually working out), I've got to lose another 65 pounds.

Some of that 65 pounds needs to be replaced with muscles, so I'll be losing more than 65 pounds in fat. Ugh. I hate saying it out loud, but man I am fat!

I don't plan on looking like Arnold, but I do want to be much more attractive to my wife. She loves me dearly, but I would like to make myself more pleasant to look at. :-)

Some people give up cigarettes, I'm giving up snacks and rice. *sigh*

Cathy's last day at work

Today marks Cathy's last day of employment for the time being. She enjoys her work environment, her co-workers, and her boss likes her. It seems to me that her competence was recognized, so Cathy is sad to leave.

At the same time, she will be enjoy keeping the house organized for a while as we prepare for our move into the R.V. and (God willing) our soon-coming trip to Georgia.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ther is no free Microsoft Publisher Reader, but there are options

Microsoft Publisher does not have a free viewing program like Adobe Acrobat Reader. My church uses Publisher, but not everybody has it installed, thus creating a problem for people who have to view Publisher files.

So, if you need to read Publisher files, or if you need to send Publisher files to others, here are a few options, including a "free Publisher reader" of sorts.

For CREATORS of publications:

You can convert your publication to PDF first, and email the PDF file.
  • If you have Publisher 2003, you should download a PDF printer. I would recommend that you install CutePDF (you'll also need to install GhostScript). This will give you a CutePDF "printer"; You can create PDF files from anything you print, so just print your Publisher file to CutePDF. You will be prompted to save the PDF file; just email the PDF instead of the Publisher file.
  • If you have Publisher 2007, download the "Save as PDF or XPS" plug-in from Microsoft. From your publication, choose the File menu to save the publication as a PDF file, then email it.
  • You can also embed the Publication in the body of an email; use the File menu in Publisher to send the publication as an email.

For RECEIVERS of publications:

If you receive a PUB file as an attachment and do no have Publisher, you can convert it or get a "free reader."
  • You can convert the PUB file to a PDF online, for free, at PDF Online and have the converted document emailed to you.
  • You can also get a "free reader" of sorts by running the Publisher trial version until it expires. Download the TRIAL of Publisher 2007. For 60 days, you will have full functionality. After 60 days, it will still open PUB files; you can print but you cannot edit them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Check your tires!

Saw this on Consumerist; six-year-old and older tires could be really dangerous.

Essentially, the rubber of tires dry out after approximately six years, then they can blow while looking completely new. See the video below and check out the post at Consumerist.

YouTube: Ninja Cat

This is cute; a cat keep approaching the camera during peek-a-boo. The last shot is precious. :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ubiquity, Firefox, and Google Chrome

Firefox is brought to you (ultimately) by the Mozilla Foundation, which brings you Mozilla Labs, which brings you stuff like Weave for Firefox and (eventually) Ubiquity.

Ubiquity promises to be awesome (video link); it is an attempt at
"connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily."
And I'll bet it'll be integrated tightly with Firefox.

Google Chrome is very promising, but I've switched back to Firefox for day-to-day browsing, and it only gets better with time. Get Firefox and add some extensions.

Monday, September 08, 2008

BBC thinks I'm a girl

The website has a scary name, but BBC's Sex I.D. test attempts to tell you if you are more male or female in terms of you thinking. They think I'm a girl (primarily because, I think, I did well on the "where are the keys" test).

We're moving due to foreclosure

So, after trying to sell our place for 10 months and having two buyers waiting in the wings for three months, it looks like we're not going to make it into escrow before foreclosure.

We got our foreclosure notice back in June. We have been trying to do a short sale since March (?) and in June we got two buyers! Unfortunately, entering escrow requires the mortgage holder to approve the buyer, so they have sent out three appraisers, but so far we're still waiting on the paperwork.

As most normal escrows take 30 days, short sale escrows tend to take 45 days or more. As the foreclosure auction will occur before the sale completes, we are not going to get done.

Oh, we're still waiting on the third appraiser's final report, and that was almost a month ago. *sigh* It is almost like the bank wants to foreclose instead of selling the property.

Cathy talked to several financial counseling places. The first one, a non-Christian one, suggested that we go into bankruptcy. I called a Christian one that told me to stop paying all my bills and call back in four weeks. Cathy called a couple more Christian ones and they both suggested that they couldn't help us and that we seriously consider bankruptcy. *sigh*

I spoke with a real estate attorney and he says our second mortgage holder gets very little from a short sale, so they would likely block the sale. I didn't know they could do that, but CitiMortgage did call me up and, when I told them about the short sale, said they would block it as a matter of course. The attorney said that the second mortgage holder would get a judgment against us for the full amount and we'd be in debt for a long time to come. He also suggested bankruptcy.

So, despite our efforts, we're going into foreclosure. There's still a change our primary mortgage holder will put it off and try to work with us but, since we're still not in escrow, I doubt it.

It is a rather unfortunate set of circumstances. I'm not sure where Rhonda (my M.I.L.) will live, but we'll be moving into the R.V., and it looks like that will be October.

Recycling and Groceries

Cathy and I recycle; we don't do it to the best of our abilities, but we do the obvious, like bottles, cans, and bags.

We bought shopping bags which are left in the trunk for our shopping trips, including two insulated bags for our refrigerated items. It is a lifestyle choice we've made, and it's something Cathy and I do together.

Just a point about grocery bags. A vast majority of plastic bags are recyclable, but there seems to be a popular idea that plastic bags are evil, environment-destroying menaces. For example, the September 7th, 2008 issue of Rose is Rose says plastic bags are bad.

Plastic bags don't have to end up in the landfill. You have probably noticed the "Recycle your bags here" bins at the grocery store. That's because plastic bags are readily recyclable (see this eHow article).

And, by the way, most paper bags I've seen at grocery stores are from recycled sources, too, so you're probably not asking for trees to give up their lives for you.

Cathy and I use our own shopping bags because we don't want more bags to be produced. However, don't feel guilty using the bags, so long as you recycle them.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I'm on Facebook now, much in the same way other people might be on drugs. You can find my Facebook profile here.

There are several things I like about Facebook. For one thing, I have found friends I have not seen in almost 20 years. While I backed out of MySpace right away, Facebook's privacy controls kept me around.

Besides, it lets me contact people without compromising my privacy. :-)

I like the Twitter integration and ability to post RSS feeds. I'll still Twitter, but it goes to FB as well. I'll still blog, but my FB friends can follow the summary if they want. It is a win-win for me.