Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Adult Vaccines

I don't know where the CDC has run their campaigns, but I'd never heard of any adult vaccines except tetanus boosters and flu shots.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mike Rowe's Seven Dirty Habits

February's Fast Company has an article about Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs. Besides discussing his transformation from slacking underachiever to a hot multi-media property, he presents his Seven Dirty Habits of Highly Effluent People:
  1. Never follow your passion, but by all means bring it with you.
  2. Beware of teamwork.
  3. Vomit proudly and whenever necessary.
  4. Be careful, but don't be fooled - safety is never first.
  5. Think about what you are doing - never how.
  6. Ignore advice such as "Work smart, not hard. It's dangerous - and moronic.
  7. Consider quitting.
I find it more fascinating how he was kind of content for quite a while to work "anonymous" small acting jobs. Or how he honed his improv skills working on-air at QVC.

Lowry Park Zoo goes non-smoking

Lowry Park Zoo has finally gone non-smoking. There will still be designated smoking areas but smoking will no longer be allowed along all the walkways and paths. Finally. When we used to go to the zoo a lot more, I saw our daughter almost get a lit cigarette poked into her head several times by careless smokers walking past while hanging their hands down. I still don't understand why someone would walk a nature path and stop to watch the animals while puffing away.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I saw ColourLovers mentioned on Local Girl's day in pictures. It's a somewhat interesting way to browse color palettes for designs. I usually sample colors from another design that has the right "feel" to it, but this lets you see lots of color combinations in isolation. They have patterns as well but I can't seem to find or understand the licensing of them.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Do you know how I know you're old?

Do you know how I know you're old?This is how old I'm getting. One of the highlights of my week is that a new Publix grocery store is opening near me. That's right. A grocery store. Highlight of my week.

It's replacing the Albertsons that closed over a year ago, but had been dying a slow death since a big Publix and Super WalMart moved into the area. For over a year, the closest, most convenient grocery store has been a Sweetbay (formerly Kash-N-Karry).

Until Albertsons closed, I think I'd been in the Kash-n-Karry/Sweetbay once in 7 years. That was enough. Now I've been in there maybe a dozen times in the past year and I still hate it. At least it was always pretty empty. I'd guess that Sweetbay will last about 18 more months. Fine with me. They're one of the few grocery chains around here that aren't one of our customers.

Update: Ugh. The new Publix is pretty crappy. I mean, it's still a Publix, but it feels just sort of thrown-together. They didn't rearrange much inside the old Albertson's store, so the layout is just weird compared to a scratch-built Publix. After visiting it, I can't help thinking that this tore isn't a long-term plan. It might be just a "put Sweetbay out of business" store and might not last much past that. I guess I'll be watching to see if they install a generator. They did at the Sickles location.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dangerous Things for Kids to Do

I was just watching Gever Tulley's talk on Five Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do. I wish we could pull off some of these at Detour. Parents would freak. This is also a good list for homeschool parents.

His list:
  1. Play with fire. We sort of did this when we did an outside "camp out" for boys earlier this year. They didn't get to really play with the fire that much but at least there was an open flame. I mostly remember playing with fire in fireplaces and the grill when we were growing up.
  2. Have a pocket knife. Yeah. Not gonna do that at church. I think I got a pocket knife before I started school and have carried one almost my entire life. I bought a My First Swiss Army Knife for my daughter a year or two but she hasn't even used it. Maybe I need to make time for it.
  3. Throwing a spear. I disagree with this one a bit. There are plenty of other opportunities for kids to throw things.
  4. Take apart appliances - try to figure out what the parts could be and do. We've done this some during the Robotics break-out at Sports Camp but we could do a lot more. We could really do this at Detour. I've wanted to take apart a bike and maybe a lawnmower engine before but the messiness keeps me worried.
  5. Break the DMCA - he says it's important that kids understand that laws can be broken by accident. This is one I don't really want to touch. It's hard enough to stay legal and comply with copyright law at church without intentionally breaking it.
  6. Drive a car - legal in a big empty private lot. I got most of my early driving experience before I had a license but driving pickup trucks around the Renaissance Festival while I worked there. Not going to happen at church.
What would I add to this?
  1. Go outside. It's really not that dangerous.
  2. Play with electricity. Keep one hand in your pocket and you'll live. I grew up with model trains so I was always playing with AC and DC power.
  3. Eat your own cooking. Kids today can grow up without ever cooking anything from scratch or even seeing anything cooked from scratch. Amazing.
  4. Go places you're not allowed to go. That door that says "Do not enter" is calling your kids. What's behind it?
  5. Talk to strangers. I encourage my kids, especially our daughter, to talk to strangers, within reason. She's become a lot less shy about placing her own order at Chic-Fil-A and is one of the few girls in her brownie troop that I've seen really approach strangers to sell cookies.
  6. Eat wild food. Most of it won't kill you. Raspberries and their relatives are easy to find if you can beat the birds to them.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

My Mini City

Geekdad linked to this -- My Mini City. It's a Simcity-ish Flash game where the population of your city grows based on how many visitors you get to your specific URL. I don't have one, but you can click through to boost Geekdad's population or use a different URL to boost his industry so his sims have jobs. It looks like later you get URLs for other tasks like transportation, security, environment, business.

This just begs for a Facebook app doesn't it? There are several Facebook groups where people are trying to get clicks to build their city bigger but no application.

It's kind of an interesting model. It's sort of pay-per-click, but it doesn't cost Motion-Twin (the company behind it) any hard cash to get clicks. It's just a virtual reward except for the cost of serving up the site and the Flash file(s).

What surprises me is that they're not monetizing their traffic except for their own ads for their own games, which as far as I can tell are free. The top 10 cities have over 10,000 residents. The stats for the US alone shows 14 million inhabitants in 478,615 cities over 36 days. That should translate to at least 14 million visits. That probably translates to well over a million unique visitors if 478 thousand signed up.

If someone like John Chow were to monetize that amount of traffic, he could theoretically turn a million unique visitors into $250,000 in a month. That's pretty theoretical, since John's the master monetizer and someone clicking through to a free Flash game probably isn't about to spend as much as a visitor to John's blog. But it could be even easier if you just ran a few ads for casual games like Bejeweled. But if you could do a tenth as well as him, that's $25,000 a month. Not bad for a pretty simple Flash game and webapp.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Authentic Football Jerseys

Romo Cowboys JerseyNow that the Bucs are done...

A friend of ours has been selling jerseys on eBay for a while and has finally moved to selling directly through his own website, My Jersey Guy.

Indiana Jones Lego

Indiana Jones Lego? That could be a cool license for Lego. If they do a tenth of what they did with Star Wars, we should see some cool stuff. I'm just not sure if that will work for kids. My kids sort of like Indiana Jones, partly because they've seen the stunt show at Disney World, but it's not like their utter fascination with Star Wars. Maybe the Lego Indiana Jones video game will change that.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008


J.D. from Get Rich Slowly is running a book giveaway post where he asked readers for their cheapskate stories. There are some real winners. Great comment-bait.

Christmas wrapping paper is an ongoing theme. A lot of reuse, but there are more creative ones. Sewing Christmas-themed fabric gift bags and reusing them every year. Using New York City subway maps as wrapping paper. (I'm gonna steal that idea).

One guy rents a UHaul truck every May, goes over to his local college dorms and collects all the furniture and everything else students are throwing away. He stores it in his garage then resells it to students in the fall. Last year he made $3,500.

I guess my own cheapskate story would be back when I first lived in an apartment. With 3 roommates, we quickly started to fight over shared expenses, particularly who was going to buy toilet paper. Soon everyone had their own private stash and just knew to bring it with them if they needed it. Well, one time, a friend of mine is over and heads off to the bathroom. I didn't think anything about it until about 10 minutes later when he comes out and throws a magazine at me. "You better be glad I had that with me. You're missing about 20 pages."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples GameI saw on Out Of The Box Games site that they sell blank sheets of Apples to Apples cards. That way you can print your own cards for the game. I know the game comes with a couple blank cards to customize but this lets you take it further.

I gotta be honest. We can't quite get into Apples to Apples. I can just see how it would be fun in the right setting. Like when we used to play Balderdash (the original one) in college, it was much funnier than it is now. I think I'm getting old.

What us old people do like to play instead is Cranium Whoonu. It's slightly similar in concept to Apples to Apples. On each turn you have a set of cards and have to pick the one that the Whoozit (dealer) would like the most (or least in a backwards variant).