Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Photo of the Day

Dusk approaches near Forest Hills Foods in West Michigan

We'll be back later explained

To make a long story short I am having some health issues and won't be posting on a regular basis for awhile while I get a handle on things. If something really cool or out of the ordinary happens I will post a note here, and since I can send pictures directly from my iPhone to the blog (how cool is that!!??) I'll post a picture each day or so. That way there will be something to see.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Darling Danielle Learned at School

It is good that we pay exhorberant taxes for school! One thing I really liked about moving to Michigan was that the quality of the school system was superior to what we left back in New Jersey. My oldest boy at the time was having trouble with his grades and they improved significantly when we came out here.

Danielle was proudly regaling me this morning with her knowledge of international sign language! I had no idea the curriculum was so varied at her school!

She was able to show me the equivalent offensive American middle fingered gesture for Australia, Italy, and China! Now, that is your tax dollars at work!

Being Italian, I feel the need to ground her for the week since she flipped off her father! She thinks because she shared the popcorn that I bought her yesterday that this mitigates this parental insult!

She is quite the young lady! Hard to believe she has evolved from this:

Danielle (and Bubbles) in March of 2000

A Week ago Today

was Easter. It was a decent day, the kids, the X, and her Parents came over for pasta. I made spaghetti and meatballs, with pepperoni and sausage in the sauce as well. I also made my infamous garlic butter spread for garlic bread and a plain loaf of warm Italian Bread as well.

The X gave the kids Easter Baskets at her house. I thought it was cute that they all wanted Easter baskets, Scott and Danielle preferred that t just getting some candy without the basket.

After dinner we looked at some digital pictures from 1999 and 2000 up on the 50" plasma, quite the difference between the kids then and now! We then tucked into the dessert Mom had brought.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Two of my Favorite Females

Danielle and Tails in a cute moment!

Take a deep breath before passing on an e-mail

Yes, this is one of those posts where I vent about something that annoys me.

A very good, long time friend this morning passed on an e-mail that was largely inaccurate. It claimed that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Australia made a speech saying he wanted Muslims out of Australia. I Googled this with the word "HOAX" appended to it and immediately I saw this was something that has been circulating the Internet for years now and it was in fact mostly inaccurate, particularly in the context given. They also suspect the reason it is circulating again is to stir up feelings of hate and racism! This can be seen at this page here.

I get many mails from friends and family of this nature and most of them are spam or scams, so I ask you to please, take a deep breath before passing on an email.

Yes! Just take a moment and think about it! Do a little research! Take the subject matter and put it in text quotes, go to Google, enter it and put +hoax or +scam after it (with a space in between the closing text quote) and make sure this is not one of countless hoaxes that have been circulating the Internet for years!

This is a pet peeve of mine as I get a ton of mail like this both from people I know and many I have never heard from. So, be responsible and use some common sense when dealing with your e-mail such as:
  • If you do not know the person sending you the mail, delete it!
  • If there is an attachment and you have any doubt whatsoever of it's content delete it!
  • Make sure you have anti virus software installed and something that scans for Trojans as well. Drop me an e-mail if you need recommendations as there are plenty of free programs out there. Set them to update automatically.
  • Make sure, particularly if using Windows, to have security patches installed automatically.
  • If your e-mail has a spam filter, turn it on.
Use common sense because:
  • NO ONE is sending you a million dollars from Nigeria!
  • The windowed wife of some foreign country's ruler is not sending you his fortune!
  • Bill Gates is NOT sharing his fortune with you!
  • IBM and Intel are not giving away millions to you!
  • You did NOT NOT NOT win the United Kingdom Lottery you never entered!!!!
  • Just because the message starts with "This was certified by 'insert various hoax site name here'" does NOT mean it really was! Go to the hoax site and check it out or Google it above!
  • If it sounds to good to be true it most likely is not true!
  • If you forward the e-mail on to 2,4,6,8,or 12 of your friends you will NOT become rich, meet the person of your dreams, or have your deepest desire fulfilled! you will NOT cure cancer either for that matter.
  • If you forward the e-mail on to 2,4,6,8,or 12 of your friends, there's a good chance you will annoy 2,4,6,8,or 12 of your friends and then cause them to annoy 2,4,6,8,or 12 of their friends. At the very worst you are helping to spread ill will, hate, and racism and other karma impacting things to others.
OK, Stepping down off my metaphorical soapbox I am done ranting and raving now but this sort of thing just annoys me because if people were more careful there would be less spam and less scams....and the Internet would be a faster and safer place for all!

Danielle's Baby

So, imagine my complete and total surprise as evidenced by the title of this post! You may have read about Danielle's former boyfriend here and my misgivings of her dating someone two years older than her as she is only 14!! This is something my X wife and I had disagreed on, but I let it continue because I love my daughter and it made her happy. I was worried she might get hurt!! So, knowing this perhaps you can put two and two together??

Well shame on you! She's only 14 for goodness sake! You should be ashamed of yourself!!!

So, anyway, she's sitting here on the double recliners, and I am on the couch. She had trapped the cat under the blanket she had over her legs and the cat was struggling to escape. It wiggled it's way down to her feet and then with a loud plopping noise dropped out onto the floor taking off like a shot, whereupon Danielle chirps up and says Look! I just dropped a baby!"

Anyway, if you bought into the first paragraph at all Danielle and I are chuckling mightily at your expense!

Useless Factoid of the Day

A useless, yet interesting factoid is that at five minutes and six seconds after 4 AM on the 8th of July this year, the time and date will be:

04:05:06 07/08/09

This will never happen again!

However, next year at six minutes and 7 seconds after 5 AM on the 9th of August the time and date will be:

05:06:07 08/09/10

That will never happen again!

We now return control of your life to you! And no, you may not have the last two minutes of your life back!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Terrible Tale of Mr. Chris and the Ghost Peppers!

Wednesday my friend Dave at work gave me a bottle of Dave's Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce. I tried it that evening adding it a recipe I was making, and I used about a teaspoon. Note this was at the start of the cooking process and it was a single serving recipe.

It gave the food quite a nice kick and taste, and while indeed spicy, it was, as I have used this line in the past, nothing to write home about. It was a good flavor but not a huge amount of heat.

Well, last night I must have had a brain fart because I made myself a frozen dinner (one of those new all natural varieties) and after it was done I took a taste. It was decent, and obviously of better quality than your usual frozen dinner but for something labeled as Spicy Southwestern Style Chicken, it was about as spicy as Whoopi Goldberg in a cocktail waitress' dress. It needed some spice!

What to do, what to do, what to do? I thought! And then I spied the bottle of Ghost Pepper sauce......So, I added a couple of teaspoons and a dash for good measure of Ghost Pepper sauce and mixed it in.. Note that this was after cooking had finished in case you were still busy visualizing Miss Goldberg and forgot about that fact. In the back of my mind I was thinking the previous exposure to the sauce that it was just not as spicy as advertised, but, being in the midst of a senior moment I forgot I had cooked it the previous evening for about 20 minutes which of course mitigates a lot of the heat.

It should be noted here that the Ghost Pepper Sauce has a rating of 550,000 Scoville units which is in the same range as Law Enforcement Grade pepper spray. Per Wikipedia, the Scoville scale is a measure of the hotness or piquancy of a chili pepper, as defined by the amount of capsaicin (a chemical compound which stimulates nerve endings in the skin) present.

I'd like to humbly suggest that various Law Enforcement departments around the world should carry a bottle of this instead of pricey pepper spray! Imagine the cries of "Can I have some wings and blue cheese dressing with that?!" screamed by malefactors subdued in this manner as they fall to the ground like sacks of wet sand!!

Anyway, I digress! So, the food was prepared, the sauce added, and I sat down to watch the previous night's episode of Better off Ted. I took quite a large bite (I was using a tablespoon since there was rice in the dinner), and instantly any trace of being tired or congested from the cold I have had this week vanished in a flaming flash as my eyes went from mere slits to wide opened!

It was to say the least very spicy! While the heat of it was not too much to bear (though was certainly hotter than I prefer for casual dining!) my eyes were watering, I went through about a dozen double sheets of paper towels mopping the sweat from my head,! My eyes were tearing something fierce and the tears were streaming down my cheeks! An average person would probably have been screaming or reduced to lying and moaning in the fetal position.

How hot was it you ask?? Heck! The EPA called and mentioned the neighbors' were complaining about intense pungent fumes coming from my house. The wanted to know what was going on! They accused me of having a chemical processing plant in my garage!!!!

Well, the head sweating and eye tearing went on for about 20 minutes or so while I was eating, because of course I had to eat the entire portion! Knowing that water or soda, my usual dinner beverage, are useless on a fire like this I drank nothing while eating which took about 15 minutes. Afterward, instead of reacting the way the average person might by downing a bucket of water, I enjoyed a small scoop of vanilla ice cream which immediately stopped the burning in mouth.

I did drink about 40 ounces of diet orange soda after the ice cream over the course of the next two hours, but I figure that was to replace fluids lost as a result of the sauce. I was not overly thirsty per say.

I can see myself making a big batch of my famous baked spicy chicken wings, and in addition to a whole jar of Sambal Oelek and the other spicy items I use, I can see some amount of this making it's way into the sauce, which of course is added after the wings have been baked nice and crisp so all the heat would be maintained.

This experience also reinforced my thought that this would be an excellent addition to my ground beef chili recipe!

Finally. to my friend Dave I say thanks again, it was quite the eye opening experience!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I arose early to a gorgeous bright and Sunny day! By 10:30 AM I had done three loads of laundry, folding and putting away 2 with one still in the drier. I had also done 9.5 miles on the exercise bike and done the shopping for Easter dinner after getting cleaned up. I also started cleaning the incredible mess that was my house after a week with the kids there. What a productive morning, normally it takes me most of the day to get that much done.

While it was still in the 40's when I went to the store I could not resist the sun and I eschewed the wearing of a jacket enjoying the briskness of the morning in my short sleeved shirt! It was glorious and I had to resist the urge to give the heavy coat wearing bag boy a hard time!

I took a lunch break and watched the rest of Good Luck Chuck before doing some work on the computer.

I did notice that a new movie was playing at the local theater. based on the poster below you can bet I will go see it!


So, the kids and I ended going off to Ming 10 and had an excellent lunch. The place was packed! We've been there many times and at all hours and never have I seen such a crowd. We were placed in the furthest section away form the food. Because there was so much traffic the food was constantly being replenished and never had a chance to sit for long so everything was wonderfully fresh.

After a thoroughly delicious repast eating stoutly like trenchermen, we headed out. We stopped at the Meijer that is adjacent to the complex that Ming 10 inhabits as my good friend Brian told me that his wife Carrie had found Dreamfield pasta there. This was good news because after the local grocer by my house stopped carrying it (they replaced it with disgusting gritty stone ground whole wheat pasta) I had been reduced to mail order to keep it on hand. Dreamfield uses a unique method to encapsulate most of the carbohydrates in the pasta so out of a normal serving which contains 40 grams of carbs, only five are digested. And it looks and tastes like regular pasta. Being a diabetic, Dreamfield pasta is something that lets me enjoy pasta without my blood sugar being affected!

They did indeed have it, so I picked up a few boxes, a roll of electrical tape, some cat treats, and a pair of wire cutters. Thursday after I got home from work Scott seeing the portion of the dash from the Mustang that contains the cigarette lighter was spurred into action and wanted to install the radio I bought for his car last September! I could not find my wire cutters so a new pair was needed.

We had gotten as far as we could Thursday having removed the old radio and gotten together everything we needed for the installation of the new.

Returning home I began working on the wiring harness that would mate the new radio into the existing wiring. I had bought the radio from Crutchfield and they sell a kit that makes the radio, which was a totally different size, fit like it was custom made int he dash of the car. They also give you a wiring harness that mates with the existing one in the car and that is wired to the new hardness. This requires some time as you have to solder and then tape each connection which I did. here's a picture of my work area:

So, after about two hours work all total I had the harness made, we got everything plugged in and the adapter faceplate would not mate with the holes in the dash of his car! A quick inspection showed I had put the new radio in upside down so I turned the bracket 180 degrees, and got everything connected. We turned it on and nothing came out of the radio except static, the same symptom of the broken radio! Scott was distressed because the person we got the car from said it was a bad radio. I checked the connections int he trunk to the antenna and they were fine, so, I pulled the radio out to find the antenna connection had slipped out! We got that firmly in place and Scott, with the radio playing, carefully put all the screws back in the pieces of his dashboard he had removed.

He headed out with his friends, and Danielle and I watched TV while snacking on some popcorn samples that had been delivered. Scott and Steve showed up a bit later and played Left 4 Dead here awhile before heading out to meet up with more friends. I dropped her off at her Mom's house around 6 PM and then Tails and I spent a very quiet evening watching TV and puttering on the computer. I retired around 1 AM.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lost In Space

Picture of me during today's EVA

The start of a long weekend.

On the way home from work yesterday, where I worked a half day from 6:30 AM to 10:30 AM I stopped at Tommy's one of these quick change oil places. The Mustang has been going there since I obtained it and they know me and the car well. In addition to the Oil Change the car needed a new air filter and it was time for the power flush and changing of the fluid in the power steering system. This whole process took about 30 minutes and then the car and I enjoyed a free car wash before stopping at the X's to help her with a computer issue. On the way from her place to mine I stopped at Forest Hills Foods to pickup the ingredients for dinner.

The kids are off this week for spring break and while Danielle has been going to assorted friends houses Scott spent most of the week indoors, partially because many of his friends were out of town for spring break, partially because he is still not feeling the best. His is still having pain in his chest and trouble breathing but it is not as bad as it was a week ago. I hope he continues to improve!

Danielle, who slept over her friend Bob's (a girl!) the night before spent the day on her friends grandparent's farm yesterday. She helped feed the baby goats, watched them milk the goats (she did not wish to experience that!), and then they all made cookies. Danielle named one of the goats Candlesticks which I thought was amusing. She had a good time. Scott went out around 3 PM and Danielle got home around 4:30. As Scott would not be home for dinner I made tortellini with a creamy pesto sauce accompanied by grilled chicken strips. It was quite delicious!

We then spent the remainder of the evening watching TV, computing, and I played some Left 4 Dead. When Scott returned around 9:30 we watched a couple of episodes of The Smpsons off DVD. I retired around midnight.

This morning I arose around 8 AM. It is now 11 and shortly Scott will be woken and we will be heading off to Ming 10 for lunch. It's my last day with the kids and they will be at their Mom's for dinner since this evening is the start of her week. thought taking them out to a nice lunch would be a good end to the week since I have today off.

I have really been enjoying my iPhone. my bluetooth earpiece arrived Wednesday and it is so cool to be anywhere on the first floor of my house and be able to take a call with the phone docked in one of the two bases I have for it. If it is docked in the speaker dock and I ma listening to music when a call comes in the music pauses. I can then pickup the call on the earpiece and when I am done the music resumes from where it paused. The dock in the car will do the same thing, though I have to crawl up under the dash to replace the fuse I blew when I took the panel off the dash to fix the loose cigarette lighter socket that was causing the dock to move left and right whenever I made turns.

The applications for the iPhone (I have about 25) range from the very useful, to fun games, to totally ridiculous items, but it is some good stuff!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Review of Isound Dgipod-1500 Twin Charger For Iphone[tm] 3g, Iphone[tm] & Ipod[r] (isound Dgipod1500)

  • Compatible with iphone 3G, iphone & all iPod models
  • Charges 2 devices simultaneously from any wall outlet
  • Custom led illumination
  • Sturdy desktop design
  • Includes brackets for current iphone & iPod models & 110/240V AC adapter

  • 4 5

    Describe Yourself: Gearhead, Business Professional, Parent, Practical

    Primary use: Personal

    This does what it is advertised to do; it charges two iPods or an iPhone/iPhone 3G and another iPod. The on/off button for the blue charge light is a nice touch. Only complaint is it could be heavier to allow for easier one handed removal of a device but that's just my preference. I would definitely recommend this to someone needing a dual device charging stand.

    I would have given it 4.5 stars, but the rating system would not let me!

    This can be obtained from Beach Audio

    Saturday, April 04, 2009

    Saturday Morning in West Michigan

    I awoke shortly before 8 since Danielle, in preparation for her first day of school at Barbizon, had to be up by 8 AM. I was 99% sure she would be, when it comes to things like setting the alarm clock she is very responsible and in fact wakes Scott up each morning for school.

    She was up and ready by 8:50 when her mom picked her up. We decided since the monthly classes (4 hours on Saturday and Sunday) always fall on my weeks to alternate the days, so, I will take her and pick her up tomorrow. After class they will be picking up one of Danielle's friends and the X will drop them off at Red Sun Buffet for lunch. They will call me when they are ready to be picked up so I can bring them back here.

    The four of us ate at Red Sun last night in fact, on the weekends they also have roast beef out for carving, and for a Chinese Buffet it is very tasty and of good quality. They also have a limited selection of shusi (less than Ming 10) and a grill. They also have a larger selection of food, but it is of just slightly less quality than Ming 10. Since it is closer and the kids like it better it is now our place of choice Friday and the weekend. Weekdays we would still go to Ming 10.

    All of Scott's friends are going away for Spring break. One of his Best friends Alex is not leaving until later today so I let him spend the night as Scott is feeling better, though the pain and trouble breathing are still present. He is in a much better mood though which is good!

    I have been adding additional songs to my iPhone this AM from my large collection and enjoying the $10 free mp3 credit from Amazon (5 for the case, 5 for the speaker dock I bought)

    The Amazon software stub that integrates with the web browser is nice ; it detected iTunes and automatically adds the music to it. There are also a ton of free songs that change almost daily if you go to their mp3 site.

    Currently I have 400 songs, 35 video files, 60 applications, and 7200 digital photographs (starting from my first digital camera in 1999). I still have about 4.5 Gigabytes free though out of 16.

    It is a glorious sunny day with blue skies, and probably going to be the warmest we shall see in days since snow is predicted tomorrow.

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Posting direct from iPhone

    Tails is watching you read my blog!


    Thanks to those of you that sent me e-mails or posted comments regarding my son. It means a lot!

    Scott is still feeling ill but has been making improvement. He went to school this week managing all three days before spring break started on Thursday. They are off all next week, I have two half days Tuesday and Thursday, so I will be home at 10:30 AM those days and I have next Friday off for Good Friday.

    Danielle starts attending Barbizon modeling classes tomorrow (goodbye money we made selling one of our timeshare units!) . This is in spite of the headaches she has been having for months now. Back in early February we were told to make an appointment with a pediatric neurologist....the first opening was April 15th!

    I am still loving my iPhone, anyone who wants me to harass them with pictures from it please e-mail me your e-mail address to

    blandishment at-sign gmail dot com

    I am sure you can figure out the email address from that but I did not want it sucked off the page by any annoying web crawlers which could then spam me. It should like something like if you are computer challenged and the above looks like gibberish to you!

    Not much else to say I guess other than some TV comments I may put into a new post, work is keeping me busy, and I'm just not feeling like a lot of posting these days, though I will try to post more going forward. It's just been a very, very rough few weeks.