Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Searches for 2008 according to MSN.COM

Happy New Year all!

As the year comes to a close I noticed on MSN web site an article about 2008 searches on the net. What were the most popular searches. One of those searches was for a "Death Calculator". So, for kicks and giggles I decided to try out a couple of these to see how much time I had left according to these "Death Calculators". Here are links to a couple of the ones I played with:

The idea here is for you to answer some questions and it will spit out an approximate death date for you. I went though and answered the questions. The good news for me is they think I will die around November 2037. Ok, I have a few years left yet. The bad news is the one indicated that I am considered obese (Yikes!). The questions they ask ranged from how much sleep do you get, how much exercise do you get, how is your nutrition, how often do you have sex, are you married.

Now, since I am unmarried sex isn’t an option at this point. But, for kicks and giggles I changed my answer to once a week and it said I would live five more years. I also changed my answer to married and it again gave me another five years. So all in all it claimed I would live 10 years more if I were married and had sex at least once a week. The problem I have with all this is that when I was married I never got sufficient sleep or rest and was completely miserable. I spent most of the last part of the marriage sleeping in a recliner. Everyone I know that is married is currently stressed out and miserable. I can’t see how being stressed out and miserable would make you have a longer life. I also wonder why we just couldn’t get some exercise in the form of a brisk walk or jogging or something. It was fun to change things around to see how the date would be affected. I think the bottom line is to eat right, get some exercise, and get your rest and sleep.

Again, Happy 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung on the partition with care, in hopes that a not so jolly fat man soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of presents danced in their heads. I had just settled down for a short nap.

When out in the living room rose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. I threw open the bedrooms door and dashed into the room. When, what to my wondering eyes should I see, but three very guilty looking cats had destroyed the Christmas tree! There was garland and bulbs all over the floor and those dirty scoundrels were looking for more.
Not being so lively and quick I began to put the garland
and bulbs back on the tree rather quick. After I had restored the tree I began to scold the cats not one or two but all three! As I returned to bed shaking his my head I exclaimed "Next year we get to do this all over again!".
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Even Old Glory can't escape natures wrath

Today as I drove around town I started to notice some of the extent of the ice storm damage. Even Old Glory her self couldn’t withstand natures furry. Several flags were torn and tattered and very little of the large flag near Glennbrook Dodge remained. Yesterday I listened again to my Ham Radio and several of the conversations were related to the weather. One person indicated he had heard this was the worse ice storm we had ever had in this area. I can believe it. I drove over to the south side of town to help a friend and that side of town seems to have been hit harder than it was here. I would drive a few blocks and there would be a stop light out. I would drive a few more blocks and the power would be working. It was like that all over the south side of town.

A week or so ago I wrote that it looked like old man winter got an early start. At this point I am thinking we are in for a long hard winter. I am hoping this cold snap will pass, but I believe we are in for our first "real" Indiana winter in a long time. I am not really looking forward to two to three more months of snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, and rain. Today at 4:56pm it was 0 degrees outside with the forecast for around 5 below (wind chill factors of up to 30 below). As of right now it is –2 degrees out there and when I was out today it was bitter cold. Oh Boy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today's Icy Weather

Today I had the day off as part of my vacation. At this moment I am counting my blessings again. I am home and my power has been on all day long. Early this morning I turned on my Ham Radio to listen in and the first thing I hear is reports of people with out power. One person said it might be Sunday before they get their power back. Around an hour later I heard what I thought was thunder. It was later confirmed that it was indeed thunder as another discussion on the radio about how weird this weather is.

At one point today there were conflicting reports of how many people were without power. On report said 80,000 people in the area were with out power. Another report said 68,000. Let’s just say there was a lot at that moment. One guy on the radio works for the Huntington Count Sheriffs department was giving reports of power outages, which were spotty, on his way to work. One person indicated that the Red Cross had established a shelter at the memorial coliseum. There were reports of trees down and power lines down all day long. I was reading my email tonight and I am in several railroad yahoo groups and there were reports of trains hitting downed trees. Tonight I am thinking about those people who had to go to the coliseum to stay. I counting my blessings to be sitting here with power and enjoying an evening at home. I hope those people who are without power have their power is restored soon!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Over the hill and picking up speed!

Ok, so it is official "I am old"! The person who said life begins at 50 was a liar. I am only 43 and you know the thing I miss the most is my mind. My eyesight is right there behind that. Today I picked up my first set of bifocal eyeglasses. Yes, I said bifocals! I am officially over-the-hill and picking up speed.

For about 20 years I worked with computers for a living. At 37 I got my first pair of reading glasses. The doctor said that I was really lucky to have gone that long without glasses considering what I did for a living. It was a shock to the system, but I got over it. Then came the daily dose of Mountain Dew, multi vitamin, and Tylenol Arthritis to get things going in the morning. Some days around 9am I have to do what I call an Ibuprofen chaser to get over the pain. Now, e-gad I am getting the fathers families hairline to go with those bifocals. Did I mention that when I go to tell someone something at times it takes longer for the information to come out of the data storage device called the brain?

I think we need to sit our kids down and tell them this: "Getting old is hell! First here is a couple coke bottle bottoms to look through. That is the way things will look when you get old with out glasses. Next let’s strap some 2X4’s to your leg’s so that you will can’t move around as well as you used to. And, for good measure we will shave part of your head! Oh yea, empty your wallet as the doctor visits and the cost of glasses will drain it, because insurance won’t cover enough of the cost to leave you anything left over. The bottom line is it’s going to hurt in more than one way!"

The good news for me is I get to wear my eyeglasses full time. I guess I can’t forget them somewhere. That is unless they are stuck in my hand or I am taking a picture of something and forget they are on my head (yes I have done this and worse. I nearly ran them over after leaving them on top of the car and having them fly off). I can actually read the text on my phone for the first time in a long time. I can actually see the text on my laptop screen again. Everything no longer looks slightly fuzzy.

I think Toby Keith summed it up in his country music hit "As good as I once was" Toby says:

"I ain’t as good as I once was. I got a few years on me now. But there was a time back in my prime…. My how the years have flown… I ain’t as good as I once was. That’s just the cold hard truth!!"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Centennial Wireless Christmas Display

On Saturday night after my kids and I did our yearly visit to the AWS Fantisy of lights I decided we would go out and see one of my colleges light display out off Covington road. On the way down State Street we were going past the head quarters for Centennial Wireless. Each and every year Centennial Wireless has a large Christmas display on their front lawn. This year was no exception. My daughter wanted to stop and walk through. My son at first didn't want to do it. We finally stopped and walked through the display.

This was our first year to walk through this display. This may also be the last year for us to walk through the display. AT&T is currently waiting on approval for their acquisition of Centennial Wireless The approval is expected to come through in the first quarter of next year. Even though this may be the last year they have the display at that location it was nice walking through the display with the kids. The good news for AT&T customers is their call quality will most likely go up if AT&T uses Centennial's network. In my opinion Centennial Wireless has the 2nd best cell phone service in the area. I have had cell phones with AT&T, Cingular, Centennial, and Verizon. In my opinion Verizon has the best service in the area. I have not tried US Cellular or T-mobile. Of all the places I have been Verizon service has very rarely failed. When I had AT&T I couldn't get or make calls in certain places in New Haven for instance. And when I was with Cingular I had a stretch of road were the calls dropped all the time.

Any way, we enjoyed our stop to walk though Centennial’s display and I hope there is a display to walk through again next year. Merry Christmas All!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review of Off the Air Digital TV (DTV)

On December 3, 2008 I made the switch to off the air TV or digital TV. I have had cable or satellite TV for over 30 years, but due to financial conditions at my house I made the choice to unplug my Dish Network TV in favor of having free tv. I wasn’t sure what this would mean to me, but I already owned 3 of the converter boxes two of which were connected to my kids TV’s and the other two TV’s had dish. Until December 3, 2008 I had a spare converter box.

So far I can say the picture quality is excellent! Even though the signal strength is on low power I receive the signals of 4 out of the 5 stations in Fort Wayne (15, 21, 33, 39, and 55). I do not currently get channel 55 as they must be running on ultra low power. The information I have shows they are on the air on channel 36 (to be explained later) and that if you are further than a few miles from the station you may not get their signal. When they go full power early next year that is to change. If you are familiar with satellite TV when the weather is bad I get some wavering and outages so that feels somewhat familiar. The wavering is not nearly as bad as it was with analog TV. Will be interesting to see what happens when they go full power on February 17, 2009.

The Channel lineup for Fort Wayne and surrounding area is as follows. We have a total of twelve channels.
15.2 WANE National Weather Service Radar
21.2 WPTA CW
21.3 WPTA Viper Radar
33.2 WKJG My Network TV
33.3 WKJG INC Now 24/7 New Channel
39.1 WFWA PBS39 A simulcast of PBS39’s traditional analog broadcast
39.2 WFWA Kids39 24/7 award-winning educational public television children’s programming
39.3 WFWA CreateTV 24/7 award-winning programs for do-it-yourselfers
39.4 WFWA 39-4You News, information documentaries and more, 'round the clock.

WFFT-TV Channel 55
The Super station WFFT-TV channel 55 on January 1, 2008 became Fox Fort Wayne. WFFT-TV will be broadcasting on channel 36 for their digital TV broadcast. I have wondered what possessed them to be on channel 36 for their digital broadcast. Well, MediaFlo will be using channel 55 on a nationwide basis for one way data transmission. Mystery solved. Mediaflo will be broadcasting for delivery to guess what? Cell phones! The company’s mission is mobile entertainment. Currently the WFFT must be broadcasting on ultra low power as the information I found on the Internet says that their signal will be only viewable from a few miles or less from the station. I hope we don’t get the same crappy picture they had under the analog world. Let’s see I live about ten miles from the station, it would be nice if their signal was strong enough to cover all of Fort Wayne at a minimum. As of today digitally they might as well not be on the air except for testing purposes.

Converting to DTV
If you have a TV that is more than Two Years old you will have to buy a converter box. The federal government has developed a coupon program to allow you to purchase these boxes at a big discount. To apply for the coupons go to this website . These coupons come in the form of a credit card type thing. You go down to the local store, pick out a converter box, take it to the check out, then the coupon is applied. Take it home, plug it in to your TV, connect your antenna, then allow the box to program it’s self. It is really easy to setup. Depending on what you want from your converter box you can walk out of the store for around $15 tax and all and be all set.

All in all I am really impressed with Digital TV. The signal quality is the same as I received with DISH Network. If I had a HDTV TV I would be getting high definition tv for free. Unfortunately HDTV isn’t high on my list of things I want at the moment.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Last Nights full moon

What is it about a full moon that makes people cranky. Last night was the brightest full moon of the year. The moon was at it’s closest to the earth at approximately 221,560 miles. The average distance is 238,855 miles. As I was pulling into my driveway the moon had just risen and my son made a comment about how big it was. According to the claims on the Internet the moon was to look about 30 percent bigger last night and it was at the closest to the earth in 15 years.

There is no definite proof that a full moon affects people’s behavior. However, a few years ago I delivered pizza for a living for a while to make ends meet after being laid off from my job. I can tell you from experience that I never liked the nights that the moon was full. People seemed to be crankier, nastier, and tips were always less. Last night I can say my kids were in rare form. They seemed more restless than most Friday nights. Nights when the moon is full it puts on a spectacular display. Last night was no exception. The view as I pulled into my driveway was breath taking indeed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

AWS Fantasy of Lights

From now until December 31, 2008 the AWS Fantasy of Lights display will be open to the public at Franke Park in Fort Wayne Indiana. As you drive your vehicle through the park you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. The cost of the event is $5 for cars, $10 for passenger vehicles and $25 for a bus or trolley. Hours are 6pm-10pm Friday and Saturday, 6pm-9pm Sunday-Thursday. Carriage rides are available call 260-744-6145 ext 2230 for information or
260-691-3780 for carriage rides.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

It’s official! I hate winter! I hate snow, cold, and ice. Is it spring yet? According to all the weather predictions for this winter we are to have our first bad winter in a number of years. I believe Mother Nature has allowed Old Man Winter an early start. Oh boy! Considering that it has hardly done nothing but snow on and off for over a week I am betting all the predictions are correct. The good news for me is I work outside and the worse the weather is the more work I will have. I just hope it doesn't get bitterly cold but, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!