Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Introducing Project Me...

So, I'll let you know what project me is in a minute... I just wanted to start off by saying that it was snowing when I got here... and it is snowing now that I am about to leave.

It is 24 degrees outside, and just a few hours ago there was no snow on the ground.  Now, it looks like we have at least an inch, maybe two.  Plus, to make things more interesting, the snow does not seem to be slowing down at all.

So, that being said, I think I will actually introduce project me.



A sort of neat idea I have to make an animated GIF image of me growing up over the years... so far I am missing 10 pictures to make the sequence complete, but today I just scanned in 14 of the 15 pictures I need... plus a couple extra of when I was young... a family portrate from less than a year of my birth, and some other stuff too.

I really think the whole thing will be cool once I get everything up to par.

anyway... for now I'm waiting until I get back to Seattle, where I will be able to look through a few more pictures I have laying around... and I guess my real goal is just to show my face.  anyway... until next time...

Later,

     SteveO

Sunday, December 28, 2008

No more snow, but lots of wind...


So, the snow all melted. we have had above freezing temperatures, wind, and rain. Actually, I have to say it feels a lot more like Seattle than Linden outside. So, I have found a more permanent home for my webcam to sit until Wednesday. I have a lot to get done in the next couple of days. I was hoping to get Sally's computer fixed, but she has not brought it over for me to look at it... I assume her computer is in just as bad shape as mom's was. I have only seen the essential friends, which is nice, but I would like to see some of the regulars that I always visit when I come back. I think today I'm going to go over to my sister's house and try to get her TV working correctly. She just got a digital conversion box, but she doesn't pick up any channels.

Other than that, Jaani has been happy, I've been happy.

I am currently copying all the files from mom's old computer to her new external hard drive. With my webcam running that seems to have slowed down to 950KB/sec. Then I will copy her sewing stuff onto her old computer, where she can use her 3.5" floppys with her super-duper sewing machine. At least until I convince her that she just needs to get the USB conversion kit.


Anyway, that is neither here nor there. I should get going, and get something to eat while I'm at it.

Later,
SteveO

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas is over now...

The holiday season is just about over. And at that note so is the year... So at least I got a good picture of almost my whole family. I have everyone except my brother... so that's actually pretty good considering. He decided to skip out before I had a chance to take the picture... oh well, maybe I will have another chance to get everyone in one picture... I hope. I usually only get one chance at that every year, but who knows.

Just to give an update on the weather, today is a crazy day... definately Michigan weather... we had freezing rain last night, it was about 30 degrees this morning, and iGoogle tells me that it is 56 degrees out right now. It's a really nice temperature to go out without a coat or sweater, but all the snow is melting (which is flooding everything...) and it makes it hard to keep the dogs clean. So, I have to try and keep them from going on the grass... ha... yea right.

I got some cool stuff for Christmas. I got: Gloves, 2 hats, a frying pan, a beard trimming kit, 16GB USB memory stick, 2GB memory card for my camera, 2 programming books, a book called The China Study, Socks, a 2009 Michigan calendar, a calendar with pictures of my family, a box if cliff bars, a coffee mug, and more stuff... pretty much everything I asked for and then some.

It was a lot of fun to see the whole family again, and then last night I went down to Troy to hang out with some friends. I figure I've spent the past week hanging around with my family, now this week I'll spend time hanging around with my friends.

So, I'll call that a quick update, and I'll post again soon.

Later,
SteveO

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Poor Weather on Christmas Eve!

So, no picture for this post... but it is raining and 41 degrees outside. So, all the snow is melting and additional water is building up in the puddles. I guess I'm happy a brought my rain coat with me.. anyway, the really bad thing about the rain is that tomorrow's forecast calls for a hight of 27 degrees and a chance of snow. What that translates to is an ice storm. Once the rain falls it will melt the snow on the road... then as night fall, the water (which has no way to run off the road) freezes (and runs you off the road).

So, I need to be extra careful as to what I do today, and I need to be quick about it too.

I will call that a quick update.

Later,

SteveO

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Christmas Party

To, today we had the family Christmas party and it was a fun night.  Unfortunately we were short 10 local family members and 2 extended local family members members due to a combination of poor weather and sickness... plus we missed our beloved 5 long distance family members... However, I am pleased to announce that some pictures are online and I have a time-lapse video of everything that should have been on the webcam.

Here are the pictures...


Speaking of the webcam...  I was having this issue that kept throwing a wrench in the Internet connection... You see, we have a home router, laptop computer, desktop computer, copy machine, fax machine, and huge christmas tree all on one circuit... There is also one more plug on the circuit that we normally don't use and it is in the perfect place to plug in a space heater in the basement... The certain smokers at the party (that don't go out to the garage to smoke) kept going into the basement, cracking the door-wall, and turning on the space heater to keep warm;  that kept blowing the circuit.  As a result, the Internet connection would go down... thus the webcam didn't work very well.  However, for those of you who were disappointed by the webcam not working correctly, I have this time-lapse video of everything you could have seen. I even added some random song as a soundtrack!


I used the song because it was provided by YouTube as this new soundtrack replacement feature... I kinda like it.

So, the party went well, everyone had a good time, and it brings us all 1 day closer to the real christmas, which is just as good as the party, but for different reasons that what makes the party so totally awesome!

That's it for now.

Later,
     SteveO

Special webcam page!

I created a special page for the day that updates the webcam every 10 seconds!

Monday, December 22, 2008

On a lighter note...


There is plenty of snow in Seattle... enough to go snowboarding down queen ann hill (just north of downtown...)

Just a quick update... BTW, if you search YouTube you can find all kinds of videos from the snow they had in Seattle the past couple of days... cars spinning down hills... people snow-shoeing around town... snowboarding down hills... and just about anything you could think of. It's just crazy.

Later,
SteveO

I knew it! The banks scammed us!

I knew it! The bail out had little to do with helping the general public. It is still impossible for most people to get a home loan... Rates are low, but few people can qualify... plus, now the banks won't say what they needed the billions for.

I also think something is corrupt about the way the congress rushed out a plan to throw away $700 billion as a gift to the banking industry for irresponsible actions, but at the same time, they gave the auto industry a hard time with a loan to save American jobs. Plus, the banking industry is laying off massive numbers of people... so here we are, maxing out our national "credit card" to save the banks that are laying off people, handing out million dollar bonuses, and don't feel any obligation to tell the public why they needed our money. It just pisses me off.



Anyway... I'm very angry at the financial industry.

Later,
SteveO

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowed in... Again...

So, another day is waisted as I am stuck in Fenton again.

This time, we only got an inch or two of snow, but the winds have been maintaining 27mph with gusts up to 40mph... so the winds have blown a good 2 1/2 feet on top of the driveway... which, the driveway was only clear for about a day.

I guess it's my fault in a way... The driveway was clear until about noon.  I didn't get out of the house until about 2:30.

So anyway, I guess I won't be able to do any christmas shopping today... I need to get a few gifts still, and I am running out of time fast.

Anyway, there is an update for now.

Later,

     SteveO

Snow in Renton?!?


I just wanted to post this picture because it is a really neat pic. This was taken by a friend of mine from the top of the parking garage at the Renton Transit Center (Renton, WA).

Taken on 12/20/2008.

OK... That's all...

Later,

SteveO

Cirque Fest!

Tonight was a great Night!  I went down to the Majestic Theater in Detroit for a variety show that included some really neat acts.

I must admit that the main reason I went was to see my cousin perform on stage as The Amazing Flec, and even though he stole the show, the entire evening was great!

The host of the evening's festivities was a group by the name of Torch with a Twist.

Here you can see The Amazing Flec, which I only keep saying The Amazing to emphasise the Amazing part.


Just watching his stage presence and ability to capture the audience is amazing to think about... actually, rather than talk about how amazing it is, maybe I should just show a video...

So... here is a video of part of Flec's performace:



As I said... Amazing!

I also have to say I liked this performace by the lovely Lex who was dancing with swords...

I mean, between the burlesque, jazz, blues, and circus flare the entire show was awesome!  It kept me wondering what was next and wanting more!

The entire group was friendly, and came out to visit the crowds and everything, it really was a great time for all!



Then, as I was leaving the Majestic Theater... more snow... and SantaArchy!!!!  So, for those of you who don't know, the SantaArchy people are mostly Burners (people who drive out to Nevada to go to Burning Man every year...)

You can actually see them over on the right side of the picture almost being hit by that car with it's break lights on... These guys go bar hopping around this time of year dressed in sexy and "different" Santa costumes... Some of the variations I saw had Elf ears and that sort of thing.

Which brings me back to snow... which we have been getting a bunch of lately.

As you can see here, the driveway had a bit of snow on it.  So much in fact, that I was stuck at the house all day on Friday until the plow guy came around 22:30PM EST.  It was just late enough to make sure that I was too late to meet my brother and Flec for dinner... bummer.

However, today made up for the day I was snowed in... and when I drove home, there was only about an inch of snow on the Interstate, so everything was fine.

anyway... I guess I'll call that a post.  I'll put up a Picasa Album with all the Cirque Fest pictures once I get more from my cousin and my brother... however, until then...

Later,
     SteveO

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

[11:58AM EST]
It's that time of year again, and I'm back in Michigan.  So far the Christmas tree project is going well.  I thought I would post this picture to give everyone a good idea of how big this tree is... it's a fake tree, but you need a tree that big to fit 128+ ornaments on it...

However, it's all good to see comming together.  The huge tree starts things off... then Tuesday is the family party... and all sorts of stuff in the middle.

Anyway... Jaani and I hardly slept last night... I think I may have gotten about 5 hours of sleep... plus I didn't sleep well on Tuesday night. 

[Lunch break... be back to finish soon...]

Ok... so after lunch... a trip to Costco some working on the computer,ect... it's like 16:42 EST. 

Anyway... the tree is up and we almost have all the decorations in place. 

I am starting to feel like 5 hours of sleep just wasn't enough yesterday... plus I still have to work on my forum style sheet, do some PHP coding... finish fixing my mom's computer... then get to my brother's computer... all before my sister brings her computer over on Monday.  With a little luck by next Tuesday (the family christmas party...) we will have 3 more functional computers than we have right now. 

ok, to finish things off, Jaani is happy to be back in the snowy weather... he keeps running around eating snow, rolling around in the snow, and all that sort of stuff...

Tori is being her usual self, and her lumps seem bigger than ever this year... she seems happy though, and that's what it's all about.  She is a loveable happy trouble maker, and that's what counts the most.

So... first day back in town, and things are going well... although I know I have plenty of people to call.

that's all for now.

Later,

     SteveO

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Late Night Airport Update


[12:18 PST 12/17/2008]
Well, everything was fine at the airport... they rushed me through the line to check my bag, and then escorted me through the security check point because I had Jaani, which was really nice.

I took this picture when I first got here, but I have to admit that I was disappointed that I have to wait until I get to Michigan because my starbucks trick doesn't work at the Airport hotspots. Apparently it only works for AT&T hotspots in Starbucks locations... not the hotspots in the airports.

So, now I am just typing this post with a text editor because I don't think posting one update to my blog is worth $7.99. I can update twitter from my cell phone though, so at least the microblogging thing works from the airport. so yea... now I'm just waiting for my plane, which is about 45 minutes late and counting... Technically we were supposed to start bording by now, but oh well... hopefully soon.

that's it for now... I'll post this once I land in Michigan.

[Insert Flight to Michigan and trip to the bar with my brother here...]

So, Now I'm all set up at my parents' house. I have the webcam pointing out the window of my bedroom, and motion is set to start a time lapse video at 7AM EST. I also believe that my posts will be in EST for the next two weeks, but the time stamp at the bottom of each post is in PST.

Anyway, it's 2AM here in Michigan, so I need some sleep.

Later,

SteveO

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Planned Webcam Down Time...

The Web cam is down until the automated stuff kicks in around 10AM PST (1PM EST.)

My Webcam was down for 1 hour and 40 minutes!

Ha ha... funny story. So, for the little Webcam thing I have planned for tomorrow, I'm using UTC time, which for those of you who don't know, it is 8 hours a head of Pacific (5 ahead of Eastern)...

For those of you who are wondering why UTC, it's because when you program with Javascript, and you want everyone who views your see time-based content at the same time, then the simplest way is to use UTC time, because every computer knows UTC time... at least it does if you set the time and time zone correctly on your computer... anyway, back to the point at hand...

So, I was using UTC time to determine when to automatically update the webcam picture for what I should be doing tomorrow... and I never set a value for the picture if the time was before 17:40 UTC. So, right now it is 17:51 PST, but I didn't realise that in UTC time it was 1:51 tomorrow... lucky thing I looked at my blog though, because my webcam was down!

anyway... problem fixed. Everything should be set for tomorrow,

I have my boarding pass... and tomorrow I'll check my baggage curb side on my way in. (which FYI cost me $15!)

Later,

SteveO

My Last Renton Sunset... This Year.

So... Tomorrow morning Jaani and I will wake up and get ready to fly across the country.  Which means that this is the last sunset I'll see this year in Renton.

I thought the occasion was so important, that I took two pictures of the sunset (one of the sky and one of the ground), and I photoshopped them together so you could see both in one picture.  Most camera's aren't able to view the sky at sunset without dimming out the ground... or view the ground without the sky being way too bright.  So, as a result, you get a picture that is mich closer to what the human eye actually sees.  Which is both!

All of my stuff is packed... I think... I've been thinking about it for the past couple days, but I think I remembered everything I actually need. 

Now all I have to do is not feed Jaani... give him his pill in the morning... put some music on my Muvo (MP3 Player... : ( No more Zune) and then get my butt to the airport in the morning.

So, keep checking back... I have a script to update my webcam for while the real camera is disconnected, and I will probably post from the Airport in the morning.

Till next time!

Later,
     SteveO

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Snowing!

So, every once and a while around here we get snow... so here is a picture of snow in Renton. Now, the thing that is more interesting than most of the pictures I put up about snow in the Seattle area, is that this picture is taken in the low lands. We usually don't get too much snow down in the valleys, but it does fall in the hills.

Now, I have this strange feeling it won't be there when I wake up tomorrow morning... I actually think it will be gone as soon as the sun starts to rise, but while it's here, it's nice to take note.

Legend has it... at least the natives around here say... that it used to snow every year in Seattle, and many of the people here credit the lack in snow fall to global warming, but who really knows for sure?

Some food for thought.

Later,

SteveO
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rainy day with a clear night.

So, I suppose there isn't anything particularly special about today. 

I am feeling very bitter about having to use Google sites for my home page.  It has poor functionality.  It doesn't support Javascript or Iframes.  They want people to use gadgets, which is just a pain in the @$$!  I don't want to re-write my site to work with their restrictions, however I can't justify hosting a site that will support everything I want.  I just don't have money to throw away on that right now.

Who knows if I ever will feel like that is a necisary expense.

anyway.... other than that, I've been throwing together stupid little logos for my google sites page, and putting together a theme for the page.  So far things are going well, but I just keep hitting these stupid little problems... like if I use the automated tool for changing the site text color, it doesn't change the paragraph color (so I had black text with a black background for all of my headings...

That and I really have just been hanging around all day.

I saw that the webcam on the chamber of commerce website is finally working 

I also saw that Renton's Cable channel 21 is available to stream online

Other than that... I've just made a few GIMP logos for different pages on my website.  Maybe one day I'll actually write my own script to generate logos for my own sites, but for now the GIMP ones look just fine.

so, that's my day for you... walking the dog, searching for webcams, a little bit of web design, and creating a few logos.

Later,

     SteveO

Sunday, December 7, 2008

State of the Frizzlefry Blog Address December 2008

I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who helped create the numbers in this chart.  Without you, these poor numbers would not be on a chart.

This particular data is comparing the period from April 25 - May 25 2008, with the period from November 6 - December 7 2008.

I have been reviewing the new features in Google Analytics, and I have come to the conclusion that despite the hurting economy, blog readership is up 57.72% in the past 6 months, and the average time spent here on the Frizzlefry Blog is up 164.37%!  These are numbers that you all helped create, and I just want to leave a bit of blank space to appreciate this contribution.









     To continue, The total page views for my blog is up 110.75%, which means that more people are comming to my site and navigating to multiple pages on the site.  And the average pages per visit is also up 33.63%, meaning more people are browsing around.

   Special thanks goes to Ababsurdo.com, which is still my leading referral site and holding strong as they increase their referrals 11.43%. 

Readership in the United States is up 60% meaning that by far most of my readers are right here at home.  One recent change is that the location of most of my readers has changed from Michigan to Washington!  Washington Readership has gone up 243.9%, while Michigan Readership has gone down 21.67%.  Other competitors in this field are California and Flordia, who have seen readership rise 533%  and 400%. 

On a city level, Seattle Area has seen an increase from 0 to 83 views per month(12 of which from Renton), and Redmond has seen a change from 0 to 36 views per month.  Linden is holding steady at 19 views per month, which there is a very possible connection between the Linden hits and the 13 hits from Houghton Lake I had this month.  Also of note, I should thank the increase in visits from Ann Arbor MI (+3 hits; +43%)and San Fransisco CA (+11 hits).

Just to put everything in perspective, my top ten states by total hits from April 25 2008 until today is as follows (out of 1,100 hits total):
  1. Washington - 448
  2. Michigan - 363
  3. California - 75
  4. Not Set - 72 (Must be the government spying on me...)
  5. Colorado - 23
  6. New York - 17
  7. Florida - 11
  8. Texas - 10
  9. Ohio9
  10. Arizona - 9
I am sure this data will be more interesting as time goes on.  I know that from June until now I have been able to learn a lot from these numbers.  Just imagine what there will be to learn next June!

Again I would like to thank everyone for helping create these numbers, and look for my next State of the Frizzlefry Blog address in June when I will compare the first six month of performance, to the second six months of performace!

Later,

     SteveO

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Renton Christmas Tree Lighting


So, today was the tree lighting in Renton's Piazza.  The whole place was covered in Christmas lights, and and the majoy came out for the event.

I had Jaani out there for a while, but he seemed to be getting grumpy and cold outside, plus I could kind of tell that all the people were starting the freak him out... just because he didn't know where to go and children everywhere wanted to pet the cute little dog...

I found a few friends around the tree, and stood with them for the lighting, and somewhere there is even a picture to prove I wasn't alone, but it's on my friend's camera... I'm sure they will email it or something.

I walked over across the street from the main event to take this second picture here, where you can see half of the piazza. The other half has a dog area and some more lights on all the trees.
They also had a band in the center area that is probably still playing as I type. 
Ther was also cider and girls walking  around promoting "The Nutcracker," which is currently being performed by The Evergreen City Ballet, which is a local dance school right here in Renton... actually it is right next to my building.
 
 
 
 
And also of note, my building has a real tree in the lobby.  They put it up today, and it is nice to see and smell.

I forgot the smell of having a real Christmas tree inside, but I think I like it the most because I don't have to clean up the mess from it.

I also thought the flowers were a nice touch too.

Anyway, that's the adventure from today... more to come soon!

Later,

     SteveO

Friday, December 5, 2008

A nice sunset to finish the day...

So, another day... I have been trying to figure out what I can do to keep occupied, but I don't really know yet... hope I'll figure something out soon.

On the plus side, Jaani is loving it now that I'm home all day. He gets to run around town with me all the time... never by himself. He loves it!

Oh, and a friend of mine was having that stupid Qwest with MSN issue... the #1 reason to hate Qwest... So that reminded me that I could call Qwest in an effort to lower my monthly bills, I called Qwest today to get rid of my land line... it figures I never use it anyway. Well, I never considered it a priority because I thought it was only costing me $12... however, it turns out that it costs $12 for the phone... and $6 tax on the phone... plus they were charging me $5 a month for this phone line/model repair thing... which is rediculous.

So, I got them to change my service and drop $24 a month off my bill.

Then they tried that old MSN trick on me again...

FYI let me explain the MSN thing:
First they say sign up for Qwest with MSN and it is a few bucks cheaper for a month... but in reality after a month you get a bill which is $40 more than without MSN... my friend got this problem after signing up, when half the time they don't say you are getting MSN, and when you cancel MSN they say you need it as you ISP... when what you really want to do is tell them you want Qwest dsl at X Mbps with Qwest as my ISP. Which the funny part is that no matter what, Qwest is you ISP, they just want you to use MSN for email and all the stuff that you can get for free on the internet anyway...

In my situation today, they tried to tell me that they would never raise my price for Qwest with MSN, but they wouldn't specifically send it to me in writing. At which point I replied "That's because you know the price is going to go up in a month, and you just lied to me about the price..." the lady just kind of got quite and tried to speed up the process.

One more note about people who work at Qwest, if you and angry and mean it takes about half the time to get what you want. If you are nice and polite, they don't try to get you off the phone as fast as possible. The sad reality of customer service telecenters.

anyway... that's about all I have to say.

Oh, and I got a semi-good picture of Jaani with his head/neck light at the dog park last night... the head light is that white thing under his head.  You can't really tell, but it actually shows him where he is running as well as shows me what he is sniffing. 

everyone always thinks it's such a clever thing to put it around his neck... they always ask questions and tell me stories about the $60 thing that just didn't work... then I tell them that you can get a normal head lamp that goes on a human head, for like $10 or less.

They look at me a little funny, then say, that's good thinking... 

So, that's really it for now.

Later,

     SteveO

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So... back to a lower resolution....

Another turn in the whole webcam thing...

So, I decided that I had no need for a high resolution on the web cam.  It was taking 30 seconds to upload a picture... it was using 1GB a day on my hard drive... and you couldn't even read the timestamp without zooming into the picture...

So, the resolution came down.  to a nice comfortable 640 X 480 (the old standard TV resolution.)  I don't really think anyone will notice, except for the faster load time on my blog, or maybe if they try to zoom in on the picture. 

Anyway... yea... and if you were attentive about 20 minutes ago, then you would have seen the funky purple image from my old camera...

Apparently the port on my USB hub that I connected my old camera to is lower than the USB hub that my new camera is connected to...

In short, my old camera became /dev/video0, and the new one became /dev/video1... so skype was using then new camera and motion was using the old one... good for skype, but doesn't work for motion.

anyway... that's all for now.

Later,

     SteveO