Archive for September, 2009

Mental Floss

Posted in Cool Internet Stuff on September 29th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CNN.com links to a blog called Mental Floss.  Usually involving tidbits about pop culture in a top-10 format,  these articles can be quite entertaining.  For example, I came across a few the other day about fast food:  Who Approved That?  7 Food Promotions Gone Horrible Wrong and 10 Secret Menu Items at Fast Food Restaurants and enjoyed both of those.  Note the NY Yankees reference in the failed Pepsi promotion in the first article (sorry Jamiahsh!).

Mental Floss has featured other lists in their articles that have interested me; of note is 10 Homeschooled Celebrities (Agatha Christie, Mozart, Alexander Graham Bell, to name a few), 10 Things That Have Deflated the Macy’s Parade, and 5 Weather Events Worth Chatting About.  It’s a well-written, entertaining blog (like this one, haha) – Just thought I’d share it!

Time To Blog…

Posted in Movies, TV Shows on September 28th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think I could use a Tivo.  That way, I could Tivo Dr. Phil and watch it when I fold laundry – that would certainly be better on my ears and more entertaining than the screaming parrot.  Well, actually, I don’t know how Tivo works – I could probably only watch what I tape record (I grew up in the 80’s – we “taped” our movies and our music) on the tv that has the Tivo, right?  But anyway, I could pause it when someone needed a diaper change or help with something or a snack or a drink to be able to watch more tv instead of just never getting to commit to watching shows (except really good ones like The Office) because of my lack of time and my lack of Tivo.  I wonder how much they cost; I have no idea.  It occurred to me that I don’t watch much tv anymore; a hobby I really liked as a kid.  It’s not a bad thing, really, I’m busy doing other more worthwhile things.  But I do miss getting to watch Dr. Phil – my tv has been hijacked by the likes of Dora, Diego, and Max and Ruby in the morning when it’s on, and I don’t like not being able to watch the Office until it’s available online.  We try to watch The Office when it airs on Thursday night and without fail, all hell always breaks loose with the kids even though it’s on at 9 and they should be in bed.

I got the movie Mr. Mom from the library for the kids to  watch.  I figured since my husband and I liked the movie as kids, we should show it to our kids – after all, they loved Annie (the 1982 version, the update is awful).  But apparently Mr. Mom came out before the MPAA came up with the PG-13 rating – there were a few scenes (funny how neither one of us remembered they were in the movie) I would rather not be in the type of movies my children enjoy.  At least we were able to skip over the strip club scene without them even noticing, yikes.  I surely don’t remember that from watching that movie as a kid.  Maybe there was an edited-for-television version…  Anyway, all this got me to thinking that they should have a function for dvd players where you can edit the movie to play while skipping certain parts of your choosing.  Maybe this already exists, but I don’t know a lot about the latest gadgets and such.

Well, anyway…  sorry for the randomness, just had a little time to blog for a change, so I just wrote what was on my mind at the moment!  Maybe I’ll check into that Tivo…

Outlaws And Hideouts Revisited

Posted in games on September 27th, 2009 and tagged , , , , ,

All of this talk of hideouts and outlaws (see my previous post about Robber’s Cave) makes me think about a really fun card game we’ve recently discovered – it’s easy to become a Bandits junkie!

delete bandits

Bandits is a card game by Buffalo Games, and it’s fun for the entire family.  It accommodates 2-6 players and is recommended for ages 10+, but we’ve found that our 9-year-old daughter and her friends can learn it and play quite easily.

Basically, a player begins with a hand of six cards, and he has 3 options on his turn: start a gunfight, draw a card, or stash loot in his Hideaway.  Many shoot-outs and much thievery ensues until the deck runs out of cards, and players count their stash in their Hideaways to determine the winner.  Those are the basics – there are many other fun cards that offer various twists on the game play (double-crossing lawmen and outlaws, booby traps, backfires, to name a few), and I’m just skimming the surface of the game; you really should play to appreciate it.  I don’t know that I’ve ever played such a fun card game (I like Pit a lot, but it’s another type pf game altogether), and each game of Bandits is unique dependent upon the number of players – a 2-player game plays out much more differently than does a 4-player game.  I’d like to try it with 6 players, but we can never haul it out at game night since we always have more than 6 players.  However many players there are, Bandits is definitely worth playing and highly recommended by this game collector!

Lincoln Legends Part II – Robber’s Cave

Posted in History, Travel on September 26th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Living in Lincoln Nebraska was really cool; it was interesting to be in the western part of the midwest and away from the Great Lakes region – there are differences both in culture and in topography.  The story of Robber’s Cave in Lincoln interested me for a few reasons, but especially for the wild-west themes; sandstone bluffs, outlaw hideouts – ok, so I’ve eaten dinner at one of Al Capone’s old hideouts in the Chicago area which is now a steakhouse, but I was talking Jesse James-type outlaws…  Hmmm, interesting, old Lincoln had outlaws, and old Chicago had gangsters, there’s one comparison…

Back from the minor tangent and onto Robber’s Cave – the entrance is a now a sandstone bluff located behind a Subway restaurant.  We did get a chance to visit it and found it quite easily, but by 2002 when we were there, it had been sealed.  In the 1970’s, there was a little old lady who would open up Robber’s Cave for explorers who paid the admission fee.  You would then follow her down a small rickety staircase and be on your own to explore the cave.  I’ve read various reports on the internet about people who grew up on Lincoln and used to go down into the cave all the time –  one person even talks of having kids’ birthday parties down there!  There are tunnels, rooms, a well, and even a natural fireplace with a chimney!  There are also legends of western outlaws (like Jesse James, supposedly, though his presence at the cave hasn’t been proven) that used to use Robber’s Cave as a hideout to count their loot and evade law enforcement after robbing trains, stage coaches, etc.  Before the outlaws took over, it’s said that Native Americans used the cave for spiritual ceremonies.  Robber’s Cave also carries legends of being a stop on the Underground Railroad, an underground brewery, and a tunnel that connected the state penitentiary with the State Hospital for the Insane.  Hmm, that almost sounds TOO haunted to be true – supposedly patients and convicts would use the tunnels to escape.  Then again, when we were there, I did note the State Penitentiary within view of the entrance to Robber’s Cave.   And speaking of Nebraska’s death row, I’ll note that NE is the only state in the country to still have the electric chair as the exclusive means of carrying out the death penalty.

But anyway, Robber’s Cave is a neat place, steeped in many decades of history.  And the reason I’m bringing this up now?  Robber’s Cave is for sale! Well, at least the lot that includes the sealed entrance is for sale – I’m not sure if that then entitles the owner to free roam of all the caves or not if they continue onto other parcels underground.  If you’d like more details about the legends of Robber’s Cave, this is an interesting read.

What’s That Called?

Posted in Fun Forwards on September 23rd, 2009 and tagged , , , , ,

A while back, a tangenteer (tangents.org blogger) wrote ab0ut a type of obstacle course based upon cause and effect relationships between different objects.  You know, like the board game Mousetrap – a ball rolls and falls into a bucket, which triggers another ball that goes down a ramp, etc.  I forgot what this is called (and who blogged it!  Was it me or derek?), but I think it’s a Japanese word.  Anyway, I came across this website for a Dutch department store called Hema, and they have an animated one of those obstacle course thingys using their products on their website.  Just follow the link above and watch to see what happens!  It’s pretty creative, and I thought people might like it!

The Informant!

Posted in Movies on September 22nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t reviewed a movie on my blog in awhile – mostly because movie-watching was a favorite summer activity this year, so I saw too many to mention.  I don’t think I’m going to start reviewing them now, but today’s experience at the movie theater (saw The Informant! with Matt Damon) is worthy of mentioning.  Not for the movie itself – it seemed to be an interesting enough plot line, but I couldn’t follow the entire trail of corporate deception and greed, so I dozed a little.  And I wasn’t the only one.  The guy two rows behind us began snoring very loudly in the middle of the movie!  It was distracting, and he began by breathing heavily, so first we were worried about him (seeing a man drop dead at a Chinese buffet will make you a little paranoid).  But then he started the snoring, so we knew he was ok; but then it became obnoxious.  So we tolerated that for the rest of the movie, and then he woke up during the last scene with a loud “BURP!”.  Well.

We go to the movies almost every week and I’ve never heard someone so full of rude noises, including teenagers!  I feel badly for the guy, but mostly, I just want to know why he paid $6.50 to take a nap  – the movie theater seats aren’t that comfy!  As for my dozing, it wasn’t really a nap, and I was (mostly) entertained during two hours of The Informant.  I don’t know that I would recommend it – if you like to  unravel these kinds of movies, then go for it.  But I sometimes find myself zoning out, and by the time I’m back to the movie, something has happened or there are two many characters who look alike  for me to be able to follow the plot, as both were the cases here.  I did find Damon’s character, Mark Whitacre, quite entertaining, as was the narrative style of the movie.  It kind of reminded me of a Coen brothers movie – you know, greed gets the best of people, a plot to gain money unravels, and people get killed, except The Informant was decidedly less violent – rated R only for language, in fact.  An entertaining two hours for some, but apparently not for all!

YEEOWWW!!!

Posted in Everyday Life on September 22nd, 2009 and tagged , , , , , ,

Darn it, I am sick of this!  Some time last week, I came down with a nasty canker sore.  I don’t remember what day it was, but I remember that by Friday, I was already sick of it.  We took the kids to the county fair and the demolition derby on Friday, which was great fun, but I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t enjoy the fair food in the slightest.  In fact, the location and intensity of the pain has kept me from enjoying many of my favorite activities since last week – talking, singing, eating, drinking, even smiling…  THIS SUCKS!  I’ve never had a canker sore this painful!  I feel like that big grumpy bear with a toothache from some old cartoon.  It’s really hard to think about anything else, and since I can’t really do anything in daily life without aggravating it and causing more pain, I think I’ve been kind of crabby.  I’ve been looking up remedies incessantly on the internet (and no, I didn’t find any cases of fatal canker sores, which is why I vowed to stop looking up medical stuff on the internet after we scared ourselves silly about my husband’s stomachache), and none of the remedies I’ve tried help.  Since I can’t really eat anything, I’ve been living on water and Tylenol for the past week!  The Tylenol barely works, so I finally went to Walmart yesterday and got myself some Benzocaine stuff to put on it.  It works wonderfully; my entire mouth goes numb, and there is a substantial amount of drooling and slurring of words, but no pain.  The only problem is that it only lasts for about 25 minutes.  But for those 25 minutes, I am so high on my own endorphins from finally not feeling intense pain that it’s wonderful.  But then the pain returns, and it’s almost worse than before I took the medicine because I actually got to experience life pain-free, even for just a few minutes.  I think I’m going to have my husband hide the benzocaine from me before I become addicted – it’s really hard to stop putting it on there when I’ve had constant pain for a week!  But I read that if you use too much benzocaine, you could develop a serious condition called Methemoglobinemia, among other things, so I’m really trying to limit that.  I’ve read a lot of things about canker sores, but like I said, nothing has really helped.  Experts are not even entirely sure what causes the darn things, but stress is the top suspect.  That makes sense; I’ve had a ton of stress lately between family stuff (Sammie is back in a phase among other things) and just being so busy all the time, and I don’t always handle stress in the best way.  Guess I need to find better ways to deal with stress than to internalize it, but I can’t deal with learning that right now – everything is hard to do with all this pain!!!

I can’t help but think what a great diet this is though – it hurts to eat anything, and I’m really surprised certain Hollywood types haven’t paid someone to discover how to give them canker sores just so they can’t eat.  People are crazy that way; I used to work at a frozen yogurt shop in an upscale suburb of Chicago, and these rich housewives would come in with their jaws wired shut wondering what kind of fat-free yogurt they could still get into their mouths.  Not that any of them were terribly overweight to begin with…  But anyway, I hate this!  I guess there’s not much more to write about it, but I have to say that it feels good to be able to “talk” without the pain increasing…  Time to take more meds!  YEOWWW!!!  🙁

And I Thought The Sky Safari Was Cool!

Posted in Travel on September 20th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , ,

The Sky Safari is an aerial ride at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  It’s like a chair-lift at a ski resort, but lose the snow and add views of zoo animals; including zebra, ostrich, wildebeest and lions.  I rode on it earlier this summer with my daughters, mom and uncle, and we all loved it.  Speaking of travel, I’ve heard from a bunch of my Ohio friends about how beautiful the Hocking Hills area is in the southeastern part of the state.  We probably won’t have a chance to visit this year, even though I’ve heard that it’s just gorgeous in the fall.  It might have to go on the “to-do” list though after I found out they have this; a 2-hour zip line tour through the treetops!  Check it out – the first part of the video is the training and orientation, they really get going around the two-minute mark if you want to fast forward.  But it looks like something I think I would try!

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

I’m A Winner!

Posted in misc on September 17th, 2009 and tagged , , , , ,

Apparently, my email address was chosen to “win” a prize: US citizenship!  This is no joke – a scam, surely, but the following is a copy of the actual text contained within this email.  It’s one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read, although I have to admit that the “disclaimer” text at the bottom (in italics) seems very authentic – despite the numerous spelling and grammatical errors in the email!  So  Happy Constitution Day – according to my 4th grader, anyway – celebrate by reading this B.S. email and laughing out loud (and praying for the poor people who are actually victimized by this garbage).

CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE A WINNER!!! U.S. PROGRAM OF GREEN CARD LOTTERY-YEAR 2009/2010

We are here to inform you that you are among people selected that  have won US Green Card lottery.  Your email was selected so you are now citizen of United State of American. USA president has offerd you free ticket to United state of American. Live, Work and study in United States.

Kindly contact your claim agent Dan Gold  usafis_organization_green_card@live.com on more details of how to get your traveling documents and free air ticket to USA.

Congratulations once again.

Sincerely yours,

Lisa David

USA Department Of State     From the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Services:
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” (DV immigrants). Alien petitioners for the Diversity Visa Program will no longer be permitted to submit a petition by mail. Instead, the Department will require that all petitions be submitted to it in an electronic format, using an Internet website dedicated specifically to the submission and receipt of Diversity.

Disney Vs. Universal – Round 1,642

Posted in Travel on September 16th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As a frequent visitor to Orlando Florida, the United States theme park capital, the following news stories caught my eye.  Disney World and Universal Studios have been competing in an epic battle for tourists for a few decades now, and as a result, us tourists are the real winners!  Check out the two new additions to each park!

Universal Studios is adding a Harry Potter-themed world!  I’m not even a fan of the series and the pictures and descriptions of this place excited me!  I might have to read a Harry Potter book or see some of the movies before I check it out!  This answers the question I posed in a previous blog post – What will happen to Marvel Superhero Island when Disney buys Marvel?  Answer:  who cares?  Universal will have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Not to be outdone, Disney has released that they are doubling the size of their current Fantasyland area, adding a Little Mermaid attraction, among other things.  If the rumors on this blog are true, it seems to me like Universal is going to win this time.  More meet-and-greet space at Disney?  Yawn!  Bring on the thrill rides!  But if I know the folks at Disney, they have more than doubling Dumbo and adding more Disney princess meet-and-greet up their sleeves and just haven’t leaked that part of the expansion to the public yet…  So stay tuned!