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Showing posts from October, 2005

meme

The One with Three

Here's a little meme that's courtesy of Lish. Thanks so much! LOL

Three names I go by:
1. Utenzi
2. Dave
3. Dickhead (cats call me this)

Three screen names I have had:
1. utenzi
2. dpk1961
3. dpaulk

Three physical things I like about myself:
1. legs
2. butt
3. height

Three physical things I don't like about myself:
1. belly
2. hair
3. injury prone legs!

Three parts of my heritage:
1. Danish (50%)
2. English (~20%)
3. German (~10%)

Three things that scare me:
1. suffocating
2. heights sometimes
3. dropping my camera while kayaking

Three of my everyday essentials:
1. candy
2. soda
3. allergy drugs (maybe not quite daily)

Three of my favorite musical artists:
1. Lone Justice
2. Marshall Crenshaw
3. Lovin' Spoonful

Three of my favorite songs:
1. Highland Cat-Celtic Bagpipes
2. Rock And Roll Heaven-Righteous Brothers
3. Don't Fear the Reaper-BOC

Three things I want in a relationship:
1. Comradery
2. Sex
3. Did I mention sex?

Three lies and truths in no particular order:
I'll let you decide…

condiments

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Here's a slightly odd topic. Condiments. What do you like to use--and what do you put it on?

I love hashbrowns but only when made a certain way. I HATE it when they're too browned. Supposedly when you caramelize a food it gets sweet, but I perceive the browned section as tasting burnt--and that's NASTY! I don't even like toast if it's dark. For me, the best place for hashbrowns is Waffle House.

On those hashbrowns I like lots of ketchup! Lots, and lots.

Another favorite of mine is hushpuppies and with those I like butter with some honey in it. Not what I'd call real honeybutter because that's too sweet to go with hushpuppies which are mostly cornbread, but just a taste of honey in the butter.

And with chicken fingers I love honey mustard. Especially the kind that is sold by Texas Pete, which is made by TW Garner just a few miles from here in Winston-Salem, NC. I love their mild version. Mmmmm.

So what do you like on your plate?

mp3

What do you do for music on the go?

I don't have anything other than a portable CD player that I bought for my car about 8 years ago. I don't use it much but it's still working. My truck is 6 and a half years old and only has a radio/cassette player in it so that's where I keep the CD player.

I've got a USB key for moving files from home to work but it's not one that plays music. I'm thinking of buying a music player, especially now that those sexy iPod Nanos are out from Apple Computer, but I doubt that I'd use it that much.

I have nearly a thousand MP3s and about 500 CDs that I could rip for more files so there's plenty to play but I suspect that, like the portable CD-player, I'd just not use it.

So in addition to what do you do for music, what format do you prefer to use? I've only used MP3s though I think I have something that rips in the new MP4 compression format.

earrings

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I was cruising through some do-it-yourself type pages and I came across this earrings page.

This is an example of one of the sets of earrings.

current events

White House counsel Harriet Miers withdraws nomination.

Yeah, I know. No great surprise here though the Bush Administration hasn't been big on admitting to mistakes, but that's probably why the Mier backpedaling took so long.

The spin the White House put on this, as stated by Miers was: "While I believe that my lengthy career provides sufficient evidence for consideration of my nomination, I am convinced the efforts to obtain Executive Branch materials and information will continue."

Pretty amusing that they really think they can wallpaper over this huge political misstep by insinuating that internal security is the reason for her withdrawal from the nomination process. But that's not the focus of this post. What I'm more concerned with is how this will affect Miers.

Just imagine how this fiasco is going to follow her. Even her obituary is going to focus on her ill fated nomination to the Supreme Court. While this is better than being cut to pieces during a fract…

Halloween

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This is the Foxtrot cartoon from October, 25, 2005 by Bill Amend. I thought it was cute and love the last frame. Irony indeed.



Poor Linus--all those years of waiting just to end up as a meal. I wonder if Sally was there too?

cute blog-worth link

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Michele posted this Blog Valuation applet. Give it a try...


My blog is worth $13,548.96.
How much is your blog worth?

power

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I've been hearing on the news a lot about how expensive it's going to be to heat our houses here in the US this winter. They're telling us that costs will be up 30% or more, some estimates are 50%! And this is on top of a summer that was VERY hot--much warmer than usual with resulting higher than usual energy costs. You can see that this year has been running higher than last year in the picture below. I've lived here for just over 2 years and those are my electrical bills since moving in. My house has a heat pump so the cost is reasonable in winter.

I'm a bit funny when it comes to utility costs, especially electrical. I dislike turning the A/C or heat on for the first time in a season so I put it off until things are a mite uncomfortable. Once on, I'm more reasonable though I do keep the house a bit cool in winter and warm in summer.

I try to not turn on the A/C until June nor the heat until November. The past few days have been the first cool ones this Fall he…

Immortals

I don't consider myself to be a Christian though I know a fair amount of theology due to my studies in philosophy--which often deals with religion now and almost always did back centuries ago. Nor do I consider myself an atheist since they also are characterized by having faith--though they often deny it. I would describe myself more as a skeptical agnostic.

That said, I find a lot of the recriminations and rationalizations concerning religion and the recent natural and manmade disasters here in the USA and abroad odd at best. Frequently comments to the tune of "how could God let this happen" are heard. Has a person asking that question been asleep all their life? Disasters have always been with us, if your faith is affected by them--then you've not done much deep thinking about faith and religion before. What Kierkegaard referred to as "the leap of faith" shouldn't be done lightly but it seems that most people do it without any thought at all.

For anyone…

blogger

Blogger is being very annoying today. I posted the entry below about wine around 2pm and it didn't show up--and there wasn't anything on my post list. So I rewrote it from memory--scary thought--around 4pm and still nothing would appear on the browser nor on the list of my posts within Blogger. Now both posts appear and attempts to delete one go without any success.

It all makes one think that Google might have spent their money on a better company! Blogger has too many wrinkles!

wines

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These days it seems red wines are more in favor. This is unfortunate for me since I've never met a red that I liked. Even White Zinfandel doesn't appeal to me. I guess they have too much body and taste. I like a more bland approach.

Back in the 80s white wines had their hayday. Every time you turned around someone was having a party with Chardonnay, Chablis and Sauvignon Blanc. Since I like my wine a little sweeter, I've always gravitated towards Rieslings though the occasional sparkling wine is nice too.

My current favorite is picture to the left.

Schmitt Sohne's 2003 Riesling QbA from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany. Frequently referred to as "blue bottle" for obvious reasons. There's several types of blue bottle and QbA is the least expensive, typically costing $7.99 a bottle. Other types cost more but none are very expensive. The 2004 is out but I've not tried it since I still have a few bottles of the 2003 on hand.

Riesling’s great attribute i…

Spring

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Since we're moving towards Winter and those bleak landscapes that the cold brings, I thought I'd post a few pictures of the blooms that arrive with Spring.

I took these two pictures at a garden that a local TV station maintains next to their studios and office buildings. It's lovely all year round but in Spring it's particularly beautiful.

Often weddings are held in a tent next to the garden to partake in the lovely scenery. Sarah Duke Gardens, in nearby Durham, also has a lot of weddings in the Spring. It's even more beautiful there.


Pansies are probably my favorite flower but daffodils are close behind. There's so many beautiful flowers that it's hard to choose which ones to plant in ones own garden.

ankle update

Since a few people object to seeing my feet--poor misdirected souls--I have the two pictures below hidden behind links. Behold them at your own risk! *evil laugh* Actually they're not scary though the first one is a little colorful.

The first picture shows my ankle and foot from the side, as labeled. You can see a lot of general edema of the entire foot. There's also a good bit of discoloration of the ankle area and to a lesser degree the top of the foot all the way down to the toes. The side view is a lot worse in this regard than the top view.

The second picture shows the two feet from the top so you can compare the somewhat normal looking right foot to the injured left foot. There's not much abnormal color on this view but you can see the "sausage like" swelling of the left foot. It's this swelling that is causing my main problem--I can't get the foot into my boots and I need the boots to support the ankle. Damn Catch-22.

Side view, looking inward

Side by …

idioms

The correct use of language is very important when you're a writer. Few things can alienate a reader more than screwing up something that they hold as a pet peeve. For example, I hate it when your and you're are confused. One is a contraction! The difference should be obvious. *cough* Where was I? Oh, yes...

However using language correctly can be boring so it's a good idea to include colorful bits also. The use of similes is one approach to add color and make your writing as large as life--which is an example of a simile. Another approach is to add in idioms. This can date your writing but it's a lot of fun.

Here's a list of some Australian idioms, but not the obvious ones made famous here in the States in Crocodile Dundee. What are some of your favorites from close to home or around the world?

Short arms deep pockets       cheap
Mollydooker       someone left handed
You are a Grot       very dirty or unkempt
Who cut the dog in half?       fart
Lob-in on someone       v…

Chemicals are our friends

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Judy wrote me to let me know about a site, run by ZeNeece with a chemical post. Here's what it looks like:

Dihydrogen Monoxide FAQ

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the unstable radical Hydroxide, the components of which are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol.

For more detailed information, including precautions, disposal procedures and storage requirements, refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Dihydrogen Monoxide. Should I be concerned about Dihydrogen Monoxide? Yes, you should be concerned about DHMO! Although the U.S. Government and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not classify Dihydrogen Monoxide as a toxic or carcinogenic substance (as it does with better known chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and benzene), …

cats and nuts

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My sinuses are killing me so I'm just going to post two pictures, take some ibuprofen for my ankle that's trying to imitate a beachball--unfortunately without the air valve to deflate it--and go to bed.

These two are strays that my girlfriend let in at one point or another but that don't like to stay inside for long. The small one on the left got semi-adopted by a neighbor so she's not around very much these days.

They're both remarkably healthy for cats that probably spend over 95% of their time outside.










These are a package of peanuts that had gone stale. Before throwing them out, I took a few pictures.

I like the way the flash reflected off of the sides of the package. :-) Salty too.

I'm going to bed!

ankles: the sequel

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I've heard rumors that one post about my sprained ankle wasn't enough so here's more pictures to satisfy a public hungry for swollen flesh...

This was taken the morning after I sprained the ankle. There's starting to be a black and blue mark from the blood vessels leaking

At this point the swelling is still very localized to the lateral side of the left ankle and presumably that's the tendon that was affected (very likely since I really screwed it up 15 years ago and it's got extra play in it)



In this picture, taken on Sunday evening about 25 hours after the injury, you can see the edema, or swelling, has spread out over the top and entire lateral side of the foot. There's also more evidence of hematoma at the skin above the metatarsals. At the same time, there's still significant swelling at the original site to the point that it totally eclipses the left ankle.











Here's a lateral view taken at the same time as the photo above to show the hematoma better…

stats and disease

There's a story making the rounds that started off of the Router's News wire. It's core is about the avian flu and a quote by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In the story he says:

"It's been over 30 years since we've had a pandemic, so inevitably we are going to have a pandemic within a reasonable period of time, it's not a matter of when or if."

Now I suspect that the quote is taken out of context because anyone in the field of infectious diseases--unless he's a Bush appointee with a background in horses--is going to be well versed in statistics. The reason I say this is that you can't predict particular future events based on the past.

It's like when a baseball announcer says that a player is "due" when he steps up to bat. Just because the guy is a .250 hitter and this is his fourth at bat of the game, so far hitless, doesn't mean he'll get a hit this time. Or even …

ankles and dogs

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Oddly enough the story of my ankle starts with a dog--and not just any dog. But the exact dog pictured below.

This fellow is a German Shepherd, rather tall for his breed, and goes by the name Mac. Short for McCloud, of the Clan McCloud. He's also inordinately fond of frisbees, as you can see in the picture to the left. That particular characteristic indirectly led to the ankle part of my story.

You see it all started on a night lit by the light of a full and buttery yellow moon. I was at a small gathering of people with my girlfriend--friends of hers from work--and we were tossing around a ball with Mac and trying to get the frisbee away from him with guile and wit. Characteristics that we humans believe ourselves to possess to a greater degree than the other animals on the planet. Well, Mac wasn't buying that story line and it was quite difficult to get that frisbee away.

At one point, late in the evening, Mac trotted across the yard to drop the frisbee--thinking it safely at a …

Wal-mart stock

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Wal-mart gets a lot of bad press. From what I've seen on blogs over the past year many more people post negative statements than positive. I'll buck that trend!

I like Wal-mart. A lot. More the prices than the experience but I'm often surprised at the quality also. The produce I get at Wal-mart is usually a lot better than what I can get at my local grocery stores. Unfortunately the closest Wal-mart is 20 miles away and the money I save doesn't justify the gas for routine visits so I only go every 5 weeks or so. That's fairly unusual since statistically half the families in the US shop at Wal-mart at least once a month and a quarter of those shop at Wal-mart every week.

But my purpose here isn't to talk directly about the stores, rather I'm interested in their stock. Wal-mart incorporated in 1969 and had its initial public offering (IPO) the next year in 1970. It was offered at $16.50 then and is $45 now, 35 years later.

Of course Wal-mart stock has split 13 t…

Egypt in blue

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Another desktop picture from Photoshop. This time with a sorta-Egyptian theme. It's not pure since I use Greek letters and not hieroglyphics in the background. Sorry to any purists out there. Here's a link to a hieroglyphics translator page. It's interesting.

If you do an image search on Google with the terms "blue" and "Egypt" this is one of the top returns. It's a student made wallpaper and looks nice but I like mine better!

I've got the image at full size (1600x1200) on my desktop for the moment. It's rather peaceful on the eyes. Especially after a few days of the Halloween themed pictures.

I did this picture because Teresa complained that my last one was too busy. So this one is calmer and more contemplative. I tried an earlier version out on my girlfriend and she liked it but I think this version is a little better. What do you think?

Delphic Oracle

Please excuse the title. As a person with a background in philosophy it's difficult to resist references to classic Greece. However the topic I broach today has nothing to do with the prognostications at the temple of Delphi though I suppose a glimpse into the future might be held here. The Delphi I refer to is the company that declared bankruptcy on Saturday, October 8 2005.

While it made the news in a fairly prominent way, economic news is often ignored by the general public. And I suppose Steve Miller (CEO of Delphi) declaring Chapter 11 once more isn't a huge surprise. He did the same thing at Bethlehem Steel, Morrison-Knudson and Federal-Mogul, after all. Yet Delphi up until 1999 was a large chunk of General Motors--but was spun off presumably to relieve GM of some of their ruinous contract with UAW (Union of Auto Workers). The reason this might be a glimpse into the future is that since 1999 GM's market share has steadily eroded and it's contract with UAW is also …

michelle wie

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Happy Birthday, Michelle.

Today Michelle Wie turns 16. An important milestone for any girl but in her case this birthday will have an effect on many others. You see today Michelle turns pro. For anyone unfamiliar with Ms Wie, she's golf's preminent junior golfer. A young woman who's reportedly going to earn far more her first pro year than the top ranked woman golfer, Annika Sorenstam. $10 million versus $8 million. Like the last huge teen golf phenom, Tiger Woods, this money is based largely on a very lucrative contract with Nike. According to Fortune Magazine, just her Nike contract is worth $5 million a year with performance incentives that could drive it a lot higher.

How does this affect you? Assuming she starts winning--Michelle's only had one tournament win, in 2003--Michelle Wie will be a household name on a par, pun intended, with Tiger Woods. Given her gender and ethnic background, Michelle can make even bigger inroads into the national and world consciousness.…

flies, spiders and a witch

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Here's another variation on the Halloween screen thing. What do you think?

Here, again, I didn't feel inspired and just mixed up some stuff I had before. Maybe it's that I'm not really very interested in Halloween so the subject just doesn't gel with me.

In any case I uploaded the full size picture so it might be a little large if you click on the picture. I don't know if Blogger limits the size on the jpgs that it uploads.

Maybe a bat or two... or a ghost. How can you do a Halloween theme without a ghost?

football, a halloween picture and a rant

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For some odd reason I just wan't inspired today. I fiddled around in Photoshop for several hours on and off and this is the only thing I actually saved. and I'm really not very happy with it. Ehhh, sometimes you have to know when to just throw in the towel.

I don't watch much football but today I saw a really great game. I was flipping channels and caught a good play at the start of the 3rd quarter in the Wisconsin-North Western game and stayed to watch the rest of the game. Wisconsin is ranked, 14 I think, and NWestern isn't but it was hard to tell from the quality of play. They were both great--at least the offense was. The score ended at 51-48 and the play was intense as both teams struggled to stay ahead. The score at the half was 17-10 in favor of Wisconsin so almost all the scoring was in the second half.

RANT SECTION I really, really find word verification on blogs to be annoying. You all know how it works...
When you see a picture like this one to the left, you ty…

short meme

Here's a short little meme that I found over on Liz's Library Tavern blog.

1. Have you ever been to the emergency room?

A number of times. Once due to difficulty in breathing due to my throat swelling up. That's a cute story of how silly I can be. So I have no plans on sharing it! But usually sports injuries, often involving cars and bicycles. Bikes rarely ever win!

2. What's the worst pain you've ever had?

Kidney stones. I had them once but from what I've heard it was a pretty mild case. Short lived but very intense. I can see why it's compared to child birth. After that would be migraines. Mine are usually triggered by sinus headaches though once in a while loud noises will do it.

3. If you could choose your doctor, do you prefer someone of the same or opposite sex?

I prefer women and prefer DOs rather than MDs.

4. Do you take vitamins?

Never but I really should start.

5. Would you prefer to go to the doctor, the dentist or go sky diving?

I've not seen a docto…

photoshop

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I was playing some more in photoshop tonight. I wanted a new wallpaper for my desktop and so this is what I came up with...



If you click on it to get the bigger picture you'll get more of the effect. I've got an even bigger version on my computer since I keep my resolution at 1600x1200 and I don't want it to get grainy.

The spider is from a picture I took about a month ago outside a furniture shop. The backdrop of the 3 forms are a new lamp that my girlfriend bought at Target last night. I filtered it a little to give it a more "arty" look. A few fades in the background and some colorful shapes and I was done.

cats, flowers and baseball

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More playing in Photoshop. This picture I took about 3 years ago. I blurred the face a little to protect his identity. He's in the witless protection program. So many cats qualify for that. :-)

New topic since abortion seems to scare off commenting. Too many moms, I think.

The Atlanta Braves took the second game in their playoff series with Houston so now it's tied 1-1 going into Houston for the weekend. I expect they'll split the games and come back to Atlanta for the last game, the tie breaker. Smoltzie will be pitching and I like the way that sounds!

I'm going to buy some flowers in the next few days to plant. I've not decided on what so if you have any suggestions, feel free to toss them out. I'm in zone 7 and I get full sun everywhere. I like the idea of some day lillies and I'll definitely get some bulbs--maybe a mix of daffodils and tulips. I'm pretty sure I'll be getting these mail-order so let me know if you have a favorite company for that …

150 posts plus a cat

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Yesterday marked my 150th post to this bog. I haven't been posting as much about science as I thought I would be. It'll be interesting to see what my next 150 posts are about.


This picture has as a base a picture of the same cat as the other day, Pippin, when he was sleeping next to a moon shaped neon light. I played with it a bit in Photoshop mainly because I had the program open while I was labeling data for a presentation at AACR (American Association for Cancer Research) and decided to do a cat picture too.

As a follow up to yesterday's post, I'd like to say that I'm a little surprised that nobody has mentioned the obvious flaw in the GOP strategy. That preserving or defeating Roe/Wade isn't all that big a deal. Despite all the fanfare, should Roe/Wade be defeated, abortion won't be illegal--it'll just be up to each individual state to either allow or not allow abortion to be performed.

Abortion was legal in the USA for the first century of our existan…

flowers and abortion

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Politics.

Lately that seems like a dirty word. I'm reading a book that explores philosophy from the classical era of Greece to the recent past. Back in the Greece of Plato, Socrates & Aristotle, politics wasn't a dirty word. It was a subject that all the citizens would discuss and vote on. Of course that was a true democracy in that every citizen voted on issues, we live in a representational democracy where we elect officials and they're the ones that actually vote on issues. That might be what makes the difference.

In regards to the Supreme Court nominees, I have a pet theory that I've been toying with for a few months. I've mentioned it here once before but it's been a while so I'll toss it out again.

The Republicans in general and the party leadership of the GOP in particular hate abortion. That's easy to know because they tell us about it every day. Over and over. And as a result they get a lot of financial donations, endorsements and most importa…

violence

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Violence begets violence. Yeah, we've all heard it since we were little kids and were either getting beaten up or were doing the beating. From biblical times to present day--same message no matter who's saying it. Well, here's more proof!



Here I am slapping this cat around. Now I'm not going to mince words here--I was bigger and I was taking full advantage of the fact. But in my defense--this is one BAD CAT. Just look at those nasty eyes! You can tell, this cat needs some serious beatings!

Anyway, to get back to my story of violence and woe... I did beat that cat but there was a surprise at the end of the story.







Here's the rest of the story! Apparently what goes around comes around. Dammit.





I'm expected to make a full recovery. But it'll take time. I hate varmints!

voting is open

Derek Lowe, over at Corante, has a great post on the Nobel prize in medicine.

Vote today! The issue at stake is whether I should keep my little javascript floater you see at the top of the screen. Lois objects to it, and I must admit the damn things can be annoying. What do you think? Let me know, because at least here your vote does count!

Are you experienced?

Those immortal words so famously sung by Jimi Hendrix are on my mind today. Or more accurately, what are you experienced in?

For some reason--probably all the mentions of digital cameras on my last post--I've been thinking about how many bloggers edit their digital photographs. And that in turn made me think about how many people use editing software for their blog code. Here on Blogger you don't need to use an external editor though I use Dreamweaver whenever I do anything very complicated.

So my question for today is what software, if any, do you use for photographs or editing HTML? I use Dreamweaver MX or the default Blogger interface for HTML and ACDSee for easy photo edits and Photoshop 7 for more sophisticated changes.

What are you experienced in?

toys

I'm curious to know what the rest of you want for your next toy? A lot of bloggers are stay-at-home Moms and probably don't have a lot of extra money, but toys are still vital for ones mental health. Ask any crazy person when they last bought a pretty toy? I bet it's been a long time and perhaps, just perhaps, that might be the root of their mental ills.

**yeah, yeah, yeah--don't give me a hard time all you do-gooders, I was only KIDDING!**

I'm a guy and we tend to like shiny toys. No, not shoes! You are definitely thinking like a girl if you said that! I mean shiny like a digital camera or one of those new Apple iPod Nanos. I 'spose if I had lots of money it'd be a sleek sports car--but I don't dammit, so something in the $150-400 range is where I look for a toy.

Anyway, that's my choice. I'll possibly get an iPod but more likely a new digital camera. The one I'm using now is almost 3 years old and has a horrible macro function and after being…