Showing posts from December, 2005

ice storm pics

These are a few pictures I took 2 years back of an ice storm that hit the Raleigh-Durham area of NC. It took out power for the area for a couple of days in some areas and over a week in others. I was without power for 6 days but it wasn't all that bad for me because they got power back at work on the second day and I mostly stayed there that week.

I'm posting these in sympathy for my parents that have just endured the same sort of thing in SC. They have their power on now but much of the area was without power for 3-7 days. Just before Christmas, it was. The stores must have been going crazy! More than half of them weren't able to be open during that critical week.

A tree down on some cars in the parking lot of the apartment complex I was living in at that time.

The Old Well at UNC. A landmark of sorts.

A bench with ice I really liked the way the ice looked on the trees in the background.

Internet news story

In case you missed this story, it just goes to show there's always a new idea out there for a better mousetrap, if you will. All you need is enough press and a good idea. I wish I had it!

Cash pours in for student with $1 million Web idea

By Peter Graff
Thu Dec 29, 1:04 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - If you have an envious streak, you probably shouldn't read this.

Because chances are, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from a small town in England, is cleverer than you. And he is proving it by earning a cool million dollars in four months on the Internet.

Selling porn? Dealing prescription drugs? Nope. All he sells are pixels, the tiny dots on the screen that appear when you call up his home page.

He had the brainstorm for his million dollar home page, called, logically enough,, while lying in bed thinking out how he would pay for university.

The idea: turn his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots, and sell them for a dollar a dot to anyone who wa…

comment moderation

I enabled comment verification earlier today and I've already caught one of those nasty SPAM bastards. Here's the little devil:

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kayaking pics

Here's a few pictures I took while kayaking on the morning of December 24.

I was out before dawn in subfreezing temperatures. This is the best time to get good pictures of fog moving across the water.

This picture is from a small inlet that I entered since I knew some geese and ducks stayed there. While on my way to find them, I saw this old dock and decided to take a picture of it also.

I like the look of the old weathered wood with the misty water. There's a sense of isolation and dilapidation here but also a feeling of being abandoned by the rest of the world.

It's very comforting, in a way, just sitting in the water and soaking up that feeling. But after a while it got too cold and I paddled off.

These two pictures are of the ducks I was looking for in that inlet that I mentioned above. The one on the right I took first. As you can tell by their casual attitude, they weren't aware of me yet.

In the picture to the left they didn't like my proximity and were scooting …

christmas day pics

These are all very small thumbnails. If you want to see any detail, just click on the picture. You know the drill.

Here's the cause of all the ruckus. Santa, trying to look innocent by being asleep. The following pictures detail the damage he did to my brother's living room...

This is the tree where Santa lay down the presents that he littered the room with. Isn't it a pretty tree? It's real and smelled so nice!

These are my three nephews. The two oldest are a junior and senior in high school whereas the youngest has a long, long way to go. 8 years left until college.

The two older boys and someone's butt. You can also see that the gift wrap debris was reaching epic proportions. At this point dogs were easily becoming lost and soon smaller children would be at risk!
My sister-in-law and her middle child. It's so nice when they like to hug! BTW, I'm not a hugger and I get teased about it a lot!

In this one you get three generations with my Mom joining the picture.…

Stephanie, my new tenant

Stephanie's very interesting. Her blog is a combination of a personal blog where she unwinds and unloads some of her problems in life as well as a link to her commercial site where she sells her line of scented items (incense, candles, bath & body products, soaps, and macrame hair wraps--whatever those are).

As you can see she's also lovely with red hair and fair skin. Not that this had any influence on my picking her as my tenant! LOL But it just so happens that I do have a weakness for the Irish appearance in the fairer sex.

Actually what I find most interesting about Stephanie is her battle with schizophrenia. I cowrote a book about the disease a few years back. While it was a book for older kids and not as detailed as a book oriented towards adults would be, I still learned a lot about the disease--or diseases would probably be more accurate.

Scizophrenia is a very difficult disease to live with and maintain a normal lifestyle. I find Stephanie's struggle to be admira…

now there's room in the manger

'Cause we moved the donkeys out...

These 4 sweet darlings belong to my parent's real estate agent and Dad's taking care of them for a week. The farm where the donkey live at is only 10 miles away from my parent's house and it made for a nice little after-breakfast trip this morning.

merry christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

holiday update

I'm not having much luck at uploading pictures today. I'm at my parent's house and that means dial-up connection. *shudder*

I was out on the lake twice today kayaking but my shoulders felt like hamburger so I didn't get much speed. I hate it when the body doesn't cooperate! The first time I went out it was at 7am and mostly for pictures. The second time was at 1pm and that was for distance and sans camera.

I head to GA and my brother's house tomorrow morning from here at 6am for a 8am Christmas morning rendezvous there. My parents left this morning but there's not room enough for all of us --sound familiar? no room at the inn?-- so I'm joining them in the morning. The traditional everyone-going-to-church on Christmas Eve had nothing to do with my decision.

Well, maybe a little!

I hope y'all have a great holiday celebration whether it be Xmas, Hanukkah, Yule or one of the other ones. Mozel tov.


Golfs Worst Foursome




mutation found that accounts for white skin

Rick Weiss, a staff writer at the Washington Post, recently wrote an article titled Scientists Find A DNA Change That Accounts For White Skin. Here's the beginning of the article. If it interests, you follow the link to read the whole thing.

Scientists said yesterday that they have discovered a tiny genetic mutation that largely explains the first appearance of white skin in humans tens of thousands of years ago, a finding that helps solve one of biology's most enduring mysteries and illuminates one of humanity's greatest sources of strife.

The work suggests that the skin-whitening mutation occurred by chance in a single individual after the first human exodus from Africa, when all people were brown-skinned. That person's offspring apparently thrived as humans moved northward into what is now Europe, helping to give rise to the lightest of the world's races.

Leaders of the study, at Penn State University, warned against interpreting the finding as a discovery of &qu…

my new tenant

The Median Sib is a blog written by Carol, known to her family as Cabbie. As you might guess, Carol is the middle sibling in her family. She's got two older sisters and two younger as well as one older brother and one younger. It's a very balanced group.

Carol's been blogging since the middle of September this year. She's a reading specialist. She works with parents and kids to help them learn how to read, she's even started her own consulting business, CS Learning Consultants, to help attain that goal.

Carol has two kids, both adults and married, as well as two grandchildren. She's been divorced for a year and lives in the Nashville area of TN. Most of her posts concern her family, from her mother and siblings to her own children and grandchildren but she also posts about books for children, weight loss, and some politics.

Carol's got some things in common with me--an interest in cooking and the love of books, and we've even been to some of the same campi…


We're coming to the end of another yet. 2005 isn't going to be with us much longer. One of the harbingers of a New Year, Time's person of the year, has been awarded and this time to 3 people. Bono of U2, and Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft fame.

Interesting choices. Bono has been committed to helping others for a long time whereas the Gates have come into philanthropy just recently. However due to their immense wealth, the Gates will help tens of thousands, maybe even millions of people. Already using the Gates Foundation, their charitable organization, they've donated $24 billion to charity. That's a staggering amount of wealth.

Here in the US 2005 will probably be most remembered due to a series of natural disasters, often made somewhat worse by human ineptitude, both here in the USA and abroad. Katrina is foremost in my mind but that hurricane had plenty of company. The earthquake at Kashmir killed nearly 100,000 people. All in all, Mother Nature showed us she…


A Christmas tree is so pretty when all lit up. Here's a few things I've shamelessly raided from other websites about Christmas trees:

Tree worship can be traced back to the ancient world. Evergreens and wreaths have been used as symbols of life and rebirth from ancient times.

Bringing greenery into your home during the dark of winter symbolized life in the midst of death.

The Romans decorated their homes with evergreens during the Kalends in January. The Germans brought living trees into their homes during the feast of Yule.

It is believed that the Christmas tree originated in the Paradise Tree which was used in medieval plays about Adam and Eve, and that it symbolized the Garden of Eden. During the 15th Century Germans began to put the tree up on December 24th.

Trees that remain green in the winter have been symbolic of life in the midst of death, and of rebirth, in many cultures.

The Christian folk-religious custom of erecting and adorning evergreen trees in the middle of winter …


My tenant from Blog Explosion, RenaRF who maintains the blog On The Left Tip is about to finish out her lease on my blog.

She hasn't posted much this week, just once on Monday and again on Wednesday. No doubt the holidays are keeping her busy. Everyone has so much to do this time of year.

Her Monday post was a commentary on political bumper stickers and how annoying it is to be stuck in traffic with slow drivers. Her focus was more on politics but the slow driving was what got my blood steaming. I kept thinking "Get out of the left lane you dick!"

Rena's Wednesday post was about shopping online with New Orlean's businesses to help them survive economically. I like that approach. Helping them stay afloat with private business instead of government handouts.

Rena started her blog, On the Left Tip, on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 and usually posts regularly. Go and see!

ice storm

Here's a story that was running on the newswire today:

ATLANTA - Freezing rain and ice jolted the South on Thursday, closing schools, snarling traffic and knocking out power to about 300,000 customers from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.

The outages were caused by ice — up to half an inch thick — that formed on tree limbs and fell onto power lines. About 190,000 were reported without power in western North Carolina and South Carolina's upstate, 57,000 in the Atlanta area and nearly 50,000 across parts of northeast Georgia.

Ten school systems were closed in Georgia and more than a dozen closed in North Carolina, where mountain communities in the western part of the state were told to expect 1 to 3 inches of snow and sleet.

The weather also caused delays of more than an hour at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Forecasters expected the temperatures to increase above freezing across much of the region by Thursday afternoon, but then dip back into the 20s overnight.

Here whe…

sinuses & 2-ME

My sinuses are trying to kill me so I'm just going to post some pictures from this weekend.

This first one is the northwest corner of my backyard. As you can guess, it doesn't look exactly like this. I played around with the colors and contrast a little.

I took the picture because I really liked the way the gray sky contrasted with the color of my shed and the fading leaves on the pear trees to the side. Of course that doesn't come across in this picture but you can see it to a degree on the picture below.

This is the line of Bradford Pear trees at the side of my yard. There's still leaves on the trees but they're pretty ragged and are littered across my yard as well.

Next week their end will be met as I winterize my mowers by finishing off the gas in their tanks by mulching the leaves into my yard. If I'm good, I'll toss some lime down also to keep the pH of the soil from dropping too far--but more likely I'll just chalk it up to slowing the growth of the …

U.S. launches cancer gene mapping project

The following is the lead-in for a Reuters news story about a new initiative against cancer. This one sounds like it has promise to me, but maybe I'm just a starry eyed idealist. :-)

U.S. government researchers launched on Tuesday a pilot project to find all the little genetic changes that cause cancer and hope it can open a whole new world of targeted cancer therapy.

They hope to lay the groundwork for replicating the successes of a few targeted cancer therapies such as Genentech Inc's Herceptin, useful against one type of breast cancer, and Novartis's Gleevec, a pill that revolutionized treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia.

Scientists know that cancer is a genetic disease, caused by mutations or other changes in the DNA of cells. But no one has done a systematic analysis of all the mutations in various tumors.

This is exactly what I do in my lab. But we're just a very small player in the cancer research game. My boss is an oncologist and she's only in the lab one …

Christmas Joke


A Christmas time Joke
Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip...but there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where to. More Stress! Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

Totally frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hit the liquor and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen f…


My new tenant from Blog Explosion is RenaRF who maintains the blog On The Left Tip. As you can probably gather from the name, Rena tends to the left. As she states in her profile area: "A proud member of the 49% who voted for John Kerry".

She also posts to several other blogs such as Daily KOS and Boycott Thieves.

Rena started her blog, On the Left Tip, on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 and posts regularly. On her first day she posted this:

People learn a lot about me by seeing what news attracts and holds my attention. I consume my news from a host of different sources. In the so-called mainstream, I turn to CNN and MSNBC for televised news and read The Washington Post and The New York Times for print news. I also subscribe to Sirius satellite radio and listen to BBC and C-SPAN. I'd say the greatest diversity of news I consume comes online, however. I visit a host of blogs, the most prominent being Daily Kos. I also read international news sources like online newspapers from M…

last day for P'girl

Today is the last full day that Marian, better know as Panthergirl, will have an ad over to the right. She has a very nicely designed blog, The Dog's Breakfast, as is apparent just looking at the small version on my border. Go look at her blog page and see what I mean.

Panthergirl has two blogs and her post on Wednesday reflected her other one, Adventures in Suburbia. Apparently she needs male volunteers regarding that post. I didn't want to know too many details about that sort of thing so you'd best check that out yourself if you're interested in volunteering.

This past week Marian only had 4 posts since she's been on a business trip but one of them, while being actually a repost from early in the year, is quite amusing since it features a picture of her from circa 1966. She'w wearing a polka dot pantsuit and is draped over the hood of a car. It's quite a sight. Earlier that day she also had a post with my favorite sister, "C", featured in a pictu…

exploding blogs?

Many of you already know about Blog Explosion but for those of you that don't, here's a little explanation of the place.

The website Blog Explosion has several functions. Primarily for the blogger it's a way to increase traffic to your blog and presumably increase your readership and the general awareness of your web presence.

This is done in several ways. The main thing I do is play "Battle of the Blogs" which is a head-to-head match up between blogs in which 15 other people vote on which blog they like best. Both blogs put up points, which have previously been earned by voting for other blogs, and the winner of the battle receives 75% of the pot, with the remaining 25% split amongst the 15 voters.

All of this is free in terms of cash though of course like anything in the blogging world there's a lot of time involved. The downside is that most of the people viewing your blog are just clicking in for a quick look and never bother to comment. There's exceptio…

kayak at sunset & christmas

Here's two pictures from the Summer. I like including my kayak in the pictures on occasion and here's two examples of my tendency to do just that.

As you can tell from the light, it was near sunset when I was out getting these pictures. This particular outing was just a short jaunt intended for nothing other than to take a dozen or so pictures and then come home before it got too dark.

New topic--Christmas shopping.

So far all I've done is get one gift for my mother, maybe two. Everyone else is still hanging in limbo. I hope to cover at least 3 more people this weekend, maybe even 5--but a lot depends on both my girlfriend and I being motivated and neither of us like to go shopping.

I've been thinking of making some baklava--for the first time ever--for the holidays. I've never worked with phylo so I'm a little nervous. But it sure would taste good! I don't think the filling will present any problems but the working with phylo dough might. It co…

Democratic Party rallying cry

A great post to read if you dislike the Bush policies, especially in regard to Iraq. For anyone else it'll just raise your blood pressure. Be warned!

An example quote:

"The same band of jackals who thought Iraq would be a quick and
easy weekend jaunt are the same morons who let New Orleans
drown while crowing about the “heck of a job” the emergency
response apparatus was doing."

crotch and pussy

Search engines rev up your motors! I'm about to get indexed with those provocative terms. Imagine the disappointment though when they see the picture below.

Long term readers will probably recognize that troublesome feline that I call Bad Penny and my girlfriend the cat owner refers to as Pippin. Faded in the background you can vaguely see Orrin, one of her other cats. Faded in the foreground is something we won't talk about. LOL

I was reading a book in bed the other week and the cats were keeping me company. Awwwwwwwww. For some reason Pippin, the troublemaker, finds me irresistable. I find him to be too persistant.

I really don't like cats despite any evidence to the contrary!

In other news, it's just after midnight here and the temp is 34--it's supposed to go down to around 26 and they're calling for some snow. Dammit, I didn't move south to see snow!

blogger unavailable

Blogger was apparently down for quite a while today. I never saw anything online about it beforehand and a quick search across the web now didn't come up with anything. Oh, well. The worst that happened to me is that I lost a few contests on Blog Explosion due to folk not being able to pull up my blog.

As you might expect a lot less people cruised by my blog as a result of the downage time. According to Statcounter I was off nearly 40% today. I expect that's true for most people with Blogger.

How did y'all fare? Most of the people that frequent my blog come in from other Blogger sites so this affected most of you.

my new tenant

Over to the right you'll notice a small ad for another blog. It's owned by Marian, AKA Panthergirl, a woman living in New York City who is the married mother of 2 kids--10 years apart-- and an incredibly youthful appearing 50. Go look at her blog page and see what I mean.

If you go visit, please let her know you're visiting from my page please!

The main content of her blog is hard to describe succinctly. What I find most interesting is tracing, through her own words, how Marian--her childhood nickname was 'Mudd' because of how her maternal grandfather pronounced her name: "Muddiyan"--managed to survive growing up with a crazy mother and somewhat removed father and what affects this had on her and her siblings.

In the past, Panthergirl's had a number of interesting posts relating to that journey. Most telling is her post on February 3, 2005 titled "Margie Dearest" in which she describes her mother. It's quite....interesting. She tackles her …

harry potter

I was talking to a friend the other day and the subject of Harry Potter came up. She remarked how heroic he was and how thrilling the adventures were. That got me to thinking...

J.K. Rowling is a very talented writer. I suspect that most of what is in the books is there for a reason. The 6 books written so far have a fair share of logical inconsistencies. Why are they there, you might ask yourself? Up to now I'd just assumed that Rowling included them because they play well to younger readers--but now I have a different theory.

Harry Potter is a loser. Poor fellow. An outcast at school and with an unhappy family life.

Let me explain. Let's posit, for the moment, that the home life with the Dursleys, the ultimate muggles, is Harry's reality. That would mean that all the tales of wizardry and gallant fights against evil and black magic are simply an unhappy adolescent's fantasy escape from a reality he didn't like.

Much of what happens in the books, when looked upon from…

3T and me

Today is the last full day that Teri of Stumbling through Life with Grace will be with my blog. It's been nice seeing her well designed blog over there on my right border.

She started off the week a mite quietly --probably because she hurt her back a few days ago-- but she's had several posts in the past few days as well as a really lovely holiday theme added on. It's a switchable CSS so if you head over there to see it, you might have to manually switch the skin to her "Jingle Bells" theme. Believe me, it's worth it.

In fact, her post from yesterday was about the person who designed the skin, Rachel from Web Divas. On Wednesday Teri wrote an amusing post on the reality TV show Wife Swap. Apparently you can make money ($1,000) by recruiting a family to be on there (and the family gets $20,000) so Teri was sending out a plea for a family interested in being on the show. If that's you--give her a visit!

If you go over and visit her, please wish her a speedy re…

late afternoon at a lake

This past Saturday Renée and I took one of her dogs for a walk around a local lake.

This is Renée heading down the first hill. You can see that we've still got some color in the trees.

With all the rain this week most of those remaining leaves are probably on the ground now.

It's hard to tell in these pictures but we got off to a very late start and it was late afternoon and already starting to get dark.

This was the first time since I tore up my ankle that I'd covered any distance over uneven ground so I was a bit concerned that I might turn my ankle. Fortunately I did fine and even trotted along the trail a few times when I fell behind while taking pictures.

I took this picture as much to showcase the huge burl on the tree as to capture the lake and Renée.
The colors were beautiful to the eye but a little bland in the pictures so I cranked up the saturation a little. That gives this picture a slightly unearthly look.

Moe is hiding behind Renée--I think he was trying to get down…