Sunday, November 30, 2008

Here we go again..!!


Oh man. Not already. No way..!!

Last day of November and here comes ol' man winter. Never got the leaves in the back yard raked and bagged. Did not get the timber and brick sidewalk rebuilt. Did not get the lawnmower emptied of gas and have not got the snowblower going yet. Luckily, this first 'real' snowfall is not that much

But still..!! Arrggghhhh..!! Anyone know a real estate agent in Arizona..?!?

These pics are of the snow on our crabapple trees in the front yard. I know I whined earlier this year that these trees were only beautiful "for a day or two".

But I suppose we could say these winter days when they are draped in snow and ice, I suppose we could say they are also beautiful now.

I am ready for spring.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fighting through the crowds...


Yet another invite from an online acquaintance:

Xxxxxxxx makes it easy to create, share and discuss your blog, photos, videos and music with more of the people you know, and less of the people you don't.

Hmmm. Perhaps there is a clue there to why I just do not get the appeal of sites like Facebook.

My idea of web-time well spent is to find new stuff I have not seen before, new people I have not met yet, new images I have not imagined, new thoughts and new music I have never heard.

Image source: victoriapeckham via flickr dot com

Why would I want to close myself up in a 'gated community' and share only with those who I am already familiar and comfortable..?? I suppose I could do both, spend time at the country club with the blue bloods and then go down to the city park and interact with the commoners.

But hey, I only have so much time to spend online ... though my wife might argue with that thought. I guess I want to spend it finding new stuff and not embracing what I already know.

Hey . . .I might even find you...

Image source: rileyroxx via flickr dot com

Yeah, I deleted that invitation to join...


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dr. Pepper Sucks..!!


Dr. Pepper sucks.

Or at least the corporate and logistics side of Dr. Pepper sucks.

You have all surely heard the story of Dr,. Peppers plans to give a free can of Dr. Pepper "every man, woman and child in the U.S." if the band Guns N' Roses released their Chinese Democracy disc before the close of 2008.

Image source: Denise&David via flickr dot com

An MTV page dated October 16, 2008 states:
The Dr Pepper spokesperson told MTV News that, while additional details will be forthcoming, the company's plan to distribute free cans of its product will involve some sort of an online coupon system. "People will go on Dr Pepper's Web site and we will send them a coupon for a free one," the spokesperson confirmed. "It's going to be real easy."

'Real easy'. Yeah right.

Well guess what happens when you try to log onto the site today, November 23, the date picked for the one-day coupon give-away...

You got it. Site hangs up or bounces you back to the registration page. Yup, that is right, they make you register at the site before you can even try to get to the actual page where (I assume) you might enter your mailing address for the coupon.

Do they strip the page down, get rid of the graphics so it loads quicker..?? No. Do they make it easy to leave a name and address..?? No. Though I suppose that might cut down on multiple requests from one individual.

All the while a clock ticks away at the top of the website, taunting you about how much time is left to 'register' for your free coupon...

Repeated attempts to enter and submit the information results in being bounced back to the same page sans some entered information. Or you are dumped at a stark 'Service Unavailable' page.

Efforts to call the listed toll-free number: 1-800-6965891, are, of course, fruitless as it either never connects or you get a busy signal.

Geezus. Hey Dr. Pepper: did you plan this out at all..?? Did you give some thought as to how you would handle the demand..?? Did you beef up your server base..?? Consider a longer submission period..?? Plan for anything that might have been 'customer friendly'..??

Well screw you. I will never buy another Dr. Pepper product again if my efforts to get this stupid free coupon go unrequited..!! And I will use the influence of this blog to keep thousands from doing the same . . .OK, maybe two or three peeps, if I am lucky.

But seriously . . .what the h3ll were you thinking..??

...sigh... OK, I am going back in for one more try ... wish me luck.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

'No Shave November' is a no-win...


A recent on-line letter to the student newspaper at the university my daughter attends demonstrated to me how to corrupt a worthwhile online idea.

"No Shave November" is an online campaign that has apparently been out there on the intertubes for a while.

There is an Internet outpost at NoShaveNovember dot org but very little is found there. The whole point is to collect pledges for not shaving during November to support a charitable organization.

This year's recipient organization is SaveDarfur dot org. Individuals who participate in 'No Shave' are directed to collect their pledges and send them directly to 'SaveDarfur'.

There are a whole bunch of facebook groups. The few I clicked on all seem be silly college or university peeps having fun. Men not shaving and whining about how bad their beards are. Women celebrating freedom from shaving their legs. Just not a lot of serious social action behind this whole thing. Not a mention of Darfur or SaveDarfur dot org. Which is kinda sad given the real story of what is occurring in Darfur.

Anyway, just a thought on a silly Internet activity that seems like a good idea but has the social value of a beer pong match. I would love for someone to refute my thoughts that no serious charitable fund raising has resulted from the idea of 'No Shave November'.


A look at the ongoing tragedy in Sudan and Darfur by the Big Picture blog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One dumb pink flamingo...


OK, ya know you live in a small town when the escape of a bird from the city zoo makes the hourly news update:

From the Des Moines Register website:
A missing Blank Park Zoo flamingo returned home Tuesday afternoon after leading dozens of searchers on a chase through south Des Moines.

Zoo officials report Tuesday afternoon that someone spotted the flamingo at a golf course near the zoo. Crews moved in on the location and were able to capture the flamingo, after the bird too one final flight over the zoo grounds.

Later in the story a local resident tells of her encounter with the wayward bird:

"There was a pink flamingo standing in my driveway ... It just kind of looked at me and turned its head back and forth."

Now that is one dumb bird. I mean, come on; what is the first thing they teach you in flamingo school: 'If you escape, find a house with a lawn ... and don't move. They will never find you..!! And then later, under the cover of darkness, then you can make your real escape.'

Image source: -just-jen- via flickr dot com

Man, what a dumb bird. And we thought turkeys were dumb.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Time for Christmas letters folks..!!


It is a few short weeks until Christmas and I know that many of you are looking for some help on crafting that ultimate Christmas letter.

We have all received those 'form letter' Christmas cards/mailings. They brag about 'Bill's promotion to Vice-President' and the news that 'Ashley was the Lead in the school play' and 'Joshua was appointed to the Naval Academy while placing on the First-Team All-State football team. We are so proud!!' News about pets and trips and parties and victories and celebrations and 'Grams and Grampa' and cars and new jobs and crafty investments and . . .arrggghhhh!!

It all teams together to make you wonder if your family was the only one to have even a smidgen of bad luck, failure, or disappointment in the year drawing to a close.

With that frame of mind, my wife drafted our own family Christmas Letter in 1997. Yes, that cheap, computer-printed, glob of ersatz 'holiday cheer' had finally wormed its way into our family Christmas routine. Well . . .at least the way my darling wife envisioned it.

Me..?? I was set to do battle. To parody the puffy and putrid prose that permeated our personal piece and all that we received.

I composed an 'anti-Christmas letter' that we copied onto the back of my wife's pitiful (sorry dear!) summary of our year.

I can say without crossing my fingers that peeps much preferred my 'getting real' version to the prettied-up, 'life is sooo good..!!' letter composed by my wife. ( At least they admitted to that after a few drinks on New Years Eve.)

That letter I offer now as an example of one 'irregular tradition' that our family suffers each year. ( The briefest of background: Our oldest daughter, Kate, was then in the 7th grade; our twins, daughter Karen and son John, were then in the 4th grade. Names changed to protect the not-so-innocent. )

Without further delay: The 1997 sleeper's family Christmas letter:

Image source: hopenharmony via flickr dot com


Merry Christmas to You and Yours

The really real Christmas letter

Welcome to the Smith Family 1997 interactive Christmas letter, ver. 3.01.1 Your earnest participation will give you the feeling that "you were there" as you spend 1997 with our family.

Please select one answer at each multiple-choice question.

(If you need to "download" something to view this interactive letter, please remember to wash your hands thoroughly afterward!)

Correct answers are given below. Good Luck!!

January was a well-remembered month as on the 28th we finally:
a) took down the Christmas tree,
b) realized we had blown our retirement fund buying all these presents,
c) dug the car out of that da** snowdrift.

February was a month well-remembered as:
"..uhhh,.......ahhhh, who the heck remembers February!"

March was the month that we had:
a) green eggs and ham to celebrate the holiday (Karen's idea),
b) green kool-aid to celebrate the holiday (Kate's idea),
c) green left-overs that were celebrating taking over the refrigerator (no one had any idea!)

April was that memorable month that John:
a) wanted to play baseball on the 5th,
b) did not want to play baseball on the 10th,
c) denied he had ever known what "baseball" was on the 15th.

Ahh, dear, sweet May........unfortunately, our lawyers say we are not to discuss May until the grand jury inquiry is concluded........(You know how slow the legal system can be.)

June, July, August were all really:
a) hot, hot, hot..,
b) full of idiots saying "it's the humidity not the temperature",
c) typical for this latitude and longitude.

September is fondly remembered because:
a) the kids all went back to school,
b) we forgot to pick up the kids from camp until after school had begun,
c) all the kids' grade-point averages were 4.0 for at least one day.

October this year, for Halloween, we began working on their costumes:
a) at the beginning of the month,
b) that Monday evening just before the big day,
c) oh heck, we smeared some burnt cork under their eyes and told 'em they were 'ath-a-letes'......(I am not sure they bought it.)

November found Dad left at home for Thanksgiving while the rest of the family traveled out of town because:
a) the in-laws had warned "that bastard better not come around again!"
b) he had to work that weekend ...always, a great excuse for a road trip,
c) the electronic bracelet goes off whenever he is more than 100 feet from the transmitter. (See May above.)

December was memorable for everyone pitching in to:
a) get all those little things done in time for the 'holidays' (like this letter!)
b) get Mom that "Merry Maid" as a Christmas present,
c) help Dad find that list of projects to complete in 1997 . . .(he lost it in, ...oh...maybe mid-January.)

We hope that this past year has found you and all of yours
in good health and best spirits!!!

Correct answers (in no particular order): c, a, a, b, a, b, c, a.
(...We are sure you, and we, will like your answers better than ours anyway!)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

...qui aime gribouiller...


... who likes to doodle ...

It is the tagline at her blog. Acroline's blog

I have no idea who she(?) is. She apparently is French or perhaps Swiss. The vast majority of the text on her blog is in French. But she is conversant enough to use a smattering of English. I found her stuff recently from clicking the 'Next Blog' button at the top of blogger site pages. A time-killing habit of mine...

Her pictures are the soul of her blog, of her. She 'likes to doodle' indeed.

Her pictures are of young girls, young ladies, women. Dreaming, thinking, being women. Thinking of clothes, and shopping, and life. They are whimsical, soft pastel watercolors(?) and they are absolutely wonderful.

I hope she knows that. I hope her talents and her dreams take her far in life.

Anyway. One more to share, I hope it is OK with her. And then do go check out her blog to brighten your own day...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Read the label stupid..!!


Some people think it must be hard to find stuff to 'blog about'. Well, not if you set the bar low enough.

For example, a fundraiser product my wife brought home from work today. Always nice to help the kids with ... well, whatever they are doing with our money.

This fundraiser featured assorted nuts, fruits, and candies from Terry Lynn fundraising, products that I do highly recommend.

I had to laugh though at the packaging of their 'Colossal Natural Pistachios'. Nothing too unusual about the front:

But check out the 'warning label' on the reverse:

Ya know, ya got be sharp as a 'consumer' these days..!! And we must protect the 'food-challenged' among us. Next will be warning labels on banana peels...


Monday, November 10, 2008

Too soon into the dark night...


One of my earliest posts here at 'Sleeping In the Heartland' noted the arrival on Mars of the Phoenix Lander.

Its five year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out ...

Wait, that is not right..!! I am getting real life and Trek fiction confused again...

The Phoenix Mars Mission was "... designed to study the history of water and the habitability potential in the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil." Check out the resource-rich Phoenix Mars Mission website to learn much, much more.

From its landing on May 25, the lander performed nearly flawlessly and met most of its scientific objectives. It returned over 25,000 photographs and other scientific data from tests on the surface of Mars. Its planned mission of 90 days stretched to just over 5 months. It was active for all but a few days with scientific investigations. Study of the photographs and data obtained is expected to continue for years.

There is a possibility that the lander may reactivate itself after a long Martian winter but it is believed to be unlikely.

Congratulations to all who designed, built, programmed, and conducted the Phoenix Lander Mission. Job well done.


Vote one more time...


Yes, if you are an Epinions dot com member you are not done voting yet..!!

...and if you are not ... well check us out..!!

Yeah, yeah, I know: I munged the question. You are all smart, figure it out on your own..!! ...:minism:...

Thanks for playing..!!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

'lean-n-mean' less than ... 50 words..??


22 Words, via Robust Writing challenges us to post in fifty words or less.

At my favorite online haunt sleeper54 has challenged writers to write 'lean-n-mean' for 6 years-plus.

Users have always found it challenging and a good exercise of their writing 'chops'.

Check us out soon.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Melancholic madness...


Sometimes ya just wanna reach some basic gut feelings deep inside you...

For me music is the way to do just that...

Enjoy one of my favorites...