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Archive for October, 2005

Our New Portable Media Center

October 25, 2005 Leave a comment

Tracy and I almost never print our pictures that we take on trips and at various events. About the only time we do is when visiting family and friends as we did last weekend. Then we’re left with photo albums lying around. We wanted something to store and display the pictures digitally so last week we purchased a new Creative Zen Portable Media Center that runs Windows Portable Media Center Edition and got a great deal through Microsoft on it.

Now we can listen to music, watch recorded television from our Media Center PC, watch videos, and show pictures to our families and friends. Unfortunately it came too late for our trip but we’ll have it for future trips and we can even hook it up to your TVs to display the pictures on bigger screens.

We will, of course, print out some pictures to give to families and friends but this way we can store thousands of pictures without the bulk!

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Categories: Hobbies

Back from our Annual Tailgating Event

October 24, 2005 Leave a comment
Tracy and I got back from our short trip back to the Midwest last night. We flew in late to Minneapolis and drove down to Owatonna where our friends live. We spent all day Friday with them visiting and playing with their two children and on Saturday all us adults went down to Iowa State University for the annual tailgating event where alums from all over the country meet back to have fun.
 
The day started off pretty decent but got a little windy and, hence, cold. Nothing too bad, though. It certainly wasn’t like a couple years ago when we all pretty much huddled together in one large mass to keep warm. That was in November, if I recall correctly. Some other friends of ours that live in the area came up to visit and integrated well with our other friends. It is truly a friendly bunch.
 
We also got to see our friend’s from Texas baby. She’s another cutie.
 
We got back to Owatonna late Saturday night and left late Sunday afternoon after going out to lunch with another of our friends in Owatonna.
 
The only bad part of the whole trip was the gas mileage of our rental car. We upgraded for a measly $13 to full-sized sedan: a Ford Taurus (a 2001-2003 model, I believe). We used a half tank of gas traveling down to Ames and the car had no apparent horsepower since it was very sluggish and had less than 17,000 miles on it. I only wish I had my car but it wouldn’t fit in our suitcase.
Categories: Travel

Talking about Scotty is Getting Beamed Up Himself

October 18, 2005 Leave a comment

And speaking of "Scotty" and Star Trek, the transparent aluminum mentioned in Star Trek IV is now reality. Hopefully the Air Force doesn’t hold this up in patents or at least just files for a defensive patent (which is dumb, because all you need is public prior art that pre-dates other patent filing attempts).

Categories: News and politics

Scotty is Getting Beamed Up Himself

October 15, 2005 Leave a comment

For those that remember James Doohan, better known as Scotty on the popular Star Trek series – he died not so long ago and his dying wish was to be launched into space. His wish is being granted December 6th on a commercial space flight. If you miss him and have the urge to see him, look up: his contained ashes will be orbiting for the next 50-200 years.

What I didn’t realize until the day he died is that he lived right here in Redmond, WA. He was also a D-Day veteran.

So long, "Scotty", and thanks for keep the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 – and Sci-Fi – going.

Categories: Entertainment

Technorati Profile

October 13, 2005 Leave a comment
I’ve registered for a Technorati Profile that tracks me in the blogosphere. There’s really nothing to see here, though…so you can move along.  This is just a link I have to include to make it all work.

Arachnids: A Solution

October 10, 2005 Leave a comment
Tracy and I stopped at Home Depot today to help solve our arachnid problem and looked at some sticky traps and sprays. We decided on a spray called Spider Killer by Hot Shot. When we got home before we entered the door I saw two giant house spiders. I sprayed them and along the door and within seconds they were dead (along with a third I didn’t see). I sprayed along the edges of various places where I saw them and since this stuff remains active for 4 months this hopefully will take care of the problem.
Categories: Home

Arachnids

October 9, 2005 Leave a comment
Almost as soon as Tracy and I moved into our place a year ago I wrote about the giant house spider we saw on our patio screen door. Since then we’ve killed about 2-3 large spiders a week. We do live on the ground floor and have asked at least once to have the walls sprayed but was rejected citing that some spiders are good. This was from maintenance.
 
Well, true to what my mother and I used to do I’ve been catching and studying these. I also found it amazing how little people in this area know about these critters, calling them everything from brown recluse spiders, or Loxosceles reclusa, to simply "wolf spiders" because they’re hairy. Below I have pictures and two of the three spiders tagged that I’m sure about.
 
The giant house spider, or Tegenaria gigantea, was introduced by Europe and first thought to be discovered as recently as 1930 here in the Pacific Northwest. They’re mostly harmless, but their bite will hurt – akin to a bee sting. These tend to be most common throughout the Pacific Northwest.
 
The other I’m sure about is the Callobius severus. I have been unable to find a common name for it. It is a dark orange from its legs to its cephalothorax (mid-section), but its abdomen (back section) is dark with ring pattern.
 
The third spider may be a hobo spider – the Pacific Northwest’s alternative to the Southeast’s brown recluse spider – also known as the Tegenaria agrestis. This spider – also a native of Europe – is smaller than its cousin, the T. gigantea, but is toxic and can cause necrosis. So far I have been unable to confirm that this is a hobo spider and as an excellent guide from Washington State University states, I should assume it’s not a hobo spider. With the 1 in 3 odds of seeing one versus another of the Tegenaria species, however, my hopes – nay, my fears – are probable.
 
I have included a quarter in the picture to give you some idea of their size. You might also notice that the T. gigantea has only 6 legs and two large palps (they look like fangs, but are actually the male’s sex organs). Upon inspection I found that its front two legs are missing, presumably lost in a fight.
Categories: Home