As Far As I Can Tell


We visited downtown Arcadia, the town that my grandparent’s address falls within. They seem to love living in rural areas. The town is one of those places that used to have a rich history, but now is full of antique stores. It labels itself as the best small town in Florida; which should probably be subject to a re-vote. It wasn’t all bad though; I found a restaurant with garden burgers so I could stop my 3 day spree of eating nothing but breakfast food.

The computer training is done, and I think it’s at least sort of worked. Omar is using the track pad like the best of them. It’s very humbling to watch a computer novice attempt to use a website you’ve built. All those usability rules that get scoffed at most of the time come into play, and you realize just how confusing the constantly changing interfaces of different websites are. There’s so much I take for granted when it comes to computer-based knowledge.

I’m pretty sure that Omar and Barb know how to check and respond to email through MSN okay now. So if you know them, and have the time, drop them a line at omarbarb-AT-msn-DOT-com. I had to spam proof that email address because they’re never going to use this computer if they start getting porn spam in their inbox.

Tomorrow we’re back on the road to Michigan. Merry Christmas everybody.

banana tree in Omar’s yard

Omar with a photo of him and Barb on their honeymoon

Omar and Barb learning how to use their new laptop


 

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We ventured out to the beach at Boca Grande today, which is about an hour drive from my Grandparents house. The sand was full of seashells by the bucket full, and the weather was perfect with a slight breeze. The area around the beach was interesting because most of the houses had small inlets for boats. Looking at a map of the nearby town of Charlotte shows complex channels running everywhere, sometimes even forming circular patterns within a community. A lot of people here actually use their boats to get from place to place; they’re able to dock up to restaurants and businesses on the water.

I helped Omar pick out a laptop at Staples. It’s a Compaq with a huge screen and all the toys. He won’t use half of the capabilities, but if he starts emailing people that’ll be good enough. It came with a years worth of Internet access through MSN, but annoyingly there isn’t a local number for his house in Florida. Tomorrow I’m going to give him a tutorial after setting everything up; I won’t have much time to train him, considering he hasn’t ever really used a computer before.

I just got back from seeing Lord of the Rings in Charlotte. It was great—as expected. Fantasy style plots have the huge potential to be cheesy, but I never once thought that about this movie. I like the fact that they shot all three of them at once; I think it’s the correct way to do a trilogy. I’m left hanging for next year’s sequel.

I noticed during the previews that they’re starting to get really specific with the reasons for particular movie ratings. For example, I saw a movie in which it was rated R for “Vampire Violence”. My new game is going to be trying to find the silliest reason for an R rating.

Omar in front of his house

Dad on the beach

Dad and Ike looking at seashells

Ike, Omar and Dad


 

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This is a laptop update from Arcadia, Florida where I’m visiting my grandparents. They started coming down here a few years ago, but I’ve never seen their place before. It’s part of community call Sunny breeze that seems be heavily Mennonite based. The strange thing is that probably 25% of the people that live here are from the same southwest Michigan area as my grandparents. On top of that, at least 5 couples that they know are making plans to move down soon. It’s kind of creepy. My grandpa and grandma hang out here with people from Sturgis that they never talk to during the summer; they’re seasonal friends.

Omar has decorated the palm trees with Christmas lights, arranging them so that they look like a giant candle. He’s done lots of landscaping and put his metal animal creations all around. Their lot definitely looks better than the other ones in the neighborhood. The one thing that’s missing though is a fruit tree; most yards have orange, grapefruit or banana trees. Still, it’s very “Florida”.

I learned how to play euchre tonight. There have been numerous attempts to teach me before, but I never picked it up. I guess I probably never wanted to know that badly, since the rules are pretty simple. I liked it a lot—probably because I kept winning.

We went to a restaurant on the gulf tonight where you get to sit right by the water. It was a pretty average seafood place where the only vegetarian option was grilled cheese, but it had a good view. It’s true what they say about Florida though; it’s mostly retired folks and tourists. It’d be odd to live in an environment where being a year-round local is the minority status. I would imagine there is a sense of community amongst the seasonal people and the amongst the locals—but separately. I got to see some elderly couples doing old-style dancing on the boardwalk near the restaurant. I love happy old couples. I hope to be half of one some day.

road sign on the Florida border



ocean view from the restaurant, photo by Isaiah King


 

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We have snow.
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Tech Note:
Yesterday I found a strange bug (feature?) in Internet Explorer. If you run this browser and are in the habit of fiddling with your default settings, listen up. If you set your Temporary Internet Files settings to be ďEvery visit to the PageĒ, then IE goes out and grabs a new image on every rollover, instead of using the preloaded image.

I noticed this because I had some rollovers that were really sluggish, but performed just fine in NS6. I even went so far as to make a page that demonstrated 3 different ways to do preloading and rollovers so that I could test each oneís performance. Then I did some research and found out about the setting above.

So if youíre running IE, to into Tools > Internet Options > Temporary Internet Files > Settings, and set it for “Automatically”. It will speed up your browsing. Of course this is the default, so if you havenít messed with anything, youíre just fine.


 

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Yesterday was my last day of work at Biggs | Gilmore Communications. I probably worked more yesterday than I have in the two years that Iíve been there. They had me finish up a ton of projects and actually start and complete an entire Flash animation yesterday. Itís always weird to leave something like that, even if you want to go. Everyone was saying how theyíll miss me and how talented I amóI really donít know how to respond to that.

On the way out I was given some gifts. First was the customary interactive department lava lamp, which is sitting underneath my velvet Elvis wall hanging and making my apartment feel like a hippie pad. Second was a program that Nayt made me: The Simon King Design Studio. Check it out, itís really funny.

In somewhat related transportation news, my van hasnít gotten any bids on eBay yet, but my performance parts did finally come in from Italy. I canít wait to get them installed, but I think Iím going to try and get the electrical system to work first. The riding season is pretty much done, so my plan is to start the spring with a kick ass Motobecane.
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Christmas is coming really quick this year; my family celebration is Wednesday. Weíre doing it early because weíre going down to Florida to visit my Grandparentsóeveryone but Emily that is. Iím not sure why she isnít coming, but itís probably better anyway since that would make a pretty full car ride there. As a side note: Emily and my mom are going to Ireland in the spring. I really want to go there some day.
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TCUP sightings:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
VN Express
Newsbytes
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Over 10 people have told me to go see Amťlie. So this weekend Iím driving to Ann Arbor, the closest place that itís playing. The trailer looks great.
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Tonight is Small Brown Bike at The Space. If youíre in town you should come.


 

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Iím selling my van on Ebay.

It sucks that Ebay is set up so that if you want to list it in any of the vehicle categories itís automatically a set price of $25, and another set $25 if you sell it. I guess this is better than paying a percentage price for expensive vehicles, but for junkers like mine itís kind of steep.
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Tonight Ivo is in town, and Iíll be seeing Pele at The Space. Now if I could just get these teeth and my belly to stop hurting I think itíll be a really good night.
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I saw Oceanís 11 last night in a private theatre at the Kalamazoo 10. It was a Jason M. hook-up. I enjoyed it.
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Danís reception went great last night. Here are some photos:


 

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This morning was really foggy on my way to work. As I spiraled up the parking garage it felt like I was ascending into a cloud. After seeing Waking Life last night, I had to keep asking myself if I was dreaming. The movie is a rotoscoped dream world that explores philosophical ideas of existentialism—really interesting.

Tonight is Dan’s BFA show at the Space, which I’m looking forward to. I was up there last night as he was setting it up, and it looks really great. He’s showing the work on trays hanging from the ceiling, with a single exposed bulb dangling over each one. I just burned the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack to play in the background at the show, so all in all it’s going to be very atmospheric.

The last few days have been un-seasonably warm, which means I got a chance to ride my moped. With this finicky Michigan weather, I’m not putting it away until it snows. The best thing about spring is bring the moped out again; I miss it already.


 

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I wish I wasn’t nailed quite so perfectly by the questions asked at E-bore:
  • Have you ever thought that if you could go back through time, you’d buy up all the key domain names?
  • Have you ever seriously engaged in a PC vs Mac discussion?
  • Have you ever explained to someone that it’s actually safer to shop online than it is to hand your credit card to a restaurant waiter?

 

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I’ve had a good weekend, this is how it went:

Friday I won Macromedia Site of the Day for TCUP. For those outside of the web design circuit, this is a pretty big deal.

The link from Macromedia gave me over 6,000 unique visitors just on Friday. Like any sort of web promotion the first day is always disproportionately large, but hopefully I’ve gotten some good repeat contributors to TCUP.

Friday night I went to Chicago, though there was no real reason to go. Meredith needs to look at Columbia, but it was too late in the day to do that properly. I’m borrowing my mom’s S.U.V. while she’s visiting my aunt this week, so I wanted to go somewhere out of town. We hung out with Ivo; it was good.

Saturday I finally played Police 911, which Dan had told me about a while ago, but for some reason I wasnít into playing. Dan—you were right. You have to physically move around to shoot bad guys and dodge their bullets. The game tracks your movements and the game play is based on it. I noticed that they have it for Playstation 2—with the same motion sensitivity through a USB Motion Sensor Camera.
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Tommy Habeeb, the host of the trashy, yet additive TV show Cheaters, has a pretty impressive work history listed on his resume:

  • Motorcycle Magic
  • Entertainment Texas
  • Cheerleader Camp
  • Deathrow Gameshow
  • Neon Nightmare
  • WKRP

Also note, under special skills: Play All Sports.


 

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As far as who can tell?


Chicago, IL

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