So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Free Money From Borders

Okay, it's not exactly "free money," but if you download the online coupon you can save 20% on a single item at Borders between now and April 8th.

Coupon savings are for one item per customer per purchase. No restriction is made on the number of coupons you can print and use across multiple purchases or spread among several buyers during a single purchase.

You might even buy me a nice gift (I won't even calculate how much you saved, honest).

Mikesell : 12:43 PM : 0 snarky remarks

New Review and Math Trivia

My review of Dorothy L. Sayers' Unnatural Death is online at Amazon. Check it out.

Why you should read my review of Unnatural Death: This is the 8th DLS book I've read (out of 16) and in many ways it's the best of the bunch, at least it provides the best introduction to her main detective, Lord Peter Wimsey, and the mystery is very good as well. So, if you're interested in starting this series (I have 5 more books on tap, and am hunting for the other 3), this would be a good book to read first. Maybe my review will encourage you to go for it.


In other news, Phil's now Three-and-Three-Quarter-Years old. Interesting note: When he turned Three-and-a-Half I had just turned Thirty-Five. So at that point in time I was ten times as old as the boy (3.5 X 10 = 35). Now I'm only 9.4 times as old as Phil -- He's gaining on me.

Mikesell : 11:43 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, March 29, 2004

New Gadget Review

Well, the 15" PowerBook is a bit more than your run-of-the-mill gadget, but that's the category at right best suited for it (yes, Book is part of it's name and it came with DVD and Software, but Gadget suits it best). Anyhoo, go on over and read the review.

Why you should read my review of the 15" PowerBook: There's an anecdote about my first computer, plus I explain what the "down escalator" hotkey is. Check it out.

Mikesell : 9:08 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Phil Can Name that Tune in Four Notes

Okay, maybe a bit more. Here's the story: The other day Phil and I were out thrifting at Value Village when "Tequila" by The Champs started in over the P.A. system. A few bars into the song Phil announced: "Daddy, it's the Pee-Wee song."

Never been more proud of him; that's my boy.

Mikesell : 12:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 25, 2004

New iTunes Albums

I've cashed in some more of my free iTunes credits (from the Pepsi promotion) and picked up an exclusive Seal EP (must have iTunes installed for link to work) and Ochimini, an album of Cuban/Latin jazz by Francisco Aguabella.

I still have 4 free tracks to download before the end of next month (plus however many more I get from drinking Pepsis).

Mikesell : 6:02 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Godzilla Review Now Online

The Godzilla review is now online at Amazon. For some reason the review does not appear on the main page, but it does show up on the "reviews only" page. Sort of an anomoly; it's such a good review, they have to keep it in the back where not just everybody can find it.

Why you should read my review of Godzilla: How can you not read a review entitled "The Monster that Ate 2.3 Hours of My Life"?

Mikesell : 2:17 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 19, 2004


This blog entry is being sent via Mac. The Powerbook is working fine. I used it to write my latest review at Amazon (for the DVD of the 1998 Matthew Broderick version of Godzilla - not currently available, I'll post a link as soon as it's up). I also used the Powerbook to watch the DVD. It didn't make the movie any better, but I was able to type in some notes while I was watching.

Preliminary thoughts on the Mac are good. I miss right-clicking (maybe a mouse is in my future); the menu structure is significantly different, but I'm getting the hang of it; the laptop looks great and it has almost 4 hours of battery life if I'm just word-processing.

In other news, Blogger has changed their input system; preliminary thought on it: I don't like it as much (you can't see previous posts while you key in a current one).

Mikesell : 8:08 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Those Fine Folks at Apple Computer

My refurbished Powerbook arrived today.

Also today, Apple dropped the price on the refurbished Powerbooks $100.


Fortunately, when I called Apple to find out if they had a grace period, I wound up talking with Tommy in customer service who said they did indeed have a price protection period, and he refunded the money.


I haven't really done much exploring on the Mac, but what little I've seen looks very sweet.

Mikesell : 1:40 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Retrograde Motion and a New Book Review

Well for some reason my ranking at Amazon has slipped from a low of 6480 back up to 6879. This is not good; so if you're not a regular voter, please visit the link below and a few more from the drop-down menus at right.

Last summer I picked up a book by Harry Harrison entitled Bill the Galactic Hero, the first in a series of three Bill books. While I was down in Los Baños I picked up books 2 and 3 at a second-hand bookstore in Merced. Book 2, Bill the Galactic Hero: The Planet of the Robot Slaves, has been reviewed over at Amazon. Look for Book 3 probably next month.

Why you should read my review of Bill the Galactic Hero: The Planet of the Robot Slaves: Several of my family members are mentioned, and there's a particularly apt metaphor regarding pork products (completely unrelated to my relatives).

Check it out.

...and I thank you for your support.

Mikesell : 12:03 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, March 12, 2004

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Okay, he won't be here until Tuesday, but here's a picture.

After 20-ish years as a PC user, I'm making "the switch." Not a full switch, but enough of one to learn how a Mac works. It's likely that with the notebook form factor that I'll make the Mac my non-surfing/non-gaming computer of choice.

Why switch now? It looks like we're going to start Phil in nursery school (or at least daycare) soon, so a) I'll need to find a job to occupy my time and b) I'll need a job to pay for Phil's new activities. Most jobs in publishing or design require Mac experience, so I'm gonna get me some.

I went the refurbished route through Apple and saved 20%. It's eligible for the extended warrantee, so I'm covered for repairs and phone support for the next 3 years.

Plus, it's a new gadget to review ... I'm so excited!

Mikesell : 11:11 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Philip and the Thunderbirds

Philip has inherited Dina's love of the old Thunderbirds TV show. Even before he could count to ten, Phil knew which of the Tracy brothers was responsible for which Thunderbirds rescue vehicle.

Now he's re-enacting the three episodes we have on tape using Legos. Recently we've made the Mole (burrowing vehicle) and the Firefly (super-bulldozer). When we made Thompson Tower (a super-big building that catches fire and has to be bulldozed by the Firefly) we needed a ramp (HotWheels track) and a parking tunnel (so a car could drive in, crash, and catch the building on fire). Today we've made the Fireflash (nuclear airplane with bomb in the landing gear — we did include a piece that looks like a bomb) and Elevator Rescue Car (the vehicle the Fireflash safely lands on). Then we landed the Fireflash on the Elevator Car.

Right now he's trying to figure out how to build the Sidewinder (a giant, walking, insectoid robot) and Recovery Vehicle (a suction cup-launching vehicle that pulls the Sidewinder out of the "Pit of Peril" — how do you make a suction cup out of Legos?).

Eventually these tapes will wear out (they're viewed at least once a day) and we'll have to get the full 32-episode DVD collection.

We're gonna need more Legos.

Mikesell : 1:44 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 11, 2004

New Book Review

Dorothy Sayers' The Nine Tailors is the latest book I've reviewed over at Amazon. Go check it out.

Why you should read my review of The Nine Tailors: I include a couple interesting links to websites about the British custom of churchbell "change ringing." It's a two-for-one knowledge bonus: find out about a good read and a centuries-old artform at the same time. Impress your friends at parties, astound your family during the Final Jeapordy round.

Mikesell : 2:06 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Phil: The Music Video

As threatened back in December, we now have video of Phil's performance in the Christmas Pageant.

The clips may take a minute or two to download, depending on your connection speed. If you click on the link and get a lot of garbage text, hit your "back" button and right-click the link, choosing "Save Target As" and download the file to your hard-drive.

The videos were shot by our Youth Pastor, Jason Roberts. His son Andy is the blonde child in the dark brown pullover. Thanks Jason!

Mikesell : 12:57 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

My First iTunes Album

Well, I accrued 21 free iTunes downloads from the Pepsi promotional, so I decided it was time to get some music.

My first album from iTunes is Havalina's Space, Love & Bullfighting (amazon link).

Good Stuff Maynard.

I still have 8 downloads to go (not counting future winning Pepsis).

Mikesell : 4:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, March 08, 2004

Almost Famous

Over at Amazon contributor reviews are divided into two different kinds of categories: "Spotlight Reviews" and "All Customer Reviews." If an item has more than ten customer reviews, a couple are culled out to be Spotlights; items with fewer than ten reviews have none. Every once in awhile the Spotlights get changed.

I went through my 53 reviewed items today and found that I have Spotlight Reviews with seven of them (that's 13%; the percentage goes even higher if you exempt items that have fewer than 10 reviews). Items with which I have Spotlight Reviews are:


DVDsSoftwareLinks to the reviews can be found in the drop-down menus over at the right.

Way to go, Me!

Mikesell : 5:28 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Building a Better Batcave

Hot Wheels has issued several versions of the Batmobile in their 2004 collection. I have 3 of the 4; they are:The fourth Batmobile looks simply wicked:I haven't seen any of the Crooze-Style cars in stores yet. I can hardly wait....

Mikesell : 11:34 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Thursday, March 04, 2004

New Phil Wallpaper

I have taken the Picture of Phil at the Exploratorium and converted it into a nice Wallpaper image (I got rid of the snackbar in the background (so there's a nice large black space for icons) and saved it in a larger format). It's a large file (300+ Kb), so it may take a minute or so to download. Be patient. Phil's worth it.

Here are a couple ways to set the image as your wallpaper:

Option 1
If your monitor resolution is set at 1024x768 (or you don't know what it's size is):

Option 2
If you know your resolution is smaller than 1024x768:

If Option 2 makes no sense to you, go with Option 1.

Get It Here

Mikesell : 7:25 PM : 0 snarky remarks

New DVD Review

Just before we went to California I went to WalMart and picked Titan A.E. out of the $5 DVD bin. I thought it might be a good sci-fi movie for Phil and Grampa to enjoy. Turns out it was a bit over Phil's head (though Grampa and I enjoyed it). A review is over at Amazon.

Why you should read my review of Titan A.E.: I include an important safety tip from the movie, plus I mention Tron (which I really should review one of these days).

Check it out.

Mikesell : 5:32 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Phil in The City

Here are a bunch of pictures from our time in San Francisco (and Los Baños before and after).

Phil and Family

In The City

Miscellany at Gramma & Grampa's

Be sure to scroll down and see the panoramic view from our hotel room.

Mikesell : 3:33 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Book Review Numero Two-oh

My review for Selling the Dream is online now at Amazon.

Why should you read my review of Selling the Dream? Pseudo-reference to The Three Amigos and I say something nice about somebody for a change.

Mikesell : 2:55 PM : 0 snarky remarks

SF Panorama

Here's the view from the 18th floor of the Grosvenor Hotel high atop Nob Hill (okay, not as high atop as the Mark Hopkins, but still, pretty high atop). The image is actually 5 photos stitched together in Corel Photopaint (a Photoshop-esque image editor). Prospective employers take note: I have skills.

During the big storm last week there was significant lightning action in upper righthand quadrant of the picture (the actual sky; we don't have one of those Harry Potter cameras where the photos come alive). Very cool.

We'll work on getting some more shots of the trip up soon.

Mikesell : 11:43 AM : 0 snarky remarks

New Book Review

While we were on our San Francisco trip I finished reading two books. The first of these, Weaveworld by Clive Barker, has been reviewed over at Amazon.

Why you should read the Weaveworld review: I reference the TV-show Scrubs and Chekov (Anton, not Pavel) in the same paragraph.

Check it out.

Mikesell : 10:55 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Don't Buy Pepsi at Walgreen's in SF

I bought half a dozen Pepsis at Walgreen's stores in San Francisco (Market & Stockton and Powell near Union Square) and got no free iTunes songs (by comparison I brought home 6 winning caps from other stores we stopped at on our trip and only had a couple losing caps while I was getting those).

So, go to Walgreen's and buy this movie (caution: dangerous words), but don't buy the Pepsis.

Mikesell : 1:25 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Laughter is the Best Medicine...and 100% RDA of 12 Vitamins Can't Hurt, Either

Total Cereal is giving away DVDs of classic TV comedies inside select boxes. Titles include Barney Miller, Mad About You, The Donna Reed Show and The King of Queens. You can see which DVD you're getting before you make the purchase, so you won't wind up with a dozen Donna Reeds trying to get the elusive Mad About You. I went for Barney Miller; it cracks me up. You get 2 episodes of Barney and Donna, 1 episode + "bonus footage" of MaY and TKoQ.

Eat healthy and have a laugh. What a combo.

Check it out.

Mikesell : 1:18 AM : 0 snarky remarks

The Streets of San Francisco...

...are very steep.

Fortunately we had the CityPass, which meant free cable cars up Powell to our hotel. It also got us into several SF attractions for free (Exploratorium, Palace of the Legion of Honor, SF MoMA, etc.) and Muni bus service as well (handy for getting from Pier 39 back to the Powell cable car station at 9pm – on a retro streetcar, no less).

More on our trip to California and the ACA convention (with photos) soon!

Mikesell : 1:03 AM : 0 snarky remarks