So Much Stuff I Can't Recall

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Unwrapped

Busy halloween this year.

Phil got home from school and I took some more pictures of him and his costume.And a couple shots of the jack-o'-lantern:Then we headed into town for trick or treating at the mall. No pictures were taken; you've all seen the mall before. (Maybe not our mall, but it's not too different from the one near you ... unless you've got a high-end mall and then it's different, but you still don't need to see it.)

Then it was back to the practice football field at school forThen it was back home for a few pieces of candy before bed.

When offloading the pictures from our digital camera there was one photo that I didn't take. Did I push the shutter release button accidentally, or is the camera haunted? You be the judge (photo is larger than the others; it may take a while to download): Spooky Photo

Mikesell : 10:36 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Free Jay Leno

No, Jay's not in trouble with the law (so far as I know). The iTunes Music Store is giving away three Tonight Show extras: Headlines, JayWalking All-Stars, and Commercial Parodies.

Go get 'em!

And if you don't already have the Tenacious D freebie, check it out (if, for nothing else, the marquee of the Ford Theater and the iTunes slogan at the end).


Mikesell : 4:40 PM : 0 snarky remarks

How Not To Be Seen

Where's Philip?

Stopped by Phil's classroom on the way to get mail. He'd just filled a row in Jack-o-Lantern Bingo and was picking his bag of chocolate eyeballs when I arrived. Other costumes in the room included Jackie Chan, Blade, a pirate, a cowboy, a ninja, and a Gothic princess (think black and maroon velvet). Apparently the school secretary had been in earlier in a creepy witch's costume and chased Phil around the room.

More pix later after we've explored one or two trick-or-treating venues.

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Mikesell : 2:56 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trophy Child

Probably the greatest of Phil's disappointments about coming in fifth in the Soccer Tournament was that he wouldn't get a trophy. Maybe a medal, but that wasn't cutting it. Maybe nothing. And don't I have the hardest life ever?

Guess who's singing a different tune now? Yeah, that's him.

Trophies were handed out in a late afternoon ceremony, even for fifth place. We didn't attend as Mr. Grumpypants was still near tears about the whole thing. Fortunately, he got his during class today.

Now he wants us to build him a display case like the one at school.


Mikesell : 5:46 PM : 0 snarky remarks

The Leaf That Ate My Face

Man, that's one big leaf. And hungry, too.

Mikesell : 5:26 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Last Chance to Win Books from Novel Journey

Today is the last day to enter to win books at Novel Journey. Not so much a drawing, though, and you have to do more than write "el commentito" to qualify.

Share your most horrific moment as a writer. If you're my sister, for instance, it might be asking me for help. There are a lot of good entries already posted, but if you've got a scary moment to share -- one your brain isn't actively blocking -- enter to win.

The final prize is an eight-book package. The scariest story takes all.

Mikesell : 12:13 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Winning DKA Poemists* Named

The winners in the 2006 DKA Magazine poetry contest have been named. The poem I entered on behalf of Wilbur Hucks didn't win, place, show, or make the honorable mention list. Guess he has something else to make him cranky now.

I made the top three. [full list]

Look for "Transport - or The Revelatory Love Song of Arthur J. MacArthur Prufrock" in the November issue of Dragons, Knights & Angels.

*or are they "poetwriters"?


Mikesell : 9:20 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Expanding the Usefulness of Your iPod

Granted, the iPod's already a handy little gadget. What I want to listen to, when I want to listen to it (I've got over 3,400 songs on mine), with little more than a few spins and clicks to get things started. I've got the Buffy musical and a few other videos loaded (Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" music video with Christopher Walken, the SNL "Cowbell" sketch, f'rinstance). Texas Hold'em poker, anyone?

All entertaining. All keeping me from playing in traffic. But useful? Not so much.

Say I wanted to do some research on a magazine I'd like to submit a short story to. Now I could print out a few stories and carry around a dozen or so sheets of paper until I have a chance to read them. How 2004.

Or I could load the stories to my iPod (under "Extras -> Notes") and read them that way. Hmmmm. Only problem is the notes have a 4Kb maximum size and a short story from The Town Drunk can easily be five times that size ... or larger. How do you manually break the story into 4Kb nuggets without going mental?

Well, I was failing that task, but then I found the "Clipboard to Note" applescript (via). Highlight the entire story, copy it to the clipboard and run the script. It breaks the text into 4Kb segments with a "next" link at the bottom of each, so you don't have to manually close one file and open the next. Nifty!

Whether you read the stories the old fashioned way or on your iPod, there are some fun things at TTD. Graveyard Shift is my favorite so far. Check it out.

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Mikesell : 7:51 PM : 1 snarky remarks

We're #5!

In a 0-0(0-1) heartbreaker, the Triangle Lake Lakers ended the playoffs in fifth place, having entered as second seed. They played the team that entered first (who they hadn't played during the regular season). The kids did a great job, but in the end it came down to the shoot-out for the second game in a row.

Awesome job, Philip and team!


Mikesell : 6:24 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Close, But...

...no bubble-gum cigar.

The Lakers took the first game of the day, 3-0; but lost the second, 3-3(0-1). They play for third place tomorrow at noon.

Here are a few pictures to brighten an otherwise somber post:

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Mikesell : 8:20 PM : 0 snarky remarks

There Can Only Be One...

...well, 13 or so, really, depending on how you're counting things.

Phil's soccer team heads into the championships in about an hour. How far will they go? Well, at 8-1 for the season they should go pretty far in the double-elimination tourney. We'll see.

Film (or at least some still pix) at 11 (or whenever I get them uploaded).

Stay tuned.


Mikesell : 9:16 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Friday, October 27, 2006

The #1 Benefit of Typos

This afternoon I got a visitor here from the Gardiner, Me., area via a Google search for subway sandwich nutrution. I was #1 of 13 hits for sites that can't spell nutrition.

Jared and the Subway advertising folks: call me. We'll do lonch.

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Mikesell : 6:33 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Book Chat with Jerome Teel

With the current political cycle spinning madly around us, Jerome Teel's The Election is a timely choice for this week's CFBA Blog Tour.

What's the deal? Democratic nominee (and vice president) Ed Burke faces off against Republican senator Mac Foster in the political story line; attorney Jake Reed defends his wrongly-accused client Jed McClellan in the legal-thriller side. A mysterious trio of businessmen with an agenda to take over the world (in a plot that'd do a James Bond villain proud) span the two, pulling strings -- and triggers -- as necessary.

If you're a conservative (should that have a capital C?) Christian, you'll probably enjoy the book. If you have a more liberal/progressive view of how the country should operate, the Democrats-as-bad-guys storyline may hamper your getting into the story. Please Note: Teel doesn't portray Burke and his group as evil, vile, mean, and nasty, but they're not the one's the story is rooting for. (There were a few eye-rolling moments, but, then again, the book never sets out to change anyone's politics.) The trio of power brokers are both-sides-of-the-bread butterers, having also picked a Republican candidate who didn't make through the Primaries, so while they're apolitical (and one is quite evil, vile, mean, and nasty) the taint rubs off on Burke & Co.

The legal side of things is Grisham-esque, though with a happier ending than The Big Grish usually musters. This one kept me guessing, and for that reason I enjoyed it more than the political side.

In many ways the book reminds me of old-school (late 80s-mid 90s) Christian Fiction. It even has a conversion scene, which I haven't seen for a while. I'm not knocking the genre, and Teel handles it well.

Teel also handled my Five Questions well. Behold:
  1. Which "darling" (character/scene/plot element) was most painful to kill?

    Two things I hated. First, I hated for the bad guy thugs to attack Jake's daughter in her bedroom. That was a tough one to write. Second, I hated killing off the deputy sheriff toward the end of the book. He had a wife and kids.

  2. Which did you find more enjoyable to write: the political scenes (Burke v. Foster) or the legal ones (the organization v. Jake)?

    I enjoyed the political scenes much more than the legal scenes.

  3. Presidential nominee Mac Foster came off as a pretty perfect guy. But nobody's perfect, so which of these flaws does he have? Eats crackers in bed. Clips his toenails while watching TV with the wife. Puts his elbows on the dinner table. Can't spell potato.

    Mac's biggest imperfection would be putting his elbows on the dinner table.

  4. Your good-guy politician is named Mac, and there's a tradition of the good guys in movies and TV using Macintosh computers: what computer make/model do you happen to use?

    I've changed computers since The Election was written. I'm currently using a knock-off. It's a Multipro.

  5. Your bio at the end of the book mentions you're at work on another novel and your website lists The Divine Appointment coming out in the middle of next year. Sequel, stand-alone or hybrid (taking place during the Foster administration but not involving any of the principals of The Election)?

    The Divine Appointment is a stand alone. I debated with making it be a sequel but ultimately decided against it. Both The Election and The Divine Appointment lend themselves to sequels/hybrids in the future.
Thanks for playing along, Jerome. I'm looking forward to your next book.

And if The Election seems like it's driving up your political street, be sure to pick up a copy.

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Mikesell : 9:58 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Goodbye Shark, Hello Pumpkin

Until recently the most common way for people to find my blog was by doing an image search ("shark attack" popped up frequently) and finding a picture of Phil halfway out of a fake shark's mouth [voila].

In the past few days the shark activity has died down and people are coming for a couple pix of Phil's carved pumpkin last year. 20% (of the last 100 pageloads) were for this; another 8 for that.

One person found the blog (probably by clicking the "next blog" button at the top of the window) after having been at Dudes Dressed Up as Captain Jack Sparrow, another blogspot blog. If I were to make a "things that make you go hmmmm" category this would fall under it.

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Mikesell : 8:24 PM : 0 snarky remarks

All in the Family

In September my sister Julia went on a Disney cruise with our parents. She's diabetic, the folks have gluten issues. Afterward Julia pitched an article about cruising with their "special needs" to an online travel site. They greenlit the project.

So she and I went over a couple drafts. Got focus issues nailed down, made applicability more universal, fine-tuned punctuation, etc. And then she sent it in.

She's just returned from another Disney trip (Disney World this time) and forwarded me the newsletter featuring her story. If you want to read it, subscribe to the PassPorter newsletter. The issue should be archived next week, so I'll post a reminder to check it out when it goes live.


Mikesell : 2:11 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

One Story: Half a Dozen Words

Came across a set of 6-word short stories at Wired today (via Infuze). Not so much short stories as six words that suggest much, much more -- Hemingway's "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." is given as the archetype.

Some good stuff (some "dangerous words," too, so be forewarned).

My third and fourth favorites (leaving you at least two to be pleasantly surprised by):
Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time
- Alan Moore

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
- Orson Scott Card
Not everything would win the Pulitz (the 6-letter prize for 6-word stories), but at least the clunkers are brief. Read 'em all.

Back in high school (Mrs. Long's Expository Writing class, to be precise) I co-wrote a 5-word story with Cyndi Branch, who sat next to me and was as unenthralled with the five-paragraph essay as I was. A minimalist, tragic, love story; went like this:
Hi. Bye. Cry. Die. Why?
You could put a "Sigh." in the there to bump it up to six words, but really that's just padding.

Anybody got a 6-word story to share with the group? Share away.

Mikesell : 1:31 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Jane Lebak's Damage over at Dragons, Knights and Angels is a powerful and moving story you ought to read. If you're thrown at the beginning, get back on that horse and keep riding. Won't be long before you hang of things.

A word of warning: Beware -- beware of listening to Plumb's song Damaged (esp. the extended track) while reading Jane's story. The goosebumps just might prove fatal.


Mikesell : 10:17 AM : 0 snarky remarks

After the Interview

Well, I survived the radio interview. Hosts Dudley and James were great. Musical guests Randy Newman and Van McCoy stopped by. Weekend Update has never been better; no wait, that's another show.

A stream of the broadcast was captured, but it's choppy. [link*] All my most brilliant moments seem to have fallen in the gaps. Wednesday's Powerball numbers? Only heard live. The Colonel's eleven secret herbs and spices. Get yourself a time machine, buddy. I think who put the bomp in the bomp-sh'bomp made it, but not who put the ram in the rama-lama-ding-dong. Bummer.

URLs mentioned in the show:Also mentioned:
Thanks Dudley and James for the chance to play famous celebrity for an evening. It was a lot of fun.

*If by some providentially fortuitous chance, you, internet friend, have a non-choppy copy of the show, please get in touch with me.

Mikesell : 1:00 AM : 2 snarky remarks

Monday, October 23, 2006

One More W

Final final score: Triangle Lake 3, Opponent 0; 8-1-0 for the season.

Playoffs begin Saturday.

Mikesell : 10:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks

But What Does It Mean?

I finally have all four Meta-Puzzle clues in Funny Farm. Still don't know what the junction of Oprah, Jay and Motorcycles is, but that doesn't seem to be necessary to "winning" the game.

Hint #15 --
To solve the meta-puzzle, put the two left ones together and get something red. Add the top-right and get into the right state. Then add the last clue and you will win.
-- isn't much help.

If you know the answer, don't spoil it for me. Maybe the first part ("something red"-- I'm not partial to the "2X10" theory, since the top-right clue doesn't add anything to it), but not the final solution. Thanks.

[10/23, 3:30p: Added "It" to title so I don't sound like Borat. High five!]

Mikesell : 1:13 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Whatever Happened to Couples Skate?

At evening church activities last Wednesday Phil won a free admission to SkateWorld in Springfield. We've spent the last three days answering the question "Can we go to SkateWorld today?" with "No."

Today we said "Yes" (after squeezing every possible ounce of good behavior from the boy -- get dressed without me nagging or no SkateWorld ... eat all your breakfast ... and so on).

This was Phil's second time rollerskating (time #1 was also at SkateWorld, last June). He picked up pretty much where he'd left off: shuffling his feet, falling down every ten steps or so. On the carpet was better than the slick rink floor, but at first it was shuffling from bench to rail to pinball machine to the next convenient hand-hold.

But he gradually found his confidence. About an hour in -- and shortly after the DJ played the All-American Rejects' "Move Along" per my request/dedication to the boy -- Phil was ready to hit the rink. Still doing a fair impersonation of Tim Conway's "Old Man" from the Carol Burnett Show, Phil shuffled his way three-quarters of the way around the rink before taking a breather. Once he figured out that he could make it on his own he stayed away from the rail and didn't reach out for my hand so much (had he had a beret he might have tossed it in the air, even), and we made it all the way around the rink about three times before he'd had enough.

Here's what all that looked like:

On the RailsMiddle of NowherePhil's Keanu Impersonation: Woah!

We survived. Phil's got a sore heinie, but neither of us have blisters. And neither of us faced the embarrassment of being left partnerless during Couples Skate (Lights Out and Reverse Skate were called, but not Couples). And we didn't have to do the Hokey Pokey, either. So, a successful afternoon for both of us.


Mikesell : 8:21 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pumpkin Pickin'

Yesterday, Phil's class went on a field trip to Detering Orchards, outside Harrisburg, Ore. The same trip they took last year. Again, it was a kindergarten/first grade combo deal. Again, we had the tour of the apple orchard and much of the same apple-related info. Pumpkins were picked from a different patch this year, but that was about the only difference. The bus even stopped at the Dairy Queen in Junction City for ice cream sandwiches like last year.

Of course, the kids had changed. Here's what a year older looks like:

What do second graders do? Stay tuned.

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Mikesell : 8:45 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Friday, October 20, 2006

Lakers' Seventh Win -- For Real This Time

Somehow, somewhere, I miscounted the number of games/wins Phil's soccer team had. I checked the calendar tonight, after their eighth game, and realized I'd added one too many at some point.

So tonight (game #8) was their seventh win. 4-0 against a team from Elmira (you stop singing the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira" about the twenty-third time you drive through there). Not last night.

Season count -- for reals -- 7-1-0.

Final game (pre-playoffs): Monday. (I'll miss it, because of the thing, but I'll post the results when I get them.)


Mikesell : 10:31 PM : 0 snarky remarks


So much for my idea for an inspirational tale of a guy taking his dog -- King Dom -- to obedience school. [link]

Mikesell : 12:57 AM : 1 snarky remarks

... And More Books

Look, people, I'm gonna have to go enter to win a storage shed somewhere if y'all don't start entering more contests.

Just found out I won the Novel Journey contest for the second time. Two books this time. Two! I'm gonna have to start storing things in Phil's room pretty soon.

Please, people, get with the program. Do it for Phil.

Mikesell : 12:32 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Be Like Me: Win Taffy and Eponymous Pretzels

Okay, you can't be like me this time: there was only the one prize. But you can spend ten minutes or so carving a pumpkin online.

Thanks Michelle for hosting the pumpkin carving contest and to everyone else for not entering.


Mikesell : 12:18 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Lakers Win #7

The Triangle Lake Lakers (Pee-Wee division) are now 7-1-0 for the season on tonight's 4-1 win. We let the other team score their own point this time.

Two more games (tomorrow and Monday), then the playoffs last weekend of the month.

Stay tuned.


Mikesell : 12:02 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Whatcha Doin' Next Monday Night?

I got an e-mail last week from a radio show host at the University of Oregon asking if I'd be interested in coming on and talking about writing and publishing. I said "you betcha" and then our people went to work hammering out the details.

Okay, neither of us has "people," but we did work out the details.

Next Monday (10/23), 7pm. 88.1 on your radio dial (if you're in the area) or online at kwvaradio.org. (If you figure out how to get the stream running through iTunes, lemme know. Thanks!)

There's an announcement on the Art Hustle blog. I'm sure none of you will post anything in the comments that might embarrass me. You're such good friends that way.

(All this through the newspaper article, which came through the Scenes & Beans blog, which came through meeting Brandilyn at Mount Hermon, which came through ... I don't know, but Kevin Bacon figures in there at some point.)

Stay tuned (literally, this time).

Mikesell : 1:49 PM : 5 snarky remarks

At the Intersection of Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey ... and Motorcycles

Have you played Funny Farm?

It's a word association game where boxes are linked by common threads. For instance, you start out with a box titled "on the farm" and a bunch of boxes radiating out from it. Type in "cow" and you'll fill in one of those boxes, causing more boxes to appear. Type in "holy cow" and a new frame will open off to left. Click that frame and you'll find a box titled "religions" in the center and "holy cow" filled in on the right-hand border. Threads run from the two words and meet at an unfilled box. What's the connection? You figure it out (dots in boxes = letters in word).

I spent waaay too much time playing this yesterday, which is entirely Linda Gilmore's fault. (I did, however, fill in one entire frame -- Poker Stars -- by myself, no easy feat. Thank you wikipedia and Poker Babes!) Today's looking like a long day, too.

Which brings me to my current dilemma. What four-letter word (no, not that one) links Oprah, Jay, and motorcycles?

And what mysteries await in the north- and southwest corners?

(The game allows collaboration -- encourages it, even -- so if you want to share answers or just mooch from me and Linda and the couple others we're playing with, lemme know.)

Technically this isn't a Flash Game, but that's where I'm gonna file it.


Mikesell : 9:54 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Somehow I Forgot

Monday was a Wilbur Hucks day at Scenes & Beans. Read his post here.

Funny stuff, Maynard.

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Mikesell : 1:51 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Travel Tip

According to Dina there's free wi-fi at McCarran Int'l Airport in Las Vegas. She couldn't find it advertised anywhere, but she opened up her ThinkPad and got online.

Or she managed to find an unsecured Homeland Security connection and will never be heard from again...

(No, it's listed on the services page as being free, 24/7, and airport-wide.)

As mentioned a few months ago, there's also free wi-fi at the airport in Eugene.

Free wi-fi at an airport near you? Crow about it in the comments.

Mikesell : 1:30 AM : 1 snarky remarks

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm Flake #12268268

Here's a fun program for your Monday: Make-a-Flake, an online snowflake maker.

This is mine; not quite the paper doll effect I was shooting for, unless it's a bunch of E.T.s holding hands, but it has a nice sunburst in the middle.

And here's another. These are fun, aren't they. Kinda like kindergarten without that weird, paste-eating kid around. Oh, that kid was you? Sorry, 'bout that...


(via Lisa Samson's Author Intrusion)

[Here's one somebody else did: link. Can't tell if it's creepier than it is cool, or the other way 'round.]


Mikesell : 4:05 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Barnyard: Better Than I Expected

Took Phil out to the cheap theaters this afternoon. After a few months of little to nothing for kids, all the summer toons have landed there. Cars and Over the Hedge we saw first run, leaving Barnyard and The Ant Bully as possibilities. I wasn't really looking forward to either, so I threw in Superman Returns as a third-way choice.

He went with Barnyard.

From the ads, I was expecting the typical authoritarian father/screw-up son film, sort of like The Great Santini on Bovine Growth Hormone. Then the dad died and it turned into The Lion King with udders.

Actually, it wasn't that bad (they passed on the one scene they could've had the dad come back as the advice-dispensing face in the moon). Predictible plot, sure; some of the best lines (boy tipping!) spoiled by the trailers, yeah -- but there were still a few surprises both in plot and dialogue.

I've been working with Phil on recognizing that cartoon characters often have the voices of real-life actors (hey, that cat in Shrek 2 is the dad from Spy Kids). Phil recognized that the voice of Pip the Mouse was the same as Sheen's on Jimmy Neutron (Sheen, I fear, is "real" to Phil ... oh dear).

Final verdict? Could've used more cowbell, but otherwise a pretty good film.


Mikesell : 7:22 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Boy's Taste in Music

Phil's been nagging me to download "Move Along" by The All-American Rejects from the iTunes Music Store for a month or so now. He heard it in an ad for a Bioncles/Free the Band promotion -- so, of course, it's the best song ever.

I used one of the free from General Mills codes to get it. Not a bad little number, a little Reliant K-ish (or vice-versa, I don't know from music anymore).

I burned it on a CD so he can play it in his room. (He made me play it three or four times on my PowerBook after I downloaded it.) He's in there now, showing his stuffed animals all his dance moves.

I'm sure one day we won't see eye-to-eye on music, but it's nice he doesn't have entirely bad taste yet. I've got a Tom Jones CD I'm itchin' to crank up on the stereo when that day finally comes; working on some What's Up Pussycat pelvic gyrations, too. No, I won't videotape those, either, so don't ask.


Mikesell : 7:36 PM : 4 snarky remarks

Be Like Me: Win a CD

Big thanks to TitleTrakk.com (my Christian Book & Music Terminal) for choosing my name out of the big bingo hopper in their "railroad spike" contest (details here).

My prize? Truth, Soul & Rock 'n Roll by The Elms.

Lots of other good stuff at the site. Interviews, reviews, the ever popular "desert island" survey (this week only!).

Check it out.

Mikesell : 5:30 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Friday, October 13, 2006

While the Wife's Away

Dina's gone 'til Tuesday (that's "until Tuesday," not the '80s band). Phil and I just spent five minutes making fake barfing noises at each other.

Good times.


Mikesell : 8:41 PM : 2 snarky remarks

CFBA Friday: Violette Between

Another week, another book I haven't read. But I have (finally!) finished Dennis Lehane's Mystic River, so I can get back on track with the end-of-the month CFBA book.

Anyhoo, this week the CFBA is looking at Violette Between by Alison Strobel. Katy Popa has a good summary of the book's central question on her blog.

More at Alison Strobel's website. Be sure to check other CFBAers' blogs, too.

Mikesell : 6:39 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Win

The Lakers knocked the ball in the goal five times tonight and won 4-1. Yeah, there was a weird pinball carom thing where the ball bounced off half a dozen Laker players and then rolled into their goal. If only one of them had been in the crease...

Still, a win's a win. The kids are 6-1-0 for the season.

Next game: next Thursday.


Mikesell : 9:54 PM : 0 snarky remarks

I'm a Maniac -- Maniac! -- on the Floor

At Goodwill yesterday we picked up a bicycle helmet for Phil (matte olive green; maybe he'll be an Army Man for halloween, though I'm holding out hope for giving the helmet a paint job and designing a Tron costume) and one of those DanceDanceRevolution knock-off floor mat TV games.

"Dancing Expert" is a "dancing carpet of 32 bit direct inserting mode" game with "36 disco songs of original sound."

I heard a while back that the dancing/floor-mat games are a decent way to lose weight. Of course after the cost of a gaming system + floor mat I'd be better off joining a gym (which isn't a great alternative, either, living nowhere near a gym). So I saved hundreds of dollars and for $5 at Goodwill I got all this: One floor mat with AC adapter and a/v plug for the TV's aux ports. I've already mentioned the 36 disco songs, but here are some shots of the graphics:
Will I lose weight? Will I gain rhythm? Will this keep Phil occupied during the long winter months I'm not interested in going outside?

Stay tuned. (And I'll keep you updated on that whole Halloween costume thing, too.)

Mikesell : 12:26 PM : 3 snarky remarks

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Let's Not Be Rash, and Other Stories

I drove Dina in to the airport this morning at 4am (for a 5:45 flight). At that time Phil complained of itches on his left ankle and shin. By the time we made it home, got a little shut-eye, woke back up and got him ready for school, Phil had a slight rash on both legs. Nothing big, just some redness. I got him some Benadryl and sent him off to school.

At 11 his teacher called saying that Phil had a rash all over his body and he was very upset. I went in; looked like hives. (I later found out that Phil had been isolated from the rest of his classmates and had to eat lunch alone--no wonder he was upset.)

Took him to Junction City to see his pediatrician. Hives.

The last time Phil had hives -- 2-3 years ago -- it was in conjunction with an ear infection. Not this time, and we're not sure what the cause is (while an ear infection would have been a bummer, at least we'd know why and have a course of treatment). Rash should be gone on its own by the weekend.

While we were in town we stopped at a Goodwill where employees were discussing today's plane crash. Not the kind of thing you want to hear when a loved one is traveling by air. But Dina reached Indiana safely (some kind of snafu at the Phoenix runway, nothing disasterous) and all is well (except, of course, that she's in Indiana -- and the fatalities/injuries/damage in NYC).

Phil got the go-ahead from the doctor to resume normal activity, so we trekked back home, got his soccer uniform, and made our third trip of the day to town ("town" being that region of Lane County stretching from Junction City south to Eugene and west to Veneta -- this time we headed to Veneta). Lakers won 2-1, bringing them to 5-1-0 for the season. Next game: tomorrow night.

Mikesell : 11:39 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Personal Reminder

Of little interest to anyone else, I'm sure, but I've forgotten this about four times in the last couple days. I'm writing it here so I don't have to hunt Google for it anymore.

Una Guava Base Chise Una Guava
(u-nay gwah-vey bay-say chee-say u-nay gwah-vey)

That is all.

Mikesell : 9:51 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Philpix Follow-up

Last month I mentioned that Phil stayed with some friends of ours while Dina and I got away for our anniversary. The Tellers recently posted a couple pix from that visit, which I have now swiped.

Emerson turned one year old last week. Happy birthday little guy!


Mikesell : 12:34 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, October 09, 2006

Be Like Me: Win a Book

I'm the happy winner of the first book in Novel Journey's Big Book Giveaway. If you're not a regular NJ reader it's (mainly) an author interview blog with other publishing tidbits mixed in. Through the rest of the month they're giving away a mess of suspense/thriller novels.

I won Nate Kenton's Bloodstone--which looks really good and, at Amazon, is a $20 value. What a bargain for me.

Word is you can win more than once. See ya over there.


Mikesell : 1:59 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Christmas Is Coming

McDonald's is doing its Monopoly game again. And again they're giving away Best Buy Bucks (in $1 and $5 denominations). (As mentioned earlier, you can't get the BBBs at Wal-Mart McDonald'ses.)

Anandtech has a forum discussion devoted to how to get rich(-ish) sending away for BBBs instead of buying the "premium chicken" at the "restaurant."

If you're looking for a short-term hobby, this may be for you.

Mikesell : 9:12 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The $32,000 Difference A Year Makes

While tracking down a recently-viewed (according to my stats log) photo -- #6 on Yahoo's image search for hay maze -- I came across this old post from Oct. 2005 showing my blog to be worth almost $9,600.

As you can see from the graphic at right, the value has gone up a bit in the past year.

Has your blog appreciated in value? Click the "how much is your blog worth" link in the graphic to find out.

Lemme know the results.

My blog is worth $41,211.42.
How much is your blog worth?

Mikesell : 11:30 PM : 5 snarky remarks

The Things Phil Knows

On the way to town today Phil observed that some people pronounce tomato, to-MAH-to. "People who go to dances. People who are rich or maybe a little Scottish."

A quarter mile down the road he followed up with: "I wonder how I know all these things."

It is a wonderment, isn't it?


Mikesell : 3:13 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Phil Moon

With the moon appearing 12% larger than normal tonight, Phil and I headed out to a clearing with our telescope. Not quite enough light to shoot pictures without a flash (though you could probably have read a large-print magazine), but the post-bedtime adventure looked like this:
We've got weird spooky fog out here. Drapes the highway like the diaphanous angels at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I hate it. Fortunately I didn't see it while we were out in the field. Would've creeped me out.

Of course, seeing it appear mysteriously in just the one picture creeps me out more.

Good time looking through the telescope, though. Can't see it from the pictures, but the moon was honkin' big. And bright. And round. So, so round.


Mikesell : 12:11 AM : 3 snarky remarks

Friday, October 06, 2006

CFBA Friday: Dark Hour

When I joined the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance it was a one-book-a-month deal. That's recently changed to one a week, which is way too much for me to keep up with. (I'm still on the novel I started mid-August.) I'll try and read as many books as I can, and play "A Handful of Questions" whenever possible. But this week? Not possible.

Still, Dark Hour sounds like one I'll make room/time for as soon as possible. It's Book One in the Serpent Moon trilogy. Fantasy series? Nope. Head on over to Dave Meigs' Blog for info, a review, and a chance to win a copy of the book. (He also posted the first chapter earlier this week.)

Sounds interesting, huh? Get thee to a Borders before Oct. 9th.

For more on author Ginger Garrett and the book, check this interview at the CFBA blog (it also appears at the beginning of Dave's first chapter post), as well as the author's website.

Links to more (and likely better-prepared) CFBA members appear in the blog roll at the bottom of the sidebar.

(Looks like it'll be mini-posts like these for the next few weeks, but I should have something at the end of the month to send you into election season.)

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Mikesell : 5:44 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Mr. Photogeniality

Phil brought his school pictures home today.

This year he'll look like this.

And his class looks like this -- mostly: two boys were out that morning. Here's Phil "close up" from the class pic.

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Mikesell : 4:42 PM : 1 snarky remarks

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Couple Nifty OS X Utilities

Watched a video podcast today from MacBreak extolling the virtues of working with a completely blank desktop. No wallpaper (actually all-black wallpaper). No icons. No menu bar.

No menu bar?

Turns out there's an application, MenuShade that will hide the menu bar until you mouse-over it. (Am I the last one to know about this?) Sort of like hiding/unhiding the dock. You can also have the menu bar faded out instead of completely gone. You don't reclaim the pixelspace for applications, but the emptiness at the top of the screen is kinda cool. I miss the clock, so I don't know if I'll keep the app long term, but I'm not hating it right now.

I found another handy program from the makers of MenuShade: MoviePod, an application for prepping movie files to the iPod. I've tried several others, but had had no luck transferring some old Steve Taylor videos (bottom of linked page). MoviePod handled all but the "credits" .wmv file like a dream. Don't know why it choked on that one, but I'm glad to have the rest on my iPod. (Windows version available, too.)

Need either an uncluttered desktop or movies on your iPod? Visit Nullriver Software.

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Mikesell : 11:50 PM : 1 snarky remarks


The Lakers are on a two-game winning streak (okay, maybe streak is overly generous for two in a row, but still...), advancing to 3 wins, 1 loss, no ties for the season. With three goals scored in the first half -- to the other team's single -- the Lakers played defense ball in the third quarter, giving their power players a break. The other team fought hard in the fourth, but the Lakers kept the ball to the sidelines and didn't give them the opportunity to catch up.

Phil played defense first quarter, a little too far forward to stop the other team from scoring. He played a middle position in the third and turned the ball for the Lakers several times.

It was our turn to bring post-game snacks. Act-II popcorn balls from Wal-Mart (20 for $3.94). Yum! (We've got Gatorade stockpiled for when we bring drinks in a few weeks.)

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Mikesell : 9:44 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Been a While: Another Borders Coupon

It's been like forever since I've linked to a Borders %-off coupon (well, since April as far as I can tell), but here's a 25% off-er.

They've added more fine print:
Curiously, I got a different coupon with the newsletter sent to my gmail account: $5 off $35/$15 off $60. Similar restrictions, though this one can be used on your Personal Shopping Day, which I believe means a 10% discount on everything you buy.

Christmas is coming (so is my birthday).


Mikesell : 1:07 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Losers' Lounge

Posting this early so no one'll think Phil's soccer team lost today's game. Look for an update on that tonight.

No, this Losers' Lounge refers to where the non-winners of Celebrity Poker Showdown go after they've non-won at Texas Hold'em. That's where I'm spending a lot of time with the Texas Hold'em game Apple released last month for the fifth-generation iPod (not the Nano, which I do like the new look of). And I'm lovin' every minute of it (especially since there's no Kathy Griffin lounging in the iPod version).

There are seven tournaments to play in the game. You start in Cupertino (Apple's hometown). I beat that scene frequently. Then you move up to Tournament #2: Macau in Southeast Asia. That's a 2-table tournament. You've got to beat the first table to get to the second and beat that to get to the next tournament. You win $1,000 for beating Cupertino and Macau has a $500 buy-in, so you've got two shots to make it big. I've never made it big (it would be nice if you could use the $3,000 you take from beating the first table and have three shots at the $1,000 second table, but that's not the way it goes). Still, it's a fun game. Clever animations; I'm getting to where I can read some of the players' "tells" (tics that give away whether a player has a good hand or are bluffing). But I'm not heading to Vegas with mad skills any time soon.

At $5 the game's a bargain. And although it's addicting, you can save and step away from the table at any time. Not saying you can quit; you'll be back for sure. There are complimentary Blue Diamond smokehouse-flavored almonds at the Losers' Lounge, after all.

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Mikesell : 11:19 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Phil Said It. I Believe It. That Settles It.

On the way home from town this evening Phil announced:
"Ain't is one of those Texas words, even though it doesn't make any sense."
I suppose it's nice that he's giving Texas credit for having some words that do make sense (though if he'd been around for H. Ross Perot's presidential runs he might be of a different opinion).

Hey Phil's cousins, how y'all doin'?


Mikesell : 12:06 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

In Retrospect, It Makes Sense

If you go to the in-store McDonald's at a Wal-Mart, you won't get Best Buy Bucks with the purchase of a Premium Chicken Sandwich or the Chicken Selects crispy strips. The premium chicken items do have the Monopoly game pieces (the only non-fries, non-drink items that do), but no free Best Buy money.

Gotta read the finely-printed rules to find that out.

Don't go to Guam looking for the Best Buy coupons, either.

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Mikesell : 11:58 PM : 0 snarky remarks


My guess is it's been about 20 years since I got my first computer. Not the family computer, not the computer my brother and I shared to learn programming (tho' my brother started out on this, also shared). My own first computer.

It was this beauty. Two floppy drives (not the 3.5" discs, mind you, these were the glorious 5.25" floppy floppies), 9" amber screen. detachable keyboard, 30 lb freeweight carrying case. Lasted me through college (got it some time during my junior year of high school IIRC), though the monitor died on a Thanksgiving trip to Oregon (thanks Bob & Sue for the loaner TV so I could write my paper) and the second disk drive eventually got wonky (nothing like swapping WordPerfect disks to load the program, spell check, thesaurus, and then a fourth disk to save your paper). It's up in the attic, along with computer #2, which lasted a year or so less than the first ... not that it broke, but tech advanced so quickly in the 90s (from a DOS 3.31 PC in '92 to a Win98 machine in '98) that you had to upgrade more often (managed to skip Win95 somehow, thank goodness). The '98 machine only lasted 3 years when XP came out in '01. It doesn't get much use these days since I got the PowerBook two and half years ago. Hmmmm, I'm due for a new computer next tax refund season...

As outdated as it is now, I still remember Oliver fondly. (Named the PC after the brainy kid in Bloom County; remember Bloom County?) King's Quest. Infocom text adventures (the computer where you first got the babelfish is going to have a special place in your heart). Asteroids knock-offs. Good times.


Mikesell : 2:35 PM : 2 snarky remarks

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Despite falling behind in the first half, the Triangle Lake Lakers rallied in the third quarter, scoring twice -- with a third goal ruled invalid due to bad posture (our player slipped on the wet field and the play was ruled an "illegal slide kick"). The 2-1 victory moves the team to 2-1-0 for the season.

Our more-powerful players did a good job remembering to keep after the ball even after it heads toward the goal. They had been letting the opposing goalie a free run up to the ball once it entered the penalty box area; one of our goals (and the disallowed one) came after our player kept attacking the ball.

Phil played one quarter as stopper, one as a midfieldman. He's slightly bummed about what he hasn't done (scored a goal), I'm trying to get him to focus on what he has (played good D).

Next game's Thursday. We're bringing post-game snacks.


Mikesell : 10:01 PM : 0 snarky remarks

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ask, Receive

Back in August I asked if there had ever been a Daily Show/Godstuff episode devoted solely to Jonathan Bell. Well, behold: Godstuff #30.

There's a bonus Jonathan Bell moment at the end of Episode #31. Along with a lot of other weird stuff. Yay!

In all likelihood, in a few weeks the above link will no longer feature GS30. It'll still have classic Godstuff moments, just not the referenced ep. In that case, head on over to You Tube. But 'til then, use the Wittenburg Door link and be sure to peruse the fine merchandise and magazine back issues while you're there. (Click the banner ad at the top of the screen for their free newsletter; their non-made-up stuff is often funnier than the stuff that makes it into the magazine.)

And they thank you for your support.

Mikesell : 11:47 AM : 0 snarky remarks

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Funday

I was going to hold this until tomorrow, but the only other subject that comes to mind for a post today involves sinus drip and I don't think anyone's all that interested in the subject. I know I'm tired of it.

So head on over to Pacxon: an online game that's half Pac-Man, half Qix. Instead of munching dots, you draw lines to claim gameboard territory. Fruits and power pellets appear occasionally to change the speed and vulnerability of the ghosts.

My current high-score: Level 19, 20969 points with 75% of gameboard in my possession.

(For added challenge/enjoyment, hop yourself up on antihistamines and stuff Kleenex in your nostrils -- Wooooo!)


(via digg)


Mikesell : 10:17 PM : 1 snarky remarks