Swim accross Australia

Dave Barry points out this strage news story: Cross-Australia Swim Revs Up

A group of swimmers has begun an ambitious journey, swimming across Australia in a pool attached to the back of a truck.

Windows tip: Keyboard shortcut for any program

Several times in the last few weeks I've been sitting at my computer and I needed to use a calculator. I was annoyed that I had to click through start > all programs > accessories just to get a stupid calculator. I could have added it to my quick launch bar or my desktop, but I didn't really want to do that, either. While Brendan was here he mentioned that this bothered him, too. So, I googled the problem and found a good solution. Now I can open the calculator program by holding Ctrl + Alt + C. Click the link below to read how I did it.

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DSL speed test


dial-up @


DSL is now up and running at the office. I downloaded a file earlier this week with the dial-up and it clocked in at 5.7 kb/sec, not bad for dial-up. Today I tested the DSL connection, and it downloaded at 141 KB/sec. Cable modems and T1s can get a lot faster, but 141 is a lot faster than what I'm used to. Over 20 times faster! I had resigned myself to a small town life with no broadband, so this is pretty exciting to me.

Fish story

Yesterday I finally got to go snagging. Gerald, Matthew and David took me down to Warsaw, MO, and showed me how it's done. If you've never been snagging before, here's the story: The spoonbill (aka paddlefish, aka Polyodon Spathula) hangs around at the bottom of rivers eating stuff and pooping (I can only assume). You throw out a 4-10 oz. weight and two huge treble hooks, drag them accross the bottom of the river hoping to sink some hooks into a fish's hide. It's exhausting, but a lot of fun and it's good to eat.

Matthew and I had never caught one before and we each hooked and then lost one within an hour of when we started. By the time we were done we had each brought one in. His was 36 inches and mine was 40. Click on the image above to see a bigger picture of my fish. Click on this link to see Matthew's fish. Come over to my house Saturday night (5 pm) to help us eat them.

Today is the day

DSL service is set to be turned on today at the office. I've got the modem turned in and as soon as the light changes from orange to green I'll know it's on. I just hope this hasn't been some elaborate April Fool's joke.

Space tourism news

This makes three:

Space Adventures®, Ltd., the world's leading space experiences company, announced today that American technology entrepreneur Gregory Olsen, Ph.D. will be the next private space explorer client. - Read more.

Pretty cool stuff. And the US House of Representatives passed the Space tourism bill earlier this month.

a grand day out

Today Emma and I spent the day together. We went to Don's TV and Appliance, Ethan's Auto Care, Sonic, Famous Footwear, Best Buy, some craft shop, Office Max, Famous Footwear again, Petco, and Wal-mart. We didn't buy much. We spent some time playing Tony Hawk Underground, we watched part of a documentary on some huge plasma TVs, looked at parakeets, she tried on some size 12 shoes and we brought home 3 black mollies for our fish tank. We had a great day. It's 7 pm and I think she's already pretty sleepy. She's watching an Elmo DVD and jabbering/singing right now.

Top doc backs picking your nose and eating it

Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor. - See for yourself

All Dawson, All the Time

dawson's creekWhen Danny first suggested that we, frugal (tight, stingy, scrooge-like…insert your own tight-fisted adjective here) people that we are, should splurge on a seemingly needless technological advancement like a TiVo, I was barely able to stifle a laugh. First of all, it took at least a year to convince him that we could afford more than the 12 (including local) cable channels we were paying for. (Actually, it took them canceling his precious TechTV from our lineup.) As you have already read, we got a great deal on the TiVo, so I couldn't really argue, but I wasn't quite convinced that it would help me in any way. Now I'm hooked. Today, Danny lamented that if he had known we could get DSL before we bought the TiVo, he would have gotten it instead…I quickly responded "No way!" Here are the top 5 reasons I love my TiVo.

5. Constant Dora the Explorer access. My daughter Emma is mildly obsessed with this Nickelodeon cartoon character and her show. (Emma's fixation on this show is actually the main reason we were floored when DishNetwork said they were not going to provide Nick anymore. But we took care of that problem!) Now I can enter our "Now Playing" list and call up any of the episodes we have saved. No more tantrums…until we visit someone without 24-hour Dora access.

4. The 'Search' Feature. If there is a movie or TV show I want to watch, I just have to enter the search menu and type in the first few letters of the title. I then have a playlist for the next two weeks, and can even choose to "Season Pass" a show, recording every new episode that appears. And, if I'm feeling really brave, I can view a menu of all movies, scroll through it, and select the ones I want to record. If you will remember my past confession of decision-making, I am always pleasantly surprised at the movies that magically appear days later.

3. Watching a show while one (or two) others are being recorded. You might think this is a bit much, and perhaps it is. But hear me out. I love the WB and watch Everwood, Gilmore Girls and Smallville regularly. But with our old setup, if any of these shows were recording, we couldn't watch anything else. So if Emma wanted to watch Dora on TV and not one of the many we have on DVD or VHS (which, believe me, isn't that far-fetched), we had to keep her mind off of this desire for a full hour. Have you ever tried to occupy an hour of a toddler's time? I rest my case.

2. No VHS tapes. Speaking of our finicky toddler, she also has the habit of running by a piece of electronic equipment and "leaving her mark". In the case of our VCR, this means ejecting the tape we were planning on using for one of the aforementioned WB shows. Translation: I would come home expecting to see Everwood and would instead see the front end of an empty VHS tape sticking out of the VCR. With TiVo, there are no tapes. It's Emma proof!

1. Dawson's Creek. (Brendan…I'm counting on you to stick up for me on this one.)
Here's the thing. TBS airs two Dawson's Creek episodes every morning. They run in succession, so, in theory, if I watched both episodes each day I could finish a season in like a week or two. Unfortunately, I don't have the time (nor the patience) to sit through two episodes per day, plus their airtime infringes on 'Dora time'-and we know who wins on that one. Now, I can get my teen love/drama/angst fix whenever I want. It's like being in high school without all the taunting and bad food.

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