Monday, December 17, 2012

NORAD Santa Tracker 2012 Here! -->

Merry Christmas everyone!
It's that time of year again, to track Santa using our friendly neighborhood NORAD unit!

That's right kiddies, Santa Tracker is up and running now that Santa is out delivering his presents. You can download the Santa Tracker file for Google Earth while at NORAD’s Santa Tracker website and track him on your own. You'll definitely want to go to the page on Christmas Eve and follow his progress as he moves throughout the world, but check back often, he moves fast! You wouldn't want your young one up while he has 'visited' your town! HA

This is a fun site that I first discovered back in the 08' year, there are many options to play with, as I mentioned-like viewing Santa’s journey using Google Earth.
So, without further ado...-enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday Mayhem! Thanksgiving Shopping Havoc!

Well happy night-before-turkey day everyone! That's right, it's my 5th annual Black Friday Post! -wow time is flying by.

This year, I only have Thanksgiving off of work, so we will have to plan accordingly. We also are on a fairly tight budget this year, as times have been kind of hard as of late!

But alas, I'm sure we may brave the shopping madness and hopefully score some sweet deals.

I am looking forward to celebrating our second year in our home, (we made it!) drinking some nice wine, having some Turkey, ham, and sweet 'tater pie with the kiddos! ....mmmmmmm....pie....

We aren't any strangers to shopping on black Friday, so we are going to arm ourselves accordingly. We have high-tech strollers for Liam, which will be equipped with an ample supply of snacks, diapers, toys, to (hopefully) curtail the inevitable tantrum throughout the business. We have a list of the family members and a rough idea of a budget to work with. I have my best gel-inlaid sneakers and probably will strap on a powerful set of elbow and knee pads. Hey! It's a JUNGLE out there!

I will take no prisoners.

I fear for the worst, and expect that it will be bumper to bumper roads, and near-misses in the parking lots that day. Good thing we have decent insurance!

"i said that was MY spot!"

Well it certainly has been an eventful year, to be sure. Hopefully now that we got that election business out of the way, it will jump start this economy a little bit. We're certainly going to be doing our part! These kids toys aren't cheap anymore! That's a whole other topic, but really? -A plastic doll house for $87 dollars?? And when did the value of little colored plastic blocks become akin to the scarcity of Gold? [looking at you LEGO'S].  Things just aren't made like they used to be, and yet they want 4 times as much money for them.
So do your homework, hopefully the list below will get you in the right direction. Keep an eye out for those lightning deals and utilize those smartphone apps that allow you to monitor those, as well as scan items to get an instant internet price check! Amazon has one, google shopping has one, Red Laser is another, they work great and will save you some money.

What do you you all think?? Does anyone have any ideas?

I will leave it at that for now, did I mention yet that I luv the holidays?   ;/

-And just so I didn't completely waste your time reading excerpts from my personal life, here's a few links to get you on your way. I'm sure they will be happy I led you there. (my personal fav) (for your favorite lovable nerd)
Google Shopping (a good all-around search for prices online and from local stores!) (my fav local store) (for you Oregonian/Washingtonians) (if u really have to..ugh) (for that angle-grinding,circular sawing,super-sanding, Makita-drilling, Tim Allen-worshiping dude on your list)

-and last but not least! (the most important one for this holiday season methinks)


Friday, October 5, 2012

Presidential Debates- From Big Bird to Buffoonery

Well did you all see the first Presidential Debates the other night? There were some highlights, to be sure.  There was an attack on Big Bird, there was a overpowered and irritatingly ineffective Moderator (Jim Lehrer), there were awkward silences and a stone cold audiance [as directed], and there was lots of spotty make-up jobs.

Mostly, it was a snoozer, unless you were the Republicans, whom  seem invigorated by their candidate's apparent "victoire triomphale". It just goes to show you, in my humble opinion, in our American society, it is often the ends that justify the means. Apparently such minor quibbles as 'accurate statements', half-truths and outright lies are just the tools of the trade for Mr. Businessman. Now that we've all had a chance to sit and analyze every statement, every fact of the parties statements...a cooling off of heads is sure to be the result.

The first thing that sticks out to me, was how 'slick' Romney was. The Blue guys rallied, quick to point out this as a mark of a strong showing...a demonstration of a man in charge, a real leader! I could see him giving speeches exactly like this in a boardroom, as he sets the gameplan for the fate of their recently acquired failing business. During some moments, when he glared at Obama, It almost looked to me as if he were explaining to his teenage daughter why she couldn't go to the prom with that 'colored' fella she likes so much. (sic)

 I saw a comment that basically iterated well my thoughts, so i'll spare you more of my limited intellect and show you what he observed, more eloquently than I could:


A center-left democrat's opinion:

Romney: He held it together, spoke like a leader, stayed more on the offense, provided a little more clarity into his plans, and showed a faith in what he believes in. He did show some testiness, appeared to have pity in his face when looking at Obama, and I'd swear sometimes he looked like he was about to cry (kinda like Boehner looks).

Obama seemed confident, stayed more on the defense but defended his record well and showed a true concern for the unfortunate. He had a number of struggling pauses in his speech, trying too hard to say the right thing, showed some arrogance, and he sometimes appeared frustrated.

Romney's tone and rhythm outshined Obama's. Obama had a number of chances to channel his debating mentors and step it up a couple of notches, but he didn't. He almost seemed a little nervous and was definitely on the defense.

Both candidates were courteous, with the exception of time-grabbing, which Obama did more of.

Both candidates had missed opportunities, but I understand the pressure they're in when on stage and under the lights and microscope.

Romney's best moment to me, explaining how he can support Romneycare, but not Obamacare - because he believes healthcare should be left up to the states.

Obama's best moment to me, owning Obamacare, providing clarity and anecdotes in support of it, and owning his belief in the federal government handling and nationalizing social programs.

Although the debate as a whole was fairly dry, I do think Romney came out on top in this one.

FYI this doesn't change my vote. Overall, and I mean overall, accounting for all important issues, I still trust that by the end of a second Obama term, we'd be better off than having a fiscal and social conservative run our country. I believe Romney would do wonders for the private business sector, but I do not trust that the private business sector will in turn trickle those wonders down to us. Using a metaphor, I believe Romney is the type to cut off the arms and legs in order to save a terminal Cancer patient, while Obama is the type to take the chance and hit the spreading Cancer with a clinical trial chemotherapy in order to try to save the whole patient. If the recession is the Cancer, then I support Obama's methods.

And on social issues, which are certainly important to many people, no matter how some try to chant "economy, jobs, economy, jobs", I fully support Obama's policies. I do not feel comfortable with a Romney presidency, where the big social issues are left to the states. We are the United States, and I believe there are some social issues that belong to our identity as a country as a whole, and not as a collection of states with varying and opposing social issue laws. Only the federal government can bring all states together.

"One nation" why can we not behave like one?


I'm anxiously awaiting the next debates. Especially October 16th, in NewYork, where undecided voters will fire off questions to the candidates in a Town Hall style format. The following will be October 22nd, in Florida. 

Like most of us, my vote is still safely locked in my head, but I still like to see what we're gonna get, and whom I'm glad we won't!  Until then, Policionado’s!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

2013 Military Pay Chart - For my fellow military peoples.

On May 24, 2012, the Senate Committee on Armed Services completed its mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013; previously, the full House of Representatives, on May 18th, passed the Defense Authorization Act for FY-2013 by a vote of 299 to 120. The Act includes the 1.7% pay raise proposal made by President Obama on February 13th.

On February 13, 2012, President Obama released his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal for the Department of Defense. The budget proposal included the expected 1.7% raise for military basic pay, which when approved should become effective January 1, 2013.

On October 28, 2011, the United States Employment Cost Index (ECI) was released. The following pay charts are based on the private industry worker's wage and salary series of the Employment Cost Index's increase of 1.7 percent for the 12 month period ending September 2011, and it is expected to be part of President Obama's budget input for the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013.

Without further ado, here is your Military Pay Chart 2013 (Proposed 1.7%)

Full chart (and credit goes to HERE:

Helpful Link for MYPAY HERE.

A small excerpt for the enlisted:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titanic Revealed -Film here-->

This night, or early morning...100 years ago to the minute...the R.M.S. Titanic slipped under the cold North Atlantic surface, and entered into the fascination and timeless regard of man and it's fragile mortality for all history. Before James Cameron, there was Dr. Robert Ballard, former Navy Commander and scientist whom discovered the ship.

The last known picture of Titanic taken as she heads out....

A great video with a different look at the story of a Navy Commander whom discovered Titanic, and his bittersweet return 20 years later. Lots of interesting stuff about the ship...

There are a few more worth-watching videos on the National Geographic site HERE

For decades the wreck of the liner RMS Titanic had eluded those seeking to locate her grave site. Many failed until Dr. Robert Ballard turned a dream into reality in 1985 when he found her remains over 12000' beneath the North Atlantic Ocean. Dr. Ballard tells how his missions to two lost submarines from the Cold War helped him find the debris trail of the Titanic that she left across the sea bed. Interspersed with this intriguing once-Top Secret mission is the story of Ballard's 2004 trip back to Titanic to document the ensuing effects of visitors and salvagers since his last trip in 1986. Understanding that the Titanic and her remains belong to everyone, Dr. Ballard returns with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help make his vision of a museum - a museum available to all - become a reality.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mega Millions Winning Numbers, March 30, 2012: Here They Are!

The odds of winning the Mega Millions Lottery are stacked against you, as you may guess.

If you think you can win this week’s mega lottery, think again ... you have a better chance of being killed by flesh-eating bacteria than rolling in lottery gold.
The Mega Millions jackpot is at $640 Million (and rising), with odds of winning at roughly 1 in 176 Million ... but get this ... 1 in 3 people think winning the lottery is the ONLY way to be financially secure in life (eeek!).

So we looked into the odds and found a bunch of crap that is more likely to happen to you ...

-- Death by lightning: 1 in 2,650,000

-- Death by flesh-eating bacteria: 1 in 1,000,000

-- Getting eaten by a shark: 1 in 11,000,000

-- Death by fireworks: 1 in 1,000,000

That said… anyone care to join me in an office pool?

To find out if you, at 11pm, check out the homepage HERE.
UPDATE: Here are the numbers....and...I  didn't win...I know, shocking.

Winning! !

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Adriana Lima ...need I say more?

Sometimes in life, there are important questions we have. Some go unanswered, some are forever a mystery. After much investigation, hope and faith...I came upon some of the great questions of our world.

How Much Does Adriana Lima Weigh?

She weighs about 120 pounds or 55.5kg

How Tall Is Adriana Lima?

5’10″ or 178cm

What Are Adriana Lima's Measurements?

34C-24-35 (86-61-89)

need I say more?? 

Birth Place: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
Date of Birth: June 12, 1981
Heritage: Brazilian 

Blue is my favorite color...

LOVE the pig-tails!



I love the beach....

My Personal Favorite.
Adriana Francesca Lima (born June 12, 1981, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil) is a Brazilian model, best known as a Victoria's Secret Angel since 2000, and as a spokesmodel for Maybelline cosmetics from 2003 to 2009. At the age of 15, Lima finished first in Ford's "Supermodel of Brazil" competition, and took second place the following year in the Ford "Supermodel of the World" competition before signing with Elite Model Management in New York City. Since 2005, Lima has ranked in the top five of Forbes' lists of the 20 highest-earning models in the world, and in 2006 ranked No.99 on the Forbes Celebrity 100. She is married to Serbian basketball player Marko Jarić.

Personal life

Lima is a devout Roman Catholic who attends church every Sunday.
On St. Valentine's Day 2009, Lima married Serbian basketball player Marko Jarić (Марко Јарић) in a small private civil ceremony in Jackson, Wyoming. In May 2009, it was reported that Lima applied for Serbian citizenship. The couple's daughter, Valentina Lima Jarić (Serbian Cyrillic: Валентина Лима Јарић), was born on November 15, 2009. Valentina was born at 34 weeks gestation, weighing just 4.4 lb (2.0 kg), due to Lima's suffering from preeclampsia In March 2012, Lima confirmed that she and her husband are expecting their second child.


Lima does charitable work helping with an orphanage, "Caminhos da Luz" (Ways of Light), located in Salvador. She helps with construction to expand the orphanage, and buys clothes for poor children in Salvador, Bahia. She appeared on Var mısın? Yok musun?, the Turkish version of Deal or No Deal, where her prize money went to a hospital in Istanbul for children fighting leukemia.

How can you NOT love this woman?!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

HGTV Dream Home 2012 Giveaway Winner finally Revealed!

Well the day finally came, the winner of the HGTV 2012 Dream Home has been selected this evening.

A big congratulations to Vicki Naggy from Acme, Pennsylvania. She is the proud winner of the HGTV Dream Home 2012 Giveaway! I can't say I'm not jealous as all I also submitted at LEAST 4 times a day for, well, at least HALF the total days of the sweepstakes! Fully legal, of course, I listed my wife's information as well as my own, on both sites, with the required two seperate email addresses. Hey, it's a tough world out their folks...gotta use your resources.

The lucky @#$!, Vicki!
 Vicki, a beauty salon manager, is the youngest of 11 siblings, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother and the proud owner of five dogs (clairvoyant, it seems — they began to howl as soon as Monica Pedersen was one-half block away from our winner’s home).

Vicki has entered the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway in past years and entered this year every day — twice per day. She had a funny feeling that she might win and attributes her stroke of luck to her guardian angel, Donna, a family friend who passed away last year.

sigh...i'm gonna miss imagination-living in that house!...
Vicki and her hubby are big fans of HGTV and admit that they often fall asleep in front of the tube, watching their favorite home decorating shows (Property Brothers is a personal fave). The lucky winner says she’s never been to Utah, but can’t wait to visit the beautiful state and step inside her new modern rustic ranch home. “I don’t believe this,” says Vicki. “I’ve never won anything. This is going to change my whole life.”

So the dreaming is over folks...until NEXT year year!! 


Friday, March 16, 2012

Skyrim Machinima - Amazing videos here-->

I never really did know what 'Machinima' officially was, but, as a film guy, was always intrigued. No really, that sounds counter-intelligent but I just haven't gotten around to it! 

Machinima, for those unfamiliar, is a movie genre that uses game technology instead of traditional film technology. By recording in-game footage (usually heavily modded) and applying voice overs, music tracks, and post-processing effects, indie artists can create some pretty impressive short films. YOU doin'?
Anyways, It simply amazes me that people have the talent AND time to accomplish such awesome videos. I've already seen 'The Beauty of Skyrim' via a  Facebook friends post, and was amazed at the detail/atmosphere of this game I haven't yet purchased. It must be no small feat in the game's editing suite, video editors etc. to make this magic happen. Consider me sufficiently inspired to go check out some of these guys other videos! Skyrim is turning out to be a landmark game, on a multitude of levels, lucky for me, the one that stands out most is the art design, the graphics, the sound and music, which all collide to create a very immersive and atmospheric experience.

Check out this sample, one of the most amazing i've seen so far, entitled simply, 'The Battle of Skyrim', to see what I mean. The Great Battle of Skyrim boasts "500 Draugr, 200 skeletons, 500 Dwarven Warriors", a couple of epic battle mages and one very hungry-looking dragon. Watch the whole thing, as halfway through it gets pretty bad-ass.
The Great Battle does a pretty good job showing off what the Skyrim engine is capable of if you have a killer video card and OC'd rig.


Dovahkiin is more of a music video than a film but I really enjoyed the mood created by this one. This example does a really good job showing off Skyrim's visual capabilities. (Something that can be further enhanced through mods.)

There are many more fine examples out there, just surf through the links within YouTube and you will begin discovering the beauty and artistry that is MACHINIMA in SKYRIM!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Diablo III launching May 15th! It's finally coming Ladies and Gentlemen!

 Diablo III is launching May 15th! It's finally coming Ladies and Gentlemen!

Blizzard fans have long known that their games aren't released until they feel they are good and ready. Now, the how's and why's of exactly when that happens I will leave to the conspiracy theorists and naysayers but usually this ensures a great game when its finally released.  What this means for you is the game will be polished to a fine sheen, and will ensure hours of left-clicking mayhem right out of the box. Of course there will be bug fixes, and balance tweaks for the approximately 15 years I'm guessing we will be playing this game, if Diablo 2 is any indication!

My wife is excited! Both her and her Dad played the hell outta this game. I also have fond memories of playing both versions. With the hauntingly beautiful acoustic music soundtrack and sounds, the addictiveness of making the best weapon/armor load-out, the challenge of those final boss battles. It seems like only yesterday that I fired up my first burned game, Diablo, into my first PC and left-clicked into the late late hours in those Air Force dorms, with red candles lit (for Atmosphere!) and beer sweating on it's cardboard coaster, while the northern California winter drizzled out my window. Ahh memories!

Choose your class wisely: Wizard, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Barbarian, Monk 
It looks to be a similarly addictive, and potential profiting game this time around, as we now have an in-game Auction house, similar to what Wow users already enjoy...but with one crucial diffference. This time, you can buy and sell with real-life money. This significantly raises the stakes a bit. Does it make it more fun to seek out rare items? What sort of emergent behaviors will we see in this new frontier of adventure gaming? To be sure, Paypal, and it's parent company Ebay are certainly smiling all the way to the bank. [Paypal is the in-game payment processor]
Hmm, I wonder what the epic green horny-toad boots of velvet doom are going for today?
For all you console cretons', you won't be left out so no cryin'. You didn't think Blizzard would just let an extra couple million dollars pass by would you? Nope, the rumors all point to them developing a PS3/Xbox version of Diablo you all will be able to slide your credit cards into the online Auction house the same as the rest of us.

For more info at the official Blizzard site go HERE. You may want to pre-order a copy now, as I've seen it a hundred times, hot titles like this will be hard to come by for at least a month after release day!

Let the fun begin next month!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Was the New Apple iPad Made Ethically?

Apple mania took over the interwebs on Wednesday morning as the company unveiled its latest iPad.

There weren't any tectonic technology shifts introduced by the new iPad 3 (or iPad HD or iPad 2S or whatever it's called). The new model has a sharper, high-definition display and 4G wireless speeds (LTE, for the acronym aware). The new iPad also sports better cameras.

In addition to the roar of excitement, the activist watchdog group, “SumOfUs” called on Apple to release employees’ time card data from the last four months to see if workers in China were forced into grueling and illegal overtime schedules.

SumOfUs Executive Director Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman spoke with Mashable on Wednesday morning. She cited the New York Times’ story from January that reported employees at an Apple factory in China were awoken from slumber to work overnight shifts in order to make last-minute changes to the iPad 2. That article was the catalyst for this particular petition, she said, but SumOfUs has targeted Apple and its working conditions in China since the organization launched in late November 2011.

She says Apple’s hiring of the Fair Labor Association is a public relations move, or “whitewashing” as she called it.

“It is a PR exercise, not an actual investigation,” she said. “The head of the FLA was giving interviews one day after he arrived — he didn’t interview any workers. It’s clear anything they release will be calculated.”

This response doesn’t fix the problem, “but it’s cheap,” she said. Apple will have to spend money or change their practices in order to actually make a difference. — “Apple’s going to have to allow it’s suppliers to have a slightly bigger profit margin,” she added.

Last year, Apple’s profit margin was more than 30 percent, while Foxconn (Apple’s most notorious factory) had a 1.5 percent profit margin, Bloomberg reported. Stinebrickner-Kauffman said Foxconn’s profit margin is actually more profitable than a lot of factories in Asia, but still not enough for suppliers to follow Apple’s and the FLA’s code of conduct.

“The other thing they’ll (Apple) have to realize is they can’t make last minute changes and expect their suppliers to hold to their timeline,” she said.

Stinebrickner-Kauffman said she’s an iOS device-user herself and like many folks with Apple devices, doesn’t want to be complacent while accusations of unfair working conditions persist about Apple’s factories in China.

The FLA said the conditions at Foxconn are better than other Chinese factories. It’s also been said that the suicide rate in China is higher than at the Foxconn factories. However, Stinebrickner-Kauffman points out that the suicides we hear about at Foxconn are just the reported ones.

The petition has not yet been emailed to supporters and has already garnered more than 130,000 signatures. Stinebrickner-Kauffman said she thinks Apple will hear the message loud-and-clear, even if they don’t acknowledge it.

“Apple doesn’t like to admit it,” she said. “But there have been successful NGO campaigns against Apple.”

Green My Apple, a campaign by Greenpeace was one of them, she said. It spurred Apple to change its recycling practices and restrict or ban certain toxic chemicals. Apple called the program, “A Greener Apple.”

SumOfUs was launched in late November with the goal of help organize consumers to push companies to be more sustainable and responsible.

Are you going to buy the new iPad or will you wait until Apple hands over employees’ time cards? Are you going to sign the petition? Have you stopped purchasing Apple products because you don’t want to support its overseas labor practices? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

My two cents?: No mass-produced product in the past few centuries was made ethically. If ipads were assembled in the US, the cost would easily be 8X higher. The fact is that almost everything electronic is made in China these days in similar factories. Arguably, FoxConn’s conditions are better than most. What do you think?