Archive for June, 2007

City Life vs. Small Town Life

So I’m spending the weekend out at my dad’s condo in Indiana. It’s in a very small town with only two traffic lights. I didn’t realize until this weekend how different life is in a town this small. For one, their entire police force is smaller than a single shift in the suburbs of a big city. The population of the town doubles on the weekends in the summer due to all the people that come and use the lake. I think everyone in town know each other.

The town had it’s annual Mermaid Festival this weekend, and it was weird watching all the townies walk around. They are definitely a lot more laid back then the people who were in from larger towns and cities. There was a lot more common courtesy as we walked around then you would see in the city. As we walked by people, some of them would look and you and say hello, even though they didn’t know you at all.

The weirdest thing of all, though, is the fact that the gas stations and the drug stores (CVS) were closed by 10 pm. Now, I know some gas stations and drug stores in urban areas are closed, but if you need something late a night, there is normally one open within 10-15 minutes from where you are. My dad sent me into town to grab gas for the boat and something from the drug store, and neither of us realised what time it was. When I came back empty handed, he started ranting on how he couldn’t believe the gas station and drug store weren’t 24 hours (my dad is kinda stubborn like that).

I wish I could take the convenience of city life and mix it with the laid back, friendly attitude of country life and Mikeatopia!! So, as me with as the new mayor and supreme ruler of Mikeatopia, I want to know what everyone else would like to see in my newly formed settlement.

Muskie Hunting

Short post today, as I went out fishing today. Before today, I had only caught one muskie in my life. Now, for most people, that’s not too bad, but for the amount I have gone fishing, that is really pathetic. That all changed today, though, as I caught 2 within a few hours. Both were much bigger than the one I had caught a few years ago.

Last time I went out muskie fishing, I had no luck catching any muskie, but I did catch a very large bass. Now, the bass I caught would normally been a fun catch, but when you have it on the end of a muskie pole, it’s not so fun. It’s kind of like towing a car with a locomotive. But anyways, it’s late and I will be up early and back out on the water. Catch ya all later.

Bald Eagles

Out of all the bad news that the press covers, we finally have something good. It was reported today that the Bald Eagle is expected to be removed from the endangered species list tomorrow. The Chicago Tribune story stated that government environmentalist estimate that there are now over 10,000 mating pairs in the lower 48 states, and at least 1 mating pair per state. That is up from the all time low which was recorded in 1963 when there were only 417 mating pairs in the lower 48 states. This just goes to show you that once in a while, the government does step in and do something for the greater good. I remember when I was growing up, my family would travel up to Northern Wisconsin. When I was much younger, I don’t remember seeing that many Bald Eagles. They were there, but not in high numbers. The last time I went up to the cabin was about 10 years ago, and even then, the Bald Eagles were no longer so scarce. We knew were we could find them and would commonly see 2 or 3 of the pairs from the cabin out over the lake. It’s great to see that one of our national symbols was able to make such a strong comeback!

I’m an old man

I came to the realization last night that I am an old man. Heres why.

1. I drive an old man car (Ford Crown Vic)
2. I try to be in bed by 9 at night. (altough, not by choice, I have to be up for work by 2:30 in the morning)
3. I have an old man hobby. Since I have become active in Ham Radio, I have discovered that the median age has to be about 55-60. And much of that is off set by the 10 and 14 year olds that I have met that are in the hobby. I have only met or spoke to 2 other people within 5 years of my age.
4. I prefer old man drinks. I will occasonaly drink beer, but my drink of choice is wisky on the rocks or wine.

I started thinkuing about this when (of all people) my dad woke me up with a phone call at 9:45 last night. Most people my age are getting woke up by their parents at 9 in the morning becasue they slept too late. I should just buy a walker and start siting on my deck, shaking a broom at the little kids who get too loud outside my appartment.

Going to a wake

Going to a wake has to be one of the most awkward things anyone has to do in their life. You walk up to the family members and don’t to know what to say other than all the cliches like “I’m so sorry for your loss,” and “How are you holding up.” No matter what you say, if you didn’t know the deceased that well or at all, nothing you say sounds right at the time. Last night, I had to go to a wake with my department. The deceased was my Captain’s father who I had never met. Looking at my Captain, I was just lost for words. He did point out, though, that for him and his family, they are some what glad that his dad finally passed, as he had been suffering his final months of life. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to say at a wake for someone that you don’t know all that well, because I hate using cliches at moments like that?

I also ask for you all to keep Robert Miller Sr. and his family in your payers.

Field Day

As I had posted earlier, this weekend was Field Day. I ended up putting in a lot of hours and I’m still not fully with it. I started set up at 7 a.m. on Saturday and didn’t leave for home until 6 p.m. on Sunday. I only got about three hours of sleep in the back of truck, and got soaking wet trying to set up, but over all, the weekend was worth it. I got to get on the radio some and was able to contact people all over the country, from southern Florida to western Washington. I also got to talk to a hand full people from Canadialand (VE’s in ham lingo, referring to it being the prefix for Canadian Ham’s call signs). We were set up on the top of an old garbage dump which put us up about 200 feet above the average terrain of flat Illinois, which was great for our radio signals. We also had lots of problems during the event. We had two vehicles lose mechanical power on the way out to the site, it was raining the entire morning, someone forgot to connect one of the antennas on top of a fifty foot radio tower (it was funny watching my chief climb the tower when it was half the way down), another on of our antennas wasn’t working right, and we ran out of fuel on one of our generators. After participating in Field Day, I can’t wait until next year!!

Annoying Internet Words

I found this originally at a site called Slashdot and found it interesting. A British Polling company conducted a poll on what people thought were the most annoying words that have come out of the internet era. Topping the list was folksonomy, which I for on had never even heard of. There are, in my mind, more annoying words and jargon from the internet era, such as all the abbreviations that not everyone knows. I find nothing more annoying then having to ask someone in a forum what they were saying because they used an abbreviation that nobody knows. Another word that made the list was blook, which apparently is a book written from or based on a blog. Then there are the words people but together, for what ever reason. Netiquette is an example of this and should never been created, because etiquette is etiquette, whether it is on the internet or not. I had not heard of blook or netiquette before I read this list, which makes me wonder if people were just asked to rank ten that were already listed or if it’s a British thing.

Also making the list was cookie. How can cookie make this list? I want to know how a word can be annoying when it’s there is no other way to refer to it? Anyway, I am going to, for the first time, openly ask for comments from all you readers. I would like all of you out in blogosphere (also on the list) to tell me what internet related words or phrases annoy you.

Crackberry

Hi, my name is Mike and I’m addicted to my BlackBerry.

I now know how the imfomas phone got it’s nickname. I have had my BlackBerry for about 3 months now and have grown more and more addicted to it. When I got it, I wanted a smart phone so I would be able to check my e-mail at work and do minor web searches. I now am searching the entire internet, get my RSS feeds via my Opera Mini Web Browser (see my last post), get turn by turn directions from Google Maps, and have increased the amount I e-mail. I also am able to IM my wife and friends while I’m at work or out with Ramble. I have never had a problem with the battery life on any phone I have ever owned, but with in the last week or two, I have noticed that my battery is in the red by the time I toss it on the charger at the end of the night. I use my phone all the time now and have noticed I have become much more productive in my life.

I have to admit I have a problem, though. I have found my self checking e-mails durring in-appropriate times and checking info on the web when I should be listening to some one. I have checked the weather while driving and almost caused an accident, and have ignored my wife while she drove and I was checking my RSS feeds. I must stop my cell phone insanity!!

The constat good vs. evil war that is waged here on earth has surfaced again.

Opera Mini

Opera Mini 4.0 Beta was officially released today. Many of you are probably wondering what Opera Mini is. Opera Mini is a great little (no pun intended) web browser developed for cell phones. Even most smart phones lack in terms of a decent web browser, and Opera Mini is a free, open source fix to that problem. I recommend Opera Mini to every one who has a web accessible phone as it is a fully packed web browser that will take any website and reformat it to fit you phone, while still keeping many of the attributes of the original page that you loose in a standard phone browser. If any one is looking to download Opera Mini, do yourself a favor and start with the older version (3.1 I think) as the new one is only a beta version and 1. doesn’t have all the features the completed version has yet, 2. may have some bugs that need to be worked out. don’t let that stuff make you run away completely though, as that is a normal step in any software release. I have been using Opera Mini 3.1 for about 3 months and love the book mark short cuts and the RSS reader that is built in. It is also very ease to navigate, considering it is on a phone. The little bit of 4.o that I got to play around with today shows that it has potential. one feature lets you see a thumbnail of the page and zoom in directly to the part of the page that you want to go to. I am still keeping the old version on my phone for now though, as 4.0 doesn’t have a RSS feeder YET (the programmers have already stated that will be in the final release, along with many other missing features) and may not work perfectly with some sites, as it will inevitably have some bugs (even though some programmers think they are God, no one is perfect). I challenge all of you who are able to get online with your phone to down load Opera Mini and take it for a test drive. What’s the worst that could happen, you delete it from your phone in a week. On the flip side, you may make your phone a better tool for you to use in this new, technological world that we live in.

Father’s Day

So, I have come to a realization today. My wife kept telling me this, but I was in denial until today. Today is only my second father’s day as a father, but I have come to find out I will probably not get to enjoy father’s day the way I want to until both my father and father-in-law pass on or live in a different state than I do. I’m beginning not to mind this, but another day comes to mind. It’s grandparents’ day. It should become customary that once you become a mother or father, you get out of celebrating mother’s day and father’s day with your parents, and instead give them their day on grandparents’ day. Now, I love my parents very much, but I have earned my day and want to celebrate it!!

Happy father’s day to all of the fathers out there in the cyber world.