Archive for August, 2007

Opera Mini Beta 2 release

I downloaded Opera Mini 4’s second Beta release. There are some neat things that are working great. On top of all the features that were in the first Beta release, they now have a customizable search page, where you can add search fields from all over the web onto one page (all of which you can access just by pressing #9). One of the features I was looking forward to trying, the land scape mode, is not available for BlackBerries. This disappointed be, but I may soon find it in the third Beta release, we shall have to wait and see. On an upside, the Opera Mini team was able to incorporate the normal selection and back buttons on the BlackBerry, so I no longer have to use my qw and op keys. Anyways, after I play around with it some more, I will have another post for you. I have to get off to work though (doh!).

Harry Potter

So, as many of you might have noticed, I have been very inconsistent with my posts lately. You can blame Nick’s wife for that one. She lent me the first four Harry Potter books and I have been engrossed in them ever since. I have finished the first four, but I should be picking up the last three either tonight or tomorrow. So, I give it another 3-4 weeks before I start posting regularly again. It doesn’t help that I haven’t had much to write about either. I would apologize, but hey, it’s my blog, so deal with it.

The Case of the Missing Urn

As I believe I have mentioned before, I work contract security for one of the larger shipping companies in the world. Yesterday, I was approached by the cartage manager at my station. He stated there was a shipment going from a funeral home in our area to an address out of state. He said that the package had come up missing and he thought it may be in our station. I asked him what the package contained. He hesitated, and told me that it was an urn. “Was this urn empty or occupied?” I asked. He told me my worst fear, that it was occupied.

So, I thought, we are missing someone’s ashes, and the poor family is probably flipping out. The cartage manager did not have any of the information I needed to start looking for it on video, so, I just kind of looked around the station, but didn’t see anything that looked like it contained the urn.

Today, though, the station manager approached me and asked for my help. He said after I left, the cartage manager got the information he needed and started looking at the video, but was not able to find the box. I normally look at the video for theft investigations and have the best working knowledge of the system at our station, so he wanted me to take a look. He and I went into the video room and he told me when it went missing…August 10th. For those of you who didn’t do the quick math, that’s a day short of two weeks this poor man’s body has been missing. I quickly found the driver who had picked it up, and saw a box that matched the description go onto the belt. A short while later, I was able to track the package as it was removed from the belt because it didn’t have a shipping label on it. For some unknown reason, instead of the box going to the pile to be researched, some one on the dock tossed it into a corner. We went out onto the dock, and sure enough, Grandpa’s ashes were still there. I feel bad for the family, but the ironic part, is that the funeral home that shipped the package has been told before that the company I work for does not ship human remains. So, to try and hide it, it was the funeral home that waited almost a week and a half from when they knew there was a problem until the told us.

I feel horrible for the family. I could not even imagine finding out that one of my lovedone’s remains were sitting, collecting dust in the corner of a shipping warehouse for two weeks. Has anyone else ever had something like this happened to someone they know? How would you react if it did happen to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Small Church, BIG Family

One of the things that I love about going to a small church is the way you feel like you are part of a large family. When I went to a larger church, I felt like I got mixed in with the crowd. But where I go to church now, I couldn’t get lost in the crowd if I tried. My church has about 50 members and another 25 non-members who regularly attend services. My wife and I are going through a small family crisis, and it was great to see how my church reacted. Nick and his wife asked us if they could make dinner for us and play some cards to help us take our minds off of our problems for a while. Unfortunately, we had to decline, but the gesture was still there. When we informed the whole church of what was going on, we had three or four people who told us if we needed anything, we should let them know and they would try and help us out. Immediately after the service, quite a few of the ladies took my wife aside (she’s having a harder time than I am right now) and talked to her and prayed with her. In bigger churches that I have been to, there was never that closeness. There was never a time during the church service where you could address the church with something that was on your mind. It was just very…corporate. I guess the best way I could compare it would be the difference between your small time, “mom and pop” type business compared to the big corporation, where if you had a problem, you would have to sit on hold for ever with “corporate” before any would would get to you, and even then, you kind of get shoved off. What are your thoughts. When your looking at a church you may go to, would you rather go to a large Mega-Church, or the small church on the corner? Why would chose which ever you would? Leave it in the comments below.

Go Kits

As I had stated in a previous post, the month of August is National Preparedness month and I planed on writing quite a few posts on the subject. I haven’t had time to write much, though. Any ways, I digress.

What would you and your family do in the event of a serious emergency. Imagine that your town was hit by a (fill in the appropriate natural disaster for your area); what would you do? Do you have the necessary supplies to survive and a way to get the information you need? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests that you have all the necessary supplies to survive for 3 days in a “Go Kit.” But what would you put in a Go Kit you ask? Essentials!

Food and Water

You should have enough food and water for 3 days. When packing food, remember that you have to be able to open and cook what you pack. I suggest going to a sporting goods store and purchasing a backpacking propane stove, small can opener, and freeze dried food. You should also have 1 gallon of water per person per day. So, a husband, wife and child should have 9 gallons of water. This is enough water form drinking, preparing food, and cleaning, although should be used sparingly. If you are in an extremely warm area, more water should be added to your go kit. Also, don’t forget to pack a small pot and utensils. Nothings worse then having food and no fork or spoon!!

Clothing

Make sure you pack cloths in your go kit, or have some ready at all times. To keep your kit lighter, I suggest packing cloths in backpacks and keeping the backpack in your closet. In the event that you have to evacuate, you can through the backpack on, and then have both hands to grab your go kit or small children. You should also make sure that the cloths in the bag are season appropriate. Yes, I know. This means you have to CHANGE the cloths in the bag. Nothings worse that having to grab it in the winter, leave your house in a panic, and then find out all you have in the bag is shorts and tank tops. A pair of sturdy shoes you can walk a long distance in is a good idea to have, as well. When your packing your bag, think about what you would pack on a trip. Don’t forget things like sock and underwear.

Hygiene

Don’t spend money on some of this stuff. Remember, this would be used in a major emergency. Pack your old tooth brush when you go to retire it. Get travel sized soap and tooth paste. My big suggestion here is waterless shampoo. You can find this at most drugstores. It’s not the best thing to use, but it beats using all of your water to wash your hair!! Also, pack some sort of hand sanitizer. You should also have a first-aid kit with enough supplies for three days. If you get banged up in a tornado and have a bad cut or burn, you will need to be able to change the dressing on it.

Tools

If I haven’t stressed this enough during the post, the goal here is to survive self sufficiently for three days. Pack tools that you my need to build a shelter or get a fire going. A hatchet is a necessity. You can use it to cut wood or use it as a hammer. A multi-tool comes in handy as well. I recommend either a Gerber or Letherman, as both of them stand up well with a lot of use. Depending on where you live, a camp shovel may be nice to have as well. If you live in an urban area, though, it probably won’t help too much. Pack what you think you may need, but don’t go overboard. Tools get heavy, and you my have to carry your go kit with you for quite a ways.

Other Essentials
No, not your notebook or Ipod. I’m talking about other things you need to survive. Medication that you have to take daily is a big one that is often over looked. If it is a prescription medication, tell your doctor that you would like a few days or a weeks worth to pack in your go kit. Most will write you the small amount. Make sure you rotate it with your normal medication, though, so it doesn’t expire. People with young children should pack dippers, wipes, and formula.

For more information, you can check you Ready.org which is run by FEMA. What would you pack that I might have forgotten? What other tips might you have? People who have back packed before should have an easy time with this, as you need to pack the essentials, but keep it light. I also hope none of you that read this will ever need to use it, but don’t count on it never happening to you. Think like the Boy Scouts and “Always be Prepared.”

Camping

I have to apologize to everyone for not posting in a while. I have been way too busy the past few weeks and went camping this weekend.

Camping was great, though. We went with my wife’s father and his wife’s family. While we were sleeping though, a bad thunderstorm came through and woke every one. My father-in-law had decided not to put his rain fly on his tent. No sooner did the rain start then we started hearing him, his wife, and his step-son running around the tent in mass confusion, trying to get their rain fly up at 3 in the morning in a torrential down. I checked the National Weather Service web site from my cell phone, and found out that there were 60 MPH winds during the storm.

My Father-in-law being caught in the rain reminded me of when I was in scouts and my troop had to set up camp in the poring rain. We finally got the tents set up and went to bed. In the middle of the night, the tent started to flood and then collapsed on 6 young scouts!!

I was wondering what was the worst any one has ever been stuck out in the rain? Leave it in the comments. The winner will be sent a state of the art umbrella!! Ok, maybe not, but you will win our respect.

National Emergency Prepardness Month

August is National Emergency Prepardness Month.  I will have a slight Emergency Prepardness theam this month, which works out because I’ve had some major writers block the last few days.  Today is also National Night Out.  Many communities will be holding events tonight all over the US.  I encurage all of you with kids to contact your town hall and get out tonight.  If nothing else, it will be something free to do with the kids!!