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Thoughts on Tuesday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/2/23 4:40:00 (4183 reads)

It's Tuesday night, and I'm overdue for a post.

New Layout
As you may have noticed, I rearranged the layout of the blog just a bit. The advertising was under-performing, so I followed some advice and moved it to the left, where I'm told it performs better. I think most web users have the tendency to tune out ads, so hopefully this will increase the revenue just a bit. One thing I won't do, no matter what, is to add any sort of pop-ups, pay walls, obnoxious moving ads, or ads that obscure the posts. If you surf any of the newspaper sites, you know what I'm talking about.

Procrastinating from doing the books
I wouldn't have even bothered with this, but I was supposed to spend yesterday getting my income taxes done. Thus, the procrastination. I really hate accounting work. I made a good grade in it in college, but once you get IRS rules involved, things get complicated. So, I was doing the books for the blog here, and am proud to report that the WhosPlayin SBU only had a $114 loss for 2010, thanks to numerous generous donations and little bit of ad revenue. That was quite an improvement from 2009 when we lost $536 after everything was counted. I'm proud that we've been able to accomplish this much with the blog, and I'm happy to eat that small amount of loss in order to have a place for the community to come and have an intelligent conversation.

Taking the Train
I had a new experience this weekend - well, actually not entirely new, but we'll say "renewed". Twenty years ago, I took an Amtrak ride once from Maryland to Washington, DC, but I've not ridden lately. At the urging of my mother, I booked a trip for myself and my sons to take Amtrak's Texas Eagle train from Fort Worth to Taylor, TX, which is the closest stop to Georgetown. It was only $22 for myself and $11 each for my sons for tickets. And just for the hell of it, because it was cheap, I spent an additional $100 to rent a "family bedroom" for the outbound leg of our trip. Basically, I just wanted to see what it was like and try it out to see if it would be a comfortable way to travel for a longer vacation.

I was quite impressed with the ease and comfort of travel on Amtrak. We drove to Fort Worth Saturday morning, parked near the station in downtown, and carried our carry-on bags with us into the train station. At a kiosk, I scanned my reservation form that I had printed from my computer, and the kiosk printed 6 tickets for us.

At the train, the conductor gave us a puzzled look when he saw that we had reserved a bedroom for a 3 1/2 hour trip. "You're gonna be travelin' for a long time!", he said. I explained that I was a train rookie and just trying it out.

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Thoughts and Links on Thursday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/2/18 6:40:00 (3851 reads)

It's Thursday night, and I'm most of the way through my single-dad week. It's not any fun without my wife here.

Lewisville Lake Symphony and MCL Grand
So, tonight I had the great pleasure of being able to sit in on the symphony's rehearsal at the proscenium theater in the MCL Grand. They played Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro", and I just have to tell you that the acoustics there are GREAT! If you listen to the YouTube link above of some unknown orchestra playing it, that's the equivalent of driving a Ferrari on a computer game. Hearing it live from LLS at the MCL Grand is like driving a Ferrari on the Autobon. it's too bad there's only one performance this time, and it's sold out. Also, they rented a 9-foot Steinway Grand piano just like the one they're trying to raise money to purchase. Emily Tan played it masterfully, and it really filled the room with sound.

Calendar
OK, I admit it. I have sucked at keeping the community calendar up to date. I'll try to get around to updating that over the weekend.

I think what I need to do is two things:
- Delegate. I need to get some logins out to the various community organizations that have events, and let them post their own items. That will get it done more quickly. I can always help tidy up their posts if they need to add graphics or something.
- Limit the Scope. I should focus more on civic events like elections, and meetings, with a sprinkling of the major arts events. Family E-Guide does a great job with the rest of it, and I have no need to compete with them.

If you have any ideas for things I need to add, or if you'd be interested in volunteering to help keep the calendar up-to-date, shoot me an email or leave a message if you like.

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Thoughts and Links on Sunday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/2/14 6:50:00 (3133 reads)

Well, it's Sunday night, the kids are in bed, and I've got my bed all to myself tonight, since Mamask8z left this morning for Washington for a week. I'll be doing everything this week, and I'm not looking forward to it.

3rd Yoga Class
After taking Mamask8z to the airport this morning, I had a couple of hours to drink coffee and try to catch up on email before my yoga class at Blue Anjou in Old Town Lewisville.

Here are some thoughts on my yoga experience, in no particular order:
- I do enjoy my time in the class, because it's something I'm doing solely for me.
- I continue to be amazed at how something like yoga could look so easy and fluid and low-impact, and yet make me sweat, make my muscles shake and want to give out, and make me burn where muscles are stretching.
- I think the fact that yoga concepts have both English and Sanskrit words for them only serves to confuse me. I'm not a semantic learner anyway, so even having to learn one name for all of these is challenging. I'm more of a hands-on learner, so once Deanna shows the poses and talks through them and physically demonstrates them, then it clicks.
- I need to stretch more. My hamstrings were not liking me today.
- There are no mirrors in the classroom. I think this is probably a good thing, but I have no idea whether I look goofy or not doing these poses. On the other hand, I don't really care. The instructors and the other students are all pretty laid back, and there is no competition, as far as I can tell.
- I still don't have a clear picture of how often I should be practicing all of this stuff.

The Bank
Remember how I said I was switching banks from a local bank that used to be a decent credit union, but decided to milk its customers, to the online Ally Bank? Well, that's turned out to be a bit of a cluster. My employer got my direct deposit working on time, but apparently 10 days notice was not enough time for my car payment draft to change to the new bank. On top of that, Ally failed to order the checks and debit card I requested when I signed up, so I've been waiting for days and all along it wasn't even on order. So at the moment, I'm kind of stuck with money in a new account I can't yet access, and overdrawn from an account I didn't want to use anymore. I've got transfers in process but they'll take a few days. And I've got checks and a debit card on order now. But I think if I ever do this again, I'll get checks and debit card in-hand before depositing more than a token amount.

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Thoughts on Tuesday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/2/9 6:30:00 (3764 reads)

Suckage
Well, yesterday sucked. That's all I can say about that.

Yoga
I was glad to get out Sunday and go to my second Yoga class at Blue Anjou. It was tough, and I must admit that it is harder than it looks. It's low impact, but it works a lot of muscles at once so for a guy like me who is out of shape, it wore me out pretty quickly. I do very much look forward to continuing the practice and learning more. I really like the teacher and the atmosphere at Blue Anjou.

Giveaway Coming Up
I'll be posting soon about a local business offering a free giveaway to one lucky reader. In order to enter, you'll need to be a registered user, so if you don't have an account, it's really easy to sign up, and we don't share your email address with anyone. Once you sign up, you'll enjoy the site a bit more too, since you'll be able to post comments or get email updates if you choose.

Air Monitoring
It's taking awhile to get the logistics worked out, but we're making progress on getting our enhanced air monitoring going in Lewisville. I have one additional monitoring location signed today for the B&H unit area near Business 121, and we have another one that we still need to sign. We have a vendor for the sulfur compound analysis, and we're working with them to get the equipment to get started. We just started our eighth month of testing. Even though there is no drilling in the neighborhoods yet, we wanted to get a good baseline of our current air quality.

Miscellaneous Links

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Thoughts and Links on Friday Night

User Diaries
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2011/2/4 8:00:00 (2844 reads)

Well, I'm back after a bit of a hiatus due to the blackouts and the failed Verizon Fios ONTs that were probably knocked out by the power surges resulting from them. Several homes on my street had the problem, but Verizon sent a crew out today and took care of all of them. Props to Verizon and CWA for getting it taken care of quickly. Since my phone, cable TV, and Internet service were all through Fios, I was pretty much dead to the world except for what I could get through email. I borrowed a neighbor's wireless, but the signal was so low, I couldn't get most web pages to load.

Anyhow, in a way it was sort of nice to take some time off from the 24 hour news cycle and all of the political bullshit. I've somewhat followed the Egypt situation, just from the little bit I've picked up by listening to NPR in the car on the way to and from work. I've sort of intentionally not wanted to get any information on this from pundits or biased news sources. I trust NPR completely, but dammit, they're in a pledge drive right now, so you get about half of what you normally would.

I sympathize with the Egyptian people who want freedom, but I also know this thing is not a matter of black and white. I wish them the best and hope that they do not choose or have forced upon them a government by Islamists who would put the country under Sharia law and set them back.

Anyhow, I'm working on several stories and posts - none of them Earth-shattering. As usual for an amateur who must also go to work and feed his family, I'm dropping the ball on some things. I've started to see and hear some rumors about political candidates in the upcoming City Council races, as well as the race for Congress in the four new districts that Texas will add this year in redistricting. I've just not had a chance to contact them all yet or complete my background checks.

So instead of giving you some fully-vetted, researched, hard-hitting original investigative journalism I'm punting tonight and giving you these links I've been collecting:

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