Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Typical November Day

A typical November day. Lifeless. Devoid of color. The trees are barren, having shed their summer foliage. The few remaining leaves pile up in dull brown heaps on the dormant grass of the lawn. The sky is gray. Not even a cloud pattern, just dull, even gray. Not long ago the back yard was a flurry of colorful activity. There were blue jays, bright red cardinals and black as night crows. Perhaps they all tagged along with the geese on the trip south, for the backyard is now vacant. There is a stillness. Nothing moves. It's as if the world is drawing in on itself to await the winter.
And now a snowflake falls...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

I'm becoming a curmudgeon

Sometimes we all feel the urge to eat things we don't care for, go to events we know we won't enjoy, or agree with a conversation thread just so we won't rock the boat. I'm really trying to get past all that. I'm not trying to be a jerk, it's just that I have reached that point in my life where I am unapologetic for things I like and don't like. For example:

I like Italian red wine, the drier, the better. I know white wine is better with some foods and they make really good wines in northern Michigan. That's more for you to drink. I like full bodied wines from very old vines.

I like my vegetables raw. Spinach salad - wonderful. Cooked spinach - put it directly in the garbage disposal.

I don't care for watching hockey. I know it's a great game and I have lots of friends who really enjoy it. I'm just not into it, even though I've tried.

Opera leaves me cold.

I don't like light beer. In fact, if light beer is all that is offered I will usually just drink water.

I enjoy watching football and basketball. But I would rather play any sport with my kids or buddies than watch professional athletes play the same sport.

I'm not a fan of big cities. Short visits are okay, but if I had to choose between being in midtown Manhattan or Jackson Hole, Wyoming I'd pick Jackson Hole.

Most people who read this really won't care about my opinions. That doesn't bother me either.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Link crazy

Here is a list of links to other sites that I write for or administer. Please visit them when you can.

The Scheidel Group - A media and live event production company.

Blue Monkey Adventure - An experiential travel company, specializing in custom adventures.

Connie's Cakes - The best little cake shop in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.

More Than 100 Miles - A blog about a cyclist dedicated to riding and raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Jake's Music Festival - A benefit concert held each year at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. - An on-line publication that features my travel articles.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I've been Googleized

Normally I like Google. I've been using their search engine since it first came out. I wasn't concerned as they acquired products I was already using like Picasa and You Tube, because Google either left them along or made subtle improvements. However, now I'm a bit perplexed. As part of the Google+ strategy all Google products are being more tightly integrated. While this is arguably a good thing the path to integration has so far been a bit bumpy.

For a couple of months I was receiving emails saying that my business account needed to be ported over to the NEW Google system. If I didn't do it for all my business account users (I'm the ONLY user) than it would happen automatically some time in the near future.  Since I'm the one user of the business account and I use the same email address for my personal Google account I didn't worry about it. Perhaps I should have. Turns out the "near future" was August 1. Starting this week, every time I logged in to Blogger or Picasa or Google+ (jury is still out on that one) I was told I would have to separate my personal and business accounts before I could use the product. Some of the products provided an easy upgrade path, as in "click here and you're done". Some times it even allowed me to upgrade other Google products at the same time. But not everything is that way. A product I use a lot is Blogger and it's causing me the most consternation.

I write or contribute to five different blogs using Blogger. I also write for three others using Word Press, but that's getting off topic. Any upgrades I do have to work across all the blogs. Blogger is not one of the products for which Google offers the automatic upgrade path. It must be done manually. There is a multi-page PDF file that explains how to do it, but the process is daunting. Currently I have to use a temporary log in account to access my material. I'm sure at some point Google will take that away so I'll have to get to the upgrade soon.

I'm all for progress and as one of my developer friends said yesterday, "The only constant on the internet is change." Still, it would be nice if the changes we're a bit more subtle and streamlined. But I guess there's a lot of work to do when you're trying to take down Facebook.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Seen in Costa Rica

We saw this sign in downtown Jaco, Costa Rica. Can you guess what Fruity Monkey Poop really is? Answer in the comments, por favor.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Found on a wall

look famous
    be legendary
appear complex
    act easy
radiate presence
    travel light
       seem a dream
   prove real

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More Rain? Really?

I know rain is good for the plants. My flower garden looks great this year. And compared to what's happening in the south we have no complaint here. But it would be nice to have more than a couple of days of spring-like weather. After only three days of sunshine and 70+ degree temperatures (and one of those nights we had a thunderstorm) we are back to rain and 50 degrees.
I spent the nice weather working on the yard and getting our vegetable garden put in. Necessary work, but done with the intention of riding my bike this weekend. NOPE. Crap weather forecast right through Monday. Plus I suspended my gym membership because most springs I'm getting my workout on my bike and don't have time to get to the gym. I'm beginning to regret that decision. Oh well, I'm sure we will have some nice weather again soon. Probably when I'm in an all day meeting.
Rant over. We now return to our regular programming.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is this pictograph?

I saw this recently while traveling. Without the blacked out descriptive word the purpose of the sign is not completely clear. Here are some possible meanings:

a. Hand drying station
b. Vomit here
c. Beard washing station
d. Place to bang your head when your flight has been delayed or cancelled
e. Retinal scan for admission to a low ceiling mine
f.  Place to grab 4X4 truck bumper straight ahead
g. Look but do not touch
h. Time for your annual review

Feel free to comment below with your guess of the right answer or to add your own suggestion.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The two keg bike

Now this is a great way to get to a party.

From the good folks at New Belgium Brewing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sorry for the absence

I've been away from this blog for almost a month. I also realized that it's hard to drive traffic top a site if there is no new content. So I will be making a concerted effort to update this blog more frequently. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, this is my "try things out" blog. I write for several other on-line sites that are more serious in tone. This site gives me the opportunity to try things and just have fun. If something works I incorporate it into my other writing. If it fails, no one but the minuscule audience of this blog knows about it.
I'll be doing a bit of traveling over the next couple of months, so I'll be able to add some amusing travel stories and photos. Because, after all, you have to be amused by airline travel these days.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good Beer

This is a great map. The top GOOD beer from each state in the union. Make sure you click on the image to view it in large size. Thanks to the blog GOOD FOOD.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things that make you go "Hmmmm"

Have you seen the television commercial for the Gyro kid's bowl? It's actually pretty cool. In the commercial they turn the bowl all manner of directions and the dry cereal, or whatever is inside, doesn't fall out. They turn the handles upside down, but the Gyro bowl stays in place. Nothing falls out. At the end of the ad the announcer mentions that the Gyro Bowl comes with a cover. So my question is, if it's impossible to spill anything why do you need a cover?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Please prepay

Am I missing something here? Doesn't prepaying always have to be in advance?

Monday, February 07, 2011

More new stuff for this blog

I'm trying out another new feature. Blogger gives us the opportunity to add additional pages to our blog sites. So I have added a page to post some of the funny photos I have found and/or taken. These are located at the tab above called "Fun Photos". Try it out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Our own Super Bowl commercial

Pepsi had a contest to produce a commercial for the Super Bowl. You could either make a spot for Pepsi Max or Doritos. Judges picked the Top 10 and then the public voted on the top 6 that will be aired during the Super Bowl. We made a commercial for Pepsi Max that was a parody of the old Pepsi Challenge. Apparently the judges didn't get it, because we didn't make the Top 10. Watch the Pepsi Max that are in today's Super Bowl broadcast and see if you think this one is better.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Read the sign carefully

This is a sign from a display at a local grocery store. How exactly does a Duraflame log become Bilingual? I didn't even know they could speak English.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Hundreds gather in Northern Michigan to protest Global Warming

I wish I could give proper credit to the photographer. But this photo has been popping up on Facebook a lot the past couple of days and I don't know who took it originally, but it sure is funny.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Google Art Project

This is quite possibly one of the coolest things to hit the internet in a long time. Google has used their mapping technology to explore the world of museum art. If you've been on Google Maps you know that you can zoom from a satellite map of the entire country right down to your own backyard. A few years ago Google also came out with Street View where you can take a little "man" icon, place him on the map you're looking at and "viola" see photographs of the actual street from the map. Now imagine if you took that technology indoors. Instead of dealing with hundreds of miles and streets with moving vehicles you instead train the cameras and computers on paintings and sculptures in some of the most prestigious museums in the world. What you'd have is the Art Project, powered by Google. The site has access to 17 different museums including the Tate Modern in London and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. There are thousands of works of art rendered in ultra high resolution. For example, call up Rembrant's Night Watch. You will see the entire painting displayed. Now use the zoom controls to get a closer look. Zoom in until you can see the master's brushstrokes. Zoom in until you can see the cracks in the paint caused by the ravages of time. Zoom in until you are looking at a single eye of one of the painted figures. If you were standing in the museum you couldn't get close enough to see this kind of detail. This is an amazing project that will help bring fine art to the digital generation.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snowtorious BIG

The snowstorm that rolled through the Midwest last night and early this morning dumped a LOT of snow over the region. Chicago got over 18" and Lakeshore Drive was closed because it was full of stranded cars. Around her we had 12" to 16" of the white fluffy stuff. Schools were closed, activities were cancelled and several businesses didn't open today.
One of the interesting occurrences was the use of Facebook as a news source for people to keep up on what was going on. With lots of folks off work they were able to spend the morning on line and specifically on Facebook. Everyone was posting how much snow they had and when they were shoveling. There were pictures of everything from the snarled traffic in Chicago to snowdrifts on my neighbor's back porch. While the mayor of Grand Rapids stopped short of declaring a "Snow Emergency" it was a day that, in a soft way, showed the power of the internet in keeping people informed, without relying on traditional news sources.
Of course the best part was all the names that this blizzard was called. My favorite ended up as the title of this post. But we also had Snowmaggedon, Snowpocolypse, Snonan the Brrbarian, Freeze Winterspoon, and Snowpra Winterfree.
And in the end it only took three of us 2 1/2 hours to clear out the driveway.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Dreaded Stairs

A great social commentary. If you want people to exercise, make it fun.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Typographic Bicycle

I really like this image. Nothing too serious, just a fun way to describe all the parts of a bike. I found it at The Practical Cyclist's Blog. I originally posted it on my cycling blog More Than 100 Miles.  

Friday, January 28, 2011

Experimenting with commerce

This particular blog was the first one I ever wrote. Over the use I have used it as a testing ground before I trotted stuff out on my more well read blogs. I am now experimenting with "Monetizing" my blogs. On the one hand I'm against the commercialization of almost everything we see in today's world. In football there's the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bowl. In baseball that home run was brought to you by Mr. Handyman. This state park is sponsored by Pepsi. On the other hand writing blogs takes time, our most valuable resource. I once saw a speaker proclaim that time was more valuable than money. "After all" he said, "we can make more money, but we can't make more time." With that in mind I'm trying to recoup some resources for the amount of time I've put into the various on line writing I've done over the years. I'm not sure at this point if this will prove advantageous and if ads become more trouble then they're worth I'll pull the plug.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recent Great Lines

I wish I could take credit for these, but they are comments or song lyrics I've heard recently that I liked for various reasons.

"I'm swimming through the ashes of the bridges I have burned."

"Life isn't experienced by sitting by idly."

"I can finally do more push-ups than Jack LaLaine."

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An explanation

The "About Me" box to the right ------> lists an address to send donations. A new reader may wonder "What's that all about?" One my passions is finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes. My son Jake was diagnosed with Type 1 thirteen years ago when he was six. Since then our family has been very involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. JDRF is one of the top fundraising organizations in the world. Over 84% of everything JDRF raises goes directly toward diabetes research. As part of our efforts to raise money for the cause we ride our bicycles with the West Michigan JDRF Ride Team. This fund raising effort has raised over $1,000,000 in the past 6 years. To learn more about what we do check out our ride blogs, More Than 100 Miles and our Team site. And if you are so inclined you can mail a donation to the address in the "About Me" box. Please make the check out to JDRF.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Same blog, new name

This was the first blog I started writing. I mostly used it to learn the intricacies of creating in the blog format. I have posted occasionally over the years, but have really focused more on my other blogs. These include my blog on cycling with the JDRF Ride team More Than 100 Miles, a blog on a benefit concert Jake's Music Festival, and being a contributor to the JDRF Michigan Great Lakes West Chapter - Ride to Cure Diabetes blog. I'm also the administrator for the web sites for Connie's Cakes, Blue Monkey Adventure, and The Scheidel Group. I even write a travel column for

All of these sites are very specific and sometimes I have thoughts I want to share that don't fit in any of those places. And the status updates on FaceBook and Twitter are just not long enough. So I've renamed this blog to "Specifically Unspecific". This will be the spot where I share all the other marbles rolling around in my head. Oh you lucky, lucky reader.