2005: A Year of Lists

Being the last day of 2005 (or Hogmanay in Scotland), I had noticed there were a ton of lists out there. I haven’t found any that were really interesting, so here’s just a random sampling of lists I found.

Blogpulse – 2005 Year in Review
Google Zeitgeist
The only list that matters…

Stories You Missed (But what if I didn’t miss them?)
The Culture Awards 2005

Of course, you could take a look for yourself. Go ahead and add to the list if you want.

Have a safe and happy New Year!


Toothbrush Sanitizer

I don’t know if it really works, but a toothbrush sanitizer would at least make me think my toothbrush is clean. Put the toothbrush in the case, turn the thing on, and your toothbrush is clean. Or so they claim. The UV light would kill any nasty buggers on the brush.

That’s fine and all, but why couldn’t I turn on a UV light next to my toothbrush and accomplish the same thing?


Sharon’s Trip to the ER

Update – 1/2/06 10:48 – I’ve added pictures of Sharon’s thumb to the gallery.

On Monday night, Sharon was slicing red onions with a mandolin (not that one, this one) and caught a piece of her thumb. Of course, she wasn’t using the entire guard. Instead, she was using just the guide, which got stuck on the onion, slipped, and she sliced her thumb.

I ran upstairs trying to find anything that could cover up her thumb, while Sharon tried to control the bleeding on her own. Looking back, maybe I shouldn’t have run upstairs so quickly. After a couple minutes, we decided a trip to the ER was in order. All that was left was collecting the sliced-off section and putting it on ice.

We got through the waiting room and to our own room exceptionally fast. However, when we saw a TV in the room, we knew we were in trouble. There was a guy across the hall that was in because his nose was all busted up, and he was in excruciating pain whenever he sneezed. In the room next to him was a girl that was getting a cyst removed from her buttocks. Even with the door closed and our TV on, her screams of pain came across loud and clear. So we waited.

After about an hour or so, Sharon was finally looked at. Since it was more of a slice, attaching the bit we brought it would do no good. Stitches were also out of the question; there was nothing to stitch up. So they injected a local pain killer and wrapped it up. We now clean her thumb and redress it twice a day.

I got some pictures of the first time the gauze was taken off. Look for them next week, once we get home.


Bye Bye, Privacy

Where do I even start?

The NYT disclosed that President Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to conduct wiretaps and eavesdrop on U.S. citizens. Now it wasn’t on entirely domestic communications, but communications which international in some aspect.

How hard would it be to get a court order allowing this? It wouldn’t take too much work to do, especially since they could use secret Foreign courts to get it. It’s just another example of this administration’s contempt for due process. Warrentless searches totally circumvent the idea of checks and balances.

I was listening to a program on the way home from work yesterday, and the host asked people what they thought about this development. He only spoke to a few people, but no one was up in arms. And that was scary. The overriding attitude was, “I have nothing to hide, so why not?” But that’s not the point – there are certain rules and laws that everyone must abide by, regardless of how “bad” someone may be.

In some welcome news, I am glad to see some members of the Senate finally wake up and start to question the Patriot Act. This all goes back to something I mentioned a while ago. We need to have working checks and balances in place. There needs to be a reason for obtaining a warrent to search someone, but the House version of extending the Patriot act.

What do you think? How has your opinion changed with the news disclosed this week?

Update (6:56 pm) – To drive the point home, a student at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents for requesting “The Little Red Book” by Mao Tse-Tung to read for a class.


What if Christmas != Presents?

What if we didn’t give each other presents on Christmas? How would the U.S. economy be different? (Apologies to other economies around the world – I don’t know the impact of Christmas on other economies.)

There wouldn’t be any such thing as Black Friday. Retailers wouldn’t depend on most of their revenues in a four week shopping binge. Would there be that must have toy every year? A Cabbage Patch Kid that every child must have or they’ll just die? Movies that come out in the late summer wouldn’t be rushed out in December. Gadgets wouldn’t be timed to come out at this time of the year.

We also wouldn’t get a lot of stuff either. I wouldn’t have gotten my iPod if I hadn’t been able to justify it as my Christmas present. And I bet a lot of jewelry wouldn’t be purchased if it weren’t for Christmas.

Or would birthdays be the big thing instead? I mean, we have to buy what’s produced at some point, or it wouldn’t get produced.

What do you think? How do you think our economy would be different?


No Church on Christmas?

When I first heard about some churches deciding not to have services on Christmas Day on the local news, I took it as a joke someone put out there and was picked up. Then when I saw the article on the NYT a few days later, and on the Weekend Today show yesterday, I knew it was real.

The main argument is that it’s not convenient to have services on Christmas Sunday, because not a whole lot of people go. People stay home to spend time with their families. They have plenty of other services during the week leading up to Christmas, so they’ll just skip that Sunday.

Excuse me?

So, does that mean there will be no services on New Years Day? I mean, many people will be recovering from a late night out, probably with a hangover. It won’t be convenient for them to get up and out.

Let’s just get right down to it. It’s the megachurches that are making the news over this one. I’m guessing they have done some surveys or studies, and have decided they will not take in enough money to make it worth staying open that day. Simple as that. A simple cost-benefit analysis told them to stay closed. Then they come up with the reasons to not have services.

Churches have services on Sundays. Just because it coincides with Christmas shouldn’t give them the day off.

Games News

Outsource Game Playing?

As if outsourcing jobs to India (or out of the U.S.) didn’t cause concern for people, online players are outsourcing playing games. The basic idea is this – let someone in China play your games on the easy stuff, then take over from there. Another idea – the kids in China find stuff in games, then sell the “property” online. Of course, it’s against the terms of service in games to do that, but it happens anyway.

How lazy can someone be to pay someone to play their game, instead of actually playing the game themselves? It’s the same thing as cheating, as far as I’m concerned. Is there any sense of accomplishment left after that?


Fun with Magnets

Magnet Pyramid

I’ve always liked playing with magnets. Sharon and I actually built a magnetic spice rack a few years back, and it still draws attention. We used a pretty weak sheet magnet to get the job done. United Nuclear doesn’t have those kind of magnets. Nope. These are the kind of magnets that will pick something up from a foot away. Here’s a couple choice quotes…

“Our larger magnets can easily bruise fingers and even break finger bones as they attempt to connect together.”
“Our normal packing & shipping personnel refuse to package these magnets – our engineers have to do it.”
“Two of the 3″ x 1″ disc magnets can very easily break your arm if they get out of control.”
“We can only ship these magnets by ground UPS – they cannot be shipped via air as it will interfere with the aircraft’s navigational equipment.”

After all these warnings, they must be fun! Just try to avoid TVs, pacemakers, computers, credit cards, you know, anything that would get destroyed by one of these things.


Baby Shower

Happy Sharon

Sharon’s baby shower was this past Saturday, and we had a pretty good turnout. There were about 15 people that came, and everyone had a good time.

We would have loved it if everyone were able to make it, but seeing how everyone is all over the place, it just isn’t possible.

A big thanks to Vanessa, Jen, Rachel, and Angie to putting together the whole event. And another big thanks to everyone for the presents! Everything we got is extremely useful, and will definitely be put to good use.

Angie and Vanessa took a lot of pictures of the whole event, and I’ve posted them to the image gallery. If (for some reason), you want a higher resolution of a picture, just drop me a line.

News Random

Christmas Trees: Real or Fake?

So what’s better for the environment, a real Christmas tree or a fake one? According to this article, real would be a bit better than fake, though both aren’t great.

For fake trees, the argument for them is that they last a long time, so you’re not buying a tree every year. In that sense, they are more economical too. But the fake trees are basically PVC. And during the production of PVC, several carcinogens are produced, which tends to be bad for people living around the factories (primarily in China).

Real trees, on the other hand, don’t have to worry about PVC, or lead, or carcinogens. But they are likely sprayed with pesticides. And getting rid of them in January can pose problems for dumps. Here, I think they take the trees and grind them into mulch.

I go for real trees. Always have, always will. There’s nothing like the smell of a fraser fir tree to make it feel like Christmas.