December 31, 2005

Goodbye, Scooter.
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Today we put Scooter, our eight year old ferret down. Truthfully, I was sure he was going to go right here in his beloved home, and frankly, it's kind of hard to deal with the fact that we had to put him down at all.

But, when your ferret all of a sudden starts screaming, and won't stop screaming, you can't just watch that happen and not do something.

He had been having rough days lately, so it wasn't too much of a surprise. But it's still sad nonetheless. However, no matter how bad his days were, even with the cage door open, he still told us he wanted to be here by somehow managing to leave the cage and snuggle in a pair of pajamas located all the way across the room.

The only thing that brightens me is remembering what a great ferret he was. He was a wierd kid, sure, but he was great. He did things his way. Perfect example, when we bought him, our old roommate had him and we had bought Scooter and his sister Slinky a starter cage kit.

The hammock was just a thin plastic thing, so we went out and bought some nice fleece to cover the hammock. Slinky loved it. Scooter on the other hand, seemed to dig out the fleece every night and always ended up sleeping on the cold plastic. Accepting defeat, we took away the fleece, and Scooter slept happily on the plastic. He's loved it ever since. And, ever since, we have never really been able to explain all the wierd things he does that seems to make sense to no one else but him.

We'll miss you buddy! Eight years is a long time. I can't ever remember *not* having you.

December 23, 2005

Google Video (beta)
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

This is fantastic! Google Video Search (beta) works just like Google Image search, and web search, except it finds video (duh).

The great thing is that it loads in it's own player right when you click on the link, telling you where the source is. Again, just like Google Image.

December 19, 2005

Found another use for my Axim handheld - a TV remote
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

Awhile back, I bought myself a Dell Axim X50v handheld.

I've been thrilled with it, and still use it on a daily basis. It plays music, goes wireless anywhere to get my Lotus Notes mail, and helps me do all sorts of things.

I found another use for it two days ago when Matt and I lost our remote to the DVD player. I think we threw it out, or the ferrets took it. It's just gone. And our house isn't that big. Now, we can use basic functions like Stop and Play from the cable remote. But, we can't get into settings like 5.1 surround or DTS, or special features, etc. Most importantly, we can't play AtmosFEAR. Something had to be done!

Enter my handheld to the rescue. All it took was PDAWin's TV Remote Controller program, and a quick search on Remote Central for my device file, this case a Pioneer DV525.

Problem solved. Now it's time to teach the program all my other remotes BEFORE they get lost. It's just a matter of time...


December 15, 2005

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

November and December has proven to be busy months for me.

Oh, this is great thing. A great, great thing. Why? I've been having a BLAST! I'm so busy having a blast working hard and playing harder that I haven't even had time to catch up with my updates here. I'm sure at one point I will write in detail about each one like I want to.

So, Inigo Montoya said it best: Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

1. Participated in a fund-raising event for Keith, an employee at Mini of Peabody who became a partial parapalegic after a diving accident. The fund raiser was to help raise money for continued therapy for Keith, who showed up with bells on to thank those who showed up. What was the event? Autocross day! Timed handling on a traffic-coned parking lot. I'll go into more detail, but let's just say that I was a little surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the sound of screeching tires and the smell of burning rubber. I will be joining the BMW Car Club this spring so that I can do this again. It was that fun. And, we raised $4,000 for Keith!

2. Got a tattoo. Finally. And Matt designed it for me, so no one else will ever have what I have.

First-gear handling event - Autocross

3. Submitted a really cool project I was very happy with up to OpenNTF, End User Power Tools. This is in addition to The Automated Admin, which I uploaded a few months ago, and already has 179 downloads to date! Sweet!

4. Participated in another fund-raising event with Eloise - Mini's Making A Wish. We collected Toys for Tots, stuffed them into our Mini's, and then all 40 cars got a police escort on a nice scenic drive to deliver the toys to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All in all? 1,017 toys.

5. Working hard on my Lotusphere presentation.

6. Decked Eloise's halls. A red Santa hat on the front seat headrest, snowflake window clings all around, and finally, battery-operated Christmas lights on the back window. She's doing her job spreading Christmas cheer - I see smiles everywhere when I park at night!

7. Helping with the long-lost art of Christmas Caroling on Saturday, thanks to our friends that invited us along. Knock on doors, start singing. Hot chocolate all around!

8. Reboot was screened last week, and we got the call today that she was accepted into a fantastic after school program that will start in January called "Reading to Rover". Children that are having trouble reading will read to the dogs - after all, the dog's aren't going to judge them! The program has proven nationwide that it does indeed improve reading. We met with an evaluator last week who screened about five dogs with us. They loved Reboot, and were impressed with her behavior. You go, 'Boot!

9. Decided it's time to take my business, Solace, to the next level. I've given enough classes on computers and Internet at Neighborhood Guilds and Adult Education seminars, that I want to give them on a regular basis. The problem? No place to have them. I need to find a rental space that will enable me to have, at the start, enough room for a bathroom, a table, and 10-12 chairs. At a later date, I can get 10 or so computers in there, and have hands-on classes, including after school programs for children (which I've already done, just not at my own place). The rental will have to be el-cheapo at the moment, but you never know what you'll find until you start looking, right?

I think that covers it. Is it New Year's yet?

December 01, 2005

King Kong. When CGI is NOT the best option...
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

The new version of King Kong is coming out. Sorry, but I'm just not buyin' it.

He's supposed to be big. Really big. We're supposed to not be able to believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big he really is. I mean, we may think Great Danes are big, but that's just peanuts to King Kong (sorry, Mr. Adams).

Purely based on the trailers I've seen, I just don't think this new version of King Kong looks that big. Or scary. Or even REAL. This is the same reason that I didn't want to see The Hulk. He was far more real and believable as a real person. And scarier, actually.

In all fairness, I did read the IMDB trivia list for the new 2005 version, and they mentioned that they specifically point out that this Kong is 25 feet tall, where he was specially mentioned to be 50 feet tall in the other movies. Okay, I admit I was wrong. But he's KING KONG, not Mighty Joe Young!

I never saw the original 1933 version, but the 1976 King Kong with Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges will always be one of my favorite movies. I don't know why I will always have a soft spot in my heart for that Kong. I think it's because at the time, I was so young I couldn't recognize the kitch-factor of the movie itself, but I remembered it being so sad.

Anyone remember Dana Hersey's unmistakeable voice on "The Movie Loft", shown on WSBK-TV38 Boston? It always used to be shown on weekend afternoons.

Anyway, cut to the end of the movie where King Kong has just been shot down and plunged from the Empire State Building. Everyone's happy, and yet Jessica Lange's character is upset. King Kong's heart beats loudly, then slower, and slower, and then... stops. It's quiet.

I remember asking my parents why Lange's character is so sad that King Kong is dead. After all, he's a big ape that caused mass destruction and mayhem, right? He's dangerous! They answered that King Kong wasn't trying to hurt anyone, and he was just a really big ape, and that people didn't understand. King Kong doesn't know he's not supposed to crush buildings, he's just trying to get away from the people that are shooting at him.

So maybe this is the first time I learned that things or people aren't necessarily what they seem. Maybe this is the first time I learned that people (or things, or apes) that appeared to be bad, weren't really.

Or maybe I just really got a kick of "Bambi meets Godzilla" that The Movie Loft always showed with the movie.

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