26. February 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Meet Scruffy, Jacob’s very first Webkinz toy. He got Scruffy for his 5th Birthday from a preschool friend. Webkinz are stuffed animals that come with codes so you can play with their alter egos online. It’s fun, safe, and more educational than I thought it would be.

From 2007 09 15 Jacob 5th Birthday

Once we signed him up for Webkinz World online, it opened up quite a world of computers for Jacob. Grammy Vollmer had fun buying Jacob several additional Webkinz, along with several birthday, Christmases, Easters, and preschool graduations later, Jacob’s up to 21 of these toys. Plus clothing for the toys, carry cases, zipper pulls, Christmas ornaments, and even a mouse pad at our desktop!

Timmy also has several, as we’ve all seen him toting around his favorite Webkinz, Thomas the Yellow Lab:

From 2008 06 21 DriveToPA_Beilers_ThomasStrasburg

Jacob’s original Webkinz, Scruffy the Golden Retreiver, was accidentally run through the washer/dryer a few months ago, and it was pretty mangled up. It looks nice and clean, but Scruffy’s head stuffing was all pushed to his body.

Jacob recently is on this phase where he rotates through which animals to sit up on his bed at night. Both boys love their animals, we put most of them in wicker baskets in one corner of their room. Jacob decided to give props to some of the animals he’s been ignoring lately, and Scruffy appeared last night. We explained why we think Scruffy has an empty head and Jacob took him to bed. All seemed well.

But then about an hour later, Jacob was back downstairs in tears — he had a bad dream about Scruffy getting unstuffed. About 5 minutes of comforting, cuddles and reassurances that Mommy would re-stuff Scruffy the next day, and Jacob headed back to bed.

So today I broke out my mending supplies and set forth to open up Scruffy.

And I was slack-jawed at what I saw….

From 2010 02 26 Webkinz stuffing?

I pulled FOUR pieces of knee-hi stockings out of Scruffy’s torso! I redistributed the poly-fiber stuffing that got pushed around and then put back the stockings. Sewed Scruffy back and he’s better…but clearly still traumatized from the trip through the washer and dryer. Jacob’s happy enough with it, I guess.

So…stockings to stuff Webkinz. I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I posted the above photo on Facebook and if you’re a Facebook member you can see all the comments generated. For anyone wondering, I didn’t stick the stockings up to my nose to check for odors or anything, but from the brief inspection of the stockings, they looked all crumpled up as if they’re fresh out of the packaging. That was encouraging.

My guess is that the factory in China that makes these animals solicits for the mistakes out of the pantyhose factory next door. Recycling in its own “special” way.

So there, the cat is out of the bag…I did a web search to see if anyone else had discovered or mentioned this, but so far my web searches have yielded nothing.

25. February 2010 · Comments Off on Do-It-Yourself Demotivational Posters! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

This is a re-post from April 10, 2008…thanks again to Paul G. who had first enlightened me about this.

Presenting the Do-It-Yourself Demotivational Poster Generator

Dave and I have always gotten a kick out of those motivational posters, such as this one:

But we get MORE of a kick out of the parodies on the motivational posters. This one was framed in Dave’s office in Florida.

Sure, folks have tried to make up their own, and you get something like this one below, which is from the USJFCOM Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, VA. Framed, hanging up on the wall. I couldn’t even go into this room with a straight face. I did a lot of Reserve work in the room with this poster in 2006 and 2007. There was a series of posters featuring different facets of military capability: “Intelligence”, “Operations”, “Logistics”. While I’m honored that someone thought to include “Meterology”, I wish someone had consulted a spell-checker first.
I didn’t add that Post-It note, someone else did:

With the link I’ve shown above, you can upload a picture of your choice, then add your own title and catch-phrase. Then you can e-mail the poster to friends, save a JPG of the poster to your hard drive, and you can even order an 11 x 14 of the poster for about $12!

Enjoy my latest creations.

Feel free to try it out and let me know if you come up with any particularly good ones!
Here’s a link to the company that markets the REAL motivation posters, if you’re wanting to learn more about the real thing: Successories.

25. February 2010 · 6 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I’ve already spent enough time about this product. I analyzed how well it makes pancakes and waffles last month.

But I couldn’t believe when I saw this at our local Hy-Vee Grocery Store. For you local readers, I was at the Shadow Lake Hy-Vee.

From 2010 01 16 Batter Blaster WAFF-FAIL

“Okay, it’s a picture of that Batter Blaster stuff…so?”

But look at that price!!!! For a can of batter? Really?

In most other ways, I really enjoy shopping at Hy-Vee. I’m reminded of the really nice Publix grocery stores in Viera and Suntree, FL. The store is spacious and there’s a wide variety of products.

Today I wandered into the Organic Foods section, in search of whole wheat pastry flour to make some Boot Track cookies. I then looked at the dairy section and saw the Batter Blaster there. For $6.59 a can. As mentioned in the first Batter Blaster blog post, I saw it at Super Target for $4.59, and I got my 3 cans for $2.97 at Costco.

That’s quite a price difference!

Why would the price be so high here? I wonder how much Hy-Vee paid for it? I think someone is milking that “organic” label on the front. Which leads me to a whole other discussion: Why does it cost so much to feed your family high quality foods???

Fresh fruit costs more than canned. Fresh cuts of beef costs more than frozen burgers. Fresh bread at the bakery costs more than a loaf of Wonder Bread. Organic ketchup costs more than Heinz.

What a racket….

23. February 2010 · Comments Off on RIP Kitchen Laptop, June 2000 – February 2010 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun a little by considering it dead already since technically it’s still serving its purpose.

For those who had been following the adventures of my poor dilapidated Dell Inspiron 4100 “Kitchen Laptop” (yeah, I’m sure I’m so popular that you guys are following my laptop), yesterday was another step in the eventual death of a computer that I REFUSE TO LET DIE! After getting my Macbook in April 2009, the “Kitchen Laptop” (as it was fondly named when we got to NC in 2005), actually became the “Living Room Laptop” as it hosts our weather webcam pointing out our front living room window.

The screen stopped working. I had made a point to nix all screen savers/sleep/hibernate modes on this laptop a couple of rebuilds ago because of its inability to come out of sleep. Like it went into a coma, and the only way out was a cold restart. So when I walked past our laptop in the living room yesterday, I should have seen the webcam image fully across the screen. It’s the only non-critical software on the laptop now, in fact. A copy of “TinCam” runs in full screen with the image in real-time. Every minute, the current image is FTPed to Weather Underground for posting to our weather station’s website.

If you’re reading this via my Blogger page, that image is to your right. If you’re on Facebook, you can see the image here.

So I know the Kitchen Laptop is working. It’s sending out the webcam images. In fact, I’m sure if I hauled our desktop’s monitor over to the laptop, I could plug it in, hit “Function + F5” and see the screen just fine. I know what the problem is.

But I don’t feel like taking the time to continue to troubleshoot. I feel like a caretaker for a very old pet, or a very old human even. Once the computer, pet, person gets too old, is surgery going to really help the individual get better? Does the risk of surgery outweigh the benefits of the surgery?

Instead, I’m goin’ SHOPPING!

I’ve been interested in the new Dell Inspiron Zino for it’s stylish appearance and ability to customize to exactly what we want. I think this is what we’ll end up getting, thanks to Dell’s Military Employee Purchase Program. Free shipping and decent discounts on the Zino.

As for hosting our webcam, Dave’s 4.5-year-old Gateway laptop can do that. The hinge supporting the screen is broken, so one has to prop open the lid to do work on it, but it’s otherwise a good computer.

NOTE: I took some time the other night and was reading through my first blog posts from January 2008. Boy was I funny! And boy was the posting profuse! I need to do better than I have been. Perhaps I need more going on in my life than all this snow. Now that some of my blog posts are contributing to another website, I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes out for more weather items to post about. Another snowstorm coming up this weekend???