Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Songs

I found a few more songs with the "happy new year" theme.

Happy New Year, by Camera Obscura

Happy New Year
You're my only vice

New Year, The Go Find

This is the new year
I've been waiting for
This is the new year
I've been longing for


Image Fonts:

Cleaning Out Firefox Bookmarks

New year, time to clean out Firefox Bookmarks.
First, gotta backup, which is more complicated than it used to be.
Luckily, I wrote myself a little how-to map last year, so it went quickly this year.

There are two files to backup.

1. C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
bookmarkbackups folder
Backup most recent *.jsonfile found there.
(Can Restore in Firefox: Bookmarks/Organize Bookmarks/Import and Backup/Restore)

2. C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
Back up the places.sqlite file, which is the current bookmarks file.
(Optional: backup the localstore.rdf file too.)

3. I also exported to html in the same menu area within Firefox.

That should cover it, in case I have to access/restore anything I delete.

Now I can start cleaning out my bookmarks.

Ref Link

Bing Appreciation

Bing links and recent discoveries.

xrank (What's hot.)



Storybook Villages
America's Coolest Small Towns
Otherworldly Landscapes
More Bing Travel Slideshows
Travel Articles

Images: (Always features the startup image info.)
New Years 2010

I love the startup images and the mouse hover popup links attached to them.
Hover over the copyright symbol bottom right gives you image info.

This image led me to explore Sa paper art:

I went to Bing, then Images and selected popup "find computer wallpaper."
Saw some glass apples and pursued the artist info. (Creative Commons image.)

Found out what kind of 3D software was used and then discovered other 3D artists there as well.

Really liked the 3D Interior Design stuff (zigshot82).

Tacky is Good

This painting I picked up at a garage sale years ago for like a dollar.
I love it and never get tired of it.

I don't know the name of the reproduction I have. I'd have to take the back off and I didn't want to fiddle with it. I could not find a picture of it on the Net. But I did find info on Robert Wood Reproductions.

How to Tell a Reproduction
There are millions of Robert Wood reproductions across America and around the world...Today people inherit Wood reproductions from their relatives, and find them in thrift stores and swap meets. Unfortunately, because of the large quantities that were published, these inexpensive reproductions do not have significant value.

He was in California 1941-1962 so perhaps this scene is from that state?

This is what Robert Wood looked like in 1956.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Indoors with the Fifty

Well I finally decided I could part with my tele for a while and put on the 50mm f/1.4 for some indoor photography.
I just shot pics around the house at F2 no flash just to see how they would turn out.

I liked this one.

Note to myself:
1) shoot subject at an angle and 2) use the window as back lighting.

I did use some fill flash post-processing in Paint Shop Pro 9, and it is still a little too dark.
The pic on the calendar kinda looks like our outdoors, except for the mountains, of course.
So open the door and take a pic of the trees at F10.

I didn't customize my White Balance for the indoor environment, so sometimes I would shoot with Tungsten White Balance if things got too warm with Sunny White Balance.

That was a quote off a calendar and it is actually pale blue lettering with white backgound. Not sure how that got pink with Tungsten?

I might go dig out that homemade light box I have around here and play with that.

The Way of The Epilator

Emjoi Prestige (hsn cuz the only place with an accurate picture.)
Braun Silk Epil Xelle

I bought the Emjoi first and then the Braun hoping for a better one.
Both were purchased at Target.

Rechargables don't have as much power when not plugged in (Emjoi), so save your money there.
Can scrape your skin (Braun).
No hair catcher.
Takes forever, especially with the Emjoi, cuz I had to go over and over the same areas before it would get all the hairs.
Not a smooth shave like you get with a razor.
Hair grows back thinner softer.
Braun removes more hair than the Emjoi and is a better head design.
I find I don't use mine because it's just not convenient.


I didn't know it was called a lanyard.

Last time I flew internationally the thing which helped the most on the plane was a little zip up bag with a lanyard on it so I could put it round my neck...generally keep my stuff near to hand...


Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Hearty Breakfast On A Cold Winter's Day

1 Cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1 Cup Silk Light Vanilla
2 Tbsp Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed
(Site down, Google it.)

Stir and Mic for 2-3 minutes.

2 tsp Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sucanat
Dash Cinnamon
A handful of frozen blueberries


Total Gym

Okay, who has a Total Gym they never use, raise your hand.
Me, me.

We decided to dig around in all the pieces and parts and revisit this Total Gym thing.
I'm talking about accessories, not assembly, when I say pieces and parts.

I decided to blog some notes for my reference and may be helpful to others.

We purchased the Total Gym in 1998.
Our paperwork says model 1100, but if I search for that online I end up looking at a Walmart cheapy, which clearly is NOT the machine we have.
So that means the model numbers are not useful for identification.

This is a picture scan from our paperwork, not exact, but very close.

Immediately I'm reminded that my main dislike and issue with the Total Gym was how to get on and off the thing without hurting myself. That's something you don't notice when you watch all videos, infomercials, etc. They make it look easy. But think about that bench and how it is NOT fixed, it slides up and down and it is at a slant.

So how are you going to get on that thing and attach something like a leg pulley/ankle cuff?

This one basically just plain sucked all around. Nearly impossible to put on. The cuff put too much pressure on my ankle, difficult to tighten and tended to slide up. Note the design change on current accessory, so I'm not sure if there is an ankle cuff accessory anymore.

Or how about getting into the swivel foot holder?

On the video for intermediate men, he demonstrates getting in and out of the thing. He is able to sit on the bench when it is at the bottom and put his feet in the foot holder. I can't reach it.

Notice the design change on that one too.

I do like the inversion and I'm still trying to work with that one. I locked the cables with the bench up further so I could reach the foot holder, and that worked, but not sure if that's a safe thing to do.

I felt some lower back strain and used a rolled up towel as bolster, which helped.

There are a few more exercises that use the foot holder.

Hamstring Curl
Incline Situp

Rowing Machine (Garfield Row on my chart)
I suppose that one is lower or upper body depending on which muscles you use. Sometimes the sitting up exercises cause back strain.

Other observations:

1. The cables (pulleys?) tend to get snagged on something or tangled, so they aren't tight, which could cause you to slip. It is difficult to get a hold of the cables while mounting that sliding slanted bench. And you have to be down far enough on the bench so your hair doesn't get snagged up in the cables.

2. Your height and weight matters. Your body weight is used for the resistance. Your height will affect reaching things like cables and accessories and also how far you slide on that bench. (Total length to end of bench is 91 inches, Bench is 48 inches long. Ours seems to be longer than illustration pictures indicate.)

3. Because of the way this thing is built, lower body exercises can be too easy at upper slants, while upper body can be too difficult, even at the lower slant levels. One thing that increases resistance with the lower body exercises like squats is attaching weights to the bench. You definitely need that, although it makes mounting the bench more difficult if you also use the cables at the same time, which I do. Using cables makes the squats easier, so I do them with and without the cables. I like the upper body stretch and toning I can get with the cables.

4. This is not a bulking up machine. It's more for toning, stretching, strengthening.

Which reminds me of why I was hooked into buying the Total Gym in the first place. I liked the full range of movement and the stretching capabilities. Still do think that is the main feature I like about it.



Fav is Cardio Pull (and variations of) with weights attached to bench.




1. Curl Bench (Also marked Back Support on our papers)
2. Squat Handle Bar
3. Foot Holder
4. Leg Pulley
5. Dip Bar
6. Weight Bar
7. Press Bar

Images were either scans of our materials or snagged from Total Gym website.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I love the art on this calendar I bought at Barnes and Noble.

Thich Nhat Hanh 2010 Wall Calendar
Paintings by Nicholas Kirsten-Honshin


Bigger/better backside images:
wisdom-books (England)
amberlotus (USA)

Artist Website

David Arkenstone - Bing It

I've been trying out the Bing search engine and I like it more and more as I use it. I get better results than with Google sometimes. With images, I like the way Bing right away offers you a list of more sizes or similar images on mouse over.

Bing seems more dynamic and offers to take me interesting places I didn't know about. Makes searching more fun.

I downloaded and installed the Silverlight flash plugin so I could try the Visual Search.
That's nice too.

Bing Videos of David Arkenstone
Much nicer display format than Google.
If you hold the mouse cursor over videos, they play preview bites. has tons of tracks for Arkenstone.

I particularly like Land of the Tiger
The Journey Begins: Kyla's Ride

And Bing?
Bing Review dated May 09

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That Pesky Firefox Problem

I thought I had solved this mystery, but alas, the problem still exists.

Now the session restore works when I use the X button exit (previous post).

the option:
"clear recent history when Firefox closes"
is checked
The session restore will not work.

Show My Windows and Tabs from last time broken

I have two choices.

a) show my windows and tabs from last time
b) clear history when firefox closes
Can't do both automatically, evidently.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Light Play - Beam Up - Gradients

There's not much for Paint Shop Pro Tutorials online that I like anymore. has been around a long time and I've always liked some of the ideas there.

I just walked thru the Beam Up tut and thought it was interesting.
My Layer Palette:

My Layer Previews:

Planets Tut I blogged previously.

I like the gradients offered at that site as well.
Something fun to do is apply the Wave Effect on gradients to get interesting patterns/backgrounds.

Image size affects the type of pattern you get. I used 400x300 test image size and then if I liked the pattern I enlarged the image (if desired) and that worked okay.

My PSP9 Notes on Beam Up Tut:
If the image is not square the Circle Effect looks a little off.
Make Circle Edge Mode Transparent.
Spiky Halo Edge Mode is Color Black.
I preferred a softer Drop Shadow (V&H 5, Op50).
Looks like the tut Drop Shadow was a MINUS 10 on the Horizontal?
It didn't matter much either way.

Anti-virus Software

I just found out about Microsoft's free anti-virus software.
AVG is a sluggish resource pig.
I didn't like Avast's interface.
So I was wondering what to do.

Get Microsoft's Security Essentials here.

Release must have been 28 Sep 09.

I'm a little late to the party.
I guess I should check my tech links more often, huh.

Stop Paying for Windows Security;
Microsoft's Security Tools Are Good Enough

Microsoft Security Essentials anti-virus software is now live and free

I just installed it with no problems and seems pretty clean and fast.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crosley Music Writer

We acquired a Crosley Music Writer.
First Impressions: cheesy.
It looks better than it functions.
The idea is good, ie., all in one player and easily convert media to CD.

So anyway,
It's been just sitting here not getting any use, so I decided to try to convert some of my oddball cassettes over to CD with it.

Here are some of my notes, in case anybody else out there is thinking about doing this.

1. The cassette player grinds or is noisy when in use, but this doesn't affect the CD recording.

2. The CD player spins and spins for a long time and I had to wait until it stops spinning before I proceeded. I suspect this was the cause of a few recording failures when switching sides of the cassette and starting a new track. This makes me wonder how long the CD player will continue to work.

3. Sometimes recording failed anyway, or just stopped for no reason and I had to try again with a new track or different CD disc. If record is working, the CD player will make noise and the display will say "recording" and shows track number and time/length of recording. If it fails/stops the display will say "phono" and the CD player may go quiet if it ever stops spinning.

4. I was using CD-R disks. Should be able to use CD-RW also, but I didn't have any of those.

5. It tends to eat the cassettes, so gotta be watchful of that. It didn't actually break the tape, so I untangled a few by hand and rewound in a different cassette player and then tried again with success.

6. The instruction manual is good.
7. The end result, if you can get that far, is a good quality recording.
8. The format is audio CD or *.cda file type. So rip as you would your other music CD's.

What oddball cassettes did I convert so far?

1. Musical Acupuncture, by Janalea Hoffman.

Still available on CD at Side 1 is music with vocal instruction and Side 2 is music only. I love this cassette/CD. I can feel the tones on my body.

Here's part of the cassette cover scan:

2. Environments, by Syntonic Research, Inc.

These I don't think you can get anymore in any format. There is some info about them at wiki. Environments 1 is the best ocean recording I've ever found. Puts me right there. The real deal. No music, just the sound of the ocean. Ultimate thunderstorm is good too--realistic.

Portion of cassette cover scans:

3. Peaceful Evening, by David & Steve Gordon.
I always liked this cassette. Just seemed to be a cut above the rest of my stash of that genre.
Lots of birds, crickets, etc., with piano.
I don't have a cassette cover for this, but a CD of same name can be found at Amazon.

Marks some tracks as CD only and this looks correct. I don't have Tracks 8, 9, and 10, but I do have track 11.

When I open my CD recording in Audacity, (after rip and convert to mp3) it looks like 5 tracks on one cassette side and 3 tracks on the other cassette side.
Nightflyer (Track 7 on CD) is my favorite song and the longest one (10:22).

david gordon steve gordon "vital body marketing"
get an old Mother Jone's Magazine May 1985 ad in google books.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Grouse In Trees Tops

About the only activity outside today are the grouse in the tree tops.

Zoom in closer:

I think they are sharp-tailed grouse.
Very common around here and common to see them sitting on the tree tops.
They look so funny, like those skinny little top branches shouldn't hold up under the weight of those big fat birds.

Taken thru the window with the S3.
The XSi shots weren't as good, more blurry.
And no, I'm not going outside, cuz it's too dang cold out there.
No wind, this is good.

Breeding Birds of North Dakota
See Family Tetraonidae (Grouse and Ptarmigan)

Sharp-tailed grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus (Linnaeus)



id marks