be of good cheer…

Family Talk 1 Comment »

you know, i’m not feeling all that great today. i just learned that the person that i dearly love might have lupus. a biopsy was performed today and we’ll get the results next week. ugh.

Lord I run to You. No one else will do. Lord in troubled times, i will run straight to You
Though my heart and flesh may fail, You’re my ever present help
My tower of strength My portion evermore..
Lord I run to You. no one else will do. Lord You said we’d face trouble, pain and fears
But to be of good cheer, be of good cheer, For You have overcome
Overcome the world…
I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from
It comes from You Lord
You are the Maker of earth and Heaven
and there is nothing that’s too hard for You.
Lord we run to You. No one else will do. Lord You said we’d face trouble, pain and fears
But to be of good cheer, be of good cheer, For You have overcome
Overcome the world…

-Tommy Walker, Lord I Run to You

digital cameras

miscellaneous No Comments »

with most of us conditioned to the immediacy and convenience of digital cameras, you’d probably be hard pressed to find folks willing to go back to film based cameras. i[ve had my ol’ trusty Sony DSC-P8 point and shoot for years and even though it’s a bit dated in terms of megapixels and features, I really like the size of it which allows me to take it just about anywhere. even though i would really love one of those new entry-level dSLRs like the Nikon D40x, the larger body size might somehow impede me from having it with me at those times when great photo opportunities occur. but obviously the downside of having a pocket sized digicam is the lack of a powerful zoom. this was very noticeable at events like the recent Serving Up Aces tennis match that i attended a couple weeks ago where i could have used a better zoom lens than the one my little DSC-P8 was capable of. if i did go with something more up to date, instead of going with a bulky dSLR, i’d probably go with a compact camera with a powerful zoom and optical stabilization like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3K. it’s a little larger than my old Sony but with the 10X zoom, it’s a good compromise.
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when you have little kids like i do, having a digital camera is a must in order to capture all of their precious moments. the little ones grow up and change so fast, digital photos help us parents look back and marvel at their transformations.

celeb-un-reality

movies and TV 5 Comments »

yes, yes, we’ve all heard over and over that “reality shows” are in fact actually far, far from reality but i still get a bit disappointed in learning how “set-up” some of these shows really are. why even bother labeling some of these shows as “reality” or in the case of Scott Baio is 45 and Single, “celebreality”. when i watched the first episode a couple weeks ago, i was a bit intrigued by the premise. you know, a middle-aged has been working out his inner-demons and making his way toward some sort of personal epiphany. but alas, ’tis not the case here. after watching the fourth episode last night, it’s quite obvious that the bulk of these scenes are scripted or at least pre-planned. it seems everything’s geared toward making this show some sort of career comeback for Baio and his so called friends and C-listers are all along for the ride and TV exposure. turns out Jason Hervey, who appears on the show as one of Baio’s buddies, is actually one of the show’s main producers. on a side note, Hervey’s producing partner is from the TV wrestling world - Eric Bischoff. and what three words are synonymous with TV wrestling? yup, that’s right - FAKE, FAKE, FAKE. at this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if the “villain” on the show, Johnny V. is actually a decent lovable guy in real life. Hervey, Bischoff and Baio probably needed an on-going foil in the storyline and they assigned Johnny V. for the “role”. i mean really, would someone as level-headed as Baio seems to be really have a close friend that constantly acts like a totally self-serving idiotic buffoon?? whatever the case, i now feel that Baio made a bad career decision in signing-off on this “celebreality” show. yes, he’s getting a bunch of press for this show but in the end, it’s going to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouths and Baio will be left alone and forgotten five minutes after the series finale. sad, sad, sad.

paintball

miscellaneous No Comments »

with the ever mounting stress of work, bills, the kids, the wife, the in laws, the house, the yard, the neighbors, traffic and so on, there’s got to be some sort of way to release all this pressure before one blows, right? well, there is. it’s called paintball. believe it or not, paintball is a sport that 10 million people across the U.S. play every year. it involves strategy, teamwork, good communication and some shooting skill. there’s nothing like getting a group of friends together for some “capture the flag” action out in the open air. planning out strategies, the camaraderie among the team and the thrill of shooting at the opponents all work to melt the stress away. the sport definitely works as a stress reliever and it’s getting to a point where i need this type of stress relief pretty regularly. I recently checked out Ultimate Paintball to purchase my own paintball gun. owning your own paintball equipment can definitely help in getting you the edge over the opponent. with the right gun, one can easily improve accuracy, consistency and increase the rate of fire. yes, just being out and about with your friends and having a blast in a game of paintball definitely blows away the stress i must say. but being on the winning team can make your day even twice as sweet. heh.

summer fun

Family Talk, kidbits No Comments »

beach-27jul07-04

this is what summer’s all about. hangin’ out at the beach. the kids had tons of fun this time out. we encountered a cool sandbar right off the shoreline yesterday so the kids played on that most of the day. fun, fun, fun!

beach-27jul07-02

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portable DVD players

miscellaneous No Comments »

portable DVDi’ve been recently searching for a new portable DVD player for the car. there are some great new models with nice features available like large widescreens that swivel and support for rewritable discs and the ability to decode mp3 and jpeg formats. after a long afternoon of searching, it seems that the best deals can be found over at Abt electronics. with great prices and free shipping, i’m most definitely going with them for all my online electronics purchases. i highly recommend browsing their site and while you’re there be sure to sign up for their online newsletter for a chance to win a $500 gift card.

southport ferry

Family Talk, kidbits No Comments »

ferry-25jul07-02
the kids enjoyed their first experience riding on a ferry this past week. it was a relatively short journey between fort fisher and southport but long enough for the kids to have a bit of fun on a ferry. personally, i was sort of glad that the ferry ride was short since the fumes from the boat was a bit much. oh and we managed to get the last spot on the ferry. check out the photo of our minivan squeezed in between two big SUVs.

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ferry-25jul07-03

family fun at the beach

Family Talk, kidbits No Comments »

just got back from the beach all toasted and crispy a la George Hamilton. ugh. i should have been more careful in covering every inch of myself with sunblock. my ankles, the tops of my feet and my left shoulder are all red and sore now. ouch.

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beach-25jul07-03

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HardiPlank

miscellaneous No Comments »

home improvementsnowadays you’ll find more and more homeowners choosing HardiPlank over vinyl siding for their homes. it’s a clear choice when comparing them side by side. HardiPlank is thicker and more durable than vinyl. it’s also resistant against fire, insects and warping. and more importantly, HardiPlank adds more to the resale value of your home than vinyl siding. if you’re in the houston area be sure to remember All-Tex Exteriors the next time you’re planning on any type of home improvement. All-Tex Exteriors are the leaders in Houston siding. in fact they’ve earned the status as the James Hardie Platinum Level Contractor. head on over to their website to learn more about their home improvement services and to schedule for a free estimate.

Hawthorne Direct

miscellaneous No Comments »

there was a segment on a local news program that featured local inventors and entrepreneurs who had neat and innovative products but are having a hard time getting the word out about them. they don’t have the kind of budget to spend in order to become a household brand like the mega-corporations do. i never really thought about the inventor’s or small entrepreneur’s perspective on marketing a product with a limited marketing budget. but it’s obvious that television advertising is the most effective way to get the broadest range of folks aware of a new product. interestingly enough, i recently came across a company that would be perfect for these individuals with products to sell. Hawthorne Direct is a full service advertising agency that is involved with all aspects of production, media and integrated marketing. they have an exclusive system called Time Track that is designed to efficiently manage television advertising costs and maximize the performance of the advertising campaign. the software provides reports with detailed analysis of your campaign with marketing forecasts and recommendations for which time periods to focus in on for your product. with a limited ad budget, maximizing the performance of your campaign is essential and a software system like Time Track can help do just that.

Rack Room Rant

ramblings 1 Comment »

OK, I feel the need to get on my consumer soapbox and rant a bit about today’s shopping experience over at Rack Room Shoes (the one located near Triangle Town Center). the kids are starting school at the end of the month and so we were trying to get some “back to school” shopping done today on my day off. as we entered the store we noticed all the store employees congregated over at the register having some casual conversation and not one acknowledged that we we entered the store. whatever, i thought to myself. over in the childrens’ section, there were piles of shoe boxes on the floor blocking most of the aisle. if i had to guess, they were in the middle of rearranging some childrens’ shoes. of course there was no explanation to us about the mess since the employees refused to acknowledge us, right? Their childrens’ shoes selection was simply appalling and has been for quite some time. the only reason we go to rack room is b/c of their “buy 1 get the other for 1/2 price” sale. but sadly, their shoes are essentially second rate. you know, stuff that have been out for years. anyway, we couldn’t find a decent pair for our oldest and our three year old. we found an acceptable pair for our middle child but we needed a second to take advantage of the sale. since there wasn’t anything available for the other two kids, I ended up selecting an extra pair of running shoes for myself. whatever. so i get up to the cash register. the employee standing there was on the phone and didn’t say a word to me. WTF! she then rolls her eyes and says to her coworker, “wanna take this one?” like I’m bothering her or something??? *i’m the freakin’ customer at your shoe store! You get paid to help me, right???* the other employee that ended up ringing me up had the same shitty attitude. really didn’t say much of anything to me. OK, this is just burning me up. am i a damn leper? do i have the plague? what in the world? this is the freakin’ RACK ROOM for pete’s sake! i’d expect shitty attitude like this from employees at upscale boutiques over in Beverly Hills but NOT from minimum wages drones stuck at the local Rack Room. Never again, my friends, never again.

polluting lake michigan?

internet buzz No Comments »

on the heels of the worldwide live earth event that rang the alarm loud and clear on concerns for our environment, the Chicago Tribune fanned the flames by publishing an article about a BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana being allowed to pollute Lake Michigan. after reading the article by Tribune staff reporter Michael Hawthorne it’s a bit obvious that the newspaper skewed some facts in order to sell a few more papers. apparently the truth isn’t the driving force behind the newspaper business anymore. it’s more about sensationalizing the material to increase readership and bring in more revenue. it’s a bit sad to see but that’s just business nowadays. the writer conveniently omitted some facts about the BP plant. the article made it seem that the plant is just dumping a ridiculous amount of sludge and toxins into Lake Michigan which is simply not true. yes, the plant will increase the amount of discharge being released into the lake but the fact remains that it will still be within regulations set by the federal government. the article didn’t make it clear that the water being released is in fact treated water. the sludge is actually treated separately and never discharged into the Lake. the article mentions little about the 80 permanent jobs that will be added with the expansion and also fails to mention that an additional 2000 jobs will be created for contract workers during peak construction. folks around Lake Michigan should be aware that BP is working closely with federal, state and local officials as well as environmental organizations and community leaders to extensive, environment-friendly plans. BP is even investing $150 million just to enhance and improve the refinery’s water treatment capabilities. for more information about what’s being done at the Whiting Refinery, please read the BP fact sheet.
yes, we all need to be sensitive to how things affect our environment and participate in ways to decrease pollution. but at this stage in the game there aren’t any real clear solutions in reducing our dependence on oil. so, oil refineries are still a necessity in our gas guzzling society. and with that in mind, it seems that there shouldn’t be such controversy for BP expanding and modernizing it’s plant in Whiting. any thoughts?

Serving Up Aces: McEnroe vs. Sampras

miscellaneous, reviews No Comments »

samprasmcenroe-jul07-04
had a marvelous time watching the all time tennis greats John McEnroe and Pete Sampras over at the RBC Center this past saturday with my 10 year old son. To be able to see these two play tennis live and in person was honestly a thrill and a half. OK, so they’re not in their prime in terms of athletic ability but hey, these guys are sports legends! McEnroe won seven grand slam singles titles over his professional career and Sampras won a whopping 14 grand slam titles before retiring in 2003. At saturday’s exhibition match, Sampras and McEnroe played a total of three sets. the match was pretty laid back and was interspersed with a bit of clowning around to entertain the fans in the sports arena. McEnroe even half-heartedly attempted to argue with the umpire about what he thought was a bad call. it was obvious that McEnroe wasn’t that serious about it and was mainly done to please the crowd. he also threw his racket down a couple of times during the match and even half-mooned a heckler… OK, it was only down to his underwear since this was a family oriented event but it was still funny. Sampras ended up winning the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 but winning these types of matches isn’t as important to the fans as just to be there and see these greats in action. we were also treated to some bonuses at the event. there were two quick 10-point doubles matches with McEnroe and Sampras along with area ACC players. and right before the start of the whole event, McEnroe and Sampras appeared outside in front of the arena for an autograph session. I managed to squeeze through for some quick shots of them at the autograph session but the line was way too long to even bother standing in it for an actual autograph. ..but at least i was able to take a couple of fuzzy pictures of them, right? heh. i included some of the photos here on the blog. i just had a small point and shoot digicam with me so the majority of the action shots on the court were just a big blur due to flash being prohibited during the matches. so here are the ones that didn’t come out too blurry.

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Friday free for all: the leftovers

music 1 Comment »

welcome to another edition of the friday free for all
it’s time for another edition of the Friday Free for All. Today, I’ll be sharing some links that i’ve posted here on the blog in the past. the files are hosted on savefile.com and are still active links but will soon be expiring so get ‘em before they’re gone. enjoy!

one of my all time favorite Mike Oldfield tracks: The Wind Chimes

a classic acappella tune: papa oom mow mow

a favorite from Macca’s Memory Almost Full: See Your Sunshine

a great live version of a classic Crowded House song: Fall At Your Feet

don’t tell anybody but i actually own a couple of Wilson Phillips CDs. oh the horror!!: Go Your Own Way

and what’s a list of MP3s here on DLee.us without me pimping some Todd Rundgren: Afterlife

Have a great weekend!!


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