Roddick - Gulbis match at the U.S. Open

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Roddick over GulbisDid you catch that amazing U.S. open match last night between Andy Roddick and Ernests Gulbis? unseeded Gulbis was superb early on with fantastic serves and expert passing shots. For much of the first two sets, it really looked like Roddick was going to lose in this second-round match. Fortunately for Roddick, younger Gulbis began making mistakes by the latter half of the second set which Roddick ultimately took advantage of. But some of the shots this young kid, Gulbis, was making was truly amazing to watch. Many times during the match I was slackjawed asking “how did he do that?” But persistence, experience and support from the crowd eventually helped Roddick win the match 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-5 over Gulbis. It was probably the best tennis match I’ve seen in a long while.

keep those squirrels away from me

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Have I ever told you how much I dislike squirrels? They are an absolute nuisance. They dig up the yard, steal from bird feeders and the reek havoc in the garden. In our previous home, some little flying squirrels found a way into our attic. They eventually made their nest there and started exploring back behind the walls of our house. We would hear them at night through the walls, scratching and clawing their way through the insulation. We ended up getting some Havahart Squirrel traps and placed them in the attic. We baited them with peanut butter and over the next couple of nights we caught three of those lil’ critters. Yes, flying squirrels are cute but I don’t want them living in my house!!! Since Havahart trap is a live trap we drove the squirrels to a nice little park on the other side of town and released them. Thankfully we haven’t had any other home invasions like that but I still have a strong dislike for any squirrels near my vicinity. Recently, I was pleased to learn that Havahart has a new line of squirrel repellent that is available in a variety of forms like pellets, liquid concentrate and spray. the Havahart Critter Ridder is OMRI listed and is certified safe to use in organic gardens. It not only works on keeping away pesky squirrels but cats, dogs, groundhogs, raccoons and skunks as well. Speaking of which, I have noticed that a raccoon has been in our garbage bins again so I may have to get the Critter Ridder spray to prevent that from happening again. So, if you’ve got a critter problem, check out the Havahart website for more information.

I don’t like squirrels!

Crocs, the new Birkenstocks

links and stuff, ramblings 5 Comments »

crocs, the new Birkenstocks. yuck.
reading Steve Tuttle’s follow up on his Croc article in this week’s Newsweek gave me a good laugh. Tuttle ranted a couple weeks ago about how Crocs are a fashion nightmare and that everyone should come to their sense and stop wearing these ugly things. He begged his readers to “Just stop. When you wake up tomorrow and look at your options, choose flip-flops. Go barefoot. Wear boots. Anything but Crocs. By next summer—if we all work together—we can have this plague of bad taste virtually eliminated. Yes! We! Can!” I thought it was hilarious. Especially since I wondered about the unexplained popularity of these plastic ugliness not too long ago. My kids even own some god awful shade of blue Crocs. Yes, they’re convenient to slip on and off in a rush but man, do they have to look like that? They’re like the Birkenstocks of the 2008. ugh. Apparently the article hit a nerve because Tuttle got inundated with emails, not surprisingly from bitter Croc lovers. In his followup, Tuttle was truly grateful for all the fuss - “The good news for me is that all of this angry reading of my awful prose drove up my traffic numbers, which only encourages my editors to let me commit more acts of bad writing. The Crocs story alone got millions of hits, so you haters can look forward to hilarious rants about people talking in public on cell phones and nasty airline food. You have only yourselves to thank.

join the fight against bad taste - ban Crocs where you live! :P

Don’t be a Dorc!

Orlando getaway

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Man, it has been ages since I’ve been down to Orlando for a vacation. I think it’s about time for me to take the kids down there to show them the time of their lives. There are so many things to see and do in Orlando. All the nearby theme parks alone can take days and days to see and enjoy. You’ve got Disney, Universal and Sea World all right there in the same vicinity. People tend to overlook other attractions that are in the area as well including Gatorland, Cypress Gardens and even the Kennedy Space Center.
I remember the time I was down there with some friends of mine. I think we laughed the entire time we were there. gosh, those were fun times. We were all pulling pranks on one another at the time too. At one point while at our hotel suite, we told our buddy Trevor, who just got out of the shower with just a towel on, to go to the balcony because there was a hot looking girl sunbathing topless nearby. Once he got out there, we grabbed his towel and then ran inside and locked the sliding glass door. Poor Trevor was locked out on the balcony with no clothes on for a good thirty minutes or so. boy, I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard. ever. I think I almost choked on a grape, laughing so hard at the time. As a matter of fact, even Trevor thinks it’s hilarious now that he can look back on it without taking it so personally.
I’ll probably use Trusted Tours & Attractions to purchase discount tickets to the various attractions around Orlando and even take in some Orlando tours for some sightseeing. The site is a great resource for online travel guides, vacation ideas and even Kennedy space center discount tickets. It’s always a good place to start when planning for your next vacation. By the way, if you sign up for their Trusted Travels Newsletter before the end of August, you’ll have a chance to win a $150 Magellan’s Gift Certificate.

hooray for team canada!

Family Talk, kidbits 1 Comment »

aug08-soccer-canada-001
hooray for team canada! they won their first game of the season. it’s definitely a good sign for the team of 2nd graders. Finally my son gets to feel what it’s like to be on a “winning” team after spending the whole last season without a win.
aug08-soccer-canada-002

find better web hosting

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In the rapidly changing online world, it’s tough to find reliable service. whether it’s an ISP, email service or even a web hosting provider, it’s always good to do your research before deciding on a certain provider. websites like webhostingrating.com are great resources for looking up customer feedback, list of features available and the overall hosting rating. webhostingrating.com conveniently lists out the best providers in various categories like “best budget hosting” and “best blog hosting”. With different needs and interests, one provider may not be suitable for everyone so it’s good that you can seek out the top hosting providers under a certain category. The site also features helpful articles like what to look for in cheap hosting. If you’re not satisfied with the performance of your web host, don’t continue wasting your time with them. it’s time to look around and find something better. head on over to webhostingrating.com today!

oh money tree, oh money tree..

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showmethemoney
OK, so we’ve had this money tree (pachira aquatica) in our house for a couple of years now. the ornamental tree is supposed to bring good fortune and prosperity to our household. well… I’m still waiting… :P
So, umm, come on, tree? …show me the MONEY!!

leave a message

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Social-spark-315x235What is “life” to you? for some, it’s all about leaving a legacy. You work hard so that the next generation in your family will have it somewhat easier than you had and so on and so on. and if you’re lucky, you may even achieve something great that will last beyond your lifetime. Well, what about broadening the scope further beyond your own kind. What about leaving something for the universe? yup, that’s right, a message for those out among the stars. Well, Richard Garriott, the creator of the hit video game, Tabula Rasa, will be the sixth private citizen to travel into space this coming October. And he’ll be saving a sort of “time capsule” on the International Space Station. The whole project is called Operation Immortality: Leave your mark. Save Humanity. and what they’re essentially doing is saving a history of mankind’s greatest achievements along with digitized human DNA as well as messages from a variety of people all across the world. There’s even an official website where you can store your own message for all the world to see. If you had your chance to leave a profound message for the universe, what would it be? I went ahead and registered on the site and left a line from one of my favorite Beatles’ songs - “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” (Lennon/McCartney). I’ve always loved that line from the last song off the Abbey Road album. A great positive message to send off to the world and into space. To me it means that the more positive things you do unto the world, the more blessings you’ll receive in the end. and if only more people believed that little notion, the world would be a much better place. Look up message ID: 899 to view it on the Operation Immortality website.
Sponsored by Operation Immortality

Jon and Kate and Figure 8

links and stuff, movies and TV 2 Comments »

hey, I didn’t realize (until recently) that the production company behind Jon and Kate plus 8 is located pretty close by. The folks at Figure 8 films are the ones responsible for filming, editing and creating each episode that appears on TLC. and they’re located in Carrboro, NC which is approximately 30 minutes from where I live.
figure 8 films
It’s surprising to learn how grueling their production schedule is with the Gosselins. They are required to produce a certain number of episodes each season (currently season 3) and I think the episode count for this season is over 40 now. I don’t know the exact number but it seems awfully high especially compared to the usual 22 episode requirement for most other television shows. I can’t imagine the amount of pressure the Gosselins, the crew and the producers must be under to come up with something viewable and interesting for each episode. And seeing how uninspired the last string of episodes were, it’s becoming obvious the Gosselins (and producers) are running out of ideas. And what about the lil’ kids? They’re probably suffering from all that pressure to “perform” on camera - to look cute, to recite lines, to be energetic and presentable etc... it just seems a bit unfair for the lil’ ones. with the adults involved, I can understand since they made their own decision to produce a reality show but Mady, Cara, Alexis, Leah, Collin, Aaden, Joel and Hannah didn’t really have a say about any of this. poor kids. and you can tell already that Mady is going to have some emotional issues to deal with as she gets older.

Rumor has it that the Gosselins are moving to North Carolina to be closer to the production company. It has been reported that it’ll be a large custom built home (around 8000 sq. feet) with separate rooms and an extra kitchen specifically for the film crew. It’ll be interesting to see if the new house will be located in the Triangle area or not.

finding financial relief

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Debt is such a slippery slope where you can easily succumb to temptation and get yourself into a financial bind in a blink of an eye. More and more families nowadays are relying on credit cards to make their everyday purchases and some unfortunately end up with an unwieldy amount of debt that would take years to pay off. The best methods to get rid of debt vary greatly depending on one’s own personal situation. And that’s where the financial experts at Freedom Debt Relief can help. With a personal consultation with one of their advisors, they can assess your financial situation and then find the best ways to get you back on track. Their debt reduction program has helped countless of individuals who have been struggling under the weight of their financial debt. They’ll even work with your creditors to get those monthly payments lowered so you’ll have room to breathe as you slowly but surely make your way out of debt. So, what do you say? It’s time to get off the downward road to a financial fiasco and start reducing your debt today. Head over to Freedom Debt Relief to find out how you can find your relief.

my manga?

links and stuff, internet buzz 1 Comment »

OK, since I’ve seen so many bloggers post their newly-made avatars from FaceYourManga.com, I thought I’d give it a go. The online avatar maker is pretty similar to the one found on yahoo. You basically tweak through all the facial features until you get to where the character sort of resembles yourself, I guess. I don’t think I got the avatar quite right but… umm, he looks *asian* at least. hhmmm.. actually the avatar looks more like my 11 year old than myself. oh well, it was fun for about five minutes at least. So, have you made yours yet?
is this my manga?

BestBuy coupons and more…

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you know, I hate to sound obsessive but I visit online coupon sites like savings.com almost on a daily basis. You pretty much have to in this day and age in order to offset the high cost of fuel. As you all know by now, the rising cost of fuel is pushing prices higher and higher at the retail end of things. Consumers worldwide are forced to find ways to either cutback on spending or rely more heavily on finding cost-saving deals on the web. Since it’s back-to-school time, we’ve been online the last week, ordering a bunch of school supplies for our kids. Utilizing online coupon sites definitely helped in reducing some of the costs. I even saved around 15% on a new multi-functional printer using one of those BestBuy coupons on the savings.com site. In addition to saving you money, websites like these save you the hassle of scouring the ‘net for these deals yourself. They basically do all the hard work for you. All you have to do is simply click on their link and voila, you saved youself some cash. It’s always satisfying to know that you’re essentially putting some cash back into your wallet when you’re making these online purchases. So, be sure to head on over to savings.com before making your next purchase to get in on some great deals.

and so it begins. again.

Family Talk, kidbits 1 Comment »

phonecam - fall soccer aug08
where did the summer go? Is it time for fall soccer, already??? yup. at 8 AM this past saturday, my lil’ seven year old met up with his coach from last season for some practicing with the team. hopefully they’ll do better this season. you may remember that my son’s team ended up completely win-less last season!! ouch.
phonecam - fall soccer aug08 redux

family game night

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Like a lot of families, friday night is reserved for family game night. We try to limit the games to traditional board games since we’re finding that they are spending way too much time on video games. Not only does this allow for some quality family time but it engages the kids in a fun activity and introduces the young ones with following rules and things like proper game sportsmanship. Since we’re always on the look out for new family-oriented games, I recently purchased Disney Bingo. It turned out to be a great decision because the kids are having a blast with the game. It’s a new twist on the traditional bingo concept utilizing the DVD medium. Just following along with the DVD as the bingo spaces are being called. Kids get the hang of it pretty quickly since the space that’s being called is also displayed on the screen. The DVD game also integrates neat little movie clips from their vast Disney library. Seeing all the movie clips in the game got me thinking of all my favorite Disney movies. Our family has a large collection of Disney movies that we’ve acquired over the years. I thought it be fun to list out our family’s TOP 15 animated Disney films of all time:

1- Toy Story - yes, both 1 and 2
2- The Incredibles
3- Finding Nemo
4- Cars
5- Mulan
6- WALL-E
7- Lion King
8- Lilo and Stitch
9- Monsters Inc.
10- Dinosaur
11- Ratatouille
12- the Tigger Movie
13- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
14- a Bug’s Life
15- Beauty and the Beast

Of course it changes from week to week but that’s the best I can gather from the kids at this time. What are your personal favorites?

Anyway, if you have your own family game night with your kids, be sure to get a hold of ScreenLife Games’ Disney DVD Bingo (available at amazon.com). It’ll be a hit with the kids, for sure.
Sponsored by Screenlife Games


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