Wednesday, September 17, 2008

There's a hobo in my house

cimg7496, originally uploaded by beau.raines.

Nope, not some bum, but a spider. And its big too.

The kids found this spider in the house and cornered it. Heather was pretty sure it was a hobo spider and she was right (Beastie Boys reference) and was keeping the dog from eating (or trying) it.

I caught it under a pint glass and when it's legs were fully splayed out, they barely fit underneath it. I then slid a piece of cardstock underneath it.

I really didn't want to deal with it right away. I hate spiders. And snakes. But the younger kids were gone, so the risk of the glass getting kicked over and the spider escaping were small.

So, while I finished up what I was doing (and did some research), Kid 1 took some pictures of the spider.

The Brave Photographer

Heather instructed me to not let the spider loose in our backyard, so I gingerly picked up the cardstock, pint glass and spider, but the cardstock was bending too much! I was afraid that it would scitter out the gap and bite my hand, arm, leg, face, etc.

So, I gingerly transferred the cardstock, pint glass and spider to a cookie sheet and headed out the door. I walked down the middle of the street (more room to jump to either side, in case the spider escaped) mumbling too myself how much I hated spiders.

I walked around the corner and down to the big street, across the big street to the green space (which is soon to be new homes). I went 820 feet (I measured in Google Maps) and with two streets to cross, those should pose sufficient obstacles to its return.

Practicing benevolence, I didn't kill it.

I hope it doesn't come back and bite me.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Discovering my contacts

About a week ago, Kid 3, the 6 year old, watched me change my contact lenses. He was interested in them and wanted to see them. I showed them to him and said that I would be changing them on 8 Septemeber and that he could touch them and do anything he wanted with them.

He was very excited to be able to "discover" (a euphemism for explore, I guess) my contacts. He had plans of cutting them into parts with scissors. With the kids school and swimming, he was already in bed when I changed my contacts that day.

Being a good Dad, I kept the lenses for him! I put some water (why use solution when I wasn't going to use them again) in a small candlestick holder and dropped both lenses in there (didn't need to keep track of right and left anymore, either). After they dried out and I refilled the water a few times, we finally got around to discovery this morning!

He got his scissors and we went up to my bath room for the discovery process. He held them in his hand, saw how thin they were and tried to strecth them. I was surprised by how stretchy (O2 Optics, evidently they are primarily made of silicone) they were and with his little, wet fingers, he was unable to break them.

So, snip, snip went the scissors.

"Can you put them in your eyes if they're cut up?"

"Nope, that would really hurt."

"Do your contacts dry out?"


"Can you put them in your eyes if they're dried out?"

"Nope, that would really hurt."

So, we stretched and cut the other lens and finally threw them away. I added the small PSA that we handle contacts for your eyes with clean hands, "because an eye infection really hurts."

As he was putting his scissors away, he asked, "Can you wear contacts if you can already see okay?" I explained how they were like glasses and would make your vision funny when I remembered designer lenses.

"But there are lenses that make your eyes all black, like a cats, red, silver and don't affect your vision."

"Oh, I want some of those," he said.

So, someday if you see my son with all black eyes (to match his black nails), think back to this post!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An international conflagration

I started a fire in Europe today. Nope, unlike some of my friends, I have not left the country recently. Amelia, a friend of mine on Twitter, tweeted a few days ago, that she was looking for a recipe for chicken parmesan.

I recommended a Williams-Sonoma recipe that I had just tried, Provolone and Pancetta Stuffed Chicken Breast. It's not chicken parmesan, but it was really good.

She tweeted that she was starting to make dinner and then an hour later there was this:

Oops, housewife career nearly cut tragically short. Had a little fat fire incident. All is well now. The Bean had to be evacuated next door.
I almost burned down a house, a little kid and Ameila making dinner, all while drinking espresso in the morning!

So it turns out that it was just in the pan and that dinner came out okay. Amelia said, "it was just on oil fire. The pan is finished but everything else was still on the bench, sweet."

As a public service announcement, watch out for grease fires when cooking. Ameila says, "damn it happened fast!"

Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm famous!

I'm in the midst of my 15 minutes of fame!

I commented on a blog posting over at Lifehacker on why I switched to Linux and my comment was used in their follow up article!

Here are my golden words!

I had been curious about linux for a while. I'd used it in computer labs in college, and some on servers at work, but never on my own PC. I enjoy tinkering, but never had the time.

The tipping point was during the Christmas holiday last year. My work PC's disk failed and I was able to get it up and running faster with an Ubuntu install (restored my data from an online backup). I kept Windoze installed in a dual boot mode once I got a new disk, but use it less than once a month now, if at all.

Why switch?

1) Almost anything I want to do with Windows, I can do with Linux.
2) It runs better on older hardware. Think green, use your computer longer.
3) It's free. Sure, I have to put more time into it, but it costs less out of pocket.
4) Tons of free software.
5) More functionality built in - you pay for backup software with Windows. With rsync you can backup to anywhere!
6) More stable.
7) Easier to maintain - even when its not your machines. I'm afraid that my kids computers don't get their windows updates.

I guess number 8 is that it appeals to my inner geek. Linux really unlocks the power of your computer and these much more user friendly distros let you just use Linux or really dig into it and USE linux.

Check out the post, check out Lifehacker and hey, check out Ubuntu, too!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Good bye, Lingo, I'll miss you

Today, I canceled my Lingo account. So, if you've have a phone number for me that ends in 0016, you should get rid of that number; it's disconnected.

Lingo is a great service. I've been a long time customer (back when their service wasn't great) and stuck with them while they matured. For less money than I pay for local service, I got all kinds of great and useful features like:
  • simultaneous ring
  • call forwarding
  • caller ID
  • call waiting
  • free, unlimited local and long distance calling
  • free, unlimited international calling to western and central europe
  • voice mail to email
  • voice mail notifications by text message
  • and more
Again, for less money than I paid for local phone with call waiting, caller ID and call waiting call ID I got all that.

So, why did I leave them? Total cost of phone service. My company pays for my cell phone. I love Skype (the quality is great and the rates are excellent). I use Grand Central, so all the phones ring at once and I get visual voice mail. I don't really need 3 phones. GrandCentral, Skype and my cell phone are good enough.

What do I lose out on? I lose the ability to use a real phone. I lose some free international calling (which I've only used to call Switzerland for work and I don't do that any more). Will I miss that? Nope.

I would recommend Lingo service to anyone who wants phone service, with lots of features included and wants to use a real phone. I'd recommend Skype to anyone who wants great phone service cheap and is willing to use a headset.

In this day and age, there are all kinds of technologies for voice communication. You don't have to pay a bunch for phone service any more and you can get service that fits your needs. And now, I'll be saving some dough.

If you've got questions about how they all work(ed) together, let me know. I'd be happy to share my experiences!