Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nacho's First Leash Walk

We took our Chihuahua Nacho for his first walk on the leash today. Here is some video:

Just starting off, he hates the idea of the leash...
video

video

He starts to get a little better as we go...
video

video

video

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Before long, he becomes the little expert...
video

But, like all Chihuahuas, he wants to be carried home.
video



Send me your comments. Joe





The Bride Collector - Early Thoughts

Trying to figure out Ted Dekker's latest villain in "The Bride Collector." He has woven an intricate web of suspense this time, though that comes as no real surprise.

The book is due out April 13, and the folks at Hachette Book Group have been kind enough to furnish me an Advance Reading Copy. I'll be kicking off the pre-pub blog tour with a review and more on February 12 at http://www.averagejoeamerican.us.

You won't want to miss this one.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

FREE Greg Annussek Download TODAY ONLY


Magnatune Song of the Day
for Sunday, January 17, 2010

Genre: Rock
Album: Little Palaces
Artist: Greg Annussek
Song: 2. In the Movies

Listen to the album: hifi lofi

download

(only available today, Sunday)

           


 
Today's free song is from the album:

Greg Annussek
Little Palaces

Total time: 29:11
Release date: 1/9/2009

Location of artist: NY, USA

You will be able to download a high quality version of this artwork when you purchase this album.




Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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Domino's New Pizza

Domino's has been making quite a production about their all-new pizza recipe. Can you imagine a company actually reinventing it's main product line from the ground up because of "customer feedback" they received? The last time I can remember a company undergoing such a major product overhaul was when New Coke rolled out. The only thing that accomplished was to tack the word "Classic" onto the end of a drink that didn't really need a name change.

Now Dominos goes the route of Coca-Cola, reinventing their pizza "from the crust up." The cheese is now 100% real mozzarella with just a hint of provalone "for flavor." The sauce is all-new and spiced with red peppers. The crust is new and buttery and sprinkled with garlic and parmesan. Dominos calls it "perfectitude." So is it?

Tonight we tried Dominos new pizza for the first time. We have always shied away from Dominos because, well, it just didn't taste good. In a family of widely varying tastes, our options were severely limited. And, of course, our order was influenced by a coupon for two large one-topping pizzas for $9.99.

My wife, who is best described as a carniphobe, is very hesitant to eat meat from any animal (no, that's not redundant -- she actually thinks of veggie burgers as meat). She's not a vegetarian or a vegan or some bleeding heart animal rights nut. She's just afraid of meat.

I, on the other hand, never met a pig that I didn't like . . . the taste of. There aren't many animals I don't eat, except for those who swim in their own waste. But while I love meats of all varieties on my pizza, you can keep the veggies and crazy stuff like pineapple and anchovies.

My kids are pretty easy to please when it comes to pizza: cheese and pepperoni.

So we ordered two large one-topping pizzas for $9.99: a pepperoni and a cheese pizza with half green olives. Everyone can at least be satisfied.

My expectations weren't very high. We eat a lot of pizza and we are pretty picky about where we order from. We all have our favorites, and they're all very good. But none of us have ever considered Dominos a favorite.

So, then, how was it?

Pretty good, actually. The cheese was definitely better than their old recipe (as well as I can remember -- it's been quite some time since we've had Dominos). I felt they could have been just a little more generous with the cheese, as the sauce showed through in some areas on the cheese pizza.

The sauce, well, it is quite amazing that it was visible beneath the cheese, because it was barely even there. I'm not one who can tolerate the spiciness of red peppers very well, and I couldn't even taste them in this sauce. In fact, this was the first time in a long time that we haven't had to mop the sauce off our children's faces when they were done eating. Yes, it could definitely use some more sauce.

As for the new crust, well, at least they've done something right. The crust was actually quite tasty. It seems that the outside edge of the pizza crust is brushed with butter then sprinkled with garlic and parmesan. Crunchy and delicious. My kids, who rarely eat any of the edge crust on a pizza, ate every bite tonight. My son said he puts it second to Pizza Hut's Stuffed Crust pizza. My wife simply said, "Yummy crust."

Dominos has done their homework this time, and the preparation has paid off. On a scale of 1 to 10, my wife gave it a six. On a standard A to F grading scale, I would say B minus. Dominos used to be on my Do Not Order list along with Little Caesars. Now, I'd put them above Little Caesars and Papa Johns, right beside Pizza Hut and just a fraction behind Donatos. They still have a long way to go to catch my favorites:
1. Sweet Lous in Terre Haute
2. More Than Just Pizza in Indy
3. Chicago's Pizza in Greenfield and McCordsville
Of course, Unos would be on that favorites list, too, if we had it a little more often. Overall, Dominos has definitely improved. I probably won't order it again any time soon, but I wouldn't turn it down if you were buying.

What pizza do you prefer?

Joe
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: Living Life In The Zone by Kyle Rote Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew

Book ReviewIt's a New Year, and time for New Years Resolutions. Right? Well, no. Normally, I don't make resolutions. It prevents me from failing to keep them. Instead, I make commitments. Not resolutions. Not things that I will do EVERYDAY, but rather things that I hope to get done during the year. Last year, I committed to read through the Bible, and I did. Sure I missed some days, but I actually finished the reading nearly a week early.

This year, I have committed to expand my Bible study beyond just reading the Bible, into doing something a little more -- involved. Enter Kyle Rote Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew with their 40-day devotional, Living Life in the Zone: A 40-Day Spiritual Gameplan for Men. I received the book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Bloggers Program and began it immediately. Like many Christian devotional books, Living Life in the Zone: A 40-Day Spiritual Gameplan for Men follows a 40-day plan, calling on the Biblical significance of a forty day period (see Noah, et. al.). But Rote and Pettigrew do something that I haven't found in many of the devotional guides and Bibles that I've researched -- they tailor their devotional to the life of a man.

Calling on their vast experience of working with the men of professional sports as part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Rote and Pettigrew present the life of a man in terms that men can understand. They cover topics such as living a healthy Christian life at work, loving an imperfect woman, dealing with daily stress, and even the oft-taboo topic of improving your sex life from the perspective of a Christian man. I have tried to carve time out of my day every day to spend a little time in the Word under the tutelage of Rote and Pettigrew, and found deep insight into things that I have just taken for granted for years. By spending just fifteen minutes a day pondering the thoughts and words of such pro sports greats as Roger Staubach, Joe Gibbs, John Wooden, and Coach Tony Dungy, I've found myself trying to live more like the man God wants me to be.

It's only a 40-day devotional, and won't require a major commitment on your part to get through this little book. But it just might cause you to make some major commitments you hadn't considered before.

Send me your comments. Joe




Disclosure(s) of Material Connection:
Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, January 10, 2010

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Vacation: Day Four

VacationToday was a calm and uneventful day as my vacation is now two-thirds over. After church this morning we stopped at Lowes to look at some flooring and cabinetry samples and sinks. We'll be doing some updating in the house this year that includes hardwood laminate flooring, new countertops, and more.

After returning home, we did very much of nothing. My wife and I got in some good relaxation time while the kids played games on theWii and Nintendo DS.

As boring as this content might be for you, the reader, it's exactly that quality of boredom that made today such a peaceful day and has made this such a successful vacation. Two days left....
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

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Attempted Home Invasion - Thwarted

I was just sitting in my family room, playing games on the Wii with my son, when my wife said, "Some guy just walked through our yard. He looked in the window." At first I just kept playing, then she said, "What's he doing?"

So I quit playing the game, said, "Is he still out there?" and walked to the patio doors. There at the house behind ours stood a 20-something black male trying to open the patio doors of our neighbor's house. He was wearing a black coat, gray pants, and a dark winter hat. I opened the door and yelled, "Hey!" Of course, he didn't look -- wanted to make sure I couldn't identify his face -- he just turned and started to walk away. I told my wife to call the Police and headed out the door after him, trudging through the snow in house slippers with no coat on.

I called 911 on my cell phone as I followed him down the street, talking on speakerphone. The man walked slowly around the house as I followed, and started running when he rounded the corner. I ran after him, and when he slowed to a walk so did I, staying close enough for him to hear me talking to the 911 dispatcher but far enough away to maintain safety. Not knowing if he was armed I wasn't about to try to tackle a man half my age and five inches taller who has nothing to lose and his freedom to gain.

Half a block down the road his friend was waiting: another tall black male wearing a tan Carharrt coat and dark blue jeans so low that as he turned to flee he tripped over his own crotch and fell in the snow. Having given descriptions of both creeps to the 911 operator I continued to follow the one who had walked through my yard and tried to walk in to my neighbor's house.

I updated 911 as the creep ran through another yard and vaulted a fence. "He just jumped the fence," I said as I ran along the fence. "He's hiding between two sheds now where he thinks I can't see him."

I heard him jump over something and saw him come back between the sheds. "He just jumped the fence again," I said as I followed him around the house where he jumped the fence a third time and fled. In my slippers, which were now soaked with snow, I wasn't prepared to jump the fence and go after him.

I waited for the Police to arrive at the street corner with a nearby resident who had seen his buddy flee in the opposite direction. Two Cumberland, Indiana, officers responded and began searching the area while an IMPD officer was at my house taking a report from my wife.

--------

Shortly after I began writing this, the phone rang, and the IMPD officer informed me that they had a suspect in custody nearby. He asked me if I would like to come by and identify him.

I drove the short distance (less than a quarter mile) to a house in the 900 block of Woodlark between Tenth and Washington Streets on Indy's east side, where the officer met me on the street. As I waited in the car he brought the suspect out onto the porch in handcuffs. Standing there before me was creep number two, the buddy with the baggy pants who had taken off running when he saw me chasing his friend down the street. I confirmed his identity and told the officer which one he was.

Moments later, the officer asked me to stick around and get a look at a second person. This one was brought to the porch sans handcuffs. He had ditched the black coat and changed out of his gray pants, but was wearing the same dark winter hat I had chased down the street moments earlier.

The officer thanked me for getting involved, informed me that both the creeps had a record, but said they would probably not be able to arrest them since they hadn't actually entered the home.

It's great to see the authorities respond so quickly and successfully, but a little disappointing to know the creeps got away this time. My wife is concerned that they might come back for revenge. I suspect that they're just cowardly enough to stay away from the house where a crazy man in house slippers chased them a block and half and later returned to identify them.

Maybe I'll start looking into security systems, anyway.

Below this post are pictures and a Google Maps link of the house where the creeps were found by the Police. Got any similar stories you'd care to share?



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Where The Creeps Were Caught
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Ga. Rep. Deal Challenges Obama’s Eligibility | The Post & Email

Georgia Rep. Nathan DealDeal Challenges Obama’s Eligibility | The Post & Email:
"(Jan. 5, 2010) — The Post & Email can publicly confirm that on the first of December, last, U.S. Congressman Nathan Deal (GA-R) challenged the eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to hold the office of the U.S. presidency."
To show support for Representative Deal, you may contact him here:

The Honorable Nathan Deal
2133 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-1009
DC Phone: 202-225-5211
DC Fax: 202-225-8272
Email Address: http://www.house.gov/deal/contact.shtml
WWW Homepage: http://www.house.gov/deal/


Need some suggested text for your letter to Representative Deal? Feel free to copy and paste below:
Representative Deal:

I want to applaud you for having the courage to stand up for country above all else in calling for Mr. Obama to settle the eligibility issue once and for all. This is clearly a matter that Chief Justice Roberts and his team may never get to decide -- whether by their own choice or not -- and a matter that must be settled. What this country needs is more Representatives who are willing to stand up for that which matters most -- the sovereignty of this great nation.

This is not a matter of getting Mr. Obama out of office. It is a matter of ensuring that he is eligible to hold the office.

Thank You, sir.
Send me your comments. Joe




Friday, January 8, 2010

Vacation: Day Two

VacationAnother day of unused vacation ... used.

Today was a nice, relaxing day for the most part. I got to sleep in for a change -- which for me means I slept past 8 AM. Not much, really, but that's about two hours later than I normally get to sleep. And after pulling myself from a slumber -- and a rather strange dream -- and checking my email, my senses were drawn to the breakfast table by the enticing aroma of homemade pancakes made with fresh ground wheat flour. Seriously. Delicious. My wife got the fresh ground flour from a friend of hers who has a new wheat grinder, and now my wife is aching for a wheat grinder of her own.

KerplunkAfter breakfast it was time for a little fun with the kids. The kind of fun I used to have as a child. We played a few games of Ker Plunk (remember that game?) and Tip It. Tip It was a new one for me, but proved to be quite fun, as my three and six year old kids tried to remove the little discs without causing the whole tower to tip over and spill onto the table. When we got their mother into the game, well, she proved to have the most difficulty at the game.

NachoToday was our little Nacho's three month birthday. We didn't really do anything special for him -- kind of jokingly sang "Happy Birthday" to him while he sat on my lap -- it's just hard to believe that the little booger is already three months old. And for the most part, he is already housebroken and behaves quite well (for a puppy) most of the time.

The rest of the day was spent drinking coffee (I drank about a pot and a half today -- OUCH!), relaxing, and then playing some games on the Wii. It isn't often that we get the whole family into the game, Wii which might explain some of the scores in this picture, but we got the four of us together playing Wii Sports tonight (after the kids finished fighting over Super Mario Bros). I cannot believe how good both of my kids are at games like Wii Bowling. My six year old son dominated the competition, winning every game of bowling, but my three year old daughter was incredibly good at the game. I simply cannot imagine being so good at such games when I was her age. Unfortunately, the fun came to an end when my hyper-competitive son got upset at my daughter for getting in his way and hit her in the back with his Wii remote. He was sent to bed and banned from the Wii for an indeterminate length of time -- which will probably mean the whole day tomorrow, which is okay as I want to watch the Cincinnati Bengals in the first game of the playoffs tomorrow.

Of course, no vacation for me goes without having to do a little work, and today I had to deal with writing a work schedule and arranging for the termination of one of my employees. It's not a part of the job I particularly enjoy, but after having to do it so many times and realizing that most people bring it on themselves, it starts to get easier.

With four more days of vacation left, I have lots of rest and relaxation ahead, and you can look forward to a few more boring, do-nothing go-nowhere vacation-related posts here over the next few days.

Send me your comments. Joe

GO BENGALS!
Go Bengals!

AJA Press


Thursday, January 7, 2010

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Vacation: Day One

Vacation
So I began a six-day vacation today, just as the skies began dumping inches of snow upon us. Perfect timing, I'd say. I'm normally not a big fan of snow, especially when I have to drive to work in it -- it's the other drivers I worry about more than myself. But I do enjoy shoveling the driveway (strange as that may seem) and playing in the snow with my kids.

Today, after shoveling the driveway for the second time, the kids and I were hoping to build a snowman. The snow, unfortunately, was uncooperative. Too dry and fine, it wouldn't pack into snowballs much less snowmen. Instead, we played in the yard using snow shovels to build mountains of snow.

This vacation is one of the best kind: staying home with no place to go, virtually snowed in, with nothing to do but whatever I want. It's going to be a nice little break.

Maybe I'll find time to start reading a good book. I haven't read anything since just before Christmas. It's a rare day when I don't have my nose between the covers of a good book.

I'll certainly find time to play with the kids. Whether we play the Wii they got for Christmas, card games or board games, or get into some form of mischief, I'm sure it'll be a good time.

We've already seen a good movie, as we cuddled up on the couch last night and watched Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. I may or may not find the time to write a review on the movie.

Vacation. Whether it's a trip or staying home, it can be good times with the family.

What do you like to do on your time off?

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

FREE Brad Senne Download TODAY ONLY!


Magnatune Song of the Day
for Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Genre: Rock
Album: Brad Senne
Artist: Brad Senne
Song: 7. Broken Town

Listen to the album: hifi lofi

DOWNLOAD FREE SONG

(only available today, Tuesday)

           


 
Today's free song is from the album:

Brad Senne
Brad Senne

Total time: 38:03
Release date: 8/10/2008

Location of artist: MN, USA

This artist has 2 other albums

You will be able to download a high quality version of this artwork when you purchase this album.




Monday, January 4, 2010

FREE C. Layne Download Today Only!


Magnatune Song of the Day
for Monday, January 4, 2010

Genre: Rock
Album: Potemkin Villages
Artist: C. Layne
Song: 12. Down at the bottom

Listen to the album: hifi lofi

DOWNLOAD FREE SONG

(only available today, Monday)

           


 
Today's free song is from the album:

C. Layne
Potemkin Villages

Total time: 66:43
Release date: 12/16/2003

Location of artist: TX, USA

This artist has 3 other albums

You will be able to download a high quality version of this artwork when you purchase this album.




Sunday, January 3, 2010

For Sale on eBay: Garmin iQue 3600 GPS PDA


For sale on eBay.


Item specifics
Title:
Garmin 3600
Operating System:
Palm OS 5.0
Installed Memory (RAM) (MB):
32
MPN:
010-00264-00
Type:
Portable
System:
Handheld
Brand:
Garmin
Display Type:
Color
Antenna Type:
Internal
Condition:
Used
Includes:
Garmin iQue 3600 GPS/PDA



Detailed item info
Product Description
The iQue 3600 is the first PDA to include integrated GPS technology. With the power of Palm OS 5 and the dependability of Garmin GPS technology, this "Super PDA" redefines multi-tasking. Integrated software not only allows you to look up appointments or contacts, but also locates and routes you to them with voice-guidance commands!

Details
Dimensions (WxDxH):

7.2 cm x 2 cm x 12.7 cm
Weight:

162 g
Processor:

Motorola 150 MHz, Motorola 200 MHz
Display:

320 x 480 3.8"

Connection
OS Required:

Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows 2000 / NT4.0, Microsoft Windows 98/ME, Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows XP
Input Device:

Touch-screen
Wireless Connectivity:

IrDA


Gently used Garmin iQue 3600 Palm PDA / Global Positioning System. This unit works beautifully (only flaw is a non-functioning thumb wheel on the side, but all thumb wheel features are also included in other buttons on the unit). Includes FULL maps for the Continental United States, Canada, and Alaska, on CD-ROM. Simply copy the maps to your own 2 Gigabyte SD card and insert into card slot for GPS use. Includes turn by turn instructions, points of interest, and more. Plus add software from a large online library of Palm OS software titles. Original software CDs are included, as well as HotSync cradle, A/C charging unit, and a BONUS Garmin leather carry case. I used this unit regularly until very recently.























Send me your comments. Joe





Friday, January 1, 2010

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Mobile Blogging From My LifeDrive

I think I have finally figured this out. Sure, I can mobile blog via email, but that doesn't allow for formatting of text.
Of course, text formatting makes the reading so much more enjoyable, right?
So I'm using a demo version of a program that appears to be no longer available:

mo:blog


It's the only Palm OS based program I've found that will work with New Blogger.

Of course, I'll just blog via email when special formatting isn't needed.

Send me your thoughts.

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Twenty-Ten

Wow, that was quick. It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the beginning of 2009. Strike that. It seems like just yesterday the world was all agog over theY2K bug. And now, suddely, it's 2010.

Is that two-thousand-ten? Two-thousand-and-ten? I think I prefer simply "twenty-ten." It kind of flows off the tongue. Say it with me three times: "twenty-ten, twenty-ten, twenty-ten." It feels almost natural, doesn't it?

It will be a year of great opportunities, certainly, both of a global and personal nature. Many people like to look back on the past year on this day and reflect on the good times, the bad times, what went well, and not so well. Many like to make long lists of resolutions that will be mostly forgotten before they flip the calendar page on this first month. Not me.

Good things happened in 2009 -- both of a personal nature for me and on the national and global scene. Sad things happened. Thanks to the grace of Almighty God, nothing really bad happened to my family. I won't itemize them here -- it would make for boring reading, and you really don't care, anyway.

I do look forward to great things in twenty-ten. Things like publishing my second novel, doing some home renovation projects, possibly a career change or advancement, and of course watching my family grow. I look forward to casting a vote for restored order in Washington in November. And I look forward to Christmas. Yes, already.

But, hey, twenty-ten is just twelve more pages on a calendar. It's another year to grow personally, professionally, and (most importantly) spiritually. It marks another year closer to the moment we all should be waiting for with baited breath (no, not the 2012 election, but I understand why you might think that).

Twenty-ten. It's here, for the next 365 days. Then it'll be gone, like its brothers before it, and we'll keep on trucking along. Twenty-ten. Two-thousand-ten. However you want to say it (please, never oh-ten, that's just plain bad), only you can make it a good year. Will you? I plan to.

Happy New Year!

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