Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where in the world is ... us?

My Beloved's Sister surprised us with an early Christmas gift today. A TomTom One GPS for our car.

They were on sale at WalMart yesterday for $59, and she bought one for themselves, their parents and one for us.

Much as I talk bad about technology, I can't resist a cool gadget!

We were planning on going to Cabela's today to purchase new shoes for Noel. For the past two years she's ordered a particular shoe from them over the net, but we thought we'd save the shipping and pick them up ourselves while we were here this year.

And since we've never been to the Cabela's, I knew it was the perfect trial for the TomTom. So I punched in the store's address, suction-cupped the unit to the windshield and off we went.

I like it. I think it's very neat. I think that they should come as a standard accessory on motor vehicles. I've never had problems reading a map. But on the highway going 70 miles per hour surrounded by other motorists who may or may not know where they are going, it was very nice having TomTom reading out directions for me. The only problem now is remembering to keep your eyes on the road instead of the TomTom.

One of the features I liked very much was a readout on the display showing me what the posted speed limit was. It didn't work on all the roads I drove today, but I can see it being very handy.

Also, when we got done at Cabela's, we both needed to find something to drink and we had no idea where the nearest gas station was. Again, no problem. Punch "navigate to," then "points near you," then hit "gas station" and viola up pops a list of the nearest stations you select one and hit the road.

I am especially looking forward to using it in the coming months when I drive an activity bus to games and such. I just have to punch in my destination then I don't have to worry about making a wrong turn in the bus. And it displays the ETA so when the students ask "when are we going to get there?" I can have a fairly concrete answer for them.

Happy Birthday Beloved

Today is my Beloved's birthday. Happy Birthday!

happy birthday - 5

happy birthday - 2

I love you!

Friday, November 27, 2009


I have been battling a cold for about the past four weeks. This always happens when I work long hours, I get sick and I can't get well without taking a time out to get rest.

So on the way to The Sister's Place Wednesday, we stopped at Whole Foods (god, I love that place) to pick some things up.

I wandered over to the cold/flu medicines and was looking and an employee asked if I needed any help. I explained to her what I was looking for, i.e. something to kick this cold's rear end and quick. Taking a time out isn't really an option I have right now.

She pointed me towards a product called Phytocillin by Herbs Etc.

The directions instructed me to take one pill a day for lingering conditions, or two pills up to five times a day for "acute" symptoms. Needless to say I went for the heavy dosage.

I took two of the pills when we got to The Sister's Place that afternoon. That morning had turned out to be pretty rough, feeling very badly. But within an hour or two I felt an immediate difference.

Fast-forward to today, Friday, I took two pills this morning and the symptoms have -- for the most part -- not returned. I still feel slightly ill, so I believe I'll stick with the "lingering" conditions directions for a few more days. But you'll have to color me impressed. This stuff really works.

Thai massage

When I first learned about Thai massage recently, I have to admit that the photos kind of scared me.

But then today I thought to look on YouTube for a video and I found this one.

And now I realize that it doesn't look all that scary at all. In fact, I think I'd like to try it!

Adam Baldwin

I first became aware of Adam Baldwin when I got into the Firefly series.

And he instantly became one of my favorite actors.

He is such a badass, and funnier than hell too.

I recently watched the last five episodes of Chuck on Hulu, so I've been seeing his funny-tough guy thing again.

One of the things that I love is that if you watch him when he's firing a gun, he doesn't blink. He's one of the few actors that I've seen that doesn't flinch when he's shooting.


The last time we came to visit, my Beloved's sister introduced us to California Rolls. And we liked them.

The only problem is that where we live -- out in the middle o' nowhere -- nobody sells sushi.

One of the things we found last night at the WalMart here was Annie Chun's sushi kit. Great little package including little packs of sticky rice and nori. All you have to do is pop the rice in the microwave or boil it in a pot of water, then add your own ingredients and you have sushi!

So we're excited to try it, and if we like it then we can buy a couple packs each time we come up so we can have sushi back home.

Black Friday report

My Beloved's sister wanted to be in line at the Toys R Us in order to get some kind of robotic rodent that is all the rage this year. I had never taken part in the Black Friday madness so I wanted to see what it was all about.

The sale started at midnight, we got there about 20 till. There was 500-1,000 folks out standing in the 30 degree weather. There were no parking spots nearby, we finally found one about three-quarters of a mile away and sat in the car to watch.

Twice sitting in that parking lot we were almost hit by crazies driving like mad. So we left.

We stopped in at the WalMart to pick up a few items. Their Black Friday sale starts at 5 a.m. There were only a handful of folks there, mostly gathered waiting in the electronics section.

I turned the corner in the grocery and found an older man sitting on the floor. Took me by surprise until I saw the sign he was sitting next to stating that that was the start of the line for the 46-inch televisions.

Well, I was curious to see what it was all about, and now I've seen plenty.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Me ala South Park

Me ala South Park
Originally uploaded by Nick David Wright

I had some fun with the South Park Character Generator!

Eating Close to the Earth

DailyOM - Eating Close to the Earth: "The food we eat is a multidimensional aspect of our lives. Food provides us with the energy that enables us to grow and prosper. Yet it can be, and frequently is, much, much more. Our food can be an experience in and of itself if we allow it to be. The dishes we remember from childhood offer unmatched comfort. The act of preparing meals can be an art form of the highest caliber. And the nourishment we derive from this fare promotes wellness within us. But many of us, distracted by daily affairs, forget that the profound pleasures of eating go beyond simple sustenance."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A tale of two farms

The area in which we live has a large and growing population of Amish folk.

There is one bus route that I often drive which passes through their settlement.

And the difference between an Amish farm and a modern farm is very stark.

The Amish farms appear to be full of life, even now in the dead of winter. There are people out doing things, children playing in the yard. Animals out in pastures. Even some crops still in the fields.

The modern farm consists of acres and acres of flat, bare dirt.

The route that I drive goes through the Amish farms and I see all that is going on there, and then I drive past the modern farm and I see nothing but miles and miles of bare dirt.

Two hungers

I've been steadily losing weight, and trying to watch my health for some time now.

One thing that has become evident to me especially more recently, is that there are two hungers at war within my body.

There's the body hunger which tells me when I need food for nourishment. And there is the mind hunger which tells me that I want food, often for emotional satisfaction.

And I've learned that most often when I've said "I'm hungry" I'm referring to the mental/emotional hunger.

While paying attention to the signals I'm receiving, I've noticed that I'll often crave food and develop the symptoms of low blood sugar even when my body is telling me that it is full and satisfied.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For crying out loud

No, seriously!

What is it with little children these days in WalMart screaming at the top of their lungs?

Are they afraid that their vocal cords don't work anymore?

Animaniacs Star Trek parody: Star Truck

Oh this is hilarious!


Normally, when I try an exercise routine (yes, I am writing more about yoga), I'll keep at it a while then I'll lose interest or something will interfere and I'll quit. And it is harder than heck to get started again.

But with yoga it seems to be the other way around. Last night I came home exhausted, and I told myself I did not want to do my little 10 minute set before bed.

But I did anyway. I couldn't help myself. One half of it was knowing how good the exercises make me feel. Another half of it was knowing how crappy I feel in the morning the few times I haven't done them. And yet another half of it was knowing how much better I'd sleep having done them.

I feel that I am compelled to practice. My body has found something that it likes, that it needs. And it makes it known when I think about forgoing a session.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yoga poses

Yes, I'm really getting into the whole yoga thing.

Anyway, I came across a pose called the supported shoulder stand. Although the first picture I found (in a book) shows the legs angling about 45-degrees over the head.

And I remembered that when I was a kid I would often sit in that pose because it felt good.

So I must be some natural-born yogi! Just kidding.

It makes sense that a person would be able to find some of these poses on their own though, they just feel good!

Giving Without Expectations

DailyOM - Giving Without Expectations: "Though our intention is likely pure, we can unintentionally mar the beautiful experience of giving by focusing on what we will eventually receive in return."
A very good article about giving with a true heart.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Back in the saddle again!

huffy sea trails - 04
Originally uploaded by Nick David Wright

My grandparents are always going to sales and such so I asked them to be on the lookout for some nice old bikes for us.

The other day they called to let us know that they'd found an old men's 3-speed for $5!

I was going out of my mind wondering what kind of bike they'd found, and I was very excited to see this sitting in their garage when we went for a visit last night.

It is a Huffy Sea Trails. And it is in remarkably good shape. It does need a little work, but all it required for a short ride around the neighborhood this morning was a little air in the tires.

Check it out!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yoga update

This coming Sunday will mark four weeks since I started practicing short yoga routines in the mornings and evenings.

And I am absolutely in love with the practice.

The changes that the short workouts have produced in such little time amaze me.

I feel much better all through the day. I am not constantly tired-feeling like I was before.

And the major change is that my back no longer hurts, and the numbness/tingling I was experiencing in my hands and fingers has completely gone away too.

If you've never tried yoga, you really ought to give it a shot.

Blessed sunshine

Ah ... for the first time since Sunday, we see the sun! I love it.

I was pretty pissed earlier in the week. On Saturday I had checked the weather and it called for sunny skies and decent temps all week. Well, they were wrong. It's been rainy and cold and dreary all week so far.

I just can't seem to stand much cloudy weather anymore. I used to love it. But now just a few days makes me crazy.

All I can say is I'm really glad I never ended up in Oregon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tunesday: Hockey - Song Away

So last Tuesday's free giveaways from the iTunes store didn't particularly chime with me, so I never got around to writing my Tunesday post.

Not that there's anything wrong with the songs, they're not bad. They just didn't strike me like songs sometimes do.

But over the weekend I did "discover" another song that iTunes gave away several weeks ago.

The song is "Song Away," by Hockey.

The mean people at EMI Music have made it so folks like me cannot embed their videos on my blog though, so here's a link to the video!


So I've watched the first two episodes of the television series "V" reboot courtesy Hulu.

The acting and production strike me as less-than-good.

In the first episode when the Mothership appears and the young guy is racing around on the sidewalks on his motorcycle, you can see some kind of a support arm attached to the bike in one shot. Then when he stops the bike, we get a full frame view of the front of his helmet. The problem being that the visor on his helmet is reflective and he is -- supposedly -- gazing up at the ship in wonder, but all we see in the reflection is blue sky.

I could nit pick a lot of things, but I'm not going to. Because I'm probably going to keep watching the show. Because the story intrigues me.

Alien Visitors from another planet. Do they exist? Are they here already?

I was stocking at WalMart over the weekend. I had been thinking about the show, and a fellow comes along and grabs a couple packages of hotdogs. And the thought occurred to me, "This guy could know the secret to interstellar travel!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009


So we went to see 2012 last night.

First thing ... that is one long movie! Clocks in at 170 minutes according to the folks at the theater.

Second thing ... I didn't really notice how long it was, because of the non-stop action.

Third thing ... The acting really pretty much sucked.

Fourth thing ... I didn't really notice how badly the acting sucked because of all the screen-filling special effects.

I don't know why I'm such a sucker for "end of the world" movies, but I am.

This one is rather ho-hum. Kinda wished I'd saved my $16 and waited for it to come out on DVD.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A little imagination

Matt-Matt, my nephew, is 3-years-old.

On our last visit, he broke the wheels off one of his toy cars.

His father was not happy.

"If you don't find the wheels, to this car I'm not going to buy you anymore toys," Dad said.

To which Matt-Matt replied, "Just use your imagination!"

Cute as it was, it didn't fly with Dad.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Children understand

I had to have a child removed from the bus I was driving the other day.

It was the last of three days that I was scheduled to drive this bus, and I had been having trouble with a kindergartner each day. That final day was the worst.

He wouldn't sit down. He was bouncing from seat to seat.

And the final straw was when I told him to sit down, he looked me right in the eye and said, "NO!" So we headed back to his school and he didn't ride the bus home that night.

The next day I was in the bus barn I asked my supervisor, "So did I make too much trouble the other day?" No he assured me, but the child's father did call to express that he didn't think it was necessary to punish a kindergartner.

The implication, in my mind, being that he was too young to be punished for his misbehavior. Not that I haven't run into this idea before. I've watched as children run wild while their parents tell them to behave, but then fail to enforce the directive. When asked about it, the parents inevitably say "They're too young, they won't understand."

But children understand much more than we give them credit for. And we are doing them a great disservice by not enforcing the rules when they are young. Because they certainly will not understand and very probably come to resent it when mommy and daddy do eventually decide to make them behave.

My nephew is a good example of just how much young children can understand. Last year while we were visiting. I was sitting on the couch playing with him and his sister.

At one point, Matthew took off his shoe and threw it hitting me square in the face. It hurt. He ran around giggling and laughing obviously thinking he was having the time of his life with Uncle Nick. I grabbed him as he ran by and turned him around.

"Matthew, that was not nice," I tried to tell him. But his eyes were bouncing around the room and he was squirming in my arms. So I changed my tone of voice slightly and made him meet my eyes.

"Matthew!" I said and he immediately quieted down and looked right into my eyes. "That was not nice. That hurt Uncle Nick a lot. You do not throw things at me like that." There was understanding in his face, he said "okay" we continued playing and he has yet to throw anything at me again. He was 2 years old when that happened.

But the poor kindergartner from my bus hasn't had that kind of correction in his life, I'd bet money on it. The first five years of his life, he's been free to do whatever he pleased and if someone told him differently all he had to do was yell no and throw a fit to get his way.

Now he's in his first year of school and he's rapidly finding out that he doesn't always get his way. And he doesn't understand, and it has him upset. And rightly so.

By refusing to enforce the rules with a child -- no matter how young -- we are teaching them that rules do not have to be obeyed.

Where did we get this idea that children will reach some magical age and suddenly realize for themselves that they really do have to obey the rules?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Video rentals

I am so sick of renting DVDs right now.

If I go to our local video store, a Family Video, I can almost be assured of not seeing some part of the movie I want because it skips.

I've been going mostly to the RedBox. But last night's flick skipped quite a bit on me as well.

Back in Kansas, I had been renting movies from the iTunes store and downloading them. I know for a fact that the movie is not going to skip.

But there are a few drawbacks. One is that often iTunes for whatever reason cannot offer a new release for rent on its release date. You can purchase the movie, but not rent it. Second is that it takes a while to download.

That second issue wasn't a problem back in Kansas when I worked at the library. I'd go in early set up the laptop, rent what I wanted and let it download while I cleaned. And when I was ready to go home the movie would be finished. But we don't have internet at the house right now, and the connection at our local library is quite a bit slower than the one back in Kansas.

So I got a bright idea. Why don't rental stores offer an electronic rental like iTunes does? The next big thing in movies is supposed to be BluRay, but I think we should ditch optical media altogether and start renting movies out on SD cards.

Or perhaps even better would be to offer download stations at the store. A customer brings in their flash drive sticks it into the slot and their selection is transferred.

I don't know. I'm just sick of missing chunks of my movies because folks don't seem to know how to handle DVDs anymore.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What a family

I saw this family in WalMart the other night.

Mom had on a shirt that said: "I'm with stupid" with an arrow pointing to one side.

Older brother had a shirt that read: "Coupon good for one bad attitude" and it was surrounded with a dashed line to make it look like a clipable coupon.

And little brother had on a shirt that proclaimed: "Your village called, they want their idiot back."

And I just have to wonder what kind of family all have t-shirts like that? Are they really fun to be around? Or are they total assholes?

Tea time

I've really come to enjoy a mug of hot tea lately.

So I suppose I'll start giving little reviews of the teas I've tried.

I'll start with my favorite tea which is Tazo Zen.

It's a green tea blend with spearmint and lemon verbena and lemongrass.

This was a big surprise to me because I don't particularly care for lemongrass. Which is troublesome as my Beloved is half Thai and Thai cooking utilizes lemongrass quite extensively.

But Noel bought a Tazo sampler pack a year or so ago and this blend was included. And it turns out that it is by far my favorite tea so far.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wanna push the button

Watched this show a lot when I was a kid.

What a hoot!

"No you push the button! I push the button! Elelator go down the hoooole!"


One thing I find very difficult about the yoga is that I am no where near as flexible as I once was.

I remember during health class in high school being able to out stretch everyone in class.

Now-a-days, not so much.

Yo Joes!

I remember watching a lot of G.I. Joe as a little kid.

So when the new movie came out on DVD yesterday, I had to see it.

The movie is utterly ridiculous. Totally cheesy.

And I completely loved it.

This live-action movie felt, to me, just like I was watching the old cartoon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tunesday: Serena Ryder - All For Love

Here's my pick for this Tunesday. Serena Ryder and her song "All for Love" is available for free on iTunes.

Good sound. Good song.

Butterfly chops

So we have butterfly chops for sale at WalMart.

They must have to butcher a thousand butterflies to get a pound of meat though.

I wonder how they skin those little fellas.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I have been off and on trying to learn Tai Chi over the past couple years. But time and space restrictions usually got in the way.

One thing I did make a semi-regular practice of though was the stretching exercises at the beginning of my Tai Chi DVD. I could notice a pretty good difference in my day after doing the stretches in the morning.

So recently I've been reading about yoga, and I found a really great series of TV episodes on iTunes. Each episode is a 10 minute yoga sequence. There's one for AM one for PM, one focussing on abs and a couple other general ones.

I did the PM sequence Friday night and it was amazing. I did it again Saturday and Sunday, and I am completely hooked.

Sunday night I came home feeling really really crappy. My nephew greeted me on our latest visit by slugging me in the face and wrenching my neck out. Then Saturday I started feeling as though I was coming down with the crud. And Sunday I had a full eight hour shift to work at WalMart and I just felt like junk.

Then I came home and did a very simple 10 minute exercise and I felt relaxed and rejuvenated. It really is incredible.

And one of the greatest things about it is that there is no equipment necessary. And it does not take a lot of space. The living room of our camper has just enough space for me to perform the poses.

I love it.


PS- Here are the videos I purchased: Anytime Yoga on iTunes from ExerciseTV.

Monday can be Tunesday too!

Okay, I got this video free from iTunes a couple weeks ago, I threw it into my mix and never really watched it.

Last night I was sitting on the couch letting the laptop shuffle through my playlist when this song came up.

This is an incredible song. The music, the rhythm ... I love it! The video is extremely nicely done as well.

You've got to check this one out.