Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to Turn Toys into Food

Step one: Get a toy. I went to Target and picked up this pots and pans set. It looks like something my nieces would enjoy.

Step two: go to Jack in the Box. You give them the toy and they say, "What sandwich you'ld you like?" I got the steak melt. It looks like something my nieces would like me to have.

Step three: eat your burger.

It's just that simple. All the toys go to the NewsWest9, Salvation Army Toy Drive, so you'll also enjoy that warm Christmas cheer feeling.

The last day to witness this miraculous transformation is Saturday, December 12th of 2009.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Lofts On Main

I figured everyone and their dog knew about the lofts being built in downtown Midland. I was wrong. While most people do know about the construction, almost all dogs are ignorant of the facts.

So please grab your pooch and share this information with them.

The address is 218 N. Main St. (on Street view & Bird's eye view) and the asking price is $355,000 $364,000-$395,500. In the old days it may have been a shoe store, but now it's (or soon to be) the finest in luxury living.

Here's a link to the listing

And. If that gets pulled, this is the pictures of what it will be.

Each will be 3 stories with 2 bedrooms and 3 and a half baths, and measure 2131 square feet plus a garage.

But today this is how it looks.

These were supposed to open in the summer of 2009.

I hear there's only one left, so grab your checkbook, and snap it up before someone else does. And don't worry, pets are welcome, so bring along that ignorant canine.

UPDATE: Here's the story NewsWest9 did on the lofts.

UPDATED UPDATE: And here's Chris Beckett's walk through.

RE-UPDATED UPDATE: Here's a walk through with furniture
(and a giant tub of beer.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Other Cleaning Tricks

Recharging the towels with vinegar and baking soda worked so well, I thought I'd try some other internet remedies around the house tonight.

First off, I'm used my old friend vinegar to "descale" my coffee maker. It has been delivering a few less sips in the morning.

I brewed two quarts of vinegar coffee, followed by two tanks of water.

Now my house smells like Easter. I'll have to see how the coffee is tomorrow. (It taste like coffee, not pickles. And that is good.)

I also used lemon Kool-Aid to clean the dishwasher. Two packs for good measure.

I ran it through a normal load, without dishes, and that crusty white bar in the bottom turned into a metal pipe again.

And as a bonus, I have plenty I have plenty of Long John Silver style vinegar for my fish and chips (they're just French fries until you dump the vinegar on them.)

So productive, for a weeknight.

I hate cleaning but love tricks, so if you've tried something cool, let me know.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Summer MuMmers Annual Meeting

The Mummer's annual meeting is usually just another excuse for a party, but not this year! This year there was a political coup brewing. Tim was removed as president and kicked off the board. It looks like Marcy may have led this rebellion, and may take over as president. Michael was also placed on the board. This is no real surprise, as the location for this ambush was his back yard. Here's dramatic video of the throw down.

Ok, so I may have exaggerated a little. Tim's term was up. But listen to that crowd when Marcy is named as the possible president.

Yeah, I think she could lead a rebellion.

Scooter was named Distinguished Mummer of the Year.

And Stacy, er Staci was honored for all the work she did making over the green room.

Here's what the old green room looked like…

Yep, very green. And this is how it looks now...

You deserve a fancy piece of wood for that.

Other than the deserved prizes, Woody made sure everyone got something. It help cut down on the pouting.

Vests, t-shirts, and even fashionable H1N1 masks.

I think it is actually a thong, but Patrice was playing it safe.

Woody and Jerry manned the grill.

And the party carried on well into the night.

It turns out, the annual meeting was less of a political blood bath and more of an excuse for just one more Mummers party.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Polka Time, A Lutheran Party

Is it Ford truck month? GMC truck month? Cheve truck month? NO! It's October, and the good folks at Grace Lutheran Church are fighting back with Oktoberfest. A celebration of polka, sausage, and (root)beer.

Despite a cold breeze, the crowd showed up to take the month back from all the trucks.

The pit was blazing and the brats were sizzling.

Served up with kraut, German potato salad and for dessert, of course German chocolate cake. There wasn't much of a line at the rootbeer float table. Maybe a hot chocolate stand would have been more welcomed.

And for entertainment... POLKA!

Havlak-Batla provided the tunes. I even have one of their CD's. They tooted it up in English and German. There was even dancing. The Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey had everyone out of their seats.

No Beer on Sunday. Dancing, Pastor Pase and Doris Turner.

Before the evening was over, I ran home and got my CD. Now I have an autographed copy of Havlak-Batla's Good Memories. I'll bet there's not many people that can say that.

A fun time for all, and I think we showed the trucks who's the boss around here.

Let this be a warning to all vehicles, don't mess with the Lutherans!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Take care when choosing a weekend activity.

Last weekend was easy, I had the Stann's Fair. This weekend I could have attended some kind of ABBA event, a quilt show, or the opening of On Golden Pond at MCT (I should have picked this one because The Notebook wiped out my memory of the story, and everyone else says it's great.) But no I decided to stay home and play chemistry with my laundry.

A post on Lifehacker says I'm using too much soap for my towels. I dought that. I'm cheap, and for a large load, I use a little less than what's suggested for a small load. But to recharge my towels I needed to wash then with no soap and a cup of vinegar and then wash them again with half a cup of baking soda.

I'm game. As a child I made many volcanoes and, before I discovered gun powder, vinegar and baking soda was the king of special effects. Here's the final out come.

Both stacks have four hand towels and two bath towels. Sure the stack on the right looks fluffier, but that could simply be because the left stack had been in a closet for a few weeks. More telling was the water.

I washed them with soap first, and gave them a second rinse.

The second rinse was still full of soap.

I added no soap, just the vinegar and rewashed.

The soap foam was even thicker.

The last time around I added the baking soda.

All clear, looks like the soaps gone.

I'm not sure if my towels are recharged, but today I do feel 23% dryer (and after this weekend, 31% lamer.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stann's Fair (or St. Ann's)

Stopped by the fair today, took some pictures, where ya' go...

(And before you leave a nasty comment, remember, you clicked this link, and you know me.)

The best luck I had all day was parking. Yep, right there, at the gate, any closer and I would have needed a badge.

The fair raises money for the St. Ann's Catholic school. So how do they do this? With booths where you give them your money and "gamble 4 GOD!"

One way you can contribute, just throw your change at them.

One of the games I really like is the one where you give them a dollar, they give you a few slips of paper, you unfold them and then through them on the ground. Some may say this is just littering, but hey, it's for a good cause.

They have the double spinning wheel Horse Race game. You pick a number (1-9) on the inner wheel and the odds (1-5) are on the outer wheel. They spin both wheels in opposite directions and everyone yells out their number until they're horse. It is by far the noisiest game out there.

Marble Chute is a game no one has played since the early 90's, but they keep it around for tradition sake.

The good people at St. Ann's also holds a raffle for those who don't like yelling, throwing money, or littering. I love to do all three so, BORING!

Your best bet at the St. Ann's Fair is the Beer Booth game. You give them three bucks and the give you a beer. You either drink the beer, or spill it. The first few times it's real easy. After playing seven or eight times, it become a real challenge.

From what I can tell, the Wine Garden game is just like playing Beer Booth, but you're seated and you have your pinky extended. I didn't play.

The most disappointing food offering: the fire roasted corn, was boiled!

The best find: Angel Christmas Tree topper, with the hand of death!

Two notes on the carnival side.

1. Where do you take a wrong turn in life, to end up a DJ for a carnival ride? This has to be two steps down from a strip club DJ.

2. If you're really bad, you are reincarnated as one of these fish. And if you're kinda bad you play this carny game. Three ball for a dollar, (33.3 cents per ball) for a chance to win a goldfish (less than 20 cents at any pet store.) So the best you can do is win (or rescue) 60 cents worth of fish for a buck.

I think I'll stick to the Catholic games. I did pretty good at Beer Booth, didn't spill a drop, and won a buzz.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where to Edit Video Online for FREE!

Video editing without software or any hard drive space? Sounds impossible, but it's not. You could even do it with a simple netbook.

Yahoo's JumpCut is shutting down in June and YouTube killed their Remixer, so I checkout a few alternatives.

I used a Flip Ultra to shoot 23 clips of my drive to work. The video totaled six and a half minutes and around 170 mb's. Uploading to each site took a little over 45 minutes (that's 7 minutes upload for every 1 minute of video.) I think the long upload time has more to do with my cable connection than the sites' limits. From ok to awesome, here's what I found.

With a free motionbox account you're limited to uploading 750 mb's. Editing is limited as well. There are no transitions, no titles, and you can not add music, or adjust audio. It was easy enough. In the top box you put your videos in order and in the bottom time line area you trim them.

The first time I rendered the finished video, a loud audio chirp accompanied each cut, this went away after some time. The finish product can be emailed, embedded, or posted to FaceBook. If you want to download your video you'll need to upgrade to a $30 per year Premium account. Here's my finished video (with no music and only cuts it's pretty boring but the video quality is not bad.)

JayCut allows you to add music, transitions (I only got dissolves to work), effects, and still images to your video. It claims to have titles, but I couldn't get them to work to work. The editing is set up with a bin and an A-B time line. You drag your video from the bin to the time line and add transitions between the A and B (like the old Media100.) It also has a handy Snap that makes it easier to put your video together in the somewhat stick flash environment.

The words "patience is a virtue," appeared many times while uploading and editing. Your finished video can be emailed, embedded, shared, FaceBooked, or even downloaded. The music and dissolve go along way, but the video quality is lacking. has the most versatile and powerful online video editing software I found. Videos are in a bin that can be filtered to only "my media" or everyone's shared video. So if you need a "Dramatic Chipmunk" in your mix, there is no need to upload it. Just grab it from the shared bin.

You can drag clips to the timeline or double click it, trim it, then post it in the time line.

There is a lot of control when navigating clips, down to single frame advance buttons. Audio levels can be set for each individual clips as well.

Adding dissolves is a bit tricky (for now.) You'll need to drag a clip to the "titles and overlays" section and fade it in. The "titles and overlays" section may be the best feature of this net app. Each video added gets it's own layer (a bit like Adobe After Effects.) This allows for complex layer effects, like multiple picture on picture and even chroma keying (green screen.) Other effects include alpha channels, blur, brightness, color key, drop shadow, edge detection, emboss, enhance, fade in, fade out, greyscale, HSV, invert, opacity, RGB, sharpen, and x-ray.

Video can be edited in normal 4:3 or widescreen 16:9. Another great feature is the "Auto Save" that backs up your work every few minutes just in case your computer crashes or you forget to pay your light bill.

Adding music and titles is a breeze. Text to speech is also offered, if you want a voice over but don't want to use yours.

There are so many features it can be a little overwhelming at first. If you do run into something you can't figure out, no problem, there are tutorial videos right in the project. Just click on the "help" tab.

I push thing to the limits with some crazy effects. I even got a time echo effect by time shifting a stack of videos and adjusting their opacity (under the overpass.) Finished videos can be shared, embedded, and downloaded. is a very new site with less then fifty members, stumbling across this one has been a real treat.

There are three of your online editing options, I'm sure there are plenty more. So get out and make some fancy videos. But when you go to embed them, you may want to stick to posting here on Blogger. If you're not using a popular video site like YouTube or Vimeo, it's hard to get WordPress to work. That's the reason behind the detour. (Click here to go back to WordPress)