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Sunday, January 30, 2005

"Iraq: They Said it Couldn't Be Done"

Well, guess what? It HAS been done!

They said that the Iraq insurgency was too strong for elections. They said there would be hundreds of deaths on election day. They said the boycotts would make the election illegitimate. Yet, ironically, the insurgency was almost silent. Any deaths were no greater than any other day. And where were the boycotts, huh?

Hmm. They said it couldn't be done, did they?. Well, if you ask me, I think the predictions were a little off. :P

In Iraq, the current election results from today are pleasantly surprising. Nationwide, eight million people (60% of the eligible voters) eagerly turned out to vote. This past November here in the United States, only 57% of all eligible American voters turned out to vote -- and here no one was threatening to kill us if we did. (How's THAT for embarrassing!?). When some polling stations closed in Iraq, many voters even walked up to 13 miles to another polling station just to cast their vote. How's that for determination! How many people here wouldn't drive a mile to cast their vote?

Even during the elections we were told repeatedly that there were "numerous, bloody attacks." In reality there were attacks on only 15 polling stations nationwide -- out of 5,300! Fourty-four people were left dead (9 of them attackers). The thirty-five killings were certainly a tragedy -- as they always are -- but even as they mourn the dead, Iraq has good reason to be proud....

They are well on the road to Democratic Freedom -- and that's something they have not known for over fifty years! If you ask me, I would most definitely call this a success, and certainly a huge step in the right direction.

Congratulations to the people of Iraq. My prayers are with you. May your hopes for self-rule continue to manifest themselves as your independance is truely realized.

And to the insurgency?... Well, sorry guys. You've clearly been given the finger! :P

Have a blessed day all. May your Monday be a joyous one!

Your happily blogging friend,

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"Face Transformer"

Here's a thoroughly amusing little distraction! You can use the Perception Laboratory's Face Transformer to change the age, race or sex of a facial image; to transform it to the style of a famous artist; to make an exaggerated caricature; or even to make a chimp of yourself!

Upload a picture, follow the online instructions and transform your face into that of a child, a young or older adult, a painting or a monkey. You can even see yourself with the facial structure of the opposite sex.

Perhaps you'd even like to see some of my morph results!? :)

Enjoy, and have a blessed Sunday!

Your happily blogging friend,

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Saturday, January 29, 2005


Sheepfilms is a collection of very short -- usually humorous -- movies by David Packer. If you're curious for a review, let's just say they're very remeniscent of the artwork by M.C. Escher, and leave it at that. Very amusing. :P

Oh, and, if you liked the films, you might want to check out his animated GIFs!


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Thursday, January 27, 2005


Shoveling this morning was hardly a task at all. In fact it was almost like removing three inches of fine feathers from the sidewalk. God must have been busy restuffing his pillows last night. :)


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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

"Snow Globe"

I just got back from a walk this evening. It's snowing again, but this time it's the big fluffy flakes -- the kind you can stick your tongue out and catch. All was quiet, the street lights were casting rays of fluttering shadows on the thick blanket of white, and the only sounds to be heard were an occassional passing car. It was almost as if I was walking inside a snow globe. Sometimes there are events that are so beautiful, they are almost beyond words. This was one of them.

Sure I'll probably have to shovel again in the morning, but who cares. That's in the morning. Right now I'm appreciating the beauty of one of the more beautiful snowfalls of the entire winter. I'd say thats worth taking a walk for!


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"Back to the 'Ole Drawing Board"

It's mid-morning right now, and I'm about to head off to bed for the "night". It may seem odd to say that, as most people usually work during the day and sleep at night, but the past few days I've been doing something different, and working myself into the opposite schedule.

See, personally I find the overnight hours -- when everyone else is sleeping -- to be my best creative time. It's quiet, my roomate is sound asleep, and it's just me and the creative process. I love that kind of marriage. And, since I'm between acting gigs right now, working to improve my own self-employment ventures, and hopefully securing something beyond those areas, I can take advantage of setting my own hours again. Afterall, in a week or two, who knows, I may just be right back on a regular day schedule again, and then I would have lost this rare opportunity.

So, I've chosen to utilize some of this creative time to start a few more off-computer projects. As such, one of my favorite non-digital artistic topics is graphite portraiture. It's something I love, and have a great passion for. It's also something for which I've found the most success. This evening I began work on a new one featuring a beautiful young upscale 1890's woman. I'm basing it off of a vintage photograph from Scott's collection of geneological photos, and so far it's already taking shape nicely. Give it a few more days, and I could concievably have another personal favorite in my collection. :P

For now, though, I'm just going to enjoy the process, eagerly put pencil to paper, and see what results. Afterall, a journey towards anything is best travelled with patience, passion, and prayer, and right now, I have plenty of each. Here's to doing something you love. May it never go wrong when your heart is in the right place.

Have a blessed Wednesday all, and I'll see you in the evening when I awake.

Your happily blogging artist friend,

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"Quote of the Day"

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
God is awake."
- Victor Hugo

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"The Celebrity Ranker"

The Celebrity Ranker finds out just how popular and sexy people are, according to the Internet. It analyzes the web pages in Google's database to find out what the Internet thinks about any celebrity. It is entirely the opinion of a computer program.

The funny thing is, you can also put in your own name or the name of your website.
I tried these two 'celebrities' and found out that according to the algorithm, I'm not quite as popular as Tom Hanks, but almost as sexy. :P

I (Jon Baas) rank the 5348th most sexy and 7589th most popular.
Popularity = 2.719 (where 7=super popular, 1=not popular)
Sexiness = 4.3977% (the percentage of web pages that think Jon Baas is sexy)

Tom Hanks ranks the 1967th most sexy and 4850th most popular.
Popularity = 5.428 (where 7=super popular, 1=not popular)
Sexiness = 5.4478% (the percentage of web pages that think Tom Hanks is sexy)

Hmm. I would say this qualifies as interesting, and a bit amusing. lol

Have a blessed Wednesday all. Until the morrow,

Your happily blogging friend,

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"How Nerdy Are You?"

Have you been recently called a geek, a dork, or a nerd? Do you want to be a geek, dork, or a nerd? Well, this test is for you! This highly advanced test will determine once and for all how nerdy you really are.

It seems I'm a very low-Level Nerd, which makes sense. 81% scored higher (more nerdy), and 19% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean?
Your nerdiness is: Not nerdy, but then again maybe not all that cool either.


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Monday, January 24, 2005

"A Private View of the President"

Now that the 2005 US Presidential Inaguration is in the history books, how about a rare look into the life of President George W. Bush.


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Sunday, January 23, 2005

"Johnny Carson, R.I.P."

Television legend Johnny Carson died this morning of emphysema. I was too young to take an interest in late night television while he was still on the air, but I have learned this much since... He knew how to interact with the audience, he made millions laugh, and his comedic timing was legendary. Without him, so many of our entertainment stars would not be where they are today. He was a good man, and the entertainment world will miss him dearly. Godspeed Johnny.

"Late-Night King Johnny Carson Dies at 79"


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Saturday, January 22, 2005


It's been a long day, and with all the snow shoveling I did, I'm exhausted. Unfortunately that doesn't leave much energy to write anything museworthy this evening. So, I hope you'll forgive me, but I think I'm going to go grab a warm shower, and then head off to bed. A good long rest should do me good, and probably even kill this snow-induced fatigue.

Have a blessed Sunday all, stay warm, and I'll catch you again on the morrow.

Your happily blogging friend,

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"More Snow"

Hmm. More snow overnight than I expected. As of 2pm this afternoon I've already shoveled three times today. Once at 2am this morning (yes, I was shoveling in the middle of the night!), again around 6am, and just recently at about 1pm. Each time the task amounted to a significant degree of labor.

Where I live, we've already gotten over a foot of snow overnight, with 2-5 more inches still predicted before the day is through. Add that to the eight inches or so that was already on the ground, and, ...well, you do the math.

Oh, and you know what I found today? While I was shovelling, I noticed there are actually cars parked in our parking lot! Yeah, imagine that... under all that snow, there are actually cars! It certainly boggles the mind doesn't it! :P

I did have to laugh later too though. Once again I think God was having a little fun at our expense. After my third time shoveling this afternoon -- during which Scott (roomate) assisted me -- we'd both been outside for about an hour. The snow kept falling, easily covering what we'd just shoveled moments before, and notable winds kept wipping some of it back into our faces. It probably wasn't an ideal nor efficient time to be shovelling, but, the task had to be done.

However, just when we called it quits and came inside, we glanced out the window to find that just like that it was no longer snowing, the wind was not blowing the snow around anymore, and the sun was shining quite brilliantly. It was as if God was chuckling at our toils and saying, "ok, smart guys, NOW I'll make the weather favorable!" I tell ya, God certainly has a well-developed sense of humor!

I should probably take advantage of the sun, go back out, and shovel the half inch that fell on what we already shovelled, but, you know what, I think I'll just stay inside this time. I'll probably go back out this evening and take care of anything that's still left. But for now, I'll just enjoy the warmth of the sun from indoors. I've already seen too much snow for one day. :P

Have a blessed Saturday all. I'll write again later.

Your happily blogging snow-covered friend,

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Friday, January 21, 2005

"White Night"

Guess what? .... It's snowing again. Significantly. It looks like I'll be shoveling again in the morning. Yep, me and my snow shovel, we're becoming great friends. :P


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Thursday, January 20, 2005

"Twice the White; Twice the Exercise"

Yay. More snow. So much so, in fact, that I had to shovel the entire lot twice today. I awoke around 9am, went out and shoveled, then came indoors, watched the Presidential Inaguration, went back to bed for a short while, and later awoke to find twice as much snow had fallen as that which I had just shoveled earlier. So, sighing, I went back outside to shovel all over again.

I'll admit, doing so twice in one day is not my favorite activity, but, if the good Lord provides us with the white stuff, I'll be thankful and happily remove it from the sidewalks. No sense in someone slipping on hidden ice and making a trip to the hospital. That would be most unfortunate.

But, the good news is, at least we have snow again, and all is white once more. You gotta love winter in Wisconsin. It certainly keeps us on our toes. :)


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"2005 Presidential Inauguration"

Congratulations to George W. Bush for a successful second inauguration as the continued 43rd President of the United States of America.

"Yahoo Inauguration Full Coverage"


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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"Lost Idol"

Mmmm. Two great televisions shows on tonight. "Lost" and "American Idol". Good thing we have two tv's. That makes it easy to tape one, and watch the other, while still catching both. Ah, yes, such a simple life I lead. :P

Have a blessed Thursday all!

Your happily blogging friend,

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"Wednesday Morning Snow"

It turns out that around here in Milwaukee, we didn't that get much snow last night. The meteorologist predicted at least two inches, but we didn't even get that. When I went out to shovel this morning, there were only a few snow drifts. I easily shoveled those out, salted the lot, and all was well.

It certainly wasn't as much a task as I feared it would be. But that's fine. At least I got my exercise, right? :)

Have a blessed day. I'll write again later.

Your happily blogging should-probably-go-back-to-bed friend,

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

"Audition Tuesday"

Today was a day of auditions. I was hoping to be part of it, but alas, that just wasn't so. I'd been looking forward to the auditions for "The Rainmaker", by N. Richard Nash, at my favorite theatre, but unfortunately, as it turns out, my schedule has a number of personal conflicts and I can't be part of it. So, no romantic stage comedy for me... this time anyay. I'll just have to wait until the next show.

But, even though my hopes to audition for this show fell through, I still got to watch a few other people go through a similar experience. Yes, tonight was the premiere of American Idol 4 -- everyone's favorite television music contest. And I had a front row seat from the comfort of my own home. (Mmmmm... warm blanket...) :P

As usual, most of the auditioners knew nothing about successful auditioning, and even more had probably never even heard their voice outside their own head. The unrealistic lure of fame and fortune was greater on the 100,000 people that auditioned, than was the concept of being professionally prepared. But, that's typical of the early rounds in American Idol, and by design. I certainly feel for those that didn't have a chance, but the truth of the matter is, it's not as easy as it looks. Success doesn't come easy, and only those who look at it realistically really have the greatest chance.

But, in the end, despite not being able to actually audition as planned, I was still able to make it an audition night, and that made me happy. I also got to endulge in an annual hobby of adding a third favorite television series to my list of current television "must-see's", as well as maintaining the American Idol messageboard that goes with it. So, all-in-all, I can't complain. :)

Afterall, if I had been able to audition for the stage show, I would not have been able to enjoy American Idol. It just happened to work out the other way around. Not everything works out as planned, however, keeping an open mind about those disappointments usually leads to optimism and alternative opportunities. And I'm certainly all about optimism!

So, here's to my next audition... and another enjoyable evening of American Idol tomorrow night! :P

Have a blessed Wednesday all, and until then,

Your happily blogging actor friend,

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"Winter... Updated"

Well, I guess I have to update my last post. It IS snowing outside now. Not a lot, but it is snowing. Better set out the shovel for tomorrow morning. :P


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"And Then There Was Winter."

Today I took a walk to take care of a few local errands, and one word can easily sum up the whole experience... COLD!

Yes, I think Old Man Winter has finally decided to peek his head out from behind the warmer spring whether we've had lately. We still don't have any more snow than before, but, at least the temperatures have reached the "frigid" point. And that certainly qualifies for what we normally call winter around here.

Point of fact... last night the temperature (not wind chill) was -3 degrees F. That's a bit cold. Right now it's in the low 20's F, which is certainly a lot warmer by Wisconsin standards. I even hear talk that we'll get some snow later tonight. 2-6 inches. We'll see. If we do, then I guess I get to shovel again tomorrow morning. Yay.

But, hey, why think negatively, right? Why not enjoy the cold weather while you've got it. Afterall, before you know it'll be sunny and hot -- almost 100 degrees F --, the sun will be turning you back red, and the cooling breezes will be blowing your hair all over the place. Yeah, yeah, I know, downright comfortable. Oh, and the misquitos and the grilling.... and the warm days at the beach. Mmmmmm....

Bah, who really wants that anyway, especially when you can go outside right now, and turn red from the wind chill, have the frigid winds blow your hair all over the place, and you can have the thrill of actually seeing your breath! And who doesn't enjoy that! And hey, I suppose if you do want to do some grilling, you're in luck. Brat Popsicles are all the rage right now! :P

Seriously though -- all kidding aside -- I think we can now finally say that winter is indeed upon us. We've had our first big snowfall a week or so ago, and now our first big deep freeze. THIS, folks, is Wisconsin! And this, my friends, is what winter is supposed to be like. Enjoy it while you have it!

Have a blessed day all, and stay warm -- whether you're inside or out.
I'll catch you next time. :)

Your happily blogging friend,

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Monday, January 17, 2005

"Not So Manic Monday"

Yep. First day of the week. Ironically, nothing happened, so, nothing shall be written. Tomarrow certainly looks to be full of musings, though, so I'll see you then! :P

Have a blessed Tuesday all!


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Sunday, January 16, 2005

"The Generator Blog"

"The Generator Blog is not about those machines used to change mechanical energy into electrical energy. It's about software that creates software. Software to play around and have fun with."

In other words, it's a warehouse of those fun little online programs that allow you to come up with interesting creations, alternate names, or just plain anything amusing that can occupy your time. (Just be warned, there are a few programs with questionably poor taste in the list, but otherwise, not bad.)

As an example, here are some of the amusing results I've generated:

Middle Earth Name Generator:
"Yes Sire, I am a Hobbit. The name's Marroc, Marroc Hedgeworth from Grindwall."

Extreme Sports Generator:
"Anyone up for some High-Altitude Cliff Biking!?"

Random Wisconsin City Name Generator:
"Yes, I really am from 'Lac du washahawk' (Lac du washa-hawk). Why do you ask?"

Obviously these are just a few of the programs. There are plenty many more on the list. Feel free to take a look sometime. Enjoy, and have fun! :P

Your happiliy amused blogging friend,

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Saturday, January 15, 2005

"Lessons of an Online Chat Pro"

Well, ok, I'm not nearly as much a pro as some who spend all their free time chatting on the internet, but I do get the chance to meet and greet from time to time.... and here are some of the online lessons (good and bad) that I've learned:

1. No where else in the world is freedom of speech more common than the internet.
2. The vast majority of people chatting online, cannot spell properly.
3. Most people online are youths looking only for sexual encounters.
4. Bots advertising sex webcams are at times more plentiful than real people.
5. Religion is a popular chat debate even moreso than politics or current events.
6. Religious individuals trying to actively convert others are commonplace.
7. There is a distinct internet culture that rivels that of any country.
8. Polite introductions rarely exist online.
9. Crude language is abundant and some even use it as a primary language.
10. Many people seem to see nothing wrong with being rude to others.
11. People are astonished that I try to be polite.
12. Harrassment is a crime. Yet it happens all the time on the internet.
13. Foreign (non-American) youth seem to crave Americans as "best friends".
14. Some of the most uneducated people I know are people I've met online.
15. And some people seem to reside online at all times.

So, with all the lessons I've learned about popular internet culture, why do I keep stopping in from time to time to see who I may meet? Well, quite simply, despite all the junk in online chat, there are still some extraordinary people out there... People who ARE educated, polite, respectful, interesting, and above all worth meeting.

If you can overlook the sickeningly sad nature of most youth online, then you'll start to find the good. THAT's what makes online chat so interesting. Perhaps even a challenge. And sometimes, a challenge is just what I'm in the mood for! :)

Have a blessed day all, and until next time,

Your happily musing friend,

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Brewers Under New Ownership"

Well, as of today, the current Milwaukee Brewers are no longer associated with the Selig name. Today, they officially have a new owner and a new start. Here's hoping for some great new things from the Brewers. I'd say they're about due.

"MLB approves sale of Brewers to Attanasio"


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"Soaked and Green"

Well, the rain has stopped, and the snow is gone. Aside from the snowbanks -- now much smaller in size -- the lawns are once again devoid of anything but grass, and various parts of the state have experienced heavy flooding. I even saw a few tiny buds on a variety of shrubbery around here, and around here you don't want to be seeing that in the middle of cold season.

If this isn't a strange winter, then I don't know what is!


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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"Pour it on!"

Here in Milwaukee, we still have a solid eight inches of snow on the ground, yet right now there's a heavy downpour of rain and warm spring-like temperatures.

If it weren't for the fact that my calendar on the wall says in big bold letters, "January", I'd think it was already April. Maybe that old addage should be changed to... "January showers bring February flowers." I think this year that would be much more appropriate.

Have a blessed day all... and, um... enjoy the rain. :P

Your happily blogging friend,

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What do you get when you mix the Original Star Trek Series with The Flinstones? Why, Stone Trek of course! If you're a Star Trek fan, a fan of Captain Kirk and company, or just a fan of great parody, then this is a must-see site!

Be sure to take the time and watch all nine episodes starting with the first. If you're not rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter by the end of the ninth, well... let's just say you've been warned. :P

Oh, and if you loved Stone Trek you'll probably love Sev Trek too!

Enjoy the Trek humor, and have a blessed Wednesday!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"Computer Puppetry!"

I don't know if it's true for other computer operating systems, but in Windows XP there's an option for a text-to-speech function. You type in any desired text, and the computer reads it back to you via an audio vocal program. Why this function exists in the first place, I really don't know, but it does.

Now imagine this...

In our apartment, my roomate Scott and I each have our bedrooms directly next to each other. I can be sitting at my computer in my room, and he at his in his room, and we can easily still have a conversation around the corner with each other.

Well, earlier this evening, he was playing a around on his computer -- on which he had just installed XP -- and was trying out some of the new features. He happened upon this odd text-to-speech program and started typing text into it, happily listening as the resulting phrase was read aloud by the mechanical male voice.

I too -- previously unaware this program existed on my own computer -- found it amusing, and decided to start playing with it as well. It wasn't long before the two of us were happily typing a conversation with each other through this silly text-to-speech program. His computer would say something witty he'd typed, followed by a response from mine, and so forth.

But wait, the fun doesn't stop there! Nooooo.... :P

Each computer had developed it's own personality! Yes, they were soon quoting lines from popular pop-culture songs (obviously mutilating them horribly when it came to any kind of vocal rhythm), discussing the days events from a computer's perspective, cracking jokes, and even making witty comments about the two humans feeding them the text!... Yes, by some strange twist of amused fate, these poor unwitting electronic devices had suddenly become comedic puppets for two easily-amused guys shooting the breeze one evening. And my, what a riot it was! If you ask me, maybe I had a little too much time on my hands...

You think? :P

If you've got Windows XP on your computer, give the program a try sometime. Be open-minded. Let yourself laugh. You'll have fun with it. Trust me. You will.

Have a blessed day all, and enjoy! Until next time,

Your happily amused actor friend,

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"Quote of the Day"

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain

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Monday, January 10, 2005

"Number Four"

"We both had done the math. Kelly added it all up and... knew she had to let me go. I added it up, and knew that I had... lost her. 'cos I was never gonna get off that island. I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So... I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I-I - , I couldn't even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over *nothing*. And that's when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?"

- Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks)
Of my personal top ten movies of all time, I have now found number four.

Without a doubt, "Cast Away" has earned that position, and it would certainly rank higher, if not for the fact that the top three slots are firmly held by the masterful Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

I watched this film tonight (not for the first time), and I watched the credits to the very end. The very end. It was THAT good of a movie. Moving, thought-provoking, and a bit spiritual. For me, that's worthy of being in the top five.


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Sunday, January 09, 2005


We now have curtains in our apartment.

For Christmas, Scott's mom (missionary's wife in Africa) sewed us some beautiful curtains. Yesterday we put them up. They have a bit of an African feel to them, and add a strong touch of beauty to all the rooms. And you know what, just like that, our apartment has taken on a whole new element to it's already unique personality.

If you ask me, a gift wraught of creativity, dedication, and love, is far better than anything that can be bought in a store.


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Saturday, January 08, 2005

"2005 Bloggies"

The Bloggies are a set of 30 publicly-chosen awards given to weblog writers and those related to weblogs. It has become the elite of the online weblog awards, and is currently nominating blogs for it's fifth annual awards year.

If you're an avid reader of weblogs or maintain one yourself, you may find the competition worth a visit. The contest is open to any weblogs that existed for a period of time during 2004. They are, however, only accepting nominations until 10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5) on Monday, January 10, 2005.

So, if you do toss your blog into the mix this year, enjoy, and best of luck!


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"Quote of the Day"

"If you worry about yesterday's failures, then todays successes will be few."
- Unknown

"Life is trying things to see if they work."
- Ray Bradbury

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

"Winter Wonderland"

Last night it snowed, and by mid morning here in Milwaukee, we had measured 7-8 inches of the fluffy white stuff. That meant that from about 7am until nearly 11am I was outside shoveling out my apartment lot -- by myself. Very tiring work, mind you. It's amazing how heavy eight inches of snow can be when you have to remove it from drifted over sidewalks measuring deeper than that in some places.

But, the good part was that after I finally finished the task, I was able to come indoors, have a light lunch, and go back to bed. I ended up sleeping almost eight hours. Heh. So much for my Thursday. :P

But, at least I can say that our Wisconsin weather remains consistant for yet another year. In fact, you can almost expect a winter of completely unexpected weather around here. Shortly after Christmas we had thunderstorms and rain, then rather balmy spring weather (in early January no less), and then a cold winter blast complete with nearly a foot of snow!

Yep, good 'ole Wisconsin. Us cheeseheads are definitely getting used to the gamet of weather over here. It certainly keeps us on our toes, that's for sure. :)

Have a blessed Friday all. Until then,

Your happily blogging friend,

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

"Kangaroo Walkabout"

You don't see this everyday... especially up here in Wisconsin.

"Iowa Deputies Capture Wandering Kangaroo"


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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"Norton Be Gone!"

Lately, for the past month or so, I've been having trouble accessing select secure websites. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why. Was it some Windows update I had downloaded that was now resetting something on my computer without my knowing? Was my PC infected with something?

Nope. It turns out the problem was Norton, my anti-virus software of choice. Apparently, one of the security updates I had downloaded -- about a month ago -- had caused Norton to decide that it was smarter than I was. Along with resetting various programs to better suit it's needs, it had also decided I didn't need to access my bank account online, sign into a variety of secure sites, or even make use Yahoo IM, my instant messenger of choice.

For the last month, this issue bugged me to no end. I visited message boards to see what other people facing the same problem had done (no help there), asked around (no useful suggestions), called a few technical help-lines ("sorry, we can't help you"), even dug deep into my own computer system to try and locate the problem on my own... still no resolution. Then, finally, while talking to my Dad, he presented the best suggestion. He'd faced a similar problem a while back, and one of his experiments was to uninstall Norton. Lo and behold, that fixed it.

So, I finally decided to try his suggestion. And guess what? My dad was right.
Norton was the problem.

So, for those of you who've had the same problem, or the many of you I came across in those message boards, here's a helpful suggestion. Try uninstalling Norton -- if you have it -- that might just solve your issue. Afterall, there's nothing worse than a computer program with an ego that thinks it knows you better than you do.

Good luck with the issue, and if you do resolve it this way... welcome to the world of less frustration!

Your happily blogging friend,

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Sunday, January 02, 2005

"New Years Day Eve"

This year I ended up getting distracted into other projects on New Years Eve. So, I unfortunately lost track of time, missed watching the ball drop in Times Square, and generally shot any personal New Years Eve plans.

Thankfully, however, I decided to rectify the oversight and do my own thing this year. Thus New Years Day Eve (Saturday night) became my own New Years Eve celebration. One night belated, sure, but hey, well worth it nonetheless.

At home we have a family tradition where we select a good movie to watch on New Years Eve. Often that tradition has included a bit of a buffet style snack set-up complete with eggnog, crackers, cheese, etc. Although not at home this Holiday season, I chose to do the same here in Milwaukee. Just me, a mini snack buffett, a warm blanket, eggnog, and a good movie.

For Christmas my parents had given me the movie, "The Alamo" -- a personal favorite -- and had suggested I could watch it on New Years Eve. This was also the film they had planned to watch. So, in a way, I would still be able to "join" them in the family tradition. Just my luck, though, I missed New Years Eve, and had already watched The Alamo just before Christmas. Having recently checked out two movies from Blockbuster, however -- "The Majestic" and "Raising Helen" -- I watched Raising Helen instead. Given the circumstances, it seemed to be an appropriate choice... and reminded me somewhat of home.

So, although the movie was different, the family was absent, and I was a day late in celebrating, I still ended up having a wonderfully New Years celebration.

I guess that's one of the nice things about celebrating the Holidays on your own. If you miss one of them, no one else knows. :P

As we welcome in 2005, it is my prayer that you all have a blessed new year. Stay warm, and don't forget to sign your checks with a "5" now instead of a "4". I know I'm bound to forget that at some point this January. Happens every year. :P

Have a wonderful new week all!

Your happily blogging friend,

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Jon Baas

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