Category Archives: technology

Olympic Closing

As I watched parts of the closing ceremony and listened to the commentators heap gooey praise on China for putting on such a great event, I thought about all the human rights violations that were covered up by the news media and reporters in order to get the coverage they wanted.  I also asked myself,”How much of this junk is real?”  Obviously it was delayed due to time zones, but how much of it was pre -taped and edited for TV?  Of the lights, fireworks, and music, am I watching a performance that was filmed live, or is this some cinematic reproduction?  NBC has shown that they are quite capable of complicity with the communist government of China, so I guess it wold not be a huge surprise to find that the closing, like the opening, was full of fakery.  Like someone said before, the fake gymnasts’ ages, the fake fans, fake fireworks, and fake singing of the cute girl cannot be where this whole thing ends.  Everything this government does is fake, and NBC needed the coverage and the money.  Bring back the games for the sake of the games without all the hype and fakery.

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WALL-E

WALL-E has been alone on earth for 700 years, and he's lonely.

WALL-E has been alone on Earth for 700 years, and he's lonely.

Last night, Marcela and I caught the late showing of Disney-PIXAR’s WALL-E.  I had heard some good reviews about the movie, and the Internet Movie Data Base currently has a very high user rating for the movie.  The official movie site has some cool games, character background, and trailers.  This movie was very thoughtful, even showing that the more attached we become to technology, the less we are able to care for ourselves.  The movie focuses on a robot named WALL-E (Waste Allocation Lift Loader, Earth-Class) whose directive is to clean up the trash on Earth one little cube at a time.  Apparently he is the only robot left on the planet who is functional.  After all these years, he has developed a glitch which is a personality.  He repairs himself with spare parts from all the other “WALL-E” units that have broken down and has become a bit curious about things.  This leads him to become a pack-rat.  It’s also the first movie that I can think of in which a cockroach becomes a lovable character.  The animation is done as well as any movie I have seen before.  For the rest of the story, you will have to watch it yourself.  It’s a film that is completely family/kid friendly but is enjoyable for the adults to watch as well.  Marcela and I recommend this to anyone who likes sci-fi, love stories, technology, and “Disney stuff”.

If you want more info on this movie, this guy does a more detailed review that’s worth a look.

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Sunday Life Pointe Talk Soup 2.0

  • Arriving at the theater (Church) this morning, I found Jesse, David C., and my mom (Anne J) already kicking things off. David was working hard putting out the signs and flags. Props to the set up guys for their dedication.
  • I had to fix my own coffee and bagel today, since my wife who volunteer in the coffee department is out of town. She will be in Idaho and Wyoming for a while visiting with her parents.
  • I had to do a little searching for power and direct box since I was on the keyboard this morning. I also brought the miniKorg in order to midi some retro sounds. That set me back about 20 or more minutes just to find the pieces.
  • Jesse took a Sunday to step back, observe, and push others into leadership. Alex, Reina, Julie, and yours truly led songs this morning.
  • Alex was on acoustic guitar, Bill was kickin it on the bass, I played the keyboard, Mike was rockin the drums.
  • The 9:00 attendance was strong, but the music seemed to miss the flow at times.
  • The 10:30 service was packed. The vibe was intense, and the music was on target.
  • We started out with Reina singing Trading My Sorrows, then Alex led a new song “Devotion” that was just very heartfelt and dynamic, the Julie led “You Are My King (Amazing Love)” for communion, and I led “Life Song” to end. After we were finished, we sang a little piece from Coldplay’s Viva la Vida while people shook hands. I loved the music this morning.
  • The videos were outstanding!
  1. First video was of last week’s baptism. The comments from those attending and being baptized were beautiful. As people were brought up from the water, the screen went from black and white to color.
  2. Second video was a pitch from the youth (they actually created the video) to help raise funds for Youth Camp. It was in the form of a news show.
  3. Third video was the intro video for “Got Funk: The Funk of Humility”. Chris Day starred as a not so humble guy on his first date with Venus. WOW he was totally arrogant, but it was funny. Venus couldn’t get a word in edgewise. There were also some characters from previous videos like Alex’s mustache man (wah wah wah), Gio on the phone, and Nathan reading about super sized kids. At the end, it seemed obvious that there would be no second date. The blooper/outtakes were pretty funny too.
  • At 2pm we met in the church office for the Web 2.0 seminar. We discussed the potential of social networking to bring people together and introduce them to LPC.
  • We discussed Twitter, Blogging, Facebook, Flckr, MySpace, and other social networking tools.
  • There was a brief tutorial on setting up a blog, “link-love”, web searches, categories, and what things you would want to avoid putting on the internet.

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Filed under church, communications, Homestead, life pointe, technology, worship

Thought Salad

-Marcela is going to Idaho and Wyoming for almost 3 weeks to see her mom and dad. I will be “baching it” for that period.

-I foresee a couple fishing trips in my future. I believe I will be heading out to either Islamorada or Boynton Beach Monday morning.

-If all goes well, I will have a mess of snapper and grouper, or I will have some dolphin, wahoo, and kingfish.

-Fresno State became the first regional 4 seed to win the CWS ever. That is about the same as a 16 seed in the NCAA basketball tourney winning the championship. They are a true Cinderella story; they almost missed the tournament completely and made great comebacks in the regional, super regional, and CWS.

-Fresno St also hit the cover off the ball. They may have set a record for most homeruns in the CWS.

-Two nights ago, my mom and dad joined Marcela and me for fresh dolphin tacos. Marcela and I drove out to Robert is Here and another local fruit stand to get some fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro, tomatos, and avocados for the tacos and some mangos to go on the side. We had a blast.

-I don’t what the deal is, but those jals were some of the hottest I have ever had. I actually had to ask Marcela to remove the seeds and membrane for the salsa to cool it down a little.

-My mom and dad made banana icecream that night, too. It was great! We had quite a bit leftover but it’s all gone now.

-We played the Wii for a while after dinner and had a great time. My mom beat my dad in one of the shooting games, but my dad’s pretty good.

-I will be at church alone Sunday. Music should be fun, but I will miss Marcela.

-Something is going on with my internet connection at home. I thing that it is either my DSL modem or my wireless router. The connection just resets every 10 minutes or so.

-The interruptions are not noticeable unless I am playing my Wii online. It boots me out of the game. Just before I kill somebody on Medal of Honor 2.

-Blog traffic has been spiking and dropping just about every other day. It looks like a stock ticker with peaks and valleys. Based on the web search traffic, I assume it is going to take off very soon.

-This blog started at the request of Travis who has been pushing the blogging concept as long as he has been down here in Homestead (from what I can remember).

-I can’t wait to attend the Life Pointe Web 2.0 Seminar this Sunday afternoon. I’m going to call and reserve my spot this morning if there is anything available. I think Chris is going to be there and hopefully Bill, too.

-Maybe we can get Chris to start twittering, too.

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Filed under church, life pointe, sports, technology, time, worship

State of the Blog Address

Mr. Webmaster, Pastor Trav, “The Major“, blog readers, wordpress staff, internet surfers, Life Pointe Attenders and Members, distinguished blogroll members, subscribers and guests, tonight the state of the blog is exceptionally strong!

Over the past several months since this blogs inception, the traffic steadily grew from just a handful of views a day, to record traffic in the last week of April through the early portion of May.  Traffic was primarily based on hits from Pastor Trav’s site due to the baptism controversy, a post about the NBA playoffs that got the attention of a sports page, a top 5 list that made the menus page in Miami, a top 5 post that generated repeat views and comments about overused phrases, and due to a top 5 entry that got some fans of Melanie Sofka a little upset.  As those hot topics died down, my traffic dropped off considerably.  There have been criticism that posts about sports or amusement parks are not what people want to read, but this blogger will not compromise his core values!  We will press on in the face of lighter than average traffic to bring you information that you need!  I am here for you!
As the NBA playoffs reached the finals, traffic returned.  There were numerous hits returned from search engines from people looking for statistics on teams coming from 3-1 deficits, and the history of the NBA finals.  There were also numerous hits on a thread “The Irony of Green and Red” which pointed out that Phil Jackson made it to the finals for the first time with a team that he has developed while the Celtics won the championship with a team of stars developed everywhere but Boston.

The most traffic from internet search engines have come from these terms in this order: #1 Citizen Cane/Kane; #2 Beetlejuice Shrunken Head and all variations of that search (from Marcela’s LPC Talk Soup Post on 3/30/08 referencing Jesse’s intro video), #3 Polaner Allfruit; #4 the NBA (and variations); and #5 Deep Thoughts/Jack Handey.

The last two weeks, the search engines are driving the traffic on this page.  I expect traffic to spike over the weekend as people all over the nation are interested in the results of the baptism at Biscayne.  The NBA traffic should die down, and there may be another lull.  But as this blog continues to bring quality information to the masses, it is the expectation of this writer that the traffic will reach the level of consistency and record numbers that it was experiencing in April and May.

We will continue to bring the Top 5 on Saturdays, the Talk Soup (with occasional guest writers) on Sundays, all kinds of thoughts on Thursday, and choice sarcastic humor on Wednesday.  There may be a discontinuation of the Jack Handey Deep Thoughts to be replaced by my choice of quotes (may or may not be original).  Stay tuned!

Thank you for reading and contributing to The Citizen Cane.  Until the next entry, good night and God bless!

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Filed under basketball, church, communications, deep thought, food, life pointe, music, NBA, schedule, sports, technology, time, top 5, worship

Saturday Top 5: Florida Amusement Park Rides

Disclaimer: I have not been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and all water park rides are out of the question. These top 5 rides are based on my personal experience and my opinion (which is correct).

Honorable Mention

Men In Black – Universal Studios. Marcela and I have ridden MIB at least 40 times over the past 3 years. On our first trip to the park, the rain came down hard about 2 PM and cleared out the park so we went over and over and over. It is a ride that does not get boring because it is also a video game. My personal high score is over 500,000.

The Incredible Hulk – Islands of Adventure. Awesome coaster that launches you out of the tube going up. It’s also very smooth so you don’t leave it with a headache.

Sheikra – Tampa Busch Gardens. The best part of this ride is the initial drop at 90 degrees from 200 feet in the air after being suspended for a few seconds. After that, it’s a little anti-climatic, but the start is worthy of mention. They have also now removed the flooring so your feet dangle.

Kumba – Tampa Busch Gardens. A little bumpy for a standard sit-down coaster, but it has a lot of twists and loops and packs quite a bit of g-force. You might get a headache on this one.

Soarin – Disney Epcot. This is one of the most soothing and refreshing rides of all time. You sit on a bench suspended about 25 feet in the air and it simulates motion as you watch flying scenes on an Imax screen. They also pump mist and fragrances as you fly over orchards and wild flower fields. You get the sensation of flying on a hang glider.

5. The Kraken – Sea World. This was a first class thriller of a traditional sit down coaster. It starts with a drop off to your right and has a few breaks. It is a very smooth coaster but also has quite enough in the way of loops and twists. You also get to dive through some tunnels.

4. Dueling Dragons Fire & Ice– Universal Islands of Adventure. This is the baddest coaster at the Orlando Universal Resort. It’s two completely separate inverted coasters that have totally different twists and turns. The cool part is that at two points it appears that you are going to slam into the other coaster only to miss by about 12 inches and then going into a full loop. On Ice you appear to head toward a wall only to flip away last second, but Fire is the bad boy. Lots of speed loops, twists, and plenty of hard turns. AWESOME RIDE!

3. Montu – Busch Gardens. My favorite roller coaster. This is an inverted coaster (I prefer the inverted coasters) that kicks serious tail. It is Egyptian themed and travels through the ruins of the pyramids and the Sphinx. It starts with one of the biggest drops on any coaster in FL, but since it is an inverted coaster and dives to the left at the start, you don’t even see the track that you are on during the dive. The action is totally non stop giving no time to breathe. It also has one of the longest tracks of any inverted coaster according to Busch Gardens. It dives through several tunnels as well. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this ride.

1(b). Mission: Space – Disney’s Epcot. I could not decide which ride of the top 2 was better, so I give them both their props. This ride will probably make you sick, but it is worth the possibility of a little pukage to experience this thrill. You sit in a centrifuge while facing a screen that shows you a first person view of a space launch. You have a launch button in front and a steering stick with verbal cues when to hit the buttons. As you launch, the centrifuge spins you extremely fast giving the sensation that you are blasting off. Being enclosed in such a small space with no other visual stimulus, your brain is tricked into thinking that you are moving forward very fast, not spinning. Each seat in the four passenger ship is complete with a barf bag for each person. It’s a good thing, because about half the people get off dizzy and a little queezy. It was AWESOME!

1(a). The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman 3D – Universal Islands of Adventure. The coolest tech ride of all time, Spiderman 3D combines a moving track with motion simulation and 3D! You have to don 3D glasses for this one so it can be a bit annoying for some, but it puts the action right in your face. At one point, Spiderman jumps on the hood of your vehicle and it feels like he is right there! You are on a track riding in “The Scoop” (a vehicle that allows you to get the shots of that menace Spiderman) through the streets trying to get pictures of Spiderman. As you come on his enemies doing bad things, you are attacked and launched in the air, dragged over sky scrapers, and eventually dropped hundreds of feet to the ground face first only to be saved at the last second by Spiderman. Throughout the ride as you are attacked, Spiderman is shooting in and out of each scene with timely rescues from the attacks of the villains. You get the sensations of flying, falling, being sprayed by a little water, heat from fire as you are attacked, and crashing into all sorts of things. This is another ride that does not get old. It also mixes live pyrotechnics, water, and 3D cartoon with cool music. As you wait in line for an hour to get on the ride, you get to see all sorts of Spiderman stuff and views from the inside of the Daily Bugle where Peter Parker works. Too fun man! Buy the express pass or ride single rider to avoid the long wait.

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Filed under family, FL, technology, top 5

Poached Thoughts

  • I just returned from a trip to Orlando with Marcela to celebrate our third anniversary.  We had a great time!
  • Three years ago on June 11, I made Marcela the happiest woman in the world.  Then June 12 rolled around.  🙂
  • On the second week of our honeymoon in June 2005, we went to Orlando to the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  We have gone each Summer since then since she gets free teacher tickets, plus one trip during Halloween.
  • This week we went to Universal again (our 4th trip since we were married) on our anniversary day, and the day before that we went to Sea World.
  • Marcela just went crazy getting to feed the stingrays and getting to pet/feed the dolphins.
  • We went all over town, visited Marcela’s old school in Kissimmee where she taught High School Spanish.
  • As we were leaving Universal, a serious storm hit the park with 30+ MPH winds and lightning and hail.  When the lightning struck, Marcela took off running and I didn’t catch her until we were to the car.  Apparently she has a history of self-preservation.  Ask her about it when you see her.
  • The highlights of the trip were: seeing the new Simpson’s ride, yours truly scoring 508,000 on Men In Black (my all time high score), The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Dueling Dragons, feeding and petting dolphins, feeding stingrays, the penguin encounter, shark encounter, and The Kraken.
  • The Kraken was a great ride which rivals Kumba at Tampa’s Busch Gardens, but not quite with Montu or Dueling Dragons.
  • We had a crazy trip back with some nasty weather and plenty of wildlife.
  • I will have more thoughts this weekend when I have more time to blog.  Sorry for such a rushed version of my weekly thoughts, but I have to sleep! 🙂

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Thoughts Benedict

And now for some personal venting… brace yourself.

  1. “Sick” is going around bigtime in the Johnson kingdom.  I was diagnosed two days ago with sinusitis and was given antibiotics.  I have had it since Friday when I went to my job’s site medical to get some cold medicine.  I had fever, chills, headache, body ache, and sore throat.  I stuck it out at work though, but it turned out to NOT be a cold.  I also had pink eye (which is now cured thanks to my sulfur eye drops.
  2. Marcela was diagnosed with the same sinusitis a couple weeks ago, and then she got sick in her digestive system the day before yesterday.  She has been coughing hardcore for the past two weeks.  The cough that we now both have is driving us both NUTS.  I feel like I am going insane.  😦  My little Marcela said the same thing.  Prescription cough medicine is doing very little to help.
  3. Whatever stomach problem she had, I now have.  I went to work this morning at 5 AM, and left fatigued due to coughing all night and doing other things all night.  I RARELY miss work.  I can endure a cold, but stomach problems really get me.
  4. I went to bed at 9:30 PM and when I got out of bed at 4 AM, my dinner from the night before was still in my throat.  I have been asleep all day trying to let it go. Thank you Lord, I am feeling quite a bit better right now.
  5. Kelly and Kourtney were sick all day Tuesday, and now McKenna is sick with the same stomach problems. My dad called out of work today with stomach problems, and I just found that out when my mom (who is also sick with the stomach problems) came by my house to bring me Emetrol.  WHAT’S GOING ON?!?!

Now that I have that off my chest I can get on to my thoughts…

  • 2 major disasters have struck Asia in the last week.
  1. Between 100,000 and 250,000 are dead in Burma due to a cyclone and flooding, with more death on its way due to the communist/military regime that will not allow outsiders in to help.
  2. China’s Sichuan Province was hit with a magnitude 7.9 earthquake and more than 15,000 are already dead.  Government officials (who are only a little more open than the Burmese Junta) estimate that about 20,000 more are buried under the ruins of their homes, schools, and businesses.  I have seen some of the video of the actual earthquake and it is unbelievable.  The pictures and videos of the rescue and recovery are heartbreaking.  Lord help them.
  • Breakfast with Trav and Chris on Tuesday was great.  We talked about blogging and expand our internet empires.  Chris is trying to say that he is subsidizing my web traffic with his blog.  LOL I still can’t get him to enter the Twitter world yet, but I am working on it.  But I did get some hints on how to increase traffic.  I found out that Saturday is usually the slowest traffic day for Trav and Chris.  I guess due to my top 5 it is a little bit of a boost for my Saturdays.
  • I just bought a Wii entertainment system, and it was delivered today.  Unfortunately, I am too sick to even open it up.  But if anyone is interested in getting a beat down in boxing, or whipped in tennis, or something like that, let me know and we will arrange for it to happen.  This weekend I will open the box and set it up.
  • I’m going to get my stuff together and go to the production and music meeting today at the church office. If you are there, forgive me in advance for looking like garbage.

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Top 5 Saturday: Infomercial Era Inventions

These are some of the best things that ever happened to the kitchen and garden! Well, some of them are just silly. But these are 5 of the most notorious, famous, and infamous inventions in the infomercial era! Enjoy the videos and links for what they are worth, even if they don’t exactly match the invention.

5. The Salad Shooter – With the name “Salad Shooter” I could not resist putting this one here. Apparently, you load this hand held device and it slices tomatoes, carrots, radishes, and such right out onto your salad in a shooting sort of way. I wonder if you could use it in an organized food fight, like paintball cucumber style!

4. The Ronco Spray on Hair – Are you serious? Some black spray paint and a cardboard cut out and you can save a good $25 bucks! This product was advertized heavily in the early 90’s, and I guess people actually bought it. After all, it’s still available for purchase.

3. The Garden Weasel – Again, a product with a silly name. This is a must for anyone with tough soil, moles, and the need to grow cabbage.

2. The Super Bass-o-matic 76! Use the whole bass with no cutting, scaling, or gutting! This is the greatest thing to happen for bass fishermen since the banjo minnow! Wait, reverse that.

1. The George Foreman Grill – Seriously, this is the best invention of all time. You can have a great burger, knock out the fat, and support George Foreman and his 30 George Foreman Jr’s all at the same time! I had one of these in college. Due to my Foreman Grill, along with my 486 50 dx PC, my room was always one of the most visited rooms in Cross Hall.

Feel free to add to my top 5 if you think you can top these.

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Filed under food, technology, TV, Uncategorized

Communication

A couple hundred years, news was spread via town crier and print, then some decades later the telegraph allowed codes to be sent across a pretty good distance. Then with the invention of the magnetic/electric telephone and it’s advent around the turn of the 20th century, we could share information across the country without someone to translate Morse Code. We could actually hear the voice of someone speaking in a different location. Then we had the radio and TV which could relay information quickly into our homes on a wide scale, but there was still a delay in the relay of big events across the globe. As technology grew and so did population, the world got smaller with sattelite communications. We could find out instantly what happened on the other side of the world, as long as the people on the other side of the world would tell us. The internet happened and everything changed. We could share via email or instant messages our information directly from one person to another with no middle man, nobody controlling the flow of info.

As I sit here on the edge of Biscayne Bay and the FL Everglades typing some random thoughts about communications on my Blackberry with no cables, no phone lines, no wireless router, no typewriter or telephone, I am overwhelmed with my thoughts. I can’t even put into words how amazing the era in which we live is to me. I am a nobody in the grand scheme, yet I have the ability to share with the whole world what I am thinking at any given time and nobody is trying to stop me! Isn’t that crazy? I wonder what somebody like Martin Luther or Ben Franklin would have been able to do with this technology.

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Filed under communications, technology, TV, Uncategorized, world events