Friday, March 27, 2009

All of our lights will be off on Saturday, March 28th at 8:30 pm, will yours?

UPDATE 3/28/2009 10:14pm: Photos from around the world as people observe Earth Hour.

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Turn off all of your lights at 8:30 pm your local time, March 28 - that's this Saturday, for Earth Hour.

Pledge to turn off your lights at http://www.earthhour.org, and get Earth Hour updates and tips. Check out a video and photos for last year's celebration of Earth Hour.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Coyote vs. Gosling

An update on the rubber coyotes that have been placed around our office park to scare away the Canadian geese.

Based on this photo, I'd say that it's not really working.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Staycation

Continuing on the theme established in a previous post, I will be writing a few posts on our upcoming "staycation". I know this word is causing many people to groan and roll their eyes, but I think it's a perfect neologism to describe what we're about to do next week.

Starla will be on Spring Break, and I'm taking the week off from work. We won't be holed up in our house the whole week, however, as we'll be sampling some of the wonderful cultural and other offerings of our home city.

For previous vacations, Starla usually does the planning of where to visit and when. This time, however, I've done the event planning, so be worried!

I've got a full week's worth of events planned out that include a wide range of activities, and I'll write about some of them in future postings. Stay tuned... and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Update on ooma

In a previous post, I described switching to the ooma VoIP service to replace our home phone service. It's been about 2 months, so here's an update.

After trying it ooma out for a few weeks, we decided to take the next step and port our home phone number to ooma. I guess I should have separated our home phone number from our DSL service before starting the porting process, because the porting process closed our account with our phone company, and thereby also deactivated our DSL service. This meant that anyone calling us during this time received a "this number is no longer in service message." It also meant that ooma was not usable since we didn't have a broadband connection, but our mobile phones filled in this communications gap.

I had to open a new DSL account with our phone company, which wasn't too difficult, and we were only off the net for a few days. And fortunately, our home phone number was properly ported to ooma.

Since then, ooma has been handling our home phone calls without problem. And I just paid my last local phone bill, which after all is the whole point of ooma.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lent

Every year for Lent, we try to commit to giving up something or actively do something in the hopes that it will spur us to become better disciples. We do better in some years than others.

During Lent of the year that I moved to Arkansas, we gave up watching TV. I was very resistant to the idea at first because I had really enjoyed watching TV, especially cable news. I was a TV news junkie. After Lent that year, I found that I really don't need to watch TV or even want to watch TV any more. And even now we still don't watch TV at home. There's nothing good on anyway. The few occasions when we do watch TV at someone else's house, I'm bored by it very quickly, and I especially get really annoyed at the commercials. Looking back on that Lent, I'm glad we gave up watching TV and I'm glad we've stuck to it.

Last year, we tried giving up sloth for Lent. In other words, we wanted to become more physically active. We signed up for membership at the local community center, but that idea didn't go far. I haven't set foot in that community center since we signed up. I'm hoping to change that this year, not for Lent, but in general.

This year, I decided to give up elevators at work. I know this is not much, but it's a first, small, and realistic step that I hope will gradually turn into a lifelong commitment to physical fitness that's more successful than last year. I think some things are better done cold turkey, like stop watching TV. Others, like physical fitness, are better done gradually. This is especially true for someone like me, whose current level of physical activity involves walking from the parking garage to the office.

On the first day of Lent, I almost failed my commitment right away. Out of pure habit, I headed straight for the elevator banks, pushed the button, and almost stepped in when after the ding and the elevator doors opened. But I caught myself, turned, and headed towards the stairs. I work on the third floor, so that's three flights of stairs (the entrance is on a ground floor) at least once a day. I've been doing good so far in avoiding the elevators. The morning climbs are the toughest right now because I've just walked in from the parking garage and I'm usually parked at the far end. I'm also wearing a heavy coat and carrying my bag and lunch.

I hope that when Lent ends this year, I will have never taken an elevator ride at work and the morning climb will be a breeze. More importantly, I pray that better personal physical fitness will translate to a healthier lifestyle in general and a healthier walk in faith.

Coyote Ugly

The area around my office building is also an unofficial habitat for Canadian Geese. We often see them walk across the office park, resting on the greenspace between office buildings, and sometimes stopping traffic as they waddle across the road. I've never felt that they are a bother - it kind of makes me feel as if I'm closer to nature when I see animals around. And I've never killed a goose with my car (or golf ball).

But I guess the geese been troubling others, probably mostly due to the presence of their droppings. So the company's groundskeepers have come up with various humane ways to dissuade the geese from taking up residence around the office park, including the use of trained shepherd dogs.

The latest tactic involves placing several rubber coyotes around the office park to, I guess, scare the geese away. These coyotes look pretty menacing, and the company has warned employees so people aren't startled to see a growling predator as they walk from the parking lot to the office building.

Frankly, I hope the geese stay. Maybe I can use of these rubber coyotes to guard my vegetable garden this summer.