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Home » Archive for February 2009

Foto Friday: Little Bee-eater

Posted on February 27th 2009 by Arthur in Birds, Foto Friday

We saw this Little Bee-eater at Kotu Creek in The Gambia. He was flying around catching bees and kept returning to the same place on this branch. Every few minutes he would get a bee and hit it repeatedly against the branch to remove the sting. Then when the bee wasn’t moving anymore he would squeeze venom out before swallowing it. You can actually see a little squirt of venom come out of the bee. We watched this colorful little guy and some of his friends do this over and over again.

Little Bee-eater

My Bad Experience with UK2 Web Hosting

Posted on February 26th 2009 by Arthur in Personal, Websites & Tools

Over one year ago, at the beginning of 2008, I signed up for a web hosting package at UK2. I needed an SSL certificate which they offered with a special package, so I ordered that too. I had lots of issues with their service and the SSL never worked. After dozens of emails with the UK2 support desk I decided to get my money back and I canceled the service. I thought that that was it. Fast forward to this year. In January 2009 I suddenly received an invoice from UK2 of £54 for a website I never heard of, a co.uk real estate site. I sent UK2 an email about the mistake but never got a reply. Several days later the amount was taken off my credit card. I did a whois on the domain and found an address in London with my email address! Obviously UK2 had mixed up my details with another customer. More »

First Backyard Bird

Posted on February 22nd 2009 by Arthur in Birds, Illinois, Nature

We moved into our new digs in Round Lake Beach ten days ago and hadn’t seen a single bird in our backyard. All that changed today when we saw a goldfinch on one of two bird feeders that we put up five days ago.

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My Hinky Illinois I-Pass, Part 2

Posted on February 22nd 2009 by Arthur in Illinois, Life in America

(see part 1 for the beginning of this saga) It’s been over three weeks since I was instructed by the Illinois I-Pass service desk to send my I-Pass back. I had received it in the mail last month after ordering it online, but the activation code and account number were missing. When I called the service desk at the end of last month they told me to send it back and they’d send a new one. I included a cover letter explaining what happened. After three weeks I had still not heard back from them. I called them yesterday and this time another person, who seemed be more knowledgeable than the first one, explained to me that I-Passes ordered online are already activated! She put me on hold for about 15 minutes as she searched for my I-Pass and letter, but never found it. She was surprised that I didn’t understand that I-Passes ordered online are already activated and told me that I should not have sent it back. WTH?! More »

Obama Launches Recovery.gov

Posted on February 18th 2009 by Arthur in Politics, Websites & Tools

President Obama signed the $787,000,000,000 economic stimulus bill in Denver yesterday. And, as promised, the new website Recovery.gov was launched immediately. I love how the new President is using new media like You Tube videos, blogs and social network sites to get his message across and to keep the American people in the loop on everything he does. On this new website American taxpayers will be able to see where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. It is still pretty empty, but the site will soon display information visually, through maps, charts, and graphics to what projects all this money is going.

Recovery.gov screenshot

 

Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: Giant Tumbleweeds

Posted on February 18th 2009 by Arthur in Craziest Things I've Ever Seen, Videos

Check out this video showing giant tumbleweeds causing traffic to stop on a highway in Salinas, California. A tumbleweed is the dry part of a plant that tumbles around a desert-like area after its been seperated from its root by wind. It is a symbol of the American west, and you’ll often see them in western movies. Usually they are a lot smaller than the ones in this video. Haha, it’s the attack of the giant tumbleweeds!

Vårt besøk på Evenstad, Norge

Posted on February 14th 2009 by Arthur in Travel

(Note: The title says Our Visit to Evenstad, Norway, at least I think it does according to Google Translate)

Seven years ago today we left on a trip to Norway in search of the town of Evenstad, which is where some of Amy’s ancestors are from. It was her great-great-grandparents from this town who came to America. Evenstad is a small Norwegian town on the east bank of the Glomma river in the Stor-Elvdal municipality. It is a very small town with a population of only 77 (in 2005 according to statbank) and is best known for its small campus of the Hedmark University College which has a Faculty of Forestry and Wilderness with about 120 students.

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Foto Friday: Riverboat Ghost

Posted on February 13th 2009 by Arthur in Disney, Foto Friday

What better photo for Friday the 13th than this spooky picture of Halloween at Disneyland Paris. The Mark Twain Riverboat is being pulled around Big Thunder Mountain by a huge floating ghost. The fog makes the creepy scene complete. The imagineers do an amazing job of decorating the park for Halloween each year. I took this picture on our visit in October 2003. The Mark Twain is based on the Anaheim park’s original riverboat attraction and is one of two riverboats at Frontierland in Disneyland Paris. Together with the Molly Brown it circles Big Thunder Mountain and Wilderness Island along sights of the Far West.

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Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: Gutter Machine

Posted on February 12th 2009 by Arthur in Craziest Things I've Ever Seen

Workers came by our house today to replace all the gutters. They climbed on the roof and made a lot of racket pulling all the old ones off. In the meantime a guy that stayed at the truck was making brand-new gutters with a gutter machine! At first sight I thought another guy was pushing the new gutter out of the truck, but upon closer inspection the gutter was much longer than the truck. They were being generated by a gutter machine! These machines can make seamless gutters on the fly from a large roll of aluminum and they are the state-of-the-art machinery for every gutter professional. I suppose that they can make gutters this way as long as they want, or at least as long as there is aluminum available in the truck. Here’s a video I found on YouTube of one of these machines in action. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!

 

Cable or No Cable?

Posted on February 8th 2009 by Arthur in Life in America, Television

The last few months we’ve had to make do with the standard broadcast television stations. Using the built-in antenna in our Vizio TV we’ve been able to get about 15 channels including CBS, NBC and ABC for free. I’ve been really impressed by the quaility of these free HD channels. I am blown away by the details when we watch our favorite shows like Lost and 30 Rock. Now that we’re moving into another house we’ve decided to sign up for Comcast high speed internet and try out their cable TV as well. Costs for this is going to be around $80 per month of which $40 is for the digital starter TV package. It’s one of their smallest packages with only about a hundred channels. We have seriously thought of not getting cable TV and only watch our free broadcast channels and our favorite shows online. We’ll give this a try and cancel the TV package if we’re not watching it enough. More »

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