My Hinky Illinois I-Pass, Part 2

Posted 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 »

February 22nd 2009 | 11:20 am CET | 14 Comments »

Obama Launches

Posted 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 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. screenshot


February 18th 2009 | 2:46 pm CET | No Comments »

Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: Giant Tumbleweeds

Posted 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!

February 18th 2009 | 1:09 pm CET | No Comments »

Vårt besøk på Evenstad, Norge

Posted 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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February 14th 2009 | 3:13 am CET | No Comments »

Foto Friday: Riverboat Ghost

Posted 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.



February 13th 2009 | 10:39 am CET | No Comments »

Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Seen: Gutter Machine

Posted 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!


February 12th 2009 | 11:01 pm CET | 1 Comment »

Cable or No Cable?

Posted 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 »

February 8th 2009 | 11:28 pm CET | No Comments »

Foto Friday: Redpoll on the Birdcam

Posted by Arthur in Birds, Foto Friday, Illinois

Today our Wingscapes Birdcam captured a Common Redpoll snacking on nyger seed among the usual American Goldfinches. This is the 15th bird to be snapped by the birdcam. These birds are usually sparse in Northern Illinois but this area is seeing a finch invasion this winter. How cool is that?

Common Redpoll


February 6th 2009 | 9:06 pm CET | No Comments »

Just how bad is the peanut butter recall?

Posted by Amy in Food, Life in America, Shopping & Stuff

So bad that the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) website has made an embeddable search widget. You can search for which peanut butter products are included in the salmonella outbreak. OMG, really?

FDA Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak 2009. Flash Player 9 is required.

Yep, really.

February 4th 2009 | 5:38 pm CET | No Comments »

Kevin Costner Brings Minor League Baseball to Lake County Illinois

Posted by Arthur in Illinois

Kevin Costner playing baseballThis just in: Academy Award winner Kevin Costner, who played in baseball movies Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, is part of a baseball team ownership group that has selected Zion IL, right here in Lake County, as the site for a new Northern League baseball team!

The minor league team, which is still to be named, will begin playing in May 2010. Construction on a new stadium will start this summer. The new team will play in the Northern League. There will be an upcoming Name the Team Contest, where fans will be involved in submitting name entries, with lucky winners chosen among the entries.

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February 3rd 2009 | 8:42 pm CET | No Comments »