Sunday, October 30, 2005


Originally uploaded by Chris Winkler.
We found this spider tonight at my parents' house in Michigan. I had never seen one like it before, and couldn't find any helpful websites. Anyone recognize it? The orange thing on it was full of white pus, which turned to yellow shortly after getting squashed. :-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Price is Right

"The Price is Right" is just not the same without Rod Roddy, who passed away back in 2003. For the first time since his passing, I watched part of an episode today, and the flair of hearing Rod yell "Come on down!" and seeing him in his vibrantly-colored jackets was all gone. Whoever replaced him has a good voice and is professional, but I think it's one of those things that because Rod was such an icon, he can never be replaced.

Sports fans in the Bay Area recently felt a similar loss. Bill King, who at one point was the play-by-play announcer for the Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors simultaneously, passed away a few weeks ago. Though I have only been a die-hard A's fan for a few years, I grieved his loss. As the A's announcer since 1981, he was the A's to many people. He was the main reason I purchased a package this season that allowed me to listen to any baseball game at any time, as long as I had an Internet connection--I never missed listening to Bill for lack of a radio feed. Much has been written about Bill's passing so I'll let others say it better than me, but I had to write about this great loss for the Bay Area.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pulse Dialing

One other parents still have pulse dialing. For a majority of the general public who has no idea what pulse dialing is, it is the opposite of touch-tone. For instance, when a voice prompt says to "push zero for the operator," you can't just push the "0" key. You have to push a special button first, then the digit. Or when you dial a number with several digits, you have to wait for the "pulse" on each one; it's anything but instant.

Yes, pulse dialing does still exist.

A Whole Different World

Moving from the heart of San Francisco to rural Michigan is a shock in multiple ways. One of the biggest has been technologically.

In SF, I had wireless Internet access almost everywhere, and most certainly at home and work. Even in all of my travels last month, I could connect via Wi-Fi in Boston, Philly, NYC, DC, Orlando, Chicago, Holland, etc.

Then I got to Boyne.

Thankfully, my parents have DSL. But wireless is not available, meaning that right now I am using a cable pulled out of the back of their desktop PC and plugged into my laptop. Not the most convenient, but it'll work for now. (All the while San Francisco is providing Wi-Fi for the entire city.)

Another issue is the age of the computers I'm having to work with. The computer sitting next to me is about the size of a small refrigerator and is louder than a car from the '80s with a bad muffler. When trying to e-mail a file from that computer to the one my mom uses at work, I had to install a driver for my flash drive (it uses Windows 98SE). Then I had to download the file at mom's work, which uses a dial-up connection (I didn't realize those were still around). After waiting 20 minutes for a two-page PDF file to download, the version of Acrobat Reader decided it didn't like the file...and there was no way I was going to try and download an update! (In case you're wondering why I didn't just use my flash drive to transport the file, you should know that the computer was using Windows 98, which doesn't accept flash drives.) That made for a rough evening.

What will probably happen is that as soon as I adjust to living in this low-technology world, I'll move back to a big city. Isn't that the way it happens?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Classic Northern Michigan

I've been in northern Michigan for a total of five nights, and have already fallen into a bunch of stereotypes. No, I haven't been deer hunting...although close. Last night, we went to Boyne City's football game. During the fall, everything not called football shuts down (except for hunting of course) in Boyne, and the town goes nuts.

When I played (yes, my scrawny little body survived three grueling seasons), any player was able to walk into any restaurant in town and either: a.) receive preferential treatment; b.) get a discount on food; or c.) get free food. Not a bad deal, especially for someone like me who didn't play very often, if at all.

While at the game, we went to visit with a friend from church who is in charge of shooting off a real-life cannon whenever Boyne scores. Within minutes of arriving in the cannon area, the Ramblers were getting ready to score again (we were up 34-0 at halftime) and someone had asked me to pull the cord to fire the cannon. I hesitatingly agreed, and proceeded to set off one of the loudest explosions I've ever heard in my life--and that was with headphones on.

Today, I drove with my parents up to Sault Ste. Marie--on the Canadian border--to visit my brother Bradley at school. The highlight will be tonight, when we get to attend a Lake Superior State University hockey game. It doesn't get much more "Michigan" than hockey, and the game will cap a week of reaquainting myself with this beautiful state.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Game is Almost Done

For those of you who have been waiting on the edge of your seat for a State Game update, here you go. Since the last update, I have seen North Dakota, New Hampshire and Hawaii. Oddly enough, I saw Hawaii in Boston about five minutes after telling my friend who had picked me up from the bus station that I only needed Hawaii and Alaska.

That means Alaska is the lone remaining holdout for me to "win" the game. Chances are that I'll need to do it in the next few hours before leaving Chicago, as rural Michigan tends not to have a lot of out-of-state plates.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

On the Way Home

It's tough to eat healthy when traveling. Today for lunch, I downed some orange sherbet and two pieces of pizza...the fifth time I've had pizza in the last week. But I've finally begun the last leg of my month and a half of travels. I'm in Chicago right now, and from here, it's a train to Holland (Michigan) tomorrow and a bus to my parents' house on Monday. All I want right now is to be in one place for a while (and eat healthy again)...and that will happen to a degree when I get to Boyne.

The past two weeks in Orlando have been a strain on me in every aspect, but it was a great time of growth and learning about my future career. (E-mail me for specific details; I can't put them on this blog.) Exciting things are in store for the coming months and years...