Friday, October 1, 2010

Are people really naming their kids after 70s and 80s rock stars?

Let's start with the incident that put this whole thing into my mind...

At the Dekalb County Fair this week, I was waiting on my son to get off a ride when another father was trying to take a picture of his kids. I looked at him with his camera phone as he yelled (other children's names have been modified to protect the innocent) "Riley, Alison... Jagger"

I was just thinking, "OK, everyone has a right to name their kids what they like, but really? They must be huge Rolling Stones fans."

Then I thought back to some membership applications I have been processing at work. The first one that came to mind was Alexzander VanHalen "Smith." At that time, It brought a smile to my face while looking at the others. Then I was back to work. Since then I have seen some Tommy Lee "Smith"s and a few others.

I'm sure that there are more out there. I'm just not certain if I would want my kids to look back in Wikipedia and find out who I could have been named after. 

Just needed to get that one off my chest.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Steak 'n Shake = Blah!!

Ok, stick with this story about Steak 'n Shake for a moment...

Today is my wife's birthday. I asked her where she would like to go as a family to eat. Her response was:

We haven't been to Steak 'n Shake for 3 years. Why don't we try that?

So, why not? I'm always up for variety in my dining experiences. Well, I guess we now know why we haven't been there in 3 years. And after talking with co-workers today about dining nightmares, I was unaware I would run into my own on my wife's special day.

We ordered drinks, then food for my three kids and ourselves. I have now learned to never underestimate a kid's menu that is for "kids ages 12 and under." Here is a copy of the menu.

The waiter first tried to give us food that was for another table, then 15 minutes later they brought out ours.

My oldest daughter got the kid's salad which was a plateful with a small cup of dressing. OK, that is what we expected. She was happy with it.

Our youngest daughter got a "steakdog" and a sealed cup of applesauce. Fine.

My wife and I also got what we expected.

Then they handed my son a serving of macaroni and cheese, as well as some fries. The wife and I were a bit shocked to say the least. I believe there is more macaroni and cheese in a cheap microwavable cup you can get at the grocery store.

When we questioned the waiter, his response was that is what it is... You can order a side of macaroni for 99 cents, and it will double the size.

Well, the logic would say that a menu that was suitable for kids up to age 12 would have a proper portion size without having to order another serving, wouldn't it?

The waiter was obviously oblivious to our view and continued to ask us:

"Is there anything else I can get for you?"
Hmmm..... how about an appropriate serving of macaroni? That was all I could think of.

The only comfort anyone gave from the "rest"-aurant was when I went to pay the bill and the cashier asked how everything was.

"Well, I was a bit disappointed with the kid's serving of macaroni."

"Yea, they are small" is all the response I got as he asked me for $30 for the night's dining experience.

I guess I know why I won't think about going back for another 3 years.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Aviary - quick and easy.

I was just getting some new extensions for Google Chrome and I came across Aviary. So, I gave it a shot.

Let's back up. I started using Adobe Photoshop about 10 versions ago, and about as many years. I have been a die hard fan and user since. I've also gotten into other Adobe products and have been happy with it's cross-program integration and utilization.

I've never been a fan of online image tools. I've always seen that Photoshop can do more and I still stand by that. I just did a speed test on an 8 year old laptop (not mine) of Aviary tools using the extension through Google Chrome to do a screen capture and quick edit and I was surprised.

In about 30 seconds I was able to create text, draw arrows, and save it as a jpeg. I was doing this for document I have had a short time to produce, yet it still looks decent enough to get by.

Photoshop just lost a little bit o love from yours truly today. Don't worry, I'll be back for the elaborate needs that are just perfect for Photoshop.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Boy Scouts celebrates 100 years of leadership

For me, the adventure started in 3rd Grade in Cub Scouts. I earned my Arrow of Light and crossed over into Boy Scouts the same time my good friend, Shawn Ruch did.

I continued on into Boy Scouts where I camped and canoed and loved the adventure! I became and Eagle Scout on June 6, 1994, and became distracted by high school life.

When my son was old enough to join Cub Scouts, he signed up. Shortly following, I accepted a position as a Scouting Professional with the Boy Scouts of America.

One of my favorite highlights from 2009 was being able to go with him to Cub Scout Resident Camp at Camp Chief Little Turtle in Pleasant Lake, IN. We did all the activities with his Pack, including a 5-mile hike.

Last year, I also had to meet Alvin Townley and read his books. Check out the Amazon link I've added here. Both of his books highlight Eagle Scouts and their experiences.

The values taught in Scouting can not be found in other activities. The opportunities for leadership and development cannot be found in other places either. Sports can go so far and some people become leaders because of it, but Scouting allows for all young men to get the experience.

I would like to join in the millions to say "Happy Birthday" and "Thank You!" to the BSA for all that it has done in the lives of young men and for the betterment of all of out communities. Here's to another 100 years!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Profile Picture...

In July 2005, I made a trip to the National Archives with 2 other colleagues and we were going through photo collections. For 3 days we went through photo archives from World War II. I was going through the Heinrich Hoffmann collection, which was confiscated from his Berlin office towards the end of WWII. It appears as though only a few people had ever really been through the photo collection according to the National Archives logs. So, I felt privileged to be seeing something that has seen limited exposure.

Hoffmann was basically the lead propagandist photographer for Germany during WWII. While the history involved in the collection was very intriguing, it was hard not to feel a bit disgusted by the whole thing.

After a while, I started sifting through my colleagues' collection with them which was the US Marine Corps collection from Iwo Jima and Okinawa. There were photos of the devastation and loss and suffering and hardships that are a part of war.

Then, through it all came this picture of a smiling soldier. On top of his helmet sat this kitten that had some how survived through all of this chaos and destruction.
So, when I look at this picture it reminds me that even the smallest of creatures can make it through the very worst of times.
I do not have the original picture, but the bottom has the Marine's name. His last name is Campbell. I have not tried to locate the Marine, but I do wish that he had a very full life.